Welcome to the first installment of my new addition to Culinary Eden — 5 Cool Things. In this week’s segment, From the Flight Deck, I’m focusing on news I found interesting in the world of travel (as it relates to food, of course). Simply click on the headlines at the beginning of each paragraph to read the referenced articles, then follow them up by reading my comments. Or vice-versa — I’m good with whatever method melts your butter!
So, without further ado, here are my 5 Cool Things of the week:
Seven Food Destinations for 2013
It was so exciting to see Antigua, Guatemala on this list! I went to Guatemala in 2006 as a Photojournalist on a medical mission for Rotaplast International. Our team enjoyed a wonderful day off in Antigua where we ate a great lunch at actually this restaurant, followed by shopping and an evening of entertainment and traditional foods in the home of a local dignitary. Antigua is a beautiful city rich in history and wonderful foods, so I’ll be sure share more about it in a future travel post. A quick explanation about this photo… in the Central Market I ran across a small stall where a man was selling live crabs. He had wrapped them in palm leaves so they couldn’t crawl away! When I write more about this trip, I’ll show you a photo of the basket that was crammed full of these wrapped crabs.
Top 10 Wine Travel Destinations of 2013
I wish I had known the pleasures of good wine some 20 plus years ago when my husband and I spent a enchanting week in Long Island, NY, but we were both such wine and travel novices at the time that we were just happy to be there walking on the beach. Times have changed a lot since then, and I’m glad to see 2 of my US favorites making this list — Monterey County in California, and the Williamette Valley of Oregon. Fingers crossed that we’ll be adding Rioja, Spain to our list in the near future! Have you been to any of the places on this list?
UPDATE: I recently received an email (February 11, 2013) from someone representing Wine Enthusiast magazine thanking me for sharing the link to this article with you. She also told me about a contest that was being held in conjunction with this article where readers could win a trip for 2 with round-trip flights to 1 of 4 select destinations shared in the above linked article. My choice is still Rioja, Spain, which includes 5 nights of accomodations at a top hotel in the village of Logroño, and a $250 VISA dining certificate! Because I’m a lover of unusual architecture, I’m simply dying to see Marqués de Riscal’s Ciudad del Vino, or “city of wine” structure designed by the fabulously inventive Frank Gehry. A side trip down to Bilboa will also be in order to see his Guggenheim Museum structure.
While my fingers are crossed that I will be one of the big winners, I do believe in the concept of giver’s gain. So, here is the link where you can try your luck at winning a trip to one of these fabulous destinations: Win A Trip! Oh, and while you’re checking out links, be sure to stop by Wine Enthusiast’s review of Riojano Wines. I’m a big fan of Spain’s Tempranillo grape, but I admit I haven’t tasted very many of the wines listed. I had no idea there were so many different ones available! Quite a few are a bit beyond my price range, however, there were several that I would consider affordable. I’ll have to visit my local wine shop now that I have a detailed review to guide me in my next purchase.
Tasty Souvenir Travel Treats
Oh how I love Virginia peanuts, so I’m not surprised they are on this author’s list. In my travels, I have brought back cheese, jams, and chocolates from Paris, olive oil, truffle honey and boar sausage from Italy, my now favorite mushroom rub from one of Tom Douglas’ restaurants in Seattle, hot sauce from Costa Rica, and stone ground cornmeal, spice rubs, pickled quail eggs, my Mom’s home-canned purple hull peas, and my Dad’s home-made bar-b-que sauce from our trips to visit family in Arkansas. What edible memories have you stuffed in your suitcase?
What Not To Eat Before Flying
You betcha I’m staying away from cruciferous vegetables and legumes. I just hope the guy next to me does, too! While the odor isn’t pleasant, here’s something you should really be worrying about — last year I watched in horror as a worker on a popular low-fare airline replenished an ice bin without regard for passengers’ health. He grasped the top of the bin with his extremely dirty gloved hand (fingers down into the bin), then filled it up to the top well beyond where his fingers had reached in to grab it. So, from now on, always take your own water on board, and thank them for offering, but you’ll pass on the cup of ice now, too.
The World’s Oddest Food Museums
I couldn’t resist this one! I absolutely MUST visit the Pez Museum in San Francisco, California. How fun would that be! And the Spam Museum in Austin, Texas? Another addition to my “must go there” list. I absolutely loved fried SPAM sandwiches when I was a kid, so anytime I see a package of it now I can’t help but smile as I recall the aroma of sizzling slabs of pork scraps wafting through our kitchen. Not exactly a poetic Proust-like moment, but similar. Admit it, you were a SPAM fan, too, weren’t you?