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Best. Foodie Vacation. Ever.


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What are the best destinations for a culinary vacation? Let's say you have a week, a decent budget and a healthy appetite -- where would you go? Where have you been?

I'm not looking for a specific restaurant in one city (i.e. Per se in New York), but rather a destination that offers an array of choices, a place that would have something like Michelin three-stars as well as eclectic, quality street food. I'm looking for a better way to spend Thanksgiving this year than with Mom's variations on Butterball.

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What are the best destinations for a culinary vacation?  Let's say you have a week, a decent budget and a healthy appetite -- where would you go?  Where have you been?

I'm not looking for a specific restaurant in one city (i.e. Per se in New York), but rather a destination that offers an array of choices, a place that would have something like Michelin three-stars as well as eclectic, quality street food.   I'm looking for a better way to spend Thanksgiving this year than with Mom's variations on Butterball.

Easy choice for me. I'd circumnavigate Spain/Portugal. Fly in and out of Madrid (a food city that shouldn't be missed). Then pick any point on the clock and go around. Barcelona/Adria/Andalucia/Sherry/Lisbon/Oporto/Port/Galicia/Seafood/ Asturias/Cider/Basque Country/San Sebastian/Pyrenees/Cheeses and tapas and vino/vinho all over the place.

Of course, with only a week, that's too ambitious. But rather than picking what to leave our, do two weeks instead. :lol:

Edited by CrescentFresh
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Depends on how far you want to go. If you're looking to get out of the country, I'd say London - there you've got everything from the street markets, to the corner chippie or curry house, to dim sum, to Harrods' or Selfridges' food halls, to the Gordon Ramsay juggernaut, and variations on all of the above. You could hit a pretty good cross section in a week. Plus, there are lots of things to do when you're not eating. :lol:

Closer to home, New York's a good option whether you go to Per Se or not - you don't have to do fine dining to eat really, really well.

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Fly into Milan, take the Eurostar to Bologna and eat. Then to Florence and eat. Then to Rome to eat some more. After all of that, fly to Palermo for a milza (veal spleen sandwich). Then fly back to Milan to fly home, and not eat for a week.

Other than flying to Palermo, that will be my first week in October.

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Domestically I would put Seattle forward as an interesting and varied foodie destination.

Of course, after minibar last weekend, and the upcoming Eve blowout on Thursday, not to mention recent visits to Firefly, Palena, Dino, and Ray's the Steaks, I find DC itself a varied, impressive, virtually inexhaustible dining destination.

Jael

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although we have not been there for about five years, i would go to paris. you can find some amazing things even just sticking to some of the best bistros, i.e., i will never forget a dish containing every part of the pig -- the ultimate porcine experience. i can't think of another city where food is taken more seriously. this is the birthplace, after all, isn't it? and there are no better streets for walking off your meals.

in this country, taking into consideration the destination itself, i would choose san francisco hands down.

Edited by giant shrimp
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Fly into Nice, enjoy brillant streetfood while jet-lagged and then pop into something with Michelin stars -- there are 5 two-stars within 15 kilometers, and the 3-star Le Louis XV is only about 25 minutes away by cheap, reliable inter-city rail. Then, preferably while in the middle of a pastis degustation at an outdoor cafe, flip a coin: Northern Italy (just around the corner) or Catalonia.

And then report back -- this is similar to a trip I hope to be taking next year and your roll as advance man is important. :P .

Note also that Also the Med will more likely provide good weather for strolls and touring and cafe-hopping and all the things you need to work the appetite back up, while Paris and Seattle are fogged in. (I went to San Francisco once in July, it was already -- or perhaps still -- fogged in, so November won't be much different). :lol:

Edited by Waitman
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My list would have to include the following (in no particular order):

1) New York - obviously

2) San Francisco and the surrounding area - was just there in August and had some of the best food I've had in a long time. The place spans the range from James Beard winner Judy Rodgers' Zuni Cafe and the award winning Gary Danko to great hole-in-the-wall restaurants in Chinatown to tasty chilaquiles from a stand at the farmers market at the Embarcadero. Not far away are of course the legendary French Laundry in Yountville and Chez Panisse in Berkeley.

