Drive-thru and pickup are fine dining these days. Lines are long but most places are in the rhythm and very efficient. I ate this burger in the car. Freddy's provides a classic burger experience, very tasty. Pro tip---be sure to cover your seat as you eat. This meal from Honest Abe's in Lincoln went home for consumption. Their burgers and fries are outstanding as always. They operate as curbside---you tell them what your car looks like, they bring it out when they see you. Old-fashioned in a nice way.
This is the wetness of dough that I am now experimenting with for my sourdough loaves. This is a typical result (not from the above batch). It has lots of holes in a strong structure combined with great taste. These loaves sit around for most of the day on two long rises. The second rise in particular is slow but very long. In my experience, baker's yeast gives a quick second rise that stops fairly quickly, after about a half hour.
Stew is a great cold-weather treat. I decided to make a pot that combined American and French techniques. I started by marinating in red wine. After browning the meat, I sweated the onions and fried a little garlic. I made a roux, then added tomato paste to brown. The meat went in first. The potatoes and carrots followed a little later. The corn and green beans added the party toward the end. The result was satisfying beef and vegetables in a velvety, meaty sauce.
This loaf of bread was made with a somewhat wetter dough than my last loaf. The result was very nicely shaped and with great texture. The dough didn't climb all the way up the dough hook during kneading. That seems to be the right amount of moisture.
A drive through downtown Grand Island led me to Beverly Cake Shop. The storefront is cute; the pink tires as layer cake was a nice touch. The people are nice and hard at work. This strawberry cake was delicious: tender crumb, rich icing, great strawberries.
Runza is a regional sandwich chain with a good reputation among students. That could be either good or bad. A car trip to Grand Island gave me the opportunity to find out. The result was pleasing---good taste, good value. This is my Swiss mushroom Runza. The combination of beef, Swiss cheese, and mushroom was nicely savory and satisfying. The sandwich was moderately sized so I didn't feel bloated. I had a few onion rings as well that were crispy on the outside, tender on the inside.
I used my whole wheat sourdough bread to make my fussy french toast (soaked toast + omelet). This bread is both well-populated with airholes and with good tooth. I think that is a perfect combination for french toast, giving a result that is well-soaked but not mushy. I find this substrate superior to most of the challah that I have had for french toast. Here is a slice of the bread to show you the structure.
I visited Schmick's for a couple of steaks, figuring that these times deserve red meat. In front of me at the checkout was a young man in his work clothes. He told the cashier "I'll pay for hers too." I protested, telling him that I had a job. He insisted. I thanked him and told him that I would pay it forward. Thank you, sir, for a kindness in stressful times.
I have had the chance to shop at supermarkets in several different areas of the country over the past week. This shot shows an aisle of a Publix in Atlanta over the weekend. This aisle is supposed to carry personal hygiene and cleaning products---totally bare. Food was a little spotty but not too bad. Eggs were low but still available. I shopped at markets in Paducah KY and southern Illinois. Eggs were completely out in both cases. Breakfast sausage was also out although dinner sausage, such as Italian, was available. Hand sanitizer was out. Surprisingly, bleach was still plentiful. Back in Lincoln, both Super Saver and Hy-Vee are in good shape. Eggs are plentiful. This is Nebraska so meat is easy to find. Some personal cleaning products are scarce but generally those stocks are in decent shape.
My trip brought me to Country Cafe near Mound City for lunch. My meal was excellent. I also enjoyed the antiques section. The fireworks selection looked impressive. This is my tenderloin open-face sandwich. I had the choice of white or brown gravy and went with white. The gravy was smooth and tasty, really good. The tenderloin was huge and very satisfying. The mashed potatoes gave a nice dose of comfort. Given the circumstances, I thought that dessert was in order. This cheesecake is homemade and was excellent. I think that the topping is cherry, truly flavorful.
