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What do you appreciate when you come home from international trip?

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fara Sep 23, 2013 12:40 PM

Im not going to lie, being in europe i feel a lot of things could be better socially and food wise here. what are some if the things you know are better about your area/ country? What do you appreciate about your hometown/ the US in terms of food culture, eating habits ...even general cultural attitudes when you've been abroad?

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  1. Monica RE: fara Sep 23, 2013 12:57 PM

    that food is really reallyl cheap in US compare to rest of the World. Quality is a different story.

    I do have to say that pizza in NYC is better than pizza in France...so yes, I do appreciate that. Also the bagels I guess..I once had bagels in Korea and they were terrible and didn't like those egg bagels in Montreal.

    13 Replies
    1. re: Monica
      j
      julesrules RE: Monica Sep 23, 2013 04:39 PM

      It's fine not to like Montreal bagels but they are not egg bagels :)

      1. re: Monica
        mtlcowgirl RE: Monica Sep 27, 2013 07:50 AM

        WTF is a Montreal egg bagel? I'm a Montrealer.

        1. re: mtlcowgirl
          Monica RE: mtlcowgirl Sep 27, 2013 07:54 AM

          Montreal bagels contain eggs while NYC bagles don't.

          1. re: Monica
            Motosport RE: Monica Sep 27, 2013 07:56 AM

            You can get an egg bagel in NYC and probably in Montreal but most of the bagels in both places are NOT egg bagels.

            1. re: Motosport
              Silverjay RE: Motosport Sep 27, 2013 08:05 AM

              Montreal style bagels, like Fairmont, use eggs. They just don't call it an "egg bagel" like they do here in the US...I happen to enjoy both a lot.

              1. re: Motosport
                Monica RE: Motosport Sep 27, 2013 08:13 AM

                I guess I should have worded differently but it is my understanding, bagel recipes in Montreal contain eggs while NYC bagels don't. I know I can get egg bagels in NYC though they are not that common at all anymore.

          2. re: Monica
            c oliver RE: Monica Sep 27, 2013 11:39 AM

            I've not found food to be particularly 'cheap' in the US. Can you elaborate please?

            1. re: c oliver
              RetiredChef RE: c oliver Sep 28, 2013 10:33 AM

              I'll second that, I can usually find much better food at cheaper price outside of the US. A lot of that has to do with the strength of the dollar but still. Still give me 300 Bhat (10 USD) in Thailand and I can easily eat three excellent prepared meals in one day.

              1. re: RetiredChef
                RealMenJulienne RE: RetiredChef Oct 3, 2013 01:18 PM

                Another way to look at it though, is as a proportion of average income. A whole chicken or package of ground pork costs the same in Beijing as it does in Chicago. But of course it's a lot more expensive to someone making the average Beijing salary of $9000 per year. I'm guessing that 300 bhat for food per day is also a lot for the average Thai person to spend.

                I absolutely think that food is cheap here, sometimes in an absolute sense (compared to Europe) sometimes in a proportionate sense (compared to Asia). Being able to exchange less labor for more calories is a very basic metric for standard of living, so God bless economies of scale, and big American agribusiness.

                1. re: RealMenJulienne
                  boogiebaby RE: RealMenJulienne Oct 3, 2013 01:36 PM

                  "A whole chicken or package of ground pork costs the same in Beijing as it does in Chicago."

                  This is not necessarily true. A pound of beef in Malaysia, can cost $15-20 USD, as opposed to $5-7 USD here in the US for the same cut and quality. It goes by supply -- a whole chicken in an area where chickens are not raised and have to be brought in is going to cost more than in an area where chickens are readily available.

                  1. re: RealMenJulienne
                    Caroline1 RE: RealMenJulienne Oct 4, 2013 12:44 AM

                    "A whole chicken or package of ground pork costs the same in Beijing as it does in Chicago."

                    This just isn't true, not even if you're buying cuts from the same steer but in different countries. Where the food product, whether it be beef, chicken, milk, or parsley, is raised, how it is raised, what the prep costs in making it ready for market, how far it has to be ported to reach market, AND what sort of government subsidies and/or tariffs, as well as which governments levy them along the way, ALL come into play along the way. All of which means that a whole chicken or a package of ground pork are NOT the same price in Beijing or Chicago any day of the week! ,-)

                    As for big American agribusiness, there are lots of countries and people who hate it with a passion because of its role in genetically modified foods.

                    Just sayin'....

                    1. re: Caroline1
                      RealMenJulienne RE: Caroline1 Oct 4, 2013 01:24 PM

                      Um, what. If you take the RMB price of a whole chicken in Beijing, and convert it to USD, it comes out to about $5, which is what it is at my neighborhood grocery in Chicago. What I'm trying to say is that the US price is effectively much cheaper because average incomes here are much higher. This is due to American food industry economies of scale as well as the subsidies you mention.

                      I stand firmly on the side of big agribusiness and I believe GMOs are the future. Until the human race learns to curb its overbreeding instinct the only way to avoid disaster is to keep the food production curve ahead of the population curve.

                      1. re: RealMenJulienne
                        The Chowhound Team RE: RealMenJulienne Oct 4, 2013 01:50 PM

                        There've been plenty of discussions about GMO/Agribusiness on Chowhound, but please let's not make this thread one of them. It's a subject that really is likely to go better in a thread that's about that, rather than taking over one that isn't. Thanks.

            2. LindaWhit RE: fara Sep 23, 2013 01:05 PM

              Cooking something in my own kitchen.

              12 Replies
              1. re: LindaWhit
                boyzoma RE: LindaWhit Sep 23, 2013 01:12 PM

                I used to travel for work a lot. Sometimes gone for 6 weeks at a time. Eating out every meal gets old (and fattening). I love coming home and cooking in my own kitchen.

                1. re: boyzoma
                  LindaWhit RE: boyzoma Sep 23, 2013 01:18 PM

                  And I've not traveled a lot by any stretch of anyone's imagination, but the few times I did, I very much looked forward to being able to chop, peel, and stir.

                  1. re: LindaWhit
                    meatn3 RE: LindaWhit Sep 23, 2013 06:21 PM

                    My overseas travel experiences have been fairly modest. But I always have browsed at whatever food markets I've come across. And have always wished I had a kitchen available in order to try the interesting items available!

                    1. re: meatn3
                      LindaWhit RE: meatn3 Sep 23, 2013 07:36 PM

                      As I noted on the Wegman's thread (I think on the Chains board), visiting new-to-me supermarkets is something I *love* to do. Having a kitchen available to cook some of the goodies I find would be a major bonus!

                      1. re: LindaWhit
                        LMAshton RE: LindaWhit Sep 29, 2013 03:56 AM

                        We've done AirBNB travel a few times with access to a kitchen, so I've been able to do that. It's fun. :)

                      2. re: meatn3
                        c oliver RE: meatn3 Sep 27, 2013 11:40 AM

                        If it fits your schedule and lifestyle, renting or exchanging gives you the pleasure of cooking and also saves a ton of money over eating out three meals a day.

                        1. re: meatn3
                          LMAshton RE: meatn3 Sep 29, 2013 03:55 AM

                          One of my favourite things to do in a new-to-me country is to go to the grocery store and see what's available that I don't recognize and don't have a clue what to do with. Although I still find those things in countries I've lived in for a couple or eight years, although not as frequently.

                    2. re: LindaWhit
                      fldhkybnva RE: LindaWhit Sep 23, 2013 01:47 PM

                      I agree! I get bored of eating out quite quickly, even if they are International delights, and long for the kitchen, my own space and my own food. Before I leave, I usually try to stock the fridge and freeze with foods I will definitely want to make when I get home so I don't even have to worry about a long grocery store trip.

                      1. re: LindaWhit
                        foodieX2 RE: LindaWhit Sep 23, 2013 03:14 PM

                        Completely agree Linda! Its nice to cook your own meals. I have gotten to the point where I prefer to stay places that have kitchen availability.

                        That and of course my own bathroom. Public restrooms in many European countries/cities leave a lot to be desired.

                        1. re: foodieX2
                          c oliver RE: foodieX2 Sep 27, 2013 11:41 AM

                          Guess we've been lucky. We've frequently stayed in places in the US and abroad where we went "down the hall" to the bathroom. Never had a problem.

                          1. re: foodieX2
                            LMAshton RE: foodieX2 Sep 29, 2013 03:57 AM

                            Bathrooms in some places in some third world Asian countries are... Well, you just avoid them if at all possible unless you're going to have an accident.

                          2. re: LindaWhit
                            RetiredChef RE: LindaWhit Sep 28, 2013 10:34 AM

                            Bingo

                          3. l
                            lbs RE: fara Sep 23, 2013 01:28 PM

                            Just got back from 6 weeks in London. Loved it! But I was dying for a cup of coffee in which I could add my own cream. I don't want a flat white. I don't want a latte. I don't want instant. I just want a cup of coffee... :)

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: lbs
                              p
                              Palladium RE: lbs Sep 23, 2013 02:13 PM

                              Yes!
                              I live in the UK now, and have been out of the US for nearly a decade, but nothing tells me I'm "home" like the neat line of jugs of half and half, whole milk, 2% milk, fat-free milk, and soy milk at a coffee shop.

                            2. p
                              pine time RE: fara Sep 23, 2013 02:08 PM

                              Salad and fresh vegetables.

                              11 Replies
                              1. re: pine time
                                f
                                ferret RE: pine time Sep 23, 2013 02:37 PM

                                Where do you travel to that you can't get a salad and/or fresh vegetables?

                                1. re: ferret
                                  j
                                  Just Visiting RE: ferret Sep 23, 2013 04:05 PM

                                  We spend a lot of time in Africa and South America and we are careful about eating fresh fruits and vegetables that can't be peeled. I'm guessing that's where Pine Time hangs out, too.

                                  We get home, I practically inhale salad for a week or more.

                                  Plus in a lot of places outside the U.S., salad is at most some very pale iceberg, some tasteless 'toes, and maybe some onion.

                                  Ironically, I've gotten sick only twice. Once in Cuba (the water used to make the powdered eggs) and once in Peru (peas cooked to mush; thought that would be OK but apparently not). And when I say sick, I mean days and days of agony!

                                  1. re: Just Visiting
                                    c oliver RE: Just Visiting Sep 27, 2013 11:44 AM

                                    We visit Brazil every year and eat all the fruits and vegetables we want. From farmers markets and the grocery. The only time I got sick was salmonella-tainted American peanut butter that didn't get removed from the shelf. Our selection is huge and we've found that to be true in Europe also.

                                    1. re: Just Visiting
                                      RetiredChef RE: Just Visiting Sep 28, 2013 10:43 AM

                                      Hmmmm, I've been to South America 5 times over the last 2 years. With the exception of very southern Chili and Bolivia, I have never had a problem getting plenty of fruits or vegetable there. Currently about 18% of all fruits sold in America is grown in South America.

                                      And where are you that you are worried about eating them. I have eating everything from street vendor bought to store bought to picking it off the trees and eating it and haven't gotten sick? If there was something in the fruit or water certainly people in the US would be getting sick since they import so much.

                                    2. re: ferret
                                      t
                                      tastesgoodwhatisit RE: ferret Sep 23, 2013 07:39 PM

                                      That's what I tend to miss when travelling.

                                      You can generally get *some* vegetables while travelling, but restaurant meals generally contain a lot less vegetables than I'm used to eating, and not as well prepared.

                                      I was recently in Germany, and I quite enjoyed the food, but it seemed that veggies were definitely an afterthought in most of the restaurants.

                                      So by the time I get home, I want good salads with home made dressing, lots of simply prepared but good vegetables.

                                      1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit
                                        cayjohan RE: tastesgoodwhatisit Sep 23, 2013 07:50 PM

                                        My daughter said the same about the vegetable prominence in Germany during her time working there this summer. Aside from spice, she was missing sizeable portions of fresh vegetables. Perhaps peculiar to her area, but interesting that you had the same experience - she, too, generally loved the foodways.

