Hey there! In last week’s post, I mentioned my “dying wish” meal: Dominican beans and rice. “What would your last meal be?” has got to be my favorite food-related question out there- it can reveal so much! Last week’s post got me thinking about the rest of my culinary bucket list- the foods and restaurants I want to try before I kick the you-know-what. I put pen to paper on these and here’s what I came up with:
- Chili from Ben’s Chili Bowl in D.C.
- A lobster roll in Maine
- Pho in Ho Chi Min City
- Pizza in Italy (or NYC! had as a child but don’t remember too well)
- Tapas and jamón Ibérico in Madrid
- A Jucy Lucy from Matt’s Bar in Minneapolis
- Spam musubi and poke from Da Poke Shack in Kailua-Kona, HI
- Feijoada and a caipirinha in Brazil
- Spicy, spicy street food and dou hua in Chendgu, Sichian province
- Moules frites in Brussels
- Korean food with a table full of garnishes, anywhere
- Dim sum in San Fran’s Chinatown
- Ice cream at the Ben and Jerry’s factory in Vermont
- Brewery stops in Seattle and Bend, OR
- Wine tasting in Napa Valley
Dreaming is wonderful but being grateful for what you have seen and done is where it’s at. Here are some of the standout culinary moments I’ve been fortunate enough to experience:
- Dinner at the Signature Room of the John Hancock Tower in Chicago
- Brunch at the Army Navy Club in D.C.
- Crab cakes oceanside in Maryland
- Burgers made the same way as they were when my grandparents were newlyweds at Whisler’s Drive-Up in Carthage, MO
- Cuban food in Little Havana
- A hot Krispy Kreme donut right off of the conveyor belt
- Fried chicken and fireworks by the Potomac on the Fourth of July
- Hot, fresh apple cider feet from where it was made at an orchard
- Oysters and Yuengling at the Old Ebbitt Grill in D.C.
- Hot dogs at various MLB ballparks and Chicago dogs in Chicago
- Sushi at Station Sushi in Solana Beach, CA and fish tacos in San Diego
- Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ in Kansas City
- Street tacos in Acapulco
- Fette Sau BBQ and momofuku milk bar cookies in Brooklyn
- Jerk chicken and Red Stripe from shack kitchens in Jamaica and home-cooked creole lobster with coconut rice and peas on the beach in Negril
- Café au lait and a croissant in Paris
- St. Louis roll call: Ted Drewes frozen custard, toasted ravioli, dinner at the chef’s counter at niche with Gerard Craft at the helm, cocktails made by Ted Kilgore, pho at Mai Lee, Sunday dim sum at Lulu Seafood
- NOLA roll call: Beignets and chicory coffee at Café du Monde, hurricanes at Pat O’Brien’s, boozy Friday lunch (complete with sing along) at Galatoire’s, oysters at the Acme Oyster House, a Pimm’s Cup at The Napoleon House, pecan-crusted fish and champagne and bread pudding at Commander’s Palace, a Sazerac at the Roosevelt Hotel, Abita and Zapps on Frenchmen Street, cocktails [everywhere]
- Dominican Republic roll call: sancocho, fresh fish and boiled crabs, limoncillos, sweet-sauced and oregano-sprinkled cheese pizza from Pizzarelli, road stand ice-cold Presidente, juicy mangoes I climbed for and plucked myself, mofongo from Adrian Tropical, red snapper from the ice chest at Capitan Cook’s, and many, many more…
Sounds like I’ve got my priorities straight, right? My memories have always been punctuated by food- what I ordered when we went here or there, what we ate the day that this-or-that happened, what so-and so cooks so well. Today’s recipe is an approximation of one of the dishes on my list- the lobster roll! My OCD prevents me from trying this recipe with lobster- I’m holding out for the real thing in the right place- so I used shrimp. Didn’t heat up the kitchen too much and loved every bite. Bonus recipe below for a cooling summer smoothie!
WEST OF MAINE SHRIMP ROLLS
- 1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1 lemon, cut in half
- 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
- 10 peppercorns
- 1/4 cup light mayo or Greek yogurt
- 2 stalks celery, finely diced
- 1/3 cup yellow onion, finely diced
- 3-4 tbsp fresh tarragon, chopped
- Kosher salt and cracked black pepper
- celery seed
- butter or olive oil
- hot dog buns
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the Old Bay seasoning, the lemon, and the peppercorns. When the water is boiling, add the shrimp and boil 2-3 minutes, until opaque and cooked through. Strain and set aside, tossing the lemon and peppercorns. I recommend chilling the shrimp for a while to bring to room temp or cooler.
Meanwhile, dice the onion, celery, and tarragon. When the shrimp are cool (or warm, your call), toss the veggies and tarragon with the mayo, a sprinkle of celery seed, and some cracked black pepper. Fold in the shrimp and taste for seasoning.
Toast hot dog buns and drizzle with a bit of melted butter or some olive oil. Pile high with the shrimp salad and enjoy! Serve with a refreshing:
WATERMELON CRUSH SMOOTHIE
- 3-4 cups watermelon
- a handful cilantro
- 2-inch knob of ginger
- juice of a lime
- a handful of strawberries
- 24 oz coconut water
Toss all ingredients in a blender a whir away. Serve over ice. Crazy straw optional, but recommended.
Would be quite tasty with a bit of coconut rum… Hmm. Rum is good for pondering. Sip your smoothie, ponder, and tell me….
What have YOU checked off of your culinary bucket list? What’s left to be tasted?