Kind of Wrong But Also Good

This feels a little contrary to the blog premise but I kept it very local this morning for breakfast. The closest to international I got was considering the huevos rancheros and pimento cheese and bacon quesadilla on the menu. What menu? Where? Don’t worry I’m getting there.

I wanted someplace new and maybe different for breakfast today so I drove into Clemson to try the Sunnyside Café. It’s in a place new enough my car’s GPS didn’t have a clue, however Google maps got me there just a few minutes after they opened. I was impressed there were already 4 cars parked when I got there. When I first walked in there was only one person greeting and seating so it took like 3 minutes before I was led to a table. Since both the young woman that seated me and the one that waited on me both apologized for the wait I figured I could overlook the horrific wait time.

Sunnyside can handle a fair number of folks with about 30 or so tables in the main area and a side room with a few more. By the time I got my coffee and made my choice from the menu there were 3 more people working the floor and 3 or 4 more tables occupied. The menu had some standard breakfast fare in addition to the above mentioned hispanic inspired dishes. There is a Cuban inspired breakfast sub and shrimp and grits plus a vegetarian benedict dish right next to one with 2 meats, 2 fried carbs and eggs. Good variety.

There was a dish that intrigued me because it skated on the edge of blasphemy but sounded delicious too. The Sweet Fried Grit Patties were something I just had to try.

Now being a good southerner means putting sweet stuff in my grits is taboo. If others do it I chalk it up to poor upbringing or ignorance of how grits should be treated. These however were grit patties so I could rationalize the choice by the fundamental change in grit structure. The meal comes with 2 eggs and either home fries or cheese grits. I doubled down on the grits. Cheese being savory is acceptable in regular grits in case you were wondering. I did get a side of sausage since it doesn’t come with a meat option standard.

The titular sweet comes in the form of a sorghum peach compote that I was kind of scared was going to be cloyingly sweet but it was a very pleasant surprise. It was sweet but lightly so which allowed the peach flavor to be prominent and go nicely with the grits. I have to say the grit patties were also cooked perfectly. Lightly fried so the outside was crisp and the inside was firm and warm. Great texture and taste combination. The cheese grits had a bit of cream or something in them to make them a bit more, well, creamy. The sausage was good and the eggs were scrambled just right. There was actually so much I had to walk away and leave a bit on the plate.

Doing a call back to the first paragraph I have to talk about the localness of my meal. It’s something they tout and I’m glad to support. The eggs are from one of 3 nearby farms, the sausage is from McCall’s in Honea Path, the grits from Hurricane Creek Farms in Pelzer, and the sorghum was from furthest away, Monterey, TN. Even the coffee was from a nearby roaster.

As a parting thought I have to say the employees were all very friendly and the fact there were at least 15-20 tables occupied when I left testified to that being the normal state of affairs. Along with some good food of course. I will definitely be going back to try a few more items on the menu.

I Went to Wakanda, There Was No Vibranium

If you don’t get the title that’s ok, it just means you’re not a Marvel nerd.

The mission Saturday was to find an African restaurant for the blog and hit the road. Turns out the closest one I could find on Google or Yelp was the Wakanda Lounge in Greenville, SC. It was a 50 mile one way drive but the next closest was in Atlanta at 90ish miles away so to Greenville I went.

It was a gloomy grey drizzly day so the drive wasn’t spectacular. I took the interstate to get it over faster rather than the more scenic route that would have acquainted me better with the upstate of SC. Next time I’ll go rural.

Wakanda Lounge is in a little strip shopping area with a couple of other restaurants and it anchors one end so there’s plenty of parking. I got there right after they opened so there was no crowd. It is a fairly good sized place with a bar and 20 or more tables to seat diners / patrons. There is also a stage or a very small dance floor in the center of the main floor. The server was just firing up the smooth jazz background music when I walked in. He waved at the tables telling me to pick my spot while he went off to get a menu.

