When I moved to Argentina in 2011, I wasn’t homesick for my parents. I wasn’t homesick for my cat or even the massive collection of amazing vintage clothing that I’d left behind. I was, however, terribly and unequivocally homesick for the food. I cried over thoughts of my mother’s hippie enchiladas; dreamed of steaming bowls of pho from the home-style Vietnamese restaurant down the street. I’d call my mom and sob about how much I missed spices and fresh vegetables and good beer and pasta that wasn’t cooked to the point of mush. It was my first time truly being away from home and the transition from the variety of New York City to the very limited food palate that I could afford in Buenos Aires was heartbreaking. It was in that moment that I discovered that I am, 100 percent, a foodie. Luckily, my boyfriend is too. We're a foodie couple.
As I write this, I’m sitting in the high rise apartment that we’ve rented for our three-day visa run from Bali to Kuala Lumpur, a city that’s known for its noms. For the past week, every time this little trip came up in conversation I said, “Babe. We’re going to get good beer.” We both just grinned at each other and then I'd list out all of the amazing other foods that we’re going to eat with that beer. Our plan is very simple: work in the morning and then EAT ALL OF THE THINGS.
However, we haven’t always lived in foodie-friendly areas (see the description of my pain in Buenos Aires above), although when we do I’d wager that the majority of our incomes goes to restaurants and fancy grocery stores. We’ve worked out a few ways to make sure that we get our foodie fix, however, no matter where we are. As a bonus, all of these are also awesome date ideas, so you not only get to eat all of the delicious things but you also get to bond with your partner. It’s a combination of the two best things ever: love and food. You’re welcome.
1. Go On A Brewery Tour
Obviously this one only works if you’re in a craft-brewy place, like my home state of Vermont. However, craft breweries are popping up all over the place these days and I’d be surprised if you couldn’t find at least one. Brewery tours are awesome because you get to see how the beer is made, talk to the folks who do it, and (of course) try the beer! We did one at the Anchor Brewery in San Francisco and ended up fairly wasted at 11:00 a.m., totally by accident I swear.
Classier version: winery tours. (So old school.)
2. Find The Food Trucks
How much do I love food trucks? Let me count the ways. These traveling cafes tend to be a little more experimental than brick and mortar restaurants and they’re popping up all over the place. Do a little research to see if there are any in your state and then go find them! The date ends up being fun times two: you get the adventure of seeking out the food trucks and eat all of the delicious things.
3. Pick One Super Expensive Spot
Sometimes you just need to treat yo’ self, even if your income is closer to the “broke” side of things. Pick one fancy place in your town that isn’t just hype (I recommend anything that uses local foods), get done up, and go splurge on a fancy meal.
4. Make Your Own Sushi
Sushi might seem really hard to make but it’s actually pretty easy to do at least rudimentary stuff. Granted, you’re not going to whip out some top level sushi master food, but you can definitely make delicious rolls on your own. Head to the grocery store (probably somewhere like Whole Foods or a local health food place is best) to find nori, sushi rice, and the bamboo rollers that bring it all together. Get a decent bottle of wine while you’re at it and spend the evening dicing, drinking, chatting, and rolling. This is also a great group date or double date activity, as it gives everyone something to do rather than just sitting there and staring at each other.
5. Pick A Recipe And Make It Together
This is a classic for a reason. Pick a recipe for a dish that you’ve both been wanting to try and do it together! Warning, though: it’s good to designate specific rolls in the kitchen, especially if you’re both kind of alpha-types. Otherwise, conflict can ensue and you'll understand the phrase “too many cooks in the kitchen" very quickly.
6. Put Together A Gourmet Picnic
In your town, there is probably a fancy food store with a million tiny little fancy things like cheeses and pre-made foods that you can never justify buying because, well, they’re kind of ridiculous. Instead of going out to a restaurant, go to the fancy food store and buy all of the fancy little things. Empty a bottle of wine into metal water bottle (because the US can’t seem to catch up to civilized countries when it comes to drinking in public laws) and go get classy at your nearest park or beach.
For an extra cute bonus, get dressed up like you would if you were going to a restaurant or bring a vintage linen table cloth to use as your blanket.
7. Sneak Food (And Booze) Into The Movies
Clearly I’m all about sneaking booze into places, which should be obvious considering I’m a writer. That means two things: I’m often broke and I probably drink too much. This idea is a combo dinner and a movie and by “combo” I mean you turn them into one event. Get some kind of food that you can hide in the bottom of your purse and eat with your hands (takeout sushi or nori works well, in my experience) and a box of organic wine and sneak it all into the movie theater. You and your partner can nom away in surround sound.
8. Seek Out Something Different
Whether it’s a new kind of food or a whole new country, different is the key to foodie happiness. Now, of course we all have our standbys and go-tos, but shaking things up every once in a while with something new it a delight to the tastebuds. Go outside your comfort zone and seek out something totally new and different.
9. Eat Crappy Chinese Food In Bed
Because sometimes we all just need a little General Tso’s and a cuddle.
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