Tag Archives: rambling restaurant

Holiday Happiness With Perfect Pork Shoulder and Crunchy Crackling

One of the most deliciously useful bits of knowledge I have gained so far in my time in London: how to roast a perfect pork shoulder, complete with addictive crunchy little strips of crackling on the top. At Rambling Restaurant a few weeks ago, chef foodrambler made a classic Sunday roast from the excellent River Cottage MEAT book by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. While flipping through the cookbook, I happened upon this recipe for Aromatic Shoulder of Pork ‘Donnie Brasco,’ so named because you can put it in the oven on low heat overnight and ‘fuhgeddaboutit.’ Oh Hugh F-W, you are hilarious. Also, a meat genius.

Since the mere reading of the recipe made my stomach grumble with longing, we decided to make the pork shoulder for three consecutive Rambling Restaurant suppers. After a day’s worth of roasting, you pry apart the brittle outer shell of crackling and dig through a shuddering layer of burning hot pork fat to find the most perfect, tender, juicy, falls-apart-with-the-tug-of-a-fork meat. Shredded with two dueling forks and bathed in an impromptu soy-hoisin-chili-garlic-leftover spring roll dipping sauce mixture, we had guests raving that it was the best pulled pork they’d ever tasted.  And so I recreated it for my family back home in Boston, introducing them to the joy that is garlic and spice-rubbed, high heat-blasted pig skin.  Here’s the recipe so you can do it yourself, very very slightly adapted from Hugh F-W’s recipe in ingredients and time, should you decide at lunch that pork shoulder is essential for dinner, without quite enough time to ‘fuhgeddaboutit.’

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , ,

All The Single Lads, Put Your Hands Up

To paraphrase Beyonce, we’re calling all the single lads!

Rambling Restaurant is looking for some hot male action.  Why, you ask? Do we need a reason? Well, we’ve got one here:

‘Due to popular demand, on Thursday 3rd December & Friday 4th December we are holding a Lone Ramblers’ & Rambling Roses’ Singles Night at Rambling Restaurant!

It’s a 3-course dinner party of aphrodisiac foods & music. Lone Ramblers (gentlemen) and Rambling Roses (ladies) share tables and bring your own booze (no corkage fee). Lone Ramblers move tables every course to keep it lively. Who knows what might happen?!’

We’ve already sold all the Rambling Roses tickets, so it’s time to spread the word amongst your single male friends to get their asses in gear. An evening of great food, wine, music and a cozy room full of available women? Yes, Rambling Restaurant can make your wildest dreams come true.  According to Kanye West, it’s going to be ‘ONE OF THE BEST NIGHTS OF ALL TIME.’


Lone Ramblers,  get your tickets here for the Thursday the 3rd  or here for the Friday the 4th.

We hope to see you there…but not in the outfits like JT and Andy Samberg in the above video, okay? Best to leave a little to the imagination.

Tagged , , ,

Rambling Restaurant Fun: Ninety-Nine Bottles of Wine on the Wall

Thursday’s Rambling Restaurant was a boozy festival of wine tasting and matching canapes  – so many glasses of alcohol that I’m amazed I could stand up straight long enough to take any of these photos. We partnered with the lovely and charming Dan of Bibendum Wines to do a casual and relaxed evening event in our usual secret location. Dan ‘liberated’ a serious stock of bottles from the Bibendum stores for us – Champagne, Riesling, Chardonnay, Malbec, Chianti, and an excellent dessert wine – all matched with bite-size hor d’oeuvres such as the Zamorano cheese with quince jelly and persimmon, above. Below, tasting notes with parmesan crisps awaiting their toppings for the first round of canapes.

The full line-up of booze and bites below…

Continue reading

Tagged , , , , ,

Rambling Restaurant Fun, Part One: Summer Rolls and Phenomenal Pork

I’m in the midst of a serious cooking week. Wednesday and Thursday were both Rambling Restaurant nights at our secret location in Camden Town. Tomorrow is our London Thanksgiving party that started as a few friends and has somehow mushroomed to over 20 people and we still didn’t manage to fit everyone we wanted to invite! (Don’t worry though, we’re having a holiday party too and you’re all invited:) Sunday is another Rambling Restaurant, then I fly home to Boston to cook family Thanksgiving. Whew! I’m tired just typing that. Well, actually the soreness in my arms is from all the peeling, chopping, kneading, and rolling I’ve been doing tonight to make three pies and brine two turkeys. Yeeowwwch.

