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I’ve been planning our April 2017 trip to New York for about six months now. When I say planning, I only mean the details that needs to be organised early, such as airfares, hotel accommodation and the visa stuff. I am yet to book parking at the airport, or arrange our various insurances, but they can wait a little while yet. While I try (as a life rule) to concern myself only with matters within my control, I am watching the AUD/USD exchange rates with apprehension. Obviously, the less we spend on travel and accommodation the more we can spend once we arrive in New York. And spend she we shall, by god!

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My lovely frugal non-frenzy-shopper wife and I sat down yesterday afternoon and began two lists. The first of places and things we want to see, and the second of the things we want to eat. My wife had more ideas for the former, whereas I contributed more to the latter. One of the first photographs we took in Paris 2012 was me noshing down escargot. I foresee there will be at least one photo of me inhaling a black&white cookie in NYC 2017, not to mention a feast of other goodies. But this is where I pause and take a deep breath, because are the ‘goodies’ actually good? Fun fact: the cuisine you New Yorkers are so proud of mostly qualifies as ‘junk’ food in Australia. Please don’t tell Mr Trump! He might revoke my visa!

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Notwithstanding my determination to broadly sample NYC cuisine nonetheless, I wonder if anybody outside the US actually likes it? As in, would eat it daily by choice? I have vegetables with every meal, but over there it seems to be considered a side? You know how much I hate food-selfies, but if I did take some, at least you’d see that our home dinners evoke an artist’s palette of colours most nights, whereas meals in New York seem to be monotonous studies in brown. Without naming them individually (after all, they’re ‘iconic’ aren’t they?) here’s what I mean:

Ugh.

It seems (and correct me if I’m wrong) that the healthiest food options in New York would be hipster lunches in all those places that include ‘village’ in their title, or Asian restaurants? I don’t know if I can do that. I can’t be a hipster for two solid weeks, or eat noodles. To be fair, some of the meals above do include a vegetable on the plate, albeit cooked to death. Is that a remnant of, what, broccoli under General Tso’s glistening orbs of mystery-meat? I’m not eating that. And the asparagus spears crushed beneath a mountain of brown can stay where they are. I don’t have the appetite to eat to freedom. French fries are not vegetables, by the way, so don’t bother pointing that out. They are the epitome of evil.

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I’ll shut up now in case somebody in US Customs, having dedicated his life to mastering the deep-fryer, happens to be the guy stamping passports at JFK in April. I would argue the main predictor for good health is whether we cook the food we consume ourselves. The old ‘we are what we eat’ thing. I have the digestive system of a billygoat, but my wife is quite delicate, and we can’t exactly bring food from home! For a fortnight, our health will be at the mercy of Manhattanites folk who travel hours on trains from the outer suburbs to cook food in the city. Maybe this has me more worried than the AUD/USD exchange rate.

So my plea to you is: be kind to us Australians! We’re good people!

We just need salad.