Category Archives: Destination: Appetite

At Home In Copenhagen.

As much as I enjoy researching and planning where to eat out while traveling, there’s nothing like receiving an invitation to a local’s house for a home-cooked meal when you’re living out of a suitcase. I love seeing how people in other areas cook, eat, and entertain, while my inner voyeur gets a kick out of being inside buildings I’d otherwise only glimpse from the street. Plus, that little frisson you get when you think about sitting down with a bunch of perfect strangers with only a bottle of wine for a buffer? Impossible to replicate.

I was informed early on in the Copenhagen meal-planning process that our Saturday night was spoken for—my cousin has a friend in the city, and her family had invited us all over for dinner. Magic hour was just hitting when we got off the train in Hellerup, a well-kept suburb to the north. (Fun fact: If you stand in the spot where I took the picture above, turn about thirty degrees to your right, and look out over the water, you’ll see Sweden. Hi, Malmö!)

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Ten Things In 2012.

As 2013 rapidly approaches, we pause to take a look at our top food memories and discoveries of the year.

Jill: My itinerant adventures included a spring trip to Nicaragua and Costa Rice, summer visits to New York City and Cleveland (yes, a worthy destination) and a last-minute trip to San Francisco spurred on by World Series baseball. Below are a few things of note as I look back at the year that the world was supposed to end.

1. One-Course Meals.

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In 2012, I realized that while I may not be able to afford three courses of fine dining, I can create my own buffet of great eats by visiting several places for one course each. San Francisco was the perfect backdrop for this style of eating, and I found myself slurping oysters not once, but twice in the ten-day stay. The key, by the way, is to be upfront with servers from the beginning. And to tip a little extra before heading out for the next snack.

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Still Shot.

Monteverde, Costa Rica April 2012

The horses knew exactly where they were going. When to stop for the scenery, when to slow down for the grade. A good thing, as our guide, Jose, spoke no English. Los caballos entendían la brecha en el lenguaje.

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Gastronomical Geography.

I never pay attention to where I am when I visit New York City and her boroughs. Instead, I blindly follow the natives — mainly Maya — around from restaurant to bar to coffee shop to bar to restaurant. And the touristy things? They’re pretty low on the list of priorities. I’ve seen more of Buttermilk Channel than I have the Statue of Liberty.

In my most recent trip, we shared Maya (and her one bedroom apartment) with her mom and sister; she wasn’t as available as she’d been in the past. With the exception of a few meals, we would be navigating the city on our own, with heavy reliance on the map function of the iPhone. The result was mixed: more mess-ups on the subway and a chance to do something touristy. (Enjoy the shot above taken from the Staten Island Ferry.) Somehow, though, we managed to stay hydrated and well fed.

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Truth In Food Blogging.

Two quick, painful truths for you on this Monday evening.

1. Most of what I remember about the meal that I had last Saturday evening at Market Garden Brewery in Cleveland is based on Instagram photos. In my defense, see Exhibit A in the upper left hand corner of the photo below. That wasn’t the first one of those, nor was it the last.

What I do remember, however, is that I bit into a jalapeño while eating my pork tacos. (There’s no way to Instagram—or forget—that.)

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Southern Surprise.

Back in March, I spent a weekend in Atlanta, catching up with old friends over evening beers, afternoon beers, and even, for variety’s sake, the odd brunch or two. My first time in the city, we went for boiled peanuts and burgers and had some stellar southern-style seafood, but the highlight of the visit, food-wise, was the last meal I had before flying out on Sunday night.

Given my perma-cravings for cheesy grits and barbecue, I didn’t expect a Vietnamese restaurant to play host to the best dining experience I’d have in town, but that it did. I wish I were more of an expert on Vietnamese food — sure, I enjoy the occasional banh mi and bowl of pho — but I’d love to be that person who has an encyclopedic knowledge of all things authentic. That way I’d know whether or not the standout dish I had at So Ba is the real deal or some crazy-addictive fusion concoction. (So far, my powers of Google-Fu have failed me.)

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Snack Snickers.

Because I have the sense of humor, roughly, of a twelve-year-old boy, this is one photo from my recent trip that never fails to make me giggle.

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Those Norwegians sure know their snack food. (Yes, Norway. Surprise! Stay tuned for more pictures of fjords than you ever knew you needed, plus a rundown of the unusual mammals I managed to consume in less than twenty-four hours in-country.)

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Friday Five: Postcards from Copenhagen.

We were in Copenhagen for nearly a week, and during that time we managed to cover quite a bit of ground on foot. Narrowing down the list for today’s Friday Five took considerable effort; consider this an amuse bouche, a handful of images from various corners of this picturesque city, both on and off the beaten path.


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Albariño Wine Festival: Two Thumbs Out.

Mario Batali went to Cambados, Spain. So did we.

I learned exactly two words on the trip that Maya and I took in the summer of 2000: resaca and bodega. Symbiotic and entirely relevant to our journey, the words “hangover” and “winery” bring back vivid memories from the trip.

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Hello, Copenhagen.

Historically speaking, Denmark was never one of those places I was dying to visit. I wanted to see the Nordic countries the same way I want to see, say,  Montana—in a vague sort of way, never with any sense of urgency. Over the past few years, though, as the capital city began to pop up more and more on the food-media radar, it quickly earned a place on the list: I wanted to go to Copenhagen, and I wanted to eat.

When the opportunity to visit with family recently presented itself (thanks, Mom!), the first thing I did after booking my plane ticket was to try for reservations at the best restaurant in the world three years running; sadly for us, happily for our budget, Noma was booked solid months in advance. Happily for us, though, and sadly for our budget, this new-Nordic pioneer spawned a movement that has taken over the city; we would have multiple opportunities to sample modern Danish cuisine—maybe not as highly decorated as Noma’s, but beautiful food nonetheless—during our week here.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Before experiencing the contemporary version, we needed an education in the basics. Our first meal would be a traditional one: smørrebrød, those iconic open-faced sandwiches, at Restaurant Kronborg.

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