to my PR career and three years of savings, I was lucky
enough to visit and truly experience five countries and eight cities
within a three-month period.
travels took me from London to Barcelona, to Naples, Rome and Florence,
to Cannes and Marseilles and finally Munich. I saw so many sites, met
some amazing people, and as equally important, ate some out-of-this-world food.
off my culinary adventure, I made it a personal quest to tell my
friends and family that I ate fish & chips in England! But, little
did I know, I would uncover a whole new world of culinary magnificence
in London that I never knew existed. Melt in your mouth broccoli puree,
delicate white onion soup and perfectly cooked hake that I can still
taste when I close my eyes, at the popular Rhodes 24, were just the tip of the iceberg.
Trying to trump that, I had Dim Sum at Ping Pong
like a true Brit, I was told. And when my dining partners ordered around 20 items off of the extensive menu
and then asked the waiter, “will that be enough for us?,” I knew I was
home! Next was the non-pub pub fare at The White Swan,
that included such classics as mushy peas and braised veal, but with a
refined elegance that I’ve never seen from traditional bar food.
After taking some advice from the locals, I spent a Saturday morning weaving in and out of the vendors at Borough Market,
sampling everything (once or twice) from rabbit & quail confit to
sea salt caramel to chicken and vegetable curry. Feeling like a local
myself, I grabbed a Pimm's and bacon butty and strolled through the
market to my heart’s content.
Most Londoners (or -ites?) might tease my indulgence in a “lovely” meat pie and the greasiest fish & chips imaginable - but these English staples were a must in order to satisfy my inquiring family and friends back home.
Spain to Italy to France, I delved into a worldly culinary feast that
included tapas and sangrias, pastas and paninis, and of course,
croissants and crepes. Needless to say, that portion of my European
adventure added a few pounds to my midsection but also allowed me to
prepare for the gastronomical marathon that was awaiting me in
When in Munich, after almost 12 hours of travelling, my colleagues and I stumbled into a nearby cafe called Klinglwirt.
With glazed eyes we squinted at our menus that looked like thousands of consonants strewn about on the page. Welcome to Germany! In
true American fashion, we pointed at “what they’re having” and ordered
“...beer, doesn’t matter, surprise us!” To our surprise, our pointing
and stuttering produced the smoothest beer we’ve ever had and German
comfort foods such as cheesy spinach spätzle, tangy sauerkraut and
creamy veal medallions.
the crowning achievement of the trip came after a long night of
“networking,” when we rolled up to an eight-story pagoda in the middle of
the English Garden known as “Chinesischer Turm” in German. As the
second largest beer garden in the city of Munich, the Chinese Tower
seats up to 7,000 people. With a liter of Hofbrau and (what felt like)
half of a pig, I settled into a lunch of champions, Munich-style. To
wash it all down, we shared a soft pretzel the size of a beach ball with
a baseball-sized lump of Obatzter (cheese dip) on the side.
this experience of a lifetime with some amazing friends (old and new)
made every bite count! Where in the world will my taste buds take me next, you’ll
just have to wait to find out...