Friday, September 01, 2006

5 Things to Eat Before You Die

Melissa, of Traveler's Lunchbox, is organizing a very cool and delicious project. Known as The Food Blogger's Guide to the Globe, it is a collection of "top 5 foods to try before you die" from bloggers everywhere. Last time I checked, well over 100 food bloggers had sent in their lists. I may be a bit slow at making my contribution, but I've finally buckled down and done it.

According to Melissa, these lists should be subjective and anything goes, including dishes from specific restaurants and little known local specialties. With so many food bloggers scattered around the globe, all these top 5 lists make fascinating reading. Check them out here, and I dare you not to start planning next year's summer vacation so you can try angulas from Ximena's native Spain or Christine's favorite Cassoulet in Toulouse, France.

Julie's Top 5 Things to Eat Before You Die

1) Fresh Figs--They may be my single most favorite food in the world. When they are very soft and plump, their flesh takes on a thick, honey-like texture, and their sweet flavor is like nothing else. My favorite way to eat them is fresh and cut in half lengthwise with a bit of good feta cheese. Look at this post for my other favorite ways to eat them.

2) A Curry on Brick Lane in East London--I spent my third year of university at Queen Mary & Westfield College in East London, a short walk from Brick Lane where the Bollywood soundtracks are always blaring, and the street is lined with one curry house after another. I still remember the first time my English friends took me there. I had never had Indian food before, and the tandoori dishes and complex, deeply-spiced curry sauces have held me in their thrall ever since. The naan breads alone would have inspired my lifelong devotion. Sharing many meals there with my friends colors my memory with fondness, but I still affirm that I have never had a curry that good anywhere else.

3) Tapas at Tasca Restaurant in Boston--Actually located in Brighton on Commonwealth Ave. on the B Line, this restaurant serves, by far, the best tapas I have ever had (But I haven't been to Spain yet!). Don't even look at the entrees, just order tapas, specifically the setas al jerez. The first time Mike and I ate these mushrooms bathed in a homemade beef stock flavored with sherry and mellowed with cream, we lapped up every last drop of juice with our bread. We begged the waitress to know what was in there. She told us that it is the cook's own recipe and she knows that the stock takes more than a day to prepare. I have created a poor approximation of this heavenly brew at home, but I long for the real thing now that we live here in Florida.

4) Very fresh, raw oysters--I first ate oysters at McCormick & Schmick's in Boston. It was my first summer with Mike. Since then, I did a stint as a waitress at Legal Seafood, the venerable New England chain (with a few outposts in South Florida as well), where I came to truly appreciate them. It is not just the clean, briny taste of a fresh oyster, but the whole experience of eating them that puts this food on the list. Sucking the slippery, cold oyster out of its shell is a very sexy, very decadent exercise that everyone should try at least once. If you can't catch them yourself like my sister and brother-in-law in Washington, buy them from a reputable source, as close to the ocean as possible!

5) Marie Calendar's Chocolate Satin Pie--This is the absolute best chocolate dessert that I have ever had. What makes this entry so bittersweet (pun intended), is that the Marie Calendar's restaurant/bakery chain has no locations in Florida or even in Boston, my previous hometown. I have to go all the way back to California where I grew up to get this pie. Whenever I visit my mom there (which is not nearly often enough), I buy a whole pie and eat it throughout my stay. A couple years ago, some grocery stores started carrying a frozen version of Marie's Chocolate Satin. It was good, but not the all out chocolate orgasm of a fresh pie from one of the restaurant's in-house bakeries. After awhile, my grocer replaced the Chocolate Satin with Marie's Chocolate Cream Pie in their freezer section. Know this, fellow chocolate-freaks, Chocolate Satin Pie is NOTHING like chocolate cream pie. It has a chocolate cookie crust and a very rich filling that is like a thicker, firmer chocolate mousse. When you pick up your to-go pie at their restaurant, it comes with freshly make whipped cream piped on top. I don't know if every chocolate lover will be as passionate about this pie as I am, but if you ever find yourself near a Marie's, go straight in and order a slice. You may end up leaving with an entire pie. Or two.


Boston Chef said...

Hey great blog... Tasca, yeah? We haven't checked it out yet, perhaps we should venture out to Brighton (one of us used to live there).

Nice to learn about Boston restaurants from a Floridian!

And we couldn't agree more about raw oysters...

~Stacey and Michael

Ann said...

If you like the tapas in Boston, head straight to either Barcelona or even better, San Sebastian. Each bar is better than the next, and when you walk in, the bar is absolutely covered in hot and cold tapas. You take what you want, and keep the toothpicks - you pay for the number of toothpicks you have, so relies on the honor system.

-- from a SD girl in Spain

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