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A little slice of home away from home.

I was thinking about some of the boiler plate advice made on this forum about immersing yourself in the culture of wherever you’re travelling. Good advice. But what about the comments to avoid McDonald’s, Burger King, American chain hotels, engage with locals instead of fellow tourists, etc? Do we worldly travellers really avoid it all?

I struggle with small talk at the best of times and so I find it much easier to converse with fellow tourists and share the experiences we’ve had so far. When it comes to food, I’m not a fast food guy and so the chain burger joints aren’t a big deal, but I remember being in France, and after 2 weeks I still wasn’t enjoying traditional French food-I found it very bland. We were walking down a street in Avignon and saw a North American style pub advertising nachos and pints of Guinness. I dragged my wife in, and it was sooo good; all that was missing from being in heaven was a bunch of big screen TV’s with a game on.

I’m a creature of habit, and while I love to travel and discover new things, I love my life and creature comforts of home. What do you crave about home and occasionally seek out when you’re away from home?

Posted by
3048 posts

A margarita when I travel for weeks at a time in the summer. If we see one on the menu my husband will say don’t do it, don’t do it but I order one anyway. I have always been disappointed.

Posted by
118 posts

Several years ago my late husband and I were on a two-week tour if Italy and France. After we had been in Italy for over a week eating lots of pasta we arrived in Nice and saw a Hard Rock Cafe and immediately decided it was time for a burger and fries. Best burger and fries we ever had, sat outside on the promenade on a beautiful September evening (and had Mayo on our fries for the first time!).

Posted by
5766 posts

I have a few vices that I will indulge in, probably the most common when in some countries is hitting a Starbuck or similar chain for a LARGE brewed coffee. Love Italian coffee culture or a cafe latte in a small shop, but sometimes I just need a big 20 oz black coffee to relax with.

For food, we too are not fast food people, but will periodically pick some change in food...Mexican, Chinese, Indian, a burger, not so much for a "home away from home" moment, but a change in pace, and I always find the differences with what we have at home interesting.

It also is comforting sometimes, after a week or more of being "immersed" to catch CNN in English or some US Sitcom just as a distraction.

Posted by
3203 posts

Honestly, do whatever makes you happy. If that's an American fast food place or a Coors light somewhere in a foreign country, then do it.

I have to be away from home for quite a while before I need that. I love trying new foods and drinks. But it has happened twice, that I remember. The first time was after having lived in Europe for about 2 years. We were in Leicester Square in London when I detected the unmistakable smell of KFC. So I dragged DH in for lunch, and it was just the ticket.

The second time was in Tokyo. We'd been in Japan for almost a month, on a tour that had provided us with a full, delicious diet of Japanese foods and drinks. But one day, during some free time, we happened to pass a McD's. We both stopped in our tracks, looked at each other, then marched in for a totally guilt free Big Mac and fries.

Would I do that on a regular basis? Unlikely. But as an occasional impulse? Why not.

Posted by
6850 posts

I can't say I relate to this, maybe I'm not away long enough. I don't think I would ever miss "American" food or pine for it, although there is some ethnic food that I can't get just anywhere because it's all about the local ingredients and tradition of preparation. When in Rome, I enjoy Rome...so to speak, I don't think about home or elsewhere.

Posted by
2389 posts

Short answer - it's your vacation, do whatever the heck you want. Who can judge?

Long answer - see above. I too was on a trip to Japan and as much as I enjoyed the food, I finally just needed a simple salad and sandwich. Hello Starbucks. One morning my companions insisted on an American breakfast (pancakes, eggs, bacon, etc.) And when I'm on the move through a train station and just need to eat, I usually follow the advice of my friend who is a travelling fool. Can't go wrong with spaghetti bolognese.

Posted by
6230 posts

On occasion I’ll desire an ice cold glass of milk and a piece of sourdough toast with crunchy peanut butter.

