Countries Visited

Svalbard Spain United States of America Antarctica South Georgia Falkland Islands Bolivia Peru Ecuador Colombia Venezuela Guyana Suriname French Guiana Brazil Paraguay Uruguay Argentina Chile Greenland Canada United States of America United States of America Israel Jordan Cyprus Qatar United Arab Emirates Oman Yemen Saudia Arabia Iraq Afghanistan Turkmenistan Iran Syria Singapore China Mongolia Papua New Guinea Brunei Indonesia Malaysia Malaysia Tiawan Philippines Vietnam Cambodia Laos Thailand Myanmar Bangladesh Sri Lanka India Bhutan Nepal Pakistan Afghanistan Turkmenistan Tajikistan Kyrgyzstan Uzbekistan Japan North Korea South Korea Russia Kazakhstan Russia Montenegro Portugal Azerbaijan Armenia Georgia Ukraine Moldova Belarus Romania Bulgaria Macedonia Serbia Bosonia & Herzegovina Turkey Greece Albania Croatia Hungary Slovakia Slovenia Malta Spain Portugal Spain France Italy Italy Austria Switzerland Belgium France Ireland United Kingdom Norway Sweden Finland Estonia Latvia Lithuania Russia Poland Czech Republic Germany Denmark The Netherlands Iceland El Salvador Guatemala Panama Costa Rica Nicaragua Honduras Belize Mexico Trinidad & Tobago Puerto Rico Dominican Republic Haiti Jamaica The Bahamas Cuba Vanuatu Australia Solomon Islands Fiji New Caledonia New Zealand Eritrea Ethiopia Djibouti Somalia Kenya Uganda Tanzania Rwanda Burundi Madagascar Namibia Botswana South Africa Lesotho Swaziland Zimbabwe Mozambique Malawi Zambia Angola Democratic Repbulic of Congo Republic of Congo Gabon Equatorial Guinea Central African Republic Cameroon Nigeria Togo Ghana Burkina Fasso Cote d'Ivoire Liberia Sierra Leone Guinea Guinea Bissau The Gambia Senegal Mali Mauritania Niger Western Sahara Sudan Chad Egypt Libya Tunisia Morocco Algeria
Map Legend: 28%, 75 of 263 Territories

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Eating Our Way Up the East Coast

A few days after Christmas, it was time to bid farewell to Indiana and head east. When our ride to New York fell through, Andy's brother and sister-in-law were kind enough to let us hitch a ride to the DC area with them...and crash their overnight pit stop in Wheeling, West Virginia...and move into their guest room for a few days while we rejiggered our New Year's plans. Thanks, guys!

And if all that wasn't enough, they took us to Ray's Hell-Burger in Arlington, VA, where we had some of the best burgers of our lives.

Behold my pepper-crusted slab o'beef, complete with sherry mushrooms, sauteed peppers, grilled onions, roasted garlic, and a side of sweet potato fries. Yummmmm.
What's bigger, Andy's burger or his head?
These burgers have us seriously thinking about moving to Arlington when we return from our travels. I hear that Obama likes them, too!

Moving on--our next stop was the Philadelphia area, where we spent the night with some of my cousins. An outing to a nearby mall afforded me the chance to try Taco Bell for the first time in my life. Here I am with a bean burrito--not bad for $1!
Here is the only non-food picture you'll see in this post--me dancing with two of my cousins. They also performed an awesome rap about grammar, in which I did not participate...but as a former editor, I heartily approved.
On to Allentown, PA, where we spent New Year's with our friend Julie and her family. We decided to go pretty much for an all-Asian food theme, starting with a Dim Sum lunch at a local restaurant.
Then, for a New Year's Eve project, we made dumplings! Zillions and zillions of them--turns out that an assembly line of three people gets the job done pretty efficiently. We made some pork-and-scallion ones, and some chicken-carrot-curry ones. Both types came out amazingly delicious.

