Good food for the Discerning Spacer

gryphon_osiris

Posts: 2119

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Edited: by gryphon_osiris
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Name: Pedro's
Locations: Terra, Prime
Cost: $$
Rating: * * * *


Every system has that unique jewel of a restaurant that all the locals rave about, spacers tell their friends about, and folks like me get messages about over the Spectrum. Now I'm a particular sort when it comes to places I go to when I'm traveling from system to system, because you can get a good meal anywhere but there are certain things l look for: it can't be a chain, it must be a place where the locals go, and the prices must be reasonable. After all, you can go to Stanton, Terra or even Croshaw and get some damn fine meals but they may make your bank account cry, or they are for off world folks who are just visiting. The real gems are those that deep space haulers stop at between offloading cargo, refueling, or on long planet side layovers. I got interested in these spots when I was doing a 15 system tour across UEE space with a Starfarer crew a few years back. Between jobs we'd only have a few hours dirt side so we'd look for something quick and local to chew on before we go under way again. Sometimes the best thing we could find was a local branch of Terra Burger, and other times one of us would spent the next leg of the trip glued to the toilet. Every once and a while though we'd get a tip from the ground crews of a spot that they go to for lunch that would completely blow us away.

There were spots like that on Saisei where you can get a damn fine spicy hand roll and a beer for practically a song, or on Cassel where you can get a hot and fresh pizza delivered to you once your ship touched down, but there will always be a special place in my heart (and stomach) for Pedro's on Terra. Located outside the main spaceport in Terra's capital city, Prime, Pedro's is built out of an old hydroponics dome, giving guests an unimpeded view of space traffic at the port. I got a chance to sit down with the current owner, Manny, the son of the original Pedro who had founded the eatery after he served his time in the UEE fleet.

"Well, Pop always told me that when he was serving on a UEE cruiser that the cooks didn't know the difference between eggs over easy and chipped beef on toast. So after his service term was up he used the money he had saved and bought this old dome so he could watch the ships going back and forth. He figured that most spacers were in the same boat as he was; spending most of their days with protein ration packs and freeze dried, unidentifiable food stuffs. Our family has a long tradition of cooking going back to our roots in early California, on Earth, so Pop decided to open up a restaurant and teach these greasy space monkeys what food really is (chuckle)."

The menu at Pedro's is a mix of old world slow simmered sauces, pit roasted meats and Terra style odd couple matches that just work so well. It's not unusual to order a plate of Huevos rancheros served with a Naan bread instead of tortillas and curry spiced rice, or tacos filled with poached Korshu Grey crab meat and Banu glitt spice. The most famous dish on the menu is the legendary extra spicy combo, known as the Madre del Diablo.

"Well, once Pop retired I took up the spatula and started to experiment with spices and chilis, being a bit of a fire eater myself. I ended up making a spice rub and a sauce that was so hot it just made my eyes water thinking about it. One of the local haulers that came in regularly saw me testing them one day and some how convinced me to make a plate for him with both. I swear to you he turned bright red and looked like he was going to hit melt down stage, but he just wiped his brow, smiled and ordered a beer to cool the flames down with."

Among long haul spacers the 'Madre' as they call it, has become a minor legend. One of the classic hazing rituals is to have a rookie hauler scarf one down after their first successful out of system hauling run. Most don't finish it, but those who do earn their picture on Pedro's 'Reactor Meltdown Club' wall. So far only about 72 people have made the club, but there are always new challengers who step up and try their luck.

Back in the kitchen Manny showed me what makes up this radioactive gut buster. "We start with a homemade sope, topped with barbicoa that we dry rub with our secret spice blend and then roast for 6 hours in our smoker. We top that with our red 'Madre' sauce made from, well, let's say it's a cultivar of the Naga we grow ourselves, some cojita cheese, and pickled red onion. Next we'll make a taco with free range Terran lowland hen, breast meat of course, that we slow simmer in the 'Madre' sauce, topped with a chili lime slaw, and fresh avacado. Lastly we do a carnitas tamale that we mixed with roasted habenero peppers and sweet corn, and give a generous ladle of the 'Madre' sauce. Serve with black beans, our sweet chili rice, and a side of yogurt, mango and cilantro salsa we call 'reactor coolant'."

Manny let me try a toothpick tip of the sauce, and just getting it near my nose cleared my sinuses down to my toes. However once I got past the initial burn, with help from a glass of cold milk, I could appreciate the sweet notes along with a low, smokey under tone from it that made me think of a weekend bar-b-Que. When asked if I'd like a second taste, I politely declined, causing Manny to laugh a bit. Apparently that's a common reaction from most sane people, he told me. He even has a waiver made up for anyone that orders this plate stating that they will not hold Pedro's accountable for bowel discomfort once they leave the premise. Apparently after 3-6 hours it feels like the equivalent of doing an anti-matter reactor flush through your colon; screaming may or may not be involved.

Because Pedro's caters to the cargo hauler crowd it is open all hours and it's not unusual to see someone ordering breakfast in the late evening, or a plate of his famous 'street flair tacos' shortly before dawn. What you can expect is a damn good cup of coffee, cold beer on tap, and a home-style meal while you wait for your ship to be loaded/unloaded, or for carry out if you are in a rush. If you bring in your own thermos they will even give you a fill up for when you are on your next run; unfortunately they won't do the same if you ask for beer.

