Our Year of Memorable Meals 2014
If an urgent need to buy new, bigger pants wasn’t enough of a clue, sorting through photos from the year was another clear indication that we have once more eaten very well in 2014. It was without a doubt another year of memorable meals. At the beginning of the year, we had a longer than usual period of “downtime” from our mobile marketing campaigns. We spent our time off visiting with friends and family, and taking a few side trips, including The Bahamas and Colombia. Our tour season began in May. This year, we drove a food truck filled with Nutella across the country and back, serving up and distributing delicious samples over 14,000 miles. During our limited time off during the tour, we were able to visit some great US food cities, and sample plenty of local specialties. Wrapping up in late October, we’ve spent the past 6 weeks or so back in our cycle of catching up with friends and family on Atlanta and Cape Cod, with an additional Thanksgiving trip to Ft. Collins, Colorado. We feel beyond fortunate to have spent another year of memorable travels and eats!
Conch Salad: Nassau, Bahamas
Just across the bridge that connects Paradise Island to the main island, Nassau is Potter’s Cay. This local market sells fresh fruits and vegetables, fish and some household items. Close to the main road, lining both sides of the space under the bridge are also a dozen or so small restaurants. You can easily find fish and chips, rice and peas and jerk chicken, but most of these shacks specialize in conch in one form or another. Visitors can choose from grilled conch, conch fritters, conch chowder, and our favorite, conch salad, or ceviche. This dish is prepared with raw conch mixed with onions, garlic, tomato and spices, “cooked” in lime or lemon juice. Some places add some orange as well. Each stall has its own special recipe, and each is unique.
Lobster Mac and Cheese: Cape Cod
My birthday was celebrated in style with seafood on Cape Cod at The Oyster Company in Dennis Port. Donny’s entree for the celebration was rich and creamy lobster mac and cheese with a (clearly) generous portion of lobster. The restaurant also serves up amazing, fresh Quivet Neck Oysters for $1.25 a piece daily before 6:30 pm. It’s called the “Raw Deal,” and definitely worth making it there early for.
Pierogi: Allentown, PA
During our March drive between Cape Cod and Atlanta, we stopped in the Starlite Diner in Allentown, Pennsylvania and had some delicious pierogi. This Polish specialty consists of thinly-rolled dough with various fillings, kind of like a dumpling. Here in the US, Pennsylvania is one of the states with enough immigration from Poland that pierogi are pretty easy to find. The ones we had were filled with the typical fillings of potato, cheese and onion.
Bandeja Paisa: Cartagena, Colombia
Our first visit to Colombia was filled with memorable meal moments. We enjoyed a wide variety of flavors: home-cooked meals like ajiaco in Bogota; trendy ceviche in Cartagena; vegan specialties in the hip El Poblado neighborhood in Medellin; whole fish, fried roadside in an oil drum in Santa Marta. Almost every meal was accompanied by fresh fruit or exotic fruit juices. One dish we had more than once is the famous bandeja paisa. This delight consists of generous portions of red beans, white rice with a fried egg on top, carne molida (ground beef), and chorizo (sausage), chicharron (deep-fried pork rind). Thankfully, some places offer a “mini” portion, which is almost enough for two!
Ah, There’s the Reuben!: New York
Carnegie Deli is famous for their deli meats, especially the pastrami. Since it’s one of Donny’s favorites, we couldn’t resist the $27 splurge for a massive open-faced pastrami smothered with Russian dressing, sauerkraut and melted Swiss cheese. Personally, I loved the house pickles as much as the meat!
Squid Ink Pasta with Lobster: Boston
There are countless tasty options in Boston’s Italian North End. We happened upon Trattoria Il Panino, and sat in the open, patio area to enjoy a filling meal and a glass of wine. One of the specials that day was squid ink pasta with lobster, bringing together unique flavors and appealing colors for a very satisfying dish.
Southern Barbecue: Spartanburg, SC
We’ve spent enough time in the South to know good barbecue, and the Carolina’s have some seriously good ‘cue. Bubba’s BBQ and Bash supplied us with a great plate of pulled pork with the classic South Carolina mustard-style sauce. In an uncharacteristic choice, we had fries instead of fried okra (SO good) as well as coleslaw. The slaw was just as we like it: piquant, tart and no mayo!
Lechon Asado: Miami
You cannot visit Miami without taking advantage of the great Cuban food. La Carreta has been around for years because they’re doing something very right. Their version of Cuban roast pork is juicy with a crunchy, flavorful skin. The dish is served with moros y cristianos, white rice and black beans cooked together. The name is a historical reference to Moors and Christians. We recommend a cup of cafe con leche to top off the meal.
Poblano Chile Burger: Denver
Once we hit the west of the US, it was time to incorporate some southwestern flavors. Uber Eats is located in the trendy Highlands neighborhood of Denver. The “Poblano Chili Burger” included poblano chile, onion, lettuce, pepper jack cheese, pico, and chipotle aioli. The Brussell Sprout Tots, one of the “sides” options were the highlight of the meal.
Oysters Two Ways: New Orleans
New Orleans is known for seafood and cajun specialties. The first thing we look for when we’re in town is a platter of garlicky, buttery grilled oysters and another of the succulent, raw variety. We went for a “something old, something new” approach. The new spot, Galley Seafood was a winner with their grilled oysters. Our old favorite, Harbor Seafood has oysters on the half-shell as a specialty. We always appreciate their very reasonable prices. This last trip was $7 for a dozen big, briny mouthfuls.
Sushi: Atlanta, GA
There are usually only a couple of times a year we can squeeze in a visit to our favorite sushi spot in Atlanta, but it’s always worth the wait. Sushi House Hayakawa‘s sushi chef-owner, Art Hayakawa is a true master. We always ask for o-makase, or chef’s choice. This results in the freshest, seasonal selections. When we’re feeling particularly gluttonous (usually), we order a few additions when we’re finished. The presentation, of course, is impeccable. Some of our sashimi favorites: scallops, surf clam, giant clam. This list goes on. Don’t forget to ask for both the “good” soy sauce and the fresh wasabi. With the warm welcome we always get from our friends there, a visit to Hayakawa’s for us is like coming home.
Thanksgiving Pies: Fort Collins, Colorado
Thanksgiving means pies, and we dove headfirst into homemade crusts (supervised by master baker Gwen), new recipes and luscious fillings. Here’s what we ended up with: Deep dish apple with a lattice top (no cheat), Decadent Chocolate Espresso Pie, Buttermilk Orange Chess Pie, and a classic Pecan Pie.
New England Clam Chowder: Cape Cod, MA
Captain Parker’s clam chowder is our all-time favorite, anywhere. A multi-year winner at the annual Cape Cod Chowder Festival, it’s hard to find a better example of this classic New England dish. They’ve got the perfect ratios of clam broth, cream, clams, potatoes, smoked bacon, onion and spices. Even better, being on Cape Cod in winter means you don’t have to wait in line. Whenever we like, we can grab a table or sidle up to the bar for a steamy, creamy bowl and maybe a Cape Cod Beer.