One of the best things about traveling to new places is taking home a little something to remind you of a particular day, shop or experience. While it's really not that far afield for us, a trip to Portland is always an excuse to pick up one of my favorite travel souvenirs: fancy flaky salt.
Our refrigerator has an ice maker. Like many ice makers, it doesn't really work. (Ours works sporadically, dumping a ton of ice in the middle of the night and waking me from a deep sleep, with my heart pounding. Fun times.) A while ago, we decided to go old school and keep a bunch of ice trays in the freezer. Then we got obsessed, finding interesting trays wherever we went.
Leave it to Aquaovo, makers of these seriously beautiful water filters, to come up with a water bottle that puts all other water bottles to shame. The Alter Ego is a water bottle with a built-in filtration system, which means you can drink clean water wherever you are in the world!
Traveling far from home and want something to bring back that has major impact? Consider a traditional tablecloth from the area you're visiting. They're often lightweight and can be folded compactly enough to fit into your luggage. (If not, they're easily shipped.) Open it up at home and instantly be transported back to your great escape.
I've been going to Upstate New York for the past few weeks with some friends who do many style-y things for a living, and one of them is that they collect antiques to sell in their store in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. They are good friends to have in many ways, but one of my favorite things about having these housemates is the way they can do a flea market like no one else. Lately, I've learned some of their tricks.
So this year, my summer travel souvenirs are mostly old funky things, and mostly for my kitchen of course. There are napkins that come with the musty odor of history and serving pieces that wear the nicks of time. I have perfectly seasoned cast-iron skillets and an ornate fish server I use for summer pies. I love each and every piece, and so does my wallet.
I've never been big on buying souvenirs, yet I quite often envy those of others. We got this painting from our trip to Thailand. We got this sculpture from our trip to China. We got this handmade molcajete from Mexico. All these individuals must be privy to some secret, because I rarely am able to find things like this on my own adventures. Instead of having a home filled with artifacts that provide connection to my experience and travels, I have a hard drive filled with photographs. Maybe that is really all I need.
Q: My father, after years of unhealthy eating, has agreed to let me dictate the menu for our upcoming family vacation. His only caveats are no black beans, hummus, or guacamole, and he wants meat in some form. He's essentially a meat and potatoes guy, and vegetables are only tolerable in salads. He's willing to try new things, but often doesn't like them.
It's no wonder that my favorite things to buy when I'm traveling are cheese-related. This cheese board from a small town in Puglia, called Ostuni, and I have yet to see another one that resembles it. I purchased something else while there, too, and its use is far less obvious than the cheese board's.
I've wanted to write about my Japanese ice cream spoons for years, but because I haven't been able to find them anywhere outside of Japan, it just didn't seem fair to rave about how they are the perfect spoons for eating ice cream, how my guests always love them, and how beautiful they are if you, the readers, couldn't buy a set of your own. But since we are talking about special travel souvenirs this week, now seems like the right time to share these spoons that can only be found in person, at a particular place.
During the summer months, many of us road-trip to see family and new sights around where we live or hop on a plane to visit somewhere far. I'm not traveling much this summer — I'll live vicariously though everyone else — but that doesn't mean I can't eat like I'm traveling abroad!