It’s been a while since our last post. For me, it’s been a lot of running around, finally landed a job in NYC, and the terrible, anguishing thrill of moving. But now, in the middle of the holiday season, it seems I have found time to start back up on the blogging!
So one of the most delicious holidays, Thanksgiving, has just passed. Every year my dad concocts a menu of mouthwatering sides, moist and tender turkey, and desserts that make you want to talk about the next best thing after eating it all. Eating them all over again for weeks to come.
My proudest leftover creation to date was this year’s double sausage stuffing waffle. You scoop as much of your leftover stuffing as you want (My dad made my favorite stuffing with gluten-free bread, also making it one of the best Thanksgivings to date), a splash of milk and egg, but what makes this waffle absolutely amazing is a healthy heap of gravy. It glues the whole thing together and starts to caramelize when it hits the waffle iron, giving it a sweet, savory crispness all around. And then I quickly heated some cranberry sauce to mix in with maple syrup to add some more sweet and tartness. Perfection
And now that all the stuffing waffles I can make have been eaten, and the days grow colder and darker, I keep thinking back to right as all the craziness from this year began: the Jackie and Rachel road trip to the south. While this might be a few months late, I feel I must provide my top five foods I enjoyed greatly from this past summer (and late spring). Here they are in no particular order:
Which is good for any time of year, but this summer I discovered my favorite gluten-free beer. The boyfriend and I hiking along a nearby waterfall previously visited frozen over in the winter with some snacks and a few new beers to try. Normally, he brews me gluten-free beer, but he had one to recommend. The Tweason’ale. Dogfish Head, a pretty well-known and liked craft beer company, made this as their take on a sorghum-based ale brewed with strawberries and buckwheat honey.
It’s light, but refreshing and a much better flavor than any other sorghum I had tried previously. My non gluten-free friends have even purchased them. It’s a great beer to cool off and relax by the waterfalls.
What better food to eat the entire summer with beer (which is pretty much what I did). I just couldn’t think of anything better to eat during the hot days at the beach or a long day after work. Magic Taco Corp was one of my favorite spots to hit up when I started staying at the boyfriend’s, making my 2 hour city commute a little bit more bearable. Right off the highway in East Islip, this Mexican-Asian cuisine offers a delicious and eclectic array of meals and a list of protein to put on any of them. Smoke Berkshire pork belly tacos, slow roasted porchetta bao buns, and grilled jerked chicken pupusas are just some of the options.
It’s all amazing, but definitely try their specials for the day. Their shockapus tacos had unbelievably tender grilled octopus and Szechuan flower blossoms that gave your mouth a slight shock. And if you want a great meal with leftovers perfect for breakfest, have the fried chicken. I always get the habanero garlic lime sauce. Not as spicy as I’d like, but it does its job. The next day I just heat up what’s left and make beer batter pancakes. Just take whatever pancake mix you prefer and switch the water out with your beer of choice. I use my newly discovered Tweason’ale.
Another great Mexican fusion place I’ve tried was on our roadtrip in Asheville, North Carolina. Salsa’s immediately grabs your attention with its bright colors and the Mexican-Caribbean menu grabs your stomach’s.
We started with drinks and of course salsa. There were many types to choose from and the favorite from me would have to be the fire roasted tomato and chipotle peanut. Almost anything with chipotle is a winner in my book.
We then after ordering everything that our greedy eyes and starving stomachs demanded, the Carribean sweet potato empanadas, and a slow roasted pork on a flattened corn cake with shaved carrots, cheese, and delicious sauce. I wished I had remembered the names and ingredients of all the delicious things I had, but if you ever get the chance to go, there’s no way you can go wrong ordering anything off that mouthwatering menu.
On another vacation this summer, I found myself still craving tacos down at Beach Haven on LBI with my parents. So I started searching and found El Swell, another shack by the shore with some delicious tacos and sangria to wash it down with (BYOB). Classic tacos to savor with sangria and a great view of the sunset to walk by right after.
But there is one place that resonates in my heart when you just re ally need some good tacos and tamales at any hour of the day. In Astoria, Queens one avenue down from Broadway is St. James Deli, a small kitchen tucked alongside this grocery/ convenient store. My mouth is watering just recalling the pork tamales I tend to order whether it’s in the afternoon or 2 in the morning. While there isn’t a lot of space to sit down and eat, the presenation of the food and flavors beat any dolled up restaurant. And did I forget it also beats them all in price? Three dollars, two pork tamales, one incredibly happy customer, always.
Now I have to stop obsessing about tacos and obsess over all about the fresh, fresh, and unbelievably fresh seafood Rachel and I experienced all throughout our road trip.
I’ll start in New Orleans with a classic, crawfish. These mudbugs we ate for the rest of the trip, but didn’t compare in size or spice with the ones we had at the New Orleans Jazz festival. They were like mini lobsters where you had to practically crunch on them to crack and get to the meat. The steam came off of them with the strong spices making your mouth instantly water. They are worth a try and taste like shrimp mixed with lobster.
And while the crawfish weren’t as amazing on Jekyll Island, the seafood margarita special on Cinco de Mayo made up for it. Pounds of shrimp, crawfish, and giant margaritas can really put you in a festive mood.
If we want to talk about seafood overload however, that would be with these ridiculous orders we made on the shore in Delaware. But I’m proud to say I got through most of that grove of super seasoned crabs. Give me a mallet, some butter, and this girl is ready to go.
- Oysters (this needed its own number)
Acme Oyster House in the French Quarter, New Orleans. Sassy, good-humored staff, the largest oysters I’ve seen, delicious raw or chargrilled.
Peaches always make me think of summer. This probably has to do with one of my old favorite summer songs “Peaches” by the Stranglers a few years ago. And they also make me think of grilling. When it’s the summer, it’s a time to experiment with what can be charred up by flames. And the latest thing has been peaches. What could be better than dessert on the grill? Dessert on the grill with bourbon butter sauce.
And there’s a jam packed blog entry that has left me starving for all of this food. Maybe soon I will have a top five pick for the winter. Stay tuned for more posts, (hopefully) more frequently.