22 July 2012

The Maine Event

As I may have mentioned - yes, smugly, obviously - before, next week sees me back in the US for what's not exactly the worst assignment of my life. 
The Ad Codd burger - the kind of treat I'm hoping to find a lot of...

The trip is for MSN Food and Drink. The sponsor is Motel 6. The location is the East Coast, from Brooklyn to Bangor, from Bangor to Boston. The mission? Local restaurants and American classics. We're talking crab shacks, diners, burger places, hot dogs, cheese melts, pizzas and, of course, clam chowder and lobster rolls. We're talking Man v Food /  Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Like I say: not the worst assignment of my life. You'll be able to follow my progress - and see what I'm eating - via my Twitter feed, MSN Food's and my Instagram account (username: DineHard). I'll try and keep this blog updated during the week but, if all goes to plan, on Friday 3rd August, I'll be live blogging for MSN from The Maine Lobster Festival

This week, we'll be crossing the Ts and dotting the lower case Js, but likely schedule is as follows: 

July 29 - Brooklyn
July 30 - Brooklyn
July 31 - Newport, Rhode Island
August 1 - Bangor, Maine
August 2 - Augusta, Maine
August 3 - Boston - via Portland and The Maine Lobster Festival
August 4 - Boston
August 5 - Boston 

So... anyone got any must-eat suggestions for any of those locations? Anyone based in any of those locations who wants to meet for a beer / burger / lobster roll? Any restaurateurs in those locations who fancy a chat? The appetite is willing and the diary is wide open... 

2 July 2012

Meating Expectations

Before I get onto more ham and cheese, I'm very aware that I've been a little slow (again) in posting. It's been a ridiculous year in the very best sense, unless you count my carbon footprint against me, in which case I'm truly evil. And, yes, undoubtedly smug. 

One of the things that's perhaps slowed the posting levels is a sense that I wanted more of a theme to the blog. It's been a great deal of fun to this point - being able to write for fun rather than to often closely defined specifications is lovely - and the random nature of the posts probably suits my personality / love of tangents. But I think, deep down, I wanted to get a little more targeted and, in a rare burst of maturity, maybe use this forum as a chance to if not specialise in something then at least to rein in my food-based activities and actually build to something. And this weekend just gone, I think I found it. 

As many of you already know, I had been due to compete at Grillstock, Bristol's rather lovely BBQ festival, as part of a team for national magazine. Having done a fair bit of research into the world of professional / eager amateur / competitive BBQ (and for a couple of other reasons)   we decided to defer until 2013. The level of dedication shown by people in the BBQ world is quite phenomenal. These days, I'm loathe to use the word "passion" when it comes to food because, well, it's just food and "passion" has a sense of martyrdom to it which seems wildly out of place here. When it comes to BBQ people though, it seems entirely accurate: I think some of them would die for the cause. Having heard there was a waiting list, the idea of entering a team that hadn't practiced enough and taking a spot away from someone who had been prepping for, probably, months and, possibly,  years seemed very wrong so, we withdrew - but on the understanding that it's a postponement not a surrender and we're going to hit Grillstock hard in 2013. Having visited Grillstock this weekend, that's a definite; I cannot think of a single food event I've been to with a better atmosphere. All the more reason then to do it justice and treat it with the respect it deserves.

So, you can probably guess where this is going. There will be the usual ramblings here. There will be - no, really - a return of the Simple Pleasure photographic posts. There will certainly be random reports on my travels and unusual meals from around the world. But, for the most part - and I imagine a lot of this will frequently overlap very neatly with the travels and unusual meals - The Lambshank Redemption is going to document my adventures in grilling. And side dishes. And marinades. All that sort of stuff. I do reserve the right to withhold the actual competition entry recipes until after Grillstock 2013 though...