I don’t know what is the matter with me, but I’ve always liked keeping rankings. I got rankings about pretty much anything. I don’t write them down, though. They’re just in my mind. For example, If you asked me right now, I’d tell you my 5 favourite actresses at the moment, the 5 best tv series I’ve seen this year, or my best 10 favourite cities in the world. Like I said, I like rankings. Then I thought it would be time to post a first one on my blog. I got a feeling it’s not gonna be the last.
I got a question for you. It’s a rhetorical question, don’t think too much about the answer. What’s the point of traveling if you’re not willing to try the food the country you’re visiting is famous for? Yes I got it, maybe that’s a little harsh. I know there are hundreds of other points. I’m not crazy, I know you don’t go to Brussels just because you wanna have a Waffle. I do, so maybe I am crazy after all. But not you, right? You go to Brussels to see the Grand Place. But once you’re there? Isn’t trying to blend in the local culture one of the nicest experience you can have when you’re abroad? Surely yes for me. That said, I don’t want to sound pretentious, please forgive me, but if you’re Italian like me, you really can’t find better food anywhere else in the world. Still, it doesn’t mean you can’t try. And in my traveler career, I’ve come to appreciate some of the food you can find around the world, and that I tremendously miss when I’m home, here in Italy. Hence be aware this isn’t the best food you can find abroad, I haven’t tried it all, plus I’m not a critic (then I’m not pretentious). That’s why the subtitle of the post read “according to me”. It’s more simply my opinion about that. So here we go…
You don’t know me, but I’m telling you. I’m a sweet guy. All of my ex-girlfriends would testify in my favor if you asked them (Seriously?! Yeah, I think so). But to be a sweetheart like me, you have to work hard. Eating a lot of sweets is part of the job. And I do eat sweets. All the time. In this case, I actually think a Belgian Waffle is more related to explosives. Eat one, and the game is over. Knocked down. However, being a bit of a masochist, every time I got the chance to near The Netherlands, I obsessively seek for waffles shops. Belgium is its homeland (I’m told Liegi to be precise), and if it happens that you find yourself in Brussels, don’t worry you won’t miss them. Waffles shops are everywhere.
I thought the paella was a typical Spanish dish. It is, how about that. But the original one is from Valencia, and I didn’t know that until I got there. I had it twice during my 4 days in Valencia, both in one of the most famous restaurants of the city, The Pepica by the beach. Most famous, certainly doesn’t mean the best, but it’s a really good one and surely not a tourist restaurant, which you should avoid if you don’t want to eat a fake paella. Have it at a real restaurant, where they actually cook the paella right at the moment. You get to choose whether you want it served, on a plate rather than the paella pan. My advice is, make sure you eat it directly from the paella pan. Scraping out the rice beans is the best part.
Maybe not everyone knows that if you have a Guinness at any Irish Pub on the planet, it doesn’t taste the same as a Guinness in Dublin or in Ireland in general. The reason is that export Guinness is made with water from a different source. You go to Dublin, have a pint, and you’ll taste the difference. Plus, I’ve never seen a pub that can beat the actual Irish pubs. Having a good Guinness at any pub in Temple Bar (the coolest neighborhood in the city center) while some musicians are playing live Irish music is a fantastic experience. You could even go to the Guinness Storehouse, located very close the city center, where other than seeing the Guinness museum, at the end of the visit you can get a free pint at the Gravity Bar. That’s the pub of the Storehouse, where you can get a 360 degree view of the Old Grey Dublin. It’s a chance, but I like Temple Bar better.
7-Fish And Chips
I get it, it isn’t the most elaborated dish you could find in the world. Or in London for that matter. You could get very good food in London. The thing is that I just like it. And it strikes me that even though here in Italy we have plenty of fish and very good quality potatoes, nobody knows what the hell is a fish and chips, not to mention how to cook it. Anyway, I never leave the city without having had the more fish and chips I can. A nice pub, a fish and chips, a pint of good beer and I’ll be just fine. When I’m in London, I’m just fine all the time anyway. Can’t say the same about my wallet though.
