Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Culinary Travelogue.

Hello, dear readers. I'm back home from my little trip to Danville. And it's good to be home. Here was my agenda: We arrived in Danville late Saturday afternoon. We went out to an unimpressive dinner at the Mayflower. You can read about that mediocre meal here. I believe the word "blech" was used to describe the meal. "Blech" was all I could muster. Mr. Hawthorne and I stayed at the Holiday Inn Express on Riverside Drive. Very enjoyable. Quite comfortable. Big, wide screen, flat screen TV. (Analog, but Mr. H. was still impressed and happy.) He also loved the fact they had a fan in the bathroom. Mr. Hawthorne waxed poetic about the FAN IN THE BATHROOM. Imagine, if you will, a Seinfield episode in which George Costanza enthusiastically lauds the FAN in the bathroom. Listening to Mr. Hawthorne rave about the fan was like watching George. Back to Danville's Holiday Inn Express. Very clean. Pleasant, attentive, helpful staff. Actually, Mr. H. & I agreed that the staff here is exceptional. The breakfast hostess, Jo Ann, especially, is a pleasure and a delight. SUNDAY MORNING: Breakfast next to the lobby. Sunday morning breakfast I had strawberry yogurt. I fixed Mr. Hawthorne a sausage biscuit with gravy. Orange juice. Coffee. He dropped me off at Mama Hawthorne's and left for his Mama's 90th birthday party. I was at Mama Hawthorne's until he came back to pick me up about 6:00 PM. What can I say? I was hungry. Strawberry yogurt doesn't tide one over for long. I checked out the fridge. There were plenty of jars of pickles in the fridge. A jar of pimientos. A jar of capers. Some mayo. Some ketchup. Stouffer's spinach and Stouffer's apples in the freezer. Thank God, I found cheddar cheese. No crackers in the house though. Remember, I have no car. So I'm there all day. It's Sunday. And there's nowhere I could walk to to eat. I ate about an inch and a half of that brick of cheddar. Mr. Hawthorne picked me up approximately 6:00 PM on Sunday. We headed back to the Holiday Inn Express to unwind a bit and catch up on the day's events. He'd been at his Mama's party from 2-4 so he'd just eaten. We got back to the motel and discussed where to go for dinner, although he wasn't at all hungry. We checked out the phone book and went through all the Yellow Page Listings. And you know what? I didn't want to go out at all. I didn't want to travel somewhere to be disappointed. I wanted to stay in the comfort of my hotel room, kick back, have a glass or two or nine of wine, watch the wide screen TV, load my pictures onto my laptop, blog, order Pizza from Domino's, and just be disappointed in the comfort of my hotel room. So that's exactly what happened.
Oh, for the love of God. Would you look at this friggin' pizza! Mr. H., following my orders in the background, requested a thin and crispy crust pizza with sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, and extra packets of hot pepper and faux Parmesan cheese. The pizza came thick and bready. Doughy! Way too much sauce. The grease was horrific. Rosie's Hint #??????????????: Always, always, always nuke your pepperoni slices on paper towels. About 20 seconds or more. Get the grease out of the pepperoni before you put the pepperoni and grease on your baked pizza. Look at the grease on that cardboard. DIS-gusting. Service from Domino's was excellent. Pizza Delivery Guy was fast and appreciative. Pizza sucked though.
Later Sunday night:
Mr. Hawthorne had gone back to the lobby Sunday night to get fruit. He came back with an apple, an orange, and a banana, and two cookies: a chocolate chip cookie and a Macadamia nut cookie. The cookies were moist, chewy, and, as Mr. Hawthorne just said, "Could not be improved upon." Monday morning, I asked Jo Ann, Breakfast Hostess Extraordinaire, about the delicious cookies. I was sure they were homemade. Au contraire, mes amis. They were bought at WalMart and were a frozen roll and they are Otis Spunkmeyer's Cookies. Outstanding. The Holiday Inn Express in Danville is truly the best place I've stayed in, except for that time back in Summer of '71 ... Summer of '71. I stayed at the Hotel Eisenhut (Iron Hat?) in the medieval German city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Room 343. The sticker is still on my Samsonite Avocado Green Suitcase. I Googled Hotel Eisenhut. Look here. And here. This is how I remember the Hotel Eisenhut. Since Xmaskatie and Mr. Xmaskatie go to Germany every fall, then I want You Two Guys to go to the Hotel Eisenhut and stay there and take pictures for me. Please. I know you would both enjoy it. And I would too. Vicariously. At the time, I was with a study and travel group from Stratford College in Danville, Va. This is Stratford College, which, unfortunately, closed its doors, due to financial difficulties, back in 1974, after 120 years as an academic institution. Mama Hawthorne attended when it was Randolph Macon Institute and I went there for two semesters, before it closed. Gee, you don't think I had anything to do with that, do you? I was able to go to all of the rooms of our group at the Hotel Eisenhut and check them out. Each room was individually appointed and decorated. I remember a telephone in the bathroom (Not that I would need to call anyone. In the bathroom or anywhere for that matter.), but the phone in the loo sent me over. I was enamored. I was impressed. I was awed. I loved this place. BTW, we landed in Switzerland, went to Germany, traveled through Wales, Ireland, and Scotland, and ended up in London, for six weeks of study. Remind me some time to tell you about the absolutely ghastly "Scotch Eggs" which were prominently featured at the "cafeteria" for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Oh, what the hell. Now's just as good a time as ever. Anybody