Tag Archive | food

Rainbow Drive-in Honolulu, Hawaii

Our first stop in Hawaii was to get something to eat. I already checked to see what Guy Fieri triple D restaurant was between the airport and our hotel: Rainbow Drive In.

I told hubby that was where we were going. He was understandably hesitant because he knew that the quality of triple D restaurant were sometimes hit or miss. We have had awesome experiences and then there have been mediocre ones.

When we arrived, I was excited. I do not let hubby’s lack of enthusiasm affect me. And the crowds of people there bolstered my confidence that this was a good place to eat. I ordered the mahi-mahi plate with fries and coleslaw. Hubby ordered a hamburger.

The best part of the meal was the anticipation. It did not live up to the hype. In the picture is my food. The mahi-mahi was tough like it was overcooked. I think maybe they fried it and had it sitting under heat lamps (I do not know, just guessing). The coleslaw was good. It had a nice vinegary, light peppery taste. The fries were okay-nothing outstanding or special about them. Hubby’s hamburger was one sorry little sad piece of meat between two pieces of bread slathered with their special sauce. To me, it looked like one of those 59 cent burgers from McDonalds.

Hubby said that he was picking the next restaurant meal. Justifiably so. I did not even argue. I felt like I wasted my pick because I bought into what Guy Fieri was selling.

Overall, if you are in Hawaii, do not fall for the hype. The food is average, not spectacular.

BBQ chicken pizza

There used to be a Schlotzsky’s in Greenwood about 15 years ago. At that time, I did not fully appreciate what they have to offer.
Fast forward to today, I have fallen in love with their BBQ chicken pizza. I always order with extra BBQ sauce and no onions. The crust is soft with a little crunchy exterior bottom. The jalapeno peppers balance the sweetness of the BBQ sauce. And there is enough cheese and chicken in every bite.

It is delicious.

I felt compelled to share this because I recently ordered a BBQ chicken flatbread pizza from Subway. I thought that if Schlotzsky’s could do it, Subway could too. BUZZZZ!!! Wrong.

The BBQ at Subway was sickly sweet. Yuck. The flatbread was not crispy as if it was undercooked. The chicken tasted like pressed meat. I do not think I can fully convey how much I hate pressed chicken. The texture of it turns my stomach. I was totally disappointed. That bad experience almost turned me off of Subway completely. It did make me come to terms their limitations. Stick to ordering Italian combo sandwich and I will not be dissatisfied.

Whenever I am out of town and I see a Schlotzsky’s, I have to stop and order BBQ chicken pizza. Even if I am not hungry. I will take it home and savor every bite (it reheats well in a toaster oven).

Festival of Discovery – Greenwood SC

It does not take a math genius to know that the formula Good People + Good BBQ = GOOD TIME!

At the Festival of Discovery, the focus is all about tasting the best BBQ. Cooks from the surrounding areas have come together to participate in the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) sanctioned event. The goal of KCBS is to showcase BBQ and promote those who love to BBQ. Across the US, there are KCBS sanctioned events and participants can receive points for their placement in each competition. Some people only compete at the events in their local area. Others will travel hours to compete. If a team travels the KCBS circuit and enters different local competitions, they can accumulate enough points to have the opportunity to get invited to national premier events like the Jack Daniels Invitational competition.

The KCBS judges take their job seriously. They make sure that all the rules are followed to ensure a fair competition for the $20,000 in prize money. There is a 10 minute window to turn in food for each competition category. Even one second outside of the window, disqualifies the entrant team for that particular competition.

In the past, categories that were judged were hash, chicken, brisket, ribs, pulled pork, potato salad, and a category called “Anything But”. In the “Anything But” category, the submission could be anything but BBQ. For this, one team submitted New England Style clam chowder. Not what you would expect at the BBQ competition, but it goes to show that these cooks are versatile in their culinary abilities.

No gas grills allowed. These grills and smokers use wood and charcoal only. Many of the grilling teams prefer a blend of apple and hickory wood.

How does someone get to the point where they want to compete in one of these competitions? I talked to a few teams to learn more about this type of competition.

One team captain was Chip Youngblood of CD’s BBQ and More. His love of cooking dates back to the days when he was 8 years old watching his parents working at the family own business Somebody’s House in Hodges SC. I like that his team reflects his family oriented origins because his wife, children and grandchildren were all there on the team helping in any way they can. See picture below for some shots at his cooking station.

CD’s BBQ and More is one of the original 7 teams that started participated 12 years ago when the Festival of Discovery was formed. He has seen the competition grow from 7 teams to almost 80 teams in 2012. And after about 4 hours of setup, Youngblood is ready to start cooking.

