Saturday, February 11, 2017

Travel: Food

Food is a big part of our travels. We always try to eat food that is a part of the culture of the area we are visiting and we usually try to plan ahead to find the restaurants we want to eat at, reviewing both the ratings and the menu to make sure that they serve the kind of food we are seeking. However, we also make last minute decisions and have had some great meals doing that as well. 

In the spring of 2008 we visited Tokyo, Japan. Our daughter Rachael, who lived in Tokyo at the time, made reservations for us at a restaurant that served only horse. Our six course meal included horse meat soup, horse sashimi with raw meat from three parts of the horse, horse meat and vegetables grilled on a small stove, horse tartar (ground raw horse steak), a different horse soup and a desert of maple ice cream and kiwi fruit. This rates as one of my favorite meals ever, both because it was good, and because it was so unlike anything my own culture would embrace or enjoy. 
Horse sashimi
Horse tartar with a raw quail egg in the middle. 
In 2009 we planned a trip to Peru with my partners and their spouses. I'd never eaten Peruvian food before, so I found El Rico Pollo, a Peruvian restaurant in San Bernardino and went there regularly for several months trying most of their dishes ahead of time. I developed a great love for Peruvian food, including the ajo pepper, causa, Peruvian roasting spices and ceviche. Upon arrival in Lima, we visited one of the most marvelous buffets I've been to, at Brujas De Cachiche, which included the first of several large and hot rocoto peppers that I had and loved. 
A plate from Brujas De Cachiche with ceviche, mussels, causa and smoked trout. 
The most memorable Peruvian meal was at Incanto in Cusco where we had cuy (guinea pig)  and alpaca. 
Roasted guinea pig
When we got home from Peru we had a celebratory dinner at El Rico Pollo where we watched slides of our trip and ate Peruvian food. 
Tables full of Peruvian food at El Rico Pollo.
Octopus causa made specially for us by the proprietor of El Rico Pollo. 
In the summer of 2009, we visited Colorado and ate at two iconic Colorado eateries, The Fort in Morrison, and Buckhorn Exchange in Denver. Both epitomize the wild west, wild game and the aura of Colorado. I've been back subsequently to both. Dishes we've tried at The Fort include buffalo tongue, buffalo testicles, buffalo bone marrow, buffalo ribs, buffalo ribeye, lamb riblets, and elk chop. At Buckhorn Exchange we've eaten buffalo sausage, buffalo prime rib, buffalo corned beef, rattlesnake, bull testicles, duck breast and an elk medallion.
Bison testicles, or Rocky Mountain oysters, at The Fort, were delicious. 
Buffalo bone marrow - the first time I'd had prepared bone marrow. Delicious. 
Bull Rocky Mountain oysters at Buckhorn Exchange.
Buffalo prime rib at Buckhorn Exchange.
In 2010, we took a cruise around the Black and Aegean Seas. Much of what we ate was cruise food, but we did have some very fun food experiences off the ship. We reserved a taxi for a day in Athens and our driver, Makis, quickly discovered we liked food. On our way out to Delphi he stopped at two small-town bakeries and bought us fresh bread. At the first bakery, we went inside and saw bread cooking inside a huge oven and long-handled wood spatulas retrieved it. We got bread stuffed with feta which was a revelation. Later, Makis stopped at a different bakery for bread stuffed with spinach. This bread was more flakey, like a croissant, and was also amazing. 
Feta stuffed bread cooking in a huge oven.
Bread stuffed with feta.
Bread stuffed with spinach. 
After visiting the oracle at Delphi, Makis took us for another of my favorite meals ever, at Patrikomas's Tavern in Delphi. We were on a mountainside overlooking the distant Bay of Corinth and had the quintessential Greek salad: a slab of feta cheese, chunks of cucumber and tomato, some red onion, kalamata olives and a dressing of olive oil and lemon (I drool as I think about it). The salad was followed by lamby lamb chops, a grilled pepper and wonderful french fries. A simple meal with simple ingredients and a perfect setting. 
Hillside setting above the Gulf of Corinth.
Simple, but extremely delicious Greek salad.
Lamb chops, grilled pepper and french fries.