The current hot seller is the Korshu Grey crab tacos, at least until the end of the season. Pedro whipped me up a plate of these beauties, which I must admit are pretty damn good. After poaching the crabs they get shelled, cleaned, tossed lightly in Banu glitt spice and a twist of lime, then wrapped in corn tortillas with his chili lime slaw and cucumber mango salsa. These border on ambrosia for the pallet, with the sweetness of the mango salsa, and the tangy bite of the slaw blending perfectly with the low earthy flavor of the glitt spice and a tender Korshu grey meat. Toss back one of Pedro's locally brew beers and take in the sun through the dome and you'd swear you were on vacation at some beach resort.

I know that with all the traveling I do there is one spot I always return to when I come to Terra. After going through customs I make course for Pedro's, get a cold beer, some hot food, and sit back and watch the ships passing in the sky.






Please note that this and any other associated entries are a work of fan fiction, set in the Star Citizen universe. The marks and properties, 'Star Citizen', 'Squadron 42', 'Cloud Imperium Games', and 'Roberts Space Industries' are property of Cloud Imperium Games Corp. and Roberts Space Industries Corp ("RSI"). All rights in content, including places, characters, concepts, and ships produced and created by RSI relating to said marks and properties belong to RSI.
  • Dragonfiremalus

    Posts: 312

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    Fun stuff!
  • gryphon_osiris

    Posts: 2119

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    Name: Luigi's Flying Saucers
    Location: Goss System, Cassel (Goss II)
    Price: $$/$$$
    Rating: * * * *

    To the long jump hauler the Goss system is that jewel that they want to crack into to, but are just barely able to nick the surface. The system itself produces most of its own supplies and has very little in the form of import or export, though it is a stepping point for travels going to Magnus or around the Hades system. However in system there is a large market of locals who haul raw goods from Goss I to Cassel, along with the real gold mine of the Goss system: tourism. Much of the space traffic here is either there for sun and sand, or just passing through on their way to other destinations. Enter Luigi's Flying Saucers: a pizza house that caters to both the credit laden wallets of the family on holiday, and the 'on a budget' flier just looking for something to eat while refueling.

    Much of the fame amongst spacers is that you can have a pizza hot and ready for you once you clear customs; or if you don't have time for planet side landing they have several Constellations on station near the L4 and L5 fuel depots orbiting Cassel for a quick pie pick up. The owner, Marc Williams, sat down and talked with me regarding what drove him to have such a unique set up for his business.

    "Well, I was a line cook on Stanton for several years working in a couple of the more high end eateries there, however I found that while the food was excellent the environment didn't move me. I felt like I needed to fall back to the basics where simple ingredients could be made into art for the senses."

    Contrary to popular belief there is no one at Luigi's actually name Luigi. Marc explained to me that people have an expectation for good pizzeria's and one of them includes it being own by an Italian. The Flying Saucers on the other hand, can be found on the menu and are one of the signature items popular with pilots on the go.

    "The idea came to me when we first started that it would easier for a pilot on the go to eat a smaller, hand held pie instead of a long floppy slice. I rolled out some 16 cm rounds, gave them a dab of sauce, some of our 5 cheese blend, a quick sprinkling of toppings and the Flying Saucer was born."

    Marc make a sample of Flying Saucers for me in their custom Arc Fire oven. It's specially designed to use high temperature electric elements to get the searingly hot 538 C cooking temperatures normally reserved for wood fired ovens. The little pizzas were done in less than 30 seconds and came out blisteringly hot with lovely browned cheese and thin crispy crusts. I gave them a minute to cool before sinking my teeth into the hand tossed sourdough crust and Marc's "made fresh every morning" sauce. I have to admit that I've not had a better piece of pizza outside of the Sol system.

    On the opposite side of the size spectrum is the infamous 2 meter wide "Mothership". This monstrosity comes loaded with pepperoni, salami, ground beef, ham, olives, mushrooms, roasted garlic, grilled chicken, onions, fire roasted bell peppers, sun dried tomatoes, linguica and artichoke hearts. It's available for in house service only and best to call in 2 hours ahead of time as they need a good amount of prep time to build it. It will feed the crew of a small Corvette, or the crew of an extra hungry Constellation.

    As Luigi's is located on Cassel, one of the more popular tourist spots in the Empire, I had to ask Marc why would someone travel halfway across the galaxy just to get a pizza. His response actually surprised me: "Most folks come to Cassel looking for beaches, sun, hiking, swimming in the ocean and all around out door type activity. In most cases they don't want to spend an hour and a half sitting in some eatery with a dress code, when they can stroll up from the beach, grab a slice, a saucer, or a whole pie and be on their way. We cater here to the folks who want good food, but also don't have the time to waste, which is why we have our Constellation service fleet out there for those that can't make it planet side."

    As mentioned before, Luigi's has Constellations that are at the two refueling depots near Cassel, and these are a wonder of technical engineering. The entire cargo bay has been turned into a pizza kitchen with 4 of the Arc Fire ovens, prep areas and even a refrigerated section to keep perishable fresh. For those that have never been through the system, all you need to do is link up with one of the ships over the Spectrum, give them your order, expected arrival time then transfer credits. Once you arrive just connect to their docking collar (ship must be dock capable) and they'll bring your order over. The whole process takes only a few minutes, and gives you time to eat some chow while you wait on the refueling attendants. The Constellations crews have a more limited selection though, and are only able to do the traditional thin crust and flat bread style pizza.

