I'm hungry as hell. I remember saying that 16 hours ago. I was on a different train then, the Texas Eagle, which was taking me from Fort Worth to St. Louis. Since then I've eaten a pocket-sized snack pack of s'more flavored almonds and a very dry bagel with far too little cream cheese. 16 hours ago I was craving enchiladas, which is odd because I had mexican food, very good mexican food, the previous two nights in Texas. Although it is a tough task in our homogenized world of Wendy's, Chili's and Applebees, I like staying as true to the areas that I'm visiting as possible when I have a meal. In Fort Worth that meant mexican food.
Now I'm on my way to Kansas City, so that means barbeque. I couldn't be more excited to dive into a rack of tender baby back ribs smothered in way too much sweet and sour Kansas City barbeque sauce. I'm starving. I have Toto playing "Rosanna" live on my headphones and I'm too weak from hunger to change it. Okay, that's not totally the case. It's playing, I just don't want to change it. I have a soft spot for Toto, but they're no Huey Lewis and the News. So as long as I'm at my computer getting my 80's fix and famished I thought I'd mention some of my favorite meals I've had:
Al Franken's walleye - when I was in Minneapolis my aunt and uncle took me out to a place called the Green Mill. I noticed that there was an awful lot of walleye on the menu. I asked if that was a common meal in these parts and was met with a resounding affirmation. It wasn't like a Stuart Smalley Daily Affirmation, but I did learn that Al Franken comes into the Green Mill on Fridays to order the very same walleye dish that I had just ordered. I don't always agree with Senators, but it was fantastic.
El Farolito burrito - see the blog post "My Mission in the Mission"
*Burger in L.A. - Burgers are very American and I've had quite a few on my very American tour of baseball stadiums across the country. The name of the joint escapes me, but the best of the bunch was in L.A. with Blue and Tess. I don't know what, if anything, L.A. is known for in the cuisine world, but this was fantastic and I'd kill to have another one right now.
*Thanks to Blue's input for reminding me the name of the restaurant: Father's Office
Benny's chili relleno - The first thing I did when I got to Denver was drag my sister and brother-in-law to Benny's. It's not the healthiest option on any menu anywhere, but the deep fried relleno, stuffed with melted cheese and covered with green chili is arguably the reason for human existence. Once you've had this dish the meaning of life becomes clear: to enjoy it.
Pizza on the grill - My stepdad Dennis told me he was looking fo more flavor and purchased a charcoal grill when I was in Florida. The day after that he bought a grilling cookbook. We both identified the pizza as something we had to attempt. We coated the sides not stuck to parchment paper of our homemade pizza crusts with olive oil, and cooked them briefly. They stiffened above the heat of the charcoal enough to add our sauce and topings of cheese, mushrooms, peppers, onions, and whole cloves of garlic. We withered under the heat of the Florida sun enough to polish off a Yeungling every five minutes. I have a suspicion that pizza on the grill is now a new family tradition.
Indian food in the East Village - So four men stand on a set of steps that lead to four separate Indian restaurants, each gesturing and hollaring to passers by why their restaurant is the best. I was the guest so Holly and Ryan let me choose which one I thought would be best. "Ours is best!" "Look at our safety rating!" "I'll give you free wine!" "Free wine for all three of you!" I chose the one at the upper-left of the stairs. For a very affordable price we had more than a tablefull of traditional Indian delights: Samosas, Saag Paneer, Mango Lassi, Chicken Tikka Masala, and some things I've never had before.
Cheese enchiladas at Joe T Garcia's - Josh took me to a great restaurant in Fort Worth. As far as I know there are only four things you can order here: margaritas, cervezas, enchiladas, and fajitas. We sat outside in the comfortable courtyard full of fountains, trees, and yucca plants. There was no menu. I said that I had never been there before and inquired about enchiladas. I was told that the cheese enchiladas were excellent and that they'd been serving them since 1935. How can you argue with that? Along with the enchiladas came tortillas, rice, beans, guacamole, beef tacos, chips, and salsa. I would go back to Fort Worth someday just for this meal.
I am still hungry. We are slowly approaching the Kansas City station and I am beginning to ready myself for an attempt to assault a plate of ribs. There are more meals to mention, but I'm afraid that if I talk about food anymore I could harm myself by inflicting irreparable psychological and physiological damage.