This past weekend was Mr. Squeaky Peanut’s birthday, and he wanted to celebrate with a series of road trips. And offal, but more on that later. Naturally, this means there was no Martha cooking again, but I plan to remedy that later in the week. I think I have about 5 more summer recipes to get through–yoiks. There is a Martha connection later in this post, I swear.
Saturday found us driving down 85 to Chapel Hill and Durham, Miss Pooch in tow. We got to Chapel Hill around lunch time, so we hung out on the patio at Mediterranean Deli, which has a huge deli case full of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean food of all sorts. The Husband got a puu-puu platter of tomato kibbe, leek stew, spinach pie, and a chicken and tomato dish that tasted very similar to chicken cacciatore. He also had a za’atar, which is a pita baked with za’atar seasoning. I had a chicken gyro, which was good enough, but not the best I have ever had. Miss Pooch disagrees and says the chicken was delicious. All of The Husband’s food was tasty, however.
After doing some shopping around town, we ended up at Guglhupf , an “old world” bakery/cafe/patisserie in Durham. We split a peach and cherry cobbler tart, and got a bien stitch, which is a German pastry made from bread layered with custard and topped with almonds and honey, and a danish, for later. The danish pastry was very light and flaky, and the peach and cherry tart was nearly all fruit. We were sad that we rolled up as they were closing so we missed all the bread. PS–The Husband also bought an Herb d’Provence salami that he loves.
Dinner time found us at Foster’s Market, which is practically next door to Guglhupf. The owner of Foster’s, Sarah Foster, was a chef for Martha Stewart’s catering company! So, you see, I wasn’t a total slacker on the Martha front. Foster’s is adorable– it’s part cafe/deli and part general store. They make an amazing 7-pepper jelly, which I ate on a turkey sandwich with herbed cream cheese. The store has a wide front porch with seating (pooches welcome) and a bunch of picnic tables and rocking chairs set out on the front lawn. After we left the restaurant we found a wine store that The Husband wants to move into, as it specializes in small vineyards and has a strong section from the Loire region of France, his personal favorite.
Sunday, Mr. SP’s actual birthday, found us venturing north, to Baltimore, to go to the American Visionary Art Museum. If you haven’t been to this museum, you simply must go. Now. It is awesome. I can’t wait to go back to see the next installation–they collaborated with Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons, and John Waters!
We had never heard of the museum until my friend wrote about it on her blog. She also mentioned some hole in the wall BBQ place, Johnny Boy’s Ribs on Route 301, so we stopped there for lunch on the way up. YUM! She will now have to be our very own personal travel advisor, and we will go anywhere and eat anything she tells us to.
Since she had warned against the sides, we just split a sliced beef sandwich, without cole slaw, and topped it with their “hot” BBQ sauce and a splash of hot sauce. The meat was tender and had a nice seasoning. It’s a bizarre place–the counter lady was surly, the shack where you get the food is next door to what appears to be the former Johnny’s BBQ restaurant, which is abandoned, but the restrooms are still in the basement of the empty building. The sign for the place even mentions, “Clean Restrooms” as a selling point; they were clean, so kudos to them, I guess. (Insert foreshadowing here)
After we finished at the awesome museum, we were feeling a bit peckish, so we popped over to Fells Point at Tortilleria Sinaloa, one of our favorite stops in Baltimore. I had a chicken taco and a chicken tamale, which were both excellent., but the tamale was one of the best ones I have ever had–there was a good amount of filling and it was spicy!
The Husband seems to have started a tradition, supposedly unintentional, where he eats offal on his birthday. Last year we went to a British gastropub on his birthday, and he had black (blood) pudding. This year, he celebrated (?) by eating menudo, which is made with tripe, in case you didn’t know. So, two years equals a tradition, yes? His second annual offal fest. I really couldn’t look at it. Unfortunately, the broth was bland, and his tripes were chewy–his last bite seemed particularly unfortunate and if I think about it too much I feel ill.
Then we drove home and got stuck at the Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge over the Potomac when the bridge was shut down for an accident. We had to use the restroom at the gas station on the side of the road where we stalled and it was the filthiest one I have ever seen, bar none. We are still talking about how nasty it was. Please send penicillin.
We took Monday off, and ended up going out to the Westmoreland Berry Farm for shortcake (strawberry + peach, and peach + blackberry) and to look at goats. Miss Pooch said ‘Hell, no! I don’t want to meet any goats.’