May 27, 2011

Most people that know me would call me (among other things) a “foodie.” Not to say that I’m a food snob or such, but I’d wager that I do spend a greater part of my day than your average American thinking about my next meal. And this is no-more-so true than when travelling. Now, before we had kids, my wife and I would pretty much plan an itinerary around restaurants and foodmarkets that we wanted to sample, and if our gaze happened to settle upon an impressionist masterpiece, civil war battlefield, gothic cathedral, or wonderment-inducing mountain and/or valley along the way, then so much the better.

Now as with most things, the introduction of kids into the mix has changed the dynamic of the way we travel. For whatever reason, my 5 and 9 year old don’t necessarily see the merits of buzzing through an aquarium, museum, castle, or water park to drive up some serpentine mountain road or walk 43 city blocks in search of the perfect cassoulet, fried chicken, or lingonberry. Actually, as it turns out, when they’re hungry they want to eat at that very red-hot moment.

Last fall, we spent an extended weekend in New Orleans which is undeniably one of the great “food towns” in America. And what makes it so is not necessarily the numerous great restaurants (from grand-dames such as

And, of course, England has a centuries-old reputation of being a gastronomic black hole, but my family and I were absolutely delighted to discover that “the next place we saw” was almost without fail something that felt like a “discovery” rather than a place we were going to have to settle for just to fuel up and be on our merry way. And I’m not just talking meat pies and fried haddock. We had a fabulous meal at the

Of course, it’s not surprising that the English should celebrate their food heritage as with most European nations they are extremely proud of their (lengthy) history. What was eye-opening was how rich that tradition is given its perception worldwide which dates at least as far back as the quote at the top. But what’s more, a great English food experience was not only easy to find, but it was in large part unavoidable which to me is what truly makes a place a true culinary “destination.”