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Old 09-13-2016, 11:17 AM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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Join Date: May 2000
Location: SW Side, Chicago
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Originally Posted by Balthisar View Post
Two come to mind for me.

The first was a ham and cheese sandwich at a highway rest stop in northern France. The ham and cheese were really, really good, but the real key was the baguette – not too airy, crispy but not too thick crust, and perfectly seasoned. When assembled this simple concoction was perhaps still the single, best sandwich I’ve eaten in my life.

The second one is a hamburger (actually “lamb-burger”, given the country) at the Marriott Hotel restaurant in Ahmedabad, India. It surprised me because (a) India, where presumably a hamburger is a rarity, and (b) hotel food isn’t usually very good (unless you go to the “fine dining” restaurant inside hotels). I’d been living in China at the time, and in my five years there I’ve never had a good hamburger, and so this wonderful, awesome, lamb-burger was even doubly delicious. If only beer has been legal, it would have been a perfect meal.
Actually, both your replies remind me: the first, I was at a hotel in Paris staying one night back in '96. Just some cheap place we found after being picked up by some bus in the train station. Anyhow, I woke up to just a boring continental style breakfast. Baguette. Butter. I'm not even sure there were cold cuts and cheese, but there must have been. I buttered the baguette and took a bite, just expecting calories and nothing else. Holy shit. I never knew bread and butter could taste SO good. I'm sure part of it must be my lowered expectations coupled with the romance of travel but, seriously, that was an epiphany for me. I'll never forget that baguette and butter as long as I live, and that's pretty much what started my journey to appreciating culinarily simple things.

The second was a vada pav in Mumbai. All the locals advised me against eating the street food and I managed to do so for a day. The next day, though, I couldn't resist. I wasn't going to have pani puri (as much as I love it) or anything involving fresh water, but I figured I couldn't go wrong with deep-fried potato cutlets served on a bread roll with some chutney and fried chili peppers on the side. Maybe I took a little risk with the chutney, but holy shit was I blown away by this dish that cost me maybe a quarter. It was just absolutely perfect: a fried potato slider with hot peppers and chutneys. Beautiful contrast of textures from the pillowy roll to the crispy deep fried potato to its mushy interior, with the starch flavored by the coriander/cilantro, tamarind, garlic, sweet and sour of the chutneys, accented by the crispness and heat of the fried chili pepper. Good god. It stands out as the best street food I've ever eaten.

Last edited by pulykamell; 09-13-2016 at 11:20 AM.