Within the spirit of Black Historical past Month, Lakeside Eating and Purple Skillet Kitchen partnered up each Tuesday this February to convey a style of Afro-Diasporic soul meals to the Stanford neighborhood. Not eager to miss the chance to pattern a key a part of cultural heritage, I headed to Lagunita Court docket every Tuesday to spend my meal swipes on what promised to be a veritable feast.
Day 1 — Feb. 7
The primary night time of the particular menu didn’t draw as giant a crowd as I had anticipated. Nevertheless, the Purple Skillet Kitchen shows drew my consideration with their platters piled excessive with fried rooster, bowls of tacky macaroni and their indulgent dessert shows, so I needed to attempt some!
Vegetarian and vegan choices had been aplenty on at the present time, together with the headlining King Oyster Mushroom Étouffée. The oyster mushrooms floating in a barely peppery candy and bitter soup had a pleasant chunk to them, though I questioned how efficient the substitution was in replicating the spirit of the standard Cajun/Creole seafood dish. The creamed spinach was a nice shock, although: its balanced flavors offered a tasty various to the fibrous braised inexperienced choices.
The sheer measurement of the smoked turkey legs made me image myself in a Flintstones episode. The sticky, nearly teriyaki-like glaze bolstered the in any other case dry meat in taste; nevertheless, consuming the dish finally turned a laborious chore. Against this, the crispy, craggly, deeply-browned buttermilk fried rooster items made for a crowd favourite, which, whereas not spectacular, offered a dependable addition to the plate.
The Purple Skillet macaroni and cheese was one of many higher iterations I’ve tried on campus. That’s most likely as a result of this variant had not less than three completely different sorts of cheese, making it a decadent and pleasing pairing with the étouffée and greens. Nonetheless, it may have performed with a contact extra salt and pepper to actually convey out the person flavors.
To conclude the meal, the sticky toffee yams eased the palate into dessert mode. The autumnal greens had been roasted to perfection, bringing out their pure sugars and layering on a caramel-like sweetness. They completely complemented the honey cornbread, a staple merchandise that was not too completely different from the standard Stanford cornbread choices. The peach cobbler was a constant crowd favourite; platters had been cleaned. The tart canned peach lower via the saccharine syrup and buttery pastry crust.
An excellent begin to a month of particular menus, this assortment of dishes offered a delicate introduction to soul meals and obtained college students excited in regards to the meals to return.
Day 2 — Feb. 14
With Valentine’s Day got here one other iteration of the Black Historical past Month Lakeside Eating Menu. Whereas the earlier week centered on African-American Soul Meals, this week featured an Afro-Caribbean menu with quite a lot of colourful and flavorsome gadgets. The strains had been organized thoughtfully to make sure that the crowds looped via the kitchens in an orderly method.
The very first thing on show within the busy eating corridor was the cheddar cornbread, which appeared equivalent to each different kind of cornbread the eating halls provide. Nevertheless, the primary chunk revealed a nice savory cheddar style. Though it was barely dry, it paired nicely with the Jamaican rice and beans, a heat and filling vegan addition to the menu.
Of the 2 most important dishes, the roasted pork was clearly the primary attraction, trying and smelling as if it got here straight off the grill. Really biting into it was a troublesome activity, although, because the meat was overcooked and difficult. The honey mustard sauce nearly saved it with a mix of spice and sweetness that aptly complemented the pork and any facet dish on the plate. The frustration of the pork was sadly matched by the frustration of the spiced tilapia, which was, very succinctly, high quality.
The fried candy plantains and Yukon gold mashed potatoes had been excellent; the plantains had been crispy on the surface and barely mushy on the within. The potatoes had been seasoned completely with butter, salt and pepper, whereas the succotash offered a barely lighter facet, as a pleasant combined bean-and-vegetable dish.
To scrub down all of this meals, Lakeside additionally had a specialty hibiscus tea: Sobolo. It was tasty and refreshing, with floral notes to chop via the sugar.
Lastly, to finish the decadent meal, Lakeside offered a variety of desserts. The actual star was the chocolate chip bread pudding. The last word consolation meals, it was heat, crumbly and custardy, made particularly yummy with the wealthy caramel sauce. The banana pudding was as one would count on banana pudding to style like — nothing to jot down dwelling about, however a enjoyable addition nonetheless. The usual cupcakes and cookies had been a considerate deal with for Valentine’s Day.
The general feeling at Lakeside on Valentine’s Day was one in all satisfaction, regardless of the frustration in the primary dishes. Although not the preliminary draw, the perimeters outshone the remainder of the menu choices and offered the meal with a well-rounded and comforting really feel.
Day 3 — Feb. 21
For the third Tuesday of February, Lakeside Eating and Purple Skillet Kitchen introduced on the get together with their Mardi Gras Particular Menu. College students performed get together music and danced in the primary eating space, whereas line dividers cordoned off the insanely lengthy queue ready to get to the meals.
