Pork Loin with Apples and Onions

I’m cooking out of the freezer and fridge as my house is about to be fumigated for termites, so in searching around the crisper drawers, I found several slightly bruised Granny Smith apples and medium onion. Instead of sweet applesauce to go with a pork loin I found, I decided to do an apple and onion accompaniment.

Slicing the onions thin allows them to become sweetly caramelized in a fairly short cooking time. They are a perfect way to tone down the sour apples without adding sugar. Michelle thought a sprinkle of pepper would be a good taste and I think she’s right, so I added pepper to the to taste seasonings.

Pork Loin with Apple and Onions

1 – 3 lb pork loin
⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons lime juice
2 tablespoons Creole seasoning
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped fine
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2-3 Granny Smith apples, diced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
salt and pepper to taste

Make a marinade by mixing together apple cider vinegar, olive oil, garlic, honey, lime juice, Creole seasoning and rosemary. Put loin in zip top bag and pour marinade over pork. Seal and marinate for at least an hour and as long as 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Discard marinade. Brown all side of pork in 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium high heat in a skillet. Place pork in roasting pan and cook for 30 to 40 minutes until meat thermometer registers 140 degrees F.

Deglaze the skillet with with 1 cup of water. Add onions and cook for 5 minutes. Add the apples to the pan and cook over medium heat until apples soften and onions are golden and all the water has steamed away. Add 2 tablespoons butter and stir until melted. Continue to cook until apples are fork tender. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper if necessary.

Remove loin from oven when done and allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing. Spoon apple and onion mixture over top.

 

R and O’s Restaurant in Bucktown

My friends Mickie and Carol took me to lunch to talk politics and early voting (Geaux Vote!) and I surprised them by having never been to R&O’s Restaurant in the Bucktown neighborhood. It was one of their favorites and, after dining, they drove me around all the new changes to the waterfront out there.

We started with the shrimp salad tossed with remoulade sauce instead of dressing. Lots of big, whole boiled shrimp and recognizable hunks of bell pepper, tomato, onion and iceberg lettuce.

The roast beef sandwich was piled high with well cooked roast beef. It tasted like a pot roast on a bun, which we ordered well toasted so it didn’t get too soggy with the brown gravy. Came with lots of pickles for that cool, sharp crunch. As I still count the number of napkins required  as to how good the poboy is, I can tell you it came in at 4 paper towels!

Fried oyster sandwich had large fried oysters piled on. Good flavor to the oysters. It needed a crunch, so I added some pickles and it was perfect.

Our server was quick with refills on our ice tea and to check in to make sure we had all we needed. She even brought extra of the good mints!

I’m always looking for a good spot for lunch, and this fits the bill of lots of food, good prices, friendly staff and lots of parking! I think my folks are going to love their sandwiches, too.

Recommend!

R&O’s Restaurant
www.r-opizza.com
216 Metairie-Hammond Highway
Metairie, LA 70005

 

Show Me the Saint Louis Desserts!

Brian, Jennie and I ended our cross country odyssey in St. Louis, Missouri. Of course, I couldn’t leave the city without seeing the arch:

And I definitely couldn’t leave until I tasted some of their local treats. We started by going to Ted Drewes for a frozen custard concoction known as concrete. The place is a small house with several windows to order from along the street side.

They list out their menu on the side wall but along the front are other hand written signs about other offerings, all of which tempt you to change your mind. So I did. Several times.

I ordered the turtle with caramel and hot fudge sauce and pecans. Very, very tasty. Jennie got hers with Reeses peanut butter cups mixed in. Also, delish.

I wasn’t fast enough to get a picture of the server turning it upside down to show me how thick it is but she did flip them.

The custards were quite refreshing on a warmish afternoon and they’ve got benches along the edge of the parking lot, under some trees so we sat with many others to enjoy our treat.

We next needed to find some Gooey Butter Cake. We wanted to go to Gooey Louie but they were on vacation so we tried another version near where we were staying in Fenton.

