Last week was busy and resulted in posts for successive weeks.

The surrogate for Germany was the Old Town Rock Hill Oktoberfest.  It was held downtown at Fountain Park which is the same area they have the Food Truck Fridays.  I parked a little further out than I do for the FTF’s expecting a larger crown but I needn’t have.  There were more people leaving as I got there than there were arriving, not a great sign.  I have to admit I was disappointed as well.

As I walked up I could hear the band playing something that wasn’t quite German but there was definitely some “oompah” in there.  The first tent in line was the ID check and beer ticket tent and what’s Oktoberfest without a beer?  I got a souvenir stein because I needed one more thing to try to fit in a cabinet.

For the price I would have expected it to come with at least one beer ticket but nope they were sold separately.  Well I had a couple of beer tickets and a mug so I figured I was at least partially set.  So here was my first disappointment.  I was really hoping for a biergarten and I’ll not lie I was hoping for fraus walking around with multiple liter steins in each hand serving up good German bier.  Alas that was not the case.  There were a couple of beer trailers and the one with the better beer had a line that was quite long but I persevered and wound up with a Dream Chasers Waxtoberfest beer.  That was enough to get me through my next disappointment.

There were only two food vendors, a pizza truck (WTH?) and the Wurst Wagen which had a line to rival the beer trailer.  How they could have 20 plus food trucks monthly for Food Truck Fridays and only two vendors for a once a year event is beyond me.

The one positive of standing in the line for my wurst was that I got to meet the winner of the wiener dog race.  For a 4 time champ and 2 time second place finisher Oscar was pretty humble and didn’t care for posing for pictures so you’ll just have to accept my description.  He was a solid brown dachshund with some white around the muzzle showing his veteran status and a pretty laid back demeanor for the holder of so many trophies.

The Wurst Wagen had a decent selection of sausages; weisswurst, bratwurst, knockwurst & kielbasa with sides of bacon potato salad, chips or sauerkraut.  I went with the weisswurst and sauerkraut.

The sausage was good but not really hot enough.  The guys were relying on a steamer they were keeping the sausages in to heat them up as they were precooked.  The problem was they were moving them so fast they didn’t have a chance to get very warm before getting served.  The taste was good and the German mustard and sauerkraut were good accompaniments.  I had just enough beer to make it through the meal and a couple of songs from the Foothills Oompah band.  I spent my second ticket on an Old Mecklenburg Mecktoberfest which tasted more like a good German beer than the Waxtoberfest, which had a hint of fruitiness to it.

That was good for a few more songs as the sun set and the fountain to my left got lit up.

Despite the disappointments it was a good evening and I can hope that next year will be better but I’ll let you know either way.


Nana & The Kids

Oct Food Truck Friday

Well it was another Food Truck Friday in Old Town Rock Hill and out I went looking forward to another good time.  As usual I stopped by the beer tent to get a little something to walk around with.  They had a beer called Ghost Rider Spiced Ale from Palmetto Brewing Co.  I got it because of the name, Ghost Rider being a comic book character appealed to my nerd side.  I took my first sip and it was a bit of a surprise as I discovered where that name came from.  The initial impression “This is just another IP..Hey!”  The Ghost in the name comes from the ghost peppers they add to give it a little bit of a burn.  It was interesting but honestly I’m not a fan.  It did keep me going until I got around to deciding on which truck I was dining from.

This week Nana’s Porch struck my fancy as the place to pick up a comforting meal.  I mean what says homey like Nana’s porch except maybe her kitchen.

They had several things that sounded good but the Barnyard burger won out with a side of smoky mac & cheese just to keep the comfort coming.

It doesn’t look pretty but it tasted good.  The burger looked hand patted and it was a generous portion.  The burger was sitting on top of some grilled onions and topped with pulled pork and homemade pimento cheese all sandwiched in a grilled bun.  The burger was cooked more thoroughly than I normally prefer but it had a good flavor especially garnished as it was.  The mac & cheese got its smoky flavor from gouda cheese plus paprika sprinkled on top.  It was dense, cheesy, filling and tasty.

I enjoyed the meal to the musical stylings of Kids In America playing on the stage.  They played early 80’s music that made you feel like you were sitting in an MTV flashback.  You know, when they actually played music.  I kept expecting Downtown Julie Brown to stroll out and veejay the event.  It’s not easy to see in the picture but the band members were sporting headbands, leg warmers, lab coats, and other style choices straight out of the 80’s.

