Anyone who knows me knows I love to eat, and the time I spend port-hopping as crew on a cruise ship has given me the chance to have all kinds of culinary adventures. So, here are my top ten meals from my travels around the world. Enjoy!
10. Choripan: Montevideo, Uruguay
Near the pier in Montevideo is Il Mercato del Puerto, a market filled with restaurants serving barbecued meats. Choripan is their specialty, a sausage on a fresh roll with an herb dressing … simple but delicious!
9. Room Service: Bangkok, Thailand
On my way to join a ship in Bangkok, I arrived after a ridiculous three-day trip that included an eleven-hour layover in Paris. I was tired, I was hungry, and I felt disgusting. So, after a hot shower, I dug in to a room service meal of green curry chicken and coconut ice cream. It just felt so great to not only have a hot meal, but Thai food in Thailand with a view of the city out my hotel window.
8. Tour of Provence: Marseille, France
While cruising the Mediterranean, I took a great tour of Provence, which included the best meal I ever had on a ship excursion, at a restaurant right on a river. It was just a simple, authentic lunch: chicken, wine, and fresh cheese. And every time someone ordered fish, the chef would go get one from the river outside!
7. Spaghetti House: Civitavecchia, Italy
Walking around Civi, I stumbled on a tiny hole-in-the-wall restaurant called The Spaghetti House. It was small and very basic, with plastic chairs and tablecloths. When we asked the owner for a menu, she just asked, “What do you want?” and brought us huge steaming bowls of fresh Spaghetti Amatriciana brimming with bacon and onion.
6. Ghandi: Lisbon, Portugal
Indian food in Portugal sounds weird, but the place we stumbled onto was amazing. We sat outside, on a little street tucked in behind the main square, and I dug into coconut chicken and a huge garlic naan … yum. I was excited to find this place again three years later, only to find it sadly replaced by a generic Portuguese restaurant.
5. Eprie Rosse: Genoa, Italy
Genoa was a one-time stop during the crossing on the Grand, and I was lucky enough to find an incredible authentic place. It turned out to be a kind of steak house, and we were careful not to order the raw beef. I started with some amazing pasta, only to have our meat arrive barely even warmed. I decided to be adventurous though, and gave it a try. It was nicely seasoned and an interesting experience, but I definitely prefer my meat cooked!
4. Kebabs: Kusadasi, Turkey
I love kebabs: seasoned meat, pita—how can you go wrong? My favorite place was in Kusadasi, where you could sit out in the market and have chicken kebabs with the restaurant’s own special garlic yogurt sauce while watching the world go by.
3. Chicken Run Crepes: Corfu, Greece
Greece has a lot of crepe places for some reason, and the best were Chicken Run … chicken, mushrooms, cheese, and special sauce, wrapped in a crepe made fresh in front of you. They had dessert ones too, but I was always way too stuffed!
2. La Plaka: Athens, Greece
Right next to the Acropolis, in a little outdoor café in the heart of La Plaka market, is an unbelievably delicious Greek platter that can feed four people for only twenty euro. The huge plate of all different grilled meats, potato salad, vegetables, and goat-cheese dipping sauce never disappoints. It’s amazing food with an unbeatable view.
1. Mediterraneo: Puerto Varas, Chile
Hands down, the best meal ever was a taxi ride away from where my ship docked in Puerto Montt, an otherwise unremarkable place. Mediterraneo is a little wooden chalet that I randomly pointed out because it looked cute, but turned out to be incredible. I went with a group, and everyone was sharing everything because it was all so good! I had chicken and shrimp pasta and fresh strawberry juice, and we all loved the incredible French onion soup. It was such a great meal it was worth the fifteen-dollar (each!) cab ride to go back and do it all over again!