Dig deeper in your travel research with the food blog

One of my favorite strategies when doing my travel research is food blog crawling. Food blogs put a unique spin on a destination, have authors who are almost always social and are furthermore great places to find new places to eat. Our own blogger Jeremy Kressmann dominated the gastronomic scene in Seoul this way, and more and more food bloggers are seeping into mainstream shows like No Reservations and Bizarre Foods.

Great case in point? Cafe Fernando. The author, as one commenter puts him a “gourmet of life,” is an Istanbul resident, cooking genius, amateur photographer, and talented blogger, the product of which is a mouth watering journey into pages of crumbcakes, donuts, cheescakes and tarts.

Heading somewhere soon? Give it a try on google: plug “[your city] + food + blog” into a search and see what comes up. You’ll be surprised, delighted and hungry when you’re finished.

The Accidental Chef Travels: An Introduction

This post is the first installment of my culinary travel feature column, “The Accidental Chef Travels”. Come join me to discover all that’s delicious!

I think the best way to introduce myself is to begin with the basics. I grew up in an unusual family — part West Virginia hillbilly (we proudly hail from the mountainous coalfields) and part academic, since despite having a few economic and cultural cards stacked against us, the majority of my relatives as well as myself went on to receive advanced degrees, write books and teach university level courses. Go figure.

Because of this dichotomous existence, I’ve spent much of my life straddling the gray area, somewhere between cheesy grits and Chateaubriand. Yet, despite this oxymoron-esque lifestyle, one thing has remained constant — my love of worldly exploration and an inherent need to taste every last bit of it.

I still believe that the best place on earth is my grandmother’s kitchen in Princeton, West Virginia, where she, well into her upper-nineties, whipped up the best fried pies and coconut cake you’ve ever tasted. Yet, while granny’s comfort food remains unbeatable, I still spend my days infatuated with what the rest of the world has to offer.

Whether I’m noshing fresh-fried conch fritters at a roadside stand in the Turks and Caicos, nibbling blocks of Spam musubi while ogling the fresh Saturday morning produce at the Hilo Farmer’s Market or learning how to make Salade Gascogne (an explosion of poultry consisting of grilled duck breast, foie gras and duck confit) with chef/cookbook author Kate Hill in rural Southwest France, like many of you, I am compelled to taste my way across the globe, and I hope you’ll join me for this exciting and delicious ride.

It’s been said, that there are those of us who travel, and those of us who travel to eat. For gastronomes like myself, planning an entire vacation around what to eat and where is the norm. So for all of you food junkies out there, I plan to highlight an array of culinary activities such as cooking schools, food and wine immersion opportunities, food-focused resorts, cruises, even sustainable farm visits. And you can bet I won’t be leaving out off-the-beaten-track treasures such as backstreet markets, paper plate dives and mobile cart munchies. From truffle hunts to salmon fishing, I hope to bring you the best of what’s tasty and where.

I won’t be leaving out those who travel frequently for business or pleasure either, including folks who seek the very latest in restaurant news and reviews, both on the ground and in the air. For my “Mile High Dining Club” installments, I’ll cover the latest trends in taste, whether you’re kicking back in first-class or clutching your knees in coach.

For those looking to further their culinary travel education, I’ll be adding a “How-To” feature. From how to sniff and sip your way through Napa to avoiding an untimely death when eating Fugu, a Japanese pufferfish, I hope to share with you some great insider tips and tricks.

Bottom line? This column is going to fun, lots of fun, and I can’t wait for you to join me as we explore the many exciting tastes, textures and aromas that our world has to offer.


Blogger Kendra Bailey Morris

Where was your photo taken? At the 17th Street Farmer’s Market in my hometown of Richmond, Virginia. I’m a produce stand junkie. As soon as market season begins, you can find me sifting through piles of fresh veggies, meats and other locally made delicacies nearly every week.

Where do you live now? Richmond, Virginia, where I spend the majority of my days writing, cooking, and planning where to go next and what to eat.

Scariest airline flown? Can’t remember the airline, but you can bet I remember the flight. Went like this. Hopped a flight from Richmond to Newark. Plane takes off late at night. Enter massive Southern-style electrical thunderstorm. Plane gets tossed around like dice on a craps table. White knuckle it for about 10 minutes before huge lightning strike creates a power outage inside the plane. I begin bawling like an infant-complete with moments of hyperventilation. (I’ve never been a great flyer.) Plane finally lands. Exit aircraft, knees still knocking. Greeted by a cabbie, who takes me to a nearby bar, where I promptly buy a six-pack of Miller High Life and drink it in the backseat of the car. Note to self: check weather status before flying.

Favorite city/country/place. My grandmother’s kitchen in Bluefield, West Virginia.

Most remote corner of the globe visited. Spent the night on Arthur’s Seat, an extinct volcano which overlooks the city of Edinburgh, Scotland, with nothing but newspapers to sleep on, and a decent bottle of Scotch to keep warm. Woke up in the middle of the night to the distant sound of bagpipes and discovered a wild red fox sleeping next to me. Legend has it that Arthur’s Seat is the original home to Camelot, so to this day, I have always thought that fox was the ghost of some noble knight sent to protect me.

Favorite guidebook series. Been a big “Let’s Go” fan ever since college.

The most unusual food I’ve ever eaten is…raw monkfish liver. Tastes like a fishy foie gras.

When I’m not writing for Gadling, I’m…cooking, eating, or thinking about eating.

Favorite foreign dish? Restaurant? Poached beef marrow with coconut bread (served straight from the bone) at Poleng in San Francisco. Steak frites in Brussels. Doner kebab while walking the streets of London at 2 a.m. A bottle of cheap Bordeaux, a baguette and any park in Paris. Stewed Opihi’s (snails) at Paolo’s Bistro on the Big Island in Pahoa, Hawaii.

Favorite trip: Eloping to the Turks and Caicos to marry my husband, Tim, on Grace Bay in Provo, with an Italian couple and a handful of locals serving as our witnesses. Truly magical.