I had the most incredible burger a couple of weeks ago in Georgia. Quality beef mingled with ground chorizo sausage and a layer of egg over-easy between a toasted bun, mayo, lettuce, and garden tomato. It was an award-winning taste bud-popping highly notable experience. The salt, the tender beef, the slick texture of running, rich yolk—a foodgasmic experience.
I love food. Really. I just loooove good food. I love the entire five-sense stimulating encounter, the mélange of the tasting with socializing, and, as any mother would, the dependence on paid help to prepare, serve, and clean the dishes. There are many places where I have enjoyed meals both fancy and earth-grounding, so to speak. Here are some of the ones most prominent in memory:
Fried chicken from a Texaco in Hazlehurst, MS… ordered in desperation, tasted cautiously, then inhaled in high appreciation for the fried chicken that only a southern mama could cook to perfection. I used to stop here years ago while passing through a portion of country. Does only the South have outstanding kitchens in their rural gas stations? I have had perfectly peel-able and succulent crawfish from a Baton Rouge gas station as well, and tenderly cornmeal fried oyster po boys from another fill-up stop near Delacroix Island, Louisiana.
The richest, meatiest, chunkiest crab cakes, aside from my Aunt Irma’s, have to originate from the upscale kitchen of Hemingway’s, a restaurant attached to the Hyatt Grand Cypress Hotel in Orlando, Florida. Once, at a business dinner in the Midwest, I met a young man who was talking about his father’s culinary-inspired travels. He said his dad just had been praising the most incredible crab cakes from a trip down south. At the same time, we named the same restaurant. There is no such thing as coincidence.
Lavender and honey ice cream, produced lovingly and presented with pride, can be ordered on occasion from Gertrude’s in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I once savored this extraordinary blend of unusual flavors after an elegant meal in Gertrude’s renovated bungalow. I have never had such creamy and perfumed ice cream since.
Luz del Sol, the best cake I have ever had, is available on a random basis at Kuba Kuba in Richmond, Virginia’s Fan neighborhood. Imagine a sweet coffee-soaked flan layer over a yellow cake. The liqueur trickles down into the bready fluff and pools on the plate. Even flan-haters love this cake. It’s like crack; eat it once, and never stop craving it again. And one does not just desire the taste-- the texture, the journey from pudding smooth to delicately grained and heavily soaked cake. I can't stand myself as I write this.
Oh, there’s so much more—there was a duck and white cheese pizza I once had from a restaurant that is now closed in Colorado and there was a lovely ahi-tuna dish from a biker bar/upscale diner in Indiana that is also now closed. I have had succulent roast duckling from a pub somewhere in England. And the best Vietnamese meal? I enjoyed it in Paris.
I’m not going to tidy up this blog with a neatly written paragraph closing the food list. Instead, I would be most delighted to continue it with a list of your best meals discovered both at restaurants and at home. After all, someone’s home cooking often inspires the opening of a great eatery. I see Jay the Piper has been shoving beer cans up chicken bums, by the way. Rock on, Jay! Hope you had a good porter with that meal.