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Stranded in another country ... hypothetically


Gifted Gourmet
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Purely hypothetical supposition (I know... redundant!!) time:

The premise: You are stranded in a country other than your own ...

The length of time: one full month ...

The financial considerations: money not an issue ... no limits

Let's for the sake of the more interesting exploration say that the United States is not an option here ... :wink:

Which country would it be?

What area would you stay in? (presuming that you had no options of moving around much)

What will you look forward to trying foodwise? :biggrin:

What will you avoid foodwise? :unsure:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Italy

region: Piedmont- Piemonte

I would like to eat fonduta, a melted cheese dip of milk, eggs and white truffles (tartufi bianchi), vitello tonnato which is prepared with a sauce of anchovies; bagna côda garlic dip .... agnolotti with cheese or meat fillings... Fontina and Mascarpone cheeses .... zabaglione ....and Asti or Barbaresco wines.

Probably avoid eel dishes and black spaghetti made with squid ink .... :hmmm:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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I'd be stranded in Great Britain. I love all of the British/Welsh/Scottish cuisine I have tried, there are some awesome higher end restaurants from what I understand, and Britain has some of the best selection of Indian/Asian variants of food as well, so great variety, plus awesome selection of single malts and ale to work my way through.

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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My first instinct was to reply 'Malaysia' or 'Tibet' but then the realization hit that you said money was not an issue...that it was unlimited.

My little greedy heart right smack then decided Paris.

I would stay at one of the top hotels....or maybe spend one week at each of the top four.

Shop, shop, shop...from those hotels haute couture is walking distance! and oh yes and a bit of eating inbetween. (Yeah, right where on earth would a Mom with two kids wear these clothes when she had to come home to Blacksburg, Virginia? :sad: Hah! :laugh: )

For food, the choices are innumerable of course. Haute cuisine to market streets.

Sigh.

Would not avoid a single thing foodwise but for the tourist places and the horsemeat shops (if they are still there...they were when I lived there...)

And all this eating would be okay because it is such a walk-able city (after you learn enough rude French to dissuade those Frenchmen who are Frenchmen and act like it that truly you do not wish them to keep doing their Frenchman thing following you along the street).... and you can claim with great pride the calories you are losing by walking, walking...

Paris.

Paris.

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It's a strange question about a strange topic. The US would probably not be my first choice even if it were a choice. I'm stranded here already. :biggrin:

I suppose it would be Paris, if only for sentimental reasons and those of relative comfort. I can get around well enough in Paris on my own, know the city a bit and feel capable of finding what I want to eat there. There are places in Spain with more intersting food, but they would seem more confining to me before the month is up.

I would avoid bad food as much as I could. At one time that wouldn't have been a worry. Today Paris has a lot of bad food. I'd search out a good deal of haute cuisine if money were not an issue, but I could undoubtedly do without it if money were an issue. I'd search out the things I can't get here in NY including the andouillette I didn't get on my last trip and I'd really like to do a thorough tasting of all the pastry Paris has to offer. I never get the chance to do that on a short trip because I'm usually too sated from the restaurant meals I try to squeeze in. Jean Paul Hévin was right around the corner from hotel two weeks ago and I never had room for even one chocolat macaron. What I regret most about every trip to Paris is that I leave too many things untasted and the food shops on my short list never get visited. A month would be nice, but stranded doesn't compute.

Last year were stranded in Barcelona for a few days due to a general strike. I e-mailed my daughter to tell her of our situation and that we'd be returning later than expected. She wrote back that drinking cerveza and eating jamón doesn't count as stranded.

Thanks for asking. Is the check in the mail? :biggrin:

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

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Yeah, France -- cliches are cliches for a reason. We spent a week in a small flat overlooking Montmartre in Paris two Aprils ago, and that pretty much sold me. I made dinner every night, with wine and cheese and amazing fish and produce and....

That'd do for now. As for back then... having read David Thompson's Thai Food recently, I think I'd set the way-back machine to 1880 or so and hang out in the Thai royal kitchens as a taster.

Chris Amirault

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Italy

Emilia-Romagna

I would eat gnochi friti with :rolleyes: lardo and prosciutto a little Salumi. Little parmesean on the side.. :raz:

Maybe some a nice chop with balsmica. Grilled fresh vegies with some nice 50 year old balsmica on it :biggrin:

Wash it all down with some nice Lambrusco

Never trust a skinny chef

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I think I'd have to choose Malaysia, because I love Malaysian food so much! Or maybe Thailand. Italy would be close behind and would benefit more from the unlimited budget. I'd rather travel around any of the above countries and sample great food from various regions than be stuck in any one place.

Michael aka "Pan"

 

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either India or Italy.. or Greece!

I'd stay in South India- almost everything's vegetarian.. and well, I LOVE their food- from the chapatis to the dahls and curries to the delightful milksweets like jammu. Italy- I love Italian food as well, again, I'd go to South Italy or so..

Greece- I'll stick around the olive groves :D.. they'll be sorry for having me there!