As we chatted it was obvious he wasn’t from around here, which made me feel like my chances for some authentic food were good. I’ll finish with the ambiance before getting to my food choices. The walls have murals of African villages painted in a sort of stylized manner. The chairs are all covered with black cloth chair covers and the place was very clean. The patrons that came in while I was there were all picking up or placing take out orders except for the guy and his wife who came in to decorate several tables for a birthday part later. They too weren’t SC natives as they were speaking an African French with one of the ladies who worked in the kitchen that they obviously knew well. More good signs for authenticity.

I played it sort of safe and got the jollof rice with goat. Jollof rice I’d had before and knew I liked at least one version of it. You can get it with no meat or tilapia as well as goat and even the goat could be fried or goat stew. I went with fried. As you can see there were some fried plantains on the side and a nice batch of multicolored bell peppers with the rice and goat. The goat was well fried, to the point that the fat was a little crispy and it was lightly seasoned. In fact the whole dish didn’t have strong flavors that punched you but just a really nice melding of flavors that was quite delicious. Often goat can be gamey but this was just rich with goaty goodness. The portion was generous so I left very sated and with dinner for the evening in hand.

No it wasn’t lunch leftovers. I decided to get some peanut soup and fufu to bring home. I got the small because I didn’t expect to be very hungry after the big lunch and it was a smart move. The peanut soup was tasty but I honestly think they should have spiced it up with some heat to make it better. I will also say the soup to chicken ratio was very favorable. The chicken tasted grilled and the peanut soup was properly peanutty. It made for a great dipping sauce for the fufu.

What the heck is fufu, you say? Well it’s a starchy dish made from one or more of several things. Traditionally from cassava it is now acceptable to make it from other starchy foods. The consistency is somewhere between paste and playdough. The flavor is neutral so it goes with anything. It is really just a carb delivery system that’s fun to play with if you don’t mind getting your hands on your food.

It was a trip worth taking and I’m glad I made the drive even if there were no super heroes or vibranium in this Wakanda.

ISO Good

Well this post was supposed to be a quick one, but not so much.

Earlier in the week I wanted some noodles and decided I’d go to a relatively new spot just up the road from the office, ISO ISO Ramen & Boba.

One of the first things you notice when you walk in are the two big tablets set up in the front. This is how you order. I’d been once before so I knew the drill but they have an employee behind a counter to help you navigate the process if you need it. Another thing you notice pretty quickly, assuming it’s not out roaming around, is the roomba on steroids.

It’s a robot delivery system. How they choose when it is used I’m not sure as both times I’ve been my food was delivered by a flesh and blood server. I think it may only be delivering boba since they have lids and aren’t likely to spill. I didn’t pay that much attention since it didn’t come my way.

As I mentioned I’d been before and I got a rice bowl that time. The presentation was nice and it was certainly colorful but honestly it was just ok. I told a coworker that if I went back it would only be to try the ramen.

And that is exactly what I did. I got their namesake dish the ISO ISO ramen.

It wasn’t as visually appealing as the rice bowl but it was, to me, much more flavorful. You can’t see the noodles because they are waiting to be fished from the depths of the bowl with either fork or chopsticks. I opted to spoon up some of the spicy broth first and then alternate between chopsticks and spoon. The egg gives you some sense of scale on the diameter but the bowl was quite deep too so this was a lot of ramen. It was also no joke in the spice department. I was literally sweating and the old nose was running after a few minutes. My lips were still burning a little when I got back to work so it was properly spiced.

Honestly I was feeling kind of wimpy as I was contemplating leaving it unfinished because there was so much. When I saw the 6″ 300 plus pounder who was there with his daughter tap out and not finish his I didn’t feel too bad leaving a few noodles in the bowl. It was flavorful and filling and got the endorphins pumping so yeah I’ll go back. Also even though you order and pay using a tablet the employees were very friendly. If you’re in Seneca / Clemson and have a yen for ramen check them out.

Treats From Taiwan Are a Treat

I still get international snack boxes from TryTreats.com and for the most part I enjoy them but haven’t felt compelled to write up any of the recent ones up until now. The box from Taiwan was a perfect example of what I enjoy about these random boxes. Let me go ahead and tell you this is going to be photo heavy compared to most of the posts.

