I could never understand the appeal of corned beef hash when I was younger. My Mom loved it, as did my grandmother. It must be an Irish thing. I can remember them making it on random occasions because when they did, they would break out the grinder which was a cast iron device that must be well over 100 years old now. It would attach to the edge of the table. You would feed corned beef into one end, turn the hand crank and the ground corned beef would pop out the business end. Naturally as a curious kid, you’d want a turn at the crank. The sound of meat grinding has a very distinct squishing sound and watching it push through the grinder gives you that same satisfying appeal that you get from watching zits pop. The grinder would get the corned beef finely chopped up which when added to a pan with onions and potatoes, a nice hash could be created. I never much liked it though. Corned beef was too extravagant for me – I was kind of a plain burger kind of kid back then. My mom still has the grinder somewhere in her kitchen cabinets and will use it sometimes to make her famous bologna and pickle combination. That’s still gross to me, but I do hope when the time comes, I am the lucky child that gets willed the grinder. I can’t imagine my brother or sister putting up much of a fight for it.
Corned Beef Hash was a taste I acquired in my adulthood when I came to the realization that corned beef is delicious and why wouldn’t cooking it with potatoes and onions be more delicious? Somewhere along the line, I ordered it at some breakfast joint and a fan was born. It has been my go to breakfast order ever since as either a nice side with some over-easy eggs or in an omelette. Hash seems to taste better from a breakfast place because they cook it right on the flattop, so the outside gets nice and crispy while the inside stays moist and tasty. Whenever I order it, I’ll ask Lola if she wants a taste. She used to always says no thanks with a “that looks like Alpo” comment. Recently though, she has been joining the party. However when she goes for hash, it has to be a good one, maybe made with local chouriço or some good fresh herbs. She’s not much of a fan of breakfast joint quality hash, but I am, so that’s why I went to get some today by myself.
I went to a local breakfast place called Foodworks which is less than a mile away. Foodworks has always served some good meals and they serve an excellent Portuguese Sailor sandwich which is an egg and cheese sandwich with chouriço served on a grilled sweet bread. While it’s not as good as the one Our Tina makes, it’s still a great time. I sat down at a booth and the server brought me the menu right away. While it wasn’t on the menu, I asked if they could make a Corned Beef Hash and cheese omelette for me and they were happy to oblige. I also ordered a chocolate milk because today is National Chocolate Milk Day too. I think this was the first time I have ordered a chocolate milk from anyone since I ordered it from the lunch lady in the 3rd grade.
Breakfast places amaze me because when you catch them on off peak hours, your food comes out blazing hot in less than three minutes. That’s what happened today and I was glad. Whenever you are at a restaurant by yourself, you appreciate getting your food fast. The chocolate milk came out lickety-split too and it was ice cold. I’m not much of a fan of chocolate milk or milk in general. I’m not sure what happened because my entire childhood I had a glass of milk with dinner, but now the thought of gulping milk is gross to me. But it was the holiday, so I went with the chocolate milk and I will say I was pleasantly surprised. The folks at Hershey have been working hard at getting this down and it shows. It tasted like a melted milkshake which I suppose is a good thing. Still, given my druthers, I would have preferred a nice latte as my accompaniment.
The omelette was great too. The taste of the corned beef really came through and it made for a nice balance with the eggs and cheese. For my bread choice I opted for a grilled English Muffin which I highly recommend. I feel like that’s a secret more people should know about and take advantage of. I used the muffin sparingly making sure I saved some so I would have a piece for my last bite of omelette. There’s a lot of things about this meal that made me happy. First, I love going out for breakfast – I’m kind of a breakfast fiend. I’m not sure why, but there’s something about the variety of options you get at breakfast (sweet to savory), the low-key atmosphere and the readily available bacon that just makes it my favorite meal to go out for. Second, the hash was as good as I had expected. I don’t think hash is the signature offering of Foodworks, but it’s always a good indication of the quality of the restaurant if they can do hash right. They do. I was in and out probably within a half hour which was perfect. I left with a full belly and a happy heart.
The cons of a nice corned beef hash breakfast is it puts you in a food coma. When I got home, a five minute drive, I had to lie down. The other negative is that when you leave a good breakfast place, your clothes smell like breakfast, so before I could lie down, I had to change my clothes. But all in all, if your only complaint is you had to lie down and change your shirt, I would say that you had a pretty good celebration, and I did.
Today is also my sister’s birthday which seems almost appropriate to fall on Chocolate Milk Day. She was always a big fan of chocolate milk growing up, scooping spoonfuls of Nestle’s Quik into her milk so it would get good and dark. I seem to recall her having it every morning with her cinnamon toast. She told me today that she hasn’t had it in a long, long time which surprised me (although I suppose we all have an age limit on how much chocolate milk we drink). Her son Zack however texted me a picture of his afternoon snack: some fresh chocolate milk. That made me smile because one, it’s nice to have your nephew text you random pictures of chocolate milk and two, because he is joining in the celebration. Zack and MB have been on board for this celebration thing from the very beginning! So I hope MB was able to celebrate her day in style – she deserves a most happy birthday. Maybe she celebrated with a nice cake of corned beef hash?
Next Up: National Drink Beer Day