Archive for the ‘food and drinks’ Category
Native Idahoans, feel free to disagree. Like much of the Lower 48, Idaho is a place that one begrudgingly passes through on the way to someplace else. But thanks to the Harvest Hosts program, I’m warming up to Idaho. There’s a nice little wine region northwest of Boise by the Snake River.
I’ve been to Reno many times and I’m always surprised to see how it morphs. Suddenly there’s a mega mall where an empty lot just was (and vice versa), and long-standing businesses fade away. One particular megacasino has changed hands six times since 1974. And always opening and closing are an assortment of ethnic markets.
Ask any RVing oenophile and they’ll concur: Harvest Hosts a fun and fabulous way to camp for “free”.
My southwest journey was a trip of firsts. My first look at the Grand Canyon. The first time my tires touched Route 66 (and what better place to emerge onto the historic highway than Kingman, Arizona). And, near Kingman, my first experience with the Harvest Hosts program.
The uncomplicated concept is thus: forty dollars a year buys you access to a super-secret map of wineries and vineyards where, for one night, you may camp at no cost.
I freely admit it: last camping season I overindulged. Potluck pizzas. Open grill burgers. Potato-based side dishes. White bread sandwiches stuffed with tuna and mayo and Fritos…with Cheetos on the side. Martinis and tequila and margarita mix from Costco.
This year, I resolve to eat healthier on the road. Buy more fresh produce, at more farmer’s markets. Shop at roadside fruit stands. (Drink fewer martinis? Let’s not get too giddy.) Absolutely, positively: eat more salad.
How do you tell the quality of a diner? By its chicken fried steak, of course.
Maybe it was just the mid 80’s, when everything was better, but the finest I ever tasted was at Boz Scaggs’ Blue Light Cafe on Union Street in San Francisco. I’ve been chasing that high for three decades. (The Blue Light today, minimized and lost to new management, serves greasy, monotonous bar food paired with Jello shots.)
The award for Second Best Chicken Fried Steak went to a diner outside Grand Coulee Dam. Actual steak, with a bone, real and delicious. The coating, crispycrunchy. The gravy, oh god, the gravy: not too salty, and lumpy with pork sausage.
My friend Karla—a spectacular cook—sells high-end kitchen tools as a Demarle At Home instructor and host. Recently she suggested the obvious that I’d overlooked: wouldn’t Flexipans be perfect for your Airstream?
Of course! Yes! If the DWR had an oven.
I made Halloween brownie bites in a mini muffin tray at home (using a low cal version of a box mix, with applesauce instead of oil), but YOUR trailer or RV certainly has an oven and you’ll want this rubbery cookware for your galley.
It doesn’t fold but for Christmas I received the MyPressi TWIST Easy Elegant espresso maker, which claimed to change how and where I will enjoy my delicious espresso and espresso-based beverages, as it is “perfect for home and office”. Somehow they overlooked its most obvious application: for use in the Airstream.
Producing “perfect crema every time”—I suspect that’s the beige foam at the top of the coffee—the unit uses pressurized cartridges (the ones that make carbonated water from a seltzer bottle) in lieu of external power, and dispenses single or double shot extractions. A separate “frother” turns hot milk into a fake-steamed latte lather.
Everyone from California has driven by the Olive Pit fifty times. Located in Corning, the “Olive Capitol of the World”, (Spain, Italy, or Greece may take umbrage at that) in the blasting hot flatlands north of Sacramento, Olive Pit is the Wall Drug of the west.
The general attitude has always been “move along people, there’s nothing to see here” but I was rapidly approaching friends, in whose driveway I would be camping and upon whom I would soon be mooching. I complied with signs demanding that I take exit 631, confident I’d find a hostess gift, pull-through parking for the Airstream, and a bathroom.
How did Roslyn, South Dakota get to be the vinegar capital of America?
“Yes. Ok,” replied the amiable host at the International Vinegar Museum, who earnestly launched into his docent’s speech. “This fella by the name of Lawrence Diggs,” he said, pointing to the framed articles on the wall at the entrance. “He was living in California and looking for a place different from California. He happened to come through Roslyn and he’s been here ever since.” (What are the odds of this.)