Tuesday, August 14, 2012

{USA 2012} Eating and drinking :)

As always for me, the eating was one of the best parts of my trip :)

I probably ate most regularly while in North Carolina (I told D this is all due to MandyE who kept us all on track) and also most healthily.

In NYC D and I did our usual thing (when without kids) which is to eat as we feel led. Which means lots of junk.

The things that were different from South Africa:

- glasses of water without asking (this was good for me because that's my drink of choice anyway)
- in NC, sweet tea and... I'm not a lover of sweet tea. I like my tea hot and with milk :)
- too much ice in everything. I'm not into ice so much especially with the aircons on full blast but the people there seem to love it.
- they bring separate bills without batting an eyelid (so much more civilised than we do here where we all haul out our calculators!)
- seemed like they mostly added a tip automatically (I didn't mind because it was easier than working it out, and there was actually service)
- they also didn't even blink when asked for peanut butter sandwiches and milk for the kids. I've never asked for PB in SA but maybe I should try.


1. On the border - Mexican

Loved all Mexican food. I loved that there were different bits to the
meals... And the black beans!


2. Mimosa Grill 

This is where I had some of the best trout ever. Served on mashed potato with green beans. Yum! I didn't have dessert but Mandy had crème brulee and J had peach cobbler.

3. Vida Cantina 

Mexican again. This time with the other Mandy and her family too. Yummy food. I love the chips that keep on coming.

4. City Smoke

Here I had pulled pork, Texan toast and two sides (I had mac 'n cheese and Lexington slaw). Beth had fried chicken with fried okra, things I'd only read about. D was aghast when I said I didn't even try grits or any of the Southern food. I tried the chicken and okra though.

fried chicken

New York City

5. Starbucks

For the internet, obviously. I don't even like coffee and it about killed me to pay those prices for 3cm of a drink plus ICE.

6. NanKing

D and I had a Thai meal here on night 1. It was delicious. Surprisingly reasonable for Times Square. I think we spent about $30 for the two meals.

7. Panera Bread

Oh, how I love bread. We had bagels and cream cheese here one morning for brunch - delicious.One of my regrets is that I couldn't have more of their food. It all looked so good.

8. Pax

More bagels one day...

9. Barnes and Noble

One evening I had a quick supper at B&N - soup and a sandwich.

10. Fortina

Supposedly the best pizza in NYC - it was good enough but not the best. We went here after the Susannah Conway talk on the Wed evening.

11. Dunkin Donuts

I had the Most Delicious doughnut ever - an apple cinnamon one. Oh MY - a taste of heaven.

12. Auntie Annie's Pretzels

I bought a cinnamon sugar pretzel before we went to Top of the Rock and people, it was the best thing ever. Bread plus cinnamon = drool. I'm not exaggerating when I say I'm still dreaming about that pretzel.I pinned a recipe for pretzels today and can't wait to try make them.

this is the dude making them - he thought I was mad for taking pics

13. Mc D

Boring but had to be listed. My very first meal in the US and I had hot cakes (flapjacks), scrambled eggs and orange juice.

14. Tao

We went for drinks here with Heather and Tom.The food looked and smelled delicious.

15. Spigolo

And out to supper here. The food was amazing and we met the chef!!!

Whenever I leave the country, I get a bit crazy when I come back. It's the reverse of converting to $.

I start thinking how cheap our food is and how we ONLY pay Rx for a meal... as opposed to $y. The minute I landed (while waiting for D) I went to Illy and bought a hot chocolate for R20. And suddenly it seemed so cheap. And buying a bottle of water for R6 - R7 compared to R20.

The joys of travel!

(I also have to post about things that I REALLY loved in the US. My list will probably surprise you).

So, did any of the USA vs SA differences surprise you?
Do you prefer to decide on a tip yourself?
And how do you like your tea - sweet and cold, or hot with milk?


  1. Oh, so much to say, I have! :)

    Your comments about cold and ice don't surprise me at all, based on how J is. I think it's we Americans who like things icy. I know I do...most things for me, the colder, the better!

    Glad you loved the Mexican food here...also one of my favorites. I just love the flavor combinations, and truly fresh Mexican is the best! I really liked the place in Charlotte - outstanding in my book! I'm still dreaming about those lump crab nachos!

