I didn’t know what to write about this week, so I decided to write about a lot of things. I’m a creature of habit who also likes trying new restaurants, so sometimes the dishes I want to return to I don’t get a chance to return to as soon as I’d like, if you know what I mean.
Enter Jita Foods. More than a year ago, I got my first taste of Alice Glover’s shrimp and grits, and every time I tried to catch up with her to get a whole order, I either missed her or flat-out wasn’t hungry. But it finally happened recently at Apocalypse Brew Works.
I hadn’t even talked with Alice in that year’s time other than to say “hi” once or twice, but as I approached her booth in the brewery’s parking lot, she remembered me. And I was excited to finally place my order for the shrimp and grits I’d been dwelling on for so long. (The seafood gumbo was tempting, too, but I’ll get that next time. Hopefully it won’t take me a year. But I digress.)
Alice and her cohorts, usually one or more of her children, make the dishes from scratch in between frying up batches of their signature homemade pork rinds; it’s tough to even get near their little tent without salivating over the aromas.
Well, I certainly wasn’t let down by the shrimp and grits. The roux was just spicy enough and poured over southern-style grits so creamy that I proclaimed it “seafood pudding,” much to the dismay of those sitting near me. About 10 medium-sized, tender shrimp swam in the tasty dish, and part of the fun was finding little pockets of spice and other flavors. (Told you it was homemade.)
I hope it’s not another year before I see Alice again.
A couple of days later, I went back to a lunch haunt for a deal too good to pass up: lunch slices at Mellow Mushroom. The ’Shroom has good lunch specials, for sure, like a slice, side salad and soft drink for a little over six bucks, but I go for what I found in the menu’s fine print. Every day between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., cheese slices are two bucks. Just add 65 cents for each topping, and you’re good to go.
So, a giant slice of pepperoni, which is a fine lunch for my purposes (I eat light during the lunch hour), can be had for under three bucks. The pizza is always crispy, with plenty of oozing cheese and parmesan on the crust. What’s not to love about that deal?
And then a day later, I attended an event in New Albany that took me to Donum Dei Brewery, a new-ish, small brewery off Grant Line Road. I’d tried the food there previously and liked it a lot, but I hadn’t been back to eat there in months, thanks in no small part to the frustrating construction traffic. Well, the menu at Donum Dei is limited, but all I needed was the ham and cheese Panini.
Reasonably priced at $7.99, the grilled sandwich is basic, fresh and tasty. Shaved ham, lots of Swiss cheese and mustard (ask for the spicy brown, and get it on the sandwich rather than on the side) are the ingredients. The sandwich comes out hot and oozing white cheese, with kettle chips and a garlicky pickle spear on the side.
And, of course, you’ll want to wash it down with one of Donum Dei’s beers. If you go soon, I’d recommend the 812 Hop IPA, made with hops grown just over the river in southern Indiana at Eight One Two Farms. And, hey, if you don’t have a designated driver, Donum Dei also makes great root beer, not to mention ginger beer that actually tastes like ginger.
I’m out of room, or I would write about the deer heart in my freezer that my friend Chuck gave me. Not sure what I’m going to do with that thing, but you never know what culinary meanderings it might inspire.