For dinner that evening in Athens, Makis recommended we eat at Psaras Fish Taverna in the Plaka District. Something stands out in my mind about an octopus dish we got there. It was grilled and served in olive oil. It was kind of pinkish and smokey, and not rubbery at all. Makis had mentioned to us that he loved octopus grilled in olive oil.
Octopus grilled in olive oil.
In Istanbul, Turkey I tried caviar for the first time, in the Spice Market: Beluga caviar from Iran. Tiny, salty, poppy little eggs. I liked it quite a bit. 
Beluga caviar.
Beluga caviar
We also ate Turkish delight, the dessert seared into my brain from reading The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe  to the kids. 
Various kinds of Turkish delight.
We saw myriads of kinds of olives and purchased a bag of assorted olives which we took back to our hotel and enjoyed.
Olives in the Spice Market.
Underneath the Galata Bridge, which spans the Bosporus, and connects European and Asian Istanbul, we ate at Beyaz Balik Restaurant and had local fish and a great view. I think this may have been my first sea bass and I loved it. 
View of the New Mosque from the restaurant.
Fresh fish from which to choose from. 
Sea bass.
Near the Spice Market we went to a bakery that served the most amazing baklava I've ever had. Look at the amount of pistachio smothering it. It was very heavy and sweet. 
Baklava found near the Grand Bazaar.
At Stalin's dacha in Sochi, Russia, we tried salmon roe, a poorer man's caviar. It was less salty and more smokey than the beluga caviar we tried. 
Salmon roe
In Yalta, Ukraine, we had lunch with Judy's nephew, Rick, who lived in Ukraine at the time, and Judy had a wonderful borscht. I love how red it was. 
Borscht in Yalta.
Rick, Judy and Kim.
In June 2011 we took a cruise around the Baltic Sea with an extension to Moscow, Russia. Cruises are inherently less adventurous food-wise, because so many meals are tied to the ship. But we still had some fun finds. In Moscow we discovered the blintz, a crepe filled with either a savory or sweet filling. Just thinking about them gets me salivating. 
A blintz with pork, cheese and mushroom.
A blintz with goose liver.
We visited a food warehouse on the outskirts of Moscow and were blown away to see several long isles of Russian sausages. We purchased several packages of sliced sausage and took them to our hotel room. The Russians love their sausage. 
Sausage in a Russian food warehouse.
In Copenhagen, Denmark we had dinner with friends at a small restaurant near a river. I had lumpfish row which was not particularly good, but was fun to try. I'd never heard of lumpfish. 
Lumpfish roe topped with foam.
In Lubeck, Germany we ate at Shiffergesellschaft, housed in a building built in 1535 which was the seamen's guildhall. The decorations were wonderful, with ships featured in stained glass and wooden ship models hanging from the rafters. The food, a sampling of fish was good, but not up to the standard of the physical facilities. 
The old seaman's guildhall.
Ships hanging from the rafters.
A sampler plate of fish.
In Porvoo, Finland, we ate at Timbaali Restaurant and had a buffet of mostly fish, but also other offerings, including hard-boiled eggs topped by whitefish roe, cobbler's salmon (a Baltic herring only found in the Baltic sea), smoked salmon, marinated salmon, mustard marinated herring, marinated herring with juniper berries and tomato marinated sprats (a small herring-like fish).  A perfect lunch from this far-north Baltic country. 
Lots of different fish offerings at Timbaali Restaurant. 
In Talinn, Estonia, we had a nice meal at Fish & Wine, with a beautiful dish of dorado with fennel and mashed potatoes, and an oven-baked camembert cheese served with fig jam and roasted ciabatta. 
Camembert cheese.
At D.S. Louise, a restaurant on the pier in Oslo, Norway, we had a horribly expensive, but interesting lunch. Judy ordered steak tartare. 
Raw steak with raw egg yolk, beet, capers, red onion and pickle.
The ingredients all mixed together.
In September 2011 we visited New England, including Maine and New Hampshire. I had a book which rated, among other things, the best lobster rolls in the country, and I mapped out an itinerary that included the number 2, 3 and 4 rated lobster rolls (out of 9). I'd never eaten a lobster roll before, but had five on this trip: three in Maine and two in New Hampshire. They were quite different from each other which made it fun to contrast and compare them. 
