I know you’ve already read all about my crazy year. The things I did. The books I read. But did I mention how much food I ate? I seriously do not know how I fit on the plane without a seatbelt extender. This was also the year I started being a serious blog geek by photographing my food. And I am warning you that very little of these meals could be construed as “healthy.” So without further delay, I present you with my favorite eats of 2011.
Spicy shrimp at Giovanni’s, Oahu, Hawaii
The North Shore of Hawaii is known for its food trucks. I had heard good things about Giovanni’s before we got there and I couldn’t wait to check it out. I’m a spicy foods addict, so I knew I had to try the spicy shrimp. The girl at the counter warned me. “You know this is really hot, right?” But how bad could it be? My sister Rachel and I shared a plate and had to take a break after only a few shrimp and went through two bottles of water. Even the large portion of rice couldn’t cool us down! But I would eat it again in a heartbeat!
Mahi Mahi tacos, Luibueno’s, Oahu, Hawaii
I was starved for decent Mexican for many months in Sydney, so when we came upon this Mexican restaurant I was like a fat kid at a candy store. I went all out: drank Sol, had fish tacos, chips and salsa, churros and Mexican hot chocolate.
Meat Pie, Harry’s Cafe de Wheels, Sydney
While I was no meat pie novice, I had never had one like the world famous pies of Harry’s Cafe de Wheels. Tommy took me to the original location in Wooloomooloo, where I had the original pie with mash and gravy. I went back many times, including once in Newcastle and even brought my friend Christine to the Haymarket location when she was in town. It’s been visited by many celebrities, including my man Anthony Bourdain.
Hamburger and Fries, In n Out Burger, Los Angeles
Obviously I couldn’t spend any time on the West Coast without going to In N Out Burger. My first visit was in Las Vegas four years ago, so I was aching for their perfectly cooked fries. Thankfully, I stayed at a hostel right around the corner from one so I got my burger fix. My dining companion, pictured above, is the mascot from the elementary school my mom teaches at. I think Murphy enjoyed it just as much as I did.
Everything at Chat Thai, Sydney
When Heather was leaving to go back to America, the Travel Massive-ers went to dinner at Chat Thai in Chinatown, known as the best Thai in Sydney. We waited for almost an hour for a table, but once I tried the food I knew it was worth it. I can’t even remember what we ordered, but there was plenty to go around! I’m not the biggest Thai fan, but I cannot say good enough things about this place.
Tandoori chicken pizza, Australian Hotel, Sydney
Having grown up on “New York” style pizza, thin with tons of cheese, the idea of putting stuff like tandoori chicken or kangaroo onto pizza was completely foreign. But the spicy tandoori cooled down with mint yogurt hit the spot the first time I went there after Tommy and I walked across the Harbour Bridge. When Christine and Joey came to visit, I knew I had to take them there and they weren’t disappointed either. The kangaroo half is Joey’s!
Cinnamon Toast, Post Cafe, Sydney
This spot in my suburb of Marrickville quickly became my favorite local cafe once I sampled their $7 cinnamon toast and tea combo: two of my favorite things! I ordered this literally every time I went there and never left unsatisfied. They had thick, Turkish bread with plenty of cinnamon and sugar, topped with fresh fruit. It didn’t hurt that they had a big selection of magazines and were ideally located for people watching.
Tamales, Flying Fajita Sistas, Sydney
Due to my unhealthy obsession with Mexican food, I managed to track down every Mexican spot in Sydney. For my birthday, Tommy took me to Flying Fajita Sistas in Glebe, a cute place with Mexican beer (Modelo!), a hot sauce bar and a long list of unique margaritas. And oh yeah, DELICIOUS food. I ordered tamales, which are hard to find back home, let alone in Australia, and was very impressed.
Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo, Jazz City Diner, Sydney
Before returning home, I went to dinner with two of my favorite American expats, Lauren and Hannah, at an American-style diner in Sydney. It was a rainy night and I was in the mood for something warm. The gumbo tasted just like the kind I’d had at home. After a chocolate milkshake, I was ready to waddle out of this Darlinghurst joint.
Malasadas, Leonard’s, Honolulu, Hawaii
Holy crap do I love these sugary balls of dough. They were my reward after waking up at the crack of dawn to hike the Diamond Head crater and we went back at least two more times after the original visit.
Spicy Chicken Pizza, Kona Brewing Company, Kona, Hawaii
While visiting the brewery, we had lunch at their restaurant, which turned out to be one of my favorite meals of the trip. They use the leftovers from making beer to create bread and pizza dough. Sammi and I split the spicy chicken pizza, which tasted like a hot wing on dough, complete with the hot sauce and bleu cheese!
Roo steak, Scotty’s, Mission Beach
I finally got around to eating kangaroo towards the end of my trip (incidentally, a few days before I got to play with one up close!) and I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it. I got a discounted meal at the restaurant attached to my hostel, where I got the kangaroo steak with mashed potatoes and a plum sauce. I washed it down with a nice glass of sauvignon blanc. I thought the ‘roo was a little tough, but it was definitely an experience.