Book Review: ‘The Food Traveler’s Handbook’

food traveler's handbookFull disclosure: I know Jodi Ettenberg, author of “The Food Traveler’s Handbook.” I’ve eaten with Jodi and explored cities with her; she’s even inspected the spices in my Istanbul sublet apartment. Rather than let my friendship with her just guarantee a great review of her book, I will use it to vouch for the fact that she’s the perfect person to write a food guide for travelers: intrepid, resourceful, curious and (of course) always hungry.

On the road full time since 2008, Jodi has explored the world through food on her blog Legal Nomads. To keep costs down and her palate happy, Jodi strives to eat as locally as possible, chasing down the best street eats, cab driver hangouts and mom-and-pop restaurants. With this handbook, she shares her tips and resources for eating well, cheaply, and safely anywhere in the world. The guide is peppered (pardon the pun) with anecdotes from Jodi and other travelers (blogger Nicola Twilley recommends revisiting a market at different times of the day for different experiences), quirky facts (how about a 1742 recipe for ketchup that will keep for 20 years?!) and guidelines for local dining culture (you’ll keep getting your coffee refilled in Jordan until you learn the proper way to shake the cup and signal you’ve had enough). The book is infused with an enthusiasm and passion for food that’s contagious, and you may quickly find that planning a tour of the world through dumplings seems like a must.Jodi’s travel style may not be for everyone – some people crave familiarity and easy comfort, especially when traveling, and the prospect of eating a mysterious dish at a tiny food stall might be daunting. But for those looking to expand their horizons through food, connect with locals while traveling or just get a good meal without risking food poisoning, “The Food Traveler’s Handbook” is worth tucking into. Just be wary of reading it on an empty stomach, or you might find yourself, as I did, propelled out of bed at 8 a.m. with a strong craving for soup.

The Food Traveler’s Handbook” is available in paperback and as an e-book for Kindle. Additional books in the Traveler’s Handbooks series include guides for Career Breaks, Solo Travel, Luxury Travel and Volunteer Travel. Additional resources for food travelers can also be found on Jodi’s blog here.

[Photo credit: Jodi Ettenberg]

Navy museum receives 111 year old pudding from the Boer War

oldest pudding 111 years old found One hundred and eleven years ago, a batch of Christmas pudding was made to cheer up a soldier fighting in the Boer War. While most would assume it would have been eaten long ago, it has actually turned up in a kitchen cupboard. The batch is thought to be one made by Victorian philanthropist Agnes Weston, often known as “the mother of the Navy” for her goodwill work writing to soldiers and sailors, visiting hospitals and prisons, and starting rest homes for sailors.

The pudding tin even contains the original instructions: “This pudding is ready for use but may be boiled for an hour if required hot”. Of course, being that the treat is way past its expiration date, it will not be served cold or hot but has been donated to the Royal Navy Museum in Portsmouth, Hampshire, United Kingdom.

The story of how the pudding was donated to the museum begins with a phone call from a woman who had found the tin in her kitchen cupboard. She knew that it had been in her deceased husband’s family for years, but did not know how much history it held, having actually been sent overseas from South Africa.

If you would like to check out the 111 year old pudding yourself, you can attend the Historic Dockyard’s Victorian Christmas Festival from November 25-27, 2011, where the exhibit will be on temporary display.

Vegan meets soul food at Souley Vegan in Oakland, California

souley vegan brings comfort food and vegan food togetherCraving the comfort of southern style cooking but don’t want the meat? Or maybe you just want a healthy option to soul food? Souley Vegan in downtown Oakland, California, can provide you with exactly what you’re looking for.

Owner Tamearra Dyson, a vegan since she was 16, grew up eating soul food. Her goal was to adapt the food that she loved into a healthy, vegan alternative that everyone could enjoy. According to Casey Capachi of OaklandNorth.net, some of the menu items include BBQ tofu, vegan macaroni and cheese, potato salad, cheese-less cheesecake, and yams baked with agave and organic raw sugar. They also have a Cayenne Lemonade, a tasty southern-themed cocktail.

Souley Vegan is located at 301 Broadway at the intersection of Broadway and 3rd in downtown Oakland, California.

10 best smartphone apps for food enthusiasts

truxmap smartphone app for foodiesNowadays, there is a smartphone application for anything and everything. Food enthusiasts, wine connisseurs, and beer buffs will love these 10 handy smartphone applications. From beer and meal pairing to restaurant finding to where to eat that spicy burger that Adam Richman inhaled on Man vs. Food last night, there’s an app here for you.

