Craving delicious Fish and Chips? Head to your local Irish Pub!

Fish & Chips

If you were to ask anybody in the US to name a traditional dish that they would expect to see in an Irish pub, most would say Fish & Chips. It’s the staple classic we have come to expect and if it were not on the menu many would immediately doubt the authenticity of the establishment. So, it’s not too surprising that out of all the dishes found at The Field Irish Pub & Eatery, Fish and Chips sells considerably more than any other dish on the menu. So where did Fish and Chips come from and how did it become so synonymous with Irish pub fare? After all, isn’t it traditionally an English dish?

Fish and Chips originated in England in the mid 1800s with the arrival of ‘pommes frites’ from France (chips in England or french fries in the US) and rapid development of trawl fishing in the North Sea. This made it an affordable meal for the working class. The first Fish and Chip shop is said to have opened in Lancaster, England in 1863, they quickly began popping up all over England and Scotland reaching an astonishing 35,000 by the 1930′s. These shops helped feed the masses during the First World War and were one of the few foods not rationed in Scotland.

Though the number of fish and chip shops in the UK has leveled out to around 10,500 more than 227 million portions of Fish and Chips are sold annually and the market is now worth in excess of £1.2 billion (almost $2 billion). Now more commonly referred to as ‘The Chippy’ or ‘The Chipper’, one in six UK adults will frequent one of these establishment once or twice a week. The fish of choice by far in the UK is cod, counting for 60% of consumption with haddock coming in second at 25%. Cod are infamously lazy and swim as little as possible. This makes them white and tasty. Since, we believe in doing it the traditional way, The Field Irish Pub uses twin cod loins in our Fish and Chips.

It was however an Italian immigrant Guiseppe Cervi who brought Fish and Chips to Ireland in the 1880s. He was on a boat bound for the US which had a stopover in Cobh, County Cork. Thinking he had arrived at his destination, he and his wife disembarked and were left behind. He walked the long rocky road to Dublin and worked as a laborer to earn the money to buy a coal-fired cooker and handcart to go into the business of selling roasted chestnuts. The story goes that one day he mistakenly roasted a potato instead of a chestnut but the Irish loved it and he quickly realized that the potato business might work out a lot better than the chestnut business. He began selling them outside pubs from his handcart before finding a permanent spot on what is now known as Pearse Street. There, he opened Ireland’s first Fish and Chip shop and we’ve been hooked ever since.

Leo BurdocksHow did this beer battered goodness become an Irish pub tradition? Oddly, within Ireland it didn’t. We still enjoy our fish and chips from small shops and mobile fish and chip vans like the one that inspired Roddy Doyle’s famous movie ‘The Van’. It is much more of a takeout than a sit down affair. In fact if you don’t take them home with you, you are more likely to consume your fish and chips sitting on a park bench or on the walk home from the pub. In most other countries, like the US, while there are no shortages of Irish pubs there is a distinct lack of fish and chip shops. This makes the Irish pub is the perfect venue for your next fried fix. Just don’t forget the malt vinegar!

Authentic Fish and Chips Recipe

The Field’s Famous Beer batter:

  • 1.5 lbs flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp old bay seasoning
  • 1 eggs
  • 1 pint (16 oz) of beer
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

For the most authentic fish and chips, it’s best to prepare your chips the day before you make them. This is a secret of the best ‘chippers’ in Ireland and the UK. This is done so the chips can soak in water overnight removing a lot of the starch so when cooked, they don’t get too crispy. In fact, you really want your chips to be soft on the outside. Although this is not the actual process we use at The Field (we’re cooking for Americans), I would recommend trying this for the most authentic results.

Chip preparation:

Peel some big potatoes (Idaho’s work great) and cut into uniform steak fries. Soak in a large container of water overnight in the fridge to remove excessive starch. Heat your oil (vegetable oil or similar) to low heat (200F). Dry your chips leaving no water on them and blanch them for about 10 minutes. Remove them from the oil and let them cool for about 10 minutes. This is the key to making them soft, like real chip shop ships. Return them to the oil for about 15 more minutes or until done. Sprinkle liberally with malt (or white) vinegar and some sea salt, serve and enjoy.

