Friday, December 5, 2014

My American cuisine part I

When I was in Colorado some weeks ago I asked the taxi driver about typical dishes from the area. He was quite surprised by my question and claimed that they were the same as in the rest of USA. That is hamburger and pizza.

Well, he was wrong in more than one way since he then continued to talk about American women of all ages being "easy" (he was not American himself) and the city of San Francisco being too liberal.

Apart from his tiring prejudices he forgot to mention the sweet invention of the Denver omelet! An omelet filled with diced ham, onions, and green bell peppers and topped with cheese. Nom nom!

Another of my favorite American dishes is the Cobb salad. It is made from chopped salad greens (iceberg lettuce, watercress, endives and Romaine lettuce), tomato, crisp bacon, grilled or roasted chicken breast, hard-boiled egg, avocado, chives, Roquefort cheese, and red-wine vinaigrette.

                                    This specific Cobb salad I enjoyed in Boston in November.

Going shopping!

One of the best thing about traveling is exploring the local cuisine. I love trying new food and restaurants. Another fun activity is exploring the local supermarkets.

I am used to the Swedish supermarkets with its smågodis, different styles of salmon and herring, vast selection of papers and the Spanish supermarkets with its animal bones and fish heads to make broth, hundred variations of yoghurts, serrano ham hanging from the ceiling and perfumed toilet paper and waste bags. Coming here I did not know what to expect. Anyway, this is what I discovered.

Americans like beer.

Every state seems to have their own style.

This animal is making me confused (and a little worried).

Somewhere from the deep south I presume.

San Francisco!


I am not a big beer drinker but I love the look of these beers from Hawaii..

Americans like barbecue and marinara sauces (and they demand variation).

Products you normally don't find in Swedish supermarkets.

Swedish supermarkets are less rock'n roll.

There is a big Jewish community in USA.

Is it yoghurt? Is it candy? It doesn't matter, you don't need to chose.

Keg party!!

Of course!

Products you do normally find in Swedish Supermarkets.

A Swedish delicacy. Well, well..

"Swedish" products you normally don't find in Swedish supermarkets.


What is that seasoning and why have I never heard about it before?

Kung Oscar, is that you? (it says Made in Argentina on the back. The plot thickens...)

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere!

Americans are crazy about pumpkins! It is everywhere! In cakes, beer, coffee, cupcakes and even sushi (pumpkin tempura topped with mashed sweet potato)! Adding pumpkin to any kind of  product seems to be a both easy and effective way to sell more.

Cindy Ott has written a book called Pumpkin: The Curious History of an American Icon and she explains that the pumpkin is popular not due to its taste or nutritional value but because: "It's a vegetable that represents this idyllic farm life, and the best sort of moral virtue. And Americans have become attached to that."

I wonder what the Swedish equivalent would be? What adds rustic charm to Swedish products? Maybe it is not an ingredient but a word, picture or a symbol. Cross-stiched letters? A typing machine font? Adding the prefix "lant" or adjective "gammaldags to a noun"? Anything by Jenny Nyström?  I don't know.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Amity Island

After my beloved husband had finished his work in the Boston area we headed to Martha's Vineyard, a popular island and summer destination about one and a half hour from Boston. It is also the place where "Jaws" was filmed.

It was raining (a really wet rain) when we arrived and it became worse by the hour. In the evening we realized that we would not make it to our flight the following day. We had to stay inside the whole of Sunday but took comfort in the hotel's amazing food and Netflix.

On Monday morning it was sunny, the sea was calm and we enjoyed a short walk in the picturesque village of Edgartown before taking a taxi to the ferry and begin our 18 hour journey back to sunny California.

Before the storm.

After the storm.

During the storm. Brrrr...


The Empire State

While staying in Boston I also took the opportunity to visit my dear friend "fysikern" who is currently residing in New York doing his post-doc at Columbia University.

I took the train from Boston and four hours later I was arriving at Penn Station in NY (unfortunately less impressive than Grand Central Station). It was a very pleasant ride passing through the scenic landscapes of Massachusetts and Connecticut. 

"Fysikern" met me at the station and we started off with a pretzel (When in Rome...) for lunch and headed towards Central Park and "Tavern on the Green which" "fysikern" claimed had the reputation of being "both bad and expensive". It was neither actually and we enjoyed a (or two....) glass of wine before walking to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The entrance fee of 25 $ is merely a recommendation and you can pay only a few dollars if you wish to. I paid too much of course considering we arrived 45 min before closing.

After the stint at the museum we had dinner at my beloved Le Colonial. A Vietnamese restaurant in Midtown. After dinner and before heading back to my friend's apartment on Upper West Side we had a drink containing tequila and beer at a Mexican bar in East Village.

The next morning I visited my friend's office at Columbia University before WALKING the 90+ blocks to Penn Station (each block took about 1 minute so I was walking briskly for 1,5 hours) and jumping on the train back to Boston.

Well, I know people say that NY is the greatest city in the world and it does have a magnetic vibe and high energy but I do prefer laid back and sunny San Francisco.

"Tavern on the Green" was not at all as bad as we thought. I enjoyed a glass of chardonnay (which I suspect is the most popular grape in USA).

Columbia University! I seem to be on a journey to visit all of the most respected universities in USA. But that is not the case :)

The view from my friend's "fikarum" at Columbia University. All the rooms and offices had floor to ceiling windows.

Recognize this? Yep, it is the "Seinfeld diner" on Upper West Side.

The New England Cuisine

Much to my delight are Massachusetts and New England known for their seafood. Lobster, clams, mussels and oysters were everywhere!

"Junior" lobster at Union Oyster House (according to their website it is USA's oldest restaurant). This was actually the smallest lobster size but for some reason nothing can be called "small" in the USA. To be compared to "tall" being the smallest size at Starbucks.

Lobster roll! A sandwich filled with lobster meat soaked in butter and served on a steamed hot dog bun. Nom nom!

We also took the opportunity to enjoy afternoon tea at the exclusive Langham hotel As you can see above, the timing of the tea is everything.

A delicious selection of small sandwiches with salmon, cucumber, turkey and egg salad, scones with clotted cream and lemon curd (not shown on the picture) and a variety of pastries.

Cake pop! And a small glass of prosecco. It is me after all!

Pumpkin bread cup cake! Tasted very much like the Swedish "mjuk pepparkaka".