One of the unwritten rules amongst most of my coworkers that travel a lot is that you shouldn’t waste a business trip meal eating someplace we could eat back at home. So that usually means seeking out at least one of the ethnic cuisines that aren’t well represented in our neck of the woods, in this case, several of us knew of a decent Thai place down the road from NASA Goddard in Greenbelt, MD: the oddly-named Siri’s Chef’s Secret. Siri’s describes themselves as “Thai and American Food”, but with the exception of the dessert menu, most of the menu is straightforward Thai dishes, with just enough American food that if you brought a group and one person wasn’t comfortable with Thai food, they’d be happy. But they’ve got most of the major dishes I look for, including Tom Yum and Tom Kha soups, several rice dishes, basil dishes, and noodle dishes, served up with levels of spice ranging from mild to truly spicy (also a pleasant departure from the generally light spicing of Northern New England).
Where Offbeat Eats has been:
I may have mentioned previously that the people of Reunion love their “pique niques” and driving around, so on weekends, particularly on Sunday mornings, the tradition is to drive around, get some food, and take it to your picnic spot. One of the preferred foods for picnicking is grilled chicken, which even has a unique name for the island: “poulet bitume” (literally, “asphalt chicken” or “roadway chicken”). On a weekend with good weather, the result is an almost uncountable number of places setting up a grill and selling fresh-grilled chicken at the side of the road. It’s not just restaurants, either, but houses, shacks, stores, and the like all set up with their grill selling fresh-grilled chicken and assorted sides. It’s quite the sight, and one that we had missed on our first weekend on the island (since we were far from the nearest road, up at the Gîte de la Caverne Dufour). But on our second weekend on the island, as we were driving along the southern coast by Saint-Philippe, we came across the beautifully-situated La Mer Casée right around lunch time, and decided to check it out for our grilled chicken.