Whenever I plan a trip, a great deal of my research is based around food: what to eat and where to eat it. In fact, my loved ones would probably argue that whenever I plan my day, a very similar process transpires. But I thought, for this week’s blog post, I would recommend five city breaks and the classic dish to try once there. And, because it’s January and we’re all still waiting for a much longed for pay cheque after Christmas, I have suggested a London restaurant that would be a suitable short term replacement for a weekend away
1) Valencia. I’ve spoken before about how fabulous Valencia is. Food always tastes better in the sun which Valencia is bathed in for most of the year. The dish that is most famous is, of course, Paella, which can come laden with either seafood, fish or meat, or a mixture of all three – or just veggies! The decadent pig in me likes one burdened with more seafood than I know what to do with. I would head to La Pepica on the beach for its incredible view, but really anywhere that is full to the brim with locals will be a safe bet in this foodie city. If flying to eat a rice dish, however decadent, seems a little self-indulgent to say the least, some of the best Spanish meals I have had are at Meson Don Felipe on the Cut in London. Near Waterloo station and Southwark tube, this small eatery is always jam packed as soon as office workers leave their desks. Book if you can.
2) New York. I’m mildly to wildly obsessed with New York. The Big Apple is such a quintessential destination for so many reasons and attractions, including Valentine's Day, but once you have those reasons ticked off your to do list, you’re left with a heck of a lot of restaurants that cater to all tastes and budgets. To me, the city’s main dish is any form of steak with a large baked potato topped with sour cream. I would head to a (prebooked) table at Peter Luger’s for a plate of meat that will blow your mind. It’s out in Brooklyn so away from where a great deal of tourists stay in Manhattan but well worth it. If a flight to New York is out of the question at the moment, the Hawksmoor in London is always delicious and fabulous for a treat dinner.
3) Florence. I’ve only ever been to Florence twice in my life which, whilst lovely, strikes me as a bit odd for someone who studied History of Art at university. I should have been far more often to feed both my love of art, (this beautiful city is literally dripping in masterpieces every direction you look) and my stomach. Pasta and pizza are two of my favourite foods to eat. I am almost always in the mood to eat any meal based around them, pizza in particular. The wonderful thing about Florence is that, when you stray a little off the beaten path and away from the hordes of tourists, you can find it everywhere and it tastes delicious. When your 20 days holiday allowance has been used up, and Florence, even for a weekend, is just not going to happen, London’s Pizza East is a fun restaurant that serves great pizza in a buzzy atmosphere. Order the burrata too when you’re there.
4) Marrakech. I loved every. single. second. of my trip to Marrakech. It is the most fascinating city with such an overwhelming atmosphere in all its various corners. I stayed at the incredible Les Deux Tours in the calm Palmerie area, which was a welcome retreat after a hectic, though fun, day in the souks. Moroccan food is amongst one of my most favoured cuisines, and the souks are saturated with delectable street food. I love to eat Moroccan tagines, however, which take a lot longer to cook. I tried a small slice of heaven eating one at the restaurant Al Fassia Gueliz, which I would recommend to anyone. Back on UK soil, Moro in Exmouth Market, London is a chic eatery that not only has tagines, but something for all taste buds alike.
5) The Cotswolds. I can’t write a blog post about food and completely ignore British cooking. Much maligned around the world, I am often flabbergasted by people’s attitude to our cuisine. Granted, a lot of our food, falls prey to being overcooked and over boiled, but when cooked well, can you really beat pink roast beef with Yorkshire puddings, potatoes roasted in goose fat and seasonal veggies served al dente? All covered in as much gravy as tickles your fancy and then followed by sticky toffee pudding. The Cotswolds is the perfect place to head to for such food and recently I reviewed the Wild Duck near Cirencester which served hearty British fare that is making me salivate whilst writing about it! If you’re a Londoner like me, head to my mum’s house.
I’d love to hear any other foodie destinations that my readers would recommend!