Old Habits

Whether by habit, convenience or taste, people tend to eat at the same old restaurants. Having to make that bog decision of “Where do you want to go for dinner?” the choice is usually your favorite pizza or burger joint, the diner down the block or okay, I guess that’ll work. Even for special occasions, old habits die hard.

So when we were coming back into town on Oracle Road last Sunday, we decided to get wild and have lunch at The Parish.

We’ve eaten there before and never been disappointed. This time we just wanted some little noshes and maybe a drink.

We were the only people in the place for the first ten minutes or so and decided to eat inside.

The server mentioned that the Bloody Mary was only $5. So there you go. We also ordered the crawfish hushpuppieshushpuppiesparishand the blue cheese baked oysters.DSCN2257

I’m sorry that I didn’t take more photos. The drink was a work of art. The tall glass was garnished with (count them) a slice of bacon, a stalk of celery, a lime, a lemon, a pickle and a slice of summer squash (at least that’s what I think it was) and a host of spices that turned the tomato juice base almost rust-colored. It was fantastic; a fine example of this classic dish.

Then came the oysters. There were only three but they were huge – almost two bites worth. Hot from the oven the oyster sat in a bed of lemony vinaigrette with blue cheese crumbles. All this was topped with crispy bacon and Creole bread crumbs. We quickly ordered another.

The hush puppies were also great. Dense but not heavy, they held a nice heat that was balanced with the accompanying sweet green onion dipping sauce.

On Monday, we took advantage of the Memorial Day Special at North Italia – 25% off.

That meant a bottle of wine, their outstanding calamari,DSCN1576 tagliatelle Bolognese for me and the Italian grinder for John. Desert came later – a deeply rich chocolate tart.

Perhaps North shouldn’t be included in this “some place different” rant, since North is one of our favorites, but we really haven’t been there for a while.

Everything was as it always was – flavorful, well-prepared, great service. Why we haven’t been, who knows?

Then yesterday I met new foodie friend Suzanne Wright at the new Baja Café on Campbell Avenue. I’d been to the original once and found it to be okay, but then I’m not much of a breakfast person.

Anyway, Suzanne ordered the special benedict. DSCN2259There was the English muffin somewhere in there but it was topped with roast pork, bacon and who can remember what else under a rich hollandaise sauce. She took half of it home.

I went simple – biscuits and gravy with two over easy eggs on top. Again, a great version of a classic. The biscuits had sausage in them.DSCN2261

So I guess I’ll try to expand my dining choices a little more. I’ve been missing out on some great eats.