Sunday, August 8, 2010
FRIED GREEN WEEKEND: ANDOUILLE'S AND SOME RIVER TIME
My friend Cindie called Friday night to rave about the fried green tomatoes she'd just eaten there and to ask if I wanted to meet her there for a late lunch on Saturday. The answer to her question, in my mind, did not require a yes or no response. Cutting to the chase, I asked, "What time?"
My cooking and dining preferences don't tend toward fried food. And truth be told, my previous, limited experience with fried green tomatoes had not, shall we say, left me lusting after them. But these particular fried green tomatoes from Andouille were amazing (even if my photos were not).
This was one of those "now I get it" moments. I will no longer be reluctant to try fried green tomatoes, although any fried green tomatoes in my future will have to measure up to a very high bar and announce their presence with authority.
But there were more fresh-from-their-own-garden delights on Andouille's specials board. And we wanted to try all of them. Here's the cucumber salad I insisted on ordering, and was glad I did.
And then there was the okra - Andouille's has a huge crop growing out back. I had never, in my midwestern upbringing, tasted okra until I lived in NYC. I was introduced to it by the mother of the woman I shared my first Manhattan apartment with, a friend of a friend from college, from Meridian, Mississippi. Every time I think of okra, I hear in my head the sound of said roommate's overbearing Jewish/Southern mother finally arriving after a harrowing cab ride, describing her frustration in trying to communicate to the driver (whose first language was likely not English). Meridian mama kept trying to explain in her deeply southern accent: "I wanna go to Sevety-Naunth Street. Sevety-Naunth Street." But when she finally got to our apartment, she came bearing pickled okra, and I've been a fan ever since.
Here are the garden-fresh fried okra Cindie and I ate yesterday at Andouille. A burst of freshness, and nothing remotely slimy (which some people associate with okra). We ate 'em like popcorn.
Life doesn't get much better here in the Ohio River Valley than when the heat and humidity finally break, and you can actually enjoy some outdoor time. Cindie and I hung out on her deck overlooking the river, catching up last night.
And this morning, we took Cindie's dog, Oscar Doodle, to play in the river. Plenty o' barge traffic. Plenty o' good times.
Hope all is well in your world and that summer wherever you are is treating you well,