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How Far Would You Fly or Drive to Try Something New or to Eat

I once drove 3.5 hours to New Haven for a pizza crawl visiting Pepe's, Sally's and Modern. My cousin drives 4.5 hours to go to NYC for pastrami. How far have you traveled? I am craving Stone Crab and Key Lime Pie and am investigating flights to MIA!!

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  1. My furthest trip just to eat was flying to Amsterdam, eating, sleeping, flying home.

    My usual drive time limit for restaurants is 60 minutes. Anything more than that requires the place to be a "destination restaurant" and we'd stay overnight.

    40 Replies
    1. re: Harters

      Why Amsterdam and what did you eat?

      1. re: phelana

        Rijstaffel - and the Netherlands is the only place I know where it's served.

            1. re: pollymerase

              Great, I figured a 6-1/2 hour flight to Holland (assuming leaving from east coast USA) simply for a meal was excessive to say the least.

              1. re: Chinon00

                Well, we have flown, from the Mainland US to both Hawai`i and to the UK, or even Europe, to basically dine, but those trips were not JUST to dine - we just added that option. However, most of those restaurants were not new to us, but "old favorites." OK, there might have been one, or two new ones thrown in, but they were not the prime motivators.

                Hunt

                1. re: Bill Hunt

                  I'm talking about as Harters stated flying to say Amsterdam (but from America), eating, sleeping, flying home. What you've described is a typical foodie vacation or getaway weekend.

                  1. re: Chinon00

                    Indeed, flying to Europe from America just to eat would be odd. But then, that's not what I did.

                      1. re: Harters

                        OK, flying from Phoenix, to London (not one of our normal board-meeting trips), just to dine - does that count? Oh, we WILL see Regent Street Christmas decorations, but still, we are doing this trip, really for food.

                        Hunt

                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                          Yep, that counts, Bill.

                          By the by, where are you eating? We also have a couple of nights in London in December - my wife and I, now both retired, call this the "office Christmas party" trip. For us, it's only two hours on the train. We have a reservation at the Ledbury and one other meal still to be booked (probably one of the higher end Indians or Italians)

                          1. re: Harters

                            Right now, we are doing mostly Gordon Ramsay's places: Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, and Gordon Ramsay's at Claridges. We're doing a "first night" in a few days, at Maze, as it's a short walk for our UK board, and has been nice in the past. We're looking at doing Butler's, at the Chesterfield, which we've enjoyed in the past, and then Rules for a lunch. One night is totally open, at least for now. My wife wants to go back to Joel Robuchon's in Soho, especially as we're dining at his Las Vegas, NV, USA restaurant in Nov, and his Paris location in a week, plus we have done Soho twice in the past. We'll probably stay close to London-proper, as we have only a few days.

                            Hunt

                            1. re: Bill Hunt

                              I think Rules may well be my favourite London restaurant. Top quality ingredients, cooked with classic simplicity.

                              Have a good trip.

                              1. re: Harters

                                John,

                                Coming from you, that IS an endorsement, and I greatly appreciate it.

                                We do enjoy some more "traditional London fare," but obviously dine on more international dishes when there. We attempt to shoot for a bit of it all, and I cannot recall a really bad meal, in all the years and trips - some were noticeably weak, but then they did have great competition.

                                Thank you,

                                Hunt

                      2. re: Chinon00

                        Well, let's see. In Dec., we're flying to London, just to dine. Last year, we flew from PHX to NYC, just to dine at Restaurant Daniel, and catch a matinee show. Not quite like US to Amsterdam, but not THAT far away.

                        Hunt

                        1. re: Bill Hunt

                          To be clear Bill are you saying that you are arriving in London from the US, eating and then returning to the US the next morning?

                          1. re: Chinon00

                            Gotta love that carbon footprint!

                            1. re: Chinon00

                              Actually, we're flying back 4 days later, after dining around London. Sorry if I gave you the wrong impression. Even if I had my own 737 OW, I doubt that I would be up to a one-day turn around.

                              Hunt

                              1. re: Bill Hunt

                                Sure no problem. As I said earlier I'm sure many chowhounds coordinate trips and vacations with dining as a prime activity. I've been lucky enough to get to Europe every year but 3 since 1996. And believe me the food agenda was detailed each time. But I didn't think that was what the OP was after.

                                1. re: Chinon00

                                  It might have been. Some folk will fly half-way around the globe, just for one meal. I am not in that category.

