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foodie vacation...would love your suggestions!

melitoto May 9, 2011 11:30 AM


i am planning to take a few weeks off in a row by myself at the end of may/beginning of june, and would love to hear your ideas for what types of foodie trips you would take.

i was thinking of signing up for a 3-5 day cooking class somewhere in california...or perhaps staying on a farm somewhere and eating super fresh foods and learning more about farming.

what trips have you taken in the past that you've loved? what trips would you love to take? thanks in advance for your suggestions!

  1. l
    laststandchili May 10, 2011 10:04 AM

    I got married last summer, and the wife and I came close to running off to Vegas for the nuptuals due to the opportunity to try out some of the high end restaurants that have opened branches there recently. We weren't able to work it out last summer, but I'd still like to make that trip at some point in the near future.

    1. m
      mtbwustl May 10, 2011 08:54 AM

      We try to make every vacation a food vacation! Some of our favorites:
      *Annual trip to Santa Fe to take cooking lessons, eat at old favorites, try new places.
      *New Orleans every other year, usually around Jazz Fest
      *Annual trip to NYC, usually w/ a pizza focus
      *Ten days in Napa/Sonoma was incredible and planned around a short class at the CIA.
      *Asian food tour of Vancouver...that was amazing
      *Best foodie trip ever was when my mom took me on a food tour of Paris when I was 12.

      2 Replies
      1. re: mtbwustl
        Will Owen May 10, 2011 02:16 PM

        Paris is probably the easiest place to sample a wide range of French cuisines, as so many of the famous older places were started by homesick folks from all over France who couldn't find a decent cassoulet or bouillabaise or whatever and decided to remedy the situation. Downside is doing it on a budget these days.

        I have heard that Vancouver's Asian food is second to none, including Asia, but LA County's San Gabriel Valley has much to offer that way, too, and I'm sure at much better prices. Chinese, Vietnamese and the melded Chinese/Vietnamese are the dominant styles here, with a healthy lot of regional cooking such as Northern Chinese, Shanghainese and Sichuan. Nearby in Orange County is the big Vietnamese enclave of Westminster, with a great range of places from very fancy to very, very, perhaps painfully plain (take an interpreter!).

        1. re: Will Owen
          mtbwustl May 11, 2011 07:24 AM

          My mom and I went on the Vancouver trip together. She's French and Vietnamese, and currently lives in SoCal. She loved the trip bc she said it was the best Asian food she has had anywhere, including Orange County. I'm extremely lucky in that both of my parents exposed me to a broad range of foods very early in life.

      2. BobB May 10, 2011 08:15 AM

        We've done a lot of foodie vacations - most of our vacations, in fact, could be classified as such. Among the most memorable:

        * Piloting a houseboat down the Canal du Midi from Toulouse to the Mediterranean. That one turned into a marathon cassoulet comparison tasting, especially as we passed through Castelnaudary, where the locals claim to have invented the dish.

        * A trip to Martinique, where they combine French cooking expertise with Caribbean ingredients, and make a type of rum that is aged like - and comparable in subtlety to - fine cognac, and virtually impossible to get in the States.

        * A week in Berlin, where we had a mix of both traditional and creative "new German" cuisine (Berlin is one of the few places in the world I'd consider moving to).

        *A two-week tour of Sicily, with its culinary influences from Italy, Africa, and the Middle East.

        Closer to home:

        * A California sojourn, from San Francisco up through the wine country and back.

        * The occasional long weekend in NYC, checking out the best recommendations from the local Chowhound board, from delis to haute cuisine (easy for us as it's just a four-hour drive down from Boston).

        * New Orleans, pre-Katrina. What a feast for all the senses!

        1 Reply
        1. re: BobB
          Beach Chick May 10, 2011 08:26 AM

          Wow....solid BobB..

          Friends went to Charan Springs and they loved it..kind of along the lines of what you want.
          Maybe Esalen in Big Sur..
          Paris..Sedona..Honolulu..Sydney..Moorea..Kauai..Vancouver..SF..Napa are some of my fave's.


        2. m
          melitoto May 10, 2011 06:11 AM

          has anybody heard of this? http://www.epitourean.com

          1 Reply
          1. re: melitoto
            Fydeaux May 10, 2011 06:17 AM

            Incredible! Thanks for posting this!

