Thursday, April 29, 2010

It's All About the Food

I am my father's daughter. When we were kids, we joked that my parents planned our vacations by first selecting the restaurants at which we'd dine, then they'd see if there was anything else to see in that particular town. Now that I think back, I'm pretty sure that's what they did. So it should come as no surprise to any of you that my latest mini road trip was planned around what I'd eat and when.

I promise I won't tire you with a run-down of everything I ate, not that you'd even have time for that, but it would also be booooooring. I'll just show you the highlights. Plus, I didn't take pics of everything, so there.

Let's start with the star of our show: the Kentucky Hot Brown. This sandwich was made famous by The Brown Hotel in Louisville, but you can get it just about anywhere in KY, though some purists will tell you they are cheap imitations. Ya know what? If it's slathered in cheese, who really cares?!

Being a blogger, I always have my camera at the ready. Here is an intact Hot Brown:

It looks tame, right? Please note that is not a dinner plate, but rather a bowl that is as big as a dinner plate. And it is deep. All you can see is the vat of cheese on the top, along with some tomatoes, grated Parmesan and BACON.

Knowing I would not survive eating a whole one of these, I opted for a small side salad and I split a Hot Brown with someone. This is what half of one looks like:

Uh-huh, yeah. See how deep the bowl is? Mmm-hmmm. From the bottom up we have: toast, turkey, ham, cheese, cheese, cheese, tomatoes and BACON. OMG, it must be about 1800 calories for just half of one. Seriously.

The next day, after I awoke from my cheese coma, I hit a local farmers market. In my world I call it "industry research"... you know, being a market veteran I must compare other markets to my own, even if they are in a different state. The stand-out at this one was this cheese (I sense a recurring theme, here):

Oh.My.God. I had samples, and I couldn't stop eating this one and the Asiago variety. I wanted to buy some, but being on the road, refrigeration was not gonna happen. Then he presented me with this:

For $2, he would sell me an insulated bag. It would hold a lot of cheese and then, even if you were in a hotel room, you could fill it with ice and the cheese would stay cold. SOLD! I bought a bag and two cheeses. Isn't that clever of them?!?!?!?

Moving on ... one of the things I treat myself to on the road is sweets. Candy. Rare candy. I crave very few things of the sweet variety, but these things will stop me in my tracks:

Necco wafers. One sleeve is one serving, and you can't tell me otherwise.

Also, these:

Circus Peanuts. Between these and the Necco wafers, the sugar is enough to keep a body going for days.

On another leg of my journey I met a friend for lunch outside of Cincinnati, and it just wouldn't be right to be in Cincy and not eat their famous Five-Way Chili. This is what it looks like:

The 5 layers are: spaghetti, beans, chili, raw onions and CHEESE (there it is again). No, this was not mine. I got a booooring chili + cheese, a wimpy 2-way. I could not have lived with myself with the beans and the onions, and I can live without pasta. So my 2-way chili was just a light lunch in a 5-way world. In Cincy you can buy the chili in cans. They also have a drive-up window. Seriously. My pal told me they use it often. Mmmm.

Next I found myself in Pittsburgh. (Did you know that if you address an envelope with PghPA, it will get there? What? You don't address envelopes any more? For shame!) Anyway, several years ago, I was visiting PghPA with a friend and we went to the original Primanti Brothers restaurant. The one I go to now is just down the street from Pitt and Carnegie-Mellon. I took this picture of the sign because I seem to be incapable of remembering the name of the place. I always say "that P restaurant with the fries inside the sandwiches". Yes, I embarrass my son. A lot.

So here we were:

No matter what kind of sandwich you order from the menu, it has the fries on the inside. Here is a side view of half my sandwich:

That is corned beef topped with a handful of fries, then about a pint of cole slaw. SO good. One of my Tweeps said it looks fairly high in carbs. Um, what's her point, do you think? And yes, I ate the whole thing.

For the last leg of my journey, I stopped at a rest stop on the PA Turnpike. On purpose. Not only did I need a potty stop, I needed one of these:

A hot soft pretzel. I rub off most of the salt, but oh, is this good. You can't get them at the new-fangled modern OH Turnpike rest stops, just the older PA Turnpike ones. If you love hot soft pretzels as I do, you will remember to stop at a PA rest stop to get one. If you are lucky enough to be the passenger, you can also get mustard or cheese, but as the driver, not a good idea. I pass.

So there you have it - my culinary tour of the Midwest. In future posts, I'll update you on some of the scenery and historic things I saw. I just had to show you the food first.

My farmers markets start this Saturday (yay!), so I'll also have weekly market updates for you. I need the road trip stuff for my blog because I have made nothing card-wise - NOTHING - and I am soooo far behind with the inventory. I put my boxes in the car tonight and I only have three boxes, where I usually have five. ACK! Panic sets in ...

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. OOOHHHHHH YUUUUUMMMMM!! I would LOVE to do a Crooked Road Trip with you!!

  2. Burp...

    WV - sesesses
    What the heck! no sentence but I had to show you this one. Diid all the other letters quit for the day?

  3. OMG! I want to be the mouse around your table!

  4. Holy crap!!!! I've seen a lot of cheesy food but your roadtrip takes the biscuit!! LOL
    Fries in a sandwich..we call that a chip butty at home in the old country...I survived boarding school on those...and apple sandwiches...and wish sandwaiches...bread was impostant in that school...#nunscantcook

  5. We have similar tastes in food. I think I've gained 8 lbs. just drooling over the hot brown, chipotle cheddar cheese, and the 5-way chili :)

    WV: barwed- married to a bar; e.g. after a long stressful work week, I am planning to be barwed.

  6. Mmmm... cheeeeeeeese! I love this blog post so much. I think I'm starving now.


  7. OK this does it: we are SO going to travel next summer. You are my ideal road trip partner..... this is like the Pioneer Woman's cook book come true.

  8. WOW - what awesome pictures!

    Neccos were my favorite candy as a kid and my great aunt always had the circus peanuts.


I'd love to hear what you really think! :-)

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