BidmeadBites has moved!

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Big News...

Head to to check out my new blog!

Since its start in July 2014, BidmeadBites has been a journal of all my foodie eats throughout the past year and a bit. Having stuck by my side while I ate all the weird and wonderful food Colombia could throw at me, as well as escorting me on amazing food-filled adventures in New York, Panama and Berlin, now that I'm back in London I've finally taken the time to give my blog a proper home.

From now on I'll be posting exclusively on The new site features an improved design yet also contains all previous posts, so no foodie memories are lost. I'll take this opportunity to say thank you to everyone who has read, followed and supported my blog so far. Keep reading and stayed tuned for more as I continue eating and cooking like there's no tomorrow. Stay hungry people!

Foie gras macaroons and carbonated marijuana at KaDeWe's food hall

Friday, September 4, 2015

BHS, the much loved British department store, offers a 'Great British Breakfast' for the bargainous price of £1.99. A great shout for watching the pennies, but potentially not the best place for sampling some fine dining. However, not all department stores are cut from the same cloth, as I discovered when I experienced fine dining and more on the sixth floor of KaDeWe, Berlin's swankiest department store. 

Opened in 1907, KaDeWe is somewhat of a Berlin landmark. With a whopping 2000 employees across 7 floors, KaDeWe holds treasures untold for every kind of shopper. And while some tourists gawp at the designer clothing or lose themselves in luxurious cosmetics and fragrances, I had one sole interest - any guesses what that could be?

Not just a food hall but, in fact, a whole 'gourmet floor', the sixth floor of KaDeWe is the stuff foodie dreams are made of. Rather than list what food was on offer, it'd be easier to say what you can't find here...and even then I'm stumped, as they seemed to have every food type and product known to man. Here's a run-through of some of the gourmet goodies this foodie heaven contained.

Sexual innuendos aside for a minute, just check out the amount of sausage on offer. I didn't even know half of these sausages existed - particularly peculiar was the white sausage, a typical Bavarian weisswurst made from minced veal and pork. After my currywurst experience previously, I didn't feel in a rush to consume any more German sausage but were I to be tempted, I would have known where to come. 

KaDeWe's chilled fish section was essentially a homage to the ultimate retro starter, the prawn cocktail. Fish terrines and elaborately styled salmon steaks decorated these chillers and looked absolutely delicious. Scoping around a bit more, we spied an equally tasty looking salad bar and felt it was time to sample some of these dishes. 

Roasted artichoke sat next to a delicious curried potato salad (they love a bit of curry flavoring, clearly), with some vegetable salads and wonderful fish options too. My favorite item on this plate was the pink pickled herring, which was a wonderful mix of the sharply flavored fish against the sweet pickling vinegar, with a lot of dill for a punch of flavor. A large glass of the highly-drinkable German Riesling wine washed this meal down perfectly.

And now, onto dessert you may ask? Seeing a macaroon, I'd say that's a valid question. However, this is no ordinary macaroon. It is actually a macaroon, sweet as they are, filled with...foie gras. Why fill a sweet, sugary macaroon with goose liver? Another valid question. They say there's no better way to learn than through experience, so away I went.

Was it going to be the weirdest yet most wonderful and wacky mix of flavors I had ever tried?


Not. It takes quite a lot for me to say I dislike a particular food, but macaroon filled with foie gras? You nasty.

Luckily KaDeWe had a vast array of drinks on offer to wash down the unpleasant offal/meringue taste I had going on. Anyone up for a can of 'Funky-T Hemp?'. Weed in a can. What will they think of next!

Other KaDeWe food joys included the best of British...

Seems it's not all crazy curried condiments in Germany, and they know a good sauce when they see one. If you find yourself in Berlin, this food hall really should be a stop on your trip. Even if you're not a foodie, this place is a great spot to just wander around and gawp at the ridiculously expensive food items...and maybe you'll be tempted by a pâté filled meringue? 

