Yesterday, Michelle and I had lunch at Derek’s Culinary Casual, a place I had been interested in for a while but had not entered. One reason is that Sarasota is chock full of pricy fancy restaurants, and while I don’t frequent them, I hear they can often disappoint and drain your wallet. But this spot has good reviews going for it, and while the $25 dinner entrees are out of my range, I thought we could enjoy their ~$10 lunch easily enough.
Another reason I’ve been hesitant to walk in the door is that the address used to be home to the Brownstone Cafe, an awesome little craft beer bar where I continued developing my beer geekdom. I first had Schlenkerla rauchbier here, and could barely finish the glass (though I loved it on our recent trip to Bamberg). It was a friendly neighborhood place where I could always find friends, and could walk home drunk from. The amiable owner, Earl, succumbed to cancer and shortly afterwards the property was sold and became Derek’s high-end restaurant. So I was a little divided as to whether I wanted my patronage to go to this successor.
Anyway, the food was good! I had a “Molé braised pulled pork sandwich open faced on chorizo cornbread with fried pickle threads.” Tasty, slightly spicy, but the fried pickles things were funny. Texturally they were interesting, but you could taste no pickle. I would think a slightly thicker slice would retain some juice, tang, and snap to go with the fried breading. Now that’s twice I’ve eaten fried pickle (they also have it at Shakespeare’s Pub, but it’s a big pickle slice).
Michelle had fish tacos: “Marinated gulf fish in grilled flour tortillas with toasted peanut slaw, cilantro, queso blanco and smoked garlic and chile sauce.” She enjoyed these (and shared bites with me). We both thought that the texture and flavor of the fish was a bit outshined by that of the crunchy slaw and other flavors, but it was still delicious (and a generous serving).
Then we had a dessert: “Lavender & honey poached pear, goat cheese ice cream, black pepper caramel sauce.” The pear was a bit tough, hard to cut into with our spoon (when will people come around to using grapefruit spoons for everything?!). The goat cheese ice cream with pepper caramel was fucking awesome. Mascarpone-like texture, was halfway between ice cream and cheese.
But anyway, speaking of fish tacos, I noticed a headline on a section of the Chicago Tribune saying “Vote Yes on Fish Tacos!” The article was all about how fish tacos don’t get enough love in Chicago as in other cities, and how we should all do something about it. This kind of thing is one reason I want to move to Chicago… not because there aren’t enough fish tacos, but because folks are passionate enough about that fact to get loud about it!
I have been reading lots of children’s books lately for class. Great stuff (some of it). Hey, Al! (by Yorinks & Egielski) is about a janitor and his dog, who are whisked away by a bird to a magical bird paradise, which they must ultimately escape! I really enjoyed Beverly Cleary’s Ramona the Pest, because it does such a marvelous job of showing the life of a rambunctious kindergartner from her own point of view. Ramona truly is the “baddest witch in the world!”