3) Tokyo - aside from the obvious Japanese cuisine (sushi, teppanyaki, shabu-shabu, yakitori, tempura, etc.), Tokyo has wonderful Korean and Chinese restaurants as well as great Indian and French places. Hung over? Head down to the fish market to one of the ramen noodle stands for a comforting breakfast! Get out of town for a day and visit a ryokan for one of the most unusual and beautiful meals you'll ever have (see my post in the Japan section of this forum).

4) Sydney - wonderful seafood and a chance to try kangaroo, crocodile, wombat, as well as outstanding Japanese and Vietnamese restaurants.

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Fly into Milan, take the Eurostar to Bologna and eat.  Then to Florence and eat.  Then to Rome to eat some more.  After all of that, fly to Palermo for a milza (veal spleen sandwich).  Then fly back to Milan to fly home, and not eat for a week.

Other than flying to Palermo, that will be my first week in October.

Italy would get my vote as well. Actually, isn't November close to white truffle season in Northern Italy? Maybe you fly into Milan or Turin and spend a few days engorging on "tartufi bianchi" and barolo / barbaresco. Then a few days in Florence/Tuscany eating whatever is fresh and washing it down with chianti, vino nobile and brunello. Finish up with a day or two in Rome before flying home. It goes without saying that each day you would sample at least 2 new flavors of gelato... If you have 2 weeks, head to the amalfi coast (south of naples) for a feast of seafood, real mozzarella di bufala, limoncello, and local wines.

Man, do I want to go back!

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Italy would get my vote as well.  Actually, isn't November close to white truffle season in Northern Italy?  Maybe you fly into Milan or Turin and spend a few days engorging on "tartufi bianchi" and barolo / barbaresco.  Then a few days in Florence/Tuscany eating whatever is fresh and washing it down with chianti, vino nobile and brunello.  Finish up with a day or two in Rome before flying home.  It goes without saying that each day you would sample at least 2 new flavors of gelato...  If you have 2 weeks, head to the amalfi coast (south of naples) for a feast of seafood, real mozzarella di bufala, limoncello, and local wines.

Man, do I want to go back!

Italy would also get my vote too. I will add that if you have been to the major tourist cities before, head to Southern Italy (the area East and South of Rome). It does help to have some language skills as I have found English to be very infrequently spoken.

Sicily would also be a great place to visit as there is an incredible mix of culture that you can experience in both food and history.

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Spain - fly into Barcelona, work your way up to San Sebastian, along the coast to Bilbao and fly out of Madrid

with a route like that you'll be able to eat at as many 2 and 3 star restaurants (is El Bulli 4?) as your wallet will allow, snack during the day at Tapas places, and if you have any room left try chocolate con churros!!!

Italys not bad either but based on trips to both countries Spain shades it for me

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if you have any room left try chocolate con churros!!!

Chocloate con churros may just put Spain into first place.

Thanks for all of the ideas, and keep 'em coming. There's a good chance I'll be living in Europe next year, so I'll hopefully make my way to most of the European destinations.

Napa is a strong contender for this year, though -- but is it possible to get reservations at the French Laundry? They take them two months in advance, but I worry they book up the first few minutes their reservation line is open. Anyone had luck getting a table there?

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Napa is a strong contender for this year, though -- but is it possible to get reservations at the French Laundry?  They take them two months in advance, but I worry they book up the first few minutes their reservation line is open. Anyone had luck getting a table there?

At one time, it was possible to wait in line each morning at the FL to get a reservation two months from that day. We were able to get into FL the first time because the concierge at our hotel (the Vintage Inn) did that for us (very nice tip for her!). Unfortunately I don't think that FL takes walk-in reservations anymore. That being said, here are two alternatives:

Book a table for 8 or more up to one year in advance. They also take walk-ins the same day if you show up with 8 people. Somehow they always manage to find room for such a large group without a reservation. Thomas Keller himself suggested that option when he was here in DC on the Bouchon cookbook tour.

