A Foodie in February: My Month of Tasty Travels
Far too many of my Instagram photos are photos of food–and far too few of my pants fit very well.
For me, food can be a destination, and food can make a destination. Everywhere I go, I seek out the local cuisine, calories-be-damned. From mile-high sandwiches in Pittsburgh to seafood on Cape Cod, if there’s a regional specialty and I’m in town, I’ve done my research and am headed straight for the nearest hot dog stand or clam shack (or bakery or tamale stand or sushi bar or noodle shop or…well, you get the idea.)
Over the years, my travel food habits have changed. Back in the early days, I’d seek out the fanciest places in town assuming they were the best–and they often are very good. But now that I travel darn-near full time, I’ve been seeking out lesser-know, lower-budget options as well as alternatives-to-restaurants like really good delivery or even gourmet deli counters in obscure locations.
I’ve even started a semi-regular blog series, Informed Edibles, to share my travel food finds with the rest of the world. Because good food, like all wonderful things in life, should be shared.
In short–I really, really like food. I like to learn about it, I like to seek it out, I like to cook it, I like to write about it, and of course I like to eat it. I even clearly like to take photos of it.
Which is why I’m so psyched about this month, which I’m dubbing Foodie February.
In the next two weeks, I’m going on two different culinary adventures. And, as an added bonus, they happen to both be travel-experience bucket list items.
First up–a week-long culinary boot camp at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, where I will don a chef’s coat and spend a week learning how to chop, julienne, and dice; how to braise, sautee, and sear. It’s the ultimate edu-vacation, and this travel geek is psyched.
Here’s hoping that that CIA chef’s coat (and pants) I measured myself for months ago actually fits, post all-of-that-food pictured in the header photo (and all of the food not pictured. Because if I took photos of all the food I consume, that would just be shameful.)
As if that were not enough excitement for the shortest month of the year, I’m then headed to Miami to attend the South Beach Wine and Food Festival, where I will spend time in tasting rooms and demo tents, learning about everything from wine pairings to up-and-coming food trends to new technology that is allowing food festival visitors to capture the moment hands-free (I’ve been promised that I won’t even have to put my wine glass down to take notes!)
Of course, everything I learn–and a good deal of that which I cook and/or consume–will be shared here on The Suitcase Scholar. So put on some stretchy pants, grab a fork, open your favorite browser and get ready for some seriously educational eats. Stay tuned!
Many thanks to The Culinary Institute of America, Dutchess County Tourism, the proprietors of Beekman Arms Inn in Rhinebeck, NY, and the good people at the South Beach Wine and Food Festival for giving me the opportunity to take part in these amazing experiences and to share them with my readers.
Photos: pictured, clockwise from upper left: palak chaat from Rasika, Washington, DC; pork pho and fresh shrimp roll (delivery) from Da Kao, Sioux City, Iowa; pork ribs and hush puppies from Lone Star BBQ, McAllen, Texas; fried green tomato, eggs, and grits from The Flying Biscuit, Charlotte, NC.) Not pictured: my ever-expanding muffin top, or the yoga pants I’m currently wearing. Not because I’m about to do yoga, but because, well, they’re…stretchy.
UPDATE/EDIT: Due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control, I was forced to reschedule my time at the Culinary Institute. Thus, this sadly won’t be Foodie February. HOWEVER, you can look forward to hearing about my CIA Culinary Boot Camp Experience in late April and early May, as I’ve managed to reschedule for April 28th-May 2nd. I will still be doing a week-long camp, but the theme of this camp is ‘Best of the CIA’. Which means that in addition to culinary basics (knife skills, cooking techniques etc.) I will also be given the opportunity to explore cuisines from around the world. How appropriate!