                                  Still, we have planned many trips JUST to dine in certain restaurants. Oh, we might do other things, but the food WAS the draw. A perfect example, for us, is Blackberry Farm, in Walland, TN. While it IS a great resort, with plenty to do, it is tough to get to, from Phoenix, AZ. Still, we go for the dining, and all else, like the hiking, the canoes, the trout fishing, and the sporting clays, are but lagniappe - a little something extra. Same for some of our trips to London, and also Hawai`i. While we might walk about, might take in a museum, or maybe play a few rounds of golf, it is about the food, on several of those trips.

                                  Hunt

                                  1. re: Bill Hunt

                                    Yup. On a recent vacation the wife and I went to Malta. My primary goal there was to have their famous rabbit. On the same trip we went to Venice as well and of course risotto was had as often as possible. Also, on one trip through southern Spain the only reason we went to the town of Ronda was to eat at a restaurant there named Tragabuches. Great times.

                  2. re: Chinon00

                    I doubt he flew his own private jet (could be wrong) to Amsterdam. That plane was going to Amsterdam with or without him. Now if he flew his own private jet, then I can see your point Chinon, otherwise, I'd say get over it. I say be glad he flew on that flight, stayed over night, ate in a restaurant and pumped that money into the economy instead of staying home and saving the world by not leaving his house.

                    1. re: Chinon00

                      That plane is going there whether Harters is on board or not...

                      :-)

                      1. re: Chinon00

                        even if harters had left from the US, harters was most likely not in a private jet. so wether or not harters went to the netherlands that day, the plane would have gone anyway.

                      2. re: Harters

                        Been there, done that, but it's a quicker flight from NY to Aruba for the same. If you really stretched you could catch a Garuda flight to Indonesia......................

                        CityHopper makes quick European flights great>>>>>>>>>>>>>

                        1. re: Harters

                          Harters, you indeed can get Rice Table in the Dutch Caribbean :)

                          1. re: phelana

                            Though it'd be a much longer flight than to Amsterdam. :-)

                          2. re: Harters

                            Out of interest Harters, where did you have your Rijstaffel?
                            I've just got back from Amsterdam and had an excellent one at Tempo Doeloe.
                            First time I'd had it, we just happened to be staying round the corner and managed to bag a table quite late.

                            1. re: Paprikaboy

                              Tempo Doeloe, as well.

                              I'd researched beforehand and it came up with it being the dog's danglies for rijstaffel. That was about 7 or 8 years back. Not sure if it still holds top spot. But it was a memorable meal - not least for how bloody hot a couple of the items were.

                              Do you still have to knock on the door to be let in?

                              1. re: Harters

                                Of course, I assume you know that rijsttafel (not rijstaffel) is a Dutch-colonial invention. The "meal" is found in Indonesia nowadays largely in Westernized touristy hotels.

                                1. re: huiray

                                  I regard it as the Dutch equivalent of our kedgeree.

                                  1. re: Harters

                                    Heh. Yes, that has some applicability.

                                  2. re: huiray

                                    I ate this past February at a restaurant in Sorong, Indonesia and had what I would consider to be a version of rijsttafel, athough I am sure it wasn't called that. However, no idea if it had a particular name, since there was no English menu, no one in the place spoke any English, and it was clear that Western tourists didn't regularly dine there. Indeed, very few Western tourists make it to Sorong, and those who do are there for one night or less (before getting on a boat to go dive Raja Ampat) and usually dine at the hotel or possibly along the waterfront.

                                    We were looking for something that wasn't touristy, walked in, sat down, and the dishes started coming. We had assumed it was a flat price and starting eating/trying everything, (some dishes were great, especially poultry and seafood, some were only ok, and some little 'foreign' to us, and of course we had no way to ask what anything was), but eventually realized by watching other tables that it was more like dim sum in that we were supposed to waive off dishes we didn't want. When we were done our server counted up the empty dishes before writing the amount we owed on a piece of paper.

                                    Great way to spend an afternoon in Sorong, where things to do are somewhat limited. From the best hotel in town, walk towards the waterfront, about half way there or about five blocks away the restaurant is on the edge of a roundabout, on the left, it was a brown wooden building with a very pointed roof. You have your choice of air-conditioning or not, we of course chose air-con, for which we presumably were charged more, though for all I know we were charged more just because they could, and I am not complaining (cost was the equivalent of about $14 per person US including sodas. It appeared to be a Muslim-owned establishment, btw, Sorong has a predominantly non-Muslim population overall but many of the women patrons wore hijab, no alcohol was available and no pork was served).

                                    The only other places I've had similar meals were in Amsterdam (too many years ago to remember where we had it) and at Restaurant Indonesia in Napier, New Zealand, which has an excellent rijsttafel. Go figure. (although also a bit far for Harters to fly :-))

                                     
                                    1. re: susancinsf

                                      It must have been a wonderful trip! I note Sorong is in Papua New Guinea, which I wouldn't think of as "typically" Indonesian. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Pap...

