• Food glorious (?) food… A North American Food Odyssey – Part Two

    Congratulations, you managed to stomach Part 1 of my look at random North American foods I’ve sampled and now its time for Part Two!

    Smoked meat sandwich (Montreal)

    Another entry for Montreal, which was my favourite Canadian city and had all sorts of awesome food joints. The smoked meat sandwich from Schwartz is another stop on the list of “must eats” when you visit Francophone Canada’s biggest city. The sandwich element of it seems almost redundant, consisting as it does of just two slices of normally uninteresting bread, but the meat is fantastic, super moist, super tasty.

    half a smoked meat sandwich - lots of thinly sliced beef

    It shouldn’t come as a shock to you to learn smoked meat is a potential Poutine topping

    It’s not something I think I would eat on a regular basis but I certainly wouldn’t pass up any suggestions to eat there. As you can see from the photo, it was so tasty that I forgot I wanted to photograph it until I’d already eaten half of it….

    Chicago Deep Dish Pizza (Chicago obviously…)

    Jon Stewart might not like it and its best not to think about the calorific nightmare it probably is for your general well-being, but the Chicago Deep Dish Pizza is goooood. There is all sorts of arguments about where is the best place to get them, whole sections of the internet appear to be dedicated to bigging up one place over another. Deciding that getting bogged down in all this would be boring I ended up getting mine from Lou Malnatis. This is basically a big chain of Deep Dish restaurants all across Chicago. It might not be “the best” but it certainly would appear to be where most of Chicago actually gets their Deep Dish fix.

    Chicago Deep Dish...

    Chicago Deep Dish…

    Chicago deep dish pizza

    You better like cheese…

    The thick crust has a buttery almost biscuit like quality and the whole thing is topped with enough cheese to make about three normal pizzas. A warning here would be to take common sense into account when ordering and accept that you will be full after only a few slices so don’t go getting eyes bigger than your stomach. I’ve just visited Chicago again, and it tasted just as good second time round. (Still came out crap in photographs though…)

    Doughnuts (Portland)

    Ok doughnuts are available everywhere, but as my friend, Jess from Seattle, claims that students will drive down from Seattle to Portland just in order to buy doughnuts from a particular doughnut store that’s open 24hrs a day, Voodoo Doughnuts, I thought that they were worth checking out. The brickwork outside is painted a glittery gold and the place was certainly doing a good business selling a variety of bizarre looking doughnuts topped with things from fruit loops to bits of Oreos some accompanied by bizarre names. I was tempted by a “Gay Bar” apparently filled with Bavarian Cream, but ultimately decided this sound too “suspicious” and so I got myself a Voodoo doll.

    Me and a voodoo doughnut

    Two doughnuts…

    Filled with raspberry jam, covered in chocolate icing, and with the clever addition of “pretzel chip needles” this is a doughnut to fill your sugar needs for a week. It was good, but I suspect that it’s the sort of place where you would need to wait a few weeks to forget just how sweet it was before venturing back for another. I’m also not convinced that it can do much good for Seattle students exam results if they do, as I was told, like to go here for a doughnut fix the night before their finals back in Seattle…

    Voodoo Doughnut

    Guybrush Threepwood eat your heart out…

    In-N-Out Burger (San Francisco)

    Thought I’d have to review at least one burger and fries joint on here! In-N-Out Burger is a bit of an institution out on the West Coast, and the location I visited was jam-packed with tourists meaning that buying the burger was hardly an “in and out” experience although being able to see into the kitchen where guys were amongst other things cutting up potatoes into fries gave you some re-assurance that you weren’t just queuing for an overpriced Happy Meal.

    In and out burger fries and a soda

    Where’s my happy meal toy?!?!

    The distinguishing factor for In and Out Burger, besides the burger and fries looking satisfyingly retro whist clearly better than their McDonald’s or Burger King equivalent, is that In-N-Out Burger apparently actually pay their staff real money, rather than using poorly paid indentured servants like their fast food rivals. I can’t claim the food was anything special, but it was ok, and as fast food goes I’d much sooner eat here again than get a Philly Cheesesteak…

    Tri-tip Sandwich (Fresno)

    Apparently a bit of a thing in the California Valley I ended up trying this local speciality with my host in a random college bar in Fresno, the Dog House Grill, covered with sporting mementos from its various sports teams from Fresno State.  The prominence given to its Ten Pin Bowling teams is something Sheffield University never gave to us fearless pin-battling sportsmen and women…Oh well…
    For a change, the photo of it actually came out ok! Hurrah!

    Large fries two sandwiches

    This was for two people, I’m not that greedy…

    Tri-tip refers to the cut of the meat. It’s from a cow. If you want to be more specific it’s from the “bottom sirloin subprimal cut”. Regardless of its provenance I can attest to the fact that sliced thinly, grilled and smothered in BBQ sauce it tastes awesome. Would happily eat again, although slightly disappointingly the accompanying fries turned out to be a case of Sodium Chloride sprinkled with french-fries…

    Kansas BBQ Ribs – (Kansas City)

    As soon as I had decided I was going to stop over in Kansas City (which is mostly in Missouri for some reason…) for a few hours I was quickly hunting out places to eat Kansas style BBQ. And I found one right next to the Amtrak Station. Result. Much like with Chicago Deep Dish, the guidebook recommends random BBQ places in inconvenient locations because in its mind anything that has become successful enough to be a chain must be awful. Once again this made no sense to me, as logically this must be where lots of citizens of KC must come for the BBQ fix, Jack Stack BBQ. And anyway, it was next to the station like I said and I didn’t feel like walking. As I was on my own, and as the place was absolutely rammed for Friday lunch time with queues outside, I got my food to go, and ate in a nearby park.

    BBQ ribs with fries and beans

    Just looking at this brings back happy memories and much drooling…

    And it was gooooooooood.
    I should add that I had Texas BBQ in Houston and that was also awesome, so awesome that I didn’t even get round to taking a photo of it, but this time I managed to get my camera out before I covered my hands in sticky, tangy, sweet, delicious BBQ sauce. I had the rib lunch special, the ribs was fantastic with loads of meat and the sides, crisp french-fries and some really awesome “Hickory pit beans” which were mixed up with bits of BBQ meat, and my god the whole thing was so good. (which I may have already mentioned)
    I want more.
    I said I want more!
    (googles Amtrak prices back to Kansas City…blog ends abruptly…)

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