Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Trolling: The Cravings Of Out-Of-Town Visitors

Back to Trollings and back to suggestions from emkenton.  Em recently hosted another family visitor from Texas -- eight years after they left the Lone Star state -- and realized that she had an angle for another guest post:  What local dishes are requested by the out-of-town crew?  With all those holiday visitors on the way, these could be your go-to foods for come-her people:
  • Fact: Texans know Mexican food. So I'm not really sure what possessed us to take my father-in-law out to eat Maryland Mexican sometime years ago, but the man hasn't stopped talking since about the cheese enchiladas at Zapata's in the Harper's Choice Village Center.  He claims they're the best cheese enchiladas he's ever eaten, and seems to attribute this in great measure to the fact they're made with Oaxaca cheese.  Unlike a traditional Tex-Mex cheese enchilada that is covered in a red chili sauce, Zapata's version features a green tomatillo sauce along with a drizzle of sour cream, cilantro, and red onions.  Delicious.  A bit of a heads-up so you aren't surprised:  they serve their salsa warm.  Odd to me at first, I now find it addictive.  And their margaritas aren't too shabby, either!!
  • Trying to be as adventurous as possible on our honeymoon back in the day, we wandered into a Indian restaurant from our San Francisco hotel . . . . and fully adopted our official "married life" cuisine!   We are loyal fans of Mirchi Wok in Columbia, having been regulars at the owner's styrofoam-plate-and-plastic-utensil Curry & Spice years ago when it was in the strip off Dobbin where Qdoba is now.  We were thrilled when their new restaurant finally opened in the space with its sibling, Mango Grove, and it ranks at the top of the list when my family is in town.  (Upon deciding recently to come visit for Thanksgiving, my mom actually suggested that we do a big Mirchi Wok feast rather than "going to any trouble" with a turkey dinner!)   We've never had a curry dish we didn't like, but sometimes you just want something a wee bit less heavy, right?  Enter my favorite dish:  Hazarvi Tikka.  According to the menu, it's "juicy white chicken meat grilled on skewers with roasted garlic, cheese and very mild spices."  According to me, it's the perfect foil to the richer Indian dishes.  The succulent pieces of chicken are flavorful but not in any way spicy...and dare I say they could even be healthy?! 
  • And, finally, on the opposite end of the dining spectrum:  the Fruit and Nut Chicken Salad at Harris Teeter.  Did I really just suggest a grocery store prepared item (and not one from my beloved Wegmans)?  I know-- crazy!  But my mother asks for this every time after sampling it at her friend's house near the Teeter homebase of North Carolina.  Being a bit wary of deli goods behind the counter, I was suspicious-- until I tried it and found chunky meat surrounded by a dressing that is kept from being too creamy/blah by the massive bits of various dried fruits and nuts.  As much as I like to concoct dishes in my own kitchen, I would definitely serve this chicken salad in lieu of a homemade creation.  And of course, if your mother happens to be visiting on a Thursday, you can even score a deal: 5% off all groceries at Harris Teeter on Thursdays for those 60 and better!  
Trolling on Tuesday is my attempt at a series where readers would share three things with other HowChow readers -- favorite restaurant dishes, food to buy, food experiences, etc.  Click here for all the Trolling posts.  Click here for the explanation and the rules.  Anyone can submit.

1 comment:

Marcia said...

If you can find it, the chicken salad at the Royal Farms stores is pretty tasty too. And I NEVER recommend food at places like that. I also like the chicken salad from Trader Joe's (Napa Chicken Salad???) but sometimes it's a bit overdressed. I'll check out Harris Teeter's.