    The menu contains many of your favorites; from classic Naples style thin crust, to Mid-western American Deep dish, Calzones, Hot Grinder's, and panini's on fresh made foccacia. Popular favorites include the classic pepperoni, Hawaiian, Margarita, along with unconventional twists such as chicken teriyaki, prosciutto and melon, mushroom and korshu grey, or terran lobster and habanero. Marc tells me though that so far nothing out sells the age old classic that is the simple pepperoni pizza.

    You may come to Cassel for the weather, but you'll definitely stay for the Pizza!
  • Thoughtfulwander01

    Posts: 2129

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    Very neat can't wait for more eating locations.

    TW
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  • tiredoldguy

    Posts: 1415

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    Nicely done. Mind if I add them to the unofficial place list?
    just a tired old guy imagining being in space...
  • gryphon_osiris

    Posts: 2119

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    cmopatrick:
    [hide]

    Nicely done. Mind if I add them to the unofficial place list?

    Sure thing
  • tiredoldguy

    Posts: 1415

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    Thanks. The chopdown on Pedros is:
    cmopatrick:
    [hide]

    Pedro's - Located just outside the Prime Runways facility, Pedro's is "built out of an old hydroponics dome, giving guests an unimpeded view of space traffic at the port." "The menu at Pedro's is a mix of old world slow simmered sauces, pit roasted meats and Terra style odd couple matches that just work so well. It's not unusual to order a plate of Huevos rancheros served with a Naan bread instead of tortillas and curry spiced rice, or tacos filled with poached Korshu Grey crab meat and Banu glitt spice. The most famous dish on the menu is the legendary extra spicy combo, known as the Madre del Diablo." (from gryphon_osiris)

    If you want any changes, please feel free to let me know.

    I'll get Luigi's once I get a Goss format up.
    just a tired old guy imagining being in space...
  • gryphon_osiris

    Posts: 2119

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    Yanagi's Kitchen
    Location: Centauri, Saisei, Fujin City
    Cost: $$
    Rating: * * * * *

    Saisei in the Centauri system is one of those rare gems in the Empire where natural beauty and industrial prestige can coexist in balance. It is also home to MISC industries, famous for the iconic Freelancer hauler, along with the Starfarer, and the rugged Hull-C type. As the main production planet for MISC starships the cargo trade entering and leaving the planet supports everything from small haulers to massive container vessels shipping with fresh off the production line starships. The service industry for spacers on down time ranges from fast food, to ship parts, and even massage parlors for working out the muscle knots that come from too much time behind the controls. The veterans of the Saisei runs avoid these food spots at the space port and take a short walk over to Yanagi's Kitchen.

    Located a short walk, or even shorter cab ride from the main MISC factory Yanagi's is a place that the locals go to eat, rather than something set up to deal with the influx of spacers. The menu reflects Saisei's cultural diversity with heavy emphasis on the city's Japanese roots. One can get a steaming hot bowl of Ramen topped with traditionally cooked meat and fresh veggies, or sushi in a multitude of style, even cultural mish-mashes like the temaki burrito. Head chef and owner Mr. Kobashigawa Hisayuki took time out of his busy day to speak with me regarding what makes Yanagi so successful.

    "As my father taught me, some things in life can not be substituted with prepackaging and mass production. Good food is one of those things. There is something that cannot be put into words about a meal prepared by someone who loves their job; they put some of that love into everything they make. It is something that you can taste that takes it from the average to the profound. A chef with talent will never reach their full potential unless they themselves are happy with where they are and with what they are making. We don't demand perfection of our chefs here, we ask that they prepare something that they themselves are proud of."

    My particular favorite from the menu is the Temaki burrito, which you can customize to your particular tastes. Pick your wrap; such as nori, soy, rice paper, or tapioca paper, and if you want traditional white sushi rice, brown or the local golden rice. You then pick your proteins which ranges from the wide variety of local raised fish, tofu, grilled chicken, beef, tonkatsu, or even crispy bacon. From there you pick from the veggies (if any) you'd like, and then finally your sauce. These range from traditional wasabi, teriyaki, wasabi mayo, plum sauce, or just simple soy. All of this gets rolled up for you, and wrapped in butcher paper to keep you from making a mess. Of course they have more traditional spicy tuna temaki hand rolls, but sometimes you just need to go wild.

    The noodle bowls are food for the soul as well as the eye as you see the noodles made fresh in front of you in. Available in the traditional styles; including udon, soba, ramen and shirataki, with each served in their own unique styles. I must admit when I was doing cargo runs to Saisei I often enjoyed a bowl of Tsukimi udon with the fresh poached egg, the pungent green onions and some poached shrimp steeping in the broth. Add a side of some salted, steamed edamame and this is one of my comfort foods of choice.

    Yanagi's is one of the few sources on Saisei where you can get synthetic Fugu. For those not familiar with Fugu, it's a species of Earth puffer fish that even when prepared properly contains a very mild dose of a poison that can potentially cause respiratory failure. Historically it was a food for those who laughed in the face of death, however in the 24th century sale of this rather unique luxury food finally ended when the puffer fish entered the endangered species list. Synthetic Fugu is made from a local species of fish that has the same flavor and texture as the Earth puffer fish, and even has the lip numbing effects but is not actually poisonous. It is however rather expensive as these fish take 20 years to develop to the point of edibility and produce very little useable meat. If you have the credits to try this classic delicacy then it's best to call ahead a day or two, and Mr. Kobashigawa will prepare the dish himself for you.

