- 21. Australia: Vegemite
- 22. Maldives: Young honey coconut
- 23. Berkeley CA, U.S.A: Chez Panisse restaurant
- 24. San Francisco CA, U.S.A.: Tacos in the Mission
- 25. San Diego CA, U.S.A: Mexican food
- 26. Victoria BC, Canada: Goldstream Provincial Park
- 27. Washington DC, U.S.A.: Ben’s Chili Bowl
- 28. Nederland CO, U.S.A.: The Carousel of Happiness
21. Australia: Vegemite
Vegemite is a right of passage for every Australian. This black, yeasty, salty spread is in every pantry in every house in the entire country. This maybe a slight exaggeration as I am sure there is the odd Aussie that doesn’t like but let me tell you that is rare. For this reason, you can’t go to Australia without trying Vegemite, but you should get an Aussie to prepare it for you.
Vegemite is a spread that goes mainly on toast but that isn’t to say it doesn’t belong on a sandwich, on savoury biscuits, the odd pancake goes alright too or even in pasta. So, as you can see Vegemite is unique.
If trying it for the first time, I suggest on toast as this is the best way to have it. BEWARE – don’t layer it on like Nutella and peanut butter you experience will not be pleasant. So, you find yourself in Australia, there is no Aussie in sight, but you have Vegemite, bread, butter and a toaster, well this is how you prepare the most epic piece of Vegemite on toast:
- Place the bread in the toaster and toast until light brown (my preferred preference) but could be darker if you wish.
- Slather and I mean slather your toast in butter that melts. [This step is supremely important because if there is not enough melted butter on the toast there is a chance I won’t even like it and I LOVE Vegemite.]
- Take a small, small amount of Vegemite and smear it sparingly across the melted butter. [DO NOT make the toast look brown! The toast should be mainly yellow from the butter with light smears of the Vegemite]
- Voila, you have the best piece of Vegemite toast possible – so EAT!
And as you can see I love Vegemite that much that it is currently accompanying me in South America where I could celebrate with this glorious photo in the salt flats of Bolivia.
22. Maldives: Young honey coconut
Did you know that Maldives has one of the best coconuts in the world and the honey coconut is one of the sweetest coconuts among the coconut family? In Maldives, there are professional coconut tree climbers that spend their whole lives climbing trees to pick and choose the best coconuts.
The tropical sandy atolls of Maldives provide the best climate and conditions for this extremely salt tolerant palm tree to grow and bear fresh fruit. Its shell is used to make ornamental souvenirs while its white fleshy “meat” rich in fibre, is a delicious delicacy among the Maldivians. Coconut water is most popular for both its sweet refreshing taste that leaves you craving for more and not to forget, its health benefits. No wonder it’s a hot favourite for all guests in Maldives after a whole day basking in the sun.
What many may not know is that xoconut water is one of the best things one can consume daily. About 100grams of coconut water contains 95.5% water, 0.05% nitrogen, 0.35% potassium, 0.56% phosphoric acid and more… Research has also shown that coconut water contains more potassium than energy drinks, while it provides natural sugars instead of altered sugars in most energy drinks.
For the party lovers who love to drink, this honey coconut is also best to counter hangovers! These days, beverage companies are leveraging on the increasing health conscious society by selling packaged coconut water, but nothing beats drinking it fresh. Many celebrities and models remain youthful and beautiful by drinking this daily, and it is also a good drink to encourage weight loss and improved skin conditions.
So need I sell it further? The honey coconut from the island of Maldives is a must try for whoever visiting here!
23. Berkeley CA, U.S.A: Chez Panisse restaurant
Berkeley is famous for sophisticated cuisine and most especially for Chez Panisse restaurant. Alice Waters opened it in 1971, after visiting France and becoming impressed by the use there of fresh local ingredients to make simple, delicious meals. Now her restaurant is world-famous, as is she, for her definitive California cuisine.
