Lannae's Food and Travel

I hope you like my food and travel blog.

October 29, 2010

Luau Feast

Old Lahaina Luau
sunset the Old Lahaina Luau

Aloha Oe is one of the most famous songs from the beautiful Hawaii. Here is the chorus:

Hui: Chorus:
Aloha ʻoe, aloha ʻoe Farewell to thee, farewell to thee
E ke onaona noho i ka lipo The charming one who dwells in the shaded bowers
One fond embrace, One fond embrace,
A hoʻi aʻe au 'Ere I depart
Until we meet again Until we meet again

hula girls and boys

Our one big night out on Maui was visiting the Old Lahaina Luau. Old Lahaina is the only one that greets every guest with a traditional lei and beautiful fragrant flower (like a cross between a rose and jasmine) to be worn in womens hair. A lovely bride and groom on my plane were getting married on Maui, and their Maui wedding planner booked them and their wedding party at the Old Lahaina Luau because the planner believes it is the best luau on the island. Coincidentally, the bride and groom were booked on the same day we we booked to partake in the luau. It was fun to congratulate the young couple on the island, as well as the time we were on the plane.

the beautiful outdoor dining room

When on Maui, or Hawaii in general, I highly suggest partaking in a luau. Each time I was on Oahu when I was child on vacation, and just a couple weeks ago on Maui, the allure, kitchiness, beauty, tradition, and experience of the luau is still touching my heart. It is dinner theater, it is like summer camp, it is like getting on a cruise ship, it is a luau. It requires just letting the mind go into the dinner theater and enjoy what the highly trained staff has to offer in hospitality, food, drink, surroundings, and of course the luau show. This Hawaiian staff offers the luau 7 days per week for 440 people everyday, and most everyday of the year, the tables are full. It seems that locals take visitors to the Old Lahaina Luau for the luau experience, the wedding planner directs her clients to the Old Lahaina Luau, and my group found it to be a great luau experience.

view towards the mountains

This luau is assigned seating when reservations are made by phone or online. The reservation price includes all food, drink and show. It does not include gratuity, so remember to bring extra cash for your servers. There is no reason to get to the door early because it is assigned seating. As we walked in, we were greeted with a lovely lady lei-ing us with fragrant leis. Then one step later, we greeted by a young man handing out the 1st of many mixed drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. If you plan on drinking, you can drink a lot here, so bring a designated driver with you.

roasting pig pit

A staff member in a beautiful floral sarong showed us to our table, and pointed us to about a dozen arts and crafts stations around the grounds, and various areas that were perfect for sunset photo ops. The arts and crafts stations reminded me of summer camp in a way. There were stations that were showing how to make a lei, tikis, Hawaiian style jewelry, floral hair clips, hula lessons, photo ops, etc. The photo ops of the sunset over the ocean was just unbelievable. Just the visual at this pretty location was worth the price of admission. The arts and crafts stations were Hawaiian kitchy, and should be completely enjoyed because there is no where else in the USA that you can have this experience besides a luau. Off to one side was the giant sand pit that was roasting the pig were were going to eat as part of our dinner. That was a rather big show to unearth the pig. How the pig is actually cooked is by steam, not direct heat from coals. I believe the pit is filled with coals, then lined with water soaked banana leaves, and then the pig is placed into the leaves and covered up with more water soaked banana leaves. Then the pig is piled high with sand to keep the heat from the coals in, and the pig cooks overnight and into the next day to be ready for the luau. All of this, and unlimited drinks were all going on before dinner and the hula luau show.

taking the pig out of the pit

Once the chef prepared the pig for us, it was time to go sit and get ready for dinner. Did I say unlimited drinks yet? The table staff came and asked us if we wanted more drinks from the drink menu that had all the tropical drinks you could want, and if you wanted to design your own, you could. Old Lahaina has all the fruit juices, mixers and liquors you would want for a tropical drink. The tables at the Old Lahaina Luau are spacious enough for 8 people, and are made of hard wood. The design of the dining "room" or outdoor dining area is really nice, and exactly what you would hope for in a luau venue. Even though my party shared the dining area with 430 other people, it did not feel over whelming at all. It was really well down. We sat at a table with chairs. There are some select tables where guests could sit on the ground. It seemed as though the younger people with little kids opted for the traditional sitting on the ground, and seemed to enjoy that. The ones who sat on the ground got to be closest to the stage too. Our seats were the next tier up from the tables with seating on the ground, so we too had a great area to view the show from.

