10-Day Smart Tips Countdown: Enjoy Local Specialties Only in their Place
Saturday, December 29, 2012 at 4:58PM
Allison Adato in cat cora, smart tip, traveling

Greetings from L.A.!  Since I'm away from home, today's post is about eating while traveling. Especially traveling back to the place in which you were raised if you, like me, now live far from your roots. Those foods you associate with a childhood hometown can have a special pull over you. For me: tamales, guacamole, and my mother's cheese blintzes with cherry preserves -- I love them all (though not all together). You should certainly enjoy your favorites during a vacation, even if they aren't part of your normal diet at home.


 Blintzes with cherries, and corn tamales are two of my at-home favorites. Hmm. Maybe I just like things wrapped in other things?

Cat Cora and I talked about this idea during our Smart Chefs interview. She lives here now, in California, but was raised in Mississippi, where some of her comfort food favorites were fried chicken, biscuits and grits. Though she rarely eats them in her day-to-day life, when she goes back to Mississippi "I'll definitely stop for a great biscuit or a big bowl of grits. It's food you can't eat everyday."

Not to pick on Southern cuisine; California, too, has its once-in-a-while indulgences. Locals who have a problem with In-N-Out Burger addiction should probably leave those to visitors. But infrequent travel can give you a pass to eat in a way you wouldn't normally. I will never go to New Orleans and not eat a beignet at Café du Monde; for that matter I'll never go to Disneyland and not enjoy the seriously substandard "New Orleans fritter" they sell next to the Haunted Mansion—environment is everything, and sugared dough fried in oil and nostalgia is hard to pass up. Do I ever eat fried dough in New York? No, never. But if you're visiting during the San Gennero festival, try the zeppole...





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