Wednesday, June 10, 2015

View to a Thrill: Culinary Delights

One thing I learned early on in this career is that if you are going to a new destination, one of the best resources for dining and shopping information are the flight attendants on your flight. They've always been a wealth of information on where to find great deals, which restaurants will provide memorable meals and what are some of the grocery must-haves that should be taken back home. They know the bargains and how to get around.

Street pancake in Shanghai
When I was based in San Francisco, and traveling to China often, I learned about dining on the streets for breakfast, breaking my habit of eating at the costly hotel buffet. As deluxe as the buffet was, there was nothing like the dim sum, dumplings and street pancakes to be found for just a couple of dollars.

In Australia, I was taken to great pubs, not only for refreshing beer, but excellent pizza, while learning the history of drunken men being Shanghaied to work on boats to China.

My London layover is where I obtained my lust for clotted cream. The Belgian waffles in Brussels were heavenly. The best hot chocolate was near Notre Dame in Paris.

And it's not just in foreign lands where I learn of great foods. I discovered the Cuban sandwich on a Miami layover (served with fries that had been dusted in Parmesan cheese, a trick I now use to impress guests at home). I have a very hard time with my weight, as I love eating and when visiting a region with great food – and what region doesn't have great food?- I must indulge. Burnt ends BBQ sandwich in Kansas City, crab cakes in Maryland, cheese steaks in Philly, churros in Mexico City, butter in Paris, steak in Argentina, Indian food in London...the list goes on.

Argentinean steak

I love checking out local grocery stores when I travel to another country; there's nothing like seeing the fresh food in Asia, which often includes large frogs! When in Sao Paulo, a flight attendant took me under her wing to show me the great coffee and then a product that really held my interest: liquid garlic. I don't cook enough at home, but I just had to buy some for Mom, who got it for Christmas. She loved it, so I brought some back for my aunt, who cooks all the time.

Choco milk in a bag
My most recent hot discovery, and I'm most proud for having found it on my own, was in a grocery store in Lima, Peru. I marveled at how they sold milk in plastic bags; thick plastic bags that one must cut open with scissors. They had chocolate milk as well, and it was only a dollar for a bag with about a quart. I brought a bag home to find it was only about the best chocolate milk I've ever had. It goes really well with Besos de Moza, chocolate kisses filled with something akin to marshmallow, but softer. It's quite decadent and I can't stop buying it.

As the saying goes, “When in Rome...” and I don't mind if I do. Please pass the butter, I can diet when I'm dead!


  1. I loved it. Thank you for sharing yourself with the world Penguin. Your style of writing is precise and crisp.

  2. I loved it. Thank you for sharing yourself with the world Penguin. Your style of writing is precise and crisp.