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Old 09-12-2009, 06:43 AM   #1
Master Chef
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Galena, IL
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Good Food Stories

OK, I've brought this up in previous years, but let's start again. Anyone with good food-related stories? DIfferent experiences you've had, cooking or eating. Unusual places, people, food, family experiences.

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Old 09-12-2009, 07:13 AM   #2
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Location: USA,Massachusetts
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I just had a geat food experience a coupe of weeks ago. I was on Yelp looking for a new place to eat. I had read a bunch of reviews about a Jamaican place that was run by one woman from the island. She makes traditional Jamaican foods and also has a wide vegan menu for those that want. The reviews I read were glowing so we decided to try.

We were the only ones in the restaurant on a Sunday afternoon for lunch and it was a good thing because the place was tiny. We walked in and instantly felt like we were back in Jamaica. Reggae music was playing and the walls were covered in photos, paintings and other art straight from Jamaica.

The owner is the only person who works there. She is chef and hostess and she does both extremely well. My wife and I went to Jamaica for our honeymoon and were struck by how friendly and helpful everyone on the island was. That has carried over to this restaurant.

Looking at the menu was fun in itself. Everything on it was a Jamaican specialty and everything was made with love. You could tell that this restaurant exists because Venice (the owner) loves to cook and share her food with others.

My son is notoriously fussy in restaurants, but Venice was so nice to both my kids giving them toys when she was he was fussing and playing with them and getting honest joy out of them exploring her restaurant.

The food was amazing. We shared a jerk chicken plate and a chicken and beef patty plate. Both came with fried plantains and one came with amazing coconut rice and the other with a delicious salad loaded with Jamaican fruits and heirloom yellow tomatoes. There was also a cabbage salad and some other goodies. Venice also gave the kids a bottle of Ting (Jamaican version of 7UP) and even though we do not usually let our kids have soda we made an exception this time and let them have a treat.

I was grinning ear to ear the whole time we were there. It really felt like we were on vacation. Actually, what it felt like was that we were at a good friends house for lunch. My wife commented later that she loved seeing would happy I was there.

For those in the MA-Worcester area, you can read my review of the One Love cafe here.
You know you can't resist clicking
this link. Your eyes will thank you. VISUAL BLISS
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Old 09-13-2009, 11:37 AM   #3
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Location: Galena, IL
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Good restaurant experiences are the best. A number of years ago, I'd never had real Indian food. Oh, an occaisional curried dish, but usually either "dumbed down" for American tastes, or versions of curry from other countries that have Indian influence in their cuisine (nothing wrong with that, I love it), but we'd never had a thoroughly Indian meal.

We were in Hong Kong on vacation and were trying various cuisines. I spotted an Indian place, and we went back for supper. It was in the basement of a high rise. We stumbled in (a bright day, a dark restaurant), and told the host who greeted us that we were completely unfamiliar with the cuisine, and were placing ourselves in his hands. He provided us with a meal that was wonderful. Several courses, different breads, seeds to eat to freshen our breath before we left the place. I'm sure that we got extra dishes for free because he just wanted us to taste it.

The next night we'd spotted another restaurant, different cuisine, to try, but when we arrived to eat there were police cars and crime scene tape all around it. Husband said, why not see what else xxxx has for us. So we returned to the restaurant and were served another array of dishes by the man who was grinning ear-to-ear that we'd loved our dinner enough to return.

Since then I've prepared authentic Indian dinners myself for friends and family, but mostly rely on prepared foods when I need and Indian fix. When I travel to "the big city" I often look up Indian buffets so that I can try a bunch of different foods. But that one experience was enough to really turn me on to an entire cuisine.
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Old 09-13-2009, 02:07 PM   #4
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Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Arkansas
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In the early 1980s I worked in So. California in an industrial park. One morning a young woman came into our office passing out flyers for a new lunchtime restaurant called Phyllie's Dilly Chili. She was all smiles and very enthusiastic while explaining that she and her husband were going into business for themselves for the first time.

Sometime that next day I went to Phyllie's Dilly Chili for lunch, and as I went in I noticed a stretched limosine parked near the front with a chauffer waiting in the driver's seat. Once inside the restaurant, I was ushered to a table by the young woman I had met the day before, and then I was flabbergasted to see Phyllis Diller waiting and bussing tables! She had no wig and very little makeup, but her personality was lighting up the room! We chatted for a few minutes as she sat at my table for a short rest and a glass of iced tea. The young woman who was starting this restaurant was Phyllis' daughter, and the chili recipe was her's as well! It was really very good, but like so many new businesses, it only lasted for a little over a year. But I'll never forget Phyllis' love for her daughter, hauling dirty dishes, wiping up messy tables and even mopping the floor. She was a fine lady!
"Food is our common ground, a universal experience." - James Beard
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