Travel Log: My Food Loves and Non-Loves of the Cities I’ve Been to in the last 30 Days
Hope you had a great weekend! I love this time of year. Sometimes the summer seems to fly by and I wonder where it all went, but this year is the opposite for me. So much has been jammed in for each day, and especially in the last 30 days, that I almost can’t believe it… This time 30 days ago I was at the Ann Wigmore Institute in Puerto Rico!! That seems like ages ago.
Since then I’ve put down roots for the summer in Chicago to work as the nutritionist on some films, and I had a whirlwind film press tour to Europe. Yowzah!! I’ve been working to keep it all together- though I am reminded of my backpacking days when sometimes I wake up and have to think for a minute what country/city I am in!
I had a great weekend at Lalapalooza (through the movie we got all access backstage passes. More on that later! :) ) and went to the Cub’s game yesterday to hear Ron Howard lead the 7th inning stretch soon.
Today I’ve had a second to sit down and actually write, which I haven’t been able to really do in well- the last 30 days! Again it seems more like 4 months! So here I am, trying to process my journeys of late, and especially my journeys with food.
Below are my reflections on some of the places I’ve been to in the last month, and what I personally like and disliked the most about the food aspect of each place (in random order):
Love: There are some vegetarian restaurants! I like the Karyn’s restaurants a lot- she has a raw café (good), a vegetarian café (my least favorite as much of the menu contains soy) and a fancier restaurant with raw and cooked vegetarian options (my fave).
I also love that there is a Wholefoods on the block where I am staying- as I am in there once or twice every single day! The cherries I’ve been getting her rock my world! And I love how the produce and prices are cheaper than in New York.
Non-Love: I am grateful there is that Wholefoods, but I must say that it is lacking in lots of key ingredients I use. I have to go once or twice a week to the speciality health stores around the city to get things like buckwheat grouts, untoasted nori warppers, etc.
I am spoiled by NY that so much is so readily available and easy to find. And help! I am being swallowed in by deep-dish pizza and sub joints! :)
Rincon, Puerto Rico:
Love: The fruit!!! The best are the avocados, papayas, pineapples and bananas. The fruit is fresh and juicy. And let’s not forget my fave!! The mighty, powerful young coconut! They seemed to drop down magically for me to eat and drink just when I’d want them.
Non-Love: If you don’t make your own food there, you’re kind of screwed. You can forget about easily finding lots of greens or salads that consist of more than a few sad strips of iceberg lettuce with a few tomato slivers.
I’d have to order like 20 of them to make the size of a salad I usually eat at home. And vegetarian dishes- nada!! The rice and beans have chicken stock in them- and besides are too heavy to eat lots of anyways. You’d get fat if you ate all the traditional fried fare.
I recommend getting a hotel room with a mini-fridge, and bringing a cutting board, Vitamix and a few spices. You can make Green Smoothie and salads with whatever greens you can scrounge up from at the grocery store!
Love: Since London is of course the big city in England, I had easy access to fruit like apples and pears, and veggies like celery and romaine lettuce. The plums there are delicious! Lots of little produce markets around in case I needed a few emergency lemons or celery.
Non-Love: No kale! It was difficult to find a wide variety of greens, as I think a lot is imported into there. There are now Wholefoods in London.
I didn’t go to any restaurants to eat on this trip (though I crashed some 5-star kitchens to make my own food for my people- what a crazy experience that was, with French chefs swearing and fire in pans and angry, frenetic clanking and craziness all around. I’m so happy I don’t eat in restaurants like that!), so I’m not sure what the vege scene is like nowadays!
Love: Sorry my Irish loves, but I have to say this was a very hard city for me! There were uh, good sundried tomatoes I got my hands on though!
Non-Love: When we landed off the jet I requested 3 heads of romaine be put in my mini-fridge so I could make food immediately upon arrival. I knew I was in trouble when I arrive to find barely 3 leaves in my fridge. :)
I couldn’t really find organic produce, and the range was very limited. It was also very expensive. It would be very expensive to live in Ireland and eat the enormous amounts of plants I usually eat!
Love: The fresh black olives! They were beautiful and heavenly and I used them in some dishes while I was there. Great avocados also! All the produce I could get my hands on was fresh and even some exotic fruits.
With this abundance I made lots of great salads and dishes right in my hotel room, overlooking the beautiful Mediterranean! with a view like that, and surrounded in energy like that, how could the produce not taste amazing?
Non-Love: All the slabs of meat! They followed by everywhere- sliced up on plates at the hotel, on the yacht, even on the jet and in the airport. Very traditional I know- but they just looked really butchered and yucky and dead. The white fat spots in the slices of salami and cold cuts made me want to barf! Just not for me!
Love: The traditional gazpacho soup. Yummy!
Non-Love: The same slabs of meat I saw in Mallorca seemed to follow me to Madrid… like a bad dream!! And though it doesn’t have to do with food, I have to say that I give all types of bull-fighting a huge thumbs DOWN.
Notice how my own “home” city of New York is not on the list. Have not been home all month! (except for a few days between Puerto Rico and leaving for Chicago).
My NY friends, say hi to it for me! I have a full week ahead back here in Chicago, so time to get reorganized so I can sleep a bit more this week (that would be nice!).