                                        To be fair, I think most restaurant meals treat vegetables as an afterthought. Or, worse, as a skimpy and precious garnish that amounts to a mouthful.

                                      2. re: ferret
                                        p
                                        pine time RE: ferret Sep 24, 2013 12:52 PM

                                        ferret:
                                        India. Even in upscale places, uncooked vegetables/fruits are suspect--I've gotten quite sick several times. Can only eat things with a thick peel (think bananas) which I peel myself. Cooked vegetables there are delicious, but cooked to death, usually.

                                        Plain old iceberg lettuce looks lovely when I get back home!

                                        1. re: ferret
                                          b
                                          BuildingMyBento RE: ferret Sep 24, 2013 10:44 PM

                                          A nice green salad isn't terribly common on a Chinese lazy susan. At the same time, one of the best salads I've ever eaten was at a Northern Chinese restaurant in Beijing- peanuts, capsicum, radishes, a slightly salty and spicy oil as the dressing- but I was surprised to see it on the menu.

                                          Now, chock full o' mayonnaise fruit salads in that part of the world are a dime a dozen...

                                          Jonathan
                                          http://buildingmybento.com
                                          http://collaterallettuce.com

                                          1. re: ferret
                                            LMAshton RE: ferret Sep 29, 2013 03:59 AM

                                            Most of the salads I had in Sri Lanka were... Awful. And that's being kind. Too much water not shaken off the lettuce, using pickling cucumbers instead of English cucumbers, using green tomatoes, rotten lettuce... Complain about it and the waiter does nothing. They don't care. Really. They just turn around and ignore your comments. No replacement food, no discount, item still on the bill and you still have to pay for it even though it's inedible.

                                          2. re: pine time
                                            w
                                            Worldwide Diner RE: pine time Sep 24, 2013 08:33 AM

                                            I miss good Chinese stir fried veggies.

                                            1. re: pine time
                                              h
                                              Hobbert RE: pine time Sep 28, 2013 10:49 AM

                                              Yes! I eat veggie heavy most of the time and that's hard to do when I'm not at home unless I'm getting a vegetarian meal.

                                            2. LA Buckeye Fan RE: fara Sep 23, 2013 02:41 PM

                                              Ice. Glorious ice in my drinks.

                                              10 Replies
                                              1. re: LA Buckeye Fan
                                                f
                                                ferret RE: LA Buckeye Fan Sep 23, 2013 02:53 PM

                                                Amen to that. Say what you will about McDonald's but they have clean toilets, free wifi, A/C and ICE no matter where you find them.

                                                1. re: ferret
                                                  LMAshton RE: ferret Sep 29, 2013 04:37 AM

                                                  Not... everywhere.

                                                2. re: LA Buckeye Fan
                                                  l
                                                  LeoLioness RE: LA Buckeye Fan Sep 23, 2013 02:54 PM

                                                  Yes!

                                                  1. re: LA Buckeye Fan
                                                    fldhkybnva RE: LA Buckeye Fan Sep 23, 2013 03:23 PM

                                                    I'm the opposite. One particular thing that I quite enjoy about International eating is the lovely no-ice drinks :) I've never been a fan of cold drinks, never pay attention to the stock of ice in the house usually and keep drinks out of the fridge :) SO really loves this challenge.

                                                    1. re: fldhkybnva
                                                      LA Buckeye Fan RE: fldhkybnva Sep 23, 2013 03:36 PM

                                                      Give your ice to me, please.:)

                                                      1. re: LA Buckeye Fan
                                                        fldhkybnva RE: LA Buckeye Fan Sep 23, 2013 03:50 PM

                                                        Will do, all yours. I was born in Europe and my parents like to think that's why I'm a room temperature beverage fan.

                                                      2. re: fldhkybnva
                                                        p
                                                        Pookipichu RE: fldhkybnva Sep 24, 2013 09:16 AM

                                                        Don't like cold drinks at all. It's so comforting to drink tepid or hot water. One thing I definitely don't miss at all when I travel, ice-cold drinks in the dead of winter. I think there are special ice-cubes restaurants in the US bring out in winter that are below 0 degrees celsius.

                                                      3. re: LA Buckeye Fan
                                                        alliegator RE: LA Buckeye Fan Sep 23, 2013 04:27 PM

                                                        On a somewhat similar note, I'll add the ability to drink the tap water (depending on where you are). I'm fond of hydration and while chillin' in my room, I would like to just refill that bottle I polished off.

                                                        1. re: alliegator
                                                          c oliver RE: alliegator Sep 27, 2013 11:45 AM

                                                          I do that all the time.

                                                        2. re: LA Buckeye Fan
                                                          c oliver RE: LA Buckeye Fan Sep 27, 2013 11:45 AM

                                                          We've been successful going to a local pub and paying a pound/euro/whatever for a bag of ice.

                                                        3. bagelman01 RE: fara Sep 23, 2013 02:48 PM

                                                          American Plumbing...a polite way to refer to toilet facilities. I've been in too many hellholes around the world that could benefit from modern American Style Plumbing and American quality toilet paper.

                                                          Went to more than a few ***Michelin restaurants in France with antiquated bathrooms and sandpaper.

                                                          Next: plenty of ice for my cold drinks and beer served at near frigid temps. I've spent months on ened in the UK and the former dominions and this is a major problem. Ask for ice in your glass and you get one cube, slightly chilled beer is not to my taste.

                                                          Good Coffee, not mud, not expresso, but an honest cup of joe.

                                                          15 Replies
                                                          1. re: bagelman01
                                                            boyzoma RE: bagelman01 Sep 23, 2013 03:07 PM

                                                            I got to hand it to you on the plumbing. Greece was awful. You are not supposed to "flush" any toilet paper as their septic systems won't tolerate it (at least where I was in Kifisia).

                                                            On the other hand, their offerings right outside my hotel were Pizza Hut and TGIF's. Go figure! We had to reach out to find good local food.

                                                            1. re: bagelman01
                                                              t
                                                              tastesgoodwhatisit RE: bagelman01 Sep 23, 2013 07:42 PM

                                                              Try Japan. Miles ahead of the US when it comes to toilet technology. Heated toilet seats, jets of warmed water to wash you off with adjustable spray, low and high volume flushing. Even in very simple ryokans they had toilets where when you flushed the water first ran through a little sink on the back of the toilet tank, so you could use the water for dual purpose.

                                                              1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit
                                                                Tripeler RE: tastesgoodwhatisit Sep 24, 2013 03:47 AM

                                                                Japan is not only miles ahead with toilets, they definitely have superior bathing facilities. Nothing beats a big Japanese bath.

                                                                1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit
                                                                  melpy RE: tastesgoodwhatisit Sep 24, 2013 04:19 AM

                                                                  A restaurant in NYC had one of these toilets. It was awesome. I would love to be able to wash every time.

                                                                  1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit
                                                                    Caroline1 RE: tastesgoodwhatisit Sep 29, 2013 03:52 PM

                                                                    I have one of those "Japanese" style toilets, and it makes any bathroom not my own a miserable experience. Mine raises the lid when I approach, remembers water temperature preferences, then flushes itself and closes when I walk away. The only problem with it is that it scares the hell out of new housekeepers, and I never remember to warn them! They are fantastic for the handicapped, extremely popular with Moslems, and yes, extremely popular in Japan. Mine is a Toto Neorest, and I've had it four or five years, but I'm extremely covetous of a new Kohler model recently introduced that includes night lights, an MP3player, and a warm air blower for your feet for those chilly winter mornings! The real blow is that it's cheaper than my Nearest. (sigh) There is no justice...

                                                                  2. re: bagelman01
                                                                    KarenDW RE: bagelman01 Sep 23, 2013 09:18 PM

                                                                    :)
                                                                    Italian (hotel) bathrooms are luxurious with style and fixtures, if not well-constructed. Towels were wonderful, but TP was yuck.

                                                                    1. re: KarenDW
                                                                      bagelman01 RE: KarenDW Sep 24, 2013 08:22 AM

                                                                      Things have improved since my first trip to Italy more than 50 years ago. Europe in the late 50s and early 60s was still suffering the afteraffects of WWII.

                                                                      In the late 70s and early 80s I covered Africa, South America, and Eastern Europe for RCA Global Communications. I was exposed to the worst and most primitive of facilities.

                                                                      Today, you may easilly find first class facilities in touristy locations, in the villages and hinterlands of countries such as Italy you may still find bathrooms to be in the dark ages.

                                                                      BTW>>>50 years ago this wasn't just a 'foreign' problem. In 1961 we took a cross country trip (before the superhighways). There were many gas stations in the American Southwest where the facilities were an outhouse. Water was too precious to waste.
                                                                      In 1974 I spent 6 months in a rented villa in Israel (working on a telcom project). I wondered why there were trash baskets in the water closets, while the sinks were in the hallway. After blocking up the plumbing, the rental agent explained that local plumbing systems could not flush and dispose of toilet paper, it had to go in the trash can.

                                                                      1. re: bagelman01
                                                                        boyzoma RE: bagelman01 Sep 24, 2013 08:51 AM

                                                                        Sounds like Greece in 2004 when I was there, unfortunately.

                                                                        1. re: boyzoma
                                                                          bagelman01 RE: boyzoma Sep 24, 2013 08:56 AM

                                                                          Last time I was in Greece was 1985, buit it was a problem, even in 'First Class Luxury' hotels such as the Grande Bretagne in Athens.

                                                                          1. re: bagelman01
                                                                            prima RE: bagelman01 Sep 24, 2013 02:37 PM

                                                                            Believe it or not, the toilet situation in Athens has improved over the last 28 years. Any hotel bathroom I've seen in Greece since 1996 has been as nice, if not nicer, than the hotel bathrooms I've seen in NYC. The KTEL station toilets are awful, but I doubt the Port Authority's toilets are much cleaner/nicer.

                                                                            Toilets are still pretty awful in many parts of the US. The trick is knowing where the good toilets are.I recommend the toilets at the Waldorf.

                                                                            1. re: prima
                                                                              j
                                                                              James Cristinian RE: prima Sep 24, 2013 11:36 PM

                                                                              I had an outside sales job in SE Texas for awhile and frequently put in up to 150 miles a day so a good toilet was always welcome. The finest was the Hotel Galvez, a 1911 gem in Galveston that had sparkling toilets nobody used. The exact opposite was Mexico, thin toilet paper was a blessing, usually it was a newspaper. This was on a train/bus trip from Texas to the Pacific.

                                                                            2. re: bagelman01
                                                                              Caroline1 RE: bagelman01 Sep 29, 2013 04:05 PM

                                                                              This all sounds so strange to me. I lived in Greece, on the Peloponnesus, for nearly a year in the village of Vartholomeo, traveled Greece extensively, and have no recollection of having any plumbing/tp problems ever. Did I lead a charmed life??? That was in the 80s. But when it comes to plumbing, I DID want to bring home our bathroom from the Ledra Marriot (Athens) as a souvenir. It was all pink marble, and a real joy!

                                                                              1. re: Caroline1
                                                                                boyzoma RE: Caroline1 Sep 30, 2013 05:13 AM

                                                                                My experience in 2004 was in Kafisia, Greece. Only had a 1/2 size bath tub too! 1/2 of that was a small seat. The shower nozzle hose had a hook but you couldn't use it like a normal one so you had to shower sitting down! But I have wonderful tales to tell about it!

                                                                                1. re: boyzoma
                                                                                  Caroline1 RE: boyzoma Sep 30, 2013 01:04 PM

                                                                                  Yeah! It's the "disasters" that live long in our memories. When everything goes "just perfect" what's to remember?

                                                                                  But I also have to admit that I may have been so inured to such things when my second husband and I lived in Greece by the years I lived in Turkey during my first marriage that I just didn't notice things?

