Food generally has a very powerful impact on my mood. It‘s quite simple - when I have good food, I‘m happy, when I have bad food or no food at all, I get "hangry". While at home I try to eat healthy meals most of the times, I really like to take traveling as an excuse to indulge shamelessly and have food, that I normally wouldn‘t allow myself.
Thankfully my latest travel brought me to a place where there is no shortage of good food what so ever - the East Coast of the United States of America.
Anybody planning on visiting NYC - I have to warn you - there will be serious food temptations around every corner! Manhattan is an incredibly active City. People always seem to be on the go, always working and in the rush to get to some important meeting or to a hip party at a rooftop bar (at least that's what I always imagine ). That's why there's also a huge demand on fast food. Why go to a restaurant and sit down for lunch when you can talk on the phone, walk your dog, shop and have food all at the same time? You furthermore can't forget about the other advantages of fast food - it‘s mostly cheap, it's easy accesible and you don't have to wait for a table or make a reservation. In my eyes it's a perfect example for today's consumer society - you want something, you get someting - it's as easy as that.
Because I was on holiday and because the busy atmosphere in New York City can take over quite quickly, I tried to find a balance between fast food and restaurant food most of the times. One place that has become a favorite of mine is located in China Town and called "Great NY Noodle Town". If you go there for the first time you might be shocked about the grilled ducks and chickens that are hung in the windows. You might also find the menu, that is written under a plastic cover on the tables, a bit unusual. But you get used to the view quite quickly and as soon as the waiter pours you a nice cup of green tea, you will definitely feel at home. My friend and me ordered some of our favorite dishes, including boiled chicken seasoned with soy sauce, Pak Choi (a kind of chinese cabbage), pan fried duck with green aspargus and a pork noodle soup. Although I have to admit, that over the past two years the restaurant has has become a bit more "touristy" than it used to be, the food is still really good and quite affordable at the same time.
Walking around Manhattan I also noticed the number of mexican restaurants and foodstalls, while in Germany it‘s generally quite hard to find restaurants that offer mexican food. That‘s why at some point I decided to have a Taco. Little did I know that a five dollar tortilla with meat, tomatoes, salad and spicy avocado sauce could be as tasty!
To end the delicous few days in New York City, I can also recommend picking up a piece of carrot cake at "Magnolia Bakery". At six dollars cost, it‘s rather on the expensive side, but I promise it‘ll last you for breakfast, lunch AND dinner.
Visiting friends in Philadelphia and Boston after a week in New York was when things started to get a bit more excessive. Still, I think it's no crime to have some pancakes, french toast and home fries while on holiday in the US. That way I did end up consuming quite large amounts of wheat flour, sugar and butter on the last few days of my travel - no shame, people! As long as we don't eat it every day, I think we'll be fine.
The next few pictures were taken at two breakfast/brunch spots. The first one we went to was in Philadelphia, called "Sabrina's Café". After waiting for one hour until a table was available, my hangry self decided to order some french toast and scarmbled eggs "mexican style" with peppers, avocado and cilantro pesto. The french toast was filled with sweet cream cheese, caramelized walnuts, strawberries, chocolate chips and topped with strawberry jam. I have to admit that I ordered the toast rather out of curiosity, since I couldn‘t imagine all of these flavors going together. Let me tell you - in the end there was not one piece left on the plate.
Almost equally as delicious were the waffles with peanut butter, syrup, whipped cream and bananas I had at "My Diner" in Boston, as well as these blueberry pancakes I ordered at "The Paramount" at Beacon Hill in Boston.
We ended our american culinary journey with a visit to one of the East Coast's most well known and appreciated dumpling restaurants, also known as the "Gourmet Dumpling House" in China Town Boston. Following the recommendation of a friend, who is currently living in Boston, we ended up ordering their vegetarian steamed dumplings, the juicy dumplings with pork and crabmeat, the crab rangoons and some chinese vegetables on the side. Our friend also gave us a lesson in how to eat the dumplings properly. This way we learned that you should bite the top off first, allowing the filling to cool down, that you are then expected to slurp out the broth inside of the dumpling and are lastly supposed to eat the remaining bit in one big bite.
Although neither the service, nor the interior of the restaurant suited its name, the food is what really convinced me that they earned to call themselves "Gourmet".
Looking back on all of the amazing food I got to try out in the US I really have to compliment the country on the variety of flavors it has to offer. Unlike many people say, there is way more to the american diet than junk food and sugary drinks. This way I went back home with the impression of a country, that reflects its values of "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness" not only in its constitution, but also in the great diversity of its family owned restaurants, cafés and diners. They are, what in my opinion make the States a unique place, where anyone can portray their heritage and culture and share it in a delicious kind of way.
For more information about the restaurants I mentioned...
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