We, like most people, get sick of the same old meals. Every now and then, it is good for us to refresh our palettes with something new and interesting. Sometimes refreshment comes from sharing a meal with someone who loves to cook, sometimes it comes from just taking a chance with a new recipe, and sometimes it comes from trying out a new restaurant.
One of the things we looked forward to on our trip was the opportunity to try some new cuisine. We are now on day 19, and I am ready to return to my "normal" cuisine. That's not to say that I have not enjoyed almost every single meal we've had on the road. I am just ready to reduce the decision making to our regularly scheduled meals.
We tried to make good food choices while staying on a budget. In the process, we ended up frequenting and loving a few fast-food places that are not in our area: In-N-Out Burgers, Del-Taco, and Noodles & Co. All three were great--and I am not usually a fan of fast-food.
I do have plans to try to recreate this dish at home. Yummy!
We always asked people for local restaurant recommendations, and were rewarded with some great experiences. While in Moab, we settled on Milt's Stop and Eat after talking with a young man in the laundromat. Opened in 1954, this place is a classic that serves really good quality food.
Because it was 105 degrees outside, Tessa and I did not choose to join the crowd on the patio, but instead chose to sit on two of the ten or eleven seats inside where we could watch the guys flip the burgers. The young fellow (in the photo below) who waited on us kept us laughing the entire time we were there. He is in school studying physics, and it will be a sad day when Milt's loses him.
Not in the mood for meat, we ordered their Avocado Melt which included avocado, swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, and zesty sauce on a whole-wheat bun. It was delicious, and I don't know why I never thought of adding avocado to my grilled cheese sandwiches.
And one of the best meals we had the whole trip was at a little Lebanese restaurant that several people recommended in Fullerton, California after we visited Sevenly. It had fried cauliflower and pine nuts in my wrap; chickpeas, radishes, and mint in Tessa's; and a lemon and olive oil dressing on the salad that we both loved. I plan on upping my wrap game when I get home!
Unlike mom and Tessa, I am the picky eater. Not the pickiest of the family, but a close second. I remember eating all taco items separately when I was growing up. Nothing could touch. Even now I don't eat things without asking about all the ingredients. I am picky. I hate menus. If I had gone on their trip, I would have starved. I am the most easy going, non panicky person you'll meet. Except when handed a menu. I hate making a choice.
The exception to this is pizza restaurants. I love pizza. I can eat pizza everyday. This week we tried a new pizzeria in town that everyone is raving about. Garlic knots and pepper and olive pizza were my choice, and the guys went with the 24" pep and sausage. It was delicious.
I love trying new things, especially if it has anything to do with food, and on this trip, we have had an abundance. And some of these were ones for the books!
I bought a twisted potato stick on the Santa Cruz boardwalk. I watched them twist it onto the stick and then I walked to the seasoning station where they had salt, parmesan/garlic, and lemon pepper. The potato lover in me was in heaven sitting on the beach with my potato twist.
If you tell someone you're traveling west, they are probably going to mention something about In-N-Out Burgers, and justifiably so. Now, I don't love burgers. There were probably two times in my entire life when I could say, "Wow! T hat burger was great." I just feel like without the condiments most people's burgers tastes like nothing, and what is the point of an entire spice rack if you don't use it to season your burger? Okay, let me take a second to get off my soap box. Anyhow, even I thought that In-N-Out was pretty stinking good and their fries were amazing. So, all that to say, go to In-N-Out and be happy.
For some reason this has been the trip of let's-see-how-many-hot-dishes-Tessa-can-choose. To date there have been three. This pasta was made with pepperoncini. Supposedly, they are not supposed to be burn your lips hot, but they were, and despite the fact that I had to sit with my cup of water raised to my lips for an inordinate amount of time, afterwards I loved this meal. If you're ever in Santa Cruz, give it a try!
In the last year I've discovered an intense and passionate love for zucchini. I love the stuff. This dish was full of zucchini and squash and carrots and so much yumminess.
Over the last couple months I've eaten several dishes that incorporated tofu and I'm here to tell you that it's actually pretty good. It has an interesting texture, but put it with rice and teriyaki vegetables, and bam, it's fabulous.
What inspires you to try something new? Are you in a meal rut? We'd love to hear your food stories!