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How to Eat When you Travel

A Taste of Something Different. Enjoying local cuisine is a special part of traveling that shouldn’t be overlooked. Travelers who tend to dine on their creature comforts while otherwise being adventurous always perplex me. Why fly halfway around the globe only to eat at McDonalds? I travel specifically to sample the local flavors, explore the […]

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A Taste of Something Different.

Enjoying local cuisine is a special part of traveling that shouldn’t be overlooked. Travelers who tend to dine on their creature comforts while otherwise being adventurous always perplex me. Why fly halfway around the globe only to eat at McDonalds? I travel specifically to sample the local flavors, explore the regions’ spices and cultural specialties. The cuisine says a lot about the culture and diving head first is how I travel.

Obviously there are restrictions that I usually follow, never drink the water in Central America, avoid extreme spices and be wary of some street food. I tend to eat too much street food, but I figure if the locals eat it, why shouldn’t I? Water in third world countries in general should be avoided due to parasites that your insides might not be used to. Eating extreme spices when on a road trip is another danger all together.

Countless times I’ve been unsure about tasting something only to be completely surprised and amazed by the new flavors. Eating live octopus in Japan sounded and looked insane but once I actually did it, well, it was pretty gross, to be honest. Not everything you try will be appetizing but at least I can say that I tried it. The memory is always with me and the experience was unforgettable. Had I decided not to push my boundaries and try the still alive octopus, I don’t think the memory would last.

My travel memories are constantly awakened by smells, tastes and textures. It’s amazing how the mind connects memory and experiences. I can’t walk past a gyro shop without being reminded of my time in Greece, the aromas are so overpowering and pleasurable. Gyros are now one of my favorite dishes and I have an afternoon in Athens to thank for that.

https://kimchisoul.wordpress.com/2012/10/18/eaststreet/

Rule #1:

I have a few simple rules that I live by when I travel that apply to food. First, I always eat local my first meal. You won’t find me eating at an American chain restaurant anytime soon, even if it’s in Istanbul. Instead I’ll ask my cab driver or concierge at my hotel what food I NEED to try. You’d be amazed by how many suggestions you’ll receive.

I find that people are generally proud of where they are from and revel in the opportunity to share their favorite local spots. I know that when friends and family visit me in Los Angeles, I am a venerable fountain of information, just spewing restaurant names and my favorite dishes at anyone who will listen.

http://www.experienceproject.com/stories/Wtk-Did-You-Ever-Eat-A-Balut/2390649

Rule #2:

My second travel cuisine rule is simple… do not be afraid. Many of what you are about to eat may look, smell or even taste bad, but you cannot show fear. Instead be brave and just go for it, take a big bite, chew it up and savor the flavor. Granted, you may spit the food immediately out and that’s fine, I’ve done it. It’s a natural reaction of your body to reject some tastes, but at least you now know that whatever you just ate is bad.

My wife and I were traveling in the Philippines a few years ago and my cab driver said that we had to try balut, which if you don’t know is fermented bird embryo, and is a very acquired taste. When I first saw balut I was honestly scared, it does not look appetizing, in fact it doesn’t even look edible. The smell was horrendous and all the locals stared at me like I was about to do something real dumb, and I was. I followed my own rules and I took a bite, not a large bite, but a bite nonetheless and my reaction was violent and over the top. I spit out my bite, threw my arms into the air, yelled a primal scream and tossed some water down my throat. Was I overreacting? Sure, but with the added audience I figured a larger than life response was warranted. I got a loud boisterous reaction from the gathered crowd followed by applause. This was my favorite moment from our trip to Manila. A simple taste of local cuisine has stuck with me for years like it happened yesterday and to think, if I hadn’t been adventurous I wouldn’t have ever experienced this. Of course I remember the awful taste, but what I truly remember were the connections I made with a dozen locals that day.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npF_5k9R7s0

Rule #3:

My last rule of eating while traveling involves your intestinal fortitude. When I travel, I always try whatever on the menu scares me the most. In England, this was blood pudding. Just the idea of eating coagulated blood is so unappealing to me its no wonder I was terrified by this choice. But just like all my other food related travel memories, I can perfectly paint a picture of that day. I was visiting my good pal Simon, who was on weekend leave from the British Army. We met at a local pub and began drinking pints, as the locals were known to do. Who was I to shy away from local traditions?

