Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Federal

Stuffed Meatloaf

Eating out at restaurants becomes more, well, let's say interesting when you have some sort of food restriction. Having no current food allergies (knock on wood), my diet is usually only curbed by my personal food preferences. Many people, though, are lactose intolerant or allergic to something in food (nuts, gluten, kiwi, berries, mushrooms, soy). One problem I was not anticipating for many more decades was my post-gum-surgery need to eat soft foods. So when you go to restaurants, anything you can't cut up (sandwiches) or that's too crunchy (including lettuce) is not in the realm of possibility. Luckily, when I went to visit The Federal on Main Street in Durham, among all of their delicious-sounding burgers, sandwiches and salads was the special seen above. The main dish is a flavorful meatloaf stuffed with mushrooms and coated with a honey-whole grain mustard mixture. Not only was this food sufficiently soft for my healing palette, but it was amazingly flavorful. The interplay of sweet and savory, tangy and earthy really astounded me. For side dishes, they served steamed broccoli (which, believe it or not, was a little too solid for me to eat) and macaroni and cheese prepared with basil. It's always a surprise when the addition of a single spice can help add so much depth, especially when paired with that juicy meatloaf. After such a good first experience at The Federal, I need to make sure I go back once I can tackle their more solid fare.

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