Fish preparation:

Dredge your white fish of choice (cod or haddock work best or try halibut for the five-star version). Dip into beer batter and slowly and carefully lower into your oil. The low temperature oil for the chips will work fine, although you could even turn it up to 300-350F for faster cooking. (Note: If the oil is too hot, your batter will brown and crisp before the fish is done). Cook fish until golden brown and serve immediately so it’s crisp. Add this to your chips and your dreamy, fried fantasy is complete!

Saint Patrick
in the 21st Century

Saint Patrick in the new century

With Saint Patrick’s Day just days away, South Florida gets ready to do it all over again—

the green clothes, the music, the dancing, the Guinness, the Jameson, the craic. You know, a real celebration, Irish style. St Patrick’s Day started in Boston in 1737 so we Americans, Irish Americans, diaspora and expats know how to throw this party. We invented it. It’s our tradition. It’s 2013 and lots has changed but some things never go out of style.

We’ve been singing the same old songs since The Irish Rover was written. Few things evoke a sense of heritage and Irish pride like a few pints at the pub while singing The Fields of Athenry. As this new century moves into it’s second decade, this Celtic holiday and celebration of everything Irish embraces a new generation of music. The soundtrack of what it is to be Irish evolves with Floggin Molly calling their fellow Irish-Americans to have pride in their Irish heritage—aggressively. The rebel songs that filled the Irish pubs in the last century would most certainly lose in a fight against The Dropkick Murphy’s with their punk rock blaring bagpipe fusion. But hey, at least it’s Irish—apart from the bagpipes, they’re Scottish. But at least it celebrates our shared immigrant heritage. Besides Guinness, the rock band U2 are Ireland’s biggest export and what more could you ask from these international ambassadors of love and peace? So who cares then if something is as Irish as Patty O’Furniture once it unites us as countrymen and women?

One citizen of The City of Hollywood did. Last week he wrote to the organizers of the Hollywood St Patrick’s Day & Festival, the mayor of Hollywood and The Hibernians of South Florida;

“U2 may seem appropriate to the uninformed for an Irish event and indeed provide rousing entertainment (perhaps more appropriately at an evening affair) for the young adults and plastic paddys in the beer lines, it is NOT an experience which promulgates Irish culture, which is the basis for this American Holiday” argued Mr Peter Taylor. He was asking them to reconsider their decision to have U2 cover band UV perform following the parade rather than something a little more, well, traditional. And what a response he got.
The Grand Marshall of the parade and other key organizers all listened with open ears. Maybe we shouldn’t throw out centuries of tradition with the arrival of a new one.

Letters from Mr Taylor

Letters from Mr Taylor

 

LETTER TO THE MAYOR OF HOLLYWOOD
the Honorable Peter Bober;
Mayor Of City Of Hollywood, Florida
2/25/2013
Mr Mayor;
As a life long resident of our fine city, my children (and now my children's 
children), and I have always enjoyed the Hollywood Paddy's Day Parade and took a 
certain pride that our heritage could be shared with whimsical delight to people 
of all ethnicities. Moreover, the root of the tradition in the urban fire and 
police institutions allows us to extend tribute to our civic institutions and 
showcase our churches and cultural legacy. Indeed Step dancing in Young Circle 
and my own youthful participation in a city sponsored production of "Fenian's 
Rainbow" at the Band Shell are amongst my fondest childhood memories.
However, I am deeply distressed that the scheduling of 2013 events have excluded 
the performance of a local band, Celtic Bridge, to accommodate UV, an U2 cover 
band.
While heavy metal covers of U2 may seem appropriate to the uninformed for an 
Irish event and indeed provide rousing entertainment (perhaps more appropriately 
at an evening affair) for the young adults and plastic paddys in the beer lines, 
it is NOT an experience which promulgates Irish culture, which is the basis for 
this American Holiday. 

To be clear, this is not an objection to the performance by UV, they put on a 
fine show. It is simply as incomprehensible as it would be were Bruce 
Springsteen to displace a local cantor at High Holy Day Services. Sure, it would 
be more eclectic and have broader appeal and increase the draw, but it would 
undermine the fundamental reason for the event.
Celtic Bridge is an uniquely authentic treasure trove of traditional celtic 
music, as well as the Irish and Irish American ballad traditions from which the 
Paddy's Day celebrations emerged (and eventually found ther way back to the Auld 
Sod to accompany the religious origin of the holiday). The talents of these 
world acclaimed musicians (three of whom are Hollywood residents) are the 
epitome of Irish performance art and should be central to events such as this.

