Dreaming of Dinner

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.

Dinner at Le Felteau - Le Marais, Paris
Thinking on an incredible meal at Le Felteau in Paris.

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.

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  1. Jennie Tippit says

    Good call on Take It Away. My favorite too! I’ll be in Charlottesville in November – I wish there was a good way to ship you some sandwiches!

  2. says

    Jennie, you don’t know how much I wish that technology made it possible for you to send me a Take It Away turkey sandwich with a side of special sauce!!! It makes me laugh thinking of how we tried to replicate the special sauce back at UVA! Have fun in Charlottesville!

  3. says

    Okay, there are obviously some places in S. France that the locals showed us. But, lest we forget about Old Forge style pizza from, where else, Old Forge or possibly Dunmore, PA. I prefer Arcaro & Genell’s or Nina’s. Seems a bit provincial next to your entries but, good is good, right?

  4. says

    Billy – agreed, good is good. Provincial or not. Like we said, this isn’t a definitive list. We’re working on that. Arcaro & Genell’s and Old Forge pizza will once again have their due day in the sun. I have this vague memory of A&G’s (or was it Revello’s?) making a “Top 10 Pizza in America” list in the New York Times (or was it Parade Magazine pullout in the Scranton Times?) about 25 years ago.

  5. Jana Chu Svitek says

    I’m feeling a little slighted here.. no mention of any great Chinese cuisine, sure to satiate the most finicky of eaters? No hankering for any great dim sum, loaded with 10-15 ingredients, all in one little bite? =) i’m thinking scrumptous wontons right now, or shrimp stuffed tofu

    Naan N Curry… just visited my alma mater on oct 15 and we went there for some great curry and lamb naan while visiting old stomping grounds at Cal.. Did you know that SF isn’t the only branch open now? right on Telegraph Ave, believe it or not.

    And I do think I know which places to which you refer in North Beach…

    Are you both familiar with Ranch 99 Markets in the bay area and LA? You’d be fans, for certain!

    Where in China are you today?

    Ever tried a slice of pizza at Zachary’s Chicago Style pizza?
    Ever had

  6. says

    Jana, this is not a definitive list (our travels are helping us form that). It’s just something that was on our mind at the time. It also represented what we absolutely could not get. The thing with Chinese food is that you can always get something, though it may be far from ideal.

    We actually just had dim sum the other night in Xi’an. Not only is dim sum tasty, but it usually feels light and we like the small plate rhythm. Audrey is also a big fan of anything in stuffed/dumpling form. If you have any restaurant suggestions on the Chinese mainland (dim sum especially), please send them along.

    Naan n’ Curry, branching out. About time. Not familiar with 99 Markets. I have had Zachary’s…long time ago, though.

    As I write, we are in Pingyao (Shanxi province).

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