Eat more!

Friends and acquaintances would say that I always look like I’m starving, like I could eat more. I suppose that’s true — I am a very small girl with a very small stomach. My grandma comes to visit from time to time, and often states that I “eat like a bird.”

I love food, though. Sometimes I wish I could eat more. I don’t go out to eat much, and when I do go out to eat, it rarely, if ever, is gourmet. Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten gourmet. Usually it’s the little buffet around town, the little dim sum restaurant several towns over, or McDonald’s.

Here are some foods I’ve recently eaten and enjoyed at various restaurants. I didn’t take the photos, but borrowed them off Flickr.

Enjoy the food porn. (Probably I will wake up next morning and find that I’ve gotten hits from hopefuls looking for actual smut.)

One of my church friends took the praise band out to lunch at the little Vietnamese place a few miles from the church. I’d never experienced the awesomeness that is pho before this. The restaurant had a wide-screen TV playing the Food Network while we waited to be served, as well as a large tank with this huge, ugly fish swimming solemnly around and around. My friend ordered an appetizer, fried tofu.

I ordered a “small” bowl of pho, with egg noodles. I didn’t realize that the “small” bowl of pho was actually a HUGE bowl of pho, way too big for one small girl to finish all by herself. And I didn’t. It probably didn’t have as much meat and green onions as the pho in the picture up there, but I recall the broth as very savory. I’ve already forgotten what type of pho I ordered, and what meat it had.

But it was good.

As a Chinese American, it follows that my parents take my family out to eat dim sum on a regular basis. Actually, no. My parents only started taking my family out to eat dim sum about a year and a half ago. We usually go to a small restaurant a few towns over that supposedly was voted to have the best dim sum in our state or whatever. I have a family of seven, so the outcome usually is 10-15 little dishes of sweet or crunchy or spicy or sticky to try. Dim sum heaven, I tell you!

My favorites were always the crunchy things. I always asked if we could order those little crunchy scallops with bread crumbs (yes, my obsession with bread crumbs extends to dim sum), or little crunchy spring roll type of dishes. My father would be the person dissatisfied with the thought of only eating dim sum, and would opt to order some noodles.

And afterwards, the comfortable feeling of being satiated; washing everything down with a little cup of tea.

And then asking for more tea.

We go out for dim sum at least once every year, now.

Panera Bread is a chain, but nevertheless a very nice and inexpensive one. Several years ago, one of my church friends decided to start a mentorship with me. Every week, she’d take me out to Panera and we’d sample a dessert and do a Bible study. If we were in a mood to get a meal, I’d get their two-in-one: a sandwich with some soup and bread/chips. I am very much a soup and sandwich person, and both are superb.

I believe I ordered something different every time I went there. I remember the broccoli and cheese soup, and some sort of barley/mushroom/beef concoction that was excellent.

During the school year, my friends would do Panera runs, and they’d get food for me as well.

I have yet to try the soup in a bread bowl, though.

I would have to say that for me, food and friendship will always be linked. The food itself at these restaurants were undeniably good, but it wouldn’t have been the same if I’d gone alone. It was always the pleasant company that I enjoyed the most, in the end.

What are your favorite places to eat at?

All photos are under a CC license and used with permission. Click photos for credits.

46 thoughts on “Eat more!

  1. Panera is a good place to grab lunch, though honestly, I love making food for myself. As for favorite places to eat, there’s a Tibetan restaurant in NYC that I LOVE, an Ethiopian restaurant in New Brunswick, NJ that’s amazing, a wonderful Italian place down the street (the chef is actually from Sicily), and over the years I’ve found other delicious food in the NJ/NYC area. You should absolutely come visit this area — there are so many delicious options and places to go.

  2. I’m a spring roll gal myself. And a huge fan of Panera. I always forget that their soup comes in a bread bowl! I remember about the time I’m half way through my soup and I see someone else walk by with a bread bowl.

  3. There’s a little Thai restaurant in St. Louis called Pho Grand and it is wonderful! Their jasmine tea alone makes me want to go back! I could get full on fresh spring rolls alone!

    I agree about Panera (although here it’s called – surprisingly – St. Louis Bread Co.). They have some really delicious salads. There’s one – The Orchard harvest, maybe? – that has dark greens, dried cherries, gorgonzola cheese, walnuts and pears in it. YUM!

    Every once in a while I get a major craving for good Italian. I used to eat it like it was going out of style, but I just don’t like a heavy meal at my age anymore (which is 33).

    In general, I love clean, fresh foods, especially things that God Himself has created. Fruits and vegetables are like a worship experience for me!

  4. I’ve never had dim sum!! I keep hearing about it, Gwyneth Paltrow mentioned it in her vogue article last month. What would you recommend for a first timer? And where do I go to get it??

    Thanks for visiting my blog!

  5. I’ve never been to a Panera, but I love soups and salads that are served in bread bowls! But honestly, there aren’t many foods I won’t try and appreciate. My older sister and her husband own a grocery store that caters to the foreign students/population in a nearby college town, so they often bring new and exciting dishes for us to try.

  6. Morning 🙂

    I don’t have favorite places to eat, as I just have favorite meals; homemade tacos, spaghetti, and Suddenly salad with Jack Daniel’s BQ baked chicken wings. I try not to be TOO greedy…so I’m an off and on light eater….but I LOVE food. That’s a subject I could tweet and chat about all day 🙂

  7. Indian food is the best treat! I loooove it.

    And vegetarian sushi–yam tempura rolls and veggie rolls with cream cheese, please.

