Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Other Washington

Excitement doesn't really describe how I feel about my upcoming return to the land of America. It's bordering on manic excitement. I won't be returning to Seattle, but will instead be in Washington DC visiting my brother, possibly harassing congress to increase our readjustment allowance (we deserve more $ when we get out of PC), exercising, watching SportsCenter, and hopefully stuffing my face with delicious American food at the fine restaurant Kinkead's. Some moronic volunteer actually asked me if I'd be going to the Georgian restaurant in Washington DC. It was all I could do not to punch them in the face.

Georgian food is good. Nearly all 15 dishes Georgians prepare are tasty. I like Georgian food and if one has to eat the food of one country day after day, well you could do a lot worse then Georgia. And Georgians will tell you all the time that they have the best food (as well as the best kings/women/wine/song/dance...). They believe this firmly. They say it all the time. They are convinced of it, especially those who have only had Georgian food and that's practically all of them. Trying to drag a Georgian to a Chinese restaurant is like leading a crazed steer to slaughter.

And with all due respect to Georgian cuisine I must say given the varieties of food available in America, we win the contest hands down. To prove this I will put a comparison between a typical Georgian meal and the one I've already planned to eat at Kinkead's Restaurant in Washington DC, which is possibly the greatest place on earth.

Please take the multiple choice quiz:

A. White bread.
B. Yucatan tuna soup with tomatillos, chilies, lime, sour cream, and tortilla strips.

A. Whole raw radishes and green onions double-dipped in a bowl of salt.
B. Roasted Gorgonzola stuffed Bosch pear with endive, radicchio salad, spiced walnuts, and port vinaigrette.

A. Some kind of Mackerelish fish left in the sun for a couple days and then frozen for a month and later fried in vegetable oil.
B. Pepper-seared tuna with flageolets, grilled portabello mushrooms, and a pinot noir sauce.

A. Chunks of pig foot and face served in frozen gelatin.
B. Grilled Jamison Farms lamb steak with a salad of artichokes, arugula, nicoise olives, parisienne potatoes, served with rosemary garlic confit and merlot sauce.

If you answered B to all of these then you are not Georgian. But wait, maybe I'm being unfair. I mean Kinkead's is a culinary wonderland, a place where everything is infused with butter instead of just covered in grease. And it's not fair to compare it to any country's cuisine, especially when you factor in price, so let me try this again.

A. Macaroni simmered in sugar water then left to chill on the stove top for days.
B. A roommates half eaten spicy Italian sub from Subway restaurant that's been sitting in the crisper drawer for two days.

A. Ground pork and bread mashed into a patty and fried in oil. Leave on a plate at room temperature for six days.
B. A single ahi sushi roll eaten after sitting in a to-go box in the fridge for six days.

A. Boiled potato.
B. Baked potato with butter, chives, sour cream and bacon bits.

America, you are the winner. And I've missed you America. It's been so long. I'm sorry I said all those bad things about you. You know I didn't mean it baby. You know I love you. I just needed some space, you know, to work through some things. I think I'm ready to make it work. Maybe I could drop by for a donut and a cup of fresh brewed coffee. Maybe we could take it from there?

Oh, sorry. Kind of got carried away there. Anyway, I fly out on June 28th and return to The Georgia on July 12th. However, as I've learned from all the most recent Peace Corps volunteers who have returned for the states for brief visits, this most certainly won't be my true itinerary. Of the last three people who visited the states all had their trips completely jacked. Baggage lost on both ends, whole flights canceled, 12 hour layovers spent sleeping on floors at JFK, O'Hare, Heathrow, etc, whole days lost in airport terminals waiting for the next flight, airline officials claiming they couldn't fly to Georgia because they didn't have a return ticket.

Everybody in the past 2 months has been absolutely screwed by an array of airlines, baggage handlers and weather patterns. I'm hoping to be spared this nightmare. But if the Airline Gods insist on stranding me at the some dank airport between Georgia and DC, just let them have a Burger King or a Starbucks. They can have my backpack full of weathered and unstylish clothes. Just give me some fresh brewed coffee and a stale baguette. I'll be cool with that.

See you soon America.


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