We should afford our children exposure to the real deal. Certainly there are 
year round opportunities at a multitude of venues for a heavy metal experience 
for an appropriate audience, while the "Trad Music" is generally relegated to 
the Pub Scene, from which our children are generally excluded.
While I realize there are practical limitations on event scheduling, crowd 
retention issues and technical requirements for equipment and myriad other 
mundane factors involved, I would ask that you prevail upon the bureaucracy 
which makes such decisions to be more sensitive to the real essence of the 
celebration, rather than the ther own predispositions, and honor the intent of 
the tradition.
I thank you for your consideration, most sincerely,
Peter M. Taylor

The Field Irish Pub & Eatery read this letter as it pertained to one of it’s most popular acts, Celtic Bridge who had performed live at the festival in Hollywood many times before.
The Field's float courtesy of Mr Tom Jacob and lots of friendsCeltic Bridge perform in the St Patrick's Day Parade in HollywoodPhone calls were made and with the help of a fantastic Irish-American couple from Davie and Prestige Property ManagementCeltic Bridge performed 
on a float, in the parade! Mickey Byrnes and The Field hosted them afterwards while UV’s cover of “Where the streets have no name”  reverberated down Hollywood Boulevard. As the sun set in Bono’s glasses, everyone was happy.Bono in UV

And when the sun rises on St Patrick’s Day I know we’ll all be happy. At The Field we’ll surely have lots of the old with a healthy dose of the new. So when you wake that morning, ask yourself a question—
What does St Patrick’s Day mean to you?

Check out our pics of the Fort Lauderdale Irish Festival and Downtown Hollywood St Patrick’s Parade.

Join us at The Field this St Patrick’s weekend
2 DAY FESTIVAL — SAT 16 & SUN 17 MARCH, 2013

To Arthur! Raise a Pint of Guinness this Arthur’s Day

Arthur's Day 2011
Guinness’s third annual Arthur’s Day toast is coming up and The Field Irish Pub is getting ready to raise a glass. But you might ask, “who is Arthur?” And, “why does he have his own day?”

Seventeen years prior to the US Declaration of Independence, Arthur Guinness signed a lease on St James’s Gate Brewery in the center of Dublin City, Ireland for £45 per year (roughly $73). He was certainly a great man with a vision and must have been confident that he was on to a winner as the term of that lease was a staggering 9000 years!

In that time St James’s Gate became the largest brewery in Ireland and also the world. Although now surpassed as the largest brewery in the world, Guinness continues to be the world’s largest selling stout. The history of Guinness is a long and impressive story, one which if you ever get the opportunity is best told by visiting the Guinness Storehouse which is a permanent exhibition in the old Guinness warehouse, where the grain was stored for the nearby brewery.

Baring all of this in mind I can’t say I was shocked when founder Arthur Guinness was finally given a day of his own celebrating his greatest achievement. I think it’s safe to say if he were here today he would be very proud indeed.

Arthur’s Day was first organized in 2009 to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Guinness. Music events were organized all over the world in the cities of Dublin, Kuala Lumpur, Lagos and New York on 24 September 2009. “An Post” – The Irish Post Office even released a commemorative stamp to honor the milestone anniversary. So a new tradition began and the third annual Arthur’s Day will be celebrated this year on Thursday, September 22, 2011. Arthur’s Day kicks off in Ireland with a toast to the man himself at 17:59 GMT in honor of the company’s founding in 1759. At this time all Guinness drinkers around the world are expected to raise a glass together in memory of Arthur.

Nostalgia however is not the only driving force of day, it has to be said that this is quite possibly one of the best marketing concepts ever devised and only entering it’s third anniversary the event is quickly becoming a national institution. The head of Guinness marketing, Tanya Clarke credits her entire team but above all the consumer for whole-heartedly embracing the idea and with sales soaring 25% in the UK alone on that day in 2009 to a whopping 1 million pints, it’s no wonder Tanya and her team are happy!

