By Dane Feldman
When it comes to traveling, my dining experiences can really make or break a trip for me. A big part of this stems from the fact that I live just outside of New York City, which is a wonderful place to be as a foodie, so I know that I have high expectations when going elsewhere. I’ve traveled a fair bit, which makes it quite difficult to choose just five great places, but these five have stood out to me.
All photos courtesy of Dane Feldman
5. Montreal, Canada: One word: poutine. Poutine is one of Quebec’s most famous culinary contributions to the world and it is absolutely a good one. Poutine, made up of French fries, cheese curds, and gravy, originated in Quebec and can be found in restaurants all over the city of Montreal. Aside from poutine, Montreal also boasts a fairly wide variety of French food—some restaurants even serve escargots—as well as a ton of gorgeous outdoor seating at cafes and gelato shops along the narrow, cobblestone streets of Old Montreal. I love it especially because it’s just like having a mini-Paris six hours by car from NYC.
4. Amelia Island, Florida: I have been to Amelia Island three times with my parents and each time the food has just blown me away. Because a big part of the island is a resort, the area is fairly touristy. That being said, the restaurants truly hold up. Amelia Island is the southernmost island in the Sea Islands, which span from South Carolina to Florida. AI is also the only Sea Island in Florida and is among the northernmost destinations in the state as it borders the Georgia state line. Mostly what we eat when we go to Amelia Island is fresh fish and seafood and the occasional Georgia peaches. The shrimp is to die for and it’s a great place to go for grouper and red snapper. My favorite restaurant, Espana, serves an incredible red snapper in a spicy poblano sauce. I can safely say I’ve dreamt about that exact meal at least five times since the first time I ate it.
3. Paris, France: I should hardly have to rave for Paris. To say that the food is incredible is an absolute understatement. It’s been four years since I was there, yet I still dream about the bread, the wine, the cheese, the espresso, and even the beer. Paris is a known worldwide as a hub for wonderful food and I was certainly not disappointed. I would, however, suggest leaving Paris for at least a day or so to spend time wine tasting in the Loire Valley. It’s an experience I’ll likely never forget, although I can’t remember the name of a single restaurant (everything was in French!).
2. Napa, California: Unfortunately for me, I didn’t spend much time when I was in Napa, but from what I gather it’s an incredible place for foodies. Again, the wine tasting is an experience I know I’ll always remember, but I’ll be dreaming of the food for the rest of my life. I ate lunch at Pica Pica in the Oxbow Marketplace in downtown Napa. It was unreal. It’s been almost a year since I was there and I still remember my meal: black beans, avocado, grilled tofu, sweet plantains and spicy cream on corn bread with a side of yucca fries. To this day, it’s the best sandwich I’ve ever eaten. We also dined at an incredible sushi place called Morimoto Napa where I ate rock shrimp tempura, lobster wonton and short rib pho, tempura calamari salad with quinoa and a miso dressing, and the best and only California roll I’ve ever enjoyed (real Dungeness crab!).
Some of the good eats at Morimoto in Napa.
1. Israel: Drool! My foodie experiences in Israel tops all others. Due to the nation’s tense foreign affairs, almost no food is imported. The entire country is about the size of New Jersey, which, in America-speak, means that pretty much everything we ate was the equivalent of instate farm-to-table. Even everyday foods we eat in America are incomparable to how fresh and delicious they are in Israel, namely the cottage cheese, orange juice, and bread. I also, of course, had some mind-blowing hummus, shawarma, falafel, pita, cucumbers, tomatoes, and Tzfat favorite lechoch, which consists of fresh famous cheese, vegetables, and handmade crepe-like bread. Seriously, I would move to Israel just for the food.
These five places are the best summer destinations for foodies, although I have the utmost confidence that the food is delicious year-round in all of these locations.
Some honorable mentions include Park City, Utah, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, California, and the entire state of Colorado.