Category Archives: Travelling picnic

The key lime pie vacation

Last year Mr. Food and I took a trip to the sunny land of Captiva Island, Florida.  We did nothing all week but walk on the beach, sit in or by the pool, and eat key lime pie.  What follows is our chronological record of our eating accomplishments, including notes taken at the time and only just now properly transcribed…

first day, first pie, from here. not limey enough. too condensed milky. no whipped topping. ($5.95) [view from our balcony– Gulf of Mexico]

second day, pie number two, from here. mushy, bland, pale crust. filling was nice and lime-y. not cloying. liked the topping. ($1.49)

second day, pie three, from here.  finally a graham cracker crust! but crust was too thin and filling too thick, gooey, and plentiful. bad green (apple?) syrup on top, overshadowing lime flavor. ($4.95)

third day, pie four, from here. four pies in and on day three of our trip, I proclaimed this the best slice so far.  crust is ideal. nice topping, lime-y filling. one complaint– too chiffon-y, could be custard-ier. ($5)

fourth day, the fifth pie, from here. with the name key lime in the name, it’s no surprise that this rated better than the slice just above– though just a bit. crust was crunchier and more substantial.  filling rated close to perfect by one of us and not light enough by the other. great and attractive topping.  but spider web of sauce only detracted from the lime flavor of the pie. ($8)

fourth day, sixth pie, from here.  just as good as the fifth. crust crunchy and laced with coconut. filling thick but could be limier. topping was tasty though on the side. ($7)

seventh day, the seventh and last pie, from here. this is mr. food’s second favorite, after the fourth. crust was ideal and filling was thick and lime-y.  very smooth. only complaint is lack of topping. ($4.95)

The pie summary: In a unanimous second place finish, pie number seven! We both liked this one for its traditional ingredients and lime-y filling.  And we have a tie for first place with both pie number four and number five (minus the awful tasting plate decoration) claiming the top honors– the former nominated by Mr. Food and the latter by me and my taste buds.  Hearty thanks to all the pies who participated.

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Everything on a stick

Looking at my photos, I can already see that the title of the post is a misnomer.  I apologize for that, but the fact remains that I still think of the food at the Minnesota State Fair as being a case of everything-served-on-a-stick-even-if-it-usually-isn’t.  Corn dogs are of course served on sticks.  Fried alligator on sticks.  Ice cream on sticks.  Deep fried twinkies on sticks.  Even the fairground maps are on (popsicle) sticks.

But they also have cheese curds!

and giant deep fried onions!

and my personal favorite stickless-food: mini donuts!  Here seen in production. (Not shown: next picture in series, me watching with mouth agape)

So much food imagery at the state fair– sister L even got herself wedged into a kiddie ride shaped like an apple. (not shown).

Favorite. Bag. Ever.

And you understand that for me this is saying a lot.  I have a whole drawer full of bags.  I also have a whole huge tupperware-ish bin full of bags. I have bags hanging out on hooks in the bedroom, porch, and guest room.  Some ladies have shoes; I have bags.  I admit it is a little out of control.  But this is my favorite bag.  No coincidence that it is awesomely red and has cherries on it.  I saw it hanging high above me in a shop that smelled like hippie incense (the bag did as well for a month after its release) and I knew there was no way that even I would want to spend as much for a bag as this fantastic bag should cost.  After long minutes of pretending to look at other things I requested to see it and my fears were unfounded… I walked out into the chilly rain swinging my new favorite bag, all for less than the cost of a good lunch.  Mmmm.

Everything tastes better with bacon

That’s right. Everything. Try me. Scallops? Check. Wrap ’em and bake them until the bacon is just crispy. Pasta? Yup. Start your veggies sauteeing in bacon grease and add to pasta with liberal shavings of Parm. Stir fry? Chili? Corn chowder? Same idea. But most of all, camping. Not only does the smell make your neighbors jealous when you cook strips on the campfire as the sun comes up but you practically need them at every meal. Bacon is the perfect portable source of cooking fat and you can have it as an appetizer while the hot dogs, burgers, corn on the cob, chicken, or veggie skewers are sizzling in tasty bacon juices. Win win.

Q. What’s a cupcake without the wrapper?

There are two kinds of cupcake eaters in the world.

There are those who will not think anything is amiss with a cupcake that arrives without a paper wrapper– even a little cake without the tell-tale ridges that come from being baked in one. All cupcakes are created equal to these folks. “It is a cupcake and I shall eat it,” mumble these brave faux-cupcake eaters, mouths full of muffin. Mr. Food is part of this crowd and so are co-workers N and A, I found during an informal poll recently.

I am not one of those people.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ll still eat the cupcake; I’m not crazy and I’m not going to waste a decent piece of cake. But the absence of the wrapper signals to me that this unfortunate cakey round has been left on the fence between cupcakes and muffins. A muffcake, if you will. In my book, the two do not meet for lunch. Muffins are usually a bit sweet but should not be overly so. My favorite muffins are more of the banana or pumpkin varieties, not the chocolate chip or crazy-carrot-cake-“muffins”-masquerading-as-cupcakes-drowning-in-frosting sold here. Muffins have smooth sides and would look weird clothed in paper sheaths. Cupcakes, on the other hand are allowed to be smothered in any kind of frosting and colorful toppings that are available. For the record my preference here is for the good old yellow cake and chocolate frosting combo with any bright, little crunchy bits on top. A cupcake must be dressed in ridged paper pants. A’s husband, N, is so far my sole co-conspirator on this issue. (If there are more of you out there, speak up!)

This issue came to the forefront of my food thoughts recently after a trip to The Spotted Apron with N over lunch break. I ordered a chocolate cupcake with vanilla frosting. It came with several spots on top. N wonders if they are in fact Necco wafers… I’m pretty sure they’re not, but they sure look like them. Anyway! I went to eat it and noticed its unclothed appearance. Shocking for a cupcake to be naked, I thought to myself. N was not concerned. She did not seem worried about eating hers later in the day. I ate it but it bothered me and it still does. And, to note, it was indicative of the overall quality of the “cupcake.” I won’t be doing that again.

A. It’s a muffin. End of story.

Hawaii (III) — Shave ice

This stuff speaks for itself!  On the left: lychee (we learned that in Hawaii they pronounce it lye-chee instead of the lee-chee we are used to) and on the right: watermelon.  Unless I got another flavor.  Am I embarrassed enough that I can’t remember?  Mr. Food will know…

Hawaii (II) — Snorkeling and Shrimp trucks

On our first full day on O’ahu, our gracious hostess, S, drove us up to the north shore of the island in search of shrimp trucks, shave ice, and beaches. The header picture today is the result of that quest– taken at one of the two shrimp trucks we visited that day. We tested one… and then another… all for research purposes of course. The ones here were either spicy prawns or garlicky shrimp. Nice of them, too, to provide a little sink to wash hands afterwards– things can get quite messy otherwise! After lunch we swam at Turtle Bay and got hooked on snorkels! Next vacation will be somewhere where we can use our new masks and tubes…