If that lyric sounds familiar it is because you have heard it in the song “America the Beautiful”. I thought it was a great title as I end my time in sunny California and head over to cosmopolitan New York City.
First off, I would like to say that my ripped abdominals have taken a holiday because of this article. The food that was consumed was bordering on gluttonous. Before leaving Las Vegas, I had to indulge in my favorite burger from my favorite 50’s style Burger Joint. Fatburger never disappoints! The Kingburger is now called simply “L” and there are two larger varieties. XXL is a double Kingburger and the XXXL is a triple Kingburger. The “L” is more than enough for a large human being, and I am convinced that the other two are to feed large carnivorous zoo animals.
The next food stop was a place that I visited just after finishing my expedition in May. The Boiling Crab is a great place to enjoy southern style seafood. Don’t make the mistake of wearing a white T-Shirt when coming here. What you should wear is a garbage bag or a rain poncho because you should be ready to get down and dirty! The delicious seafood comes out in plastic bags, already seasoned with a fierce mix of Cajun spices. Anything on the menu is good, trust me, I ate it all! Do not leave here without trying the deep fried oysters, they were delicious!
After the massive seafood feast, I went on a pilgrimage to find an authentic Vietnamese coffee. Speaking with some people about my time in Hanoi and Halong Bay got me thinking about the amazing coffee I drank while touring around. After asking some locals and consulting Google, I managed to find a place called Lee’s Sandwiches that boasted a great Viet coffee. Aside from the paper cup and the neon lights, it tasted like I was back at the Exchange Café in Hanoi!
Well, the gluttony does not stop there. The next stop is an American icon that was mentioned many times in my favorite movie “The Big Lebowski”. In N Out Burgers is a family owned company that offers an extremely simple menu. Since 1948 at the Snyder Family’s first location, they have been preparing delicious drive-in fare. There is a Secret menu that the experienced In N Outer can order from. I ordered the hallowed 4×4 which has four beef patties and 4 slices of cheese. I also ordered my giant burger “Animal Style” which adds pickles, extra spread and grilled onions. As you can see from the picture, this monster is truly epic. Something I did not know about In N Out burgers before this visit was that they print discreet Bible references on the paper packaging. After doing a little more research, I found out that this was started in 1980 as a reflection of the Christian beliefs held by the Snyder family. Printed on my 4×4 was Revelation 3:20. “Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.”
The last place in California that I was scheduled to add more body fat to my midsection was “Islands Fine Burgers & Drinks”. Do you see a theme developing here? I don’t think I can remember a time in my life where I was fed this much food! I ordered the Kilauea Burger and Fresh Onion Rings. The burger is crusted in Jalapeño & black pepper with pepper jack cheese, chipotle aioli, lettuce, tomato and then completely covered in their “Island Reds”. These are deep fried slivers of red onions! This would have been more than enough, but I was very ambitious and ordered Island fries (which is bottomless with unlimited refills) and the fresh nachos and salsa (also bottomless). Then I decided to wash all of this down with a 550 calorie vanilla milkshake. I think I layed on the couch for 36 straight hours after that meal!
When I had finally recovered from the gluttony over the last few days, I decided to hike the Hollywood Hills again. As I got closer to Hollywood, I heard on the radio that Barak Obama was attending a few events in the area. This explained the extensive road closures and nightmare traffic.
A quick five hour flight from LAX to JFK and I have now arrived in what seems like a different world. As you have read in a previous article, I had walked the city and visited the 9/11 Memorial, so I am going to skip over all of that and get right to the food!
After a late night out on the town, I decided to get up early and take the “N” train out to Coney Island. It is a place I have wanted to photograph for a long time and it would not disappoint. As soon as I got off the train, I saw another American icon. “Nathan’s Famous” is the place you hear about on the news every Fourth of July weekend. They hold the international hot dog eating contest in this very spot every year! I wasn’t about to try and beat the record, all I wanted to try was an authentic “Coney Dog”. Chili and melted cheese make this hot dog a salty and tasty treat. Again, I was feeling ambitious, so I ordered a side of fresh cut fries with melted cheese and what seemed like an entire package of bacon on top.
Again, feeling very full I decided to walk it off this time and capture some of the nostalgia along the boardwalk. As you can see, there were plenty of great shots!
Now if you will excuse me, I am going to spent the next few decades on the treadmill to work off all of those unnecessary calories!