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Discussions with Damaris

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  • Damaris Chanza

Eating Your Way Through Love

Updated: May 27, 2022

Some couples are connected by their love of music, sports, or adventure. Our love of food connects my boyfriend and me.

I am a decent cook, but my food is always under-seasoned or overcooked. He loves experimenting and trying new flavors, even if it doesn't always wind up that great. When the pandemic hit, and we were struggling to think of date ideas that didn't involve us going out in public, potentially exposing us to the virus, our love for food began to grow as much as our love for each other. We watched a lot of Food Network and food-related YouTube channels such as Tasty, Guga Foods, and Try Guys Without a Recipe.

We started a new tradition where every weekend, we chose a new recipe and tried making it. We would go grocery shopping together, basically, making a whole day out of cooking one meal. I was his sous chef, chopping, cleaning, and keeping track of the recipe while he seasoned and cooked everything. It was tricky at first, but we learned to work together and had fun. Not everything we cooked was delicious, but we learned about flavor, cooking techniques, and our overall food preferences.

When it came time to celebrate our third anniversary, we came up with the brilliant idea of taking a Diner's Drive-in and Dives, inspired food tour of Philadelphia. We made a list, booked a hotel, and went along our merry way.

First, we ordered sushi from Kai Japanese Cuisine on Uber Eats. The sushi was good, but the real surprise was the pork gyoza. It was perfectly fried to a crisp. By the time we finished eating, we were so stuffed; we could barely move. Next, we went to The Dining Car diner. I've always loved diners because of their affordable and vast menus. The Dining Car was no different. We waited in line and were promptly seated by the kind staff. I had the French toast with bacon, and my boyfriend had the chicken sandwich with fries. These are our safety foods – the food we order whenever we don't know the restaurant and aren't sure what's good. It was great. I love that they didn't drown the French toast in powdered sugar like most places and that everything is served on the same plate, so the syrup was on every bite. He liked being able to season his fries to preference and loved how juicy the chicken was.

There are two places that we ended up loving so much we're planning on going back sometime. Wood Street Pizza had the absolute best pizza we've ever had. Based on their website, everything is homemade, from the bread to the cheese. We bought one pepperoni pie for the two of us. We picked up the pie and loved just how serious they were taking the virus. We weren't allowed inside other than a couple of steps, but they had a quaint new waiting area outside. Its $20 for a 14inch pie, but it's more than worth it. The pizza was expertly made and seasoned to perfection. It wasn't too doughy, just the right amount of crisp. It wasn't too cheesy or too greasy. Everything about it was so perfect, we were sad we hadn't ordered more.

The other was an impromptu stop at a ramen place named Momoyama Ramen & Hawaiian BBQ. Our regular ramen spot burned down a few years ago, and we have been searching endlessly for a new place. Now, we found it. The ambiance was so peaceful, and the staff was incredibly welcoming and attentive. We ordered the pork gyoza, takoyaki (fried octopus balls), fried shrimp ramen, and chicken katsu ramen. The ramen had immense flavor. Along with the great taste, the texture of ramen broth with crispy fried shrimp was excellent on my taste buds. I've never had takoyaki before, and it was an interesting flavor I'm still not entirely sure I liked. The only way to find out would be to go back and try it again. Overall, it was so incredible; I felt compelled to leave them a 5-star review on Google.

Our food tour was terrific. We explored a new city, tried scrumptious food, and found excellent restaurants that we want to visit again. Yes, there were a few missteps along the way but, that didn't stop us from having some of the most deliciously memorable food I've ever had.

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