Tuesday, September 19, 2017

#156 Try Deep Fried Alligator

Last summer my daughter and I went on a road trip. We didn't go far. We drove a few towns over and visited Centrailia and Knoebel's Grove. Okay, so we were searching for Pokemon and Knoebel's had tons of monuments. We were hoping to hit the mother lode of pokeballs and maybe catch some rare Pokemon in the process. Whatever. We all have our guilty pleasures. I only played the game for a short time but had a lot of fun doing so.

The Knoebel's Bridge
Anyway, little did I know in my quest to find Pokemon that I would also have an opportunity to accomplish another item on my Bucket List. While walking around Knoebel's feeling very frustrated because the Pokemon server was down, we decided to have lunch. Knoebel's has an international cafe near the Phoenix roller coaster with some very good food. As we made our way over, I noticed a big green Alligator sign. There was an opening where you could stick your head through to take a picture. Above the opening were the words "Gator Bites".

GTFO!! I did not know Knoebel's offered Alligator Bites. Then again, it had probably been about  6-7 years since I had last visited Knoebel's. My decision was made. I was so much going to order Alligator Bites. My daughter was not nearly as excited as I was for the opportunity to try Alligator and decided to order Mexican instead. She headed over to the Mexico counter while I headed towards the World counter.

While standing in line at the World Cuisine counter waiting for my turn to order, I noticed a food item for sale called Zombie Fries. Whoa! I love Zombies and I love fries. I felt very strongly that Zombie Fries would be the perfect companion for my Gator Bites. I placed my order for bites and fries, grabbed my receipt and found a table. Patiently, I waited for my number to be called. As soon as I heard it, I jumped up with excitement. As I retrieved my tray, I examined the bites closely. They were really dark brown. They looked a little burnt to be honest. Oh well. Maybe they are supposed to be cooked that way.

Alligator Bites and Zombie Fries

Nervously I brought the first alligator bite to my mouth. I took a bite, apprehensive about the flavor. As I began chewing, the texture struck me as that of lobster or shrimp. As for the taste, everyone who has tried alligator has always stated that it tastes just like chicken, and it does, to an extent. They definitely did not have a fishy flavor to them, but the chicken flavor was very mild. To be honest, they didn't have much flavor at all. The only flavor I was really pulling from the bites was from the breading.

I struggled to eat them. Not because they tasted bad. They did not. I struggled because they were playing tricks on my mind. My brain did not know how to process alligator. Here was this food with the texture of a lobster but the flavor of bread crumbs and chicken. It was kind of trippy. I started dipping the alligator bites in ranch dressing hoping it would help my brain digest this food. The ranch helped a little but I was still tripping out.

I managed to eat maybe four or five bites before my stomach said enough. This rarely happens to me but once in awhile I will try something that just messes with my head too much and my stomach decides it wants nothing more to do with it. This happened years ago when I tried the Thai dish, Pad See Aew. It tasted good but my brain told my stomach to get nauseous because the flavor and the texture were too freaky to comprehend.

I took some solace in my Zombie Fries. They were fantastic. Battered, deep fried strips of onions and jalapenos were definitely not trippy to me. They were amazing! They also came with the bloomin' onion dip that I love so much. After I felt satiated and my daughter finished her meal, we headed back out in search of pokemon. Unfortunately the server was still down. Zoinks! I was not gonna catch them all, after all.

In closing, I will probably pass on trying alligator ever again. I promise, they are not awful, they are just weird. Also, this experience will not deter me from trying new cuisines. I have a broad and adventurous palette. I am always discovering new foods and fusions that I absolutely adore. Sometimes a food I am not too fond of becomes magical when combined with other ingredients. It's all about taking chances and in the food arena, I am always down!


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