                                      What you describe has some similarities to what can also be found in the main parts of Indonesia, including in Java and Sumatera, including where there is a large display of various dishes and one selects what one wants and is charged for the selections. There is also a style of eatery/dining called "prasmanan" [basically a "buffet"] such as these: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/819194 ; http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/818233 ; or places like this: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/815002 . Yes, a sort-of rijsttafel can be found here-and-there, such as at this place: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/802817 - but it is not a "common" occurrence. [Note also the other selections available as reported, at this high-end hotel. :-) ]

                                      There is also stuff like Nasi Padang, for which see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Padang_food .

                                      The format of what you describe ("dim sum format" a.k.a. "pay for each plate you select") is additionally not what is usually associated with "Rijsttafel", adapted by the Dutch from Nasi Padang, but where there is a combination of foods from various places and of various forms etc. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rijsttafel In contrast, I suspect that what you had were dishes local to the place (the immediate region of Papua New Guinea)? Whatever it was called locally in PNG, I'm sure the meal overall was delicious, or at least memorable!

                                      ETA: Here's the Indonesian Wiki article on "Rijsttafel", translated using Google:
                                      http://translate.google.com/translate...

                                      1. re: huiray

                                        Actually, Sorong is in Papua, Indonesia, NOT Papa New Guinea, which refers to the country with which Papua and West Papua Indonesia share a land mass (the Island of New Guinea). BTW, one of the reasons that I mention that it was (apparently) Muslim is that I think that represented the Indonesian sphere of influence (PNG is 98% Protestant, at least officially, and while Sorong is predominantly Protestant as well, obviously overall Indonesia has a majority Muslim population).

                                        Actually, your link to the Nasi Padang and the picture of hidang Padang food pic in particular looks a lot like what we had; especially the fact that it was cooked in advance, it was (presumably, based on the clientele) halal, and there was definitely a good amount of offal. Edited to add: pretty sure we had that Gulai iso, and we definitely had the chicken gulai. So thanks for that link, I will share with my dining companions, we loved it even if we weren't sure what we were eating! (and in case anyone wonders or worries about the health effects of being a bit adventurous, the only impact on our stomachs was that we were still too stuffed that night to eat dinner! :-))

                                        and yes, indeed it is the fact that the few times I've had Rijsttafel it is always a flat price that is what why I assumed that would be the case until we noticed others waiving off dishes, and which was confirmed when the server counted the empty plates. The server also took away a few plates we didn't eat from before doing the counting.

                                        As for the dishes, some were obviously local, or at least something that we'd never seen, but many were dishes I had elsewhere in Indonesia (notably Sulawesi) on the same trip. (Indeed, check out the boiled shrimp in the upper lefthand corner of my pic. I think I've had that same dish in many parts of the world.) and yes, it was great, perfectly fresh as one would expect from a sea port like Sorong. Definitely, it was both mostly delicious and all definitely memorable. As for the trip, it was my first trip to Asia ever and I ended up in a very remote piece of the continent (well, with a bit of a stopover in Singapore coming and going); it was an amazing journey (with some of the best diving on the planet). Raja Ampat is a complete pain to get to, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat, as soon as I have another five years to save up the heavy coin for the dive boat!

                                        1. re: susancinsf

                                          OK, true, PNG technically refers to the eastern part of Papua. Nevertheless, I consider the Indonesians to be interlopers and colonizers in "West Papua". Did you even read my link to the description of the place? Note my reference link was to Sorong in "West Papua" per the Wiki article.

                                          BTW wouldn't the very fact that, as you relate, PNG is "98% Protestant" suggest that it (and "West Papua") is not a "typical" Indonesian place?

                                          What you describe as having still isn't Rijsttafel. :-)

                                          1. re: huiray

                                            I think you are missing my point about the Protestant and Muslim influences, but whatever, as I said in my post I think what I had most closely matches your link for hidang Padang....(which as far as I can tell is more Indonesian than Papuan, even if it isn't Rijsttafel).

                                            as for mentioning PNG, i mention it because it is a separate country and a very separate political entity and I didn't want other readers to get confused and think that we were discussing the country of Papa New Guinea. The description of the place and the political boundaries are two very different issues, as I believe you realize when you refer to interlopers.

                                            1. re: susancinsf

                                              Very nice clarification, susaninsf, and it sounds so interesting to hear about from someone who has actually been there.

                                      2. re: susancinsf

                                        So some other hound has been to R Indonesia in Napier. l still proudly wear a Napier art deco shirt with a teeny curry stain on the sleeve.

