Holiday Foodsteps: The last bits of the States

I'm going to cap off my trip to the States with a few more random bits and bobs, the last of it, I promise.

Mexican food after the adrenaline high

When you're in Orlando, food becomes a bit less of a priority (unless it's butterbeer and gigantic turkey legs, of course). It's difficult not to be sucked into the the theme park madness - I arrived rather apprenhensive about all the rollercoaster rides that I would inevitably have to go on but was completely caught up in all the excitement one ride in. It's only upon leaving the theme park, after a whole day on a cycle of feeling anxious, screaming your heart out then grinning from ear to ear, that you think about settling down for a proper meal. We found a tiny cafe serving Mexican fare opposite the Wet 'n' Wild park, beside a large souvenir shop and decided that it would be far better than another round of theme park food. The lunch menu involved rice with your choice of a main dish. The food was simple and hearty - a nice amount of spice and yes, far more interesting than any of the fried stuff that's on offer at the parks.

Feeling intellectual in Peet's Coffee & Tea

Peet's Coffee & Tea
100 Mt. Auburn St
Cambridge, MA 02138

They say that Harvard is a must-see if you're ever in Boston and I say that if you're visiting Harvard, Peet's Coffee & Tea in Harvard Square is a must-not-miss. Our guide in Philadelphia was quite adamant that we pay the coffee house a visit for the Godiva Dark Chocolate Raspberry Freddo and I'm glad we listened to him. The freddo is really more of a dessert than a drink - chocolate that's not too sweet (though I'd preferred if it was a little more bitter) and swirls of raspberry that add a welcome zing to the concoction.

Indian cuisine in Niagara.

This tops my list of the holiday's biggest surprises. I remember arriving in Niagara overjoyed that it wasn't pouring - we'd had a bout of terrible weather at our previous stop, Boston. The failed attempt at having a lobster meal in Boston still stung a tiny bit and while we were extremely excited at the thought of finally seeing the falls, we were also craving some food-related satisfaction. While on the bus from the airport to the guesthouse, we spotted an Indian restaurant with a huge sign promoting an all-you-can-eat buffet. We knew immediately what we wanted for lunch and upon checking in, quickly ventured out on the hunt for the restaurant. What we quickly discovered was a whole host of Indian restaurants offering an all-you-can-eat buffet and pretty soon, we were spoiled for choice.

Sardar Sahib
421 3rd Street
Niagara Falls, NY 14301-1505

We finally settled on Sardar Sahib, a wise, wise choice. While the spread is not extensive, there's a good amount of choice and a there's something for everyone. The delicious flavours and aromas awakened our tired senses as we tucked into perhaps one of the most satisfying meals of the entire holiday. We returned later that day for dinner to escape the rain (and after having no luck in finding a place to eat) and were happy to find that they offered a different spread for dinner.

"You make a hole in the puri and fill it up with some sour water"

I'd heard many accounts of Sapna's favourite Indian street food, something I'd never come across before and something she believed could only be found in India. To say that we were taken aback when we spotted a van selling pani puri (previously known as puri with sour water) while on a late-night stroll back from the falls is an understatement. With much anticipation, we ordered a serving of pani puri, a helping of papdi chaat and a cup of hot chai to wash it all down. The pani puri, pictured on the right, was quite the interesting dish with its cold, tamarind-chilli-spiced water and crisp little puris. I loved the papdi chaat which had a lovely mix of textures and flavours. Finish off with some hot, flavourful chai and you've got a winning supper.

Frozen yogurt, frozen yogurt and more frozen yogurt

I'm a huge fan of frozen yogurt and was eager to sample the American version of the popular dessert. While most frozen yogurt outlets in the States have the same fun concept as the ones in London, I found the frozen yogurt to be quite different. The flavours were a lot stronger and the frozen yogurt generally a lot sweeter over there than in London - one can be easily fooled into believing that the frozen yogurt was really ice cream. Perhaps it's a matter of familiarity but I definitely still prefer the lighter, more tart version of the dessert that we get on this side of the world.

There we go, the last of my American food stories - I have to admit, it really is quite like what you see in the movies but I suppose we wouldn't have it any other way.

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