                                                                                  The four years that I lived in Adana, Turkey, were like four years in the 17th Century! Today Adana is a thriving metropolis with a six minaret mosque to rival anything Istanbul has to offer. When I lived there from 1957 through December of 1960, it was rather a large village somewhat obscure that the CIA and Strategic Air command thought would make an ideal place for an airstrip to launch secret spy planes over the Soviet Union. Consequently, I was so inured by the Cold War atmosphere, AND the primitive conditions, that when my second husband took me for my long wished for return to Turkey, he was VERY upset one day (we were there for "four days and three nights") and asked me how I could have enjoyed living in such a place?

                                                                                  "What are you talking about?" was my reply.

                                                                                  "All of these damned soldiers with Uzis over their shoulders standing on every damned street corner!"

                                                                                  I don't think there actually were THAT many, but there may have been. When we got on the plane to fly back to Athens, and then home, there was security like I had never seen before, even after Francis Gary Powers (a friend) was shot down over the Soviet Union! I found out what the security was about when we finally were loaded onto the plane.... Yasir Arafat had been in town for some sort of important meeting, and the security the days we were because of that, then extended to our plane simply because he was sitting RIGHT BEHIND US....!!!

                                                                                  Some Nobel Laureates get no respect! '-)

                                                                                  My point here is that we may have seen several "bombsight" toilets in Greece, but I just didn't notice them. But I never found myself in a situation where I had to use one, or even see one...

                                                                                  Travel is broadening (I eat too much) and educational (we get to learn about strange plumbing!)! '-)

                                                                                  1. re: Caroline1
                                                                                    a
                                                                                    Ama658 RE: Caroline1 Oct 1, 2013 04:01 PM

                                                                                    I would forget that the guns, trash, and wild dogs were disturbing to "fresh eyes". Oops!

                                                                    2. cayjohan RE: fara Sep 23, 2013 03:14 PM

                                                                      Not me, but my daughter just returned from a summer in Scandinavia/Northern Europe/Germany. Our Skype conversations were practically pleading for spicy Asian foods upon her return. We're in Mpls/St.Paul, not exactly a known bastion of spicy foods, but oddly rife with good SE Asian eats. Spicy was the menu of the day for her return. Two weeks after her return, she moved out again...with a few jars and bottles of sri racha, chili paste, and the like. Her host family in Germany thought she was nuts for seeking out spicy foods, and her waiter in a Thai restaurant in Stockholm cautioned her about ordering HOT, that turned out to be not hot at all.

                                                                      It's been a few decades for me on international travel - is "hot" as in "spicy" that hard to find?

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: cayjohan
                                                                        f
                                                                        ferret RE: cayjohan Sep 23, 2013 03:36 PM

                                                                        I'm surprised because Stockholm has a relatively huge number of Thai restaurants (run by Thais - Swedes vacation in Thailand A LOT) and the food can be amazingly good. Plenty of spicy Thai options are available there.

                                                                        1. re: cayjohan
                                                                          alliegator RE: cayjohan Sep 23, 2013 03:59 PM

                                                                          In my experiences in Europe, you just have to know which places do it right. Tons of cheapy Asian places will short you on the spice, but there are a lot of good ones that will honor your request of hot.

                                                                          1. re: alliegator
                                                                            Savour RE: alliegator Sep 30, 2013 01:33 PM

                                                                            When I'm traveling I usually like to eat the indigenous cuisine of wherever I've visiting. I will occasionally make exceptions (Indian food in England, Vietnamese in France) but I don't travel enough that I I'm seeking the novelty there. I do appreciate it when I get home, though, to one of the most international cities I've been to (cuisine-wise).

                                                                        2. alliegator RE: fara Sep 23, 2013 03:47 PM

                                                                          I agree with those that say your own kitchen. I like the ability to just prepare light meals for myself in the few days that follow, because when I travel, I want to try everything, and usually do. And I don't always make the healthiest choices, either ;)
                                                                          Now, I ain't gonna lie, if it's lengthy travel and I get off that plane hungry, it's Taco Bell on the way home.

                                                                          1. NonnieMuss RE: fara Sep 23, 2013 03:52 PM

                                                                            I miss knowing where my next meal is coming from. Having no kitchen facilities/handy groceries I'm at the mercy of whatever café is on the tour, or whatever I can find in the nearby places. I almost starved to death in England - partly from being a little picky and partly from getting a lot of really bad meals in a row. I was eating granola bars and potato chips just to keep my blood sugar up. I also miss cheap, light, watery American beer. And Diet Coke.

                                                                            13 Replies
                                                                            1. re: NonnieMuss
                                                                              f
                                                                              ferret RE: NonnieMuss Sep 23, 2013 04:10 PM

                                                                              You miss Diet Coke? Coke Light is everywhere and it's the same thing.

                                                                              1. re: ferret
                                                                                t
                                                                                tastesgoodwhatisit RE: ferret Sep 23, 2013 07:44 PM

                                                                                Actually, Diet Coke and Coke Zero are different products with different flavours, and not always both sold in the same place.

                                                                                1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit
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                                                                                  ferret RE: tastesgoodwhatisit Sep 23, 2013 09:03 PM

                                                                                  I wrote Coke Light, which is identical to Diet Coke. Coke Zero is a different product.

                                                                                  1. re: ferret
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                                                                                    autumm RE: ferret Sep 23, 2013 09:43 PM

                                                                                    I found in the UK Coke Light tasted like Coke zero back home in MN. Coke zero was just weird in London, kinda like bad diet Coke, just flatter. And I'm a huge coke zero fan at home. I get coke light if I'm on the isles/continent. Which isn't to frequently these days (thank you my beloved toddler:))

                                                                                  2. re: tastesgoodwhatisit
                                                                                    fldhkybnva RE: tastesgoodwhatisit Sep 24, 2013 05:20 AM

                                                                                    Oh goodness yes! I need a morning diet coke, not coke zero or any other fake sugar coke. I don't remember a problem getting it in Europe at least.

                                                                                  3. re: ferret
                                                                                    NonnieMuss RE: ferret Sep 24, 2013 04:18 AM

                                                                                    Oh I know all about Coke Light - it's fine, but it's not Diet Coke. I drink it, but it's just not the same thing.

                                                                                    1. re: NonnieMuss
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                                                                                      ferret RE: NonnieMuss Sep 24, 2013 06:27 AM

                                                                                      Well the formulations are identical, it's just the naming that's different.

                                                                                      1. re: ferret
                                                                                        NonnieMuss RE: ferret Sep 24, 2013 07:46 AM

                                                                                        Nope - it's not the same product with a different label. It's similar, but not identical.

                                                                                        1. re: NonnieMuss
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                                                                                          ferret RE: NonnieMuss Sep 24, 2013 08:15 AM

                                                                                          So what's the difference? It's the same ingredients and in some markets it was actually relabeled from the "Diet Coke" designation, in other markets where "diet" is not a common term it was always labelled "Light."

                                                                                          From Coca-Cola's website:

                                                                                          "Coca-Cola Zero is sweetened with a blend of low-calorie sweeteners, while Diet Coke is sweetened with aspartame. As for Coke/Coca-Cola light, in certain countries, the term "diet" is not used to describe low-calorie foods and beverages. In these countries, we offer Coke/Coca-Cola light. "

                                                                                          1. re: ferret
                                                                                            NonnieMuss RE: ferret Sep 24, 2013 08:24 AM

                                                                                            You left the last sentence off - this is the rest of that quote from the Coke website:
                                                                                            "...In these countries, we offer Coke/Coca-Cola light. The sweetener blend used for Coke/Coca-Cola light is formulated for each country based on consumer preference."

                                                                                            Soooo...

                                                                                            1. re: NonnieMuss
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                                                                                              autumm RE: NonnieMuss Sep 26, 2013 09:39 PM

                                                                                              It was pretty amazing when we finished the last half bottle of German Coke Light and then opened the Austrian bottle of coke light 5 minutes later. It was the same, but it wasn't the same. Kind of like the variations between a 2011 bottle of wine and the same winery's 2012.

                                                                                          2. re: NonnieMuss
                                                                                            Jpan99 RE: NonnieMuss Sep 28, 2013 10:02 AM

                                                                                            I'm with you. Just back from Germany and Austria where the Coke Light tasted awful, and not just because it was served without ice. It doesn't taste at all like Diet Coke in the U.S.

                                                                                            1. re: Jpan99
                                                                                              k
                                                                                              klyeoh RE: Jpan99 Sep 30, 2013 01:34 AM

                                                                                              Yup, and the German Coke/Diet Coke are also much fizzier -it's always a trial to try opening a bottle without the fizz spraying all over.

                                                                                  4. n
                                                                                    nlgardener RE: fara Sep 23, 2013 03:56 PM

                                                                                    ICE!
                                                                                    Kentucky bourbon
                                                                                    Real cream for my coffee
                                                                                    Ground black pepper (hate, hate, hate white pepper on the table)
                                                                                    My dogs
                                                                                    My own bed

                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                    1. re: nlgardener
                                                                                      c oliver RE: nlgardener Sep 27, 2013 11:55 AM

                                                                                      Curious where you go that you can't get cream. We carry ground black pepper and it's not available that we've ever seen in Latin America.

                                                                                    2. pinehurst RE: fara Sep 23, 2013 04:03 PM

                                                                                      I miss the (generally) regular business hours of American stores and restaurants.

                                                                                      10 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: pinehurst
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                                                                                        Ama658 RE: pinehurst Oct 1, 2013 04:02 PM

                                                                                        Yes! Late night shopping is until 8 or 9, once a week.

                                                                                        1. re: Ama658
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                                                                                          ferret RE: Ama658 Oct 1, 2013 08:34 PM

                                                                                          My nephews from Europe were astonished that we could take them shopping at Walgreens at midnight during their first night acclimating to U.S. time. Candy and toys 24/7 was truly miraculous.

                                                                                          1. re: ferret
                                                                                            j
                                                                                            James Cristinian RE: ferret Oct 1, 2013 09:10 PM

                                                                                            You can also take them Christmas day. I feel really bad for those employees. I work retail so I know what they are going through. I hate Black Friday also, it has ruined many a Thanksgiving for me. Go away people, stay in bed.

                                                                                            1. re: James Cristinian
                                                                                              LMAshton RE: James Cristinian Oct 2, 2013 05:19 PM

                                                                                              All of which is why I don't shop on holidays, Sundays, or late. I don't want to encourage businesses to stay open then. I'd rather people had more time to spend with their families.

                                                                                              1. re: LMAshton
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                                                                                                LeoLioness RE: LMAshton Oct 3, 2013 07:21 AM

                                                                                                I see your point (I'm really, really grossed out by Black Friday starting before the turkey is cold on Thursday) but then again, not everyone celebrates all holidays.

                                                                                                I don't celebrate Easter, for example, so if I worked retail I'd be happy to work it and make money-it's just another day to me.

                                                                                                1. re: LeoLioness
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                                                                                                  Pookipichu RE: LeoLioness Oct 3, 2013 07:29 AM

                                                                                                  My family doesn't view/think Thanksgiving is religious, we see it as a day we are able to spend time together and share a wonderful meal, reconnect and enjoy and share gratitude for having each other. Which leads me to my point, I totally agree with you about being grossed out by Black Friday. Thanksgiving is a time to spend with family, not to be shopping at 12AM like some rabid consumerist zombie. Too many holidays have become more about spending money than spending time together.

                                                                                                  1. re: Pookipichu
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                                                                                                    LeoLioness RE: Pookipichu Oct 3, 2013 07:32 AM

                                                                                                    Right, which is why (logically or not) I see Thanksgiving as the exception--it's a non-religious holiday.

                                                                                                  2. re: LeoLioness
                                                                                                    j
                                                                                                    James Cristinian RE: LeoLioness Oct 3, 2013 09:17 AM

                                                                                                    We're actually closed on Easter. Costco closes on all major holidays.

