100 Foods to Die For (or not) Before You Die (21-40)

Churros and Absinthe

I took The Food List Challenge and scored 61% having tried 61 of the 100 foods (or drinks) listed.  So I’m going through each one, 20 at a time.  Here’s the second of 5 planned installments.

Chile Relleno.  It’s not what I typically order when we go for Mexican food but I did share some with my wife at a restaurant in Ft. Walton Beach.  We ordered two – one filled with pork, the other chicken.  Delicioso.  Unfortunately, because I was on meds for my badly sunburned feet, I couldn’t have a Dos Equis or a Modelo to wash it down.  Silly gringo me.

Chitlins.  Having grown up in the South, I had opportunities to try them, but knowing what they were, I could never bring myself to try them. As a general rule, I avoid intestines, stomach, hearts and other organs, but I have eaten liver (which I never liked) and tripe, which I liked even less. I know, I’m a picky eater.

Churros.  I like them ok, and recently had one at a Spanish restaurant, but to be honest, I’d rather have a fried Twinkie or a Krispy Kreme donut.

Clam Chowder.  Growing up, I may have had a can of Campbell’s or two, but didn’t have the real thing until I came to Boston.  I probably got my first decent bowl of clam chowder at Legal Seafood.

Cognac.  Too expensive and sweet for my taste and that goes for brandy and port too.  I prefer non-fortified wines…and bourbon.

Crab Cakes. I don’t remember when I first tried crab cakes or where I had the dish last, but I have had some good ones in the Boston area over the years.

Crickets. I’ve never eaten a cricket and never really wanted to either.  And I’ve never played cricket, although the game looks pretty interesting.  I’m not opposed to eating insects, and would in a survival situation, but as a rule, I won’t eat something I would use for bait when fishing.  By the sound of it, though, I imagine the chirping critters are quite crunchy and would provide a nice textural element on a salad, in place of, say, croutons.  And I also imagine lean cricket to be a healthy protein alternative to fatty meats and good for folks with high cholesterol.  One day, we may see a package of crickets in a snack machine.

Curryworst. I like curry, but worst.  What is worst? If worst is sausage and the dish a kind of curried sausage, I’d try it.

Dandelion Wine.  It has a nice ring to it, but I’ve never had it.  I’ve had floral tasting wines before, but never extracted from a weed.

Dulce de Leche.  I’ve had examples from different countries and especially like the version from the Dominican Republic.  It’s decadently sweet and creamy with a distinct caramel taste and the texture of fudge.  Great with coffee.

Durian. I don’t know what it is, so I probably have never had it.  The only thing that came to mind when I saw the word was Duran Duran, a band I never cared much for and always muted when their videos played back in the early days on MTV.

Eel.  I don’t eat anything that looks like it could kill me.  The closest thing to eel I’ve had was octopus in Chile.  I did not like it just as I don’t like squid.  Generally, I try to avoid eating things that have tentacles and suction cups.

Eggs Benedict. Love this dish.  Anytime we’re out for brunch, it’s my go to egg dish. S&S Restaurant Deli in Inman Square, Cambridge, cooks them “puhfectly” as Chef Gordon Ramsey would say.

Fish Tacos.  Indeed.  Had some in Venezuela that I’m going to call tacos, even though they were technically empanadas. Speaking of Venezuela, I don’t know why the mighty arepa didn’t make the list.  The first stateside fish taco I had was in Chicago at Big and little’s, a tiny dive with terrific reviews that proved spot on.

Fresh Spring Rolls.  So good.  Vietnamese students in my classes used to bring them at the end of a semester to share.

Fried Catfish.  A southern staple, I have had this many times with a side of hush puppies of course.  As we say down south, “it don’t get no better than this”.

Fried Green Tomatoes.  I can’t say that I’ve had them before.  The fried part doesn’t bother me it’s the green part I can’t quite process.

Fried Plantains.  Don’t like them.  Too sweet for me.  But I do like tostones, which are made from the unripe version of the plantain that when flattened and fried taste more like a potato than a banana.

Frito Pie.  I know I had this a few times as a kid, but it didn’t leave much of an impression on me.  I think I would have preferred to just eat a bag of Fritos with onion dip.

Frog Legs.  I doubt I have, but have had the opportunity as frog legs are fairly common in the cuisine of the American South.  I do know that ever since I dissected a frog in 6th or 7th grade, every time I see one or hear the word frog, I smell formaldehyde which is not exactly what I would call an appetizing marinade.

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