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Posted by
3280 posts

I think that is an attempt to explain what they are looking for in terms of a travel experience. If I'm going to say Basque Spain and I ask for suggestions and say, I enjoy lovely scenery, historic old towns, museums, wine tasting, local foods, then perhaps you'd get suggestions for towns known for their food (San Sebastian) or wine (rioja region) or museums (Bilboa) Also, that opens up conversations regarding regional foods that one might try.

I'm not sure what you are getting at. Are you thinking people should be more specific, or looking at your link, are you saying people should focus less on food and more on their BMI?

Posted by
4435 posts

Not all local food experiences happen in restaurants. Saying that one enjoys food is not that different from saying one enjoys music or theatre or sports or wine. They are simply expressing an interest. Enjoying food does not mean that someone is overweight.

Posted by
4435 posts

Are there travelers who don't enjoy food?

I’ve seen many posts where people say things like ”food isn’t important to us” or ”my husband is a picky eater”. I’d classify them as not enjoying food.

Posted by
2417 posts

plenty folk ask where the nearest Md's,KFC and Burger kings are for many places in Europe, not saying that's bad food but why go travelling if you are not going to try the local fayre.
BTW what is a rich country and how do you compare any one country to another.

Posted by
11389 posts

I don’t see a problem .

I enjoy wine .

Posted by
2275 posts

On a travel question, it is shorthand for “we enjoy exploring a variety of different foods in our destination as a part of the travel experience”

Yes, near everyone enjoys food in the sense that eating is a universal experience and biologically meant to be enjoyable. BUT a guy who wants to travel to look at art, but plans to subsist on grocery store sandwiches while traveling would not say he “loves food” in a travel sense. Even if he happens to love thr taste of mustard on white bread. For him travel is about the art he wants to see, food is just something he has to do while he’s there.

Posted by
193 posts

If travelling to somewhere, e.g. Italy, this may be a invitation to recommend not just restaurants but regions.
An obvious answer , instead of the standard Venice/Florence/Rome trip , would be pointing towards Emilia Romagna with Bologna, Parma and Modena as possible destinations for "Foodies".

Posted by
848 posts

I know a number of avid travelers who love experiencing new places/countries, but who think of food as fuel, and nothing else. They will happily eat at McDonalds or eat a slice of pizza no matter what the local food offerings.

I, on the other hand, like to try local specialties and consider food an important part of my travels.

Neither is wrong--people are different.

Posted by
1097 posts

Weren't you recently in Spain? If someone were asking for "we enjoy food" suggestions, wouldn't you recommend more than specific restaurants? For example suggesting trying bars for the evening "tapas scene" or visiting markets to pick up ingredients for a picnic or touring an olive oil mill or sea fishermen harbour. I'm sure the equivalent would be true in other countries as well.

But, generally, saying "we enjoy food" is presumably just shorthand for saying eating out, trying local dishes, joining cooking classes, taking food-related walking tours, etc. is of particular interest for the holiday. I know plenty of people for whom food & drink isn't a big issue - they'll eat, of course, but it's not a focus.

I assume by "from a rich country" you mean Luxembourg. They're loaded. But no point being envious. Your country probably has some positives too, I'm sure.

Posted by
885 posts

I won't knock fast-food after being in Barcelona and needing something quick to eat while we had to use free Wi-Fi. McDonalds came in real handy and the fries were better than the damp squids usually served here. Plus the Coke tasted different-maybe they use sugar?

But I think the idea of the OP was more along the lines of "We are foodies".

Posted by
3904 posts

Plus the Coke tasted different-maybe they use sugar?

Different Coke producing areas use the sugar that is plentiful and more economical to purchase. Therefore in the US it's high fructose corn syrup, in Mexico it's cane sugar whilst in the UK it's sugar beet. Each has it's own distinct taste with Coke made with cane sugar being regarded as the best tasting.

Posted by
11676 posts

I would say the implication from the title is that people from "rich countries" ( presumably the US) enjoy too much food. However the linked Wikipedia chart on BMI around the world shows the US is #17 in BMI, at an average of 28.8. Above that are a number of Island nations ( mostly South Pacific) and a few Arabic countries. In many cases this national obesity reflects cultural norms or poverty rather than wealth.

Actually I have never noticed anyone saying "we enjoy food" when posting a question. Often the statement is "we enjoy good food and wine" but that does not imply overeating. Or more commonly, "we are foodies" ( a term I dislike) to suggest an interest in local, maybe "slow food" cuisine and interesting culinary experiences.

