Tag Archives: food

Enjoy self-catered dessert from La Boqueria in the comfort of your Barcelona hotel for a sweet finish to a sweet day.

Food on the Fly: Successful Self-Catering

Picture yourself at lunch in Paris, sitting at a sidewalk café, eating salade niçoise and gazing at the Eiffel Tower in the distance. Perfection, non? Doesn’t get much better than that.

Unless, of course, you were dining in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.

This is the magic of self-catering. Skipping the restaurant meals in favor of a grocery bag full of goodies can lead to magical travel memories of perfect picnics, exotic delicacies and adventurous eating. You’ll also save a little money along the way. Start turning meals into memories with these tips for successful self-catering.

Marketplace Magic

Word of warning: Once you start shopping local markets, you may never go to a restaurant again. When food becomes this much fun, you won’t want to. Barcelona’s La Boqueria, for example, is a vibrant sensory experience, awash in color and sound. It’s a photography buff’s dream. Here, you can sip a cup of fresh-squeezed juice in any flavor imaginable while you stock up on authentic Catalonian lunch fare — plus some goodies to enjoy while people watching from your balcony during a siesta at Arc La Rambla.

Locally Made Goodness

Seek out small shops. You’ll find delicious, fresh-made local fare, with the bonus of a more personal touch. Since meeting new people is one of the best parts of travel, visiting friendly mom-and-pop shops makes for a truly special travel experience. Bakeries are a great place to start; try stepping out of your hotel in Paris and follow your nose to a fresh-baked baguette. It’s hard to imagine a greater joy than ripping off warm hunks of bread on your way to the Champs-Élysées.

Picnic Perfection

With self-catering, where you eat is just as important as what’s on the menu. Casually enjoying a leisurely meal in an iconic location is an experience you’ll never forget. While enjoying a stay in any of these family-friendly New York City hotels, take the gang for a picnic in Central Park. The kids will love playing in the green expanse while you all fuel up for a visit to Strawberry Fields or the Central Park Zoo.

To truly feel like a native Londoner on your next U.K. visit, join the locals enjoying their lunch against the backdrop of St. Peter’s Basilica. Or enjoy a picnic in St. James Park, with a view of Buckingham Palace.

Explore, Experiment, Enjoy

Travel is all about new experiences. Start with these tips, and then experiment away. Whether it’s sun-dried tomatoes and ciabatta in Rome or dolmades in Istanbul, you’ll soon be crafting your own incredible self-catering experiences and turning meals into memories. Bon appétit!

Great Food to Eat When Visiting Chicago (That Aren’t Pizza)

Chicago may be synonymous with “deep dish,” but there’s more to this city than thick crusts and mounds of cheese. In addition to striking architecture and gorgeous sunsets, the Windy City boasts a smorgasbord of good eats.

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1. Chicago-style Hot Dog

What cheesesteaks are to Philly, the Chicago-style hot dog is to the Windy City. The best versions start with a Vienna Beef Natural Casing dog, lay it down in a steamed poppy-seed bun, and top it with yellow mustard, diced white onion, relish, thin tomato wedges, a layer of crunchy dill pickles, and a couple of sport peppers. You’ll be able to find them all over the city, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the choices, head to Jimmy’s Red Hots near Humboldt Park. Or go to Allium (located in Chicago’s Four Seasons Hotel) for an upscale take on the classic dog.

2. Vegetarian Diner Food

The Chicago Diner has earned a national reputation for its classic diner fare with a twist: All of the dishes are vegan or vegetarian. Even the most dedicated carnivores will find something to like here, where the menu sports a Radical Reuben (in which seitan replaces corned beef), vegan milkshakes, and truffle mushroom lentil loaf. The restaurant offers locations in both Halstead and Logan Square.

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3. Paczkis

Chicagoans line up for hours on Paczki Day each year, when dozens of vendors around the city sell the hole-less Polish donuts to signal the arrival of Lent. Order them filled with jams, creams, or chocolate, or keep it simple and stick with an iced or powdered sugar variety. Consult this map to find where to score yours.  

4. The Jibarito

Reportedly invented in Chicago, this Puerto Rican dish consists of a sandwich made with fried green plantains instead of bread. The plantains cradle meat, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and a garlic-flavored mayonnaise. Enjoy one at Borinquen in Humboldt Park—the home of the original jibarito.