Usually served like this. A croissant, a tartine (french bread with butter and jam), a glass of fresh orange juice and a cup of tea or coffee. I mean, I’m used to the Italian breakfast that’s really good. But french breakfast wins hands off. By the way they call it “Petit Dejeuner”. The one in the picture I had it at a nice bistro in Montmartre when I was in Paris earlier last October. The bistrot got a nice view downward the hill, so it was a very enjoyable breakfast. You see two of everything because I wasn’t already “I” but we were still “we”. No longer “we” now, and “I” am just a mess. If I came back now, I would steal her little jar of jam, ’cause I remember I ran out of it pretty soon. What would have been the problem?! Just kidding.
I’ll be honest with you. It’s just a sandwich. But if it existed an award for the best sandwich in the world, the winner would be the Pastrami at Katz’s in New York. Katz’s Delicatessen is a diner on Houston Avenue best known for the famous scene from “When Harry met Sally”. It’s served with 2 cucumbers, which I don’t know what I am supposed to do with. I know what you’re guessing, but I don’t think is the right answer. They’re very strict about the recipe, it has to be made with rye bread. Does the bread matter? Maybe. What matters the most is the meat inside. Several layers of very thin slices that literally melt in your mouth. In one word, delightful. Unfortunately I missed it the second time I’ve been in New York, but I swear it won’t happen again.
I used to go to McDonald’s when I was a kid, because as every other Italian kid, I thought it was cool. Yeah bro’ you know, we’re eating hamburgers, we’re as cool as the Americans! No wonder how surprised I was when I finally ate my first real American Hamburger. I mean, cooked in the U.S. Forget about the chewing gum that sells McDonald’s, they’re not hamburgers. The real one tastes really like beef, which is an animal I prefer cooked (sorry for my vegetarian friends). It’s so juicy and always served with French fries. Though I tried a lot of different places in the U.S. the first I had still remains the best. It was in Lincoln Road, Miami Beach, at 5 Napkins, which is a big chain.
3-Buffalo Chicken Wings
Man, I don’t know how to begin to describe the buffalo wings. The day I was in Niagara Falls to see the falls, I decided I really had to make it to Buffalo, which happens to be right across the U.S. border, just to have them for lunch. So we had to pass the border by the car and it took us a couple of hours because of the queue. Bottom line, we made it to The Anchor Bar a little later than my usual lunch hour. But it was worth it. The Anchor Bar is actually the place where they were invented, as you can read also on the menu. The tale is cool, but the chicken wings are better. You get to choose among four different spicy degrees, plus one. The “plus one” is called suicidal. How spicy is it? It’s “if you can finish one serving, you won’t have to pay the bill” spicy. I had seven “hot” wings and three “suicidal” wings. I have to say that other than spicy they were fucking good.
I’m so fond of American pancakes, that even if I don’t usually like cooking (I’m very good at it, it’s just that I don’t like the dish washing, so I try to avoid doing it) I’ve found a good recipe, and now pretty much every sunday morning, I make my homemade pancakes. That means I even have to do some groceries before, but not being a blog about recipes, I’m not gonna tell you how to make them. You can find ’em usually in the U.K. and of course everywhere in the U.S. Obviously there has to be maple syrup to dip them into. I love maple syrup too. Not so much Canada anymore, but that’s a different story. (Did I mention my ex-girlfriend is Can…Nevermind).
Can’t find the words. By far my favourite. Just know, last time I was in the U.S. I came back home with the record of 16 cupcakes in 25 days. 11 of them were branded Sprinkles, which is an American chain who sells cupcakes and ice creams. You can trust me here, I’ve been very thorough, I’ve tried a lot of different chains and bakeries, you just can’t beat Sprinkles. It’s a famous chain but it has only 17 locations all around the U.S., so if you’re not in one of those places you have to manage differently. It’s never worth it. Though it’s an American cake, there are a lot of places here in Europe where you can find them. I’m working on trying to find them all. So far, if I had to pick a place, I’d say Johnnie Cupcakes, an Irish chain with several locations in Ireland and a couple in England.
That’s my ranking. Here’s three options for you. Leave comments or suggestions, share yours favourites, or send me cupcakes. I’ll appreciate all of them.