I finally break down and buy a coffee maker from Taobao (101.93RMB), and I sprinkle a bit of my Illy (118RMB/250g.) on top of the cheap stuff (50RMB/500g.) to make the “perfect” cup. After a quick shower, I go out on my balcony and have a cigarette (20RMB/pack). About half an hour later, three more butts hit the ashtray, and I’m starting to get hungry. My mind drifts to when I was in Koh Chang, Thailand eating a superb bowl of green spicy vegetable curry (110THB/bowl) on the beachside wondering how the hell they make it so nice. But it’s too cool to realistically think about being on a beach somewhere, let alone getting herbs that are picked from the back garden. My brain shifts to a spring day in New York. I’m on a street corner devouring a hot dog (2.50USD) with those brownish onions they put on them. Why they are that color escapes me, but I know that they’re delish. It’s breakfast time, however, and what’s better than an English breakfast in London (7GBP)? I personally like to eat mine by scooping my beans onto the sunny-side up egg and shoveling it into my mouth with the toast. That’s just me though. Or maybe a nice espresso (free) and a nice freshly made croissant (1EUR) at my friend’s place in Castelnau-De-Montmiral, France? Surely nothing is better than that. I dunk the flaky treat into the small cup half full of dark liquid gold the way my other friend, and former partner in crime, from Ardèche taught me to do. Reflecting on friends, my head is now in Tokyo, Japan where we are eating dinner (15,000JPY/three people) on a narrow winding street at, what quite possibly is, the smallest restaurant I’ve ever been in. This local place is frequented by my friend, and we’re treated like gold which is the farthest thing from being a crime.
Gold, I ponder. No, the tequila (300MXN/bottle) in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico isn’t gold the way I pictured it would be, but instead the stuff we drink is clear. I down about five fantastic carnitas (12MXN/each) from the street cart after a half a bottle of the aforementioned. That pork must have been cooked in broth that’s more than a hundred years old. It’s really that good. Pork is good. And with that notion, my cabeza is finally in Barcelona, Spain. It’s nine at night, and the restaurant on the plaza is virtually empty. The music coming from the busker is low. Did we chose a bad one (28EUR/person)? An hour and a half later, we’re bursting at the seams from all the wonderful ham. The place is finally starting to fill up, and the guy on the guitar (1EUR/tip) starts to pick it up a bit. In the end, it isn’t a poor choice indeed.
As always, we’ve got a handful of new and exciting restaurants in this month’s magazine. So go with your pengyoumen and enjoy. May you one day be in some faraway land dreaming about them.
by Tim Hoerle