After surviving on more than three months of Soviet and nomad-inspired cuisine from the Caucasus to Central Asia, we've begun to have visions of our favorite foods and restaurants. Here's a taste of what we've been craving.
Note: this fantasy interlude does not represent a “best of” and is in no particular order. Deprivation knows no logic or sequence!
- Pizzeria Italia in Palermo, Italy – the Bella Napoli pizza – with buffalo mozzarella, the world's sweetest cherry tomatoes and a dollop of olive oil – vies for the “best pizza in the world” honors.
- The Night Market in Krabi, Thailand – read this and you'll understand why it makes the list.
- La Campana, Malaga – getting a spot at this popular seafood tapas bar is tough, but the reward is great – seafood pinchitos (skewers) and a choice of sherries straight from the barrel.
- Pancho Villa on 16th street in the Mission, San Francisco – huge burritos (urban food logs, if you like) wrapped in soft, steamed tortillas and stuffed with an endless array of fresh fillings and salsas.
- Monarch Wine and Cheese Bar, Na Perstyne Street in Prague – bring on the tete de moine with a chilled bottle of crisp New Zealand white, please!
- A real deli sandwich – from just about any real American deli will do. Molinari, Lucca, or even Freddie's in San Francisco would work. Audrey has a soft spot for Take It Away in Charlottesville.
- Sushi – for quantity and value (and freshness of memory) we'd vote for Patong's Carrefour sushi department right about now.
- Vik's Chaat House, Berkeley or Naan N' Curry, San Francisco – both are a little low on ambiance, but high on taste and authenticity. Impossible to decide between these two Bay Area subcontinental food meccas, so both stay. Uh, yeah, we'll take the perfectly smoky Chicken Tikka Masala from Naan N' Curry and some Pav Bhaji and Somosas Cholle from Vik's.
- Lebanese Taverna in Northern Virginia or Washington, D.C. – sets a high bar for mezze platters and Lebanese treats. A regular stop when we visit the DC metro area.
- Mario's Bohemian Cigar Cafe – eggplant parmigiana focaccia sandwich + laid back environment = perfect.
Allow us to dream just a few moments longer and dinner would be followed by a latte from Caffe Trieste and a piece of tiramisu from Stella Pastry, both in San Francisco's North Beach.
Now back to reality…and packing for tomorrow's bus to Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.