Food is Life: My 10 most memorable food experiences

There is no doubt I am happiest when I am eating. I love food. Food is life. It enriches the soul. I plan my next meal while I am eating the current one.

All my travels around the world are remembered through the food experiences I have. It is one of the many reasons I am so jealous of Anthony Bourdain, I know from reading his essays that his life is not as glamorous as it appears, but I would like to opportunity to find out!

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My 10 most memorable food experiences_Food is Life

Living in the San Francisco Bay Area for the longest time, I was lucky to have nearly every culture's food at my fingertips. Not only that but also so many organic options as well. During any given week I can eat truly authentic Mexican, Burmese, Japanese, Turkish, and Indian food as well as dimsum which I am especially thankful to have access to.

As I think back to some of the 10 most memorable food experiences I have had, it is hard for me to pick a favorite. Some of the highlights are:

1. Fried plantains

Fried Plantains
Photo credit: Steven Depolo

My mother's fried plantains that she learned to make while we were living in Panama. She would get them fresh, cut them into thick slices, and then soak them in ice water. Then she would fry them, transfer to a dish, and salt them. Warm, just off the plate, they were salty, meaty, crunchy, and chewy.

Two great spots to get them in the San Francisco Bay Area are Primo Patio in San Francisco (now closed) and La Costanera in Half Moon Bay.

2. Scrambled eggs

Scrambled Eggs
Photo credit: Mei Ying Chan

One of the first meals my now-husband made for me when we first started dating. I was sick and he made me scrambled eggs that were mind-blowing. Juicy, succulent. Made with a lot of attention in a soup pot (instead of a frying pan) with butter. It requires constant stirring and supervision with the end result being pure heaven, especially when you are sick. Nothing beats it (except maybe KFC mashed potatoes!)

I could eat eggs three meals a day seven days a week, I haven't met an egg I didn't love!

3. Ahi tuna salad

Ahi Tuna Salad

Mr. Misadventures and I went to Big Sur quite often when we were dating. The ahi tuna salad with wasabi and black sesame seeds from the Big Sur River Inn restaurant was something that we always seemed to order (and still do when we visit now). A delicate-tasting salad that is tangy and spicy, you just have to be careful of the sesame seeds in the teeth!

4. Khai luk koei

Khai luk koei
Photo credit: Learn Thai with Mod

My ex-mother-in-law's Khai luk koei – “Son-in-Law's Eggs”. This is a Thai dish with hard-boiled eggs that are fried with sugar, fish sauce, and tamarind, yummy. And with a funny title too to remind sons-in-law to treat daughters right or their “eggs” may be served up next! I know I am not supposed to have many fond memories of an ex, but his family's love for food was one of my best experiences in the five years we were together!

5. Soupish

Portuguese Sopas
Portuguese Sopas. Photo credit: Nanci Grossi

My Grandparent's soupish. This is Portuguese comfort food. Beef brisket cooked a very long time with pickling spices and tomato sauce then served over French bread with fresh mint. I love it, whenever I visited my grandparents they would make it for my family. And now that my Grandmother has passed away, I only have the memories.

6. Moules-Frites

Photo credit: John Williams

Moules-frites in Paris (or Brussels). This is mussels cooked in a Dutch oven with butter, white wine, and garlic – there are other kinds, but this is the classic. With a dish of french fries served on the side. My hubby and I try to have this at least once when we visit Paris. We have also eaten this dish many, many times in Brittany.

This dish always brings back wonderful memories of Paris and whenever I am yearning for France I head to Plouf in San Francisco on Belden Lane, they have 4 or 5 varieties of mussels to choose from, all delicious!

7. Spaghetti Vongole

Spaghetti vongole
Photo credit: butforthesky.com

Spaghetti vongole in Rome. My husband and I had been walking aimlessly for hours when we ducked into a cafe off the beaten path and had a very simple lunch of spaghetti in clam sauce. The sauce was just lightly scented with clam, the pasta cooked perfectly with just a touch of parsley, simple. We tried this dish 3 other times in different restaurants in the hopes of re-capturing the flavor but were never able to.

