Sunday, July 13, 2008

Upscaling Island Cuisine

More than 20 years ago I visited a small island where there were barely any roads, no stop signs, and no significant touristic development. The few establishments there offered local cuisine, some of which can no longer be found. We dined on turtle, basic chicken dishes, and simple grilled fish. Today, the island of Providenciales has some of the most intriguing, creative offerings around, particularly notable given that nothing is grown on the island. Local fish like mahi mahi, snapper, grouper and the indigenous conch abound, but pretty much everything else is flown in from somewhere. Including the chefs. It is amazing to see the breadth of creativity that competition inspires, albeit at top dollar. Dishes with fantastic names like "symphony of conch" or "tomatoes three ways" attest to some of the culinary explorations happening. It's like watching a series of Top Chef done island-style. I have just spent seven days sampling the best of the best on the island, and I am truly impressed. Now if only a reduced cost of living could help bring down the prices...

Sunday, June 22, 2008

An Ethnic Trip Along One Street?

I've written before about how taking the 7 Train in Manhattan is like taking a journey around the world. This was the infamous train that was maligned by an Atlanta Braves pitcher because of just how ethnic the riders on the train actually were. But isn't that, in fact, the beauty of New York City? That you can ride one subway line and go from one "country" to another in just a few stops, or walk down a sidewalk and munch on delicacies from three continents? Roosevelt Avenue in Queens seems to do the culinary trip the best: you can have Thai, Mexican, Burmese, Irish, Latino, Peruvian, Argentine, Indian ad nauseum. Walking under the el may be daunting, so be sure to stop every few feet for a tamale, alternated by a micro-brew, some ceviche, and a nice glass of Malbec to ease the journey!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sodas around the World

I had a wonderful conversation with a writer today about how different sodas taste around the world. I had never noticed this. Does a Diet Coke in the US taste better than a Diet Coke in Japan? I can certainly vouch for the differences between drinking a Coke from a bottle and drinking a Coke from a can. Bottles rule! Especially the old-fashioned green ones. When you travel around the world, you find ones that are quite scratched... which begs the question, "How long have they been around?"