Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Many Forms of Etcetera

“The one-word spelling ‘etcetera’ is commonly used and is accepted as correct by many dictionaries. It is also sometimes spelled et caetera, et coetera or et cœtera and is usually abbreviated to etc. or &c. Archaic abbreviations, most commonly used in legislation, notations for mathematics or qualifications, include &/c., &e., &ct., and &ca…

“In the 1956 film The King and I, Yul Brynner, who played King Mongkut of Siam, repeatedly used the phrase, ‘...et cetera, et cetera, et cetera...’, to characterize the King as wanting to impress with his great knowledge of many things and his importance in not having to detail them. This was based upon the usage in the book Anna and the King of Siam which related the real king's playful interest in numerous things, with the phrase, ‘&c, &c’” (wikipedia.org).

And in Galveston they have a different form—Eatcetra—a small thirty-two seat (not counting the four sidewalk tables) café specializing in sandwiches, soups, and salads.
“Somehow this anchor of Galveston’s gallery district manages to be hip and comfortable at the same time. We applaud all the panini but keep returning to the applewood-smoked ham with fresh asparagus. One of the two inventive daily soups is always vegan, and even though we’re committed carnivores, we find the salad of endive, beluga lentils, quinoa, plum tomatoes, and arty curls of carrot and daikon crisply satisfying” (texasmonthly.com).

“One might credit her education in nutrition, her well-traveled background or her creative passion for the delectable and distinctive foods that Andrea Hunting, owner and head chef at Eatcetera produces, but it is a combination of the three that has led to her success in the industry.

“Born and raised in Germany, Hunting has led a life that any person with an affinity for food would be envious of. She graduated from college with a major in nutrition…. (T)his was the perfect time to get involved in the industry because Germany was just beginning to realize that healthy food was possible. In 1983 Hunting moved to New York.... She was intrigued by Little Italy and Chinatown and the local grocers that are so common in the big city. Although she had travelled throughout Europe and experienced a wide variety of cuisines, she was amazed that they could all be found in one city like New York. Discovering new ingredients and having access to different dishes has influenced Hunting’s cooking to this day…” (Alyssa Jaisle at theislandermagazine.com).

The restaurant’s interior was spare and bright and the walls were hung with modern prints/paintings.

Chuck and I disagreed about the figure represented in this one.
He thought that it looked like George Jetson, while I thought it looked more like Mr. Magoo.

Hanging over the counter were these objects that reminded me of the catalpa tree’s seed pods.

And one wall displayed an interesting collection of CD’s ranging from African Blues, Acoustic Arabia, Asian Groove, Afro-Latin Party, Vintage France, along with music from Italy, Brazil, and Cuba.
Next to these was a collection of books that included one of photos of manhole covers. (If Chuck starts photographing manholes you’ll know where he got the idea.) And higher on the wall was an assortment of travel coffee presses for sale.

The meal started with a complimentary small cup of a rich and creamy bleu cheese spread with panini bread toasts.
Chuck has no fondness for bleu cheese, so I anticipated having this all to myself. But then, drat, he took a taste, looked over the table at me, and said “Why haven’t you told me how good bleu cheese is?” No fool I. Wanting to encourage the culinary adventurousness, I came home and immediately Googled a similar recipe, which is now a fixture with salad for supper. Compliments of Gary Hancq at justapinch.com, this simple recipe calls for one eight ounce package cream cheese, one-half to two-thirds stick butter, and two to four ounces bleu cheese. Soften all to room temperature and combine in a food processor until smooth.

The two soups that day were gazpacho and black bean. I ordered the black bean which was artistically decorated with a cilantro cream.
It was unlike any black bean soup I have eaten. It was spicy and had a distinct sharpness that I couldn’t identify. But it was delicious.

Chuck ordered the gazpacho which was a slightly chunky puree of tomatoes and other vegetables.
Normally, I can’t get Chuck to eat a cucumber under any circumstances other than in gazpacho and only then when used with discretion. Fortunately, Eatcetera was discrete.

We both ordered sandwiches. And here he threw out another surprise. We had been watching Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa) on Food Network. She had been doing something with asparagus, and thus he was inspired to order the panini with applewood smoked ham, gruyere cheese, and asparagus.
The roll reminded me of the ones used for Cubano sandwiches and had been pressed to a thin crispness. And the asparagus was still crisp with what I can only describe as a “green” taste.

I ordered the Thai Beef sandwich with thin sliced medium-rare roast beef, carrots, daikon radish, cucumber, sriracha mayo, cilantro, and sesame dressing.
I saw this as Eatcetera’s take on the classic Vietnamese bahn mi made on bread similar to a French baguette that is a legacy of France’s occupation of Vietnam.

And we finished with the “dessert of the day”—a pear tart.
Sliced pears sat on a rich and crisp pastry and were accompanied by a large scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. This wasn’t overly sweet and the pears were still semi-crisp.

I can see why this amazing small café is ranked as the number seventeen restaurant in Galveston at tripadvisor.com and we concur with the accolades by awarding 5.0 Addies.

To review the role of Adler, Kitty Humbug, and the Addie rating system, read the November 14, 2011 blog.