Tonight’s been a primarily solo affair (with Chris’s help on the awkward pouring-brine-into-a-plastic-bag-full-of-raw-turkey action), but luckily the Rambling Restaurants are always fun shared cooking evenings  full of laughter, chatter, catchup on recent nightly activities, dirty jokes, a broken glass or two (or three) and ample glasses of wine to fuel the cooking creativity. Over the last few nights, Chef foodrambler, Michelle, our newest member Sarah and I have served nine different dishes to over forty people. I’ll start with Wednesday’s meal, a classic and relaxing Rambling Restaurant event compared to the hustle and bustle of the next evening’s wine tasting.

Wednesday we served vegetarian Vietnamese summer rolls as a starter – lightly sauced cellophane noodles and an assortment of fresh veggies (carrots, scallions, cucumber, water chestnuts, cilantro) rolled tight in thin rice paper wrappers.  After dipping my fingers in hot water to soften about forty pancakes from their original hardened state, I had some crazyass prune fingers, let me tell you.

Dipped into a sauce of fish sauce, vinegar, sugar, soy, garlic, scallions, chili and whatever else I put in that I can’t remember,  these bright little bites of freshness are a very happy way to start any meal. But it doesn’t get much better when it’s followed by an insanely good slow-roasted pork shoulder  – rubbed with spices and then whacked into the oven for about nine hours till it falls apart at the poke of a fork into the tenderest shreds of meat.  Mmmmmmmm….way to go foodrambler.

Scored into about centimeter thick strips with a sharp knife, the outer skin becomes the most amazing fatty, crispy, crunchy crackling that is frighteningly addictive. Served on cabbage and egg noodles with a pour of meaty gravy, this dish is pretty much unstoppable. We ended Wednesday night with an apple crumble with cream and a sprinkling of bittersweet caramel dust.  Unfortunately,  I always forget to take pictures of dessert. But don’t worry, I’ve got loads of pictures of the FoodRambler’s amazing canape creations from Thursday, coming up next!

Oh and while I’m posting Rambling Restaurant photos…

Continue reading

Tagged , , ,

Tapas, Terracotta, and Tons of Tomato Sauce at Rambling Restaurant

Dining Room at Rambling Restaurant

A few weeks ago, Rambling Restaurant explored the world of tapas with enough food to feed a small Spanish village.  Chef foodrambler devised a wide-ranging, drool-inducing, and seemingly never-ending menu of tiny plates served in terracotta dishes, which give off an air of Spanish authenticity no matter what you put in there. That, and a flamboyant Spanish accent.  With a lisp. And castanets.

Kidding.  We kept the Spanish influence to the food. And of course the wine, which is why I have a bit of trouble recalling the menu. If I remember correctly, we served:

Fried Calamari with Capers and Black Pepper

Patatas Bravas (Oven Roasted Crispy Potatoes topped with a zesty tomato sauce)

Roasted Eggplant with Tomato and Bechamel Sauce (whacked back in the oven for a deliciously browned top)

Albondigas (M is for Mmmm and Meatballs)

Honey Glazed Roasted Beets with Thyme and Goat Cheese

Gambas al Ajillo (Shrimp in Garlic Sauce)

All served with lots of crusty bread for your tomato sauce and garlicky oil dipping pleasure.

crusty bread for dipping at Rambling Restaurant

Followed by Chocolate and Orange Torte with Raspberry Sauce and Cream for dessert. I thought we might have stuffed our diners to the point of no return with the unstoppable onslaught of dishes, but the pudding plates came back wiped clean. A true testament to the power of oozy gooey (goozey?) chocolateyness.

This was our first meal at Rambling Restaurant with just the two of us covering the kitchen and the dining room, leaving very little time for taking photos or other important activities like breathing. Luckily a talented guest photographer was to be found amidst the piled plates and scattered breadcrumbs  – my friend Amit straight outta Brooklyn.  Amit and I, along with our other friend Dave, spent most of his time across the pond eating a swath through East London and capturing it all on film.  This post is basically an excuse to showcase his lovely photographs since I really have nothing useful to say.

We’ll end, as all meals should end, with empty plates and full bellies. No more calamari. Sad face. Come back next time!

