February 12, 2013

Home, and feeling much like I’m trying to get sick; throat scratchy, a tickling cough, etc. Too quiet and lonely here, with Lucy still at Miss Christy’s house on her play-date(s) with Monte.

But I did eat well today. Which, considering I’ve been in airports and on planes most of the day, is no small achievement.

Started out in the Atlanta airport with breakfast at Paschal’s. I first ran across Paschal’s several years ago, when they had a sit-down restaurant in, I think it was, C Concourse at the airport. I was struck, then, by (a) how good the food was, and (b) how cheap the food was.

The sit-down joint is no more, and the Paschal’s in the terminal food court is merely a buffet, with limited choices (I had French toast the previous time, as best I recall). But a plate with grits, home fries and bacon, along with a bottled orange juice and a big cup of quite good coffee, ran me under eight bucks. Nothing so very exceptional; but the grits were real grits, not instant; the bacon was crisp and plentiful; the home fries liberally interspersed with bell pepper and bits of onion, a fact I had not noticed until I had them on my plate, and thus did not eat, as I loathe bell peppers. They had big fluffy-looking biscuits and what looked like some excellent sausage gravy, but my stomach was iffy from the previous evening’s excesses and I decided not to tempt fate.

Did a little browsing and learned Paschal’s started in downtown Atlanta in 1947, and bills itself as a “fine dining” as well as a “soul food” establishment. The downtown store doesn’t do breakfast any more, other than a Sunday brunch. The lunch and dinner menu revolves around traditions like fried chicken, fried catfish, as well as some steaks and such. Good reviews on Urbanspoon and Yelp. May have to try it someday.

I’d gotten to the airport early, as I had an 8 a.m. meeting at a downtown Starbucks, no car, and no place else to go, so I said heck with it, and got to the airport at 10  for a 1:45 flight. Thus, ample time for breakfast. So by the time I was changing planes in Baltimore around 3, I was hungry again.

So I stopped off at O’Brycki’s, where I’d eaten before, to grab myself a crab cake. Because they do most excellent crab cakes, and the only two places they do ’em are at the Baltimore and Cleveland airports, although they had at one time a restaurant in the Fell’s Point neighborhood. According to their website, they opened that one in 1944 and closed it in 2011. A shame. But I’m glad they kept the airport ones, as Baltimore is a Southwest hub and I find myself changing planes there a fair amount.

These people can make a crab cake. It’s a lot of fresh lump crab, with a minimal amount of binder and egg to glue it together. The merest hint of Old Bay seasoning.  Lemon to squeeze over. And you can get two big fat ones, by themselves, with no trimmings. And a good draft beer to go along with it. It’s everything a crab cake should be, and nothing else.

But, seriously, Cleveland? Crab cakes? I guess if one can have Shaw’s Crab House in Chicago, one can have fresh crabmeat in Cleveland.

Oh, and, since it was Atlanta — there was Murphy’s. Dear God, but I love me some Murphy’s.

I will admit, though, that perhaps the pork shank was not quite as good as it’s been in the past. Still quite excellent, mind you. But not as transportingly wonderful as it’s been the last couple of times I’ve had it. I may be ready to move on to something else on their menu.

The Orin Swift Prisoner wine, however, is as good as it ever was.

And with that, I’ll bid you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em g’night. I’m taking my travel-weary, road-worn happy arse to bed.



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