Posted by
1837 posts

What I consistently hanker? It’s always the same…a cup of plain old black Folgers coffee in a big handled mug…a basic food group in our household. If we stop in McDonald’s once in a while it’s partly sentimental but mostly because it’s fast, cheap and we have 1000 better things to do with our time and money while traveling. One of us almost has to be dragged kicking and screaming to sit down and eat a meal anywhere so there’s that too. There’s nothing shameful in liking what you like, wherever you are. The point for us is to see, learn and have a great time, and no hamburger has ever stood in our way. Safe and happy travels!

Posted by
2319 posts

While I lived in England, I used to get the occasional craving for Taco Bell and would travel up to visit a girlfriend in London who would humor me by going to the Taco Bell near Earl's Court. Mom used to ship the (lightweight) boxes of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese.

Now I miss the British pre-packaged sandwiches, such as from Waitrose: Egg and Cress, Cheese and To-mah-to, and (best of all) Shrimp Mayonnaise. Now it's a silly treat to travel through Heathrow to grab one of those!

Posted by
958 posts

I have a bit of a comfort ritual when I arrive in a new location: visit local grocery; buy Pringles, wine (maybe a brand I know); snickers or another bar I am familiar with; and bottled water. I also usually splash out on local cookies and maybe a yogurt. This way, especially when facing jetlag, if I wake in the middle of the night, I will have something familiar to munch.

Posted by
5500 posts

Frankly, getting away from home and its mundane things is a big reason I relish traveling - especially for quality food and ingredients I just can’t get at my local supermarket. The thing I do truly miss, and can’t get while away, are my two cats. I do enjoy seeing cats, and getting in the occasional dog pet, while traveling, but I do regret leaving my “kids.”

Posted by
6500 posts

Yeah, if you've been away from home for an extended period of time, there are some places and things that make you feel at home. American movies in a theater, dinner before 9 PM, even a Walmart, can be a refreshing piece of home. Its even not so much the food thing, the familiarity just brings things down a notch.

Posted by
667 posts

We love Indian food, and have had it (or Nepalese) all over Europe. Helsinki has a really good Nepalese restaurant, and the Vegetable Balti at Ellora in Stockholm is on our short list for best Indian dish ever (we went back twice).

Posted by
1739 posts

Not food related, but I always personalize my rental apartments.
I get a pot plant or fresh flowers from the local market, I put away all the horrible air fresheners and potpourri baskets that seem to be in all of them, and also put away the myriad of throw pillows.
If there's a patio or balcony, I rearrange the furniture to my liking, and also add some greenery if there is none.
I do put everything back where I found it before I check out.

Posted by
5221 posts

I've been known to slip into a McDs now and then when I just want to refuel rapidly. I'm not a fast food connoisseur but I have noticed that the McD staples taste different in Europe. I do miss the bacon-and-egg type breakfasts I'm used to when traveling here (sorry, the British "fry up" can't compare) but yogurt and great pastry go a long way to compensate.

Posted by
21644 posts

This reminds me of a posting several years ago with the recommendation that if you truly wanted a good cup of coffee in Paris, be sure to bring instant coffee from home and make it in your room. We have not bought any Folgers since our trip to Milan in the summer of 1990 and we drank Italian coffee at little stand up coffee bar across the road from our hotel.

It is interesting that you found French food bland. That was not our experience.

Posted by
2945 posts

The Rick Steves Forum, of course!

Posted by
270 posts

I usually try to engage in local food in Europe but I am not a foodie and have found this difficult in other parts of the world. Sometimes you just need something familiar. I flew from Toronto to Thailand with a stop over in Taiwan. My flight to Taiwan left at 1 in the morning Toronto time and I did not sleep on the 14 hour flight. At the airport in Taiwan all I could think about was finding a Starbucks or something different. Could not face an unfamiliar coffee. It was so good. I think it was my only Starbucks during my three months in Southeast Asia. But felt it was needed.

Posted by
1734 posts

S J - you're after my own heart. And I've been known to throw out a jar of garlic powder that makes the kitchen reek every time you open the cabinet.

Posted by
402 posts

After several days in Florence with great Italian food, I took a day trip to Lucca. After arriving back in Florence at 6 pm, I went to the 1950 American Diner near the train station. I found it on the map while researching restaurants and decided to try it. It was a nice change and the burger and fries were quite good. They were playing American music and the atmosphere was fun.
I've also been to McDonald's in Berlin, Dunkin Donuts in Madrid, and Starbucks in Dublin. It's kinda neat going to American fast food restaurants in other countries and see how/if they do things differently. I rarely go to these places in the States.

