Traveling is not complete without also having a culinary travel. For me who favors traveling, tasting local food is a must. Why? Because it’s one of my ways to understand local culture.
This time is about my travel to Uncle Sam’s country. (short quiz: why US is called Uncle Sam?) For 2 weeks, I, my cute ‘babeh’, and some of my lab mates went to 3 cities for a project, Washington D.C, Seattle, and Olympia. Fortunately, unlike general Japanese, ‘babeh’ is a kind of person who likes to try new things, including food. So even though he was only able to join us for a week, he suggested trying different restaurants he found in his travel guide, the ones that are so famous for delicious food or for their specialties.
I guess generally, food in the States has one similarity. The size is SO BIG! :P. Now I understand why they have obesity problem. Stuffed with cheese, cream, potato, and milk, imagine how much calories get into your body everyday. I can’t imagine being a student here.. especially since eating is one of my hobbies, my weight would be absolutely unbelievably increasing! For Example, see the Subway fast food ad here.. “2 foot longs for $8,99, 3 foot longs for $11,99″… is there anyone, really eat that much of sandwich? Its ‘normal’ size is the same size as half of my arm.. from finger to elbow.. ck!
Our first favorite restaurant is Elephant & Castle. It wasn’t too crowded when we arrived, so we could choose a nice spot. I ordered Guinness BBQ Chicken Grilled. It was a ‘chicken breast basted with BBQ sauce, and served with red skin mashed potatoes and vegetables’. It was only 13 US$ but the size .. hmm.. American size.. I was soooo full after dinner. But of course, I didn’t want to miss a dessert opportunity, and the recommendation for the night.. was brownies ice cream cake. I thought, it can’t be that big, it’s a dessert.. a maximum size of 1 small slice of pizza in Indonesia I suppose.. And my oh my.. it was as big as a whole size of small pizza, with 4 scoops of ice cream. Oh dear friends.. I am so sorry that I had to force you to eat it with me.. and ‘babeh’ too.. :P. Still, we couldn’t finish it. Too bad, for me who has plenty of room for food in my large size stomach in an Indonesian scale, and Japanese scale, I couldn’t finish the very tempting and tasty dessert.
Several days later, on our last day in DC, ‘babeh’ took us to one of his favourite restaurants. He said it was so famous, and so delicious, we couldn’t afford not to taste it. People have to get in line for hours to get a set there, and it was so true. We had to wait for almost an hour, with empty stomach, for not reserving a seat beforehand. The famous restaurant was Old Ebbitt Grill. It is said that this restaurant was built in 1856, received many awards because it’s just so delicious and the service is super good. Try accessing its website, there they mention that the restaurant was Mr. Roosevelt’s, the famous US former president, favorite. And.. after trying Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, a roasted summer vegetables, with apple cider thyme vinaigrette, it is SO true!.. The taste.. was like.. melting in your mouth. Unlike usual, I ate very slow, almost like a slow motion, just because I didn’t want the crab cake taste to end ..haha.. By the way, the crab cake is in the second picture on the first line. 2 of other pictures are my friends’. I tried the Grilled New York Steak (upper left pic), it tasted just as delicious as my crab cake. Price is a bit expensive, my crab cake cost about 24.95 US$ and the steak was 1 dollar more expensive. But really, the restaurant .. is on the TOP of my recommendation list for those who is going/will visit DC. Try it for yourself, it worths all the effort ;)..
Moving on to Olympia, since there weren’t many choices, we were brought to same restaurant but different location, twice, Anthony’s. For lunch, I had Seared Halibut Pan, seared panko crusted halibut served with tarter sauce, for dinner, I chose Prawns Tempura, a large ocean prawns and fresh vegetables in award-winning light tempura batter..’ -the picture here shows (clockwise) the starter salad, mm. my friend’s order (forgot the name, sorry), then a tempura with the award-winning butter (sooo delicious), and then back to my friend’s order. Though the taste wasn’t as special as Ebbitt Grill’s, but it was not disappointing at all. About price, I can’t remember, but it was around 20 US$ I guess.