Simon and his mates knew I was terrified of eating blood pudding, so they egged me on for hours. I finally caved to their taunts and ordered blood pudding. A horrid looking dish, much darker than I had ever imagined and the smell was similar to an old dumpster. They come in sausage casing, which is already a strike against them, and are cut into bite size pieces. All that build up and you know what… they weren’t half bad. They taste similar to liver, very irony and grainy. The texture is one I won’t soon forget, but you know what… that day was incredible. I’m honored to have spent it with young soldiers while we sampled their local cuisine.

Remember friends, travel with your senses and you will never forget.

 

AJ

 

 

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Food

Why Does Airplane Food Taste Bad? Science Has the Answer

Gone are the days when airplane travel was distinguished and seen as an event.  The food was amazing and the experience was second to none, but nowadays airplane travel has become just another way to travel.  Chefs used to fly on airplanes preparing 3-4 course meals and now you are lucky to get peanuts and a soda.  So why does the food on an airplane taste so bad?

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Gone are the days when airplane travel was distinguished and seen as an event.  The food was amazing and the experience was second to none, but nowadays airplane travel has become just another way to travel.  Chefs used to fly on airplanes preparing 3-4 course meals and now you are lucky to get peanuts and a soda.  So why does the food on an airplane taste so bad?
 
How come all the food on an airplane tastes horrible and why am I still eating it? If you’ve ever asked yourself that question and you have never found an answer, well don’t fret, there is research!  A new study from Cornell University has come up with an answer, and guess what? It ain’t bad cookin’.  

Science always finds the way and if you look hard enough, you are going to find an answer to any question.

Turns out, the noisy environment inside a claustrophobic airplane cabin may actually change the way food tastes.

In the study, 48 people were handed a variety of solutions that were spiked with the five basic tastes: sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami (basically, a Japanese word for the savory flavor found in foods like bacon, tomatoes, cheese, and soy sauce). First, the testers sipped in silence, then again, while wearing headsets that played about 85 decibels of noise, designed to mimic the hum of jet engines onboard a plane.

What the researchers found: While there wasn’t that much of a change in how the salty, sour, and bitter stuff tasted, the noisy surroundings dulled the sweet taste, while intensifying the savory one—which might explain why a meal eaten on a plane will usually seem a little, well, off.

“Our study confirmed that in an environment of loud noise, our sense of taste is compromised. Interestingly, this was specific to sweet and umami tastes, with sweet taste inhibited and umami taste significantly enhanced,” said Robin Dando, assistant professor of food science. “The multisensory properties of the environment where we consume our food can alter our perception of the foods we eat.”

This isn’t the first time airlines have tried to figure out the reason behind funky in-flight food. The Fraunhofer Institute, a research institute based in Germany, did a study on why a dish that would taste just fine on the ground would taste, “so dull in the air,” as Grant Mickles, the executive chef for culinary development of Lufthansa’s LSG Sky Chefs, put it to Conde Naste Traveler

German researchers tried taste tests at both sea level and in a pressurized condition. The tests revealed that the cabin atmosphere—pressurized at 8,000 feet—combined with cool, dry cabin air numbed the taste buds (kind of like when you’ve got a bad cold). In fact, the perception of saltiness and sweetness dropped by around 30% at high altitude. Multiplying the misery: The stagnant cabin dries out the mucus membranes in the nose, thus dulling the olfactory sensors that affect taste. All of which adds up to a less-than-fine dining experience.

The good news: This research may help airlines find a way to make in-the-air meals more palatable. (That is, for flights and airlines that still offer any food at all!)

The key, according to Mickles, may be using ingredients or foods that contain a lot of umami to enhance the other flavors. He may be on to something: The folks at the Lufthansa have found that passengers guzzle as much tomato juice as beer (to the tune of about 425,000 gallons a year). Turns out, cabin pressure brings out the savory taste of the red stuff.

Good to know. Now pass the earplugs—and bring on the Bloody Marys.

 

 

Check out the full article over at Health.com

Photos Courtesy of InfinateLegroom, Thrillist

 

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Destinations

The World’s Most Unique Dining Experiences

Sure, you can get a great meal anywhere. But how many times have you had a meal that sticks with you for the rest of your life? If your answer is “not enough,” then you need to check out one of these amazing global dining destinations. Food aside, the atmosphere and experience will stick with […]

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Food

A Guide to the Best Food in San Diego

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It’s one of the first questions every person asks when they are traveling to a new city for the first time.