Another option is to get on the waiting list as far in advance as possible, for each day that you'll be in Napa. Make actual reservations at other restaurants just in case, but while in Napa, call FL in the early afternoon to see if they had any cancellations for that night. Our second trip to FL happened using this method. We were on the waiting list each of the 4 nights we were there and phoned once each day around 1pm to check. On the 4th day, they called back with an opening for that evening. Made that early flight the next morning from Oakland a bit difficult, but it was definitely worthwhile.

Other awesome restaurants in Napa --

St. Helena: Must go to Martini House! Rustic interior with an open kitchen in back. BIG food so be very hungry. The chef LOVES mushrooms and even offers a complete mushroom tasting menu. The cream of mushroom soup is fabulous. Great wine bar downstairs that also serves many of the same menu items. http://www.martinihouse.com/

Terra, also in St. Helena, is another excellent place. Very fresh ingredients with an emphasis on fish. http://www.terrarestaurant.com/

Calistoga: roadside barbeque joint -- I have no idea what the name is -- noted for tri-tip and pork with a sauce so hot that the employees there won't even try it! Lots of habaneros-- I recommend ordering a milkshake with that one. They do offer another less-painful sauce too.

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Napa is a strong contender for this year, though -- but is it possible to get reservations at the French Laundry?  They take them two months in advance, but I worry they book up the first few minutes their reservation line is open. Anyone had luck getting a table there?

Just start calling at 1pm Eastern two months out to the calendar date and be prepared to hit redial. I called on my desk phone and cell phone and my wife did too. I finally got through at 1:30 and was told I got the last two-person table for the night.

It sounds like a pain in the ass, but it was actually kinda fun and it is worth the effort.

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Napa is a strong contender for this year, though -- but is it possible to get reservations at the French Laundry?  They take them two months in advance, but I worry they book up the first few minutes their reservation line is open. Anyone had luck getting a table there?

I forgot to mention that I was also able to snag the only table that the French Laundry offers via opentable.com for lunch by trying very early one morning (about 3am)
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1.San Sebastian, Barcelona and Tarragona.

2.Rubano (Le Calandre), Venice (Alle Testiere, da Fiore), Senigallia (Uliassi, La Madonnina del Pescatore); alternatively Florence (Sostanza, Cibreo) and down along the coast (Gambero Rosso) into Rome (La Pergola).

3.Schwarzwald region of Germany (Schwarzwaldstube ((three Michelin stars and the best restaurant in Germany easily as good as Paris' best)), Bareiss); this is one of the most beautiful places on earth virtually undiscovered by Americans. You cannot believe how good Black Forest cake-really alcoholic Black Forest cake, made in house-tastes when eaten in a thousand year old mountain cafe, five thousand feet above sea level. With wood beamed ceilings and an open fire nearby. And no one that speaks English!!!

For all of the discussion on this board about the difficulty of reservations at the French Laundry and El Bulli, the most difficult of all are at Schwarzwaldstube where they accept reservations one year to the minute to the day. They book up within several hours of beginning to accept them and rarely, if ever, have a cancellation. I would argue that this is the most beautiful dining room on earth with absolutely ethereal cuisine. This is their website:

http://www.traube-tonbach.de/traube_1024/t...l/home/home.htm

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This may be slightly off thread, because it doesn't exactly fit your specific vacation criteria, but it does fit the thread title. But, Don, you may want to move this.

The Mrs. and I have been to Buenos Aires twice in the last 11 months and we're really thinking of going again in Nov/Dec. Except for, perhaps, some SE Asian destinations, it's foodie paradise for those on a budget. Big, cosmopolitan city that reminds us so much of NYC circa 1978. But due to the Argentine currency crisis of 2002, it's so cheap for you to use your dollars. The exchange rate is just incredible and portenos (BA residents) are thrilled and proud to show off their beautiful city to Americans and other travelers.

