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My European Food Crawl {Trump works for me} * #clevervacay

Posted Oct 11 2010 12:02pm

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Cheerios® is giving you the chance to win a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, your ultimate family vacation. As part of a paid promotion for their “Do What You Love” Sweepstakes , Cheerios® is sponsoring my post today about what my ultimate family vacation would be. Read mine, Enter the Sweepstakes for a chance to actually win your own fantasy family trip or one of a bunch of other great prizes.

If “professional traveler” were a career choice, I’d so be there (well, there was that stint of almost becoming a Flight Attendant… does that count?) I adore traveling. Whether it’s a short road trip to the mountains or a red eye across the Atlantic, I’m content either way – there’s just something about going places that makes my heart flutter. So, when someone asks you what your ultimate family vacation would be, you’d think I’d be able to ramble off a complete itinerary in 6.2 seconds, right? Hmm. Wrong.

There were just SO many possibilities! So so sooo many things we could do, so many places to go, so many different means of transportation. Good thing this is just a “dream” vacay because honestly, friends, I don’t think even Mr. Gates & Mr. Buffet’s joint bank accounts could afford this kind of high class, champagne taste imagination. BUT… hear me out… let’s pretend for just a minute that DesignerHusband is Bill and I’m Warren… so now we’re married and our monies combined.  Also, Donald Trump is our well payed butler. If you’re wondering, Carlos Slim Helu is our best friend & neighbor. Voila! We now have the necessary means to afford this ultimate family vacation. We just won’t pay Donald his salary for a month or two.

Designer Husband pictured with our butler, Donald. I wasn't joking.

Just me & the hubs, we’ll send everyone else a post card.

In my dreams

Our ultimate family vacation – a week long food crawl of some of the worlds best restaurants: Europe edition.

I love food. Let me rephrase that… I love GOOD food. Always have. Then, I married a foodie and my culinary curiosity has since continued to grow.

Our vacations are usually more of the white sandy beach & an umbrella in our drink variety. It’s what I love the most. BUT, it would be fantastic to country-hop and enjoy a new world famous restaurant each night for dinner. So that’s what we’re doing here.

First Stop: Italy!

For Monday night’s dinner, we’ve flown to gorgeous Italy to enjoy the sixth best restaurant in the world, Osteria Francescana.

This is the most cutting edge food in Italy. Bottura is a master of colour, texture and geometry, the results are quite superb looking dishes.

Osteria Francescana’s walls are adorned with some of the best contemporary art in the world, and Bottura matches them on the plate with his artistic skill.

The entrance of Osteria la Francescaa
Image via Wikipedia

Image by Buauro via Flickr

Caccia al piccione
Image by Buauro via Flickr


Tuesday night takes it to lovely France and the infamous Le Chateaubriand. This is one place that I must really visit outside of this dream vacation in my head.

No.11 – Le Chateaubriand

Le Chateaubriand breaks the mould of top French restaurants serving haute cuisine. Its classy, wonderfully inventive food would grace the tables of the swankiest venues the world over but is served instead in a simple bistro setting, complete with zinc bar, chalk boards and hard wooden chairs. Chef-patron Iñaki Aizpitarte always maintained he wanted to create a restaurant where his friends could afford to eat. So this is fine dining at its most democratic; the prices, together with the young, cool staff and the simple, unintimidating décor, draw an eclectic clientele and the atmosphere is all the better for it. Aizpitarte’s dishes are influenced by his Basque roots but also draw on his extensive travels. He has a particular penchant for deconstructing classics and reworking them, and also a focus on pared-back simplicity. There are plenty of bold, imaginative flavour combinations but many dishes employ very little  ‘cooking’ – unadulterated, raw (and usually colourful) ingredients are a significant feature of his menus. A five course prix fixe menu changes daily. You get no choice in what you eat but it’s this system that allows Aizpitarte to keep his prices so low. Affordability and creativity together in one great neighbourhood restaurant, not to mention one of the best-looking brigades in the business. If you’re into that sort of thing.

Le Chateaubriand
Image by Paris by Mouth via Flickr
Le Chateaubriand
Image by Paris by Mouth via Flickr
Le Chateaubriand
Image by jesarqit via Flickr


Wednesday night in Spain! El Bulli made my list not only because it’s the second best restaurant in the world, but because it’s closing shop at the end of next year. If we can make it on to the waiting list, Designer Husband and I would hop the first flight trans-atlantic that we could just to be a part of the history that will be Chef Ferran Adria.

No.2 – El Bulli

2010 Awards – Chef of the Decade

2009 Awards – The World’s Best Restaurant, Best Restaurant in Europe

Ferran’s generous willingness to share his knowledge means his influence now spans the globe. Many of those who have worked with him have taken his techniques and ideas back to their part of the world. Maybe this is what drives Adria to surpass himself each year, in the knowledge that the people who have worked for him are one day capable of topping this list themselves.

Ferran Adria continues to tear up the fine dining rule book, presenting customers with food that often defies description, and maybe even defies the laws of physics too.

El Bulli won the S.Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurant Award no less than 5 times in the last decade. This achievement earnt Ferran Adria the accolade of Chef of the Decade in 2010.

The kitchen at El Bulli
Image via Wikipedia
el mar
Image by In Praise of Sardines via Flickr
fruit (and vegetable) salad
Image by jenny downing via Flickr

Unfortunately, El Bulli announced that it will be closing it’s doors permanently at the end of next year. Before the announcement, there were already 3000 people on the waiting list.


On to the UK! To be frank, I want to eat here solely for the name. I’ll leave it at that.

No.3 – The Fat Duck

2010 Awards – Chef’s Choice

The Fat Duck is one of the world’s truly unique experiences. The Fat Duck has revolutionised the perception of high-end dining among the wider public in the UK and beyond, with it’s scientific, theatrical and (most of all) fun approach to food and eating out.

Nothing on this menu stands still. Dishes may appear year after year, but they continue to be refined and tweeked to perfection. Examples on the current menu include Salmon poached in Liquorice with Artichokes, and Roast Foie Gras with Rhubarb Braised Konbu & Crab Biscuit.

Heston Blumenthal continues to receive the respect and admiration of his peers having this year been voted the “Electrolux Chefs Choice” by his fellow 50 Best chefs.

The Fat Duck - Bray - UK - Exterior-Decor
Image by via Flickr
The Fat Duck - Bray - UK - Cauliflower-Risotto
Image by via Flickr
The Fat Duck - Bray - UK - Taffaty-tart
Image by via Flickr
The Fat Duck - Bray - UK - Interior-decor
Image by via Flickr
Sign of 3 michelin starred The fat duck< in Bray.
Image via Wikipedia


Friday night, our last night of this amazing food crawl, brings us to Denmark and the best restaurant in the entire world. ENTIRE WORLD, people! Hello, Noma!

No.1 – Noma

2010 Awards – The World’s Best Restaurant, Best Restaurant in Europe

2009 Awards – Chef’s Choice

For those in the know, Rene’s colossal achievement of winning the World’s Best Restaurant Award in such a short space of time is no surprise. But just look at the legends he has leapfrogged and you cannot help but think something truly significant is taking place at Rene’s Copenhagen restaurant.

Noma is a homage to soil and sea, a reminder of the source of our food. Take his starter of crunchy baby carrots from the fertile Lammefjorden region of Denmark, served with edible “soil” made from malt, hazelnuts and beer, with a cream herb emulsion beneath – you are literally eating the earth!

Great restaurants are a blend of sophisticated cooking, imaginative ideas and respect for ingredients. Noma is more than this. It’s a experience that reminds you why some restaurants deserve to be revered, and why we created this list.

noma Restaurant in Copenhagen - Main room
Image by via Flickr
noma Restaurant in Copenhagen - the Hall
Image by via Flickr
noma Restaurant in Copenhagen - Main Entrance
Image via Wikipedi
noma Restaurant in Copenhagen - Radish, soil a...
Image by via Flickr
noma Restaurant in Copenhagen - Musk ox and sm...
Image by via Flickr
noma Restaurant in Copenhagen - Steamed spinac...
Image by via Flickr
noma Restaurant in Copenhagen - Salsify and mi...
Image by via Flickr
noma Restaurant in Copenhagen - Walnut powder ...
Image by via Flickr


OK, I’m virtually stuffed and completely exhausted from all of that traveling. If you’ve enjoyed this trip, check out The World’s 50 Best Restaurants to see if there are any near you. I can promise you that I’ll be visiting Daniel , the NY based 8th best restaurant in the world, later this fall.

Feel free to leave it in the comments!

Don’t forget to enter the “Do What You Love” Sweepstakes , for a chance to win your own ultimate family vacation. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity , as I do.

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