While I was enjoying an after dinner cider this guy decided he wanted to be friends and unfortunately you can’t get a sense of perspective from the picture but he was big enough and wolf like enough I was looking around for Starks.

Another good FTF with one more to go this year.




SEA Food

South East Asia

This weekend the South East Asian Coalition held their Street Food Festival and I couldn’t pass that up.

The festival was on Central Ave in the Plaza Midwood section of Charlotte.  They were using a parking lot for the festival and there weren’t really any provisions made for other parking so it was mainly street parking often in areas that weren’t really designed for it.  I found a spot I felt wouldn’t likely get me ticketed or towed and parked.

As I said they were using the parking lot and had three food trucks and several tents set up to serve food and a dozen or so other tents with crafts, organizations and drinks.  I have to say I was expecting more from a street food festival.  Two of the food trucks I was familiar with and have eaten at one already and the other was serving up only bubble tea.  The three tents that were to serve food were still setting up and didn’t start serving until after 12:00 and then it was nothing I couldn’t get at most Asian restaurants around town.  I overcame my disappointment and decided to go ahead and try the Yummi Banh Mi food truck.  Specifically I got their Vietnamese rice bowl with lemongrass pork and the free range egg add on.

For the record I took several pictures of the truck and in every single one someone walked in front of the logo.  Once I waited until the coast looked clear and just as I was pushing the button a kid ran through the frame so here’s the best of the lot.  More importantly though the rice bowl was very tasty and very generous.  It consisted of steamed jasmine rice with cilantro, pickled carrots, daikon reslish, cucumber, jalapenos, the fried over medium egg and the lemongrass pork served with a vinegary dressing.  The lemongrass pork was sliced thin and cooked tender with a hint of the lemongrass flavor and some other mild spices.  I added a pack of soy sauce and that really made the whole thing just great and it alleviated some of the initial let down.

To drink I decided to try bubble tea since I’d never had it in spite of seeing it in quite a few Asian restaurants over my lifetime.

The Boba Café truck was only serving bubble tea but they had quite a few flavors to choose from.  My choice was mango because I just love mangos.  The drink looks small if you use the normal concept of a straw to inform your perspective but this straw was huge in diameter.  It was like one of those plastic pixie stix straws we’d get as a kid when we were flush with cash and needed a sugar rush that would last all day.  It had to be big because the boba are apparently tapioca balls about the size of a sweet pea that they put in the bottom of the drink.  If you’ve never had them they’re kind of soft and chewy without much flavor except being a little sweet.  The tea in this case was a little bit of green tea and the flavorings they used were powders that went in along with ice to form a blended ice concoction they dumped on top of the tapioca balls.  It had a good mango flavor and the tapioca made chewing your drink a thing so it was cool.

On my way out I saw a sign for Viet Coffee over one of the tents and thought I could go for a swig of coffee after that rice bowl.  So it turns out a nice, smiling older Vietnamese lady was sitting there making iced coffees, mixing them one at a time.  She had her strong brewed coffee, she’d add a little sugar, a couple of teaspoons of Eagle brand condensed milk, whisk them up add a little water and ice before giving it another good stir and you were good to go.

It was nice and strong and a nice way to wrap up the visit to the street food festival.  So after my initial disappointment I was able to finish with three positive experiences and that has to be a win for the afternoon.  Next weekend I have Food Truck Friday and Octoberfest Saturday so that should be good for a couple of posts.



I Gar-on-tee That’s Good


Cajun Food

I was undecided what to do this week for the blog and decided to browse Google Maps along likely routes to see what might be new in the area and came across a new location of an established Charlotte restaurant.  Cajun Yard Dog in Fort Mill was the just what the doctor ordered.  For those anyone who might not know Cajun cuisine has influences from France via Canada plus cross pollination with other Louisiana cultures so it has an international flair as well as the straight out of the bayou ingredients.  The title of the post comes from my favorite TV cook of all time, Cajun chef Justin Wilson.  You should check him out on YouTube.

Anyway back to the food.  Cajun Yard Dog is on a corner of a shopping center and easy to spot from the road or the parking lot.  When I arrived there was only one other table with diners and the waiter was working on table set ups.  He told me to sit wherever and he’d be with me in a minute.  They have a lot of window (heavily tinted) tables being on the corner so I grabbed one that had an awesome view of the bank across the parking lot.  There are a good number of tables in an open area plus a bar.

