Outsider Tart Blog

Everyone talks about New England in the Fall, and true, the leaves are beautiful. But on the other side of the country, the Pacific Coast Highway looks pretty spectacular too. So we decided to head to the Golden State as it's the colour of the season.

Our menu features classics born in California such as Chop Suey, America's attempt at Chow Mein, which was served up to the thousands of Chinese workers toiling to build the railroad. Along the lower hills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains is Placerville, a former hub of gold mining. Your typical rough and ready gold rush town, it's nickname was Hangtown - apparently garnered when three fugitive murders were hanged from an old oak tree in the town's only street. In this friendly place, a miner flush with cash from striking gold ordered the kitchen to make him 'whatever is most expensive'. The kitchen obliged with eggs, bacon and oysters - the Hangtown Fry - which is always a huge favourite here.

California is also home to a modern cooking pioneer, Alice Waters, who championed bringing fresh, local produce back into the kitchen. She started a local food movement that has spread all the way to West London with our Farmers' Markets and Whole Foods stores. On Friday 16th, we'll dedicate an entire menu to her, to complement our Californian Wine Tasting (click here for more on that), but if you can't make that, her divinely simple Olive Oil Eggs are here every Saturday night this month:


Alice Waters' Olive Oil Eggs

on sourdough bread, heirloom tomato salad 11.5

Berkeley Baked Goat Cheese

fresh seasonal greens 7.5

Brown Derby Cobb (on Hollywood and Vine)

bacon, avocado, chicken breast, tomato, hard-boiled egg,

chives and blue cheese 12.5

Chop Suey

Made to order like you're working the railroad (minus the dynamite)

so sit back and take a (well-earned) rest 11.5

Mexi-Cali Burrito

Two burritos with watermelon salsa, chicken, blackbeans

and avocado 14.5

Hangtown Fry

We shuck um oysters, bacon and eggs all fried up 14.5

So, it's officially fall (or autumn as you guys call it) the leaves are...well, you get it. And with all the bonfires it just seemed like the perfect smokey time to focus on all things BBQ.

This menu is a bit of a pit stop - a celebration of BBQ rubs and sauces from all over the Southern states of America.


Mississippi Barbeque Meat Balls 6.5

Three big meatballs with a sweet and spicy bbq sauce

Alabama BBQ Chicken 10.5

Poached chicken breast in our own spicy bourbon BBQ sauce

Western Kentucky BBQ 14.5

Slow-roasted mutton dressed as BBQ, first with vinegar mop then with Black Dip

Served with your choice of side

Here little Piggy, Piggy 20.5

pulled pork two ways, North Carolina sauce'd (vinegary) and NC pig "chili" (hot)

served with your choice of side

Memphis Dry Ribs 16.5

Dry roasted baby back ribs served with your choice of side and a Memphis BBQ sauce

Carolina "Cheaper by the Dozen" Spare Ribs 16.5

Roasted pork ribs with a spicy tomato vinegar BBQ sauce served with your choice of side


Potato Salad 4.5

potato, egg, onion, celery, greens, southern vinegar dressing

Carolina Slaw 4.5

Fresh cabbage, peppers and onions in a boiled vinegar sauce

Creamed corn 4.5

Corn in a sweet cream sauce

Beer Bread 4.5

Ale and rosemary bread

Texas BBQ Pinto Beans 4.5

Pinto beans simmered in a coffee-chipotle BBQ sauce

Desserts all freshly made on site STCDC

(subject to chef's daily cravings ) 


This August our Saturday night route 66 dinners will be visiting the Deep South.

Let's look at them one by one:


The Volunteer State

Q: What do Tennessee Volunteers do on Halloween?
A: Pump kin!

Q: Why are there so many unsolved murders in Tennessee?
A: There are no dental records and everyone has the same DNA

Q: Why do ducks fly over Tennessee upside down?
A: There's nothing worth craping on!

Q: Why couldn't the baby Jesus be born in Tennessee?
A: Because they couldn't find 3 wise men or a virgin.

Q: What's the most popular pick up line in Tennessee?
A: Nice tooth!

Q: Why do folks from Tennessee go to the movie theater in groups of 18 or more?
A: 17 and under are not admitted.


The Magnolia or Hospitality State

Some might call it the Dumb One as, consistently, it scores at the bottom in educational testing. It did produce one of us, though. The one that grew up thinking Greece was spelled Grease (it's an easy mistake, people – OD) Not that it can't be, just not when referring to the country (they teach us that up north). Maybe when you grow up in the midst of such brain activity you also stop noticing the 10-storey high crucifixes on the roadside. Who can say.


