I’ve lived in Southern California my whole life. I eat kale multiple times a week, and yes, I have done a juice cleanse. Sushi is my middle name and burritos are my best friend. I’m used to a wide availability of fruit and other produce at all times, and this is the way I like to eat. I’m that girl.
This summer I will be studying abroad in Florence, and then I will be be studying abroad in London for the fall semester, so I will be away from California for 6 months. While in Italy, I’ll be on a strict diet of pizza, pasta, and gelato, so I definitely won’t be missing out on good food. However, there are a few things that I know I won’t be able to get in Europe, or at least, that they won’t be the same.
Some people get homesick. I’ll be foodsick. These are the essential food groups of Southern California that I will have withdrawals from:
1. Mexican Food
Mexican food is the best. I can never turn down a good burrito or Taco Tuesday. No one does Mexican food better than Southern California. Not even Mexico.
Since I’m not even a huge fan of the Mexican food 3 hours north of Mexico, there is no way I would go near what European’s consider to be “Mexican.”
This is a given. Cheeseburgers are the epitome of American food and In-N-Out is the epitome of Southern California. I’m getting hungry just thinking about my usual #2 Cheeseburger and fries combo (sometimes protein style if I’m feeling healthy and sometimes with a Neapolitan Milkshake if I’m not). I’m sure there will be quality cheeseburgers and fries available in Europe, but In-N-Out feels like home.
4. Açaí Bowls
It’s possible that there is some sort of açaí bowl-like thing in Europe, but I’m not counting on it. I’m very particular about my açaí bowls, so unless I make one myself, I doubt I will find one I like. And there definitely won’t be any as good as Nektèr.
In Southern California, we’re spoiled with the availability and quality of avocados. We put avocados on everything: omelettes, sandwiches, salads, burgers, chips, toast, bagels, etc. The list goes on and on. Basically an avocado makes anything better and they are even delicious by themselves with some salt, pepper, and lime juice.
6. Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s
I like living in a place where there is both a Whole Foods and a Trader Joe’s within walking distance of my house. Whole Foods’ hot deli section is to die for. They also have a killer salad bar and made-to-order sandwiches, burritos, sushi and pizza.
On the other hand, I have never purchased anything from Trader Joe’s that I didn’t like and I don’t feel like I need to get a second part-time job every time I shop there. Where will I get my frozen berry mix, “Inner Peas”, and mini dark chocolate peanut butter cups in Europe?
7. Ice Cream Sandwiches
A new kind appears everyday around LA. Yesterday, it was the classic vanilla ice cream and chocolate chip cookie sandwich. Today, you can get any flavor imaginable, sandwiched between anything from macaroons to cookies made out of cereal.
Oh look, there’s a Sprinkles’ Sundae “Sandwich” (Cupcake bottom + Ice Cream + Frosted Cupcake Top). There’s even a doughnut ice cream sandwich from After’s. Maybe I will avoid diabetes going to Europe, but our need to make everything bigger, crazier, and fattier in America is endearing.