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Old 01-13-2007, 07:46 AM   #1
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What is your best food-related travel story?

We all have one. You order something, and it comes out and you're apalled. The flip side is that you point at something, and it is the best meal of your life. Tell us about it!

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Old 01-13-2007, 02:06 PM   #2
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I don't know if this qualifies to your question...

Briefly...I was traveling in the Mississippi Delta for a company I worked for at the time...I went out to dinner at the local small diner..the only one in town where I ordered their "KC Special" that consited of a small top sirloin, baked potato, roll, and simple salad...very simple but actually very good...I also ordered 1/2 dozen raw on the 1/2 shell...When the the first two oysters hit my taste buds I said Wow!!! ...After the 4th one I ask if I could cancel the KC special order and order more oysters...they of course said yes...I think I ate a total of 3 dozen...They had to be the absolut best raw oysters I have ever eaten...cold, briney, full of flavor..everyting I want in a raw oyster! And I am thinking...I am in a small town in north Mississippi...I ask the owner about the oysters and she informed me that they had come in that very day from Abbeville, Louisiana...Of course that explained everything...
So the last place on earth that I thought I would find excellent raw oysters is exactly where I did find them!
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Old 01-13-2007, 02:15 PM   #3
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This is a funny story.

I guess it was about 7 years ago, dh and I were flying to Portugal. We were delayed a few hours on our first flight and missed our connection. We were rerouted through Geneva but that flight also was delayed and we missed our connection again! They wanted to reroute us but we said "no way". We ended up staying the night in Geneva. We didn't speak any french and ended up at this restaurant with a waiter who didn't speak english but did speak a little spanish. He told us they only had one thing on the menu and that is what we got. It was the most delicious steak with some sort of cream sauce and a huge pile of shoestring french fries. I'll always remember that meal and dream of it!
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Old 01-13-2007, 02:27 PM   #4
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There was a period in my professional life when I traveled to the San Francisco area regularly. On one of those trips, I traveled with a Chinese-American woman. She came from a traditional background. Her parents ran a Chinese restaurant.

We went to San Francisco's Chinatown one day to do some sightseeing, walking and dinner.

I put the burden of choosing the restaurant and menu on her. We walked around for a while and stopped and checked out numerous restaurants and their menus before she finally stopped and said, "We'll eat here." I asked her how she made her choice. She replied. I liked the menu, it looked clean, the ducks hanging in the window were fresh and it's filled with old Chinese people.

We had a very enjoyable meal of duck, rice and vegetables.
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Old 01-13-2007, 02:35 PM   #5
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free bowl of dee-licious turtle soup at a French Quarter hotel where we were staying during Mardi Gras (the maitre'd had a crush on one of the ladies in our party)

freshly caught wild trout grilled over a campfire near Mesa Verde and served on toast (what got me turned on to trout and totally spoiled for almost every other kind of fish)
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Old 01-14-2007, 09:26 AM   #6
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I once had a male admire-er who wanted to impress me, so ordered steak tartare, after I had ordered it for myself. This was in Arlington, Virginia. I tucked in (I LOVE raw beef). Needless to say, my man (Polish, by the way) was way grossed out. I'm now happily married (25 years) to a man who isn't apalled when I eat my steak raw. Grrrr.
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Old 01-14-2007, 10:44 AM   #7
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Freezing cold in Kazakhstan (no kidding!) and we're served this wonderful steaming bowl of soup. Didn't know what it was but ate every bite. I asked one of the Kazakhs sitting next to me fwhat it was and was informed that it was borscht. I could not believe it as I thought that I hated beets. Well, that soup was so good that I went online and found so many different recipes that I didn't know which one to try. I found a Ukrainian recipe that was similar but still not quite the same but my DH and I have made it several times and love it. Didn't realize how nutritious beets are, either.
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Old 01-14-2007, 11:00 AM   #8
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This took place in October 2001, shortly after 9/11. I am on an organized tour to London and Paris. About 1/3 of the participants had cancelled out so we were left with some hard core fun loving tourists on this trip. Combined with the trauma of 9/11, the entire 5 days we were in Paris, the govt workers were on strike so ALL the tourist places we were scheduled to see, museums, cathedrals, opera house, were closed. I am tagging along with two couples for lunch in a cafe. Kate spies what she thinks is quiche in a display case on our way to our table. Our waitress does not speak nor understand English. Kate is having a halariously difficult time trying to order the quiche, which we later find out is not quiche. An elderly French gent kindly comes over to our table and says he sees we are having difficulty ordering and can he be some assistance. Toward the end of our meal, this elderly French gent appears again, is looking at his feet, looking very awkward and simply says "We Frenchmen, our hearts are with you" and he disappears. We are sitting there with tears in our eyes at this display of comraderie.
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Old 01-14-2007, 01:35 PM   #9
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Nothing too far out at all.