The Peach State

Georgia was the last of the original 13 colonies and one of the original 7 Confederate states (see I'm showing my retention of history class, don't ask me what I did last week, however). I had another whole paragraph filled with interesting facts about the Civil War but OD deleted all of it saying, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."


The Natural State

Not to be nasty, but we're not sure what to make of Arkansas. In fact, our favorite American cooking encyclopaedia can't figure it out either. They lump it with the Mid-Atlantic States yet it's nowhere near the coast. It's above Louisiana and next to Texas but also near the Great Plains and Midwest regions but, as recipes go, it doesn't seem to draw too much from those regions. There isn't a single recipe in the book, for that matter, it just simply shows up on the map.


Deep South

gin, ginger, orange, lime

Mississippi Punch

bourbon, cognac, lemon juice

Southern Mule

southern comfort, lime, bitters, ginger beer

Goin' to Graceland

whiskey, blackberry cordial, lime, lemonade

Appalachian Rush

bourbon, orange liqueur, cranberry, lime

Tennessee Iced Tea

whiskey, rum, vodka, Cointreau, lemon, cola




Fried Green Tomatoes

Delilah's Sausauge Ring


Chicken and Cornbread Casserole

Bourbon Steaks with Baked Grits

Pulled Pork with Creamed Corn

Fried Catfish



Baked Beans

Creamed Corn


And we'll be sure to whip up something sweet to end the night.


The Carolinas

Posted in News




Number 12

The Tar Heel State


Number 8

The Palmetto State

One of the original thirteen English Colonies, North and South Carolina were once referred to as solely the Province of Carolina until their formal separation in 1729.  King Charles II granted a charter to start a new colony establishing the North Carolina borders in 1663.  He named it Carolina in honor of his father, Charles I.  In 1710, political disagreements started the divide that would eventually give us North and South Carolina.  North Carolina itself was split between the east which supported the British Crown and the west which supported American Independence.  Lord Charles Cornwallis’ defeat at the Battle of Yorktown guaranteed American Independence and North Carolina became the twelfth state to ratify the new American Constitution in 1789.  Apropos of nothing really, except a perfect tidbit for blog chatter...Virginia Dare was the first English child to be born on US soil in 1587 and Dare County was named for her and home to Kitty Hawk, the sight of the first sustained, powered flight conducted by The Brothers Wright, Orville and Wilbur in 1903.

When translated from Latin, Carolina means Charles Land.  South Carolina prospered from fertile lowcountry farmland and its proximity to harbors (Charles Town later to become Charleston was one of them) which North Carolina lacked.  Southerners allowed religious tolerance and encouraged immigration (yes, it can happen) from the Huguenot and Sephardic communities of London.  Settlement spread, business thrived and rice cultivation grew on a large scale thanks to the talents of African slaves.  Oopsy.  That whole slavery thing is a bit of a pock mark on South Carolina’s history, so much so that they voted to secede the nascent Union to still allow it.  Ultimately they had their wrists slapped and they were returned back into the fold.

Lowcountry cooking owes its diversity to geography, economics and demographics.  Seafood from the coast, rice from the marshland, a concentration of wealth dating back to early settlement plus a vibrant Caribbean and African contribution since slavery have combined to create a cuisine similar to that of New Orleans.  To this Yankee palate, it’s a bit more restrained and genteel.  Perhaps that’s owed to the aristocratic DNA of South Carolina.  Unlike New Orleans, they temper the heat in the atmosphere by taking it out of your mouth for some relief.  Like New Orleans, they’ll wash it all down with something a little sweeter, a little tropical.    

As for food and drink, the Yankee sensibility believes North Carolina is a bit of an introduction into Low Country grub more firmly rooted in South Carolina.  There are influences from Appalachia, never really a hot bed of anything other than incest and moonshine.  And maybe squirrel and possum stew.  While we can offer up one of the previously mentioned four, we assure you it ain’t nothin to do with family nor vermin. 

To nip...

Appalachian Hooch

Cheerwine – The original soda was created in Salisbury, but this is a grown-up version

Blue Ridge

Low Country Lemonade

Tar Heel

Do the Charleston

Plantation Punch

Raspberry Beer (yup, you read that right)

To nibble...

Mushroom Business

Carolina Middlins w/ Tomato Relish – think grits but rice not corn

Cold Curry Squash Soup

North Carolina Pig 2-ways

Ham Chutney Melt

“Cheaper by the Dozen” Spare Ribs East Wake Burger

Fried Catfish

Mash w/ Pimento Cheese

Fennel Citrus Salad

Red Rice

To knock off...

Strawberry Short Cake with Sweet Potato Biscuit

© Outsider Tart Bakery, Chiswick, London 2010-12