The highlight of my visit to USA would be my food adventures. It started the very next I arrived in USA. One of my colleagues there in USA is a real food-lover, never tired of eating out and trying new foods. I have passion for food too but he is way ahead. Anyway, we decided to carry out a restaurant-yatra while I was there in Boston so we went to a different restaurant every day. This food spree included but not limited to Wendy’s (American fast food), Subway (Sandwiches), Cheese Cake Factory (American food), Cambodian, Vietnamese, Thai, Indian, Chinese (twice, best Chinese ever outside china), Bangladeshi, Afghani (just in & out, it wasn’t Halal), Pizza (run by Greeks), Ice Cream factory, Mexican, and of course StarBucks coffee.
We started with a Cambodian restaurant Tepthida Khmer. It tasted a bit different but was nice. Service was really good. We started with a papaya salad followed by fish with coconut milk curry in banana leaf and a fried vegetables dish with rice.
Next was a Thai restaurant called Thai Jasmine. Here we experienced their dishes chilli with sprout & shrimps, and tofu vegetable curry with rice.
We visited a Chinese Sichuan restaurant next. This was the best Chinese food I have eaten outside china. We started with a kind of fried pancake stuffed with vegetables. Main course had two curry dishes, fish chilli and egg plant with vegetables accompanied by boiled with rice and Chinese tea. The chilli curry was real hot as it should be, Sichuan is famous for very hot food. It was not as hot though as I once tried in Shanghai (will tell you the story later in my China visit).
On Friday whole of our team went to lunch at Vietnamese restaurant. I limited myself to salad only, I didn’t wanted to have a heavy lunch & then doze at my desk.
On the weekend we went to a Bangladeshi restaurant in Cambridge. It was Halal, out of excitement we ordered a channa (chickpeas) chat as starter, a traditional fish dish, lamb biryani and chicken curry. It turned out to be worst Bangladeshi food I ever had, and it was the most expensive restaurant of my entire US visit. I would give it 0 out of 10. Disappointed, we went to Bangladeshi shop nearby to have Kulfi dessert to compensate but disappointment continued..
Our next stop was Indian restaurant called Kabab Factory. Our starter was spicy potato soup. Main course had vegetable (gobhi etc mixed) sabzi and Lamb chops (very expensive 4 chops for $22) but it was good. I got a bit carried away, indulged into gulab jaman dessert & masala chai (Indian tea) to complement a complete Indian evening. Verdict: OK
Disappointed, I insisted to go back to Chinese again! It was just so excellent. This Szechuan restaurant has quite a few Indian fans as food resembles to Indian (at least from chillies aspect). I tried egg soup as starter (just average). Main course was green beans with chillies, and fried fish with chilli & pepper. It was just so delicious, though hot – chilli chilli every dish.
By now my inner-chef had aroused. So I cooked one dish (rice, vegetable curry, salad and yogurt raita). You can’t taste but the picture speaks…
One day before leaving, our manager (American) & few others (from India) decided to try another Indian at lunch called Pongal (it is the name of a festival similar to vaisaakhi). Lunch was buffet with mix dishes. We went a bit late, we knew no one will be able to work afterwards. The restaurant was quite good, better than the Kabab Factory. Stuffed myself with delicious Indian food, I finished with mango ice cream – good shot.
The story doesn’t end here. Next I went to Washington DC to visit my friend. New food adventures were waiting ahead as the party season was in full swing. I reached his house about 3pm. As soon as I freshened up (10 mins max) we left to his friend’s house for lunch. It was a full south Indian Hyderababadi buffet fetched from a local famous restaurant Swadis. I was spoiled with the choice of dishes. As you know Hyderababdi cuisine is quite hot & spicy. I did the happy ending with bread pudding, very very similar to my favourite Middle Eastern cutie “Ume-Ali” (name of the dish!).
Few hours later we were heading to a birthday dinner party. There were a variety of dishes, mainly Indian. My favourite was the chicken tikka masala and the birthday cake!
Next morning I was treated Bangalori breakfast (at home, my friend’s wife, our bhabi cooks great. I broke my own record of eating parathas on that day, a huge total of 5.5 in one single day! 2.5 at breakfast, 1 at lunch & 2 at dinner. Don’t jump, South Indian prartha is quite thin & small, just the size of a hand of a (small) lady.
For dinner, we were invited at a friend’s house. He is Banglorian, south Indian. I was especially treated to small parathas. Other dishes included dossa (similar to puri, I just had one, not included in paratha total). Round white things are called idli, these are made with rice, urd dall and methi seeds mixed & then steamed. It is eaten with different curries and chutneys. Talking about chutney, there was green raita, mint chutney, mango achaar (pickle), aaloo bhujia (similar to what we stuff in samosa). It was just so delicious!
Sadly I had to leave next morning, so the food party ended!
Read my Washington DC visit here: http://kashif-ali.com/2010/08/washington-dc-jul-2010/