So, I’m curious, how do you all feel about eating out at a restaurant…alone?
And, no, dining on chips and salsa and a margarita at the airport’s Chili’s Too amongst tons of other solo travelers doesn’t count. (Not that, ahem, it’s my tradition to make that happen every time I fly or anything.) No, I’m talking about full-on just going to a regular restaurant on a regular Tuesday night, grabbing a seat at the bar or a table for one, and enjoying a meal on your own.
Awkward? Empowering? NBD? No way, Jose?
I’d say that I probably answer “yes” to all of the above. I’ve tried it dining out alone a handful of times. And while occasionally I get lucky and end up sitting at a bar with cool people, or find myself getting totally lost in a good book or (ahem) playing on my phone, the vast majority of the time I would rather have a friend along to eat with…or just grab take-out and eat at home. Some of my friends totally love it. But meh, I’ve made my peace with the fact that there are plenty of other ways I’d like to spend my awkwardness or empowered-ness. ;)
However. While Kathryne was out of town for two days during our stay in Austin last month, I decided to bite the bullet and hit up some restaurants and venues that were left on our bucket list…solo. I could have called up a few friends, but I had a random list of places to hit, so decided to just venture out on my own. And while I’m in no hurry to do it again soon, I have to admit that it was surprisingly fun. I definitely got lucky sitting down at a few places next to some really friendly, cool people, which was awesome. And at the one restaurant where I was feeling super-introverted, I decided to whip out my book, which actually had the opposite effect and ended up sparking this long conversation about Donald Miller with the bartender and people around me. The other fun perk of eating out on my own?
I ordered the most scrumptious bowl of shishito peppers…and didn’t have to share.
All. Mine. :)
Actually, I ordered shishito peppers three different times while we were in Austin. And I swear that they turn me into this guy:
(“Ali doesn’t share shishito peppers!!!”)
Ok, ok, I work very hard to share when they are served. But if were up to me, I would happily eat an entire batch anytime I’m around them.
Well, of course, the good news is that I no longer have to go out (on my own) to make this happen, because guess what I spotted at Trader Joe’s last week?
Boom. Shishito time.
If you are new to the shishito pepper craze, don’t freak out at their spicy-good-looks. They are actually incredibly mild, sweet, thin little peppers. And once they are blistered and charred, they turn into the most irresistible soft and smoky little treats.
For my first batch, I decided to go the Asian route and toss them with some sesame oil, sesame seeds and a hint of salt and pepper for seasoning. Super simple, but trust me, it’s all you need.
Just saute them in some high-heat-safe oil until they get nice and charred, seasoning them with salt and pepper along the way. (Note: the peppers first turn a light shade of brown, then blacken the longer they sit directly on the heat, which is what you want.) Then once they’re done, toss them in the sesame oil, soy sauce, and sesame seeds.
And literally in just about 5 minutes, these guys will be cooked and wilted and perfect for snacking. Feel free to tinker with the seasonings if you’d like. (And if you happen to have some fancy salts at home, this is a perfect time to use them!)
Just BE PREPARED. You may very well want to eat the entire batch. :)
This Easy Sesame Shishito Peppers recipe is quick and easy to make, naturally vegan and gluten-free, and absolutely irresistible as an appetizer or snack.
2 teaspoons canola or vegetable oil (*or any high-heat cooking oil)
6 ounces shishito peppers
sea salt and freshly-cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce (or gluten-free tamari if making this recipe GF)
1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
Heat a heavy-bottomed saute pan or cast iron pan over high heat for a few minutes until it is hot. Add canola oil and shishito peppers and season with a generous pinch of salt and black pepper. Immediately toss to combine. Then saute for 3-4 minutes, tossing every 45 seconds or so, until the peppers are mostly charred (blistered) on all sides. Remove from heat and transfer the peppers to a serving bowl. Toss with sesame oil and soy sauce (or tamari) until the peppers are evenly coated, then sprinkle with sesame seeds.
I had these once at a restaurant and loved them. Can’t wait to hit up Trader Joe’s and make my own! Quick question: the ingredient list calls for soy sauce, but the recipe doesn’t suggest where to use it. Would you recommend adding it with the sesame oil? Or is it for dipping? Thank you!
I’ve always wanted to go out to eat alone, since the hubby doesn’t want to eat the same things as me, but I was always like “THA TIS SO WEIRD.”
BUT, the whole “not sharing my food” thang is REALLY making me think that maybe I need to change that,
And these peppers? I’ve never tried a shishito pepper, but that sesame combo sounds BOMB. Pinned!
We ate these peppers in Park City last week – so freaking good!!! I’m counting down the days until we get a Trader Joe’s this spring so I can buy them. As for eating alone, this is going to sound super cliche but now that I have kids I absolutely LOVE eating alone – lol. There is something so magical about being able to finish a plate of food while it’s still hot. :-)
What an awesome snack! I need to see if my Trader Joe’s has shishitos!
I secretly LOVE eating alone! Granted, I’m not sure I’ve actually eaten alone at a full service restaurant, but at fast casual places where you order at the counter and they bring your food to the table, I adore it. It gives me a chance to catch up on a good book and not worry about carrying on a conversation.
