We're in the thick of winter, and soups aren't going anywhere. There's only one thing that goes better with soup than crusty bread, and that's the Instant Pot, which shaves off hours of prep time without sacrificing any of the flavor. No matter your base ingredient—beef, squash, beans, pork, you name it—your favorite reliable appliance will turn out fantastic soups and stews every. single. time. 
The Adobo Chicken Sandwich unfortunately also missed the mark. Adobo chicken is usually marinated in vinegar, soy sauce, garlic and other seasonings. I would characterize this chicken sandwich as a plain old blackened chicken sandwich. The sandwich also had crackling, which is just fried fatty skin, which would have been great. However, the crackling wasn't seasoned and wasn't completely crispy, and so lacking the texture that they were aiming for. The accompanying fresh potato chips though were crispy and nicely salted.
The name of this Thornton Park/South Eola restaurant makes vague reference to the unusual collection of dishes it offers, not so much the oddball patronage it sometimes draws. Owners Brian Buttner and Jonathan Canonaco, who operate the well-received Stubborn Mule across the street, took over the old NoLa-inspired Muddy Waters space and transformed it into a trendy, see-and-be-seen sort of joint. Smoked duck wings, caramel-lacquered Asian pork spears and vegan pate don’t exactly scream “eclectic” but, hey, what trendoids want, trendoids get.
The city’s first permanent food truck park, modeled after the ones in Portland, Oregon, not only brings five mobile food vendors hawking poke, empanadas, Brazilian-style skewered meats, Vietnamese-Korean fare and a smorgasbord of Scandinavian delights, but the 10,400-square-foot outdoor venue in the Milk District sports an indoor bar with 15 taps featuring a rotating lineup of beers, ciders, wines, and cold-brew coffee. Some notable pairings: Playalinda Brewing’s Robonaut Red Ale paired with Vinny & Kory’s bibimbap to start, while Adao Gourmet’s dulce de leche empanadas chased with Destihl Brewery’s Russian Imperial Stout makes an indulgent capper.
The meaning of the word Gourmet has evolved throughout the centuries. The word Gourmet is derived from an old French term for a servant that works with wine. The French are known for their love of foods, and word Gourmet often is tied to French cuisine particularly in relation to their cheese and wine. By the 1700s, the terms Gourmet and Gourmand were used to simply describe an individual who enjoyed overeating. Luckily, Gourmet lost its derogatory connotation and has been rehabilitated into a positive term, describing a highly desirable type of food.
When I move to the evaluation portion, however, I immediately realize I am in way over my head. Any hubris I had cracks when I pop my first sample, a soft-ripened cheese, into my mouth. I chew. It just tastes like … soft cheese. I am supposed to evaluate this based on 70 characteristics and flaws in four categories (appearance, aroma, texture and flavor). And not just the presence of, say, a nutty or herbal aroma or an animal or grassy flavor, but “much too little,” “too little,” “just about right,” “too much” or “much too much.” At the table in front of me I see another candidate spit into a bucket. Wait a minute! I think. Are we supposed to spit cheese when we taste it, like wine? I spit my soft-ripened cheese into the bucket on my table (which is gross, to be honest). Still, I gamely trudge on for almost three hours. When I get to the evaluation sheet for Emmental-style (i.e., Swiss) cheese, there is a category for “Eye Development,” with characteristics such as blind, underset, irregular and dead/dull eyes. So cheese has eyes? When I approach the cheesemongers for a sample of cheddar, I steal a glance at the clipboard of a bearded guy in a Hawaiian shirt and Birkenstocks standing next to me. He marks “seamy” on one of his score sheets. What does it mean to have a seamy cheese? I am so out of my league, I don’t even know what I don’t know.
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