Food! What a wonderful topic of conversation! If you’re on some type of diet or reading on an empty stomach please look away now. This week I’ve decided to share my favourite foods (not American per say) that I’ve tried while my multiple visits to the U.S. I’ve been lucky to know family and friends who have the same taste in food (which might make my list not as authentic as discovering restos on my own) but feast your gluttonous eyes on my top 5 favourite restaurants I’ve visited in the U.S!
5) Boston Lobster Feast – Kissimmee, FL
This is the place to go if you’re a big fan of all things seafood. With the title “world famous” above their sign and a gigantic lobster on top of a red buggy car (left) who wouldn’t stop out of curiosity? On my family vacation to Disney, we made a pitstop to The World Famous Boston Lobster Feast or in simpler language, an all-you-can-eat seafood buffet.
I’m not a big fan of eating lobster, but I couldn’t let the opportunity of having it in it’s freshest pass me by. Once you go in, you get a huge whiff of butter coated baked fish, you’re seated in a room full of American retirees and tourists and given a disposable bib. When I got to the buffet table, you see your typical baked salmon, crispy shrimp and the works on all things seafood but I couldn’t help but gape at the humongous vat of melted butter that sits conveniently at the end. Even though I felt overwhelmed at the sight of everything, I enjoyed the experience nonetheless. To be real, it’s not every day that you see a pool full of butter. This places number 5 on my list because of the memorable visit but not the memorable food. Side note: wear goggles when opening a lobster. The juices get everywhere!
4) 98 Pounds Buffet – Minneapolis, MN
Every Winnipegger that’s ever driven past the border has must have gone to Minneapolis at one point in their lives. The 98 pounds buffet is the place to go if you’re looking for all-you-can-eat Japanese and Chinese dishes. I’m a big buff on sushi and all-you-can-eat anything so my heart was won over with this resto. They have one whole buffet table dedicated to sushi made right in front of you. Japanese and Chinese style noodles, seafood and their delicious desserts. I would say this is one of the most underrated places to eat in the Minneapolis. The name of the place is a giveaway on how good it is, you’ll feel 98 pounds heavier after leaving. This places 4th on my list because although sushi is my everything a little more variety with the non-sushi related foods would be great.
3) Chacho’s – San Antonio, TX
It’s true, everything is bigger in Texas and that includes the way they do their nachos. During a visit to the southern state, and craving for a very very late night snack, we drove past a “hole in the wall” type resto. One that could typically miss if you didn’t spot their colourful neon sign that flashes “Open 24 Hours”.
If there’s anything you need to try before you die, it’s the Monster Kong Nachos at Chacho’s (right). Just a fair warning, this dish is not for the faint of heart or the health conscious. The Monster Kong nacho’s was a big enough meal to feed a village and I’m not exaggerating. The dish has 7 different types of nachos, pounds on pounds of cheese, and enough grease to give you coronary heart disease. Even with 7 people at the table and after many attempts, we weren’t able to lick the plate clean. Those who plan to finish the nachos must have a strong stomach along with an even stronger toilet. (Insert joke about diarrhoea here)
2) Roberto’s Taco Shop – Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas, where else would I get commit gluttony other than the “City of Sin”? Roberto’s Taco Shop is another memorable restaurant to put in my books. Self-explanatory with the name, Roberto’s Taco Shop offered different types of Mexican food that ranged from chimichangas to burritos. What stood out to me the most was the carne asada fries (left). If a poutine and a burrito decided to have a baby together, the carne asada fries would the offspring! Despite looking like a box of cheese and meat, the fries are topped with sour cream, beans, green onions, beef steak, cheddar and cotija enchilado cheese. The equation of perfect meal is complete with a tall cup of horchata, a delicious traditional drink which contains milk, vanilla, and cinnamon. Yum! Roberto’s is at number 2 because unlike Chacho’s, it didn’t leave me feeling like I could die from a heart attack. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right?
1) Mr. Pizza – Los Angeles, CA
Any pizza is just “meh” pizza until you’ve tried it with a stuffed sweet potato mousse crust! Mr. Pizza is a Korean franchise brought to Los Angeles and placed near the Little Korea. What makes their pizza stand out from the rest is the type of crusts they offer. I opted for the “golden crust” (stuffed with sweet potato) but also offer egg tart or broccoli mousse stuffed for those who are health conscious. Yeah right.
Mr. Pizza has managed to put a Korean twist on the traditional American pizza by offering it in Bulgogi style. Like the Korean dish, it was topped with marinated ground beef, green onions, bell peppers, mushrooms and a hint of kimchi to give it a little kick. This tops my list because it has a perfect sweet to spicy to salty ratio. Since my last visit to LA, I still can’t get it off my mind (ask anybody I know). This resto is perfect for anyone who loves their Korean food but want an American twist on it. My mouth is watering just looking at it. *heart eyes emoji*
Bonus: Madam Mam’s & East Side King – Austin, TX
Madam Mam’s and East Side King deserved an honourable mention because of some of their dishes that might have (maybe in a little way) changed my life. I lived a simpler life before I was introduced to the delicious food of Madam Mam’s and since my visit to the Thai resto, I haven’t been the same since. Their pad thai is on point and the best I’ve tasted yet. Their Thai tea (left) is on another level and something I’ve never tasted before. For those who don’t have a clue what I’m talking about, Thai tea is a delicious sweet mixture of evaporated milk, strongly brewed ceylon tea, which is poured over ice to make a sweet dessert type beverage. I have yet to find a place in Winnipeg that sells tea just as good as Madam Mam’s and I might have to pay another visit to Austin just to fill that craving.
As for East Side King, I was weirded out by the sound of Beet fries when mentioned by my cousin. It was something that I couldn’t imagine tasting, so I had to see it for myself. Going into the resto, it was a cute, hipster, graffiti decorated hole-in-the-wall that offered their healthy rendition of ethnic food including baos, ramen, Thai chicken and tacos. It would typically be a place for people from Osborne Village would visit (Winnipeger insider). My verdict on the beet fries: it is a good alternative for potato and goes very well with spicy mayo. A bit on the salty side but it compensates for the natural earthy flavour it gives off. One piece of advice I would give is to not wear a white shirt, as it will stain after taking your first juicy bite.
And that wraps up my top 5 fave restos to visit in the US! I hope this post got you a bit hungry and leaves you salivating until you grab a bite to eat. For the next time you’re ever in the States, impress your friends with these restos! Thanks for reading and comment below if you like to see more posts like these!