Top 10 Worldwide Dabble Does Culinary Destinations

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As the Editor in Chief of Dabble, I get to travel all around the world to taste-test food for upcoming Dabble destination features. It’s a hard job, but somebody’s got to do it…

Featured Image: Southern comfort food: Shrimp and grits from High Cotton in Charleston, South Carolina.Top 10 Faves:

1- Nashville: Locals claim Prince’s Hot Chicken Shack does hot chicken best, and I can’t disagree. A Nashville specialty, hot chicken is battered in buttermilk and cayenne pepper, and then pan-fried. Better have a beer nearby because when we say hot, we mean hot.

2- Barcelona: Cobalt blue water bottles cast a watery tinge onto crisp white tablecloths in the contemporary setting of Matamala. Asking the waiter for a recommendation yields what can only be described as fish donuts. Sounds weird, but the bite-sized cod balls are drizzled in honey and taste like heaven with the accompanying cold beer. A small, well-stocked grocery selection includes fun gift ideas such as the pa amb tomaquet (Catalan bread with tomato spread) kit.

3- Budapest: A must-visit gem of Hungarian home cooking is Cafe Kar. The restaurant is fairly small, not terribly picturesque, and the staff is not overly affectionate (have I wowed you yet?). However, the memorable home cooking makes these minor issues easily tolerated. Perfect goulash, sublime veal tenderloin and a Viennese style, thinly pounded Wiener schnitzel with parsley potatoes are just a few favourites.

4- Toronto: Is there any better way to wrap up a long day’s work than with refreshments on a twinkling patio? Caren’s Wine and Cheese Bar is unassuming and casual in contrast to its chi-chi Yorkville setting. It boasts a varied list of reasonably priced wines and cheeses, as well as a spicy baked macaroni and cheese that’s worth blowing the diet over.

5- Charleston: You can’t go all the way to Charleston without eating some good ol’ Southern cookin’. Maverick Southern Kitchens operates two fabulous restaurants on East Broad Street: Slightly North of Broad (SNOB) and High Cotton. Try the shrimp and grits at both locations. Tip: Don’t fill up on the wonderful corn bread they serve…or do. If you feel like learning how to make a Southern dish, visit Cooks right across the street and participate in a cooking class.

6- Puerto Rico: Lusty describes the setting and menu at Dragonfly, Puerto Rico’s first Latin-Asian restaurant. Red walls, beaded curtains and fringed lamps are right out of Shanghai Surprise, but the food is delish.

7- Santa Monica: Always on a roll, LA food trucks are famous for their variety of fare. Quell midday hunger with a visit to Pennsylvania and 26th streets where you’ll find at least a dozen trucks Monday-Friday. The setting is meh, but $5.00 buys a feast–fish tacos, kogi beef skewers, fish and chips, even a green salad truck.

8- Quebec City: Seeking a truly French meal? Then make your way to la rue St. Jean to Le Moine Echanson. This restaurant comes highly recommended from locals, who tend to be demanding gourmets. Every dish is paired with a wine recommendation. Be sure to make reservations if you want to enjoy this unique culinary experience. Try a savoury dish like the Gratin d’Escargots et Fromage Chevre; you’ll swear you are in France.

9- St. Pierre et Miquelon: Dreaming of a trip to France? Moi aussi. So I pack my bags and do what any croissant-loving world traveller does, I fly to Newfoundland. That’s right. St. Pierre is a small patch of French soil in the province of Newfoundlad. The Auberge Quatre Temps’ award-winning chef, Pascal Vigneau, chats with his guests before dishing out heavenly lobster and salmon (best accompanied with a chilled Muscade or Sylvaner) and the fluffiest lemon-lime cheesecake.

10- Prague: If your taste buds are overwhelmed by hearty Czech fare, stop for lunch at Cukrkavalimonada Caffe. The imposing name translates to ‘coffee sugar lemonade.’ Perfect for salads, omelettes, grilled chicken and tempting desserts like palacinky (Czech crepes).

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Disclosure: This post was brought to you by The new Scotiabank ®* Gold America Express ® Card via Glam Media Canada. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Scotiabank ®* or America Express ®’

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1-2-3 Days in St. Pierre and Miquelon

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A Passion for Travel

When American Express Canada approached me to test drive the American Express Gold Rewards Card, I was interested to see how far these points could take me.After using my points to book a round trip flight to St. John’s, I was pleased at how easy it was to supplement my travel using points I earned on purchases. In total I saved approximately $500 on my fare to Saint-Pierre and Miquelon, which of course gave me yet another great excuse to go shopping.Earning points is easy; the hardest part is deciding how to spend them. But I sure had fun in St. Pierre and Miquelon doing just that. Thanks American Express Canada.

Day 1

SAINT-PIERRE

MORNING After a breakfast of coffee and croissants, jump in Jean-Claude‘s roomy mini-van for an island tour. Stop at historic homes, abandoned fishing plants, the Pointe aux Canons lighthouse and Les Salines Fishing Stations to bask in the local colour.

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12 NOON Lunch happens. You made a reservation, right? At Cyber Poly Gone Home relax with a glass of wine and the special of the day.

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MID-AFTERNOON If the urge for carbohydrates hits, Patisserie Guillard has an eclair with your name on it. Properly fueled, head to Musee Heritagefor some island culture.

EVENING Dinner at Ongi Etorriis a trip highlight. Then off to bed because tomorrow is an early start.

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Day 2

MIQUELON ET LANGLADE

MORNING Catch the 8:00 am Le Cabestan ferry to Miquelon. Disembark at 8:55 am and head to Le Petit Indien for coffee and breakfast. Get a taste of local history at Musee de Miquelon and local crafts at Art Passion.

LUNCH The pizza is delicious, but you may be ready for a light salad at this point. Brasserie Mikhael in Miquelon serves both. NOTE: There are no restaurants on Langlade, so be prepared.

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AFTERNOON Enjoy the unpredictable landscape and wild horses on your drive to Langlade Village. On the way back to Miquelon, scan the sea rocks for visiting whales and seals.

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MID-AFTERNOON There’s time for one last coffee at Le Petit Indien before the 7:00 pm ferry returns to Saint-Pierre. Say good-bye to Miquelon and promise to stay longer next time.

EVENING Reserve a spot for dinner at L’Atelier Gourmand, which is conveniently near the ferry landing.

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Day 3

SAINT-PIERRE

MORNING Time to shop. Pick up French writing supplies at Nouvelle Papeterie, hip fashions at Diabolo-Menthe and French soaps and gifts at La Maison du Cadeau. While you’re at it, some chocolate from Arts et Delice is a great idea.

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AFTERNOON A trip to France without a crepe? Can’t imagine it. Enjoy the selection at Restaurant Creperie du Vieux Port before you walk along the harbour and bid a final adieu to Les Salines Fishing Stations and Pointe aux Canons lighthouse.

LATE AFTERNOON By now, you’ll have adapted to the slower pace of the island, so enjoy a leisurely walk up and down the town’s narrow hilly streets. Stop for coffee at the aptly named Pause Cafe (look for the building with the ‘Loto’ sign).

EVENING Tucked under trees at the top of a short incline is Auberge Quatre Temps. After a superb meal, enjoy a final stroll in the fresh night air.