    If you have the time next time you visit Saisei, take a short walk over to Yanagi's, if you like quality seafood with heart you'll not be disappointed.
  • Thoughtfulwander01

    Posts: 2129

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    Very neat. Sounds like I would like the sushi. :)

    TW
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  • gryphon_osiris

    Posts: 2119

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    No official name, but commonly called 'The Cart' by locals
    Location: Stanton, ArcCorp, various locations
    Cost: $
    Rating: * * *

    Any cargo hauler worth their spit has made the run to Stanton system from either the inner or outer colony worlds. It's one of the largest, if not the largest, system for production of raw material into useable goods within the Empire. Home to four Corporations, each with a planet quite literally to their name, it is a major source of trade for the empire as well as an excellent source of jobs for medium and bulk freight haulers. Everything from refined raw materials to finished end products get shipped in and out of this system daily; providing a reliable, albeit competitive, job market for the run of the mill spacer. For this particular gastronomic trek we'll be stopping at ArcCorp to find that ever elusive gem: excellent street food.

    Growing up on Terra I always found that food cart vendors were a special form of gambling that could, at best, be a regular joy. At worst, however, it could glue you to your toilet for a day or two leaving you wondering why did you take that chance to begin with. 'The Cart', as locals call it, is a shawarma and falafel cart found around the dockside and customs area near ArcCorps' largest landing area. The catch of The Cart is that it's never in the same place the next day and half the joy is in hunting it down. There is a spotter page on the Spectrum that people use; however the die-hards consider this as cheating and prefer to locate it themselves.

    This particular quirk comes from the owner, Moufid El-Nemr, a member of The Church of the Journey who has finally set roots on ArcCorp. During his travels he picked up many stories along the way, as he'll tell you, along with recipes picked up when working as a line cook on a Starliner. During my talks with him he has told me everything from how fine to shred cabbage for sour kraut, to why Drake Interplanetary needs to adjust the rotational bearings on the main thrusters on a Cutlass, and even the secret of the Baklava he sells. (It's real vanilla bourbon added to the syrup mixture when it comes to a boil, fyi.)

    In his particular niche of food stuff Moufid follows the principal of keep it simple, keep it fast, and keep it coming. Any day at lunch you can see him and his assistant feeding a line of 30 or 40 hungry patrons with shawarma filled pitas, falafel and couscous plates with dressed cucumber salad, and his famous baklava. For this session in street food roulette I went for the traditional lamb and beef pita (also called a gyro), fresh tomato, cucumbers, red onion and a side of tzatziki. The pita was inside soft with a slight crunch on the crust as I bit in and right into a savory strip of meat with the perfect amount of seasoned, fire roasted goodness to it. Add a touch of Moufid's fresh made tzatziki and another bite with some of the veggies this time and it got me craving a beer, a place to lounge back, and then waste the afternoon.

    After the lunch crowd settled down I got a chance to talk with Moufid to see why his brand of street food is going so strong, even though one has to normally go looking for him.

    "When I was Traveling I got to see many things in this Universe, and hear many stories... which reminds me, I need to tell you the story I heard off a pilot who was traveling through the Hades system, but in a little bit... Where was I? Oh yes, I heard many tales, learned to cook dozens of regional cuisines, and met many, many interesting people along the way. When I arrived here on ArcCorp I decided that I had gone far enough and it was my time to tell the stories told to me to new Travelers to spread them to the stars. I had only my clothes and the contents of my travel sack to my name, but found that no matter where you go a good cook is always needed. I worked at a few cafes as a short order cook, a pastry chef for a catering company, and even as a bartender in one of the high class clubs. Oh, the stories I could tell you about that place... but not to get off track... I saved up enough to get my set-up here, a Greycat to tow it around with, and that, as they say 'was that'. I could tell my stories to many people, learn a few from them along the way, and make great food. Can one not ask for more?"

    On my way out I make sure to share a story or two of mine with him, transfer a couple creds into his tip account, and snag a wedge of his decadent baklava. This is always my favorite part of finding the cart; lovely flaky layers of phyllo dough with a mixture of walnuts and almonds flavored with cinnamon, clove, brown sugar and butter slow baked until nice and crispy. It's then given a light drizzle of a brown sugar, honey and cinnamon syrup so that it's sweet but not sticky. I don't know where Moufid learned this particular recipe but I sure hope he shares that story with me the next time I find him and The Cart on ArcCorp.
  • Skylance19

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    This is a very delicious idea. Immersive games like this deserve to have a full array of foods and cultures spread throughout the galaxies.

