Tag Archives | sushi

I am a Menu Coward

Every word on the menu looks Greek…and you are in Poland.  What to do?  

I have something to confess.  I am a recovering menu coward.  Luci and I are supposed to be the adventure couple travel gurus.  We are supposed to try anything, anywhere, from any roadside stand.  Sorry, I cant do it.   When we travel, I nervously scan the menu for words that remotely look like steak, chicken, pasta or better yet….have pizza in its name or description.

In order to understand my eating history…you must know where I come from.   I grew up in the rural western US.  Really good Pad Thai, balut, or even casu marzu were nowhere to be found.  Steak and potatoes were the plate de jour.  Right after high school all that was about to change.  I moved to Taiwan.  Food culture shock!  Thank heaven for fried rice or Chao Fan as the Taiwanese say.  I basically survived for three months eating one thing, and one thing only.  Then I slowly got brave.

Meat and potatoes

Meat and potatoes…the old standby.

One of the beauties of international travel is that it takes you outside your comfort zone in so many ways.  One of the biggest ways to get out of that zone is breaking our menu coward-ness.  There is so much delicious food out there!  In today’s flat world you could live on McDonald’s hamburgers and fries just about anywhere in the world you travel.

What follows is our 5 step program to overcoming menu cowardness.

Eat Breakfast

So often what halts us from trying something adventurous while we are traveling is that we are hungry!  After tramping around Rome all day, you are famished and frankly, you want something that you know that you are going to like.  This happens to us all the time.  Key is load up on a good breakfast.  Stateside, I am not a breakfast food eater.  If my mother in law is reading this….sorry.  I know, I know it is the most important meal of the day…ya.  Seriously, most nation’s breakfasts are the same.  Fruit?  Check.  Some form of cereal? Yep.  Bacon!  Need we say more.  Our advice to traveling couples is load up on breakfast.  If the hotel has a buffet.  Eat to full.  This allows you to have the energy to hit the tourist trail and not be weak at your “menu”  moment.

I will NOT have what she is having

One of the recommendations we make to traveling couples is seeking off the beaten path sites and eateries.  Many of these restaurants…the really good ones…. don’t have English menus.  In fact if a restaurant has an English menu, it is likely not frequented by the locals.  Another thing that Luci and I try to do is always order something different from each other.  This is a great way to cover more bases.  One of us is bound to get something that we like.  Sometimes this “sharing” disintegrates into a fight…but that’s just us.

macaron

Yummy macarons!

Hunt and Peck

One of our favorite pastimes in France is stopping at every boulangerie.  As we see the sites, we stop occasionally and buy a croissant or a pastry.  In Thailand, we would hit the fruit smoothie stands for a pick me up snack.  Eating a little throughout the day helps us to avoid the hunger blindness that can hit you late in the day.  That monster tells you it is ok to go get a burger.  Don’t surrender to the hunger.  Eat a little during the day.  Keep the blood sugar levels up.

Listen to Food & Travel Bloggers

One of the very best ways to overcome you fear of the unknown is to do what you are right now!  Read food and travel blogs.  Bloggers are great guinea pigs.  They know where to go to eat.  They know what to eat once you get there.  Case in point.  I had never had “real” goulash.  When we were in Budapest this past spring, I made it my mission that I was going to goulash.  I just put it out there onto twitter

 

Goulash

Goulash at Kadar’s

The Fighting Couple ‏@1000Fights

Calling all #Budapest #foodie‘s- where is the best goulash? #hungary

And within seconds…boom -we had an answer from @ConfusedJulia.  She told us what to eat at Kadar Resteraunt.  LOVED it! She even followed up with us to see if we liked it!

Julia ‏@ConfusedJulia

@1000Fights Awesome! So glad you went to Kadar – we loved the goulash there :)

Travel bloggers and foodies are a great sources of info and can help you make the right choice.  While you are eating breakfast with the free wifi, put it out there on twitter…what should I eat in #________.  Use the pound sign to cast your net a little wider to the world.  If in doubt…ask @ConfusedJulia!

Cheaters Always Win

Ok, you have followed our guidance from above.  You are in the right place.  Not a lick of English on the card.  Every word on the menu looks Greek…and you are in Poland.  What to do?   We always survey the room.  Pay attention to what the waiters are bringing out of the kitchen.  You can test drive a meal before buying.  Another strategy is to engage the waiter.  Ask a few questions, ask them to describe some of the dishes.  If you happen to be allergic to some food or ingredient… you must learn the words for those items in every language you may be eating in.  If all else fails…throw caution to the wind.  Order the Shiokara!

