HG loves grits. There was a time when you had to travel south to get a bowl of grits. Now grits making an appearance on menus all over the USA. Shrimp and grits (An HG favorite) is being devoured at a half dozen Santa Fe eateries. Best ever shrimp and grits were served at Chicago’s Soul Kitchen (closed, alas) and best cheese grits were found up north at the lovely Griswold Inn, Lyme, Conn. HG isn’t snobbish about grits. Enjoys them at Waffle House topped by eggs and flanked by crisp fried potatoes. Quaker Oats Instant Grits provide a quick and pleasant breakfast when adorned with a lump of butter, salt, pepper and a dash of Tabasco. (Don’t sneer. Try it). For some peculiar reason, grits are not sold on Prince Edward Island. Maybe they represent a challenge to the Island’s omnipresent and delicious mineral rich potatoes. So, when HG/BSK voyage to the family summer home on this serene and beautiful Canadian isle, HG/BSK always pack a few bags of Geechie Boy Mill white grits. SJ, a guy who knows what’s good, gifts his parents with this splendid product. Geechie calls its product “Stone Ground Goodness.” Accurate. These grits ascend to heaven when topped by BSK’s perfect poached eggs.
The political and racial atmosphere in this country is pure poison. Der Trumper is no longer a bad joke. He could spell the end of the American democracy. Gloomy thoughts as HG/BSK motor across America to New Mexico (a haven of civilization). The only consolation is that America’s road food is surprisingly good. In Augusta, Maine, HG/BSK had a dinner of superior Spinney oysters (big and briny) followed by a good “Oriental” salad of grilled chicken, greens and rice noodles in a peanut sauce. Spent some time in Riverside, R.I. with brilliant and beautiful granddaughter Arianna R. (and her personable companion, Jake, an embryonic chef). Celebrated Ms. Arianna’s birthday and professional triumph with a festive dinner at Chonquing, an unassuming little Chinese restaurant in Seekonk, Mass. Easy to miss in a dreary little strip mall, Chonquing (in HG’s opinion), may be the best Szechuan restaurant in North America. Among other outstanding dishes, HG relished a pot of juicy filets of Mahi Mahi and silky tofu in a bright red chili infused broth. In Dublin, Ohio HG/BSK supped on first rate Indian food at Amul India. Outstanding Chicken tikka, eggplant, dal and tandoori breads. HG/BSK lunch)ed today at a sparkling new Waffle House in Greenfield, Ohio. Pure comfort food for HG: A big bowl of cheese grits topped with two perfectly poached eggs. A nice chicken salad for BSk. (Has it become obvious that BSK loves chicken?) Tonight in Collinsville, Ill. (a few miles east of St.Louis) HG/BSK are looking forward to St. Louis-style dry rub ribs. Report will follow.
Hey, the land of the free, brave and bigoted is the home of millions of racists, woman haters, war lovers, Il Trumpe worshipers. Yes, it’s got faults. However, there’s some good news. The heartland of the USA used to be a food desert. The chains and “family” restaurants ruled. That has changed. Over the last days, as HG/BSK prepare to leave Prince Edward Island (regretfully) and motor across the country to Santa Fe, HG has been researching restaurants off the major highways the duo (and Toby, The Wonder Dog) will travel. HG has been poring over the choices of Trip Advisor, Yelp and Road Food (Jane and Michael Stern). So far, HG has come up with a Greek restaurant, two Cajun restaurants, a Jewish delicatessen, a seafood restaurant, a Mexcian “fusion” restaurant, a Cuban restaurant and, of course, two barbecue joints. These are lunch or dinner places. For breakfast nothing is better than Waffle House. Be assured. HG will be doing full reports on HG/BSK’s culinary choices.
HG/BSK are luxuriating in a La Quinta hotel on highway I-55 In Collinsville, IL, just a few miles east of St.Louis. Have completed half of the 2,100 mile trip to Providence. The road amenities in the United States continue to delight HG/BSK. La Quinta is the favorite road lodging. Big, clean rooms. Comfy beds. Flat screen TV. Hot shower with good water pressure and lots of fluffy towels. WiFi, of course. Ice maker just a few steps down the hall. Civilized living at a modest price (Free breakfast, too). This a far cry from the hotel accommodations in France and Italy. Tiny rooms. Big prices. Inferior plumbing. Plus, a free, ample supply of cockroaches. That’s why HG/BSK always rent apartments when abroad. Another great American road classic is Waffle House. Always a joy. Today, HG lunched on some savory high cal stuff: Two buttery, softly scrambled (as requested) eggs; greaseless and crisp hash browns topped with fried onions; bowl of grits; toast; jam, orange juice; a few cups of coffee. Weight watcher BSK had a salad topped with grilled chicken. BSK lauded the chicken as flavorful and juicy plus the salad was dressed with a pleasant vinaigrette. Drank unsweetened ice tea. (In mid-America and the South, ice tea is served unsweetened or sweetened. The sweetened is cloying.) Next La Quinta visit is tomorrow night in Columbus, Ohio. Midpoint between St.Louis and Columbus is Indianapolis, home of Shapiro’s Jewish Delicatessen. Looking forward to an old fashioned heartburn.