CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED!
This will not surprise my newsletter readers but today I am announcing a giveaway of a copy of Lonely Planet A Moveable Feast (Travel Literature). Travel the world with famous food writers like Anthony Bourdain and David Lebowitz with this book that is published by Lonely Planet. All you have to do is leave a comment with a postcard-size foodie adventure story and a way for me to contact you. Contest closes Saturday night. Winner will be announced Sunday.
Way back in 2000 my husband (who was my fiance at the time) and I got to travel to Disney World in Florida for his work. Yes, for his work. I know!
When we were there I was not a vegetarian but I was completely off pork thanks to the movie Babe. The only frustration I had while visiting Disney World was with eating at the resort we were staying in. Absolutely everything had pork in it when it came to breakfast.
Not knowing what else to do, I asked for the breakfast special but to hold the meat. The ladies working there looked so confused! They both said, “Hold the meat.” It was clear they had no idea what I meant, they were just repeating what I said. So I tried to clarify, “I will pay full price but I just do not want any meat.”
Eyes blinked several times.
Ah, now we were getting somewhere. I thought.
“Yes, no meat.”
“Yes, no meat.”
Oh my God!!!! “Yes, just hold the meat!!!”
They looked at each other and muttered, “No meat??!!!”
As hysterical and surreal as it was to feel as though I was speaking a language from Mars, I hated getting all this attention and it was becoming clear I was making a bit of a scene. All I wanted to do was eat some eggs and toast for god’s sake!
It was clear everyone behind me at this point thought I was from a planet far, far away. Or some political vegan trying to make a point. Needless to say, I didn’t go back there the next morning! I think I skipped breakfast for the rest of the trip.
My friend Michelle, upon reading about this contest, wrote me immediately and wanted to do something special for it. Michelle is a destinations wedding photographer and has had tons of experience travelling. Because Michelle went the extra mile I am putting her name in the contest three times. She says she never wins anything and it is the least I can do considering she introduced me to my husband! Here is her story:
I have been fortunate enough in my life to have traveled extensively. I’ve been hooked on travel from an early age: taking vacations with my parents to the Caribbean, Spain and Alaska, road-tripping with my brother throughout Europe and from Ontario to California (and back!), and driving across Canada to visit my wonderful friend Suzie and her husband when they lived in BC. Now, I travel up to ten times a year to the Caribbean and Central America as a destination wedding photographer. But in most of my travels, I must say that I always seem to be stuck playing the tourist, visiting hotels made for foreigners, seeing the “wonders of the area”, single-file, on a guided tour. As much as I love local culture and local cuisine it is difficult at the best of times to get a true experience of the area when you’re sitting in the back of a tour bus or even wandering through the “safe” tourist areas designed to empty your wallets as you fill your suitcases with cheaply made souvenirs.
But I was thrilled when I arrived in Costa Rica for my brother’s wedding in 2005. My sister-in-law’s family lives close to Puntarenas and when we arrived we were picked up in true Costa Rica fashion – with the whole family there, eager to meet us with open arms. I could write for hours about the kindness, generosity and passion of Jenny’s family and the Costa Rican people, how beautiful the wedding was, the amazing the traditions. I could go on about the playful monkey at the place we stayed, how thrilled I was to meet a live scorpion in my bathroom sink one morning, how the potholes in the roads could swallow small cars whole… but the story here is how I became consumed by Costa Rican cuisine, hand made by family, eaten in roadside stands, dined on in off-the-beaten-track restaurants on mountain tops. Rice and beans, queso fresco, tamarind and starfruit juice, fresh papaya and mango and seafood for breakfast. Coffee that is made from fresh grounds in a cotton “sock.” Seriously – it’s the best coffee I’ve had anywhere. We caught our own fish and after throwing back the poisonous ones, created an amazing dinner over an open fire. I was taught how to make shrimp ceviche by Jenny’s mom. I became utterly addicted to Rambutans bought in large bags from roadside vendors for a dollar or two. We cracked coconuts under a massive tree on the beach while watching the local surfers play in the waves then I slept in a hammock under a mango tree. Fourteen days of utter bliss and food memories to last a lifetime. Everyone should have this experience. Everyone should eat this well. Everyone should live, as that Costa Rican’s would say, with “Pura Vida.”
Thanks Michelle! So please, share your travelling foodie stories here! Try and keep them brief and make sure to leave contact info. If you do not have a profile and do not leave contact info, you will not be included in the contest. Contest is open until Saturday night. Winner will be announced Sunday. Good luck everyone!