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Definitely Japan, with a slight preference for Tokyo over Kyoto, Sendai or Sapporo.

Tokyo is a world-class food city, albeit one needs every last yen of the unlimited budget that Melissa posits. By way of example, we've been entertaining clients this week:

Monday: Tempura at a small (8 person) counter restaurant, no choices as the chef selects based on the freshest seasonal items, washed down with Kubota no manju sake

Tuesday: Kappo (think kaiseki without the pomp, circumstance and kimonos), ethereal stuff, again more sake (Bishonen)

Wednesday: French (one star equivalent), three amuses, roasted cepes, guinea fowl, Krug followed by 1989 La Conseillante, digestifs with dessert

Tonight: Sushi

And we haven't even started with Italian, Chinese, Korean . . .

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I would pick Paris. I loved it there. I would eat pastries and cafe au lait for breakfast and find great restaurants for lunch and dinner. I would have to stop in a few times for hot chocolate at Cafe Angelique. :wub:

Since this is hypothetical the calories don't count! :laugh:

The only bad thing about the great food in France, is having to adjust to life in the States again. Talk about culture shock! :huh:

it just makes me want to sit down and eat a bag of sugar chased down by a bag of flour.

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It's a tough call between Greece and Brazil. I'd probably choose Brazil for the variety... meat (and more meat), Italian, sushi, pizza, coffee, and caipirinhas! I could die a happy person here. I'd have to find a Bahian restaurant for the seafood and spice.

The only thing I would miss is US breakfast food. Muffins. Pancakes. Maple syrup. I'm *jonesing* for a good blueberry muffin.

...wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile. --Alexander Pope

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Italy or Morocco

I would have to avoid seafood and pork in Italy. I would avoid offal and seafood in Morocco. Both countries have amazing cuisine and both have beautiful produce like in my country.

I would live my dream of having a Tuscan or Umbrian farmhouse and enjoy travel to small villages and learning how to make the local dishes and trying all of the amazing wines.

In Morocco, I would learn how to make all of the rich layers of flavor in their tagines and finally learn how to make proper couscous. I would also have fun buying all of the beautiful home wares, such as lamps, tapestries, copper pots, etc.

Actually, I am very happy being "stranded" in Israel because I have the best of all worlds, that is food from all over the world, finally very interesting boutique wines and amazing produce.

Edited by Swisskaese (log)
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For me its a tough call between Thailand or Japan. Although Singapore would be pretty cool too, for the sake of diversity of Asian cuisines.

Then again the idea of having an unlimited budget in France sounds pretty damn compelling too.

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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For me its a tough call between Thailand or Japan. Although Singapore would be pretty cool too, for the sake of diversity of Asian cuisines.

Then again the idea of having an unlimited budget in France sounds pretty damn compelling too.

France, of course, mainly the southwestern area around the Perigueux with the truffles, confits, cheeses and whatnot.

What about western Mexico, Jalisco and Nayarit, the garden states or Oaxaca, the land of a thousand chiles. After all, this is where tomatoes, potatoes, cocoa, chiles and lots of other goodies were "discovered". If you give me the produce or the seafood PLUS the spices and chiles from these regions, I would be very happy for the rest of my life.

Edited by Franky2Times (log)
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Okay after thinking about this more. I would still be perfectly happy in Northern Italy, but a good second choice would be Japan.

Of course I would need a much thicker wallet being in Japan, either Tokyo or Kyoto. Alternating between Sushi, Soba and Tokyo's world cuisine.

Never trust a skinny chef

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Mexico

Since we can make up our own deal and I can afford to move about and money is no object. I could get a small plane and make my way around the country. What a range of food and flavors, not to mention a geographical range that is hard to match anywere else in the world.

But I would bring my own coffee. Gak. Instant after a great meal might be what the locals do, but I've never gotten used to it.

As the lovely and talented Theabroma once said in her brilliantly written Mexican Travelogue , "when the dust of Mexico settles on your heart, you will never feel at home anywhere else in the world..........."

Damn true that.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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I would have to flip a coin to choose between Japan and Italy.

Japan would probably win because I have never been there and will probably never be able to afford to "do it the right way." I would start in Tokyo and soak in as much as possible. Once the city became too overwhelming I would move on to exploring the rest of the country.

True Heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic.

It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost,

but the urge to serve others at whatever cost. -Arthur Ashe

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Mexico

Since we can make up our own deal and I can afford to move about and money is no object. I could get a small plane and make my way around the country. What a range of food and flavors, not to mention a geographical range that is hard to match anywere else in the world.

But I would bring my own coffee. Gak. Instant after a great meal might be what the locals do, but I've never gotten used to it.

As the lovely and talented Theabroma once said in her brilliantly written Mexican Travelogue , "when the dust of Mexico settles on your heart, you will never feel at home anywhere else in the world..........."

Damn true that.

