Today could have gone one of two ways. We were scheduled to have a trip over the Pennines to Wilmslow for a barbecue at a Uni friend's house. This was still the plan until last night when good sense and an accurate weather forecast changed our plans. It was decided that, in the best interests of R, our mates would come over the tops to Leeds and we'd do the cooking.
Pabs has made this trip plenty of times since we moved here from Leicester and each time we manage to squeeze in a bit of a pub crawl. In the past the Otley Run has been attempted* and we have even braved some of the less welcoming pubs of the city centre**. Today we showed our age and only had a few cheeky pints before going back home to cook. I had a couple of pubs/bars that I hadn't been to before, and this visit was the perfect excuse. We took in The Town Hall Tavern and The Bierkeller before heading to the highlight of the day: Friends of Ham
I very much doubt that I'll be going back to The Bierkeller. There was nothing intrinsically wrong with it and there was a good choice of draft German beers, but it just didn't feel welcoming. I can see myself going back to The Town Hall Tavern, if only for the food. I am a fan of Timothy Taylor's beers and having a choice of their brews made a nice change from seeing Landlord as a guest ale. The food looked superb, but as we were eating at home we didn't try any of it.
If you haven't yet ventured into Friends of Ham then please do yourself a favour and do so. I am under no obligation to say this. I am on talking friends with the owners and no more, I have no financial link to the bar, apart from the money that I have spent there on beer and meat. It is just too good to miss out on. The ever rotating beer selection means that I am yet to have the same beer twice. Again, because we were heading home to cook, we didn't have any of the fine salamis or hams that were on offer but that means that I'll just have to go back again.
By the time the mini pub crawl was over Z had already returned home from her shopping trip with R. She had also knocked up a batch of corn tortillas and poached some chicken as the base for their filling. The shredded chicken was added to rice, which was cooked in a tin of tomatoes with ground cloves and oregano.
I had decided earlier on that I wanted ribs but, as much as I like gnawing at pork bones, I'm not a fan of BBQ sauce. A bit of judicious research later threw up Tomasina Miers' Mexican barbecue ribs. I'll admit to not following the recipe to the letter, mainly because I was fresh out of Ancho and Chipotle chillies. Instead I used a variety of fresh, dried and powdered chilli for heat and included a roasted red pepper for bulk. In all honesty I overcooked the ribs, but they still tasted good. The citrus flavours from Thomasina's marinade still came through and they made a very welcome change from BBQ ribs.
*without the fancy dress.
**Hoagy's and The Vine spring to mind.