                                                                                                    1. re: James Cristinian
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                                                                                                      Lizard RE: James Cristinian Oct 3, 2013 01:45 PM

                                                                                                      And what are the 'major' holidays?

                                                                                                      1. re: Lizard
                                                                                                        j
                                                                                                        James Cristinian RE: Lizard Oct 3, 2013 01:58 PM

                                                                                                        New Year's, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Edit, oops forgot Easter.

                                                                                        2. Will Owen RE: fara Sep 23, 2013 04:24 PM

                                                                                          It's been a really long time between just three journeys - two to Europe (France and Italy) and one to Hong Kong/China - but while I brought back a lot of new food to replicate and a knowledge of and appreciation for ingredients I'd not previously known or cared about, a cocktail or two and a burger were the first things I ordered when I got to the US.

                                                                                          Oh, and though most toilet facilities in all those places (aside from the normal-looking Porta-Potty in HK with a squatter inside!) were generally okay, I'm convinced that we're the only ones who know how to make decent toilet paper. Mrs. O is going to France next weekend, and I think I'll ask her if she wants to pack some Charmin Extra Strong!

                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: Will Owen
                                                                                            boyzoma RE: Will Owen Sep 23, 2013 05:46 PM

                                                                                            Oh, don't even get me started on the facilities "squatter's" in Japan!

                                                                                            I did love some of the dishes I had in Japan. Tried to replicate several and am getting close. But the fun is in the trying!

                                                                                          2. ipsedixit RE: fara Sep 23, 2013 07:41 PM

                                                                                            Just being home.

                                                                                            Everything is just better.

                                                                                            Cuz it's home.

                                                                                            Even the water is better.

                                                                                            No housekeeping service can replicate doing dishes.

                                                                                            1. Bill Hunt RE: fara Sep 23, 2013 09:19 PM

                                                                                              My grilled meats, paired with a fine Zinfandel.

                                                                                              Hunt

                                                                                              1. KarenDW RE: fara Sep 23, 2013 09:20 PM

                                                                                                Making coffee in the morning, BEFORE I'm ready to "face the world". Cooking with interesting-looking local produce. Knowing that my tap water is clean, safe, and tastes good.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: KarenDW
                                                                                                  c oliver RE: KarenDW Sep 27, 2013 11:56 AM

                                                                                                  I get all that when we travel :) YAY!

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                                                                                                  autumm RE: fara Sep 23, 2013 09:59 PM

                                                                                                  I appreciate being home. And that I can cook what I want, when I want. And cold milk. I've been to many places in Europe, but the milk was never COLD.

                                                                                                  And hopefully I have a couple of amazing meals I get to recreate/interpret in the next couple of weeks. Something fun to ponder on the return flight home. There is an endive/radiccihio pesto stuffed ravioli I've been working on replicating for 4 years now. Kinda stuck due to kiddo's new nut allergy complicating the process.

                                                                                                  I doubt I will be traveling internationally in the next 10 years, so dream for me, CH!

                                                                                                  1. boogiebaby RE: fara Sep 23, 2013 10:34 PM

                                                                                                    Mexican food. Being in SoCal, we get great Mexican food. I always miss it when I'm traveling.

                                                                                                    Ice in my drinks. Soda tastes better when it's cold.

                                                                                                    My spices. Cooking in other people's kitchens throws me off because they use different chilli powder, or garam masala, the salt is different, etc so the taste of whatever I'm making isn't the same. I know my spices,, my brands, etc.

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: boogiebaby
                                                                                                      c oliver RE: boogiebaby Sep 27, 2013 11:57 AM

                                                                                                      It varies from trip to trip but if it's a car trip, I carry tons of spices, oil, vinegars, a chef's knife, etc.

                                                                                                    2. l
                                                                                                      Londonlinda RE: fara Sep 24, 2013 01:22 AM

                                                                                                      Tea. Proper tea. Made with leaves, not bags. Water actually boiling as it hits the leaves. Strong. In a mug. Dash of milk. Never get this outside of the UK!

                                                                                                      8 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: Londonlinda
                                                                                                        EM23 RE: Londonlinda Sep 24, 2013 08:52 AM

                                                                                                        Ha! My mom and aunt both complained about not being able to get a proper cup of tea, outside of home, for the entire 40+ years they lived in the U.S.

                                                                                                        1. re: EM23
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                                                                                                          Londonlinda RE: EM23 Sep 24, 2013 09:08 AM

                                                                                                          Not surprised at all! But it's not just the US, all over Europe outside the UK you get a cup of rapidly cooling water with the ubiquitous bag of Liptons on the side!

                                                                                                          1. re: Londonlinda
                                                                                                            EM23 RE: Londonlinda Sep 24, 2013 09:26 AM

                                                                                                            Lipton was a dirty word in our house. If you start with crappy tea and tepid water, there’s little hope. That reminds me, they also felt that food was not served hot in the U.S. as compared to how it's served in Ireland and the U.K., steaming hot.

                                                                                                          2. re: EM23
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                                                                                                            Harters RE: EM23 Sep 29, 2013 06:14 AM

                                                                                                            My partner drinks tea. I hate the stuff.

                                                                                                            When we travel, we both drink coffee. Although, just back from a trip to America and have definitely had enough of the thin, tasteless stuff over there. Glad to be back home, even for instant coffee.

                                                                                                            1. re: Harters
                                                                                                              j
                                                                                                              James Cristinian RE: Harters Sep 29, 2013 08:26 AM

                                                                                                              I live in the US and have never liked it here. It just tastes bitter to me, however the wife guzzles it. I just don't get the stuff.

                                                                                                              1. re: Harters
                                                                                                                Bill Hunt RE: Harters Oct 1, 2013 08:59 PM

                                                                                                                Even with some pretty good espresso in the suite, or in the airline clubs, we normally will do a pot of coffee, just for us.

                                                                                                                Hunt

                                                                                                            2. re: Londonlinda
                                                                                                              Paprikaboy RE: Londonlinda Sep 24, 2013 10:17 AM

                                                                                                              Agree on the tea. That and a bacon sandwich made with back bacon, white bread and brown sauce. Though to be fair I had very good tea in Sri Lanka, especially the hill country.

                                                                                                              1. re: Londonlinda
                                                                                                                k
                                                                                                                Kalivs RE: Londonlinda Sep 24, 2013 11:20 PM

                                                                                                                We travel with tea bags. PG Tips or Tetley Extra Strong. I know it's not as good as real loose leaf tea, but it's still better than Lipton or Bigelow.

                                                                                                              2. fldhkybnva RE: fara Sep 24, 2013 05:24 AM

                                                                                                                I tend to be a rusher and list checker, so after a while away from home I long for a restaurant to take my order ASAP and try to push me out as soon as I'm done or the coffee shop employee to hurry it with the coffee. Long and leisure is ok sometimes but in Europe sometimes I want to shout "ok it's been 45 minutes can I order" or "I finished an hour ago, please venture closer to this table so I can get my check." This is probably just me as I am a walk-a-mile-a-minute kind of person who doesn't do leisurely well.

                                                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: fldhkybnva
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                                                                                                                  Reston RE: fldhkybnva Sep 24, 2013 09:58 AM

                                                                                                                  I agree. I like the fast American style service. My first experience in London was a 90 minute lunch. All I ordered was a sandwich and a beer. I know many people appeciate a leisurely meal, but it felt painfully slow to me.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Reston
                                                                                                                    fldhkybnva RE: Reston Sep 24, 2013 10:56 AM

                                                                                                                    I felt this way in Italy, and also in London, France and Germany but Italy was by far the slowest.

                                                                                                                  2. re: fldhkybnva
                                                                                                                    Motosport RE: fldhkybnva Sep 24, 2013 10:59 AM

                                                                                                                    We LOVE the slow pace in Southern Europe. Time to really appreciate the meal and good friends.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Motosport
                                                                                                                      Monica RE: Motosport Sep 24, 2013 11:17 AM

                                                                                                                      I believe this was in Le Baux in France. We were having lunch at one of the local restaurants...everything was slow. Our food wasn't arriving and we were keep picking into the restaurant(we were sitting outside) and when the food came, we ate and waited and waited for the waiter to come to take our credit card. We couldn't wait any longer so my husband walked up to the counter and paid. local ladies dining next to our table were staring us said something about what's the rush...but the simple lunch was over an hour and half long and we needed to move on to the next tourist spot!

                                                                                                                      1. re: Motosport
                                                                                                                        fldhkybnva RE: Motosport Sep 24, 2013 11:47 AM

                                                                                                                        I assumed I'd be in the minority on this one.

                                                                                                                        1. re: fldhkybnva
                                                                                                                          Motosport RE: fldhkybnva Sep 24, 2013 12:01 PM

                                                                                                                          "When in Rome.............."

                                                                                                                          1. re: Motosport
                                                                                                                            fldhkybnva RE: Motosport Sep 24, 2013 01:53 PM

                                                                                                                            ....I did as the Romans do. Of course, I wouldn't voice my frustrations on this issue in public. I went with the flow as that is there way while silently longing for home.

                                                                                                                        2. re: Motosport
                                                                                                                          chefathome RE: Motosport Nov 9, 2013 01:12 PM

                                                                                                                          Me, too. In fact, this is one of the billions of reasons we are moving to Croatia in May! Sicily is one of my other favourite places to just be.

                                                                                                                      2. i
                                                                                                                        INDIANRIVERFL RE: fara Sep 24, 2013 05:26 AM

                                                                                                                        Soft toilet paper.

                                                                                                                        Toilets with seats.

                                                                                                                        I get a little anal about this.

                                                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: INDIANRIVERFL
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                                                                                                                          pine time RE: INDIANRIVERFL Sep 24, 2013 12:59 PM

                                                                                                                          A toilet at all, as opposed to the hole in the floor. And no sink for washing up. And no toilet paper.

                                                                                                                          1. re: pine time
                                                                                                                            Motosport RE: pine time Sep 24, 2013 01:05 PM

                                                                                                                            I was so surprised to see "Bombsite" toilets in Firenze. I took a picture because I knew my less well traveled friends back home would not believe me.

                                                                                                                            1. re: pine time
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                                                                                                                              Ama658 RE: pine time Oct 1, 2013 04:00 PM

                                                                                                                              Hole? once visited some friends and my companion informed me their toilet was just a "room"...and a floor...

                                                                                                                              1. re: Ama658
                                                                                                                                alliegator RE: Ama658 Oct 11, 2013 05:03 PM

                                                                                                                                Where? I'm just curious.

                                                                                                                              2. re: pine time
                                                                                                                                alliegator RE: pine time Oct 11, 2013 05:02 PM

                                                                                                                                The crudest of these that I've seen was in Korea while staying in modest quarters with my adopted best friend's birth family. They were warm, welcoming, and served plenty of good eats. They lived over water, so a curtain was placed around a hole cut in the bottom of the house for toilet purposes. After passing around tons of soju, my pal fell in and got stuck. Nothing to better enhance her grateful to be adopted feeling than bending over and having me pick splinters out of her cheeks :/

                                                                                                                                1. re: alliegator
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                                                                                                                                  pine time RE: alliegator Oct 12, 2013 08:56 AM

                                                                                                                                  Had the same hole in the floor experience in an Indian train, 3rd class. This was about 3 decades ago, so don't know if it's changed since. Plus, in later trips, we didn't go 3rd class anymore.

                                                                                                                            2. Motosport RE: fara Sep 24, 2013 06:49 AM

                                                                                                                              Toilet seats!!!!!!! I have been in very nice restaurants in Italy, France, Spain and Portugal and was surprised when the toilet seat was missing leaving the bare, cold porcelain. OUCH!!!!
                                                                                                                              Otherwise, I love traveling in those countries.