It was a number of years ago, long before Katrina, and we went to NO for a long weekend. Knew it was a party town but did not realize the bars were open at 6 AM.

Well we ate and drank and shopped (new bil was, and is , a displaced Cajun. We put together a lovely Christmas package for him and sil of local goodies.)

Then it was about lunch time and walked by a joint. Actually calling it a joint would be the equivalent of calling Mickey D's a four star Michelin place.

Undaunted by the appearance (maybe buoyed by the fact that the bars were all open, did I mention that, and one could only shop so long) we went in and had a fantastic meal. Later learned it was a famous NO restaurant. Go figure.

Very sated and happy we left and decided to walk about the Quarter.

And then we found it. There it was, just tucked into a notch between two disheveled buildings (aren't they all?).

It was a boudin stand.

Now that might not seem like a very momentous event to many, particularly to a Cajun who was weaned on the stuff, but we had never had the McCoy.

We had made some ourselves, a number of times, but how can one judge ones own product having not tasted the original? (Bil was 800 miles away so could not use him as a judge).

We thought our attempts were tasty, maybe even a tad better than that, but would a Cajun approve of our efforts, laugh, or hurl?

One of our missions in going to NO was to try true boudin. OK, OK, it was not like searching for the Holy Grail, but it was something to strive for.

But no one could tell us where to find any. The concierge at the hotel sort of snorted and said that was Cajun (which we knew) and NO was Creole (which we also knew), and implied boudin was po' peoples' food.

Both of us were raised on po' people's' food and became a bit offended. Maybe affected by the fact that all of the bars were open, did I mention that, I was going to reply to the concierge, but one of us smiled, said thanks, and got me away from the supercilious witch.

Anyway we came upon it, the culinary equivalent to us of the Holy Grail, a Boudin Stand.

Although we had just eaten every variation of New Orleans fare at the (very, very famous, but what did we know) greasy spoon we had to try it.

Culinary kismet only rarely exposes itself and when it does I don't care if I am looking like one those alligators at a Florida gator place with half uneaten fish sticking out of my mouth, we were going to have the boudin.

Found it tasty, even delectable. And it tasted just like the stuff we had made. Yippee!

I have no idea how Julius Caesar felt after one of his victories, or how General McArthur felt upon returning to the Plillipines.

But it was a victory to us.

Went back the next day and could not find it. Am pretty good with directions, show me a place once and I have it. Just the way I am built.

But there was just not a notch beteen any buildings we could find.

Asked about a bit and no one ever heard of a boudin stand.

In fact, no one could ever remember having heard of a boudin stand.

It may seem a bit wierd and it does to us too. And yes, the bars were open (did I mention that?), but this really happened.

The morning we left we had the cab stop at the local grocer and picked up some genuine boudin. It was good but not the stuff we put out.

That is almost the most unusual food experience ai can think of when we were on the road.

And did I mention the bars were open?
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Old 01-14-2007, 01:52 PM   #10
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What a fascinating and funny story!!! I am so happy for ya'lls 'victory"

If you are ever in south Louisiana again...go west of the Atchafalaya..get off the main roads...find a little store at a cross roads...go in buy the boudin and a cold beer...Victory again!!!
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Old 01-14-2007, 03:48 PM   #11
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When you said 'travel story' I figure you mean food you'll actually travel for, or something similar.

I live in northen NJ. My boyfriend and I were in Boston a couple of years ago. We had pizza for lunch from Pizzeria Regina. We loved it. Before we were to drive home, we went back to the pizzeria for two pies to go. We had to take them on the subway, then the hotel shuttle bus, and then for a 5 hour car ride before we got them home.

Every time we go to New Orleans we have muffalettas from Central Grocery. We always go back on our last day and bring three home for the families.

Every summer I have a pig roast party only I'm not interested in roasting the pig myself. Lou picks up the cooked pig, right out of the oven (usually 60 pounds) and drives it from 9th Street Canulli Bros. in S. Philly to my yard, where I have a pit waiting to keep it warm for the party. The picture of the roast pig laying on his back seat is hilarious.
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Old 01-14-2007, 04:17 PM   #12
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One from childhood. One as an adult.

When I was a child, my parents had to travel about 30 miles to do regular grocery shopping for us. There were 5 children in our family. At any rate, they shopped once a week on my father's day off, which was Thursday. He was a doc.

They'd take the whole day, have dinner out, too. Then they'd come home about 8 p.m. and unload the car. Bag after bag, after bag, after bag of groceries for the hungry masses.

On one of those Thursday nights, as they were unpacking all the bags, they realized they had someone else's groceries. Apparently the boy who loaded the car for them (they had folks who did that back then) rolled the wrong cart to my dad's car and unloaded it. When my parents discovered the mistake it was too late to do anything but use the groceries. It was too late at night to drive the 30 miles back to the store because in those days, grocery stores closed at 9 p.m.

