A stopover for lunch in New York; three days on a houseboat in Belgrade, Serbia; a week with friends in Skopje, Macedonia; eight days in a house, with many many kids, right upon Lake Ohrid, also in Macedonia; four days in Budapest, Hungary; an overnight stopover in Paris. Twenty-two days of blissful vacation, and about a hundred meals -- or so it felt. What follows in the days ahead will be photos of the gastronomic highlights. But allow me to start with the low point, which would be the meal Continental Airlines tried to pass off as chicken with pasta:
Continental also sucked in every other way possible -- uncomfortable seating, obnoxious, incompetent stewards, etc. We flew Air France on the way home, which was exactly the opposite -- friendly stewards, great service, and excellent food (relative to airlines). Compare their chicken dinner with Continental’s (that's a tomato-goat cheese crumble in the lower right, a delicious brownie in the upper left):
Here is the world’s best steamed pork buns (two for $9), part of our New York lunch at Momofuku Ssäm Bar (a fine eatery at 207 Second Avenue, although I like Momofuku Noodle Bar even more):
We also had Bip Bim Bap, a rice bowl with Berkshire pork, pickled shiitake mushrooms, red kimchi puree, fava beans, and a poached egg:
The Bip Bim Bap also included side plates of more pickled vegetables, “kewpie slaw” and a can of soda (whole meal for $15):
On the way out of the city we passed Tuck Shop, an Australian pie place at 68 East First Street, and had just enough time left to gobble a beef pie and a Guinness steak pie.
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Back to Newark Airport, where our Continental flight was delayed for 4 1/2 hours. Naturally they lost our luggage, too, but that’s another story -- we’ll stick to food here.
-- Lee Klein