From Peru to Thailand in just one night - Berlin's Thursday Night Food Market

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

German food is not really something I'd ever eat at home, so while in Berlin it made sense to sample some traditional German cuisine. Clearly a country with excellent taste, the Germans seem to share my fondness for offal, with calf's livers and pig's kidneys featuring on many traditional menus, along with some absolutely incredible mashed potatoes and an awful lot of cabbage. This food is really quite delicious but not something I, or indeed many people could eat every day. Just as well, then, that Berlin is absolutely heaving with different cuisines from all over the world...even better that many of them are conveniently packed into the glorious Thursday Night Food Market.

The creators of this Thursday evening market describe it as 'edible proof that Berlin is a center of culinary creativity, a melting pot whose diversity is visible in its multitude of authentic food cultures'. With an eclectic mix of cuisines from all over the world including vegan Egyptian food, Brazilian tapioca pancakes, as well as tempting French sweet treats and some brilliant looking Belgium waffles, I would have to agree! Held in the market hall on Eisenbahnstraße in Kreuzberg, this event runs every Thursday from 5pm-11pm. 

My mum and I ensured we arrived hungry so as to be able to sample a little bit of everything (you have to have a game plan with these sorts of things, you know). Not quite knowing where to begin, our eyes were drawn to this Peruvian pop-up, Chicha. Offering ceviches of salmon and corvina, a white fish found frequently in South America, this fresh fish dish was just calling out as the perfect starter to a lot of food ahead. 

Sweet and soft chunks of cooked yam combined with salty, crunchy popped corn as the perfect accompaniment for the fresh raw salmon. Bathed in lime juice and scattered with red onions and coriander, the salmon ceviche we ordered was a party of flavors in a plastic bowl. Brilliantly balanced, each element of the dish perfectly complemented the other. Tragically, they couldn't actually offer any Pisco (a dangerously drinkable grape brandy produced in Chile and Peru) as they hadn't got their license. We survived all the same, and despite wanting to chow down some more of this incredible ceviche, we saved room for what was ahead.

Initially, it was our desire for an alcoholic drink which led us to a French champagne and oyster bar, where we ordered two (rather large) glasses of rosé wine. Seeing everyone around us slurp on their oysters made us think we should probably order a couple - I'd never tried them either, and was keen to see what they'd be like. I picked the oyster away from the shell, squeezed over some lemon and was ready to be blown away. Oysters are like, dead fancy and expensive right? Therefore, they must be delicious. I'm not sure if it was just a particularly underwhelming type of oyster, but I was left rather indifferent to this slimy shellfish. Still glad to have tried it anyway, at least the rosé went down a treat. Oysters slurped and wine swallowed, it was onto the next foodie station. 

Food trends are funny. One minute were all going mad for pulled pork, the next it's crazy pastry hybrids (hello, cronut)...what is it that makes one particular cuisine or dish so sought after? Without a doubt the latest food trend to hit us in a huge way is Gua Bao, steamed Taiwanese buns. The mixture of the perfectly plump steamed buns, slow cooked pork belly, pickled greens and fresh coriander, topped with sugary ground peanuts is pretty damn delicious, and means that this dish has more than earned its trendy foodie points. Berlin being as on-trend as any city I've ever visited before, I was unsurprised to see a Gua Bao stand at the Thursday Night Market - and equally unsurprised to see it had the longest line of any of the stands. 

Some things are worth queuing for though. My mum suggested just sharing one steamed bun between us. She clearly hadn't tried this Taiwanese treat before - I assured her she'd be wanting her own. The pulled chicken filling looked good, but as I said to my mum, it's just not pork belly is it? Barely stopping to take a photo, I ate this Gua Bao in a state of bliss. The fluffy steamed bun is a dream vehicle for all the goodness it contains inside, and with the sprinkle of chilli on top, it had a slight kick to tie in all the flavors together. 

Finally feeling like we could be full, I explained to my mum that this was only in the savory stomach compartment, and, in fact, there's always at least 10% room left for sweet. Intrigued by my solid scientific theory, we headed onto desert. My mum opted for a mini cheesecake from the beautiful selection at the French patisserie while I chose a couple of scoops of gelato from the ice-cream stand next door. So good were these deserts, we had consumed them before I had even remembered to take any photos. Must have been the summer heat and one too many glasses of delicious German Riesling wine.

Leaving the Thursday Night Market, I was very pleased with Berlin's foodie fare so far. And the best bit? There's still more to come! Stay posted for the final installment from BidmeadBites in Berlin, where I sample some very odd savory macaroons and revel in the best food hall ever.

Bidmead in Berlin - cocktails, surprise foodie finds and a bit of curried sausage

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Despite the appalling British weather (does this even classify as summer?), my return from Colombia has been a happy one. Although I was sad to leave the country I came to love and call home, being back in my true home London has reminded me of all the great things this city has to offer. But hardly back three weeks and I was lucky enough to travel away again, to the slightly less exotic, but no less exciting German capital of Berlin.

I had never been to Berlin before and had genuinely grown almost tired of hearing everyone else and their aunt rave about how wonderful it was. So my mum and I booked a six-day trip to explore the city and see what all the hype was about.

And not a bottle of Sainsburys basics Vodka in sight
It seems everyone had good reason to praise Berlin - what an incredible city! Kicking off our holiday in style, it was time for some cocktails. We headed to the classic old-fashioned bar at the Kempinski hotel, in the district of Charlottenburg to quench our thirst. The bar was impressively stocked - and if this wasn't enough, there was an equally impressive drinks trolley with just about every liquor under the sun. 

The classic Negroni
I've definitely taken after my mum in a fair few traits, and my taste in alcohol is one of them. Despite being swayed by the extensive cocktail menu, sometimes you just can't beat a classic. We both went for Negronis. A mildly potent mix, this cocktail is made up of equal quantities of gin, red vermouth and Campari. Who needs non-alcoholic mixers in their cocktails anyway? A Negroni is a classic apéritif, or pre-dinner drink, which is unsurprising - too many of these on an empty stomach would not end well.

So onto dinner it was as we ventured into the trendy area of Kreuzberg, which seemed to be the hipster hangout of the city - a German Shoreditch if you will. There was such a wealth of great looking places to eat and drink, it was hard to know where to go! After yet another cocktail at a very cool bar, we eventually headed into Knofi.

A mix of Turkish, Persian and Morrocan cuisine, this is a great little spot where you choose from a 
salad bar and are served by staff, who then weigh your plate. Mainly vegetarian, Knofi offered up more dips than I knew could even exist, along with the popular German cheese quark in many exciting flavors. Quark is somewhat similar to the Arabic labneh - strained yogurt which has a tangy, sour taste. Among the other options were many grain salads, about five different types of falafel and many delicious looking marinated veggies. 

A plate of yum
We went for a large plate to share, and while not entirely sure what we were choosing (turns out all those years of Spanish did not help me with my German - funny that), everything on our plate was fantastic. From the top-notch classic hummus to the sweet-potato garlic dip next to it, one serving almost wasn't enough! Other tasty treats on our plate included the lentil balls as seen in the middle and the cracking coriander and grain salad. All this, with two glasses of wine and bottles of water came to a grand total of €14! A bargain if you ask me. 

Chomping on my Currywurst
Always eager to sample local cuisine, it was only natural that I try the famous German 'delicacy', the Currywurst. The slightly odd pairing of a German Bratwurst sausage combined with curry ketchup and then doused with a light sprinkling of curry powder on top, the Currywurst is the definitive dish in German street food. Invented by a woman called Herta Heuwer in 1949, this sausage and curry combo has been much loved since its birth. Whether I loved it could be questioned, but I certainly didn't hate it. Although...trying it just once was plenty, as there was so much more food to be eaten!

Stay posted for the next installments of my Berlin trip. An absolutely sensational food market as well as what categorically classifies as 'foodie heaven' at Berlin's swankiest department store, BidmeadBites certainly got its fill while in Berlin!

Beef in Buenos Aires

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

'Don't come to my country if you're vegetarian.'

