Me this week:
Lately, I've been thinking about food. It's something I think about a lot, granted, but this is more about food and place. For me, these conenctions are intense and evocative. The question: if you could travel back to any place you've lived (or, in a pinch, visited) and have just one meal in each location that reminded you of the time you spent there, what would your top five stops and dishes be?
1) Chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and green beans with a dozen of the red-pepper yeast rolls at Threadgill's in Austin, Texas (y'all). As a rule, I avoid cube steak and cream gravy but Eddie Wilson does amazing things with it. For me, Threadgill's (the one on Lamar) is Austin -- a heady mix of southern-fried and Western and music. I dream of this dish and some of my favorite Austinites to eat it with.
2) The Vegetarian (no tomatoes) at Tomato Head in Knoxville. Didn't know I like tofu before I met this sandwich. Mahasti's restaurant is the soul of downtown. And, again, love to have some of my fave Knoxvillians to eat it with.
3) A slice at DiPietros in West View, Pittsburgh. Every other Friday at my elementary school, Papa DiPietro, whose son was also in my grade, would bring in a couple of pies and divvy them up among all of us. Even as an adult, I still love this pizza, but no longer drink orange drink with it.
4) A roast beef sandwich at McKracken's, which is no longer among the living, in Meadville, PA. Many weird and wonderful (mostly weird, truth be told) college events were capped with this cheap meal. No, it wasn't gourmet and generally made with the strangest pressed meat product but the memories can't be topped.
5) Thanksgiving dinner at Shannon and Tori's place in Georgetown. First time I'd ever had a smoked turkey and cornbread dressing. Mmmmmmm. We had a heck of a time--and it was the perfect balm for one of the more unsettled periods of my life.
Honorable mention: Migas at Trudy's. If someone could send me a plate, that'd be great. I can't seem to a) find them anywhere and b) replicate them in my kitchen. Thanks. I'll pay ya back.