A new year, a whole new set of opportunities to go platetrotting! And since we are already a week into 2014, I thought it's definitely time to make some dinner plans :)
My New Year's resolution is to eat African food in Africa... We shall see if that one gets ticked off the list. But for now, here’s another list of some of the things I hope to be chomping on in 2014.
Caribbean food at Negril Brixton
All those Food Network shows on chefs cooking up delicious pineapple-strewn curries against a backdrop of blue sky and sea are starting to have an effect on me. It’s time to finally answer the craving for fried plantain and coconuty curries that has been haunting me for several months now. In the absence of being able to board a plane to the Caribbean islands (much as I’d like to) I’m going to settle for the next best thing – Brixton Hill in London. The destination is the little Caribbean restaurant Negril, whose menu of saltfish fritters, spicy jerk ribs, pumpkin curry and plantain wedges is already making my mouth water. Definitely a stop the next time I find myself in London.
Matzah Balls and Latkes
Obviously the UAE isn’t the best place to find authentic Jewish food, so I am super excited to be heading to Poland next month where I hope to finally get a taste of some matzah balls and latkes. I’m already a certified pancake fan, so the latkes I am sure will be a hit. As for the matzah balls, apparently these little balls of dough traditionally made out of matzah meal and schmaltz (chicken fat) can vary widely in texture and density – ranging from light-as-air pillows to dense, stodgy, stomach fillers (floaters or sinkers). I will have to see what the ones I hope to taste in Krakow turn out to be!
Following the Cuban government’s slow easing of policies regarding private entrepreneurship in recent years, the number of paladares - the little family-run restaurants in people’s homes that provide a great counterpoint to touristy state-run restaurants – have increased in number and quality. Travelers to Cuba can rejoice as a result! With most of them run out of old private residences, the paladares sound like just the sort of places I would love to eat at when I hopefully make my way to Cuba this spring. This list of paladares has already whet my appetite!
More travel inspired by TV, this time by Anthony Bourdain's Mozambique episode of No Reservations that I watched on a flight a few months ago. All those African and Portuguese flavours melding together in recipes featuring fresh seafood and veggies sound like my idea of heaven. This is the eat-local-in-Africa goal I WANT to fulfill this year.
Olive Oil Tasting
I will happily go to as many wine tastings as I can get myself to but last year friends who went to Italy mentioned something else that made my ears prick up - olive oil tasting. As someone who gets through far too many bottles of olive oil in a year (and requires a LOT of willpower to walk past the aisle of gourmet oils in the supermarket) this is something I would be very keen to try. Fingers crossed there's some olive oil-tasting in my future!
So what are you looking forward to eating this year?
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