I've been car-hunting for the last fortnight or so, and last weekend was a real hair-puller in terms of running around, making deals, seeing mechanics, arm-wrestling dealers, changing flats on a dark highway at night, running out of gas, etc.
But I won't go into the gory details here. What I really wanted to talk about was food. I happened to be in a small college town over the weekend and we stopped by a local brewry/pub with a number of good things to recommend it. I'm not into beer, myself, but the menu was impressive: sophisticated without being outré, good variety and everything very fresh. I had a simple BLT that was probably the best I've ever eaten; it was served on soft fresh crusty whole-wheat bread from the local bakery, with fresh tomatoes from the farmer's market, spicy brown mustard and real mayo.
This being a crunchy college town, they had a number of vegetarian menu items--again, not my mainstay, but if one is in the mood for a light lunch, veggie dishes can be a welcome break from burgers and their ilk. My companion had an avocado wrap in a crispy tortilla, with some spicy southwestern sauce, which came with a side salad coated in roasted red pepper vinagrette--really yummy. I confess I ate as much of the wrap as he did; it was that good.
But the most unusual item we tried was the potato salad that came with my BLT. It wasn't your typical Helmann's/French's/Vidalia starchfest. This was baby red potatoes, cooked tender and diced with the skins still on, a light dressing of brown mustard and mayo, diced eggs, a bit of onion, a generous sprinkling of fresh chopped basil, and some kalamata olives. Now, I love olives, but I woulda never thought to put them in my potato salad. They add salt the same as pickles would, but with a richer, earthier, more sophisticated flavor. Since I'm always looking for the ultimate potato salad recipe, this was a revelation.
Later we stopped by a coffee shop for dessert, and I had a wonderful slice of old-fashioned coconut cake, very light and tender and sweet without being cloying. Made me want to start baking cakes again. Not good for the waistline!