Can I start by announcing the obvious? I cannot believe it is practically August. And we are still, more or less, home. While I have had several personal trips canceled this year, I have been cooking more, so that is a good thing. I’ve also been baking – pita bread and baguettes are my new favorites, since I cannot wrap my head around the idea of sourdough starter. (I’ll be happy to accept pointers on the starter.)
One of the most important things to me, when we travel (and, who are we kidding, this applied to when I am home, too) is food. I want to taste the local delicacies, and enjoy some out-of-my norm foods, and feel a culture through cuisine. A couple of years ago, we were in Germany and our friends introduced us to schnapps – not that crappy, syrupy stuff you get made into a weird apple martini – the good stuff, that comes in flavors like hazelnut and tastes like the most perfect sip of boozy Nutella. The best is made by Prinz, and much to my dismay, only available in Austria.
(Side note: if you are going to Vienna, please do not be surprised when I send you $40 and directions to the store that sells this wonderfully tasty treat.)
I also like to recreate dishes that we have had while away. Like the super simple cacio e pepe, which we had for the first time in Florence nearly twenty years ago. This is literally pasta with Pecorino cheese (cacio) and a lot of black pepper (pepe). It is easy to make and outrageously delicious. It has become a staple comfort food at Chez Goldberg-Glazer.
The most recent addition to the repertoire comes from a trip to Portugal last year. What? You have not been to Portugal? You should go. It is a wonderful country and the food is amazing. We can set you up for 2021. But I digress.
I know. It sounds crazy, and it is, as one might expect, rice simply cooked with tomatoes. And it is delicious. You can have it accompany grilled fish, meatballs, or pretty much anything else. Rice cooked with tomatoes – a cheap and simple dish – is a fantastic addition to our lives. Try it at yourself and let me know how it goes.
Another new favorite came completely by surprise. We traveled to Long Beach, California a couple of years ago for the inaugural cruise of the Norwegian Bliss. By the time we got to our hotel, and when Ari finished working it was already around 9 PM, and we were hungry. We set out for the best restaurant we could find that was (a) still open, (b) within a ten-minute walk of our hotels, and (c) hopefully delicious. Sura Korean BBQ fit the bill, and were not disappointed. The platter of fried shiitake mushrooms was outrageous, and the bulgogi was amazing. It took me a while to work up the courage to attempt to make bulgogi, but when a friend sent me this recipe, I happily tried it out.
This bulgogi-making frenzy has led me to make my own kimchi (not hard, but the whole kitchen will smell like fermenting cabbage), and bulgogi on a regular basis.
What is your favorite vacation food, and have you tried to recreate it at home? I want to hear your stories!