Posted by
1027 posts

I also try to eat an Indian meal on every trip. It reminds me of home. Toward the end of the trip I want a hamburger, doesn't have to be an American chain. I also start craving an American style salad with Romaine lettuce, mixed veggies and fruit.

Posted by
759 posts

"engage with locals instead of fellow tourists," Where do you think locals go...those McD's KFCs are full of locals. Very few "tourists" ever interact with locals. Meeting a 'local' and dropping in to their house for dinner is the stuff of myth (and TV producers).

Posted by
7445 posts

We love trying new, local foods when we travel and this is a very important part of travel for us. We have never slipped and bought nor eaten any American food abroad. Our favorite food is Asian and had a hard time leaving Japan. We rarely eat beef so no McDonalds abroad or at home. Each to their own but this is how we travel.The hardest places for us to eat local foods were in Central Europe, meat centric.

Posted by
1163 posts

Water refills! When we return home we luxuriate in the free water at restaurants. We never appreciate more having our glass refilled with more water than that first week back, and we drink pitchers ;p

Posted by
1248 posts

We are all for immersing ourselves in the culture but I can only eat so many cold cut, cheese and sweet bread for breakfast so while in Rome on day like 15 of our trip we just wanted Bacon and Eggs, so we were in Campo de'Fiori and saw a restaurant that had an "American Breakfast" sign so we gave it a try, they almost got it right but served a salad with the meal. It was tasty and hit the spot. I plan all our trips, my husband goes with the flow 99.9% of the time, so if he want's his Starbucks or a Whopper (no Burger King in our hometown) I indulge him 100% and we always have a different experience than at home, the ordering at these fast food restaurants is different, we can get beer, there are menu items we don't have at home, so yea it's kinda fun and cheesy to eat there...and guess what? It's all locals, mom's with babies, young people, families, talking a break from shopping, going home from school, just slice of life stuff...no one is talking English.

In Sorrento, we had the best burgers at N'Hambu, horrible customer service, we got them to go with fries, walked back to our hotel, had the outdoor courtyard to ourselves just the husband and I, and ate our delicious cheeseburgers under the star's on a warm Italian summer night and it was one of the most memorable nights.

I am an introvert and never talk to anyone, my husband on the other hand, I can leave him at the airport to go to the restroom and come back to him engaged in conversation....happens everywhere we go.

Posted by
3239 posts

Having taken a couple of Culinary tours- Tuscany/Umbria, Southern Italy/Sicily, I don’t miss “American” cuisine! As far as other places we’ve traveled we enjoy trying the local cuisine part of the time. That said, in Prague we discovered a wonderful Japanese Restaurant that had our favorite Kirin Beer! We rarely eat beef, so in Vienna we had an excellent Italian meal one evening. My favorite is the Jewish cuisine we’ve had in Budapest, Rome, Venice.. In Greece I enjoy the Mediterranean cuisine.

Posted by
191 posts

As one of the people who made the McDonald's comment, I actually do agree. There are times when that little slice of home is helpful or comforting or just convenient and fast. I think the point is more about being open-minded, trying different foods, etc. and less about McDonald's per se. If, after two weeks of local food, you just want a cheap burger on your way home from a long day of shopping, by all means get the burger--heck, the locals do. Just don't be the guy complaining that he can't find a McDonald's anywhere and don't they have any real food in this country? I think that is what is meant by that type of comment--at least it is when I made the comment.

Posted by
1133 posts

Never underestimate good wifi at fast food joints. In Seville I was able to do some work for the price of a tea in Starbucks. Same in Barcelona where the local McDonalds helped us navigate our way to where we wanted to go due to free WiFi. I will say that that McDonalds had better tasting fries and the coke was better tasting(I believe they don't use corn syrup). And both were crazy busy with locals. People who say Europeans don't eat American fast food have never been inside a Mickey Ds in Europe.

