Dotted Globe’s Best Eats of 2017 – Foodgasm Alert!
We’re doing something new and super exciting!
As you all know, C and I are great foodies and so is S-Boy. We love trying new foods, especially when traveling and enjoy eating local cuisines, fusion foods, and novelty drinks. We keep checking out iconic eateries, hot new restaurants and Yelp is our favorite Travel app. 2017 was pretty spectacular for our culinary travels – we traveled to 4 different countries, ate a lot of spectacular cuisines and sampled some exotic dishes – including camel and pigeon in the Middle East, alligator from the swamps of Louisiana and fresh seafood from the Polynesian Islands. We have gone through all our epic breakfasts, meals and desserts from last year – I have to admit, we were drooling towards the end of it – and this is what we came up with!
The Best Breakfasts
The very French breakfast in New Orleans
We discovered this jewel in the French Quarter during our trip to NOLA last spring. Le Croissant d’Or is a very NOLA Patisserie serving a mouthwatering variety of croissants, quiches, sandwiches and French pastries since past 30 years. The eatery has a beautiful courtyard that is perfect for savoring the best meal of the day.
Gambled Eggs in Houston
Laikh House is a new café in Houston that has a great range of coffee, breakfast and specialty burgers. Their Gambled Eggs is a unique take on breakfast eggs – fresh scrambled eggs are served on a buttery, thick rye bread and topped with bacon bits, onion, cilantro, loads of cheese and a spicy seasoning. Trust me, you will remember this breakfast for a long time!
Mote con Huesillo
Mote con Huesillo literally translates to wheat in peach juice and has been consumed in Chile since colonial times. We discovered this popular Chilean drink/breakfast on the streets of Santiago. Locals were queuing up early in the morning and the vendor explained that it’s the working man’s breakfast. The drink has husked wheat soaked in juice made from dried peaches, sugar and cinnamon. It is served chilled, with large peach pieces and quenches both hunger and thirst.
Irani Chai and Brun Maska, Marine Lines, Mumbai
There is nothing quite comparable to eating brun maska dipped in hot chai in a bare-bones Irani café and watching the world go by. On weekends you will be surrounded by bustling tables, rude servers, and cold chai. But take the time to drop in during the weekend to understand the former glory of this simple breakfast. The brun bread is fresh and crumbly, slathered with butter, the Irani chai is hot and fragrant with spices – and all is right with the world.
Bakery Lorraine, San Antonio
Bakery Lorraine is well on its way to becoming a San Antonio institution. Located in the popular Pearl Brewery compound, this French-inspired bakery serves a feast for your taste buds. Their fresh ingredients are locally sourced and the baked goods are made from scratch. I ordered a pain au chocolat, a cranberry orange muffin, and cheese Danish; they all were fresh, flaky and yummy.
The Best Soups & Appetizers
Tableside Guacamole, San Antonio Riverwalk
Guacamole tastes best when fresh, this eye-catching tableside preparation of my favorite Mexican appetizer wins on freshness as well as taste. I saw the dish being made for a waterside table while walking on the Riverwalk and I promptly asked to be seated at my own table with a guacamole coming right up. The server peeled lemons, cut onions, and tomatoes, diced avocado in the husk and mashed it all right in front of us. The chunky guacamole was yummy, tangy and just perfect with the crunchy chips.
Cream of Carrot at Kanahau Restaurant, Hanga Roa
This one deserves a little backstory: We weren’t really prepared for the wintery September nights on Easter Island (that seems to happen a lot with us – we definitely underestimate winters) and were shivering on the patio of this restaurant when the server brought out the rich, creamy, steaming concoction and a pashmina throw to beat the chill. That, right there, was comfort food till its very last spoonful.
Rapanui Chicken Appetizer at Hanga Roa Eco Village & Spa
While I don’t exactly remember the name of this dish, it had crunchy, flavorful chicken nuggets in a variety of dipping sauces. While the taste wasn’t really out of this world, the exquisite presentation had me snapping pictures left and right. So much for food porn, right?
Mixed Vegetable Soup at Lemu Lodge, Easter Island
There is something about Easter Island and soups – we have had some of the best soups there. This mixed vegetable soup was the first of a divine three-course meal. This soup was so simple, hearty and perfect with the crusty bread that we slurped through it all the way!
Cochayuyo Ceviche, Te Moai Sunset Restaurant
On our first day on Easter Island, we were eager to watch the sunset at Ahu Tahai but S-Boy was too hungry and tired to go on. So we decided to dine at Te Moai Sunset, the only restaurant in Hanga Roa with a view of the sunset at Tahai. Our server recommended the house special – Cochayuyo Ceviche – a ceviche made from Chilean seaweed. The Ceviche had a salty, slightly pungent taste –which weirded me out initially – but was quite enjoyable later on!
The Best Entrees
Qatari Brunch for two in Doha
We feasted on this delicious Qatari buffet called ‘Al Lewan Sofra’ after checking out the enigmatic Falcon Souq in Doha, Qatar. We had eaten regional Arab cuisines including Moroccan, Iraqi and Levantine for our previous meals and were eager to try a traditional Qatari meal. The meal had decidedly Iraqi and Indian influences and had the centerpiece of spicy minced lamb (kheema), a variety of side dishes including chickpeas and potato stew, dates with cream, sweet yogurt, and balateet – a vermicelli and egg dish.
Ceviche de Camaron in Cerros Concepcion
We ate a lot of Ceviches in Chile including Ceviche de Pescado (fish) and Ceviche de Cochayuyo (seaweed) but this Ceviche de Camaron we tried in Valparaiso was the most memorable of them. The shrimp were slightly sweet and fresh from the South Pacific Ocean; the lime juice and cilantro added zesty flavor.
