When my friend Jen travels, she walks right into bars and restaurants, bellies up to the bar or unfolds her napkin and begins to order herself a soup, a soufflé, champignons, tuna tartare, sliced baguette, a glass of Jameson, I’ll bet she even has dessert. She’ll do this anywhere. Dress up for the night, go out on the town, have a nice dinner, chat up the bartender, she’s a walking party.
When I travel alone, I am not a walking party. In NY, I like to buy street food and go back to my hotel room and work, but here in Frankfurt, it’s not as easy. In Berlin, I bought street food in the Arab section of town, but here, there is no food on the street. The Italian restaurant where I went every day last year to pick up take out pasta and vegetables is closed. Probably for the best. That leaves nice restaurants, German restaurants, and the market. The market has cheese, wine and sandwiches. I’ve had takeout Thai twice and I’m not doing that again. I plan to find some takeout food closer to the book fair. I’ve heard there is an Indian restaurant so I want to locate that.
Let’s say this about the Frankfurt Thai food. It’s not like real Thai food. It’s like German food with some Thai spices. Once when Mark and I were in Guatemala, I said I had to have Chinese food, so off we went. The Chinese food was not good. It was chicken and gravy. Once we were in Spain and I had to have Mexican food. Off we went. We ordered chips and guacamole. They gave us hummus which is excellent but is not guacamole. Now when I have cravings for sushi in Greece or Vietnamese food in Hawaii or good Italian food in the San Fernando Valley, he stops me. He says we will have something else. I’m like a pregnant woman with my little food cravings.
My hotel room in Frankfurt has a glass ceiling so I can hear the rain pounding at night. It’s hard to work because I am in a fugue state. I feel like I am made out of blue stuff. The whole world tilted and blue as I am nine hours off my time zone and hard at work.
When you travel, much as you might like local food, you miss your own food. In Greece, I like Greek food and in Hawaii I like sea food, but you can see why when groups of people move into an area, they bring their food. The Chinese food in Chinatown is great, the Indian food in London, and with the largest Somali population outside of Somalia in the world, Minneapolis has some amazing Somali food. I always wonder what the Somalis and the Hmong people think of Minneapolis. You picture their letters home to the refugee camps:
You should come here to Minneapolis. It’s cold most of the time, but we could learn to ice fish.
Here women are allowed to eat in the same restaurants as men and wear whatever they want. When they are not freezing cold, which is most of the time, they can wear shorts and tank tops in public. It will be fun. We could learn to ice skate and we could have our own cell phones. Some Somalis are in movies, maybe we could be movie stars. Think ice fishing. Come to Minneapolis,
Your friend Ifrax.