    I'll try to think of some of my own if you guys want!
    Plutarch CyberDynamics
  • gryphon_osiris

    Posts: 2119

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    Dave Haddock thought so too! :-D
  • gryphon_osiris

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    So, for those who may be following this (no clue really if anyone is), I'm looking for some suggestion of types of places they'd like to see, and perhaps which system it would be located in.
  • Alpine1

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    Awesome work! Yes I'm following the siite. How about a BBQ place on Nyx?
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  • Cicero_Wolfe

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    Very nice work. This is a really cool thread! I've had a few food lore ideas too but mine were mostly pre-packaged / thermo-stabilized meals that are meant to be sold in vending machine or convenience stores. I was hoping that we would get a chance to present our food ideas when (If) the lore builder returns. (Sorta like the way we got to come up with beverage ideas.)
  • Kickforce

    Posts: 1946

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    This is great stuff. You have me longing to go to those places, or places like it on Earth.
    First I thought of Ford Prefect doing the restaurant column for the new Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, but you make it genuine.
    Is there a place in the galaxy for French cuisine?
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  • gryphon_osiris

    Posts: 2119

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    The Chuck Wagon
    Location: Nyx, on Delamar
    Cost: negotiable
    Rating: * * * *

    Whenever there is some kind of political discussion in the Empire there is almost always someone from Delamar that has to put in some crazy conspiracy theory that involves everything from a shadow government run by the Messers to secret government labs working on a Hadesian designed planet killer weapon. This reputation has become a bit of a laughing point in the inner Empire worlds, with the joke of 'going Delamar' being a common phrase for being detached from reality. With that said, Delamar does have a thriving trade business in mined minerals and refined hydrogen from the surrounding nebula gases that is profitable enough to keep their reactors in the green. The risk, of course, is that pirate bands and other criminal elements frequent the area and regularly raid cargo ships in the area. Among the locals the loss is referred to as 'the landlord's share' and is an expected loss for those shipping and receiving goods to and from the system. Another necessary evil to trading with Delamar is that very few people here deal in UEC's, but rather work off a barter system. One of the few places that will take UEC's (if they likes the look of you, that is) is Delamar's premier, and only, BBQ joint: The Chuck Wagon.

    The Chuck Wagon is located after you get through the security check points near the main docking facilities and is normally the second or third thing you'll smell after arriving; the first two being coolant or burned wiring. As with the rest of the colony the business relies heavily on whatever food stocks get brought in from haulers, and as such there is no set menu. A running joke amongst the locals is that they will take just about any source of meat that you can find, leading to the unofficial motto of "You kill it, we'll grill it." Contrary to popular belief though there is a very good supply of fresh and quality meats brought in to trade for the locally mined raw materials through the local barter trade. For those who bring goods in they should also be aware that the locals keep up to date over the current market rate of everything from engine parts to pre-packaged snack cakes and will haggle the price until both parties reach an agreement.

    On this trip to the Chuck Wagon it was the week for beef. Everything from beef ribs, steaks, briskets, shanks, and fresh made burgers were on the menu; each either smoked, grilled, or roasted to tender perfection in ways that would make the most hardened food snob start drooling. Sides included corn bread, spicy black bean chili, fried okra, sweet corn, and coleslaw. Being that I was in the mood for some classics I got two ribs in their smokey sweet BBQ sauce, some brisket, corn bread, grilled sweet corn on the cob and a side of coleslaw. The ribs had just enough tooth to them to offer some resistance, however it all but melted in the mouth as I chewed; and I proceeded to get BBQ sauce across my face. As I found out later, the secret to his fillet minion tender ribs was a long, slow cooking process with lots of moist heat to help break the proteins down just enough that they stay on the bone but dissolve in the mouth. The brisket was super tender and juicy with the flavors of a slightly spicy rub coming through on the bark, mixed with the deep smokey flavor from hours of slow cooking. I'm certain that they also did some injection marinading, but the flavors of the meat were complex enough that I couldn't pin anything down specifically.

    Normally when I see grilled corn I think of either the ears being wrapped in aluminum foil and put on the grill, like they did back home, or the whole husk style where they are grilled before they are shucked then the leaves pealed back to give you an easy handle to eat with. In both cases they just get a coating of salt and butter and you have roasted corn goodness to savor (and pick out of your teeth). At The Wagon they take the whole husk style a step further by peeling back the husk, baste with kernels with a garlic butter and sprinkling it with a cayenne seasoning blend before giving them a quick run on the grill again to brown the butter slightly. I'll put it to you this way: once I figure out what seasons they used I'm going to be grilling my corn like this from now on. The browning of the butter combined with the slight char on the corn fits perfectly with the hint of garlic and the bite of the cayenne seasoning.

    The corn bread was soft and warm, with flecks of green peppers and melted cheese through out it. I had the option for the more tradition cornbread as well, but I felt like being different. Now, normally when I go to a BBQ place and coleslaw is on the menu I'm expecting the mayonnaise soaked pile of diced cabbage and carrots that most of us are all familiar with. Apparently The Wagon is of the mind set to defy expectation and does a coleslaw of multi-color cabbage, radishes, onion, cilantro and a red wine vinaigrette. To say I was surprised would be more than just an understatement. The tart, crunchy slaw after a bite of the meat made an excellent contrast in flavors and textures; so much so that before I left I ordered a brisket sandwich topped with their yellow BBQ sauce and the slaw on a soft french roll for my flight back to Terra.