Russell’s Cafe and Bakery does a shortbread crust on theirs plus several different options like chocolate chip and cinnamon and orange as well as the original gooey butter cake. I really liked the soft, gooey and creamy top over the crunchy shortbread and the hint of citrus in their cinnamon version helped cut the sweetness. It may not be true to the original but it was very good.

What started as a baker’s mistake (switching the proportions of flour and sugar) is quite delicious indeed.

St. Louis has many fine qualities and its desserts rank among them. I hope to return soon to explore more.

 

Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque – Kansas City

Our cross country drive took us through Kansas City. What would a visit to the home of its own style of BBQ be complete without a stop at Arthur Bryant’s place?

I got the burnt ends sandwich. Loads of tender meat over white bread and a huge portion of fries. The only problem was I couldn’t taste the char or smoke on the meat through all the sauce. The brisket was fall apart tender; I just don’t usually put so much sauce on good meat.

The baby back ribs were tender to the tooth, with a beautiful smoke line. Very good ribs so I’d definitely go for the larger slabs, especially if other members of your table insist on sampling them.

Of course, there is a big emphasis here on their sauces – they’ve even got a framed cartoon about it:

And the sauce was tasty. It is the epitome of what I think of when I think of Kansas City Style. The sandwich came with the original sauce. There are three types on the tables. Brian liked the Hot and Spicy best – he thought it was a perfect combination of flavors and that it made even the white bread sing.

I can tell you the best time to visit seems to be during a Kansas City Chiefs game. The staff might be a little distracted but there was no line. Even distracted, they were friendly to newbies and quick with getting the food onto our plates so we could dig in.

The interior could use a bit of a cleaning but all in all, I’d return to sample more of their menu.

Arthur Bryant’s Barbeque
www.arthurbryantsbbq.com
1727 Brooklyn Avenue
Kansas City, Missouri
816-231-1123

The Parlor Ice Cream Puffs – Sacramento

I drove up to see my friends Roxie and Jamie and they took me to The Parlor Ice Cream Puffs. They specialize in Ice Cream Puffs which is a scoop of their handcrafted ice cream, sealed inside a hot glazed donut.

I know, right!

Just the most awesome ice cream sandwich ever with the ice cream melting from the heat of the soft donut.

They have a good selection of ice cream, many with whimsical names like 50 Shades of Earl Gray Tea (tea infused honey and vanilla ice cream), Midnight in Paris (coffee ice cream with Nutella), Elmos Revenge (red velvet ice cream with  Oreos and chocolate chips), Coco Butter Kisses (dark chocolate ice cream with cookie butter and graham crackers), etc. Everyone else got scoops in a cup – Roxie ordered the Midnight in Paris and salted caramel, Jamie ordered Coco Butter Kisses and John ordered Midnight in Paris. I went for the salted caramel ice cream to go in my sandwich.

If you’re going for the ice cream puffs, you place your order and they place the scoop on a donut that has been cut in half. They then disappear into the back with it and, when they come back, it is heated and pressed together. The contrast of warm and cold, soft and creamy, salt and sweet nearly made me shiver. You do need to eat fast as the ice cream is melting but it is so good I was already eager to scarf it down.

Terrific for those who love ice cream sandwiches, especially that you get to choose your ice cream. Of course, now I’m wondering if you could do the same with beignet.

It is a very small shop with only a couple of tables but it wasn’t packed on Sunday evening so we got a table and added a chair from another. Staff friendly and service was quick.

I would probably be here weekly and have blood sugar through the roof but it is a lovely treat.

The Parlor Ice Cream Puffs
2620 Fair Oaks Blvd
www.theparloricecream.com
Sacramento, CA 95864
(916)977-3997

Augie’s Montreal Deli – Berkeley

I was running errands with my friend Brian which took us into Berkeley at lunchtime. Brian is a great foodie finder and this one is a little off the beaten track but going to Augie’s Montreal Deli was a real treat.

We split the L’Montroyal, which came with what looked like a pound of Augie’s Montreal smoked meat. This sandwich (which is just meat and bread) is huge! The meat is a beef brisket which is cured, rubbed, smoked, and slow roasted. Sort of like pastrami and corned beef joining together and bringing out the best of each other. You can order it lean or fatty – just look at our sandwich and try to guess what we went for:

The sandwich came with pickles and some coleslaw that some purist put on it. I enjoyed the pickle but left the coleslaw for Brian.

