In this section, it's all about memorable places I have visited, and like to visit again and again. And the focus is on food - where to get some good, local eats while traveling.

I thoroughly enjoy visiting cities, exploring all the streets and suburbs of a city, taking things very slow and just wasting time sitting on a city bench or a sidewalk cafe, spending all the time watching the local people go about with their daily duties. Then there is food - absolutely the best part of traveling is exploring restaurants of all types, and what draws me back to a place is usually the memory of particular foods - for example, Schwartz's in Montreal, Sal and Carmine's pizza in NYC, and the Taquerias in Mexico City. The food has to be unique and interesting, and the locals must also give it their vote of confidence. This means ignoring all the four/five star high-end tourist dining joints. These are actually risky since either bad food or bad service makes it all doubly disappointing, and secondly, all high-end places all over the world are alike. Why travel for those, travel should be for exploring and experiencing how others live and eat, in their daily routines.

I never make any definite plans about what I'll do when I get to a place - other than walk and eat, a strategy that works only in the truly memorable cities of the world.

Right now, I have two very favorite destinations -- Montreal, and any Latin America city. Montreal is just a six hour drive from Boston, so a a four-five day vacation is a sufficient excuse for me to try get to Montreal. And my fascination with Latin America and its people have given me my most important hobby -- I am trying to learn Spanish (sad to say, I have made little progress on that count even after multiple years of attending non-credit courses at the local school -- but that is ok, this is turning out to be a lifelong quest :-).

Of all the cities described here, I'm most often in Montreal (used to be 3-4 times a year, now down to 1-2 times).

Ratings Guide

Two ratings provided - overall Food rating - flavor, quality, and value - how far does a dollar go. Best food or value gets 4 stars out of 4.

Food Rating:

  • 4 stars/4  Great food.
  • 3 stars/4  Good food.
  • 2 stars/4  Decent food.
  • 1 star/4  OK food.
  • 0 stars/4  Avoid!

Value Rating (approximate ranges):

  • 4 stars/4  Around US$10 per person.
  • 3 stars/4  Around $20 (between $15-$25).
  • 2 stars/4  Around $30 (between $25-$40).
  • 1 star/4  Over $40 per person.
  • 0 stars/4  Avoid! Over $80 per person.