I think enjoying local food is an important part of travel, and there is nothing wrong with expressing that interest. We rarely dine out at home, but enjoy going to local restaurants in Europe, especially in Italy and Spain. Quality is very high, and because the portions are smaller than in the US, we generally lose weight when traveling.

Posted by
2855 posts

Many years ago, my daughter had a boyfriend who was so not interested in food, that he thought it would be really nifty to be able to take a pill at each meal time rather than eating. He once commented to my daughter that when they were with anyone from our family, barely 5 minutes would go by before someone brought up a food-related topic, which he found hard to understand. Fortunately, she dropped him. He would not have fit in with us, for that and several other reasons.

Posted by
6387 posts

Rich in this context means living somewhere with high access to clean drinking water and very low hunger rates

Posted by
11389 posts

So jazz you mean 99 % of all TOURISTS - as most tourists come from such countries - not a ton from Ethiopia or Uganda are there ?

This question just seems to be provactive .

Posted by
5552 posts

And unfortunately those people do not usually have the means to travel. Food is a very important component of our travels and it does not mean high end dining. We like to explore cuisine such as Cucina Povera ( Poorman’s Cuisine.)in Puglia , southern Italy where chick peas are the protein, simple, delicious. It is part of a cultural exploration for us.

Posted by
2081 posts

I alternate between seeking out quality dining experiences to sausages from a street vendor to the occasional desperate foray into Subway or McDonald's. All have met my needs perfectly at one point or another in my travels.

Posted by
1122 posts

It is a legitimate mention from Richie Rich.

Personally, I devote most of my time and money to art, culture, history. But someone who focuses more on food would benefit from suggestions for restaurants, markets, food tours, and what exactly to try or not try and where to go for same.

So, for example, I wouldn't suggest Ireland for those who say they enjoy food . . .

Posted by
1106 posts

I hadn't looked at that BMI chart in this context before now, and am curious to note that some of the countries at the top of the table import their domestic servants and construction flunkies from the countries at the bottom of the table --, for instance Kuwaitis employ Bangladeshis.

There are plenty of reasons for this, not least that slavery in the Levant has been technically outlawed for almost 50 years already. But I'm sure it's an interesting angle to consider the BMI perspective, too.

Regarding food tourism, like many replies above, I scratch my head at trip reports that say the traveler ate pizza or kebabs in their room most nights to save time and money and energy for other things, because I prioritize local cuisine as a key part of what I'm visiting to soak up.

Posted by
393 posts

We are not restaurant people. We are not wine people. However I do love outdoor markets, street food, bakeries, and quick cheap fast places to eat that cater to locals.

Posted by
987 posts

I had to think about this question for awhile before I posted a reply.

First of all, I'm not certain I fully understand the question. But here's my answer to the question as I read it.

I didn't start out as a good traveler. I have learned things along the way which have made the experience better. One of the most important things which I've learned is the specific language/lingo/wording with which other travelers often phrase questions and offer advice. When I ask people about their travel interests, I will say what do you like? Art? History? Hiking? Food? (etc., etc., and so forth)

In my mind, the phrase 'liking food' in the context of a travel forum is almost like a specific search term. The words 'liking food' from a traveler implies to me that this person is willing to try different dishes, new preparations of foods they might know from their own area, or someone who wants to learn to cook new types of dishes. I also include people (like myself) who love to wander through open air markets or visit grocery stores in other countries.

Not everyone is comfortable eating food that's at all different from what they eat at home. I think this could make for a less than enjoyable travel experience in some cases, but we all travel differently and for different reasons. There are certain foods which I do not eat, at home or abroad. That's my choice, but aside from that I love to experience as much of a new culture as possible, including the foods, beverages and preparation thereof.

That's what I mean when I say I like food when I travel at any rate, because that's how I have learned the phrase in the context of travel discussions.

I usually don't ask for restaurant recommendations, though. I tend to get lost when I travel, and I often wind up eating someplace that's nowhere near the original destination.

Posted by
331 posts

I have a friend who travels multiple times a year. And for him a travel day is not complete without a good meal and a trip is not complete without an outstanding one. So much so that meals/restaurants are figured into his time and schedule from the get go.

