Yes, I am back in one of those 'posting-funks'. Apologies for the irregularity of these messages. I have been hosting a few visitors--a friend from high school and my brother--and have been enjoying the opportunity to explore the city a bit more. But, the drawback is that any 'update the blog time' which I might have otherwise had has been spent watching tourists allow their children to swing from bar to bar in the metro, elbowing past tourists who stand right inside the metro door because they MUST hang onto that bar for dear life--thus blocking all of the remaining aisle standing space from the rest of us, and walking all over town while observing the overly large fannie packs (think a backpack of the groin region) and eavesdropping on entertaining conversations ("Yep. We should stop at the CVS on the way home and pick up some Cokes." Living it up in the big city.)
But when I haven't been doing those things, I have been having some fantastic culinary adventures. Just to tickle your tastebuds from afar and give you a few items to put on your food-to-do list (or your 'bucklet list' if you will--and if you are a certain relative of mine).
1. Good Stuff. Yes, that's the name of the restaurant. It's owned and operated by Spike, the former Top Chef contestant (yes, that is my favorite show). It is basically a classic burger and fries joint, but oh-so-much-better. If you have ever watched Top Chef and wondered "Would I like that?" The answer (in this case at least) is YES. I had been flipping through a Rachael Ray magazine about a year ago when I came across a Roasted Marshmallow Shake. Unfortunately, I never got around to trying it, and also, unfortunately, I didn't realize that the "Good Stuff Cookbook" from which it came was an actual place. Well, Saturday, I finally had the 'real thing'. And let's just say that it is probably good that I didn't try to make it myself, because it wouldn't have been as amazing. The fries were fresh cut and sprinkled with herbs with four different kinds of mayo sauces to dip in (yes, it was heaven.), and I am still thinking about the burger. (In other news, I am still trying to lose the weight that I most definitely gained in that hour. But, I would do it again. Every day. For the rest of my life.)
If you ever really want to find it, just go to Ben's Chili Bowl (apparently Barak Obama's favorite joint--at least that is what the 700 tourists lined up outside have been told). Once you get sick of the line at Ben's, just look across the street for the nearly empty restaurant that might have even lost power for the night (yes, that is a true story). Head on over, and enjoy being seated right by the front window. It is like being the mannequins at a department store. As you eat with your hands, you can be the selling point for others to come in and dig in to Ethiopian for the first time as well. As far as food goes, no utencils are required--that is what the "nerf-football" (as my brother has dubbed it) brown tortilla-like (but not really like) substance is for. Just wad that up and break into some egg yolk, meat of your choice, fresh veggies, and 'cottage cheese' (not like any cottage cheese I have ever had, but good all the same).
3. Jaleo--owned and operated by a judge on Top Chef--aka, he could have judged Spike (from Good Stuff)--enough said.
Pretty yummy Spanish tapas located right around the corner from the International Spy Museum. So after you work up an appetite after pretending to be Jack Bauer in Operation Spy--a terrific little simulation for young and old alike--you can get some bueno food. (Take that Spanglish). It is perfect for those who want to watch their intake. They will charge you entree prices for bite-sized dishes. It's like 100 calorie packs at a restaurant--buy yourself some self-control. The only difference is that instead of what appear to be freeze-dried oreo cookies that you get in your handy snack packs, you can get some legit flavors. My favorite was the greenbeans served well-seasoned with mango and ham. I'm serious. It was real good.