The variety of restaurants you encounter is a foodie gold mine, albeit weak on Asian/sushi/etc. Everything from street food, to pizza joints, mom and pop pasta places (big Italian immigrant population in BA) to some of the hippest, funkiest restaurants I've ever eaten in. Not to mention the incredible steakhouses/parrillas.

At one of the delicious steak joints, a four course dinner for two with a bottle or two of Argentine wine and a liqueur with your dessert probably runs about $30 - $40 including tip and your cab ride across town to get to the restaurant. The steak is as big as a small child and cooked perfectly. At those hip, funky and more expensive places in the city (think Komi, but not as "sparse"), it probably tops out at $70. Yes, that's four courses, plus two bottles of wine, plus digestifs and dessert for $70 at the hottest joints in town. And frequently they'll give you a few glasses of limoncello while you wait for the cab they called for you to take you back home. Those mom and pop joints? Expect a great meal with wine for probably about $10/person. Less for lunch.

Some of the chefs in BA would definitely be hot properties in DC. Formal, European-style service in street cafes and restaurants is much more common in BA. The nightlife is thrilling and everybody is smokin' good-looking. So, if you're wishing you could live like a restaurant king for a while, but just can't afford to do it 'round these parts. Trust me. Buenos Aires is your vacation getaway.

Edited by CrescentFresh
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This may be slightly off thread, because it doesn't exactly fit your specific vacation criteria, but it does fit the thread title.  But, Don, you may want to move this.

The Mrs. and I have been to Buenos Aires twice in the last 11 months and we're really thinking of going again in Nov/Dec.  Except for, perhaps, some SE Asian destinations, it's foodie paradise for those on a budget.  Big, cosmopolitan city that reminds us so much of NYC circa 1978.  But due to the Argentine currency crisis of 2002, it's so cheap for you to use your dollars.  The exchange rate is just incredible and portenos (BA residents) are thrilled and proud to show off their beautiful city to Americans and other travelers.

The variety of restaurants you encounter is a foodie gold mine, albeit weak on Asian/sushi/etc.  Everything from street food, to pizza joints, mom and pop pasta places (big Italian immigrant population in BA) to some of the hippest, funkiest restaurants I've ever eaten in.  Not to mention the incredible steakhouses/parrillas.

At one of the delicious steak joints, a four course dinner for two with a bottle or two of Argentine wine and a liqueur with your dessert probably runs about $30 - $40 including tip and your cab ride across town to get to the restaurant.  The steak is as big as a small child and cooked perfectly.  At those hip, funky and more expensive places in the city (think Komi, but not as "sparse"), it probably tops out at $70.  Yes, that's four courses, plus two bottles of wine, plus digestifs and dessert for $70 at the hottest joints in town.  And frequently they'll give you a few glasses of limoncello while you wait for the cab they called for you to  take you back home.  Those mom and pop joints?  Expect a great meal with wine for probably about $10/person.  Less for lunch.

Some of the chefs in BA would definitely be hot properties in DC.  Formal, European-style service in street cafes and restaurants is much more common in BA.  The nightlife is thrilling and everybody is smokin' good-looking.  So, if you're wishing you could live like a restaurant king for a while, but just can't afford to do it 'round these parts.  Trust me.  Buenos Aires is your vacation getaway.

Argentina has a huge Italian population: there is great Italian AND great pizza there!

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Well, I'm sure you'll be happy to know that we've decided to forgo all the great ideas here and head to Mexico.  Why?  We're under a tight schedule and a tighter budget than originially planned, so Spain, France, Napa, and, sadly, Buenos Aires (airfare is a doozy to this place) will have to wait for now.

