Global Grub: Pickles

japanese pickled plums, or umeboshi
Image: mofoods.

What's a pickle to a traveler? Is it merely a snack, or an accompaniment to a great meal? Pickles are, in fact, much more than that. From vinegary pickles to preserved lemons, they are the oldest method of preserving food, a showcase for local food culture, and they reflect what's abundant and loved in an area. They also play the perfect companion to meals of all sorts, calming spicy curries, adding a crisp bite to a sandwich, or acting as a palette cleanser between bites. To help you find your perfect pickle when you're on the road, we're going to take you on a quick world tour of pickles, to help you know how to find a pickled treat no matter where you are.

Festivals of the Season: Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival in Louisiana

crawfish from the breaux bridge crawfish festival

Forget Mardi Gras, May is the prime time of year for visiting Louisiana. The weather is heating up, snoball stands are open, farmers markets are in full swing, and crawfish are at their peak. With crawfish season, comes the mother of all crawfish festivals, the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. Held the first weekend every May, it's a three-day celebration of crawfish, cajun food, and culture. On our vist, we throughly enjoyed feasting on a variety of cajun cuisine, as well as taking in the spectacle set to the soundtrack of zydeco music and want to share why it's well worth planning a trip.

Tasting Journey: Revolver Brewing


I often come across passionate, enthusiastic characters in my travels. More often than not they have something to do food and drinks. I love learning about their passion for what they create and I love sharing my finds with you, so you can visit too.

Revolver Brewing is a newcomer to the craft beer scene in Texas with their grand opening in Granbury, Texas, in October 2012. World class beers for a Texas palate are created by Grant Wood, a former brewer for the Boston Beer Company. Wood found his way back to Texas, alongside owner Rhett Keisler, to get back to their roots and create craft beer for a Texas audience. The beers they craft are light-bodied, full of flavor, and the brewery, well-worth a visit the next time you're in the Dallas area. They've got big plans and I suspect they'll be making interesting beers for many years to come.

Tasting Journey: Barking Rocks Winery


I often come across passionate, enthusiastic characters in my travels. More often than not they have something to do food and drinks. I love learning about their passion for what they create and I love sharing my finds with you, so you can visit too.

At Barking Rocks Winery in Granbury, Texas, each grape crushing reveals a different path. The winemaker, Tiberia, is not interested in recreating the same bottle of wine again and again, but instead lets the grapes lead him through each barrelling. The journey of Barking Rocks Winery began ten years ago with an early retirement and a career change that led Tiberia to reinvent himself, dropping his first name and returning to his Italian heritage through winemaking. For the past decade, he and his wife Sissy have been sticking to their motto “making wine, friends and events happen.”

Tasting Texas: Classic Tastes and New Traditions in Granbury, Texas


Texas is big. (Dinner plate cinnamon roll big.) It’s a whole other world with regions and cultural divisions that I can’t even begin to cover or, as a foreigner, ever understand. As outsiders, we cling to our stereotypes of Texas in an effort to make sense of it all. Television, the media, and George W. Bush have helped us, for better or worse, attempt to understand the subtleties of what it means to be Texan. But, let’s push those preconceived notions of Texas out of our mind, for the moment, and take a look at another representation of Texas, its cuisine.

Tasting the Dominican Republic: What to Expect from Dominican Food


Thinking about heading to the Dominican Republic, but concerned about finding good, local food? Rightfully so. There are a lot of all-inclusive resorts and a tourism market that seems more concerned with pleasing a wide audience rather than teaching you about local flavors. When there’s Maine lobster and clam chowder on the menu, you’re right to be suspicious.

I’m by no means an expert, but on a media trip earlier this year, I saw both sides. The buffet and the tourist restaurant, a local favorite and the farmers market. I watched, I observed, and when faced with it, I ate the strangest foods on the buffet. I hope that my virtual smorgasbord that follows will help guide you and your palate through the Dominican Republic and far, far away from the dreaded buffet.

Tasting... the Oregon Coast

oregon coast food

The Oregon Coast, just a few hours drive from Portland, Oregon, may be well known for its 300 miles of public beaches, haystack rocks made popular in the film The Goonies, or for its many lighthouse photo ops. But that's not all that there is to enjoy in this scenic corner of the Pacific Northwest; the food alone is worth the trip. Fresh seafood, locally made cheeses and beers, and seaside restaurants that serve up stellar views alongside their locally-sourced cuisine.  Whether you're planning a trip to the Oregon Coast or just looking for a bit of travel inspiration, a sampling of our favorite bites from last summer will be sure to whet your appetite.

Six Reasons To Go To Los Angeles And Eat

bins of oranges for sale at the Burbank, California farmers market

Los Angeles, California. Home to Hollywood, swimmin' pools, and movie stars. But behind the glitz and glamour, lies a city bursting at the seams with good food (enough even to forgive it for unleashing California Pizza Kitchen on the world.) The huge amount and variety of fresh, local produce available, the sheer number of different ethnic cuisines, and the rising class of new chefs all mean that Los Angeles is a food lover's paradise. If you love to hit up your local farmer's market, try out all the latest food trucks, and track down the newest craft brewers while you're at home, then a visit to the city of Angels is just what you need for your next trip.

Tasting Oahu: Satisfying Your Sweet Tooth


You don't have to look very hard to satisfy your sweet tooth on Oahu, but the array of choices may overwhelm you. Never fear, I've done some of the sampling for you and present to you my incomplete list of some of my favorite sweet treats from around the island. The shave ice, smoothies and favorite baked treats that follow may induce hunger pains and an unexplained need for a plane ticket to Honolulu. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Weekend Escapes: Maryhill Winery and the Columbia River Gorge

columbia river gorge view

We recently spent a crisp, fall weekend in the Columbia River Gorge, which lies on the border between Washington and Oregon. As we took in the stunning views, tasting wine and peeking behind the scenes of Maryhill Winery, we quickly realized that a winery might just be the perfect activity to discover the essence of a place. Wine, after all, is more than just crushed grapes. It is the warm sun that ripens, the earth that influences its flavors, and the many hands of the people who harvest and tinker with the grapes until it reaches the final product, a bottle of wine. And while you're at its source, you might as well take a taste. And taste we did, and as we discovered which wines suited us, we also discovered the place from which they came.