Do they still serve beer at German McDonalds? My friend went on a foreign exchange in college and the one thing she mentioned a lot was the beer in fast food restaurants.

Posted by
278 posts

My two cents, but just really a warm memory for me. 16 years ago in Prague, with my dear friend and her daughter visiting for a few days (daughter lived in Germany with hockey playing boyfriend and for my friend and I, first trip overseas 😃). Anyhoo, at that time, after a few to many drinks in A local hockey hero’s bar, the next morning we needed badly a good cup of coffee. And thank you Jesus, across the street was a McDonalds serving coffee that cured what was ailing us and we were able to catch our train back to Germany. Not a culturally foodie highlight, but oh so good!

Posted by
3789 posts

I have to adapt to food sensitivities and the easiest way to do that and maintain some creature habit is to rent apartments. As long as I can start my day over a couple of cups of coffee and a breakfast I can eat lounging in my jammies, I'm good to face the day. I will also admit to dragging around a sleeping pillow to suit my neck and sleep habits. I cut it down to about 2/3 size and it still fits into 'carry on only'. I will admit to being a bit of a princess for sleep comfort.

Posted by
169 posts

As much as I love trying "local". I usually squirrel away a huge bag of M&M Peanuts in my luggage. And after several weeks, crave the salt of chips - so head for the Pringles in the local supermarkets (thrilled to find similar in the Shanghai airport when plane was delayed several hours). We had fun helping the "non-French" tourists decipher the 5 Guys menu on the Champs-Elysees.

Posted by
3657 posts

What I miss especially in the UK, but sometimes elsewhere as well, is a real coffee-making option in the room. Not instant!

Here at home I use a 6-cup Bialetti moka stove top pot and espresso ground coffee. That size Italian pot actually makes 2 my-size cups of coffee. I put .75 cup of milk in the cup, microwave it for 1.5 minutes and add the hot coffee to fill the cup. I sweeten it with a half tablespoon of raw sugar.

I'll admit that I'm addicted, but almost any real brewing option would work for me. Like I just advised my husband, don't go telling me to go down to the hotel lobby or breakfast bar to get coffee. The whole point is to be able to have coffee in the room before I shower and get dressed to go down to breakfast.

That's one of the reasons I prefer to stay in apartments as much as I can. They come the closest to my typical relaxed morning routine at home. Sadly, even they don't always have coffee brewing options and I have to use instant, she whined.

Posted by
8258 posts

Exactly the same Lo, 6 cup Bialettiti. I just bought a stainless steel one for our induction cooktop in France.

Anyway, yesterday for the first time after being in France a month, I ordered a coke with my steak frites at lunch. No idea why since I don't drink pop in the States. Next I picked up a jar of Skippy crunchy in Carrefour for breakfast pbj.

Posted by
2396 posts

I bring a box of tea bags from home every trip and have them in my pocketbook when we go out. I’m not a coffee drinker but can appreciate wanting a familiar brand. I bring Tetley tea, can never find it anywhere. Also, many places seem to be vegetable deprived, I do start to crave broccoli or cauliflower or green beans or Brussel sprouts.

Posted by
2177 posts

dinner before 9 PM

For so many years our lives revolved around our kid's sports; it was home from work, wolf down something to eat at 5:00 and then off to a game or practice 8 days a week. That 5:00 meal is something I can't-or don't want to shake and I struggle with it overseas. We often find ourselves alone in restaurants because we show up so early. I struggled on our RS tour in France because we weren't heading to restaurants until 7:00 and then we were staying for 2-3 hours. I was getting ants in my pants about half an hour in and couldn't wait to escape and explore during those prime photography hours as the sun was casting long shadows.

Posted by
3923 posts

After a while I start to crave a good homecooked meal - usually mashed potatoes with gravy and veggies and a glass of milk. Mashed potatoes aren't really something I find on menus...so if we're at an airbnb with a kitchen, I might just try and at least do mashed potatoes and a chicken breast or something - eating out all the time does get tiring/boring.