The drinks station outdoors the primary kitchen space featured the sorrel cooler, the cucumber cooler and New Orleans iced espresso lined up in glasses. The sorrel cooler was a darkish reddish-brown drink that tasted like half medication, half natural iced-tea and half Harry-Potter-esque potion, however it was general fairly fruity and scrumptious.
Among the many entries for the primary course, the Creole Rooster proved to be well-cooked, tender, properly spiced and never too fiery; sadly, it devolved into common eating corridor rooster the extra one ate. I strongly opine that marinating it within the sauce for an extended length might need helped the flavors seep in. The Cajun black-eyed peas stew jogged my memory of many Indian curries. The lentils had been simply the correct amount of sentimental, the inexperienced peppers contributed to the acidity and taste whereas including some crunch and the dish itself went very nicely with a facet of rice.
My favourite appetizer was the crispy okra; it possessed a significant crunch issue on the surface and squishy, well-seasoned okra on the within. The accompanying remoulade sauce was good however may have been taken to the subsequent stage with a squeeze of lemon; its current model was in any other case just like a mix of ketchup and mayonnaise.
A standout among the many sides, the honey butter cornbread was one of the best cornbread providing all through the February menu. It had a refined sweetness from the honey and a fragile, moist crumb that fell aside as I ate it.
Throughout the Purple Skillet Kitchen particular menu, at the present time’s spicy shrimp and Andouille sausage gumbo was one in all my private favorites. A posh melange of al dente long-grain rice topped with barely fatty, peppery sausage and flavorsome shrimp compensated for the distinct lack of broth. The cornmeal fried catfish was a disappointment; its taste was masked by the oily and heavily-fried cornmeal coating and it was barely overcooked. The extra acidic Cajun tartar sauce helped lower via the grease, however the dish itself was underwhelming.
From the dessert part, the beignets — deep-fried spheroids of dough drizzled with sugar syrup — got here out a lot later than the remainder of the dishes, however had been a transparent crowd favourite. They had been undoubtedly well worth the wait, fueling the final stretch of festivities. The award for “Finest Dessert of the Night time” would, nevertheless, simply go to the candy potato pie, as I noticed individuals stepping into for seconds. It had a creamy, not-too-sweet filling with a distinguished style of candy potato, and the highest of the pie was flippantly brûléed to attain a barely burnt look.
Colourful sprinkles adorned slices of King Cake, vaguely resembling a cinnamon roll made with sourdough bread. There have been higher dessert choices for taste (see candy potato pie), however this one was an aesthetic winner. The lemon cupcakes, with their luxurious cream frosting, made for a refreshing and citrusy finish to a heavy meal.
Day 4 — Feb. 28
The final Tuesday of February boasted a West African themed menu, drawing crowds from throughout campus. College students, having skilled the longer strains for the previous 4 weeks, didn’t even want line makers to prepare themselves into strains that wrapped across the interior a part of Lakeside.
The preferred merchandise by far of the primary dishes was the pulled pork sandwich, which college students may customise themselves with coleslaw, sauces and greens. The pork itself was completely cooked and wearing barbecue sauce with a crunchy brioche bun.
The smoked turkey gumbo, although not broadly standard, was filling and satisfying, and particularly good on such a wet night time. Regardless of its alluring look and shiny colours, the salmon was dry and in the end underwhelming, although the fonio crust was a pleasant addition.
To go together with these most important dishes had been some good — and a few not-so-good — facet dishes. The jalepeño cornbread was a eating corridor basic, which means slightly dry however nonetheless appetizing, with a spicy kick from the jalepeño. Braised collard greens stole the present for me, with the right quantity of garlic and olive oil. The candy potato fries had been the clear winner for many college students, although; crinkle-cut and crispy, they had been seasoned with pepper and salt and paired completely with the sandwich.
The opposite sides didn’t entice as a lot of a crowd, although additionally they paired nicely with the primary dishes. The stew was a really good vegan merchandise, gratifying for all who like okra and lentils, and in addition acted as a consolation on the chilly night time. The jollof rice and spicy coleslaw had been good, however supplied nothing particularly new or shocking; each had been missing in warmth, opposite to their title.
For drinks and dessert, Lakeside had ginger juice with ginger, lime and pink peppercorns, and beignets (see Day 3). The ginger juice was curious sufficient to warrant a style by many, although its oversaturated sugar and ginger taste didn’t make many come again for seconds.
The Black Historical past Month menu at Lakeside Eating was fastidiously designed and well-thought out with a wide selection of vegetarian and vegan choices. A lot of the dishes had been basic, comforting staples that had a unified taste profile, however there have been a number of really stellar choices, such because the Candy Potato Pie, the Sausage and Andouille Gumbo, the drinks, the Crispy Okra and the Fried Plantains, that stole the present. I’d advocate visiting Lakeside simply to expertise a few of these unimaginable flavors when you have the prospect. For a lot of who’re new to the world of Afro-Diasporic cuisines, these dishes could also be only one step away from what you is perhaps used to consuming, however completely different sufficient to current a brand new culinary expertise.