Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Fave Food

I've seen this meme going around for awhile now - and I've been contemplating what restaurants I would choose. And it's been HARD. There are several reasons for this...

1. We're on a tight budget. We don't eat out very often - but when we do, we tend to eat a lot of the fast food variety - like Schlotzsky's, Sonic, Subway, etc...(see a pattern with the Ss???)

2. I'm allergic to MSG. And for anyone who knows anything about MSG, you'll quickly realize that it is in most foods that are created in restaurants. So while I love food, I don't love feeling like my heart is going to jump outside of my body for all the jitters I experience after ingesting it - so it has made eating out somewhat of a challenge. And food simply isn't as much fun when you have to drill the waiter and chef about every single ingredient.

However, because I love Kelly at Love Well, and I'm just so proud of her for blogging about food, even in the midst of feeling a bit green with being pregnant - I am going to persevere and DO THIS! Here, in no particular order, are some of my favorite restaurants. (Oh, and by the way, the rule about LOCAL restaurants? Not gonna happen. I've moved and traveled WAY TOO MUCH to just stick to one locale.)

The rules, as such, are as follows:
1. Link to the name of the person that tagged you. Kelly at Love Well
2. Include state and country you live in. Oklahoma, USA
3. List top 5 favorite local restaurants. see below
4. Tag 5 other people and let them know they've been tagged. Andrea, Alana, Katherine, Erin, and just for kicks - and to see if she does it - Ree

#1 - The Rheinlander, Portland, OR - I grew up knowing that my parents LOVED this restaurant. Any time they had a chance to get away from the three of us, they'd head to Portland, and a stop at this place was always in order. It's a fancy, celebratory - go here for birthdays and anniversaries kind of place. The German food is to DIE for! Their chicken schnitzel is perfect, I love the sweet and sour cabbage, their salad is heavenly, but the real star of the show is their Swiss Cheese Fondue. Oh yeah. And for Christmas two years ago, my mom got me their recipe book. So if any of y'all want the recipes to the aforementioned - I've got 'em!

#2 - Tin Star, Tulsa OK - This is a brand new love for me. It's actually on the opposite end of town from us, but a few weeks ago, we had to track down a pillow for Shira's new bedspread, and ended up at an unfamiliar Kohl's after church one Sunday. And of course, since it was Sunday, the pull to eat lunch out was strong - so we decided to try something new. AND OH MY WORD I AM SO GLAD WE DID! Tin Star is remarkably similar to Moe's Southwest Grill - but with an amazing difference. I like all their salsas featured at their salsa bar. Normally, I don't like any of them, because they are always too spicy for my delicate palate. But these are phenomenal! They have a Fire-Roasted Tomato one, a green one that I can only assume is Tomatillo and a Sweet Corn Salsa. Literally - I could make a meal just of these salsas! YUM! Needless to say, we're spending more on gas to make a trek back there SOON. Our family will have some celebrating to do in the next week or so - and my plan is to celebrate THERE!

#3 - Old Spaghetti Factory, Portland, OR - I'm sure that many of you have heard of this one. However, this ONE is the ORIGINAL. And beautiful. And overlooking the river. And did I mention beautiful??? Their food is just comfort - we went there a lot with good friends during the time that Kevin was a music minister in the Portland area. Sweet sweet memories of babies in bibs, lots of food, lots of conversation. I love their mushroom sauce, their blackberry cream soda's (you get to keep the glass!) and their pesto ranch dressing on the salad is absolutely heaven!

#4 - Cracker Barrel, anywhere, USA - I know, it's not original. But I love it! And the great news is that most of their menu items are MSG free - including their ranch dressing - which is hard to find! My favorite lunch/dinner meal is always the veggie plate - with a combination of turnip greens, mac n cheese, green beans, hashbrown casserole, fried apples and sweet carrots. Breakfast of course, is simple - eggs, hashbrown casserole, apples, grits and their biscuits just can't be beat. We've also enjoyed taking the kids there, because it's fun to get to shop with them while we wait for a table, or rock in the rocking chairs on the porch. It's really become a sweet family tradition to spend a lazy Saturday morning there occasionally. Both big kids love it. (Micah has yet to express an opinion...)

