As you will understand from reading this post further, I am a sensitive person. And while this affects many aspects of my life, I don’t know if it had ever affected my tastebuds until I ate at Divya’s Kitchen on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in mid-December. With the first bite of each dish I sampled, I felt like I was going to cry. I can’t tell you if it’s because of how the spices brought me back to Bangalore (where I spent four magnificent weeks in 2016), or because the experience was so beyond what I was expecting, or because the food was exactly what my body needed at that exact time, but the emotion was there.
Before I left New York last month, it was important to me to have one final Global Bites without the Flights (for the time being). I’ve somehow been lucky and loved all my Global Bites so far, but this one was extra special. On my first adventure of this whole “quitting my job to travel” thing I’ve gotten myself into, I’ll be spending the most time in Myanmar. Many people asked, “where?!” when I told them about my plans. It’s a country I admittedly didn’t know much about until recently, in Southeast Asia, bordered by India, Thailand, China, Bangladesh, and Laos. Right now, I’m only an hour away from there in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and heading there tomorrow afternoon.
I’ll know exactly how Polish I am when my mom receives the results of her Ancestry.com DNA test in 6-8 weeks, but at our guesses I’m about 30%. I identify more with being Irish because of my name, my extreme bond with my cousins on my dad’s side, and that Ireland was the first country I traveled to back in the day. But every time we saw my grandfather growing up, there was babka on the table. And to this day, when we visit my mom’s aunts and uncle, it’s there. I’ve tried a variety of “the best babkas in NYC”, but nothing’s the same as that cheese babka from the Polish bakeries in Trenton, NJ. In addition to the prevalence of babka in my life, every Christmas Eve dinner that I’ve ever had is kielbasa, because that’s what my mom’s family had when she was little.
Before I lived in this penthouse apartment in Gramercy (okay, well, it’s a 5th floor walkup in Kips Bay – but same thing, right?), I lived for two years in Hell’s Kitchen with my college bud, Nicole. Last month, we reunited in Hell’s Kitch for a Global Bites without the Flights to Indonesia, to Bali Nusa Indah (9th btw 45th & 46th). It wasn’t until we sat down that I realized we hadn’t had a one-on-one since maybe this time last year. We see each other frequently, but usually with many (and in some cases 200) other people involved. Because of this time apart, we focused a little more on each other than on the food, but I still have some thoughts.
When Kater and I were in Interlaken, Switzerland in May, we went to a VERY touristy restaurant where there was a pair of adorable Swiss elders yodeling, playing the accordion, and offering toots on the alpine horn, an opportunity which I obviously took. We ordered some Swiss beers and a pot of fondue, because, when in Interlaken.
If I don’t make it to the continent of Africa this year, I will be very upset with myself. I’ve been thinking about a particular trip I want to take to a few countries in Eastern and Southern Africa for a very long time. It just so happens that one of my travel friends, Marie of One Carry On, is an expert on everything Africa.
My frousin (friend & cousin) Christie and I were in Europe at the same time this spring. Christie was gallivanting in Greece and I was frolicking in France and Switzerland. In order to recap our trips properly with each other, we got together over the cuisine of yet another country – Morocco. This meal made Morocco the tenth country in my Global Bites without the Flights series, which I promise to make more regular from now on.
When the spring came this year, I was missing two things: Spain & my friend Kat. In order to kill two birds with one stone, Kat and I got together one night to eat paella at Socarrat. We’d been talking about this restaurant for years and though she’d been without me, this was my first experience. There are three locations in Manhattan – Chelsea, Nolita, and Midtown East. Kat and I met up at the Midtown East restaurant on 2nd Ave between 50th & 51st and were seated on the upstairs balcony which made for a pleasant environment to enjoy our dinners – my ninth official entry in my Global Bites without the Flights series.
The last time Kat and I found ourselves in the East Village on our way to Big Gay Ice Cream, we passed Veselka at the corner of 2nd Avenue and 9th Street. We both expressed desires to try the spot famous for serving Ukrainian food to the masses for the past 50 years. I made […]
One of my favorite meals on our trip to Asia last year (and there were many) was Dim Sum in Hong Kong one afternoon. Jing Fong, a Dim Sum restaurant here in NYC, is well deserving of being featured in Global Bites without the Flights.
I started practicing for Thanksgiving (by expanding the capacity of my stomach) weeks ago, meaning that I’ve had some pretty amazing (and expensive) dinners lately. My training started off at Pig and Khao, former Top Chef contestant Leah Cohen’s Asian (mostly Philippines-inspired) restaurant on the Lower East Side. Kater came with me for the sixth installment of “Global Bites without the Flights.”
My old roomie Nicole and I had a dinner date in Afghanistan last week. Well, at an Afghan restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen – Ariana – as part of my Global Bites without the Flights feature.
Last week, I asked a friend to join me on my next Global Bites without the Flights. When asked where he wanted to travel to, this friend suggested Rio. I spent a weekend in Brazil when I studied abroad in college but we traveled to Iguazú Falls instead of Rio de Janeiro. I highly recommend catching these waterfalls if you find yourself in South America. They are absolutely breathtaking.
The next continent I want to travel to is Africa. I have a craving for it like you wouldn’t imagine, but I am having trouble taking the plunge and actually planning a trip. This is mostly because of two issues – where within this huge continent do I go and will anyone accompany me there?
Last fall, I visited my friend Davesh in Amsterdam when he was living there. Over a drizzly weekend, we explored three cities in Belgium. For 48 hours, we lived on chocolate, frites, and waffles. There are several Belgian restaurants in New York City and many places to get Belgian waffles in particular, including one of my favorites, Wafels & Dinges, but for this Global Bites without the Flights feature, I’d like to focus on those frites.