    As mentioned before the prices here are varied, partially because of current supplies, but also it depends on if they like the look of you or not also determines if you can use UEC's, or barter in trade. Basically if you aren't a regular, or you smell like a pirate, or they think that you are spying for the Empire you are on a barter only policy. Since it had been several years since my last trip here I came prepared with 3 dozen cases of fine brown ale to both pay for lunch, and a chance to talk to the owner regarding and strictly limited to the food. He specifically told me that I couldn't print his name, description, or ask any questions regarding his personal history, which fits well into the Delamar caution that we all know and love. During our talk regarding brazing techniques, smoke temperatures, and season blends I got the impression that he was a classically trained chef, but decide against prying in that area for fear I might get black balled. Much of the secret to his excellent food comes from a well controlled smoker that provides constant low temperatures and adjustable moisture levels for the beef, pork, chicken, and fish that rotates through his menu.

    I asked him what the most unusual meat he got a request to make was, to which he got a little shifty eyed, and stated that a Xi'an once came in and asked if he would cook a whole Ossian for him. He then stated that in no uncertain terms that he 'bounced the big, scaly *expletive* out of my place and told him never to come the *expletive* back'. We continued to talk for another half hour after that over a couple bottles of the brown ale I brought, mostly comparing notes on different cooking technique, but really not talking about anything. He did mention though that if I ever was back this way with more interesting cases of beer to stop on by and he'd give me and who ever I brought along a full BBQ banquet.

    In the end I walked out of their with a fully belly, a slightly tipsy gait, a bag lunch for my flight home and a couple bottles of their very fine red and yellow BBQ sauces on the house for bringing the beer. It may be in one of the more remote areas for traders, but the food blows away most spots in the heart of the Empire.
  • Kickforce

    Posts: 1946

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    I'm getting the feeling you're not just a food lover, but an accomplished chef yourself, the way you write about food.
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  • Alpine1

    Posts: 55

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    Awesome!!
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  • gryphon_osiris

    Posts: 2119

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    La Petite Pomme
    Location: Bremen System, Rytif, city of Stalford
    Cost: $$$
    Rating: * * * * *

    The Bremen system has had more than its fair share of notations in Human history; from being a major source of food within the Empire, being a staging point for dissent against the Messer Regime, and more recently being the headquarters for Consolidated Outland and their line of Mustang personal spacecraft. Bremen is an agrarian planet by nature with long summers, lots of sun, and a very relaxed feel to it. The locals here work off of 'farm time', meaning that unlike on Earth or Terra where everyone is in a hurry and always in a rush to get somewhere the locals have a speed of doing things that would seem completely lethargic to your normal fast paced lifestyle in the heart of the Empire. Don't let that fool you into thinking that they are lazy, however; folks here tend to start before the sun rises and work until night fall in many cases. Whether that means tending to the fields, working in machine shops, doing paperwork in offices, or even just doing household chores Bremen is a testament to efficiency without the hustle and bustle seen on more cosmopolitan planets.

    Now, normally when one mentions French cooking everyone thinks: escargot, truffles, and pretentiously over-priced works of edible art. This is an unfair assessment, because while French cuisine has a long tradition of pushing the edge of culinary innovation there are many, many dishes routed deeply in classic techniques and styles that many cooks today still use today as a both professional chefs and as a home cook. It is from this that our next entry of 'Good Food for the Discerning Spacer' will take a trip down a particularly fond part of my memory lane. As mentioned before the Bremen system is a wonder of agriculture and simple home town charm, and in this environment has come that ever elusive bit of culinary wonder: the affordable and unbelievably good French restaurant. Located just off the Stalford's main thorough fair, between the Voyager Direct store and a barber shop, is La Petite Pomme. La Petite Pomme is less a restaurant but rather it is a café with a distinctly Bremen twist that serves some of the freshest and flavorful foods this side of Terra.

    Owned by Mme. Adelaide Marie Massialot, the Pomme is famous for several reasons in the local community; from being the best place to go for a Pain au chocolat (chocolate croissant) and a cup of coffee in the early morning, their wide variety of sandwiches made on fresh baked bread, their extremely excellent (and filling) dinner services, and the wide variety of French regional cuisines for both sweet and savories. To any of the locals and regulars however it's famous for the owner herself, Mme. Massialot, or Ma'ma as she insists on being called. I spent several seasons going back and forth to Bremen hauling everything from milled flour to cryo-preserved veggies and had more than my fair share of breakfasts, lunches and dinners at the Pomme. On any given day you can go in for a lovely Canelé with its caramel exterior and the soft custard-like center, or a Tarte flambée for lunch with the nice smoky lardon (bacon), caramelized onions and melted cheese browned just perfectly, or a bowl of Coq au vin with the tender burgundy braised chicken, mushrooms, fresh vegetables and slivers of lardon doing a wonderful dances across one's palette.

    The menu varies by the time of day and what is in season, with normally pastries in the morning such as croissants, eclairs, Liège waffles with fresh fruit, choux à la crème (cream puffs), or chausson aux pommes (apple turn-overs) along with many others; along with their locally roasted French and Italian style coffees. At midday one can find sandwiches filled with things like herb roasted chicken, smoked salmon, braised beef, or a specialty from Nice called the Pan-bagnat, filled with fresh vegetables, hard boiled eggs, tuna and dressed in olive oil. Soups are also on the menu and range from the soupe à l'oignon (commonly known as French onion soup), to a garlic and poached egg white soup called tourin, and my favorite: garbure, a thick stew made of ham, cabbage, fresh veggies and steeped over toasted bread. Dinner service includes the before mentioned Coq au vin, but also other dishes such as Beef bourguignon, the classic fish stew Bouillabaisse, Duck à l'orange, and Ratatouille (vegetable stew).

