Saturday, July 26, 2014

Rocky Mountain Adventures, Pt. Two

My dislike of eating birds has been mentioned before.  While I have definitely made peace with the idea of eating winged animals, I would never choose chicken or turkey over pork or beef.  (I would include lamb in that list, but I'm too poor.)

My exceptionally low tolerance for spiciness has also been mentioned before.  I love salt, but most other spices are too much for me to handle.  I say progress has been made on this front.  Joey says I am a baby.

In Colorado, we took turns making massive dinners.  One of the last nights, Joey's lovely first cousin once removed (also known as his mom's cousin) made a chicken dinner.  With jalapeños.  Progress or no progress, I definitely do not eat jalapeños.

But I am adventurous now!

All those green flecks are potentially deadly.  Or they're bits of parsley.

So I cut off a piece of Joey's chicken of death.  And I tried it.  It definitely had a kick, but it actually wasn't too bad.  The little bits of jalapeños were easy to avoid.  I managed to get the gist of the spiciness without any of the real fire.

It would have been better with pork, though.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Rocky Mountain Adventures, Pt. One

On our recent vacation to Colorado, Joey and I ate what might be considered by some to be too much.  But we were on vacation!  We were allowed to over-indulge!

Because vacations are meant to be relaxing, I didn't make adventuring a priority.  When we went out to eat, I ordered the cheapest thing that I knew I would like.  That's my usual restaurant strategy.  And it's a good strategy.  When we ate the house, I ate whatever I felt like from the large group meals that were prepared (one of ours was a very successful previous adventure!).

Nevertheless, two adventures were had.  One at a restaurant and one at the house.

Let's talk about the restaurant first.  There were fifteen of us, so (to save money) we only ate out twice as a big group.  The first time, we went to a restaurant a few miles from downtown Estes Park.

I picked a pretty safe entree and the table ordered some appetizers.  One of the appetizers was a pretty delicious Hummus.  Joey also put in an order for Spicy Corn Dip.  He's a sucker for anything that says "served with sour cream."

The aforementioned sour cream on top of slightly digested corn--I mean corn dip!

As an appetizer, I was allowed to adventure with very little financial risk.  It did not look particularly appetizing.  But it did look adventurous.  So, knowing I could wash any foul tastes out with yummy Hummus, I sampled the Spicy Corn Dip.

Kind of a disappointment.  Not the adventure I had been mentally preparing for.  It was very mild.  The sour cream immediately balanced out all the spice.  The corn was too sweet for the whole combo of sour cream and mildly spicy.  It was like those pizzerias in the Midwest that will throw corn on your pizza for no additional charge just because it's lying around.

As much as I like corn, there are things I wouldn't pair it with.  This dish either needed more spice (the first time I've ever said/written that!) or no corn.

Monday, July 14, 2014

A Pre-Vacation Adventure

Few things are as American as baseball, apple pie, the Ferris Wheel, or barbecue.  So when Joey and I ate out before heading to the Rocky Mountains for more adventures, barbecue seemed a natural choice.  Except that barbecue is scary.

Barbecuing is not grilling.  These two cooking methods are very different.  You grill a hot dog or hamburger.  You don't barbecue them (adding sauce after cooking is not barbecuing).  Grilling is applying open flame to a meat to cook it.  Like pan cooking but without the pan.  Barbecuing is steeping meat in sauce and then applying the smoke of an open flame and some of the heat to cook it slowly for hours till it's so tender it practically falls off the bone.

I can hear your confused cries.  "But that sounds delicious!  Meat so tender it falls off the bone!  How can you possibly go wrong?"

I'll tell you.  It's the sauce.  The sauce is what makes barbecue so scary.  It's also what makes barbecue so popular.  There are so many different sauces.  America has practically a thousand different barbecue sauces.  Most of them involve scary spices such as pepper or mustard.

"But, Kayla," you say, "you have come so far!  Surely a little mustard or pepper doesn't scare you anymore!  This a meal where you don't even need teeth!"

You see this was not a meal I was eating in the comfort of my own home, where I could make another dinner if I didn't like this one.  This was not a meal that I assembled at a fraction of the cost of what I would pay in a restaurant.  I paid to take the L to this restaurant where I paid to eat food that someone else made and, if I didn't like it, I was just going to go home hungry.

Thank God I know I like cornbread and mac and cheese!

I ordered Carolina Pulled Pork.  Joey said I would probably like.  He's known me long enough that I trust his judgement.  Also, I really like pork.

I was nervous when it was brought out to us, and not only because I would be one of those people who takes a picture of their food in a restaurant.  I had gambled a lot of money on this plate.  I really hoped it would good.

It was better than good!  It was delicious!  Carolina Pulled Pork seems to use a lot of brown sugar, and that cuts the bite of any pepper or mustard.  It was super tender and delicious, and I was so glad I ordered it!

I think I can say with confidence that I enjoy Carolina barbecue.  Maybe Kansas City will be next....