Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Comfort in Chains

While I'm usually the advocate of trying the interesting local restaurant, sometimes a chain can offer the known variety that just fits what you're craving. Today I stopped in at an Applebee's for a late lunch. They have one dish, the Fiesta Lime Chicken, that since I stumbled onto it a few years ago I have ordered probably 90% of the time I've been to an Applebee's.

Sometimes I think we crave comfort food and the modern-day version of that has become the chain restaurant. I know what I'm getting, pretty much regardless of where I am, traveling or local. It's for the most part consistent in flavor and portion size. I don't go to Outback looking for some great new culinary experience, I go to have the Shrimp on the Barbie. There are those few chains that have a wide enough variety that there's not one specific thing that my creature-of-habit side has tightly latched onto. Cracker Barrel, Ihop and Shorty Smalls are all good examples of those that have a range of tastes that can allow me to expand beyond buttermilk pancakes (and Cracker Barrel has those down to an art form.)

I think I must need need to get out and travel soon. I'd be worried that my sense of good eats is getting warped, but as my husband and I were traveling home from a recent day-trip, we both spied one of those roadside stand eateries in a town with a population that scarcely reaches 100. We both remarked how that there were probably some pretty tasty concoctions to be found there, but since neither of us were remotely hungry we drove on. I did however, file that location into my list of "places to check out."

Monday, October 16, 2006

Totally Off-topic

I'm adding this merely because I can.
Oh and because I cannot wait for this movie to come out. It looks ridiculously cute and funny. The soundtrack should be fantastic too.

What is all this nonsense that's not food or travel related? (It requires me to leave home and go to a theater. That's travel I suppose.) Here's a website explaining it all.

So as not to be totally off-topic, I did try the Otis & Betty's snack mix "Original" flavor and within a day the entire bag was gone. It was that good; a really nice mix of sweet & spicy that I thought was a little off in the "Meet Jack." I still have "BBQ" to try. Will sample and post more on that later.

Friday, October 13, 2006

And Sometimes the Good Eats Come to You

Due to a recent hospital stay, my husband and I have received a few gourmet and snack baskets. It's been a great opportunity to try out some new gourmet goodies that I otherwise might have skipped on the shelves. Many florists look for local vendors with unique food and gift items to create a variety you won't find off the shelf of most chain grocery stores. The ones we received were no exception. Since some of these regional treats may be worth seeking out, I'll share what we've sampled so far.

Toblerone, Chocolate Bar with Almond & Honey Nougat - A treat I indulged in as a teenager as the Swiss Colony shop that was once in our local mall sold them. They're still good, but not as amazing as I remember as a kid.

Otis & Betty's, Snack Mix - There's about 3 varieties in my pantry now, and the only one I've tried thus far is "Meet Jack." It's an odd mix of savory & sweet, so the verdict is still out on this one. (They do not have a website that I can find so far.)

Janis & Melanie, Cheese Straws - For the cheese lover who likes a real kick, these supposedly southern traditional snack are spectacular. They have just enough heat to get your attention without sending you running for the nearest cold drink. Very tasty and worth finding! (They too are in the internet dark ages.)

Brent & Sam's, Gourmet Cookies - These you can get in our area at Kroger, but in limited varieties. While they're not home-made in taste, their unique flavors are quite exceptional. I wouldn't have bought the Chocolate Chip Pecan but they are good. They're usually aren't worth the $4 a box they cost at Kroger, but if they're on sale and it's the Key Lime White Chocolate and I'm experiencing a moment of weakness... there are circumstances that come into play.

I have a whole pantry full of other goodies just waiting to be enjoyed, so as I find things worth noting I'll do just that.

Oh yes, there was this cute sugar cookie that looked like a sunflower in one basket. It was one of those individually wrapped icing coated cookies, I'm sure you've seen them before. I know I'd have chipped a tooth if I'd tried to eat the middle; the icing was that hard. I suggest you let those remain pretty on the shelf and save yourself the dental work.