You have a choice of eating upstairs in a well-priced cafe that serves a seasonal menu of items such as a baked goat-cheese salad, Spanish-style grilled chicken with lentils, and almond cake with poached Bosc pears and sour cherries. Ingredients are all sourced from the finest local farmers, and though preparations are simple they are always delicious. The pricey downstairs dining room is harder to get into and serves a different fixed-price menu every night (Paul McCartney and President Obama have both eaten here, and limos are often seen parked in front).
Dining occurs inside a beautifully converted art deco-style house with an unusual bunya bunya tree in front. Both venues require reservations far in advance, so make sure you start calling for a reservation a month before. The area surrounding this restaurant is known as the “Gourmet Ghetto” and well worth spending some time to explore, even if you aren’t able to actually eat in the restaurant.
Almost any restaurant in the immediate vicinity is worth a visit – the tapas place next door, the pizza place across the street – and make a good back-up if you decide to try to get in on a same-day cancellation, which sometimes does work. The original Peet’s Coffee house, which was the first in the U.S. to import specialty varieties of coffees and to dark-roast whole coffee beans, is also just around the corner.
24. San Francisco CA, U.S.A.: Tacos in the Mission
As far as San Francisco is concerned, there is only one real debate. Everyone holds an opinion, but locals and travelers alike are at an impasse. What debate am I referring to? Which taqueria makes the best tacos in San Francisco, of course!
San Francisco is a taco obsessed city, and in my opinion, the only way to fully experience San Francisco is to hop on MUNI to the Mission District for a taco tasting tour.
The Mission is a historically Latino neighborhood, and the taquerias in the Mission are as authentic as they come. With the city’s best climate and an amazing street art culture, the neighborhood makes for a perfect place to wander in between tacos. Head to the taquerias topping “best of” lists but don’t skip out on the little shops that catch your eye along the way. Come hungry and pick your favorite spots based on their tortillas, salsa varieties, meat, and a whole slew of other criteria. It is a unique, fun, and totally delicious way to experience San Francisco!
25. San Diego CA, U.S.A: Mexican food
San Diego is known for lovely beaches, near perfect weather year-round, and our “World Famous San Diego Zoo.” . By all means, enjoy all of these wonderful things when you do visit, but to truly say you have visited San Diego you have to try the delicious Mexican cuisine unique to this region.
If you ask any local who has been away from home for a while what they miss most about San Diego their answer (besides the weather) will most likely be, “California Burritos,” “Carne Asada Fries,” or “Getting good Mexican food.”
The fresh California produce available year-around and the cultural influences from Mexico blend together to create dishes which are uniquely Southern Californian.
Popular dishes include the “Surf n’ Turf taco from Lucha Libre Taco Shop, Carne Asada Fries from Lolita’s Taco Shop, California Burrito from Taco Salsa, or the fried fish tacos from TJ Oyster Bar. The surf n’ turf includes steak, shrimp,and avocado topped with Lucha Libre’s secret chipotle sauce, and was even featured on Travel Channel’s Man vs. Food.
If you do not eat meat, you can partake in the veggie tacos, or unique potato tacos. Everyone has their favorites, and there are many great Mexican food places to choose from all over San Diego, so the hardest part will be choosing which to try first!
26. Victoria BC, Canada: Goldstream Provincial Park
When you arrive in Victoria, British Columbia, there is so much to see and do!
You can walk down the cobble stone streets of Government, feed the seals at Fisherman’s Warf, search for peacocks at Beacon Hill Park, taste-test all the craft breweries, but the one thing you cannot miss out on is exploring Goldstream Provincial Park.
Just a fifteen minute drive from downtown Victoria, Goldstream boasts beautiful hikes with great views. If you’re looking for a big adventure hike up Mount Finlayson to enjoy looking out over the Greater Victoria area. If hiking’s not your thing – check out the waterfall and go for a quick dip in the cold water! If you come at the right time of year you can watch the salmon spawn along the river. You can stay for the day or camp overnight and enjoy the built in fire pits to roast marshmallows over.