We'll be there for Day of the Dead, so I'm sure there will be plenty of street food options available.  But what about restaurants?  Anywhere that can't be missed or should stay away from?  Any dishes or drinks that we must try?  We will be curious, hungry, and thirsty in Mexico (based in the capital) for about a week, so any ideas and advice y'all have would be greatly appreciated.

I presume you're talking about Mexico City?

Shame you'll miss out on Buenos Aires. Such a fantastic city. I've seen some great air and hotel packages. Something like $800 for a week for air and hotel.

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Well, I'm sure you'll be happy to know that we've decided to forgo all the great ideas here and head to Mexico.  Why?  We're under a tight schedule and a tighter budget than originially planned, so Spain, France, Napa, and, sadly, Buenos Aires (airfare is a doozy to this place) will have to wait for now.

We'll be there for Day of the Dead, so I'm sure there will be plenty of street food options available.  But what about restaurants?  Anywhere that can't be missed or should stay away from?  Any dishes or drinks that we must try?  We will be curious, hungry, and thirsty in Mexico (based in the capital) for about a week, so any ideas and advice y'all have would be greatly appreciated.

i don't know your itinerary, but you shouldn't drink the water, including ice, and you need to be careful about the street food unless you have built up an immunity to it. the street food in mexico looks great, but it is probably not a good idea to eat it unless you are familiar with the precautions to take, which i'm not. good hotels with tourists most likely will have gringo-safe kitchens. we found some pretty good restaurants in mexico city when we were there a couple of years ago, but they didn't fall into the not to be missed category, except for an offshoot from spain in the zona rosa -- restaurante tezka in the royal hotel). the city's san angel inn is a worthwhile destination as well, the food scene in the markets is pretty wild (at xochimilco, but we just looked at it. a lot of free samples, meats, etc., and on the canals, corn on the cob and beer in festive situations (and wild birds in cages).

fonda el refugio, also in the zona rosa, is worth seeking out. we found some reliable restaurant recommendations in the new york times, maybe from mark bittman, i forget, and i might be able to find them. i would make sure to see the museum of archeology and the pyramids, among other sites. mexico city is a great experience, and if it didn't seem to us to be a great food city for visitors, the mexican food there is still far better than anything you will find around here.

of course, don't know what's changed since we were there.

Edited by giant shrimp
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I wanna go to Vancouver, by golly!  That looks goooood.

Edible Vancouver recently changed its name to Edible British Columbia. They did a really terrific job for us--planned everything including hotel/b&b accomodations, restaurant (including chef's table) reservations, rental car, and ferry reservations. And they provided us with a customized itinerary, including a private tour of Richmond--a huge Chinese community outside of Vancouver--with a local food writer.

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We'll be there for Day of the Dead, so I'm sure there will be plenty of street food options available.  But what about restaurants?  Anywhere that can't be missed or should stay away from?  Any dishes or drinks that we must try?  We will be curious, hungry, and thirsty in Mexico City (and its surrounding environs) for about a week, so any ideas and advice y'all have would be greatly appreciated.

Not sure how long you'll be staying, but if you have time, a jaunt down to Oaxaca is highly recommended from a food perspective.

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Not sure how long you'll be staying, but if you have time, a jaunt down to Oaxaca is highly recommended from a food perspective.

We will be going to Mexico in January, splitting our time between Mexico City and Oaxaca City...any and all tips would be appreciated.
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VANCOUVER VANCOUVER VANCOUVER VANCOUVER.... (mesmerized yet?)

Here's some highlights from our honeymoon itinerary organized by Edible British Columbia.

**At 10:30 am, Stephanie Yuen, a noted food writer and personality in

Vancouver will pick you up at your hotel and take you out

to Richmond for a walking and driving tour of the area

with its rich Asian culture. The tour will include stops at

Yohan Center as well as a Dim Sum lunch at one of Richmond’s best

restaurants.

**This evening a special dinner is being prepared for you by Chef David

Hawksworth at West (http://www.westrestaurant.com/westrestaurant/).

