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The first time I was served pub sauce was atop meatloaf in Bennington, Vermont, and it was clear then that this would forever be known as the pub sauce worth a double dip. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting to come out on the plate, channeling more of a brown gravy and mashed potato sort of experience. I was on vacation with a friend and we were skipping around from inn to inn, doing some skiing and off-roading in between evenings by roaring fireplaces, and sipping lessor known Brandy’s. It was a long weekend of nothing but traipsing from town to town with no particular path known. We landed at a gorgeous inn on a particularly snowy day, a day in which for several hours, we were actually lost. And I mean lost lost. The Publyk House was one of the first signs of civilization we found as my friend steered his sport utility through a horizontal wet driving snowfall. This was in the days before cell phones…
Our meal was a standout among other places we’d experienced while on that trip. Not only because the fare was outstanding, but because we lived to tell about it! We were largely alone in a beautiful dining room near a hearth ablaze with light on a typical weeknight in February during a blizzard. Yep, just your everyday ‘now what do we do’ poor planning moment on our part. But still, something about that inn…that meal. The composition of amazing, albeit some items unfamiliar, comfort food was so reassuring. And that sauce. Our server was also the owner we learned that evening. She was open with limited staff for anybody who could “get down the mountain” who might have lost power. And she had time on her hands because nobody was going anywhere on that night, not even to be able to make it to her inn. We struck up conversation and after our meals, moved our gathering of now five (having added the chef and a dishwasher) to the bar for full snifters and good chatter. It would be a long night, and also an informative one. It was how I learned Chef’s invention of a cold beef and cheddar tavern sandwich, and a little known secret condiment that he used with that sandwich. The sandwich eventually fell off the menu, but the condiment was repurposed due to popularity, and surprise, made its appearance on my meatloaf that evening as a substitute when deliveries from food trucks could not get through due to the blizzard.
Fast forward to today, and the invention of the internet. Nothing is out of reach now. And, given my longing for cold nights and and comfort food at times, the recipe for pub sauce, modified slightly based on the chef’s mention that evening 30 years ago of the addition of Worcestershire. Don’t ask me why or even how I remember the details of dinners and menus and experiences with people from so long ago; I guess I’ve always been heading in the direction of food blogging….dollop on grilled beef burgers, prime rib, or reserve for dipping with a pile of well done steak fries. You’ll have difficulty restraining from a double dip.
Ingredients for Pub Sauce Worthy of Double Dipping
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon minced chives
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic or 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce or both to taste
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl. Dollop on grilled beef burgers, drizzle over prime rib, or reserve for dipping with a pile of well done steak fries.