Mecca…of a sort
May 30, 2011, 1:13 pm
Filed under: afterthoughts, Holidays, Nibbles, Philosophical

The town we live in, Statesboro, Georgia, is a nice enough place. It’s not very big, but there’s a university here. It’s not real near anything, unless you count being an hour away from the beach as ‘near’, and it doesn’t have much to offer in the way of Art and Entertainment, except for maybe a small museum that occasionally features photographs of leaves falling into the Ogeechee River. It is, however, calm and quiet and a good place to raise a family. “A great place to live but I wouldn’t want to visit there” It does, however, have a smokehouse in the middle of downtown so 8 am mornings smell like finest smoked bacon. It’s a charming quality that makes up for the other stuff.

Food-wise, the grocery stores (4 of them, including Walmart Supercenter) offer a very large selection of prewrapped American cheese and hot dogs. Neither of which I eat. There is also an excellent fresh produce stand that makes up for it’s lack of variety by offering the best tomatoes and summer squash a person could want, and a lovely meat market that will will cheerfully cut a 2 inch thick sirloin if that’s what you’re craving.

But sometimes I’m wanting perfectly fresh bean sprouts (not canned), or those little round green eggplants, or a pile of sopessata and some Irish cheddar on a 2 hour old baguette. This leads to not-so-subtle hints and suggestions that perhaps a trip to Atlanta (3 hours away) might be in order. When such cravings coincide with (O JOY!) a couple of days off for Terry, and the happy circumstance of O LOOK! I found some money I’d forgotten about! (how does that happen? I do not know, but it did)…then hurried visits to for a hotel room in some nice part of town (Midtown! With it’s myriad restaurants and trees and walking distance to many of Atlanta’s loveliest qualities), and the happy realization that the price of gas has dropped by 50 cents in the last day,and the bribing of older sons to keep an eye on younger son, it all falls together and turns into a semi-spontaneous trip to a wonderful city we have come to adore.

The entire trip revolved around food. Every single minute of it from searching on his crackberry for the best and biggest liquor stores (booze is food, right?) and where Farmburger is located in relation to The Dekalb Farmer’s Market and our hotel. We didn’t go to Farmburger, after all, because we decided to walk 100 yards uphill from the hotel to eat Thai at The Tamarind Seed where Terry fell in love with green pickled peppercorns in his plah duk pad phred, and I had 2 lychee mojitos which made me desperate to find lychee syrup (and did!). The next day involved a highly successful trip to The DFM and a buggy full of spices, cheeses and deli meats (turkey apple sausage for breakfast this morning…it’s cooking now and smells like fresh apples and sweet smoke) *and* fresh bean sprouts, 25 pounds of onions for a friend who’s making pickles, and a lovely piece of pistachio baklava.

Then dim sum at The Oriental Pearl. There’s nothing quite like being in a packed full restaurant that seats 300 and being the ONLY non-Asian in the bunch. How do you tell it’s good? That’s how. And yes, it was good. We plan our trips to Atlanta aournd Saturday mornings so we can get to the Oriental Pearl at 11, and spend the next 2 hours indulging in all manner of tasty tidbits and their amazing banana-leaf cooked sticky rice.

After that, a trip to the small Asian grocery store just down Chamblee-Tucker Blvd from the restaurant. It’s tucked in next to a Taqueria and 2 doors down from a Dentist/Pawn shop in a grubby little strip mall. I love the place. It smells fabulous, and the staff, every single time we go, expresses some scepticism at my white-lady ability to cook sticky rice. This time, I bought one of those aluminum spittoon shaped things and a cone basket, and received detailed lessons on the Proper Sticky Rice Method, and also approval that I was wanting to do it right. In the past, I’ve used a metal colander and a big pot, and had some success, but the guy at the store said cooking it in a bamboo cone basket gives it better flavor,so that’s what’s going to happen.

We never made it to Farmburger, alas. Too much dim sum resulted in apathy and a desire to go home and digest. However, once we got home (5 hours and 2 liquor stores later), hunger returned, and it was time to set out the deli largesse from The DFK.
O yes, we do love us some cheeses, meats and and a fine, fresh baguette (by this time is 9 hours old)

clockwise from the olives: garlic salami, schenkwurst, hunter's salami, hot sopessata

Clockwise from the hand: Irishcheddar with whiskey, blue shropshire, harlech somerdale, mimolette, 3 pepper chevre in the middle

excellent, excellent baguette.


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