Steak (a lo pobre) in Argentina- maybe 2000 calories on the plate, tender grass-fed beef, fried onions, french fries, and topped off with a fried egg. Hot. Damn. Anything with rice or rice noodles in Thailand, served from a roadside stand, the smaller and more rustic the better. It is more flavorful when you order thirds, and the poor lady cooking looks at you like you are not only way foreign, but solidly mad. Yup, and hungry. The tortillas asadas as we biked up the coast of Mexico, made by a grandma with few teeth and served up with fried eggs, sometimes after biking for hours. Along with that, the Jamaica, not the country, but the beverage. Karinne and I arrived at a restaurant in a dusty, hot little town in Mexico, and the waitress took one look at us, and slammed down a big pitcher of Jamaica on the table. It was heaven. A pink, frosty heaven. The seafood stew that arrived boiling in thick ceramic pots in Chile, only to be followed by a bunch of bananas (gratis!) that the proprietor thought would fuel us to the next town. Procrastinating through a foggy morning at a tiny restaurant in the highlands of Laos over multiple cups of coffee and bowls of soup with another bike tourer, swapping tales of the road.
It seems like bad weather makes good food attain an aura of gourmet- if getting into a restaurant gets us off a wet, windy, soggy road, we are primed to fall in love with the food. And if the food is something we would never, ever encounter in the USA, well, that helps too. Stout ice cream in Jamaica, fried cockroaches in Bangkok, grilled kidneys in Argentina. That last one was particularly exciting- we sat next to the grill, and it threw sparks at us all through the meal, burning holes in the carpet and tablecloth.
And don't even get me going on drinks, or I'll go all Anthony Bourdain on y'all.