Wise words from Argentina's ex-president Carlos Menem, who offered this advice to readers of an American magazine in the 1990s. However, as a cosmopolitan capital, Buenos Aires does actually offer up a wide range of cuisines, meaning veggies will hardly go hungry. But if the truth be told, here in the Argentine capital, the cow really does reign king.

The city is filled with parrillas (steakhouses), from the fanciest of restaurants to shacks in the street. Food hygiene to be bared in mind, don't be fooled into thinking the best steaks are necessarily at the high-end hot spots. There're hundreds of local neighborhood parrilla spots which serve up mean cuts of beef, pork, offal and general meaty goodness at a fraction of the price of the famous, tourist-filled guidebook recommendations. 

Allo Ale Alé...
Always up for trying a new local parrilla, on my most recent visit to Buenos Aires I struck luckily. Just around the corner from my friends house, we noticed the restaurant Ale Alé, which was heaving with people on a Saturday night. Our rumbling bellies were seduced by the grilled meat smell and general buzzing vibe of the place. Interestingly, it is also a co-operative restaurant. Many businesses in Buenos Aires that folded due to the 2001 economic crisis saw their employees group together to salvage their place of work. Self-management among staff and community spirit kept these businesses from closure and continue to be a running theme in these places today. 

The restaurant is huge and probably seats about 150 people. The menu reads like any other parrilla, with the exception of a few 'specials' - huge platters made for sharing with chips, veggies and meat.

What all salad bars should aspire to be
Normally only found in the very popular tenedor libre (all you can eat) style restaurants, Ale Alé had it's very own unlimited salad bar. No sad iceberg lettuce and unripe tomato affair round here - guacamole, couscous, potatoes, roasted veggies, aubergine and squash purees...this is what all salad buffets should aspire to. 

For mains I opted for a classic bife de chorizo, stressing I wanted it 'bien jugoso' - bloody and rare, please. Despite having some of the best beef in the world, Argentines seem to insist on cooking it to death, which to me is nothing short of a crime. After a year battling with my Argentine friends when I lived in the city, I released it was going to be an 'agree to disagree situation'. My meat red, your meat brown. But my meat better, obviously.

No comment, just perfection
When my steak arrived, I think my grin would have challenged the Cheshire cat at his own game. My 'bien jugoso' requests had been answered - in front of me sat what was one of the best steaks I had ever eaten. Rare, rich in flavor, with a wonderful, almost creamy texture, this steak was everything I could have wanted in a bife de chorizo and more. All this washed down with a bottle of Malbec and it cost me exactly half the price it would have at a fancier, more well-known parrilla

As well as trying out new neighborhood parrilla places, my revisit to BA was also a time to return to some old classics. I first discovered Parilla Peña on my year abroad when following the recommendation of the wonderful Buenos Aires food blog Pick Up the Fork. Written by American ex-pat Allie Lazar, this website is really the gospel on all that is foodie and fantastic in Buenos Aires. 

While there had been a few changes since my last visit (a menu with translations in English and some definite price increases), Parilla Peña remains a great option for trying out a real parrilla favored by locals, which serves good wine and excellent steak at reasonable prices. The service is cheerful and you even get free empanadas while you wait for your meaty mains. Clearly saving their customers for the meat feast that inevitably lies ahead, these empanadas were humita filled, which is a delicious creamy concoction of corn and spices. 

Hello humita parcel of yum
My Argentine companion attempted to order a milanesa - sort of like a schnitzel covered in tomato sauce, ham and cheese. My feelings on milanesas are similar to those I have about Argentina pizza - overwhelmingly hostile. After I explained my confusion at his choice of ordering a breaded, bashed fillet of beef smothered in sauce, cheese and bad ham at a place that served incredible steak, we ended up sharing a bife de lomo instead. Bossy, me? Certainly not. 

After ordering our steak bien jugoso, it came a devastatingly overcooked shade of brown. I'm no fussy eater, but for my last night in Buenos Aires I'd be damned if I ate a well-done piece of meat. In my most charming manner, I asked the waiter if it'd be a terrible bother to change the steak as this was, in all fairness, not how we had ordered it (translation: bring me my beef bloody like what I asked, and pronto, señor). He clearly took my point as the next piece that came out was practically still breathing. Too rare for some, but in my beefy books, absolutely bloody perfect.

