Get OTT: Canadian State of Mind
I will update this once I get out to try, and will move some to the proper place on the Gastro Graze.
I haven’t gotten there yet, but I made my husband visit The Merry Dairy on his whirl wind visit in fall. I have this thing for frozen custard, especially in a cone, especially with rainbow sprinkles. They’re the best in England or Wales, for 99p with a chunk of flake sticking out of them. This is not an easy thing to find in the U.S. even with the omission of the flake. The Merry Dairy springs forth with soft serve in cones with toppings in rainbow colors like they’re the givers of smiles for the planet.
BFF. Burger and Fries Forever. Nothing so special here, right? I mean, Austin has its share of burger joints and they are good. It takes a powerful force to make me crave a burger, particularly one I haven’t tried before. BFF does it effortlessly with images of dripping meat, chicken that’s visibly crunchy, and fries gooey with cheese. Sold. I’m there. Take my money and shut up.
Edgar, just over the river in Gatineau, makes me want one of their perfectly poached eggs with radicchio, lardon, wild mushrooms, and anything else they want to throw on there even if it were 3am and I was being jolted awake to eat. Even if I had just finished a meal so filling, I’d have to lay down on the floor. It doesn’t matter, I’d eat their offerings. Plates that look so simple and yet intense that even if I knew they’d been sprinkled with poison, I’d be hard pressed not to gobble them up.
North & Navy. I grew up with Italian food. I’m so stereotypical Italian, my family had pizza restaurants in New York. I can make meatballs in my sleep. I have an Uncle Mario AND an Uncle Vinny. I’m generally very picky about my Italian food. The red sauce covered cheese stuffed crap we’d make in the restaurants is not the Italian we’d eat at home or after 10pm once we stopped serving. Cold, fresh slices of cantaloupe wrapped in delicate, salty prosciutto. Octopus grilled to a char and drizzled with olive oil. Flat breads topped with shaved parmesan, a million fresh greens, lemony homemade ricotta and served with slices of rare bistecca. That’s the Italian food that makes me proud, and hungry. And North & Navy serves plates that look very much like home to me.
Black Walnut Bakery. Sometimes you need a croissant the size of your head, one that you know would not only not be over kill, but each bite would be better than the last and you’d miss it when it was gone as you pressed your finger tips to every last flakey crumb trying to extend the experience.
Now, I have about a half dozen Indian places on my list. I love a good curry. When my husband and I travel to the UK we eat so much Indian food, we practically bleed saag paneer. But if there are any recommendations – for Indian or anything else for that matter – I would love to get some!
You know the one I mean. I was in Biloxi, Mississippi that evening for a work trip to one of our remote offices. I was pacing the floor of my room in the Hard Rock Hotel. I’d jumped out of bed around 10pm when I realized what was happening. I was one month pregnant with my son, I had just finished reading The Handmaid’s Tale, and Fear was having a good ol’ catch up with his buddy Anxiety in my gut. They were partying their way through my body before settling in my brain where they would reside happily ever after.
My husband is Canadian. Once I’d got home, I’d start the process for me to eventually be on the path of being a contributing Canadian as well.
When my son was born, he was home from the hospital less than two weeks before we got his American passport and submitted for his Canadian citizen certificate. That process took about 5 weeks. Now I’m an American outnumbered by Canadians in my Austin, Texas home and I love it.
It took a long time, a lot of questions with no one to ask, a lot of running around, a ton of “hurry-up-and-wait”, but it’s almost happened. Eventually, I’ll document as much of the process as possible here, once we’re on our way.
I don’t think I’ll believe it until I cross the border, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. Literally.
Photo credit Matt Occhuizzo