Shrimp Pil-Pil at Hanga Roa
Shrimp Pil-Pil, a type of Spanish tapas, has fresh shrimp sautéed with paprika and simmered in a delicious garlic sauce. The dish is served in a metal pan – In Spain, shrimp pil-pil are served with bread to mop the juices; Easter Island version has rice as side dish. This simple dish hit all the right spots and was finger-licking good.
Baida Roti, Bade Miyan in Colaba
Bade Miyan is one of Mumbai’s iconic street food stalls that also doubles up as a tourist attraction. The business started out as a seekh kabab stall in the late 1940s and has expanded into a restaurant chain. Bade Miyan’s specialties include Baida Roti and Chicken Tikka Roll. Baida Roti, a white flour (maida) roti filled with minced meat or kheema and egg, is popular with everyone from Bollywood celebrities to the common man.
Salmon Carpaccio on Easter Island
Prior to visiting Easter Island, I knew that seafood formed a large part of island cuisine. However, I was surprised to learn that many seafood dishes were consumed raw and Carpaccio, Ceviche largely dominated menus. The Salmon Carpaccio that we ate had thin slices of fish dressed with capers and Parmesan cheese.
Chicken Hakimi at Noor Mohammadi, Mohammad Ali Road
When it comes to Mughlai Food, Noor Mohammedi has a special place among Mumbai’s foodies. Their Chicken Hakimi came highly recommended and didn’t disappoint. This house specialty has a rich yogurt sauce generously poured over grilled Chicken Tandoori pieces.
Salmon over Parmesan Grits, Easter Island
While I have tried shrimp and grits in Atlanta, I didn’t know that Salmon and grits is a tried-and-tested recipe. The salmon was pan cooked in a delicious sauce and served alongside creamy grits.
Fusion Tacos, Red Velvet Tacos
I love the tacos at Red Velvet Tacos. This hip taco joint has a range of innovative options. We tried the Fried Paneer Taco, shredded Pork Taco, and Shrimp & Grits Taco – all of them were flavorful and unique. The red one is hibiscus taco – something I had never heard before.
Grilled Octopus, Dorregos
This San Antonio based restaurant serves unique Argentinean influenced dishes. I tried their Grilled Octopus back in August and it was fantastic. It came with quail eggs and baby potatoes and a rich cilantro based sauce. The octopus was delicate and grilled to perfection.
Cajun Seafood Boil, New Orleans
I love visiting New Orleans for the jazz music, relaxed vibe and the awesome food that the city has to offer. In 2017, we visited New Orleans twice and both times indulged in a lot of Cajun & Creole food. And just because I didn’t want to include more than one dish from NOLA, it came down to grilled oysters from Acme House or Cajun Seafood boil at The Crazy Lobster. Cajun Seafood Boil is Louisiana’s iconic meal and makes it to the list. We ate the lobster, shrimp, and crab boiled in Cajun seasoning and served with potatoes and corn cobs.
The Best Desserts
Date Cheesecake in Museum of Islamic Arts, Doha
The Museum of Islamic Arts in Doha, Qatar not only has exemplary works of art but also has a great café with a sweeping view of Doha city. They have these epic date cheesecake which is one of the best I have ever eaten – including Cheesecake Factory. The delicate flavor of the dates and date syrup blend perfectly with the cheesecake texture and result is incredibly Middle-Eastern – yummy and exotic!
Fresh Ice-cream Rolls in Pune
During our annual India trip, we discovered this great new ice-cream parlor in Pune – FIR aka Fresh Ice-cream Rolls. They have a fresh, new take on Thai Ice cream rolls – with Indian flavors, local fruits, and great blends. Your ice-cream rolls are made right in front of you, handmade. The server pours flavored milk on an iced grill and as it crystallizes, stirs and chops it to make ice-cream rolls. The rolls are served with fruits, sprinkles and candy pieces.
Punjabi Rabri Kulfi in Mumbai
This most decadent kulfi is sold by the street vendors of Girgaum Chowpatty, Mumbai. The multi-layered Punjabi Rabri Kulfi has 3 rich dessert layers – Malai Kulfi pieces are topped with sutterpheni or sweet Kesar flavored vermicelli, which in turn is topped with cold rabri – thickened, sweetened milk dessert. The result is most divine, heavenly dessert that you will remember for a long time.
Molten Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Ice-cream in Valparaiso
Molten Chocolate Cakes are usually in a class by themselves – rich, gooey, chocolaty and very hard to improve upon. At least that’s what I thought, till I ordered this Molten Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Ice-cream. The chocolate cake was warm, dusted with powdered sugar and when cut – oozed with delicious dark chocolate. The icy cold raspberry ice-cream perfectly complemented the cake and the presentation was sublime.
Fruit Tart Chocolate Cups from HEB
Yes, you read it right! We discovered these beauties in our local HEB and had to try them. A variety of fresh fruits covered in syrup are nestled perfectly in a white-dark chocolate cup. A soft sponge cake bed and cream filling complete this visually attractive dessert. Go on, head to your local HEB and try it for yourself.
Dotted Globe is a cultural exploration, ecotourism and culinary travel website encouraging perceptive and responsible travel.
Dotted Globe accepts sponsorships, advertising, brand ambassadorships, freelance writing and photography assignments. Email email@example.com to discuss further.
I’m Ketki Sharangpani, an Indian living in the United States. I’m a Travel Writer / Blogger & Photographer.
I travel to see striking buildings, people and cultures, and experience profound sunrises, shadows, and rituals.