Something unfortunate happened the other day. I was disappointed in a restaurant.
I am a Midwestern girl through and through. I grew up on a very strict diet of baked chicken, casserole, and 5 ingredient crock-pot recipes. I have no business gettin' all snooty over the offerings of a wine bar! Hell, I didn't even know what a wine bar was until a few years ago. "Nice" meals out for young Erika meant we went to my family's favorite Mexican joint, my Dad ordered soda and if my Mom was feeling particularly fanciful she would order a domestic beer. It was good, stand up food. Always a tasty meal that put you into a solid food coma an hour later and still provided you with leftovers. Was I content with that? No. Of course not.
Growing up, there were years of my parents prodding me to try everything on my plate. (I still remember the tantrum I threw when my mom had the unfortunate idea of trying to feed Okra to a 7 year old, which was additionally confusing because my Dad kept telling my it was Oprah.....why would someone name their little girl after such and awful vegetable?) Now, I will try nearly anything put in front of me. In the process of trying all that food I learned to appreciate the magic that goes with it.
Last week Nick and I made our way out to a wine bar in Charleston. We were really excited cause the menu looked great, they served flights of wine, and the photos reminded us of Purple. Purple was one of our favorite places in Seattle. We only went there a few times cause every time our bill would magically grow into this document that could also pay my student loan installment for that month....and maybe the following month too. But I promise you, to this day if you see my husband and I, then mention Purple, it will immediately be followed by one of us saying to the other, "Oh my gosh, do you remember the fish that tasted like ice cream?" Followed by a moment of silence as we recollect our mental faculties.
The wine bar here did not have ice cream fish. Instead, it served it's Pinot Gris too cold; it's pear, goat cheese and bacon salad with a dressing that was distracting and over powering; it's scallops ever so slightly over cooked; and it's Kobe sliders with a bun 2 sizes too big and with out any sort of sauce, like say a Wasabi mayo, to help marry the flavors. That's right. Go Ahead and say it. Erika, you sound like a whiny little jackass. If I were you I would want to verbally sucker punch me as well. But truly, this meal was the Pandora's box of Gastronomy. The point of no return.
The good news. I am actually a decent and adventurous cook. Also, there are a plethora of great restaurants here that don't disappoint. The bad news. Whenever any offspring come along, I will make them eat things weirder than Oprah....I mean Okra. Things like moldy cheese, and chicken liver mousse (seriously, it's so good).
PS - I way dig Okra now. Fried Okra is my side of choice when eating good, honest, comforting, southern food.