Outsider Tart Blog

New England

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NEW ENGLAND

Where it all began (begins anew).

We’re beat.  No bones about it.  We’re beat.  A little over a year of driving around the country, repeat visits, special stops requested here and there driving driving driving cooking cooking cooking tasting researching tweaking and finally finishing our nationwide taste trek.  Whew.  Time to rotate the tires.  Change the oil.  Let the motor cool down.

Many of you have asked what’s next.  Many have asked for do overs for one reason or another.  Many have suggested a “best of” or “top 10” type menu.  We thought there was a tad more research to be done.  Nothing too grand.  Nothing too ambitious.  And certainly nothing esoteric.  It’s food.  It should be enjoyed.  It should be delicious.  It really shouldn’t challenge your mind.  That’s what work is for.  So we opt to put all these thoughts together in one new agenda.

So...herewith...we propose the following...

In very broad strokes which, given this crowd, will no doubt invite debate, America can be divided into 13 regions.  Given said debate, we fully anticipate addendum to this new agenda.  In a mathematic twist of fate, when the 52 weeks of the year are divided by 13 we get the lovely 4 which means every 4 weeks we will be shifting our focus from one region to another.  What we’re hoping is to determine possible similarities amongst the states that make up a region.  In some instances, the state is the region and with good cause.  To achieve the desired results/effects, we refer back to our state-by-state menus to choose the “best of” dishes.  Think of it like a slide show after your aunt’s safari.  Okay.  That dated us.  Maybe think of it like swiping through endless Facebook or Instagram selfies to find the one image that actually means something.  Something worth remembering.  That is if you were alert enough during the experience to actually experience the experience and not experience only the focusing of the camera/smartphone/tablet/hand-held electronic device of whatever kind.  Note to the Poles in the crowd...stay away from the edge.  Too soon?  Sorry.  But it kinda illustrates the point, no?  So to recap...we are dividing the states into regions.  Each region is made up of any number of states or sometimes just the one.  Each regional menu will be made up of the best dishes from our previous jaunts through those states.  We remain open to suggestion.  Open to finding culinary influences from those regions.  Open to discovering something new and delicious.  We leave no pancake unturned in our quest.   Plus we really like to eat so that helps...

To begin our new chapter, we thought it best to start at the beginning, of sorts:  New England.  That would mean Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.  We will briefly but lavishly re-visit this region come November for Thanksgiving (which began in Massachusetts) so we opt to omit any of those dishes now because we know they are on the menu then.  As mentioned, if any of your favorites do not appear, let us know and we will make amends.  Off we go...

NEW ENGLAND LIBATIONS

The Expatriot

Blue & Stahmy

Boston

Pilgrim

Live Free or Die

Gundalow

Connecticut Bulldog

Brass Monkey

Rhode Island Red 

Narragansett Casino

Nor’Easter

Burlington Sazerac

Switchel

Before The Fall

NEW ENGLAND SAVORIES

New England Crab Cakes

Red Bread

White Bean Fennel Dip

New Haven White Pizza w/ Clams

Maine Lobster Rolls

White Mountain Burger on our Pretzel Roll

Drunken Spare Ribs

Stuffies

Gaggers

Brown Ale Cheddar Bacon Mac

Beer Bread

Vermont Baked Beans

Harvard Beets

NEW ENGLAND SWEETS

Boston Cream Pie

Lemon Mascarpone Cake w/ Pickled Rhubarb

 

 

WEST VIRGINIA

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WEST VIRGINIA

Number 35

The Mountain State

 

As we pull in for our final stop, we’d like to thank one and all for indulging us in our cross-country odyssey.  We hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have and that we haven’t made anyone too car sick nor home sick.  We’d did our utmost to share regional specialties be they truly delicious or just plain odd (Nebraska’s Pretty Party Pretzels anyone?).  Hey, sometimes we were just the messengers.  We’d do it again in a minute.  Okay, maybe in two.       

 

Haute to Hillbilly as fast as (white) lightening West Virginia is.  One of the most gracious, genteel resorts, The Greenbrier, is nestled in the Allegheny Mountain town of White Sulphur Springs.  It’s even a National Historic Landmark.  Of course you’ll go knee-deep into Appalachia (think duelling banjos) to get there, but that’s how it goes in the Mountain State.  Appropriately, Dolly Parton is singing in the background about her Tennessee Mountain home in the background.  True, its west and a touch south, but if you know anything about her, her story sums up West Virginia, too.  Dirt poor.  Rags to riches.  But not for all.  Sadly it ranks 48th out of 50 for lowest median household income.  But then you get the mucky mucks playing golf at The Greenbrier Classic.  Originally part of Virginia, it seceded from the Confederacy after the Civil War.  One of only two states to do so, the other being Nevada which got the hell out of Utah.  To this day, those from Number 35 will admit to being from Virginia and then begrudgingly give up details only when pressed.  Lovely to look at.  Nice place to visit.  But wouldn’t wanna live there.  Sorry. 

 

We forego recipes for squirrel and possum (any roadkill, really) and we bypass the fancy schmancy pheasant type recipes as well.  We toyed with Fried Bologna Chili but figured no one would forgive us if we made it.  Not that we would shove it down anyone’s pie hole, mind you.  So we tried to bridge the gap as best we can.  With a nod to all corners of the Mountain State.  For this menu, you will need teeth.  Scraggly beard and corn cob pipe, optional.      