Bife de lomo take 2
Despite the failed first attempt, Parilla Peña's bife de lomo was something very special. I love lomo as it is more tender than other cuts (it is tenderloin after all) and I think that despite it's richness it is easier to digest than other fattier cuts. I didn't even mind having to send the first cut back, as the wait was more than worth it. With some wonderful company, wine and a big bloody steak in front of me, I couldn't think of a better way to bid farewell to my beloved Buenos Aires.

Now back in London, I am just overwhelmed by the vast amount of new places there are to eat and drink in the city. Is there enough time in the day? I'll have to get eating ASAP!

The best sandwich in the world

Friday, August 7, 2015

Despite having lived a year in the city previously, being back in Buenos Aires I found myself wanting to do all the typical touristic things again. From the colorful houses of Caminito in La Boca to the graves of the rich and the famous in Recoleta, I felt inspired to take on the city as if it were new to me. And as any tourist in Buenos Aires should, I headed out on a Sunday to hit up San Telmo Market.

Charcuteries sandwiches in San Telmo's indoor market
San Telmo is an old iconic barrio near the city center. It is home to some beautiful old buildings and generally has a really great vibe. With a big indoor market and streets filled with stalls on Sundays, this is a great place to come and stroll the day away while checking out hundreds of identical jewelry and clothing stores in the belief you will find something you eventually want to buy.

While you ponder whether you need that tacky touristic t-shirt or modern tango CD, the thing to do in San Telmo is grab something to eat. As my Argentine companion opted for pizza (my love for Argentina doesn't extend to its pizza I'm afraid), I guarded my hunger for something far better. Revisiting San Telmo made me think of the ultime Argie street food, the genius pairing of chorizo sausage and french bread. Hello, choripan. 

Argentine men? Meh. An Argentine choripan? Now there's a love for life.
My love for this union of bread and chorzio began two years back. Despite the distance, choripan and I  have kept the bond strong. I'm also very partial to a morcipan (black sausage sandwich), but the classic snack has always been a choripan.

It's not the king of chori, but by god it smelled gooooood
But what's this? While I had plans to head to an iconic San Telmo chorpian spot (called 'The King of Chori' no less), my meaty, spidey senses tingled when I walked past this meat grilling joint as seen above. A very apt description for this small place would probably be 'hole in the wall'. No sign, no name, just the smell of sweet, sweet meat and many happy looking customers. What else could I want? I was ready to get my choripan here, until...

Bring on the bondipan
Hello, lover. This here is a step up in the sandwich world. Ditch the sausage for a slab of meat and you have another Argentine classic, bondipan. Bondiola de cerdo is pork shoulder and a popular cut of meat in any Argentine asado. Seeing the perfectly grilled, tender pork made my tummy rumble and my mouth water. Chorizo could wait, because I was ready to bite some bondiola. Serving me my bondipan, the asador actually had to opt for a different slice of bread as the first one he had picked out was too small. Oh yeah, my bondiola is too big for your bread.

Grilled pork shoulder, slathered in chimichurri and chili dressing
And here it is - the best sandwich in the world, rated by Eve Bidmead (therefore it's officially excellent). Crispy french bread, succulent, salty pork drizzled with lemon and topped with chimichurri (a great Argentine condiment made with parsley, oregano, and garlic) and a bit of chili sauce too. Eating this sandwich, I really began asking myself why I had stayed away so long. Buenos Aires, you are brilliant.

From Peru to Texas while in Buenos Aires

Monday, August 3, 2015

Buenos Aires is a city unlike any other. Despite being a Latin American capital, it has a distinctly European vibe due to its rich history of immigrants arriving at its ports. Not just a place attractive to Europeans, the city is also home to a huge mix of Latinos from all across the continent. Such a diverse mix of cultures means that Buenos Aires is a great place to eat. Hurray!  

