Monday, April 25, 2016

Lowcountry Produce Market & Cafe

302 Carteret Strewet
Beaufort, SC 29902
(843) 322-1900

In Beaufort, South Carolina it's much like you imagine sleepy southern towns. Everyone is friendly, the pace of life is SLOW, and the food is simple yet produced with the care of a family member trying to comfort their kin.

Lowcountry Produce Market is a beautiful setting for a Southern market and lunch spot. Housed in an old post office, the subway tile interior is accented by large pillars, and huge floor to ceiling shelves.

The food was straight out of Southern Living. I started with the pickles and pimento cheese plate. The green beans were bright, snappy, and had the balance that so many restaurants get wrong. The pickles were just as good, though had a sweet bite to them that contrasted perfectly. However the hands down star of the show was the pimento cheese. My god, this was the best I have eaten. And I have eaten quite a bit of pimento cheese.

The loosely shredded cheese was accented by the sweetness of pimentos, had a perfect temperature and consistency, but there was an X factor, I just couldn't put my finger on. It turns out, there are some spicy banana peppers mixed in (and what I imagine was a bit of their brine), which creates a flavor explosion – the likes of which I have not tasted in this form. Form being cheese ball, obviously.

Everything about this dish was perfect.

My sandwich was a mixed shrimp and oyster po' boy, served with tarter sauce and house made chips.

The cornmeal batter on this was divine. Heavily seasoned, the crunchy shell stuck perfectly to the tender fried seafood. I could have eaten this all day. My only gripe was the tarter sauce had no place near this ocean bounty in hotdog form. A smokey chili aioli or something more appropriate would have sent this over the top.

The chips were fried to perfection as well, and had a skillful amount of sea salt sprinkled on top. A coastal Southern lunch if I have ever had one. I wish I was able to eat this way on a weekly basis.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Brewster River

(Smuggler's Notch Resort)
4087 Vt Route 108 S.
Jeffersonville, VT 05464
(802) 644-6366

A long weekend in Vermont led to some delicious food and far too many hoppy beers. Brewster River is located by Smuggler's Notch, and is a great bar to grab some food after a day on the slopes. Unfortunately I don't  have any pictures of what is most certainly the best thing on the menu, the teriyaki duck wings. I forgot I was writing about the damn place and failed to gather photo evidence of EITHER order of the drummettes. They were fried perfectly and were so good, I ordered a second round upon completion of the first. I'll also admit that there were a few drinks involved before arriving, so that didn't help my photo taking skills...

They had a "Pittsburgh sandwich" which was based on the famous and over-rated Primanti Brothers "sandwich". As underwhelmed as I am with putting french fries and vinegar slaw on your thick bread and claiming it as your regional identity, I was willing to give it a go, as I had been drinking and it sounded filling.

Brewster executed a great version, but as the Achilles' heel lies in the sandwich itself, it was just kind of okay. The fries were crispy and salty, the pastrami was tender and the slaw was well seasoned. But the sandwich was just a bit dry and flavorless. Too much bread and potato is usually the culprit. Again, I am not criticizing the bar, but rather the city. And the hockey team.

The Godzilla burger was over the top. Pastrami, pulled pork, Beef Brisket, pork roll, smoked bacon, fried egg, hash brown, pepper jack and cheddar. The meat sweats were soon to follow. My biggest complaint, was that the fried egg was fried hard. The whole point is a runny yolk.

I guess the burger was good? You can see the egg yolk, a solid yellow. Otherwise a glutton's dream. And a big fat high five for including pork roll. That is a rarity outside of our area, and a solid breakfast meat underdog.

After gorging on the pub food, we proceeded downstairs where they have an executive-size pool table. It was a lot of fun. Great place to warm up after a cold day on the mountain.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Pho Street

204 Baltimore Pike
Springfield, PA 19064
(610) 544-3934

Delaware County is not synonymous with Vietnamese food, but Pho Street is the best argument I have tasted so far to try and change that. Located in (what could only be) a former diner-y looking building, this place has tons of booths in which to sit and wait for some damn good food.

They have the usual accompaniments. Which makes me very happy. Any condiment I can get my hands on...

I decided to start with a shrimp summer roll. I love the way this feels "healthy" even though I generally and thoroughly douse it with peanut sauce.

The shrimp were plump and fresh, the rolls were soft had not developed the "skin" that can occur when exposed to the elements. A nice blend of vermicelli, herbs, and lettuce added to the fresh factor. This was a great summer roll.

Because I detest pho, I did not order it. Instead I ordered Hu Tíeu Tom Thit (pork and shrimp noodle soup). Instead of a beef broth, this is a soup with a very flavorful pork/chicken/shrimp combo broth that is the very definition of soul soothing. As is usual for pho-like but non-pho soups, it was served up in a large bowl and included sprouts, jalapeno slices, cilantro and some lime garnishes.

Before I get too into the soup, I will say the pork banh mi was my favorite part of the meal. The BBQ pork was thinly sliced, tender, and the sandwich was obviously constructed with love.

The fresh jalapeño peppers bring the heat, but I didn't find it overwhelming. This was probably due to the cooling cilantro and pickled carrot mixed with the "house special zesty sauce" (spicy mayo) and buttered roll. I have eaten this one a number of times, and it always satisfies. It also doesn't hurt that it rings in at a whooping $5.49.

The soup had a broth that was better than many I have eaten, even those in the non-pho category. So much depth of flavor, like the bones had longer to roast and the maker truly cares about the product.

Once doctored up with some of the aforementioned condiments, it had the heat, the salt, and I crave out of a huge bowl of (chicken) soup for the soul. I basically transformed it into a sort of Tom Yum flavored soup with the fermented hot sauce and I would rinse and repeat as long as Pho Street is around.

If you aren't near Mac Daddy Boulevard, you can also get your fix in Bryn Mawr. Which helps ease the sting of my limited Asian-food options in the 'burbs.