          2. b
            bulavinaka May 9, 2011 06:42 PM

            Three weeks up in Mendocino, Sonoma and Napa would be grand. We've vacationed up in these parts a few times. The respect for good and drink is deeply intertwined in the culture up in these parts.

            1. Veggo May 9, 2011 06:41 PM

              Mexico offers great cooking classes in San Miguel de Allende, Guadalajara, Puebla, Oaxaca, other places. I have retired twice (?) in Mexico, to a large degree for the food, and I will again.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Veggo
                melitoto May 10, 2011 06:01 AM

                is it safe to go there? i know that there is a travel advisory for parts of mexico...

                1. re: melitoto
                  Veggo May 10, 2011 06:17 AM

                  Fair point. I am disheartened that violence has moved into such beautiful and heretofore tranquil areas as Michoacan. FWIW, the Yucatan with all its good eats has mercifully been spared, and today has a crime rate as low as that in Canada.

                  1. re: melitoto
                    DiningDiva May 10, 2011 08:18 AM

                    Depends on where you go, but by and large, for a tourist in areas away from the northern border, Mexico is safe. Veggo is right that the Yucatan has the lowest rate of narco related violence.

                    There are a couple of other Mexican options...Mexico City and Oaxaca. Between all the markets and great restaurants you could spend weeks eating your way around that town. Check out Nick Gilman's book and blog Good Food in Mexico City - http://goodfoodmexicocity.blogspot.com/ . Mexico City is truly one of the great food cities of the world.

                    Oaxaca is another fantastic food oriented destination. Do Spanish immersion for a week and live with a Mexican family and see what and how they eat. Take classes with Susana Trilling at Season's of My Heart cooking school - http://seasonsofmyheart.com/ or take classes with Pilar Cabrera at La Olla - http://www.laolla.com.mx/Oaxaca/sabor... . There is a different market worth visiting every day of the week. The Friday market in Ocotlan is a sprawling affair both inside and out. The Wednesday market in Etla a smaller more casual set-up. The Sunday market at Tlacolula a sea of Zapotec faces and goods. Learn how mezcal is made and how to drink it. Eat crickets and worms, or simply sit at one of the tables underneath the portales facing out onto the zocalo and watch the world go by.

                2. iluvcookies May 9, 2011 06:33 PM

                  Last time DH and I went to Montreal we really loved the markets. So next trip we are renting an efficiency with a kitchen so we can enjoy some of the delicious meats and sausages we can't bring back over the US border. Having lunch out, shopping and then whipping up a local specialty for dinner is sometning I'm looking forward to. And I'm bringing my cast iron skillet and a few key spices with me.

                  1. boogiebaby May 9, 2011 03:15 PM

                    Eat your way around Southeast Asia. So much amazing food in that part of the world.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: boogiebaby
                      bulavinaka May 9, 2011 06:39 PM

                      Agree with boogiebaby - one could spend three weeks in Malaysia and just scratch the surface. Three weeks in Singapore would cover most places for most folks. It is very user-friendly, and single traveler-friendly. Malaysia requires a lot of driving.

                      1. re: bulavinaka
                        sarahe1 May 10, 2011 12:14 PM

                        +1 for Singapore. Hands down the most food-tastic destination I have ever visited! And I didn't even know about hawker stands when I went!! Needless to say, I have to return! http://fritosandfoiegras.blogspot.com...

                        1. re: sarahe1
                          BobB May 10, 2011 12:23 PM

                          Yeah, I get to Singapore once a year or so on business. I'm heading back next month and my taste buds can't wait. I've never done it for a vacation, but that has pluses and minuses. The minus is that I don't get to bring my wife, but the plus is, all my meals are on expense account!

                    2. f
                      ferret May 9, 2011 12:43 PM

                      Won't work for you this time but if you want to try a similar experience in November sometime, this is an annual event:


                      1 Reply
                      1. re: ferret
                        melitoto May 9, 2011 01:08 PM

                        thanks for the link, next vaca :)

                      2. mtoo May 9, 2011 12:39 PM

                        Charleston, SC might be a good spot for you. So many good seasonally and regionally sourced restaurants. A company called Bulldog Tours offers both culinary tours and kitchen tours.

                        I didn't realize that Charleston was such a food destination until we got there. It was a nice surprise.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: mtoo
                          melitoto May 9, 2011 01:09 PM

                          thank you!

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