Taste The World
“Food is our common ground, a universal experience. “ – James Beard
Some of the most wonderful times in my life have involved wonderful food, fantastic friends and great conversation. Food can take on many roles in travel. Sometimes it can help us learn something about the culture of a place. At other times it can help us remember a place. One thing is for sure, life is too short to eat terrible food. So pack your bags and prepare your stomachs for a taste of the world.
1. Julep Restaurant – Jackson, Mississippi
I’m from the South so when I want fried chicken, I expect it to be exceptional. My grandmother makes the best fried chicken I’ve ever had but when I can’t always get her to make some for me. That’s why I have a back up plan…Julep Restaurant in Jackson, Mississippi.
Julep reaches the “as good as my grandmother’s” status with their fried chicken that is dipped in a honey-rosemary glaze. You get the same delicious flavor as fried chicken with a hint of sweetness. The sides of red-skin mashed potatoes and blackened green beans top the meal off as one of my favorites. Of course, you can’t forget to order sweet tea…it’s just a necessity!
With a philosophy like, “We believe too much of a good thing can be wonderful”. You really can’t go wrong here. Ordering the Julep’s fried chicken guarantees you that you’ll have a great meal fit for any Southerner, wannabe-Southerner or anyone who just wants to eat some fantastic Southern cooking!
Julep is located at 4500 Interstate 55 Frontage Road, Jackson, Mississippi.
2. Claude’s Chocolates – St. Augustine, Florida
There are several chocolate shops in St. Augustine but my absolute favorite is Claude’s. Claude’s carries everything from chocolate-covered popcorn and cereal to beautifully decorated individual chocolates. My favorite are their chocolate-covered Oreos. I received an entire box for Christmas one year from my cousin…since then I’ve had an on-going relationship with the delicious dessert!
As you bite into one you get the same crunch as you would a regular Oreo but with a smooth milk chocolate on the outside. They often sell them in bags of three making it a perfect afternoon snack! Of course the display of individual chocolates are tempting as well. A couple of my favorites are the passion fruit and champagne chocolates.
Claude’s Chocolates is located at 51 King Street, St. Augustine, Florida.
3. Johnny’s Po-Boys – New Orleans, Louisiana
Among the vast variety of meals that New Orleans is notorious for, Po-Boys are a lunch favorite. Simple enough to eat on the go but packed with seafood or meats that will keep you full throughout the entire day, Johnny’s is my favorite place to pick up a po-boy while running around town.
Johnny’s has been in New Orleans since the 1950’s and has been supplying their customers with a delicious New Orleans staple every since. The cash only business is just a few blocks from the French Quarter on 511 St. Louis St. Johnny’s is more of a take out place as there are very few places to sit during the lunch hour rush. Most of the time I prefer to sit on one of the stools set against the wall if I’m planning on eating in.
My favorite thing off the menu is the fried shrimp po-boy. Topped with tomato and lettuce and paired with a sweet tea, this meal is a perfect solution to midday hunger…or perhaps a Bourbon Street hangover.
Johnny’s is located at 511 Saint Louis Street, New Orleans, Louisiana.
4. Serendipity 3 – New York, New York
A visit to New York City is never complete without a stop at Serendipity. Savoring the decadent desserts at the famous restaurant is always a highlight in my Big Apple visits. The eclectic ambiance of the restaurant and the over-the-top desserts have drawn people in for decades. Jackie-O and Andy Warhol have graced these tables among a collection of modern day stars. But what’s not to like, when you have a frozen hot chocolate in a bowl the size of a soccer ball right in front of you!
Serendipity has an untouchable magic that surrounds it. No matter how famous it gets, it will always be popular and will remain a legend.
Serendipity 3 is located at 225 East 60th Street, New York City, New York.
5. Chowder Ted’s – Jacksonville, Florida
Chowder Ted’s is the epitome of a what a seafood restaurant should be. No need for a sign, Chowder Ted’s is a sturdy, little shack on the side of the road along the edge of the St. John’s River. Surrounded by fishing boats and seafood shops, the seafood is the freshest you can get.
One of my absolute favorite meals is a Chowder Ted’s blackened tuna sandwich cooked medium-rare. Add lettuce, tomato, remoulade sauce and a dash of lemon juice and I’m in heaven! A glorious sandwich that makes me dream about it for days on end.
For a side add some crispy, golden onion rings. I’m not a big fan of onion rings but Chowder Ted’s are cut perfectly (not too thick but not too thin) and fried in a batter that gives you a taste of both the sweet and salty.
Surprisingly enough, I’ve never tried their chowder. I’ve been too hooked on everything else to make it to that point in my order! I’ll let you know if I do…but I’m sure it’s amazing if it’s from Chowder Ted’s!
Chowder Ted’s is located at 5215 Heckscher Drive, Jacksonville, Florida.
6. Laurenzo’s Italian Market – Miami, Florida
I have my friend, Misty, to thank for introducing me to Laurenzo’s Italian Market. This market is the real deal when it comes to Italian food, goods and culture. Imported goods from all over Italy can be found on the shelves of Laurenzo’s. Cases of beautifully handmade pastas adorn the entryway and are followed by a colorful array of homemade cookies, cakes, cannolis and tiramisu. Beautiful mozzarella balls, an abundance of olives and seafood choices of octopus and fresh fish make you feel as if you were on the Mediterranean. If you can’t wait to get home before eating something they have a cafe with choices of eggplant parmigiana, lasagna and chicken cacciatore. The sandwiches are made with their homemade bread and consist of Italian cold cuts like salami and capicola. Try the Italian Hero, it’s big enough for two and you’ll be full by the time you’ve finished it…but make sure to save room for a chocolate dipped cannoli with pistachios!
Laurenzo’s Market is located at 16385 West Dixie Highway, North Miami Beach, Florida.
7. Cap’s On The Water – St. Augustine, Florida
This place has been our “go-to” spot for years when we are out for a day sail. When we’re on the boat with friends we’ll stop in at Cap’s to enjoy drinks and appetizers at the oyster bar. The wait staff knows us by name (it’s still debatable whether this is due to infamous nights of drinking too many rum runners or Matt’s hula-hooping competitions with the bartenders) and are generous when pouring drinks. Needless to say, the Bloody Mary’s are fantastic and the Oysters Rockefeller are incredibly delicious. Matt hates oysters but he will even try an Oysters Rockefeller every now and then at Cap’s. Aside from the oysters, the Beef Tips are mouthwatering. We typically don’t order dinner items as the menu gets pricey at night but if you are out for an afternoon sail or if you are just in the market for some drinks and a great atmosphere, Cap’s is a fun option.
Cap’s is located at 4325 Myrtle Street, St. Augustine, Florida.