Eating in the car is the only option these days. Many upscale restaurants (I’m talking Ruby Tuesday, not Michelin star) are closed. I found a Fazoli’s in St. Louis and ordered this good chicken Parmesan. As I ate, I watched the staff thoroughly clean the inside of the restaurant. I am grateful for their good food and friendly service.
My road trip gave me a chance to visit Ned’s Shed in Vienna IL. The dining area was closed but take out and drive thru were well underway. The corn nuggets were wonderfully sweet and the chocolate melted thick and comforting.
I stopped by Village Burger in Dunwoody for a quick protein style burger. Inside seating is closed but you can sit outside. Several people were ordering but the staff told me that business is down quite a bit. The burger was, as always, great.
I needed to feed my new sourdough starter and decided to use the opportunity to make pancakes. I assembled the dough from starter, eggs, yogurt, and melted butter. Overall, the result was pretty good. The pancake had a good sourdough tang. They didn't rise a lot but this starter is new; we will see what happens in a month or so.
Witty and I stopped by Amu Ramen for lunch. Our server suggested these wonderful bacon bao. The soft bun gives the ideal complement to the cured flavor of the bacon. My pork ramen was pretty darn good, too. The broth was silky smooth.
I went through my first batch of homemade yogurt quickly. I decided to scale up to a full gallon for my next batch. I found this milk from small Amish and Mennonite farmers, complete with cream at the top of the bottle. It was expensive for milk but cheap for yogurt. It made up into a beautiful, tasty gallon of yogurt. I should have started to make my own yogurt years ago. It is pretty simple, tastes great, and much more cost-effective than the store-bought variety.
Shuvra and I enjoyed an excellent steak dinner at the original Misty's in Havelock. Dinner started with a custom loaf of bread. I am on an onion soup kick and this bowl was excellent. My medium rare ribeye was perfect.
Several of us enjoyed tasty food and great conversation over a hot pot dinner at Perfect Diner on 27th Street in Lincoln. Hot pot seems to be the thing to eat here---several other tables ordered it as well. This is the prep tray. We used two broths, spicy and non-spicy. The time needed to cook gives plenty of time to talk, just what we were looking for. And the food was tasty---my favorite was the spicy broth.
I ordered an outstanding delivery dinner from Meatballz. The meatballs were meaty and tender. The sauce was the best I've had in Atlanta. The mixture of acidity and sweetness brought me back to the Garden State and their slow-cooked tomato sauces. And they serve sicilian, something unknown here but a real treat that will have to wait for my next order. This is the meatball-in-a-hole, stuffed in a round roll. This is a pair of straight meatballs with cheese. And these are the fritterz with apple pie sauce. Typically, zeppole are served just with a little powdered sugar. The extra touch of a syrup coating makes them special and delicious.
The Food Junction is now at home in the industrial park at the corner of I-285 and I-85. The center used to house just Prep, the food cooking studio. It now houses several restaurants, several industrial food operations, and a coffee shop. Getting there from the highway takes a little care but isn't too bad. Once you are there, the location is quiet and restful. I enjoy supporting local businesses. This is Cara, the proprietor of Meatballerz, one of these new restaurants. When I visited inside, several former residents of the Garden State sat at the counter and extolled the virtues and authenticity of the food. The food looked and smelled great. Expect a complete review soon.
I enjoyed my dinner tonight at Harmony, my favorite Chinese restaurant, and I was happy to see the always friendly staff. I ordered my usual, starting off with a scallion pancake. I was too hungry to take a photo of my main course, the salt-and-pepper tofu. Trust me, it was great as always.
I have enjoyed huevos rancheros for breakfast at restaurants several times lately so I decided to make my own. In the interest of expediency I decided to use largely store-bought components: refried beans, crispy tortillas. I substituted sour cream because that's what I had. Because I forgot tomatillos I made some green sauce from blended green chiles and jalapenos. Despite this rushed, sloppy job, the result was great. I made it again the next morning. I plan to put this meal into my breakfast rotation.