Food Freak

I had planned on going to lunch with a friend yesterday, to a place called Flying Saucer.  Flying Saucer is a beer emporium, a place where beer is, almost literally, worshipped.  I join my friend periodically at the place near my house, where we meet and chat while he “logs three” beers.  This place encourages patrons to join a growing group of people who commit to drinking, I think, 200 different beers.  Once the objective is met, the successful drinker is immortalized on the ceiling of the place with a metal plate which bears his or her name.

Yesterday, though, we were to go to another location (I think there are about 15 locations, 7 in Texas and the remainder spread out among a few states north and east), this one on a nearby lake.  My friend tells me the lake location has a beautiful deck overlooking the lake and is a brighter, lighter place.  I like the one near me (but I really like it only before it gets late in the day, while it’s still possible to find a seat and hear the words of the person next to you), but I want to try to the lake location.  My wife was to  join us this time so she, too, could see the lake location.  My wife is even more contrary than I when it comes to crowds and noise; I tolerate more than she, so she doesn’t go as often as I do (which is not terribly often).

My friend had to cancel, though, because his wife’s 19 year old cat, which is almost blind and gets around quite slowly, began having seizures.  The two of them had to rush the cat to the vet and, therefore, my friend could not make lunch.  We’ll try it sometime next week.

Normally, we would have simply made lunch at home, but we’ve not gotten back into the pace of living at home since our trip to visit my sister on the west coast, so there was very little to eat that appealed to us.  So we opted to try a recently-opened spot nearby, a place called Hoffbrau.  Hoffbrau is (I think) based on the original which is located in Austin.  The decor of the place is rustic Central Texas, which is to say the walls are made of recycled ship-lap siding and the ceiling is decorated with old screen doors, the kind I remember from my childhood.  There is a lot of Austin stone and plenty of galvanized metal siding in use, as well.  The entry to the building is a replica of an old galvanized steel water tank.  Despite the schtick decor, it’s actually an attractive place that just oozes casual good-old-boy sensibilities.

Both my wife and I have a tendency to try chicken fried steak whenever we think it might have the potential of being “the real thing,” so we both ordered the lunch version of the dish.  It had a crispy coating, but neither the coating nor the meat was particularly tasty, nor was the obligatory gravy very flavorful; nothing noteworthy.  For me, good chicken fried steak requires 1) a very good piece of round steak (or better cut, if possible) that has been mechanically tenderized and 2) a very peppery coating (lots of black pepper in the flour in which the steak is dredged, after it has been dipped in a milk bath).  The gravy for the cooked steak, too, should be quite peppery and very smooth.  And for my taste, the finished product–steak with gravy on top–must be adorned with a LOT of slices of jalapeños.

While the CFS was not to my standards, the place is worth a return visit.  There are traditional grilled steaks on the menu and the prices are quite reasonable.  So, I expect to return some day in the not-too-distant future.

After having a large lunch, we weren’t planning on having much for dinner.  We talked about options; the one that won out was a DiGiorno frozen pizza (light…I know).  I don’t know why I like those pizzas so much, but I do.  I do not need to have another one for a long, long time, though.

Speaking  of food, tonight we’re having something I whipped up this morning before breakfast: scallop ceviche.  A few weeks ago we were served scallop “ceviche” that was marvelous, but the scallops had been seared, so it was not really ceviche (it was extraordinarily good, though).  Ever since, I have been wanting to have a real, traditional ceviche made with scallops.  So, we decided to do it.  And this morning, after my 4 mile walk and before my wife awoke, I minced some serrano peppers, diced some red onion, chopped some cilantro, squeezed some lemons and limes, and opened a “store bought” container of orange juice to create the marinade for the scallops.  I took about a pound of frozen sea scallops from the freezer, thawed them in cool water, and cut them into small pieces, and put them in the marinade.  We’ll see how good this ceviche is when we have dinner tonight.

What else did I do today of note?  Nothing of note, but I’ll write it down anyway.  I walked 4 miles (just a shade under an hour), mowed and edged and trimmed the yard (2-1/2 hours), and applied teak oil to two teak Adirondack chairs, a teak table, and a teak footrest (about 1-1/2 hour), and communicated with my friend of Flying Saucer fame about letting him borrow my old beater pickup tomorrow so he can move a couch he bought from a Craig’s List ad.  There was more, but I don’t really want to write a lot about my shower, my shave, or my lunch of canned sardines and accompaniments (besides, I already posted a photo of my lunch to Facebook).  Oh, I have played a LOT of rounds of Words with Friends and Scrabble over the course of the day.

Tonight?  Dunno.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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