Published April 17. 2012 12:29PM Updated April 18. 2012 11:46AM
Two of my favorite things about going on vacation to a place I've never been is hearing the regional accents and trying out some cuisine I've never heard of before.
I'm very much a "when in Rome" kind of guy. I've never understood the type of people who will go to a steakhouse and order pasta primavera (A lot of these types are also the ones who end up complaining about their meal. It's like, hello?).
But with that said I came across a certain dish while in Asheville, N.C., that I almost passed up. (By the way, I will have a longer story later this week about my trip to this culinary gem of a city.)
One night my wife and I were at Pack's Tavern-- a nice spot located in Asheville's Hayes Hopson building, which previously housed an old lumber supply business and auto supply company-- when my wife suggested we try pickle chips.
My wife's family is from Georgia and she was raised in Ft. Lauderdale Fla., so she's no stranger to oddities like Beanie-Weenies and alligators swimming around in people's pools. I guess she's a little more adventurous than I am when she gets out of the northeast.
I'm all for frying just about anything and seeing what it tastes like, but pickles sounded weird. I guess it's that they don't seem moist enough to taste good after being deep fried.
But I am here to tell you folks that I tried fried pickles and they are amazing. These pickles were sliced horizontally across the pickle like potato chips. Then they were dunked in batter and dropped into a deep fryer. They came served with an aioli sauce. So good.
The batter had great flavor and texture, and the pickle added a nice salty vinegary taste. When envisioning this dish, think of the pickle as a flavor accent rather than the centerpiece. Also, I guess they're kid friendly too. I gave some to my 10-month-old son and he chomped them down quick.
So the moral of the story is if you have a chance to try pickle chips, go for it.
Also, this dish got me thinking: states down south seem to be known for must try food oddities, like alligator and frog legs in Florida. But I can't think of any of these types of foods that are known as a must try when in southern New England. Anyone know of any?