I’ve always been a firm believer in gastrotourism. When I travel, food experiences are my priority.
True story:Years ago, when Henry and I were tromping around Tuscany, I canceled a visit to see Michaelangelo’s David at the Galleria dell’Accademia because it got in the way of finding the best bollito misto in Florence.
I don’t spend much on material things (other than kitchen gadgets), but when it comes to culinary fun, all bets are off. The way I see it, I’m paying for an experience; the food may disappear as soon as it slides down my gullet, but the memories remain. And looking back at the most cherished moments in my life, virtually all of them involve meals shared with my favorite people.
That said, memorable meals don’t need to cost a fortune. In my book, all that matters is that the ingredients are sourced with care, prepared with love…and insanely delicious.
Case in point: one of my all-time favorite food experiences took place just a couple of days ago, when the boys and I spent the day at a small organic farm in rural Mae Tha, a hillside community about an hour’s drive from Chiang Mai. Our Saturday was so amazing that I already know I won’t be able to do it justice in this post, but I’ll try my best anyway.
Thanks to the fine folks at the International Sustainable Development Studies Institute (ISDSI), we had the unique opportunity to visit Bwosai Gantada’s family farm in Mae Tha. Our family spent the morning trailing behind her as she gave us a tour of her fields of painstakingly hand-planted and -weeded vegetables. Then, we picked and gathered fresh ingredients from her garden, which Bwosai used to prepare a hearty, multi-dish lunch cooked over open flames. We feasted on vegetables, meat, and rice that were all raised and harvested onsite.
I know that Robb Wolf and Sarah Fragoso dine out Paleo-style at Thai places all the time but when we went to lunch at Jitlada today, I wasn’t super strict about ordering Paleo. Why? Well, I’m definitely more fanatical about eating good food than eating Paleo (if that’s possible) so when I go to a highly regarded restaurant, I’ll order the items they’re famous for rather than picking something that is Paleo-friendly but tastes bland. Obviously, I’m not going to pick super carb-y items but I’m not going to worry about the amount of sugar in savory items or what kind of oil they cook the food in. Since I cook most of my meals nowadays, I don’t stress out if I’m not eating 100% Paleo when eating out.
Here’s what we ordered: Crispy Morning Glory Salad: deep-fried watercress, poached shrimp, red cabbage, red onions, and a sweet, sour, and spicy dressing.
Definitely contained flour in the batter and sugar in the vinaigrette but it was oh-so-effing good.
Crying Tiger Pork:
This dish was featured on the Food Network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate: Hot & Spicy. It was pretty tasty, too.
Kinda greasy but oh so tasty.
I’m currently reading Timothy Ferriss’ The 4-Hour Body and he promotes eating a mostly Paleo diet for 6 days a week and indulging in a cheat day on the 7th. I’m seriously considering taking a cheat day…