My Love Affair with Mexico City

Part 1 of my food blogger's guide to Mexico: Eating well in Mexico City (aka D. F.) Mexico City just might be the ultimate food vacation destination. Oh, I’m enamored with Beijing myself, I enjoyed a little Hanoi, no lie, and I wouldn’t turn down a return trip to Thailand either. Yet, if you asked me where you should go first, I’d direct you to Mexico City for incredible high-end cuisine at ridiculous bargain prices, for the well-known killer street food culture, and for a drinking scene that offers century-old traditional pulque next door to a modern microbrewery. “Is it safe?” I had … [Read more...]

Eating America: The Best Food in Chicago, Part 3: Tourist Food

Where to Eat in Tourist Areas of Chicago?  Consider this the food blogger's guide to Chicago. As I say on my About Page, being a GastroGnome is not about sitting idly on the front lawn of culinary cottages. Each year I tell my stories of trips to Beijing, Hanoi, and Mexico, but sometimes I leave out my favorite places right here in the U.S. No more! This is the latest installment of my 'Eating America' series, featuring the best eating around our fine nation. If you’re in Chicago visiting, likelihood is you’ll be around the tourist areas. And while getting out to neighborhoods like … [Read more...]

Eating America: The Best Food in Chicago, Part 2: High-end Restaurants

Consider this the food blogger's guide to Chicago. As I say on my About Page, being a GastroGnome is not about sitting idly on the front lawn of culinary cottages. Each year I tell my stories of trips to Beijing, Hanoi, and Mexico, but sometimes I leave out my favorite places right here in the U.S. No more! This is the latest installment of my 'Eating America' series, featuring the best eating around our fine nation. Alinea. Yeah. I went there. We ate at Alinea. It was an experience. It’s ranked the 7th best restaurant in the world (a ranking which, having been to others that are … [Read more...]

Eating America: The Best Food in Chicago, Part 1: Budget Restaurants

Consider this the food blogger's guide to Chicago. As I say on my About Page, being a GastroGnome is not about sitting idly on the front lawn of culinary cottages. Each year I tell my stories of trips to Beijing, Hanoi, and Mexico, but sometimes I leave out my favorite places right here in the U.S. No more! This is the latest installment of my 'Eating America' series, featuring the best eating around our fine nation. In my few trips to Chicago, I’ve mostly had the chance to eat at only a few places while passing through the city on the way to Brett’s family’s place out in the burbs. … [Read more...]

Eating America: The Best Food in New Orleans

Consider this the food bloggers guide to New Orleans. As I say on my About Page, being a GastroGnome is not about sitting idly on the front lawn of culinary cottages. Each year I tell my stories of trips to Beijing, Hanoi, and Mexico, but sometimes I leave out my favorite places right here in the U.S. No more! Here is the beginnings of my 'Eating America' series, featuring the best eating around our fine nation. I make no secret of my love for the city of New Orleans. I first visited it while on Spring Break from college, in the pre-Katrina days, and the last few years I've made it practice … [Read more...]

Mac and Miso: Inspiration and Failure

I broke my blog. I wasn't paying attention, and I hit update on something, and it overrode changes I'd made that do minor things. Things I'm sure other people don't even pay attention to, like whether the ads fit in their boxes or not. Whether there is a 'next post' button at the bottom of the page. My blog is broken, and while I designed it my self, I'll be honest, it was a while ago and I can't for the life of me remember how I made it work before. This was supposed to be a post about inspiration. Specifically about the chef and photographer who inspired the dish above and the photo I … [Read more...]

Beyond the Torta: Exploring Mexico’s Sandwiches

Thinking the Mexican sandwich is limited to the widely known torta is like medieval belief the earth is flat. Not only is it dead wrong, there are whole other worlds to explore. Proving that once again, someone got there before us, Mexican sandwiches have expanded to fillings and techniques that leave our proud American sandwiches trailing in the evolutionary chain. The Torta At an enclosed street cart called “Tortas al Fuego,” on a corner in the Roma neighborhood of Mexico City, a father and his daughter griddle up a typical version of Mexico’s best-known sandwich. The torta is simple and … [Read more...]

My Year in Food, 2011

Normal is not what I do best. Thus my end-of-year top-ten list will be anything but. For starters, it's not ten items. Instead, this is a peek inside my brain, where cooking and reading and small creatures in the night all crawl about, mingling and mixing into a delightful stew of tasty tidbits. It's December, and while I'm more likely to look forward to the next year than backwards on the last, here's a few things that stuck in my maw, reminding me why the life of good eating is so wonderful. Best non-cookbook: Grant Achatz's Life, on the Line This is not the best written book ever, … [Read more...]

Pambazo Lessons from an Abuela

Among the oddities of my childhood were an avocado green washer and dryer in the kitchen of our house, a mild prodigy brother, and a constant parade of exchange students from as far away as New Caledonia. 25 years later and I still have no idea where New Caledonia is. I do know where San Juan del Rio, Mexico is. It's a small town two hours north of Mexico City, from where hailed many of our exchange students. One of them has become a life long family friend, and on our recent trip to Mexico, his mother taught us how to make a Mexican sandwich called a Pambazo. This is the third time … [Read more...]

Donate, Win, Eat, Travel: Passports with a Purpose

I'm back from Mexico with fresh cooking tips from an Abuela (grandma), a passion for pambazos (think tortas, but soaked in chile, then fried) and a few imbibe-able souvenirs. Before I start in on my posts about those, I wanted to give you the opportunity to win a little travel adventure of your own. As self-indulgent as this lovely blog is, I couldn't help but jump at the opportunity to help out by participating in Passports with a Purpose, to help raise money to build libraries in Zambia. "Zambia? Books? That doesn't sound like food?" You might be saying. And you'd be right, but only … [Read more...]