Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Foods of My Native Land

We are leaving tomorrow to spend a few weeks on the old family hacienda in New Jersey. Not only will this be an opportunity for visiting mis papás y hermana, we will also be treated to some of the comida típica del país viejo. That is, some of the special foods we either can't get here in México, or only in diluted versions. Below are some of the delights we are anticipating.
•Proper sour Jewish Caraway Rye Bread.
•Pastrami sandwiches on that rye, with hot, spicy mustard and...
•Garlicky Kosher pickles.
•Good hot dogs, with taste and a casing with snap. (Mexican hot dogs here are uniformly dreadful.) See Irving's Deli menu (pdf). The main web site is being remodeled.
•Dunkin Donuts (Yes; I indulge in a couple of Dunkin Donuts every other day while we are there. I especially like French Crullers. Be assured that they are nutritious.
I can get totally wired on their excellent coffee (and much cheaper than Starbuck's down the street.) while geting wi-fied over their free internet connection. Just try to find a table with enough room for the laptop.

•Brisket pot roast with spicy gravy. Kasha Varnishkes. (Steamed whole grain buckwheat groats with egg noodles, lightly bathed in melted chicken fat with crispy, caramelized onions. I can make it in México, but it's better in the Old Country.)
•Connecticut style hot buttered lobster rolls. Fried whole-belly clams. (In photo.)


•Really good Italian food, and pizza!

A vegetable pizza at Pepe's Pizzaría Napoletana, in New Haven, Connecticut.

•Decent bagels.

Actual, real Chinese food, especially Sichuan style.

Baby Wontons in Spicy Red Oil Sauce, at Chengdu 1, Cedar Grove, NJ.

I hope to be reporting back as often as the primitive, regional coconut fiber network permits.
Watch this space for updates.


Michael Dickson said...

Jeez, this is torture. Take me with you.

Bob Mrotek said...

Oh Don Cuevas,
Pleeeeeez take me with you, oh pleeeeeez. If you can't take me with you could you at least bring me back a care package? I almost drowned from salivating when I read your list of cravings. Me too :)

Don Cuevas said...

Do either of you like Switzer's Licorice?
I can bring back stuff like that.

Juicy, medium-rare rib roasts and hot dogs, no.

We also plan to stop at least once at Kam Man Foods Asian Supermarket, in Hanover, NJ, to pick up a few condiments, maybe have lunch at the food court (Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, weird, pastel-colored bakery foods. However, Asian foods and condiments are getting pretty easy to buy in Mexico City and even the basics in Morelia.)

Don Cuevas

Michael Dickson said...

Licorice? Yuck! Halvah? Do I look Jewish to you?

I want the rib roast and the weenies, or nothing at all.

Don Cuevas said...

I love licorice, but even I don't eat halvah any more. It's cloyingly sweet and oily.

No chopped liver for you, though!

Don Cuevas

Calypso said...

I feel like I gain weight as I read your blog entries - is this possible? Have you ever checked the calories of your entries?

Don Cuevas said...

Calories? ¿que?

Remember, "Panza llena, corazón contento."

Buen provecho,
Don Cuevas

Steve Cotton said...

I have been here just a week -- but I understand the cravings. I have been trying work-arounds, to little avail. Mexican hot dogs are not a good replacement for mango chicken sausage.

Vanska said...

OMG I lived in Chengdu and those look perfect!!!! I now live in Jalisco and have my own stash of hua jiao (sichuan peppercorns)which keeps me going. Have some jiaodze for me!

Don Cuevas said...

Get a grip, Steve. :-)

This is just the start.

Don Cuevas

Tancho said...

Gee, just when I forgot about decent food, you have to rub my taste buds into overdrive. It's been two years since we were in NYC, so now I have a hankering for my favorite joints. Grimali's and Lombardi's, and washed down with Greys papaya with hot dogs....Have fun, safe trip!

Don Cuevas said...

Vanska, welcome to the blog!
Where are you writing from?

Last time we were in the U.S., I got a pound of excellent Sichuan Peppercorns, but as these things typically go, I haven't used them much. However, the fragrance is amazing.

Constantino (your old, 3-letter short name was much easier!); I have never been to Grey's Papaya, at least, not in memory. Nor Grimaldi's nor Lombardi's. All of the above in NYC.

We have been to some of New Haven's top, renowned pizza places, such as Pepe's (pictured); the Spot, and Modern Apizza.) But, this trip we are confining ourselves to eastern NJ, 25-30 miles west of the Hudson, with a brief foray on Amtrak to Central CT.

What's wrong with the cheap fresh papaya here? (Really, I'm not fond of papaya much of the time, especially that overripe smell it sometimes gets. Give me some good, juicy mangos.)

Don Cuevas

Lesley said...

Hello Don Cuevas! A friend of mine in Mexico City forwarded me your blog. (Her blog is called Southern Living -- I think she has you linked.) I love your recipe descriptions!

I'm actually going to be in Patzcuaro this Thursday through Sunday, but I don't know if you will have returned from your trip. I'm traveling there to work on a magazine story about Day of the Dead. Perhaps we could talk, either in person, on the phone or via email? I would love to get your input about what Day of the Dead is like in Patzcuaro. (And the best foods to eat!)

I live in Mexico City now, by the way.

Don Cuevas said...

Lesley, we will be back Thursday night. I can be available on Sunday. Would there be compensation, as in "dinero"?

I would prefer to have your email address than messaging though a comments form.

Don Cuevas