Tasty Travels- Travel Bloggers Share Their Best Bites from the Road
Some people eat to live while others live to eat; I for one am squarely in the latter camp.The meal that turned me into a foodie will always be etched in my mind; I was in my early 20s and just finishing up the last deployment of my Naval career. We had been out to sea for 159 days straight and after pulling into Marseille France I needed some breathing room. A few of my closest friends and I went straight for the train station and after perusing our options headed towards Avignon. It was late March; gray,drizzly and a bit chilly but we didn’t care. We were in Provence and blissfully had most of the town to ourselves. We settled into our cozy little auberge and just wanting to relax made reservations at its restaurant. What we didn’t know is that we were in for a five course feast and knowing very little French, most of what arrived to our table was a surprise. I enjoyed a delicate vegetable soup topped with a perfectly poached quail egg, had my first tastes of foie gras and venison, and sampled a number of heady French cheeses. This was all ended with with an intensely rich chocolate-orange pot de creme which still stands as one of the best desserts I’ve had. Looking back, this was a pivotal experience for me. I discovered the pleasures of truly good food and the joys of surprising discoveries on the road.
It broadened my mind and my palate, isn’t that what travel is about?
In that spirit I asked a few of my fellow travel bloggers about their favorite food experiences from the road. Food is one of the best ways to truly understand a destination and in the words of Andrew Zimmern, “If it looks good, eat it”.
Jessica of the Dining Traveler
Although I have many memorable dining experiences to share, my most recent one took place in Okinawa, Japan. I lived in Okinawa for a year from 2003-2004. It was a place that open my mind and palate to experience life abroad. To be there again a few months ago was a culinary homecoming. Upon arrival, I dined at JiroCho, a local Okinawan restaurant which specializes in sushi and tempura. As you enter, you can smell the fried goodness of tempura in the making. Okinawa is known for its unique vegetables, especially goya (bitter melon) and benihimo (Okinawan sweet potato). The tempura is glorious bite into with its crispy outside and the discovery of the fresh vegetables on the inside. As I indulged in the tempura, I was taken by the sushi chef JiroCho making his creations at the bar. There’s a basket with fresh fish sitting on ice where he has his daily selection for creation. As I savored the scallop and a tuna sushi, I felt the freshness of the fish with a light spice of the freshly ground Wasabi he’s already added. It’s been two months and I still think if this meal and look back to Okinawa in gastronomic nostalgia.
Melody of Wherever I May Roam
If you are like me, you go through phases where you are in love with a different type of food all the time. During my Russian cuisine days, I had the opportunity to visit several Russian restaurants around the US but none appeased my palate like that of Red Square Restaurant at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas. The regal yet friendly atmosphere welcome you to come in and admire their gorgeous frozen Ice bar and vodka vault, which was my husband’s favorite part of the experience. For me, it was the mouth-watering filet mignon with a tangy delicious sauce along with creamed spinach and wild mushrooms.
Then it got even better when the dessert arrived. Strawberries Romanoff, the stuff dreams are made of. My summary of this dining experience?
Monica and Jon of We Travel Together
Le Chique is an award-winning, adults-only restaurant, and can be found in the all inclusive resort Azul Sensatori, just 20 minutes from Cancun. The restaurant is also available for guests outside the hotel, and you can choose between the 16- and 22-course dinner with wine pairings.
In this restaurant the menu are designed to puzzle, amuse and amaze you, and each dish are a work of art, literally.
We had the 22-course dinner and were there for about 3 hours. We sat in the wine cellar, one of two special tables. The other can be found at the chef’s table, in the kitchen. But no worry, wherever your table can be found you will have a special and unique evening.
Welcome to the restaurant where nothing is as it seems! They play a lot with the flavors and your senses, an exotic restaurant complete with gourmet preparations, a range of flavors, and inventive techniques intended to tease the senses and tell a unique story with each course.
Ben and Jazzy of Road Affair
Rellenitos de plantano, what can I say? The love that I have for this Guatemalan snack is deeply rooted. This deep fried street dessert made from mashed sweet plantains, filled with a sweet black bean sauce gave me my first foodgasm. Not only is Rellenitos de plantano mouth-watering good, it’s also dirt cheap, one rellenito cost about $0.30 to $0.65 USD or 2.50 to 5 Guatemalan quetzals. This typical and popular Guatemalan dessert is found year around, so no need to wait for a special holiday to get these bad boys. If you are ever in Guatemala, this is one snack you don’t want to pass up on. It’s just that good. (Photo courtesy of foodologie.com)
Brock and Tanj of A Travelogue
Located in Shinjuku area, near the metro, we ate at Yakitori alley in Japan. Yakitori means skewered food grilled to perfection. Narrow stall restaurants line this proportionally narrow alleywhere the most popular place to eat at is Kabuto. The restaurant seats only a few people and is one of those places that makes you feel like you stepped back in time. All over the alley, you can smell barbecue and immediately your senses get heightened and you want to seat down and eat. The menu at Kabuto is simple – they only serve eel. Yes, only eel and all its parts (even innards). The eel yakitori will surely melt in your mouth and makes you want to order for some more. This is one of the most memorable food adventures we had in Japan. Not to mention, it’s pretty cheap too! What’s special about this place is that the grill master himself has been grilling eel for more than 50+ years.
Charles of McCool Travel
After two days in Venice Italy, after being disappointed with the food from places suggested by our apartment owners and Yelp, I picked a place serendipitously. That is, after exploring—well getting lost—for an hour or so, I stumbled upon a place with no fancy menu, sign, tables, linens, silverware or wait staff. Instead, I was rewarded with the best pizza I have ever had. The fried egg topping it was not my favorite but I did eat some of it. I ate about half of the pizza for lunch and had the rest the next morning—when it was even better than the day before.
What are some of your best bites from the road?