Again this year there are a series of intimate gigs by international and Irish music stars in select venues and pubs across Ireland. Though we can not be there to join in the festivities, we do pour a great pint and we will be raising a glass of the black stuff at The Field Irish Pub & Eatery at the slightly later time of 17:59 local time as I’m sure swilling pints of Guinness at lunchtime would not please your boss!

RSVP on Facebook

The Full Irish Breakfast

If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, The Full Irish Breakfast certainly doesn’t take any chances. It’s the kind of breakfast that’ll have you skipping lunch and sailing happily through to dinner. The components vary depending on region and personal taste but it invariably involves Irish pork sausage, Irish bacon, black pudding, white pudding, fried eggs and toast. Common additions are grilled tomato, mushrooms, baked beans and not to forget the national accompaniment to most Irish breakfasts, lunches and every moment in between; the cup of tea. That’s black tea, served hot with milk and sugar if desired. No lemons, honey nor ice here Americans. Just think of it like coffee for anytime of the day. If this ain’t your “cup of tea”, just grab a glass of orange juice instead or since we’re being gluttonous, why not both?

So, now would probably be a good time to demystify this belly-busting meal of champions and what better component to start with than the mysterious pudding. Available in two varieties, black and white, this is basically a pork sausage with some bread and oatmeal fillers. The black pudding derives it’s color from the pigs blood whereas the white has no added blood. If this pigs blood in a tube makes you feel a little queasy, just think of it as the dry-aged succulent sirloin of the meal. No full Irish could ever be classified as such without it. So just close your eyes, open your mouth and imagine your at Ruth Chris.
If you happen to be visiting Ireland, seek out the incredible Clonakilty black pudding from Clonakilty, County Cork in Ireland’s south west. This, my friends, is arguably the Rolls Royce of black puddings.

The Irish call American bacon – made from pork belly – “streaky” bacon. Irish bacon is made from pork loin and is less fatty. It’s also more tasty than Canadian bacon. Just think of it as if American bacon and Canadian bacon had a love child. And maybe that’s why they never told you about her. Add to this the deliciously mild, tender and perfectly seasoned Irish sausage. If you’ve never had this before, remove it’s American, Italian, Polish and other international cousins from your mind. ”They’re not a particularly complex sausage, but they do have universal appeal,” says Irish food maven Darina Allen of County Cork’s Ballymaloe Cookery School. “And you can have them for breakfast or for dinner. They’re juicy and succulent and delicious.”

So if two shots of Irish whiskey in your coffee for breakfast was your idea of an Irish breakfast, just take a look at Shane McGowan of The Pogues and think again. Pace yourself and start the day the Irish way and by lunch you’ll be sinking Guinness like Arthur himself.

 The Field Irish Pub & Eatery in Fort Lauderdale, South Florida serves (a slightly later) Irish Breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays from 11am-2pm every week.

2 of Us Beatles Tuesdays

Any night of the week, you can take a date here. An actual big banyan tree out front is so downright magical that you’d think some sort of Irish elves make the delicious homemade cinnamon ice cream inside of it. Indoors, there’s dim lighting and dark wood everywhere you look. It’s homey and romantic. It’s loud but not too loud; music plays five nights a week. You can talk, but you don’t need to constantly talk (no one likes filler). At the Field Irish Pub & Eatery (3281 Griffin Road, Dania Beach), you have options.

If it’s your first date, you probably know nothing about this person (this is the internet age; we can all be creeps). Does she like the Beatles? We won’t go as far as to say that you can never trust a person who doesn’t like the Beatles, but we will say you can trust a person — at least for one night — who does like the Beatles. You can trust anybody if that one night is in a bar. In a crowded Irish bar. A place where it’d be natural for you to drink, to get that liquid courage to converse with an unfamiliar human. You can do anything to the backdrop of feel-good Beatles tunes! Ah, sounds relaxing already. But this is better than a jukebox filled with nothing but Beatles songs! Every Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., a Lennon/McCartney Beatles tribute band called 2 of Us plays. They’re charismatic. They smile. During Christmas, they wear Santa hats. So what happens when the duo, George VanDyk and Bryan Hinton, throw in a sad melody like “Eleanor Rigby”? Make out?

