Washington, DC, is the capital of the US but also home to almost three quarters of a million people. The architecture is varied and increasingly high rise. Driving around DC, I realize how much I do not know about the architecture or history of DC. For a guide to the basic styles of homes in DC, check out this link.
One of the wonders of living in Rome is the amount of Roman ruins everywhere. It seems so commonplace that I have become immune to it.
Not only in the city of Rome which is a living open museum of ancient Rome, but also outside Rome. Any drive outside Rome is a constant journey through time.
In thew few years that I have lived in Rome, I have never gotten over how old things are. I remain impressed.
I will not be retiring to my palace in Split like Diocletian. But, I will be leaving Rome. I will be moving from the eternal city on seven hills to a newer Rome in America. Washington, DC, is sometimes called the “new Rome” and in some ways it is. There are lots of monuments and white marble buildings. It is a capital, and some would say that it was influential the way that Rome once was. It gets unbearably hot in the summer. Like Rome, it is a touristy town. Like Rome, DC also suffers from not being quite as fashionable as its northernly neighbor (for DC, it’s New York, and for Rome, Milan).
But, for me, it will be my next home. Arrivederci, Roma!
Arrivederci translates to, “Goodbye until we meet again.”
Now that I’ve had my first American visitors, they suggest that I write about what they noticed while in Italy. They noticed three very different things…
Adults making love to their gelatos: This is what they really noticed. They said that it was not normal in the United States to see a grown adult in business clothes “making love” to an ice cream, while walking on the street. I have no photos of this so instead I include a photo of a gelato that I ate… while on the street. As you can see, gelato melts fast so you have to eat it fast.
Note that my gelato has “panna” or whipped cream on it. This is normal in Italian gelaterias. Another thing that is normal is that no matter how small your gelato, you will usually get two flavors.
Swastika graffiti: On the walls. In the United States, it would removed or painted over fairly quickly.
Five inch platform mules: On women. I guess it should be ten centimeter platforms since this is in Italy.
I know that it is the general convention that dishes, food, is best tasted at the source. I think that does some disservice to the diaspora and fusion food that has evolved over the millennia. That said, here is a list of food that I often crave. Actually, for many of the dishes, I prefer in their newer form. But, then again… some I prefer at the source.
Ceviche — I like the classic old fashioned version. The Peruvians love fusion. They are a fusion and so is their food. So now one can find “warm ceviche” and ceviche not made with fish.
Danish hotdog — I prefer them in Denmark. The actual hotdog is special, the ketchup is different, the dog is served with crunchy fried onions…
New York pizza — also, one of those things. Some say that the New York pizza is like a Neopolitan pizza from Naples, Italy. We shall see…
Hamburger — Some of the best I’ve had are in the United States. American beef and lack of gristle in the mix.
Banh mi — I’ve had good ones outside of Vietnam.
Pho — Also, good in the certain parts of the United States. Very bland in other places.
Korean BBQ — If one sticks to the pork belly, then it’s fairly easy to get good Korean barbecue in many countries. I think that many people think that bulgogi should be made with a high grade of beef and grilled at the table. Traditionally, bulgogi was created to use bad cuts of meat that required marinating. Usually the slices are so thin that grilling at the table dries them out. Some places use good cuts of steak and then one can dip them in sesame seed oil and salt. This is a delicious way to eat barbecue.
Chicken wings — Oddly, some of the best barbecue wings I’ve had were in a pizzeria in New Mexico.
Dim sum — can be good in many places outside China.
Laksa — so far the best I’ve had, and even some of the mediocre, was in Singapore and Malaysia. What can I say?
Most of all, the food of other lands transports you to them.
When thinking of Canadian food, it’s hard to describe all the foods of the various first nations and immigrant groups that make up modern day Canada. Here are a few to try (some have similar counterparts “down south” in the USA).
Poutine: French fries covered in cheese curds and gravy.
The Caesar: that drink that I had fling with for a week.
Nanaimo bar: a fudge-like bar.
Bannock and Beaver tail: fried dough, a dish common in some first nations. When the dough is shaped like a beaver tail, then it’s called a beaver tail. (Timbits: donut holes from Tim Hortons, Canada’s mainstream coffee chain.)
Peameal bacon: Canadian bacon (which is ham, really. Well, the Canadians do have a history of preserving the loin by rolling in pea flour, hence the name).
Game and fish, smoked and dried: from salmon jerky to whale blubber.
Butter tarts: much like a pecan pie but with no pecans.
Montreal style bagel: a chewy, yeasty, smaller, free-form bagel.
Nova Scotia lobster roll: like a New England “lobstah” roll.
Maple syrup: in candy, on pancakes, and on bacon…
In the frenzied days before my move to Colombia, each evening involves, sometimes twice, a “farewell and hasta luego” dinner. Each evening, the question is the same, “what type of food will you not be able to get in Colombia?” That’s something we’ll find out, but for now, my farewell meals have included: Vietnamese pho, banh mi, Chinese hot pot, Korean barbecue, American hamburgers, Italian pizza, British pub fish and chips, donuts, and coffee cake topped with coffee flavor ice cream.
During my time in Washington, DC, I have enjoyed exploring the eateries, and of the the new restaurants I’ve tried, I’ve most enjoyed the new “it” restaurant, Rose’s Luxury. The last time I went there, the tattooed-swears-like-a-sailor-waitress remembered me from my visit in February… and then she guided us through most of the menu, including drinks. I didn’t think all the dishes were worth it but since they change their menu on a continuous basis, there is usually something you’ll like, but it may not be on the menu the next time. Sometimes the dishes really work and the staff (with *#&&^% added for emphasis) are eager to explain how to eat the dishes to get the full alchemy of the flavors.
Okay, maybe this posting was just an excuse to post food photos.
Recently, I went for a day at the races. Not having grown up going to the horse races, attending the Preakness was all new to me. I wasn’t sure if it was all about the hat (or my new fascination — the fascinator), the horses, the betting, or the concerts. It turned out to be a bit of all of it, a sort of combination country fair, concert, picnic, tailgate party, and excuse to dress up and drink cocktails at 11 a.m.
I’m not sure if I would go to a horse race again, although maybe in Colombia, as the actual races are very short (a few minutes) and it all goes by in a blur. But, the people-watching goes on all day!
One of the hats for sale was about two feet across and cost $496. Yes, almost $500 for a hat. Speaking of fashion, I enjoyed the variety of men and boys in seersucker suits and the ladies and girls in their dress and hats. Also, people were super friendly out at Pimlico in Maryland.
I was recently in the new Trader Joes in Clarendon, Virginia, USA, and I was bedazzled by the array of new choices. Mine was a normal reaction and I came prepared with camera.
Whether you call it a tomato or a tomato, it’s still a tomato. Milk, however, is not just milk. And how great is that!