We’d be remiss if we didn’t also order a bowl of poutine –  French fried red potatoes with St Hubert poutine gravy and authentic squeaky cheese curds. Very yummy. We ordered the smaller bowl and it was plenty for two people.

The order came up fast and hot. They brought it to our table and the owner, Lex, even stopped by to make sure we had everything we needed. There is seating both inside and out and they’ll even bring your order to the car, if you can’t find parking and decide to get it to go.

They have a small refrigerated cabinet and they sell smoked brisket and bacon.  They also have cans of poutine gravy, if you wanted to take it home and make your own.

I’d definitely recommend this place. Check out their hours before going as they close at 3pm during the middle of the week.

Augie’s Montreal Deli
augiesmontrealdeli.com
875 Potter St
Berkeley CA 94710
(510) 984-0283

NOLA – Palo Alto

I flew into California and had a great day talking books and food with friends. We rounded out our evening by going to Kepler’s Books to enjoy a lively and informative conversation between authors Lucy Jane Bledsoe and Emma Donoghue about Emma’s new book, Akin.

Prior to the event, we had to fuel up. Dar recommended NOLA Restaurant in downtown Palo Alto and I’m very glad she did. The place is a tribute to New Orleans that adds a California flair to the food. The cocktails were creative and delicious, the walls were covered in Southern art and the food was as good or better than the best Creole and Cajun I’ve had the pleasure to eat.

We focused ordering nearly all their small plates. I had cornbread plus their BBQ shrimp and grits with garlic bread. Big shrimp with a richly flavored sauce over savory, stone-ground grits. The garlic studded bread was good and, as you see from the picture, a lot for such a tiny skillet.

Luan offered me her Mamma’s Mac and cheese for the picture and I got a bite of it as well. Very smooth and generously cheesy, with just a hint of spice over the plump, well cooked pasta. My mama doesn’t make it that way but I sure wish she did.

Karin had the shrimp as well and also ordered a flight of fried green tomatoes. They came with a couple of sauces but the crunchy, cornmeal coated tomatoes needed no boost of flavor as they tasted divine. Not sure they needed the sprinkling of greens but we are in California, so they are par for the course.

Their chef had the patience and keen eye and nose to get a deep mahogany roux on the seafood etouffee that Peggy ordered. Complex layers of flavor and full of scallops, crawfish and shrimp, this dish was good to the last bite.

Just look at the meat in this flank steak salad that Maria ordered! Sure there were noodles and greens and edamame but the marinated meat was tender and flavorful. Salad isn’t usually food in my world but for this I’m willing to make an exception.

I didn’t get pics of the ribs that Dar ordered* but she did give me a bite and it was meltingly tender to the tooth. I did snap a picture of the large boiled shrimp in the bucket of ice she also ordered. I’m not sure what we were supposed to with the celery but the shrimp easily found their way into our mouths.

I also neglected to get pictures of the cornbread.** It was sweet but with a very nice crumb. The plate had two large pieces and came with a rosemary honey that was good enough to sip out of the container. The nice server also brought us some butter to slather on it.

The servers in the lounge and in the restaurant were attentive and the cocktails sized generously. I’m glad we had reservations because the bar and lounge were packed at 5pm. The place is set up with many small areas in two stories around an open courtyard so groups could get raucous (not my group, of course, we were the height of decorum!) without disturbing others. Each place setting came with Mardi Gras beads and that helped get everyone into the right festive mood.

A good atmosphere, excellent service and just the right amount of spice to the eclectic menu makes this a restaurant I would return to in the future. I recommend it.

NOLA
https://www.nolas.com/
535 Ramona St.,
Palo Alto, CA 94301
650.328.2722

Author notes and corrections:
*note – correction Luan ordered the ribs
** the server took our picture and the cornbread can be seen next to me (after Dar and Peggy). Here it is:

Dar, Peggy and I and the cornbread