Friday, 1 June 2012

More food finds

I'll tell you, driving from North Carolina to North Dakota has been like doing the 3 hour commute between Calgary & Edmonton 3 times a day for 3 days. Flat and boring. Fortunately, the food along the way has at least been interesting.

Just outside of St. Louis we stopped at a chain BBQ place called Bandana's. For a 31 store chain BBQ, it was pretty good. The brisket was a little dry, and the pulled pork tasty but a little bland. I was mentioning about sauce choices in an earlier BBQ post; these guys take the cake, with six: a home made mustard style, a Kansas City style, a "Chicago" style (there is no such thing), a "St. Louis" sweet & smoky style, a "Carolina Smokin's Hot" style (Carolina BBQ is not smokin' hot) and a Memphis style. None of these are even marginally real or close to what you get in Memphis or Kansas City et. al., but I tried them all and they all tasted different and good anyway. The home-made sauce added a Carolina mustard-like flavour to the pork and made it much better. The St. Louis style was very smoky (heavy on the hickory), and overpowered the brisket (which was cooked very Texas style). The slaw was good if a bit runny, and the deep fried okra was surprisingly good. Overall 3.5 stars out of 5.

We had one heck of a surprise in Waterloo, Iowa (which is one of the many places we have come to refer to as MOFN -- Middle of F#%@ing Nowhere. All states have them). We found a restaurant called Galleria de Paco that is notable on 2 counts: First, the food was awesome, and it was served European Style with a 4 course fixed price menu for only $27.99. This was an absolutely excellent deal. Very creative chef, lots of cool things to choose from.

But second, it turns out the chef is also a 23 year old graffiti artist who escaped from Bosnia with his family while the war was on. He works exclusively in spray paint. He took 4 months (and 9,000 cans of Krylon paint) and did an amazing reproduction of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican on the ceiling of his restaurant. You gotta look at this YouTube video to believe it:
Did I mention that the gentleman is self taught, both as an artist and as a Chef?

It's treasures like this that make road trips worthwhile.

We're currently in Fargo, North Dakota, a 2 day drive from home. We have made it this far without thunderstorm incident, and we should get to Moose Jaw tomorrow.

BTW, I promise the airplane pictures are coming.

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