Thursday, September 29, 2022

Food, glorious food, enhances a trip, creates indelible, lasting memories

A seafood and pasta dish in Rome hits the spot for a special evening celebrating our anniversary.


Visiting a market is a fun way to begin a visit in a city.
Here, a guide in Porto, Portugal, shows off fresh produce. 



Bruce Keller hoists a brew in Spain, after asking the waiter
for a popular non-alcoholic local beer. Most countries now
offer N/A brew, and some even have it on tap.


ON THE ROAD, on a ship, in an airplane or while exploring a new city or village, food is always an enticement.
It's part of the memories you bring home with you. It enhances the travel. 
The pizza in the little hole in the wall in Naples, where the owner greets you himself. The lamb skewer in Mykonos, served with flair by a waiter who brought an extra table out to accommodate you.
The special farewell dinner aboard a cruise ship, with your favorite coq au vin  cooked to perfection.
This young Portuguese boy relishes
his ice cream treat in a crowded cafe.

The surprise birthday dessert and singing waiters who present it with an off-key "Happy Birthday" salute.
The sizzling paella made on the street, served to two dozen guests after a festival in Barcelona.
MORE THAN any other element, food shapes a journey.  It enhances and defines our memories of a trip. We're just days back from a five-week trip to Europe and consider ourselves amateur epicures. We love both good food and adventuresome travel.  Our fellow travelers around the world have epicurean tastes -- they love art, life, refinements and all that good food and drink offer.
This paella was perfectly served in Tarragona,
where it was the special of the day, wine included.
For us, having a meal in a new or favorite city, is an essential element of a trip.
A memorable duck dish with friends,
sublime memory of a meal in Porto.
Why order room service when Las Ramblas is a block out the door or the Left Bank is across the river?
Sampling local food is an essential part of feeling "authentic," taking the pulse of a community, getting an understanding of how people live, laugh and gather.
Food shapes a community and tells the world what people plant, harvest, cook with, celebrate, season with, serve for friends.  Food makes us who we are.
Mahi mahi with goat cheese
offers memories of Hawaii. 

cafe with locals offers a sensory cultural exploration.  It makes us feel we are part of life in Rome, Tokyo, Rio or Singapore because local food more than anything else conveys so much of local culture, cooking and tradition. 
In Barcelona, Cookie and Keller stop for ice 
cream.  It is on a par with the best Italian gelato.
In a restaurant, we also see how people interact.  In many cities, dogs are welcome.  It is not uncommon to see a family dining with a doggie under the table.  Many restaurants offer water bowls by the door.
In Paris, one "rents" a table for as long as one likes -- simply by ordering. It can be a full meal, a beer or espresso.  Doesn't matter.  The table is yours for as long as you like and we find it relaxing to linger -- watching the world and the people go by.
A string of dried
peppers made it
safely home with us.
ANOTHER FUN tradition we've developed over the years: we go to local stores and markets to bring a few food and drink items home: cookies, nuts, coffee, tea, dried fruit or peppers, chocolate. We buy roasted almonds from the old gentleman by the bus stop, and savor those thousands of miles away. 
Think about the power of food.  It utilizes all five senses. Naturally, we taste our food. But we also touch it, smell it, savor it with our eyes and listen to it -- the satisfying breaking of a bread stick, the sizzling of the butter in the crepe pan. When we commune with food, the place and time of the meal or snack becomes an intense memory of the journey. Without a meal or ten in a local eatery, there can be no truly authentic travel experience.

Arts patron Pedro Alvares Ribeiro talks about
his passion for collecting, preserving and
 enticing at his fascinating Casa Sao Roque.
: A Portuguese arts patron made his fortune in banking, and decided to give something back. The result: Casa São Roque, a delightfully preserved manor house and one-time hunting lodge which dates back to 1759. Entrepreneur, art collector, wine connoisseur and world traveler Pedro Alvares Ribeiro has turned this fascinating building into an art museum showcasing myriad displays, visual treats including film, and much more. The home -- now a museum in Porto, Portugal -- has a stately air, befitting its history. Ribeiro says the architecture is typical of the elegant homes owned by bourgeoisie and noble families from Porto. He combines his sharp collector's eye with the soul of a poet and the funding to acquire unique artworks and exhibitions. We spent a day with him, enjoying one of the displays,  up now through Jan. 31. "Warhol, People and Things," an intriguing exhibition focusing on Andy Warhol and his influence across several generations of photographers, filmmakers, musicians and multi-media artists. Remember to explore, learn and live and catch us weekly for a fresh spin on the arts, performance, travel, family, nature and more: Please share the link.


  1. We enjoy your travel pieces, especially food and art related ones.

  2. We, too, love travel for the food adventures it offers. Really does enhance the trip -- and memories.

  3. Always intriguing to find a new story here. Fun food piece and the upcoming one on the Portuguese museum sounds interesting.