For many people, eating is as much a part of a vacation as sightseeing. And for me, food tastes better when I’m eating it in a beautiful or exciting setting with interesting, lively people. Croissants in Paris—check. Fish and chips in England—check. Chorizo in Spain, Haggis in Scotland, Mofongo in Puerto Rico—check, check, and check. But some food experiences have stood out above others. Here’s my list of the best things I ever ate or drank on vacation:
Guinness Stew in Dublin, Ireland
My husband and I like to travel in the off-season and when I was in law school we spent two weeks in Ireland in late December and early January. I packed our first full day with adventures, including a literary pub crawl that evening. The pub crawl was amazing, but by the time we finished around 10 p.m., we were famished. I was craving fish and chips, so we popped into a nearby pub. The pub wasn’t serving fish and chips that late, and the bartender offered us Guinness stew. I was disappointed but hungry, and the bartender assured me the stew was good. But it was more than good. It was some of the best stuff I ever put in my mouth. Rich, thick, hearty, and filled with meat and potatoes—the perfect thing to warm us up on that cold night. My husband and I still talk about how amazing that stew was, nearly 10 years later.
Pomegranates, rich in nutrients and antioxidants, are highly touted for their health benefits. They’re often hard to come by and expensive in the United States but grow everywhere in Turkey, where street vendors, restaurants, and even gas stations sell glasses of fresh-squeezed pomegranate juice for just a few Turkish Lira. I drank at least 3 glasses of delicious pomegranate juice every day on our 10-day trip and felt wonderful the whole time I was there!
Seeing Harrods has never been on my list of priorities when visiting London. But in 2010, I took my mom to England, and she really wanted to have tea there. And, I admit, having tea at Harrods’ Georgian Restaurant was a cool and unexpected experience. Tea for two consisted of more food than I usually eat in a whole day and a pot each of one of Harrods’ specialty blends of tea. The finger sandwiches were yummy, the scones and clotted cream—which have always been my favorite—melted in our mouths, and I could only eat a few bites of the trifle I was so full. The Georgian is decorated beautifully and added to our enjoyment. The Harrods tea experience isn’t cheap (I think it was about £40 in 2010) but worth every pence!
Ceviche in Lima, Peru
My husband and I usually eat cheaply on vacation—ordering from street vendors or eating at places frequented by students. But in Lima, we took the recommendation of a friend who frequents Lima for work and went to Brujas de Cachiche in the Miraflores district. The restaurant is beautiful, but we came for one thing—the ceviche. Ceviche typically consists of raw fish cured in citrus juice with onions, lettuce, avocado, or other accompaniments. The ceviche at Brujas lived up to the hype. My husband and I shared a ceviche sampler that included spicy, sweet, and savory selections made with various types of local seafood. And we washed the ceviche down with the national drink of Peru, Pisco Sour.
Joe’s is a Miami institution that’s been around more than 100 years. Joe’s is only open during stone crab season which, in Florida, runs from mid-October through mid-May. I’ve been to Joe’s twice, and everything about the Joe’s experience each time was magnifique. My drinks were perfectly made by expert bartenders. The servers, many of whom have worked at Joe’s for decades, provided experiences second to none. And the stone crab legs and drawn butter were heaven. We sprung for the large claws and added hashed browns, creamed spinach, and Joe’s world-famous key lime pie for dessert. Everything about both my visits to Joe’s was perfect.
- Oysters at Boston’s Union Oyster House
- Flaming chorizo from a tapas restaurant near the Catedral de Granada in Granada, Spain
- Fried green tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café in Juliette, Georgia
- Milk punch from the brunch buffet at Green Pastures in Austin, Texas
- Gelato from a gelateria near Rome’s Trevi Fountain
What’s the best thing you’ve eaten while traveling?
This post was penned by Flirting with the Globe contributor, Megan Boyd. You can read more about Megan here.
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