Brew Pub International
This week the Culinary-Passport visited a local brewery / restaurant, Legal Remedy Brewing. I’d had a couple of their brews before at the Friday Food Truck events downtown in Rock Hill and it was recommended by a random guy I struck up a conversation with at the Korean food truck.
The place is in an old auto dealership building and they use the space well. Lots of seating both inside and out as you can see in the following photos.
Since I was at a brewery and they had such a good selection of brews I opted for a flight of 4. My selection were: Deposition Dulce de Leche Porter, Sequestered Blueberry Saison, Sequestered Saison & Scintilla Sweet Tea Ale.
I’ll start with my least favorite and that was the tea ale. It had a vaguely tannic taste added to an ale and just was not my deal. The Sequestered Saison is a Belgian Saison with a citrusy taste and a hint of spice. The Blueberry Saison is also Belgian style with a distinctly blueberry taste that was quite refreshing. My favorite was the Dulce de Leche Porter. It had all the body of a porter with the addition of a creamy caramel flavor.
As for the food I went with the recommendation of the Korean food truck patron who was effusive in his praise for the schnitzel. The menu calls it the Pork Schnitzel Holstein and wow that thing was the size of a cow.
Along with a schnitzel that was pounded to fork cutting tenderness there was a very thin slice of country ham and a fried egg on top with a mustardy brown sauce and pickled onions topping the lot. The green beans I believe were roasted and were crisp but fully cooked with some light seasoning. What you can’t see is underneath the huge schnitzel is a pile of skin on mashed red potatoes. I know the country ham and egg seem a bit odd but they actually went well with the whole dish. The only thing I would have liked is a little more of the sauce. This was such a ton of food and drink I didn’t get to try a couple of menu items I had my eye on. I guess I’ll have to try the Recess Break Root Beer (non-alcoholic) and the fried Moon Pie another time.
Aside from requiring a post lunch multi-mile walk to reduce the impact of such a big lunch I have to give this place a big thumbs up both on the beer and food.
It realized today I had missed one obvious (but not until it occurs to you) place to dine on a country’s cuisine. From the title you’ve probably already guessed I trekked to north Charlotte and had lunch at IKEA.
This was my first trip to an IKEA and honestly my life will not be diminished if it’s my only trip to IKEA. The store and the way it’s laid out to keep traffic flowing is actually ok and the products were worth checking out but the people, oh my goodness at the people. There were just so many and quite a few had no apparent agenda except to wander slowly from side to side in the aisles. It was like trying to navigate a moving slalom course. I did however make it through the people maze to the restaurant portion of the store.
If you haven’t ever been to an IKEA either it’s set up cafeteria style except they have these cool carts you can put multiple trays on and have meals on wheels. Since I just had the one tray I opted for the slide and carry option. Apparently the Swedes like their deserts quite a bit since that’s the first section you pass followed by a case with salads and cold dishes, including a nice looking salmon dish. Somehow a slice of Swedish apple cake found its way onto my tray.
The entrée options are limited but I knew going into it I was going for the Swedish meatballs which came with steamed vegetables, mashed potatoes & gravy plus a little lingonberry jam.
The standard $4.99 meal came with 8 meatballs and you could get 4 more for just a dollar. I know this because of the upsell pitch the cafeteria lady made to everyone who ordered meatballs from the petite teen in front of me to the half-giant a couple of people behind me. I stayed with the normal since I had the apple cake. The next station had some additional sides & soups I skipped.
Finding a seat was easy, even with half of Charlotte milling around in the store, because they have more seating than most restaurants in town. Not fancy but able to accommodate a ton of folks. It was well lit by the floor to ceiling windows on two sides.
Now on to the food. The meatballs were, for sure, the star of the meal and were the most flavorful of the four items although the lingonberry came a close second. While the flavor was good the texture was a bit spongy which I’ve seen with most mass produced meatballs. The vegetables were bland but cooked just about right, not too crunchy & not too mushy. The potatoes and gravy were not bad but not worth spending more space on. The apple cake was good and worth snagging. The apples were tasty and tender and the cake had a bit of cinnamon but not a lot. The part that looks like a pie crust was like a dense cake rather than a pastry like pie crust. Overall I’d say this would be 3 stars out of 5, competent and filling but I wouldn’t make special plans to have it again.
