Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Highlight Two: Foods

When it comes to lifestyle,
It also comes to styles of eating.

So I guess you figured out already what this post is all about:
Foods I tried in the US.

American Authentic // Diners and Street Eats
I must admit, we visited like, thousands of diners while visiting US. Let's start mentioning! Crown Diner near Yankee's Stadium -the sunny side up was the best, The Diner in Adams Morgan -I ordered a turkey platter but my thumbs go to their mashed potatoes, Artie's by the Upper West Side, 82 Cafe, another one named The Diner in Meatpacking District -first time eating the genuine grilled cheese, oh Lord! But the best one was Boar's Head in Staten Island. I don't know, the place was good, the Filipino waitress was nice, the bacon--TURKEY bacon was top notch, it all just blended too well.

On the left is Crown Diner, I was so excited because that's the first diner experience,
and on the right is the meals served by Boar's Head.

And yaaa, we also spent much dollar on street foods. You know, sometimes we need to secure our money just to shop more HAHA. But it didn't necessarily mean that the foods weren't the best choices. We tried both American and Arabian street foods. The gyro, cheeseburger, wraps, lamb and chicken over rice... Sometimes they tasted boring but, I missed them :(

The authentic street-made cheeseburger and chicken gyro

Asian Delight // Spice and Ollie's
Some other night, a local friend wanted to meet me over dinner at some Thai restaurant. She's Vietnamese and was longing for some Asian spices so, Spice it was. I liked the restaurant. No lights, just candle-lighted. I didn't really read the menu -because it was dark anyway- so I ordered some, I don't know, weird sweet chicken and sticky rice. It turned out that sticky rice is fvckin LEMPER in Indonesian. Worst dinner ever, since I have to pay like $14 and didn't manage to finish my food. But well, at least the place was good.

Near Columbia University, there's this Chinese restaurant where students usually dined in. The girls and I kinda liked the place. Also the food. I once ate some chicken rice with spinach, and share-ordered a big bowl of noodle soup on the other day. The best meal? Was the pan-fried dumplings. I'm telling you, if they apparently double the price of the dumplings, I don't care and will still buy it anyway.

Italian Regale // Sofia's and Eataly
Well, we only ordered one big plate of pizza for the four of us. It wasn't that remarkable, but this Sofia's restaurant was in Little Italy area. And the area, was too damn cozy. It was more like blocks of restaurants in Europe with people hanging around with their friends, chatting and laughing, sitting in front of the building, seeing others walking down the streets checking out each restaurants' menus... Delightful.

Another Italian experience I had was Eataly in Flatiron District. It wasn't just a restaurant, but also a market. Too bad when I came down there, the place was so full that I could only bought a raspberry sorbet. Now about the sorbet. Okay imagine this. The weather was kinda hot. Hot enough that on that day, we actually went to Coney Island and had a brightful beachy experience, and the sour-fresh-berry sensation could actually made my day. Get it? No? Well that's simply because I can't describe how tasteful that sorbet was.

Mid Eastern Feast // Ilili
Just when I was on my mood to spend more money and try some fine dining experience, another local friend of mine asked me to go with him to this Mediterranean restaurant. First step in, some Arabic music welcomed me. Some Arabic scent rushed into my nose. And some Arabic menu confused my mind. Okay, do you know moujadara, tabbouleh, shawarma, atayef, and mouhamara?? Yea he ordered them all.

Now though I had no idea what the hell those were, I actually enjoyed everything. Turned out that those foods, are small bites called mezza. Some kind of appetizers I guess -but since we ordered like six different appetizers and better yet, it was all American people's portion, so I considered those as full main course. The unique part was, those foods could be eaten all together because the rule is
"There's no exact way of eating these,
Mix everything with everything else."
Mexican Fiesta // Chipotle
Along the trip in US, I saw like many times, people wandering around the streets, bringing this huge paper bag with name "Chipotle" written on it. Finally I knew that it was some kind of Mexican fast food restaurant but I never get the chance to try one. So on my last day, before going back to the hotel to get the girls and grab our luggage before heading back to JFK, I stopped by and got a spicy chicken burrito.