Surprisingly, one of my favorites was at Daniel's Restaurant and Pub in Henniker, NH, not on our pre-planned list and quite a ways from the ocean. 
However, we had more than lobster rolls. Hen of the Wood in Waterbury, VT is located in an old gristmill on a small stream. The chef is a master of combinations. We had four appetizers, including goat cheese with apple butter and candied fennel, hen of the wood mushroom toast with a poached egg and bacon cooked in maple syrup, rabbit liver pate with whole grain mustard and onion jam, and fried oysters with aioli. For a main coarse, Judy had goat milk gnocchi with cauliflower and broccoli, and I got rabbit leg and loin in various sauces. In Montreal, Quebec, we had another top-ten meal at Au Cinquieme Peche. We started with a small seal meat appetizer (this place was featured on Andrew Zimmern's Bizarre Foods). Judy got some beautiful borscht with yellow beat and octopus. I got appetizers of ravioli stuffed with roast suckling pig and combined with shiitake and black trumpet mushrooms and a duck heart tartare with green beans and soybeans. For a main course Judy got hanger steak and pork shoulder and I got guinea fowl with red and yellow beets, lobster mushrooms and pureed squash. For dessert we shared a cheese plate and a chocolate brownie with strawberries and sweet cream. Chef Benoit Lenglet visited our table at the end of the meal which capped a dream dinner.
Borscht with octopus.
Duck heart tartare
Guinea fowl with beets, lobster mushrooms and squash.
Barbecue was at the top of my list when we visited southern Texas in February 2012. At Texas Pride Barbecue in Adkins we enjoyed pork tenderloin, sausage and ribs and beef brisket. At Southside Market & Barbeque in Elgin I had one of my favorite barbecue meals ever:  beef brisket, beef ribs, mutton ribs (to die for), pork ribs and jalapeno and cheddar sausage (I've since ordered this sausage for home delivery and would have ordered mutton ribs as well, but they're not offered on-line). At Augies Barbed Wire Smokehouse in San Antonio we tried jalapeno sausage, beef brisket, pork ribs and disappointing beef ribs. Finally, at T-Bone Tom's in Kemah, near Houston, we had disappointing beef brisket, pork ribs and pork sausage.
Mutton ribs from Southside Market & Barbecue
Jalapeno and cheddar sausage at Southside Market & Barbecue.
Brisket at Southside Market & Barbecue. Like fish and chips, I think barbecue tastes better wrapped in paper. 
In January 2013 we visited Florida and I had "piss clams," the best clams I've ever eaten, at Dan's Clam Stand in Crystal River. The waitress showed me how to clean out the sand in the clam juice and then eat them.
Piss clam.
Later, we ate at Joe's Stone Crab in Miami Beach, Florida, a restaurant named as one of 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. Waiters dressed in tuxedos served us stone crab and key lime pie.
Stone crab claws
Key lime pie which originated in the Florida Keys, just down the road. 
In March 2013 we visited the Carolinas and Georgia and my focus was on lowcountry cuisine. We visited Hominy Grill in Charleston which is owned by a regional James Beard Award winner. Boiled peanuts as a lead-off was a first, forgettable fried green tomatoes, wonderful shrimp and grits and some assorted veggies, including boiled kale and potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, squash casserole and pickled onions and cucumbers. FIG (Food Is Good) in Charleston is also owned by a regional James Beard Award winner. We had a fantastic meal, top ten worthy, which included an exotic razor clam appetizer, ricotta gnocchi and lamb Bolognese, suckling pig confit with beets, a hanger steak with wheat berries and cape beans, brussels sprouts bagna cauda and chocolate-hazelnut budino with caramel and sea salt. The third restaurant we visited which were included in a list of top lowcountry restaurants was Olde Pink House in Savannah, Georgia, which had lots of promise, but was a disappointment. We had goat cheese stuffed artichoke fritters, their BLT (fried green tomatoes as a bread-substitute, fried smoked bacon, brown sugar, green leafy lettuce and buttermilk dressing), flounder with apricot-shallot sauce, grits and collards, crab-stuffed black grouper, and sweet potatoes with pecan-vanilla butter.
Shrimp and grits at Hominy Grill.
