Places to Love: International Food Show 2
Food is a powerful connector. It’s a source of joy that strengthens the bonds of family, friends and even strangers. It has always played an important part of the travel experience. Some feel completely defines it. Along with enjoying meals, we are also taking in the sights, smells and sounds of a place. Together, travel and food offer a total sensory experience that no recipe cooked at home can quite capture. Here are a few of the most memorable food experiences from filming Places to Love.
PLACES AND STORIES TO LOVE
The Granny Cafe
Vienna, Austria is an historic capital city known for its grand must-sees. However, it’s the smaller places that will make you fall in love with this city. One of the most unique and homey cafés I’ve ever visited? Vollpension, aka the Granny Café. Started by a group of students, this unique café brings young and old together, with intention. Not only does it look like everybody’s grandmother’s home, it feels that way, too. Nearly half of the staff is made up of bona fide grandparents, who bake, run the cash register and serve customers. Don’t expect the same menu on every visit. Each oma or opa working the in the kitchen bakes their own specialty. Since I visited when Judith was here, I got to try her special recipes, including her decadent apricot cake. Tasted just like home.
IF YOU GO
The cafe’s name is German for “full pension,” which refers to both the one that Austrians get from the government upon retirement, and to the kind of hotel stay that includes meals, or full board.
A – 1040 Vienna
+43 676 637 81 06
Quebec City is one of the oldest urban centers in North America. While this 400-year-old gem may look like a version of Europe, it has its own unique culture. Food, of course, plays a large part of that experience, and it’s safe to say that no one does cozy comfort food quite like Quebec (hello, poutine). But within its historic stone walls (dating back to 1686!), you’ll find La Taniere—a restaurant melding history and modern gastronomy in what I can only describe as a dining adventure. Inside, you’ll find a dark and quiet space, void of distractions. Chef François-Emmanuel Nicol doesn’t even provide diners with a menu— he wants guests to find surprise and delight with every course. Hence, you sit down and trust the team. I was fortunate enough to sit at the chef’s counter, enjoying riffs on Quebec’s prized ingredients like sturgeon, scallops, rabbit three ways, and even gnocchi flavored with local acorns.
IF YOU GO
Hope you brought your fanciest stretchy pants, because at La Taniere, because you’re in store for a three-and-a half-hour culinary journey. Trust me, it’s time well spent.
36 1/2, Rue Saint-Pierre
Quebec, QC G1K 3Z6
The Tamale Store
With year-round sunny days and stunning sunsets, some would say Phoenix offers the whole enchilada – but Marta Castillo might disagree. Marta is the woman behind The Tamale Store, an operation she runs with her grown children, Pauline, Maria, and Eddie.
The Tamale Store does one thing and one thing only… and I’ll bet you can guess what it is. Concentrating on a single item means they’ve perfected the art of tamales, bringing forth a huge variety of options. There are chicken and green chili tamales, pork and red chili tamales, there are vegetarian tamales, breakfast, lunch and dinner tamales. Every single one of their steamed bundles of goodness are made from scratch, daily. No heavy machinery or mixers, just old fashioned elbow grease and love.
IF YOU GO
A tamale is made of three components: masa, filling and the wrapper. The masa is a dough made from ground corn; the filling can either be just the masa, an addition like pork, chicken or beans. Corn husks are wrapped around the masa and filling, next they are steamed, and served.
The Tamale Store
15842 North Cave Creek Road
Phoenix, AZ, 85032
The Blond Giraffe
If you go to the Florida Keys and don’t try Key lime pie, does your trip even count? The Blond Giraffe offers one of the largest selections of Key lime everything. Founded in 1999, Tonia and her husband Roberto started the Blond Giraffe as a vegetarian restaurant, but when their key lime pie kept winning awards as the best in the Florida Keys, demand skyrocketed and, well, a decision was made. Now everything on the menu is Key lime, and made in-house. Think Key lime pie topped with chip cream, meringue or naked; chocolate-dipped frozen key lime pie on a stick; key lime meringues and more.
I swear I’ve racked up more steps exploring European cities than I have on an actual hiking trip. Budapest, one of the world’s greatest capital cities, is no exception. Sightseeing definitely works up an appetite – and when you need to refuel, go to the Grand Central Market. From fresh produce and meats, seafood, pickles and spices, they have everything one would need to create a delicious meal from scratch. Of course, you can’t cook a meal in your hotel room.
And that’s where Chef Marti comes in. In 2015, Marti traded in her chef’s whites to create Kitchen Pixie, a cooking school and brand based in Budapest. She took me shopping at the market, where we bought all the ingredients for chicken paprikash. Then, we ventured to her kitchen and cooked the dish from scratch. It was so fun to explore the market through a chef’s eyes, and even better to learn a new recipe.
As the home of the Culinary Institute of America, Dutchess County, New York certainly has its fair share of great food. But one of the loveliest places to enjoy a meal has to be at La Cabanita in Poughkeepsie. Housed in a former church, La Cabinita pays homage to the culinary vibrancy of Oaxacan cuisine. Chef and owner Vicky Pinelo serves up her grandmother’s recipes in this casual, inviting restaurant. Her cousin, Elvis Pinelo, oversees their bar program, which highlights the region’s finest collection of Mazcals. Not only did I try sopas, quesadillas, malotes, and falutas, I washed it all down with Mezcal—served in the traditional way. Elvis presented me with a small bowl, not glass, designed for sipping. Everything felt so authentic, and made with love. It’s easy to see why Vicky’s been in business for two decades.
What makes Oaxacan food special?
Vicky says the key to food from this region is roasting. Many of the ingredients are dried in the sun, caramelized or roasted over flames before going into a dish, giving foods a rich depth of flavor.
763 Main Street
Poughkeepsie, NY 12603
The Free House
The South Island of New Zealand is epic destination, complete with mountain peaks that astounded us in the Lord of the Rings. But one of the gateways the region is a small, bayside city called Nelson. Here, you’ll find the Free House, a down-to-earth spot serving as a convivial community hub, where locals and tourists alike may enjoy live music, food and a pint. The difference between a free house and traditional pub is the fact that they don’t sign contracts with breweries, meaning they can serve whatever they like. On my trip, co-owner Eelco Boswijk explained they built it as an English-style pub, intended to feel more or less like a living room, where friends could connect over beer.