Saturday, January 23, 2010

Rollin' Along...

in Bowling Green, Kentucky, home of the Corvette--America's Dream Car. Seriously, even if you aren't a "car person," would you not like to drive one just once? I went to the 'Vette museum on a previous trip to KY, so I am acquainted with the wonder and splendor that is the Corvette. Most of the cars, probably 90% or so, that live in the museum are on loan from private owners...which is amazing to me, because that says they must have enough Corvettes to not miss one.

Personally, if I had a classic...say a beautiful 1968 Stingray...I would put one of those giant turntables in my front yard and allow my neighbors to bask in the glory and revel in the envy of me and my 'Vette. (You're worried about property values since I moved in, aren't you?)
If you have time and are in the area, the National Corvette Museum is interesting...and most importantly, air-conditioned, if you are there in the summer. The evolution of the icon is lovingly detailed, and there are a few interesting factoids to be found that might interested people who don't love automotive machinery. I found a lovely metallic olive green number that would beright at home on my front yard turntable--the design was heavily influenced by women who worked with the Corvette designers and engineers and featured some feminine handbag storage and vanity mirrors. Very pretty...

One of the coolest thing about the Corvette Museum is the least flashy thing--the library. The library houses information and specifications for practically every Corvette every manufactured. If you found some rusted out heap in Ol' MacDonald's barn and needed help restoring it to it's original condition, these ladies have just what you need. If you have a VIN or some sort of serial number, they can tell the original engine size, if it even is the original engine, the interior and exterior colors, upholstery options, etc. Pretty darn cool.

As far as dining options in Bowling Green, there's a lot of chains. I had some high hopes when I found out that a lot of Bosnians had settled there as refugees from Serbian-Croat conflicts. and I immediately asked about the possibility of Bosnia food. I was directed to a restaurant called "You and Me." And I immediately Googled "Bosnia food" and got this list, which sounded pretty darn promising.

You and Me is in a converted old house, with beautiful hardwood floors. I was a bit disconcerted when I walked in at 7:30ish p.m. on a Wednesday night and there was no one there. Literally, there were no customers in the dining room, and not a host-type person to be seen. After standing there for a minute or two, I could hear voices from the kitchen, so I yelled "hello" and scared the hostess. Always a good start to the dining experience.

The menu was sort of all over the place--Italian, Greek, and some German-sounding dishes...nothing that I would have thought to be distinctly different or "Bosnia-sounding" like the list in the Wiki. I asked my waitress what she would recommend, and she said that the Wienerwald Chicken was her fave. It was grilled chicken breasts smothered in a light cream sauce with tomatoes and topped with bad could that be? It didn't strike me as being of any particular ethnicity, but it did seem to be a safe bet. It was served with a side item, and the waitress recommended the sliced baked potatoes, which came in a creamy, buttery sauce. So much for my resolution for making better choices when it came to eating out.

The chicken was cooked well, seasoned well, and tasted good, but was just not something to jump up and down about. The potatoes, on the other hand, were pretty fantabulous. They were tender, creamy, and a little caramelized on top. Perfect comfort food for a winter's eve. And, let me not forget the bread...because I ate 1 and a half loaves of it. Damn you, bread, just damn you. Carbs are definitely my downfall, and I downfell with abandon with this bread...which looks a lot like this bread.

I think it's called lepina or lepinja, and it had a nice chewy crust with an interior that was not too dense...not quite sure of the baking terminology to describe it. It was really nice, and I could have made a meal of just it and some butter.

On the way up, I stopped just before Franklin, TN to check out a place that came highly recommended from, called Henpeck Market.

The Henpeck Market is as described on RoadFood--a quasi-gas station/mini-market/grill/gift shop--and the picture of the grilled pimento cheese with tomatoes and bacon sold me on stopping. (It was on the way up and I did need to eat lunch, didn't I? Ah, Yoda, the justification runs strong within this one...)

I had the grilled pimento cheese, and it was most tasty. I love, love, love pimento cheese, and it must be a savory pimento cheese. That stuff you see in the lunch meat section of the grocery store usually tastes sweet, and that is bad eats.

