Painted Hills top sirloin and pork belly – Roxy’s Cafe

Painted Hills top sirloin and pork belly - Roxy's Cafe
House cured bacon, sprouted beans, red pepper, okra. 10-course chef’s tasting menu $75
Roxy’s Cafe, San Francisco CA

Aside from the beautifully cooked and delicious proteins on this plate, the sprouted beans were my favorite part! I’d never had them before, and they had a wonderful texture and tasted great! I will say that my cut of beef had a lot of connective tissue, so while it was still tasty, I really couldn’t cut through it very easily. Lame.

Weathered mailboxes
Weathered mailboxes, The Castro.

Nola frites – Nola

Nola frites - Nola
Crispy fried russet and sweet potatoes, fried okra, zucchini sticks, cool ranch, spicy ketchup, bbq sauce. Happy hour $6
Nola, Palo Alto CA

When we saw that this was only six bucks on the menu, we assumed that it was gonna be a small sampler plate. OMG, this bowl was packed with food! I think my heart is constricting just remembering it. I was actually surprised at how well everything was fried though. Nothing was really greasy or limp, and everything tasted pretty good! Well done, Nola.

Lindley's varied lupine
Lindley’s varied lupine (Lupinus variicolor, Fabaceae), Pigeon Point.

Creole gumbo – Eureka Restaurant and Lounge

Creole gumbo - Eureka Restaurant and Lounge
With house-smoked chicken and cajun sausage. $17
Eureka Restaurant & Lounge, San Francisco CA

Mmm, great smokey flavor and lovely ingredients. I really enjoyed this bowl of gumbo!

Bread and butter - Eureka Restaurant and Lounge
Bread and butter. Complimentary

The Lion King, Orpheum Theatre

Finally saw The Lion King playing at the Orpheum Theatre, Market Street.

Authentic seafood gumbo – Queen’s Louisiana Po-Boy Cafe

Authentic seafood gumbo - Queen's Louisiana Po-Boy Cafe
Served with white rice and saltine crackers. Cup $4.99
Queen’s Louisiana Po-Boy Cafe, San Francisco CA

There’s a reason why this gumbo has been voted the best in 2010 by San Francisco Weekly – it’s really damn good! I was amazed at the rich smokey flavor of this soup and I enjoyed the medium consistency of the broth. I will add that they could have added more things in the gumbo to make it more subtantial. It was so flavorful that I really just wanted more of it! Noms!

Mural at Mission High School
Music themed mural at Mission High School, Church Street.

Fried shrimp po boy – Jestine’s Kitchen

Fried shrimp po boy - Jestine's Kitchen
Breaded and fried shrimp with mixed greens and tomatoes on a toasted roll. Served with cole slaw and fried okra. $8.95
Jestine’s Kitchen, Charleston SC

Mmm, this was SO much food for nine bucks! The shrimp were tasty and the sandwich was too large for me to finish, especially with the colesalw and fried okra. I ended up foregoing the bread midway through and just ate the center. I definitely gained a few pounds during this trip!

Cole slaw and macaroni and cheese - Jestine's Kitchen
I also got a side of macaroni and cheese ($2.50) because I can’t deny the little fatty in me, lol! It was delicious!

Fort Moultrie, Sullivan's Island
View of Fort Moultrie from the visitor center, Sullivan’s Island. I took a little tour of this cute fort during a free weekend. It was really cool to learn more about the history of the Charleston area.

NC style BBQ platter – Speedway Grill & Cafe

NC style BBQ platter - Speedway Grill & Cafe
Pulled pork with bbq sauce, macaroni and cheese, fried okra, and a roll. $8.79
Speedway Grill & Cafe, Charlotte/Douglas International Airport (CLT)

This was a lot of food considering the price and that it was at an airport. The pork was ok and the bbq sauce didn’t have enough punch for me. I did love the mac ‘n cheese. It had a consistency that reminded me of elementary school cafeteria days, and that’s a good thing! The fried okra were a little dry and over done.

Flying fish and cou cou – Waterfront Cafe

Flying fish and cou cou Waterfront Cafe
Three fillets of fish steamed in a Caribbean fish broth. Served with cornmeal cou cou, fried plantain, and pickled cucumber. $48 (Barbados dollar)
Waterfront Cafe, Bridgetown, BARBADOS

The extras were better than the fish, lol! But you really can’t complain about pickled cucumbers and fried plantains. The flying fish, on the other hand, had a really strong fishy taste – not my thing. Great presentation though.

Independence Arch
Independence Arch at the end of the historic Chamberlain Bridge in Bridgetown. At the base of this colorful arch, there is The Pledge which reads, “I pledge allegiance to my country Barbados and to my flag to uphold and defend their honour and by my living to do credit to my nation wherever I go.” Pretty cool stuff.

Cornmeal cou cou – Waterfront Cafe

Cornmeal cou cou Waterfront Cafe
Scoop of ground cornmeal with sliced okra mixed inside and topped with a Caribbean fish broth with tomatoes, carrots, celery, onions, peppers, and herbs.
Waterfront Cafe, Bridgetown, BARBADOS

Angela, our cab driver, suggested we try this local dish “cou cou”. It’s ground cornmeal cooked with what I’m sure is a LOT of butter, broth, and spices. This version also had slices of okra in it. It was pretty good, but the okra pieces were a bit slimey for my taste. The broth/sauce was very comforting.

Turnera ulmifolia
The first part of the day was off-and-on rain, but it didn’t detract from the beauty of the island and it’s lush greenery. This yellow alder or buttercup bush (Turnera ulmifolia) was prevalently planted, I’m sure for its vibrant yellow blooms. I was surprised to find out that it belongs to the Passifloraceae family.

Braised pulled pork – Waterfront Cafe

Braised pulled pork Waterfront Cafe
Pork meat and skin with okra cooked in a rich sauce, served with baguette slices. Part of “Tapas for Two” $64 (Barbados dollar)
Waterfront Cafe, Bridgetown, BARBADOS

Wow, this was pretty greasy. It was definitely packed with flavor, but the slabs on fatty skin in this stew-like dish gave off way too much fat.

St. John's Church ironwork
Beautiful painted ironwork inside St. John’s Church. This amazing old church is located on the eastern side of the island atop a cliff overlooking the nearby shoreline. Highly recommended to visit.

Castro Quarter gumbo – Criolla Kitchen

Castro Quarter gumbo Criolla Kitchen

Andouille sausage, gulf shrimp, chicken, holy-trinity (onion, carrots and celery), okra and dark roux, served with Louisiana long grain rice. $11.90
Criolla Kitchen, San Francisco

This dish was just ok. It lacked the depth of flavor that I look for in a delicious gumbo, and there could also have been more of the proteins present. It was more soupy than gumbo. You definitely get a lot of it though, and the price is very reasonable.