Olivia Dish

Posts Tagged ‘restaurants’

Sacks in Anchorage

In Alaska, Restaurant on March 14, 2010 at 11:12 am
Sacks in Anchorage

Venture down G Street and stop here.

When I was getting ready for my first trip to Anchorage, my friend Virginia Snap said, “Eat at Sacks.” I trust her: she’s been to Alaska several times; we worked on a miserable food TV show, so share that been-in-the-trenches-together bond; and most important, we like the same food.

Okay, Sacks.  Odd name. Not sure what to expect. But Sacks it would be.

My first night in town, a strapping oil man insisted on shepherding me to a brewpub for an after-work beer. As we walked the block to get there, he cautioned that Alaska was treacherous. The implication: My coat and heels were insufficient. Better stick close to strapping oil men. Or call a cab.

“Where you eating dinner?” he shouted over beers at the rustic wooden bar.

“Sacks,” I said, feeling in the know.

“Oh,” he said. “The vegetarian place.” He looked me up and down. “You’ll probably like it.”

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Mapping the Barbecue World-Wilber’s

In Barbecue, North Carolina, Restaurant on December 29, 2009 at 9:21 pm
Wilber's Barbecue Goldsboro NC

On Highway 70 in Goldsboro, NC

If you’re interested in eastern North Carolina barbecue, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Wilber’s.

It was 13 miles down the road from our farm, so of course I’d heard of it.  Wilber’s was the source of Saturday lunches and tailgating food for N.C. State games, the place the rich kids stopped off on their way to Camp Sea Gull.  I didn’t realize how famous it was until I left home.

Wilber’s had been, for many years, my prime destination every time I came back. I didn’t want to unload my suitcase. I wanted to head over to Highway 70 for a barbecue sandwich.  I knew I’d smell the wood fire when I drove up. If I was lucky, fighter jets from the nearby air force base might skim over the parking lot on their way to landing.  Did it get any better?

Then, one fine Saturday, my mother introduced me to Grady’s and a lifetime of devotion took a detour to Sleepy Creek Road. (Sorry Wilber.)

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1 Day, 3 Meals: Denver

In Denver, Local Flavor, Restaurant on October 24, 2009 at 11:54 am
Most Important Meal?

Most Important Meal?

I can’t say it was exactly pleasant to fall into bed feeling like a stuffed turkey, but when life delivers you three good meals in a single day, what can you do?

In downtown Denver for work, I happened across The Delectable Egg, which proclaims itself a local institution.  They serve breakfast the way most of us like it–a large menu of the usual items, cheerful service, plenty of coffee, and food that was not out of this world but plenty good.  My corned beef hash and poached eggs were tasty.  Only the potatoes were lackluster.

I know some people don’t get grits.  Well, I don’t get rubbery potato cubes, fried and dusted with some orange spice that vaguely resembles paprika.

Actually, it was a good thing I didn’t care for the potatoes.  I had too much food to eat as it was.  And unbeknown to me at that early hour, a day of big eating was just getting started.

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Santa Monica Meals & Deals

In California, Local Flavor, Restaurant on September 18, 2009 at 1:09 pm
Rustic Canyon Wine Bar

Rustic Canyon Wine Bar

Sometimes when you are traveling for work, you’re grateful to dine in the hotel.  And sometimes, if you don’t get out and enjoy the local sights a bit, you feel as if you’re being cheated somehow.  Lucky for me, in Santa Monica I managed to do a little of both.

It helps when your hotel (The Viceroy) has a fun restaurant with good food and a great wine deal.  Monday and Tuesday nights, wines at Whist are $25 a bottle. So, of course, my colleague  Hallie Butter and I had a bottle of wine, a delicious Pinot Grigio, Livio Felluga from Italy.  Our meal was good too–I had scallops prepared with crispy chunks of pancetta; Hallie (as she so often does, go figure) had halibut–pistachio encrusted on a bed of creamed spinach.

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Honey-Fried Dreams?

In Restaurant, South Carolina on September 8, 2009 at 1:18 am

Honey-Fried in Hartsville, SC

When I was a girl, a Yogi Bear’s Honey-Fried Chicken opened in the town nearest our farm.  Every time we drove by, I’d tell my mother how much I wanted to go there.  How, I reasoned, could honey plus fried chicken be anything but heavenly?

My mother, never careless with a penny, wasn’t buying–the hype or, it turns out, the chicken.  The place opened and closed.  I never got to try what I was sure would be the fried chicken that dreams are made of.

A month or so ago, for no reason that I can recall, I googled honey-fried chicken.  And what did I find?  That what appears to be the nation’s sole remaining Yogi Bear franchise was within easy driving distance.  I vowed to go there, dream deferred no more.

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Fried Chicken Two Ways

In Homemade, Restaurant, South Carolina on September 2, 2009 at 1:34 am

They call this a snack?


Dizzy makes gravy

It’s hard to beat homemade fried chicken cooked by a master, which my friend Dizzy Frummunger happens to be.  Like my grandma, Diz uses the slow-fry-not-too-much-oil approach.  He soaks the chicken in buttermilk, rolls it in White Lily, and fries it in a cast iron skillet.  After, he makes milk gravy with the crunchy bits.

You may never get to sample Frummunger fried chicken.  I’m lucky to get it once a year.

So here’s where Zesto comes in.

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Malva Pudding, Baby

In Georgia, Restaurant, Sweets on August 18, 2009 at 8:41 pm

Baby on Board

Ah, Peachtree City, Georgia–a suburban vision that includes miles of golf cart trails and a dedicated community of golf cart drivers.

Yes, that’s a baby riding shotgun, zooming along to dinner no doubt, as was I, on a variation of Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.

At least he’s strapped into a cart seat.

I did not know before arriving that Peachtree City was golf cartcentric.  Nor did I realize I’d be sampling South African influenced cuisine.  When my host coasted to a stop in front of the Georgia Shrimp Co., I thought Forrest Gump not Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

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Local in Dallas

In Dallas, Local Flavor, Restaurant, Sweets on August 4, 2009 at 2:50 pm

The Bar at Local

When an assignment had me toiling in the land of J.R. Ewing, I looked for an escape.  A little googling turned up the restaurant Local, which no surprise, specializes in using locally-grown ingredients.  It’s in Deep Ellum, next to a butcher shop, away from highrises.  As escape plans go, this one was coming together rather effortlessly.

Perhaps I should have thought it was too easy, that danger might be lurking.  At the restaurant, I backed across the bar to photograph a wider view of the place.  I was grabbed from behind in a bear of a clutch.

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El Fenix: Hot or Not?

In Dallas, Local Flavor, Restaurant on July 30, 2009 at 6:27 pm

El Fenix: the madreship

Here’s what I learned from working with a group in downtown Dallas.  Someone is going to insist, “We’re going to El Fenix or I quit.”  Yes, even in this economy.


A lifesize cutout of the owner

So rather than lose a team member mid-project, we set aside our box lunches, took the elevator 35 floors down, piled into cars, and drove the 8 blocks to a Dallas (non-mental but delightfully wacky inside) institution.


Festive decor at El Fenix

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The Hil at Serenbe

In Fancy Farms, Georgia, Local Flavor, Restaurant on July 3, 2009 at 2:21 pm

Sunset at Serenbe

There are a couple of restaurants at Serenbe (outside of Atlanta) that I’ve been wanting to check out.  I used a recent trip as an occasion to visit one of the them–The Hil.

Actually, I was giving chef/owner Hilary White a second chance.  I’d tried her cooking at another fancy farm and been disappointed.  She’d managed to make some of the juiciest pork on the planet come out dry.  An eyewitness reported that White had trimmed the fat off before cooking.  I had my doubts about any chef who’d do that. Read the rest of this entry »