Tuesday, April 05, 2011


Whenever Wendy and I travel, we like to sample the regional cuisine. So this past week when we journeyed to Ithaca to take our son Scott back to college, we hit a seafood restaurant. Since we're out of Michigan and closer to the east coast, I figured we could get fresh fish that isn't lake perch or whitefish (not that either is bad though).

The feature that day was arctic char. That sounded deliciously exotic. I don't think I'd ever eaten fish from the arctic. And I wasn't even sure what a char was?

I was prepared for a feast. And a gourmet feast at that since this char was being served with pomegranate sauce and fingerling potatoes. Sounds very "Top Chef" to coin a favorite phrase of mine and Wendy. I let Wendy and Scott finish off the fresh-baked bread with dill butter, tasty though it was, so I would have room for the char and potatoes.

Turns out that wasn't necessary. My portion of char was about the size of a large hamburger patty and came drenched in very sweet pomegranate sauce. I'm still not sure what char tastes like. Maybe salmon. But I can certainly tell you what pomegranate sauce tastes like.

And the fingerlings? More like fingerettes. Very tiny potatoes. My grandson Grant's fingers would look gargantuan in comparison to the fingerlings I ate though Grant's only two-months old. So a great feast it wasn't.

On to Amish country in Berlin, Ohio where Wendy and I made a brief shopping side trip on the way back. I made sure we had breakfast at Boyd and Wurthmanns restaurant in downtown Berlin--"where the locals eat."

The special that morning was "fried mush with tomato gravy." Hmmmm. I passed. Arctic char with a little pomegranate sauce, excuse me, pomegranate sauce with a little arctic char was culinary adventure enough this trip.

What piqued my interest was the list of fresh pies available for dessert. There were about twenty varieties including raisin, elderberry and peanut butter. Then there was 'brown bag apple pie' and 'ground cherry pie.' You really have to be a pie baking afficionado to know what they are. A gourmet baking co-worker did. But my wife didn't. Do you?

I didn't try the pies, afterall it was breakfast. But I did sample the extremely tasty peanut butter at our table. Would I love to take this home. We bought a jar of locally made Walnut Creek peanut butter at a nearby store but it just wasn't the same.

Was almost tempted to swipe the peanut butter server off our table but how would that go over here in a religious enclave where restaurant menus include a meal blessing and the television in the public lobby of your hotel is tuned to a revival?


Blogger TechnoBabe said...

Whew. When I first read the title my lame brain registered "Road Kill". We live in country area with highways and there is road kill even deer.
I would have ordered peanut butter pie and eaten it first and if I had room left over then I would have eaten the breakfast. Next time you order something new like the char and sauce, ask for the sauce on the side or specify very little sauce on the fish with extra sauce on the side. I think you were daring to try something new in the first place. Good for you and Wendy to like to try something you haven't had before.

3:27 AM  
Blogger Yoga in Mirrormont said...

Ground cherries and their yellow lanterns
Are as cute as they can be;
They remind me of Sargent's painting, Carnation Lily Lily...
Apple pie baked in a paper bag
Sounds delicious but rather scary;
The combo of paper, ovens and teens
Turns Mombo into Nervous Nellie.
A Lutheran pie kick is vinegar,
As Christ drank for us on the cross.
Served at our potlucks/High Feast Days,
It beats sweet pomegranate sauce.

(life-saving after the bland, meager foods of the Lenten fast)

1 cup white sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 (9 inch) pie shell

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl, combine sugar, salt, eggs, vinegar and melted butter. Beat well. Fold in coconut, pecans and raisins. Pour into unbaked pie shell. Bake on lower rack in oven at 325 degrees for 30 minutes. Top should brown lightly. Store in frig.

9:45 AM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

TECHNOBABE--We did get to try the peanut butter pie later at another restaurant. It was actually peanut butter cream pie, but the cream part is whipped cream, or some equivalent, which is spread over most of the top of pie. It was very tasty. I agree though, wish now I would have had the brown bag apple then maybe a light breakfast.

YOGA IN MIRRORMONT--Ground cherry pie is supposedly particular to the Mennonites. We thought that ground cherries meant cherries ground up into pie filling pits and all. But as your painting shows (I think), it's cherries that grow close to the ground.

Wendy's specialty is a shoo-fly pie, from her Pennsylvania Dutch heritage. I'll pass along your recipe to her but I know her response--"I don't do coconut."

I thought only we Catholics fasted. I don't think it's mandated for Lutherans, but you would know better than I.

11:54 AM  
Blogger Merle said...

Hi Dave ~~ You and Wendy certainly are game to try things you have never heard of. Perhaps the char was so bad, it had to have lots of sauce.
Glad you liked the look of my family as of course I do too. A nice purple flower is a bush called Geisha Girl' there is always petunias and pansies in lots of coors. I think. Glad you enjoyed the jokes and stories.
The bird cage one was a good sermon. The boys do go out on Joh's boat and water-ski in the river. I didn't notice. Kate's
started with CONVERSE. Glad you liked the jokes and stories.
Take care, my friend, Regards, Merle.

1:36 AM  
Blogger Carine said...

and then on the flip side Dave, we had the unique experience of eating in Qzine on the Eclipse. I was so full and entertained by the unique way of serving and deliciousness of every bite that when my actual dinner came, I couldn't eat more than a nibble of the chicken that came on a very literal sword! The highlight? My anniversary gift was until the silver dome and tray along w/ the rubik's cube dessert menu!
I had the gift, not the dessert. More on the blog this week.

9:35 PM  
Blogger Big Dave T said...

MERLE--Actually the char tasted quite good, what I could taste of it. Made it all the worse that it was drenched in sweet sauce.

Petunias are my favorite. I want to get a few SUPER petunias this year.

CARINE--Welcome back. Sounds like you had a nice time. Chicken on a sword? Yeah, you wouldn't find that in Amish country. Broasted on a plate maybe.

9:10 AM  

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