2011, in your face

Maybe it was because I stayed home with my kids for so many years that I always dreamed of having a job that would allow me to travel for work.

This year, I learned the meaning of the phrase, “be careful what you wish for.”

I took a freelance job with Busy Dad that had me on the road at least once every month in 2011. Over the course of 12 months, I got really super good at going through airport security, knocked a few items of the ol’ life list, and ate some amazing food. My twelve most memorable meals of 2011 are after the jump.


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  • Everything at Perfectly Sweet in Alhambra, CA 1 of 12
    Everything at Perfectly Sweet in Alhambra, CA

    In February, I spent three weeks in LA training a bunch of doctors and social workers on a software program. My hotel was 3/4 of a block from the best dessert place in America, Perfectly Sweet.

    Not at all unrelated aside: I gained 1,372 pounds in February.


  • Shots on Times Square with the Communist Party 2 of 12
    Shots on Times Square with the Communist Party

    In March, we were charged with entertaining some Communists. Because my job was weird, that's why.

    I arranged for our little entourage to have a ridiculously fancy steak dinner on Times Square, of which I able to eat exactly two bites of before the Minister of Health for some province you don't care about in China looked at me and snickered, "Gan bei" which loosely translates into, "I'm about to drink you under the table, little white girl."

    And then they forced me to take shots of Caymus. Five bottles of Caymus worth of shots. I don't remember anything else that happened that night.

    Evidentiary aside: This is the actual cork from bottle #5. I don't want to talk about where I found it.


  • Eggs Benedict at Max’s Wine Dive in Houston, TX 3 of 12
    Eggs Benedict at Max's Wine Dive in Houston, TX

    In April, my husband and I discovered the greatest natural resource Texas has to offer, Max's Wine Dive.

    Hidden in a weird little shopping strip in the Heights resides the home of the single most decadently lemony eggs benedict you will ever hope to put in your mouth. I am so not kidding.

    My son insists I mention it aside: The fried chicken doesn't suck, either.


  • Oatmeal at Bosch Studios 4 of 12
    Oatmeal at Bosch Studios

    In May, Bosch invited me for a weekend in paradise Scottsdale, AZ to play with their dishwashers and cooktops.

    It wasn't enough that they ruined ever kitchen I will every have for the rest of my life, oh no. They had to go and make me eat *this* bowl of golden perfection, which I will drive myself to madness attempting to reverse engineer.

    Stop looking at me like that aside: Oatmeal is awesome, shut up. Besides, you get a brand new evacuatory tract and see how important fiber becomes to *you*.


  • Shrimp n’ grits in Asheville, NC 5 of 12
    Shrimp n' grits in Asheville, NC

    Laid Off Dad and Busy Dad Blog and I spoke on a panel at Type A Parent in June.

    The only thing better about Asheville than the arcade with Tengen Tetris was the shrimp n' grits Jim, Doug and I found at some random hippie restaurant in the middle of town.

    Credit where credit's due aside: Doug found the shrimp & grits. I was just nice enough to help him eat it. That's what friends do.


  • Corned Beef Hash and Eggs at Eleven City Diner in Chicago, Il. 6 of 12
    Corned Beef Hash and Eggs at Eleven City Diner in Chicago, Il.

    In March, we had meeting in Chicago, and during our stay we failed in every way to find a good hot dog but we tripped and fell on Eleven City Diner, where they sell old-timey candy, make the greatest corned beef hash that man has ever eaten, and also serve alcoholic salad.

    Someone who gets it aside: If you tweet them half-way through your hashgasm, they will tweet you back immediately. *Mad* props, @ElevenCityDiner.


  • Bacon Maple Donuts at Voodoo Donut in Portland, OR 7 of 12
    Bacon Maple Donuts at Voodoo Donut in Portland, OR

    We came across a group of people standing in the very nice, polite, 90's communal sort of line you'd expect to find in the middle of Portland in July.

    So we stood in it with them. Really. When in Portand, yo.

    And thank god we did. That line eventually dumped us dead smack in the middle of Voodoo Donuts, where Twitter informed us that you must order a bacon maple donut.

    Now, I don't really like bacon, or maple, but together? Good lordy.


  • Bugs in Harbin, China. 8 of 12
    Bugs in Harbin, China.

    In September, we spent a week with those same Communists - on their turf.

    They made me drink a whole lot of some evil liquid made out of jet fuel and the living essence of Gelflings called Beijiu, but worse than that was Jim's insistence on eating bugs.

    That is a fetal chicken. He is eating it. There, now you are as scarred as I am.

    Not to be confused aside: When in China, if someone offers you crawlers and soy milk, eat it. Oh my god, eat it. #notbugs


  • Anything American At All in Harbin, China. 9 of 12
    Anything American At All in Harbin, China.

    I'd never left the continent before my trip to China, and while I was prepared for jet lag and culture shock, I wasn't prepared for the food. (see, bugs.)

    After about three days of glass noodles and and boiled iceberg lettuce and Tang and bugs, I broke down and made Jim take me for a Big Mac. Which, after watching him eat grubs, grasshoppers, water beetles and a cicada, was the best food I've ever eaten. Ever.

    Because I need to tell someone aside: Cicadas squirt a little when the person sitting across from you bites them. That is all.


  • Coffee. For real, actual, not-made-in-China coffee in Shanghai, China. 10 of 12
    Coffee. For real, actual, not-made-in-China coffee in Shanghai, China.

    They can, and do, make anything in China, as we witnessed on our government-sanctioned "See all the American companies who used bailout money to build factories in China!" industrial tour. Except coffee. They just don't *get* coffee the same way I don't *get* Sarah Palin.

    However, if you visit Shanghai – the most magical, amazing, beautiful and largest city on Earth, you will find a Starbucks where, if you look desperately American enough, they will begrudgingly brew you an Americano.

    Cultural observance aside: The natives look at you with disdain when you are a Chinese man ordering coffee in a Starbucks in China. They look at you with abject terror when you do it in perfect English.


  • Scorpion Bowls at Hong Kong in Harvard Square 11 of 12
    Scorpion Bowls at Hong Kong in Harvard Square

    I didn't go college but a disconcerting number of my close friends and spouses went to Ivy League schools. I like to pretend this means I have earned at least a BA-by-proxy in some useless, liberal arts something, but really it just means I know all the best places to drink in New England.

    And if you ask my friends Christine and Jim, they'll tell you the secret to graduating Cum Laude at Harvard is a steady diet of the wikid pissah food coloring and vodka concoction those crazy Bahstan kids like to call Scorpion Bowls, at the Hong Kong.


  • Pie. At home. With my children. Thank god. 12 of 12
    Pie. At home. With my children. Thank god.

    After one little trip in early November, my job with the company I was working for came to a close, and I got to come back home for good and teach my daughter how to bake pumpkin pies, just in time for Thanksgiving. Which, incidentally, she rocks at.

    The end.


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