Tag Archives: traveling

Repost: Put A Egg On It’s Cake Project

27 Jan
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Photo by Sarah Frances Keough

In the middle of this nasty New York winter storm, I’m reading like Hermione Granger and missing the warmth of the South more than ever. I’m particularly pining for my trip to New Orleans with Put a Egg On It, which taught me more about cocktail making and my own passion for food than any old stack of books. Read up on how people party in the Crescent City.

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Setting the Record Straight on American Barbecue

13 Jun

This is a pretty fantastic summary of regional differences in Southeastern American barbecue. Even if it’s dramatically tipped in the favor of Texas. The Carolinas still have the best sauce.

BBQ Regional Map

Via Vox, where there are 40 other fantastic infographics and maps about American food.

Like this one about the density of Waffle House restaurants:

Waffle House Density Index

All Hands On 2014

10 Jan

“To cook is to lay hands on the body of the world”-John Thorne, Simple Cooking.

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Photo by Landon Nordeman

I shotgunned this photo on my Reagan-era camera phone during a very late shift at Bouchon. I’m sorry it looks like it’s coated in Vaseline.

This photo, hanging in the pastry kitchen, was an inspiration and an invitation. Taken at what’s considered the clasique-est of Parisian bistros, L’Ami Louis, it’s complete excess. The chef is buckling a little under those pommes frites. You can see it in his face, along with this boyish smirk. Like a kid who’s bringing home a squirrel to keep as a pet, or the little boy who’s snuck one too many cookies from the cookie jar. Complete abandon, much like this sound-as-a-pound man painted by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

"M Boileau Au Cafe"

“M Boileau Au Cafe”

I love this guy. He’s stopping himself from loosening his pants long enough to smile for a painting, his eyes glazed with contentment. I don’t know what he had, but it had to have been good. My roommate and I had this hanging in our own kitchen during senior year of college as a reminder to cook awesomely.

As the first week of 2014 is over and gone, I’ve been reflecting on last year and finalizing my resolutions. I’d like to keep this quotation and photograph in mind. Yoga often stresses an intention, something to keep in mind to maintain focus, and the quotation could be a great guide as 2014 progresses. There are many hand-fulls of new dishes to try and places to see, so while January is a time of doldrums and diet cleanses, it’s as good of a time as ever to lay hands on the world. Time to get cooking.

A Game of Death

15 Mar
Going for a spin

Going for a spin

South Carolina’s pollen layers (a-choo!) means spring’s here. Though I love my soups, it’s time to move on from the warm dishes. That means going out with a bang, an explosive one. Last week, I visited my friend Ryan in Cayce, South Carolina. Ryan loves all things with Asian cuisine, especially hot and spicy soups. His favorite kind is called a hot pot, an incendiary bowl of starches, spices, and flash-cooked proteins. After spending spring break sick and resting, a eye-opening pot of spicy broth and potential salmonella sounded amazing. Hot pot has all kinds of detox agents, healthy agents, and secret agents.

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S’Elmo

11 Feb

After two weeks, things are getting as smooth as a bossanova tune. I’m learning bus routes, which plazas have clowns, and how to order food.

While I may have had no idea which direction it was in when I arrived, San Telmo is a crucial part of bohemian Buenos Aires. Today was my first comfortable excursion to it.

While Recoleta may be the final burial ground for city dignitaries, San Telmo may be where the spirit of the city rests. Tango dances, guitar players, and craftsman selling feather earrings and colored signs pack the Plaza Dorrego, while the Mercado San Telmo is an indoor market selling enough of a variety to put any Wal-Mart to shame.

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Bite out of Boston, Number Two

30 Jul

With the experiences on Boston’s T being the rhythm and pulse of the trip, my friend Alex and I embarked on a conquest that the British failed in 1776. All summer, my friend Alex has been up in Boston suburb Arlington, so he’s got a discerning eye, and can tell the difference between North and South End.

Even so, we wandered aimlessly.

A lot.

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Fuera del Menu

29 Jun

Ordering “off of the menu” can be a gamble, or at least inspire a lot of head scratching.

You have to be able to explain on your feet, especially if the person taking your order thinks you’re from a different planet.

I got the you’re-sprouting-arms-not-hair-out-of-your-head look when ordering a “short, hot, Dirty Hippie” off the menu at a local Starbucks (Translation: a 8 oz., hot chai with a shot of espresso in it).

She might have thought I was asking for more than coffee though.

My trip to Plaza Fiesta, the only Latin American-themed mall in the country (and sometimes a lot like Las Vegas) was a trip as always. The store fronts are designed like Latino market buildings, and there is a lot of different sounds springing from the mall’s playplace. This ceiling high structure has a tangling network of tunnels, and if I was younger (and not 6’1″), it’d be fun to navigate.

I had read about La Poblanita, one of the restaurants in PF’s food court, and since I drive by the warehouse of food and playplaces, I thought I’d swing in and give it a whirl. Ordering food at an ethnic restaurant usually ends up in a flurry of questions that’d make Alex Trebek sweat. So after studying the menu like an electrical grid, I realized that an item was missing.  My confidence and course of plan shattered when I couldn’t see the dish I read about. After awkwardly conversing with the cashier, and a little stammering at the counter, I was, er, smoothly, on my way.

“Una taco de lengua?”

Tongue.

That’s right. In my marinating in Anthony Bourdain’s weird food sampling this summer, I thought I needed to go out and try some odd stuff myself.

Though available in whatever I wanted to put it in, lengua is nowhere on the food chart. I had some of my own reservations when the girl behind the counter told me she wasn’t a fan of it. At $1.75, any possible rancidity wasn’t a big concern. It’s not as shaky of an investment as Lehman Bros., but nevertheless, I was worried.

“Number 18? Un taco?”

The cook brought the taco to the silver counter and walked back to his line station. In a little paper tray, this rite of passage, the step beyond burritos de Taco Bell and into the dark underworld of Offal, sat. I got it with a sheet of cilantro, and radish disks came on top. I grabbed two different sauces (a rojo and verde), and moved along as a dad bought his daughter a more conservative Coke.

In my hovering by the counter and right by a construction worker, I realized something: It was actually pretty good.

Lengua is like a tender pot roast, with a little less moisture (ironic?). The red sauce was a lot stronger and saltier, so I didn’t use it much for the taco with sharp radishes and light lime and cilantro flavors.

The green sauce was a pleasant surprise. I’m used to tomatillo salsas that come in grocery store jars or from the bar at Moe’s, so something with kick like Bruce Lee made this different dish a little more different. The lime slice and radishes were excellent condiment additions since lettuce and tomato were gone.

I got a Tamarind flavored Jarritos soda to go along with the spicy and strange. There are at least eight varieties of these compulsively sweet carbonated beverages, but since I was already stepping out of my borders, I thought I’d go further and go for tamarind. A tamarind is a fruit grown on a tree, and the dried pulp is common in Indian and Mexican dishes. This concoction I had was like a fizzy apple cider with a lot of acidic tang. I was already a fan of the other varieties from this inexpensive brand, but Tamarindo might be my new poison.

La comida no fue conservador, pero yo disfruto y me sorprendio.

Maybe that’s how we can solve picky eating: make it a mysterious search.