    I'm so disappointed you wouldn't try my cheese grits at the BBQ place. Honestly I'm not a huge "grits" fan, but those were really good. :)

    SO GLAD you got to experience a Panera! You know that's my "go to" when I have a little free time. I love their lattes. Ours has a fireplace...the absolute perfect place to prop up with a book or some notecards. And sometimes J and I meet there after school, if Miss Jenny is here with the girls...a great quickie date for us. And we love their bagels, too. I'd prefer a NYC bakery, hands down, but in this part of the world, they're pretty good. A couple of times a month, J will pick up bagels from there for breakfast...it's such a nice treat. And we take the girls there, maybe once a month, usually for a bagel snack. (OK. Enough. Can you tell I love Panera???!)

    Barnes & Noble is another hangout for me. I usually only have a tea or a coffee, but occasionally I'll get a cookie. That's where I most often meet girlfriends after hours for a little chatting.

    So glad you had a great meal in NYC, too! And I always love meeting the chef of a place. :)

    As for tips, I don't like when one is automatically added. Having worked food service during my time growing up, I'm a generous tipper as a rule, and I'll go big if the service is really good. But if 18% is already added, it's rare I add to that (whereas I would otherwise likely leave a higher %).

    Do you have donuts in SA?

    And as for tea, I like sweet tea, but I'm very particular. I rarely order it out, as I don't like it too strong or too sweet (but very cold!). I love my hot tea, with a little sugar, but rarely with milk. That depends on the flavor of tea as to whether I'll add milk.

    Whew. Hope you had a cup of tea yourself to read this novel! Hahaha! (But I really had to stress how glad I am you ate at Panera...if only so that you have a visual for where I frequent!)

  2. Do you know that I have never been to Panera?? They are relatively new in our area and there isn't one here in my little town, so I just haven't been able to go yet. It seems very similar to Atlanta Bread Company, though, which is one of my favorites.

    We looooove Mexican food...I'm glad you enjoyed yours! We eat at a BBQ restaurant almost every week (but I get fish a lot-ha!), and I'm very picky about my BBQ. : )

    I'm not very surprised by your observations on the ice. It does seem to be an American thing. I know we had to practically beg for more than one or two ice cubes in London!

    Starbucks is overpriced (and fattening if you get the good stuff, which I do!). There isn't one of those in my town either, so it's a once-a-month or so treat.

    You know I love hearing all about the food experiences!!

  3. I would love to try all those things we only read about and I also adore bread - I always say that I loved France but I adored French breads and all the other baked stuff.

    And tea must be hot with milk and no sugar. Real comfort stuff.

  4. That is one thing about International travelling I would love to experience one day. The food. One read and see so much about it. So would love to experience it.
    I like my tea bitter as well with milk (Rooibos) :)
    I prefer to tip myself according to how good the service was.

  5. Definitely Hot with milk but no suagr. I have been off sugar in coffe/tea for 3yrs. Even my son get black rooibos with no sugar. He doesn't know that you can dd sugar :-)

  6. Sounds fabulous Marcia! While I was reading about this I kept thinking about something Steamcleaner said to me this morning: she went to Cape Town with her daughter for the long weekend and their hotel, wait for it....charges R65 a 500ml bottle of water out of the mini bar! Crazy.

  7. I loved this post...and the photos. Eating...one of the most pleasurable things to do.

  8. LOVED this post. And I prefer if they add in the tip. It's just easier.

  9. WOW, this is one interesting mixed bag of food you tried. I'm not a tea drinker, but when I do drink tea I prefer without milk, hot and sweet.

    I love love love love pretzels and it's one thing I always have when I go. Especially the freshly made ones with loads of sugar and cinnamon (yum)

    I don't like "mexican food' because my Mexican friends said it's not real. Mexican so that put me off. Though that didn't stop me eating the Chinese food even after my Chinese friends said it was not real Chinese food (was a cheap tasty meal for a student).

    On tip I prefer to add myself but wish the waiters bring along calculators so it's easier to calculate and split the bill if you have to. I wouldn't want to pay a tip for bad service!!!

    Did you try the NY street hotdogs by any chance? And they have some yummy pretzels too :) ;)

  10. Ahh Dunkin Donuts- my favorite place EVER.
    And before I moved south, I drank iced tea- unsweetened. Now I drink sweet tea :)


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