(Written like a week and a half ago, make the adjustments in your quick and witty mind)
We didn’t technically “just return” from the NDT and CEDA Nats, but it is close enough that I feel justified in classifying it as such. I think its fair to get 1 day off for every three-four days that one is out of town at the tournaments, meaning that I need to get back to normal tomorrow or so. I have been working for at least a couple hours each of the three full days I have been in town, so its not all bad.
I have plenty of thoughts regarding various things over the past however long, but to get back into the swing of things I’m just going to mention the culinary features of the last couple weeks that deserve such mention. Eating in Norman, Oklahoma was, not surprisingly, not particularly spectacular. I mean, it is in the near-South sort of part of the country, so even on nights when we couldn’t find anything to rave about, we made our way to Sonic or the Waffle House, neither of which I will complain about. I managed to get good barbecue twice, though I had to eat smoked turkey both times. Nonetheless, I give the edge to The Sooner Legends Restaurant, which was conveniently located in our hotel. It beat out Van’s Pig Stand, which, name aside, had nothing really special about it. More notable even than the BBQ at Sooner Legends were two menu items that were not only delightful, but that I had never had the opportunity to eat before, nay, not even HEARD OF before. The first was, I suppose, just a mash-up of flavors that worked out beautifully. Specifically, buffalo chicken wantons. It was buffalo chicken, nicely treated and seasoned, stuffed inside a wanton skin, deep fried and served with ranch dressing.
The second item was outstanding and I am still boggled today as to how I had never eaten it before: deep fried corn on the cob. It sounds bizarre and it lives up to its sounding-reputation. Take a juicy piece of corn on the cob, dip it in what is essentially corn-dog batter, drop it in the fryolater. While admittedly, this is not great for you, it does mean that you do not have to lather up with butter, so assuming an adequate mastery over the procedure of deep frying, its about neutral. To continue the corn theme, I had a great piece of smoked corn on the cob at a sweet but corny-kind of restaurant called Love and War in Texas. We went there as sort of a compromise, when no one could agree on what they wanted and I was skeptical going in. It seemed like it would be ultra-gimmicky, but I was quite impressed. Not only was the smoked corn delightful, they also featured Diablos Tejanos, the best stuffed jalapeno I have ever eaten. Several types of cheese, good spices and real whole peppers, not little shreds TGIFridays style. If you are in the North Dallas area, its worth your time.
The primary reason that the South would kill me if I lived there for any significant amount of time, is not, as you might think, the heat. Instead, it is the fact that I everywhere South of Iowa seems to emphasize desserts in a way that I am rarely tempted up here. I had more milkshakes, pieces of cake and cookies over the course of those 2 weeks than I have enjoyed in several months al Norte. While I would never dare say that the Coconut Cream Pie Shake at Sonic is less than notable, I have mentioned it many times before. What I may not have mentioned is what is probably my favorite restaurant in Dallas, TX: Asia Mint. I have never had the sushi, but I can testify that the Thai dishes are quite good, including the Salmon curry and a delightful crispy pad thai. But even if you do not like thai food, Asia Mint has some of the best dessert selections I have ever eaten. I do intend to make a list at some point, but just off the top of my head, there is a good chance that they get 2 spots in the top 10. Every debater I have taken there loves this place, and we take pictures of virtually every dessert we’ve enjoyed. Amongst the lot of us we have had everything on the menu but the Dr. Pepper float, I believe. That includes the cheesecake, brownie sundae, flourless chocolate cake, green tea cake, thai tea cake, mango sticky rice, sticky rice with coconut custard (literally, its essentially a bomb of delightfulness), jasmine crème brulee and tiramisu. Wow, every one is delicious.
Sorry it took so long to post this. I’m going to keep this roughly thematic and not add the many additional thoughts that I have. They will have to wait.