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Tuesday 31 January 2012

Another week, another seven dishes, submitted for your approval.

Morning Glory:

Biscuits with Sausage Gravy:

Biscuits and gravy is a breakfast staple. Often, it’s canned gravy with minuscule flecks of sausage, over biscuits that were rock-hard before the application of the gravy. Morning Glory, of course, uses really good house-made biscuits, light and fluffy on their own. The gravy is rich, with big chunks of ground sausage in it. I got it with scrambled eggs, my usual, although I am thinking of trying them over well next time.

If it’s a cold day and the specials aren’t working for you, this is a safe bet.

I ordered a side of bacon as well, for working on Pig-Headed. Morning Glory is one of the few places I’d attempt it, because Herself often orders bacon as a side and somehow, everything there seems to go with bacon. Then Herself reminded me that the gravy was loaded with sausage…ah well, it is very good bacon.

 

Thai Pepper:

Pad Thai, Tiger Rolls:

Pad Thai is often a heavier dish of noodles, chicken or seafood, and any of a variety of sauces. Thai Pepper’s version uses rice vermicelli as the noodle, adds chunks of ground or chopped chicken, and a fairly vinegar-y sauce, with bean sprouts and chopped peanuts as garnish. It’s a much, much lighter preparation than most pad thais, and makes a great side dish, but is rather light for a main. I got it as part of the lunch special with the Tiger Rolls, their version of a Thai-style eggroll. It’s an eggroll with a very crisp, many-layered wrapper, and a mostly veg filling, lightly fried. It’s a not at all greasy eggroll, certainly as compared to many Chinese eggrolls.

 

 

Larks:

Black Cod with Pineapple Salsa, with house salad (special):

Black cod is one of those fish that even Herself likes occasionally, and I will eat in great quantities if allowed. Our favorite preparation is probably the miso black cod at Nami Nami in Mountain View, California. But it’s such a luscious fish I will usually try it when it’s available.

I am skeptical of fruit salsas. I’ve had too many mango salsas that ruined an otherwise good dish for me, often by making a nice crust soggy. I also find mango to be insipid as fruits go, but I love pineapple.

This turned out to be a fabulous dish. A nice “log” of cod, all buttery, with the salsa on the side (my call), perched at an angle against a scoop of white rice. The cod had a really salty taste, which I enjoyed but others might have found too strong. The pineapple salsa was a great foil to the saltiness. This was served with a salad of greens, hazelnuts, and shaved parmesan.

The chef got a note from me that I’d love to see this again on the menu. Sadly, no photo this time.

Taroko:

Taroko is turning out to be full of (pleasant) surprises.

Agedashi Tofu:

Agedashi tofu is one of the oldest known tofu preparations in Japanese cuisine. It’s a slice of a bar of tofu, lightly breaded and fried.

Sadly, this one did not introduce me to anything new about tofu. While I’m sure it was prepared correctly, this is a dish that highlights the aspects of tofu that I dislike the most: bland (“subtle, mild”) and mushy (“moist, tender”). If you like agedashi tofu, I’m sure this is a fine preparation, but it’s not a taste that’s grown on me since the last time I had tofu served in a similar style.

 

Crystal Shrimp Dumplings:

Sometimes, shrimp dumplings are ground shrimp in a really thick shell. In this case, the wrapper was correctly transparent, around a chunky, ah, chunk of shrimp meat. A good complement to the tofu; really, they are what rescued the meal for me.

 

Sesame Asian Kitchen:

Tangerine Chicken:

Orange peel beef, sometimes known as tangerine beef, and either sometimes prepared with chicken, is one of my favorite dishes. It’s definitely a heart attack on a plate, even when made with chicken, because it’s really big blocks of breading around a small chunk of meat, deep-fried and with a spicy-sour orange sauce.

Unfortunately, the chicken pieces used for this version are like chicken nuggets, with not enough breading to be crunchy in the right way for tangerine chicken. The sauce is a deep pool of a thin liquid, instead of the thick, syrupy sauce that’s preferred for the dish, and it has insignificant tang.

If you have small children who want chicken nuggets, or a fussy eater, this with the sauce on the side is a fine neutral dish. Herself often orders it, sauce on the side and with a salt shaker to add some flavor to the nuggets. But if you’re a fan of tangerine beef (chicken) in its more traditional forms, unlike the cashew chicken, this is not an improvement on the typical form of this entrée.

 

Martolli’s:

Marchetti:

Marchetti is the name an interesting pie, with sausage, spinach, feta cheese, and an olive oil base–no tomato or pesto here. The unusual bit is the candied walnuts, which add a dimension of sweetness that is often only found through fruit (usually pineapple) on pizzas. I really liked the way the walnuts played off the bite of the sausage. It’s an interesting pie, and definitely worth trying if you’re looking for something different.

 

Smithfield’s:

Shrimp n’ Grits:

I have no idea what the historic background of this dish is. I suspect it’s Southern, maybe Louisiana. In this instance, it’s a bowl of grits, four cornmeal-dusted fried shrimp in the middle, and bacon on the grits. I believe the bacon is normally mixed into the grits, but I had asked for it crispy, and doesn’t it just look marvelous?

It’s an interesting dish, but I suspect that grits and tofu have more in common than I like, as neither hits the mark for me–both bland and mushy. The bacon helped a lot, as did the shrimp and lime. Not a regrettable dish, and probably one that will resonate with others–just not with me.

This week had more duds than I liked, but even they showed me something new; none caused me to regret the order. We’ll see what next week brings. Until then, keep the greasy side down!

 

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Steve Rowles permalink
    Tuesday 31 January 2012 10:30 AM

    If you didn’t like the shrimp and grits, it must have been because there wasn’t enough butter in the grits. Come to Alabama and really experience this southern dish.

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