Were the all good you might ask. No, but they were each an interesting experience and mostly different from something I’d grab at the store here. That’s been the “problem” with most of the others recently. I mean I like cheese potato chips and chocolate wafer cookies but at the end of the day I can get those all over the place here. Taiwan though, they brought their snacking experience A game. My first grab was the big pink bag.

Lonely God rose salt potato twists. Since I didn’t taste or smell any roses I guess they meant the interesting pink color. First bite of these tasted artificial but after a couple the salty potato taste ruled the palate to make for a nice TV watching snack. I have to say the bag size was pretty generous too and the pink kind of grew on me. The next snack though was not so visually appealing.

This little block of stuff was in a plain plastic wrapper with no label or anything. Honestly the picture makes it look better than it did in person so let that sink in. It looked like someone was going to rice krispie treats and had to settle for using grubs. It was not pretty is what I’m saying. Fortunately the taste was good. It was a bit dry and like eating a soft packing peanut (you know you’ve tried biting one). The flavor was a bit like brown sugar with a hint of fruit flavor. You’ll notice that theme of subtle flavors as I go through these.

Teriyaki Shelly Senbei was the next one I tried. I very much enjoyed these crispy crunchy crackers.  It started with a tiny bit of savory and then the sweetness kicked in.  Not very sweet but enough to make it a dessert cracker in my mind.  Simple and tasty. You can’t see the scale but they were about 2 1/2 inches in diameter and 2 to a pack.

Nutrition Biscuits? These are just as yummy as the name implies.  They are dry and crumbly kind of like eating vaguely sweet particle board.  It’s the kind of thing you might find in a preppers bunker. However, as I finished the first one I thought they might be tolerable with a dark black tea or a bit of sharp cheddar.  Since I had both I was able to test my theory.  I was right.  Dunking in the tea softened it and the bitterness of the tea highlighted the sweetness that was there.  The cheese added some creaminess to the crumbly biscuit which improved the texture and the tanginess enhanced that trace of sweet. So if you’re a prepper with dull biscuits pack some tea and cheese.

Bubble Milk Tea Mochi. Typical mochi character, not too sweet and kind of an odd filling.  Didn’t taste milky or all that much of tea honestly. The kind of chewy gelatinous consistency was another recurring theme. Not bad but I’m ok if I don’t have another.

Cheese Slice Strawberry with a My Little Pony spokespony. Super weird. Triangle shaped, hard candies.  I think it’s supposed to be a cheese wedge.  They have an almost sweet tart consistency but a little chewier and more cheese flavored.  There is a faint strawberry aftertaste so it is as advertised.  Really weird and it stuck to my teeth hard. I had to go brush and break out the waterpik to end the cheesiness.

This was the smallest pack in the whole box and I think it might have been my overall favorite. Haw Flakes is what they are called. These little discs were very pleasant. Kind of a sharp sweetness.  Maybe like rhubarb.  Never had hawthorn before but I liked these and would definitely have again. Another simple and tasty treat.

Surimi Bean was another odd treat.  Bean curd formed into a fleshy rectangle and smothered with chili oil and a random sesame seed here and there.  First bite was kind of offputting both in flavor and consistency but by the end I didn’t hate it and that kind of scared me.

Lychee Jelly cup. A little cup of sweet clear gelatin with bit of lychee fruit suspended in it.  Kind of like those jello fruit cups but with only one fruit. The gelatin broke down faster than the regular jello you’d get here in the States.  The lychee was nice and overall it was enjoyable.

This is called a Jelly Straw. It’s like an artificial worm you’d use for fishing. Very moist and floppy. It was not as dense as a gummy worm. It kind of slid right over the tongue and down my throat leaving a slimy trail of indistinct sweet flavor behind. Did I mention they love their jellied stuff?

I saved this one for last because I had a premonition. Konjac Shuang. I don’t know what that means but they were jacked and I shuang don’t want to have them again. These were my least favorite in case you weren’t picking up on the negative vibe. Although it is vegetable matter it was like eating squid that had been cooked and then gone cold but with a spicy orange sauce on it.  The flavor wasn’t bad but the squidiness was, shall we say, unpleasant. And do you see how that orange was staining that innocent paper towel? That can’t be good for you.

