This weekend it was neither restaurant nor food truck that had me on the road it was an annual pumpkin carving/decorating event hosted by one of my cousins. She & her fiancé not only provide a fantastic setting for this gathering but put on a spread some restaurants should be envious of. The lucky guests need bring only a pumpkin and whatever their adult beverage of choice is.
For me this is an opportunity to see a couple of my oldest friends in the world who happen to be my cousins too. I saw one of my sisters and took my mother to the event as well so it was a day of family and friends of family. Did I mention the food yet? There were two buffet lines, one with BBQ and sides and one with hamburgers and hot dogs that were cooked up fresh and pulled off the grill as people were arriving.
I snagged a plate of bbq, hash & rice, beans & corn and found a spot in the shade to enjoy my meal. I had a Hell or High Watermelon beer to go with it. This was my introduction to the beer and I tried it based on hearing positive reviews on several different podcasts I listen to and honestly I was expected more. It’s a wheat beer made with watermelon as the name suggests. It does have a slight hint of watermelon both is smell and aftertaste. It wasn’t bad and certainly light and perfect for hot days I just didn’t see what all the hype was about. That disappointment didn’t deter me trying other stuff as there was a table in the vicinity that featured items brought by the guests such as the mummified pepper poppers & pumpkin spice cupcake which somehow found their way to my plate as you can see below.
After lunch while the gourd gutting, carving and decorating continued I took a stroll around the garden and snagged a shot of the early finishers. The food was great, the weather cooperated and any weekend you get to spend with family and friends is a win. Can’t wait until next year!
Food Truck Friday
This weekend was the last Friday this year for the Food Truck Friday at Fountain Park in Rock Hill and I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity. It actually turned out to be quite a cool windy evening so a stop at one of the beer trucks seemed like a good place to start as I strolled and perused the menus. I went with Legal Remedy’s The Executioner Imperial Pumpkin Stout.
It is 10% alcohol and quite the hearty beer. The pumpkin taste wasn’t that prevalent which was ok with me but that alcohol content was pretty noticeable. As I was strolling around listening to the opening act belt out Wagon Wheel I sort of had my choice made for me when I got to the Ooo Wee BBQ truck.
If you click on the picture with the menu board you can see they have an item called a BBQ Sundae that is a layered concoction similar to the Pig in a Jar my sister saw earlier this week at the NC State fair that I said I would absolutely try. Well here was a chance to try something very similar so I had to keep my word. Warning to those who can’t stand for their food to touch, scroll fast past the picture or you’re liable to get woozy.
I’d say this was superior to the one from the NC fair because in addition to the baked beans, meat, sauce and slaw there was a scoop of smoked mac & cheese. While I wouldn’t choose to have all my meals served this way it was not bad at all. The top layer is a just a bit of slaw, more like a token, followed by a bit of meat (you had the could select from any meats available you weren’t limited to just the pork) then the smoked mac & cheese and finally the baked beans as the foundation. Every bit of it was good but I wouldn’t have minded trying some of the mac & cheese just by itself. The stout paired well with the sundae and both were finished in quick succession. I needed something else to occupy a hand as I walked around and at the other beer truck I found a Naked Apple Blackberry Gold hard cider to fit the bill.
My plan had been to hit one of the dessert trucks for something sweet then grab a spot to listen to the next band for a bit. With the cider I decided that was dessert enough so all I had to do was grab some bench and enjoy Chicago Reloaded. Overall it was a good way to spend a Friday night and it was also nice to see how food brought out a diverse cross section of the community to mingle and enjoy the evening together. I hope they continue this event in 2017.
For Spain I wanted to go to a Spanish restaurant for tapas. There are a number of tapas places in the area but Miro Spanish Grille in Ballantyne, NC has Spanish in the name so it was a no brainer. Tapas is more enjoyable with company and not just because you can order more dishes to share (that is a huge bonus though). In this case it was a great opportunity to catch up with a former colleague, friend (current not former) and fellow food lover. Thanks Jody for joining me.