Have to pick Mexico (and all the nether Americas), too. In fact, I'm in the process of firming up plans to spend Thanksgiving in Oaxaca, where I will be trying to learn about the region's incredible culinary heritage/tradition. (Remember that Central/South America contributed greatly to what we currently think of as the grand European tradition of cuisine: chocolate, potatoes, tomatoes, chiles anyone?) I'll happily exchange money for time in Oaxaca. Time and the local conception of it is what has crafted the seminal and signal cuisine which emanates from this region, as far as I can tell from here.

I hope to be stranded there for at least a week.Two will be better... if I can swing three it will be a contender for the best vacation of my life, I'm sure.

I'll keep you posted.

Squeat

Edited by Squeat Mungry (log)
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Coming at this from the perspective of someone whose career involves at least making an effort to know a lot about food, if I'd never been to Europe I'd probably say someplace in Europe, but since that's not my situation I can't imagine picking anyplace other than Japan. I can't even think of a distant second-place candidate, not for someone in my situation at least. As much as I'd love to explore the cuisines of every European country in depth, not to mention China, India, various Southeast Asian nations, Mexico, and more, Japan is the biggest gap in my experience right now and would be the priority.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I used to do quite a bit of traveling by myself and have been stranded a lot.

Once literally stranded in Rome, I gleefully survived on copious amounts of gelati, and not once had a bad meal while in Italy.

On a trip to catch up to my husband in Paris, I got stuck somewhere in Surenes, and had my first tastes of foie gras and confit de canard there.

Like snowangel, I like Bangkok. Don't remember how I got there, but got lured into Patpong. After hightailing out of there, had some wonderful mussels and a lot of khanom that I still think about.

I wouldn't mind being stranded in those places again, but I've never been to Morocco and would love to get lost in a scented garden in Marrakesh. Dreaming of gently cleansing my hands in bowls of rose petalled water before dining on a feast of tagines, couscous and bastillas.

BTW I love this topic. It's a game that my husband and I play often. "If you could be anywhere in the world eating good food, where would you be right now?" His answer is usually NYC, where he had his first raw oyster!

Melissa, this is another one of your great threads that I've come to enjoy! I echo many of the sentiments that you think of the most creative topics, truly a hostess with the mostest!

Edited by spaghetttti (log)

Yetty CintaS

I am spaghetttti

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I wouldn't mind being stranded in those places again, but I've never been to Morocco and would love to get lost in a scented garden in Marrakesh.  Dreaming of gently cleansing my hands in bowls of rose petalled water before dining on a feast of tagines, couscous and bastillas.

Melissa, this is another one of your great threads that I've come to enjoy! I echo many of the sentiments that you think of the most creative topics, truly a hostess with the mostest!

First of all, I must thank you for your most generous compliment! And I am pleased that the threads strike a resonant chord within you! :biggrin:

I actually lived in Morocco for two years and it was, as you correctly point out, hardly being stranded ... the mint teas brimming with sweetness and the couscous piled under mounds of savoury and spicy lamb made the meals well worth remembering .. I passed on the sheep's eyeballs, served as a compliment to the guest .. that far I was unable to go ... :laugh:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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Italy

Venice

Actually I like the food in Umbria & Tuscany better, but I'd put up with that (and a lot more) for a month in Venice with no worries about the $$. :biggrin:

I know a couple of good fish places, a couple of good pizza places, & the best gelato places in town. I know the butchers, bakers, cheese shops & fruitsellers from whom you can assemble a wonderful lunch. Don't need much else there.

I would continue to avoid the fritto misto as I still don't much like small whole crunchy fish. (Crunchy frog! :shock::wink: )

Thank God for tea! What would the world do without tea? How did it exist? I am glad I was not born before tea!

- Sydney Smith, English clergyman & essayist, 1771-1845

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Have to pick Mexico (and all the nether Americas), too. In fact, I'm in the process of firming up plans to spend Thanksgiving in Oaxaca, where I will be trying to learn about the region's incredible culinary heritage/tradition. (Remember that Central/South America contributed greatly to what we currently think of as the grand European tradition of cuisine: chocolate, potatoes, tomatoes, chiles anyone?) I'll happily exchange money for time in Oaxaca. Time and the local conception of it is what has crafted the seminal and signal cuisine which emanates from this region, as far as I can tell from here.

I hope to be stranded there for at least a week.Two will be better... if I can swing three it will be a contender for the best vacation of my life, I'm sure.

Oaxaca would be a very good choice, but I might have to opt for a seaside location in Mexico...what them folks do to seafood is a pure delight....Siete Mares soup, ceveche, almejas rellanas, shrimp al mojo de ajo....the list is endless. My problem would be on deciding which beach I'd like to be "stranded" on....Puerto vallarta might be nice....La Paz would be killer..ot even the Ensenada/Puerto Nuevo area, in my own backyard, would be heavenly. Of course having a cold michelada or margarita would make anyplace in Mexico perfectly acceptable.

"We do not stop playing because we grow old,

we grow old because we stop playing"

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