As I look back on my 2015, I’m struck by the diverse range of experiences I had in the world of food. And because I love lists and record-keeping, I’m sharing my most memorable food experiences of 2015. I’d love for you to share some of your top eats, too!
EATING IN ASIA
DRINKING FROM COCONUTS IN THAILAND
I have never been a fan of coconut milk. However, after I sipped from a coconut on the beaches of Phuket, I became an instant fan. Welcome to island life!
EATING BIG IN BANGKOK
In 2015, Nahm Restaurant in Bangkok was included in the World’s 50 Best Restaurants and Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants, ranking 22nd and 7th respectively, and Justin selected Nahm for our final dinner in Thailand. We enjoyed a tasting menu that highlighted various flavors of Thai cuisine, such as refreshing lemongrass, spicy chilis, and savory curries. Needless to say, our gourmet dining experience at Nahm was simply exquisite.
After our sumptuous meal of Michelin-rated proportions, Justin and I walked across the street to the Banyan Tree Bangkok hotel. From 61 floors up, we sipped on fancy cocktails at the rooftop Moon Bar while overlooking the twinkling lights of Bangkok at night. It was a glitzy and glamorous evening, unforgettable and rich in flavor… and Thai Baht!
PASSING ON TARANTULAS
I considered eating a tarantula in Cambodia. Vendors sell fried tarantulas and other insects from their carts in the street. I was curious… but my curiosity did not compel me to actually taste one. Sorry, but I’m no Andrew Zimmerman. Knowing that fried spiders and cockroaches are an unthinkable snack for most Westerners, cart owners charge travelers for snapping photos of their crispy critters. I passed on that opportunity as well, but I’ll never forget that cart covered in creepy-crawlys.
As I have already mentioned in this Global Heartbeat post, my month-long experience in Taiwan with the Rotary Club was defined by our dining experiences. From top of the line restaurants, such as The Oriental Cuisine high above the shores of Sun Moon Lake, to fried delights in the street markets, I had so many incredible meals in Taiwan that, as the saying goes, I brought back an extra stomach!
EATING IN EUROPE
MAKING PAELLA IN SPAIN
Last spring, I worked with a travel company called Global Works Travel, where I led a school group around the country for a couple of weeks. One of our activities in Valencia involved making our own paella! We worked in the industrial kitchen of Paellas Velarte, learned the secrets to this Spanish specialty that hails from the region, and then enjoyed our hard-earned meal. It was great fun for our gaggle of girls – me included!
To celebrate Justin’s 30th birthday, we had dinner at The Market Place in Como, Italy. The modern take on Italian classics was a sumptuous way to encounter Italian cuisine. We went all out – ordering the tasting menus and accompanying wine pairings. Parmesan foam, rabbit ravioli, grilled octopus, suckling lamb. Well, when in Como…
At the southern end of the Italian peninsula, Justin and I supped like locals with locals in the home of Airbnb hosts Andreina and Vito. Andreina gave us an authentic taste of Sicily and made the dining room table overflow with typical Sicilian dishes, such as caponata, parmigiana di melanzane, fennel salad, swordfish rolls, and homemade limoncello. The food and the company made for one of the most memorable meals of all time! You can try your hand at making some of Andreina’s recipes, which are posted on their website: Andreina & Vito.
In 2015, we moved to Switzerland, and as our stomachs would have it, we have eaten well in the land of cheese and chocolate. In the tiny Alpine village of Wengen that overlooks the Lauterbrunnen Valley, we celebrated our 5-year wedding anniversary with an incredible dinner at Restaurant 1903 in the Hotel Schönegg. Of course, we chose the tasting menu… are you starting to see a theme in our dining habits? We couldn’t have commemorated our love for each other and great food any better!
Of course, no move to Switzerland would be complete without Swiss fondue! We had to wait until the temperatures dropped before trying the infamous cheesy dish (because only tourists eat fondue in the summer heat!), and it was certainly worth the wait. In Zürich, we ate at the Fribourger Fonduestübli with Justin’s parents as an event during their visit. To go with our bread, steamed potatoes, and pots of melted cheese, we also included pickled pearl onions, mini gherkins (aka pickles), pears and pineapple. With our eyes opened to the simplicity of Swiss fondue, we have since enjoyed this typical dish at home, which is more Swiss anyway.
EATING IN NORTH AMERICA
SOUTHERN FARE IN SOUTH BEACH
Upon a friend’s recommendation, we made a point to eat at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar while in Miami. Fried green tomatoes, a heaping kale salad, Mama’s biscuits, “Chicken ‘N Watermelon N’ Waffles,” and a tall glass of tea took this Southern girl’s tastebuds back to her roots. I loved this restaurant and it’s “southern fare!”
THE BEST OF ORLANDO
Delicious meals with good friends makes for great memories. Date nights at Cask & Larder and The Ravenous Pig, reunions on the patio at Yellow Dog Eats, late night snacks at Tako Cheena – I simply can’t get enough of My Favorite Orlando Restaurants! In fact, I kicked off 2016 with an extremely memorable meal at Prato, thanks to a certain sous chef’s generosity and desire to treat our party with his favorite dishes – such as bone marrow crostinis, sea urchin bites, and snapper collar swimming in a shallow pool of warm pancetta vinaigrette. Who knew charred cabbage and kohlrabi could be so delicious? I don’t even know what kolhrabi is, but it was a savory part of my most memorable meal of 2016 – to date!
Hey there, Fellow Foodies!
Would you have tried a tarantula if given the chance? What were some of your most memorable meals in 2015? Share it all in the comment section below!