SO happy TJ’s has these! And even happier I now know how to cook them. Let the snacking commence!!
Amanda, toss the blackened peppers in the soy sauce, sesame oil, then the seeds.
These peppers look splendid. And honestly, I don’t want to eat alone because I just think food is for the experience, talking and everything. I’d have a hard time eating out alone so good for you! Now as for seeing a movie alone, I’m in!
Sesame seeds & oil sound like an amazing addition to the basic blistered shisito! I’m definitely going to give this a try when our CSA starts giving us pints of peppers (in 6 months or so, ha).
No, I’ve never had them, but they look freakin’ fantastic! And, guess what? I have a Trader Joe’s in my city! Yahoo…next stop, Trader Joe’s! Pinning!
These look fabulous! So tasty!
What a fun snack idea & I love shopping at Traders!
What a fun snack idea & I love shopping at Traders Joe’s!
Went out of town this past weekend. Ate in two different restaurants by myself. I found the waitstaff to be highly accommodating, easing the stigma of dining alone. There is a difference in being alone or lonely.
These look incredible. Now I need to get my hands on these peppers!
This is such an creative recipe! I am going to try these peppers ASAP!
I have never heard of these before, but now I am dying to try them! Are they Japanese? I lived in Japan and never had anything like this!
Can’t wait to make these!!!
Ooh, these look incredible! Just my kind of savoury snack.
I really love eating alone in restaurants at lunch time and people-watching the heck out of the place. Dinner not so much (I always feel like I look as if I’ve been stood up!) but I think nothing of grabbing a table for one in the middle of the day.
Louise | Text, Pies and Videotape
What a great, easy recipe! I just made them tonight (ate them too quickly to take a picture!). Some of them were just perfect & delicious. Others were rather bitter. The bf had a really bitter one & wouldn’t try any others. More for me! Any idea what I could do to prevent the bitter taste??
Oh strange! I’m really not sure — sounds like there may have been some bad peppers in the batch? I know that their flavors can vary significantly due to size and ripeness. Sorry, I wish I could be more help!
I ate the entire bag.. No sharing! YUM
Aren’t they addicting?!
I love these things so much I decided to grow some this year. And now I have a recipe! Btw, they grow super fast!
Thanks, Sherilynne, and how cool that you are growing your own!
We planted these on a whim (my boyfriend seriously loves peppers – mostly hot) and they are producing quite a bit. I had literally never heard of them or had any idea how to serve. So excited to have a recipe idea!
Lesley, that’s so cool, we’re pretty obsessed with them! We hope you like these! :)
Thank you for posting this! We have a few Shishito plants and I have pickled some, stuffed some, but this was delicious! Will definitely plant more next year!
Molli, we’re so glad you enjoyed the recipe — aren’t shishitos the best?! So cool that you’ve tried pickled and stuffed, we’ll have to try that as well! :)
Hi — these do taste terrific. One note though: Soy sauce is brewed with wheat and does contain gluten. Substitute GF tamari for a gluten free snack. THANKS!
Ah, I forgot to mention the GF tamari alternative. You’re totally right — thank you!
I bought some shishito peppers from a nearby farm stand and used your recipe. Came together in less than 10 minutes and everyone loved them. My friends loved the sesame flavor. I used a gluten free teriyaki sauce and the subtle sweetness rounded out the amazing flavors. Thanks for sharing!
That’s so cool, we bet those were the best shishitos ever! We’re glad to hear you and your friends enjoyed the recipe! :)
Oh.My.Goodness. I LOVE padron peppers, and they are hard to find, so I am thrilled that “TJ’s” sells these! They are on my list! I think it is a great idea to have a “yours” and “my” favorites lists! Oh, and unless we decide to share BEFORE we order, I don’t share food, either, and don’t use your personal utensils on the shared food, or all sharing is off.
Us too, we hope you enjoy these! :)
Had these at the Fish Company in Los Al, CA…I did not want to share:)!
Yes, we’re obsessed with them! :D
Trust me when I tell you…. they are AMAZING served with sriracha mayo dip! OMGAWD!!!! First had them served this way in a sushi joint as a free appetizer and have been hooked ever since. In fact, we actually bought seeds for these peppers online so we could grow our own and have them whenever they want, since they can be difficult to locate on occasion. Now that TJ’s has them, that might not be a problem.
Anyway, you just made me hella hungry! :o)
Thanks for sharing, Sandi, we’re so happy you loved them, and that sriracha mayo dip sounds amazing! :)
LOVE shishito peppers! Love the recipe. I make a variation that’s blistered and then sprinkled with a 2:1 ratio of brown sugar and smoked sea salt.
I think I’m like you and could eat the whole batch of any of these myself! Yummm.
I just recently tried Shishito peppers,cooking them as you suggested. I was so taken with these little beauties I started playing with other ways to make them. One of the ways was to cut the stem end off and stuff them with “Little Smokies “, a small sausage. Oven baked for about 1/2 hr @ 350. Color is more important than time. Just roast till the pepper skins are charred. Excellent with course mustard or horseradish. Just a little tip; shop at your nearest Asian market if you have trouble finding these.
They were amazing and so easy to make. Just making FYI, shishito’s are sold at most Asian markets not just Trader Joe’s