I am Exactly the opposite. I could care less about the food. I have a fixed budget for time and money and I in general don’t prioritize food at all. I travel to see the country I am visiting, it’s peop it’s sites it’s historic buildings it’s museums and such. In general I could not care less about thier food, it is just not something I worry about.
As a result while in Switzerland and Germany last year I at a number of fast food joints like McDounlds. I did this because I was hungery and they were convenient. And I did not wish to spend time looking for something better. In these cases I happened to be driving and The places were easy to find and get to and it was fast getting back on the road.
So for me it is convenience.
That being said if a nice restaurant is available and it fits in my schedule then great. I had a good melee sitting looking up at the Catherdral in Cologne last year and looking at Notra Dame the year before. When in London last year and the year before I ate several meals at the same restaurant. It was nothing to write home about but it was on the way back to the hotel so it was easy to get to and didn’t take up my time.

Where my friend would spend much of an evening getting to and from and eating at a fancy restaurant I would rather grab something and then take a night bus tour of London. Or if it was a long day head back to the hotel to get some rest so the next day I am back at it.
In 17 I was in Avignon and I grabbed McDounlds on the way back to the hotel after spending a day site seeing the old Roman remains (lots and lots of walking) And we just wanted to get back to our hotel and the restaurants are notoriously slow.
The next night we were much more rested when we got back so we walked to the sq had a good meal while talking with folks and watching a soccer game.

So I guess it depends on what priorities folks have for thier trips. And what is important to one person is not important to another.
That being said I think that in general folks that have money and that grew up with money in general have a tendency to like to eat at fancy locations. I believe this is probably related to the foods they were exposed to growing up. To poorer people food is something you need to keep yourself alive. Often you have to make do with what you can afford. So you get in a habit of just eating to keep yourself going. Vs a meal that is designed to be enjoyed.
But this is just a guess.

Posted by
848 posts

Douglasjmeyer,
I disagree with a couple of your thoughts:
Food is part of the culture of a country, not something that takes time away from experiencing culture. Of course, nobody enjoys all aspects of a country's culture, and you are free to pick and choose how you spend your time.

My late husband was the oldest of 10 children in a quite poor family, and I immigrated to the US as a child. My family was only slightly better off than my husband's. Nieither of us had any concept of food beyond very basic/simple. No restaurants.
We found a shared interest in food, and as we were able we started enjoying going to interesting restaurants, especially while traveling.
On the other hand, I've heard of people who grew up very rich and eat nothing but cheeseburgers.

Posted by
2281 posts

Douglasjmeyer-growing up poor means you eat poorly for life-a bad guess I would say. It sounds like your taste in food parallels that of our current president, and he certainly did not grow up poor. I did and was lucky to have my Jewish grandmother from the old country living with us. Oh, what dishes she could create using the cheapest of ingredients! There is no accounting for how tastes in food develop. One thing that I’ve found universal among those who feel that culinary adventures are part of travel is the willingness to try new things. (We have good friends who are meat and potatoes people-they would starve before they touched a piece of sushi!) That does not mean force yourself to eat offal but give new foods a shot. As for the original post, I think the point is unclear. When I see “we enjoy food” I know this is not a person who seeks out McDonalds in Paris. It’s sending a message that this traveler considers dining part of their traveling adventure, not a three times a day need for calories and I’ll eat anything. So, I can recommend a range of restaurants, dishes, etc. The only limits are budgetary and allergies/intolerances. We have had wonderful meals in Europe and elsewhere in casual bistros and the like that did not break the bank.

Posted by
3904 posts

That being said I think that in general folks that have money and that grew up with money in general have a tendency to like to eat at fancy locations. I believe this is probably related to the foods they were exposed to growing up. To poorer people food is something you need to keep yourself alive.

I couldn't disagree more. I grew up poor but I had home cooked nutritous meals every day, very little junk food, I don't ever recall having a McDonalds or equivalent as a child. I also had Polish and Irish grandmothers who cooked fantastic food from the most basic of ingredients. I can recall only two occasions as a child eating at a restaurant, one was a Polish one for my nan's birthday and a Beefeater for my sister's 16th Birthday.

Now, as an adult I have a love of food, so much so that I devote entire long weekend travels abroad to focus solely on eating. I'm no stranger to Michelin starred restaurants and I'm a keen cook who reads cookbooks like other people read novels. In all my travels abroad I've never eaten at a McDonalds (I've used their facilities plenty of times though) because there is always something better without even trying hard. That's not to say that I don't eat burgers or fast food, it's a particular pleasure of mine to try the local burger joints when I'm in the US, it's just that McDonalds is such a poor representation of the cuisine.

Posted by
3120 posts

And what is wrong with the food of Ireland?

