Does anyone else find it just a little disconcerting to be able to go into a restaurant and order a seven-layer burrito with a side of coleslaw? Or a bucket of chicken and fiesta potatoes?
Our family was on vacay last weekend and stopped in at a familiar fast food place. I’ve seen the KFC Bells around, but mostly at Toll plazas. So this was the first time I ate in the place. I’m not knocking it! It’s just…unusually solicitous. Don’t feel like pseudo Mexican? That’s okay; we’ll get you some good old fashioned American food. Don’t want fried? How about a soft chicken taco from the fresca menu? I guess the word accommodating comes to mind. Kind of like the well-meaning younger cousin who would do anything to curry favor. It’s almost embarrassing. But hey, the family ate until full, and no one complained about the variety.
My sis, I’ll call her Mabel, keeps talking about the food documentary “Super Size Me.” I need to watch this film, if only so I can talk to her about it. But I happen to LOVE documentaries of all kinds, and most especially about food. Probably Mr. Rogers got me hooked on such shows because of his ultra modern built-in television cum portrait. Remember how he would show films about how things were made? Anyway, I watched one about Corn, of all things, and it made a big impression on me. I am almost finished with a food documentary about this guy who talks a lot about zen and buddhism along with the cooking. I like the whole notion of getting back to real food…making bread, having a garden and so on, and then I go out to my garden and realize it’s just plain hard work. So yes, I bought tacos and fiesta potatoes for lunch today.
I recently had the pleasure of dining out with friends. We got to eat at Olive Garden one night, the cafe at the Art Institute of Chicago, and P.F. Changs.
The fun thing about these meals was that I didn’t have to pay for them! I wasn’t just mooching, one of the friends’ husband had saved up and planned for it. Anyway, here is a little review of the meals.
Waters with lemon
Bruschetta with marinara
Sampler platter with calamari, stuffed mushrooms et cetera
The appetizers were yummy. I wasn’t in a bread mood, so the bruschetta was just okay, same with the marinara. The mussels were outstanding. I possibly ate more than my share. The calamari was also crispy and hot, and the stuffed mushrooms were also quite good. They were a little different than my own recipe which I tend to be partial to, but still very good. There were some other items on the sampler, but I can’t remember what they were. Maybe that should tell you something. The capellini pomodoro was very tasty, though I was disappointed that the pasta didn’t look like little hats. This is how good the pasta was…I ate it cold for breakfast the next day and it was delicious.
Cafe at the Art Institute
Trendy decor, lots of a la carte choices, beverages outrageously priced. I had a Southwestern Wrap. It was okay. It ranked about the same as the wrap I had at the IKEA cafe. Maybe they shop at the same distribution center. What made this meal great was the company.
Had a lot of fun at this restaurant. Lettuce wraps were very good, and I liked that he shared the recipe for the dipping sauce. (Soy sauce, chili sauce, brown sugar to taste). They served the food family style, so we all got to try lots of different things. The Mongolian Beef was my favorite, the PF Changs Spicy Chicken was also very good, the scallops in butter sauce were everyone’s least favorite, the noodles were yummy. I think being able to try all the different styles of food was the best. It made for an adventurous atmosphere. Trying new food is the safest way to sneak an adventure in if you’re not quite ready to try sky-diving.
Some people like a “dollop of daisy” on their enchiladas or baked potatoes. Some folks like to do the low-fat version of sour cream for their fruit salad recipes. And some people eat sour cream like this.
Put toes in sour cream. Lick off.
So we had so many lovely meals brought to us that I didn’t have to cook for ages. But that also meant we hadn’t been to the grocery store, what with the surgery and the recovery et cetera. So we were scraping the bottom of the barrel, and I put together the following meal for dinner.
Italian-seasoned chicken breasts
Before you get all excited, this is what happened. I was lazy, and didn’t slice the chicken breasts in half; you know how part of the breast is really thick…so by the time that part was cooked, it was D-R-Y. The tomato sauce was exactly that: the 19 cent can of tomato sauce from Aldi. With no seasoning added. Can you tell I was uninspired? What an embarrassment. But no one complained…a small number fixed themselves PB&J without censure. Needless to say, I didn’t bother to keep the leftovers. Even I wasn’t going to eat it. Win some, lose some.