How could we let 2013 pass without highlighting some of the year’s Most Memorable Foodie Moments. So much of our travels are about food. Learning about local culture, breaking bread with new friends or toasting old ones with a fabulous wine, trying something we’ve never had before or learning about the ingredients it takes to make an amazing meal. Sometimes it’s as simple as an unbelievable donut and a great cup of coffee and other times it’s a multi-course meal in a 5-star restaurant.
Our travels over the last 12 months have taken us to some incredible destinations. As hopeless foodies, we love sharing our culinary adventures. So as we reflect on this year’s journey, we thought we’d share some of our most memorable dining experiences of this past year.
The quality of the food, the creativity of the presentation, and of course the wine pairings made this unique 14-course dinner a memorable dining experience.
With dishes like a cotton candy ball with a frozen margarita center; tacos served inside a book; Chilean sea bass served in a banana leaf; a chocolate flower pot; chocolate-covered foie gras morsels on a bed of pecans; it’s no wonder that Le Chique was named winner of Travel & Leisure Mexico’s Gourmet Award for Best Tasting Menu.
Luke: New Orleans
It’s always a treat to dine in a restaurant owned by of one of your favorite celebrity chefs, and James Beard Best Chef award winner Chef John Besh is on that list!
So when we were in New Orleans and had the opportunity to dine at LUKE, we knew it would be something special. Chef John Besh has traveled throughout the world and incorporates French, German and Creole influences into the menu at LUKE.
We started with “le plateau” of fresh gulf oysters on the half shell, chilled to perfection and the Flamenkuche is a thin Alsacien onion tarte, bacon, and Emmenthaler cheese. They call it Hors d’oeuvres; we think it could be an entire meal. The crab & corn bisque exceeded our expectations, as did the fresh gulf fish amandine. But the real standout, a house favorite (and now one of ours) is the Louisiana Shrimp & grits with roasted jalapeño cheese grits, andouille & green onion sausages. A harmony of flavors that was music to our taste buds!
Sometimes the most memorable meals aren’t even on land.
Take the bucket list worthy dinner we had aboard Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam when we experienced “An Evening at Le Cirque” where they recreate the look and feel of the legendary restaurant right down to the place settings and the menu offerings. Wine pairings, Lobster Salad ‘Le Cirque’, Châteaubriand and their famous crème brûlée were absolute perfection.
And then there was the Farenheit 555 Steakhouse on the Carnival Sunshine. It was so good the first night we went we had to go back the next. Foodie dreams are made of things like their New England Crab Cake on Roasted Pepper Remoulade, Lobster Bisque with Vintage Congnac, Fleuron and Fresh Cream and of course the stars of the night, prime steaks.
How could we not mention checking off our Bucket List eating a bounty of Alaskan Crab Legs that were caught in the morning and served up that night on Uncruise’s Safari Endeavor, with a breathtaking view of a glacier from our dinner table.
Flying in 2013 we had some delicious air ‘fare’. Fresh baked cookies on United, a decadent dessert and box of chocolates from Frankfurt to D.C. on Lufthansa, a dinner fit for royals on board Air Canada enroute to Barcelona and Alaska Air’s cheese with Beecher’s Flagship, Tillamook Sharp Cheddar, a wedge of Brie and fresh seasonal fruit. Needless to say, we didn’t fly hungry.
And then there were those moments that were more than a meal. We spent a day inDubrovnik, Croatia eating our way around the walled city, toasting to its beauty and warmth with local wine and eating oysters harvested from the sea that morning.
In Florence, Italy it was about dining local. Our friend Elyse, a.k.a. Foodie International, came to meet us and as we walked past the tourists and back into a neighborhood tucked away from the frenzy, we had a typical Florentine lunch of meats, cheeses and pastas that Elyse ordered for us in Italian.
We raised our apéritifs to our good fortune, an afternoon with friends, good food and the authentic Florence experience. And then there was Memphis, TN. While we enjoyed some incredible BBQ ribs at the Charles Vergos’ Rendezvous, it was our visit to St. Jude Children’s Hospital with Expedia and the dinner we served the kids and their families that truly fed our souls.
There isn’t enough time in the day, or loops in our belts to cover all the food we ate this past year like amazing flavor combinations of the gelato we had in Rome, spam and eggs in Molokai, the banana panna cotta pudding at the Peninsula Grill in Charleston, S.C., the pizza at L & B Spumoni Gardens in Brooklyn, the coffee in Seattle, the poutine in Toronto, Key Lime Pie in Key West, Florida, the food truck experience in Austin and seeing our friend Chef Dolce Debbie realize her dream of opening her own restaurant, Della’s After Dark. It was a delicious year.
Raising our glasses to you and wishing you flavorful travels! Happy New Year!