salads line of the buffet

After we were all seated, had plenty to drink, and the dessert tray was delivered to every table, the staff got ready to present the luau hula show. This one is slightly different from most, as it is not about fire twirling and hula lessons, rather it tells the story of Hawaii through traditional interpretive hula dance, songs, chants and rhythms. The story begins with Polynesians traveling to the beautiful islands of Hawaii, through the arrival of explores and conquerors who brought diseases and the banning of hula dance and chants, through the taking the land and slavery for plantations, to modern day when the people of Hawaii are once again allowed to live and celebrate their heritage through language, hula dance, chants and rhythms.


I really enjoyed this luau a lot. I appreciate the staff, dancers and performers who offered the story of their homeland. It was just a really good time. When I go back to Maui, I am going to this luau again.

Old Lahaina Lu'au on Urbanspoon


October 25, 2010

Anthony's last stop before lunch

The sign

Anthony's is a coffee, breakfast and lunch cafe in Paia, located in the north central part Maui. Paia is a small town, and feels a whole lot less touristy than Lahaina. Paia look and feel in relation to Lahaina is like Chathem is to Providence Town. Paia is a more "chilled out" town not necessarily catering to tourist, where Lahaina is all about selling to the tourist. Anthony's has free wi-fi and is open at 5:30 am - 6 pm.

Apparently many guidebooks suggest stopping at Anthony's as your 1st stop before starting on the Road to Hana. The suggestion is, start off with a hearty breakfast and coffee, and then have them pack a picnic lunch with beverages to eat during the trip on the Road to Hana. The deal is, it is not a sales pitch. There really isn't any place to stop and get breakfast, water or lunch until you get to Halfway to Hana. Remember, Maui isn't like generic county USA; there are no McDs, BK, Subw@ys, 711s, conv stores etc. on every block. There is a lot of natural area between Anthony's and Hana with absolutely no big-box fast food. If you don't at least have water to drink in the car, you better stop and buy water here at Anthony's.

The line

I love Anthony's. This place has prices that are about the same as any boutique independently owned coffee shop on the Mainland. The menu, however is versatile with a variety that would work for vegans, ova-lacto vegetarians, locavores, caffeine addicts, Asian tourists, meat eaters, sweet eaters, and non-picky eaters. Much of the coffee sold here is grown on all three islands that make up Maui County . It is really delicious to drink domestically grown, locally grown coffee. The coffee is just delicious.

Breakfast so great, oh where to I begin? There are baked goods made daily, Hawaiian sweet bread (not sweetbread) French toast, there are egg dishes, bacon, veggie dishes, fresh fruit, yogurt, homemade granola, hashbrowns, bagels, and brown and white rice, and more. Many restaurants do offer rice even if they are not an Asian style restaurant. Rice is probably offered because of some of the long ago Asian immigrant families who keep up with the tradition of eating rice everyday, and for the the Asian tourists who also eat rice everyday. I do like rice for breakfast, so I ordered bacon and rice for my breakfast. They packed it up and gave me a nice little container of melted butter to pour over my rice, which I did. What a luxurious breakfast to start my trip to Hana.

I needed the coffee and breakfast I had here because the crew I was with are a bunch of climbing, hiking, swimming nutcases (in a good way nutcase). We stopped many times between Paia and Halfway to Hana to hike up trails, climbed rocky up sloping paths to find the top of various waterfalls. Our guidebook was not over estimating the level of effort some of these hikes would be. If it said it is a strenuous 30 min hike, it was strenuous. Some guidebooks for the Smokies write some hikes as moderate to strenuous, and they are really easy hikes that almost anyone could do. From past hike experience elsewhere, I was expecting these hikes to be easier, but the truth is, the hikes were represented at the level they truly are.

The coffee

Back to Anthony's: We had packed some stuff in the car from the condos, like some water, fruit, nuts, and chips, but only enough for 1/2 of us. We bought a bunch of to-go lunches from Anthony's to round out what we had in the car. The box lunches come in a styrofoam cooler that is rented for a $10 deposit. If you return it, you get your $10 back. If you do not return it, you can leave it at your condo for the next guest(s) to use. If you do an out and back to Hana, it is possible to return the cooler the same day. If you do the whole loop like we did, it is not necessarily possible to do the trip in one day and return the cooler by 6 pm. We did not get back all the way around until about 8 pm, so we kept the cooler and decided to leave the cooler for the next guests at the condo.