    But I am an incurable sweet tooth, so bakeries and cafes are my favorite, I think.

  8. You have GOT to try their bread bowl soup! It is SO good! UM!! I just ate lunch and I’m in the mood for a soup bowl! AH! If you like potatoes, then definitely try their potato soup bread bowl. The bowl is made of sourdough and if you dip it in the soup…….AH! It heaven really!
    My favorite place to eat would probably be…….well……it really depends on the mood I’m in. You see, I have a large variety of mood swings. : ) Almost like a pregnant woman. (but I’m not) lol! Sometimes I’m in the mood to just eat a big breakfast, so then, I like IHOP. Their sample platter is scrumptious! But, if I’m in the mood for a burger, shake and fries, I like Spangles.But then, if I’m in the mood for a nice sit down meal, I’ve just discovered a place (on vacation) : ) that I’m in love with. I personally love spicy food, and so, Mexican food and me are,well……we totally go together! : ) It was a small town restaurant called Rancho de Chimina. It was authentic and the service was great! But, here I go again, rambling on. I told you on my blog that I could do this. : )

  9. Oh, Panera has my heart! I go at least once — sometimes twice, or three times — a week and usually get a pick two with half a salad and bowl of soup, plus crusty bread. I love the broccoli cheddar soup and the BBQ chicken salad! Panera is one of my favorite places to relax and read on my lunch break from work. There’s one about a 10-minute drive from my office, which is excellent.

    Lucky you to be naturally small; I have the opposite problem… and I definitely love to eat, too! And cook and bake, these days. I’m learning.

  10. I feel like I lived in a cave. I don’t know any of those foods. I’m Italian. I love pizza and pasta. I know, i know, i could open my mind a little bit..i do like chinese and mexican, but if i have to choose my favorite food it’s pizza. Forgive me. ( virtually waving an italian flag…)

  11. I am very hungry now!! I love Panera bread too. I love the Rainforest Cafe. I don’t have one where I live, but it’s one of my favorites. I am off to find food now….so hungry…

  12. Hi Abby How are you? I hope that ok 🙂
    Gorgeous pics . Yum Yum delights!!!
    My place favorite to eat delights is my home 🙂 near to my family and my boyfriend.
    I love the chocolate, ice, sweet potatoes and all kind of sweet. Also chinesse food , pasta and typical chilean food of course.
    I’m sorry for my curiositie. Abby how old are you?

  13. Dimsum is amazing!!! especially the vegetarian kind. <3. Too bad there's not much I know of near me or near my school. and Panera is like my favorite chain ever. :D. I go there all the time.

  14. I love so many places all over but I’d say Peep in NY, Shake shack for a good burger either NY or Miami, Joan’s on Third and the Little Next Door in LA, Red Light and Lime in Miami… Those are just a few up the top of my head… Food is meant to be enjoyed and there are few pleasure like it…

  15. I’ve always wanted to try dim sum! I love almost all types of Asian food, so I have a feeling I would really enjoy it. Most places that I enjoy eating at are small restaurants in my city – I have this really lovely Chinese restaurant that I absolutely adore, especially for the dumplings! I go to school downtown so I eat at foodcourts a lot, and I always order from this chain called Thai Express – I’m not sure if it’s only in Canada, though. They have excellent food.

  16. hahhaa “food porn”. I am hungry now and its after midnight and I unfortunately do not eat like a bird! I want to try soup in a bread bowl too. Thank you for stopping by my blog.

  17. I can’t agree enough with you! Food and friends is such an important thing in my life. It’s the company and that makes the food taste better lol

    I’m with you there, I love dim sims, going to yum cha on a Sunday morning with family is heavenly I tell you.

    I’m also a fan of pho, so soothing, such comfort food. I’m addicted to it =)

    Lovely post, I’m inspired to eat more good food with great friends tonight x

  18. Oh my! Now I’m seriously hungry :). I love good food too, especially cheesy and sweet things, and sometimes I do eat more than I should (too much), and that must definitely change. I wish I ate like a bird as well. xxx

  19. Just wanted to say thanks for your comment. Evolution is an achievement, you should be proud. Also,, your post just made me so hungry haha.


  20. I am a HUGE foodie! Luckily, as a vegetarian, there is an enormous range of veggie foods and veggie restaurants in London. I couldn’t even BEGIN to tell you all my favorite restaurants, but yesterday I had an Italian lunch and Szechuan Chinese dinner, and today I’m going to have Japanese for dinner, so my tastes are definitely varied! 🙂

  21. Oh man, these photos are making my stomach roll, so mouth-watering!

    I get said the same thing, because I’m of small size..but I don’t starve myself. I love good food, but I never get fat (which is a pity, really). And Chinese food rocks.

  22. Oh Abby, that tea is so enticing right now. I’m so hot as the subtropical sun is starting to heat things up here today.
    By the way, I think it’s great that you eat like a bird. As long as your’e not depriving yourself or anything, that is very healthy. I want to just eat when I am hungry and not for entertainment, etc. So I admire your way of eating (smile)!

  23. I am a foodie as well. I like Panera bread but since I live in NYC, there are not that many chains. I like dim sum too and have it at least once a month and sometimes maybe more. I also like Thai food and found 3 authentic Thai places in NY. If you like Thai and ever in NYC, go to Won Dee’s on 53rd and 9th Avenue. I like Vietnamese food also. My favorite is L’Annam.

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