David will prepare a multi-course menu focusing on regional BC products

match with BC and Pacific Northwest wines while seating you at the chef’s

table so you can keep an eye on what is going on in the kitchen.

**Dinner this evening is at the world renowned Sooke Harbour House

(http://www.sookeharbourhouse.com/) where you will be treated to a multi

course menu that provides an example of the bounty of foods produced in

the region. Each course will be paired with a fabulous wine from B.C.

Dinner can last between 4 to 5 hours – so enjoy the gardens while taking a

walk in between courses. Chef Edward Tuscon is expecting you and will be

sure to please!

**Today you will drive out of Sooke, back through Victoria and then

north up towards the Cowichan Valley – home of the islands

many vineyards. Feel free to stop at any of the wineries or

artisan producers that catch your eye, but I would suggest

stops at Merridale Cider (www.merridalecider.com), Cherry

Point Vineyards (try the blackberry port)

(www.cherrypointvineyards.com) and Venturi Schulz

(www.venturischulze.com) (who will be expecting you). They

are one of the leading producers of exceptional wine on the

island and they produce a fabulous Balsamic Vinegar! With

each stop you will be making your way towards Tofino.

**Dinner this evening is at The Pointe Restaurant at the Wickaninnish Inn (www.wickinn.com). Your table will overlook the crashing waves on the rocks below as regional cuisine will again tempt all of your taste buds. A short walk back to your condominium at the end of dinner will cap off the perfect evening as you listen to the surf crash on the beach.

**Once you are at your hotel, check in and decide what you feel

like for dinner. I would suggest you attend the Richmond

Night Market (www.targetevent.com) where you can dine at

street vendors and feel like you are in Hong Kong! Just a hint

– during the last 30 minutes of the market all the food stuffs go

for half price so don’t stuff yourself in the beginning!

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GO TO PERU!!!!

The airfare is expensive, but beyond that, the food is unbelievable and as yet, quite accessible. Forget overpriced Paris bistros. Eat in anyone's home or streetcorner and you will be stunned. And pleased that you took the path less traveled rather than the delicious-yet predictable and tourist-filled enclaves that everyone else is raving about. You, your tastebuds, and you pocket will not be sorry.

(From a decidedly biased, yet also experienced and well-informed source)

p.s. During a six-month stay in Madrid, i took my friends to a Peruvian restaurant, and they said it was the best food they had the entire time. See for yourself!

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I would love any recommendations to help make my honeymoon a relaxing, foodie vacation. I've got until next June to plan it, and we are trying to avoid Europe and are currently thinking of Belize or Costa Rica, but would welcome any other suggestions. Thanks!

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I would love any recommendations to help make my honeymoon a relaxing, foodie vacation. I've got until next June to plan it, and we are trying to avoid Europe and are currently thinking of Belize or Costa Rica, but would welcome any other suggestions. Thanks!

I have heard nothing but great things about Argentina, but you better enjoy beef. :)

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I would love any recommendations to help make my honeymoon a relaxing, foodie vacation. I've got until next June to plan it, and we are trying to avoid Europe and are currently thinking of Belize or Costa Rica, but would welcome any other suggestions. Thanks!
Taipei, Taiwan for real Chinese food (any of the restaurants along PaDeLu (Romanji pronunciation). Bangkok (any restaurant) for great food (be adventurous), Seoul to the shopping district for the best street food you've ever eaten.
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I would love any recommendations to help make my honeymoon a relaxing, foodie vacation. I've got until next June to plan it, and we are trying to avoid Europe and are currently thinking of Belize or Costa Rica, but would welcome any other suggestions. Thanks!

Costa Rica isn't really a foodie destination -- it's a fantastic place to visit and ranks up there as one of my favorite vacations (the relaxation, amazing natural beauty, and kind people make it impossible to have anything but an excellent time), but don't go for the food.

