When we travel as a family, I have one simple request. I want a GOOD FOOD MOMENT… GFM, for short. Of course, you don’t have to stop at one, but, that is the goal… some GOOD FOOD! Every family chef out there… isn’t it true… we just want someone ELSE to cook it… someone ELSE to serve it… and someone ELSE to clean it all up! And, after a decade or so, McDonald’s gets a little old. I will admit, though, since they’ve added the latte machine and a fruit salad, it’s bearable. But sometimes, you find a jewel that help make a trip memorable. Shabby Chic decor… complete with antique chandeliers… gets me every time, but it is really about the GFMs!
We took a day trip to a small town recently for some shopping. I inquired as to the local restaurant nearby. That led us to a little hole-in-the-wall, “Mom & Pop” place on the main drag. Word of wisdom… ask what their specialty is, and just go with it. We found that she brags on her made-from-scratch, fresh-fried chicken tenders. This smacked of McDonald’s to me, but I decided to stick to my word of wisdom, and go with that.
My husband, however, had a “hankerin’” for some pork chops. We waited expectantly. Sure enough, not even being a true chicken tender fan, they WERE the best ever. Tender, juicy, delicious crispy fried coating …cooked to perfection. The pork chops? Well, picture a paper thin crispy ‘coaster’. That’s what we decided it really was. A coaster. There was no pretending that it was even edible. Even a beef jerky lover would have questioned its purpose.
Sometimes our quests for ‘Good Food Moments’ don’t turn out so well. I had to endure “the scowl” from a couple of hostesses who did NOT appreciate my need to see a menu before I hauled my bunch into their restaurant. Their blatant disgust with me was a deal breaker. I was out of there. However, a waitress recently wowed us with her sweetness and mastery of the menu, her attentiveness and delightful banter. That somehow makes the food even better.
We were at the beach this weekend for a high school tennis clinic… (I know, it’s just all work being a tennis mom!) Our GFM’s were fantastic… a dozen flame-charred oysters on the half shell, sprinkled with garlic and Parmesan cheese, drizzled with lemon juice. Yum. Seafood gumbo topped with fried crawfish tails. Yum. Blackened flounder over a bacon fried grit cake, drizzled in a rue/butter sauce. Yum. Pork tenderloin over garlic mashed potatoes. Yum.
Even our trip to the Waffle House produced five very happy tummies… especially my crispy buttered raisin toast with apple butter, served with two over-easy fried eggs over grits. This Southern girl was happy. Yum. I wish I had video footage of our waitress there who yelled a string of code words to the cooks to put our order in, no one writing anything down, just the old-fashioned short-order mastery! It was hilarious, and we were impressed.
We’re planning a week-long family trip to the beach soon, and I’ll pull out my handy Vacation Menu that E-Mealz offers each spring and summer. We can’t afford to eat out everyday and this plan gives you all you need to have some GFM’s at home and within your budget. The planning is done, the groceries are in the fridge, the prep is quick and it’s consistently ‘yum’. Even though I have to cook it, I let everyone else clean up. That’s a great trade off for me. Come to thing of it, the Vacation Plan makes dinner so easy— I may just delegate the cooking this time…
Here’s to relaxing on vacation and to your GFM’s!