I don’t think I’m any different than most Foodies. We care about the quality of ingredients and are always looking for new ways to do things along with all the tried and true meals in our repertoire. I have to tell you that one of my favorite things to do is to go to a good restaurant, and when a dish truly impresses, I like to try to recreate it while it’s fresh in my mind. (Not the same evening of course-I’d weigh 600 lbs!)
The truth is that you can get good ideas anywhere. I’m not a fan of chain restaurants typically, but they certainly serve a purpose in our culture. For example, Jeanie and I love the “Kickin Chicken Salad” at Logan’s Roadhouse. We get them all the time, and I’ve recreated them in my kitchen. The well know national drive through burger joint can even surprise at times. My experience has taught me that it all comes down to local management. If the fast food joint has a good GM that inspires his team, you are going to be served a much better product than the same franchise will serve 3 miles away. Better service too. If you are not impressed with a particular franchisee, try another one. When you find the right one, make sure to let them know about it. Nothing breeds success better than letting the GM and his staff know that you appreciated their above and beyond approach.
Now, back to my original thought. I have mentioned The Euro Bistro in Grand Rapids on this site before. Everything is good, but they have a particular dish that may not appear on the menu every night, but they are always happy to make it for you. Its a beautiful piece of salmon served in a pool of delicious tomato and spinach cream sauce. So delicious, I had to try to make it. The next day, I pulled the ingredients together and discovered I didn’t have any salmon, so I substituted shrimp which I had on hand. The picture isn’t the greatest, but I nailed it. Serve over spaghetti or wild rice….yea buddy! Be sure to have plenty of crusty bread to Sop up the sauce. I’ll post the ingredient list and directions in the recipe section.