Back in the city that taught me food. New York.

Here I am in New York, after a mere three months of moving back home to Dubai. Bittersweet as anyone could expect – close friends, familiar streets, my hide-away coffee spots, and of course, the overcrowded restaurant scene, literally bubbling over with celebrity chefs, famous haunts, flashy newcomers, and eclectic food fads that leave hour-long lines of salivating – and uncommonly patient – New Yorkers snaking around some otherwise inconspicous place selling something as fundamental as pizza or cupcakes. I miss that youthful energy, creativity, constant discovery, and even the eloquent narcissicm (has anyone tracked the number of NY food blogs and sites out there?), that makes a foodie out of someone like myself , someone who’d enjoyed her meals, but was never really part of the ‘hunt’ for the best restaurants, never before subscribed to the strong, virtual and cyber-linked community of fellow-food lovers, was never privy to any intricate food analysis beyond ‘that awesome four-cheese pizza from Mad Greek’s on campus.’ (which was still undoubtedly one of the best four-cheese experiences I’ve ever had)


To make up for my silence since my last entry on Apres, I’m going to spend the next few posts sinking back into my beloved New York food scene…pizza, mexican, greek, haute cuisine, banh-mi, cookies, and everything else that I crave for, dream about, and still indulge in vicariously through the TastingTableNYC updates that grace my email inbox every evening. Here’s to the city that made a foodie out of me!

Author: InaFryingPan

With a family legacy of ingenious cooks, a nutritionist and chef-extraordinaire mother, and a father who introduced me to steak and caviar when I could barely reach the table, I had no choice but to acquire a keen awareness of food during my childhood years in Dubai. But it was only after I found myself on a college campus in Philadelphia – far away from home, too cheap as a student to spend on anything other than pizza, and with dorm rooms that had little rat-holes of kitchens if they even had them at all – when I developed a heightened appreciation of food. An appreciation of food that I once ate every night at the dinner table in Dubai, but that was now an entire ocean away. I lusted for the culinary treasures that lay outside the stale walls of my college dining hall, hijacked friends’ kitchens to try my hand at something, anything , remotely edible, and greedily raided different websites in search of highly-rated restaurants. With my move to New York to work for a consulting firm that secretly harbored self-professed foodies, my appreciation transformed into a passion, an addicition. I felt like everyone around me in New York was talking about food: where to get the best cupcakes, pizza slices, banh mi, kati rolls, pho, fried chicken, and every other food item out there that is just a plain old dish in some part of the world, but that’s become hyped to unforeseen proportions in New York. What fuelled my addiction over time was travel to different cities, both for work and play, which gave me unfettered access to the culinary havens of not only New York, but also of DC, Virginia, Chicago, Houston, Vegas, Austin, Seattle and even a little city called Bentonville (Arkansas!). After 9 years away from home, I’ve finally taken the leap to come back to Dubai – with not just an awareness, but genuine appreciation and passionate addiction for what I’d taken for granted as a child. Mom, I’m back to reclaim my seat at your dinner table, and to rediscover this city with its ever-expanding menu of international flavors.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *