Recap: The C’s

We’ve finished the C’s! Before we move on, here are some of our thoughts about this diverse group of countries:

Favorite home-cooked meal:

Jess: It was hectic to prepare five items for the same meal, but I’m pleased with how our home-cooked Cuban dinner of rice, black beans, vegan picadillo, fried plantains, and avocado salad came out—lots of flavors and textures all on the same plate.

Derek: One of the biggest culinary surprises for me was the soft and buttery mardouf flatbread from the Comoros islands. My attempts at baking with yeast don’t often end well, but this was a hit!

Favorite restaurant meal:

Jess: Sitting at the chef’s bar at Comedor during our Chilean weekend was definitely a highlight. And while the food was much simpler when we breakfasted at La Abundancia for our Colombian globetrot, the experience felt more immersive than our usual meals out, since most people were talking in Spanish around us.

Derek: I, too, share fond memories of the two restaurants that Jess has highlighted above. Another meal that I won’t soon forget was our Sunday morning visit to the Restaurante Cesaria in Dorchester, where we stumbled into another immersive experience as we joined the local Cabo Verdean community for brunch. Between the authentic cuisine and the friendly atmosphere, it wasn’t hard to figure out why this restaurant was so popular!

Most memorable “live” experience:

Jess: I liked that for both Colombia and Cambodia, we were able to visit communities of people who emigrated from those countries: East Boston for Colombian-American businesses, and Lowell for Cambodian-American establishments. (And yes, we did visit Boston’s Chinatown when we globetrotted to China, but that experience wasn’t so novel for me, partly because I was working near that neighborhood at the time.)

Derek: Our day trip to Cambodia Town in Lowell turned out to be a globetrotting goldmine. With one of the largest Cambodian-American populations in the United States, the neighborhood offered everthing from restaurants and markets to Buddhist temples and roadside shrines. With elements of traditional architecture and Cambodian signage at every turn, it was sometimes hard to believe that we had traveled only an hour from Boston.

Film I’d recommend:

Jess: Our Croatian film, Night Boats, was charming and funny, yet also quite sad.

Derek: I enjoyed the quiet cinematography and powerful storytelling of Daratt, one of two feature films that we watched during our weekend globetrot to Chad.

An activity I wish we had been able to find/try:

Jess: There’s a Czech restaurant in Niagara Falls, Canada, which isn’t that far from Buffalo, called Red Chateau. But we haven’t quite figured out the logistics of traveling to Niagara Falls yet (we don’t have a car). It seems like we should do more on a trip to Niagara Falls than go eat at a restaurant, but we weren’t sure if that excursion would leave us enough time to do other Czech-related things, like making our own Czech-style food, or learning about the country. And does going across the border into Canada still really count as globetrotting from home?

Derek: Our long weekend in China was certainly one of the most extensive globetrots that we have undertaken, partly because the country is so large but also because there were so many opportunities to experience Chinese food and culture available in Boston. Although we spent time exploring Hong Kong, Taiwan, and mainland China, I do wish that we had found more time to explore some of the country’s western regions. So while we did watch a documentary about the recent history of Tibet, we didn’t visit any of Boston’s several Tibetan restaurants.

Most challenging country:

Jess: My two—the Republic of the Congo and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Maybe covering both countries in the same weekend didn’t help us learn what distinguishes the two from each other beyond different governments, but I’m not sure devoting separate weekends to each country would have helped much either.

Derek: Our recent globetrot to Croatia turned out to be a pleasant adventure, but it was also the first country that we had attempted to explore from Buffalo instead of from Boston. As we began to research our new city, we had lots of questions: Could we find an authentic Croatian restaurant, and could we get there with public transportation? Would we be able to purchase as many special ingredients as in Boston?

The good news is that Buffalo—which has a long history of opening its doors to refugee populations from around the world—has turned out to be a wonderful city for globetrotting. See you in Denmark!

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