Oh my God, American tummies, they're seriously big. I ate this stuff for my early dinner -in the airport, yes, and those girls just stood there doing nothing, it rushed me really. I was so hungry because I skipped lunch and that's why I bought this big sized burrito. But when I tried to finish it, still, I gave up.

Saturday Night Out // McGee's
While Ted, Barney, Robin, Marshall and Lily get together at MacLaren's, Vicky, Ammy, Salsa and Ami hang around McGee's. Lol yea. The place is where the series take place. Lol kidding. McGee's is the pub where MacLaren's was based on. So the shooting's not at all done at McGee's, but inside the building, you can always find all gimmicks related to HIMYM.

The food was so so. The margarita was the highlight of the night. What's the best was the fun times I spent with the girls. You know it was Saturday night. And the weather was totally splendid. We laughed, we did stupid stuff, honestly we always do that the whole trip but I don't know, what we did at McGee's, it felt kinda different. Guess I just realized I love hanging out with them so much.

Drink Spots // Domain and Serendipity
As a part of MUN agenda, I was invited to Domain Bar to attend the head delegates social night. It was a new place. Small yet cozy, but the best thing was the open bar. Got some cranberry water and joyed myself near the snack buffet. Now aside all those chips, tortillas, nachos and any other snacks served upon the table, my favorite one was the goat cheese. Red drink and goat cheese, and the attire was my slim fit formal suit. Feelin like a fancy gentleman, eh?

Another noted place for drink that I paid a visit was the place where the famous frozen hot chocolate originates: Serendipity. In NY, it was seriously that famous that we had to wait to be seated just to taste two big bowls of frozen hot chocolate and a plate of apple pie for four of us. Worth it? Of course. Until we visited DC and spotted another Serendipity, where people didn't really have to take queue for drinking. Still thinking it was worth waiting in NY? Ha-ha we just laughed in bitterness and left.

Small Bites // Nathan's and Georgetown Cupcake
Okay so I mentioned visiting Coney Island. It was bright, sky was clear, the best food I could ever had was something small and chunky. So I bought a mini box of melted-cheese potato and a freaking ice cold strawberry lemonade -God, the drink came down straight from heaven! Oh did I say I had a mini box? Hm. Yea I didn't finish it. Americans and their gigantic portion.

While in DC, the girls dragged me to Georgetown cupcake. Naaa I'm not a cupcake kinda guy, but hey at least I stepped my ass on that worldwide famous cupcake store. But don't worry, I still tried the cake anyway.

Home Savored Meals
There were foods I bought outside, there were also foods I ate indoor, like a local citizen. Peanut butter and jelly for breakfast, taken away Chinese food from Ollie's -I've always wanted to feel how it is like eating Chinese food from a box like Monica Geller and Sheldon Cooper had always done, frozen pizza-in-a-box, frozen bowled fried noodle, and, delivered Cuban meal.

Okay for the last mentioned meal. I was invited by my local friends to have some Cuban dinner over their apartment. Dumb stuff was, I came late and the feast was over. The food entered the fridge already so they had to heat it up for me. *ting!* the microwave said, and there goes my leftover roasted meat with red bean sauced rice. And guess what. That was the best cold meal I ever eaten. The roast meat was still so juicy and tender, and the salad was still fresh. Those Cuban cooks made their meals with heart, I'm sure.

No matter how great the foods were and how fancy the restaurants looked, to be honest, the best culinary experience came from the last category.

You can always do fine dining everywhere.
You can always have someone cook for you, or serve you, everywhere.
You can always eat what you see in some restaurant, at some other restaurants everywhere.

But to eat like locals,
To eat what locals eat,
Not everybody can, want,
And will ever do that sincerely.


I'm so proud of myself,
For being a semi local traveler

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