I'm in the process of making some pretty big moves with my grill. Just under two weeks ago I got upper and lower fixed expanders installed in my mouth as the first step toward getting braces. If you've had expanders, you know the exact level of frustration I've been going through learning how to eat anything other than soft foods and speak without sounding like I have a mouthful of marbles. Try saying "Peter Sarsgaard" with your best fake slur and you'll know what I'm up against.
The installation came just three days before I hopped a plane to visit my brother and sister in law in my favorite city for eating. After my first attempt at a meal at home, I was quite worried about my prospects for eating my way through the City. Food was getting caught where I didn't want it. Swallowing anything other than a smooth soup was quite difficult. I was feeling pretty sure I'd be eating/drinking all my meals for the next three months.
The trip to NYC proved to be exactly what I needed in order to overcome my eating with expander frustration. I was determined to try most everything I would normally eat on a visit, rather than just sticking to soup, oatmeal and yogurt.
Here are some highlights of how I did:
The bread was a little difficult to eat plain, but I got by with ripping off small chunks of bread and sprinkling them in the soup. Soup was delicious! I so wish we had a place like Cafe Medina in Grand Rapids!
Chocolate Chunk cookie and Vanilla Latte from Starbucks. This was late afternoon on my first day. Sister in Law and I had been shopping all afternoon and needed a snack and some caffeine. The cookie was a little hard around the edges and the chunks of chocolate in the cookie were a little difficult to manage without getting stuck in the upper expander.
Without even knowing about the extent of my challenge with hard foods, my sister in law made soup complete with a swirl of pesto that we ate my first night in town. After a long day out and about, it hit the spot! The perfect consistency and taste!
Breakfast on day two. English muffin with Earth Balance. I had to take small bites, but this went down rather easily.
Whole wheat bagel with sun dried tomato tofu cream cheese from David's Bagels. There's nothing like a New York bagel. I've heard it's because of the water in New York City. I believe it! Always a must when I visit the city. The bagel's chewy nature provided quite a challenge for me and my expanders, but I made it about 3/4 of the way through. Luckily my brother was more than happy to finish the remaining 1/4 piece.
Sister in law made two amazingly delicious salads for dinner Friday night. The one in front had red onion, new potatoes and peas. The other one had bulgar, grape tomatoes, cucumbers, garbanzo beans and greens. Both had the same balsamic, olive oil and mustard type homeade dressing and were so good I asked for the recipes. Because of the small chunks of food, both were a little difficult to eat with my expanders, but well worth the challenge!
Plantain Bajji from Saravanaas in Murray Hill (aka Curry Hill because there are so many Indian restaurants in the neighborhood). Quite flavorful with the different chutneys. Definitely not a challenge to eat! We were quite hungry, so this appetizer didn't last long.
Masala Dosa from Saravanaas. I've had dosa before, but it's been awhile. This was somewhat difficult to eat because of the crispy consistancy of the dosa. Loved all the chutneys though and did my best!
Ah, Burritoville. You used to be a NYC favorite, but it seems you've undergone a bit of a re-branding. I'm not so sure it was for the best. The burrito I had tasted more corporate cardboard than I would have liked. Nothing like it used to be! Not the easiest meal to eat either, with small bits of brown rice and tomato to get stuck!
Monday afternoon back in the City for my last day. We went back to Cafe Medina for another soup. This one was Tuscan Tomato Bread soup and it was a winner. Very flavorful, a little sweet. Not so chunky that I couldn't manage it with the expanders.
I talked for days about wanting to get a real NY slice of pie, but it didn't work out how I wanted it to. I ended up having this slice of cheese pizza at the Sbarro while waiting for my flight to leave LaGuardia. Yeah, not ideal, but it was a slice and much better than my alternatives. Had to avoid the super crunchy crust with the expanders, but that was the only trouble.