Thursday, September 29, 2011

FISH TACOS AT CAPTAIN RATTY'S


We recently went back to Captain Ratty's so that I could try their fish tacos.  I've been spoiled, after having tasted some of the absolute best at Noisy Oyster in Charleston, SC, and The O'Bistro Cafe in Ocean Beach, San Diego, CA.  It's been a tortuous wait since then, hoping that local restaurants would catch on (no pun intended) to this craze.  With an abundance of fresh fish in Eastern Carolina, it would seem like a no brainer.

Captain Ratty's makes their fish tacos with their "fresh catch" of the day.  It happened to be salmon the day we were there.  We all know there is no salmon in our local waters, and I particularly like to avoid Atlantic salmon since it is always farm raised and loaded with antibiotics, hormones and other yuk stuff.  But I wanted to try the fish tacos, so that's what I ordered.

What can I say?  These were not the best fish tacos I've had, but they were okay.  The salmon was grilled, not fried, which is my preference, but the seasonings were one dimensional.

Guy's not fond of salmon, regardless of the source, so he ordered the shrimp wrap thinking it would be a shrimp taco.  (The fish taco I had at Noisy Oyster was wrapped and it was unbelievably good.)  But Guy was served a cold sandwich wrap, not what he expected.  He didn't finish it, but I didn't think it looked that bad.


Captain Ratty's has good prices, great service and their food is okay, so it's a good choice for a quick and decent meal.  But I'll eat my fish tacos at home.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

TAVERNA MYTHOS GREEK RESTAURANT & BAR, MOREHEAD CITY


We had been wanting to try the fairly new Greek restaurant in Morehead City, Taverna Mythos, but they're only open for dinner.  Guy's birthday was last week and he decided it was worth a 40-minute ride to check it out.  The restaurant opens at 5PM, so we made reservations for 5:15.  The rush-hour traffic was heavy in spots, but we still got there in under an hour.  Mythos is directly across the street from the waterfront and has some decent views from two of its dining areas.

Inside, the restaurant is dark but cozy.  One dining room is completely enclosed with no views; the other faces  the parking lot but has views of the water.  The bar has the best views, but only two tables.

We decided to sit in the bar area.

Service is friendly and attentive, and the menu is limited and easy to read.  Greek specialties (spanokopita, hummus, tzatziki, dolmadakia, melitzanosalata, bougiourdi) are available as appetizers.  You can also order a "sharing" platter with calamari, dolmadakia, hummus, tzatziki, cheese and spinach pie.  Gyros made with lamb and beef, chicken or shrimp are available, as is souvlaki.  All are served as sandwiches on toasted pita.  There's also an assortment of pastas, including Greek pastitsio and mousaka, and specialty pizzas.  If you have children, 12 and under, you can order from the children's menu.  What's not available:  choices for smaller eaters, such as hubby and me.

We were served warm crusty bread and rosemary olive oil as we waited for our entrees.

The bread was good, but the oil was disappointingly bland.  Some salt improved the flavor somewhat.
The birthday boy ordered "Greek Grill," a 14-oz. ribeye steak topped with shrimp sauteed in butter and wine, with spinach and feta cheese.  All grill entrees are served with lemon potatoes and veggies.

This was a gastronomic feast -- the steak was done to perfection, served with a nice sauce.  The lemon potatoes were cooked perfectly, as was the spinach, and everything was seasoned nicely.  The only problem was the steak was too large!  More  than half of it, plus half the shrimp and most of the potatoes came home for another meal.

I ordered the lamb chops, charbroiled and topped with olive oil and lemon sauce.  Three lamb chops arrived and each was cooked perfectly.  I ate all three chops, Guy's zucchini, my spinach and some of the potatoes.  The zucchini was especially good. 

Prices at Mythos are fair for the quality of the food.  Guy's entree was $26, mine was $23.  Wine is $6/glass. The chef/owner is 100% Greek and definitely knows how to cook.  Chef Pia's in little Washington is still my favorite Greek restaurant, but I would gladly return to Mythos any time.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

PORK TONKATSU


The South has the corner on pork, and New Bern is in the heart of pig country.  But the new pork that's being marketed is leaner and meaner.  This means you must take care when preparing it, or you will have tough meat.  Brining the meat overnight in a salt-sugar-water solution all but guarantees moist, flavorful meat.

Don't be put off by the title of this recipe.  Pork Tonkatsu is just breaded, fried pork chops using those flaky, crispy Japanese panko crumbs that you can buy just about anywhere nowadays.  Harris Teeter even sells whole wheat panko, if you're inclined that way.

Once the brining is done, this is actually a quick entree to put together, and one that I'm sure you'll enjoy as we did.

Pork Tonkatsu  
Adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine
Rating:  8 out of 10


INGREDIENTS:
1/4 cup coarse kosher salt
2 Tbsp. sugar
4 cups water
2 (4-oz.) boneless center cut loin pork chops, pounded to 1/8" thickness
1 egg
1-1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
1 to 2 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
lemon wedges, if desired

Stir kosher salt, sugar and water in a bowl or pot till salt and sugar are completely dissolved.  Add chops.  Cover and refrigerate overnight, turning chops occasionally.

Remove chops from brine; pat dry. Whisk egg and mustard in medium bowl.  Combine panko, 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/8 tsp. pepper on a large plate.  Dip chops in egg mixture, then in panko, pressing to adhere.  Heat up to 1 Tbsp. oil in a large nonstick (or cast iron) skillet over medium heat and cook pork until golden brown and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side, adding up to an additional 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil after turning.  Drain on paper towels.  Serve with lemon wedges, if desired.

Monday, September 5, 2011

TWO CRAB PARTIES AND LOIS SEAGRAVES’ LOW-COUNTRY STEW


We went to two crab parties in August.  At the first, we were given T-shirts made by a neighbor.  My hub, Guy is the photo on the left.  At the second party,  we came away with an heirloom recipe for Low-Country Stew.  Read about it....