When we did the south of France a few years ago, we stayed in Manosque and visited a huge market in Forcalquier - I picked up potatoes, carrots, half a rotisserie chicken, cheese, bread, cookies - and at the airbnb made a nice homecooked meal that night for supper. My palate isn't that huge, and salad/pizza/burgers gets tiring after a few weeks. Other times I've bought chicken cutlets and pasta and cooked that up. Again - if at an airbnb with a kitchen (and if we have a car to make transporting food easy) I'll buy Cheerios and yogurt and white bread and orange juice and milk so I can have my usual breakfast.

And on meeting locals - this is why I loved couchsurfing back when I didn't just go with airbnb - we met some wonderful locals who would show us around and usually feed us - one particular spread fed to us by a couple in Bern really stands out. It was just meat and cheese and bread, but it was lovely. Or the gal in Augsburg who fed us really well.

Posted by
8657 posts

Iced tea. I don’t drink soda and sometimes I just don’t want plain water. Apparently it’s not appropriate to drink wine all the time. :-) I like iced tea when it’s warm outside. For years the only iced tea I could find in the European countries I went to was peach iced tea in a bottle. Nope, I just want black iced tea. Five years ago we were in Prague and my husband wanted coffee, so we stopped in at Starbucks. I thought of a local restaurant at home that gives you a tall glass piled high with ice and and hot tea to pour into it. Why couldn’t I make my own iced tea? So I did. I ordered a hot tea and asked for a cup of ice. I was in heaven. Now I knew how to get what I wanted. In Paris a few years ago I stopped at a Starbucks to use the bathroom. I had to order something to get the code and I noticed they had iced tea on the menu. Perfect. Well, it was tea. Not very cold though. The tea was lukewarm and there were two cubes of ice. Of course the ice immediately melted. A couple of days later I stopped by again and this time I asked for a lot of ice. They gave me four cubes. Oh well…it was tea.

Posted by
2177 posts

A couple of days later I stopped by again and this time I asked for a
lot of ice. They gave me four cubes. Oh well…it was tea.

Ice for all drinks. I can't say I seek it out, but I would make a beeline to an establishment if it was offered. My wife at home is never without ice water. Our first time in Europe we didn't know about the lack of ice, and our first night in our Rome hotel she asked for a bucket of ice. The guy at the desk was very concerned that she had hurt herself and needed an icepack. When she explained all she wanted it for was for a cold drink he happily went to the staff fridge and gave her 4 ice cubes in a glass. Every night after that he had 4 ice cubes waiting for her when we got back to the hotel. Not what we really wanted, but when in Rome...

Posted by
806 posts

I don't even bother to wait until I crave my usual home breakfast of muesli and tea --- I just take what I know I will want with me to Europe. And I eat and drink it as soon as I wake up rather than having to get dressed and go have breakfast with other....people. All other meals I am fine with!

Posted by
5766 posts

Gee Nancy, I have had milk with my muesli, but never tea, I will have to try it.

Posted by
10930 posts

I'm a firm believer in "eat local, drink local." If I wanted someplace to be like home, I'd stay home. But sometimes, you can't help getting something familiar.

In Chur, Switzerland, after checking into my hotel room I decided to take a short nap. That nap turned into a real sleep and I awoke just before 10 pm. I was hungry and wandered around trying to find someplace open. I turned the corner and there stood the "golden arches." Not what I would have chosen for a meal in Switzerland, but I was able to take it back to my room and banish the hunger.

While wandering the labyrinth known as the underground shopping center at the Kyoto Train Station, I happened upon a Starbucks. After a long day of touring, and what seemed like an even longer wander around the Train Station (3 separate shopping centers), I thought a sit down while sipping a Flat White was just what the doctor ordered.

I will say, however, since I spend a lot of time in London, I have been known to get a burger at Byron's (which no longer exists) or Gourmet Burger Kitchen. And a stop for coffee at Cafe Nero wasn't a rare thing. The only restaurant open on Christmas Day near my hotel, that didn't require reservations, was KFC.