                                                                                                                              1. b
                                                                                                                                Blush RE: fara Sep 24, 2013 07:09 AM

                                                                                                                                I always crave a local Canadian Macintosh apple--tart, sweet but not too sweet, crisp but not crunchy. I find that when I'm traveling, if I can find an apple it's usually a (mealy, too sweet, bland) Delicious or (break a tooth) Granny Smith.

                                                                                                                                1. EM23 RE: fara Sep 24, 2013 09:00 AM

                                                                                                                                  a slice of New York pizza
                                                                                                                                  paper napkins
                                                                                                                                  my big refrigerator
                                                                                                                                  decent toilets

                                                                                                                                  Years ago my list would have included a simple cup of good coffee, showers and Sunday and evening shopping, but those things have improved.

                                                                                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: EM23
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                                                                                                                                    ferret RE: EM23 Sep 24, 2013 09:15 AM

                                                                                                                                    Oddly enough, pizza is one of those things that you can find decent versions of nearly everywhere. I had an excellent Neapolitan-style pizza in Budapest, better than at most places I've had it in the States.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: ferret
                                                                                                                                      EM23 RE: ferret Sep 24, 2013 09:43 AM

                                                                                                                                      I meant a real New York slice, not Neapolitan, which I also love. I have never found a good regular slice outside of the tri-state area (NY, NJ, CT), and it has always been my craving when I come home from a trip.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: EM23
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                                                                                                                                        ferret RE: EM23 Sep 24, 2013 09:52 AM

                                                                                                                                        I get what you meant, it's just that for all the ethnic foods that turn out to be awful (I had a Mexican meal in Bratislava that was mind-bogglingly awful in too many ways to mention) in random countries, pizza can be unexpectedly satisfying.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: ferret
                                                                                                                                          EM23 RE: ferret Sep 24, 2013 10:52 AM

                                                                                                                                          And that's a good thing!:)

                                                                                                                                  2. m
                                                                                                                                    missmu RE: fara Sep 24, 2013 09:31 AM

                                                                                                                                    The average coffee in the U.S. is no match for the average coffee in Canada.

                                                                                                                                    Coffee shop coffee in the U.S. is good, but the standard coffee in a decent restaurant doesn't come close to even greasy spoon diner coffee in Canada.

                                                                                                                                    1. l
                                                                                                                                      LeoLioness RE: fara Sep 24, 2013 10:04 AM

                                                                                                                                      Obviously it depends where I've been and who I've been with, but here are a few things that I've "missed" on various trips to foreign lands:

                                                                                                                                      -When dining alone in some other countries, I've definitely gotten a "huh. Just you??" vibe unless I was in a boring hotel restaurant. It makes me miss being able to dine at the bar of pretty much any good restaurant, as is common in the US.

                                                                                                                                      -To-go coffee. Sometimes I don't want to sit for an hour and watch the world go by from a cafe table. I want a big-ass coffee and I want it to go. And when it's hot I want that big-ass coffee iced.

                                                                                                                                      -Iced water with meals

                                                                                                                                      -How multi-ethnic my neighborhood is--not the case everywhere.

                                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                                      1. re: LeoLioness
                                                                                                                                        t
                                                                                                                                        three of us RE: LeoLioness Sep 28, 2013 10:14 AM

                                                                                                                                        Yes!!! to the to-go coffee
                                                                                                                                        I miss this hugely.
                                                                                                                                        I've got places to go and I want to drink coffee on my way.

                                                                                                                                      2. b
                                                                                                                                        BuildingMyBento RE: fara Sep 25, 2013 10:23 PM

                                                                                                                                        Based on where I usually go, I greatly appreciate potable tap water at home.

                                                                                                                                        Jonathan
                                                                                                                                        http://buildingmybento.com
                                                                                                                                        http://collaterallettuce.com

                                                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: BuildingMyBento
                                                                                                                                          c oliver RE: BuildingMyBento Sep 27, 2013 11:37 AM

                                                                                                                                          The only places we didn't drink the tap was Peru where I could see particulate floating in it and Eastern Africa where they just kept pushing the bottled water on us. Never had a problem otherwise.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: c oliver
                                                                                                                                            p
                                                                                                                                            pine time RE: c oliver Sep 28, 2013 08:50 AM

                                                                                                                                            First trip to India: was meticulous in care about the foods I ate, but once, only once, rinsed my toothbrush in tap water & then stuck the brush back in my mouth (had been using only "certain brands" of bottled water, even for brushing up, up to that point)--yep, ended up in bed for 4 days, massively sick. After that, bottled water only. However, need to be careful: there are places that reuse and reseal bottles, filling them with tap water. Luckily, local relatives there know where to get the real thing.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: c oliver
                                                                                                                                              alliegator RE: c oliver Sep 30, 2013 01:23 PM

                                                                                                                                              I'll drink tap water in most places. But SE Asia is not one of them if I'm there for only 2 weeks or so. It's not worth the 3-4 days I'd lose if I became ill. But when I lived in Thailand for a year, I did slowly introduce the tap water to my system (in my own home only) using a Brita type filter and was fine.
                                                                                                                                              But on the road with a to-do/see list, I'll stick to the bottle.

                                                                                                                                          2. h
                                                                                                                                            Harters RE: fara Sep 26, 2013 04:59 AM

                                                                                                                                            Most appreciate getting back in our own kitchen and cooking familiar food. We are just back from three weeks in America and I am sick to death of eating restaurant food three meals day.

                                                                                                                                            I enjoy different foods and food cultures when I travel but you can get jaded. On this particular trip, we've experienced too much of American chefs wanting to throw several unnecessary ingedients at a dish. Less is more. I yearn for simple flavours of a few high quality, well chosen, ingredients and that's what we'll be cooking for the next few days.

                                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                                            1. re: Harters
                                                                                                                                              LindaWhit RE: Harters Sep 26, 2013 05:41 AM

                                                                                                                                              Welcome back, Harters. I was wondering how you were doing in the South. :-)

                                                                                                                                              1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                h
                                                                                                                                                Harters RE: LindaWhit Sep 26, 2013 05:48 AM

                                                                                                                                                Did well, Linda. Arrived back yesterday about 10am, UK time. Good trip - lots of decent music, lots of decent food (although my comment about chefs overly complicating dishes, to the detriment of the dish, stands. It seemed a common problem. Enjoyed having the twiddly gadgets on the car. For the food, keep your eyes on the boards covering TN, NC & VA - but it'll take me a day or so to get round to writing the reviews.

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Harters
                                                                                                                                                  LindaWhit RE: Harters Sep 26, 2013 09:09 AM

                                                                                                                                                  Americans like our twiddly gadgets! LOL And unfortunately, sometimes American chefs are known for twiddling with their plating and adding too much.

                                                                                                                                                  Glad you had fun!

                                                                                                                                              2. re: Harters
                                                                                                                                                c oliver RE: Harters Sep 27, 2013 11:38 AM

                                                                                                                                                We do house exchanges and we rarely stay in a hotel. I love being able to cook the local delicacies wherever we are.

                                                                                                                                              3. Silverjay RE: fara Sep 26, 2013 09:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                An American bar with good craft beer selection and maybe some sports on TV...For food, maybe a good taco. Usually though, food is better in the country I'm returning from.

                                                                                                                                                1. p
                                                                                                                                                  PAO RE: fara Sep 26, 2013 12:23 PM

                                                                                                                                                  It depends on where I was traveling. After being in SE Asia for 5 weeks, I was dying for a crisp, juicy apple. After coming home from places where you must drink bottled water, I really appreciate tap water. After coming back from a month in Japan, I really was looking forward to a decaf soy latte, because they're not available there, even at Starbucks.

                                                                                                                                                  1. j
                                                                                                                                                    James Cristinian RE: fara Sep 26, 2013 04:26 PM

                                                                                                                                                    After all the planning, the trip, the regrets that it's over, it's good to walk in the front door and be home.

                                                                                                                                                    1. Bada Bing RE: fara Sep 26, 2013 06:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                      Relative to Europe: bottomless cups of coffee and endless soda refills.

                                                                                                                                                      When I was in Germany, I really missed Mexican foods as they are everywhere on hand in the USA.

                                                                                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Bada Bing
                                                                                                                                                        Monica RE: Bada Bing Sep 27, 2013 07:12 AM

                                                                                                                                                        My Korean friend brought packages of kimchi and a box of instant ramen noodle soup when he went to Germany for his business trip.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Monica
                                                                                                                                                          linguafood RE: Monica Sep 27, 2013 09:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                          I don't know when your Korean friend was in Germany, but instant ramen noodle soup has been around since at least the 80s.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: linguafood
                                                                                                                                                            Monica RE: linguafood Sep 27, 2013 11:16 AM

                                                                                                                                                            haha, i am sure but a lot of Koreans seem to bring that stuff to everywhere they go.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Bada Bing
                                                                                                                                                          b
                                                                                                                                                          Bkeats RE: Bada Bing Sep 27, 2013 07:59 AM

                                                                                                                                                          Yeah, but now you can't get a decent doner kebab! ;)

                                                                                                                                                        3. mtlcowgirl RE: fara Sep 27, 2013 07:57 AM

                                                                                                                                                          Having lived in the US for three years, I was craving cretons. "Gee, but it's great to be back home" (Montreal).

                                                                                                                                                          1. RealMenJulienne RE: fara Sep 27, 2013 08:06 AM

                                                                                                                                                            When I lived in China for three years the one food I missed to the point of frustration was Taco Bell. I figured out workarounds for every other craving. The bread is terrible? No problem I learned to bake my own. No giardinera or dill pickles to be found? Made them with rice vinegar and Chinese vegetables. I even cooked a pretty good Thanksgiving dinner for 10 using two toaster ovens and a shitty induction heating pad.

                                                                                                                                                            But nothing can replace Taco Bell. I would have lucid dreams about eating a chalupa where I would wake up making chewing motions with my mouth.

                                                                                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                                                                                            1. re: RealMenJulienne
                                                                                                                                                              Silverjay RE: RealMenJulienne Sep 27, 2013 08:17 AM

                                                                                                                                                              I lived in Japan for many years and myself, like other expat Americans, almost universally listed tacos as our one food from home we really missed (hence my listing above). I usually just made Old El Paso at home- tacos or enchiladas. But I really missed Mexican style al pastor soft tacos the most... Taco Bell sucks but I admit to pigging out at one located on a US military base in Japan years ago.

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Silverjay
                                                                                                                                                                RealMenJulienne RE: Silverjay Sep 27, 2013 08:30 AM

                                                                                                                                                                Hey, I like Mexican al pastor tacos as much as the next guy but I could have conceivably made my own in China. Let's see: corn flour, pork shoulder, imported spices, onion, cilantro, lime, yep all stuff you can get in Beijing.

                                                                                                                                                                A Taco Bell product though, can only be had at a Taco Bell. No home kitchen can match the level of processing and chemical engineering that goes into a crunch wrap supreme.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Silverjay
                                                                                                                                                                  b
                                                                                                                                                                  BuildingMyBento RE: Silverjay Sep 28, 2013 06:45 PM

                                                                                                                                                                  Did you try "taco rice" if you were in Okinawa?

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Silverjay
                                                                                                                                                                    Tripeler RE: Silverjay Sep 28, 2013 09:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                    So many Americans in Japan crave Mexican food, and my standard suggestion is to give Indian food a try -- decent food made by Indian and Pakistani chefs is available in nearly any town of size, and is rather satisfying, though lacking in the flavor of masa.

                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: RealMenJulienne
                                                                                                                                                                    b
                                                                                                                                                                    BuildingMyBento RE: RealMenJulienne Sep 27, 2013 11:16 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    You had an oven in China?

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: BuildingMyBento
                                                                                                                                                                      RealMenJulienne RE: BuildingMyBento Oct 1, 2013 06:48 AM

                                                                                                                                                                      Well, I had a toaster oven. You can do pretty much anything you'd do with a real oven if you get creative.

