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The Feeding Frenzy

If you're planning a trip out of country, or even out of state, plan where you'll eat, not just what you'll see and do. I learned the hard way that when you don't plan to eat at local restaurants, your meals… well they may not be exactly what you expected.

Back when I was so very young and impatient I took my very first trip to Italy. Two weeks in Rome, one of the loveliest… and tastiest cities in the world. A dream come true for a country girl like me ready to broaden my horizons. If only I had actually had some real Italian food while there maybe I would have appreciated it more. No pasta, no baked goods, no real taste of Italy. So what did I eat? McDonalds and Pizza that was supposed to be Pepperoni, but ended up anchovies and artichokes (I wish I was kidding) that I got in the food court of the local mall. Apparently “Pepperoni” doesn't translate well. Who knew?

Now contrary to what you may be thinking I did at least attempt to go out to a local restaurant while I was there. I discovered this adorable little medieval town up in the mountains called Sermoneta which had a restaurant where some of the staff actually spoke English. I've been blessed with remarkably bad timing though and found myself standing in front of a closed restaurant with a growling tummy. It's easy to forget about the Italians' siesta when you come from a world of 24 hour grocery stores and restaurants that are open until 2am. I promise the next time I go to Italy, I won't forget.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning your dining on your vacation.

  • Eat local : Having the opportunity to sample local dishes made by locals is a truly rewarding experience. Have a baguette at a patisserie while in Paris. Try alligator when visiting Florida. Eat things you can't get back home. No chain restaurants for the real traveler!
  • Know the when, the where, and the how : While going in blind can be thrilling it is absolutely essential you have some sort of game plan. Know where a few restaurants that sound interesting are located and the times they are open. Find out about reservations or any special arrangements that should be made before arriving so you don't show up hungry with nothing you can do about it.
  • Play well with others : Plan your meals around your company, not just yourself. You don't want to make reservations at a restaurant that serves only fish to find out later that your companion(s) are allergic. Be courteous to each member of your traveling party. You all deserve to have a great vacation.
  • So there you have it! Great location + great food + great company = a wonderful vacation for everyone. When in Rome¦ eat like the Romans do!

    So what do you think? How much does food matter in your vacation planning?

    Adam | Oct 14, 2009 | Category: Travel Tips

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