I have to say I didn’t love any of these except maybe the haw flakes but this was one of my favorite boxes in a long time because of the shear differentness it provided. I’m hoping the next one is even half as interesting.

Knocking the Dust Off

As the young folk say, it’s been a minute since I added new content. The domain and hosting just renewed and college football isn’t taking up my Saturday’s so I figured it was time to do a little something with the Culinary-Passport.

I decided to just pull up Google Maps and scroll around until I saw something that intrigued me. I found Pat’s Cash & Carry in Salem, SC.

Pat’s is in an area I haven’t been through before and the route would take me by Lake Keowee on a mostly sunny winter day so I might see if I could get a good picture of it in addition to lunch. It was a nice drive through the country with the lake on one side and at a certain point the Oconee Nuclear Power Station on the other. The first photo below is the view from my parking place. Restroom outside and around the building, Oh Yeah! This was going to be good.

This was very obviously a converted old country store and if the outside didn’t give it away the interior did even though it is a restaurant you can feel the old store vibe. There was one lady working the place and I got there just behind 2 other parties. A trio of gents was seated and a young lady and her daughter were getting some dog’s to go. I placed my order for two Hot Dogs – Works. The lady’s name working the counter I learned was Karen. She asked me if I wanted “Mustard, ketchup, mayo…” and in my enthusiasm I cut her off and said “all of it, all the works”. Karen told me to have a seat and she’d get them to me. The drinks and chips are in coolers and racks, you grab what you want and pay at the register when you’re done.

I was eyeballing the place while waiting and I liked the atmosphere. The tables have cloth covers but then they are covered by thick clear plastic sheeting. Clean up’s a breeze. Some of the signs look original and some might be newly aged but the big photo of the place from a few decades back is real enough.

I grabbed my soda and a bag of Zapps Cajun dill chips to go with my dogs and settled in to absorb the ambiance and listen to the 3 old guys at the next table gabbing about stuff. I say old, 2 of them were right in my age bracket but that other guy, he was old. Anyway it didn’t take long before Karen showed up as promised.

For those playing at home the Works consists of mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, onion, chili, cheese, slaw, and relish on a tasty hot dog and lightly steamed bun. I don’t think there were any fancy made on premises toppings here but it was all fresh and good quality. In hindsight I should have gotten one hot dog and chips or two hot dog and no chips or any of several other options that meant shoving less food in my mouth but sadly I did none of those things. Consequently I paid cash and carried out a very overfed belly.

I did get a good dose of history when one of the trio asked how long the place had been around. Original building was erected in 1910. The add on where the bathrooms are is actually the side where the original front door was. Also when the county was paving the main roads where this intersection is they brought in equipment to lift and rotate the building. Another add on and shop completed work. After the history class I headed home. I did manage to pull off the side of the road and get some shots of Lake Keowee (created by the damming of the Keowee river for the power plant).

Overall it was a pretty good first outing of 2023.

Walhalla Heat

It was a beautiful fall weekend and there’s a town name Walhalla (the first L is silent if you want to say it like a native) just up the road. Wonder what they might have going on in October? Oh look it’s Oktoberfest! Yes, please.

The 43rd annual Walhalla Oktoberfest is something I was not going to pass up so head towards the foot of the foothills I did. It’s a nice festival held at a local park that has plenty of room for rides, I mean full on fair rides not something Joe Bob threw in the back of his F150 and set up in 20 minutes. Sorry went off on a tangent, in addition to rides there were vendors, informational booths, an oompah band, a beer tent and a lot of food options. I had beer and bratwurst on the brain so the other options were just points of interest. I walked the whole area just to get the lay of the land before stopping by the Knights of Columbus Kraut Haus. It won’t be a shocker at this point but the I walked away with a sauerkraut laden brat and headed to the beer tent where I got a German Oktoberfest Bier and a souvenir stein.

I was quite satisfied with my choices. It was the second best brat I’ve had in Walhalla (the one last year at the Founders Day celebration was outstanding). This was all good but the actual highlight of the day was here.

