There is a very specific order of operations when it comes to writing my itinerary: Pick a city, find a hotel, and see where I can eat around it.
This method of planning has served me very well. My waist line…not as much.
I travel with my taste buds, so it is so important that I include as many iconic restaurants in my journeys. I can be quoted to have said “Who needs a novelty t-shirt souvenir when you can stain what you’re wearing with the best meal in town?” Anthony Bourdain, blessed be his memory, feels me on this, I know it.
So where has my desire for all things sweet, savoury, and local taken me? All across the world by plate. My five favorite meals ever from vacation are:
1. THREE CHEESE LASAGNA – TMOL SHILSOM – JERUSALEM
It was all things rich and cheesy and creamy and wonderful. The portion was exceptionally generous, and the bowl was the greatest. I would have easily moved in to this place just to sit there, eat this every day, and talk to customers about how great the food was. My server didn’t hate that idea…
2. SWEET + SOUR CHICKEN – SANG KEE PEKING DUCK – PHILADELPHIA
This was hands down Thee Best Chinese meal I have ever had. It was fresh, authentic, and wonderful. I was even able to enjoy it at a stool like in a diner. Out of all the options at Reading Terminal Market, this is a top one.
3. TEA SERVICE – RUSSIAN TEA TIME – CHICAGO
No, this isn’t a meal, per se. But it was so very tasty. I had it as a meal before I went to see “Fiddler on the Roof” (yes, I plan theatre nights thematically). It had little egg salad sandwiches, the best cookies, and perhaps the most amazing scones I’ve ever had. It was delightful! Russian Tea Time is worth a stopover when in the Windy City!
4. WHITE PIE – WE THE PIZZA – WASHINGTON DC
I found this pizzeria mostly by accident; that seems to be the way I do DC: In a hot, muggy, hungry daze. Not only did they offer egg cremes, they had this pizza with ricotta, parmesan, mozzarella, roasted garlic, and a little olive oil and salt. It was like a cheese pizza on steroids, and it was awesome. (There is no picture of this, is was that good and enjoyed that fast.)
5. BRISKET TACO – HUNGRY HIPPIE TACO – GRAND MARAIS, MN
This taco is everything. First of all, it’s a fry bread taco, so there’s that. Then that fluffy piece of golden delicious dough is piled with slow-roasted beef brisket. AND THEN your choice of toppings–so lettuce, cheese, salsa, and HHT’s chipotle sour cream for me–is further stacked towards the heavens from which this creation descended. There is absolutely nothing like it, and this meal at this restaurant is worth the trip all the way north to enjoy it.
5. HUMMUS PLATTER + VEGETARIAN SHAWARMA – TASTE OF LIFE- TEL AVIV
I grabbed the shawarma on the go; my real dinner that day was the largest and best plate of hummus I have ever had (which was divine in its own right). Even hours later, this was so incredibly good I had to check several times while inhaling it to see if it was truly non-meat–I’m lucky I didn’t accidentally eat one of my own fingers in the process, it was so good. Sadly, they are no more, so I am glad I ate here when I had the chance.
What is the best thing you have ever eaten?
Kayla Lee is a Minnesota-based wedding and elopement photographer. She provides services to elegant, authentic, sentimental couples who not only choose their own adventures, but also live them to the fullest! See more about the KLP Wedding Experience!
Fridays are for high fives! Every Friday, stop by to see five of my favorite somethings! Click here to see past Friday High Fives!