Seventeen Ways To Tell If You Are A Foodie Even If You Do Not Cook

Seventeen Ways To Tell If You Are A Foodie Even If You Do Not Cook

“People who love to eat are always the best people. – Julia Child”

You read restaurant reviews in bed before you go to sleep to relax.

You refuse to eat a grilled cheese sandwich with less than three different cheeses.

Bacon or pork makes anything better.

You spend hours researching your dining itinerary whenever you travel including making reservations from home whenever possible.

Your day in a foreign country goes like this – wake up – eat breakfast, walk around city, think about lunch, eat lunch, take nap, walk around city,  think about dinner, go to dinner at pre made reservation restaurant.

The first thing you ask your friends when they return from vacation is “What  did you eat? What are the good restaurants there?”

You use words like truffle season, farm to table, organic, fusion, layers of flavor, deconstructed and tasting menu in an annoying way.

You can’t date anyone who is into health food, a vegetarian or a picky eater. 

You judge other people by the food they order. 

You refuse to vacation anywhere that is not known for its good food – like  Disneyworld.

You own more than three kinds of salt. That also goes for vinegar, oil and mustard.

You wait on a long line to try the newest must eat thing. 

You have more pictures on your phone of food than of your kids.

You feel obligated to try every interesting food  truck that you see.

You will drive for hours to eat a delicious  meal.

People give you restaurant gift certificates as a birthday gift.

You are planning the next meal before you finish the one you are eating.

Fly safe,

JAZ

 

My Top Ten Desserts In The World So Far

My Top Ten Desserts In The World So Far

“I am starting to think that maybe memories are like this dessert. I eat it, and it becomes a part of me, whether I remember it later or not.” Erica Bauermeister

When the mood for dessert strikes, I am there. I consider it a necessity not a choice to try desserts when I am traveling.  There isn’t a problem in the world that a good dessert can’t make feel a little better. Here are some of my favorites in no particular order.

Pastel de Nata – Portugal

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Baklava – Greece

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Red Velvet Cupcakes – USA

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 Semolina Halva –  Turkey (nice with fresh fruit)

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Black Sesame Ice Cream – Japan

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 Malva Pudding  (poeding) – South Africa

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Sweet Sticky Rice With Coconut Cream and Mango – Thailand

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Dulce de Leche –  Argentina ( on ice cream, cookies, cake, bread)

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 Fresh Acai  and Tapioca Ice Cream – Belem, Brazil

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Mango Pudding – Hong Kong

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Fly safe, JAZ

Tip Jars In America

Tip Jars In America

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
Mahatma Gandhi

If you come from another country, one of the first things you notice is how much tipping is expected in the United States. Tipping at a counter when I’m ordering take out is not what I am accustomed to. I worked for tips, when I was growing up, so I am a big tipper for good service. We now have electronic tipping when you are paying a bill at a register. I’m not quite sure what I am tipping for – that you are ringing up a juice I took from the case and handed to you? The first time I was intimidated and did it but I don’t anymore. Tipping for limited service is definitely becoming part of the American culture. There are tip jars everywhere. It’s a conundrum. What is the tip for stuffing a bagel into a paper bag? or for an already overpriced five dollar latte? My personal rule now is that it just depends on the experience or the creativity of the tip jars. There is a website called funnytipjars.com. I am a sucker for a creative tip jar.

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M Cafe

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funny tip jars

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Daily Dose

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Starbucks

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Kreation

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Fly safe,

JAZ

Foods That I Grew Up Eating For Lunch In New York

Foods That I Grew Up Eating For Lunch In New York

“The History of every major Galactic Civilization tends to pass through three distinct and recognizable phases, those of Survival, Inquiry and Sophistication, otherwise known as the How, Why, and Where phases. For instance, the first phase is characterized by the question ‘How can we eat?’ the second by the question ‘Why do we eat?’ and the third by the question ‘Where shall we have lunch?” Douglas Adams

When I was a kid, we did not have the lunch choices that are available to our children today. Lunch usually involved two pieces of bread. There were two or three small delis on a block. If you lived in an Italian or Chinese neighborhood, there were several of those restaurants on the block as well. New York’s wealth of immigrants honed our eating habits and favorite foods.

Coffee shops and luncheonettes were on every street. Coffee shops were what we now call casual dining restaurants. Despite that these places primarily sold sit-down meals and not just coffee, you were usually welcome to sit in one for hours while ordering nothing but coffee with free refills.They had a lunch counter in the front with round stools and small tables in the back. They served burgers, grilled cheese, BLTs, pancakes and scrambled eggs. No lattes, almond milk or farm to table eggs with a side of avocado and chicken sausage. If you wanted fresh fruit it was half a grapefruit or cantaloupe and cottage cheese. No smoothies or green juice.  Cottage cheese was the diet food of diners and luncheonettes.  If you didn’t want grease and carbs, the diet plates were cottage cheese and cantaloupe, cottage cheese and tuna or cottage cheese and a burger patty.No one there had ever heard of kale.The coffee shops were often owned by Greek immigrants and had Greek specialties on the menu.

