Saturday, April 30, 2011

On The Border Mexican grill review:

After a yucky experience with Pancho's Mexican Buffet in Fort Worth - raise the flag for another dollop of salty and greasy gunk! - I thought I would never touch an enchilada again. Or so I thought.

A week and a couple of thousand miles later, now back in Fort Worth again after a tour through Arkansas, Tennessee and Louisiana, I was rolling my eyes and gob-smacking ecstatically over huge platters of Mexican food in Fort Worth's branch On The Border Mexican Grill. Finally, the US of A that I remember: huge portions of great food served with a huge grin.

Santa Cruz Diner: great food priced right

Cheap American food can be shockingly mucky and gunky. The FDA has vicLinkiously abandoned consumers and sided with the industrial agriculture, which churns out produce that looks perfect but tastes like nothing: exactly the 4th stage of Baudrillard's simulacra, when a (bad) copy of reality is taken for the reality itself. Looking for something affordable and healthy on this New Orleans to San Francisco road trip of ours, we started dreaming of a sizzling American steak with a baked potato, onion rings and fried mushrooms on the side, full of flavour and served with a smile like in good ole days.

Alas, to no avail. From IHOP diners to Paula Deen's Southern cornucopia and the great buffets of Las Vegas, everyone seemed to be saving on good ingredients to keep the prices in control in spite of the cheap dollar, recession and pricey gasoline.
Just on the brink of renouncing America and writing it off my Book of Culinary Fame, a simple countryside diner has redeemed it in our eyes!

We stumbled on it by pure chance as we were about to give up on finding a decent eatery in this university town. At 7PM the house was packed to the rafters with a a long queue in the hallway. While Floyd was parking our jeep, my luck had it that a lovely Latina lady got me a nice window-side table ahead of the queue.

The menu was pure California: overwelmingly extensive, with the whole range of classic Americana, as well as full ranges of Mexican and Asian dishes, plus any kind of breakfast served all day long, all with elightened touches like soy oil only for deep-frying, wholemeal bread and a lot of
vegetarian, vegan, low-fat and low-salt choices.

Naturally, a steak was in order and itarrives just as we dreamt. Another smiley and giggly Latina lady brought clam chowder in a wholemeal bun.

Santa Cruz Diner
909 Ocean St.
Santa Cruz, CA 95060

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Grant Place Chinese Restaurant San Francisco review

What's wrong with Chinese restaurants in Chinatowns? I thought it was just my luck in London that can't find a decent Chinese eatery, but San Francisco failed us too. Grant Place was, in my memory, the worst muck I had eaten in years - and a price too!

Grant Place Chinese Restaurant
737 Washington St
San Francisco, CA 94199

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

They got catfish on the table

o visit to Memphis is complete without sampling local fried catfish. I was lucky enough to have Ninny fix some for me. She did not mind to do that at 11PM, when we arrived after a long drive from Fort Worth with many a stopover. Crisp and light, with not a wee dram of grease in the batter. The secret is apparently very hot oil in a cast-iron pan. That way, the crust gets cooked very quickly and stop oil from seeping in.