Ah! Comfort Food – Coffee Crusted Pork

summary: rereading past issues of SAVEUR Magazine; discovering missed recipes like coffee crusted beef tenderloin; taking comfort; cats are funny creatures;

SAVEUR No.97 detail Oh for the good old days!!

I do miss getting SAVEUR magazine….

Seeing pictures of comfort food actually comforts people. A study from McGill University found that men who looked at photos of meat on a dinner table became calm
– Alex Palmer, Weird-o-Pedia: The Ultimate Book of Surprising, Strange, and Incredibly Bizarre Facts About (Supposedly) Ordinary Things
[W]e just found our new favorite way to relax: Meat-staring. Just stare at an image of meat, and feel the calm wash over you.
– Caroline Sloan, alloy, Well Being | Feeling Stressed? Stare at Some Meat (
I usually read Saveur on the subway, usually at rush hour. I love Saveur Magazine and generally read it cover to cover, slowly savouring (no pun intended – well, not much anyway) every word and photograph. It’s not always easy to turn the pages when I’m standing crushed up against 4 or 5 commuters. Dog-earing pages with interesting recipes is even more difficult. But somehow I manage. And after thoroughly embarrassing myself by openly salivating about various dishes in that issue, I finally brought the magazine into the kitchen, opened to True’s “Cafe Annie” article.
– me, enchiladas from Saveur Magazine, February 2007

At least that’s how things used to be with SAVEUR magazine. Alas, when Adam Sachs took over as editor-in-chief, they lost me.

[I]t became increasingly difficult to distinguish between actual content and advertisements. Except the advertisement images were often better quality than the magazine’s photos. […] In the past, it would take me several days to savour every page of a SAVEUR issue. Yes, I used to read every page. Even the ads. “Moment” was the place I would reach with a little sigh, gaze at the usually evocative image from days gone by and then riffle back through the magazine to reread favourite parts.
me, Are we really saying goodbye? | blog from OUR kitchen, March 2015

So now, instead of reading new issues of SAVEUR, we are randomly choosing a magazine from the large stack on the shelf, and re-reading the often brilliant contents. Sometimes, we are reminded of recipes we tried and loved and for some bizarre reason forgot about. And sometimes, we see something new (for us) to try and wonder how it is that we had missed it the first time round.

Fourteen years ago, I did something that changed my life. I was working at my first magazine job, as a copy editor for Houston Metropolitan magazine, when I got an invitation to a lunch at Cafe Annie, arguably the best restaurant in town. Being fairly new to Texas, I didn’t know that the restaurant’s chef, Robert Del Grande, had helped pioneer Southwestern cuisine in the early 80s or how white-hot that culinary movement had been and still was. […]
That day at Cafe Annie, all I knew was that the food—cream biscuits with spicy shrimp filling, short ribs in smoky chile sauce, and butter almond cake, all paired with wines that lifted the flavors into some sort of fifth dimension—was like nothing I’d ever eaten before. It was skillful yet wild, as thrilling as Thoroughbreds hurtling around a race track. […]
Robert slices through the black crust of a a coffee-crusted beef tenderloin—a dish he devised totally by chance sometime in the mid-1990s. Early one Christmas morning, he accidentally spilled ground coffee all over the cutting board he was about to use for fixing beef filets for dinner. He thought back on a conversation he’d once had with a friend about the meaty quality of coffee. In a second he was rolling the filets in the coffee. The ground beans formed a rich, unctuous crust—and the beef became his most copied entree. […] He’s added different spices to the coffee over the years, from sage to cinnamon, and constantly invents new accompaniments. Today he’s serving it with wild mushrooms and a sauce of roasted onion, pasilla chiles, espresso and cream.
Margo True, “Coming Home to Cafe Annie”, SAVEUR No.97 (November 2006),
When chef Robert Del Grande of Cafe Annie invented this dish, its simplicity shocked him. Something that tasted this good, he thought, surely must be harder to make.
SAVEUR No.97 (November 2006), Coffee Crusted Beef Tenderloin

detail Saveur No.97 Looking at the magazine page, it’s actually not so difficult to understand why we would have missed trying the coffee encrusted beef. It doesn’t exactly look like a recipe. (I had forgotten that phase that SAVEUR went through, when they put some of their recipes in paragraph form.)

But it’s the middle of summer. Not wanting to turn on the oven to roast meat, T decided to alter this recipe for the barbecue. He slathered on some morita barbecue sauce we had in the fridge. Then he rolled it in coffee, cocoa and cinnamon (but not too much cinnamon – both of us have developed a distaste for too much cinnamon…) and then slathered on a bit more morita barbecue sauce. Into a plastic bag in the fridge it went to marinate before being barbecued over charcoal.

BBQ Pork
It turns out that it’s not just staring at photos of meat that cut down on stress. Eating is very good for stress reduction too.

And this coffee crusted pork was delicious!

But surprisingly, it wasn’t as earth-shakingly delicious as we expected and we were a little sorry that the morita sauce was lost.

So, the next night we had left-overs of the meat cold with morita sauce on the side. And that was closer to being earth-shakingly delicious.

T made a red mole based on the red mole (attached to the same SAVEUR article) and added the rest of the left-over meat. And THAT was earth-shakingly delicious!

That’s the wonderful thing about barbecued pork shoulder (or butt) – it can be stretched out to make several dinners. That one slab of meat became five dinners for the two of us. And our plates were full every time.

Coffee crusted Beef Pork

based on a recipe in SAVEUR No.97 (November 2006) “Coming Home to Cafe Annie” by Margo True


On the back page of SAVEUR No.97 (November 2006) – when SAVEUR Magazine was still worth reading from cover to cover.

Saveur No.97 Detail
Photograph by Bettmann/Corbis
1pm, 15 October 1953, New York NY

This kitty’s as corny as New York in autumn.

And we thought that the furry black fiend was strange for eating green beans! (They’re his favourite snack – as long as they’re raw and julienned….)



This entry was posted in 'Saveur' Magazine review, food & drink, whine on by .

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