    When I spoke with Mme., pardon, I mean Ma'ma, one of my first questions to her was how could she sell such wonderful and delicious foods without being painfully expensive. The feisty old girl said something in French that I could only vaguely translate out to 'head of a bull', but then said, "Food is more than just the sum of its ingredients. Any fool can take the base portions and make something 'mostly' edible from them, but the talent is turning those same simple staples and make art for the eye and pallet. I tell my people here to leave their ego's at the door; we are not some high bourgeoisie palace that serves only to those who can afford the door tax. Here we believe that good people deserve good cuisine, and as we are right at the source of where the very best food in the Empire comes from, then should they not also eat as fine as those on Stanton, Earth or Terra, oui?"

    Much like the rest of Bremen, Ma'ma's kitchen is a testament to small scale efficiency with bakers preparing, proofing and baking bread, pastry chefs preparing their delectable sweets, prep cooks washing, chopping, and slicing fruits and vegetables for all sorts of meals, and the cooks braising, roasting and plating everything from a simple sandwich to my bowl of Bouillabaisse (with extra muscles) and a still warm baguette. Much of the action is quick and well rehearsed with Ma'ma calling out instructions in a mix of French, English and sometimes Italian as the kitchen transitions though the daily routine and menu changes. As mentioned before, at the Pomme there is a wide variety of regional cuisine from the Bordeaux Canelé, the Alsatian Tarte flambée, or the Nice style Ratatouille.

    Part of this is to reflect the regional and cultural difference with France itself, but as Ma'ma told me, "When one cooks French there is no one French style. We are the memory of our people from the time of the Romans to when we started spreading out to the stars. 'French style' cooking isn't something that can be labeled, categorized and stuck into a book somewhere where some one high can proclaim that 'this is French'. I want to bring the love of food that I grew up with to all my 'children', whether they are ones I've known for many years, or like yourself are the ones that may just be passing through. Here we are family, and from here I can make sure that my 'children' are well fed."

    I ended up staying the afternoon working the grilling station at the Pomme, with only being corrected twice by one of the cooks; but left with a bottle of fine '25 Napa Nova Estates wine, a couple loafs of bread for the flight home, and a kiss on either cheek from Ma'ma. Bremen is a system full of history; both old and new, and a balance of agriculture and technology, but if you ever stop by make sure to visit Ma'ma, she'll have dinner waiting for you.
  • Afaz

    Posts: 13

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    Oh these are so awesome! A pizza joint that delivers to outer space, absolutely brilliant!
  • gryphon_osiris

    Posts: 2119

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    [hide]

    Oh these are so awesome! A pizza joint that delivers to outer space, absolutely brilliant!

    Got the idea from the food truck craze. Was debating between Freelancer's over Constellations, but the Connie seemed like the natural choice.
  • BBB85

    Posts: 48

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    [hide]

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    Oh these are so awesome! A pizza joint that delivers to outer space, absolutely brilliant!

    Got the idea from the food truck craze. Was debating between Freelancer's of Constellations, but the Connie seemed like the natural choice.
    Yea the connie can be the actual pizza place while having a m50 as a delivery vehicle for those other side of system deliveries in only a few minutes time.
  • gryphon_osiris

    Posts: 2119

    Posted:
    Posted:
    [hide]

    [hide]

    [hide]

    Oh these are so awesome! A pizza joint that delivers to outer space, absolutely brilliant!

    Got the idea from the food truck craze. Was debating between Freelancer's of Constellations, but the Connie seemed like the natural choice.
    Yea the connie can be the actual pizza place while having a m50 as a delivery vehicle for those other side of system deliveries in only a few minutes time.
    Thought about that, but the M-50 cockpit is so small, plus it felt kinda silly, :-P
  • Kickforce

    Posts: 1946

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    Ah, La Petite Pomme is absolutely mouth watering good! (is that an expression in English - l'eau me venait à la bouche).

    On the subject of pizza delivery, the Aurora seems like a natural for this, you could have Aurora's docking with the Constellations to pick pizza's up and deliver them hot. Perhaps they could have the bed replaced with an oven to keep the pizza's hot till delivery.
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  • gryphon_osiris

    Posts: 2119

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    Had to do a bit of research for the Pomme, as the regional recipes seemed far more interesting than the typical French cooking cliche, along with that they had to fit the bill of being within a reasonable budget.

    I also hope I conjugated the name right, French isn't my first or second language, :-P
  • Kickforce

    Posts: 1946

    Posted:
    Posted:
    [hide]

    Had to do a bit of research for the Pomme, as the regional recipes seemed far more interesting than the typical French cooking cliche, along with that they had to fit the bill of being within a reasonable budget.

    I also hope I conjugated the name right, French isn't my first or second language, :-P

    Yes, it was a good call, enriching the traditional cooking style with more local influences.
    I found no trouble with your French, besides languages evolve over 900 years.
    Well done!
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  • BBB85

    Posts: 48

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    So I was thinking since Terra is trying to be the cultural center of the 'verse I'm sure that if anyone was broadcasting such a thing over the spectrum, that we would have Iron Chef Terra. Imagine how crazy that show would have gotten by then.
  • CommanderKevin

    Posts: 5904

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    So I was thinking since Terra is trying to be the cultural center of the 'verse I'm sure that if anyone was broadcasting such a thing over the spectrum, that we would have Iron Chef Terra. Imagine how crazy that show would have gotten by then.

