Spicy Pork Bulgogi Sliders - Before we tend to the pork filling, let's knock out the toppings and condiments starting with the pickles. All we do here is thinly slice some English cucumbers and pour enough rice wine vinegar over them to cover. Refrigerate until ready to use.
The other topping is the sweet and spicy honey chile sauce, which is even easier than the pickles. In a small bowl combine equal parts Sambal Oelek chile paste and honey with a few splashes of sesame oil. Whisk well and set aside.
Now we can move on to the filling. We're using a pork tenderloin that we trimmed of its silver skin. Using a sharp knife, thinly slice the pork into slices.
Using a vegetable peeler, thinly shave two carrots into the meat mixture.
Now it's time for the marinade. In a blender combine 1 bosc pear cut into quarters, 1/2 yellow onion, 3 cloves of garlic, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 1 small piece of peeled ginger, 2 tablespoons soy sauce and 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. Puree in the blender.
Pour the puree over the pork and carrot, mix well then cover and refrigerate overnight.
Time to head to the grill. Get a medium/hot fire going and place an oil grill pan over it. Add in the pork and carrot.
Move the mixture around often so that the meat cooks evenly and thoroughly. Once the pork develops a slight char and is cooked through, transfer the pork and carrot to a bowl and keep warm.
For the bread, we are using the "take and bake" mini-french rolls. After those are cooked and steaming hot, slice them open and pile on the pork and carrots.
Next up comes the pickles and sweet and spicy sauce.
Place the top half the bun on top, then slice and serve. As good as the meat was in this sandwich, the sweet and spicy sauce stole the show. It's a condiment we would make to have around for a variety of foods, it was completely addicting.
New Belgium Saison Harvest Ale - Avid readers know the high regard we have for this super popular, but still independent microbrewery. They continue to produce stellar beer after stellar beer. This Saison Harvest Ale had us very intrigued by these two fall varieties, the farmhouse-y saison and the ubiquitously named harvest ale which has been become synonymous with hoppy yet malty autumn beers. Out of the bottle the beer looks much more like a saison; cloudy yellow with a minimal head. The aroma as well leans more to the saison, relying heavily on the Belgian yeast to provide the classic clove and banana notes. The flavors also follows suit at the beginning then the hops make appearance with a bitter bite evening things out nicely. Overall, the beer is a pretty solid saison. At first we were a little disappointed that it didn't combine enough of the hoppier autumn beer flavor that we love, but looking at it from a pairing standpoint, this beer turned out to be perfect. It was light and refreshing with just enough hops to stand up to the spicy sauce.
Grandfather "The Wolf" - This great little band out of Germany brings the goods on the heavy yet melodic "The Wolf" EP. Their sound combines the biker metal elements of Orange Goblin with the heavy progressive rock elements of Tool with excellent results. The opening title track is a barnburner of a number. It features a huge groove, cool raspy vocals and a pretty electrifying guitar solo. "Crisis" starts off with a chill, atmospheric riff and groove. The song ramps up a little, but never loses its relaxed feel. That same feel moves right into the accurately named "Instrumental" where the Tool reference shines the most, sounding like an slowed down instrumental version of "Schism". "Borders" dabbles in some heavy experimental jazzy prog-rock, think King Crimson meets A Perfect Circle. The album ends with "Superloader" which starts off with a combination of "Supernuat" drums and DLR-era Van Halen riff. The vocals are deep and raspy, not unlike Neil Fallon, ending the disc on a super high note. The track is meant to be played loud, preferably in a car going a good amount over the speed limit. The track also features a sick guitar solo that caps things off nicely. "The Wolf" is a great, if not too short, album that is one of our surprise top picks of the year.