Tag: travel

Fromage

eat January 3, 2017

One of the best (and worst) things about the holidays is having ample time to senselessly eat ourselves into another dimension. Whether I am, or am not speaking for myself, food and good company are incomparable, and the makings of a pretty damn good business model. Or, at least that’s what I’ve learned from Oliver Mernick-Levene, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Secret Food Tours.

We met like any other people interested in food and drink might: at a soccer match in Marseille. In one hand I held am ice-cold Carlsberg beer, as Oli did. The most riveting thing that occurred included no professional jersey-wearers, but belligerently drunk men climbing fences and spitting expletives at the police.Naturally, it seemed like a good time to strike up a conversation.

I learned not only that he’s a cheeky Briton, but also that he started Secret Food Tours after the success of his pub tours –which I had the pleasure of experiencing in Paris. A couple weeks later, we talked more about how a joke with his friend resulted in him heading the biggest food tour in Europe:

3 nouns make up your company’s name. Give me 3 adjectives to describe it: “delicious. fun. filling…All of our food tours are different depending on which country you’re in. At the moment, we’re doing tours in 6 countries.”

So, how does one country vary from another? “France is more of a shopping trip to amazing places where they sell meats, chocolate, and cheese. England is more about going to markets (think Borough Market), sampling sausages, fish and chips. And of course Spain is all about finding the best paella. We build tours based on environment; we eat based on how that culture eats.”

Do you think that that is what has driven the success of these tours?  “Absolutely. We combine amazing food with amazing guides who reveal local hotspots. But, ultimately, our guides are really friendly and cool and only take a maximum of 10 or 12 guests, which makes people feel like they’re exploring a city with a friend by the end of it.

All that said, this would be a sad interview without knowing where you were and what you were eating the last time you had a foodgasm: *obviously there were some giggles* “I was in Barcelona, eating paella right by the seafront in a restaurant famous for food from Salamanca.”

Learn how you can get in on Oliver’s delicious adventures, here. Happy eating!

 

Transient Solstice

europe September 29, 2016

Summer. Certainly, I can think of worse times to be alive. It was like a short-handed note. Something you penned after waking up from a daydream.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
Processed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with c1 preset

Lucid.

Processed with VSCO with p5 preset Processed with VSCO with c1 presetYour hand moved as quickly as the bubbling of the fountain Trevi. If it were a book, its binding would’ve loosened.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Or you would’ve taken it to Ibiza and lost it on an EasyJet flight. Truth be told, sometimes you can’t help but be a forgetful prick.

img_1914Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

 A lot of the time, you wish you had paid closer attention. Your drifting eyes trapped on the sight of topless ladies.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

A street fight with glass bottles and pepper spray jilts you back to the present moment, an afternoon bike ride you took braless through the streets of Milan.

Processed with VSCO with p5 presetProcessed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with c1 preset

So cultured.

You managed to not lock yourself out of your Airbnb that day. That precarious, exhilarating night.

 As were many.Processed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with c1 preset Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

You’d fall into your feverish dreams under the sheet of one country only to widen your weepy eyes in another.

Memories of stationary work days, as uneventful as Paris permitted them to be, drip down the side of a cocktail glass at Le Perchoir, the Tour staring bleary eyed back at you and your crazies.

fullsizerender-6

“work kills”

Processed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with c1 presetfullsizerender-4

Maybe you should’ve listened when your mom told you to drink less. As you sped across Ponte Sant’Angelo, the expletives she’d use to denounce the childish ways you play with your life play over and over in the back of your head.

Processed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with c1 preset

But, if nothing else, at least you stopped to talk to strangers. To pour the warmth of a full smile into their hands. To feed the mouths of hungry kittens with strawberry yogurt left in the hotel fridge. Sat still and quiet in deep reflectivity even when your legs wouldn’t stop moving.

 Processed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with c1 presetProcessed with VSCO with c1 presetvsco-cam-28

On day 84 you feel proud of everything you did. The smells and sounds and feelings of it all, now a ghost walking the corridor of the summer of your life.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset