FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Wanda A. Adams
For 20 years, I lived in the Seattle area and often enjoyed meals at the eateries under the umbrella of Restaurants Unlimited, which then included Latitude 47 and a British-style pub called Klingerdagger, Bickerstaff and Pett's (I am not making this name up — and both of these are long gone), a Kincaid's, perhaps a Ryan's Grill, I can't recall (they also later invented Palomino Eurobistro, which, though it's gone in Honolulu, prospers in its original Seattle location). Founder Rick Komen and "RU," as Restaurants Unlimited is known in the business, were renowned for changing concepts more often than other restaurant chains, and closely tracking trends.
They were, and are, also renowned for the Three-Salad Sampler, which has varied over the years but pretty much always included some form of Maytag blue cheese mixture and a crunchy pea combo that has long been one of my favorites. Truth to tell, peas are one of those refined carbohydrates that might as well be a teaspoonful of refined sugar, and the ingredients in this salad (onion, bacon, water chestnuts, mayonnaise and sour cream) really aren't much help from a health perspective. Still, as one who long shunned things green, it was one of the few salads I ordered routinely.
In response to the request, I got numerous versions from readers. Here's the one I think comes closest to the original (which is not routinely given out by the restaurant).
KINCAID'S-STYLE PEA SALAD
Blend together mayonnaise, sour cream, salt and pepper to make dressing. Combine peas, snow peas, water chestnuts, red onion and bacon with dressing until ingredients are well coated. Transfer to a flat container. Refrigerate at least 24 hours before serving. Stir twice to redistribute dressing. Serve within two days.
Makes 8-10 servings.
One e-mailer, Michele (no last name given), who said she got her version from a Ryan's employee a long time ago, said you have to use bacon bits, preferably Hormel's brand — not real cooked bacon. "You'd think it would be better, but it doesn't work," she wrote. Jan Hagashi of Hilo sent in a version made with green onions (1/4 cup) and a cup of celery and using ranch dressing in place of mayonnaise.
I'm off to help cater my stepdaughter's wedding, so you may not see a local story from me for a couple of weeks, but wish me joy on a happy occasion, and I'll see what yummy recipes I can find in Alaska, where the event will take place.
Send recipes and queries to Wanda A. Adams, Food Editor, Honolulu Advertiser, P.O. Box 3110, Honolulu, HI 96802. Fax: 525-8055. E-mail: email@example.com.
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