I’m late, I’m late, I’m late :(  Sorry.

Black Friday somehow turned into Food Friday.  o_o  My stomach was exploding by the end of the day, seriously.  I’ve been quite indulgent these few days (dunno how good that is for me, lol)… but eh, it’s the holiday season, right?!  I’ll just keep those happy thoughts :D  How much did/have you “indulged”? I “indulge” at least twice a week, so I don’t think I count for much.  :P

Before I braved the insanity at the mall to buy skinny jeans, we lunched at Tuscarora Mill.  My daddy ordered a salad to share:

Chilled lobster and shrimp salad + avocado, mango, arugula, tomatoes, madras curry oil.

YUMMM.  This had the perfect harmony of flavors—savory + seafood-y from the lobster and shrimp (though especially the former), sweetness + tartness from the mango, butteriness from the avocado, and a hint of spiciness from the curry oil.  <3

My entrée, on the other hand, was quite disappointing.  I ordered what the waitress recommended me last time, the shrimp & grits.  Bad choice, bad choice.

Shrimp & grits with spinach, tomatoes, country ham, madeira, truffled grits.

It sounded delicious.  Country ham?  Truffled grits?!  … But sadly, it failed to deliver.  It was swimming in a pool of what I presume to be gravy, as it was a) brown, b) buttery, and c) tasted exactly like stuffing.  o_o  Anyway, it was just a bit too much—too oily!

Drowning in a sea of gravy, oh dear.

With all that gravy, I couldn’t discern any sort of “truffle” flavor to the grits.  I mean, they were cheesy and buttery and creamy and yummy, but uh… where’s the part that sold me?!  >:(  The saltiness factor was also waaaay over-the-top, what with the country ham, which had nary a hint of honey-smoked sweetness and was simply laden with salt, and the shaved parmesan (or other salty cheese) on top of everything.  Super salty ham + parmesan of all cheeses + gravy?  = “I’m thirsty.  I’m thirsty.  I’m thirsty.  THIRSTY,”  for the rest of the day.  The shrimp was well-seasoned, but it, too, was overly salty, not to mention drenched in oil.  And the spinach?… um… R.I.P.

My blood pressure probably went through the roof after I was finished with this…

I found the grits.

My dissatisfaction with this meal actually surprised me quite a bit, since everyone on Yelp! seems to love it.  Meh.

And for comparisons of beautifulness, here’s my dad’s meal:

Steak “frites”: grilled shoulder steak, french fries, caramelized onions, red wine sauce, broccoli.
So much prettier than mine.

And then we went crazy.

Errr, I mean, I had a bathroom problem at the mall.  o_o  Totally lame?  Yeah.  OK, so after I maneuvered through the crowds to get to Pac Sun (their jeans are the only ones that fit me!) and get some buy 1 get 1 50% off jeans, nature called.  So I went search amidst the craziness for a bathroom, where, undoubtedly, a line was forming.  I wandered around aimlessly for some reason—I don’t know why.  Delusional from shopping?  Maybe… I did that for about ten minutes.  Then I had an epiphany, “Aha!  I will go find a directory!” :O

And so I did!  For another ten minutes. -_-  Mind you, I was wandering aimlessly, AND there were crowds that slowed me down!  The sad part is, after I found a directory, I wandered around for another ten minutes, still delusional, unable to find the freaking restroom!  At this point, I probably WAS going insane because nature was a-screamin’!  Nevertheless, I prevailed, though it took me like 4-5 trips around the mall.  o__o

It took me one try to get back.  Reiterating: I. am. an. IDIOT.  End of story.

*ahem* Dinner was supposed to be at Clyde’s, a local chain restaurant, but holy cow, it was freaking packed with people and everyone except us had reservations.  Without reservations, we would have to wait two and a half hours.  Eh… no thank you!  I know French people wouldn’t mind eating dinner at 9:00 PM, but I certainly do.  I’d be knocked out by the end of dinner!  What’s the latest that you would want to eat dinner? I’m an early girl—5-7 PM… 8 I can do, but you’d be pushin’ it.  :P

So instead, we resorted to McCormick & Schmick’s M&S Grill, which was pretty sparsely populated.  I must mention that we were given the most delicious warm, doughy, heavenly dinner rolls to start.  I spread mine with some butter and olive tapenade (the ONLY way I’ll eat olives), but I won’t show you the pic.  My camera utterly fails in dim lighting, so the pictures came out all blurry and gross.  :/

I made dinner light—still kinda full from the rich, heavy, salty lunch.

Roasted chioggia beet salad + orange, feta cheese, fennel.

This salad was surprisingly large for an appetizer, and it was surprisingly good, too.  The first time I had beets was at the Cheesecake Factory, and they tasted like dirt. These, however, were lighter in color (different variety?) and very, very, very fresh and sweet—totally delicious!  The sweet orange segments pleasantly balanced the earthy beets, the nutty arugula, and the salty feta cheese.  The fennel, unfortunately, was so thinly sliced and so sparse that it didn’t really contribute anything other than the occasional crunch… and by “occasional,” I mean VERY. occasional.

As soon as I saw sweet potato gratin on the menu—limited to fall, I believe?—I knew I had to get it.

D-i-s-a-p-p-o… inted.

On the onset, this looked pretty tasty.  However, as soon as I stabbed my fork in and realized that I had pierced a slice of regular white potato (gasp!), I freaked out on the inside.  I asked the waitress why there was regular white potato tainting my sweet potato gratin, and she explained that both regular AND sweet ‘taters were in there in layers.


I ordered this specifically for the sweet potatoes, and this was a big disappointment.  It didn’t help that it was mostly white potato, either, with the occasional bit of sweet potato mash.  Again, occasional = VERY. occasional.  This was also the complete opposite flavor-wise to my lunch—I had to add salt to make it taste better.  ><  The cheese looked gooey and yummy, but it was hard and flavorless.  Blurgh.  I ended up finishing half before I decided that I honestly did not want to eat it.  :\

Oh, and all my attempts at a “healthier” meal were thwarted when I ordered dessert.

Banana foster bread pudding with vanilla ice cream and foster sauce.

Foster sauce being rum sauce, of course.  This was the first time I’ve had anything “banana foster,” and I must say, it was pretty damn tasty!  The “bread pudding” was basically a delicious, moist banana bread stuffed with walnuts.  I love basically all types of sweetbread, be it banana, pumpkin, etc., so I loved this.  The sauce was buttery and strongly rum-flavored, with a bite from the alcohol at the end that prevented this from being too sweet/cloying .  Ze best part of ze meal, fo sho :)  What’s your favorite part of a three-course meal?

Well, I hope you guys had a wonderful, relaxing Thanksgiving weekend!  To recap, I’m thankful for the good eats, good company, and my good fortune!  :)  … though I wish I had better socializing skills, haha!  I’ll ramble about some awkward things next post -_-;  Later!  :P

EDIT: Holy.  Why was this post so long?!?!