Monday, January 25, 2010

One of the Best Things About Philly...

is that we're pretty much in the middle of everything. Two hours to New York City, a quick shot to Baltimore and DC...rife with travel opportunity. Today, for instance. My weekends are constructed of Sundays and Mondays, Sundays being the day I spend time with my Dad and brother brunching, followed by copious amounts of friend time that has been dubbed, over the years, as Sunday Funday. Mondays tend to be slightly foggy, waste-time kind of days. Today, however, I drove into Lancaster in search of one thing and one thing only...the Shady Maple Smorgasbord. Oh yes, friends. That mammoth complex is home to what must be the largest all you can eat buffet outside of Vegas. And, being located in Amish country, home to so many feel-good pork products you suffer a massive coronary just from stepping in the door. I was raised on a bizarre conglomeration of Slovak, German, Polish and Irish foods...lots of cabbage, potatoes, dumplings, and pork. There aren't many things in life that can replace comfort foods, and my heart was made happy when we discovered that not only does Shady Maple serve all of my favorites at their buffet, they have a gift shop, too!!
I can say with absolute certainty nothing could have made today better than the baked lima beans, sausage, cabbage soup and kruschiki (Polish "angel wing" cookies) - for which we we drove an hour and a half on unfamiliar back roads through intermittent downpours.
I remarked to Mike (my partner in crime) on the way that I'm having a harder time explaining to people why we seek out the destinations we do...we went to Spain in October, to the Basque Region, for no other reason but to experience their tapas culture, eat as many churros and hot chocolate as we could before exploding (our cioccolato con panna is remarkably similar, ps), and find the freshest seafood known to man. Mission accomplished, all of which in one tiny (somewhat tense,) village called Lekeito, on the Basque coast.
We're constantly looking for the best thing we can find, preferably in the cheapest, oldest, most authentic incarnation. Lancaster, Spain...last week we went to New York for a few days to experience what I can only say was the single most amazing meal we've ever had. Followed by the best milkshake I've ever had.
All I'm really trying to say is that while driving home today, fuller than I've been since, well...last week, I was thinking about how I'm totally ok with always being broke and tired. Always being broke and tired means I'm always out looking for some new food adventure. Means always finding the new best thing, if only for the two of us. Sometime's it's in Philadelphia and is the best hot dog you've ever had. Sometimes it's in Lancaster and it reminds you of your great great grandmother, who died before you were old enough to really know who she was. Maybe it's in Spain, in a tiny coastal village wracked with turmoil and violence because of their fierce dedication to independence - but you know? It was some of the best food I've ever had. It always is.
PS? There's a Pork Bonanza happening at Shady Maple in a few weeks. Who's up for a road trip?

No comments:

Post a Comment