Notes to Self: Things to Eat

Mangeoire ChickenMy brother just traveled to the other side of the country. I asked him where he was taken to eat. He sent me the website of a fabulous seafood restaurant, fresh, sustainable, the whole deal. I asked him what he thought. He told me that he would have been just as happy with pizza. At the time, I was scanning a year-old copy of Saveur magazine, making sure I hadn’t missed anything during a dozen previous scans. Notes to myself, reminders of what I should make a point of eating in the near future:

  • Linguini with White Clam Sauce (first choice) or Penne Bolognese (second) at Bamote’s, 32 Withers Street, Brooklyn). The restaurant opened in 1900, so it’s worth a trip to Williamsburg just to take a look.
  • Little Arabia in Anaheim, next time I’m out in L.A. The places I need to remember are Mamounia (1829 West Katella Avenue), for the fragrant lamb stew with saffron and ginger; a Lebanese bakery called Forn Al Hara (512 South Brookhurst Street) for semolina cookies with date filling and the flatbreads flavored with labneh (yoghurt) and with za’atar (herbs), and Nara Bistro for the wish all saraya “a heavenly Lebanese bread pudding.” Lots more to taste, see, do, buy.
  • Next time I am in a Mexican grocery store, I should try to find Topo Chico, an especially pure mineral water slightly salty, from a volcanic source in Monterrey Mexico.
  • Next time I’m in Manhattan, I’ll head to La Mangeoire, 1008 Second Avenue, and order the roast chicken. Thyme and garlic on the outside, soy sauce and butter on the inside. It’s supposed to be delicious. If you click on the roast chicken on the top of the page, you’ll see La Mangeoire’s website.
  • Also in Manhattan, Tarte Flambée done the way its made in Alsace: with creme fraiche, sliced onions and sliced bacon, blasted in a very hot oven until the whole top caramelizes. The place: The Bar Room at the Modern (9 West 53 St. Manhattan).
  • It’s worth another trip to Montreal to sample the fresh smoked meats, but the Mile End Delicatessen is another of those NYC places that I must visit. Located at 97A Hoyt Street, it’s the Montreal version of brisket, “steamed, hand-sliced and shingled onto mustard-moistened rye” (I’ll take mine sans moutarde.) The place is a big hit, complete with a second outlet (53 Bond Street) and published a cookbook.
  • Another year goes by, and I’m not in Hong Kong for the Lunar New Year, but I sure want to be. The magazine has a four-page spread “bursting with colorful New Year’s treats” I want to taste “savory turnip cakes flecked with shredded cured pork, dried shrimp and mushroom” and I want to share a hot pot of “vegetables and meats swimming in a savory broth,” “sumptuous dumplings filled with minced pork and shrimp crowned with the highly prized shellfish, abalone. I want somebody to invite me to their apartment and prepare hung you two for me: “pink-tinged savory dumplings…stuffed with a sticky filling of rice, dried shrimp, mushrooms, and crunchy ground peanuts.” They’re shaped like a peach, which “symbolizes longevity.”
  • Oh, I could be so happy in Norway—we’ve been watching Lilyhammer on Netflix, so Norway is much on our minds—because I want to taste the salmon covered in fresh greens that caught my eye in a spread with two dozen pictures of fresh farms, tiny pancakes, waterfalls, field mushrooms, raspberries, asparagus and mussels, all so fresh they leap off the page.

Let my brother have his pizza (he has taken me to places where the pizza is very, very good). Me, I’m off to Norway and Hong Kong, at least in my food dreams. And now, I’ve got another list of places to eat, and you do, too. But I’m also reminded that I was browsing the January-February 2013 edition of Saveur, and the current issue will make my list even longer.

Fine with me.

Outta Here! – A Friendly How-to Guide

With good cell phone service and a robust Internet connection, we’d like to think we can live, and work, pretty much anywhere. True enough, if the term is days, weeks or months, but what about years? What about (gasp!) forever?

Why leave? You’ll find lots of good reasons (good stories, too) in the newly revised second edition of Getting Out: Your Guide to Leaving America by Mark Ehrman:

The US had become unbearable after 9/11…We purchased 1.25 acres of land about 20 minutes south of Oaxaca…There is nothing like living, immersing oneself entirely, in another country, culture, language, etc.” — Cara Smiley, 40

I have been leaving the US all my life–starting with study abroad and then the Peace Corps…” — Kerry Kittel, age 49

Life here in Copenhagen is just so much more livable than any place I’ve experienced in the US. I take a train and boat to work. I ride my bicycle to buy groceries…” — Bill Agee, 50

You might think of this as the ultimate traveler’s book (no tourists allowed). Pages of (fascinating) personal stories are followed by advice about visas, second passports, and citizenship. There are many ways to gain citizenship, or at least, residency… marry in, play your ethnic race card, buy your way in, teach English, etc.

Fantasizing about where you might go…and stay? If you’re looking for the world’s highest rate of Internet penetration, try Greenland, Iceland, Norway, or Finland. Best infrastructure? Switzerland, Hong King, Singapore, France, Iceland, or Sweden. Fastest Internet? South Korea. Safest? Germany, or Canada. Growing job market? China, India, Taiwan. Best place to start a new business? New Zealand, Australia or Canada.

Need a more in-depth analysis? That’s the second half of the book. Sixty-one countries, each considered in terms of governance, Internet, healthcare, working there, taxes, women’s issues, life expectancy, moving there, and more.

If i was among the 300,000 who left home, where would I like to go? In fact, I would love to spend a month, maybe several, in every one of those sixty countries–but I suppose that answer evades the question. If I had to choose today, my starter list would probably include:

  • Bahamas
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • France
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Sweden
  • United Kingdom

Where would you go? And stay?


And, from the same publisher, the real dirt on living in the country. The book is called (of course!) Get Your Pitchfork On!

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