On our recent trip to Pho Dang in Winooski, we immediately noticed that not only did North Main Street have a phở joint, it also seemed to have it’s own little Southeast Asian neighbor, with several Asian-related businesses nearby. One of them, Dharshan Namaste Asian Deli, is directly across the street from Pho Dang, and proudly sports “Bánh Mì” sandwiches in their window. I love a good bánh mì, so, a few weeks later when we were back in the Winooski area, we decided that we’d duck in and try Dharshan Namaste and see how they did.
Earlier this year, I went out with several friends to The Elephant Walk in Cambridge, MA for Cambodian food, and that outing reminded me how much I like the traditional dishes and flavors of Cambodia (similar to Vietnamese, the combination of French and Southeastern Asian influence makes for some particularly tasty dishes). In any case, as I was heading back from last week’s trip down to MIT, I decided to take a small detour and check out Tepthida Khmer in Lowell, MA.
Our US-based route from New Hampshire to Detroit also had us passing through Cleveland at lunchtime. While we were coming back to Cleveland for three days later in the trip, I figured this would be a good opportunity to check out someplace towards the East side of town, perhaps towards China Town. In fact, we had both been craving dim sum for a while, and Cleveland has more than a few dim sum joints, so I figured I’d give one a try. However, from past experience, I know that they vary greatly in quantity, price, and authenticity, so I decided to check out my friend Nancy’s blog, Fun Playing With Food, and see if she had any recommendations. And upon reading her recent review of Emperor’s Palace, it sounded like it was worth checking out.
Our last full day in Iceland was mostly spent tooling around Reykjavik. In the morning, we spent most of our time in Reykjavik’s heated pool, Laugardalslaug, which was nice (but wasn’t conducive to cameras…) Afterward, we wandered around downtown again. One place we really wanted to check out was Noodle Station. Noodle Station is one of those places I didn’t find from reviews, or from people waiting in long lines, or from signage. Noodle Station is one of those places that we found purely from the smell. Located on Skolavordustigur just down from Hallgrimskirkja, we couldn’t miss Noodle Station on our first day in Reykjavik; they were prepping for the day, and the entire place smelled of star anise and wonderful soup broth. But that first day, we were never in that part of town when they were open. But now that we were back in Reykjavik, and it was lunchtime, we decided that this time we’d check out Noodle Station.
Austin’s East Side is known for several good food trucks. One of the better known ones is East Side King, run by Paul Qui (of recent Top Chef fame). Actually, there are several East Side King food trucks, each with a different menu. The this one being located at The Grackle bar (the others are located down the street behind Liberty Bar and Shangri La). They’ve got the now-standard standing arrangement with The Grackle where you can get your food from the food truck, and eat it inside the bar (or on their spacious patio), while drinking beer off their license. The menu at the Grackle location focuses on Ssam (lettuce wrap) and rice dishes. Looking over the options, the top options were mushroom dishes, vegetarian dished (mostly with eggplant), and pork belly dishes. So it’s pretty obvious what I ordered: the pork belly Ssam…
While I mostly focus on the truly offbeat eats here, every once in while I encounter a chain restaurant that is notable for its quality, its novelty (especially chains in regions outside my normal travels), or both. One chain that I’ve enjoyed for many years for many trips to London is Wagamama. For those note familiar with it, Wagamama has been around since the early 90s, primarily in London, and is based upon a somewhat loose interpretation of the Japanese Ramen Bar concept: serving up fresh bowls of noodles or rice on long bench tables to customers, focusing on quick but good food.
H-Mart, Korean-American Asian supermarket chain, recently opened a location in Burlington, MA. I’m really happy that the region has another Asian grocery store chain (although I’ve long been a fan of the Boston area’s Super 88s). One of the problems of our living in the Upper Valley region of VT/NH is that we don’t really have access to a lot of Asian ingredients (we’ve got two small Asian grocery stores here, but their selection is limited, especially when it comes to produce), which is kind of a shame, since both of us really like Asian cuisines…