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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

FINE SOUTHERN CUISINE

Whenever I come down south I can't wait to eat. I love southern cooking. Sure, there's some things you just can't get - Pizza, Bagels - New York stuff, but man, let's talk biscuits. You can't get good biscuits in New York, and what's more is you can't find either of my two favorite southern classics. Waffle House and Chick-fil-A. What's the deal with that? A Waffle House in midtown would do killer business. I'm having the standard Chick-fil-A lunch right now, chicken sandwich, waffle fries, cole slaw, and a Coke. I can feel you out there saying; "Jackson, are you kidding?" No, I'm dead serious, I love this stuff. Here's something fun to try when you're in Atlanta - ask for a Pepsi - be insistent, say your doctor won't let you drink Coke. They flip out. Of course come dinner time I'll want something a little more complex, more serious. Chan and I are gonna go looking for catfish. I'm hoping I'll find some crawfish as well. I think we'll be able to manage. I'd say the best meal I ever had that I did not prepare (yes, you read that right, I rule!) was at a Houston's on St. Charles St. In the Garden District of New Orleans. It was the second meal I had there, and I had the most awesome barbeque shrimp ever known. It blew the doors off of Emeril's, where I spent a gazillion dollars on an okay meal served by a battalion of waiters. I believe that you get what you pay for, and at Emeril's you pay for the staff to fawn upon you. I'd rather save the cash for the bar tab, thank you. Another great thing about the south is fresh produce, we think in New York that when we go to Citarella or Whole Foods that we're getting the best nature has to offer - wrong. The good stuff is down here, they send us the mid-grade stuff. I had a chance to go to Harry's (owned by Whole Foods now) to get the fixins for a dinner I made for the Alvas last Thursday. I wanted to move in. I was bowled over by the produce. They have vegetables I have never seen before. I ended up roasting a pork loin stuffed with carrots, shallots, garlic, mushroom, and mango (sautee everything first, except the mango), garlic mashies, and a vegetable medley of french green beans and yellow squash steamed on a bed of sauteed onions and garlic. Yes folks, garlic in everything. The Gotham Gal doesn't use garlic in her cooking, and is an amazing cook, but I just don't have the nads to make that leap. Garlic is my crutch, and for now I'm sticking with it. As Tony so aptly put it; "Sautee dog shit in butter and garlic and I'm all over it." You and me both Tony.
This just in, we found place in Virginia Highlands called Six Feet Under that we're going to try tonight. They feature catfish - lightly battered, and hush puppies. God was in a good mood when he invented the hush puppy.

Comments:
You shouldn't be disappointed in Six Feet Under. It's been awhile since we traveled over to the Highlands (pre-Katie days), but it was pretty good. I'd have steered you to Sylvia's Kitchen for some serious soul food feasting, but someone in the office here just told me it closed down. Shame, their hushpuppies would have had you seriously considering moving Smoke & Mirrors south of the Mason/Dixon.

I'm VERY curious how the Gotham Gal gets away with being born/raised Jewish NYC'er and does not employ garlic in her cooking quiver. I've heard nothing but accolades about her fare, but finding out this tidbit, is like finding out the Porsche 911 uses no water to cool it's flat six boxer engine.

How do either of these scenario's work?
 
Tony: LOTS of oil. :)

-Ken
 
Well first off she was raised in Maryland, but I think that has no bearing here. She just don't need it. I fear that her casting off the traditional shackles of cooking makes her a better (eeeek) cook than yours truly. Someday, maybe, if you are extremely lucky, you will get a chance to try her ribs. I've been to some major bbq joints in the souith and midwest, big-time bbq players, and hers are just better. And I'm not sucking up, it's just the fact jack. Her salads are beyond description as well, and I am not a salad guy.
 
Ken, not really. I mean all cooking involves some oil, but she uses no more than your average kitchen goddess, ok, so I am sucking up now.
 
I was speaking more of the 911, but thought it has some funny relation to cooking.

-Ken
 
Maybe you accented the wrong word, i.e. 'lot's of OIL', or you could have gotten the word 'crude' in someheow, you gotta work that funny bone Ken, or,like Joe, you might lose it altogether.
 
Not having a good week. Not much of a sense of humor. But the 911 really does use a lot of oil to keep the engine cool.

Btw, I got the Danelectro bass. Pretty fun actually. This Sunday is its live debut.
 
usually you make me rummage through my records / tapes / and CDs to find some music.

Today you got me craving some Southern Food: I just ordered:
chicken fried steak with saw mill gravy
Black Eye'd Peas
Mustard Greens w/pepper sauce
Mashed tators
and for desert
Peach Cobbler

Enjoy your Catfish, i agree with you on the Hushpuppies, whoever invented that should be a saint.

keep up the great work

Hue B. Mooksuki
 
I gotta get me to Minnesota Hue, sounds llike you got some good eatin' up there.
 
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