Razor clams at FIG.
In May and June 2013, on a trip to the Balkans, we discovered a salad we really liked. Judy had a shopska salad in Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina and I had one in Krcedin, Serbia and from there on out we started ordering them whenever we saw them and we found them virtually everywhere we went. We had them in Skopje, Macedonia; Prizren, Kosovo; at two restaurants in Ohrid, Macedonia; and in Kotor, Montenegro. When we got home we looked up recipes for them and started making shopska salads at home. 
A shopska salad at Vinotueka Temov in Skopje, Macedonia. The basic ingredients are tomatoes, onions, red pepper and a grated Bulgarian feta cheese. However, the salads varied a fair amount. 
The Balkans had some other fun surprises: Roadside lamb cooked on a spit in Bosnia & Herzegovina.
We bought a big piece of the rib section. 
Driving through the mountain town of Prevalla, Kosovo, we saw some sheep and goats being pastured on a hillside. The sheep were guarded by gigantic Sharr Mountain dogs. We learned that they made sheep milk from the cheese and got some fresh sheep milk cheese which we ate in our car. It was a little sour, net yet ripe, but amazingly fun on the adventure scale. 
Sheep and goats being released from a corral in Kosovo.
A Sharr Mountain dog guards the sheep.
Sharr Cheese
At Damar Restaurant in Ohrid, Macedonia we enjoyed fresh eel caught from nearby Lake Ohrid (a bit gamey, but delicious), stuffed peppers with cheese, and lamb in a clay pot, a local delicacy. 
Freshwater eel.
Cheese-stuffed peppers.
Lamb in a clay pot.
Lamb from the pot, with vegetables.
At Summer Garden Kaneo, right on Lake Ohrid in Macedonia, we ate fried lake trout, fried local cheese and a unique onion stuffed with mashed garlic. We also had an appetizer of breaded and fried olives that was unique. 
Lake Ohrid with a storm brewing.
Fried cheese
Breaded and fried olives.
Fried lake trout with onion stuffed with mashed garlic. 
At Hotel Restaurant Mangalemi in Berat, Albania, we got some great local dishes which were fun to try. Tave kosi, the Albanian national dish, with lamb cooked in an egg/yogurt mix, like a quiche, was a little sour. More fun was kakorec, seasoned, roasted lamb intestines. They were actually very good. We had a dessert called kataifi, which looked like a sea cucumber made of shredded wheat. It tasted like a variation of baklava and was fantastic. 
Tave kosi, lamb in a bowl.
Kakorec, skewered lamb intestines.
At Sadrvan, in Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina, we tried a number of traditional dishes. Grilled eggplant, zucchini, peppers and mushrooms were something we had here and several other places. 
Grilled vegetables at Sadrvan.
Another favorite meal was an assortment of items purchased at a market just outside Diocletian's Palace in Split, Croatia. One booth was selling spit roasted pig, and another was selling Istrian prsut, a Croatian prosciutto. 
Spit-roasted pig
Carving up the pig.
Cutting off slices of Istrian prsut from a cured pig leg.
In January 2014, while visiting Atlanta, we wanted to try some good southern cooking. We were recommended to Gladys Knight's Chicken & Waffles where we had collared greens, black-eyed peas, cheese n' grits, waffles, a cornbread muffin and fried chicken. It wasn't my favorite, but it was a pretty good survey of some southern staples. 
Collared greens, black eyed peas, cheese n' grits, etc.
A few days later, in Montgomery, Alabama, we ate at True and had some innovative southern cooking from a two-time James Beard nominated chef. Who could believe that fried chicken skins, shrimp and gnocchi, lamb ribs, duck and pheasant could taste so good. Wesley True, the owner and chef, came out and spoke to us and shared how the pheasant had been cooked sous vide, the first time I was consciously aware of eating sous vide cooked food. 

In May 2014 we visited East Africa and Ghana in West Africa. We mostly ate at our hotels and did not get much local flavor. I did find arrow root a couple of times, which is starchy, heavy and bland. I can't imagine many tourists eat it. It was horrible. I also tried Nile perch a few times, brought in from Lake Victoria. It was always over-cooked and I did not have any that I really enjoyed. Other than that, we mostly at buffet food that could have been found at an American restaurant.
