Being food and wine bloggers, we are seemingly always eating. We do it for the sake of the blog, obviously. We wouldn’t want to miss out on a great dish, an awesome food tour or a delicious cocktail that we can share with our readers.
Okay, so that’s really only half true. We do it for the love of all things food and drink. We’ve visited so many countries, all of which have their own unique foods, flavors and ingredients. We tried so many things we’ve never eaten that I quickly lost track. Good thing we take a lot of pictures of the food we eat.
Every time I look back over all the unique dishes and crazy foods we’ve eaten this year, I get excited all over again. For me, there’s nothing as rewarding as traveling for food. If you love traveling for food too, you might want to check out our ebook, 101 Dishes to Travel the World For. It’s free to download and you’ll be drooling over the food from page one!
Here is a photographic walk through our 10 favorite travel food experiences – all of which I remember fondly and hope we someday have the chance to taste again. Also, see these top Vegetarian food experiences, for the meatless culinary travelers.
10. Tuscan Grill aboard the Celebrity Silhouette
In May and June, we went on our first cruise. We boarded the Celebrity Silhouette for a 13-day trip, having no idea what to expect of the food options we’d have on board. Turns out that Celebrity has some fantastic specialty restaurants onboard, which feature a range of options from Asian to Italian cuisine, for a small extra fee. We took full advantage of these options and ate in a specialty restaurant almost every night. Our favorite was the Tuscan Grill. The lasagna and Caesar Salads were to die for! We went back 3 times just to have more lasagna.
9. Masha and the Bear in St. Petersburg, Russia
While we were in St. Petersburg, a major goal of ours was to eat some authentic Russian food and see how these dishes differ from what we’ve always had at home. Borscht and Beef Stroganoff were two dishes I was very eager to compare. I was happy to find that borscht in Russia isn’t anything like the versions we find in the States. And it’s really delicious. If I could go back to Russia for only one thing, it would be for a cup of the delicious borscht we had at Masha and the Bear.
8. Habana 61 in Havana, Cuba
For so long, I’ve been hearing that the food in Cuba is unimpressive, at best. We were told by a number of people not to expect much from the food. So when we arrived in Havana, we came armed with salt and pepper, just in case we needed to season the bland food. Fortunately, our food worries were quickly put to rest. We loved the food in Cuba. One of our favorites (the national dish of Cuba) was a wildly flavorful plate of Ropa Vieja (shredded beef with tomato, peppers and onions), that we ordered at Habana 61 in Havana’s old town.
7. Austin Food & Wine Festival in Austin, Texas
2015 was our first year attending the Austin Food & Wine Festival. It is a 4-day affair with two full days dedicated to the grand tasting event that draws in huge celebrity chefs, dozens of local and national restaurateurs and wineries. It was also our first time in Austin, so we spent the full four days feasting on the incredible food that makes Austin such a popular destination for foodies. We will absolutely go back to the Austin Food & Wine Festival again.
6. Tie between: Partake by KJ and Bravas in Healdsburg, California
Healdsburg, California, just outside of Sonoma, has many great restaurants. It’s the perfect place to end a day of wine tasting. I’ve always loved Partake by KJ. The food is very well thought out and intentionally paired with Kendall Jackson wines. It’s a great experience every time. But this year we also went to Bravas, a Spanish tapas restaurant around the corner from Partake, and we immediately fell in love with it. The tapas are just as good as any we had in Spain. The sardines we had there were definitely a highlight of our trip to Sonoma this year.
5. Rose’s Luxury in Washington, DC
As you may have read on the blog a few months back, we were lucky enough to have our friend, David, in Washington DC, wait in a 2.5 hour line to get us a table at Rose’s Luxury, which was named Bon Appetit’s 2014 Restaurant of the Year. While we left wondering if it was worth a 2.5 hour line to get in, the food was pretty great. You wouldn’t think that lychee and sausage salad would be something to remember, but it was. That salad alone was worth the wait. I would definitely go back for it.
4. Relae in Copenhagen, Denmark
As we were eating the food at Relae in Copenhagen, I remember wishing there had been more meat-centric dishes. It was a very light, vegetable-heavy menu. But looking back, I realize how great that meal was. The frozen cheese dusted over herbs that formed the cheese course, the giant stalks of fresh asparagus, the delicate whey broth. Each dish offered a new way of looking at and thinking about food. I would never have thought that sunflower seed risotto would be so tasty, but I fell in love with that dish and I would love to go back for more. Each dish shouted “Spring!”, even more so than the last, and it was truly a moving dining experience. I look back on it very fondly. It was also a great alternative when we were sadly unable to get a reservation at Noma.
3. Pujol in Mexico City, Mexico
When we decided to go to Mexico City, I already knew which restaurant we absolutely had to go to. Pujol has been on my dining radar for a long time. It is certainly one of the top restaurants worth traveling for. Ranked #16 on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, Pujol has been in the Mexico City limelight for a long time now. The food is both creative and inventive, and the best part is that they use ingredients native to the area, plus some interesting additions like powdered ants. The menu features 6 dishes, plus a happy ending. Pictured above is one of my favorite dishes – a tortilla made with avocado, containing tender suckling lamb and guacamole cream with edible flowers.
2. Maximo Bistro in Mexico City, Mexico
This where we ate on New Years Eve in Mexico City. Maximo Bistrot ranks on the Latin America 50 Best Restaurants list. It’s a comfortable, yet small restaurant featuring modern French food with Mexican influences. It was worth every bite. The tasting menu started out light with a briny oyster, then moved on with a tender and chewy ravioli, a crisp piece of suckling lamb and a refreshing sorbet. It was a great way to end the year on a high note.
1. The Bazaar in Beverly Hills, California
For my birthday this year, we took a quick trip to Beverly Hills in order to indulge in a special dinner at The Bazaar, a Jose Andres restaurant. Having lived in Washington, DC, for many years, I became accustomed to eating at Jose Andres’ fabulous restaurants, so I was really excited to try The Bazaar. We had an 18-course meal, complete with all the wonderful avant-garde type dishes Andres is known for. I love the cotton-candy-wrapped foie gras lollipop and the creative spin on a Philly cheese steak, but my favorite dish was a simple piece of Jamon Iberico with cavier.
Where did you have your favorite food experiences this year? Did you go to any particularly noteworthy restaurants, or experience a dish that you can’t forget? Tell us about it in the comments section. We always love hearing about other’s food finds!