This is not the only place where he competes either. He has awards from other competitions:

2009 Piedmont Blues & Hash Bash (Abbeville, SC) 1st place Hash 2010 Piedmont Blues & Hash Bash (Abbeville, SC) 2nd place Hash 2010 Piedmont Blues & Hash Bash (Abbeville, SC) 3rd place Overall team Michelob Ultra Invitational Rib Cookoff 2nd place

When it was time for food submissions and Taster’s Choice competitions, there were so many complimentary comments made by tasters. I overheard one person say, “That is the best piece of meat I ever had in my mouth.” Another person commented on the “smokiness” and “tenderness” of the meat. In my opinion, the meat had a mild flavor. The meat was tender and fell off of the bone (just the way I like it). It tasted like a balanced blended mix of seasoning and smoky flavor. But even with all the seasoning, the meat could not be considered to have spicy heat.

Overall, there were a lot of talented BBQ cooks at the Festival of Discovery and I enjoyed trying the different styles of BBQ. I will be in line the second weekend in the next July for more delicious BBQ. I will make sure to look for Chip Youngblood for a BBQ plate also. Super yummy.

http://www.festivalofdiscovery.com

http://www.kcbs.us/index.php

Cupcake collection – Nashville TN

Cupcake Collection in Nashville TN

I like sweets. I especially like cupcakes. Even though I like sweets, I am still really picky. I don’t like just any type of cupcakes. They have to be done very well. There is two parts to a delicious cupcake. (1) the cake part (2) the frosting. If either part is not done well, it can spell disaster.
Yes. I know this is a first world problem – to have a cupcake you do not like, but that’s the way it is.
My friend told me that the best place for cupcakes in Nashville was Cupcake Collection. Of course, that means I have to go!
When I entered the Cupcake Collection, after inhaling the wonderful fragrances of the bakery, I looked around for any indication of the cost of the cupcakes. I could not find prices listed anywhere so I assumed that these cupcakes were three dollars. At the most $2.50 maybe (if I was optimistic)? So I only ordered two. To my surprise the price was less than $4. My eyes widened as I did the quick mental math. Cheaper than I thought. Instead of doing a dance to celebrate my good fortune, I decided I was going to get more cupcakes. Might as well make it an even six.

In my head, I was dancing.

  • Coconut cream with key lime frosting – it had a coconut cream custard in the center! I was not expecting that, and I usually do not like cream filled anything, but this cream was so good. It was had a light coconut flavor. It was the consistency of cold vanilla pudding. When I bit into the cupcake the cream did not ooze out and make a mess. The tart sweet key lime frosting complimented the light sweet of the cake and coconut cream.
  • Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting – this was good but did not have as much carrot pieces or walnuts as Hey Cupcake. However, it was still a worthy contender for carrot cake.
  • Yellow cake with buttercream frosting – This was the best yellow plain cake cupcake that I had. So simple and sweet.
  • Sweet potato with cream cheese frosting – this was good almost like a muffin instead of a cupcake. I could eat this for breakfast everyday if I lived in Nashville.
  • Coconut cream with cream cheese frosting – More of the coconut cream custard in the center. More yum-yum.
  • Red Velvet cake with cream cheese frosting – I could tell this was the REAL deal red velvet cake and not some white cake with red food coloring. The flavors were rich and complex as only a true red velvet cake can be.

And I feel like a little piggy telling you this but I ate all six of them. I could not help myself. They were THAT good. And then I was sad that they were gone and Nashville is 6 hours away.

Nomad dosa – food truck Austin TX

If you are like me, you probably never had a dosa before. It is best described as an Indian crepe.
I was in Austin for dinner and I did not know what I wanted to eat. After driving around, I knew that I wanted something light because I did not feel like eating too much. I decided on the food truck Nomad Dosa.

I ordered crispy dosa Kerala Kokonut (butternut squash, zucchini, carrots, eggplant, cauliflower, avocado). I chose basmati rice and sambar lentil soup as my side items. The lentil soup was good. Usually I don’t like eating beans, but if they are pureed into a smooth milkshake-like consistency, it is palatable.

By accident, I ended up eating a purely vegetarian meal. It was so tasty that it was not until afterwards that I realized, "Hey I did not eat any meat." From the picture of the food, you can see that once I began to eat , the filling is not the most appealing looking food. Trust me when I say it tasted better than it looked. It was just what I needed too- something light, but filling. The feeling of fullness made me start to wonder if I should try to go vegetarian for the health benefits, but then I thought about bacon and nixed that. Mmmmm bacon. But I digress.

Overall, this is a dish that will appeal to meat eaters and vegetarians alike. It has enough depth that you won’t miss the meat. Like most Indian food, it was full of spicy (not heat) flavors that stayed with me after I finished my meal. I had to brush my teeth and rinse with mouthwash to regain feeling in my taste buds.