The lunch options were great, you can pick your bread or wrap, cheese, meat, a bunch of veggies, and toppings like mayo, mustard etc. Then you get chips and bottle of water. Perfect for a picnic lunch along the way. This is well worth doing. It is also worth buying some muffins or scones to snack on in the car.

My breakfast

Anthony's Coffee on Urbanspoon

October 16, 2010

Have to Have Halfway to Hana

Shave Ice
(best I have had in 30+ yrs)

I highly recommend driving to Hana, the wettest place on Earth, and continuing on around the loop through the to dirt road in South Maui and Kaupo, and around to Ulupalakua to the Winery and General Store. This is only about 70 miles total for the loop, and Hana is mile 32, but the road is tough in many places, so the 5 MPH speed limit is a must. It took us 11 hrs total for sight seeing, swimming, breakfast and lunch, and bathroom breaks. Be ready, bring plenty of water, snacks and food. To do the whole loop, we took a Jeep with a suspension that could take the winding, rutted, and partially unpaved road, but I saw some others with a PT Cruiser, Mustang and some Asian made sedan going on that road too. Funny, the car I rented was a Korean made small sedan, and as I was driving it on a good road, I thought the steering was a little loose, and it was pulling hard to the right. It had over 19,000 miles on it when I rented it, and I thought that previous drivers might have driven into potholes or such. Well, I am guessing that car may have made its way around the Hana a and unpaved road to Ulupalakua loop on a few occasions, and the alignment and the steering has been pulled out. I didn't realize this connection between loose steering and alignment with my rental car and the unpaved road past Hana until now.

The gig for the Hana drive is that everyone starts from the big airport and heads towards Paia. Paia is really the starting point. Everyone drive clockwise around the east side of Maui. It is futile and pointless to try to drive counterclockwise because the majority of the road is single lane, unimproved or unpaved, and it is really unsafe to have head-on traffic. All guidebooks and guide CDs start in Paia, and have you go clockwise from mile marker 0 to 32. You will want to be ready with a bathing suit on, and strapped on water shoes that have a good sole that can grip wet rocks because there a plenty of opportunities to see awesome waterfalls, water, fresh water, beaches, blowholes, etc, but it is very rocky and wet. It could be very slippery and jagged on wet rock, so a good water shoe like a Vibram 5 Finger multisport shoe is a must.

We also got a guide CD, Maui Road To Hana, for the car from Boss Frog Dive Shop. It was $15, and well worth it! It is a bit like a book on tape. The woman reading the history and directions, we named Carmen. Carmen gave great directions of bathroom breaks, food opportunities, and spectacular views and things to see. Carmen also gave many tidbits of history about various areas around the road to Hana. We all enjoyed Carmen so much that all of us are ordering our own copy to listen to it at home. There are other guide CDs, but we all recommend the Maui Road To Hana CD because it is so comprehensive. Also, seriously, when Carmen suggests you stop and buy breakfast, and lunch, it is the only opportunity you will have for breakfast and lunch. It is NOT A SALES pitch at all, these suggested stops are basically the only stops available for food and water, and it is about you having enough food and water for the long trip.

Halfway to Hana sign

One stop that Carmen suggested was for lunch at the Halfway to Hana lunch hut. There is virtually nothing before it, and nothing after it, and this truly your last stop for food, drinks, and snacks for the next 2 - 4 hr depending on what you stop to see. You may balk at the prices, $10 for a sandwich, but you just need to give up the sticker shock, and buy it, if you have not packed a lunch and plenty of hydration in your car. If you don't buy lunch here, and you did not pack a lunch, you are going to wish you bought lunch here because you are going to be really hungry like a cat on a diet. If you are doing the whole loop (note it took us 11 hours of activity packed fun) you will need lunch. We had already packed lunches and snacks for ourselves, but we did not pack enough water, so we stopped here to buy hydration.

