Re:My Year in Roadfood (2012)
Wed, 01/2/13 9:14 AM
As much as I enjoy creating these end of the year lists, it tells only part of the story of why I love Roadfood and traveling so much. This year, I am hoping to do something a little different and write about some of my favorite experiences in 2012. And there will be no ranking of these. Each and every one will be something I will remember for, hopefully, the rest of my life. My girlfriend Mariton has family in Japan that she is very close to. Her 21 year old cousin Maki graduated from college and as a graduation gift, her and three of her friends were given a two week trip to the United States. The first week was spent on a cruise and the second week brought them to Pittsburgh to visit Mariton and the rest of her family. Mariton asked if I would help entertain them, which sounded like fun. From left to right, this is Junko, Mari, Mariton, Maki and Miki. While here in Pittsburgh, we went into the city for a dinner at a tapas restaurant, where we celebrated Mari's birthday, followed by a showing of a Broadway musical in town. Afterwards, I decided there was no way they could come to Pittsburgh without visiting Primanti's for the famous sandwiches with cole slaw and fries on top. Not knowing if they would like them or not, I played it conservative and just got three sandwiches for the six of us to share. Here is an action shot from my phone. I was shocked that the girls went crazy over these. They wolfed them down so fast, I had no choice but to order more. And those disappeared just as fast. I wonder if the owners of Primanti's should open up a Tokyo location? Mariton also asked if we could take them on a weekend trip, so they could see more of the country. We talked over several different destinations and settled on going to Washington, DC. There is precious little good food between Pittsburgh and DC, but I do like Weaver's Family Restaurant in Hancock, MD. The regular food is okay, nothing special really, but they do make their own breads, pies and other bakery items. After our meals, I ordered three different slices of pie for us all to share. Maki's three friends, who were making their first trip to the US and spoke very little English and used Maki as an interpreter, had never seen pie before. Can you imagine? After they took lots of photos of the pies, they dug in slow at first, picking up steam once they recognized the different flavors. The banana cream was especially a big hit. This may have been the first time in my life I have ever enjoyed watching other people eat pie more than eating it myself! Once in DC, we had a wonderful time visiting the Lincoln Memorial, the Smithsonian and taking a tour of the US Capitol. That first photo was taken right outside of the Capitol Building. There was also posing for photos (and there was almost nonstop posing for each others cameras!) outside of the White House and the Washington Monument. It seems safe to say the ladies were having a good time! Truthfully, their favorite part of the time in DC was the shopping, which they did for 4+ hours. This allowed me to do some eating on my own and to take a much needed nap. Dinner ened up being late at night. Maki asked where were we eating. The other three girls might not know very much English, but they did know the words Texas and barbecue. This made them visibly excited, which made me happy, because I was never exactly sure of what they would like and not like. Our dinner was at Hill Country Barbecue. While certainly no match for the great barbecue parlors in and around Austin, for what they are, I think they do a nice job. And this turned out to be their favorite meal of the trip. They ate so much that I twice had to go back up to the counter for more barbecue, once for ribs and once for brisket. After our Sunday tour of the US Capitol, it was time to drive back to Pittsburgh. But, I asked them if they were hungry enough for one more meal. When I said the word hamburger, Miki yelled out "HAMBURGER! All of the girls had a conference in Japanese, but after another shout of HAMBURGER from Miki, we were headed to nearby Tune Inn. For late March, the weather was surprisingly warm, so we ate outside. They were not as enthusiastic about the hamburgers as they were about some of the other foods, but from the photos they did seem to enjoy them. BTW, it wasn't until later than I found out that Miki's nickname was Dyson, as in vacuum cleaner, because of her appetite! I have always enjoyed meeting and talking to people from other countries. And to be able to act as tour guide for these wonderful young ladies was a real privilege. They were all so fun, sweet and open to new things (especially food) that the language barrier turned out to be no issue at all. All of the girls thanked Mariton and I over and over for the trip, but it felt like I should be thanking them because it may have been the most fun weekend all year!
<message edited by buffetbuster on Wed, 01/2/13 9:52 AM>