For those of you wondering about my lack of posting this week. I am on the road for work visiting state legislators and grassroots activists in the exotic locales of Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska and the even more exotic Des Moines Iowa. I'm happy to report there are some damn good eats in the Midwest. Why am I posting now? Because I had a killer migraine this morning and took my beloved Excedrin that is essentially caffeine in a pill. While my migriane is gone, I am hopped up on caffeine and am stuck not sleeping.
While the first part of my trip (in Lincoln and Des Moines) was firmly rooted in the Dennys/Perkins ouevre of cuisine, we were able to get the inside scoop on good eats in Omamha. I lose a massive amount of edginess here, but I will have to tell you dear readers that I am falling in love with Omaha. The downtown Old Market area is filled with great restaurants and gift shops (and a comic book store!) and there are many places to get a great meal for under $15 and nary a chain store or restaurant to be seen. I am quickly realizing that DC is one of the most square cities in the United States. Whereas Des Moines, Omaha, and Lincoln all have readily available hippie coffeehouses that cater that have message boards advertising anti-war teach-ins and vegan group house openings, DC's are few and far between - I can only come up with SoHo on P street and Tryst that are actually IN the city.
I will start off my travelogue by saying that my first real meal in Omaha was a bust. On Tuesday, We went to Spaghetti Works in the Old Market and the quality was a notch lower than Olive Garden. It has a salad bar reminiscent of Shakey's and the pasta and sauce taste like the frozen tubs they came from.
However, a delicious Greek meal on Wednesday made up for the Tuesday pasta disaster. Meeting iwth some local activists, they chose Katie's Greek Restaurant as our meeting place. Well done local Omaha activists! The meal was CHEAP as can be (dinner for four came out to be $41.00). The two activists ordered a huge Greek salad with gyro meat and my co-worker and I orders an even huger appetizer platter. I was impressed by the fact the hummus didn't just taste of tahini and olive oil but had the appropriate hints of garlic and cumin. They use this great feta that has all the right notes of feta but a mellowness that makes it easy to eat.
Thursday, we went to this French deli called Bouvet where we split a salad and cheese platter and each ordered the roast chicken with mashed potatoes. The salad tasted like someone went to the farmers' market that morning and picked out the best greens and tomatoes and it was topped with a vinaigrette that tasted strong of a good, fruity olive oil. While the cheese platter was tame (tellgio, camembert and meunster), the bread that came with it is some of the best I've tasted. Finally the chicken was out of this world. They served a thigh-leg portion that was awkward to cut but delicious to eat. The chicken juices seeped into the Yukon gold potatoes, making them more of an extension of the chicken than a side dish. And we came away from that meal with a $36 bill.
I am concluding this week that Omaha might just be more of a food city than DC.