I'm in Paris this week, and I've been looking forward to bringing you some tips and fresh ideas from the streets of the city. But as I sat down to think about what to share with you, I found my thoughts going in a bit different direction than I expected.
Here are five lessons I've been learning in the past five years of travel, and especially from Paris.
From the equipment to the grounds, hotel room coffee can leave much to be desired. Some travelers opt to bring their own coffee beans, an Aeropress, or other brewing supplies. Here a simple solution that doesn't require you to pack anything — but still gives you a much better tasting cup of joe.
Do you have a travel limit — the number of days you can be on vacation before you start feeling that slight tug to return back home? My personal limit is somewhere around six or seven days. That's about the time I start to think about how much I've spent, worry about how much I've eaten out, and generally just miss the routine of life at home. There is however, a way to extend this limit. It all starts with taking time to cook a meal while on vacation. Are you doing this yet?
We've talked about visiting local farmers' markets to get a flavor for a city, and a similar argument can be made for local grocery stores as well. Even the most suburban, fluorescent-lit supermarket can give an interesting look into everyday life in another town and its people.
Mexico City is my second home. I lived there for four years up until January, and I fell in love with its wild, chaotic energy. I fell even harder for the food — so much so that I went to Mexican cooking school and started my own culinary tourism business there.
In a few weeks I’ll make my third trip back so far this year. I pack lightly as a rule, but when traveling to DF, I always take a second fold-up bag to fit all my purchases. (They’re almost always food-related.)
Sometimes, if you're traveling, and always, if you're a cheese fiend, bringing your own cheese is the way to go.
Whether you're going to the beach or the woods where cheese selection might be spotty or you're visiting your hometown with nary a cheese shop in sight, you might want to take note of these notes on how best to transport your little gems. You might be surprised at just how far you can bring your cheese.
Do you keep a food journal when you travel? I'm not talking about food journal in the way it's often used, i.e. a place to write down the caloric value of everything you put into your mouth. No, I'm talking about a journal where you jot down notes about the experience of the food you ate while on vacation — the restaurant dish you tried to decipher so you could recreate it at home, the totally off-the-cuff seaside meal you made after getting inspired at a local fish market, your memories of the particular flavor and feel of the region you visited. Do you do this?
Some people see vacation as an escape from cooking, but I often find that time in the kitchen is much more relaxing when I'm on a trip. Unfortunately, most rental kitchens aren't stocked with the right tools and ingredients to make vacation cooking what it should be: simple, flexible and above all, pleasurable. But you can ensure your own happiness by packing these ten items on your next trip.