    Cooking in 0g. Now there's an idea.
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  • gryphon_osiris

    Posts: 2119

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    Edited: by gryphon_osiris
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    Fingers
    Location: Ellis System, Ellis XI, a.k.a Walleye
    Cost: $$
    Rating: * * *

    Unless you've given up the Spectrum, socializing, or just going outside completely you're probably familiar with the Ellis system and the tiny little event that happens there every year: The Murray Cup. Held on Ellis III (Green) the Murray cup boasts a massive number of racing teams, tourists, and celebrities that flood into the system to stay at the luxury resorts that have become to the main income source for the planet. Reservations for hotel rooms during the race week can sometimes have up to a 10 year wait list for the higher end rooms, unless you are Silas Koerner; he has his own villa set up with a full workshop for the Consolidated Outland racing team. What gets lost in all the fanfare for the race is that the Ellis system is part of a major trade route, the Earth-Pinecone Run and is a stop over place a number of long haul freighters.

    Getting away from the glitz of Ellis III (Green) one will actually find that much of the Ellis system is a working class system with mining, fuel harvesting, and fishing being its three largest vocations. Ellis was formally the endpoint of the Earth-Pinecone Run, however with the run expanded to take it all the way to Terra it has become a major point of refueling, repair, and re-provisioning for everyone from the independent Freelancer pilot, massive Hull-E haulers, and even UEE warships on patrol. Much of this service industry has been built around the orbital stations around Ellis XI, known as 'Walleye' to the locals. Back when I would do the 'Pinecone' with a Starfarer crew we'd normally dock at Orbital Station 13 then head over to a local dive bar named 'Fingers' for something to drink, but mostly to enjoy some good food and catch a Sata ball game.

    Fingers is one of those places with its own odd charm to it. The sign for the place has a picture of an ancient Earth athlete with a curly handle bar mustache, wearing a green and yellow uniform as he's winding up to throw a ball of some kind. The interior is filled with sports memorabilia covering the last 600 years of recorded sports history, many of which are originals, as well as monitors playing dozens of sporting events from across the Empire. Following this sports theme the menu of Fingers is all about your favorite back yard BBQ and tail gating snacks; this is a strictly silverware free environment. Popular favorites include grilled Chicken Satay skewers with spicy peanut sauce, softshell korshu gray sandwiches with remoulade on toasted ciabatta, and the perennial Earth favorite Buffalo wings.

    The owner, Marla Kensington took time out of her busy day to give me the full scope on what makes this place tick.

    "I could say that this goes back through me family 'istory of servin' fish and chips on the streets of London back durin' the Industrial era, but that just t'ain't the truth. Truth is that my family 'as always been sports fans, doesn't matter if it's racin', Sataball, even low-G golf. Couple 'ears back we got the bright idea that we should open a sports bar, display the family collection, an' make some good food while we're at it. 'Ventually we ended up 'ere, got us a plot, an' started servin' our fav snacks from different sportin' parties we've held o'er the years."

    One of the more interesting of these is the breaded Ellis IV rock oysters. For those who have never seen an Ellis IV rock oyster it can be described as such: a 30 kilo boulder with a 6 cm thick shell that produces roughly 15 kilos worth of meat. To crack open one of these beasts one must immerse the shell in -2 C water for 20 minutes which shocks the muscles that hold it the shell closed to release. From there special wedges and braces are inserted to prevent the shell from closing again and the oyster goes into a large immersion boiler with Marla's own spice blend for an hour long simmer. Once cooked the meat is cut from the now open shell and then broken down into more manageable pieces, dredged in egg wash, bread crumbs and flash fried. The oyster strips are served with a spicy tamarind ginger sauce and pair nicely with one of the dark ales that Fingers' has on tap. The meat itself is surprisingly not fishy with a slightly salty finish, the aromatic of the cooking spices and a nice firm texture more akin to beef or lamb.

    Also on the menu is an interesting mish-mash of Japanese and Mexican food: Lotus nachos. The chip bed is made of thinly sliced, fried and salted lotus root topped with spicy tuna poke, scallions, shredded carrot, slivered pickled ginger, a wasabi mayo drizzle, and finish with toasted black sesame seeds. The tuna is marinated with chili peppers, soy, sweet onion and sake overnight in order to merge the flavors. It's then spooned onto the freshly fried chips, sprinkled with the scallions, carrots and ginger, then given a drizzle of the wasabi mayo across the top. When you order this, either come hungry or bring a few friends/crew mates as it easily will feed 2-3 people on its own. The poke and the wasabi have enough heat to keep you interested while the ginger gives a little bit of acidity to even out the saltiness of the soy marinade. We used to order a couple of these, a few pitchers of beer, then kick back and watch the Sata ball game (go Gryphons!) while waiting for our Starfarer to unload her fuel tanks.

    Before I headed out, I had to ask Marla what is with the comical looking fellow on their sign. She laughed to herself, said that she gets asked that a lot, and told me to look it up on the Spectrum. I'll not ruin the fun for her by spoiling it for all my readers, however I will say that she certainly knows her sports history. If you ever see yourself in the Ellis system waiting for a refuel, stop by OS13, take a sit down at the bar at Fingers, enjoy a good meal and catch up on your sport of choice. Make sure you ask for some extra napkins, you'll need them.
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