This post is going to include deliriously delicious descriptions of foods that I have missed terribly since I moved to Japan in January 2011. If you are hungry, you may end up gnawing off your arm in your manic hunger cravings after you read this. I will not be held responsible for you going out and buying way too much of any of the foods mentioned or for eating way too much and going into a "food coma." You have been warned.
Recently I sat down in bed after a glass or 3 of wine (my new favorite- guess that means I'm growing up) and realized I was starving. (Just so you know, I use the term "starving" very loosely. I can just eat a huge lunch and then 20 minutes later tell someone I'm "starving.") Instead of being a reasonable adult-type person and walking down to the kitchen to go make myself a delicious meal of milk and cereal (Ajax wasn't there to make real food for me) I decided that the best idea would be to make myself even MORE hungry and make a list of foods I missed from back home. Obviously I make really smart decisions.
List of Foods & Restaurants that I Miss from Back Home:
- Crispers' Signature Summer Salad- This salad has everything, greens, cheese, tortilla chips, smoked turkey, mandarin oranges, Gorgonzola, candied pecans, and herb citrus dressing that I would lick off the ground. I hate salads and I love this thing. When I worked nearby, I would get that at least twice a week. It's amazing.
- Mom's cottage cheese toast- For those of you deprived folks who have not had the pleasure of knowing my fabulous mom, she makes wonderful foods on bread. I know this sounds odd but she makes the best grilled cheese, sandwiches of all kinds, boiled eggs on toast, and my personal fave... cottage cheese on toast. I know this is the dorkiest thing ever. Yes, all it is is toast, butter, cottage cheese and maybe a bit of salt and pepper if I'm feeling like a rebel. But it is delish and when mom makes it the heavens open and angels sing.
- Momo's- If you haven't had Momo's pizza, you need to get your tuchus to Tally and go find the little hole-in-the-wall, sketch place and stop by. The slices are touted as being "As big as your head," and they're right. They're also made fresh and are amazing. They also have a portabello, balsamic, mozzarella salad that is kick ass. Get to the Momo's! Do it now!
- Papa John's Garlic Butter Dipping Sauce- I really don't feel like this needs any additional explanation.
- Chick-fil-A- If you don’t know about Chick-Fil-A then you live in a bubble. Though semi-pricey as far as fast food goes, the quality is amazing. Their chicken nuggets are drool-worthy and their chicken salad sandwiches are unparalleled. I seriously have dreams about the chicken salad sandwiches. I want one. Right now please!
- Good Draft Beer-Japan has an amazing selection of whiskey, they have pretty decent canned beer, I can get bottles of Cuban rum that I can't get in the states... but I'll be damned if I can't find many bars or restaurants with a good selection of beer on tap. I think the first phrase my guy learned in Japanese was "nama biru" which means "fresh beer" or in our case "draft beer." Draft beer here is typically Asahi or Kirin, basically the equivalent of Bud Light and Miller Light. I've seen one place with Guinness on tap. It's an odd thing to miss, but I loved being able to walk into pretty much any restaurant and know that they'd have at least 5 beers on tap to choose from. Japan likes their bottles and cans. Le sigh.
- Cake Shop Cupcakes – Cake Shop was the shiznit in Tallahassee. I was introduced to it by my friend Becky who routinely bought them for most work events. “It’s your birthday, here have a cupcake.” “You got a promotion, you deserve a cupcake.” “You knocked out two of your teeth? You really need a cupcake.” They had cupcakes of all kinds, but one of the ones that I remember best was the Heath Toffee Bar Icing with peanut butter cake one that they had for a limited time. They even put little crumbles of toffee on top. Definitely worth missing especially since Japan doesn’t really do cupcakes.
- Mexican- Chile rellenos, margaritas, melted cheesy things, warm nachos dripping with salsa and sour cream, more margaritas, and Mexican rice. MMMMMMmmmmmm... oishii des ne. Oh crap, I mean 'delicioso.' I used to revert to Spanish in Florida but now I answer random things in Japanese. Ay yi yi!
- Wisconsin Cheese Bricks- Most families give gifts or clothes, toys, shoes or other interesting items during the Christmas holidays. My family does that too... but we also give the wonderful gift of cheese. Cheddar cheese (mild or sharp), muenster, Colby, pepper jack, etc. We're from Wisconsin. I was born in Florida but I definitely have the cheese genes (sadly, I did not get the racing or car mechanic genes). so when it gets cold enough during winter, the Wisconsin fam sends us cheese (and sometimes Horse Collar/Kringle!) or the family members down in Florida or Colorado will order cheese to be delivered from our "cheese guys." When I cam back from Florida in January, my dearest Cakkie sent me home to Japan with a 6+ pound brick of cheese. I was so nervous the whole way because I firmly believed that I was going to have my cheddar confiscated going through Immigrations and Customs. I made it! Whew! Fast
- Boiled Peanuts- This southern 'delicacy' is one of those things I don't think I will ever find out here. OH MY GOD! I need them now. Carolyn, lets go watch FSU baseball and eat "Balled Peanuts" like the college years. I miss that so much.
- Publix Sushi- Publix sushi was the shit. No one can tell me any different. Yes, I know that I currently live in the land of fresh fish, delectable dishes made from the finest sea critters... it's a lovely way to dine. However, I definitely do miss me some California Rolls and Americanized sushi. In the states I never had to wonder what it was that I was eating when I went out for sushi. Japan is more than a little different, still good most of the time, but different.
- Super Perros-This Colombian style restaurant was a favorite of mine in Tally-ho. It started out as a little street vendor at someone's house that was open on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights after people were leaving the bars. They finally got a little place of their own close to my house and got a lot of business. They served these amazing "Super Perros" which were delish hotdogs, with crushed up potato chips, mayo, secret sauce, ketchup, and pineapple chunks on top. The dogs were so big you had to eat them with a knife and fork. Add on a Colombian beer and you had yourself a great meal at Super Perros.
- Mike's Killer Coffee- I discovered Mike's a few years back when I started going to the YMCA on that side of town. They do make killer coffee... end of story!
- Bagel Heads- Nearish to Mike's is Bagel Heads, a hipster-esque place that serves sammis and bagels and coffee, Oh My! They have the most kick-butt breakfast bagel sandwiches in the galaxy. I've tried to replicate them, I can't.
- Italian- Japan cannot do Italian right. They just can't. I'm not sure what it is but if I get spaghetti, it will be watery and meatless with fish roe on top. If I ask for any other type of pasta, it's going to be so odd compared to the Italian that I'm used to stateside (not that 'Merica has real Italian, but it's closer). Shoot! I'd take an Olive Garden right now. Give me pasta!
- Sony's BBQ- I need pulled pork slathered in Sweet Sauce. Give me ribs. Put some smoked turkey with coleslaw on my plate. Corn bread would be nice too. Anyone got any extra napkins? I'm seriously drooling.
I know that I am missing more than a few of my faves. If anyone can think of amazing food from back home, or in your own area, put it in the comments. On that note, I'm going to go have cereal for dinner and mope about it. ;)