Last week I scored an invite to what is basically my perfect foodie event – BBQ and beer at Bodean’s!

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Photo provided by Bodean’s

To celebrate the recent opening of the Covent Garden branch, Bodean’s put on a special food and beer pairing for us in collaboration with some of their favourite breweries.

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Now I tend to avoid pairings usually as they’re usually wine – and while I like a nice glass of red now and then, too much of the stuff will have me under the table. But, beer on the other hand… beer I can drink!

The Pairings

Course 1 – Kona Brewery from Hawaii ‘Big Wave Golden Ale’ with Mexican Chicken Salad

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When I think Bodeans I don’t think salad. Well, I might in future because the Mexican Chopped Salad with Grilled Chicken was pretty special.

With avocado, tomatoes, black beans, radish and wild rice, dressed in honey, lime and coriander, this was basically a naked burrito. And I love burritos. In all their forms.

I’ve recently started thinking I need to do something about my weight, but I love food so much! This salad however has made me realise that there are healthy options even in the most unexpected of places. And without the chicken this is a fantastic Vegan option – I didn’t expect anything Vegan friendly at Bodean’s!

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Big Wave Golden Ale was the perfect accompaniment. Smooth and easy to drink, with mango and lychee aromas, I could drink this one all day.

Course 2 – Boulevard Brewing Co. from Kansas City ‘Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale’ with Pulled Pork and house coleslaw

Ah, the pulled pork – one of Bodean’s stand out dishes. What can I say about it? What do I actually need to say about it? It was delicious. But you knew that already.

I will give the house coleslaw a mention though, as it’s unusual for me to actually like coleslaw. I really dislike mayo, and coleslaw is usually basically just that. Not this coleslaw though. This was cabbage heavy and light. A perfect contrast to the pork.

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Boulevard Brewing Co actually had a representative at the event who gave us a little insight to the drinks of theirs we were sampling (as well as Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale, an IPA was served with course 4).

Tank 7 was my favourite of the beers we tried. Typical given it had a whopping 8.5% alcohol content – trust me to like the one that will get me wasted! Named after the rather difficult fermenter number 7 it was brewed in, Tank 7 is a complex, fruity Belgian style ale with a dry finish. I’ll be honest, this is one I’d prefer for standalone drinking to pairing with BBQ though.

Course 3 – Sierra Nevada from Chico, California ‘Tropical IPA’ with Cajun Swordfish with mango salsa and pan fried okra

Now this dish was the most interesting for me. I’m a bit of a novice when it comes to fish – I’m always a little hesitant to try it. And not only was this my first time trying swordfish but also okra! I’d heard bad things about okra but it was actually pretty nice. It tasted, erm, a bit furry? But not in a bad way. I know how weird that sounds.

Anyway, the swordfish. It was really nice! Texturally a bit meaty, but I’m sure I don’t need to tell you what generally eating swordfish is like. I’m not sure it was particularly ‘cajun’? But it was good so I didn’t really care.

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Funnily, the foods I hadn’t tried before were served with the one beer I had – Sierra Nevada’s Tropical IPA. So I already knew I liked it. Tropical IPA is their special seasonal beer for Spring 2016 – created as part of their Beer Camp in which beer fans visit the brewery to make their own creations. Each season one is picked to go into production. I’m not surprised this light, refreshing IPA with hints of mango, papaya and bitter orange made the cut, it’s lovely.

Course 4 – Boulevard Brewing Co ‘Single-Wide IPA’ with Baby Back Ribs with seasoned fries

Apparantly Bodean’s do the ‘best ribs this side of the Atlantic’ (no idea who actually said that but it’s quoted on their site!). I won’t argue to be honest because if I have had better baby back ribs in London then I don’t remember them. Not too messy but just messy enough, the meat just falls off the bone. Meaty, barbecuey perfection.

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They were served alongside another Boulevard Brewing Co beer – this time the Single-Wide IPA. I do enjoy a good IPA and this was a nice one. Medium body, medium bitterness with a floral aroma and slight caramel flavour. Another that I could just drink and drink.

Course 5 – Fullers Brewery from London ‘Black Cab Stout’ with Homemade Chocolate Brownie and vanilla ice cream

Does anyone ever make it to dessert at Bodean’s? I was stuffed by this point but who could resist a mini portion of homemade chocolate brownie? Decadent and delicious.

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And it went perfectly with the Black Cab Stout. I was a little unsure of this one – I’m not usually a stout drinker – but it was good! With hints of red berry and caramel, the chocolate malts in the stout made this perfect to go with dessert. Not sure I could drink it all the time though!

The Restaurant

Now, if you’re not familiar with Bodean’s, I’m pretty certain you’ve either not been to London or just don’t like BBQ food.

But just in case – Bodean’s is London’s original smokehouse, with six branches across the city – Soho, Fulham, Tower Hill, Balham, Covent Garden and the newly opened Old Street.

