I turn 50 today! I can tell you are thinking, “gee, I thought you were much older.”
Thanks a lot!
Since I have not yet been everywhere, tried everything, and have much more exploring (research!) to do, I cannot honestly provide a 50 best list of anything.
However, here is a sort of auto-bio list of 50 memorable food items, dishes, and drinks I have had. These are memorable to me and may not (or might) appear on any other list. Some of the places have closed or I may not remember names.
Most are from my travels in the past 20 years. I spent my first 28 years or so eating for the sake of eating. Not really a foodie, I did not start having fun with food and drink and appreciating non-chain food about 20 years ago. I have been fortunate to have my dining tips (and other travel tips) featured in USA Today and I invented a cocktail. Although I have my favorites, I have only scratched the surface of what this world has to offer.
50 Memorable Food and Drinks
In totally random order:
- Valencia oranges and paella in Valencia, Spain
- pork spare ribs in Mt. Dora, Florida (and from Twin Anchors in Chicago, Illinois)
- carnitas from El Migueleño in Seaside, California
- chocolate peanut butter cookie dough ice cream from Cherry Hill in Lunenburg, Massachusetts
- pitcher of mojitos from Las Vegas Cuban Cuisine in Pembroke Pines, Florida
- brisket from Central Texan BBQ in Castroville, California (now closed)
- clam chowder in sourdough bread bowl from Vivolos in Pacific Grove, California (and from Ivar’s in Seattle, Washington—enjoyed on Bremerton ferry at night)
- fish tacos in Half Moon Bay, California (and from The Big Owl in Graysonville, Maryland)
- double chili cheeseburger, fries, and Ho-Hos from Original Tommy’s (must be Rampart & Beverly location)
- pizza in Tupper Lake, New York (best NY style pizza I have had) and this from Venice, Italy
- crab stuffed halibut from Double Musky in Girdwood, Alaska
- eclairs in Emerald Isle, North Carolina (and from Donut Friar in Gatlinburg, Tennessee)
- beignets from Cafe du Monde in New Orleans
- donuts from The Donut Hole in Lakeway, Texas (best donuts I have had)
- lobster roll from Jackie’s in Leominster, Massachusetts (now closed)
- carne asada at a picnic in Southern California (homemade picnic food is the best!)
- filet mignon from Old San Francisco Steakhouse in Austin, Texas
- Mexican chocolate ice cream in Monterey, California
- fish and chips in Monterey, California and Penzance, England and many other places
- omelet from First Watch in Monterey, California
- baked lobster, chocolate soufflé from Chez Marc in Manassas Park, Virginia (now closed)
- tacos from Tacqueria Albertos in McMinnville, Tennessee (and from many places in San Pedro, Anaheim, and southern California)
- cinnamon roll from Sweet Jill’s Bakery in Seal Beach, California
- spaghetti and meatball sauce in Worcester, Massachusetts
- blueberry pancakes in mid to late September in Maine
- conch fritters from a shack in Florida Keys
- chicken vindaloo in Oxford, England and Glasgow, Scotland and Victoria, Canada.
- $3 bottles of red wine in Lagos, Portugal
- fresh pineapple in Hawaii
- bbq pork sandwich from James Brown in Avon Park, Florida
- rotisserie chicken, roasted peppers in Florence, Italy
- my brother’s Little Caesars pizza, circa 1990 (no other chain pizza compares)
- shrimp and grits from Hominy Grill in Charleston, South Carolina
- fresh peach cobbler from BBQ joints
- key lime freeze from Mrs. Macs in Key Largo, Florida
- chocolate peanut butter pie in Augusta, Georgia
- Navajo taco on some small desert road in Arizona
- Native American Thanksgiving dinner in Santa Fe, New Mexico
- limeade from Rosa’s in Tucson
- salmon, champ from Smuggler’s Inn in Bushmills, Northern Ireland
- Cuban rice, black beans, and Ropa Vieja from Latin American Cafe in Key Biscayne, Florida
- currywurst in Orscholz, Germany (might be only item on list I do not care to try again)
- chicken tagine in Marrakech, Morocco
- fruit smoothie from Casablanca, Morocco
- garlic fries from Gilroy, California
- fresh sourdough bread from San Francisco
- tamales from Mississippi
- fresh garlic rolls, pepperoni pizza from Marcello’s in North Miami, Florida
- watermelon from Georgia
- beer from Hofbrauhaus in Munich, Germany (and from Church Brew Works in Pittsburgh).
On my other website, I like to create custom food trails, like Best Grouper Sandwiches.
Are you hungry now? Do you have a favorite item on my list?
P.S. My birthday twin, Mary-Louise Parker, also turns 50 today. If you see her, tell her Happy Birthday!
I spent my 40th birthday on a Disney Cruise in the Caribbean. Any guesses where I am spending my 50th birthday?