*This menu hasn't changed since I last left - 25 pesos becomes 40. Argentine inflation, just stop!
The Buenos Aires barrio of Once is a brilliant place to come and sample cuisines from other Latin American countries, especially Peru. One of my old favorites in the area is the Peruvian eatery, La Rica Vicky. A popular lunch spot, the 'menu especial' as seen above includes a soup and 10 plates to choose from, ranging from chicken and rice to the famous lomo saltado (beef strips cooked in a Chinese style sauce with chips) or aji a la gallina (chicken in a creamy yellow sauce made with small yellow peppers).

Ari, we'll miss you!
Being back in Buenos Aires meant catching up with friends, like Ari. We had met in Colombia and when she shared my fried ear and tongue picada after a night out, I knew she was a girl after my own heart. Sadly after three years of living and working in BA she was off back to the states. Her departure meant that cocktails at lunchtime were perfectly acceptable - being at the Peruvian joint La Rica Vicky, the typical tipple of pisco sour (pisco served with lime juice and frothed egg white) was the natural choice . Cheers to Ari and the next chapter in her life (and for making daytime cocktail sipping acceptable!).

Despite offering such a cracking lunch menu, on this particular trip to La Rica Vicky my offal-loving eye was drawn elsewhere. 

The way to my heart? Serve me heart.
Anticuchos, how I love thee. Basically just a whole load of offal, these caught my eye as I was familiar with chunchuli (intestine), down with mollejitas (sweetbreads) but what an earth was rachi? Turns out it its beef heart marinated and cooked on a skewer, and would also be my lunch for the day. 

A great bit of anticucho in the afternoon
My heart was marinated to perfection. I don't know if it's due to the type of meat heart is (being an organ and all), but these skewers had a really great flavor, a mix of garlic, coriander, and cumin. Since researching a bit more about the role offal plays in Peruvian cuisine, I found a great recipe for these skewers here. To those of you daring enough to open your heart the eating a bit of heart, why not try it at home?

It's a well-known fact that in Buenos Aires you can get some of the best meat money can buy. But it tends to be cooked in the same way every time - on a grill, without any marinating or pre-curing. So I was very excited to discover that since I had last been in BA, a new Texan BBQ joint had opened to absolutely roaring success. 

Inside El Tejano (thanks to their Instagram for the photo) 
El Tejano is bringing Texan cuisine to Buenos Aires and the people are welcoming it with open arms. The owner Larry has been smoking and grilling his way around Buenos Aires for the past few years, throwing puerta cerrada style dinners -offering set menus in different locations week to week for a small amount of diners. However for the past two years, he has been fixed in a small Palermo spot, offering lunches and booked out dinners to the hungry, barbecue lusting masses.

A brisket bagel is truly a beautiful thing
I was lunching with my friend Lau and we happily let Larry do the ordering for us. Between two we ended up with an impressive three sample a bit of everything, you know. Above is the brisket bagel, served with an incredible creamy sauce and cooked peppers, accompanied by some really, realllly good fries. What makes the fries so great? Apparently it's the addition of chili salt and using oil which is constantly changed and kept fresh. Only the freshest fry for us ladies!

Ribs that are really worth getting messy for
Moving on, we also sampled the famous El Tejano ribs. How very cliche to describe the meat of a tasty rib as 'falling off the bone', but what the hell, this meat really did fall off the bone! Smoked, marinated and grilled, they were some of the best ribs I have ever tasted. 

I believe I can fly...getting high off El Tejano's smoked and fried wings
Just when we thought we couldn't squeeze in anymore, along came the wings. These for me were the highlight, as being in Buenos Aires for a few days already I'd had my fair share of meat. But chicken wings, smoked and then fried, smothered in BBQ sauce? Well there's a thing I hadn't eaten in my entire life! As Larry told us, he's the only person in BA smoking and frying his wings, and actually the only guy in Texas to do so too. So if you want to try these authentic Texan smoked wings (which you really, really do), get your arse to Argentina.

This is not the end of my BA eats. Barely the beginning! What would any Buenos Aires food blogging be without at least a couple of steak houses thrown in? And check back for the next post, in which I reveal the location of the world's best sandwich ever (expertly rated by yours truly).
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