Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Long View of Food

I just finished two pancakes, half an egg white omelet with spinach, mushrooms, and feta, local Italian bread toasted to perfection, and some pork sausage patties from a farm just across the border in PA. It did not suck. I did not take a picture because I was inhaling food at a rapid pace. There may need to be a walk in my future if the rain stops. If not, perhaps I'll twist my ankles around in the car while driving back across the mountains.

You may have noticed the lack of posting. In part, that's due to the fact that I'm no longer a stationary being. Over 1,000 miles in the past 10 days. But I've decided I still want to write. Bully for you.

Time being, I'll be posting synopsis pieces. A week in the food life of, a three day trip recap, etc.

Here's the first one, encompassing a whirlwind tour of WV, PA, MD, and VA in about 10 days time. I don't know if I'll put any of this in chronological order or not. I've only had one cup of coffee so far today, and my brain's still woozy from long sleep and lack of alarm clocks all over the room waking me up. I'm not used to that of late.

Last week, Chester, Virginia. Three tacos al pastor at Don Jose's. Ubiquity. But the meat was good and the pastor sauce was made there at the restaurant and the pico had a lot of fresh cilantro in it. I would have doubled up the small corn tacos like the street vendor taquerias in SoCal do, but I'm not in crisis mode if my one tortilla per taco tears a bit because the meat is still so juicy. This was one of those moments when just having a clean booth and prompt service within walking distance of a hotel was a wonderful treat for a road-weary foodie.

Don Jose on Urbanspoon

When you go to Jamaica Cuisine, get ready for culinary smack down. The owner's in charge, and you better like it. Put your cell phone away when she's at the table, ask her opinion because she knows the food (hell, she's cookin' it too), and be ready for her to decide you really meant to order something else. Trust me, she knows this food better than you do. She's going to know what's better from day to day.

I asked her to pick between the Jerk Ribs and the Fish in Coconut Curry. She started writing on her pad before I was done asking. I didn't know what I was eating until it showed up on the table. Steamed Fish and Crackers. LOVED IT. Table consensus was that the red snapper on my plate and sauce surrounding it was the best dish of the four we got. The hot garlic shrimp and curried lobster were groovy too, and we all dug that they turned tofu into flavorful with real texture. But the fish was perfectly cooked and the curry has the perfect heat and cool in the same bite, and it really wasn't too strange to have water crackers sitting on the plate soaking up the sauce. C'mon, you've dunked crackers in tomato soup, you've put oyster crackers in chowder. It's good.

Stopped in CRW last weekend. Herbert ordered this pretty plate of classic Americana breakfast. I went Acapulco omelet with chorizo and avocado. Both of us were happy. Ms. S wolfed down a piece of French toast so fast Herb asked if she had received it yet...damn that was quick.

Morgantownians - GO HERE! Kenyan Cafe. It's over in the shopping plaza where Pug's makes yum pasta and pizzas. Friggin' AMAZING food! Went with Six-Pack and the soon-to-be-Mom.

The food is an amazing blend of southern comfort food and Indian. No, really. Think about it. Chicken or beef stew with collard greens, kale, or cabbage? Ugali, which is a white corn meal mixture that is best described as a texture between grits and biscuits. And it's a perfect tool with which to sop stew. The collards are tender, the cabbage was tart and dreamy. The beef stew was beef and carrots and cardamom and coriander, and cloves.

It's stews with chicken, beef, and goat. And it's Indian/near Eastern spices. What a brilliant combination.

The samosas were hand made fried dough wonderlands of spiced ground beef. The fried plantains we ordered after dinner should not have been physically able to fit in our bellies. But Six-Pack and I found room somehow.

J's chicken curry was delish, and Bec wanted a few more pounds of collards.

The owner came out and spoke with us for several minutes when the food had arrived and was extremely helpful when we were ordering as well. Nice young guy from Kenya who came to the States to get an education and decided to stay and open a business. Wi-Fi and good African coffee in this University town will ensure he has a constant supply of out-of-country students frequenting his spot. I sure hope the rest of town gets their courage up to overcome the 'different' and get this food in their bellies.

Get here and keep this guy in business.

Kenyan Cafe on Urbanspoon

Yes, there have been home kitchens in use in my travels as well. Bec made up this tasty looking plate for lunch yesterday. Egg white omelet with sauteed mushrooms and spinach and a healthy dose of feta for salty goodness. Same deal this morning plus the sausages and pancakes. This house eats well!

Before I left CRW I made up a batch of collard greens and mac n' cheese so Greco would have sides to serve with his pork chop lunch special. I gotta tell you, that mac n' cheese was friggin' amazing. I can cook for crowds too. Three pounds of mac, 1 pound of butter, three pounds of cheese, and almost a gallon of milk. Mmmmmmmm.

I have to share this. It's the mascot of a hot dog joint down at Patrick Street in CRW. Haven't eaten there yet, but this makes me really want to. Scary, no?

First meal in Naptown last week. Grilled flat iron steak and chicken/habanero pepper sausages with fresh green beans and broiled local 'maters with Italian seasonings and parmesan. What a great way to be welcomed back to town. Looking forward to more good food in this town too!

1 comment:

sara said...

I really wanted to have my picture taken with the hot dog guy before I left town, but no one would entertain my little dream. And the thought of trying to take a picture of myself hugged up on a statue of a hot dog seemed a little sad even for me.