Not even chicken wings - that's also relatively new to me. And that's how this all started. Me, Shawn, Frankie & Alicia were out having wings and the idea was born that I should try a new-to-me food every month. So Shawn put together a list on his phone of all the foods we brought up that night that I never tried. That's where my input ended. From that point on, we'd go out to eat somewhere and I'd be surprised by what food I'd have to eat. And no matter what, I wouldn't say no.
Overall, I ended up finding 5 new foods I loved - I count that a giant success. Here's the foods of 2017 rated on a scale of 1 - 10...
FEBRUARY: Hummus (4) - I don't understand hummus. Why eat this when you could have nacho cheese, salsa, or queso?
MARCH: Lobster (7) - Me & Shawn had this in Lobsicle form (lobster on a stick) in Vegas. This was awesome! But I'm sad about that. The reason I'd never tried lobster (and didn't want to like it) is because it's an expensive meal and I tend to stay away from meals that cost too much. But I'll make an exception for this every now and then.
APRIL: Stuffed Hot Peppers (10) - Growing up, my Grandma would make stuffed hot peppers for almost every family meal. Yet I never tried them because she'd also make ravioli for me & her, so I'd fill up on that and the meatballs. I regret not trying her stuffed hot peppers as they were probably the best ever. I loved the ones I had at Jim's SteakOut though & now order them as a side when I go.
MAY: Calamari (7) - If it's deep fried, I'm happy. So this was a win. Pretty much tasted like an onion ring and I like those, so obvious like.
JUNE: Sushi (2) - This one made me the most nervous to try. And it was on my birthday no less! We did this as a sushi buffet so I got to try a bunch of varieties. I wasn't a fan of the standard ones, but the weird Buffalo wing or other specialty ones weren't awful. That's the best I can say about sushi. A really fun birthday though with awesome friends.
JULY: Clams (3) - This one should have made me the most nervous to try. Some of my family is allergic to clams, so I've never bothered with them. But there we were at MT Pockets specifically to try clams so was prepped for anything to happen. Tried steamed clams and clams casino. Both were good, but couldn't compare to the awesome Italian Sausage Sandwich there. As for raw clams, it wasn't until October that I tried those (when doing my new-to-me October food). I hated them raw. In fact, I ended up sick and I'm pretty sure the clams were the culprit.
AUGUST: Beer Cheese Soup (Gouda Soup) (4) - It was was very cheesy & good, but it's soup. Takes a lot to get me to rave about a soup.
SEPTEMBER: Beef On Weck (2) - Aside from french fries & peanuts, I'm not a fan of salty things. Especially on sandwiches. Halfway through, I wiped all the salt off the bread & went crazy with the horseradish. That made it better. But this is a Buffalo tradition I'll never understand.
OCTOBER: Lo Mein (5) - Went to a Chinese buffet for this. Note this is only the second time in my life I've eaten at a Chinese buffet (the first was a couple years ago in Virginia where I really only ate a bunch of varieties of chicken). The lo mein was good, kinda like seasoned pasta & butter. Also tried an eggroll here - liked that too. But this was also the place with the raw clams - that made the following night and day incredibly unpleasant.
NOVEMBER: Jalepeno poppers (8) - My favorite TV show now is NBC's The Good Place. Jalepeno poppers have been mentioned a few times and play an important part in the show, so I had to try them. Dave at Manor Lanes bowling alley is a culinary genius (yes, the food at this bowling alley never fails to amaze me). It was no surprise then that I loved this. Plus again, you usually can't go wrong with something deep fried (unless it's deep fried bubble gum at the fair which was awful - and not even technically bubble gum).
DECEMBER: Pasta carbonara (10) - The new-to-me food year ended on a huge highlight - this (along with stuffed hot peppers) won the year. I question this being a new food though as I've had all the things it's made with before. But I guess the same can be said with stuffed hot peppers thanks to the Carolina Reaper & Ghost Peppers I had tried, so this'll count. And the combination of these ingredients blew me away. Spaghetti is actually one of my least favorite pastas (so messy & a pain to eat) but the sauce in this was so thick, it made the spaghetti stick together and was just a perfect meal. Also loved that the bacon taste was there, but didn't overpower the meal. Shawn made this one and whoa does he know how to cook! I'm sure I'll eventually try this at a restaurant too but there's no way it could ever top homemade.
I know there's more left on the list, so hoping to continue on through 2018. Follow me on Twitter @JohnAnthony1025 or on Instagram at johnanthonyspinridefan and go ahead and suggest things. After sushi & clams, I'm up for anything now!