Eating Out: A Light-Hearted Post

Since I am on my way out of town once again, here are some meals to sink your eyes into, from local non-chain restaurants.

OUTDOOR FARE

Ok, seriously fried food: crab cakes and onion rings, outdoors at The Boardwalk, Lake George NY. The view of the water and people para-sailing was more fun than the food; washing lunch down with local brews helped.

I ended up taking most of this home, and reheating it in the toaster oven over several days. Also had to make big piles of vegetables to eat with it, as I am just not used to the oil.

P.S. Never reheat crispy/fried/texture-driven food in the microwave; it’s such a disappointment.

Next, cheeseburgers with slaw on top at Jumpin Jack’s Drive-In, Scotia NY, with a side of excellent onion rings; rode up hungry on bicycles for the first summer visit and on a motorcycle for the second. A large sweating cup of icy unsweetened tea rounded out the meal.

Last summer we saw television pictures of Jumpin Jack’s under water from Hurricane Irene. Apparently they are all dried out now and back to long but quick-moving lines of customers again.

I don’t eat that much red meat, so when I do it has to be worth it.  Even then, I usually split a burger with other people, and nibble on two or three onion rings. Ok, maybe four. I really, really enjoy the zesty crunch of the coleslaw as my teeth sink into the salty cheese and meat.  All right, maybe five onion rings, you know, if I’m really hungry.

BREAKFASTS

Oh my heavens, mascarpone-stuffed French toast topped by fruit compote at The Parkside House, Buffalo NY.  The Parkside is a B&B three blocks from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin Martin House (note the FLW inspired china).

This meal kept me going for absorbing architecture in the morning, followed by three hours of hiking Niagara Gorge at Whirlpool State Park. Thanks, Chris and Jonny–breakfast was delightful.

Home-made waffle and broccoli rabe (aka rapini, a brassica related to turnips of all things!) & mushroom omelet, with some of the least greasy breakfast potatoes I have ever eaten. Someone was bringing in fresh local bunches of chard, for lunch I presume, as I sat drinking tea.  Skyport Diner, Schenectady NY

DINNERS

Crab cake with–get this!–lemon & vanilla-bean aioli (kept thinking there was something “chocolatey” about it ’til I double-checked the menu) over mango coleslaw, at Waters Edge Lighthouse  Restaurant, Glenville NY.

I suspect most people who dine out have a food they just must sample and compare to previous versions whenever they see it. Mine used to be chicken fried steak with sausage gravy (known in Yankee country as “southern” or “country” fried steak), but since I spend most of my time in the north now, I eat much less meat and fried food–oh, and I’ve eaten more than enough chicken fried steak for several lifetimes—I am now a crab cake taster. This exquisite cake proved one of the best ever, not too bread-y or fried-tasting, accompanied by such exotic flavors! What’s your “search out food”?

The chicken satay appetizer (big enough for a meal), again at Waters Edge Lighthouse. Note the Mohawk River flowing by behind the food, and yes, boats are bobbing there with the sun reflecting on them. Eating on the water is wonderful—especially when Hurricane Irene is not overflowing the banks; this was another restaurant that flooded last summer.

Vegetable samosa nestled behind a bowl of shrimp masala at Shalimar in Delmar NY. The creamy masala sauce with its peppers and onions is best eaten by dipping garlic naan (bread) into it, though you can eat an awful lot of naan in the process. I am also partial to the bund gobi aloo (cabbage and potatoes) all golden and yummy.

NOT DESSERT—INSTEAD, PRETTY COLORS TO FINISH WITH.

The beer flight at Madison Brewery, Bennington VT. The color, just look at the color and the varying opacities!—so many shades of red, amber, gold. Included in this sampler were Crowtown Pale Ale, Sucker Pond Blonde, Wassick’s White Wall (the cloudy one), Buck’s Honey Wheat, Willoughby’s Scottish Ale, and Old 76 Strong Ale.

Cheers, summer!

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