Tag Archives: travel

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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Food for Miles: My Soul is Sold.

Note: This is not a sponsored post. I hate sponsored posts. We don’t roll that way here at IF.

I’m not a coupon cutter, and I’m pretty much awful at taking advantage of bargains. For more than a year, offers from Saveur have been piling up in my “to do” file. One of these days, I’ll subscribe and get that great deal on a subscription. (And win that KitchenAid mixer they keep promising me.) I think that being a marketer, myself, makes me stubbornly immune to the offers promoted by my industry. Even if it’s to my detriment.

There are, however, two loyalty programs that will keep me forever…loyal: Fuelperks (I’ve got to buy toilet paper, and I’ve got to buy gas; I may was well join the masses at the big box stores) and frequent flier miles. I’ve been collecting miles (mainly though Delta/Northwest Airlines) since I could drive. I’ve remained a fan through good and bad (and many a free travel voucher for late and overbooked flights.) And it’s paid off: my flight to the Philippines was entirely paid for by miles.

I’ve recently signed up for a program that rewards me with Delta Skymiles (up to 5 per $1 spent) by doing what I do best: relying on restaurants for the majority of my sustenance. When my friend Jenny told me about Skymiles Dining, I didn’t trust it. (No one should ever trust marketing.) I figured that I’d only get extra miles from eating at Applebees, Wendy’s, California Pizza Kitchen. Turns out that it’s better, though. I can actually get miles by eating at local favorites such as The Top (pictured above), Basi Italia, Surly Girl Saloon and Black Creek Bistro. I’ve done the math. All I’ve got to do is spend $200.00 on my own debit card at these places and I’ll have enough miles for a free trip to Brazil. Not bad.

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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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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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Eight Ways To Die.

You may have noticed that IF-OH has been silent of late. That’s because I’ve been preparing for a new trip: Nicaragua and Costa Rica. I’ve developed a method for my travels that truly honors the “itinerant” part of Itinerant Foodies. This method heavily involves the use of Google Docs and wikitravel. Basically, I write a middle school report on the country I’m visiting. My many anxieties are somewhat quelled when I fight them with knowledge. So I research every possible thing there is to know about a place in hopes that a) I don’t miss something good while I’m there, b) I don’t get stuck someplace awful and c) I don’t die. Vacations with Jill are so fun!

Bethany (of Tanzania and Philippines fame) will be joining me on this new adventure, and I’m hoping that her complete understanding of “island time” will balance out my we-need-to-be-there-four-days-early-to-catch-the-bus mentality. We’ve been working for months on the trip, interviewing friends who have been before, scouring the backpacking message boards and trying to learn some last-minute Spanish. (Thanks to two years of Spanish in 1995 and 1996, the burden of language is on my shoulders for this trip. In the past, I’ve had the luxury of Bethany pre-learning the local dialect prior to my arrival. There will be a lot of grunting and pointing, I fear.)

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On England.

I first visited London when I was 16. My British-literature teacher offered to take a dozen or so over-achieving students to the city over spring break. Intrigued by the idea of international travel and, let’s admit it, a chance to spend more time with the teacher (I had a bit of a crush – as did most of my cohorts on the trip) I started saving money made at the Half Off Card Shop to pay for my adventure.

In this most recent visit (at double the age), I’ve found memories of that initial foray into travel popping up. My food memories are vivid; pizza with corn on it (corn!); my first red-wine vinaigrette (I thought I’d get drunk); a heavenly baguette at an Upper Crust inside one train station or another; and, of course, a healthy obsession with the endless Cadbury selection of candies at Boots and WH Smith.

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Bus Fare.

Jill: While I haven’t quite wrapped my head around our entire Filipino adventure, a tale of a single experience is way more manageable. When Maya and I arrived in Manila (each on separate flights), we promptly caught a bus to Baguio City, where Bethany is doing her volunteer work. Baguio (pronounced bog-eeo) is both a relatively young city (settled by Americans in the early 1900′s) and a vacation destination to Filipinos who want a break from the heat. Baguio’s position in the Cordillera Central Mountain range gives it a cooler climate, one that allowed both Maya and I to ease into the intense temperatures that the Philippines would later offer us.

Maya: But first, we had to get there. My journey to the other side of the world involved a five-hour flight from New York to Los Angeles, followed by a fourteen-hour flight from L.A. to Taipei and a two-hour hop from Taipei to Manila. Jill’s was even more involved: Columbus to Detroit to L.A. to Seoul to Manila. We both cleared customs fairly quickly, found a cab and headed straight for the bus depot; not half an hour later, we were on an air-conditioned bus, settled in for the seven-hour ride to Baguio. Of course, it wasn’t twenty minutes into the trip before we realized that we were famished.

In what would soon become a commonplace occurrence, when the bus slowed to a stop to pick up more passengers, vendors hopped on, one hawking bottled water, another waving a box of Dunkin Donuts donut holes under our noses. Delighted by the concept but not so enthralled with the product, we passed on both options; when Jill declared that she was holding out for pork, I scoffed that she’d be waiting awhile, completely underestimating the Filipino affinity for pig. At the very next stop, we picked up a guy selling bags of chicharones.

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Rocky Start.

When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.

And when life gives you a free house to stay in – complete with lemon and orange trees in the yard – within driving distance of Phoenix, Sedona and Jerome, you take the opportunity. Most of my destinations as of late have been food-driven, and while the Phoenix area isn’t necessarily known as a culinary haven, I was grateful for an opportunity to get away for a long weekend in December. In the next few days, I’ll give a tiny look into some of the interesting (and edible) parts of my Arizona trip.

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On (and Off) the Road.

After our mid-morning walk around Four Springs Farm, we did some serious damage to a (still sadly coffeeless) breakfast spread of various Vermont cheeses, a so-so stick of chorizo, and a maple-honey take on traditional Dutch stroopwafels.

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Two showers (ah, running water! clean clothes!) later, we loaded up the car and headed to nearby South Royalton (home of Vermont Law School and Joseph Smith’s birthplace) for some caffeine before our drive to Brattleboro, where we would be staying with friends of a friend of Jill’s.

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Setting the Precedent.

I arrived in Burlington ten hours before Maya with hopes of taking a day adventure to Canada or a ferry ride in Lake Champlain. Instead, I spent more than an hour at Thrifty and managed to arrive in downtown Burlington precisely in the middle of orientation for the city’s multiple colleges. Not being one to get a thrill out of driving new and fancy cars, I was passive in my journey. No lane changes, no speeding. The orientation between me and the Mustang (not my choice) went very slowly, as did my driving. It quicly became clear that the only trip I’d be making before returning to the airport to retrieve Maya would be to the campsite, to set up our evening dwelling. After setting up the tent, I asked where I could get a good cheap meal. The clear answer was Al’s.

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Al’s is a french fry shop that happens to sell burgers, and it was packed. Every teenager in Burlington was there that Friday night. Some were on dates, others were working. I asked the boy at the front what to order and came away with a cheeseburger and a cup (rather than a pint or quart) of fries.

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