It recently occurred to me that I’ve avoided any deep discussion on ethnic foods, so let’s talk.
The one ethnic food I have taken some time to talk about is Italian. I suppose it’s because it’s the only ethnic food I absolutely had to learn to cook for myself. As I’ve said, though, when it comes to pizza, I still leave that to the experts like Sal’s Pizzeria on St. Simons Island or Vinnie Van Go Go’s in Savannah.
I know how to make my own Bolognese sauce for spaghetti or lasagna, and my wife has figured out how to make tortellini alla panna. I’ve also found the Italian secret to marinated grilled meats, especially pork chops.
If I want real deal Italian cooking, though, I make reservations for Corleone’s Trattoria in downtown Savannah.
I’ve explained how to make a mean bowl of chili, but I’ve not delved into a discussion on Mexican food which, after Italian, is my favorite ethnic food.
Jalapenos Mexican Restaurants, which I’ve found all over Chatham County and Bryan County, is my favorite. A chain called Mi Casta Mexican Restaurants, found in the counties surrounding Fort Bragg, offers excellent Mexican fare, too. The absolute best Mexican food I’ve ever tasted was in Texas and New Mexico. I don’t know if it’s because these restaurants are closer to the flavor source, but they always give my taste buds something worth tasting.
I like to mix my beans and rice and add some spicy salsa. I especially love fajitas. The Jalapenos restaurant my wife I frequently visit in Richmond Hill has a Texas-style fajitas special on their menu that includes steak, chicken, shrimp and chorizo sausage with onions, peppers and tomatoes. I get hungry just thinking about it.
Other ethnic foods I love are Japanese and Chinese. They’re sort of similar, but not really. I don’t even try to cook either one. My favorite Chinese restaurant is P.F. Chang’s, but the closest one is in Jacksonville, so I settle for local restaurants, usually going for the buffets, which offer variety.
A visit to a Japanese steak house is a special treat both for the food and the show. I usually get steak and shrimp with extra onions and zucchini. Kobe’s, right here in Hinesville, is one of the best I’ve ever visited, but if I’m in a hurry, I don’t mind stopping by Seasons of Japan in Brunswick.
The British are not renowned for their cuisine, but during the two weeks I spent with a Scottish parachute regiment in 1985, I found fish and chips to be delectable. I sought out a British-style pub at Fort Bragg that served this deep-fried cod fish with thin-sliced potatoes moistened by a heavy sprinkling of dark vinegar.
French cooking has yet to get me excited, though I have found some excellent chicken recipes and wonderful desserts. Snails are out of the question.
More exotic ethnic foods like Greek, Jamaican or Middle Eastern are not the sort of flavors I’m going to go out of my way to find. However, baklava, which has both Greek and Turkish influences, is great with coffee, and jerk chicken is capable of giving hot wings a run for the money.
Probably my next most favorite ethnic food is German cuisine. The schnitzel sandwiches I sometimes get for lunch at Zum Rosenhof remind me of the ones I got from German food vendors outside the gate at Hohenfels and Grafenwoehr.
Four or five lovely German ladies have told me in recent months that if I want to relive the Bavarian flavor I came to love, I should visit the Bavarian’s Restaurant in Jesup. With that many authentic German ladies calling it authentic German cuisine, I’ll have to try it.