In addition to being the opening song for the musical Oliver!, Food Glorious Food is also the name of a restaurant in Tallahassee. I actually never knew it was a song until my sister visited in September and started singing it on the way to lunch. Now that I know, I feel kind of guilty going there. But it remains my second favorite restaurant in town, the first being Kool Beanz.
Both these restaurants qualify as somewhat frou-frou, but they aren’t terribly expensive (FGF being more so than Kool Beanz). I am kind of a frou-frou eater. (Not counting the part where I will sell my soul for a fried green tomato.) I think that comes to some extent from when I was ill 4 1/2 years ago, and I would have to force myself to eat. It was like a job: I would cruise the aisles of Publix at lunch time, waiting for something to spark just a tad of desire. Some days it was an avocado. Some days it was Honey Nut Cheerios. No rhyme or reason to it.
This morning I woke up craving the quiche I had in Atlanta at Gourmandises, a little pastry shop/lunch restaurant hidden at the end of a strip mall. (Okay, it’s Atlanta. What ISN’T in a strip mall?) The quiche was goat cheese, tomato, and…something else I forgot, but you don’t get more frou-frou than goat cheese. I’ve been really into quiche since then and last Tuesday went to Chez Pierre here and had their Quiche Lorraine, which was an act of desperation. They put HAM in it. Yech. Dear Pierre: Lorraine is BACON. Bacon, bacon, bacon…like the Beggin’ Strips ad for dog treats says.
On both Wednesday and Thursday, I went to Kool Beanz, which was rather unusual, but as I was leaving on Wednesday, the guy seated next to me at the counter ordered the soup, which was butternut squash and apple, and it looked so incredible I had to go back on the off chance they would have it again. No such luck. I had to settle for Bahamian clam chowder instead, but it was fabulous anyway. Then I had grilled salmon with olive tapenade (what the hell is a tapenade anyway?), white beans, and sauteed chard. Kool Beanz is really into sauteed chard, which they saute with enough minced garlic to make you forget that sauteed chard looks like regurgitated kudzu. I’ve developed a liking for it 🙂 For dessert I had Sweet Corn Creme Brulee…now there was a creative recipe. It was topped with blackberry compote. And just what the hell is a compote, anyway?
Besides having a craving for the goat cheese quiche, my Long Distance Book Club caused me this morning to crave Mediterranean/Middle Eastern food. Our book this month was “Blood Brothers”, by Elias Chacour and David Hazard…Hazard basically being the ghostwriter. Chacour is a Palestinian. The book club meets monthly and when the hostess is feeling up to the task, the food matches the book or the locale of the book. So they had stuffed grape leaves, olives, hummus, etc. And THAT made me think of baklava! I was suddenly dying for baklava.
I have an employee who is Palestinian, and when I’m lucky, his wife sends little treats to me after their big feast days. One year his mother was visiting from Jordan and I got homemade baklava, with only pistachios as the nuts. Before that, I thought of baklava as a Greek dessert, but that isn’t true.
I’ve always thought of myself as adventurous when it comes to food. That’s one of the illusions about myself I’ve had to give up. I haven’t nearly taken advantage of all the wonderful food of other cultures that I could have. I have to be introduced to it. But I will say this…if more of us ate together, World Peace would be advanced.
In closing, have some baklava…possibly invented by the Turks…