You Can’t Go Home Again

Recently, as you know if you follow along on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, I was traveling. When I return to a city where I have found great grub, I feel it is a moral imperative that I revisit those dining locales to relive the good times had there.  Sadly, sometimes the memory is better than reality.

In San Antonio for a wedding (more on that soon) I found myself itching to go to Pappadeaux.  I have had so many great meals there that I went by myself and sat at the bar to enjoy a fantastic lunch. I ordered a local IPA, Crawfish Bisque, and a Seafood Cobb Salad.  I SHOULD have quit after the soup. When I order a SEAFOOD Cobb Salad, I expect the SEAFOOD to be a starring attraction. Sadly this was not the case. There were four pathetic shrimp and two ounces of crab (two ounces if I am being generous). There was however plenty of bacon and egg.  Oddest of all, there were big slices (think lengthwise on a mandoline) of cucumber and “julienned” carrots that were the size of carrot sticks mixed into the greens. Did I just order the wrong thing? Has corporate dining ruined one of my fave chains (and make no mistake, it IS a chain, even if they aren’t nationwide)? Have my expectations changed?  Any or all of these questions can be answered with a YES and be correct.

Crawfish Bisque
Crawfish Bisque

 

On a bright note, my car seemingly on auto-pilot, found the 410 Diner on Broadway in San Antonio and it was EXACTLY as I remembered. Not fancy, but great value for good diner food.

Then it was off to Nassau, The Bahamas.  We three sisters and our spouses took Mom on a cruise to celebrate her 70th Birthday.  All in all a good time was had (barring a tweaked twerk muscle, a pulled hamstring and a thrown out back, and no, I am NOT among the walking wounded). Because we are SO rarely all together (I live in Vegas, everyone else is in FL) any time together is special. I didn’t choose the ship, the itinerary or the port we sailed from, but when I realized Nassau was on the route I was excited.

Several years ago when John and I cruised through the Bahamas, we went in search of authentic Bahamian conch dishes and we found them at Twin Brothers. When we walked in, we were the ONLY tourists in the building, just my style! The conch fritters were crisp and golden on the outside and light as air inside studded with amazing chunks of conch. The conch chowder was fragrant, spicy on the back end and again studded with conch. And don’t even get me started on the mystical wings. Those wings were slightly flavored with coconut and dusted with seasonings after frying so they were both sweet and spicy. And the spice built as you ate wing after wing. I dreamed of them for years and tried to recreate them in my kitchen with little success. Let’s just say those wings are a thing of the past, but the conch dishes were just as good as I remembered. The biggest let down for me is that Trip Advisor (very much like Yelp! for travelers as far as I am concerned) found Twin Brothers, with a proud declaration in the window. There were no locals left, we were surrounded by tourists. While the chowder and fritters were excellent, the wings were bland with no mystique to them and I was surrounded not by the good people of the island with their beautiful lilting speech, but by the very people I was seeking escape from by walking into town. I am happy for THEM and unhappy for me, because one of my fave places is now off limits to me.

Conch Fritters
Conch Fritters

I have to wonder if my recollections are in some fashion flawed or if you really can’t go home again. Am I guilty of memories being better than reality or have things changed THAT much?

Next up? More on Texas, a Hill Country wedding and time spent with friends in bars in Texas.

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