Saturday, January 24, 2009

The best things I've ever had in my mouth

Now, now. Get your mind out of the gutter.

I saw a show on the cooking channel last night. It was a compilation of chefs telling us about their favorite things to eat. Some were weird, some fabulous looking. It got me thinking about the best things I've ever eaten.

I love food. I like the look of it. I like the aroma of it. I love the taste of it. I love the whole experience of eating food. It's not just taste. It's a whole package.

Some things I love, but won't make my top 10 list are the following.

ChiChi's seafood chimi's smothered in a lobster creme sauce with a dollop of sour cream on top. Oh the buttery, flaky, flour tortilla stuffed with moist seafood, that has been deep fried and then smothered in a fabulous sauce, just melted in my mouth. The rich cream sauce was divine. There was always a tiny bit of shredded lettuce and diced tomato on the plate. If you could get a bite of that flaky tortilla, some succulent crab and shrimp, all drenched in the creme sauce, AND a few strands of the lettuce and tomato, well that was just about pure bliss.

Bacon. Nothing better to my taste buds than perfectly crisp bacon.

Hot buttered popcorn. White corn, real butter, sea salt. Enough said.

Patty Caswell's peanut butter sheet cake. It's rich and buttery and peanutbuttery. I can eat piece after piece. Oh ya, life is good when peanut butter sheet cake is present.

My favorite dining experience of all times was at The Court of Two Sisters in New Orleans. It was a perfect sunny day. We dined outside on the patio. It was the Jazz Brunch. The ambiance, the food, the service, the company, it was all just perfect. It was Den, the boys, and I on one of our family vacations. The brunch lasted for 3 hours I'd think. I had eggs Benedict that was divine. I had gumbo and etouffee, both shrimp I believe. I had bananas foster with homemade ice cream that was sinful to look at, never mind to savor on my tongue. Their bread pudding was to die for. We ate crawfish until there were mountains of their little skeletons on the table. Joshua was best at that. The grits were creamy and tasty and the sausage they had was succulent. They had salads....please! Who are you kidding? I had prime rib that was hand carved and crusty warm bread with tons of butter. I'm sure I had more things, but those are what I remember the most. I'd say that was about 1993 or so. I've never forgotten that experience, or that food. Makes me smile to remember it now. We swore we'd never eat again. A few hours later we stopped at the Cafe Du Monde for cafe Au lait and beignets. Another experience I'll never forget.

Here's my top 10 list. They're in no particular order. I tried and tried to think of the best thing I've ever eaten and I just couldn't come up with THE best.

1. Paula's homemade macaroni and cheese. Oh my land was it good. She used shell pasta and welfare cheese. It baked a long time until it was soft and gooey and brown on the top and it was just a perfect comfort food. It's the best mac and cheese I've ever had in my whole life.

2. Fried dill pickles. Had them at a chef's convention at Boyne Mountain. Holy shit were they good. It was a crispy dill pickle wrapped in swiss cheese and ham and then dipped in batter and deep fried. We dredged this heavenly concoction through a mustard creme sauce. The sauce was made with dijon, heavy cream, mayonnaise, butter, everything that will kill you, but make you happy to die! God they were good.

3. Carrabba's hot crusty bread and their imported olive oil. Oh I love that stuff! The bread is soft in the middle and crispy on the crust. I dredge (not dip) it into the herbed olive oil that I've added a generous twist of sea salt to. I rarely order food at Carrabba's. I just like the wine and bread. It's an herb explosion party for my taste buds.

4. Aunt Lou's raspberry cobbler with ice cream. Oh goodness what I wouldn't give for some of that today. She made homemade pie crust that was flaky and yummy. The raspberries were plump and perfect. She usually served it warm with ice cream. Oh Lord that was good.

5. Mummy's head cheese. Yes, I know, it sounds gross. I loved it. We didn't use head to make ours. We used pig hocks and hamburger. It had so much flavor. Lots of herbs and spices. We'd slice it and eat it on sandwiches with pepperocini pepper juice. Those were the days.

6. Grandma Steinhause's dumplings and lemon cake. She might have been a child hater, but she could cook. Her dumplings would just melt in your mouth. They were the flat kind. Not the big puffy ones I make now. They had chicken fat in them which I assume is why they tasted so good. She made a homemade lemon coconut cake to go with them. Just a perfect compliment. Tart lemon, buttery dumplings. A truly satisfying experience.

7. Wild mushroom soup from the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. It's by far the best soup I've ever had in my whole life. So rich and creamy and exotic. The texture was just perfect. Silken and buttery. We washed it down with a bottle of Chateau Lafite Rothschild Cabernet Sauvignon, 1992 if you please.

8. My daughter in law Tara's caramel cheese cake with fresh raspberries. I think it was a turtle cheesecake. It was, and still is, by far the best cheesecake I've ever had. The sweetness of the caramel with the tartness of the raspberries. Just sumptuous. She made killer cheesy potato's that same day which made me a happy lady!

9. I had one bite of a steak from Ireland that was the best cow that has ever passed my lips. Ian ordered it and gave me a bite. It literally melted in my mouth. It was by far the tastiest steak ever. Since I didn't have the whole steak, I get one more dish from Ireland. We were staying at a B & B and the breakfast there was perfection. They made the best porridge. It was made with milk instead of water she explained. I had mine with Muscavado brown sugar, real maple syrup, and rich, to die for, butter. OMG what a way to start my day. I think of that porridge often.

10. Speaking of butter. Brit butter is fantastic. It's totally different from our butter. It's got so much more flavor. I buy crusty little bread loaves when I'm there and heat them in the oven. I slather them with lots of cold, creamy, Brit butter. Oh my it's so very good. I adore Yorkshire puddings too.....but the Brit's definitely in my top 10 list!

Sighhhh those were the days. I'm off to have a slice of whole wheat toast with a tablespoon of sugar free jam now. I think I'll splurge and have a cup of fat free milk too.

Oh happy days.


Fried Jeff said...

Your blog post made me hungry (lol).

I wanted to thank you for your comment on my blog the other day. I love what you wrote. Your words are full of wisdom and I am consciously shifting my thinking to think like that. Thank you again!

I hope you have a nice weekend!

Luanne said...

Oh we are so related.
That bread pudding with carmel sauce and pecans in New Orleans was to die for. Haven't had any come close to it since. And Carrabba's bread and oil well all I can say is I never have room for the entree.

Hope the ww toast and fat free milk went well with the plate full of memories.

Fried Jeff said...

Thanks for your comments. I'm still laughing (chuckling actually). I changed my post picture. Thanks for the laughs too. The verification word killed me. :)

Daphne said...

Your list made me realise how different British food is - I hadn't heard of lots of these. Most sound great to me apart from anything with sour cream which, to me, is just like cream that's gone off. Cream that isn't sour though - - delicious!

Milo said...

I hope you realise that's made me very hungry reading through that!! :P

Carlos said...

love the food down in NO. I have spent many an afternoon using food an chicory coffee to nurse my hangover on the patio of the Court of two sisters...thanks for taking me back