I was presented with a one page, front and back, menu that actually had a lot of different dishes on it.  It was cool because the guy asked me if I’d been there before and when I said no he spent some time giving me a tour of the menu, pointing out some popular items and explaining the difference between the Crawfish Creole & Crawfish Etoufée (tomatoes vs roux).  He also pointed out the chalkboard wall that has daily specials plus the catch of the day, desserts, wine list, and beer list.  Thorough and helpful.

Since it was lunch time and I had some football watching ahead of me I didn’t want to get too much so I ordered a fried oyster po’boy with jambalaya for a side.  To drink I decided to try one of their New Orleans beers, Dixie Blackened Voodoo Lager.

We’ll start with the main attraction.  The po’boy was served on a warm baguette that was nice and crusty on the outside and soft on the inside.  The fried oysters were atop a bed of lettuce and tomato.  There were four to five good sized oysters on each half that were fried crispy in a light batter.  The first half I ate as presented and the second I gave the oysters a few shots of Tabasco each to spice it up.  The sandwich was quite good and they had a list of a dozen or so different po’boys.  Next up was the jambalaya, which I actually thought was the better of the two dishes.  The jambalaya had a good quality andouille sausage and a generous amount of chicken in the stew of rice, tomatoes, onion, celery, spices.  Interestingly I didn’t see any green bell pepper but I’m also not complaining about that.  It had just a little heat but there several hot sauces at the table to dial up the temperature if you wanted to.  I really liked the jambalaya and am glad I popped for this premium side dish.  The low point of the meal was actually the beer.

The Blackened Voodoo Lager had a nice caramel color, as you can see in the photo, which looked promising.  The first sip was a bit of a surprise.  It tasted almost sour and then got really sweet with a little hops at the end.  The sour taste dissipated as I drank, probably my taste buds just shutting down in self defense.  The sweet was there until the end though and overall it was not an experience I would like to repeat.

So I liked the place, people and food and will definitely go back to try some of the other things on the menu but definitely with some other beverage.


Really Southern Breakfast


Yes all the way to South America.  This is not only a country revisit but a restaurant revisit, which is something I hadn’t planned to do much on the blog.  I mentioned revisiting Me-A-More Café to represent the Dominican Republic as I hadn’t found another place for that cuisine but I later did so I didn’t.  However, I was looking for a breakfast place I hadn’t been to and they popped up with a menu that had some different options reflecting a Latin American theme so I grabbed the culinary-passport and headed over.

To catch a flavor for the place you can check out the previous post Two For One as nothing had substantially changed.  I was the only patron in the place and the staff outnumbered me 4 to 1 but that just meant I got good service.  I ordered the headliner on the breakfast page of the menu, Venezuelan Creole breakfast.  For the record breakfast is served all day and some of the lunch options are also served all day to you can be topsy turvy and eat breakfast for lunch and lunch for breakfast if that’s what floats your barco.

The Venezuelan Creole breakfast consisted of scrambled eggs with tomatoes and onions, shredded beef, black beans, shredded white cheese and an arepa.  This was definitely a breakfast to fortify someone who was planning to do a good mornings work.  I thought it was a bit odd the cheese was a side item rather than on or in one of the other dishes but I guess that just meant you could put it where you wanted it.  I folded it into the eggs.  The eggs were well cooked, more so than I personally would have cooked them but they tasted good especially with the addition of the cheese.  If I were to get this again I’d probably request the cheese be added just before the eggs were taken up so it would melt and meld better with the eggs.  The shredded beef is the same shredded beef you get with the lunch entrees and is a nice change of pace to the usual breakfast meat options around town.  I like black beans so even though it’s an oddity for breakfast in these parts they certainly went well with the rest of this breakfast.  The arepa was a fried flat cornbread disk that reminded me very much of the fried cornbread my Grandfather use to enjoy with his collard greens.  It is more dense than the baked cornbread that is common in the US and not as crispy on the outside as a hushpuppy.  It made a serviceable substitute for a biscuit and a handy scoop for those last few beans in the bowl.

They have a few more things on the breakfast menu that are not staples of the local breakfast scene so if you’re looking for something other than the norm and you’re in the Rock Hill area give them a shot.

Also if you missed it the first time check out the Tell Me More page for some Venezuelan culture.