Friday, December 15, 2017

Lincoln NE: The Rabbit Hole

The Rabbit Hole is tucked into a corner of the lower level of the Brickyard. I really enjoyed my visit for a breakfast pick-me-up.

The case shows the variety of baked goods they offer.

Here is my sweet roll with cream cheese filling. The bread was soft and tender with just enough pull to give a nice texture. A good cream cheese filling is hard to beat and isn't always easy to find. The coffee was great, too.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Lincoln NE: Single Barrel

Brittany, Justin, and I convened at the Single Barrel for a dinner discussion. The menu features classic BBQ as well as more novel preparations of beef and pork.

Brittany correctly described the decor as Sizzler-esque. But I think that the Wall of Whiskey that greets patrons manages to focus the attention of most patrons.

This is Justin's old fashioned, which he ordered with a boutique rye. He declared it to be excellent.

I think that loaded fries are a signature dish of Lincoln. This excellent rendition included both beef and pork.

This superb cornbread was very moist. The dips included a prepared butter, bacon jam, and my favorite of jalapeno honey. Dunking your cornbread in the honey is well worth the effort.

I went with the classic brisket. It was very moist and tender, a real treat.

And this is my portion of the excellent creme brulee.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Lincoln NE: Licorice International

A walk through Lincoln's Brickyard district brought me to Licorice International. How could I not check out a store with that name?

Licorice International certainly delivers what it promises: licorice and licorice-adjacent candies from around the world. The owner was very good about giving me and everyone else samples of the various candies. I ended up with classic black licorice from Australia (who knew?) and licorice caramels from the Netherlands. Both were excellent.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Lincoln NE: Blue Sushi

After putting in time at the whiteboard, Justin and I moved our discussion to Blue Sushi. It is located in the Brickyard section of Lincoln and its decor is appropriately hip. The service was extremely attentive and very helpful.

It turns out that you can't just ask for tea---you have to select your variety and wait for the pot to arrive. The result was very mellow and comforting.

I went with my standard, boring choices: tuna and salmon. Both were very fresh with excellent taste and texture. Light and satisfying.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Doraville: Al Amin

Al Amin is near the intersection of Buford Highway and I-285. It includes both a restaurant and a grocery store. It has been on my list to visit for quite some time and I’m glad I did.

The restaurant serves both meat and vegetarian dishes. My vegetable korma, stocked with mushrooms, potatoes, and other vegetables was creamy and satisfying. My garlic naan was excellent: tender, warm, and garlicky.

The grocery store stocks a variety of Indian items with a middle Eastern twist (think dates). It is small but carries a good selection. I left with a quart of Indian yogurt, always a treat.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Tarte Tatin

I have loads of apples so I decided to try the tarte tatin, something I have made once before a few years ago. It gives a different spin on apples than does the traditional apple pie: baked upside down with a carmel topping. The technique used to make it is breathtaking if not a little dangerous. I present here my third effort this fall. The results are still not perfect but getting things even to this point requried some experimentation.

Here are the apples. I peeled two before I remembered that not only did I not need to but that the peels added both flavor and color. The apples need to be firm and not give out too much water when heated---the apples on my first batch were a little too wet. Coating them with sugar and letting them sit also helps draw out some water.

Room temperature butter is spread over the bottom of the pan, then coated with a thick layer of sugar. The sugar will form the carmelized top. Layers of apples are spread over the pan. The bottom layer will end up at the top so it should be the neatest.

The apples are cooked for several minutes on the stovetop before the crust is installed. The traditional way to install the crust is to roll it, place it at the edge of the pan, then roll it out. You can use a fork or knife to tuck the edge of the crust around the pan.

The pan is cooked on the stovetop again to carmelize the sugar and butter.

The tart is removed from the pan by inverting it over a platter. This is always a dramatic and somewhat nervewracking operation.

My third try gave enough caramel to give a nice taste. But I think that the layer of apples was too uneven to support a uniform layer of caramel on top. Still, it is a lot of fun to make. The taste is very rich, not hard to imaine given the full stick of butter on the apples, between the caramel and the butter poured directly on them. The lack of cinnamon helps to show off the rich flavor of the apples.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Paia HI: Mama's Fish House

Mama's Fish House is widely considered to be the best restaurant on Maui. I greatly enjoyed my meal there. I stopped by on my way to the airport and the staff did an excellent job of getting me fed and ready to go. I started off with a bowl of onion soup.

A petite loaf of very soft, pillowy bread followed.

I ordered the mahi mahi as my entree. It was encrusted with macadamia nuts and stuffed with lobster. The crust was very light given that it was made with nuts. The fish was clearly caught the same day---that bright, clean taste signals really fresh fish.

I topped things off with this piece of coconut cake. Everything about it was light: the coconut topping was light, the filling was light, the cake was light and airy.