Not to mention artistic-looking! Here are some raw dumplings, featuring the lovely fluted edges that Julie taught us how to make.
Cooked--browned on the bottom in a little oil then quickly steamed in the same pan. (This picture makes me hungry.)
Cooked through? Affirmative!
Finally, we boarded a Bieber Bus and made our long-awaited return to New York on January 1, 2010. Our first few days in the suburbs at my parents' house were pretty quiet, involving a lot of sleeping, laundry, and oh, just a little adventure with bot flies.

To shake things up, we did a family outing to a BBQ restaurant in Long Beach called Swingbellys, which is supposed to have the best 'cue on Long Island.

What we liked: the big portion sizes, the free spicy peanuts on the table, the excellent sides, and the smokey BBQ sauce.

What we didn't like: the flavorless meats (they were tender, but had no smoky taste), and the sickeningly sweet honey-based BBQ sauces.

Verdict: Andy and I probably won't be going back...though my parents liked it better than we did and might return. (If I go back with them, I'm getting the side-dish combo!)

But here are some pictures for ya. Andy got a half-rack of ribs and some very tasty sweet potato fries...
...and I got the brisket and pulled pork combo with some deliciously creamy mac and cheese. I also tasted my dad's side of beans, which was delicious, and my mom's sausage, which had a bit of zing and was the best of all the meats we ordered.
Speaking of mac and cheese, I was very excited to have access to a kitchen again, and on our second night at my parents' house, baked my favorite mac and cheese recipe ever. It's not exactly health food, but with whole wheat pasta and spinach, it's not the worst thing in the world for you. And so delicious! (Andy and I also baked some ratatouille, but who wants to see pictures of vegetables?)
If you've ever spent any time in Manhattan with Andy, then I'm sure he has taken you to Pongsri Thai for coconut rice, followed by a visit to the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory. It wasn't long before we made this pilgrimage ourselves, and a warmly-gloved Andy was enjoying his customary pint of coconut and pineapple ice creams.
Here we are reuniting with our friends and fellow world travelers Ben and Megan, of the Ben and Megan Round the World Blog! Hm, I guess that there is technically no food in this picture, either, but there were some delicious birthday cupcakes just out of the frame of this shot...
Later that night, Andy finishes off some Hoppin' John at a friend's place--no plate needed.
The next day, we met my friend Kate and her adorable baby in Harlem for lunch at one of our favorite Ethiopian restaurants, Zoma. We got a veggie combo and a meat combo to share--here's the meat one. Their injera isn't our favorite, but the food itself is terrific, and two combos are the perfect size to feed four adults. (Or, um, three adults with big appetites, like me, Andy, and Kate!) And they even brought out a plate of unspiced chickpea puree for the baby!
Final food pic: The "mango flowers" appetizer at Regional Thai in Chelsea. It's not our favorite place for the more standard Thai dishes, but these steamed balls of peanut and chicken drizzled with mango sauce and ginger soy sauce may just be the tastiest (and prettiest!) dumpling dish I've ever had. I recommend skipping the curries and getting an order of these to yourself for dinner if you ever go there!
That's it for now for the east coast. Coming soon: Food, theater, and adventure in the American Southwest!


  1. Ooh, we're honored to get a photo on the blog! Looking forward to more food (for purposes of the next food post, of course!) on Thursday!

  2. hey sweetie! welcome back to the states! :D are you still here actually?? i adore your food posts, and i'm dying to know why these last dumplings are purple!! btw, the ones you made earlier for new year's looked just as good as my mom's! great mastery of technique. ;)

  3. lil miss--I wish I knew what made those dumplings purple! We were asking that same question of each other at the restaurant. Guess we should have asked the staff. If I learn the secret in Thailand, I will definitely let you know. =)

  4. I would like to step forward as the anonymous hoppin' John provider. Also, I would like your mac and cheese recipe. YUM.

  5. Katie, the recipe is linked in the text. I don't think I did any modifications. It's delicious!

  6. Where are the Spain posts?

    If you're still in Granada I hope you enjoyed the Alhambra! And there is good ice cream / horchata at Los Italianos downtown near the cathedral; and if you're up for more expensive dinner you could try Carmen Aben Humaya It was reasonable for what it is (which was a really nice place to eat)