Arrow root at the Nairobi Intercontinental. 
Nile perch at the Nairobi Intercontinental.
It was not a great food trip, but there was one exception. In Nairobi we visited Carnivore Restaurant which was one of the most fun meals I've ever eaten. Food was served Brazilian style, with waiters bringing skewers loaded with various kinds of meat. Meats included chicken livers, ox testicles, lamb pieces, crocodile, rare beef, pork spare ribs, leg of pork, turkey, chicken wings, ostrich meatballs, pieces of chicken and beef sausages.

Carnivore Restaurant
From East Africa we flew to Ghana in West Africa and spent most of our time along the coast. I ate mostly fish, because we were near the ocean, although my cousin, serving a mission for the LDS church there, said they had been warned not to eat the fish because of the pollution. Much of the fish and shellfish had a decidedly different preparation from what I've had before and I enjoyed it a lot.  
Lobster, prawns, shrimp, calamari and fish at Coconut Grove Beach Resort. 
Lobster smothered in mayonnaise at Coconut Grove.
Dried, salted and fried fish with a hot pepper sauce.
In September 2014 we visited southwestern South Dakota and I focused on game meats that were available there: bison stew and bison tips in a skillet at the Blue Bell Lodge and bison chislic, bison tenderloin and an elk tomahawk at the Sylvan Lake Lodge.
Elk tomahawk at Sylvan Lake Lodge.
In December 2014 we renewed our survey of the bbq belt. At Naaman's Championship BBQ in Texarkana we had pulled pork, pork ribs and sausage, but the twice-baked potatoes were the highlight. At Smokin' In Style BBQ in Hot Springs, Arkansas, we had more pulled pork, pork ribs, sausage and beef brisket. At Whole Hog Cafe in Little Rock, Arkansas, we had more pulled pork, pulled chicken (a first for me), pork ribs, beef brisket and sausage. Finally, we had pork ribs, beef brisket and sausage at Railhead Smokehouse in Fort Worth. My take-away: brisket is far better in Texas, I will take mutton ribs over anything else, and I'm not a fan of pulled pork. 

At Cattlemen's Steakhouse in Oklahoma City we hit another iconic restaurant, this one in the middle of the stockyards. I had to try the Presidential Choice T-Bone Steak, the favorite of President George H.W. Bush, and their lamb fries, a euphemism for sheep testicles. It was fun to be there for the atmosphere, but the food, not so much. However, we hit a culinary homerun at Meddlesome Moth in Dallas. Deviled eggs cooked in soy and topped with Sriracha sauce, crispy sweetbreads (brains) that were amazing, beef bone marrow with salsa verde and capers, spiced lamb breast and farro with egg, hen of the wood mushrooms, and sugar peas. At Y.O. Ranch Steakhouse in Dallas we got a more Colorado or South Dakota type menu, with lamb ribs, a buffalo filet, a venison filet, quail medallions, axis deer wrapped around jalapeno and smoked mozzarela and Tabasco goat cheese grits. 
Sweetbreads at Meddlesome Moth
Beef bone marrow at Meddlesome Moth
Lamb testicles at Cattlemen's Stkeakhouse. 
In March 2015 we visited Israel, Egypt and Jordan. In Jaffa, Israel we ate at Dr. Shakshuka, a Libyan restaurant. Lots of small plate salads and the signature shakshuka dish that was like a liquid pizza with sausage and poached eggs. The most amazing meal was at Fakhr El-Din in Amman, Jordan, another top ten meal for me. We got plate after plate of different kinds of salad with beautiful fresh ingredients. The most unusual dishes were fried chicken livers in a lemon sauce, and raw minced lamb with cracked wheat and onion. At Burj Al Hamam, located in the Intercontinental Hotel in Amman, I got lamb brains with a most amazing preparation. The brains looked whole, like they'd just been scooped out of the skull and plopped into a bowl, and they were cold and heavy, like soft cheese, and very lemony and salty. Other dishes were more conventional, like lamb sausages, lamb chops, lamb loin and egg and potato pancake. In downtown Amman, we visited Habibah and got kanafe, an incredible dessert of phyllo dough filled with soft goat cheese, drenched in syrup and sprinkled with crushed pistachios. AMAZING.
