Monday, October 27, 2014

Pappy's is a beloved barbecue restaurant on Olive Avenue in St. Louis. The restaurant has been featured on numerous TV shows, including "Man Vs. Food." The barbecue is so well known, that while their official operating hours are from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., in actual fact they are rarely open past 4 p.m. as they literally run out of food. Like many barbecue places in the south, Pappy's provides bottles of barbecue sauce on the tables for you to add to your meet. They just cook it in their smokers and barbecues and serve it. Above is the line in the restaurant at 11:30 a.m. It only took us about 30 minutes to get to this point.

This is the line out the door at 12:30 p.m. By 2 p.m., it typically is around the corner and heading down the street. This is how it is at Pappy's practically every day when it isn't raining or snowing. The moment you get out of your car, you can smell the heavy smoke of barbecuing meat. It's pretty magnificent. Another factoid - they moved the front entrance of the restaurant to the back of the restaurant to give the line more room to grow. The line then snakes through the building to the cash registers up front.

This is what I had for lunch. The top meat is pulled pork, before I added a touch of barbecue sauce. The bottom meat is sirloin, which I added no flavoring to, as it was perfect the way it was. Both were served on bread. Sides were baked beans and mustard potato salad.

This is what my friend had - a half slab of ribs, beans and seasoned green beans. He said the meat on the ribs "fell off the bone." He also had very high praise for the green beans, which were not overcooked and still had some snap to them.

Barbecue has become a national past-time to the south and midwest, with everyone claiming their own barbecue. It's popularity in the past 20 years has become on the level - in my mind - of pizza. Just like their is NY, Chicago, St. Louis and California pizzas, you can not find Texas, St. Louis, Chicago, Memphis and Kansas City styles of barbecue. Some claim to use a "mustard" or "vinegar" rub, others claim it's all about the sauce, while others claim it's all about the wood used in the barbecue. At Pappy's, their secret is not in the sauce, but rather in how well cooked the meet is. It's never dry and has a nice, light smoke flavoring throughout. If you want barbecue sauce, you can add it after it is cooked. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Food booths at the Scottish Games in Forest Park in St. Louis, 2014. Besides having traditional foods such as Haggis or Shepherds Pie, there were several hybrid foods sold. Spinach and Feta Pasties, deep-fried Twinkies, and "Scottish Eggrolls," which are eggrolls with corned beef and radishes.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Office Cafeteria in Thailand

This is a cafeteria in an office building in downtown Bangkok. It offers a wide variety of food, from Thai specialties to America-style fusion food

This counter is super popular, as it offers a sort of "fusion" between Thai and American cuisine. You can buy "hot dogs" and "grilled cheese" sandwiches here that have the same ingredients, but look nothing like those same items in America. It was awesome.

Thai food counter.

Fresh fruit stand, some of which I could not name to save my life. I did recognizes the apples, at least.

Here's the bakery stand again, with the American-Thai fusion foods. I didn't get to sample all of it, but what I did have was really good.

Yes, this is a hot dog. The hot dog is baked in to the middle of the bun, kind of like a baked pork roll, but this time it's a hot dog with relish and tomatoes, all in the middle.

The ever ubiquitous Coca Cola. This stand sold shakes, burgers, fries,etc.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Final Thai meal

This was my final dinner in Thailand. Coconut milk, pad thai and Thai-style shu mai (a fusion food of Japanese and Thai tastes), steamed crab, and grilled jumbo prawns. Way too much food, but worth it. For the record, this was shared with a co-worker, though we probably should have had a third and fourth for this meal.

Thailand Mall

These are photos taken in a large mall in Cha'Am Thailand (located about 120 miles south of Bangkok, on the southern coast).

Fruit and vegetable vendors are found everywhere in Thailand. As a result, there are few "grocery stores" as we know them in America. The large food stores in Thailand sell mostly specialty items, such as bakery goods, wines and boxed goods. Meats, fish, fruits and vegetables are easier and cheaper to find on the streets. 

Dunkin Donuts is in Thailand. They not only sell donuts, but sell pastries suited to the Thai taste. While this one didn't have them, other branches also sell donuts decorated to look like "Hello Kitty" characters, which are popular enough to be featured in television commercials for the chain.

