European Dispatch | Tasting Europe
| image courtesy of il cinema italiano |
Traveling is about local landscape, and culture, and getting out of my comfort zone. But it's also about food and the experience around food.
There is always a favorite meal in a new city. Sometimes it's the service, or the decor, or the company that makes a meal a favorite, and sometimes it's an unforgettable dish. Sometimes it's an experience that you can only find at home.
On my European tour this summer, there were so many memorable meals, but if I had to choose my favorites....
This meal took place on a boat in the Hudson that traveled to the Statue of Liberty and back. The menu was surprisingly good, the bar was stocked and the atmosphere was tons of fun. We laughed so much.
This restaurant magically appeared before us when we returned to Chateau Voltaire at 2am. We had missed our dinner reservation in pursuit of other Parisian night time activities, and thought we'd just go to bed and wake up starving. But when we arrived at the hotel, Capri St. Honoré across the street was bustling with activity and music was pouring out into the street. It was the perfect finish to the perfect night.
It was a rainy day, and a bank holiday in Paris so we had a difficult time finding a lunch spot. The hotel restaurant was closed, but the bar was open so I asked for a baguette, some butter, some cheese, some ham.... The bartender asked me "are you trying to make a sandwich?" I was. So he offered to make les sandwiches parisiens while we waited in the bar. They were so simple, and so delicious. It reminded me of a story I heard Chuck Williams tell about the best meal he'd ever had: un sandwich parisien and a glass of beer in Paris.
On our last night in Marrakech, we walked through the Medina in search of a Couscous Royale at Le Foundouk. It was the night my sister and I were reunited after she realized her passport was about to expire the night before we were to leave for Paris. She spent five days and many miles chasing down a new one and arrived victorious in a pink tuktuk to join us for our last night in Morocco.
This restaurant gets a lot of heat on social media, but I still love it. My friend Emmeline worked on the decor and Sepi and I got a peek at it before it became so well known. Katie and I visited Le Dôme for a drink then headed over to meet Andie at Carmelo for their famous Truffle Pasta. The riotous decor and fun atmosphere never get old.
After a day in Paris, we walked to the pick up window at Pizza Napoli from the train station and picked up a pizza to take back to our apartment. It was our first night that Andie and Katie arrived in Lyon and we were all so excited about the trip that lay ahead of us.
This dinner was like dining in a friend's living room. I don't even remember what we had, but I remember the atmosphere and the sweet conversation with my daughters in a dark corner of the hotel's parlor.
Île de Ré
The night we arrived in Île de Ré, my father-in-law passed away. Our arrival was late and clouded by sadness. When we woke up the next morning, my sister had gone to the market in the square and came back with fresh bread, butter, honey, strawberries and pastries, all from the local merchants. We ate our feast, then walked to the village church to light candles.
We had a relaxing day at Le Barn after seeing Harry Styles at Stade de France the night before. Late in the afternoon we decided we wanted something sweet. Our request to the kitchen for quelque chose de sucré yielded a delicious plate of home made cookies and café au lait.
My memories of food are so intertwined with the people and places from the experiences that the fragrance of truffle oil transports me back to that fun dinner at Carmelo with Katie and Andie, and French butter on fresh bread reminds me of that sweet morning in Île de Ré when my sister brought us food to heal our broken hearts.
Read more from Laurie's European Travels >