Why you should care
Because you’re done with cooking for a few days.
OK, it’s unanimous. After slaving away in the kitchen all week, we’re tired of cooking. But, never! — not even after feasting on seconds, thirds, even late-night fourths, of turkey, stuffing and pie — do we tire of eating. On this day after Thanksgiving, OZY would just like to give a shout-out to restaurants. A few of our favorites around the world:
Culinary-minded travelers take note: With Cuba’s limited economic reforms has come better food. We’re not talking Paris-level proportions here (not even Pittsburgh) … but paladares. Real-deal, family-run restaurants in people’s homes, driveways, garages, rooftop gardens — with half-equipped kitchens that go beyond the traditional pork, rice and beans fare, turning out sushi, vindaloo, thin-crust pizza.
And down a dark, quiet residential street in the Playa, is one of the newest, and best: La Corte del Principe, owned by a 60-something man named Sergio, an Italian businessman who moved here decades ago. “I wanted to open a trattoria, a place that felt like home,” he’d said, sitting at one of the 15 or so tables covered in a red-and-white-checkered cloth, beneath a leafy trellis. It comes close: baskets of eggplant and tomatoes (and pineapple) greet you at the entrance; bottles of (Chilean) wine line the shelves; the pasta is handmade (but sometimes supplemented with Barilla). And the freshly grated Parmesan? Straight from the Walmart in Cancun, where Sergio makes occasional runs to stock up on staples.
Whisking us past the waiting patrons, Wally Potts drops us booth-deep in what he announces is “the White Trash Fast Food Café!” It’s an absolute collision of styles reminiscent of red-lacquered Chinese eateries, tiki bars and Studio 54, topped off with a menu that is heavily redolent of the Waffle House chain that populates every truck stop south of the Mason-Dixon line. But better. Much, much better.
San FranciscoThe Nine Lives of Tu Lan
In a town like San Francisco, where foodies take food seriously enough to starve rather than eat any radicchio before its time or out of season, how rare is it that an eatery gets closed down for health violations four times in one year and still rocks a four-star Yelp rating? Extremely rare.
Also extremely rare: food that is good enough to send lines of people snaking out the front, people who’ve waited out the nearly year-long closure to get more of the same again. But it is a gem with a devoted, nay psychotic, following, a Saigon-certified menu with imperial rolls to die for — and prices that mock every sawbuck you’ve ever spent in overpriced Asian fusion eateries. (Likely, uh, in San Francisco.)
With the success of Airbnb on the one hand and the foodie juggarnaut on the other, it was only a matter of time before home cooks started turning their stovetops and dinner tables into income-generating assets. The next phase of the sharing economy boom is dineshare. That’s right: Surf web listings for a meal you might want to eat, and then break bread with a stranger.
The most compelling platforms are pitched at travelers seeking home-cooked meals on their journeys. They aim to provide more “authentic” eating experiences to the roadtripper, backpacker or ethno-tourist, and in doing so, to replace the Rough Guide’s overly trod tourist dives. And, indeed, the offerings on places like Traveling Spoon, Meal Sharing and Cookening whetted our appetites — as they might yours, especially if you’re a gregarious trusting type. (If you’re an introvert, agoraphobe or paranoiac, you might want to stick to the guidebooks.)
That’s right. Restaurant fare can now come to you! Out of leftovers and don’t want to leave your living room?Lightning fast, piping hot and at a pretty reasonable price.
A food-delivery service called Caviar that doesn’t deliver caviar? Correct. Not yet, anyway. In the meantime, though, they do deliver everything else: fish tacos and fresh sushi, beef pho and biftec encebollado. Chicken tikka masala and chicken parm, all the way from Tommaso’s in North Beach, no less. Plus, too many deep-dish pies from Little Star Pizza to count