Our group at Fakhr El-Dhin
Lamb brains at Burj Al Hamam
Kanafe at Habibah in Amman. 
In June 2015 we visited Kansas City and barbecue was on the agenda. I found my favorite overall barbecue, anywhere, at Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue. I liked it so much we ate there twice, once when I first arrived and again as we were leaving. Their combo plate of beef ribs, lamb ribs and crown prime beef short rib transfigures bbq into another realm. The crown prime beef short rib is the best bbq dish I've ever eaten. Also in Kansas City, but across the state-line in Kansas, we entered the hallowed gas station halls of Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que. A Z-Man, burnt beef ends and a half slab of pork ribs later, we emerged impressed, but still singing the praises of Fiorella's, their more holy neighbor. Kansas City barbecue needs some more surveying, but it certainly holds its own with any barbecue I've eaten. 
Fiorella's beef ribs, lamb ribs and crown prime beef short rib.
Crown prime beef short rib
Joe's, located in a gas station.
We had some other nice meals in the Midwest, tied more to the new locovore movement. Proof, in Des Moines, Iowa, is owned by a James Beard nominated chef for the Midwest region. The really outstanding dish we had was a Spanish grilled ribeye that came with different colored sauces with different tastes. A prosciutto and artichoke dish looked outstanding, but was rather bland, and a duck (Mcnuggets) confit plate was horrible. RowHouse Restaurant in Topeka, Kansas has a set menu with small plates, a soup, a salad, three entrees and three desserts. It is housed in a three story rowhouse about three blocks down from the capital building and was outstanding. Some high points were a chilled strawberry soup with mint, peach and a dollop of salted whipped cream; a brownie with beet juice and cherry reduction; and a lemon and goat cheese cream pie. At Gram & Dun in Kansas City I had the best shrimp and grits I've ever had, like mashed potatoes, including gravy. Judy had a stacked seared ahi tuna salad that presented very well. At Sebastian's Table in Lincoln, Nebraska, we had Moroccan Trout, which consisted of steelhead trout, preserved lemon, nigella seeds, almonds, cinnamon and sour cream. One of the best trout dishes I've ever eaten. We also had a hazelnut Brussels sprouts dish which included piquillo peppers. 
Spanish ribeye at Proof
Artichoke and prosciutto at Proof.
Moroccan trout at Sebastian's Table.
In October 2015 we flew to Minnesota for a few days. Minneapolis is where Andrew Zimmern lives and we went to a number of places that he recommends. Best was Piccolo, which is locovore and specializes in small plate dishes. Some of our dishes included, smoked eel and maitake mushrooms, pickled pigs feet, agnolotti with king crab, guinea fowl and sunchoke, sturgeon, rabbit with polenta, and foie gras with ice cream. Zimmerman's recommended Hmongtown Marketplace was full of stalls selling pork belly and other pork dishes, green papaya salad, stuffed chicken wings and other fun treats. Finally, we visited Zimmerman's recommended Russ Kendall's Smokehouse in Knife River on the shore of Lake Superior with amazing smoked fish. We tried brown sugar cured salmon,  smoked lake trout, smoked whitefish and smoked herring.
Rabbit at Piccolo.
Pork belly at Hmongtown Marketplace. 
Smoked whitefish at Russ Kendall's.
We talked about visiting Morocco for several years. Judy had a friend who visited and gave us her itinerary which was the starting point for our trip.  While we planned we learned about Morocco, including about Moroccan cuisine. Some of our first Moroccan food was lamb tagine at Mamounia Authentic Moroccan Cuisine in Anaheim in 2014.
Lamb on carrots, zucchini and couscous at Mamounia in Anaheim.
In March 2016 we finally made it to Morocco and we had lots of tagine meals, in fact, virtually every day. 
Tagine of lamb and prunes in Merzouga in the Saharan Desert.
Magical Moroccan lamps and their light. 
Tagine of lamb with pears at L'Ma Lodge in Skoura.
We even took a tagine cooking class at L'atelier Faim d'Epices in Marrakech. 
But Morocco was not all tagine. One of the most fun and amazing meals we've ever had was at Chez Lamine Hadj Mustapha in Marrakech where our guide took us for lambs head and beef tangia. 
