My good buddy and former Boston now Birmingham hound, Dax, was in town this weekend to grub around town. I was thinking about taking him on a tour of east-side Tejano-Mex carts but Dax, being the salty old bastard that he is said, "I got 'nuff Mexican at home. I want Chinese." We were actually cruising for Din Ho until my slight detour led us past T&S, so I called an audible and pulled in. Started out with a round of pan-fried potstickers and delicious s&p squid (very clean fry). Duck had been on the mind all day, and T&S delivered the goods -- stupendously sublime, fatty, crispy duck. Also tried the lamb claypot, which I thought was very good, in particular for the broth which was rich and lamby, something that's not in a liquid state at room temp, I'm sure. Plenty of good bits of lamb meat, as well as some tasty gnarly parts. Rounded out the meal with some chinese broccoli w/ oyster sauce to pretend like we were eating healthy.
Next day we hit Asia Cafe and played a fairly straight-up-the-middle game, but one that is reliably successful.
Zhong dumplings -- love these thick-skinned suckers (particularly coated in chili oil, which you gotta add yourself).
Twice-cooked puerco -- always a winner, sure to please even the most pork-loving folks, as Dax is known to be.
Shredded pork w/ yellow chives -- a pretty tame dish, but I still loved it and it works well to tone down the overall heat of any meal at Asia Cafe.
Spicy fish -- I actually realize now that the fish itself is hardly the highlight of this one for me. I love the loads of crisp veggies underneath the fish that have been bathing in that spicy sauce. I just kept dumping this stuff on rice.
Green beans -- again, just to pretend like we were eating healthy, but these things are highly addictive.
We didn't wake up early enough to catch any dim sum, so I tried to make a case for local soul-food barbecue -- Sam's. Dax wasn't keen on making the Lockhart/Luling run this time out here, and he does have some good 'cue in Birmingham parts, but his weakness was brisket and, heck, you just don't find smoked mutton all over the place. And the scene, oh the scene, it's good and is probably filed under the chapter "upscale" in the scrumptiouschef book of grub.
We went with some mutton, some brisket, some ribs, and a pint o' beans.
Mutton -- so much more sinfully greasy and rich in the sober state. It's delicious, but I also was quickly reminded why this is a 2-3 times a year treat.
Brisket was excellent -- fatty and succulent, and picked up a nice smoke accent.
Ribs -- should've passed on these in favor of the links. Perfect texture, but just a little bland and, unlike the brisket, didn't seem to have much smoke flavor for me.
Pint of beans were also devoid of much flavor, and could've used about a half-shaker of salt.
Homeless guy was psyched to get a plate of ribs. Nab's karma debt restored to an even zero balance.
After attacking leftovers a few times, Dax eventually left with a bellyfull of Chinese that satisfied his soul. His soul was sold a few times during the course of the weekend, but eventually restored by Sam's. It was a good weekend.