#5 - Makatos Japanese Steakhouse, Johnson City, TN - I looked really hard to find a website, but was unsuccessful. This restaurant is also great for the many memories it holds...I went there many times during college - with many the friend and many the fiance! (another story...) It is your typical grill in front of you Japanese steakhouse, but they do have the best shrimp sauce in the world, and their sweet carrots are pretty rockin', too! I love it so much, that I've done my best to recreate the recipes to make here at home - and I've come mighty close! Kevin declares it's his favorite meal that I make - but I use every skillet in the house to do so, so it's not often that we splurge on this meal! But when we do, it's always a lot of fun!

How about you? What are your favorite restaurants? I'd love to hear about them, so that one day, when Kevin and I retire and travel the US in our motor home, we'll stop by and try them out! Let me know if you decide to do this meme!


Alana said...

Sara! Thanks for the tag. I will try to do this soon!

I second Cracker Barrel and Makato's.

But I have some sad news for you...Makato's is no longer. We were just in JoCy and it is gone, gone, gone. SOOOO Sad, but true. I'm sorry friend, I hate to be the bearer of bad news.

I would love your recreated recipes...can you post or email them to me...PLEASE???

Kelly said...

Fun, fun Sara! Thanks for playing! I love reading about restaurants. (And since I've started feeling better and not so green around the gills, it's actually fun again!)

My husband and I also love Japanese hibachi food. And like you, I have somewhat successfully managed to recreate our favorite foods from our favorite restaurant at home. Amen to the using every pan in the house!

MattDanTodd said...

Alana's right - Makato's is no more. There's another Makato's here now, but I'm pretty sure it's not the same thing.

Misaki is still here, though - even though we won't be much longer...August 1 is rapidly approaching!

Sandy@Reluctant Entertainers said...

Hi! Yip, I've been to that Spaghetti Factory in Port (original) and I think I've even been to the Rheinlander. We love Portland, but hate all the rain :)
Great list of restaurants.

Scratchin' the Surface said...

My duaghter's best friend from high school years was allergic to MSG. I finally was able to remember, not sweet foods but spicy ones were the ones to watch. As I started reading labels I was amazed how many foods it's in, and Applebees is horrible at dumping it in almost everything they make. Sometimes staying home and making it yourself is just easier! She would get horrible headaches and throw up from it, so not worth taking a chance!

Alana said...

Sara, I finally responded to your tag! Hope all is well with you!!

Embracing my cup said...

Hey! I just wanted to say that I will pray that your little one will sleep through the night soon!! I feel certain that I have not seen the last of those late night feeding with Elijah. . . But, this could be my last, so I am trying to enjoy each moment - even the late at night ones!!!

Sandy Coughlin said...

Thanks for visiting me today!
I hope you win!!
4 Reluctant Entertainers

MotoMom said...

I finally got my list done! I have been to the Spaghetti Factory and Rheinlander, both delicious.

Jersey Joe said...

After dining at Moe's Southwest Grill I wanted to make their yummy green Tomatilla Sauce so I googled "Moe's southwest grill tomatilla sauce recipe". And guess which web site was at the TOP of the Google list? Miller Moments!
And may I say that the lady avatars on this site are looking quite lovely tonight. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Sara...I LOOOOOVE Makatos!! I grew up in Johnson City, TN and went to ETSU there. Makatos is closed BUT there is an express that is JUST like it really close to ETSU it is called Yamatos. The only difference is you sit down and they bring it to you instead of cooking right in front of you. Prices are great food is FAB. Same chef from makatos is the one who ones this restaurant called Yamatos!!! So you're still in luck!!