Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Problem With Being A Good Cook

... is that most restaurants disappoint.

I'm way down south in Dixie this week, my favorite part of the country with my favorite cuisines and outside of pilgrimages to Waffle House, where the company is more than half the attraction, and some fried chicken at Po Folks, it's been disappointing.

That's not unusual, most of the food in San Diego is disappointing as well. In the end, we go out to eat because we're tired or we want to go to a tap house for uusual craft beers. There are a couple of Italian joints in SD that my wife adores, but I can't tell them apart. Tomato sauce, garlic, oregano, basil and some pasta is all it is to me. Meh.

Yesterday, I had some Crawfish Etouffee. It was good, but mine is much better. I use homemade seafood stock and I do a lard roux that takes about 50 minutes. No restaurant is going to be able to do that.

Where local Southern eateries shine is when they can serve something you just can't find in SoCal, like crawfish. A crawfish boil, man that's some good eating and unless you want to pay big bucks to have them shipped in live, you can't get it in San Diego. Meanwhile, the rest of the food is pretty good, but I wouldn't go out to those places if I lived here. I'd stay home and cook it myself.

As for the fried chicken and biscuits at Po Folks, they were unreal. I do a triple coating for my chicken: seasoned flour, beaten eggs and Panko crumbs, but these guys look like they did a buttermilk soak and then just the seasoned flour. It was the best fried chicken I've ever had. The crust was crunchy and delicious, but not thick like KFC or mine. The biscuits simply dissolved in your mouth in a wash of buttery goodness. Fabulous.

OK, enough is enough. I need to get in to my local work site. It's going to be a 22-hour work day for me today, what with early morning work at the hotel and then flying home late tonight. Sigh. I wish I was taking some time off so I could scoot over and spend some time in Alabama. I loves me that state, I surely do.

Have a great day and I'll post again tomorrow.

I believe that an excellent way to understand Southerners is to spend time hanging out with them at a Waffle House. Try it a half dozen times and I would bet that any lingering prejudices you have about Dixie will be washed away.


tim eisele said...

Yeah, sometimes I think the independent restaurants around here can really be considered branches of the food service companies that supply them: Gordon Food Service, Reinhart Food Service, or Sysco Food Service. There is a distinct sameness to a lot of their products that suggests that they are all using the same raw materials and basically the same recipes, and sometimes I suspect that they are just reheating pre-prepared foods.

There are a few (usually small) places that are different and are clearly getting their materials from somewhere else, like the Sushi place that just opened downtown, or the fish market up on Quincy Hill. But in general I find eating out to be a lot like eating TV dinners, with the added issue that they universally give me more food than I really ought to be eating.

Mostly Nothing said...

Tim are you saying you don't live on pasties?

I do agree up there doesn't have many choices. But remote small town with mostly broke college students, you arent going to get much.

A couple years ago, weird a Guy Fieri tour, going to restaurants that appeared on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. That was fun.

tim eisele said...

Pasties are OK in moderation, and are good to have with you if you are out doing strenuous physical labor (say, in a mine), but they are a bit large to eat on a daily basis. Plus the ones we sometimes make at home are better than most of the ones you can buy.

My wife actually visited Cornwall some years ago, and she says the pasties here in the UP have diverged a fair bit from the actual Cornish pasties.

Mostly Nothing said...

When we were in England last summer, we got to the train station in Manchester and there was a Pasty shop in the food court. They had lot more variety than the UP. It wasn't bad, considering it's competing with fast food joints.

I gotta agree with you, the pasties they sell up there are too big. And my wife makes a better one.

Comparing yourself Tom, there are probably more restaurants in the tourist trap area - Old Town of San Diego Than all of Houghton.

K T Cat said...

Yeah, we're spoiled in San Diego. North Park, for example, is a treasure trove of restaurants. Still, we go for the craft beer selection (mostly because my wife loves me) and take what we find with the food. We can find some good places, but we're still better cooks than they are, if you give us the time.