I’m sure Swedish home cooking is probably better and you can find an apple cake recipe on the Tell Me More page. There is also a video worth checking out if you have never seen a nyckelharpa.
This weekend had me hauling the culinary passport to the northeast. Ok it was North Carolina, the eastern part, but still northeast of Rock Hill. The occasion was a family celebration with great home cooking and would have been worthy of a blog entry on its own but I forgot to get pictures of the food ’cause I was busy eating it.
After that great lunch I didn’t want to settle for some old fast food biscuit for breakfast on the way out of town. I was in New Bern (named by the Swiss settlers for the Swiss capital and there’s a bear on the city symbol so there’s your connection with the title) and their downtown has a number of little restaurants and a few serve breakfast. I chose Baker’s Kitchen on Middle St and I’m happy I did.
The restaurant is in an old storefront and they kept some of the brickwork exposed as you can see below around the second story windows and wall. The cozy little corner they put me in was warm and homey as you can see from the shot over my shoulder in the second picture.
They had a lot of standard breakfast fare but I found something you don’t find everywhere. It was called Eggs in a Frame. In the photo you can see they cut a hole in the bread and cook the egg in the cavity. This I’ve seen before but these folks take the cutouts and make French toast from them. I opted for sausage & their Dutch Potatoes for my meat and other starch.
The egg / toast combo was good but it needed a bit more salt & pepper to suit me. The Dutch potatoes turned out to be essentially hash brown casserole and unlike some places I’ve been where the casserole was obviously frozen and reheated this was hot and tasted fresh. The sausage links were nice size links not those wee little brown and serve jobs. They had a decent amount of sage and enough pepper to let you know it was there without making you sweat. The French toast cutouts were sprinkled with cinnamon and powdered sugar and came with a little tub of a melted butterlike substance to dunk or drown them in should you choose to. I didn’t.
Overall it was a happy way to start the drive home and if you live in the area or are passing through I’d recommend giving them a try.
Carolina Renaissance Festival
This week instead of a new country it was a trip to a different time. On a beautiful fall day that was supposed to be sunny and 65 it seemed like a perfect day to pack up the passport and trek north and back in time to the Carolina Renaissance Festival. Normally this is a trip I take with friends but circumstances made it a solo adventure.
Arriving just after opening I got a sweet parking spot right on the lane and far enough out to get a few steps on the old Fitbit. It was pirate weekend and there were tricorner hats and bustiers as far as the eye could see. Keeping in theme I enjoyed a musical interlude with the Rambling Sailors then headed for the food. There are a lot choices but I had to go with the turkey leg and a Foothills Brewery Cottonwood Pumpkin Ale to wash it down.
That was a tasty turkey leg. I’ve had some that were cooked so long they were closer to jerky on the bone than a good drumstick. In this case though it was moist with a touch of salt and smoky flavor. It was also quite filling as there was a lot of meat on that leg. The pumpkin ale was subtle on the pumpkin but did have that taste of fall that paired with the turkey. I was not the only one enjoying lunch today as the raptors were having hunks of meat for lunch as well.
A little strolling around and then it was time to grab a drink and head to the arena. Since I don’t get it often anywhere else I opted for a Chaucer’s Mead as my libation of choice. I had to hear the bar maiden’s tale plus pony up $4 but what are you gonna do, it was Chaucer’s mead.
The mead kept me fortified while hanging with the king and court during the jousting tournament.
Finally after visiting a number of shops with Armory, Forge & Leather in the names it was time to call it a day and journey back south. To make sure I was prepared for the trip a stop by the jerky stand was in order.
I have to say that is some of the best jerky I’ve had in a long time. Great flavor, a bit sweet, a bit smoky, cut thin and not too dried out. I’m saving some of that for a mid-game snack tonight.
If you’ve never been to a Renaissance Festival it’s a fun afternoon with a lot of things to do for both kids & adults so find one and make it a family day out.