One thing that I’ve missed while I flew around the country this past month and a half is having a balanced and healthy meal while on-the-go. [Says the kitchen snob and elitist foodie] After endless poor choices at the airport -McGriddles for breakfast and tasteless cold turkey sandwiches for lunch, the one favor I can do for myself is to find the local gem eatery wherever I landed next. Having flown to eight different cities in the last month and a half and accumulating quite the tasting menu from local eats across coasts, I thought I’d better share a few of my favorites. Maybe the next time you are flying to these places, you can have solid ground and a delicious bite to look forward to as well.
First stop, Dallas. Close friends know that I am all about the hole-in-the-wall restaurants when I have a choice between fancy and well… down-to-earth. Latin Deli is just the one for that purpose. It’s a small mom-and-pop lunch place close to Southern Methodist University, opened by Argentinians, serving hot South American flavored sandwiches with authentic Chilean beef and Brazilian pork. Fancy condiments like sun-roasted tomatoes and pickled onions in your sandwich! The best part is every sandwich comes with a complementary side of fries, tossed in their signature spicy coating. It’s so addictive you’ll be licking your fingers before you know it’s all gone. Average meal: $7
Second stop, DC. I did my fair share of research before I ventured into the DC foodie scene, and I knew that Ethiopians comprised of a large portion of their immigrant makeup. Dukem, a well-known establishment in Little Ethiopia, is a fancier than usual restaurant I picked to meet up with a friend in the city. They did not disappoint, with their authentic injera and curry beef. Tip: follow the traditional culture of eating with your hands and roll up some beef curry in your injera. Never mind that you’re wearing a nice dress and abandoning the nicely laid out silverware on the table. Average meal: $14.
Third stop, Denver. Everyone who has lived in Denver will tell you that it’s a city for brunch lovers. With the city’s never-ending sunny 50 degree weather 300+ days out of the year, what better way to enjoy it than grabbing a patio seat with your brunch and soaking in the sun. For that purpose, I went to the original Snooze an AM location near downtown. This eatery grew out of a food truck that served just pancakes in the beginning, now into a chain in Colorado and even moving to Austin in 2016. I ordered the highly Yelped pancake sampler with the blueberry strudel, the upside down pineapple and the pumpkin pancake. The pancakes were fluffy, fragrant yet not overly sweet, definitely matching up to its name. Average meal: $9
Last stop, Boston. Even though Beantown is a city of immigrants, from Italians to Central Americans to Chinese, the most popular cuisine genre is curiously new American, catering to health-conscious Bostonian marathon-runners and cyclists as well as fusing different cultural flavors. I stopped by Flour+Bakery in Back Bay for lunch on a rainy day, and boy, was it packed! It’s a trendy bakery that also serves delicious and healthy sandwiches. I ordered a curried tuna sandwich and their award winning sticky bun for dessert. The sandwich was light yet flavorful, with contrasting soft and crunchy textures. The sticky bun was drizzled with caramel and cinnamon and candied pecans, which convinced me of adapting their motto- eat dessert for lunch. Average meal: $13
Alas, all this eating has inspired me to share a fusion recipe with you too- miso creamed kale. Health conscious, creamy, fulfilling, and curiously-Japanese. I hope you will venture with me starting with this recipe. Try something different. Why not?
Miso Creamed Kale
- 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 shallot, thinly sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 5 cups of kale or 1 large bag of pre-stemmed and chopped kale
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 dash of mirin
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 1 Tbsp miso
- sliced almonds to garnish
Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet over high heat. Add shallots and garlic to melted butter. Sear for 3 minutes until fragrant but not burnt.
Add kale to the skillet and stir-fry until wilted, for about 5 minutes.
Add soy sauce and mirin and stir fry until evaporated. Dissolve miso in heavy cream in a separate bowl. Pour in the mixture and sautee until incorporated and sauce reduced, for about 3 minutes. Kale should be wilted but not soggy. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Sprinkle almond slices on top for garnish.