Ok..its your turn.  What do you do when you don’t understand the menu?

What is the craziest thing you have eaten?

Leave us a comment below, we would love to hear from you.

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7 Questions with The Cloud People

The Cloud People

Blog:  http://www.cloudpeopleadventures.com/

Twitter:  @thecloud_people

Ready to read a fun couple travel blog?  Search no further.  Jess and Jaime are wanderers that know how to travel!  The best part of their blog are their pics!  Check out their Mayan Ruin pics, they are spectacular!

To get to know these travelers a little better, Luci and I asked them a few questions:

1) How many counties have you been to between the both of you?

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2) If you had to travel with someone else besides your travel partner, who would it be?  (this person can be living, historical or mythical?.)

He Said: Marty McFly from Back to the Future as long as I get a hover-board as well.

She Said: Anthony Bourdain, just as long as he promised not to slaughter any animals on our trip.

3)What has been your favorite destination in your wanderings?

He said: Apart from Antigua and Guatemala in general, I definitely have a soft spot for Honduras having lived there for a while. I hope it can see some more prosperous times in the not too distant future. The people sure deserve them!

She said: I love so many different places, all for different reasons. My favorite beaches are those of Tulum and the cenotes there are breathtaking.  I also love Antigua, Guatemala because that is where Jamie and I met and both lived. It’s nice to visit a place where you already have a ton of amazing friends.

4)  If you had to eat one last meal, what/ where would you eat?

He said: Mum’s lasagna is pretty off the chain. But I’d probably have to say some Tasmanian oysters, freshly shucked, on the top of a mountain over-looking the ocean in the midday sun with a six-pack on ice.

She said: If it was my very last meal I would have to eat some sort of seafood and go against my vegetarianism. In saying that, spicy Tapado and many, many cold beers.

5)How do you pick the places you visit?  Spontaneous vs. planned?

He said: We kind of pick an arrival city and a departure city and then fill in the gaps as we go, with only a very basic outline. We rely a lot on chatting to other travellers along the way, as well as getting some hot-tips from locals. We always like to throw in some volunteer work somewhere along the line and it is probably the most researched part of the trip. We want to make sure our efforts are going to the right causes.

She said: Of course we have to plan out the general location.  Although a lot of our eventual travel path is altered by what we hear along the road. Sometimes recommendations from fellow like-minded travelers are the best way to go.

6) If you could solve one problem in the world what would it be?

He said: I agree with Jess on this one and would say education, and apply it not necessarily just to those living under poverty conditions but people all over the world. So many people in first-world countries have no idea about the conditions faced. Kids working in rubbish dumps, slave labour, etc. If people knew about things like this, they might be more inclined to take action, or even just more receptive and respectful of different cultures in their own homelands. I think its our job as travellers to try and educate people back home who choose not to travel.

She said: That’s a tough question. Unfortunately, humankind has so many problems that need to be resolved. A lack of quality education worldwide is something that desperately needs to be addressed. Education is the key to resolving many of our issues.   Violence, hunger, poverty, hate and destruction are often rooted in ignorance and inaccurate knowledge.

7)You knew it was coming….What has been your greatest travel fight/disagreement?

She said: We never have really serious fights.  I think every fight we’ve ever had has been over food.  There was the great “Sushi Fiasco” in Argentina 2009.  My side of the story: I had basically felt like shit ever since we had gotten into Argentina because while Jamie stuffed himself on everything steak related, I ate pizza or pasta.  Basically a diet of cheese and bread.  While said diet was delicious, it did nothing for me nutritiously and my breaking point was in Mendoza over eating carbs for the millionth time or switching it up for a nice Japanese treat.  Jamie was adamantly against eating Japanese food because they had white table cloths and instead of voicing his opinion he grumbled and stormed off like a large Baby-Man.  I blame my carb filled body for not dealing with the situation well and I’m still not sure what his excuse was :)

Ironically, we found an amazing veggie buffet in town the next day and had a romantic picnic at nearby park. Our lives really do revolve around food. Thank god we agree on where and what to eat 99.9% of the time.

He said: I agree it was definitely over the sushi. Other than that, I’m going to refuse comment after reading what Jess just wrote.

Thanks again to Jess and Jaime.  Check out  http://www.cloudpeopleadventures.com

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