Maypop-Hits and Misses

Since my last post about Maypop, I went twice more. Once for a quick bite and tried the Sweet Corn Tom Yum and their Bread Service. Starting this post off positively, the Tom Yum soup with egg noodles was a perfect blend of ingredients to make my mouth sing with pleasure. Not too filling, just perfect size for someone who isn’t too hungry. 

This would be my second time around trying the bread service. The first time didn’t impress me. But, perhaps it was a fluke, considering everything else was delicious. So, I tried again. Their bread was slightly different this time around because they added annatto seeds to the top. I am still not impressed. Come ‘on Maypop! Get it together! You are an award winning restaurant. I cannot believe you can’t get something as simple as bread to taste as heavenly as the rest of your food. 

I am sure many of you are wondering why I am fixated on their bread but for those of you who love this manna from the oven, it is the appetizer before the appetizer. It is the beginnings of a meal that sets the stage for what is to follow. It is the salvation for starving individuals who do not want to frighten off dinner guests with the rumblings of their empty bellies. It’s the Piece de Resistance that can make or break a sandwich. Side note *when I was deployed to Kuwait many moons ago, there was a bakery on the first floor of an office building that I had the fortune to be able to visit several times. This bakery created the most mouth-watering, decadent, handcrafted bread of many flavorful varieties. I would bring back to base several loaves for the rest of my crew. A slice of their volcano (cheese) bread with the homemade butter that was shipped to us was a Christmas morning miracle. So yes, bread, though it has developed a bad reputation on the food pyramid, is still a staple of the dinner menu for breadlovers around the world. 

The bread during this service was coated in so much oil and/or butter that it was oozing out when I pulled a piece off. This oleaginous mess coated my fingers, which then in turn collected a layer of annatto seeds that were shingled on top of the bread. Every bite resulted in the same messy fingers. I had to brush the seeds off my fingers after every bite, then wipe them on the napkin. I imagine there is a layer of annatto seeds littering the floors after nightly dinner service.

The next time I went to Maypop was for brunch with family and friends. Since there were four of us, we ordered several different menu items and ate tapas style. 

I didn’t imbibe on your typical brunch drink of choice. Instead, I tried the Café Hoodoo Sua Da which is expresso, hoodoo chickory liquor, and mole bitters. It is a frozen delicacy that is now probably my new favorite drink. Be forewarned, drinks that taste like dessert can be dangerous because the alcohol sneaks up on you!

For starters, we tried the pork and cane syrup sausage stuffed sesame balls, crispy calamari with tamarind fish sauce and Thai chili, “the Baodin” which is a pan fried, cheesy boudin bao bun with citrus mustard. These were the perfect blend of Asian meets New Orleans. We enjoyed the sesame balls so much we ordered it twice. 

Next we ordered the crispy fried oysters with bourbon barrel soy aioli, manchego cheese and spicy cucumber. I wasn’t sure what to expect from fried oysters, but the coating was delicate and it wasn’t greasy at all. The braised lamb made with harissa spice, coconut milk, fried egg, ginger marinated green tomatoes. It is presented in a serving dish with roti bread in accompaniment.  For me, lamb could go either way, super delicious or too gamey tasting. This lamb dish was superb. The roti bread, however, was not. The first time I ever came to Maypop, I had a different dish with roti bread and it was very good. This time, however, I was sorely disappointed. It had been sitting out under the heat lamp for too long and was hard. Roti is a type of bread that is meant to be used to pick up food and eat it. Can’t do that if the bread is too hard to even be folded in half. Maypop, you are not impressing me with your bread skills. 

We also ate some of the Head Cheese and Blue Crab soup dumplings. It is little dumplings with soup inside. Impressive, flavorful and honestly, I am running out of adjectives. That’s how delicious is the food. Now if they could just get on board with the bread, you’d have one happy camper here. 

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