                                    2. re: Harters

                                      Harters

                                      We didn't have to knock on the door but I can confirm that the food was still very good indeed. All four of us raved about it. I haven't eaten a lot of Indonesian food but probably the best I've had.
                                      Know what you mean about the heat. They kindly arranged the dishes in order of heat and warned us about a couple and suggested we try them in order. Glad we followed their advice as the last two were seriously hot.

                            2. Plelana, I am a new haven native, but 40 years ago I went to College in Philadelphia, Many a time I made the roundtrip home to eat at Sally's. I used toi be able to catch a turboprop on Allegheny Airlines out of Philadelphia at a 'youth' fare of $18 each way. A homebuddy would meet me at Tweed New Haven, then an 8 minute drive to Sally's. I'd have called ahead from Philadelphia (I have the private number) and Flo (of blessed memory, passing away this week) would have my apizza waiting. She'd also have 5 pies boxed up for me to take back. The Plane turned around in 65 minutes. This was before security, and I could make it from the airport entrance to on the plane in 5 minutes.

                              In those years it was not unusual to get in the car and drive from New Haven to Montreal for smoked meat sandwiches, bagels from St Viateur Bagel Bakery, eat and drive home. 350 miles each way, but gas was about $1.20 gallon.

                              In 1982 it was not unusaul for me to regularly fly to Ft Laquderdale after work, take my then girlfriend out to dinner and make a 2am, flight home. Young, foolish and in love.

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: bagelman01

                                l was raised in Phila and once a month in my youth would drive to Sallie's, have a pie or two, turn around and go home.
                                Also routinely drove from Phila to Atlantic City for White House subs, good trip helped by the fact the Atlantic City Expressway just opened and due to it's toll cost, they did not check speeders. At the time l had an e-Type Jaguar, great memories.

                                1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                  An E-type? What happened to it? When I was a kid, that was my favorite car in the whole world. Most beautiful car ever. As an adult I've found myself driving german cars. The other night, we were watching an old Top Gear episode that was celebrating the 50th anniversary of the E-type. My young son says he wants one of those when he can drive. Its a timeless design that hasn't lost a bit of its appeal. DCM - If you still have it, any interest in selling?

                                  1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                    I knew we had much in common. My 71 E-Type would get me from Wharton to New Haven in 2 hours 45 minutes (home) or 3 hours flat to Sally's.
                                    Also used to make late night runs to Juniors in Brooklyn for Cheesecake

                                     
                                    1. re: bagelman01

                                      I too have always thought that was one of the most beautiful machines ever made. A friends mother had one, so I did get to experience the ride a few times. It eventually caught fire and was destroyed.

                                      Must go drown remembered sorrows in something boozy...

                                      1. re: bagelman01

                                        You're a fortunate man. That's a magnificent looking car.

                                        1. re: bagelman01

                                          Mine was a '65 4.2 coupe. l drive two Germans now. Have had 4 Jaguars over my lifetime and regretfully l had three of them when Lucas ruled the roost, yuch. Went to U of Penn but not Wharton. Never made that time to Sallie's, and l thought l drove waaaay too fast. Thus we shared Penn, greyhounds, and Jaguars, what else.

                                          1. re: Delucacheesemonger

                                            Ah Lucas, the company that invented dark.

                                    2. In one sense, I'm with Harters -- I'll easily drive an hour to an hour-and-a-half for dinner. Living, as I do, in Berkeley, California, that means anywhere from Napa and Sonoma in the north, Los Gatos and San Jose in the south, or San Francisco and Marin to the west. It used to be 1.5-2.0 hours, but the older I get, the harder it is to drive home -- so I, too, will stay overnight.

                                      I haven't flown to Amsterdam *just* to eat, but I will always plan either 1-2 special dinners per business trip or stay another day or two just to eat . . .

                                      1. I've driven from Philly to NYC countless times just for a meal. I'll also do Philly to DC on occassion. And I drove from North Andover MA to Narragansett, RI to have paella at a place named Spain's. Worth it, so worth it.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Chinon00

                                          Driving anywhere from North Andover to get a good meal is worth it..................

                                          Spent 2-3 days a week in North Andover from 8/2008-11/2010, a culinary wasteland.

                                        2. In the pre-kid years, Mr. CB and I would drive 3 hours to Philly if we had a craving for certain items.

                                          One of our dear friends is/was always up for a road trip so often the three of us would set off to visit favorite restaurants an hour or so away.

                                          Now, not so much. Part of the reason is time, we just don't have that much free time. The other part is I really enjoy cooking and elaborate meals at home are now as enjoyable as dining out.

                                          Occasionally I will drive 1:15 minutes to do grocery shopping.

                                          I would, however, jump on a flight to Provo, T & C to eat lunch at Da Conch Shack if I had the chance!