 

MOUNTAIN HOOCH

Greenbrier Lemonade

New Moonshine

Moonshine Martini

Blue Moon

Hillbilly Highball

Moonshine Splash

 

MOUNTAIN MUNCHIES

Greenbrier’s Lobster Mashed Potatoes

Pig Skins

Turkey w/ Black Bean Relish (turkey is big in WV, who knew?)

Fried Green Tomato Sandwich

Smothered Chicken on Spoonbread

Logan County Patty Melt on Jalapeno Bread

Hobo Pies

King Ranch Mac n Cheese (this one migrated from Texas)

Honey Coleslaw

Grilled Corn w/ Cheddar Bacon Butter

MOUNTAIN SWEET

Blackberry Dumplings w/ Vanilla Ice Cream

Wyoming

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WYOMING

Number 44

The Equality State and/or The Cowboy State

There we were happily en route to West Virginia when suddenly we got a call: please, please could we turn back and head out to Wyoming instead?  With all this backseat driving lately, you’d think we had some sort of deal with Uber.  But no.  Seems one West Virginian who shall remain nameless is, oh, doing a triathlon this week and asked if we could skip Number 35 since she’s in training.  Get her.  Miss Fancy Pants Triathlon.  Or is it Miss Fancy Swimsuit/Cycle Shorts/Running Shorts?  Either way, we opted to oblige.      

With less than 6 people per square mile, it comes as no surprise Wyoming is the least populous of the lot.  Roughly speaking, that’s akin to 13 people living in all of Chiswick.  Most likely those 13 would live on a single ranch (let’s call it Chiswick House) leaving no one elsewhere.  So while most of West London is being closed down with road works and traffic jams, no one around for miles sounds pretty good right about now.

Wyoming is home to the world’s first national park, Yellowstone, which is home to Old Faithful, the geyser which erupts about every 91 minutes or the time it takes to drive up Chiswick High Road to the North Circular.  In that same amount of time, one could research and develop a menu and write about it.  Like its neighbors, Wyoming owes a lot of its culinary traditions to American Indians.  Wide open plateaus are dotted with enough mountains so eastern water eventually reaches the Gulf of Mexico whilst western eventually reaches the Pacific Ocean (what we Yanks like to call the Continental Divide).  Wyoming is home bison and buffalo herds and loads of wild game.  Not exactly the summery-est of options, so we pick and choose wisely.  Given these givens, and given there aren't a whole lot of Wyomingites generating foodie buzz and info, herewith is The Equality State for your dining pleasure. 

 

BIG WYOMING DRINKS

 

Wyoming Sling

Lavender Berry Slush

The Rattler

Yellowstone Martini

Rhinestone Cowgirl

BIG WYOMING GRUB

Laramie Loaf

Code 10 Sausage Chili

Bison Tacos on Fry Bread

Cheyenne Turkey Burger

Root Beer Pulled Pork

4-Bear BBQ Burgers (and no, it's not Yogi)

Cowboy Carrots

Blue Corn Bread

Roosevelt Beans

FRONTIER SWEETS

Wyoming Pudding

Buffalo Cookies n (ice) Cream

Eskimo Bars

Wisconsin

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WISCONSIN

Number 30

The Badger State

America’s Dairyland

Now don’t all get your knickers in a twist.  Yes, this week we’re taking a detour.  We should have headed back East to stop in West Virginia.  For those erudite among us, we could have continued to Washington, D.C., which is not a state but certainly rates as critical US acreage.  If we opt to do D.C., it begs the question if we’re doing US territories or not.  No comment.  But...we would be remiss if we didn’t honor a request from the lovely Heather, who is going back after being here seven plus years.  While she’s headed for Texas, turns out she’s originally from Wisconsin, the Cheese Head capital of the universe.  We toyed with our usual approach, finding local recipes and turning them up a notch or two, deftly interpreting them with British groceries.  But then we thought...nah.  Why on earth, would we get so fancy?  It’s Wisconsin.  It’s cheese.  It’s simple.  Clear as day what we have to do:  a Mac N Cheese smorgasbord.  An assortment of pasta and cheese and meat (sometimes) and veg (other times) and seafood (quite possibly) and, who knows, maybe all three (will they or won’t they?).  We asked Heather if there was anything in particular she wanted.  She demurred.  So we hope to send her off in style.  Come help us bid farewell and toast Heather’s new chapter with an ice cold Pabst and/or a good old-fashioned Lone Star longneck.  Heather...this one’s for you!

CHEESEHEAD DRINKS 

Pabst Blue Ribbon (Wisconsin)

Lazy Mutt Farmhouse Ale (Wisconsin)

Lone Star (Texas)

Old-Fashioned, the Wisconsin way:  recipes from either Marge, Hazel or Blanche

Death’s Door made w/ Wisconsin London-style gin

CHEESEHEAD MAC n CHEESE SMORGASBORD

Jacket Mac

Eggplant Parm Mac

MnC Pizza

Caliente Mac

Asiago Leek Mac

Pulled Pork Mac

Chica Mac w/ fried pork rinds

Pepperoni Pizza Mac

MnC Burger

Surf n Turf Mac

Side salad type thing which we’ll get to eventually

And for Brunch this weekend...our Full English Mac

CHEESEHEAD DESSERT

Cherry Pie – no cheese...promise

Beeramisu – had to get cheese in there somewhere

 

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