                                                                                                                                                                  3. chefj RE: fara Sep 28, 2013 09:05 AM

                                                                                                                                                                    Being able to order Water in a Restaurant without the disapproving glare. From Europe anyway.

                                                                                                                                                                    10 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: chefj
                                                                                                                                                                      c oliver RE: chefj Sep 28, 2013 09:21 AM

                                                                                                                                                                      Now that's something I've never experienced. Are you talking about tap or bottled water?

                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: c oliver
                                                                                                                                                                        chefj RE: c oliver Sep 28, 2013 10:23 AM

                                                                                                                                                                        Tap

                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: chefj
                                                                                                                                                                        h
                                                                                                                                                                        Harters RE: chefj Sep 28, 2013 09:24 AM

                                                                                                                                                                        I'm unsure which part of Europe you've been visiting, but ordering water is commonplace in the country I live in and those which I've visited.

                                                                                                                                                                        On the other hand, I can recall several threads where Americans have felt they were not being well treated in America because they had only ordered water. IIRC, folk were concluding that the sneer was related to a lower tip that if the diner had been ordering alcohol.

                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Harters
                                                                                                                                                                          chefj RE: Harters Sep 28, 2013 10:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                                          Germany in particular but also evident in Italy, Switzerland and Austria.
                                                                                                                                                                          It seems to be looked upon as being Cheap even though you are charged Bottled Water prices for it.

                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chefj
                                                                                                                                                                            h
                                                                                                                                                                            Harters RE: chefj Sep 28, 2013 11:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                                            It's a while since I've been to the countries you mention, other than Italy, which I visit fairly regularly. Never experienced anything untoward there - although it'd be fair to say that my preferance is always for bottled sparking water with food, rather than tap.

                                                                                                                                                                            I still can't recall being glared at by a restaurant server anywhere in the world. My sympathies that you've attracted such.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Harters
                                                                                                                                                                              chefj RE: Harters Sep 28, 2013 11:37 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              I believe that it just is not done, it is considered rude, even when drinking Beer or other Alcoholic drinks:
                                                                                                                                                                              http://www.toytowngermany.com/lofi/in...
                                                                                                                                                                              http://www.tourmycountry.com/austria/...
                                                                                                                                                                              http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g18...
                                                                                                                                                                              http://www.501places.com/2010/04/is-i...

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: chefj
                                                                                                                                                                                linguafood RE: chefj Sep 28, 2013 11:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                I have to agree with your assessment. It's frowned upon to order tap water because they'd rather sell you bottled or any other beverage -- regardless of whether you've already ordered several beers or a carafe of wine.

                                                                                                                                                                                One of the few things I really, really dislike in German restaurants, but it seems to be slowly changing. Fingers crossed.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: linguafood
                                                                                                                                                                                  prima RE: linguafood Sep 28, 2013 01:56 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                  Most of my European relatives much prefer bottled water, even at home and when they visit me in Canada, so I'd think some European servers are just surprised when North Americans choose tap water when dining out, while choosing to spend $ on big ticket mains, desserts and wine. The bottled water isn't as pricey in European restaurants as it can be in Cdn restaurants, in my experience, and I'm not a big drinker, so I tend to order bottled when I'm in Germany or Austria.

                                                                                                                                                                                  In Canada, at some upscale restos, I'll order bottled water or a mocktail when I'm not ordering wine, to lower the chance of lesser service from a shortsighted server who thinks I'm skipping wine because I'm trying to be frugal.

                                                                                                                                                                                  I can't remember ever experiencing poor service or attitude from a server in Germany. Maybe I've been lucky! :)

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: prima
                                                                                                                                                                                    linguafood RE: prima Sep 28, 2013 09:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                    I drink LOTS of water, bubbly mostly -- must be a German thing (we have a soda stream at home with 5 bottles, and I can easily go through 3-4 a night). So I get the bubbly/bottled preference.

                                                                                                                                                                                    That said, most restaurants will charge anywhere between 5-8 Euro for a bottle of Pellegrino or Perrier or Gerolsteiner, and that's just a little too painful for someone who also likes her beer and/or wine. And food.

                                                                                                                                                                                    So, I actually don't have much patience for the attitude you get at some restaurants for having the audacity to order tap water along with your 3-4 course meal, a couple of beers, and perhaps 2 bottles of wine between two people. That's just cheap to me. Also, I might order more booze if I feel well hydrated.

                                                                                                                                                                                    We used to be regulars (for over a decade) at an Italian place in Berlin that serves really great pasta & antipasti, family-style on big plates, with pretty decent house wine in carafes. We order plenty of food & drink, and tip well. Tap water? Forget about it. One of the waiters said "we don't have tap water."

                                                                                                                                                                                    Eh. And I like my drinks cold. So ice is nice.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: chefj
                                                                                                                                                                              Bada Bing RE: chefj Sep 28, 2013 06:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              I lived in Germany a couple decades ago as a student. I do recall that the "default" water there was a bottled water that you'd pay for, and you'd have to specify tap water in ordering. I don't recall significant groaning from servers about tap, but then again I seldom ordered it. When I did do so, I think they saw it as cutting into their tips (which Americans are already uncommonly generous about).

                                                                                                                                                                              But in defense of the German servers, in case anyone wishes to regard them as mercenary: I don't recall them EVER making us feel rushed at the table. The American practice of servers bringing you your bill before you've asked for it would have been over-the-top rude in German establishments. The servers didn't seem to have the American attitude about turning over tables as quickly as possible.

                                                                                                                                                                        2. h
                                                                                                                                                                          Hobbert RE: fara Sep 28, 2013 09:51 AM

                                                                                                                                                                          A bit off topic, but I look forward to knowing details...things like how long it'll take me to get somewhere, what dishes I like at a particular restaurant, the brands I like at the store, that sort of thing. And not really being able to call home. The time change and available public phones don't always coincide :)

                                                                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Hobbert
                                                                                                                                                                            c oliver RE: Hobbert Sep 28, 2013 01:44 PM

                                                                                                                                                                            I agree with what you say except for the phoning home. Our kids are grown with kids of their own so we never call home. But the rest, yeah.

                                                                                                                                                                          2. Jpan99 RE: fara Sep 28, 2013 09:59 AM

                                                                                                                                                                            Recently back from 17 days in Munich, Salzburg and London. What did I miss?

                                                                                                                                                                            Ice cubes, lots of ice cubes
                                                                                                                                                                            Toasted English muffins with peanut butter
                                                                                                                                                                            Tap water, with ice cubes lots of ice cubes
                                                                                                                                                                            Bagels
                                                                                                                                                                            Did I mention ice cubes?

                                                                                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Jpan99
                                                                                                                                                                              c oliver RE: Jpan99 Sep 28, 2013 01:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                                              Could you get toasted muffins WITHOUT peanut butter?

                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: c oliver
                                                                                                                                                                                Jpan99 RE: c oliver Sep 30, 2013 03:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                Never saw English muffins anywhere. I do love the bread there but it's just that I missed English muffins and peanut butter, a breakfast staple for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Jpan99
                                                                                                                                                                                  h
                                                                                                                                                                                  Harters RE: Jpan99 Oct 1, 2013 04:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                  You're unlikely to see English muffins in Europe. In fact, it's only quite recently that they've become easily available in England (although they did used to be common here in the 19th century). I had my first one in America in 1980 and it was some time after that before I saw them in our supermarkets.

                                                                                                                                                                            2. g
                                                                                                                                                                              gfr1111 RE: fara Sep 29, 2013 05:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                                              We loved France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland and Austria so much that I hate to criticize them, but what we missed is the topic of this thread, so:

                                                                                                                                                                              Ice or chilling. The Europeans don't like to serve anything very cold and ice in any quantity is almost impossible to come by. How can they drink room temperature beer?

                                                                                                                                                                              Napkins. The napkins in Europe (as in Singapore and Malaysia, where I lived many years ago) seem to have a large component of plastic in their makeup and do not absorb liquid well, which makes wiping the food off your face a challenge. You just smear it around, unless you physically remove it.

                                                                                                                                                                              Toilets with seats.

                                                                                                                                                                              Mustard. Throughout Germany they served these marvelous sausages and then gave you an infinitesimal plastic package of mustard--good enough for one bite.

                                                                                                                                                                              Ketchup. A seemingly unheard of condiment. Occasionally you could get it in those infinitesimal packages. Always way too sweet. (I thought we Americans were the ones known for sweet stuff!)

                                                                                                                                                                              Prices for restaurant food. This is a slippery topic since the quality of the restaurant and location influences things so much, but the average restaurant in Europe, not in a particularly notable location, charges about twice as much as a similar restaurant in the U.S. It is about three to four times as much in Switzerland. For good deals, stick to chocolate, beer, and wine.

                                                                                                                                                                              Crushed red pepper--often not available in the European towns we visited (my girlfriend likes it on pizza) and black pepper--it seems like white pepper is king in Europe).

                                                                                                                                                                              French steak--Great flavor, but chewy, gristly, and thin. I brought this up on the French board in another post. So what my girlfriend missed was American steak.

                                                                                                                                                                              The fact is, though, that the Europeans provide superior food much of the time (75%?). German fruits and vegetables are incomparable, although I will admit that the Germans are a "forest people" (an obscure reference to the 1930s Flash Gordon series) and most of what they serve in restaurants seems to be meat, meat, meat, potatoes, meat, meat, meat.

                                                                                                                                                                              22 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: gfr1111
                                                                                                                                                                                h
                                                                                                                                                                                Harters RE: gfr1111 Sep 29, 2013 05:54 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                Thanks for that comprehensive review. It's always interesting to see what foreigners think of our continent's food.

                                                                                                                                                                                By the by, we have just returned from three weeks in America and found restaurant food to be generally not at all cheap. And often, quite a bit more expensive than I'm used to - I'm comparing similar quality/style of restaurant,of course.

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: gfr1111
                                                                                                                                                                                  LindaWhit RE: gfr1111 Sep 29, 2013 06:28 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                  Well, I guess Europeans say the same thing about American beer - how can we drink it so cold? It's all what you're accustomed to, isn't it?

                                                                                                                                                                                  Although I would like to have ice cubes in my water.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: LindaWhit
                                                                                                                                                                                    h
                                                                                                                                                                                    Harters RE: LindaWhit Sep 29, 2013 06:53 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                    I think many Europeans also serve beer very cold and, of course, continental beers are lagers in very similar style to American beers. We Brits and the Irish tend not to serve our traditional beers too cold.

                                                                                                                                                                                    It's an odd thing, though. In most food matters, the advice is too bring the item to room temperature so you can appreciate the full flavour, yet with beer, so many cultures have it ice cold. Back in the day when I drank alcohol, I used to hate drinking cold beer.

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: gfr1111
                                                                                                                                                                                    linguafood RE: gfr1111 Sep 29, 2013 09:21 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                    Of course, the restaurant prices reflect how much they pay their waitstaff, since you are not "required" to support their wages by tipping upwards of 20%.

                                                                                                                                                                                    Sorry, DEF don't want to turn this into yet another tipping thread. Really :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: linguafood
                                                                                                                                                                                      h
                                                                                                                                                                                      Harters RE: linguafood Sep 29, 2013 10:13 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      Lingua - by the by, do German menu prices incorporate tax or is tax added at the bottom of the bill? It's something I would always point out to foreigners visitng the UK - that a posted price always includes Value Added Tax at 20%.

                                                                                                                                                                                      Youre right, of course, that European prices will also reflect the wages being paid to staff. As in most, if not all, of Euroland, minimum wage means minimum wage for all workers and, indeed, here in the UK restaurant servers are likely to be paid more than minimum wage.

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Harters
                                                                                                                                                                                        linguafood RE: Harters Sep 29, 2013 10:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                        Tax is included. Generally, the menu will indicate "All prices include VAT", which is currently at 19%, I think.

