Food & travel certainly go hand in hand. We're always looking to try new & traditional foods when we visit new places! After all, what is Seattle without its coffee, Philly without its cheesesteaks, or NYC without pizza & bagels?!
When I think of my dream dinner destination... I can't pick just one. SO I thought it'd be fun to take a trip around the world, course by course.
I'd start with a glass of wine in Gordon's Wine Bar in London. They have an extensive collection of wine, and the atmosphere is unlike anywhere I've been before! It's an old wine cellar that has been there for a century. It's slightly drafty, but is cozy & quaint, just like it should be.
I'd start in Santorini, Greece. When I arrived on its black volcanic beaches, I ordered a Feta & Cucumber salad. I imagined it would be a bed of lettuce with some diced feta & cucumbers. Luckily for me, it was literally a block of feta cheese, drizzled in olive oil & herbs, and served with sliced cucumbers on the side. A little bit of a misunderstanding on my part, but it definitely worked out in my favor! I will forever love Greece for this.
I'd come back home to Nashville and have the vegan tortilla soup at Taco Mamacita. If I was a carnivore, I'd get the chicken version because it looks delicious, but their vegan version (confession: I ask for added cheese!) is fresh ingredients covered in delicious tomato broth. It warms me up from the inside out!
Without a doubt, I'd turn that plane back to Europe and have Trofie al Pesto in Manarola, Italy. Trofie is a local pasta that is similar to gnocchi - potato & flour, a little more dense than traditional pasta, and DELICIOUS! It took a little research to figure out why we were seeing it everywhere, but I'm glad we tried it! Not to mention the pesto is made completely of local - as in less than 1 mile away - ingredients. The pine nuts, olives & basil are so incredibly fresh, you'll never want to eat another pesto again.
After the Trofie was done, I'd hop on a train and head to the Swiss Alps for chocolate. Swiss chocolate is so incredibly smooth, it will blow your mind! I've only sampled little bits & pieces, but I'd love to do a full chocolate tour. Yum.
I'd love to jet over to Turkey to try their namesake coffee. I'd have no idea how to order it... but I'd love to learn!
The best part about dining all over the world is picking up on the interesting nuances of how other countries operate. Italians stand at counters & quickly devour espresso and a pastry for breakfast, but their dinners are long and leisurely, filled with bottles of wine, several courses and slow conversations.
Sometimes, finding something to eat can be a real challenge! When visiting Morocco, everything was written in Aribic and HOPEFULLY French (which I have some chance of understanding), but there was a lot of pointing and shrugging of shoulders (which usually results in laughter :). Ashley mentioned it was a similar situation in Thailand.
Ordering food in a different language can be exciting, terrifying, and everything in-between. When I was in Paris with my friend Sharyn, we just ordered random things off a menu with no idea how to translate. She ended up with a bowl of assorted meats & sauerkraut. We're both vegetarians now (funny enough, shortly after this meat experience...) so it's important to know what what you're ordering!
Advice for Travelers
Guide books can be very helpful. This is how I learned to say "sono vegetariana" (I am vegetarian!) and "Niente carne, per favore!" (no meat, please!) in Italian, so I could at least avoid meat in my food.
This would also be helpful if you have an allergy (nuts, shellfish) or intolerance (gluten, dairy). You never know what a secret family recipe might entail.
Finding websites that are equipped with translation software is so helpful. When a business use it, you can visit that businesses website & see directions, menus and anything else in your own language! It's so helpful when businesses use this type of software, rather than making questionable translations from free sites that don't make any sense (we've all seen them!)
If you do your research on local cuisine, you can decide ahead of time if there are traditional meals you'd like to try! You'll also know if the food is meat laden, spicy, full of fish, vegetarian friendly and so on. There will be less surprises (in a good way) and you'll have a few tasty dishes to look forward to.
Language is so important when it comes to food! You never know what you'll end up with otherwise ;)
Have you ever ordered something crazy by accident in a foreign country? I'd love to hear about it!