There is no doubt I am happiest when I am eating. I love food. Food is life. It enriches the soul. I plan my next meal while I am eating the current one.
All my travels around the world are remembered through the food experiences I have. It is one of the many reasons I am so jealous of Anthony Bourdain, I know from reading his essays that his life is not as glamorous as it appears, but I would like to opportunity to find out!
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Living in the San Francisco Bay Area for the longest time, I was lucky to have nearly every culture's food at my fingertips. Not only that but also so many organic options as well. During any given week I can eat truly authentic Mexican, Burmese, Japanese, Turkish, and Indian food as well as dimsum which I am especially thankful to have access to.
As I think back to some of the 10 most memorable food experiences I have had, it is hard for me to pick a favorite. Some of the highlights are:
1. Fried plantains
My mother's fried plantains that she learned to make while we were living in Panama. She would get them fresh, cut them into thick slices, and then soak them in ice water. Then she would fry them, transfer to a dish, and salt them. Warm, just off the plate, they were salty, meaty, crunchy, and chewy.
Two great spots to get them in the San Francisco Bay Area are Primo Patio in San Francisco (now closed) and La Costanera in Half Moon Bay.
2. Scrambled eggs
One of the first meals my now-husband made for me when we first started dating. I was sick and he made me scrambled eggs that were mind-blowing. Juicy, succulent. Made with a lot of attention in a soup pot (instead of a frying pan) with butter. It requires constant stirring and supervision with the end result being pure heaven, especially when you are sick. Nothing beats it (except maybe KFC mashed potatoes!)
I could eat eggs three meals a day seven days a week, I haven't met an egg I didn't love!
3. Ahi tuna salad
Mr. Misadventures and I went to Big Sur quite often when we were dating. The ahi tuna salad with wasabi and black sesame seeds from the Big Sur River Inn restaurant was something that we always seemed to order (and still do when we visit now). A delicate-tasting salad that is tangy and spicy, you just have to be careful of the sesame seeds in the teeth!
4. Khai luk koei
My ex-mother-in-law's Khai luk koei – “Son-in-Law's Eggs”. This is a Thai dish with hard-boiled eggs that are fried with sugar, fish sauce, and tamarind, yummy. And with a funny title too to remind sons-in-law to treat daughters right or their “eggs” may be served up next! I know I am not supposed to have many fond memories of an ex, but his family's love for food was one of my best experiences in the five years we were together!
My Grandparent's soupish. This is Portuguese comfort food. Beef brisket cooked a very long time with pickling spices and tomato sauce then served over French bread with fresh mint. I love it, whenever I visited my grandparents they would make it for my family. And now that my Grandmother has passed away, I only have the memories.
Moules-frites in Paris (or Brussels). This is mussels cooked in a Dutch oven with butter, white wine, and garlic – there are other kinds, but this is the classic. With a dish of french fries served on the side. My hubby and I try to have this at least once when we visit Paris. We have also eaten this dish many, many times in Brittany.
This dish always brings back wonderful memories of Paris and whenever I am yearning for France I head to Plouf in San Francisco on Belden Lane, they have 4 or 5 varieties of mussels to choose from, all delicious!
7. Spaghetti Vongole
Spaghetti vongole in Rome. My husband and I had been walking aimlessly for hours when we ducked into a cafe off the beaten path and had a very simple lunch of spaghetti in clam sauce. The sauce was just lightly scented with clam, the pasta cooked perfectly with just a touch of parsley, simple. We tried this dish 3 other times in different restaurants in the hopes of re-capturing the flavor but were never able to.
8. Cream tuna on toast
My mom's creamed-tuna-over-toast. Whenever my Dad would go on a business trip, my sister and I would beg for either waffles (which I love) or creamed tuna over toast. This dish was just too much like mess-hall food for my dad – tuna in flour-thickened milk with black pepper over toast. It was a mother-daughter bonding meal.
9. Ahi sandwich
Shared in my Sandwich Travels post, I cannot think of Moorea in French Polynesia without thinking of the ahi tuna sandwich my hubby and I ate almost every day. I think of beautiful blue seas, warm breezes, fresh-squeezed pineapple juice, gorgeous sunsets, the smell of coconut and vanilla, and this sandwich.
10. Willow's Inn
My last selection is the entire meal that I ate at The Willow's Inn on Lummi Island in the San Juan Islands. From start to finish everything was breathtaking and delicious in extraordinary ways that I could never imagine. It is one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences that stay with you for years.
Note: This selection was written about my meal in 2012. It has brought to my attention that things were not as idyllic as it seems in the kitchens of The Willow Inn and I am sad to learn about the terrible abuse of both the inn and the chef. I do not condone any behavior that involves abuse.
How lucky can a girl get?!
I have had so much amazing and memorable food throughout my life and I am not done yet! Best of all, I do not *have* to travel at all to partake in many of my other favorites which my wonderful and talented husband has made for me over the years: beef bourguignon or beef stroganoff; rabbit stew with potatoes, carrots, and thyme; shrimp and asparagus risotto, paella and crepes. The list goes on…
How about you? What is one of your memorable food experiences?