Recently in USA category

Kuma’s

bathroom

Kuma’s isn’t the easiest place to get to. It’s in Chicago but not anywhere near the city center. And once you get out there, you’ll have to wait for your table. And waiting at (or near) the bar is exquisite torture because there’s a line up of folks at the bar chowing down on the best hamburgers and macaroni and cheese you’ll ever come across.

kuma's

While in Chicago, my daily dining options have come down to this: Mexican, or burgers.

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Smitty’s Market Barbecue

smitty's bbq

Someone had asked me how to get a lot of comments on a blog last week. So I answered that it was pretty simple: “Put up a recipe with corn syrup in it.” Since I’m in Texas, however, there’s another way to rile up the masses and that is to write up a barbecue joint. Honestly, there is nothing that divides Texans or Kansas City-folk more than the proper way to prepare and eat this most divisive of all foods. (Chili notwithstanding.)

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Bubba’s Fried Chicken

fried chicken

The hardest part about traveling and teaching classes, which I’m doing this week in Texas, is that I’m not on vacation and hence there’s almost no time to do all the things in the various cities where I am that people tell me I should do. Or I should rephrase that and say that I don’t have the time to eat all the things that people tell me I should eat.

corn and corn bread

It’s exquisite torture to be in a town famous for, say, barbecued ribs or fried oysters po’ boys and not be able to get me some.

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New York City Dining and Travel Notes

pretzels empire state building

I had a wonderful trip to New York City recently and shared some of the places that I visited (see links at end of post), but there were plenty more places that I ate at, which didn’t get mentioned in previous posts. So here’s a round-up of them…

katz's corned beef sandwich

Katz’s

Most of the good delis are gone in New York City, but Katz’s is an institution and I like to believe it’s never going to let me down. I’ve had great meals there, but on this visit, my corned beef was tough and almost all of the meat inside my sandwich was inedible. A sandwich that costs $14.50, plus tax, should be museum-quality.

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Babycakes NYC

agave-sweetened chocolate cake

The first place I had on my list of places to go in New York City was BabycakesNYC. Ever since I saw the video of the staff having a blast, I was transfixed on going there to participate in the fun and frolic.

babycakes cupcakes vita spelt

Babycakes NYC is owned by Erin McKenna, and features vegan desserts made without gluten or refined sugar. There’s also treats for people who keep kosher, and those on soy, egg, and casein-free regimes. Not all desserts fit into those categories, but for people on various diets, this place is a godsend. When a few people I mentioned it to said to me, “Gluten-free? No sugar? Is the stuff any good?”

agave sweetened cakes

If you’re wrinkling your nose, if Salted Butter Caramel Doughnuts dripping with caramel syrup and Chocolate Cake, moist from sweet agave nectar don’t sound appealing to you (like they do to me), then fine. More for the rest of us.

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Economy Candy

gumballs

I’ll spare you any quips about feeling like kids in a candy store, but from the squeals of delight all around us (and there was no one under eighteen in Economy Candy), there we were, a roomful of adults, surrounded by floor-to-ceiling displays of candy—from the new to the long-forgotten. And I could hear every few moments someone saying, “Oh my God!” or “I LOVE these!” from people reconnecting with their favorite sweets from the past.

orange slices

My favorite candies of all time are Orange Slices, jellied wedges of orange coated with tooth-crackling sugar crystals. Man, I could eat a jumbo bag of them. I also like Dots, but you have to be careful if eating them at the movies because if you don’t hold each one up to the screen and check before you pop it in your mouth, you might accidentally eat one of the green ones.

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Kyochon

kyochon chicken1

Of course, I never heard of Kyochon. But when I was walking by it with my pal Matt, he said, “Oh…Kyochon!”

To me, it looked like another fast-food restaurant. And normally, I’m not a fan of fast-food, but Asian fast-food? Sign me up! So much of their food lends itself to quick service: noodles, fried chicken, sushi, and croquettes.

kyochon menu mattarmendarizatkyochon

Fast-food, or course, has taken on a somewhat different meaning. But ‘fast’ doesn’t have to mean ‘bad’, it just means that it’s food that can be prepared and served quickly. And many ethnic meals, from French crêpes, Mexican tacos, Hawaiian plate lunch, to Japanese bento, are good examples of fast, and healthy, fare.

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Hill Country Barbecue

I woke up this morning, and could not even make it through to the second half of my flagel.

Hill Counrty BBQ Hill Country Barbecue Sauce

My stomach was stuffed from yesterday, which began at Baked in Brooklyn, then extended through to a burger and fries at Shake Shack, across the border to Connecticut for steamed lobster, then back into New York City with a quick detour through the Apple store, then home to polish off the box of cookies I absconded with from the boys at Baked. Because, you know, I had to eat them while they were still fresh. Right?

cornbread

So you can imagine that I didn’t wake up with much of an appetite.

However…

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