Pimento cheese seems to be a uniquely Southern delicacy, and it is a delicacy--the staple of many bridal teas and baby showers--made into little finger sandwiches of white bread with the crusts cut off. It's simple to make, and can be dressed up or dressed down. I just eat it with crackers if I make it...and I don't make it often, because I will eat it...all of it. I shall share my top secret recipe with you if you beg...well, okay, I won't make you beg.

Pimento Cheese

1 8-oz bag of finely shredded sharp Cheddar cheese

1 8-oz bag of finely shredded mild Cheddar cheese

1 4-oz or larger jar of diced pimentos (depends on how pimento-ey you like your cheese)

1/2 cup chopped pecans, lightly toasted and cooled (This would be the key and secret ingredient)

Garlic salt to taste

Black pepper to taste

Mayonnaise to taste

(On the mayonnaise front--I use Hellman's, and Hellman's Light can be used; Duke's is allowed, too. Do not ever mentioned the words "Miracle Whip" and pimento cheese in the same breath to me. That will make you dead to me in a heart beat. Seriously. I am not kidding.)

1. Combine the cheeses, the garlic salt, and pepper in a large bowl. There's no real measurements for the spices; I just shake some in and then adjust later.

2. Add the pecans and then the pimentos. Start adding the mayo in about a teaspoon full at a time. Start with 1-2 and combine until the mixture holds together. Be careful, because the mayo can get away from you, and you find yourself rooting around in the fridge for any extra cheese that you might have available to dry it out.

3. Cover and chill for about 20-30 minutes before serving. I usually mound it up in a bowl, kind of like a cheese ball, and scatter crackers around it. If you are making sandwiches, you may need to add a little more mayo to make it spreadable, but this pimento cheese is meant for a hardy bread, where you can just sort of mash it onto the bread and it doesn't have to look pretty.

I liked the version of Pimento Cheese that I had at Hal and Mal's with the jalapenos, which would be a nice addition...make sure you drain them well if using pickled. (And, remember, no Miracle Whip. Ever. Will send a crackerjack squad of little ol' blue hair assassins after you.)

The real gem of this trip was on the way home. I got stuck in Nashville traffic, which was every bit as horrendous as the traffic I used to see in the ATL. There was an accident, which was causing delays that resulted in taking 45 minutes to go a quarter mile. So, I hit the GPS and asked it to find me food, and it popped up with the Back to Cuba Cafe. Cuban food?! In Nashville?! At the exit I was creeping towards?! Oh, yeah!

This is the Lechon Asado Plate, which is roasted pork with grilled onion, some yucca with grilled onions and a mojo sauce, black beans, and rice. The taste buds were doing a happy dance from the first bite until the last bit was scraped off the plate. I had a shot of Cuban coffee to top it off, which kept me away for the rest of the trip home. I am busily plotting a revisit to this little gem.

(Oh, and be amazed at the picture--I took it with the cell phone and managed to get it off the cell phone and onto my blog without the use of a memory card. Take that, modern technology!)

This post has gone on way too long and taken way too long to write, but I must give an update on the Fat Dog. His tumor came back, and our vet referred us to the Small Animal Clinic at Auburn University for further examination and diagnosing. The news is not good. This time, the cancer has spread to the lungs and lymph nodes, and we're at Stage 4. They offered some options for chemotherapy and possibly the vaccine, but it would only prolong his life for a short amount of time, and he might not respond to treatment at, he would feel bad for nothing.

I decided to bring him home and make him comfortable. He doesn't seem to be in any pain, but I have meds for that if he starts to hurt. Last night, he was like the old Fat Dog we all know and love...with the exception of The Goldfish of course. He chased The New Hotness around the living room and "dominated" him for awhile, and he's still eating and drinking, so it's not quite the end yet. But, I know it's coming...and I have no idea how to prepare for it.

1 comment:

J said...

You're on my mind. So sorry to hear about the pup.