8. Cream tuna on toast

Creamed Tuna on Toast
Photo credit: Swamp Kitty

My mom's creamed-tuna-over-toast. Whenever my Dad would go on a business trip, my sister and I would beg for either waffles (which I love) or creamed tuna over toast. This dish was just too much like mess-hall food for my dad – tuna in flour-thickened milk with black pepper over toast. It was a mother-daughter bonding meal.

9. Ahi sandwich


Shared in my Sandwich Travels post, I cannot think of Moorea in French Polynesia without thinking of the ahi tuna sandwich my hubby and I ate almost every day. I think of beautiful blue seas, warm breezes, fresh-squeezed pineapple juice, gorgeous sunsets, the smell of coconut and vanilla, and this sandwich.

10. Willow's Inn

Fanny Bay scallop with arugula

My last selection is the entire meal that I ate at The Willow's Inn on Lummi Island in the San Juan Islands. From start to finish everything was breathtaking and delicious in extraordinary ways that I could never imagine. It is one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences that stay with you for years.

Note: This selection was written about my meal in 2012. It has brought to my attention that things were not as idyllic as it seems in the kitchens of The Willow Inn and I am sad to learn about the terrible abuse of both the inn and the chef. I do not condone any behavior that involves abuse.

How lucky can a girl get?!

I have had so much amazing and memorable food throughout my life and I am not done yet! Best of all, I do not *have* to travel at all to partake in many of my other favorites which my wonderful and talented husband has made for me over the years: beef bourguignon or beef stroganoff; rabbit stew with potatoes, carrots, and thyme; shrimp and asparagus risotto, paella and crepes. The list goes on…

How about you? What is one of your memorable food experiences?

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  1. The fried plantains are the best! In the Dominican Republic, they would fry both the green and ripened ones, but the green are by far the best. They would slice them up, fry them in oil, then mash them, then fry them again. Served hot with salt or even ketchup, with eggs on the side . . . it was heaven.

  2. Andi – if you ever need a traveling partner (ha! we’re complete strangers!) it is my dream to become Tony Bourdain. I even used to smoke! But Food and Traveling are my dreams. I will get there someday. I just don’t know how I can justify to my family – “oh yeah, spring break (I’m a thirty-something returned to school) in Thailand?” by myself??? even I manage to talk sense into myself sometimes. I need to slooooow it down – good things are still yet to come in my life. πŸ™‚

  3. Faithful Friend says:

    Oh you are so lucky! I wish I lived in an area that had so many choices. But I can’t complain about good home cooking! πŸ™‚

  4. Oh my, now you really have me thinking about my best food experiences. One of the first that comes to mind is the white truffle risotto at Daniel in New York.

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Tamara, oh that sounds divine!

  5. Kelly @ TastingPage says:

    What a great list you’ve compiled and it’s definitely gotten me thinking. I’d have to include a French style picnic along the Seine with a nice baguette, cheese from Quatrehomme and maybe some foie gras and a terrine or two thrown in. Then there’s some nice wine, good people and a sunset and that’s always my happy place!

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Kelly, I like your memories! I’ll take them as well!

  6. I love the look of the Cream tuna on toast. I know the other meals were more glamorous but this dish sounds so comforting and yummy. I have had dried beef on toast, and I love that, but I like the idea of tuna.

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Kelly, I have never tried dried beef on toast and would like to try that one. But you are right, either way they both are great comfort dishes!

  7. Khai luk koei looks like from heaven! I want to taste all of these!

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Mai, it is so delicious and I haven’t had it in about 15 years. Not common to find in restaurants, it is mainly a home-cooked dish πŸ™

  8. This all looks so delicious! I love to taste new food, and there are a few of these meals I’ve never tried before. No on my list of dish to try!

  9. Toughcookiemommy.com says:

    I love fried plantains. They are a big part of many latin dishes that we enjoy and prepare.

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Maria, they are so delicious, I prefer the more savory dishes over the sweeter ones!