                                                                                                                                                                                        Good point, H. I bet if you added the tax AND the "required" 20% tip, prices in US and German restaurants would be fairly similar. Just a guess.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: linguafood
                                                                                                                                                                                          h
                                                                                                                                                                                          Harters RE: linguafood Sep 29, 2013 02:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                          I'd certainly reckon there would be similarities in UK/USA pricing when the full cost is included.

                                                                                                                                                                                          America beats UK hands down when it comes to the quality of, say, all you can eat buffets, BBQ places and the like.
                                                                                                                                                                                          But, on the other hand, you don't come across the good quality £18 ($30) three course meals offered by most UK bistro type places.

                                                                                                                                                                                          And, of course, I always enjoy a trip to France for relatively cheap eats - no tip required and absolute bargain table d'hote menus.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Harters
                                                                                                                                                                                            linguafood RE: Harters Sep 29, 2013 02:37 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            Amsterdam has a very large number of restaurants these days with deals like 23-25€ for 3-courses -- not haute cuisine by far, but it sounds lke the bistro type places you mention.

                                                                                                                                                                                            I've always eaten very well at those.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: linguafood
                                                                                                                                                                                              h
                                                                                                                                                                                              Harters RE: linguafood Sep 29, 2013 02:54 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                              That's good to know. Havnt been to Amsterdam for some years - perhaps the Dutch influence will filter southwards into Dutch speaking Flanders (which I do visit regularly).

                                                                                                                                                                                              As you say, these 3-coursers aren't haute cuisine but just looking at a place very local to me, I'd be having heritage tomato & goats cheese risotto, bavette steak and rhubarb & camomile trifle.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Harters
                                                                                                                                                                                                linguafood RE: Harters Sep 29, 2013 03:28 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                One of our favorite, return-to places in the 'dam is de Struisvogel -- named after their house specialty, ostrich.

                                                                                                                                                                                                Apparently, there's been some horrible plague killing these birds in South Africa, so ostrich was *not* on the menu the last couple of years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                That said, the food is always quite tasty, the service incredibly friendly, and the prices --- well, very moderate :-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                http://www.restaurantdestruisvogel.nl...

                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: gfr1111
                                                                                                                                                                                      Bada Bing RE: gfr1111 Sep 29, 2013 09:42 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                      About Ice and Europe: I'm American, but in the 1980s I lived in Germany for a year. My memorably eccentric landlord, a guy who was probably a young teen after WWII, recalled the ad campaign mounted post-War by Coca-Cola, trying to persuade Germans that iced drinks were not harmful. He maintains that Germans felt and often still feel that introducing very cold beverages into a warm body is practically "against nature." Germans in general had a lot of ideas about nature that were spookily at home in Naziism, although I would never reduce it all to that. Basically, I'm a big fan of Germany in most of its aspects.

                                                                                                                                                                                      My landlord even recalled the Coca Cola billboard slogan: "Eiskalt Schadet Nicht!" (Ice-cold won't hurt you).

                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Bada Bing
                                                                                                                                                                                        chefj RE: Bada Bing Sep 29, 2013 09:46 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                        " feel that introducing very cold beverages into a warm body is practically "against nature." "
                                                                                                                                                                                        Much of China feels the same way. My Shaolin/Tai Chi Teacher shudders at the though of Iced Drinks. "Shocks the System!"

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: chefj
                                                                                                                                                                                          LindaWhit RE: chefj Sep 29, 2013 11:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                          My grandmother (who was American) wouldn't allow us to have a glass of milk with our dinners. We had to wait until after dinner. (She lived in China with my grandfather and my father and uncle - both born there - for a long time, so same reason.)

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: chefj
                                                                                                                                                                                            LMAshton RE: chefj Sep 29, 2013 04:07 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                            Sri Lankans are pretty much the same way. Room temperature drinks are usually preferred, unless it's tea.

                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: Bada Bing
                                                                                                                                                                                            linguafood RE: Bada Bing Sep 29, 2013 10:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                            More of an East German thing these days. We learned our lesson quickly when we were invited over to friends bringing beer and white wine..... only to have them put all of the bottles on the counter.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Next time, we brought chilled drinks, and I made sure they went into the fridge right away.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Their explanation? "Cellar temp is much more digestible/beneficial."

                                                                                                                                                                                            Room temp white wine? Uh, no thanks.

                                                                                                                                                                                            Whatta bunch o'horseshit :-D

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: linguafood
                                                                                                                                                                                              Bada Bing RE: linguafood Sep 29, 2013 10:18 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                              In my experience, people in German-speaking cultures think a lot more than Americans do about digestion, digestibility, etc. No coincidence that the Austrian Freud had plenty of thoughts about food consumption, excrement and elimination, "anal retentive," etc.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Bada Bing
                                                                                                                                                                                                linguafood RE: Bada Bing Sep 29, 2013 10:21 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, I've heard that a lot, and I think it's a bit overblown. But maybe I'm blind to it having grown up in the fatherland.

                                                                                                                                                                                                I personally have no doubt other cultures are just as interested -- China, for example.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: linguafood
                                                                                                                                                                                                  Bada Bing RE: linguafood Sep 29, 2013 10:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I think you'd be right to call it "a bit overblown" if in fact it is an often-rehearsed claim, which you would know better than I do. But I am firm in my sense that digestibility pretty much never comes up in American conversation, but it was routinely referred to, often with a bit of humorous lightness, among my German friends.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  The one exception re: America would be that subset of people who watch Dr. Oz and the like on TV and are continually going on about this or that newly minted miraculous healthy ingredient (anti-oxidents, etc.). "Oh, you just got to try red palm oil!"

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I don't recall any of those zealots in Germany, but my experience is quite dated, and there really weren't many such fanatics in the USA at the time I was in Germany.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Bada Bing
                                                                                                                                                                                                    linguafood RE: Bada Bing Sep 29, 2013 10:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    "digestibility pretty much never comes up in American conversation, but it was routinely referred to, often with a bit of humorous lightness, among my German friends."

                                                                                                                                                                                                    True, that. You people just eat whatever and then take all kinds of meds to counteract the results :-D

                                                                                                                                                                                                    PS: And I mean "you people" in the sweetest way. After all, I married one of youz people.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: linguafood
                                                                                                                                                                                                      Bada Bing RE: linguafood Sep 29, 2013 12:27 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks! Forgot my Lipitor again!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: linguafood
                                                                                                                                                                                                    chefj RE: linguafood Sep 29, 2013 10:35 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    INDIA!

                                                                                                                                                                                                  3. re: Bada Bing
                                                                                                                                                                                                    alliegator RE: Bada Bing Sep 30, 2013 03:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    And wedged in between Germany and Freud's Austria, we've got my grandparents' motherland of the Czech Republic were good digestion is held in very high regard. Usually, this is achieved through a simple shot of liquor at dinner time. But there are a lot of spas and even a specific groundwater well that you can drink from there. I tried the well water only once, and I can attest to it's swift and thorough effectiveness :/

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. j
                                                                                                                                                                                              jarona RE: fara Sep 29, 2013 08:37 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                              We spend three weeks each year in France visiting my Frenchman's family. As such, I have the pleasure of dining out, having my meals cooked for me at the apartment, and being lucky enough to cook meals in a French kitchen (trust me, the gas stoves over there are fantastic compared to here). There are only three things, which really aren't things..they are people, that I love to come home to. My three grown kids. Other than that, I would move to France tomorrow. All he has to do is say the word....

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. Caroline1 RE: fara Sep 29, 2013 03:26 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                My traveling days are likely all in the past, but I do recall that after I was out of the country for several months there was ALWAYS something unattainable that bubbled into my consciousness to taunt me. Things like glazed doughnuts. Once it was the little McDonald's hamburgers that have the small diced onions in them, and when I got back to the US I bought a big sack of them and put them in the freezer. It was comforting just knowing they were there. Tortillas haunted me for months when I lived in Turkey. My mother, bless her heart, sent me a can of 1dozen tortillas. God knows where she found them, and they weren't all that great, but by golly, we had TACOS for lunch!!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                Its not that I don't enjoy the food and special flavors in other parts of the world, and even miss them terribly when they're no longer available, but there's always some sort of food that I never give a second thought to when it's in plentiful supply that jumps up and taunts me when I can't get it. Like the glazed doughnuts. That craving vanished the moment my feet made contact with American soil... I hope that doesn't make me a bad person. Maybe just a little spoiled? '-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Caroline1
                                                                                                                                                                                                  LMAshton RE: Caroline1 Sep 29, 2013 04:14 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Maybe just a little bit normal. :P

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I get that, too, sometimes. I'm from Canada, but left ten years ago. Since then, I've lived in Sri Lanka (8 years), New Zealand (six months), and now Singapore (approaching 2 years). I love the flavours and foods I've encountered here, but as a form of self-defense, I also make my own mayo (couldn't get good mayo in Sri Lanka on a consistent basis), bake my own bread (can't get good bread - what I consider to be good bread - in Sri Lanka or Singapore), make ice cream (haven't found any ice cream in Singapore we like, although Sri Lankan ice cream is fantastic!), and so on.

                                                                                                                                                                                                2. augustiner RE: fara Sep 29, 2013 04:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                  i feel that my travels are too infrequent and too short. a couple years ago, a week in japan. this year, two weeks in germany and france. honestly, i didn't miss anything. if anything, i missed things from those countries when i came home, even though here in san francisco i think we have some pretty fantastic food. if i were gone for, say, months, i know there are things i would miss from home.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  although, when i got back from scotland almost a decade ago, i bought a head of broccoli and ate it whole as i just needed something green to eat.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. Poochinator RE: fara Sep 29, 2013 04:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                    A big, fat, greasy cheese burger.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Coke with crushed ice.
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Coffee with half and half.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. c oliver RE: fara Sep 30, 2013 05:19 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                      BURRITOS!!! :) Isn't that silly? We just got back into the US today after being gone 2-1/2 weeks and I realized that nowhere in our travels have I ever seen burritos. You know, the big Mission style ones. I haven't particularly noticed Mexican restaurants period. We've been "up" over 30 hours at this point (catnaps on three different flights) and there's really nothing in the kitchen that's appealing. Suddenly Bob suggested takeout burritos from our fave place and that seemed like the perfect meal. Plenty of fats and carbs : So, yeah, burritos!

                                                                                                                                                                                                      19 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: c oliver
                                                                                                                                                                                                        Bada Bing RE: c oliver Sep 30, 2013 07:12 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                        In my experience (mostly European), the dearth of Mexican food, or Tex-Mex, is almost total.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        As I noted in a different thread, I once went to a place in Berlin actually labeled as a Mexican restaurant, but in fact the food was all Peruvian. They just kept the sign from the old establishment, because, after all, what's the difference between Mexican and Peruvian...

