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.

Here Be Cheesemongers

Last weekend was a fun food filled frolic for the old culinary passport. Ok, there was no frolicking, I might have gotten caught up in the alliteration. Anyway, I drove up to visit my sister Lynn and family. Plans had been made to go to the Pimento Cheese Festival in Cary, NC. We’d been a few years before and it seemed like a good reason to hang out. The day was nice, not too hot and no rain so good June weather.

They had one street blocked off, food trucks lining the way, a kids area set up and a beer garden just past that off to one side. I guess you could drop off the kids and hit the booze. At the end of the street they had a decent band playing some 80’s & 90’s tunes.

Now the thing was every truck had to have at least one dish that featured pimento cheese, because, you know it’s right there in the name, Pimento Cheese Festival. Some had to be pretty creative to earn their spot. Like this one.

Most kept it simple and just threw some pimento cheese on fries or sandwich or whatever they normally served but that wouldn’t do for me so we walked the entire length looking for interesting and I settled on the Big Mama wrap.

There was a lot going on here. All the components were ok and I wanted to love it but I only liked it. I think part of my issue was the fact that although it was a wrap it wasn’t something you could eat with your hands because of the pimento cheese topping it. Sitting on church steps trying to cut that with cheap plastic cutlery was a less than a stellar experience. I did appreciate their creativity though.

After that mild disappointment I figured I’d try, try again so to the ice cream cart we went. Surely not, you say, but yes they had it.

And I got it.

My sister took the saner option and got Pina Colada ice cream. Not me boy. It was the pimento cheese ice cream sandwich all the way. Yes it was as weird as it sounds. The sugar cookies that it was sandwiched between were sweet and chewy while the ice cream was sort of sweet and cheesy and a bit salty. Talk about cognitive dissonance. My brain kept rebelling at the sight of what should be a wholly sweet treat that kept hitting the tongue with savory blasts. I’m glad I tried it but I’ll be just as glad to never try it again.

After this we walked to see the beer garden offerings. To get there we had to pass through the children’s area where they had giant red solo cups and big white balls and it looked like they were teaching the kids to play beer pong. With that disturbing visual in mind nothing was striking my fancy among the purveyors of beer until we hit the Vicious Fishes tent and I saw the Here Be Dragons IPA.

The geeky name pulled me in but the tropical aroma and taste had me really enjoying this hazy IPA. Multiple hop varieties gave it, to me, a hint of mangos and tropical fruit that made it an enjoyable way to finish up the the early afternoon listening to Spare Change and hanging out with my sister.

Quite a good afternoon. This was such a food filled weekend I’ll cover the Turkish restaurant and breakfast next week.

I Gambled On Italian

Last Saturday I drove up to Cherokee, NC with plans to lose a few dollars in the Harrah’s slot machines as a tribute to my father. He enjoyed the slots quite a bit and Friday was his birthday.

I got there early and spent a few hours donating money to the Native Americans and generally having a good time playing various games. After a few hours of blinking lights, spinning wheels, and tossing the dice I got peckish and figured I’d see what the food scene was like here.

It was more potential than reality. Several of the spots located just off the casino floor are only open late or early depending on your point of view. The Gordon Ramsey food court or whatever it was called has a burger place and a pizza place that were open and had long lines. They have several other places that are being prepped but not open. It’s new and they haven’t had the grand opening yet so I’ll give them a break and not judge too harshly. I opted to go on down to the next spot which was Brio Italian Grille.

The hostess let me know that there was a 45 minute wait for the main dining area but I could get a place at the bar sooner and the bartender would seat me. Based on the number of open seats in the main dining area they were dealing with a limited staffing situation. So I walked over to the staging area for bar seating. This is where I had the worst experience of the day. The bar was pretty much full and the bartender actively avoided making eye contact with me or anyone waiting to be seated. Honestly not being acknowledged at all was starting to tick me off and that was building the more I waited. Fortunately I had my phone to distract me and a spot came open before I got really mad. When the spot came open she was all sunshine and smiles.

I selected the portobello stuffed ravioli in a brown butter sauce.

The bread came first and oddly did not come with olive oil but the provided a lot of butter. I sampled it but didn’t want to overdo the carbs. The ravioli was very tasty. The grape tomatoes were sweet and acidic. The crimini mushrooms in the sauce added nice texture. The cheese was not parmesan but another, milder semi-hard cheese. The portobello stuffing was flavorful and hearty. My gamble paid off with a very nice lunch in spite of the rocky start.

I’ll be going back to Harrah’s Casino to try out some new craps strategies and maybe give Gordon Ramsey’s food court another shot.

I Went Viking

A couple of weekends ago I decided to check out the Lavonia, GA Renaissance Festival. It is a 1 day affair in a local park. The theme was Vikings so it was technically outside the Renaissance period but why quibble with a nice day out.

I was hoping to grab some festival food while I was out but the pickings were slim and nothing grabbed me. However I did check out the sites.

I bought some blueberry blossom honey that was very thick and rich and may wind up in a mead. I also checked out the reenactors giving demos and talking about the period, around 1066, that was the focus. Plus the wolf was cool.

If you’re wondering why this is in the blog and not just on FB, I’m getting there. After I left, unfed, I was inspired to go viking (the verb not the noun) but with less looting and pillaging. Mainly it was exploring. I jumped off on an unfamiliar exit heading down a road I knew would eventually get to familiar territory. Like this post. Well I spotted the Spotted Pig BBQ restaurant and decided to delve into the discovery.

It’s kind of in the middle of nowhere and there was only one other car there so I wasn’t sure what I was going to wind up with but in I went. They have a nice large dining area and a decent sized outside seating area from what I could see. I was seated quickly by one of the several staff members huddled at one end of the bar. The menu had reasonably standard fair along with some flair like the BBQ egg roll. I kept it traditional and got the rib plate with mac & cheese and coleslaw.

As you can see the ribs come pre-sliced with 4 ribs as a serving nicely presented. There was also a mini cornbread muffin on the side that I saved for dessert. I have to say these were the best ribs I’ve had locally. The smokey flavor along with the dry rub and tender meat that resisted just a bit made for a delicious satisfying bite every time. I did try the sauces that were at the table just to see what they might add.

They weren’t bad, the spicy was moderately hot, the sweet was just that. I’m not a big fan of mustard based sauces but this was a good example of what one should be. The mustard was definitely the star with a hint of sweet and a touch of heat. In the end I ate the last two ribs sauceless because I thought they were fine as is.

The coleslaw I really enjoyed. All the ingredients tasted fresh and had a crispness that gave a nice crunch as it was eaten. The mac and cheese was also nice in that it felt more like homemade than a lot you find. The cheese wasn’t a cheese sauce and you got a little more in one bite than you might in another. I like that personally. The mini muffin was pretty sweet and had some kind of additional ingredient that made me save it for dessert.

I was happy with the meal and service overall and will go back however, I won’t be getting another $7 draft beer. That was a bit of a shocker since I didn’t check out the pricing first. It was a nice coffee lager but that just felt too steep to me.

After lunch I continued my exploration and found a farmer’s market / yard sale that was closing down. I did acquire some well priced tomato plants to add to my garden after some fierce haggling (ok they thrust them at me and named a price I couldn’t walk away from).

I think I did that Swedish / Danish part of my DNA proud out there exploring new areas, destroying that rib plate and coming back with fresh acquisitions.