I saw the sign first and thought “This is some bold marketing right here”. I mean I figured I’m going to be cremated rather than buried but bringing out the furnace operator for a meet and greet was either genius or macabre. Well turns out it was a hot sauce tent. I was more engaged with that revelation. They had 10 or so different flavors and the proprietor made sure I tried most of them. When I walked up a couple was sampling and I got to hear this exchange.

After looking at the bottle, reading the ingredients and asking for a sample the guy looked at his wife and said, “this is pretty good even with the cantaloupe.” “Oh my God, you’re allergic to cantaloupe!” Was his ladies response. “That was 4 years ago, I’m probably better now.” Well the small taste probably wasn’t going to send him into anaphylaxis but he doubled down and bought a bottle of that particular hot sauce. There might have been some eyerolling from his wife.

My turn to try the sauces and the proprietor made sure I tried most of them. They included 3 award winners and her personal favorite, which wasn’t an award winner only because they didn’t enter it. Her samples were teeny tiny pieces of cheese on the end of a toothpick dredged through the chosen sauce.

Now while I was mulling over one of the options these two young lads walked up and after ascertaining these were hot sauces the older of the two tried one of the medium heat level sauces, his little brother though was bolder and went straight for the hottest one in the bunch and asked for a sample of that. Ms. DD asked him if he was sure, twice, and also asking me to be her witness she questioned him on it and then gave him the sample. The little kid was game I’ll say that for him. You could see it on his face, his eyes teared up and he went flush but he was going to die before he admitted it was too hot for him. His big brother was pretty cool and said “Hey let’s go get a drink” like it was a thing he just decided they needed to do.

Anyway I walked away with these three tasty sauces. I am trying to figure out the best pairings for them beside teeny tiny pieces of cheese on a stick.

I don’t know what’s next but a good friend found a Georgian restaurant in Greenville that will be featured in the not too distant future.

Boxtys, Sliders & Brats, Oh My

The trip to the NC State Fair last weekend was just the first of the food experiences of the weekend. After some intense football watching, that included channel flipping and dragging out the laptop it was time to grab dinner. The decision was we’d go to a local (Cary, NC) Irish pub named Doherty’s Irish Pub & Restaurant.

The visit started off kind of weird. Unsurprisingly, on a Saturday night they were busy and when we walked in the hostess was just walking back from seating people. She stood there and stared at us for several seconds like she was trying to figure out what her next move should be. She apparently didn’t have much luck because all she could come up with was “Did you need something?” “We thought we might get something to eat,” was my sisters reply. That was much nicer than what was going through my head but she’s nicer than I am so it was good she took the lead. It did seem to get the hostess jumpstarted and she was fast and efficient after that.

Lynn knew what she was getting, the mixed boxty app. The starter side of the menu worked for me too and I selected the pub sliders and smothered blue chips and of course a Guinness to wash everything down.

The boxty looks like street tacos made with potato pancakes. The fillings for the sampler are chicken, brisket and one with mushrooms. From all reports they are quite tasty. My sliders were also a trio of different items, all of them at least good. The chicken was a little disappointing, kind of bland, but OK. The other two were much better. The corned beef with spicy mustard was juicy, salty and very flavorful. A solid second place. The gold medal was for the Guinness braised brisket with horseradish sauce. It was just an excellent, tender slider with a ton of flavor.

The Smothered Blue Chips were, sadly, not blue. On the other hand they were crunchy house made chips smothered with gorgonzola cream, blue cheese crumbles and green onions. They were pungent but pleasant.

The eating continued the next morning when I was on the way out of town headed home. We grabbed breakfast at a local place called Brigs. This wasn’t a new place to me as we’d had several family breakfasts here before. They have an eggs benedict Lynn enjoys. They also have specials and interesting options that I enjoy. Lynn went with her standard and I jumped on one of their seasonal Bavarian themed specials, the bratwurst basket.

The eggs benedict plate was definitely more colorful than my rather monotone plate (at least I had the yellow of butter and yolk to break the off white). I’m not going to spend a lot of time on these except to say that the food is fresh and of good quality (although light on the salt). Also brats are a very valid breakfast option if you haven’t tried them.