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Bada Bing
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                                                                                                                                                                                                          BuildingMyBento RE: Bada Bing Sep 30, 2013 11:57 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I met a Czech/USA couple in Belize earlier this year, raving about a Mexican restaurant in Prague called Cantina. Just wanted to throw a randomness² recommendation out there.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          Also, I had once read about a Mexican woman in Bangkok who seems to be the go-to importer of Mexican products. There's a few restaurants around town, sure, but I can't attest to any of them. Can't locate the article now, but since we're on the topic, adding a bit of nam phrik to a cemita or burrito sounds doable.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: BuildingMyBento
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                                                                                                                                                                                                            ferret RE: BuildingMyBento Oct 1, 2013 04:15 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                            I found a Mexican restaurant in Slovakia. The food was exactly what you'd expect from a Mexican restaurant in Slovakia - bizzarely un-Mexican.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ferret
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Bada Bing RE: ferret Oct 1, 2013 04:20 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                              @ferret and Bento: my last experience as a long-term resident in Europe was from the late 80s and early 90s. Things might well have changed. I've been in Europe/UK many times since then, but only for shorter visits. Never noticed a Mexican place in that interval, but I wasn't looking, either.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                LMAshton RE: ferret Oct 1, 2013 04:16 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                There's a Thai place in a mall foodcourt (Majestic City) that used to have burritos on the menu. We tried it out on a whim, and odd as it sounds, it actually worked. No guacamole (which is a completely weird concept to most of the Sri Lankans I've talked to - avocado is a fruit, meant for sweets) and not enough cheese for my personal taste, but still, very good. I had it whenever we went there until they took it off the menu. Probably not enough demand for it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: BuildingMyBento
                                                                                                                                                                                                                alliegator RE: BuildingMyBento Oct 1, 2013 08:25 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                That place is not bad, I've eaten there about a half dozen times over the years. In fact, I think it's probably the only decent Mexican I've ever had outside of North America.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                Worst Mexican in my humble opinion is done by a place in Vientiene, Laos. My friend and frequent travel partner is a Mexican food freak, so I've tried some interesting stuff.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ferret RE: alliegator Oct 1, 2013 12:10 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I can easily GUARANTEE that the place in Slovakia was worse.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ferret
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    alliegator RE: ferret Oct 1, 2013 12:31 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Funny thing is, I think I've been there. Was it in touristy and in the Old Town center area? My Mexican loving pal dragged me there, too. It was atrocious.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Maybe you're right. At least in Laos, fresh chilis and cilantro are in abundance.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ferret RE: alliegator Oct 1, 2013 02:39 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      No, about 20 minutes away. The Old Town actually had some great food (a great Italian place and a local spot with very cheap and delicious Slovak eats; can't recall the name, it was above an ersatz-Irish pub).

                                                                                                                                                                                                              3. re: Bada Bing
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                Harters RE: Bada Bing Oct 1, 2013 04:49 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                As everywhere in the world, "foreign" food follows migration patterns and Europe is not a destination for emigrating Mexicans. For example, the UK national census in 2001 recorded only 5049 people of Mexican birth living in the country and, of those, some 40% were here as students

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Harters
                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Bada Bing RE: Harters Oct 1, 2013 05:03 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Yes. Good point. To this day, I recall when I telephoned (in 1987) a Mexican restaurant that had opened in Freiburg, Germany. It was an uncanny experience to hear someone speak German with a Mexican accent!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I was a poor student and couldn't really imagine paying their premium price for what would be, in America, quite cheap Mexican food. (Their posted menu listed burritos at something like the equivalent of $12-15, double the price of American equivalents.) So I called to ask if I could just buy some tortillas from them, in order to make the rest myself. They wouldn't sell me tortillas. :(

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    INDIANRIVERFL RE: Bada Bing Oct 1, 2013 06:36 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    There was a Chi Chi's Restaurant on Leicester Square in London that had a long line of USA students in the mid eighties. Which mirrored the long line of USA students lined up for a hamburger at Hard Rock Café London 10 years earlier.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The last thing I wanted to experience in my culinary escapades in England.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: INDIANRIVERFL
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      James Cristinian RE: INDIANRIVERFL Oct 1, 2013 09:09 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Chi Chi's was horrible in the US, can't imagine it being any better in London.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: James Cristinian
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        INDIANRIVERFL RE: James Cristinian Oct 1, 2013 12:43 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Never went to either.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: Bada Bing
                                                                                                                                                                                                                      c oliver RE: Bada Bing Oct 1, 2013 07:12 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      There's a pretty good Chinese restaurant in Rio de Janeiro. What was funny is that no one there spoke Chinese :) And they didn't speak English. So the dish - xaio long bao - I was wanting to asking about no one could understand.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                        fara RE: c oliver Oct 1, 2013 11:14 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Aren't there a lot of Chinese immigrants to Brazil and the Caribbean ? I've never had Brazilian Chinese, but Dominican Chinese is delicious- and widely available in ny.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: fara
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          c oliver RE: fara Oct 1, 2013 11:43 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I know there are a lot of Japanese in Brazil. And I just checked and there seem to be a fair population in Sao Paulo but not in Rio. There's an amazing Trini-Chinese chicken recipe that linguagood shared a while back.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: fara
                                                                                                                                                                                                                            bagelman01 RE: fara Nov 9, 2013 03:01 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Never mind Dominican Chinese in NYC...Back in the 80s I owned a sewing factory in Santo Domingo. I used to stay two weeks at a time, 4 times a year at The El Embajador Hotel on the Sarasota. The hotel and casino were Chinese owned. The main hotel dining room was fantastic Chinese food. Similar to what I'd eaten in HK and Guanzho, When out on business lunch was ofen at the Gran Muralla...wonderful Chinese food.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Harters
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        b
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        BuildingMyBento RE: Harters Oct 4, 2013 06:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Every now and then I benefit from the opposite of this logical flow. For example, I've randomly eaten at a Haitian place in Tokyo and a Yemeni restaurant in the basement of a Johor Baru, Malaysia hotel.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Then there are the pleasant culinary surprises, such as the growing Somali and Ethiopian populations in Omaha and the Othello light rail station in Seattle, where you can get Ethiopian, Lao, Mexican, and Chinese food at one supermarket. The owners of the only Filipino products store in Thailand (in Bangkok, it's near Sala Daeng BTS station, tucked away in a mall) took me out for sisig and dinuguan somewhere near Pantip Plaza.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Jonathan
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://buildingmybento.com
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        http://collaterallettuce.com

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Bkeats RE: fara Oct 1, 2013 08:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    After a long trip/vacation, when the family gets home, our preferred first meal back is take out chinese. Pick up the phone and in 15 minutes, egg rolls, dumplings, the general's chicken, etc is delivered to the front door. Lots of people I know do the same. Maybe its a NY thing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Lori D RE: Bkeats Oct 1, 2013 11:32 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      My preferred meal after going overseas is chicken pho, with iced coffee.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That's my go to meal when I don't feel well; it really helps with jet lag.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Ama658 RE: fara Oct 1, 2013 04:08 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      One country, it was ice cream made with actual milk. Powdered milk ice cream (that's what the shops sold!) gets old.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Admittedly, sitting in the bed of a truck, sun blazing down, wind blowing sand all around you,and squeezing the Ice cream through the corner of a plastic bag is totally worth it. Just not too many times ;)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. j
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        jbsiegel RE: fara Oct 1, 2013 05:20 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Story from when my dad and sister went to the former Soviet Union a bunch of years ago. They took a train in and out and upon arriving back out of the country, immediately bought cans of Coke and Snickers bars.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm sure it's very different there now, but for them, that's what they were missing!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. emglow101 RE: fara Oct 1, 2013 09:30 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          American beer.Also being able to stay up really late from the time change,and looking at all the pictures and video I have taken.I'm ready to go back.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          6 Replies
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                            c oliver RE: emglow101 Oct 2, 2013 07:27 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            You must travel from west to east. We're usually going the other way so it's a struggle to stay up to anything resembling a decent bedtime.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: emglow101
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Monica RE: emglow101 Oct 2, 2013 07:33 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              What American beer did you miss? Unless it's crafted beers, i can't believe you actually missed beer...as I think a lot of coutnries do seem to have good beers and also sell American beers.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Monica
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                emglow101 RE: Monica Oct 2, 2013 08:49 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Hamms.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Monica RE: emglow101 Oct 2, 2013 08:59 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Had to google Hamms beer.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    INDIANRIVERFL RE: Monica Oct 3, 2013 06:00 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    From the land of sky blue waters. My family in Wisconsin consider it Pabst that has been cycled through a bears' kidneys.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Better than Blatz.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: INDIANRIVERFL
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      James Cristinian RE: INDIANRIVERFL Oct 3, 2013 09:22 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Good commercials, bad, bad beer.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. c oliver RE: fara Oct 2, 2013 05:24 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I thought of something else. Grilling. When we travel outside the US, I only remember one place that had a grill. We were in Scotland IIRC and we saw a grill outside the B&B where we were staying and asked to use it. But other than that, never had a grill. Frequently have them when we're exchanging here in the US but we're spoiled at home with natural gas rather than charcoal or propane.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              13 Replies
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Harters RE: c oliver Oct 3, 2013 01:20 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                You'll find holiday rental properties in Spain usually have a BBQ. As for northern Europe, our weather doesnt really lend itself to outdoor cooking. I have a small charcoal BBQ but it hasnt been in use for at least three years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Harters
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  c oliver RE: Harters Oct 3, 2013 07:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Good to know. We were in Barcelona last year in a wonderful apartment that had a terrace but no grill. Since we grill when it's snowing, weather has never hindered us. But I understand that we're odd in that (and other) regards.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    James Cristinian RE: c oliver Oct 3, 2013 09:21 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I rarely snows here but I consider winter grilling season. I'd rather grill when it's 45 compared to the 95 we have for 5-6 months. I hate swatting flies and sweating while grilling.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: James Cristinian
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      c oliver RE: James Cristinian Oct 3, 2013 09:44 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Agreed! But we live mostly at Lake Tahoe where it's rarely very warm and never humid and we don't have bugs to speak of. When it does snow, the grill is under an overhang on the deck. And if we don't shovel the whole deck, we always shovel to the grill and the satellite dish :)

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        James Cristinian RE: c oliver Oct 3, 2013 10:24 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Nice, you've got it down. I'd love to grill in the snow. When it snows here, all Houston shuts down, even for a quarter of an inch. I'll try it next time it snows.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Monica RE: James Cristinian Oct 3, 2013 10:30 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We live in northern NJ and when we first bought a house 6 yrs ago, my husband who had lived in Manhattan all of his adult life, used to bbq like 300 days out of 365 days...he would be holding an umbrella if it was raining.. we don't grill as much any more but we still bbq more than any of our neighbors.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Monica
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            foodieX2 RE: Monica Oct 3, 2013 02:28 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            We are in Mass and we grill all year round. My husband has been know to be standing out with umbrella too. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: c oliver
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Harters RE: c oliver Oct 4, 2013 02:02 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think the difference is cultural. In America, I presume that in the inclement conditions mentioned, folk cook outside but eat inside .

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      In the UK, cooking outside is associated with eating outside - hence the rarity of me using my BBQ due to the weather. I suspect there would be few Britons who would go outside in the rain to cook a steak and then bring it back into the dining room.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Harters
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Paprikaboy RE: Harters Oct 4, 2013 05:31 AM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You've not met my father in law. Shorts all year round and very partial to using the BBQ all year round. Has been know to do Christmas Dinner on the BBQ whilst we all sat inside. He does hail from up near Durham though, which may explain it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Paprikaboy
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          bagelman01 RE: Paprikaboy Nov 9, 2013 03:05 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Like you FIL a lot. I'm New England Born and bred. I grill outside more than 300 days per year. Don't care if it's 95 degrees in summer or minus 5 and snowing in winter. The only time weather stops me from grilling outdoors is when the wionds are extreme and put the fire out, such as Hurricanes and blizzards (Noreasters). and I'm likely to be in shorts as well...sometimes: shorts, boots, hooded sweatshirt

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Harters
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Blush RE: Harters Oct 4, 2013 12:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We Canadians cook outside all year round too. Frankly, there's only a sliver of time in late spring or early fall when I will happily *eat* outside. Winter's obviously too cold, but summer in my neck of the woods is too humid and buggy. When I'm spending more time swatting than chewing it's no fun at all. Give me air conditioning and the knowledge that yes, that is a fleck of pepper and not a tiny ant.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    3. re: c oliver
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Billy33 RE: c oliver Oct 4, 2013 03:34 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Travelled around France for 4 weeks a while ago and, although I love French food, I was craving some Asian flavours by the time I left. Luckily our stopover on the way home to New Zealand was Bangkok!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: c oliver
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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Billy33 RE: c oliver Oct 4, 2013 03:41 PM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Any respectable self-catering accommodation in the Pacific Islands and New Zealand will have a barbecue. Loads of parks in New Zealand have either electric grills that you pay to use or free built-in grills where you provide your own fuel.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I've also stayed in a few self-catering places in France that supplied grills.

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