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Photo provided by Bodean’s

Located in the heart of London’s theatreland, the Covent Garden branch is a pretty recent addition, having only been open a couple of months. I’d never been to this Bodean’s before but now it’s one of my favourites!

I love the detail that has gone into the décor – there are little pigs all over the place!

From the bar…

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to this giant artwork made up of lots of teeny piggys…

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to the flashy BBQ sign. Cute.

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I had such a lovely evening with Bodeans and some other bloggers – including a couple of my favourites; Kariss from Shy Strange Manic and Milly from Mini Adventures.

Thanks for having me Bodean’s!

L xx

All photo’s my own unless specified otherwise.

Bodean's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Welcome to part two of my holiday food diary!

Day Four – San Diego

Okay, so this isn’t technically food or even at all interesting but it’s my favourite drink and hard to come by in England, so I had to give the massive bottle of grape soda I drank on the drive from San Bernardino to San Diego a mention. I must have drunk about 8 litres of this in a week!

Look at my pale legs…

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Anyway, we skipped breakfast, as the plan was to hit a restaurant featured on Man Vs FoodPhil’s BBQ for lunch. Obviously, Phil’s is deserving of its own post, so watch this space!

But you can have a little sneaky peek of my main course…

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Unsurprisedly, we didn’t really need dinner, but since I’m always hungry I picked up a teriyaki chicken bowl and huge slice of red velvet cake from Ralphs supermarket (while hunting for somewhere I could buy Ole Smoky Moonshine that I drank at Knotfest) to eat on our patio.

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The chicken was kind of dry (it doesn’t even look great in the picture…) but the cake was amazing. Oh and that Mike’s Hard Black Cherry Lemonade pictured? Not bad. Which is lucky since we had a whole box of them.

Day Five – San Diego

Skipped breakfast, again. Which is crazy, because I’m obsessed with American breakfast restaurants! Anyway, I met up with one of my favourite Americans, Ivette, at the Fashion Valley Mall where she works, for lunch at The Cheesecake Factory. I love, love, love The Cheesecake Factory.

I’m one of those annoying people who finds something they like at a restaurant and orders nothing else. But this time I thought I’d try something new. I started with the Pretzel Crusty Chicken.

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Theis was pretty much perfect, the pretzel coating was crisp and the chicken breast inside was moist – and both dipping sauces (honey mustard and ranch) went really well with the hint of pretzel flavour. These may have over taken my usual Crispy Fried Cheese as starter of choice…

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And instead of my usual Teriyaki Chicken I went for Orange Chicken. I first had orange chicken at Chin Chin Cafe inside New York New York in Las Vegas about ten years ago (holidaying in Vegas with my parents, haha!) and loved it, it’s like a better version of sweet and sour. Now I have it somewhere every time I go to America (usually Panda Express though!). This was the cheaper, smaller lunchtime portion – but there was nothing small about it, it was so filling.

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I was pretty full by the time I was done with my main, but it was October and that means pumpkin so I couldn’t not have cheesecake! Pumpkin Pecan is my cheesecake of choice, and I stuck with it, with no regrets!

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Oh and I also had Hibiscus Lemonade – never tried that before!

And then later I went to Starbucks and had the Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher (my favourite). I have a real thing for hibiscus at the moment. I blame Ivette.

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Another night where we didn’t really want dinner, but we went to Buffalo Wild Wings and it was wing night so I ended up with wings… Only four though, in Asian Zing (chilli, soy and ginger) sauce. Oh, and pretzels with queso because y’know, I’m Austrian and go crazy for soft pretzels. And I’m now sitting here craving them and that spicy, cheesy dip…

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Beer cocktails are new to me, but I thought I’d give the Strawberry Kickin Coronarita a go. Now I need more beer cocktails in my life.

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And I finished with a raspberry lemonade when I’d had too much beer…

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Day Six – San Diego & Los Angeles

A day that I finally had breakfast! And it was the breakfast I’d been looking forward to – at Broken Yolk Cafe, another Man Vs Food featured eatery! You’ll have to wait for it’s own post for details. I had a Mexican twist on an eggs benedict.

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Dinner at Saddle Ranch Chop House will also need its own post. Yeah, I know, why did I even bother including day six, haha! And yes, that is marshmallow on my side dish…
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There was a lot of marshmallow in that meal!

After dinner we went on to Rock and Reilly’s for drinks. I tried one of the Beer Flights – the Mutations which had the following; Black Velvet (Guinness atop of champagne), White Velvet (Kilkenny atop of champagne), The Mick Dundee (Guinness atop of ginger beer) and Black/Blue (Guinness atop Hefeweizen). The Mick Dundee wasn’t for me (ginger isn’t my thing), but the rest were good.

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We then moved on to more drinks at The Viper Room, but there are no photo’s and everything gets a little hazy after that!

So that’s days four to six, watch this space for the next instalment! If you haven’t seen part one, you can check it out here.

L xx

All photos my own.