The rolling bush hills and hordes of public servants that make up Canberra have been a good base for this blog, with the restaurants and bars scattered around our capital serving food of varying quality on which I could ruminate and write.
And yet, sometimes I get that urge to spread my wings, to see what else the world offers. So I have saved up some money, packed my bags, and will now head across the oceans to sample the food of the good old US of A.
As a nation, the USA has a mixed reputation when it comes to food. The first thing that many people think about when it comes to American cuisine is size. Enormous plates of food, much of it meat, much of it fried. This is a nation that sells deep fried butter at its state fairs (and I hear that it is wonderful), so the image of large, fatty diner food is probably not entirely unwarranted.
On the other side, America has some of greatest restaurants in the world. Names like Thomas Keller, Alice Waters, Daniel Boulud, Grant Achatz and David Chang are serious names in this industry, not only making great food themselves, but influencing the way the rest of the world cook as well.
On top of that, there are the great local cuisines, such as the soul food of the south, and Creole and Cajun in Louisiana. Then there are the world class ingredients, like New England’s supposedly incredible seafood.
So, how does a single nation reconcile all these different ideas, and different perceptions?
As I travel and eat and write, I will do my best to find out. For the next three months, I will be roaming the east cost of the United States, partaking in whatever great culinary adventures I can find. And I intend to tell you all about it.
So follow me as the Capital Gourmand goes on the road. I will be blogging and tweeting (@freehugstommy, or the hashtag #statesideadventure), probably focusing on a few themes. I want to write about some of the cities as a whole, in particular New Orleans, that jewel of the south. I will look at some of the world’s best restaurants, such as Daniel and Alinea. I will be exploring the continuing trend of the Locavore movement, with a chef who only uses ingredients from the south, and Blue Hill at Stone Barns where the vast majority of their produce comes straight from their own farm.
Lastly, and almost what I am most excited about, I intend to delve into a world that the US seems to do better than anyone, that of sandwiches. From the po’ boy to the cheesesteak to the many types of hotdog, this is a nation where every city seems to have its own iconic sandwich or two. And I want to try them all. Because everyone knows that everything is better when served between bread. To keep track of my sandwich tour, follow the twitter hashtag #USonaroll.
So join me as I wander and eat, and live vicariously through me. I hope it will be fun for all of us.