I have found Irish food to be creative, tasty, well prepared, and reflective of the culture. I have never had a bad meal in Ireland. I have had some that I couldn't wait to have again, as well as a few where I went OK, I had that but lets move on. Is there anything wrong with having potatoes 5 ways at one meal?

And as far as eating at Mcdonald's, each country has local items on the menu as well as local design of the restaurant. While I doubt you could get a true home cooked style meal at any fast food place, some of the local items are surprisingly good. You just have to vary from the standard Big Mac, fries and a Coke and try some of those items.

Posted by
331 posts

It has been my experience and various comments on this forum seam to support me, that those people that are for a lack of better terms “foodies” will often look down on and make comments about people that don’t really care about food one way or the other.

You seam to have two types of people. Those that have an attitude “what me eat McDonalds?!?” And those more inclined to “eh, its food”. Usually group two couldn’t care less what group 1 does but group 1 often has a cow over what group 2 does.

And while money is not the only determining factor it sure as heck increases the likelihood of being part of group 1.

I would also have you note that several folks totally missed my point. I am in Europe to SEE Europe not to EAT Europe. If you want to spend three hours having one of the best meals in your live Good for you. But many folks (myself included) realy couldn’t care less. I can find great restaurants from Italy to London or from New York to LA and everyplace else. I don’t need to travel to France for it. So to ME spending time you don’t need to get something t eat is an utter waste of time and money.

On a 16 day trip to Europe you have approximately 250 waking hours. And the cost can easily be something in the $40 to $50 per waking hour. Spending 1 extra hour to find a restaurant and 1 extra hour to eat (and let’s be honest for some folks that is a very fast meal) means that you are spending something like 32 extra hours of time and $1300 plus the cost of food (time is valuable) just for dinner. That works out to something like 2 of your 16 days are spent sitting in a restaurant looking at your waiter. I would rather take that time and walk along the French Riviera.

So for those into food feel free to stop and have a great meal. And when it is over come and find me I will be the guy eating something I can “grab and go” while walking down the beach.

On the other hand I may be found sitting in a sidewalk cafe with a good view or watching a soccer game with a bunch of folks in Avignon. You never know. Because to me, I couldn’t care less about the food. It is the experience and the location. I don’t worry about the food anymore then I do about my transportation. I use whatever transportation works to get me from where I am to where I want to go with the least impact on my schedule be it time or budget or whatever my trip has the least of.

And I grab whatever food I can that has the least impact in my trip, While driving down the Autobahn at 180kph it was simplest and fastest to jump off and grab fast food at a roadside fast food joint.

In Nice it was expedient to grab something you could eat while walking along the Avenue De Anglis (or however it is spelled)
In Paris it was a late breakfast of crepes in a sidewalk cafe looking up At Notra Dame.
In a town in Italy it was a little waterside restaurant looking over the Mediterranean.

Like I said I eat when where and whatever is most convenient for what I want to do that day. Sometimes that means I have lots of time to try a nice restaurant but usually I just want to grab something and see what else is around to see or do.
My friend would have a heart attack with that way of doing things (one reason we don’t travel together) but then again he has never Taken a night buss tour or London. Because he was in his restaurant having a great meal. Is either way right or wrong? No just different.

But to expect everyone to prioritize food is just as crazy as expecting everyone to be happy with a Hotdog from a vender under the Eiffel Tower.

To tell you the truth I can’t realy remember that meal under the Eiffel Tower the first time I was in Paris. But I CAN remember my time spend under the Tower looking up at one of the most amazing structures in the world. Something I had dreamed of seeing for 40+ years. Can you remember what you ate on your first day in Paris?

Posted by
1106 posts

Yes, I can remember what I ate on my first day in Paris, more than 15 years ago, and from memory because I didn't keep notes.

But that's not what I want to respond to -- I want to respond to the 'there's two kinds of people' oversimplification tendency.
We're not using tweets or insta-pic captions here, so we have time to do more than reduce the complicated intentions and experiences of various travelers to some pat phrases that can be put in a nutshell. As the saying goes, any idea that can be put in a nutshell belongs there.