  10. Creamed tuba in toast–homemade corned beef hash with an over easy egg and a slice of buttered rye toast–been years but I still remember them. Then of course there is boiled lobster!! OH and Mussels Fra Diavlo. Luckily I live near NYC and can get almost anything my heart desires!

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Michele, I never thought about an egg on creamed tuna, that would be the best! I am obsessed with eggs and this would be the perfect adition to this dish!

  11. Ourfamilyworld says:

    Everything looks delicious, especially your moms creamed tuna.

  12. eliz frank says:

    Food is truly a great way to create memories… I love the way you presented your dishes and they all look good. I grew up eating fried plantains and we made them differently. But that is the joy of cooking! πŸ™‚

  13. To be honest, had never taste even one of these dishes! But, they looks yummy!

  14. Katie @ Domestiphobia says:

    I’ve never tried so many of these! Time to get crackin’.

  15. Heather | girlichef says:

    I loved the little glimpse into these food memories – which I think are such a personal thing (yet communal – go figure). I’d love a bowl of your grandparent’s soupish – sounds amazing. I love spaghetti vognole (and wish I could have it in Rome), and that creamed tuna on toast – I’ve never heard of eating it that way, sounds like comfort food…I’ll have to try it!

    I have so many fantastic food memories, but one of my favorite is the Smoked Salmon Chowder in Seattle. It was the perfect day with perfect company and a perfect bowl of soup.

  16. Briana Carter says:

    Fried plantains are one of my favorite travel food finds! So delicious and not something you can easily find stateside !

  17. denise low says:

    They all look delicious. Thank you for sharing all of this.

  18. Esther of Local Adventurer says:

    i’m salivating just looking at all these foods!! i love spaghetti vongole. surprisingly, the best one i’ve had was actually in boston.. not italy! we tried several in italy.. and they were pretty good.. maybe we just didn’t find the right recommendations. πŸ˜€ i’d love to get all your food recs for the next time we’re in italy!

  19. Lois Alter Mark says:

    Oh, Andi, I am drooling just looking at these pictures! You know I share your love of food. Looking forward to our next foodie experience together in New York!

  20. Jess Benoit says:

    The Creamed Tuna looks really interesting! Thanks for sharing these πŸ™‚

  21. Mukta Varma says:

    Being a foodie myself I would love to experience the foods mentioned in your top 10 list. It will be great to exchange some recipes if you are interested.

  22. Jaclyn Anne says:

    I have never tried fried plantains but I have always wanted to. Come to think of it, I haven’t tried most of the things on your list!! I need to get out more πŸ™‚

  23. Christine - The Choosy Mommy says:

    Anytime there is an ahi tuna on a menu, my hubby HAS to order it! It is one of his favorite foods and just loves it! The one you had looks delish and I will be sure to share it with him! <3 Christine, The Choosy Mommy, http://www.choosykids.blogspot.com

  24. Nickely Challenged says:

    Why are you tempting me? Salivating on my desk! Thanks for sharing.

  25. Judith Martinez says:

    I too grew up in a multicultural environment (Long Beach) and so I’ve tried a vast array of international dishes. Surprisingly, I’ve never had most of the items on your list! Now that I live near Denver, CO I’ve been introduced to new cultures. My husband worked in the Russian community for 4 years and we tasted many Russian and Eastern European dishes we’d never had before.

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Judith, I am not familiar with a lot of eastern European dishes just borscht, goulash, perogies, I know there is much more to try!

  26. All great memories – whether they involve your ex or not, together they create who you are as a foodie!
    Right now I am sick and I am craving a dish made in a town I lived in for 4 years – Grand Forks, BC. It’s a small Russian town through and through. You would not believe it unless you had the experience of living there.
    I remember my friends’ grandmothers seeing me as an outsider – which I was not having Russian blood and not having been born there – they would speak Russian to everyone so I couldn’t understand. As much as it was a tough place to grow up as the new kid they had one saving grace – The Borscht Bowl. A small restaurant where everything was homemade and smothered in butter. My favourite dish was vareniki and it had to filled with cottage cheese with a side of melted butter. So comforting and so good!

