A large Kwak at a very cool Irish pub in Annecy, France.
While we were enjoying our lunches, Bill said, "Maybe you should write a post about how to find interesting places to eat."
Since it's a rainy holiday and I'm sure my neighbors would prefer that I not make music (which is what I usually do when it rains), today's post is about finding good places to eat when you travel. Some of the tips will be no brainers and/or obvious, but others might be a surprise. If anything, writing this keeps me out of trouble for awhile. So here goes.
Tip #1-- Follow your nose.
I found this restaurant by following my nose.
On our second night in Reims, we went looking for dinner. At lunchtime, we happened to pass by a non-descript building with its front door left open. A heavenly aroma wafted from the inside of the place. I made a note of where the restaurant was. Then, when it came time for dinner, I literally followed my nose inside the restaurant and soon found myself in what was once an old bomb shelter. It turned out it was a Belgian owned eatery called L'Alambic.
Although I didn't review it on Trip Advisor, I see that other people had the same delightful experience Bill and I did. It really had a very interesting atmosphere. I probably would have passed right by it if I hadn't taken a moment to smell the aromas emanating from the restaurant. So tip #1 is to take a moment to stop and smell the air... then, if you like what your nose tells you, follow it into the restaurant.
Tip #2-- Avoid the main drags and restaurant rows.
This was a "main drag" restaurant that soon became very crowded and annoying. It was mediocre and expensive, although I did observe a man swiping Grand Marnier...
Of course, there are times when Bill and I give into the pressure and eat at a tourist hotspot. We usually regret it, though again, there are always exceptions.
So tip #2 is to consider looking away from the main drag for places to eat. You might be pleasantly surprised by what you find.
Tip #3- Mind the alcoves and alleys.
One of my favorite alley finds!
But then, I happened to look down an alley and noticed an interesting looking sign for what turned out to be an awesome pub. Upon walking through a small, but tranquil outdoor courtyard, we walked into a marionette theater. And then, we were in the theater's amazing cafe, which offered an outstanding array of Belgian beers and was playing excellent music. It would have been very easy to miss Theatre Royal De Toone had I not been paying attention to the nooks and crannies that often get overlooked by tourists.
So tip #3 is to take a moment to explore alleys (as long as it's safe) and alcoves. Sometimes, the best local haunts are located in obscure places.
Tip #4- If all else fails, consult OpenTable or a similar application.
Reiskorn in Stuttgart is one unique place I found on OpenTable.
So tip #4 is to not be afraid to use reservation apps. Sometimes, they will direct you to some excellent places.
A most excellent Biergarten in Linz, Austria. We almost walked right by it.
So tip #5 is to explore the wooded areas. Sometimes, you'll uncover hidden gems there.
Tip #6- Above all, observe!
Don't look now, but there's a famous monk over your shoulder...
So tip #6 is to open your eyes, your mind, and your other senses. You might come away from your meal with a good story to tell.
I probably could add to this list of tips... and I may one day write a sequel. For now, I'll leave you with these few suggestions as I retreat to the futon to watch Little House on the Prairie.