Tangia pots line the front of the restaurant.
Judy and our guide at the table. 
The lamb skull after we've picked it clean. 
Our guide in Fez stopped and treated us to snail soup.
A scoop full of snails from the broth. 
Another favorite was a roadside stop for camel milk in Rissani where we had fresh "squeezed" camel milk from a plastic bottle in a Berber tent. 
Camel milk
Less exotic, but very good was the "Berber pizza" we had in the Erg Chebbi dunes, a dish known as Medfouna Rissani, a stuffed flatbread. 
Mefouna Rissani, cut into sections.
Opening the lid on the Berber pizza: egg, chicken, chick peas, herbs and spices. I loved it. 
In April we visited New York City to see our son. Judy wanted to eat at Red Rooster in Harlem because the owner/chef wrote a book she used several times in her English classes. We enjoyed southern food, including fried chicken and waffle, short rib and eggs, shrimp and grits and deviled eggs. We took a day-trip to Wilmington, Delaware and while there ate at Big Fish Grill on the (Christina River) Riverfront where we focused on the seafood of that region, including lobster bisque, clams in garlic wine broth, lump meat Maryland crab cocktail, sea bass and a Chesapeake Bay fried oyster sandwich. The fish was outstanding and the decor was as fun as the food was good. 
Fried chicken, waffle and egg at Red Rooster.
Lump meat crab cocktail at Big Fish Grill.
In June of 2016 we visited Wisconsin and I was determined to try walleye, a fish I'd never tried before, as well as other foods Wisconsin was known for. At the Old Fashioned in Madison I got beer battered walleye on a sandwich, which was great, and beer battered Wisconsin cheese curds which were amazing. At Kegel's Inn in Milwaukee we experienced a Friday fish fry and I got battered and fried walleye which was horrible. At Buckley's, in Milwaukee, we tried grilled octopus with polenta, truffle fried artichokes and shishito peppers. At Graze, in Madison, Judy got bibimbap, a Korean dish with tofu, a sunny-side up egg, crispy rice and some spicy condiments, that was amazing. 
Beer battered cheese curds at the Old Fashioned.
Beer battered and fried walleye at the Old Fashioned.
Battered and fried walleye at Kegel's Inn.
Octopus and polenta at Buckley's.
In July and August 2016 we visited Alaska and I decided I needed to learn more about wild salmon. I discovered that there are five species of Pacific salmon and determined to try and learn more about them and eat some of each kind. We bought various types of smoked salmon and I had salmon at two restaurants in Denali NP, in Anchorage, in Homer, in Whitehorse, in Ketchikan and in Vancouver. However, I was only able to eat fresh king (chinook) and sockeye (red) salmon, although I was also able to eat some smoked coho (silver) salmon. So when we got home, I ordered some of each kind of salmon (also including pink and chum salmon) and had it flown in from Alaska and had a salmon dinner with a number of our friends where we tasted and compared.
Sockeye salmon at the Rustic Goat in Anchorage.
Alaskan king crab is my very favorite food. I had a goal to have it fresh, not frozen, while in Alaska. I found it ahead of time at Tracy's King Crab Shack in Juneau, right near where our ship docked. We enjoyed three pounds of fresh king crab.
Tracy's King Crab Shack.
The food experience is a significant part of our travels and provide some of my fondest memories. Barat had incredible old buildings, and provided fun driving down roads with carts pulled by donkeys, but my first thought when thinking of Albania is roasted lamb intestines. 


  1. This was one of the most interesting posts I have read from you. Seeing all the food that you have tried is fascinating, especially as someone who hopes to try all this myself one day.

  2. It's hard to choose favorites from all this great food, but here is my attempt: all of the food in Greece on our drive to/from Delphi, Russian blintzes, Shopska salads int he Balkans, fresh cheese in the mountains of Kosovo, the Fakhr El-Dhin restaurant in Amman and Kanafe in the city, and the lamb head and snails in Morocco. Amazing culinary adventures!

  3. I'm always amazed at the variety of food you can find to eat and appreciate. Not sure I'd be brave enough to try some of these, but I'm glad you do and post about it.