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Robert et Louise, Paris

Filed under Food Culture, France, general
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I like traveling late in the year. Cold weather opens the door for a lot of culinary experiences that just don’t quite settle right during the summer. I’ve been to France four times in three different seasons, and while we ate amazingly well in Provence in the summer the heavy meals had to wait until late evening when we were out of the heat of mid-day. On our last trip to Paris this past December was cool and rainy–just the right temperature for hearty, warming fare. In that spirit, we made stopping at Robert et Louise for a steak a priority.

 
Steak dinner. Photo by deannanmc

Steak dinner. Photo by deannanmc

 

Robert et Louise has gotten some popular notice thanks to Anthony Bourdain featuring the restaurant on “No Reservations.” Unlike a lot of places showcased by the Travel Channel elite, it didn’t feel overrun with English-speaking tourists (though the proprietors had no trouble understanding us, nor we them). The large open wood-fired stove at the back of the upstairs room sizzled with delicious cuts of meat and gave off a rosy warmth. Read More »

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Dining in Dusseldorf

Filed under Food Culture, general, Germany
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Just before Christmas, we were able to duck out of England for a long weekend in Dusseldorf, Germany. As a tourist destination, Dusseldorf doesn’t get a lot of notice next to Germany’s bigger names like Berlin or Munich. We chose it because it was a discount airline destination from our closest airport, and we’re glad we did. It was a cheerful and pleasant city–especially decorated for the Christmas markets–and we managed to slip away from the kids for an evening of proper German dining at Hausbrauerei Zum Schlüssel.

Drinks in Dusseldorf. Photo by deannanmc.

Drinks in Dusseldorf. Photo by deannanmc.

According to my husband, who has a bit of German heritage, mustard is the key to German food. Specifically, it’s beneficial to eat the rich breads and carbs with mustard as it helps speed digestion. This helps with that food-baby bulge that normally leaves you gasping for your belt buckle after a big meal. In that spirit, I started with the mustard cream soup. It was spicy and smooth, perfect for the house brew and the great slabs of brown bread that came with our meal.
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Best Tapas to Eat in Barcelona

Filed under Barcelona, Food Culture, Spain
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Whilst there are plenty of amazing and authentic tapas bars peppered throughout Barcelona in Spain, there are a few tourist trap-type restaurants which serve up a variation of this local delicacy which the locals wouldn’t even touch.

Pa amb tomàquet taken by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/jenniferwoodardmaderazo/">Jennifer Woodard Maderazo</a>

Pa amb tomàquet taken by Jennifer Woodard Maderazo

So you don’t ever have to suffer through a tasteless tapa, here is a selection of some of the best tapas restaurants in Barcelona and dishes which you absolutely have to try.

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Best Christmas Markets in Europe

Filed under Belgium, Berlin, Christmas, Family, Food Culture, Germany, shopping
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Every year in December, cold and dark cities and towns throughout Europe come to life and exude festive spirit with magical Christmas markets popping up all over the place. Decorated with a seemingly never-ending supply of twinkling lights, impressively grand trees and a magnificent collection of adornments, these Christmas markets are a must-visit.

Christmas Market in Tallinn, Estonia taken by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/picsoflife/">Ari Helminen</a>

Christmas Market in Tallinn, Estonia taken by Ari Helminen

From gourmet food and hand-woven garments to artisan gifts and seasonal flowers, the Christmas markets throughout Europe are some of the best places to snap up wonderful gifts for friends and family. In preparation of the ever-closer Christmas season, here’s our selection of the best Christmas markets in Europe.

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Sweet Tooth Traveler: Whitby, England

Filed under England, Food Culture, general
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Whitby, England is best known for its stunning sea-side views; gorgeous abbey ruins; and links to Braum Stoker’s Dracula. But let me tell you, don’t leave town without sampling the sweets. In particular, I never miss a chance to eat cake at Marie Antoinette’s Patisserie. These sky-high cakes and super fresh scones are worth the trip.  Last time I was there I got a slice of chocolate brownie cheesecake and a slice of banoffee. Delicious! The cafe is tiny, but charming. With only a few tables downstairs and a few more upstairs, it makes for an intimate tea-time setting.

Cakes at Marie Antoinette's

Cakes at Marie Antoinette’s

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Daytime Eats in Portland, ME

Filed under Food Culture, general, Maine
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Every time I go back to my home state of Maine for a visit, I try to rediscover Portland. This seaside city has an easily walked urban center that feels both homey and international. Better than that, though, are the abundant options for dining. It feels like every other doorway leads into a cute cafe, brasserie, bar, sandwich shop, or restaurant with a different spin on cuisine. Here’s where to go if you find  yourself with a day in this cheery port city.

Duckfat fries. Photo by deannanmc

Duckfat fries. Photo by deannanmc

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Maine Beer for Maine Lobster

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I’ve been enjoying a few glorious summer weeks in Maine. Perfect weather, good company, and all the sea breeze I could want. What I haven’t had yet is lobster, but that will be rectified (steamed, never grilled) shortly. But what to drink with my summertime seafood in Maine? Grab a growler jug and let’s see which of the local beers I tried will go best with fresh crustacean.

Freshly steamed. Photo by deannanmc

Freshly steamed. Photo by deannanmc

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Searching for the Best Ice Cream in the World

Filed under Food Culture, Travel Tips
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It is hot, damn hot, in North America and Europe at this time of year. In some places finding a way to cool off is not only a matter of comfort, but it’s life and death!  And if staying cool is life or death….then eat ice cream or die…right?

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Life’s too short to eat bad ice cream!

And eat good ice cream.  We’ve been drooling over memories of the most creamiest, coolest, smoothest icy treats from our travels around the world, here in the tripwolf office this summer.  So here you go – we just had to share our picks for the best ice cream in the world.

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The Beers of Aalborg, Denmark

Filed under Denmark, Food Culture, general
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When we first considered a cruise, we were taken in by the itinerary of the Baltic Sea and some of the famous cities of northern Europe: Stockholm, Finland, Copenhagen, Tallinn. The one we didn’t really know anything about was Aalborg, which is the third-biggest city in Denmark and probably better known (if you know it at all) for industrial/shipping trades. We were there just long enough to see some churches, wander around…and have a proper pint of some local Danish craft microbrews at Sogaards Bryghus.

Bryghus menu.

Bryghus menu.

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Sweet Eats in London, England

Filed under England, Food Culture, general, London
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Millions of tourists flock to London each year to see historical sights such as the British Museum, Tate Modern and the Tower of London. While those sights are great, to get a real feel for the city you need to eat your way through it. My favorite places were Harrods department store, Brick Lane Market and Camden Market. Each stop was very different from the last, but no less delicious. Start with an empty stomach and a full wallet.

Harrods is legendary for its size and opulence. With more than 300 departments and over a million square feet of retail space, you really can buy anything in this store. The food hall is not to be missed. Plenty of delicious savory foods were for sale, but I made a beeline for the sweets. There were cases full of freshly-made pastries, giant meringues, gorgeous petit fours, and oh-so-much chocolate! I splurged on two fresh macarons–a salted caramel and a melon. Though pricey for such small items (each one was £2.80), they were easily the best macarons I’ve had outside of Paris.

Harrods' Sweets

Harrods’ Sweets

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