Where is a good place to get a bite?

Food on a trip might even be a major component that you plan an entire vacation or day around. That is especially true in big cities like San Diego, which always seem to have the biggest and best local and chain restaurants.

San Diego in beautiful California is one of the ten largest cities in the U.S. and is known for its top-notch cuisine. Everyone loves a good food tour, and San Diego is somewhere that has numerous can’t-miss places to eat you will want to read about.

Continue reading for a comprehensive list and guide to the best food in San Diego broken up by category.

Seafood is Tops in San Diego

There’s no doubt that one of the first things on anyone’s mind traveling to San Diego is to try the fish. Sitting right on the coast, and arguably the biggest city right on a coast, San Diego can offer fresh seafood that other places simply can’t. If you live in the U.S., odds are you do not live near a coast, so take advantage of this unique situation.

One of the restaurants heavy into seafood with a top reputation is George’s at the Cove. They were once voted San Diego’s top restaurant!

Another is The Fishery, with some of the best main courses you can find on any menu in town. Their fresh catches are so good that they not only serve their own supply but they are a distributor for other restaurants.

If you have gone fishing yourself and caught something tasty, or want a closer look at the catch you elect to eat, head to El Pescador Fish Market. A traditional beach hangout, they’ll cook your fish for you, or you could head on in with nothing and sit down and eat too.

A couple more seafood restaurants of note are Civico 1845 and Seafood La 57.

San Diego Pizza

Beyond fresh fish right off the ocean, San Diego is also known for its strong pizza selection. Definitely try either the pizza or seafood as some of the best food in San Diego when you head over.

Civico by the Park has wood-fired pizza and pasta that is unmatched across the city and even the state. This restaurant combines the flair of pizza with the best wine selection as well.

If you are feeling homesick on your trip, try Tribute Pizza. They feature and imitate some of the most well-known pizza places around the country, so maybe they picked one from your hometown.

Tex-Mex in San Diego

It’s all in the name as you can get the best tacos not just in town but in the solar system at Galaxy Tacos.

Some taco spots are right next to each other and competing, but that offers a great chance to try them all. Taco joints Corazon de Torta, El Comal, and Las Cuatro Milpas are all in downtown San Diego.

For more great tacos and burritos, there is also Tuetano Taqueria. They coat their special tacos with a blend of seasoning to give it a different tone and unique taste.

More Great Restaurants

While seafood, pizza, and tacos may be some of the most irresistible food around, there is still plenty more to take in on your trip to San Diego.

If sushi is your thing, try Yakitori Hano or Yakitori Taisho. Try it as the nightcap, as they are only open for dining at dinnertime. A couple of other strong sushi options are Soichi, Sushi Ota, and Sushi Tadokoro.

With a name that stands out, Crack Shack has a giant chicken out front indicating their food of choice. Fried chicken and wings like you have never had before are available there.

Everyone loves a good steak, and a food tour would not be complete without mentioning the best place to get a porterhouse or filet cut. Born and Raised takes cooking steak back to its roots.

Italian-based Civico by the Park is probably the highest-rated and most sought-after pasta establishments in the area as well as pizza. Buona Forchetta is one more pasta place that some really love.

Beyond the highly-acclaimed In and Out Burger, the best hamburger restaurant is certainly Swagyu Burger. They even have another version of their place that is Swagyu Chop Shop that combines Japanese food with American burgers.

Upscale San Diego Cuisine

One of the best things about San Diego food is that they have something for everyone. If you are looking for more of a higher-scale dining experience, look no further.

When you give this level of restaurant a try, you will also get to experience food you might have never tried before. Like at Jeune et Jolie, one of the highest-rated establishments in the city and a French masterpiece.

If you are into golf and find yourself out near the famous Torrey Pines course, there are some incredible options right near you. Try the A.R. Valentien, an eatery built right into the golf course’s lodge. Walk the same grounds Tiger Woods did when he won his 14th Major championship on a leg with a torn ACL.

The Best Grub Around

In addition to being one of the most beautiful cities to visit in the U.S., San Diego has some of the best food in the country as well. You’ll want the best grub when you are soaking up the sun, enjoying the beach, and watching some of the best sports.

There could be no better place than to head on a food tour in sunny San Diego. Now that you know the lay of the land, go out and find the best meal today.

For more articles on food, culinary, and travel, head to the rest of our blog.

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