This weekend, in honor of our humble return to the great New York City, our "wish list" is a compilation of all the things we missed while we were traveling across America and putting pavement behind us. We met voodoo priests, pop culture fanatics, farmers, truckers, short-order cooks, and wise old water-glass players. We ate our way through countless plates of alligator, racks of ribs, Sonic milkshakes, Taco Bell gordita crunches, chicken fried steaks, and boiled peanuts. We tried every part of a pig that doesn't squeal, sandwiches between two slices of white bread and a hearty spread of mayo. We blasted Crosby Stills Nash and Young, drove with the windows down, and snuck seven people into a two-person hotel room every night for eight days.
We had a life-changing adventure. And now we're back in the greatest city on Earth.
Our eighteen state tour of the US of A left us breathless with wonder, and more than a few dollars poorer once we hit Bourbon Street. However, although this country has left us wih an overwhelming sense of wonder, there are quite a few things we started craving once we hit Virginia.
In no particular order, here are the things we're ridiculously grateful for:
1. Showers that stay hot for more than seven minutes. Goodness knows, the $45/night hotels did us right, but we can't help loving the feeling of a luxurious eight-minute shower.
2. Fresh vegetables. We enjoyed our fair share of fried squash, potatoes, eggplant, zucchini, pickles, carrots, and corn, but nothing can compare to the veggies found at our local Associated Supermarket.
3. Bodegas. Sometimes you need disposable razors, birthday candles, and a turkey sandwich all at once. When you're on the road, you may find yourself out of luck.
4. Restaurants that are open past 8p. It seems that the South and the Midwest didn't share our spirit of late-night dining, regardless of the states we were in. Driving through the country means frequent stomps for rumbling bellies, and truck stops are usually your best bet for something to munch. Oh diners, pizzerias, and 24-hour bagel stores, how we've missed you.
5. VitaCoco. Our favorite hangover cure to date was nowhere to be found (but Abita beer was a pretty good substitute).
6. Cupcakes of the non-Hostess variety. They straight-up don't exist past the Mason-Dixon line (and if we're mistaken, please correct us! Our goal was to conquer the cupcakes of the South, and we failed miserably due to circumstance).
7. The subway. Getting wherever you need to go, whenever you need to jet? It will be a good three days before we resume bitching about erratic G train service, 21-minute-waits for the L, and the MTA.
8. Down comforters. We've been weathering this epic rainstorm from beneath our blankets, the memories of scratchy motel-issue sheets a distant memory.
9. Legit butter- not vegetable oil spread, not margarine, not shortening, not lard. Sometimes you just need a whopping dollop of the real stuff on your free-continental-breakfast toast.
10. Half and half that doesn't come out of an automatic dispenser. We just can't get behind non-dairy creamer, as desperate as we are. It was lovely beyond words to fill our mugs with liquid from a real life French press this morning.
Our adventures on the road have left us in wide-eyed awe, ready and willing to take the next trip into uncharted lands.
For now, the road has led us back to New York City. And we're glad to be here.