TruxMap

With food trucks being such a popular trend, it’s only right to include a smartphone app that caters to it. This application includes a real time gourmet food truck map for many major cities in the United States, including New York, Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, Las Vegas and more. Once you download the app, you will first select a city. From there, you will be taken to a map that will show you where food trucks are open at that moment as well as locations that food trucks will be opening soon. Menus, food photos, directions, and the chance to submit your own reviews are other features of this app.

Available on iPhone and Android. Free.
epicurious restaurant finder smartphone app for foodiesEpicurious

Food lovers will enjoy using this app to search, browse, save, and e-mail over 30,000 recipes in their database as well as create shopping lists. Search for ingredients and browse through categories, such as healthy lunches or party snacks, to find exactly what you’re looking for.

Available on iPhone and Android. Free.

Zagat

Zagat is a well-known, trusted source in the world of restaurant recommendations, and their smartphone app brings this and more. While users will be able to browse over 30,000 restaurants to read reviews and ratings, there are other features to this app, as well. GPS allows for the ability to find nearby eateries, while their visual menus give people the chance to actually see photos of what they will be eating. Top Rated Lists, such as Best Burgers and Most Romantic, and the chance to write your own reviews are also available on this app.

Available on iPhone, Android, and Blackberry. $9.99 annually.

OpenTable

This is a great app for those who want to be able to find specific restaurants in their location but don’t want to pay a yearly fee for a smartphone app. OpenTable allows users to search restaurants by name or category, make reservations, view restaurant menus, get directions, and view interactive maps. You can even earn dining points that can be used to earn Dining Cheques for when eating at OpenTable restaurants.

Available on iPhone, Android, and Blackberry. Free.

cor.kz wine smartphone app for foodies Cor.kz

Wine connoisseurs will love this app, which gives users instant access to information on over 1,000,000 bottles of wine. All you have to do is type in the name of a bottle of wine or scan its barcode and the app will supply you with over 2,000,000 ratings and notes on the blend from wine experts. Other features include browsing by region or varietals, seeing Cor.kz staff wine picks, learning popular glossary terms on wine, and a “Daily Sip” magazine column.

Available on iPhone. $2.99.

Beer Hero

Brew lovers out there now have a smartphone app that caters specifically to what they love best, beer! This app not only allows users to read rankings of over 1,000 microbrews across the United States and find local brewpubs, it also helps you pair which food will go best with your beer of choice, and will tell you where nearby you can enjoy this perfect combination.

Available on iPhone ($1.99) and Android ($2.99).

Seafood Watch

This smartphone app was designed by the Montery Bay Aquarium in Montery, California, in order to help users find “up-to-date recommendations for ocean-friendly seafood and sushi”. Read reviews and ratings from others as well as post your own. Other features of this eco-friendly app include information on how different menu items should be fished or farmed, health guides, and GPS integration to allow for pertinent regional guides for users.

Available on iPhone and Android. Free.

tv food maps smartphone app for foodiesTVFoodMaps

The Travel Channel and Food Network come to together in this app to help users find the restaurants and eateries they see on their favorite TV shows, such as Man vs. Food, Best Thing I Ever Ate, Drive-Ins and Dives, and more. Find restaurants nearby, read reviews, get directions, and, when available, watch TV clips from the restaurant on YouTube.

Available on iPhone and Android. Free.

Tipping Bird

It can often be confusing knowing when to tip and how much when traveling. This app takes care of that for you by allowing users to choose the region they are in and get recommendations from the app on what the tipping etiquette is for different situations, including restaurants, bars, hotels, taxis, and travel tours. This app will also convert your home currency to the currency of your destination and calculate the tip for you. No thinking involved.

Available on Android. Free.

MyFitnessPal

For those who love food, this smartphone app makes it easy to indulge without going overboard. The app has a database of over 1,185,000 foods and restaurants to search nutrition facts, and allows you to log what you’ve eaten as well as your exercise for the day.

Available on iPhone, Android, and Blackberry. Free.

Smartphones now make it possible for airport travelers to have food delivered to their departure gate

B4 YOU BOARD smartphone app allows airport travelers to have food delivered to their departure gateA smartphone app that is available on both iPhone and Android phones now makes it possible for travelers using the Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport to order food and have it delivered to their departure gate, says Martin Moylan of Minnesota Public Radio. Participating restaurants at the airport include French Meadow Bakery & Cafe, Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery, and Chili’s Too.

This service is available from 7AM to 8PM daily, with a promise of the food arriving 20 minutes after orders are placed. If the delivery is late or a flight leaves early customers will receive a full refund. JFK International Airport is also participating in the program, with the Chicago O’Hare Airport to jump on board this month.

To take advantage of this service, smartphone users should download the B4 YOU BOARD app, which is free.