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5. Saganaki

Another dish that has its origin story in Chicago, saganaki consists of breaded or floured cheese that’s fried and served piping hot. Find it all over GreekTown.

6. Charcuterie

Chicago is well known for its butcher shops and high-quality meat (Perhaps that’s why the Italian beef sandwich is another Chicagoan favorite). Carl Sandburg even declared Chicago the “hog butcher for the world” in a poem about the city. Whether you’re looking for fresh-cut ribs, cured sausages, or heritage breeds, Chicago’s butchers have you covered. Popular shops include The Butcher and Larder (in West Town), Publican Quality Meats (in West Loop), and Paulina Meat Market (in Lakeview).

From carnivorous meals to fried cheese, donuts, and vegan fare, don’t miss a delicious bite on your next trip to Chicago. If by some unlikely chance you’re not satisfied, you can always order a pizza upon arriving back home.

JetBlue Opens a Farm at JFK Terminal 5


An airport tarmac is the last place anyone would think to look for sustainable local produce. But JetBlue is turning that assumption on its head with the unveiling of their new T5 Farm (short for JetBlue’s Terminal 5) at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City. The farm is a partnership with GrowNYC, a nonprofit organization devoted to supporting gardens, farmers markets, and green space in New York City, and may eventually supply in-flight food for the airline.

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JetBlue prioritized creating a healthy and vibrant farm in an unlikely environment. The plants will be secluded from planes and jet fuel, which operate mainly on the other side of the terminal building, and have been specifically chosen so that they won’t attract birds and wildlife to the airport. The 24,000 square foot farm features over 2,000 modular milk crate planters that will be filled with blue potatoes, herbs, leafy greens, carrots, and beets. Farm designer Thomas Kosbau also tried to maximize the amount of visible greenery.

The farm’s main product will be blue potatoes, which have become something of JetBlue emblem. TERRA Blues chips are served for free on every flight, and JetBlue estimates that 5.7 million bags were handed out last year. About 1,000 lbs of blue potatoes will be harvested from the farm each year, and many of them will make their way to the nearby TERRA facility to be processed into chips to develop new flavors. The eventual goal is to serve chips from the farm on JetBlue flights.

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The T5 Farm will be a highly sustainable enterprise. The soil was sourced from McEnroe Organic Farm in the Hudson Valley and will be combined with selected food waste compost from the terminal itself. Much of the produce will be served at restaurants in the terminal or donated to GrowNYC and local food pantries. The farm will also serve an educational purpose: School trips will tour the site and learn about farming practices.

JetBlue’s JFK Terminal 5 is already acclaimed for its design and amenities, and the new farm will accentuate the airline’s innovative spirit. The terminal already offers free WiFi service, excellent food options, and a kid and pet friendly rooftop green space. Passengers are able to purchase GrowNYC food at the terminal Greenmarket, and will soon be able to visit the farm with an advance reservation. Although the T5 Farm isn’t the first airport garden, its high profile may inspire similar ventures by airlines and airports. It may even raise the standards for airplane food, which is something everyone can get behind.

Why Travelers Should Be Nutty for National Nut Day

National Nut Day, which falls on October 22, is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the humble nut. They’re healthy, protein-packed, and portable, making them the perfect snack for traveling. They can also help weight loss, reduce appetite, lower bad cholesterol, and even extend life by lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke. Here are a few more reasons to love nuts and National Nut Day, especially if you’re a traveler.

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Raising Awareness of Fair Trade

National Nut Day is celebrated in both the United States and the United Kingdom, but the origins of the holiday are unclear. In the UK, it is largely championed by Liberation Foods, which uses the opportunity to highlight small-scale nut farmers and fair trade practices. The farmer co-ops that supply Liberation’s nuts are based everywhere from Malawi to Nicaragua, and collectively own 44% of the company. The Fairtrade Certification ensures the farmers get compensated fairly and have good working conditions, and the label is worth seeking out on package labeling.

Boosting American Agriculture

In the United States, nuts are not only popular, but are also an essential agricultural product. In 2010, Americans ate nearly four pounds of nuts per capita, and most of them were home-grown. Almost 90% of all nuts in the United States, and nearly all almonds, come from California. And American almonds are taking over the worldwide market as well. Nearly 75% of the world’s almonds come from the United States, and they are the leading horticultural export commodity by value.