After 3 days in Olympia, we went on to our last stop, Seattle. In words, the city famous for its Space Needle that was romantically shown in Meg Ryan and Tom Hank’s Sleepless in Seattle movie will I describe as a colorful city. Why? Because when we arrived, it was so bright with colorful street lights and beautiful decoration. It was almost Christmas at that time..
The color was also seen in the restaurants we visited, and even in the foods. ‘Babeh’ had to go back to Japan so we didn’t have time to try many restaurants with him.. well, except for a restaurant filled with creamy and tasty cakes. And with his absence, our status had officially gone back to students, with budgeted food :P. I chose to eat at small restaurants, food stalls, and the like, and you can see what I bought for several lunches and dinners in the picture. One of them was a chowder restaurant, serving the best clam chowder I’ve ever eaten. I can’t remember the restaurant’s name, but there was a big sign with “chowder” written. It was located in the middle of Pike Place Market, a famous local market. In Pike Place Market, I also had the chance to taste Mac & Cheese (middle picture) from Beechers Handmade Cheese. Being a BIG fan of cheese, the store was like a heaven for me! Of course, I bought almost 1 kg of cheese from that store, can’t resist the temptation :P. You can find many kinds of food in the Pike Place Market: seafood, vegetables, fruits, honey, cheese, and so on. I also put some food I ate in Seattle Municipal Tower’s small restaurant in the picture. It was also so good and, of course, affordable.
Oh, being in Seattle, we also didn’t missed the chance to visit the first Starbucks store.. it’s in.. of course.. the Pike Place Market. Somehow I got an impression, that it’s like.. Seattle is full with smart businessman, and makes it a place where big business starts, well.. at least Starbucks started there.. and Boeing.. and Bill Gates was also born in Seattle. Anyway, the first Starbucks store is different with its other stores all over the world… the logo is the original Starbucks logo, not in green color like what we see now, but in brown color with slightly different picture.
Back to food, as Asian, we were also looking for familiar taste for us, Asian food! We went to some Asian restaurant, namely Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai, and Japanese of course. How was the food? Soooo Asian, with a little bit American taste (not as tasty as it supposed to be.. but well.. we’re not in Asia).. I put some pictures here, not forgetting to put my friend’s face when he tried Tom Yum for the first time.. which was too spicy for him, and not for all of us :P.
Another tempting tasty food is a Saffron Poached Alaskan Halibut for 25.75 US$. It was a tomato-chickpea stew, with grilled leeks and shaved fennel salad, from Flying Fish. It looked strange (middle and background pic), and to be honest, since I’m not a kitchen person, I didn’t know what I ate at that time hehe.. but the taste.. nyamm.. delicious! I also tasted a broccoli soup, and it wasn’t disappointing at all.
Moving on, to dessert, which I don’t really eat actually, because I’m not a fan of dessert or appetizer or snacks or that sort of thing. However, it’s a different story if I’m on traveling, and the food looks sooo delicious. Of all the dessert I tried in Seattle, Warm Grappa Brownie (left upper pic) is my BEST dessert ever.. Oh God, it’s just SO damn GOOD! It’s a vanilla bean ice cream milk and bittersweet chocolate sauces, cost about 7.95 US$, but very addictive.. :D.. ohh.. I wish they have a store here in Japan. Upper right and lower left picture are dessert from Union, the only restaurant we went with ‘babeh’, they weren’t really special and the price were quite expensive.
Wow, I didn’t realize that we went to so many restaurant. I haven’t even mentioned them all. No wonder I gained about 5 kg after 2 weeks traveling.. haha.. but anyway.. when again can I eat such a delicious food in the States, I have no idea when I will be able to come back again, right?!.. But if ever I got a chance to go back there, I won’t skip any of my favorite restaurants mentioned before. For sure, Flying Fish’s super duper tasty Warm Grappa Brownie is a MUST!..
Well… I hope you’re not drooling :P.. suddenly I feel sooo hungry.. Hmm.. Shall we eat?…