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Old 06-14-2011, 12:41 PM   #1
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Encountering deliciousness when traveling

This always happens to me when I travel. I end up eating something that is just out of this world and then I spend time and money trying to recreate something that I know I'll probably never be able to have again where I first ate it.

Our most recent vacation was a road trip inside the US and Canada (our first one). We had some really delicious food. We don't vacation inside the US, so this was very interesting to see such regional differences.

While it's great to experience these things, I also get a little bit sad because we're likely to never to return to these places, whether in the US or abroad (except for a few countries/cities we visit repeatedly).

But I will try to recreate some of my favorites: the cole slaw at the Tick Tock Diner in NYC and the Spinach Gnocchi with roasted Walnuts in a Gorgonzola cream sauce from Grano Trattoria in Greenwich Village among many others. Hope I can recreate them, as life will be a little less exciting if I can't figure them out.

Do you do this? Recreate great meals at home that you've eaten out... how do they go? Sometimes it takes me several tries and once in a blue moon, I manage to nail them the first time around. Of course, sometimes it's the ingredient itself that you can't buy where you live and that makes it or breaks it (thank goodness for internet shopping!!)

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Old 06-14-2011, 06:44 PM   #2
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Oh I do this all the time! I also think (modestly, of course), "I could do better" when we are out.
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Old 06-14-2011, 07:05 PM   #3
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Yes, I do. And not just when traveling.

I am told that I'm extremely good at it ... But who knows. I have a blast doing it! I have Barbara Lynch's lamb shanks down !

I just pay very careful attention to the tastes, textures, appearance, etc. Sometimes I write down notes.
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Old 06-14-2011, 07:29 PM   #4
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v-chic, do you mean the tic tock diner just outside of nyc, in clifton? or is there one in the city.

to answer the question: the entire reason i learned to cook was to repeat the things i've had in restaurants, at home and on vacation.

the best ahi tuna i've ever had was in vancouver; the best new england clam chowder in vermont; the best lobster roll in kennebunkport, maine, the best oysters and shrimp in florida; the best crabs in ocean city, maryland...
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Old 06-14-2011, 08:54 PM   #5
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Buckytom - there is a Tick Tock off of 8th Ave. near Penn Station. Around 34th St. and 8 Ave. if my gray cells are firing correctly. I didn't realize there was one in NJ. We went to the Americana Diner in NJ (near Princeton, Cranbury, Windsor area??) and L.O.V.E.D. it as well. Dh had some sort of smoked salmon that he raved about. I had simple eggs and toast, but the home fries were very good. I really enjoy well-made diner food. Simple and with good ingredients, so, so delicious.

I only wish I could easily duplicate recipes the dishes that I eat in restaurants. I'm not very good at figuring out the ingredients. Although, if I get a list of ingredients, I can usually figure out the ratios. Still, I have lists of things that I've never figured out. I admire those that can just taste something and know how it's made and with what ingredients and what ratios. Truly, I envy those of you.

I do love eating on the road... I just wish we could return to some of these places. The midwest is not exactly the dining mecca of the world.
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Old 06-14-2011, 09:23 PM   #6
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By far the best food we have ever had has been in Italy. One of the best meals we had was at a small, 5 or 6 table, family run place in Stresa. Stresa is in northern Italy on the shore of Lago Maggiore.

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Old 06-14-2011, 09:30 PM   #7
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There was a restaurant in Walker, MN called Collin's Backroom--people would fly in from all over the US to eat there--you could get all kinds of "exotic" meat there (bear, etc.). The deep-fried mushrooms were the best I've ever had...and the shrimp scampi...
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Old 06-15-2011, 04:58 AM   #8
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I always think I'll try and recreate something that I've really enjoyed but I don't have the experience at this point to do a very good job. 9 times out of 10 I try to recreate oriental dishes but they're never as good and it may just be the lack of MSG (which, of course, is evil) but it always feels like something super tasty is missing. (Any ideas?)

Other then that, there's a little Pie shop in Reading (UK) that does fresh (we-don't-have-a-menu-because-it-depends-what's-fresh-and-local) pies and I'm often found stealing their combinations and making yummy pies in winter.

But then, I like making stuff up as I go along so more often then not 'recreating' dishes starts with the original dish as an inspiration and ends up with 'I'll add this and maybe a little of that' outcomes.
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Old 06-15-2011, 05:20 AM   #9
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I have tried and failed to recreate or locate recipes for three different items.

My mothers goulash

A cherry crumb bar, similar to a pecan sandy with cherries scattered in it from my elementary school cafeteria,

Creamy orange, carrot soup from a Toronto restaurant.

Each time I try them or think I have found them they bring back memories of the original. That in itself has great value. I do not think I will ever get them right because in addition to the food I cannot recreate the setting or situation.

We all have our "rosebud".
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