I haven’t done a darn thing the past three days. Then again, given what I went through last weekend and the first couple of days of the work week, it’s far from the worst thing to be doing nothing other than sitting in my basement in Russell, watching reruns of The O.C. and Shark Tank. I have not watched a single inning of baseball since getting back from Kansas City, and I have hardly watched SportsCenter. Maybe watching sports will remind me of all the problems I had that infamous night, but sooner or later, I’ll have to get back on the horse and get back into my normal sports patterns. Then again, there was a time where all I watched was sports, so expanding my horizons is not a bad thing.
I ate with my parents for the first time in over a week. My mother cooked shrimp scampi. It was outstanding as always. She was going to cook it last Sunday, but I was teetering on the edge, and besides, my mother’s right arm was killing her, so it was best she didn’t cook.
I have a column to write this week for my newspapers, something I usually do for Monday mornings, but I didn’t last week because I felt like I had nothing but venom to spew.
This column won’t be too hard, because I’m going to focus some of it on the theater shooting in Lafayette, considering I spent much time in the Louisiana city and that’s my native state. I guess I’ll also have to touch on the trade this afternoon which sent Cincinnati Reds ace Johnny Cueto to the Royals. The Royals are so often sellers at the trade deadline, which is Friday, but they were in dire need of a starting pitcher, since their rotation has been mediocre to pathetic this season. Not re-signing James Shields was a huge mistake. I wonder now if Big Game James would rather be pitching for the best team in the American League, or making more money for a bad team, like he is right now in San Diego.
My guardian angel in San Diego said she had made lists with her husband Friday night, and she would like to know some of my favorites. I’m going to oblige her, not only because it’s a good exercise, but I feel comfortable opening up to her and letting her glimpse into my life.
Like her, I am into food. Big time. You could guess that from looking at my less than impressive physique. I love to eat, like many from New Orleans. My biggest problem is I can’t find most of those dishes I ate in Louisiana now that I’m in rural Kansas, where it’s all about beef, beef and more beef.
I am a seafood junkie. I could eat seafood every day of my life if need be. Although I’m not so despearate for seafood that I rush off to the McDonald’s in Russell and order a Filet-o-Fish. I haven’t been to McDonald’s in over two months, and I don’t think that will change anytime soon. I was very tempted during my deep depression to go just to make myself feel better, but I said no.
I would give anything for oysters. Oysters are my favorite food, period. I loved them fried and charbroiled when I lived in Louisiana. I never ate them raw, but right now, I would probably devour a dozen on the half shell. My mother makes the best oyster dressing at Thanksgiving, but I would much rather her use the oysters for something else.
The oyster po-boy is my favorite sandwich. The last time I had one was in June 2010, the most recent time I visited Louisiana. I ordered it FOUR times when I visited Ivar’s, my favorite hangout in Baton Rouge. If by some miracle I can get down to Louisiana, I am tempted to smuggle as much oysters as can fit in a cooler back to Kansas.
I can eat shrimp all day, too. My mother’s shrimp scampi is first rate, and I will never pass up the coconut shrimp at Outback Steakhouse. In fact, I have to get two orders most of the time to satisfy my need. I also could go for shrimp cocktail right about now.
One of my favorite orders at Outback is lobster. In fact, there was a point where I would order it all the time from Outback, skipping the steak. Every time I go to a fancy steakhouse, like Ruth’s Chris, I have to get a lobster tail with my steak. I know it costs a pretty penny, but I can’t pass it up.
I am also dying for soft shell crabs. Dying. Haven’t had those in over a decade. As for fish, I prefer tuna, salmon and swordfish over catfish. Catfish is too cliche for the Deep South. You can do much better in south Louisiana than fried catfish. Leave that to the piney woods of Mississippi, where they wouldn’t know how to cook without lard and cornmeal.
I love steak, too. If I had a choice of cuts, I would choose the T-Bone. The strip is also a favorite. And do not overcook it. I want to see blood coming out of the meat. I want my steak RARE, as close to raw as humanly possible. There are times where I think medium rare is overdone for me. If it’s more than medium rare, I am a very unhappy camper. It happened in March when I went to Outback in Overland Park. I complained about the steak being medium, so I wrote about my displeasure on Outback’s website. The next day, someone from the Outback in Overland Park called and said they would send me a $20 off coupon for a future visit. Still haven’t used it. Now, when I order from Outback, I will remind them to not overcook. I like rare. And no, I do not want blue cheese, Bearnaise sauce or anything else on top of my steak. Blue cheese is for salads and buffalo wings.
I can eat buffalo wings, but the best buffalo wings are not from Buffalo Wild Wings. I was going to Buffalo Wild Wings in Kansas City much more for the people and the other attractions than the food. Some of the sauces are totally inedible to me, especially the mango habanero and the blazing. Way, way, way too hot. If I
The best wings I’ve eaten are still at the first place I ate buffalo wings, Ivar’s. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but the sports bar on Perkins Road in south Baton Rouge was my favorite hangout in Red Stick. I would go there four, sometimes five, times per week, often arriving at opening at 11 a.m. and staying well past 2 p.m. Other times, I was there from 4 p.m. until 9 or 10. The buffalo wings were the best, and on many days, I’d eat the double order of 20. The sauce on the wings was just perfect–not too hot, but not too mild, either, the perfect orange color you want in a buffalo wing sauce. And on most days, the wings were huge. As I mentioned earlier, the oyster po-boy was awesome, and so was the cheeseburger and chicken cordon bleu sandwich.
Sushi is something I’ve become a big fan of recently. The Hy-Vee on Barry Road in Kansas City, which I frequent often on my visits there, has a really great selection. The other Hy-Vee locations in the Kansas City area also have fine selections, but it too often has the sauce on it I don’t care for. For me, dipping the sushi in some soy sauce is plenty. The Dillon’s stories in Salina and Wichita also have great selections. However, I cannot stand cream cheese. No way. Cream cheese is for bagels. Got it?
I am tempted to go to Denver to go to Benihana. I could go for a lot of sushi right now.
I’ve become hooked on the Kettle potato chips, which are gluten-free. My favorite flavors are the buffalo bleu (big surprise) and the pepperocini. The pepperocini are the peppers Papa John’s puts in its pizza boxes. Most people will break open the pepper and spread the juice over the pizza, but I have eaten them whole, too. I wish there were a Papa John’s in Hays. The closest for me is in Great Bend, which requires a 40-mile drive down the two-lane US 281.
Two fast food chains from Louisiana I really miss in Kansas are Raising Cane’s and Whataburger.
Cane’s is a chicken finger restaurant which began in Baton Rouge in 1996. It’s not so much the chicken fingers, but it’s the awesome toast and sauce which I love. In fact, I bought two quarts of sauce earlier this month when I went through Omaha and Lincoln.
Whataburger has a much better selection of burgers than the Big Three, and the pies are more than worth the trip. Too bad the closest one to me is in Tulsa.
I also wish there were a Cheesecake Factory closer than Overland Park. My favorite is the Kahlua, although I’m also craving the tiramisu and Godiva chocolate right about now.
I’d better stop for now. I’m going to make myself really hungry.