Chestnuts (etc.) Roasting On An Open Fire

There are some frequent topics of conversation at the weekly coffee hour in my department: shop talk, the weather, and food. A lot of us often talk about food we can’t get in Edinburgh. Or what used to be unavailable, but now can be found at such-and-such shop. Or what we stock up on every time we’re back in the Old Country (and I’ll spare you the tangential thought about how reverse-directional migration makes phrases like ‘the Old Country’ very awkward).

I’ve just spent over a month visiting the United States. I left Edinburgh before the holidays started in order to present a paper at the ASA. After three weeks in various parts of Northern California I spent 11 days in various parts of Arizona. Now I’m in the Baltimore area, and on Sunday I fly back home to Edinburgh.

While here, I’ve eaten a lot. And having so much time to have so many meals made me think about how I prioritize food choices. There’s the must eats, those things I’ll seek out even if I just have one day in the US! And then, like a travel guide book, there’s those things I seek out if I have more time. Or a lot more time! And every time I visit, the list changes. But here’s the current list…

Must Eats:

Apple butter! (I know, it’s a little random, but I’m I huge fan.)
Breakfast burritos
Panera’s Iced Green Tea
Sonic’s Cherry Limeade
Trader Joe’s brand anything

Guilty Pleasures, given the opportunity:

Auntie Annie’s Pretzels
Boba tea
Jimmy John’s
Ranch dressing
Rice Krispy treats
Taco Bell
Whatever new gimmick the major candy bar brands have come up with

Foods we can get in Edinburgh but are better in the US:

Dim sum

Foods we can get in Edinburgh but which are cheaper in the US:

Gai lan
Red Vines
Seaweed salad

Specific Restaurants, if geographically possible:

La Mediterranee, Berkeley, CA

Macy’s European Coffeehouse & Bakery, Flagstaff, AZ

MartAnne’s, Flagstaff, AZ

Maya Quetzal, Tucson, AZ (get the Plato Vegetariano)

San Tung, Inner Sunset, San Francisco, CA (get the chicken wings)

Travel on, friends! 🙂

Macy's Coffeehouse, Winter 2008

Macy’s Coffeehouse, Winter 2008


About vocalised
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6 Responses to Chestnuts (etc.) Roasting On An Open Fire

  1. Great lists. I am adding a few to my own must eats, even though I am in the states all the time. Looking forward to trying Macy’s on my next trip through Flagstaff. I love apple butter too. Have you ever tried making it yourself? I went to an apple butter festival it was a treat to see them slow cook it in a kettle pot.

    • vocalised says:

      I’m not very DYI, but I’ve been thinking a lot on this trip about trying to make these things at home. I’ve never tried making apple butter, but maybe I’ll give it a go in 2014!

  2. Alan A. Lew says:

    Really, no boba tea in Edinburg? It seemed to be pretty popular in Germany (or at least Berlin) when we were there last year. Phoenix recently got “snow ice” – that shaved ice cream that you had with Lawal in Hong Kong. 😛

    • vocalised says:

      You know, that’s a good point. I bet it does exist, somewhere. But I bet it belongs in the “better in the US” category. I had it once in London Chinatown an it was alright, but not the same.

  3. Don Shirley says:

    Were you disappointed by Asian Cafe Express this year? I notice it didn’t make your top 6.

    • vocalised says:

      No, I definitely wasn’t disappointed by it, but we can get good Chinese food in Edinburgh, so it’s not something that I crave or especially think to go to when I’m back in the US. The ACE prices are definitely better, though! (P.S. I realized it was silly to have Jimmy John’s as a restaurant but Taco Bell as a guilty pleasure, so now there’s only a Top 5.)

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