A pineapple vendor by a set of escalators. 

These are durians, which I had never had before. They are super popular in Asia, but are also banned from most hotels as they start to smell like unwashed feet when they age beyond ripeness.

These durian vendors knew exactly how to check the fruit for ripeness. The woman on the left (in pink) would hit the fruits with a stick to determine the ripeness by the sound. The woman on the right was an expert durian slicer.

My co-worker checked the durian for the ripeness that he liked the most.

She quarters the fruit.

Here's the center that is edible.

My co-worker took my photo as I bit into it. The texture was like a banana, while the flavor tasted like tapioca. It was very good and extremely filling.

Later in the mall, we found these - they are breads filled with American-style meats. We found bologna, hot dogs, pastrami, etc. This one was filled with bacon and cheese. I didn't try it as I was still stuffed from the durian. Sorry folks. Maybe next time.

Traditional souther-region Thai food

This is from a restaurant in the Hua Hin/Cha' Am area of Thailand. I'm not sure what it all was (a co-worker who has lived there for 15 years did all the ordering) but it was delicious. 

My co-worker at lunch.

Papya Salad. I had this twice in Thailand. It's very spicy, but delicious.

Spicy ground pork, I believe

Catfish soup served in a bowl nestled around hot coals. 

Another view of the soup.

Bangkok fruit

Fruit vendor in Bangkok. I didn't try this fruit, but I was told by a former assistant (she's Hmong) that this fruit is "delicious."

Muslim food

I know this doesn't look like much, but it's actually the front for a Muslim or "Halal" restaurant in China. Everyone I spoke with in China who has lived there for more than several months said they were food poisoned, due to the lack of any restaurant inspections there. And everyone I spoke with said that the rule of thumb is this: if you don't want to risk food poisoning, eat at the Muslim restaurants. Halal food is incredibly clean and conditions are closely controlled. Just like kosher foods, Halal customs remove the risks of most contaminants, such as blood, pork and milk. So for anyone who wishes to travel, keep this in mind. Look for Halal restaurants. 

Hot Pot

Chinese Hot Pot. So typically, "hot pot" has one large pot of broth that everyone in your part cooks their vegetables and meats in. You get the broth to a boil and share the experience, which is what meal time is all about in China - sharing the experience. But it's also seen as completely unhygienic as all these chopsticks are all dipped in the pot, thus introducing everyone's germs into the mix. And for vegetarians, it's a nightmare as meats are introduced into the pot. My daughter knew of this restaurant in Kunming where everyone got their own pot of broth, thus avoiding both the problems. I got the hot and spicy broth for my vegetables. You boil your vegetables and then individually pick them out of your broth and eat then. You can coat them in spices or sauces after taking them out. It was delicious.

BBQ Sauce

Vegetarian "Barbecue Sauce." That is all.

Noodle Lunch

My daughter said I couldn't leave China without a traditional noodle lunch. This was hot and spicy, and very good. 

This is the kitchen of the noodle restaurant, which was open to be seen from the eating area. Notice that they are cooking 12 lunches at a time. It was quick and hectic, but amazing to watch. The place had a line out the door. 

Yunan Dinner

More foods found in the Yunan Province. The top photo is fried shrimp, but unlike in America, the "shells and heads" were left on during the cooking process. I was skeptical at first about unshelled shrimp, but after trying it, found it very tasty, as the shells were crispy and soft. I could not, however, get over my phobia of eating the heads, so I left those on my plate. I was told by my host that was perfectly acceptible as she also did not eat the heads. The second photo is deep fried shredded goats cheese coates in sugar. The third is Kale in a spice broth. And the last is fried green beans and peppers, which I found exceptionally delicious.


These jugs are on display in a park in Kunming that celebrates the local minority populations in the Yunan province. My daughter (who speaks and reads Mandarin) said the symbols are Chinese for "alcohol." Just posting for amusement.

Yunan Province lunch

These are foods that are usually only found in the Yunan province. The top photo has locally-grown mushrooms (black stuff on the plate), chicken on the bone and cubes of fried rice (right plate) and flash-fried red beans in spicy coating (left). The bottom photo shows locally-produced fried goats cheese with salt and sweet-and-sour fried chicken (the only dish I have ever found in America). It was all amazing.