Posted by
1730 posts

What a great thread! How we choose to eat is as interesting as how we pack. Part of the fun of trying places like Starbucks and McDonalds is to see how they are adapted to that particular country. We make sure to temper our expectations knowing it won’t be exactly the same. Diet Coke is pretty much always Coke Zero these days and frequently at,or close to, room temperature. The longer we travel, the better we are at letting go, although I think I still travel with Folgers crystals and hope for an electric kettle in the room. A “slice of home” is more about familiar surroundings like a certain hotel, restaurant or neighborhood.

Ironically, (and maybe this cured us for the future) the hardest time with food was when we moved from southern CA in the mid-70s to central MA. The closest Mexican food was in New Hampshire and still didn’t come close to what we were used to on a frequent basis. That was a long 3 years.

Posted by
1082 posts

Andrea, I had a similar Starbucks experience in Leicester concerning iced tea. I was thrilled to discover they had it, but to them it seemed to be an oddity, and an expensive one at that. Many of the baristas had to get someone else to explain how to make it.

What I now do instead is buy or fill a bottle of water and then smoosh in several tea bags to make cold brewed tea. Works best to leave it overnight in a refrigerator (but getting accomodations with a refrigerator is another story). Not as good as real brewed with lots of ice, but it'll pass, at least for me.

Posted by
2212 posts

I can’t think of any American foods I have to have when I’m away. However, I’ve been to Disneyland Paris twice, so I’m not about to criticize anyone who seeks out American food or anything else in another country!

My husband loves going to Starbucks on vacation, especially when we are in a country like France where they serve coffee in cups the size of shot glasses. I don’t drink coffee, but I’m happy to accompany him so I can use the bathroom!

Posted by
8657 posts

Paul, that’s a good solution. We like to stay in apartments when possible and I guess I could just make my own at night and put it in the fridge. Maybe I should pack an ice tray. Just kidding…sort of.

Posted by
2677 posts

Pasta! In Italy I’m all set and can indulge while eating locally. In other countries I will seek out Italian or vaguely Italian influenced restaurants.

I will go to McDonalds or the like for convenience but I don’t seek them out. But if I need a bathroom and a quick snack I don’t care that I’m not getting the best local experience. If want to go to the bathroom, eat a pastry and go on my way quickly, it works. Especially at weird hours where other places are closed. I will say I’ve never done this in Italy because the stand-up coffee bar on every corner is just better, but I haven’t found a similar local-and-fast option other places.

Posted by
2396 posts

It was so hot in Venice one summer we went into the Hard Rock touse the bathroom and get some a/c. We had a fruity Non-alchoholic drink at the bar and basked in the coolness. Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta….

Posted by
26 posts

I'm a Diet Coke addict, and always miss it desperately in Europe. Coca Lite is foul, and deserves to be consigned to perdition.

One of the happiest moments of coming home is always getting real Diet Coke on the plane back to the states...

I do like trying "regional" cuisines in other countries - Italian or pizza places in Denmark and Norway, Indian in France, etc. It's fun to see what the local take on them is!

Posted by
2177 posts

It appears from the comments that food and coffee tops the list of creature comforts we seek out. What about hotels? Based on this forum I probably already know the answer, but do people miss a good North American chain hotel with a big bed, big room and an ice machine down the hall? I do, but not enough to actually seek them out. I still love the smaller boutique hotels, but I usually try and find a room with a comfy chair I can use to sit and read and usually a free breakfast that is standard at most mid level chain hotels. The more North American the offering, the better.

Giving it even more thought, just like at home, while away I still crave the news stories from home as well as keep track of all my teams; Flames, Stampeders, Blue Jays, Seahawks, etc. As a result in a hotel, wifi is always a must so I can stay connected with home-not connected with my family, just my daily routines.

Posted by
1730 posts

Allan, when we first started international travel, we used to schedule a night or two in an American-style chain for my XL-size husband just so he could breathe. Your comment made me laugh. We stick with a queen-size bed at home just so international travel won’t be so stressful for sleeping. He can go without a lot of things, but not wi-fi. During one trip, we actually had better Internet for a nominal fee at Premier Inn County Hall than Hilton Paddington where it was free with his reward status. We’ve pretty much learned how to avoid closet-size hotel rooms, so no longer need a XL-size room for a break.