out there know what Scotch Eggs are? It's a hard boiled egg wrapped in a sausage mixture then battered with bread crumbs and deep fried. Sounds right up Pauler's alley, doesn't it? My first and only introduction to Scotch Eggs was in the "cafeteria" at Tennyson Hall 10 Dorset Square London NW1, England. I didn't remember that address. I found it on a letter Daddy sent me which I found at Mama Hawthorne's this weekend. Twenty four cents for an AIR MAIL letter. Three 8-cent stamps with Eisenhower. Don't you just love blasts from the past? But back to the Scotch Egg. It was vile. This is England now. And the food in question is possibly of Scottish ancestry. Well, hell. It's called Scotch Egg. Think about it. Someone asks you to name a cuisine. French would come to mind. Chinese. Southern. German. Japanese. Cajun. Tex-Mex (?!) But English cuisine? I don't think so. I would never consider England as having a "cuisine." And when I think of the Scots, "cuisine" doesn't come to mind either. Actually, what comes to mind is haggis. See here. I've actually been meaning to make my version of Scotch Eggs. I'd love to experiment and blog about this. The change I would make would be to under-cook the hard-boiled egg part so when you cut into it after coating with the sausage, and battering, and frying, the yolk still oozes out. I'm trying to open my mind to Scotch Eggs. I will do this one day. I will make Rosie's Scotch Ova. I ramble yet again. We go to bed at Holiday Inn Express. We wake up Monday morning and eat breakfast right down the hall from our room, next to the lobby. This (Monday) morning, there is bacon. And gravy. And biscuits. And all the other stuff from Sunday morning: a pretty good cheese omelet bagels English muffin assorted muffins French toast doughnuts cereals milk apple juice orange juice coffee tea apples oranges bananas some other stuff I can't remember We leave Danville. We left the remains of the pizza in the refrigerator. OHHH! Points! The room had a fridge, microwave, and coffee maker. We leave Danville on 86S. At Hillsborough, we take a left at the first stoplight on 70. Drive until 540. I can't remember if lunch was on 70 or 540. I used to take 70 to 98 to 64 but a thoughtful reader once suggested 70 to 540 to 64 which works like a charm. Every time we've gone this new route, we pass a restaurant on the outskirts of the Raleigh/Durham area and we always say to each other, "You know. We ought to try that restaurant some time." We approached this particular restaurant about 12-ish. It's KEMP'S SEAFOOD HOUSE. Service was excellent.
Within 1 minute of being seated, our cute little waiter with neon pink highlights took our drink orders. He brought our drinks promptly, but not before another wait person delivered a plate of quite tolerable hush puppies. Cornmeal. Onion. Hint of sugar. Light. Good.
I order the "Lobster Crab Bisque." Pppppffffffffffttttttttt!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was bisque. I'll give it that. There were no chunks of crab or lobster. There was NO meat. Nary a flake. There was a heavy crab seasoning/Old Bay influence. This was not good at all. I ordered the salad - mixed greens with carrots, mushrooms, tomatoes, cukes, red onion with yellow-tail tuna on top, and with bleu cheese dressing on the side. I ordered medium rare tuna. Options: Grilled Cajun Teriyaki I opted for the Teriyaki.
I received a lovely salad with rare to raw Teriyaki tuna. Once I got past the red of the tuna, I was OK. I breathed in and let it out and let it go. And told myself I was not eating raw tuna. Oh CRAP. I'm eating rabbit food with fucking raw fish. This meal is tainted.
Mr. Hawthorne ordered his salad with fried oysters. I love this picture of Mr. H. getting into his salad. Ahhhh. The ACTION!
I had to restrain him to get this picture. He does like his ersters. And these were lightly fried as requested. Neither of us was impressed with the bleu cheese dressing. I just didn't appreciate my salad at all because the dressing totally dropped the ball. And I had a hard time with the tuna. Bottom Line : $31 for freakin' lunch! Plus tip. And I left $6.00 since we had excellent service. As we said when we left, "I guess we don't have to wonder about that place anymore." Another restaurant to cross off my dwindling list.
Upon leaving, I passed 2 of these workers for this furniture company that's been going out of business months now. Every time we drive by here, these fellows are out.
Yet another job I don't want. In the rain. On a street corner. With a sign. Extolling the virtues of a dying business. A SLOWLY dying business. We stopped at Xmaskatie's house for a break and she had made pimiento cheese (from the Piggly Wiggly) sandwiches with green olives for us. Sorry, but I didn't bring my camera in at Xmaskatie's. Just imagine the above sandwiches with green olives served on Xmaskatie's lovely Portmeirion Botanic Garden china. More here. Xmaskatie, thank you for the best meal I've had all weekend.


Marilyn said...

Thanks for an interesting, winding narration of your trip home.

Kathy said...

Rosie, Rosie. Ordering pizza, for you, is like ordering Caesar salad. You ain't gonna like it, so why bother?

I had Scotch eggs a couple times at the White Horse Pub, which used to be in Pembroke Mall here. I liked them. Is that my obvious Anglo-Saxon roots showing?

Anonymous said...

Glad you're back Rosie, reading your blog has become a part of my daily routine.

dle said...

Your idea of scotch eggs sounds good...original version no thanks! I knew there would be disappointment when I saw the salad...pizza gross, if I have to get Dominos it is thin and crispy with only 1 topping otherwise they screw it up!!

Rosie Hawthorne said...

Thank you, all.
And Anon, glad to be in your daily routine. Now if you could only have a name! ;)