a year in yum

This year: I’ve traveled for food, food has traveled to me, I’ve cooked for new friends, new friends have cooked with me and for me, I’ve failed in the kitchen, succeeded with dinner reservations, eaten new amazing foods, fallen back to eating the same comfort foods over and over, laughed boisterously with family over frites, cried unabashedly in public with a friend over octopus, fallen in love with abandon over mussels, reconnected, gave thanks, flirted, took solace, made introductions, explored, and celebrated over food.  Here then, some highlights from my year in food:

A perfectly plump shrimp dumpling handpicked by my host and enjoyed on a rooftop in Hong Kong.

Kowloon fish market, you can get no fresher. I was amazed at how pristine the street markets were considering the array of living seafood spilling over the sidewalks.

Sylhet, Bangladesh tea plantation at sunset. In the morning, workers pick just the bud and two youngest leaves while others prune the trees to waist height.

The intensely funny and intensely delicious Old Dirty Bastard from Voodoo Doughnut in Portland, a chocolate glazed donut with crushed Oreos and thick ribbons of peanut butter.

Widmer brewery, Portland, where beers are being experimentally brewed in old oak Bourbon casks.

After falling on my butt more times than I can count, this homemade breakfast of injera, shiro wat, and heirloom potatoes made the snowy slopes of Tahoe seem less mocking.

At long last, my craving for an authentic, moist, and flavorful grilled fish taco was fulfilled at Pokez in San Diego, with a gratis side of fun-loving vegan tattooed hipsters.

The late dinners in Spain allowed us girls to indulge in a hotel-room evening snack of inexpensive rioja, slices of Manchego cheese, Iberian ham, and sweet rolls from the supermarket to hold us over.

The immaculate and festive La Boqueria market in Barcelona, filled with stylish eye-catching displays of food to make anyone hungry.

The early morning’s cut of coconuts on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Freshly made, warm, light, and fluffy malasada (Portuguese doughnut) at Tex’s drive-thru in Honoka’a, Hawaii.

Kenny’s pitch-perfect breakfast at Kalaekilohana with fresh-made English muffins, lomi lomi salmon, and local apple bananas and mangoes – the only mangoes I have ever loved.

An artistic display, equal parts delicate and delicious, of Arctic char with pearl onions, apples and foam at Sjavarkjallarinn in Reykjavik.

A comforting pot of plokkfiskur in Reykjavik, creamy whitefish and potatoes served with rye bread, soothes the soul and absorbs the cold.

My mom’s begune bharta, eggplant curry – creamy, spicy, and heartwarming as well as stomach-filling.

I’m not a huge fan of Indian sweets, but who could resist these treats in Toronto wrapped up in intricately designed boxes like precious jewels?

Nothing fancy here, just the makings of a lovingly prepared holiday dinner with a warm and aromatic kitchen full of easy friends.

The spigots at the Heineken brewery in Amsterdam poured forth hours of shared family reminiscences and silly stories.

Belgian frites are best enjoyed on cold Amsterdam nights, slathered in mayonnaise and curry sauce, in XXL sizes as big as your head, and shared with multiple accomplices to your impending coronary artery disease.  Here’s to another year of yum!


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