My goal is to make you hungry
So this post won’t be overly smart… In fact I think I’m only writing it because I’m so damn hungry but I’m in bed and it seems completely ridiculous to get up and cook. The word ‘food’ is only one letter away from ‘good’ which in turn is only one letter away from ‘God’ therefore food is awesome. QED.
I recently spent 3 months in North America, mostly the USA but a couple of weeks in Canada. Watching the Superbowl last night made me reminisce about some of the excellent and almost all unhealthy food that I ate on my travels. As much as I loved the sites and people of the lands across the pond, the food was way more important. Here are some of the great things I had along the way:
New York City: Dos Toros Taqueria’s Burritos
The burrito was born in San Francisco, but these guys have done excellent things with it on the complete opposite site of the continent. Chipotle is good, and something I’d love to have in the UK, but it doesn’t come close to the brilliance of the burritos I enjoyed here. Also their hot sauce is probably the best I’ve ever had. Have a look at these tacos:
(picture from newyork.seriouseats.com)
Buffalo: The Anchor Bar’s wings
Another thing we really don’t do in the UK are wings. It’s insane. When it comes to sports, drinking with friends, friday nights, romantic first dates, wedding receptions, funeral buffets, wings can do the job. If you want wings that do more than ‘the job’ and you’re in Buffalo (just an aside, Buffalo is…well…boring, so wings are all it really has….and the Niagara Falls I guess) then you’ve got to head to the place chicken wings were invented. Yes you heard me, chickens did not have wings until the Anchor Bar genetically modified an entire species and gave them wings. Before this chickens were classed as reptiles. The best thing about the Anchor’s wing is the blue cheese sauce which is better than any competitor I’ve ever tried. Here’s what I had to eat the night I was there (3 of us couldn’t quite finish it and I’m still ashamed of myself for leaving some):
(taken by me in September 2011)
Washington DC: Five Guys Burgers
Wow, what a burger. Five Guys are the Mario Manningham catch from last night’s Superbowl of burgers. The concept is simple, order a burger and add as many toppings as are humanly possible for no extra cost. I never saw another Five Guys after I left DC, I’m pretty sure they are quite widespread but I couldn’t find them. Another thing, their jalapeno peppers are just so much spicier than anyone else’s, be warned. I can totally understand why this guy goes to Five Guys:
(from the Huff Post)
San Antonio: Chicken Fried Steak from LuLu’s (featured on Man vs Food)
Chicken fried what?! When I was first told about Chicken Fried Steak my brain went into shock. I ran through various ideas of what it could mean and couldn’t work it out. For me it epitomises Texan food, big, fried, battered, unhealthy, delicious. Rather than a weird chicken-ey steak which I thought it would be, it is actually just a massively tenderised steak, coated in Southern style batter and deep fried. Being Texas you generally get two gigantic side orders and a wallop of ‘country gravy’ which is an odd white sauce that tastes like chicken gravy, and you pay around $6. This is the most palatable picture that I can find, there’s some pretty messy looking ones out there on google images.
(picture from freeingmymartha.blogspot.com)
San Francisco: The salsa from Papalote
Papalote was made famous by beating Bobby Flay in his Throwdown show. I know their burritos SHOULD be better than the one I had in NYC, but for me, it actually came a close second. The salsa however was out of this world and I’ve a heartbreaking story to tell you about it. I was in Papalote for the last time, I was flying to LA the next day and knew I’d probably never be back. I decided that because of this I should be generous with my tip…WHAT A MISTAKE. Minutes after paying and leaving my tip I noticed that they had jars of the world’s best salsa for sale and it was $7. I counted the cash in my wallet and it came to…..$6.40. I’m not entirely certain what the etiquette is for walking to the tip jar and removing your tip but I’m pretty sure it is frowned upon. My stupid, idiotic generosity cost me dearly and I will forever lament the decision. A slight silver lining is that they post the salsa, but only to North American addresses…i’m sure that I’ll make some friends on WordPress and they’ll be willing to organise it so I get some!
(from the Papalote website. PS, where Meatloaf ‘won’t do that’ for love, I’ll do it for this salsa)
Halifax NS: Poutine from Alexandria’s Pizza
Poutine is a fancy French word for such a simple thing. Fries topped with mozzarella cheese and covered in gravy. Everything melts, the fries become soft, tangled together with cheese and saturated with gravy. I’ve had a lot of food when drunk in an attempt to ‘cure drunk’ but this is the best. Though it sounds pretty plain the fast food places have added so much variety, you can get almost any meat added to the Poutine and it makes things even better. I generally got my Poutine from Alexandria’s because they have won their fair share of poutinerie awards. I want this so badly right now:
(from the Alexandria’s pizza website)
And that’s it. Your journey from East to West and then North East again is over and chances are you’ve put on some weight. But it was so worth it.