Miro is in a little shopping square and would be easy to miss if you weren’t looking for it. I don’t know if they do all the time but this evening they had tables outside with a few patrons enjoying the fall weather and outdoor dining. It is not a large place but the tables and booths are roomy and the booths were comfortable with high backs that muffled the sound and made conversation easier. They take reservations so I felt compelled to wear my good jeans and something other than a t-shirt and that turned out to be a good choice. It’s not fancy but it’s definitely a few steps up from Chiles.
The waiter, Jay, was quite helpful and tried to entice us with 2 seafood specials and a rack of lamb special but I had a plan and didn’t want to be swayed. He almost had me with the halibut special that came with a chorizo stew but I remained resolute to the tapas.
We started with 4 dishes, 3 of which are pictured below. The 4th came a bit later and I was otherwise occupied and forgot to snap a shot. Pictured are empanadas, gambas al ajillo and patatas bravas. The slow dish was pinchitos morunos.
The empandas were nice and crispy outside and the filling was beef and vegetables nicely seasoned and pretty mild. Gambas al ajillo is garlic shrimp cooked in that clay dish and you might notice it was still sizzling when it arrived. It was cooked with olive oil, garlic and had some peppers but it wasn’t spicy at all. The shrimp were cooked perfectly to be tender and delicious. The potatoes had what was described as a slightly spicy aioli. They did have a nice taste but I wouldn’t call it spicy at all. They were cooked soft but not mushy and very thoroughly coated with the aioli sauce. Pinchitos morunos was grilled pork skewers with a chimichurri sauce. They were tender and the sauce was understated. I washed mine down with a Railhouse K-bar Brown beer that was pretty good and was a little bitter and a little sweet so it paired well with all the dishes. We had one more plate that also didn’t get photographed because I was too busy talking. It was the queso del dia, which was thick slices of tetlilla and manchego cheeses and a small variety of olives. This was where we tapped out since we didn’t finish all the cheese and when Jay came back around asking if we wanted dessert there was no hesitation in passing it up. Now if we had seen him pass by with that tray of dessert samples before (wow they looked great) the cheese likely never would have made it out of the kitchen.
Overall I’d definitely recommend Miro Spanish Grille to anyone as the staff is very friendly, he atmosphere was comfortable and the food was great quality.
If you’re interested the Tell Me More page has a gambas al ajillo recipe and more little tidbits.
Today was just about as perfect a day as you could ask for to dine outdoors. That being the case and continuing the segue to food trucks being added to the international restaurant theme of the blog I decided to hit up the food truck closest to me. The Taqueria Celeste is just about a mile from my house and within walking distance if I wanted to risk my life crossing Celanese Rd.
It’s located in the back corner of a gas station parking lot and is a semi-permanent fixture. They drive the truck up to a covered area with some picnic tables, fire up the generator, hang the signs and they are good to go.
They specialize in tacos (duh), tortas and burittos among other things. Here are a couple of the menu boards in case you were wondering what kind they have. In case you didn’t know, and I’ll admit I didn’t until a couple of years ago, a torta is a sandwich.
After deciding on a cabeza burrito and a campechano taco I placed my order with the elementary school kid working the window who was quite polite and helpful.
After a short wait enjoying the wonderfully cool fall weather (finally) my food was up.
The tacos here come standard with onions, cilantro and radish on a soft tortilla. The ground steak taco had plenty of meat and was ok but nothing to make you go out of you way for. The beef cheek burrito comes with the titular beef cheek and Mexican rice wrapped up to make the burrito. This was my first beef cheek and it was not bad if a little fatty. It wasn’t spicy at all and the rice had decent flavor so it also wasn’t special other than the fact I got to use it in my title. The mango drink was probably the most interesting item I had. Although not Mexican it did have an international component being made in Korea. I was surprised on my first sip to find it had bits of mango floating in it kind of like pulp in orange juice and there was some in every sip.
Overall if I hadn’t been here before and tried one of their sandwiches and a different taco only their proximity might get me to come back but I know the chorizo torta with the load of jalapenos they use is muy bueno.