There are many varieties and gradations of 'foodie' and one distinction that I think we often fail to take note of here in the RS forum is between 'local cuisine' and 'fine dining' or 'cosmopolitan dining'. When a traveler says they enjoy food they might mean that they are looking for a fine-dining experience or they might mean that they are looking to sample local cuisine, be it simple/humble or hifalutin' or both or neither. I'm blessed to live in the SF Bay Area where the best examples of every type of cuisine in the world are easily accessible (I exaggerate slightly) so it is not necessarily my priority to seek out cosmopolitan dining even though I may be traveling in a cosmopolitan locale -- it is my priority to find local dishes prepared well. In Catalunya I want to try Catalan dishes, preferably well-made ones, even though cosmopolitan cities like Barcelona have plenty of good burgers and sushi, etc.
Recently people keep insisting (a little too insistently, I think) that London has become a world-class foodie destination, but that doesn't mean that I'm interested in trying out gourmet pizza or formal Turkish banqueting in London -- what I'm looking for in London is typical English cooking, done well. I can get those others elsewhere. We lost a good pie shop called Noble Pies many years back here in the East Bay, so when I have a chance for a good local savory pie in the UK, I'll take it over a Taiwanese buffet.

Now what about a 'foodie' from someplace more humble than San Francisco who's out traveling? For them, the goal may be cosmopolitan dining when the opportunity affords itself since they don't have that available near home. If someone in Blandville has nothing better than a franchise of Ruth's Chris's Outback Steakhouse to go to for a nice hunk of cow, I can see why they might want to go for a steak dinner when traveling in a big city, whether or not that city has some commercial or historical associations with cattle. There's a sushi stand or two in the food court attached to the Louvre transit mall, and I can understand why some people might want to eat at them, but that's not what I'm after.

I've mentioned before that when you're in a big city and asking your hotel desk or driver or whomever for dining recommendations to do more than ask for a good restaurant -- give them a few adjectives to filter with, like 'seafood' or 'homestyle' or 'calm' so that you don't just get a response that points you to whatever is hot at that moment or has the luck to be at the corner of First and Main or in the main square. Those may all be fine, but a little more discrimination will get even better results.

Posted by
4435 posts

Can you remember what you ate on your first day in Paris?

Yes. Some amazing aged comte.

”Enjoying food” doesn’t necessarily mean spending hours and hundreds of dollars in Michelin starred restaurants. I love going into a cheese shop, taking a cooking class, getting some of those beautiful, small, sweet strawberries during their limited season, or just wandering through a market. I go to grocery stores when I am on vacation as I find it fascinating to see what is on the shelves. That would bore some people to tears. My favorite hobby after travel is cooking. Being able to learn about the food really enriches my travels and makes my vacation fun.

Not everyone ”enjoys” food experiences. Not everyone enjoys museums or battlefields or amusement parks or cruises or art. Most of us in the U.S. get limited vacation time. I truly believe that people should enjoy their vacations the way they want without judgment from people who prefer different experiences.

Posted by
7628 posts

They write this so they don't get answers about where to eat from posters who tell them to: go eat at the train station, buy pre-made sandwiches at a grocery store, bring protein bars or a jar of peanut butter from home so they can make sandwiches in their hotel room.

It is just another way of saying they are foodies, so they get recommendations for real food.

Posted by
3904 posts

OK douglasjmeyer, you eat McDonalds when travelling, some of us don't, good for you but no-one on this thread is deriding you for it.

Posted by
7628 posts

I have never, ever spent an hour looking for a good restaurant, nor have I ever spent a fortune on a meal and hours eating it. But when I was in Rome for 3 days, a place I had dreamed of visiting my whole life, I wanted to eat in an Italian restaurant. The 3 American women I was with, were in a hurry to eat and went to Mc.D's. That was the last place I wanted to go. I wanted authentic Italian food, so for about 10€, I had a fantastic lunch special. I bet they paid the same amount for their meal as I paid for mine. Did my lunch last an hour, yes it did, but that is certainly not excessive.
In Spain, you can get these rather yucky micro-wave paellas everywhere. Again, I would rather have a decent, fresh, home made tortilla or bocadilla than eat that. Time it takes to order and eat it? Exactly the same. Cost? Mine is cheaper.

I do remember what I ate in special places.

Posted by
4669 posts

Jazz, it has nothing to do with decadent Imperialists. Using it doesn't mean the writer should live on Granola and send the rest of his food money to Rick's charities. It's just a poorly constructed code phrase, like "As we speak" or "Kick it up a level", or "Failure is not an option." We know what it means and it's overused, especially on Reality Television.

Posted by
3931 posts

We definitely enjoy food, and one of the joys of travel is sampling the local fare. I don't think we've ever sought out a "fine dining" experience in Europe. (We very rarely do here in the States, and when we do we're usually disappointed. We recently hit one of the best restaurants in Oklahoma for our 50th anniversary, and my sweet DH said that I prepare scallops better than the restaurant did. Hmmm, that might be one reason we've made it this long.)