I got a snack here too. I got a pineapple shave ice. The correct term is shave ice, not shaveD ice. There are new fangled ice shaving/crushing machines I have seen in Lahaina, that take ice cubes and make shaved ice. The machine to shave ice at Halfway to Hana is the traditional shaving machine. They have a huge block of ice clamped down by a steel plate with spikes to hold onto the ice. The plate and spikes spins the block of ice on a steel ice grater, and the snow like ice falls into the wide mouth container. This machine looks like it could have been from the 1960s or 1970s, and has been whirling up shave ice for 50 years. The lady making my shave ice applied very little pressure on the snow like ice to make a nice fluffy treat. She then put the flavored syrup on my shave ice, and I was on my way to a refreshing snack. It was so good! I think it cost $5, and you may gasp at the price for some frozen water and $0.05 of syrup. However, I beg to differ, there is truly an art to making shave ice, and there are few real shave ice machines to make the correct consistency of shave ice, and there are few people left who understand the right pressure to pat down the shave ice snow as to not compact it too much. This is the best shave ice I have had during my trip to Maui, and it reminds me of the shave ice I used to get as a young'n back in the day when I lived in S. CA.

Just stop here. Assess what you need for the rest of you trip, and buy it here. It is fairly remote and there is no commerce beyond Hana. Stop here, you will be happy you did.

Halfway To Hana on Urbanspoon

October 12, 2010

Maui's Best Pizza

(6 miles north of the Kahului Airport
on the historic Hana Hwy)

the wood burning pizza oven

The best wood burning oven pizza, the best crust, the best local and organic ingredients, and great giving back to the community makes Flatbread Co. the best pizza in Hawaii. Really, this is quite possibly the best wood burning oven pizza I have ever had. So, the next time you are on Maui, and you just picked up your rental car at the Kahului Airport make a bee-line to this pizza joint. All you have to do is exit the Kahului Airport property, and make a left a the first traffic light, and drive 6 miles until you get into town of Paia (the 1st town you will get to). There is a public parking lot just as you enter town on the right, and the restaurant will be on the left.

This pizza joint is so popular with tourist and locals alike. The place was pack and happy when we got there at 9 pm. We were all really hungry, so it is possible the drinks and pizza tasted that much better, but I think they pizza stands on its own regardless of the hunger meter being high.

Eh, it is just plain simple, Flatbread Co, Paia, Maui County, Hawaii is a MUST VISIT for me for every time I am on the island of Maui. I must eat here, and take out a pizza from here to enjoy later. Yum.

Hawaiian pork and house made sausage pizza

On day 2, some of us traveled to the Kahului Airport to pick up our last buddy to get in. She came in at about 8:45 pm, and we were looking for a place to catch some dinner. We knew she was hungry because we all came in the day before hungry because none of us wanted to pay $10 for a crappy airplane salad with Sunchips (yuck), nor a crappy dry-ass turkey sandwich with dry-ass Sunchips, nor $4.50 for bag of chips after paying an extra $60 for 2 checked bags. We were right, our buddy was starving, so we dialed up on our "little hand-held machines" restaurants close by. Well, there was a delis, McDs, BK, chains, frozen yogurt, etc, and none of it is what we wanted. Then, this little local organic fresh brick oven pizza joint popped up on our little machine screens, and off we went.

We get to this delicious pizza place and notice how cute the town was. It reminds me of little towns on Cape Cod, little towns in Sonoma Valley, Martha's Vineyard etc. I liked the look, feel, and vibe of this pizza place and the town. We had about a 10 minute wait, so we preordered pizza, so it would come to our table sooner. We noticed the crust is made with organic flour, many of the ingredients are grown on the island of Maui, and sausage and pepperoni are house made. When we finally got seated after a short 10 minute wait, we saw the drink list which was impressive to me. The beer list has microbrews, and some of the fruit juice is fresh squeezed. We all like the drink list and it was almost hard to pick one to start. Quickly, our waitress brought our drinks, and a couple minutes after we sat down, our preordered pizzas were on the table.

The Hawaiian pork pizza had a light sweet and sour bbq sauce pulled pork and red onions on top. The sausage pizza was house made sausage crumble, mushrooms, and onions. The crust on both of the pizza tasted slightly sweet, so I imagine there may be honey or sugar in the dough. But, the crust worked quite well with the sweet and sour pulled pork, and the savory and herb-y sausage. For me, I like charred pizza crust, so I ate all the charry crust bubbles, and luckily, a couple people I was with did not love the charry bubbles, so dining on the pizza with them was perfect for me. The one detail, which may matter to some, it that they cut the pizza in square pieces not slices. So, those who do not like charry crust could get an inside piece without char, and I could take an outside piece with the charry crust. Perfect :)

On day 4 of our adventure, that was a day were the dozen of us decided to go on our own for the day. Two of my buddies who were with me at pizza day decided to go to the north side of the island and see what is there, and go back to Flatbread for another pizza because they liked it so much. Again, when I get back to Maui, I am eating here.