Some non-European options: Shanghai/Suzhou/Hangzhou is a great China itinerary; and I'm also partial to Tokyo/Kyoto/some great small towns along the way as well.

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Costa Rica isn't really a foodie destination -- it's a fantastic place to visit and ranks up there as one of my favorite vacations (the relaxation, amazing natural beauty, and kind people make it impossible to have anything but an excellent time), but don't go for the food.

Some non-European options: Shanghai/Suzhou/Hangzhou is a great China itinerary; and I'm also partial to Tokyo/Kyoto/some great small towns along the way as well.

Having just returned from Tokyo/Kyoto/small-towns-in-between I would strongly second that. The plane fare alone was worth the two meals I had at Sushi Dai in Tsukiji.

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GO TO PERU!!!!
I adored absolutely everything about Peru, including the food, but I'd recommend being careful around street food or raw vegetables. Picked up something terribly unpleasant. That said, the food in both Lima and Cuzco was really fantastic. Pollo a la brasa, cabrito, ceviche, yuca, it's all fab. Just don't eat the salad. Seriously.

Like Mariana said, the expensive part is getting there (we paid $650/person last summer.) Hotels, restaurants, etc., were all very affordable compared to Europe. And it's an utterly gorgeous country with a very nice central airport.

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I would love any recommendations to help make my honeymoon a relaxing, foodie vacation. I've got until next June to plan it, and we are trying to avoid Europe and are currently thinking of Belize or Costa Rica, but would welcome any other suggestions. Thanks!
We went to Costa Rica for our honeymoon, and I would agree that it's not a foodie vacation, though very relaxing. We had a great time and would love to go back. The food wasn't bad, just not alot of variety and limited options for places to eat depending on where you're staying (how rural) and if you'll have a car. We ate a lot of our meals at our hotels. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions about where we went in Costa Rica.
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I would love any recommendations to help make my honeymoon a relaxing, foodie vacation. I've got until next June to plan it, and we are trying to avoid Europe and are currently thinking of Belize or Costa Rica, but would welcome any other suggestions. Thanks!
I think I'm the only one who's posted about Belize and it probably is similar to Costa Rica as far as "foodie"-ness. We did enjoy some really nice meals with simply prepared, locally available ingredients. The food was far better at the local places than at the resorts. We also really enjoyed the people, the scenery, and the variety of activities. Granted, the area where we stayed was fairly quiet and not as touristy as some other parts of the country (like Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker) so the food options might be very different in those busier areas. If you're a diver, Belize is a great place for that, and even if you're not, the snorkeling is great too.
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Having just returned from Tokyo/Kyoto/small-towns-in-between I would strongly second that. The plane fare alone was worth the two meals I had at Sushi Dai in Tsukiji.

So true. That's the best sushi I've ever had. Every time I go to Japan, I save a morning for Tsukiji.

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I loved, loved Buenos Aires - get up late, have a media-luna and a cafe con leche, do some people-watching, stop off at a sidewalk cafe for lunch and a glass of wine, go to a museum, then sit down to an enormous dinner that rivals the food anywhere, with two bottles of wine, all at a small fraction of what it would cost in DC or NYC (I don't think we ever managed to spend more than $40 on dinner). Repeat the next day. The city is extremely cosmopolitan and friendly to tourists. Great sightseeing and shopping as well. Six months later, and we're trying to go back as soon as possible. (Of course the national specialty is steak, but as a pescatarian, I ate extremely well too.) We went last December, which was perfect, weather-wise.

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Fly into Milan, take the Eurostar to Bologna and eat. Then to Florence and eat. Then to Rome to eat some more. After all of that, fly to Palermo for a milza (veal spleen sandwich). Then fly back to Milan to fly home, and not eat for a week.

Other than flying to Palermo, that will be my first week in October.

Sounds like a great idea. Italy is where I'd go for sure. I'd try to hit some of the agritourismo farms in Emiglia Romagna, too, and maybe Montalcino for some Ribollita. Damn, I need to get back there again.
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