I lost my job at a startup back in late January of this year and rather than panic I took it as an opportunity to make lemonade out of my lemons. I called Cara over to my place and after a few bourbons with sweet tea I told her that we should plan another epic trip to Europe. Having gone to Spain for the first time 2 years ago with her after a similar situation arose I figured she would be all for it. Lo and behold, she was in for the adventure. We planned for the next 10 weeks and came to the conclusion that we should make #EuroMessPartDeux a reality by visiting London, France, Spain, and the Netherlands.
#EuroMessPartDeux would be roughly a two-week romp through Europe where we were not only trying to keep a tight budget (remember I lost my job), but also one that would have us visiting the epicenters of global gastronomy. If there’s anything that Cara and I do best, it’s grub. I was a virtual noobie to the food scene until maybe the last 4 years and my current culinary resume has been filled up with the who’s who of restaurants in no small part to my friend, Cara. After all, she’s the travel agent extraordinaire and this woman sure as hell knows her way around the global food scene. The checklist started off with the familiar Arzak, which we had visited on our last trip to San Sebastian, Spain.
A little side-note here: I FREAKING LOVE SAN SEBASTIAN. If I could live anywhere other than LA, it would be there hands down. I used to go school in Santa Barbara, CA and San Sebastian reminds me of everything that I enjoyed about living there and you throw in how wonderful and welcoming the Basque people are, as well as the richness of their cuisine and I would never leave.
Arzak was the jump off point and we opted to include Mugaritz and Etxebarri as new additions to this foodie escapade in Spain’s northern country. So there we had it, Spain was locked down. Now what were we going to visit in France? We were going to spend 3 days in Paris and we were lucky enough to have had the opportunity to stay at Le Meurice just across from the Musée du Louvre and Le Jardin de Tuiliere. World renowned chef Alain Ducasse has a restaurant conveniently located inside Le Meurice and it would have been a pleasure to have eaten at his restaurant, but we opted to visit L’atelier de Joel Robuchon. We had to keep the visits to such great restaurants to these four because of our budget; otherwise we would have to sleep in the local parks just to fund our eating habits. We had only 24 hours in London, so Cara insisted that we eat at the greatest place (according to her) ever – Wagamama. By the way, I soon realized that we needed Wagamama in Los Angeles post-haste.
That was the initial premise to EuroMessPartDeux – to eat fabulously. Lucky for the both of us, we also got to stay in some amazing hotels. Since we both went on this trip we decided that it would be neat to give insights into how each of us experienced the trip by submitting individual posts to this blog and what will follow this entry will be a timeline of our amazing 2014 European Adventure.