Flatbread on Urbanspoon

October 7, 2010

Aloha from Maui Wowie

between Lahaina and Kapalua
aka paradise

It has been my goal for years to eat something locally grown everyday. I was a little nervous before arriving on Maui because I have never been to the county of Maui before, and I did not know the food culture on this island. All worries were alleviated when I saw that some grocery stores and restaurants clearly make the distinction between locally grown foods and conventional foods. It is likely that Hawaii and Maui has lead the charge for embracing locally grown foods in everyday diets. The locally grown tropical fruit was easy enough to find, and those locally grown fruits were so delicious. We ate a lot of locally grown fruit everyday.


Lessons Learned: If you want food for your hotel room or rental condo on Maui, go to the regular grocery store and buy only quantities you think you can use. The regular grocery prices are similar to the mainland. Buying at Costco volumes were too much for the 12 of us, we wasted a lot of food, and it was no cheaper per oz or lb than at the regular Maui grocery. So, we wasted money and volume of food by going to the Costco.

Since there were 12 of us, we got 2 condos with full functioning kitchens and lovely gas grills. That meant we could make a lot of our food at "home". We unfortunately followed the myth that groceries are more expensive in Maui than the mainland, and I got a lot of food at Costco. It is possible that groceries were more expensive on Maui at one time, but it is no longer. We think the reason why groceries are no more expensive than the mainland is because food has become so global now, and everything is shipped everywhere, so everyone everywhere is paying for the same shipping. There are a lot of fruits, vegetables and fish grown in Asia which are cheaper to ship to Hawaii than it is to TN, so some of the fresh foods on Maui are cheaper than TN. I found that most prices per unit or lb at the Costco was no different than the regular grocery store. Also, the unfortunate part of Costco is that it is so generic, and you cannot tell the difference between Costco Maui, from Costco Franklin, TN, or Costco, anywhere USA. There were no special Hawaii foods at the Costco. That would have been disappointing to not have any Hawaii special foods, had we only gone to the Costco.


Before getting to Maui, we agreed I would go to the Costco and pick up a few things thinking that Costco would be cheaper. So, I got giant boxes and bags of coffee, snacks, bread, organic eggs, and other stuff. I read a visitors guide that suggested the same thing, go to Costco and buy food if staying in a condo for the week and save money on food. Well, the shame is, even with 12 of us, the breakfast foods and snacks I bought were partially consumed, but we had so much extra food left. It was so wasteful to buy in Costco quantities. When we went to the regular locally owned grocery store across the street, with normal sized portioned foods, we all noticed that the prices were the same as at home, and the same or cheaper than the Maui Costco. We got organic butter, milk, and local organic fruit at the regular grocery store, and it was the same as paying for organic foods in Nashville, and we did not have the volume waste you get from Costco. We bought some steaks and fish to grill up from the regular grocery store, and it is true that the meat was a $1-2 more per lb than the mainland, but we only bought a quantity that we would eat, rather than a huge quantity from Costco (not really cheaper than the regular grocery store), that we would waste and throw away because it is too much.

Spam sushi

The other best thing about going to the local grocery store is finding prepared foods made from local recipes. Had I gotten everything from Costco, we would have missed Spam sushi, and various poke. I don't normally like Spam because it is too salty and greasy. But, when a thin slice of pan fried Spam is combined with a nice pile of sushi rice, the saltiness and Spamminess is cut and it is an enjoyable dish. I got Spam sushi on two different days as a snack. The prepared food hot bar at the local grocery store had more of a local flare, including a lot of rice, pulled pork, and stir fried foods. I believe the rice is from the Asian immigration influence. I believe at one time, Asian immigrants built rice water terraces on the island and grew rice. Those terraces still exist but grow taro now. I believe rice is no longer grown on Maui, and all the rice used on the island is now imported from the mainland and Asia.

mussel spicy poke

Had we only gone to the generic Costco, we would have missed various Poke. Poke are fish recipes from Hawaii. Poke is salted fish which could also be made with chili peppers. Poke is different from ceviche and sashimi, and it is its own thing. I believe the origin is a combination of local Hawaiian and East Asian influence. The prepared Poke I tried from the local grocery store was spicy mussels and spicy tako octopus. The spicy fish reminds me a lot of the South Korean spicy seafood banchan. The spicy banchan had seaweed, chilis and salt, and the Hawaiian poke had the same. I had the mussels and tako for snacks and some for breakfast. I love the poke.

