Monday, November 12, 2018

Pelikanos Clam Chowder and Other Travel Food Memories

One of the fun things about traveling is exploring the food available where you are. The appetizer table above was from our trip to Provence.

In France my favorite thing was the mussels cooked in wine and served with fries that you dip in the cooking liquid. They came in a large black pot with the mussles on top and the liquid below. The fries were on the side and piping hot and crisp. Scooping the mussels out of one shell with the other and then into you mouth was the way eating them was done by the other diners, so I did it too. Fun!

We also had a really lovely meal with Naomi at her home in St. Saternin les Apt in Provence and another at a restaurant just down the street from her house. The most memorable thing about that was the fiery alcoholic beverage marc served at the restaurant  and, for dinner at home, that you have to purchase the baguette early in the day because they are gone by the time the shops open again in the afternoon, so some planning is required.

The cheeses and pate' were also amazing, but then all the food in France is outstanding. The one pictured above was a very soft cheese, like a brie, but covered with chestnut leaves. The baguettes are the best I've ever tasted, including those I've made myself. Must be the flour...or the water...or the bakers skills?

 In Ireland I tried pub food and enjoyed it, tried scones and was surprised at how long the ones with currants lasted without going stale, and had the traditional full Irish breakfast many times. Still not sure about those blood sausages for breakfast.

Sweetie talks about his time in the Peace Corps and eating breadfruit (which apparently is pretty starchy and not something he enjoyed) and piles of rice, plus whale blubber...canned whale blubber which was fairly inexpensive for protein but still somewhat expensive for most families. He was given a larger piece as an honor, so had to somehow swallow it and look pleased. Fresh fish, when they could get it, was his favorite.

Traveling with children is another thing all together. Katherine as a youngster had very timid food preferences. As a matter of fact, the first time we went to Hawaii she had a burger for her meal the first four meals because it was something she recognized and she knew what it would taste like.

Later she tried and enjoyed fresh pineapple and fresh mango and passion fruit, plus lots of other dishes as time went on. Now she tries almost anything and can enjoy spicy foods that I have trouble with.

Max had an adventurous palette. I think he would try anything probably because he was always curious about everything. When we went to Seattle he talked us into buying fairly expensive fresh King Crab. Of course once he had tasted fresh the frozen kind was disappointing.

On our trip to Victoria, BC, we took a short boat ride around the harbor. The owner and skipper got into conversation with Max and apparently Max asked him about the best place to have clam chowder. We had been doing clam chowder tasting in a few other places during the trip and the goal seemed to be to find the best clam chowder. The skipper told him that Pelikanos, about a half hour drive from Victoria proper, had the best to be found.

Fortunately we had come over to Victoria on the car ferry and had a car. Naturally we took a trip one Sunday to Pelikanos. It turned out to be a fairly small restaurant run by one family. The clam chowder was so good that it is still the gold standard for others to be judged by. It was creamy, filled with lots of clam pieces, just thick enough, lightly seasoned so that the clams were the star and had just the right amount of potatoes. On the way back into Victoria we stopped and watched a local soccer game and enjoyed knowing that we had had a less touristy experience than if we had stayed in the city. In Victoria itself the favorite restaurant was a Greek place near our hotel. I've always loved Greek food and theirs was delicious.

Speaking of Victoria, it is a wonderful place to have tea. The usual place is in the big hotel but we walked through and decided that it was a bit too fancy for a young boy to be faced with, so we went to a local tea room where the tea pots had knitted cozies to keep them warm and the fare came on plates instead of fancy tiered trays. I suspect that the scones were every bit as good at at the Queen Victoria and the tea was certainly bracing.

What fun food and travel stories would you like to share?


  1. The BEST bakery goods I've ever eaten have been in the Netherlands. We were shameless with our eat-and-munch lifestyle; it was SO hot this past summer, and we did so much walking that was the only way to keep body and soul on speaking terms. We found an amazing bakery that made this ...indescribable loaf. It was kind of like a pull-apart monkey bread, but it was a very light pastry in very thin layers, packed into a big loaf pans, absolutely loaded with butter and cinnamon sugar. Even day-olds, which were SO cheap, at something around 2 euros, were amazing, and lasted for days.

    I want you and Sweetie to go to the Netherlands simply so you can enjoy walking and looking at eating, which is really the perfect vacation, honestly. The ground is deceptively flat, so you're walking leagues and kilometers a day without realizing it.

  2. Tanita, now I want the recipe for the bread and to go on a vaca to the Netherlands. I love to walk so it sounds perfect!