Almost Canadian

Food Truck & Ciderworks

Today I decided I’d try to find a food truck as it had been a while since I had something from meals on wheels.  A bit of internet sleuthing turned up Almost Homecooking Food Truck and they were celebrating their 1 year anniversary parked at Good Road Ciderworks who was also celebrating their 1 year anniversary so that seemed like an excellent pairing.

Just a short run up the interstate and couple of left turns had me right in front of the Good Road and Almost Homecooking was parked right out front.

I got there fairly early and there weren’t many people so seating was plentiful, both inside and out.  I determined right off the bat I was dining outside at one of the picnic tables because it was such a glorious spring day.  I got a big smile and “Welcome” from the lady with the wristbands who directed me inside and told me to make sure I asked about the specials.  The had excellent classic rock pumping from the speakers outside and in so they got points for good taste.

I started by ordering my food since I know the trucks usually take a bit of time to get things in order.  They had some nice looking choices like pork belly tacos, beef sliders, lamb sliders, a cuban sandwich, truffle fries, and several other options all of which sounded good.  What caught my eye though was the Southern Poutine and that’s what I ordered.  While they worked up my poutine I went inside to pick my accompanying adult beverage.

The tasting room is good sized and two stories so there are plenty of places to sit and sip.  There are two bars, one seems to be the cider bar and the other the mead bar based on my experience but that may not be wholly accurate.  They have a number of different ciders and meads but I figured I’d start with one of the special releases and got the Rum Barrel Aged Cranberry Crossroads cider.

This is their normal cranberry & apple cider, you guessed it, aged in a rum barrel.  It was pretty good, definitely had the tartness of the cranberries and a hint of rum but not much and while they describe it as semi-dry it seemed straight up dry to me.  I nursed it while waiting on my poutine and about halfway through I got the call.

What pray tell is Southern Poutine you ask?  Well let me tell you it’s not quite the same as Canadian poutine.  It consists of a heaping helping of crinkle cut fries topped with some chunks of smoked pork shoulder, some light brown gravy and pimento cheese.  When I picked up the container I knew by weight I wasn’t going to finish all of it and when I popped it open and saw the mountain of food that just confirmed it.  Wow this was a tasty and truly filling meal.  The fries were cooked so they were crisp enough on the outside to aid structural integrity but still could soak up some gravy.  I was initially disappointed at what seemed like a paltry amount of the smoked pork but it was just spread out over and under the fries and hiding in the gravy.  The pork was diced into about half inch chunks and had a great smokey flavor.  The brown gravy was light and I’m not sure if it was the gravy or the pimento cheese but one of them had some spicy heat.  Not too much but you knew there were peppers involved.  The pimento cheese just melted into the rest to make a gloppy mess that was a pleasure to dredge fries through.  Just a few bites in and I needed a liquid refill so ran back inside to grab another of the specials.  This time the BBA Buckled Clover Mead.

This was outstanding.  The BBA stands for bourbon barrel aged and the buckled clover mead is a sweet clover & buckwheat honey mead.  The first thing you notice is the smell which you might think would be bourbon heavy but it was a deep honey smell with a faint whiff of the bourbon.  The taste is sweet as advertised and the first thing you notice followed rapidly by the bourbon taste without the alcohol burn and then it finishes with what I would have to call a bit of a floral cinnamony taste.  That stuff was good enough I bought a 1 liter growler I’ll be sipping on for good long time because a little does go a long way.  The mead did go better with the Southern Poutine than the cider.  The sweet and the heat played off one another nicely.

My interaction with the folks from Almost Homecooking was limited but they were very nice and one of them did come over and ask me how I liked the poutine and thanked me for giving them a try.  The Good Road people were also really friendly and helpful.  If they don’t know you they ask if this is your first time and give a quick explanation of the products and provide you with a menu that gives the characteristics of the various ciders and meads.  The one disappointment was that because they expected to be so busy they weren’t doing flights today and I really had hoped to try several different ciders.

I have a feeling I’ll be over in that neighborhood again.  From my seat out front at the picnic table at the ciderworks I could see two breweries and a distillery at least two of which had tasting rooms and possibly restaurants, I didn’t stop to check.  I also know there is at least one more cider place and a couple of other breweries within a couple mile radius of the area.

Overall a very successful outing on a fantastic spring day to dine al fresco.

C Food Saturday

Asian Fusion

This rainy Saturday was brightened with family sharing lunch for the second weekend in a row. We were in search of a culinary-passport lunch to prepare us for some Dave & Busters later and the Akahana Bistro looked like a good option.

They are located in Baxter Village in Fort Mill just off the interstate. Fortunately for us we found a couple of parking spots on the street close to the restaurant so we didn’t get too wet on the way in. There weren’t very many people there when we arrived and I think the employees outnumbered the patrons most of the time we were there. There is a bar, some sort of outside seating, as well as a standard seating area with heavy wooden tables and plenty of room.

The menu is a mix of Asian cuisines including; Vietnamese, Japanese, Thai, and Chinese. There are quite a number of options and deciding took us a while so we ordered some salt & pepper calamari to help us through.

I really enjoyed the simplicity of the light salt and pepper coating that was complimented by the plum sauce. The plum sauce was thinner that any other I’ve had but that was quite alright because it didn’t overpower the rest of the flavors. My nephew and I pretty well destroyed that plate. They were served on a bed of light crispy noodles, cilantro, scallions & shallots.

For an entree I chose salt & pepper soft shell crab with fried rice. Good thing I liked the salt & pepper coating from the calamari because that seemed to be the same as they used on the crab.

It may not be obvious but there was a fair amount of crab on the plate and soft shell was right. Again I appreciated the relative simplicity of the coating that allowed the crab taste to come through. I felt like I was taking a chance with this because I’ve had some soft shell crab that was a little more shelly than I would have preferred but this was great. The crab was served with the same noodles as the calamari had been with the addition of some jalapenos to keep you one your toes. I chose fried rice as my rice option and it was just ok but I enjoyed the crab enough to not care.

My nephew got sesame chicken that he put a good dent in but couldn’t finish due to quantity.

My brother-in-law got the sushi deluxe lunch platter and it looked amazing and based on the clean plate and satisfied comments he made I believe he enjoyed it. We did all agree his was the nicest presentation of the lot and it was a good value too.

My sister did apps for lunch selecting spring rolls, Asian summer rolls and fried dumplings that she freely shared. All were deemed tasty especially the dumplings. Visually the Asian summer rolls with the see through rice noodles were the most interesting and I did have a bite and can vouch they were not bad at all.

The service was good and aside from an issue with the first try at sweet tea being light on the sugar we were well taken care of. Based on experience when a restaurant isn’t busy service can be a crap shoot, either too much attention or they get caught in conversations or other distractions because they’re bored. Our server did a good job of keeping an eye on the table without hovering.

Overall I’d recommend the place to anyone, lots of choices and the food was very good. Fueled up we were ready to take on Dave & Busters. I’d like to thank Dee, Chris & Jesse Mays for spending their lunch with me and treating as well. Hard to beat that deal, family and free food.