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Lisa’s Foods on Vacation Eating

Posted Jan 23 2012 2:00am

Greetings from the West Coast! To keep you RSSers happy while I’m on vacation, I have collected guests posts from a few food and healthy living bloggers. I asked them for travel or vacation posts.

Today’s post comes from Lisa Fines, who shares her love of vegetarian eating, green living, and food for thought at her blog, Lisa’s Foods . She is also the founder of Healthy Disney , the unofficial guide to getting healthy – with Disney, and at Disney. I met meeting Lisa over the summer at the Healthy Living Summit , and it is my pleasure to have her posting on my blog today!

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One of the best parts about going on vacation is trying new restaurants. And bakeries. And bars. And cafes. But the hard part is, how do you find them?

Sure, your travel guide, if you have one, will give you some ideas, but there are a bunch of other ways to find just the kind of food you’re looking for. And if you’re anything like me, that means local, fresh, authentic food. The fewer chains, the better!


1. Your hotel.

On a trip to Merida, Mexico, I arrived at the guest house late at night, tired and starving. After putting my bags away and freshening up, I went back to the lobby to ask the owner where to eat. He recommended the little restaurant across the street, which had fresh local Yucatan food that was delicious.

While in rare cases hotel managers or owners earn commission by recommending certain restaurants, generally people love to share where they like to eat. I know that I do! Try to ask for a few choices, or suggest the price range you’re looking for, or the type of food. It can help to give a few parameters, but also get a few options out of asking.

2. Random Locals

Yes, I’ve done this.

Usually I wait until I’m in a museum or another tourist site, and will ask people working there. While visiting a temple in Malaysia I asked the security officer for a few restaurant recommendations, and got to try some excellent Indian food, served on banana leaves.

I like to ask for two or three recommendations, since sometimes people will suggest a place that’s way out of my price range, or doesn’t have the kind of food I’m into. But, locals usually love to share their city, and would be more than happy to give you some ideas.

3. Zagat guides.

I’ve been using my Zagat guide for New York City for many years. One of my goals when I visit is to always try new places to eat, so I’ll often browse my Zagat guide by neighborhood or cuisine. Recently I found a great new vegetarian Indian restaurant this way.

While you do have to pay for the guides or for their online service, the reviews are accurate. Rated and written up by real people (not paid restaurant critics), you’ll get some real advice on which places to eat at.

4. Lonely Planet Travel Guides.

If I’m traveling out of the country, you can be sure to see a Lonely Planet guide in my pack.

While it used to be a roughing it kind of travel guide, now Lonely Planet caters to all kinds of budgets and travelers, and you can find anything in them from a hole in the wall pizza place to a fancy three-course meal. Plus, they have other great travel advice and maps, typically too.

5. Yelp.

Use the Yelp website or app to get people’s top choices on where to go. I find it fun to type in a search on my phone when I’m in new city, and you can categorize by cuisine, neighborhood, type of group, and lots of other categories. After you’ve tried a restaurant, rate it yourself to add your own opinion. I like Yelp because it gives you a decent amount of information in a quick search.

Looking for good places to eat while on vacation should be an adventure, and not stressful. Always keep your eyes open for the places that are full of people, have lines out the door, or look like the locals are waiting to get in.

Save the food you can eat at home for while you’re at home, but while away, savor the local foods to really get that local flavor.

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Thanks, Lisa! Be sure to click over the Lisa’s Foods and keep reading.

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