It's our second edition of Gothamist's travel content, Gothamist Getaways. Four times a year, we'll have a week of posts featuring looks at travel, food, products and tips—near and far—for making your trips more enjoyable. So sit back, dream of your next journey and let us know if you have any hints for us—email firstname.lastname@example.org.
It was ferociously peddling up a steeply inclined road amid Switzerland’s Emmental region in search of cheese that I realized that I was, indeed, a “foodie.” Culinary discoveries are unique to the destination: stumbling across Smorgasburg, the now-beloved Brooklyn food flea market; finding respite at a restaurant with rooms in the Cotswolds; sitting down to an intoxicating meal of tagine dripping in preserved fruits in Morocco. Here are five picks (both high brow and low) that I hope to experience again soon.
Arnaud's—New Orleans, Louisiana
Any food destination road trip worth its weight in chicory must begin with New Orleans and the roots of Creole cuisine. Dating back to 1918, Arnaud's resides in the heart of the French Quarter and serves up signature dishes like Oysters Bienville (topped with shrimp, mushrooms, herbs and finished with white wine), Turtle Soup and Speckled Trout Meunière. For a flaming finish, order Café Brûlot for two—chicory coffee flavored with lemon and orange rinds, clove, cinnamon, Curacao and ignited with brandy.
Once you're liquored up and flying high on caffeine, be sure to ascend to the Germaine Cazenava Wells Mardi Gras Museum, which overflows with parade costumes, all eccentrically displayed on mannequins manufactured to look like Ms. Wells, who reigned over 22 Mardi Gras balls.
Arabelle Meirlaen—Huy, Belgium
Head about an hour southeast of Brussels and you'll stumble across the tiny town of Huy and a Michelin restaurant worth the road trip. Chef Arabelle Meirlaen, her cover model-worthy husband, Pierre Thirifays (who serves as gracious host and sommelier), along with their effortless staff, guide you through a multi-course extravaganza that draws from locally sourced ingredients and a myriad of both classic as well as post-modern cooking techniques.
A dish at Arabelle Mirlaen (Matthew Wexler)
Be prepared to nibble at micro this-and-that, edible dirt, dollops of vibrant sauces and more flatware than you received for your wedding.
Pinoñes, Puerto Rico
Head due east from San Juan to Pinoñes where you'll discover miles of unobstructed beaches and plenty of locals picnicking on the sandy shores. You can rent well-worn bikes from COPI (The Corporación Piñones Se Integra) but be sure to give them a test-ride before venturing toward the beach.
Once you hit the paved path, you'll discover dozens of roadside food shacks serving up fried local fare such as arepas, alcapurias, bacalaitos and freshly tapped coconut water.
Would you travel across the Atlantic Ocean for a piece of cake? If it's the most famous cake in the world, yes. Dating back to 1832, the Original Sacher-Torte's recipe is highly guarded and with good reason. Nothing compares to the rich chocolate cake, delicately layered with apricot jam and finished with a thin coating of chocolate icing.
The Hotel Sacher (Matthew Wexler)
For the ultimate Austrian dining experience, begin your meal with Wiener Schnitzel and a refreshing glass of Grüner Veltliner. Be sure to wander the halls to view the collection of signed photos ranging from royalty to Hollywood's elite.
Go big or go home. Let's not get into the age-old barbecue argument of pork or beef. There's no need since The County Line has been serving all sorts of smoked goodness since 1975. Order “The Cadilliac” and expect a heart-clogging array of sausage, chicken, peppered turkey breast, brisket and ribs (along with sides and homemade ice cream for dessert).
For those with wanderlust but without the budget to head to the Lone Star State, you can order the legendary slow-smoked meats from airribs.com. The Rib King Combo also includes a Talking Cowboy CD, which will have you screaming “Yeehaw!” before you've licked your fingers clean.
Matthew Wexler is the national travel editor for EDGE Media Network. In addition, his work has appeared in Hemispheres, Gotham, Hamptons Magazine, Private Islands, Passport and online for AAA, ShermansTravel, offMetro, among others.