tako spicy poke

My words of advice recap:
1. Don't waste your time at the Costco, go directly to your destination and start your vacation, and find the local grocery store if you want food and drink for your room or condo in quantities you think you will consume while on vacation.
2. Many fresh foods you are not allowed to take in or out of the state. On the way out you will be scanned 3 times by Hawaii Agriculture and TSA at the airport and they will confiscate certain foods, so don't buy more than you need during your vacation. Definitely DO NOT try to smuggle fresh foods into or out of Hawaii. DO NOT DO IT, DO NOT smuggle fresh food, it is illegal, and it can be terrible for both Hawaii and mainland agricultural and eco systems. If you want to bring back Maui Gold Pineapple, call Maui Gold Pineapple Company and order your pineapple. Maui Gold will deliver your Hawaii Agriculture inspected box with a handle to the airport on your day of departure.
3. If you stay in Lahaina, the Safeway grocery store in Lahaina has a really nice house made poke made with fresh catch of the day. The fish monger will tell you which fish is fresh, and which fish was frozen and shipped in (still good, but fresh catch is so much better!).
4. Try the Spam sushi from the grocery hot bar because it is worth saying you tried it once.
5. On Maui, the grocery stores sell beer, wine and alcohol. Bulk wine like Yellowtail is the same price as the mainland. There was Fox brand wine for only $2.99 which was as good as 2 buck chuck. The canned soda 12 packs seemingly were more expensive than home, but there is a $0.10 deposit on every can. Save them up and get your money back.
6. Maui is really great about recycling, and there a plenty of recycle bin centers along Rt 30 in West Maui. Do your part, recycle newspapers, glass bottles and #1 and 2 plastics. Drink cans are returnable for $0.10 each. Help keep paradise a paradise by reducing, reusing and recycling, and get your money back from can returns.
7. Not related to food, but the Maui sun is really really really strong. Get SPF 30+ sunscreen and use it right away, or you will burn quickly after only a few minutes of sun. If you burn bad on the 1st day, you are going to have a bad time. Some in my group did not use sunscreen right away, and got a terrible sunburn and sun poisoning on the 1st day, and they were having a bad time. I had a great tan base after running outside in TN sun for 6 mo. straight (for hours at at time), I have dark skin to begin with, and I even got too much sun after 20 min without sunscreen. I caught it soon enough and used sunscreen, and I was able to have a good time. Just use the SPF30+ sunscreen right away and have a great time!

October 4, 2010

Homemade Locally Grown

Locally Grown Organic Pork in Tomato and Veggie Gravy

I did get a photo of my dinner, but it was all red and really not attractive in the photo, but it really tasted great! This is an adaptation of a recipe I got from Hungry Gnome Farm (my former CSA which no longer is growing for sale anymore). Hungry Gnome raved about their recipe for meat that needs to be stewed low and slow. I decided that I would try something in the framework of their recipe, but instead of using canned goods as the recipe called for, I was determined to use what I had in the house, and food that I have put up in the freezer. Here is how I made it:

Oven 350F

The Gravy
local organic super San Marzano tomatoes (Bells Bend Neighborhood Farms)
variety of local organic sweet and hot peppers (Bells Bend)
variety of heirloom organic tomatoes (my garden)
variety of heirloom organic peppers (my garden)
organic garlic cloves (Bells Bend)
organic onion (Bells Bend)
organic rosemary (my garden)
organic oregano (my garden)
basil (Bells Bend)
organic olive oil (Olio Nuovo, The Olive Press)
water (Nashville Metro Water Services)
red Zin (Buehler Vineyards, Napa)
Balsamic vinegar (The Olive Press)
Pint of frozen super San Marzano stewed tomatoes (Bells Bend, my kitchen)

Boneless Pork Chop
Organic grass fed boneless pork chop (West Wind Farm)
ground cumin (Penzeys)
Kosher salt (Morton's)
cracked black pepper (Penzeys)
1/2 sharp paprika (Penzeys)
rosemary (my garden)
oregano (my garden)
organic olive oil (Olio Nuovo, The Olive Press)

To make the gravy, saute onions and garlic in olive oil. Add a few anchovies and stir. Dump in diced fresh tomatoes and peppers, and a little water to boil. Add herbs and boil. Add wine and boil. Add a few shakes of vinegar and stir. Add pint of stewed tomatoes. When everything is cooked and mushy, put the mixture in the blender and whirl it up into a sauce. There is no need to peel the tomatoes because they skins will be blended up to a smooth sauce.

