Hitting the re-set button

When the going gets tough, the get going... somewhere else (where they then order the simplest, tastiest fish around)

When the going gets tough, the tough get going… somewhere else (where they then order the simplest, tastiest fish around)

Travel, for me, is a form of therapy, something I need to do to clear my mind, start fresh, recharge and re-energize.  Recently, when I started to feel more than a little angsty, restless, grumpy, bored, and hot (the not-so-charming combination of feelings that I call Summertime Sadness) I snuck off for a quick jaunt to Portugal. (I know, seems extreme, but hey, that’s how I roll.) An old friend from high school moved to Lisbon a few months ago so I took advantage of his newfound insider knowledge and crossed the pond to meet him.

For one absolutely blissful week, I lounged in the sun, worked on my gluteal muscles by walking up and down Lisbon’s million and one hills, caught up with an old friend and made a few new ones, and just so I could tell you all about it here on this blog, I stuffed my face full of Portuguese deliciousness.

Taking some time off definitely hit the re-set button and over the next few posts I’ll tell you all about the eats that helped me do it.


Cambodia’s national culinary dish

Cambodia’s Khmer cuisine has some delicious food to offer (sorry, fried tarantulas, you guys are NOT included on that list) and my favorite was unsurprisingly their most popular, the one you can find on pretty much every menu at every restaurant in every city in the country: amok.

My favorite fish amok

My favorite fish amok at Rumduol Angkor Restaurant, after a day of temple touring.

Pretty much the national dish of Cambodia, amok is a curry made with coconut milk, peppers, carrots, ginger, basil (probably a bunch of other magical spices, too) and most commonly, either fish or chicken. It’s served with white rice and usually either comes in a banana leaf container or as I had it one time in Siem Reap, inside a coconut.

Admittedly, not the most aesthetically pleasing, but let me tell you it was goooooood! Especially scraping out the coconut meat

Amok is thick and chunky, with a great balance of sweetness from the coconut milk and hot, spicy exotic flavors from the peppers and spices. This, to me, is absolute comfort food. Even times when it was hot and muggy and I had sweat rolling down my face (so basically, every single day of my month-long stay in Cambodia), I loved ordering fish amok (which I preferred over chicken) and now that I’m back in the frozen tundra that is New York, I reeeeally wish I had a piping hot plate of it. I kind of, sort of, learned how to make it (stay tuned for that story…) and this frigid weather might just be all the motivation I need to relive this delicious bit of Cambodian comfort at home.

Hotel living

C’mon, you know it wouldn’t be a trip to England without a plate of fish and chips. And while it is the quintessential pub grub, probably best enjoyed on an old bar stool with a frosty pint of beer, I decided to have mine in bed.

fish and chips

This is the good life.

I work at a hotel so I’m always on the other side of the fun luxuries of staying at one, but now that I was a guest at a posh Mayfair hotel, I wanted to kick back and enjoy one of the best parts of hotel living: room service. And since I’m all about that when-in-Rome thinking when traveling, fish and chips was the only way to go.

After a long day of sightseeing and walking around the entire city, nothing sounded more appealing than a big plate of soft white fish with golden, fried breading on the outside, fat crunchy fries— ahem, sorry, chips— with a little twist of lemon and a dunk in creamy tartar sauce, all while sinking back into a deliciously plush, clean bed to watch TV. Yup, that definitely beats the pub.