The plus side of the experience is that there was a huge pork loin roast in the order. My mother never cooked anything like it, but she roasted it on Sunday with carrots, onions and potatoes and it was melt-in-your-mouth tender and delicious. I can almost taste it now. She never cooked another one, but that one was memorable.

As an adult, Buck and I used to tent camp on Ocrakoke Island, North Carolina for our vacation several years in a row. It's one of the most beautiful places in the world. We tent camped right on the beach and spent many lazy days doing not much of anything but enjoying the sun, sand and surf fishing.

Since we were right on the beach, there were no trees, which meant that when the sun woke up, we did too. Except for one morning. Buck woke up before me and walked the few feet to the water to do some early morning surf fishing.

I awoke to the tantalizing smell of fresh fish cooking on the camp stove. We feasted on fresh flounder and sliced lemons for breakfast. It was a breakfast I will ALWAYS remember.
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Old 01-15-2007, 08:17 AM   #13
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We were taking the trip of a lifetime -- a few days in Hong Kong. Of all things, believe it or not, I had never had Indian food. So we found a little cellar place off the beaten path, and were honest with the waiter. We simply did not know what to order. He took over, and we ate and ate and ate and ate some more. Everything was wonderful. We were going to go to a different restaurant a few nights later, Indonesian, but there was a police cord across it. So we ... well, did Indian yet again. (and yes, we also did both Canonese and Szechuan food while we were there, and a bit of Portuguese as well in that colony) (Oh, and yes, also fish & chips). Do you think that I believe the main reason for travel is to ... eat? BTW, I think Napoleon's has the best mufaletta in NO, and there is this little grocery store that looks like it is just a convenience store outside of Lafayette ... no, not a boudin stand, but they make some great boudin. Dirty Rice. etc. You just call in the morning and pick it up later. Yummmyummmy.
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Old 01-15-2007, 12:10 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Claire
We were taking the trip of a lifetime -- a few days in Hong Kong. Of all things, believe it or not, I had never had Indian food. So we found a little cellar place off the beaten path, and were honest with the waiter. We simply did not know what to order. He took over, and we ate and ate and ate and ate some more. Everything was wonderful. We were going to go to a different restaurant a few nights later, Indonesian, but there was a police cord across it. So we ... well, did Indian yet again. (and yes, we also did both Canonese and Szechuan food while we were there, and a bit of Portuguese as well in that colony) (Oh, and yes, also fish & chips). Do you think that I believe the main reason for travel is to ... eat? BTW, I think Napoleon's has the best mufaletta in NO, and there is this little grocery store that looks like it is just a convenience store outside of Lafayette ... no, not a boudin stand, but they make some great boudin. Dirty Rice. etc. You just call in the morning and pick it up later. Yummmyummmy.
Funny you mention Napolean house. Lou and I have been to NOLA 4 times already. It's impossible to get to each good place so we've been mapping them out and crossing them off each time we go. When we were last there, it was last December into New Year's Eve. Unfortunately, Napoleon house was on that particular trip list, but it hadn't reopened for a full regular schedule, post Katrina. We'll be back in NOLA in 35 days and once again, Napoleon house is on the list. We'll definitely be having the muffaletta with a Pimms cup.
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Old 01-15-2007, 01:46 PM   #15
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I'm a person who will travel just for the food.... each year, we make a trip down to Port Aransas to visit places like Seafood and Spaghetti Works, Crazy Cajun's, Shells, and Pelican's Landing. We always make it a point to hit our favorite dining spots. Also, we have been going to San Antonio to hit our favs there as well.

Crazy Cajuns had to be the oddest place I had ever been.... upon walking into the place all you could hear was the constant rapping noise. The noise was folks armed with tiny little hammers beating their crab legs and claws. There is only one thing on the menu... a mixture of shrimp, crawfish, crab, suasage, corn, and red potatos. They come and dump it in the middle of your table... some of the best food that I have ever had paired with an icy cold brew!!!!
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Old 01-21-2007, 05:43 PM   #16
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I also love the dance halls in and around Lafayette. One time we went we were camping (tent) next to a couple of young Israeli women. We mentioned one to them and they wanted to come with us. Two single women hooking up with a totally strange couple after a couple of glasses of wine. You'd think these places were just tourist traps, but when you get there you can tell the locals because they eat whatever shellfish is in season, steamed with spices, and piled on the middle of the table. The daddies dance with the little girls balanced on the top of their feet. They dance, come back, eat, and dance some more. We've been to three of them and loved every minute. Unfortunately, hubby doesn't like to dance. But the food and song and people-watching is so much fun. The often bewildered tourists, the stomping, singing, eating, dancing locals, the great music. My family are singing, dancing CANUKs, so it felt right like home the first time.

IF the weather is nice, and they've fixed it back up, eat in the courtyard at Napoleons.
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