Monday, January 14, 2008

Good Ole Fashioned Carolina Pork BBQ

by Erin Carr

This week's posting is by my pork contributor, Erin Carr. She went down south this past weekend for an opera competition and was able to sample the local cuisine.

I have to say as a lover of good pork I was happy to make a trip to South Carolina to taste what they are famous for, pork BBQ. Crossing over into South Carolina I saw many places that boasted the “best BBQ in South Carolina.” But which one should I believe?

Here are a couple rules: always look for the smoker on the side of the road, if you can smell it when you drive by, it is going to be good. So we found our place, the Kickin Pig in Rock Hill, a div-ish looking place with a smoker outside the front door. When my friend and I walked in, you couldn't help but notice people at lunch playing pool and drinking some Pabst. This totally makes the experience more authentic. The menu is very basic, chopped pork platter, pork sandwich, a few sides, and pecan pie. The limited menu made my decision easy; pork platter with a side of fries and a corona. A few minutes later I had my pork on a paper plate. It smelled great, no sign of burns and it looked and tasted incredibly moist. I decided to add some hot Carolina BBQ sauce, a vinegar-based topping. Awesome! It is some of the best pork I have ever had. I am totally in love with this place. On a scale from 1 to 5 pigs, I give this a 4 ½ on the pigometer.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Sushi Love Part I: My First Encounter

Sushi is my most favorite food. And I don't mean that lightly. If I could eat only 1 thing for the rest of my life, it would be sushi. In fact, it is the only reason I cannot ever become a vegetarian. Well, ok, sushi and bacon.

Sushi entered my life relatively recently. I never ate sushi growing up and was for most of my life, one of those "raw fish is gross and slimy" people and ate only California rolls. My brother, Kent and our dad would go to the local fish monger and bring home POUNDS of sushi grade tuna and salmon and feast while our mother and I would look upon them in part amusement, part disgust.

I finally came to my senses and saw the light after moving to NYC. It was at a sushi restaurant on the upper west side called Roppongi. I was feeling culinarily adventuresome because Terence and Kent were both raving about the quality of the salmon toro that day. I figured, if my brother and my then-boyfriend were both so ga-ga over a piece of raw fish to the point where they were ordering 3 more pieces EACH, how bad could it be? So I took the plunge and tried my first piece of nigiri sushi. Talk about a transcendent experience! The fish was so buttery it felt like it was melting in my mouth. The most surprising part was that it wasn't fishy at all. It was incredibly delicious and I became an addict.

My favorite sushi place is called Sushi of Gari on the upper east side. My brother-in-law, Brendan and his wife, Francesca introduced us to this place. If you're lucky, Gari himself will be there. Omakase is the way to go and you will not be disappointed. They bring out a few rounds of nigiri sushi with 4 to 5 pieces for each round. After each round, they ask you if you want to order another. One time, Terence and I ate so much, the waiter was relieved we didn't order another round.

Ah sushi...consider me one of those zealots who found "religion" later in life...

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Year's Resolutions

My New Year's resolutions for 2008 are:

1. To go to the gym more often
2. To start a food blog
3. To not waste my taste buds

Since I already blew my first resolution by not going to the gym, let's move on to the second: To start a food blog.

Many thanks to Terence and Lisa for suggesting that I start this food blog. Also, much gratitude to all of my family and friends who talk about food with me constantly. I know that I will always have material for this blog.

And finally, the most important resolution of all: To not waste my taste buds. Some people eat to live. I live to eat. I am ALWAYS thinking about my next meal. Before I'm even finished with the current meal, I'm already thinking about the next one.

I'm not advocating being a glutton. Not at all. In fact, I urge people to put thought into what they ingest. I am, however, formally starting a lifelong pursuit of eating only delicious food. I get very upset when I eat something that is not tasty. To me, it's a complete waste of my taste buds. So I want to avoid mediocre or lousy food whenever possible. It is of course, inevitable, but I hope that those encouters with bad food are limited.

Next posting, I'll start discussing something substantial like sushi. Stay tuned...