Weekend Tour de Taste!

     When the weekend arrives my arteries shutter, my belt digs another hole toward its tip and my already overloaded feet pray for salvation. It’s time to eat.

      My most recent tour de taste (last weekend) featured a guacamole topped burger, a meatball sub, apple pie ice cream, a chocolate chip almond cake and Kafta (I know you’re thinking ‘whaaaaa??’).
     The first two I mentioned above were from national chains, so I won’t elaborate. Rest assured that they were yummy creations.
     And on the topic of creations, here’s one of mine: Chocochip Almond O’boy Cake
     (Side note: Rather than putting the recipe in its entirety right here, I’ll let you just click on the link which should open up the file. How’s that?)
     This cake comes after digging through various cookbooks, which I do for inspiration, and staring blankly at the pantry while wondering how the pieces in there could form a puzzle that could give Willy Wonka a sugar seizure. The final destination was a good one. I loved how the mini chocolate chips were visible from the sides of the springy cake, which was infused with almond extract. I tell ya, that extract is more expensive than freshwater pearls, but it so good – which is why it made into the icing, too.
     Saturday night, we were going to go for round 2 at a new restaurant in Spartanburg, but opted for round 1 at a place that just opened. It’s called The Spice of Life. The paper did a big write-up teasing Kafta (seasoned ground beef and lamb) burgers, something the owner believes can only be found at his restaurant and nowhere else in the country. We waited at least 5 minutes before anyone acknowledged us at the door. Finally, we were seated on the patio, which is pretty darn nice. I love the atmosphere. They did a good job. Our waitress was hilarious and friendly, but didn’t know anything about the menu. Thankfully, her personality made up for that. I wanted to know about the Kafta platter.. the burger is self-explanatory, but how does the Kafta on the platter come? Good question… one that our waitress, nor the GM knew. Another waitress described it to me as a hamburger steak. I took a chance and ordered it. B got the burger.
     Our appetizer was delicious: a platter of fried, perfectly cooked, so-tender-it-melted calamari, shrimp and veggies. The dinner salad was impressive. Who puts portabella mushrooms on a dinner salad? This place. The hot bacon vinaigrette was a bit chunky, but so flavor-packed I’d bathe in it.
     Dinner came. My Kafta platter was no “hamburger steak”. Hamburger logs, maybe. I was told the special starch was either roasted red potatoes or mashed. I chose the roasted and got the mashed because they were out. The special veggie was garlic-butter carrots. What I loved about them, and it may’ve been a mistake, was that some were coins, others were sticks. For some reason, that made the carrots special to me. It’s a good technique, accidental or intentional. (If you do it at home, make sure the pieces are similar in thickness, otherwise they won’t cook evenly.)
     Overall, the food was good. I think they have some service kinks to work out. They’re the kind of kinks I fear will break the place, and I don’t want that to happen. I applaud new restaurant endeavors and a big selection of places to eat. Spice it up, Spice of Life and we’ll see you around!
     On Sunday, we ventured to the NC Apple Festival. People were a-holes to elbows, but still the smells of fair food and apple opportunities prevailed.
     We had lunch in a restaurant there in Downtown Hendersonville – we resisted the temptations wafting from the tents offering gyros, egg rolls, funnel cakes and dinosaur-sized turkey legs. The restaurant, The Black Rose Pub, is worth visiting. We’ve been twice. Both times I enjoyed the Cuban sandwich, but I do recommend their Black Rose Chicken Sandwich. This time, we half-and-halfed it. I got the Cuban, B got the chicken and we shared. That’s a great idea anytime you go to a restaurant – more bang for your buck, more taste for your tongue!
     Dessert was a cup of homemade apple pie ice cream from a vendor on the street: Great texture, delicate flavor.
     We took home a big bag of apples – so now I’m trying to think of what to do with them. Apple calzones are coming to mind… but we’ll see!
     On Monday, lunch was barbecue in Simpsonville at Henry’s Smokehouse. Good stuff.
     Dinner was a cheesesteak and fresh-cut fries at the mall. Nothing special, but it was easy and tasty. Can’t ask for much more.
     My hope is that this inspired your weekend walk (or sprint, in my case) through food town. Tasty travels to you, and yours.
     I’m gone dishing – hey, it’s a new weekend.
Tip: If you don’t like plain water, spruce up the cubes you put in it. Here’s what I did:
*1/4 fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
*3/4 cup filtered (or bottled) water
*2 packets Sweet Leaf (Stevia, leaf-derived pure sugar substitute — you can use regular sugar, but you’d have to boil the water first to get it to dissolve)
*10 large mint leaves, chopped to small pieces.
          In an ice cube tray divvy the mint leaves into each cup equally. Use your fingers to push them down and help release their oils.
          In a measuring cup, mix the other ingredients and divvy the liquid into the mint-filled cups. Freeze for at least 4 hours, if not overnight.
          Two cubes in a glass of water will go a long way. It’s a mojito-like sweet freshness that gives your plain drink a punch.

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