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The egg cream is the iconic growing up in New York drink. Everyone has a best egg cream story from a lunch counter somewhere. There is no egg in it – only chocolate syrup, seltzer and milk. The seltzer should be fresh from a soda gun . The most important thing is the correct ratio of chocolate to seltzer to milk and the frothy head with flecks of chocolate syrup at the top of the glass. U- Bet is the chocolate syrup of choice for egg creams.

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The Hebrew National Deli in my neighborhood was part deli and part convenience/grocery store. I think it had a few tables in the back but we never sat there. We usually got  grilled frankfurters with mustard and sauerkraut to go and walked and ate them. Hot Dogs are the original street food in New York and sold out of carts on corners in Manhattan. I always found it odd to sit at a table in LA and eat a hot dog with my kids.

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The deli was located across the street from Mrs Stahls legendary, dingy knish store on Brighton Beach Avenue under the elevated train. A knish is baked dough with a filling. I remember cheese, kasha or potato. I’m not a knish fan. The smell would hit you when you got off the train and I would often find one in my hand from my mother who thought I should be eating more.

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Sometimes we rode our bikes on Sundays to Nathans in Coney Island. We had hot dogs and fries. The hot dog popped when you bit into it with a perfect blend of meat and spices. The fries were not thin but thick, crinkly cut and fried to perfection. Nathan’s was  located on the corner of Surf and Sillwell Avenues in a neighborhood where you stayed aware of your surroundings. My parents went as kids when the mobsters and film stars frequented the place. By the time we got there, Coney Island was a shabby version of its former splendor. We still rode the Cyclone and Ferris Wheel but it was before the hipsters and gentrification.

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New York had such a large Italian immigrant population that pizza places were everywhere. Everyone had their favorite but they were all good. A New York pizza is traditionally hand tossed and I have memories of some seriously skilled pizza tossers. High gluten flour and NY water are credited with giving the crust its unique taste. It is made with tomato sauce and fresh mozzarella cheese and traditionally cut into eight slices. The New York way to eat a slice of pizza is to pick it up and eat it flat to get the full flavor. You can fold it when it gets messy but a knife and fork will immediately peg you as an out of towner. The crust is not paper-thin. It’s not thick like Chicago. It is in between. There are no chicken and sweet sauce or pineapple toppings . It was sausage, pepperoni or red peppers.

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When I wasn’t having pizza for lunch, I would be eating a meatball hero sandwich. It was meatballs with tomato sauce topped with melted cheese between two slices of Italian bread. I have never seen meatballs served like that in Italy. It was a NY Italian American spaghetti joint meal. The Italian restaurants in my neighborhood were Sicilian. There was always a lot of red sauce, shellfish, pasta, bread, red wine and cannolis. We sat in restaurants with red and white checked tablecloths and posters of Italian tourist attractions eating those very messy sandwiches.

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Blimpies was the original submarine sandwich fast food chain. It was shredded lettuce with tomatoes on cold cuts with red wine vinegar and oil. A salad on a sandwich was unheard of in Brooklyn and people used to line up to get them.

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I still eat all these foods for lunch. Living in LA, it is more about turkey burgers and turkey hot dogs. I’m trying not to eat gluten – unless I’m eating pizza. I ate Subway sandwiches with my kids when they were young.  I wouldn’t attempt to find a good egg cream or cannoli in LA.  Your environment teaches you what comfort food is. Pizza is still my favorite food.  Every once in a while I will go to Carneys, wait on line at Pinks or order the meatballs at Jon and Vinnys for a taste of my childhood.

Fly safe,

JAZ

First Food That I Want To Eat When I Revisit A Country

First Food That I Want To Eat When I Revisit a Country

“Like I said before. Your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.”Anthony Bourdain

 Japan Sushi at Tsukiji Market, any dessert made with yuzu or green tea.

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 Turkey Pide, fresh pomegranate juice, anything with eggplant, and any dessert made with semolina.

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 Croatia Fresh tuna and bean salad, grilled calamari and swiss chard.

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Cambodia Fresh coconut water and amok (I loved Cambodian food).

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 Greece Avgolemono soup, baklava and Greek salad (feta, tomatoes and olive oil don’t taste the same anywhere else).

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 Italy Pizza, pasta with fresh tomato sauce and basil.  (My dream is to go to Sicily and eat pizza).

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South Africa Biltong (Im not even a meateater and I love it).

