While traveling, I make it a point to sample the regional cuisine. But what if the local specialty isn’t exactly local? History. Colonization. Immigration. These are factors that directly impact a culinary culture. In London, I’m on the lookout for spectacular Indian food. In Germany I’ll grab a Turkish kebab, and recently on a trip to Amsterdam, I dined at Indonesian hotspot, Sampurna. Read more
Autumn in Tuscany
This is the time of year when the scorching summer heat fades to warm; when school is back in session and tourists head home. Grapes are plucked from their vines and transformed into glass jugs of young, fizzy vino nuovo. This is the time for black truffles, white truffles, and porcini mushrooms. This is the season for wild boar and chestnuts roasting on the hearth. The branches of the silver-leaved olive trees are heavy with fruit that slowly turn from green to a deep purple, ready to be harvested into liquid gold. Read more
The way I see it, a planned international layover is the best kind of foodie bonus. If you already have a connecting flight home, why not step out of the airport for a night on the town to savor the local fare. On one recent trans-atlantic route this past September, I did just that. It was my fourth connection through Frankfurt this year. While FRA has its perks (sausage! pretzels!) I had a hankering for a heartier, more traditional German meal. The city of Frankfurt is famous for its Apfelwein taverns, local gastropubs serving up house-brewed apple wine, a kind of cider, in both sweet and sour varieties. Read more
Georgian food might just take this year’s lead as my favorite international cuisine.
I first experienced a taste of Georgia at Manhattan’s most authentic Moscovian restaurant, Mari Vanna. The American outpost of Moscow’s hot dining destination, Mari Vanna offers high-end Russian fare to smartly dressed expats in a vintage tearoom-meets-underground lounge. My Russian friend, Sage, brought me to Mari Vanna for a kind of culinary dress rehearsal; a run-through intro to typical Russian cuisine before my trip to Moscow. In addition to platefuls of Russian standards, Sage ordered a Georgian specialty: khachapuri, a type of cheese-stuffed pizza bread that just about blew my mind. Read more
Pounding the pavement in Moscow can work up an appetite. I called up Artur, a friend of a friend, in town from St. Petersburg. He agreed to meet me at Old Arbat, Moscow’s most famous pedestrian street, once a cultural center of the city. Historically, the street was once home to Pushkin, the father of Russian literature, and dotted with cafes brimming with aristocrats and artists. I wanted to take a stroll, admire the sights and grab a great local lunch. I have to admit I was disappointed to find the street lined with aggressive souvenir vendors hawking cheap fur hats and made-in-China nesting dolls instead of the artists I had imagined. Here I was, looking for a “real” Russia somewhere between my disillusionment, a Starbucks and a Hard Rock Cafe. Read more