Posted by
1197 posts

Nothing is better to see during your first trip to Milan than a McDonald's right in the middle of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II - NOT. Fortunately, we noticed it was gone during our second visit. We never eat at American restaurants while in Europe and always try to stay at local hotels.

Posted by
1248 posts

For Hotels my requirements are Location, Price, Breakfast included in the price and good reviews. I use this board for recommendations, mark them as "likes" on Trip Advisor so I can go back later when I am actually planning a trip and revisit them.

Posted by
1837 posts

We value location and price. And good reviews too as mentioned above. Amenities, other than coffee option for breakfast or a coffeemaker in the room, don’t figure highly in our choice. We spend very little time in the room. Rarely we may return in the evening to drop some stuff before dinner but most often we don’t. The downside is we don’t travel much with our closest friends who do indeed look for lovely rooms with creature comforts and nice views.

Posted by
1 posts

I grew up eating McDonald's. When visiting Paris and London, my husband and I stopped at McD's more than once to have a quick, cheap meal that required no translation and tasted like home. We ate better food elsewhere but sitting in those familiar booths was just part of the fun.

Posted by
6500 posts

Even French chef Jacques Pepin* said (in defense of McDonalds), "one goes to McDonalds to eat, not to dine".

Posted by
260 posts

This one took a while. In my 500+ nights of summer trips to Europe, I miss almost nothing about home.

But then it hit me: big portions of protein. At home I'm an active fella, workout and do outdoor sports every day. At restaurants and in supermarkets, meat is cheaper and served in much greater abundance in the USA. Which for better or worse I do appreciate. Sandwiches in particular in the US have way more protein. In Europe I'm often like "damn it's been 3 days since I've had more that 10 grams of protein at a time."

This last time in Switzerland I was stoked to figure out that for some reason canned tuna costs less per gram at home. And good quality. Bought a tube of mayo and stacked some of those cans up in the rental place, nice to eat after 15 mile hiking days back to back to back to back.

All in all don't miss anything, but for sure hit up fast food or whatever else floats you boat, your nickel and your vacation 😎

Posted by
145 posts

While traveling, my main goal is to distance myself from the normal routines and experiences of my daily life.

Staying in small, family run B&Bs or hotels, eating in the neighborhood restaurants and cafes and disconnecting from my need to constantly check in on emails and the news.

However, the first thing I do on arrival back in the States is hit the airport restaurant for a greasy North American breakfast.

Posted by
466 posts

Giving it even more thought, just like at home, while away I still crave the news stories from home as well as keep track of all my teams; Flames, Stampeders, Blue Jays, Seahawks

WHAT?? A Calgarian rooting for a Toronto team...???

Posted by
2177 posts

Only the Jays, never, ever the Leafs.

Posted by
808 posts

Several years ago while on a mission trip in Guatemala, our hosts brought our group into the city and we stopped at McDonalds for lunch. I guess our hosts thought we’d welcome something familiar, after a week of homemade food. It turned out that the patio had the most amazing view of a volcano and the menu had some items we don’t see in the States. Now when we travel internationally, we seek out McDonald’s with a view. You know they’re everywhere! Some are in some great spots. (Ever heard about the Pizza Hut with amazing view of the pyramids at Giza?). And we try menu items we don’t see in the States, whether it’s cheesecake in Italy or papas in Guatemala. And sometimes you just want those fries. It’s all part of the fun.

Posted by
3590 posts

McDonald's is indeed surprisingly "localized"... Here in France, they feel much fancier than my memory of US locations (although it's been a while), with better food too, and prices to match (to a point where you don't save much money vs a simple bistrot meal, at least outside Paris).

Posted by
6230 posts

My first visit to Windsor was at least 20 years ago. Remember walking from the train station and being immensely disappointed to see a Burger King. Just felt wrong.

When abroad I’ll stop in McDonalds to use their restroom.

If peckish I will get fries and a soda. Not a craving, just a practicality.

Other than a cold glass of milk I don’t miss anything food wise from the US when I travel.

Heck, on my first drive around Ireland I lived off Pringles, Snickers, and Still water.

My MD chastises a lot.