Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Being back home means I get to eat my favorite foods that I miss!

Of course, I'm visiting with my family and friends, but everyone has to eat too, right? So we go out to eat and talk over good food and drinks.

In Nebraska, my favorite foods include Nebraska beef, anything pork and Mexican food.

My hometown of Grand Island has a population of 42,940, according to the 2010 U.S. Census. Of that number, 6,845 are Hispanic or Latino - nearly 16 percent of the city's population. 

In the city's old downtown area, you can find several mercados, pananaderias y restaurantes. Of course, this is where I went searching for pork tamales! 

I found them at Sanchez Plaza, a local, family-owned restaurant that I hadn't frequented before. The whole menu was in Spanish so I was extremely happy to practice my Spanish and translate the menu for my parents.

The restaurant is located at 212 S. Wheeler St.
 The pork tamales were delicious and served with the typical Spanish rice and refried beans.

I also ordered the chicken tortilla soup, which had a flavorful and peppery broth. The bowl was like a meal in itself for only $5!

My dad ordered the carne asadero - which I think was a grilled flat-iron steak.

 My mom ordered the chicken quesadillas.

The restaurant is attached to a small bakery and store that specializes in imported Latino products. I  bought several cans of chipotle peppers and several kinds of ground chilies to take back with me to Istanbul.

Another favorite restaurant that I visit every time when I'm home is The Plainsman in Juanita, Nebr. - about a 30 minute drive away. I discovered this little family-owned gem while I was working at the newspaper in Hastings during college.

On Saturday nights, the restaurant offers a prime rib buffet. I had just eaten a steak dinner the previous night so I couldn't wait to sink my teeth into a pink slab of prime rib!

The prime rib is carved to order.

I selected the cheesy potatoes and pasta casserole to go with my prime rib.

What I also love about The Plainsman is a covered wagon that takes centerstage and holds the all-you-can-eat salad bar! Only in Nebraska will you probably find something like this, but that's what I enjoy about it too!

By the time Sunday rolled around, I had enjoyed my fill of beef and Mexican food so now I wanted to start on my pork binge. I met up with two college girlfriends in Omaha and we went to Charleston's Restaurant for dinner and drinks. (This name is similar to the restaurant I worked at in Baltimore called Charleston, but they serve completely different cuisines.)

This casual restaurant dishes up a menu full of American classics such as cheeseburgers, prime rib sandwiches, chicken fried steak and more. 

Grilled pork chops with smokehouse baked beans and creamy mashed potatoes.
So far my U.S. trip has been full of laughter, family, friendship and good eats!

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