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Lincoln NE: Phat Jack's BBQ

Witty introduced me to Phat Jack's in the railroad district of town. The proprietors have won quite a few BBQ competitions and established a bustling place. The large room was very busy; things moved quickly. My two meat plate was excellent. The brisket was excellent and tender. My favorite was the turkey, moist and with just the right amount of tug. The restaurant also features an impressive collection of BBQ equipment for sale.
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Lincoln NE: Big Red

I decided to try a different part of town for lunch and visited Big Red, located at the edge of the railyards. It was clearly a big sports bar. What I didn't expect was the keno hall. Keno, for those of you unfamiliar with it, is the gambling activity for those who consider slot machines to be too intellectually and physically taxing. It even makes bingo look complicated. Keno is huge in Nevada but this is the first time I have seen it elsewhere. Keno is closely associated with food---you eat while you wait for the next keno drawing and you send in keno cards while you eat. My fish was very good---fresh out of the fryer, crisp but not oily, with nice flaky fish. My lunch was very enjoyable even without filling out a keno card...

Quasi-Gingerbread Pancakes

I decided to vary my breakfast routine with a different pancake recipe. I stard with thur Flour cookbook but made a few changes largely due to the state of my pantry. The recipe uses a combination of all-purpose flour and cornmeal. It uses fairly standard gingerbread spices including cinnamon and allspice. I didn't have any molasses so I substituted brown sugar. The recipe didn't call for buttermilk but I used up the last of my carton. The result was very pleasant. The pancakes gave a nice bite but were not overwhelming. I think that a strong ginerbread cookie the size of a pancake would be a very strong breakfast, not to say a stack of ultra-strong pancakes. I enjoyed it enough that I made it again the next morning.

Charlotte: The Waterman Fish Bar

Cathy and I enjoyed great food and fun atmosphere at The Waterman. The restaurant is located in a renovated former industrial neighborhood. We sat inside but the rooftop outside seating looked to be fun. We started with these great fries drizzled with crayfish gravy. The effect reminded me of poutine but with a much more flavorful gravy. My seafood boil was both delicious and huge. I only increased the size by adding on some oysters. The seasoning gave just the right amount of bite to the seafood. This bowl kept me busy for quite some time.

Charlotte: King's Kitchen

Cathy and I enjoyed a superb dinner at King's Kitchen in downtown Charlotte. The food is outstanding, the service impeccable, and the profits support the homeless. I started with a hearty and flavorful beet salad. My potroast was the meaty treat that I envisioned and more. The green beans and collard greens were both perfectly cooked and elegantly flavored. The peas gave an excellent texture contrast to the greens and were also extremely flavorful. The cornbread was moist and tasty. Cathy ordered the fried chicken which she reported to be similarly excellent. We split vanilla ice cream and vanilla pudding for dessert. The ice cream was excellent but the vanilla pudding was eye-popping: creamy, eggy, vanilla-y, with meringue on top and vanilla wafers buried in the bottom as a treat. I would drive an hour just to have this pudding once again.

Charlotte: Ballantyne Hotel

I had the chance to eat several times at the Ballantyne Hotel. Meals started with an assortment of breads. My first lunch centered around this lamb burger which I ordered bunless. The meat gave a nice lamb flavor, definitely distinct from beef. Another lunch saw this tasty flat bread... ...fries... and some excellent shrimp and grits. The grits are from Anson Mills, the well-known Southern heritage grain provider. Their grits are a big step above the standard fare and truly delicious.

MSP: A Quick Bite

I had a few minutes at Minneapolis to sit down and eat. I didn't want a large meal but I did want something in my stomach. This French onion soup fit the bill. The bread is an add-on and well worth the investment. The built-in iPad gave me problems when I tried to order but my server was very helpful.