I traveled to Australia three years later with this same open mind and now greater appreciation for food and culture. I tried anything from bizarre meat pies to lychees to kangaroo to eating a live 'pippy' out of the sand. All of those were amazing foods in different ways, except for the pippy (mussel), which was way too sandy for my taste. My point being, I think a great part of traveling and experiencing any new city is trying the cuisine...no matter how bizarre. And in my opinion - if you find a food item gross, then it will probably be a pretty good story anyway.
The past week has been crazy and exciting with birthday celebrations and a visit from my parents to Chicago. One of the restaurants I went to for my friend's birthday was Girl and The Goat in the West Loop. Top Chef winner of Season 4, Stephanie Izard, created this modern restaurant described to have a rustic-chic design, that has you waiting months for a reservation. It's honestly well worth the time and money spent! The atmosphere is lively, the bar is full and the food is mouth watering. The chickpea fritters were once described by my sister as 'explosions in her mouth', haha and I don't disagree. I also love the fact that the chef has created shared plates because you can try and spend as much as you are willing or able to do so. This time around my friends and I tried the 'oven-roasted pig face'... probably the most unappealing name choice I've ever ordered, but it was absolutely amazing! A piece of pork served with thinly sliced potatoes, savory sauces & a sunny-side up egg on top, meant to all mix together for a melt-in-your-mouth bite. This was one crazy food that I do NOT regret ordering.
The rest of the weekend was spent being touristy with my parents, ordering our favorite cocktails and exploring some of Chicago's ethnic cuisine. We tried Le Colonial one night, which has a French/Vietnemese fusion. The atmosphere was more intimate than lively, but my parent's and I had a great time trying some of the traditional Vietnamese dishes for our first time. And after a few drinks, we were probably having a bit more fun than was socially acceptable....haha, but when has that ever stopped me before?? All and all it was an amazing week filled with some unusual food, fun cocktails and great company that I was sad to see come to an end :)
Drink of the week: Espresso Martini
2 oz Absolute Vodka
1 oz Kahlua
1 oz chilled espresso shot
splash of simple syrup (optional)
garnish with coffee beans
served up, shaken not stirred