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Nutty Travel Destinations

American nut farms are great side trips to work into travel plans, and make fun and interesting destinations in their own right. On a trip to LA or San Diego, try an excursion to Bates Nut Farm, which has been a family walnut farm since 1921. They’ve expanded their produce to other areas, but they still offer tours that demonstrate the planting, harvesting, and roasting of local nuts. A trip to Hawaii can also offer a closer look at the macadamia nut, a quintessential Hawaiian flavor. Head to the island of Molokai to explore the 5 acre farm of Purdy’s Natural Macadamia Nuts and try some Macadamia Blossom Honey or Nut Oil in addition to the fresh nuts.

Versatile Snacks

The huge versatility of nuts, as well as their health value and portability, makes them the best possible travel snack. They’re filling, high in protein, and can be incorporated into both sweet and savory snacks or meals. Keep in mind that 1-2 ounces is an ideal serving size, and then let imagination take over. Branch out and try a new kind, such as brazil nuts, macadamia nuts, or walnuts. Incorporate nuts into bars or trail mix, or roast them with curry or chipotle for a savory kick. Nut butters also travel well, and can be paired with toast, crackers, or fruit. Use National Nut Day as inspiration to explore new nutty possibilities, and travel in good taste and good conscience.

Street food in Thailand

Creative Ways to Find Good Food on the Road

Street food in Thailand

Affordbale street eats at a market in Thailand

If you are backpacking, stuck for food and low on money, then seeking out of good food is absolutely essential if you want to get to your destination in one piece. For many travelers backpacking through different countries, then you may often find yourself in places with very little available information to go on and no knowledge of the local language to boot. Restaurants that attract and serve tourists are often catering for family holidays and honeymoons, which means little amounts of food and high prices. Here at home, we rely on technology, advertising, recommendations from friends to find affordable meals, but with so many restaurants around and none of the usual creature comforts to narrow your search how are you supposed to find something that is affordable and good for you?

Look for small signs

Every town and city will have a cheap place to eat where locals– as opposed to tourists – go and often they will advertise in random places such as on lampposts, with arrows that say “Cheesy Jacks Turn Left!” The reason these are good places for backpackers is that they do not have the extortionate prices designed to profit from foreign tourist traffic and meals are often simpler, more homely and well balanced then any fancy or fast food that you might bump into. The food is often tastier too – designed for local taste-buds and not blanded down for international palettes.

Follow markets

This is especially true if you are backpacking through a hot country! Just as our markets are full of fresh fruit and foodstuffs brought in just that day, so too does every other town and country in the world. Markets have a delectable feast of cheap and affordable, nutritious delights being served that are perfect for a meal on the go. If you’re in another country, then learning the words for “where is the market” will stand you in much better stead for finding good affordable food than “where is the nearest restaurant” – as asking for a restaurant will most likely have you end up in a sit down, four-course kind of establishment that some locals assume you must want as a tourist, whereas a market will have freshly cooked, stand food, not to mention fruits, vegetables and possible canned goods to stock up on whilst you are there.

Use technology

There are a range of apps and websites that are specifically designed to help you find where to eat when out and about. Depending on where you are travelling depends on which service you use, and since it is often difficult in the UK and Europe, I launched my site to find restaurants near me and fix that conundrum. If you are somewhere slightly more exotic than do some research before you leave to discover the local service, or check the app store because there are some great niche apps in every region!

Note: We at Oh Hey World love this food resource page with links to regional history, popular apps, and books to get you started on a global food journey.

Follow your nose

If you can smell food, then the chances are that it’s nearby. What is quite true of large, chain restaurants is that the smell from the outside is relatively low, whereas it’s highly likely that food being cooked in the open air (with the exception of hot dog and burger stands) is affordable, tasty and offers good seating as well. If you are in a place where there are hardly any directions to follow and you have plain straight lost your map, then following people until you pick up a scent is a good way to find a town centre and a food source (a bit primitive yes, but hey, its backpacking: what did you expect?).

With an adventurous spirit and these handful of tips you should be able to find good food most anywhere your travels take you!


Ben is an avid foodie who loves to travel and try new cuisines. He is the founder of wheretoeat.co.uk and is always blogging about his latest trip or meal out.

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