It was, on the whole, a good outing for the Culinary_Passport, got in unusual American food, Irish inspired food and German sausage. I know for a fact there’s another brat in my future and I’ll let you know about it next time. Sláinte

It Was a Fair Weekend

It has been quite a while since the old passport was pulled out of the drawer for a culinary trip so it was time to remedy that. My sister Lynn alerted me to some new food items in her area so I knocked the dust off the passport and headed to the exotic east. To the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh to be precise.

After an extremely roundabout way to a parking place that was a hike from the fairgrounds and making said hike we came to edges of the fair. Fair warning, this post has more pics than normal.

It was beautiful day for being out and about so it shouldn’t have been a surprise the State Fair attracted a couple of folks.

We went into this knowing it was going to be an abbreviated, no rides, no games trip because there were afternoon football games to get back to the house to see but we did tour several of the buildings with exhibits. First was the one was a grist mill where they were giving out hushpuppy samples as well as selling varieties of cornmeal. Of course I decided to follow that up with a sample of Pepsi Zero and some new Mountain Dew sugar free orangey looking soda with a melonesque flavor. I didn’t bother to learn the real name. It was actually good.

My primary target for the day was a rattlesnake corndog but as pictured above there were a buttload of people there, all of them funneled through the food aisles, of which there were many. I was hungry and at one point we came to a dead stop for no reason apparent to any of my new close, I mean very close, friends. So we angled towards a vendor with some interesting wares.

You know it’s not a visit to the fair without something fried. I doubled down and got the deep fried country ham with the bourbon peach jam (middle picture above) plus the allegedly candied apple hushpuppies with Cheerwine glaze. They were hushpuppies and did have a sweet pinkish glaze that might have had some Cheerwine included however, there was not a hint of apple, candied or otherwise. Having said that though they were decent hushpuppies.

The deep fried country ham was much more pleasing to the palate. The ham was salty and tender which the bourbon peach jam complimented well and the greasy fried batter just guaranteed the whole thing slid down the gullet with ease. Quite tasty.

After much walking and exhibit viewing and a stop at a pizza seller so Lynn could get something to eat we were getting ready to head out when I spied the initial target of my quest to the east.

In addition to the rattlesnake corndog I was chasing they had an elk corndog and bison burger. I stayed on point though and got the rattlesnake corndog.

I can now say I’ve had rattlesnake sausage so I’ve got that going for me. The reality was, it was just OK. The cornbread outer was good but the sausage was a little chewy and didn’t have a lot of flavor on it’s own in spite of the visually apparent herbs in the mix. The avocado sauce drizzled on it was honestly the most flavorful aspect. Having accomplished this goal though it was time to make the hike back to the car which we both found quite the chore after lighting up our respective fitness devices with the steps we put in.

Turns out we like to eat. Dinner at an Irish pub and breakfast at place that was featuring some Bavarian dishes were the follow-up. I’ll hit those in the next entry. In the meantime if you’re in NC and the fair is still going on go have fun and even you don’t like the interesting foods you can still get funnel cake, hot dogs, burgers, cotton candy, deep fried deserts.

Exploring New Subscription Boxes

Once you get past Chinese & Mexican the number of international restaurants is pretty slim in the immediate area. As I love my global goodies I decided to have some delivered to scratch that itch. I’ve done Universal Yums in the past which brought snacks from other countries to my door so this time I opted for Try Treats and Eat2Explore. The one I’m going to talk about now is Eat2Explore. Something different this time is trying out a video unboxing. We’ll see how this goes.

I’m clearly not ready to convert this to a video blog but it was something different. So was this whole experience. This box would be really great if you had kids and wanted to get them introduced to foods from other cultures and learning about other places. The two info cards are quick hits of information about the country, food & origins, social studies, math & art. Plus a QR code to take you to more online information. Kind of cool.

The next thing about this box is that it’s about making the dishes rather than dropping a ready made meal on your doorstep. If you enjoy cooking then this could be for you. I also appreciated the fact that each recipe was provided with both with a good version and a vegetarian option (I know my carnivore is showing). I do think it’s a nice touch for those who swing that way. The recipes are fairly straight forward and ingredients included in the box are highlighted in the finished dishes. The included shopping list is quite a nice touch too. That also explained the kitchen gadget I thought was a spoon holder was actually a lid prop to keep the lid open a crack so you can avoid boil overs.

