“What's for dinner?” A question we ask ourselves every day. With so many choices of cuisine, how is it possible to find yourself in a food rut? We are creatures of habit, and trying something new can seem like such a commitment. What if you end up wishing you'd had "the usual?" Next time you're thinking of take-out, or a night on the town, mix up the menu using the Chinese zodiac as your guide. See what your animal sign says about the flavorful fares most likely to satisfy your palate!
Rabbit don't live on lettuce alone. But, even carnivores crave fresh crisp veggies and ripe fruits. Did you think salads were boring? Organic restaurants can re-acquaint you with the long-lost flavors of Mother Nature's seasons. Experiment with nutritious and delicious quinoa or tempeh to leave you both satiated and light on your feet!
The heady flavors of South America should have Dragon flying high. For the ultimate in substance and sensation, nothing tops feijoada, a sumptuous pork and beef stew and the national dish of Brazil. Originating in Portugal, it is a tradition on three continents including Africa. Wash it down with a cachaca, a Brazilian sugarcane rum.
The exotic flavors and smells of Indian are sure to charm. If curry isn't your speed, try a thali (variety), tikka (roasted) or saag (spinach) dish. Don't forget the paneer (homemade cheese)! Explore a world of mouth-watering spices like cumin, coriander, and cardamom. Opt for dhosa if you're so lucky to have a South Indian restaurant in your midst.
The bountiful Mediterranean beckons with the culinary heritage of the cradle of humanity. The shores connecting Europe, the Middle East and Africa will never limit your choices. Spend a meal or a lifetime sampling the best oils, herbs, tapenade, hummus, couscous, risottos, and seafood that Italy, Greece, Persia and Egypt offer.
Coconut milk fantasies and green papaya dreams are where Sheep run free. What sparks imagination like the savory spice of panang curry? What inspires the mind like angels of tofu swimming in spinach and sweet peanut sauce? The aromas of chiles, lime leaves, and lemongrass will keep you under the spell. To eat may be human, but Thai food is divine.
For a new twist on old favorites, try a fusion restaurant. Is there Latin Dim Sum nearby? French-Vietnamese? Any cuisine called "Californian" or "nouveau" should draw on multiple culinary traditions. Why should you have to follow rules? Food should be creative, clever and fun, with the element of surprise -- just like you.
Japanese chefs know that a colorful and immaculate presentation is the shortest path to Rooster's stomach. Anticipation is no small part of a meal's enjoyment. Exquisitely carved food and plated works of art are signatures of Japanese restaurants that will have you devouring your dinner before taking your first bite.
There's nothing like perfectly flaky, crisp fish and chips to soothe salty Dog's soul. Order fresh cod or halibut, with a light beer batter, fried potato wedges cut thick, and ample malt vinegar. Pair with New England-style clam chowder for the ultimate comfort food, and a cold draught ale if the sailor's spirit moves you.
Sometimes you want to go where the maitre d' knows your name. Luxurious eating is the art of the French. Pungent cheeses, buttery crepes, and rich meats will enhance your abundant joie de vivre. Of course, no French meal is complete without a bit of fine wine. Unleash your inner foodie and let it eat cake. Bon appetit!
Latin tapas appeal to sophisticated and social Rat. Ceviches, queso, calamari, and olives delight the senses while course after course of colorful, bite-sized plates create the perfect ambiance. Eating is an activity for reconnecting with old friends and charming new ones. A pitcher of margaritas on the table only improves the atmosphere.
Hungry as an Ox? Whether your appetite is big or small, your meal should stick to your ribs. Leave the frou-frou fixings for fussier types and find your nearest Ethiopian restaurant. If you can finish your traditional East African meal you'll be full for a week. Hearty hint: Ethiopian restaurants often serve mead, the medieval libation of knights and fair maidens.
Red-blooded Tigers should dip a paw into the sea for a sashimi treat. Cooked food is for tabbies! If your idea of sushi is a California roll, it's time to venture into a wilder world with some buttery uni (sea urchin) or a selection of hook-and-line caught nigiri (bite-sized slices of fish on rice). Lap it down with a milky nigori sake.