Saturday, May 25, 2019

Back in the Hemisphere

Indexing previous reporting from my 2019 Italy trip:
The Naples Diet
Lines in Italy Explain My Exasperation
His Dying Thought: Oh, right; this is how you die in Italy
The Surprising Truth About Real Neapolitan Brick Oven Pizza
The Surprising Truth About Real Sicilian Rice Balls
Marzipan, You Idiot! Marzipan!
Naples: Mistaking Soulfulness for Danger
Two Recent Glimpses of Ridiculous Death
Pasta Time!
Miscellaneous PIzza
Sfogliatelle Shootout in Naples
Desserts and Lodgings
The Benign Insanity of Scouting Moroccan Food in Naples
Jewish and Comedy Food in Italy
Mama Grimaldi: Lasagna Preface
Mamma Grimaldi: The Final Lasagna

In Naples! Naples!

Oh well. Anyway, I flew back into Newark Airport, where I'm a big fan of SNAP off-site parking (wrote about it here), and grabbed my traditional post-flight Newark bite ( it greet it eat it 'fore I get home tonight).

I hadn't been to Casa Vasca in ages. It used to be a staunchly Spanish place (more Galician than Basque, despite the name) with the best sangria I'd ever found in the western hemisphere (the most convenient hemisphere for me!), including great white sangria. Never on foodie radar, I always gave Casa Vasca credit for producing some of the most authentically Iberian flavors in the tristate area - and I say this as an Ironbound skeptic, unimpressed with virtually all the standard options around Newark's Ferry Street.

It's changed a bit. It's starting to morph toward Latin American, and the cooking has a Telephone Game vibe, where recipes have been passed down through too many generations of chefs. But while this dish was Mid-Atlantic (i.e. halfway between Spain and the Dominican Republic), it was so well-prepared that authenticity was the last thing on my mind. I kind of blissed out on it, remarking that it was no come-down at all from what I'd been enjoying in Italy. So why did I get on that plane in the first place?

It's the eternal Chowhound paradox:

1. Total confidence that treasure awaits discovery literally everywhere, yet...
2. An irrational drive to seek it out as far from home as possible.

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