The meals were all tasty and I wound up using them as meal prep for the week to save time and have a tasty homemade meal several more times. The first one I made was jerk chicken thighs with Caribbean rice and coleslaw.

The spicy peppers were evident in the jerk paste but not overly hot. The sweetness of the pineapple I think helped tamp it down. The coconut milk powder I said in the video was for the coconut shrimp was really for this rice recipe. I loved this rice. I did go off book and use some brown jasmine rice rather than white but that in no way detracted from my enjoyment. The slaw was a little juicy but had a nice flavor that went well with the rest of the meal. I looked forward to the left overs. Next up was the curry chicken stew.

Another relatively simple dish that had a ton of great flavor and the left overs were better than the first meal after cooking. I used chick breast in this one and stuck to my brown rice over the white. This was a fairly sweet curry stew and very aromatic. It was also very filling with both rice and potatoes in addition to the chicken. If you’re trying to cut carbs this is not the meal you are looking for. I like curry a lot so this was probably my favorite of the 3 recipes overall. Having said that the next one was an excellent contender.

It doesn’t look like much with only 4 jumbo shrimp but wow these were nice and the meal was sufficient to fill me up. I’ve had coconut shrimp before and they were ok. These were better than any I’ve had before. It wasn’t anything super special other than they had bigger flakes of coconut and they were baked rather than fried. The sauce was like a homemade yum yum sauce and the riced cauliflower with mixed vegetables was not bad at all. I did use the left over egg from the dredging of the shrimp in the cauliflower and vegetables like a stir fry. The shrimp was the single biggest surprise for me and was simple enough I’ll give them another go. They also reheated well in the oven.

I signed up for a few months so we’ll see what it brings. This one certainly was worthwhile.

Istanbul Was the Shish

This is part 2 of a culinary weekend in Cary that started with the Pimento Cheese Festival.

After we spent some time catching up dinner time rolled around and we decided to try a place that had been on my sister’s radar but she’d never been. Istanbul Restaurant & Cafe is pretty convenient so if she liked it she’d have a new option in her dining portfolio.

When we got there it was not that promising as there was only one other car. People started rolling in though just about the time we got our menus and placed the drink order. The folks running the place, if not from Turkey, were definitely from the Mediterranean area. My sister ordered the chicken shish plate while I ordered the mixed grill because I love variety.

Warm bread and olive oil to dip it in came out first and some tzatziki we ordered as an appetizer. Both very delicious. It really got going when the entrees rolled out.

The mixed grill came with adana kabob, chicken kabob and kofta meatballs for the meats. There was also rice, vegetables, a small wedge of bread and a sauce to dip in. Honestly it was all well spiced and grilled just right. The chicken was my favorite which surprised me since I generally love the beef lamb mix of the adana and kofta. If I’d been going back to my house I’d probably have taken half of this home but instead I unwisely powered through and earned some midnight heartburn. I don’t regret it too much though, it was too good to leave. Judging by her reaction I think Lynn found a good lunch place too.

In addition to the food the folks working there were very friendly and willing to answer questions and made sure we were enjoying the meal. Highly recommend them if you’re in the Cary area.

I’m an early riser as is most of my family so we decided to grab breakfast before I left. After mulling over the slim choices of open places at that time of the morning we decided on Biscuitville. It’s a cool little place where they are constantly making biscuits (shocker) but doing it at a station right out front by the counter. It’s surrounded by plexiglass to keep the cooties at bay but you can see the biscuits getting made by hand.

As I was perusing the menu my sister pointed out the limited time only Spam biscuits and that did it for me. I love me some fried Spam.

I got it with egg and cheese so it would be a balanced meal and carry me through the journey home to Seneca. It was tasty. After 3 good dining experiences and visiting with my sister and brother-in-law and catching a glimpse of my nephew I felt like I won the weekend. That was two in a row since I spent the prior one with friends and visiting my other sister and her family.