Thursday, March 19, 2015


On her fascinating website, 101 Cookbooks +heidi swanson often posts a "Favorites List". This unique amalgamation of items often includes books she wants or likes to read, foods she's looking forward to eating, etc. I, myself, like to make lists but they often come in the redundant form of "to dos" which, I'm happy to say, often helps me in my daily life. One list I don't make are the places I'd like to travel to. At this point in my life, I fantasize more about going to see a movie than to Venice but... with my emerging interest in all things culinary, that all may change.

While I believe in the importance of exposure to other cultures and taking in different perspectives, my budget has resigned me more to colorful books than international flights. In terms of vacations, I may be just a little too puritan to really enjoy a beach in the Caribbean when I could possibly go to the one by my house. However, when true interest calls I can often find a reason to posit my travels as a "practical" pursuit. This practicality comes from the fact that we all have to eat but in my case... I may try to do it thousands of mile from my house.

In Chicago, a restaurant called Fat Rice was featured on an episode of The Splendid Table. Within the episode, owners Abraham Conlon and Adrienne Lo spoke about the Macanese food they serve up at their restaurant. In viewing their menu, elements such as fatwater pickles and bacalhau jump off the page but unfortunately, not into my mouth. This is why I might make the trip to not only see a new city but experience and new restaurant. In the meantime, I may just need to make bacalhau in my own kitchen.

Moving on, the second restaurant I fantasize about visiting is a bit further west. Located in Los Angeles, Bar Ama features an eclectic mix of Tex-Mex fare. Items such as slow roasted beef belly and broccolini torrada (not too mention their SUPER NACHO HOUR) definitely put this place on my list.

Finally, completing my west by midwest (and back again) triumvirate is a restaurant called Qui in Austin, Texas. Completing the triumvirate not only in its location but also fusion of Asian and Latin flavors (in some cases) Qui offers items such as kanpachi lumpina tacos and kinilaw, a mix of kanpachi, hearts of palm and coconut vinegar. From the colorful photos which graced the "pages" of Williams Sonoma's Instagram account, it, it looks like a fun and delicious place to visit.

Through the various restaurants on "the list" I am once again brought back to my love of Spanish and Asian foods, both of which place a heavy emphasis on vegetables and the use of spices to season each dish. As Lynn Rosetto Kasper states in regards to each style of cooking, "there are seasonings that are used with the same kind of balance of flavors... the tart, the...sweet...", etc. For me, the lack of dairy and abundance of chilies and fish make these regional cuisines and perennial favorite and with any luck, will aid me in getting back on the (traveling) horse... or plane.

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