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A few of my favorite foods

gula melaka

Photo by Vernon Chan via Flickr

The other day I received a package filled with yummy-looking gluten-free pasta dishes to review of this blog. And I’ll be reviewing them over the coming weeks. But that got me to thinking of all the foods I truly love … foods that make me almost wax poetic with colorful adjectives describing how nearly orgasmically delicious they are. So I thought I’d share that list with you … and I’d LOVE to hear what’s on your list!

Pesto with Spinach and Feta Cheese
I was first introduced to pesto when I was 16. I thought the name was so funny. But once I tasted it I wondered why hadn’t Mom made this before! The garlic … yum! The smoothiness of the virgin olive oil … mmmm. And just a touch of crunch from pine nuts. I’m in heaven. Then, in my 20s I decided to experiment and added some spinach and feta cheese to the mix. Ah! Perfection. The tartness of the feta mixes nicely with the bitter of the spinach and the awesomeness of the pesto. I get chills just thinking of it.

The Chorizo Potato Burrito
When I first lived in Phoenix (I’ve lived there two separate times), I lived walking distance from a little shack-like Mexican restaurant called Eriberto’s. For breakfast, the served this burrito, which also had some eggs. It was DA BOMB! It was so good, I would beg my husband to take me there so I could have one … no matter what time of day it was! Later, I’d buy chorizo and some form of potato product (hash browns, fries or even tater tots) and make my own tortilla-less version. I’ve been to many Mexican take out places since, but found none that mix those three ingredients with the panache that Eriberto’s does. I miss you!

Coconut Shrimp
I discovered this gem in my 40s. It was dish served at a couple of the Chinese buffets we visited in the Phoenix area (the second time I lived in the area). You can’t eat too much of it … it is kind of sweet … but it is delicious. I love coconut and shrimp separately, but together (something I wouldn’t have thought of on my own) they are spectacular!

Bhature Chole
I was introduced to this delectable Indian hawkers food when I was living in the East Bay area (near San Francisco). Off a frontage road in Berkeley, there is a warehouse that has been transformed into an Indian hawkers food establishment. An Indian friend turned me on to it. The food there is very authentic … lots of Indians eat there.

Now, I’m a big fan of fried bread in general and the fried breads I’ve tried from a variety of cultures are all pleasantly memorable. But this Bhature Chole was mind-blowing. Something about the big puffy fried bread dipped in spicy garbanzos was just extra memorable. I’ve tried the Bhature Chole at other Indian restaurants, but this place is still the best.

Gula Melaka
This is another dish I was introduced to during my time in the East Bay. It was dessert on the menu of Malaysian-Singaporean restaurant south of Berkeley. It is a simple dish: a block of sago pudding (kind of like tapioca, but with larger beads and made firm so you can serve it as blocks), some coconut milk and cane syrup drizzled on top. The sweetness comes from the coconut milk and the syrup so this dessert is lightly sweet. The perfect end to a spicy meal!

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About the author

Carma Spence has been experimenting in the kitchen since she was four years old and loves trying out new recipe ideas. She is the author of Bonkers for Bundt Cakes and Your Perfect Pie, as well as author and contributor to several more non-food-related books. With Carma's Cookery, she is taking her passion for empowering people and blending it with her passion for cooking, gift-giving and entertaining.