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Murissa, a borscht bowl sounds yummy, I love borscht…or anything smothered in butter!

  27. I love good scrambled eggs and I never can get them right for some reason. It is weird. Hmm. I would have to say the most memorable foods for me would be really good vegetarian foods of any sort but in particular falafel sandwiches, pistachio bak la va and eggplant sandwiches from the Mediterranean Deli in Richmond, VA. Also the donuts at the Sugar Shack.

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Shannon, my hubby taught me the best way of making them. He uses a soup pot. Then he melts two pats of butter (he’s French, they like butter!) and when it’s melted he adds the eggs (beaten with salt and pepper, no milk) then he uses a whisk and stirs them constantly, they cook fast. They are still moist when they are done because of the butter and then you dump them out on a plate and Voila!

  28. It all looks good, but I would most like to try the plantains!

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Jen, can you get them in OK? If yes, by them green and then keep them a day or two. Slices them into diagonals and soak them in ice cold water, then fry them until they are crispy and salt them – delicious!

  29. Jennie Goutet says:

    I popped in just because I missed you! πŸ™‚ Actually I’m searching for a good chateau for our weekend anniversary and for some reason that made me think of you. I know I’ve read of at least one of your chateaux experiences. Those scrambled eggs sound so good right about now! And I also love KFC, almost (or even) enough to bear with the gluten consequences.

    I don’t get out enough so my most recent YUM experience was blanquette de veau. I’m also making tomate farcie for my mom who’s coming tomorrow. Bisous Andi!

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Jennie, salut mon amie! Yes, I have written about several, but my FAVORITE for staying is Chateau Richieux – only about 3 hours away from Paris on the Brittany coast. Thanks for stopping by, I see you are doing wonderfully as usual, balancing home, kids, doggy and author career!

  30. Jeanna Massman says:

    Creamed dried beef on toast is a Midwest staple but I have never tried making it with tuna instead of dried beef. This will definitely be something I’ll try! Do you like Eggs ala Goldenrod; creaming hard boiled eggs and serving over toast?

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Jeanna, where do you get the dried beef? My Mom only made tuna because my Dad was in the Army and they called the chipped beef variety SOS (shit on a shungle, sorry for the language!). I LOVE eggs, so I am sure I would love Eggs ala Goldenrod, what do you use to make the sauce?

  31. They all look so tasty, makes me hungry to watch the pictures πŸ™‚

  32. Laura @Travelocafe says:

    And no pizza? LoL
    Everythig looks very good. Love the quality of the pics. Great food photography.
    Very well done.

  33. tanya taylor says:

    I am now drooling! My first experience with plantains was in Miami. I couldn’t get enough of them. I’ve since tried to make them at home….fail! I don’t think I cooked them long enough but I will try it again. They are so delicious!

  34. tanya taylor says:

    I had to read this post again (as I am a foodie). I remember the concierge recommending mussels when we visited Belgium this year and now it’s on your Greatest Experience list. Next time I WILL listen to the concierge!!

  35. saegan anderson says:

    soupish!! yes! my family is Portuguese and it is sooo good!

  36. clojo9372 says:

    I love love love fried plantains! Definitely one of my favorite fruit snacks. Have you had plantain pie? NOW that is awesome! You gotta try that!

  37. I realy get hungry when I read your blog ! My greatest experience was in Galapagos in a restaurant called Aqua. It was an amazing experience as I love seafood.

  38. What a great list! And the pictures made me drool! We made a sweet fried plaintain dish with sugar and jackfruit wrapped in eggroll wrappers.

    1. Andi Fisher says:

      @Lynne, that sounds delicious!

  39. This is an amazing list, from simple to complex to family recipes. My favorite I would have loved to try is your Grandpa’s Soupish. It sounds delish!

  40. I think it would be fun to travel around and eat too. One of the best meals we had was in Rome ut it was an off the road place, not something that was 5-starred in our guide book.