Monday, April 6, 2009
The Road to Erie
Okay, okay, okay. Look I lied, I admit it. I told you I was throwing the burger recipe at you and was going to get right back to the business of blogging. Then what do I do… I took 3 days off. HOWEVER, I have a really, really good excuse. It was spectacular here this weekend. I love to garden. In fact, as opposed to a cooking blog I almost started a gardening blog. Somehow, I felt like my advice of stick it in the ground, throw some worm poop on it (yep you heard right, worm poop, really …who knew they pooped?) AND if you remember to water, and if it lives, score one for Darwin, would not make for the best blog. So I spent every second of this fine, fine weekend elbow deep in earth or on my patio with a brew in hand. I did however plant a ton of veggies that will provide, god willing, fodder for future blogs, so hopefully you aren’t to mad at my fib.
So back to my trip. It really was not anything sexy. As you know Joel started his own insurance agency. The primary company he represents is Erie. One of the things Erie does for their new agents is bring you out to their headquarters to meet your underwriters and to see their operations. So Mommy decided to tag along. Really 4 days, sans kids… you could be going to Buffalo… in winter, and this girl would be all about the trip.
We decided to take our time going up there (can’t imagine why? Did I mention, four days, no kids?) We stopped in Somerset, PA which is about 4 hours from Richmond. I have never quite been in a town like Somerset, it was truck stop town. So when we got there I was a bit depressed, thinking we would not get a decent meal (well there was a Ruby Tuesday, and I do like their salad bar ??). So we asked at the front desk and decided to take their advice. They sent us to the Pine Grill. Based on the description you would expect haute cuisine in the middle of commercial USA. We walk in and it is…mmm… well it had industrial tile throughout the whole restaurant, and paper napkins?? I bravely got a filet with boursin and brie and puff pastry, my husband got a rib eye. I asked for it medium rare, as did Joel. I won. My dish was just amazing. I mean really, the steak was cooked perfect, it was the right amount of cheese, it was seasoned well. I loved it. My veggies made me sad. They were raw. Not undercooked, raw. I think they might have forgot to put them on. It was a nice mix, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots and green pepper, just raw and raw didn‘t go with the meal. Joel’s steak was okay, thin but big and more like medium well, but okay. Here is the kicker though….we had 2 steak dinners, one okay, one outstanding (oh, I forgot to tell you they grill all their meat), we both got two extra sides, we had 4 glasses of wine…and the bill, was under $50. No I am not joking. No really. Pick your mouth up. This town was looking up.
The next morning before hitting the road we stopped a at cute little dinner, The Summit Dinner. I got nothing special eggs, sausage and hash browns. Joel got, 2 eggs, pancakes and bacon. I would like to disclaim this next bit by saying we don’t eat a big breakfast at our house often. We are fruit, or some kashi, or an egg white omelet sort of family. Maybe, maybe three times year we go all out for breakfast or have a big breakfast and one of those is Christmas. This was hands down the best breakfast I have ever had. (just for those folks in Richmond, the previous title holder of that had been the Paradise Café, and they still rock). I don’t know why, the eggs tasted so fresh and rich, (sunny side up) it was odd. Other than Ireland I haven’t had eggs that stood out like this. The sausage was, out of this world (turns out, after inquiring, they have an in house butcher that makes it daily for them) and the pancakes (which I scored off my husbands plate) were the best I have ever had (Paradise is runner up on this), but that could be because they use real maple syrup which I am a sucker for. I did not love the coffee. It was weak, but it often is to me. I am a big hearty cup o’ Joe sort of gal. Again, 4 eggs, 4 slices of rye, 4 pancakes, 4 slices of bacon and surely a ¼ lb of sausage, hash browns, coffee, and honest to god, real maple syrup, set us back $10 bucks plus tip. I swear, I am starting to love this town.
Next we head to Erie and Pufferbelly… Pufferbelly you say. Pufferbellly. But more on that later. It is dinner time.