Food News

Baboush Chef Yaser Khalaf on How to Make it in America (It All Starts in Lexington)

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Was that your first exposure to America? Well, when I arrived I was in New York City for a few days, but then I went to Kentucky. All my friends kept telling me, "You haven't seen America yet!" And so I travelled all over the U.S. whenever I could. Every break, I would just drive. I drove completely across the country.

Where did you go? A friend and I started in Boston, then Chicago, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, L.A., then to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. And that was just the first trip. We literally burned up the engine in the van. Literally burned it. Other times we went down to Miami and up to New York often. I learned so much about culture and food.

After all those road trips, what's your favorite city? I love New York City so much. It's so romantic, especially at Christmas time. I love the snow, the smoke everywhere. I love the people's accents. When I got there I felt like I was a New Yorker at heart.

When I travel I also like to try the food everywhere. When I would eat somewhere, I wouldn't order just one thing, I'd order 15. I wanted to try it all.

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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.