2013 was a full of adventure, travel, experience, cultures, people and family along with a whole lot of food adventures- Mofongo, Sichuan pepper, Gaiwan, venison heart, caviar, sassafras and a whole lot of other.. here is a quick overview of all the experiences in the past year..
1. Chicago: Sunda, Girl and the Goat, Elizabeth
Asian is our favorite, Sunda has the perfect dishes that balanced Asian-American fusion very well. The Girl and the Goat, I had been waiting forever to go there, finally made it and it did meet my expectation, Elizabeth topped my list it was the best experience a full 3 hr course with many tasting dishes which still leaves you feeling full by the end of it, the Chef’s unique and complex dishes and to watch them at work was a whole different experience.
Here are some unique dishes from Elizabeth…
Tried some Philly chesse steak and some Thai curry mussels and a lot more. Philly was a nice change in summer but nothing new that I haven’t had before.
3. Puerto Rico:
Puerto Rico was a good tropical break in the cold freezing winter in Chicago, Puerto Rico has a lot of Spanish influence the most common dish was the “Mofongo” (Wikipedia: Mofongo is a fried plantain-based dish from Puerto Rico. It is typically made with fried green plantains mashed together in a pilón, with broth, garlic, olive oil, and pork cracklings or bits of bacon), Also tried the fried plantains which was good..and a whole lot of margaritas, mojitos, orchids and daiquiris.
4. Minneapolis: Somalian Tea, Gaiwan, Sichuan pepper, Tongue and Stomach
Finally frozen Minneapolis,
Gaiwan.. the first time I saw that I was a little in awe.. I didn’t even know something like this exists.. yup its tea tasting, Tea is an elaborate process in some parts of the world and as I heard a Gaiwan can be passed on through generations and can be a 100 years old…I am yet to get my hands on a good Gaiwan.
How to use a Gaiwan you say,
Start with a light tea and go on to the dark and aged.
First try the light with a minimum brewing time and continue to increase the brewing time to get more stronger flavor
To hold a Gaiwan, hold the top slightly tilted with your thumb and balance with index finger (here is a link that shows..http://www.teanerd.com/2007/03/beginners-guide-to-gaiwans.html)
have you ever tried the actual Sichuan Pepper? Unless you know mandarin or you know someone who does I wouldnt think so, This peppercorn tastes very different , it numbs you taste buds and yet you can feel a little bit of that tingles and the spiciness which is a very unique experience. It almost feels like the local numbing agent you dentist would use.
How to make it…
Boil a piece of ginger (as big as your thumb finger tip), 1 cinnamon, 5-6 cardamom pods (crushed), 5-6 cloves), 2 tsp Sugar in 2 cups of water.
After the water is boiled turn off , add loose black tea leaves for 2 mins (until the red color appears)
Strain out and pour the tea in to cups don’t brew it any further if not it will be stronger and wont have the smoothness.