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Israel  Falafel and Hummus.

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Colombia Guanabana juice and Arepa con Quisito.

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Spain Churros, hot chocolate and real gazpacho.

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 Panama Sancocho soup.

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Netherlands Pofferjes and poached egg on brioche with smoked salmon, (first time that I have had that).

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Brazil Tacaca with shrimp and fresh acai ( not the watered down sugary stuff we get here) in the Amazon.

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 Thailand Thai iced coffee.

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 Peru Ceviche with giant corn.

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Argentina Alfajores from Havanna.

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Mexico Tacos, guacamole, mole or really anything in Oaxaca. (except not a fan of the crickets every day)

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USA When I come home I want a turkey burger from Golden State in LA.

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Fly safe,
JAZ

Foods Not To Eat In Public

Foods Not To Eat In Public

“People who love to eat are always the best people.” Julia Child

Imagine your fingers dripping in sauce, your mouth opening extra wide to swallow some big bite of something before it falls on the floor, your teeth covered in bits of green and yellow, and you will know what others see when you eat these foods.

This list can also be used for foods not to eat with braces or foods not to eat on a date.

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Corn On The Cob. Avoid food that requires you to slide your face across a buttered surface and is guaranteed to lodge kernels so deep in your teeth that even power tools won’t help you.

There is no neat way to eat a taco.

Ribs. Barbecue sauce is the most delicious thing ever. it is just not attractive on your face, your hands, in your nails, and on your hair which is where it will probably be. Any food that comes with a moist towelette should not be eaten where people have to watch.

Ramen. While slurping soup is considered good manners in some countries, it is not done in the USA where I live.  You will have to either slurp or bite the noodles and watch the rest fall out of your mouth.

Lobster or crab. Any food that comes with more than one type of utensil and a bib is a guaranteed disaster. Does anyone really want to see you tearing apart a sea creature with your bare hands?

Cooked spinach. No matter how neat or cool you think you are, every time you eat cooked spinach it will always get all over your teeth. If you must eat it in public, try the raw.

Burgers with everything / meatball heroes. Avoid any sandwich with meat, cheese and sauce oozing out of it. No one wants to watch you eat food that requires thousands of napkins.

Powdered donuts. It is a lose – lose situation. Nothing with ruin your outfit or make you look more like a crackhead than white powdered sugar.

Messy foods are best eaten with close friends and loved ones only. We started life as messy eaters and we may end up that way.  In the time between, have fun with messy foods because they bring us together with fun nights, relaxed expectations and much laughter.

Fly safe,
JAZ

25 Things That I Wanted To Do In 2015. Did I Do Them?

25 Things That I Wanted To Do In 2015. Did I Do Them?

Promises are like babies: easy to make, hard to deliver. ~Author Unknown

1. Do something big that I am afraid of. Yes
2. Drink less coffee. No
3. Go to Rio. Yes
4. Go To Another Grouplove concert. Yes
5. Finish my hamburger blog. Yes
6. Get more people to read my blog. Trying
7. Try eleven more new restaurants in LA. Pistola, New Port, Stir Market, Gracias Madre, Ledlow, Pot, Zinc, The Larder, Burger Lounge, Terrine, MessHall, Fred, Odys and Penelope, Tacoteca, Bel Campo Meat Co, Jon and Vinny, SMYC, Ingo Diner, Aestus, Kiriko, Superba Food and Bread, Scopa Italian Roots, Ox and Son, Sushi Park, Cassia, Trois Mec, Leona
8. Try eleven restaurants in other places. Yes
9. Go to another place on my bucket list. Amazon
10. Read more books – the kind you hold in your hand that smell like books. Yes
11. Go to São Paulo.Yes
12. Meditate every day. Nope.
13. Look up less random questions on the internet.Yes
14. Go To Brazil. Yes
15. Have more real friends. Not sure but definitely less fake ones.
16. Go to The Stanley Film Festival. Not yet.
17. Get more involved at 826 LA. No
18. See ten documentary films. Finding Vivian Maier, Muse – Kobe Bryant, Deli Man, Going Clear, Sinatra – All Or Nothing At All, Monk With A Camera, Bolshoi Babylon
19. See ten foreign films Force Majeure, Leviathan, Timbuktu, The Gett, Wild Tales, A Borrowed Identity, Second Mother, Embrace of the Serpent, Sweet Bean, Son of Saul, Mountains May Depart, Lady In A Van
20. Eat less gluten. Think so
21. Read more of other people’s blogs. Yes
22. Do more beach walks.Yes
23. Be more grateful every day. Trying
24. Finally do that urban art tour in LA. No
25. Be a tourist in LA. No

Still Trying . Merry Christmas.

Fly safe,
JAZ