Published in NewTimes Broward-Palm Beach, June 2011

 

For The Love of (craft) Beer

Most of us pub-going Americans have quite a cynical view of our fellow countrymen’s taste in brews. Just walk into most corner stores and you’ll see why; refrigerators packed full of Budweiser, Miller, Coors and the like. Not to mention their lighter sister brands with claims of better “drinkability”, great taste, less filling, low calorie, triple hop nonsense. As their market share is in a steady decline and under increasing threat from smaller production, higher flavor craft brews, these claims have become even more nonsensical. MillerCoors Brewing who make, yes you guessed it, Miller and Coors, lead the pack in the gimmick marketing department, only last year adding the Vortex bottle to their Miller Lite brand. This added a spiral of grooves to the neck of the Miller Lite bottle which “creates a vortex as you’re pouring the beer” said a MillerCoors spokesperson before the feature was added last year. He added that the brand’s goal is to “create buzz and excitement and give consumers another reason to choose Miller.” No explanation of how the “vortex” created by the grooves improves the beer in any way.
Another of MillerCoors recent gimmicks was the addition of the cold-activated, color-changing mountains on the Coors Light bottle. Thanks to the wonders of thermochromatic ink, even a pre-schooler can judge when a beer is “Rocky Mountain cold”. Ohh please! If you need color-changing mountains on your beer to tell when it’s cold, you’ve already had waaay too many beers!

So what would inspire such insanity from our nations biggest brewers? Well, a 1.7% sales drop can do strange things to your marketing department. Apparently pouring millions into packaging, marketing gimmicks and advertising is the only way the big guys can be differentiated in a same-tasting, low-quality market.
But beer lovers, do not despair. The homogenization of the domestic beer market has one refreshing side effect; the speedy growth of the American craft beer movement is afoot. The total number of breweries on national soil reached new peaks since the beginning of the twentieth century. In the early 1900’s there were approximately 1,500 breweries, most of which virtually disappeared around the 1920′s due to the start of prohibition. This figure almost immediately recovered to half that after the legalization of alcohol in 1933 but was in steady-decline until the 1980′s.
Small and independent craft brewers saw volume increase 11 percent and retail sales dollars increase 12 percent over 2009, representing a growth of over 1 million barrels (31 gallons per U.S. barrel), equal to more than 14 million new craft cases.
“Beer lovers increased their appreciation for American craft brewers and their beers in 2010,” said Paul Gatza, director, Brewers Association. “Craft brewers’ stories resonate with Americans who are choosing small, independent companies making delicious beers in more than 100 different styles.” The Association also reported a growth in the number of U.S. breweries, with eight percent more breweries than the previous year. In 2010, there were 1,759 operating breweries. Craft brewers produced 9,951,956 barrels, up from an adjusted 8,934,446 barrels in 2009.
“Prohibition caused a dramatic decline in the number of breweries in the United States, but the number of breweries is now at an all-time high,” added Gatza. “With well over 100 new brewery openings in 2010, plus 618 breweries in planning stages, all signs point to continued growth for the industry.”
That’s great news for us beer-lovers and surely means that 2011 will see this improvement continue.

But don’t think that the land of the free is on it’s own. The Republic of Ireland is home to not too many brave souls either with the lion’s share of beer consumption coming from the mass-produced vats of St James’ Gate and the like. That’s right, the brewers of Guinness, Ireland’s beloved crown jewel of beer, is a mass-produced, heavily-marketed domestic swill in The Emerald Isle. Worse still, Budweiser and Coors Light are rather glamorous imports. Guinness still accounts for more than a quarter of all beer sold in Ireland. Sure, it’s a long way from the dimly-lit corners of the Anheiser Busch brewery, but nevertheless, despite what the Guinness truck emblazons on it’s slick graphics about “The appreciation of craft”, when you produce in excess of 13 millions pints for St Patrick’s Day alone, craft goes right out the window. The huge multinational Diageo acquired the Guinness brand in 1997 and it produces the black stuff everywhere from Nigeria to South Africa and Jamaica to Canada. Do not fear though, US Guinness still somehow is manufactured in Ireland!