But I digress. We love the same kind of sidewalk stands, street food, or simple cafés that douglasjmeyer frequents. And we would never ever put anyone down for his or her food choices. We would urge folks - gently - to try something local. We fell in love with calamari sandwiches in Madrid, and had them every day. With a side of patatas bravas and a cana of local beer? Wonderful. And very easy on the pocketbook.

We visited with a friend recently who said she could never travel in Europe because she was afraid she wouldn't be able to find McDonalds. I told her they were plentiful, and she was reassured. She enjoys food, as well.

Posted by
240 posts

I agree with Ms. Jo about eating in Spain. Next to my office in Pamplona there is a Burger King and the local market. Sometimes I need to get some lunch. When that happens I like to go to the market, and for less than the Whopper menu, I can buy a roll, some deli meat and sliced cheese, a piece of fruit and a drink (water or coke). And usually it takes less time to get served. That doesn't mean that once in a while the lure of onion rings doesn't win and I end up having done my way.

Posted by
1451 posts

With some posts, sometimes I can't figure out if the person is venting for a bit, starting a discussion that can unravel into some heat, or really is curious about the "complexity" of the question. What's the big deal? Life's too short.

Posted by
1933 posts

My style is most like douglasjmeyer's. I plan our trips based on the sights we want to see, and food is secondary to that. We've never had a meal in a European McDonald's, but we have gotten coffee at a few to take advantage of their facilities.

We just got back from a trip to NYC. We saw three shows and had a great time, but we did not have great food. We ate lunch at whatever place happened to be close to where we were, and dinners were rushed affairs at restaurants close to the theatres. We "enjoyed our food", but we didn't invest a lot of time or money in seeking out the best food the City had to offer in our price range. The dining aspect of our trip would have disappointed a "foodie", but our priorities were elsewhere.

PS - I remember the first meal I had in Paris. It was a Cobb salad at the Cafe Central in the Rue Cler; followed by the worst case of food poisoning I've ever had!

Posted by
2281 posts

To visit NYC and not dine well is, well, too bad. In the day of the Internet a brief search will show you the decent places wherever you are at the moment. Ethnic restaurants abound and are inexpensive. Of course, lots of others are looking as well, so getting a table might be an issue. The theater district restaurants have a well deserved reputation for poor to mediocre food. But, once again, a little research will find the exceptions and they all have pre-theater menus that feed you well and get you to your show on time. But, once again, it comes down to where eating fits in your ranking of importance. For many (like me) it’s an important part of travel, maybe to the point of obsession at times. To others, food is fuel and any station will do.

Posted by
5552 posts

A friend will say that he is “not traveling for the food.” Well, we do as we enjoy trying local foods. It is a major reason why we travel to Asia so often. And also a reason we don’t use cruise ships as , according to friends, they do not consistently serve the foods of the countries visited.
Nothing wrong with our friends’ preferences, just different from ours.

Posted by
230 posts

I, for one, don't travel primarily for the food or wine experience. I'm not a picky eater at all, but neither am I a "foodie." And I like an occasional glass of wine, but I don't seek it out and I have little knowledge of fine wines. So yeah, I can see where someone might specify that their trip is intended to be a culinary adventure as opposed to someone like me for whom it isn't a priority.

For me, historical sites top my list, and food is incidental. I've spent many months in France and never had a "to die for" meal in a restaurant, but then I wasn't really looking for haute cuisine, either, so that was fine. I was happy with the inexpensive Camembert I could get at the market, along with a fresh baguette, an apple, and a bottle of Perrier. That was my go-to meal at least once a day, and I was perfectly happy with that.

PS...I have to add my "bon café" story. Last time I was in Paris we were meeting my Parisienne friend for lunch during her pause de midi. She told us she knew a très bon café so we set off on foot from her office. We passed a café, then another, and another, and another. "Celui-ci? Celui-là?" I asked hopefully, as we passed each one. "Non, non, c'est un BON café où on va," she said, "suivez-moi." So we trailed along behind her as she trotted briskly past the requisite twelve cafés per city block in Paris for what seemed like about two miles until we finally arrived at the BON café

Okay, so the bon café was exactly like every other café in Paris. Neither better nor worse, but exactly the same. We had a nice salad. We had a basket of bread. We had some water. I never did figure out what made this café so special that a Parisienne would spend her one hour lunch break walking past dozens of other ones just like it. (But then again, I don't profess to be a foodie so maybe the superior quality of the bon café simply eluded me.)