Hola! I'm Stephanie

You, me & Ratatouille

Published 3 months ago • 2 min read

Have you ever had one of those transcendent food moments, Reader? Like at the end of Ratatouille, where the food critic takes a bite and is instantly transported to his childhood?

I’ve had a few, and of course they’ve all been while traveling.

Like the best peach I’ve ever eaten. My mom and I were on a cross-country road trip from Seattle, where I grew up, to Middlebury, VT, where I was about to start college.

Somewhere in upstate New York, near Lake Ontario, we stopped at a farm stand, and the guy literally pulled a peach off a tree for us. I’ll never forget standing by the side of the road in the sunshine, eating that drippy, messy, perfectly ripe, best-peach-ever peach.

20+ years later, my mom and I still talk about that peach.

The second one was trying cao lau in Hoi An, Vietnam. This is a special noodle soup that you can only get in that town, because the noodles are supposedly made with water from one specific well there.

So I found what was supposedly THE place at what was supposedly THE well, and ordered a bowl for lunch.

I don’t even know how to describe how delicious that soup was.

The broth was so silky and flavorful, the noodles so satisfyingly chewy, the thinly sliced pork so tender, the bowl piled with crisp sprouts and fresh herbs. The kicker for me were the “croutons”: crunchy, flat squares of fried noodle dough sprinkled on top.

The dish had all the flavors, all the textures… it blew my mind. I literally dreamt about that soup for years afterward (I never remember my dreams, but I remembered those).

Another one was in Oaxaca. Iñigo and I had arrived in Mexico the night before and were wandering around the labyrinthine Abastos market, where locals come from all over the region on Saturdays to sell their produce, livestock, pottery, and other wares.

There was a lady walking through the market stalls with a basket, touting tamales de elote. I had never heard of a tamal de elote then, but I love tamales and I love elote (corn on the cob), so of course I wanted one. I’m like a child when it comes to snacks and treats: I see it, I want it, I have to have it.

Holy crap, that tamal.

It wasn’t filled with anything, it was just masa with fresh corn kernels mixed in, wrapped in a leaf and steamed. But OMG was that the most pillowy, cloud-like masa—I’m sure she had whipped a ton of lard into the nixtamalized corn flour. And the sweet corn flavor… mmm! It was almost like dessert. I could have eaten five of them.

But by then, we had wandered away, and she had vanished into the maze of stalls. I wish I had taken a picture of her, and of the tamal. But boy, do I remember it.

So why am I telling you about transcendent tamales?

Because today’s the last day to join my super-small, luxury hosted trip to Oaxaca, Reader. You have until midnight Eastern tonight, and then that’s it—I don’t know when I’ll be offering this trip again. (I’m not just saying that, I’ve got a crazy year ahead.)

Join me and let’s make some travel memories—foodie or otherwise!

I can’t wait to see you there.

Sign up here before it’s too late.

Ciao for now!

P.S. Sign up now for my incredible Insider Oaxaca trip! Spots are limited and doors close at midnight—you don’t want to miss out!

If you still want to receive emails from me but don't want to hear more about Oaxaca, just click here.

Hola! I'm Stephanie


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