To start the pork rinse and dry the pork well. Cut the pork into about 3 oz pieces (1 serving pieces). Apply salt, pepper, herbs and spices generously over all the pieces of pork, like a dry rub. In a dutch oven on the stove top, brown the pork on all sides in a little olive oil.

Pour the gravy over the pork and cover the dutch oven. Put the dutch oven in the oven at 350F for about 45 - 60 min. Serve a piece of meat and gravy over rice or pasta. I served it over rice, because that is what I have in the house, but I bet shells, spaghetti, fettuccine, etc would be great too.

The story of making the gravy is that in the middle of making the gravy, I noticed that my fresh tomatoes and peppers were cooking down, and there was not enough volume for the gravy. The recipe inspiration called for 28 oz of canned stewed tomatoes, and I kept on thinking I had to run to the store to get canned tomatoes to make up the extra volume. Well, the reality is that I have putting up stewed tomatoes in my freezer for the past few months, and I have just shy of 6 quarts in the freezer. All of a sudden, as I was reaching for the keys to go to the grocery store, a lightbulb went off and I reached into the freezer to get stewed tomatoes! Doh! I mean Doh! I had put up a lot of stewed tomatoes for use when there are no more tomatoes growing in cooler weather. Well, cooler weather has arrived, and I was able to use my frozen tomatoes. I am happy that I remembered about my freezer. I had so much fun making this dinner by shopping in my own freezer.


October 1, 2010

On the Sly

Reuben Sandwich

The best corned beef in Cleveland is at Slyman's. You could go to slymans for pastrami, roast beef, or turkey sandwiches, but don't waste too much time on these other sandwiches. You should just get a corned beef sandwich. If you attempt to order something else besides corned beef, listen to your diner waitress when she says, "Honey, we have the best corned beef in the world, would you like to try one of our corned beef sandwiches?" Your answer should be yes to the corned beef sandwich.

"Man on the street interview"

I got tipped off to try Slyman's by Pete, who used to live in Cleveland. I need to get more Cleveland food tips from Pete because he has never steered me wrong. Slyman's does have the best corned beef I have had in my adult life. It is so good, that I brought home a pound of the good stuff and that is what we have been eating for lunch everyday since I have gotten back. Here is a tip for you travelers: I take gallon and quart sized ziplock baggies with me when I travel. I never know when I need the baggies. Sometimes I need them to transport my liquids on a plane, sometimes I need them to take leftovers back home or to the hotel room. This time, a gallon ziplock was needed to take home a pound of this hearty corned beef.

On this day at Slyman's, I got a Reuben which is a toasted rye bread sandwich with a little kraut, and melted Swiss cheese and piled high with corned beef. The sandwich line is going non-stop. They guy slicing the meat did not stop slicing for the whole hour I was there. This shop has this deal down pat, it did not take more than 3 minutes to get my order. The waitress came around with 1000 island dressing on the side, if I wanted it. There is a big cup of horseradish on all the tables to enhance the sandwich if you want it. I decided to mix a little 1000 island dressing with a scoop of horseradish to use on my sandwich. I had to use a fork and knife to start eating the sandwich because it was too tall for me to eat with my hands. The corned beef isn't overly salty like the cheaper stuff sold in chain grocery stores. It has a nice briskety texture, moist and tender. The Swiss cheese, horseradish and the nice toasted bread complimented the corned beef.

Also on this day, Cleveland News Channel 5 stopped in to get the opinion from the "man on the street" about the upcoming Ohio State U football game. Apparently, as the locals were saying, it is rather common for news crews to come to Slyman's to get the opinions from the "man on the street", and it is possible to get a news crew there every week.

My suggestion is, if you fly in and out of Cleveland, take a small soft side insulated lunch box and a ziplock baggie. Go get yourself some corned beef and carry it on the plane in the baggie and lunch box. Apologize to your airplane neighbors for the corned beef smell, and tell them it is corned beef from Slyman's. Then the airplane neighbors will ask you for a taste of the corned beef because they know how good Slyman's is. Eh, you better get a pound and 1/2 to take with you so you can share the corned beef with the airplane neighbors, and still have a pound of corned beef when you get home.

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