Ireland too is undergoing it’s own beer renaissance of late with a current resurgence in microbreweries and craft beer production. Tom Dalton of Dungarvan Brewing in County Waterford sees a big change. “The consumer is beginning to realise that there can be more to beer. They understand what we are trying to do with bottle-conditioned beers and are very willing to give them a try. We don’t see it as something new, but bringing back a tradition.’’
Kay O’Hara of the Carlow Brewing Company agrees. “The difference between us and the big brands is we do beers with flavour; people are much more educated and are now looking for something with flavour. The consumer is now much more thoughtful about what they consume, both in food and drink. This is great for us, and people like us.”
All this renewed interest in craft brews has sparked it’s own economic debate, with the Irish government even introducing tax cuts for small breweries to allow them to compete in a market dominated by big fish like Diageo. This was largely due to pressure from Irelands best known brewpub, The Porterhouse. The were established in 1989 and opened their first pub in Dublin’s cultural center, Temple Bar in 1996. Think Guinness is great? You must check out a pint of their Plain Porter next time you’re in the auld sod. It has won many awards leaving Arthur’s brew in the distance more than once in national contests.

So, if variety is the spice of life, I reckon we all need to drink more, different, beer.

 

 

EXTERNAL LINKS:
http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/magazine/2011/0326/1224292819797.html

http://brewpublic.com/

http://www.craftbeer.com/

http://www.beer-chronicles.com/news/53/craft-beer-trends-in-us-uk-and-germany/

 

Please tell us what you think about this story and what your favorite beers are. We’d love to add some to our lineup at The Field!

[EDIT 10-24-12] Big Breweries Go Dark to Attract The Craft Brew Set http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2012/10/23/big-breweries-go-dark-to-attract-craft-beer-set

St Patrick’s Day Festival 2011

As the dust settles in Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood from their annual St Patrick’s festivals, The Field Irish Pub & Eatery is gearing up for our very own St Patrick’s Day Festival. And this one’s on Thursday 17th!
If you’re thinking “but that’s a workday”, you either aren’t Irish or you’ve forgotten to put in your vacation request. Neither of these would be excuse enough to miss the festivities over on Griffin Road this year with the gates opening at 11am and the party going on until Friday.

South Florida’s finest Irish band, our very own Celtic Bridge, open up proceedings on the pub stage at noon. Featuring Ade Peever, Eamonn Dillon, Roisin Dillon, Hollywood Mike and John Schreiber, this five-piece Irish band should consider calling The Guinness Book of Records just in case they beat the record for “Most renditions of The Wild Rover in a day”.

We are honored to have Richard Wood (fiddler) with Gordon Belcher (singer/guitarist) all the way from Canada for the second year running. They open up The Tent Stage just after 1pm. This duo really are dynamite with Gordon Belcher doing the best  rendition of The Dubliners “Rocky Road to Dublin” (not involving Luke Kelly) we’ve heard.
Our good friends Ty, Jack and Martyn of Celtic Mayhem follow, playing through what’s set to be a lovely Dania sunset and will surely sing songs of whiskey, beer and lost love. If you missed them at Florida’s Renaissance Festival this year, I’m sure they’ll do a killer cover of “The Devil Went Down to Georgia” that would even bring a tear to Charlie Daniels’ left eye.

We also have a facepainter for the kids (or the kids at heart) arriving at 2:30pm. Four bars will be pouring genuine Irish libations inside and out. Our menu will be much smaller this day but will feature all the Irish favorites with more corned beef on hand than you can imagine.
Our Irish Leprechaun will be doing the rounds (just look out for the short guy wearing green) and makes for a great photo for your 2011 Facebook profile.
Amidst all this madness, The Karl Drake Irish Dancers will be showing us how to dance a jig and the Celtic Dreams Bagpipers will be adding some extra noise, Scottish style.

If you’re in it for the long haul, we’ll have DJ Jason Dunne spinning on the green wheels of steel on The Tent Stage from 8:30pm. He’ll have you wondering how he can mix Dropkick Murphy’s with The Violent Femmes (in the dark).

The Field Irish Pub & Eatery, 3281 Griffin Road, Dania, FL 33312. Gates 11am. Cover charge $10. Children 12 years and under free. Free adjacent parking. Entrants are subject to age-verification.