Traveling for Food

It doesn’t matter if I’m travelling for business or leisure, where I dine plays a huge part in my travel plans.  Food helps tell the story of the place you are visiting.  Sure there are museums, natural beauty, and other interesting things. But nothing gives you a better feel for the current culture of a place than the dining scene. 

Of course, I am that person who meticulously plans ahead.  Why get stuck in a sub-par dining establishment when there are numerous good ones to choose from?  Not to mention multiple reviews, articles, websites, and social media resources online to consult before making a decision.  I never want to take the chance of just ending up somewhere…eh.  I would much rather have a plan and modify it than have no plan at all.  Of course if you are a fly by the seat of your pants kind of person feel free to skip to the recipe below.   

Nashville is a city I visit multiple times throughout the year.  There is a vibrant culture of music, food and outdoor activities.  For the past few years there seemed to have only been new restaurants opening up.  Now it looks to have hit a saturation point and restaurants are both opening and closing.  The good news is that only the best ones remain and there are so many wonderful restaurants from which to choose.  No matter what I’m in the mood for, whether it’s tacos and burgers or a vegan tasting menu, I am always on the lookout for something new, interesting and exciting. Why eat the same things that I can get anywhere else?  

Last year I had the amazing opportunity to travel to France for the Bocuse d’Or and International Pastry Competition.  We were given a fairly detailed itinerary so I knew exactly where I would be when I had free time.  And believe me I made the most of it.  I researched the type of places that I like (not just the favorites of the internet) and made detailed notes.  I never had a bad meal and never had to worry I’d find myself somewhere I didn’t like. 

Even if you are not a foodie, you still need to eat.  And hopefully we can agree that intentionally adding food to your travel plans will greatly enrich the overall experience. 

Recommendations for foodie travel:

  • Do research ahead of time.  Know what food the place you are visiting is known for and alternates so you don’t get tired of eating the same thing.  I can’t tell you how welcome a good slice of pizza is in Argentina. 
  • Make reservations at the places you really want to go to.  If your plans change you can always cancel them.  But if you wait too long you’ll most likely never get in. 
  • Make a list of restaurants that sound good to you and make a note of where they are located. That way if you are nearby you’ll know where to go. 
  • Keep notes on your phone.  That way you aren’t fiddling around with pieces of paper looking like a complete tourist.  You’ll be looking at your phone like everyone else. 
  • Beware restaurants with pictures on the menu.  This recommendation comes from a bad experience exactly 20 years ago.  If they need to show you a picture of the dish to tell you what it is and can’t describe it in words then you can bet it won’t be very good, the place is a tourist trap, or it’s definitely not homemade.
  • Have a little notebook that you take with you so you can write down any of the dishes you loved! That way, if you like to cook, you can incorporate a favorite new dish you just experienced into your meal rotation at home.  

Below is a recipe based on an experience on the big island of Hawaii.  I was there only a few years ago and before then I had never had poké. Traditionally, poké is a raw fish salad served as an appetizer in Hawaiian cuisine, and sometimes as a main course. While I absolutely LOVE the classic version, I am trying to eat more vegetables so I came up with this Vegan version.  If I hadn’t taken that trip maybe I wouldn’t even know a thing about poké and my life would be that much the poorer for it. 

vegan poke


  • For the poke: 
  • 2 Mangos, large dice
  • 3 Tomatoes, large dice
  • 2 Jicama, large dice
  • 1/4 cup chopped dry-roasted Macadamia Nuts
  • For the sauce:
  • 1/2 cup Soy Sauce
  • 2/3 cup Rice Wine
  • 2/3 cup Water
  • 1/2 cup Lime Juice
  • 1 tsp Lime Zest
  • 2 tbsp Chili Sauce
  • 1 tbsp Sesame Oil
  • 1 stalk Scallion, green only, sliced thinly on the bias
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 1/4-inch piece Ginger, peeled and grated
  • For the rice:
  • 1 cup cooked Rice


  • Whisk together all ingredients for the sauce.
  • Toss in the mango, jicama, and tomato and let marinate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Layer the rice on the bottom of the bowl.
  • Mix mango mixture with chopped macadamia. Toss with sauce. Layer on top of rice. Garnish with extra scallions. Enjoy.