No more calamari

Tagged , , ,

an electrifying evening of rabbit and brandy snaps with rambling tongue

the transformed space at vulpes vulpes

welcome to rambling tongue at vulpes vulpes! last saturday, the underground restauranteurs of rambling restaurant and the poets of hammer & tongue played host to a warehouse full of adventurous diners in a spectacular artist space in hackney. there was rabbit stewed in cider. there were artichokes with homemade mayonnaise. there were brandy snaps stuffed with marscapone and cream and raspberries and crystallized violets. there was poetry and music and dancing and bottles and bottles and bottles of wine….

Continue reading

Tagged , ,

a rambling feast of strangers at the treehouse gallery in regent’s park

theodore zeldin leading the feast of strangers

this last weekend i spent one of the most beautiful saturdays i can remember in a truly magical place – the treehouse gallery at regent’s park in london. this dreamy fantasy land, filled with the tallest of towering structures and the humblest of tree stump seats, played host to an open gathering of food and conversation called the feast of strangers. over 150 people showed up to share a meal and some of their most intimate thoughts at this community event organized by limina, a social enterprise dedicated to ‘creating transition spaces and events between the rural and urban’ through journeys, workshops, and other events.

synnove, ed, and the wonderful other people of limina were kind enough to invite rambling restaurant to prepare a feast for the feast. food for 150 in the middle of a park with no electricity? luckily, there’s nothing we like more than a challenge. after a 5am wholesale produce market trip, an evening carrot-chopping get-together,  a late night focaccia-making and wine-drinking party, and a morning put-everything-together-right-before-mealtime activity, we managed to put together a lovely spread of food for the park wanderers. here michelle puts together the information table for the food, all up for grabs by donation.

michelle and the rambling feast

the meal consisted of several dips and salads, a harissa lamb, and a truly massive amount of focaccia bread. here’s the roasted carrot and caraway dip topped with feta cheese, fresh mint, and a teepee seating structure:

roast carrot dip and treehouse installation

Continue reading

Tagged , ,

the unexpected illumination of the rambling banqueteers

rambling banqueteers at the fifth plinth

following up on the last post about the oubliette arthouse and the fifth plinth, here’s the second half of our eating-as-performance installation: the unexpected illumination of the rambling banqueteers.  squeeeezed into the tiny above entryway were 11 intrepid diners facing a confused array of passers-by and a toasty warm mealtime surrounded by spotlights and burning candles. however, as reward for their bravery and endurance, these banqueteers were rewarded with quite the serious spread.

regard exhibit a: the whole salmon.

whole salmon for the rambling banquet Continue reading

Tagged , ,

the mad hatter tea party at the oubliette arthouse

the red queen serving tea out the window

behold the red queen, serving tea via extra-long straws out the letter box to mad hatter's tea party at the fifth plinthtourists on oxford street! in honor of tomorrow’s rambling feast of strangers, i’m finally getting around to posting photos from the last rambling restaurant event: the mad hatter’s tea party and the unexpected illumination of the rambling banqueteers at the oubliette arthouse.  the 24 hours straight of serving, prepping, dining, and drinking can only be described as one of the most bizarre food experiences of my life, sandwiched with other customed revelers in a miniscule doorway dressed as the white queen and nibbling ‘eat me’ cupcakes on full display for the shopping tourists on one of london’s busiest thoroughfares. and that was about 2pm, before everyone started drinking…

Continue reading

Tagged , ,

rambling restaurant madness: past photos and future fun

`But I don’t want to go among mad people,’ Alice remarked.
`Oh, you can’t help that,’ said the Cat: `we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.’
`How do you know I’m mad?’ said Alice.
`You must be,’ said the Cat, `or you wouldn’t have come here.’

exciting news from the crew at rambling restaurant! we’re hosting a mad hatter’s rambling tea party and the unexpected illumination of rambling banqueteers at the newly acquired oxford street location of the oubliette arthouse this friday.  i’ll play the white queen, foodrambler will the red queen, michelle shall personify the mad hatter, and miss milly will be behind the wheels of steel as alice, the wonderland visitor herself.  it will be madness. i am excited.

in honor of the upcoming whirlwind of cooking, eating, drinking, and dancing activity, i’ve got a few photos of past rambling restaurant dishes to share.

from rambling restaurant a few weeks ago: a roasted vegetable torte with zucchini, yellow and orange peppers, eggplant, and parmesan cheese. a staple at our san francisco apartment.

roasted vegetable torte

Continue reading

Tagged , ,