My personal favourite thing to do is hike up to the Goldstream Trestle. Not only do you hike up above the waterfall for breathtaking photos, in twenty short minutes you arrive at an abandoned railroad track to explore. If heights don’t frighten you, venture past the first trestle to walk across a second shorter one until you get to the tunnel. I like to bring a lunch and eat beneath the shade of the beautiful trees. The trestle offers the most amazing adventures for any fitness level.
After enjoying this park you’ll be wanting to see more so a few runner up “Must See’s” are: Sooke Potholes Provincial Park, Fisgard Lighthouse, Buchart Gardens, Fan Tan Alley, and the Royal BC Museum. Victoria boasts so many great adventures for you to explore you’ll be wanting to extend your trip to see more!
27. Washington DC, U.S.A.: Ben’s Chili Bowl
Classics never go out of style & during my decade living in DC, this was one of my absolute favorites. Ben's Chili Bowl has been keeping customers – including me, President Obama, & many others – happy for nearly 60 years 😊 It survived some storied history & race riots and is still a Black family-owned business in this 'Chocolate City.' And the chili dogs? Today for lunch, as delicious as always! Happy Friday, everyone!! How are you kicking off your weekend?
Ben’s Chili Bowl is one of Washington DC’s most iconic eateries, a popular local spot that is a must for anyone visiting. Founded nearly 60 years ago, it has been a mainstay of the U Street corridor from the jazz heyday of the 1950s, through the race riots following the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and continuing through the recent gentrification of the neighbourhood. In a city nicknamed ‘Chocolate City’ for its large Black population, Ben’s is notable for being one of the few Black-owned businesses still operating, for the many celebrities who have graced its booths, and of course for the food.
The signature dish is the chili half-smoke, which involves a half-smoke sausage on a bun with chili ladled on top. There are also hamburgers, fries, and even several vegetarian options. My go-to order is a chili dog, cheese fries, and a chocolate milkshake.
When you arrive – at any time of day or night – there will often be a line out the door and sometimes around the corner and up the block. With many nightclubs and music venues in the vicinity, Ben’s is possibly most crowded in the late night hours, so aim for eating there during daytime and go on weekdays if you can.
Also, plan to eat at the restaurant. The walls of the classic interior are filled with photos of the many celebrities who have enjoyed a meal at Ben’s Chili Bowl over the years. So wherever you end up sitting, be sure to stroll around and take a look at all of the pictures displayed throughout the many rooms before you leave.
Although there are now a few local outposts, be sure to visit the original location at 1213 U Street, easily accessible on the DC metro.
28. Nederland CO, U.S.A.: The Carousel of Happiness
The Carousel of Happiness was born, ironically, in the most horrific and unhappy of circumstances while Scott Harrison was a combat solider fighting in the jungles of Vietnam. Enduring this trial of body and spirit, he held a tiny music box to his ear between the violent exchanges of gunfire and envisioned a carousel turning in a meadow to comfort and calm him. After the war, he came back to my small town in the Rocky Mountains – Nederland, Colorado – and began to bring his vision to life. He purchased the skeleton of a 1910 carousel frame and spent over 25 years restoring it, and hand-carving over 50 animals alone in his garage and painting them with brilliant colours. Our town held several fundraisers to custom-build a home for it in a round building in the town center. The final touch is a 1913 Wurlitzer organ to provide the music.
People come from all over Colorado to ride it (over and over), and you should, too, if you are ever in Nederland (situated in the middle of the Peak-to-Peak Scenic Byway). It costs only $1 to ride, and the animals are not your typical carousel horses, but completely unique, whimsical creatures – a fish, a camel, a peacock, gorilla, cheetah, frog, moose and 50 others. Each time you ride it you notice new details on the animals.
In 2010, Shara and her husband bought the house Scott Harrison built and carved all the carousel animals in. You can now find it over the garage where the animals came to life when you stay with them at “Cozy and Quiet” through Airbnb.