Foodie Bucket List: Aspirations for Restaurants, Dishes, and Experiences

September 8, 2017

What’s on your foodie bucket list? Check out what my foodie and blogger friends had to say!

From dining at incredible restaurants to trying rare ingredients, many foodies have some sort of “to-do” wish list in the back of their minds. Bucket lists or life lists, whatever you prefer to call it, are a great way to keep track of life goals and fun way to live your best life. There are so many incredible restaurants in the world and talented chefs behind those restaurants. And can you imagine the numerous dishes that could be made and shared? I love that there are so many different cuisines to discover and foodie cities to visit.

I was thinking about what would be on my foodie bucket list and was curious to hear what my favorite foodies had to say. So, I asked! Below, my foodie and blogger friends, who are world travelers with fun foodie experiences under their belt, share some of their biggest food-related aspirations, including restaurants, chefs, and cities they want to visit and dishes they want to make. I loved all of their responses

Yulia, blogger of The Foodie Miles

As a food and travel blogger, I have a never-ending list of places I dream of visiting and foods I would love to try. Where do I even start?

Let’s begin with Italy, a country that has been on my wish list for the past several years. My biggest dream is to spend several months traveling from region to region and learning how to make pasta from scratch, bake Naples-style pizza, visit a cheese farm, and learn basic Italian. So far, the only word I know is “Allora!” Master of None clearly was an inspiration.

Next on my list is my home country of Russia. I started traveling when I was a poor student who couldn’t afford a cup of coffee, let alone eating out on a regular basis. I would love to spend some time in Russia learning more about its rich food culture. Russian cuisine is on the rise now with many talented chefs re-imagining traditional dishes and ingredients. In particular, I would love to try the tasting menu at Moscow’s White Rabbit that was named one of the 50 best restaurants in the world in 2017.

Finally, I would love to have a dinner at one of Europe’s Michelin-starred restaurants. This year, during a trip to Singapore, I had my first ever Michelin-starred meal, and it was the cheapest in the world too. I paid exactly $2 for my chicken rice. (Picture below!) But I would still love to enjoy a fancy dinner with a dozen different courses in one of European capitals.

The Foodie Miles Bucket List

Kelsey, blogger of So Much Life Blog

I feel pretty lucky to call Austin my home. We have so many talented chefs and fantastic restaurants right here! Of course, I’d love to plan foodie trips to Montreal, New Orleans, Tokyo, or NYC; but I know that while I’m here in Austin, I always have plenty of restaurants that are waiting to be explored right outside my front door. One of the things that fascinates me most about Austin’s food scene is how diverse it is for a city this size. Compared to Chicago, Houston, or LA, we’re a small city, but you can still find incredible sushi, ramen, BBQ, coffee shops, Thai food, cupcakes, Mexican, farm-to-table…you name it.

Jessica, blogger of The Dishstance

I am getting ready to head to Asia for a few months on October 1st. I have been before but only for a few days, and this time I have a new mission. I want to learn about the street food and edible culture in each location I visit. This means I want to do as the locals do and eat as the locals eat. With rumors circulating about the ban on street food in Thailand, I am determined to get there and learn as much as I can in case the ban does stick. This photo (below) is from my last visit to Bangkok in 2013, and you can see the variety of items served on the grill at a single stall! It’s important to note that this food isn’t just for the tourists, it is for the locals too. I was only there for 36 hours, so I tried as much as I could, most of the time just pointing at what I wanted and not really having any idea what I was eating – this time I will be more inquisitive. Of course I want to try the familiar things like som tom, pad ka pow, and larb moo, but I have been reading about all the most exotic things you can find on the streets and I am curious to see if I will actually be able to eat fried spiders, live shrimp and octopus, scorpions, red ant eggs, and more! I can’t wait to share my findings on my blog and Instagram, it’s going to be an epic trip!

Dan, foodie friend

One word: Ortolan. For those of us of a certain age, there are a few celebrities responsible for the modern renaissance of foodies. Alton Brown made food entertaining and taught us the science of cooking. Emeril brought passion. And Anthony Bourdain made it cool. Bourdain seems like a mediocre chef, but his way with words makes him my personal modern Hemingway.

So, in the first chapter of his book Medium Raw, he described a secret, illegal dinner of ortolan. Because of its legality and expense, I doubt I will ever eat it. So that makes it a prime candidate for food Holy Grail all by itself. But it’s how he described the act that has caused it to be seared into my brain.

Here are the technical details: Ortolan is an endangered little bird that has been a class treat of French cuisine for centuries. The birds are fatted up and then drowned in a brandy called Armagnac. (Let’s be honest, I am interested in eating anything where the preparation involves being drowned in brandy.) They are then roasted whole.  You then eat it whole in one bite while covering your head with a napkin, to hide your decadence from God, as the French say.

Eating a bird whole is not normally something I am into. However, Bourdain’s description makes an impression. The napkin traps the aromas all around your head. Once you bite into it, hot fat gushes out of the bird. (Apparently the fat has a taste of hazelnut. I would buy hazelnut fat in a heartbeat.) The bones crunch and scratch, mixing a little bit of your blood with the whole thing. The ortolan explodes in your mouth with a rush of flesh and flavor.

It sounds like a unique and delicious experience. The New York Times said that a single ortolan goes for $187 on the black market. A little pricey, but life is short. Maybe I’ll go to France and see if I can commit some crimes…

Caitlin, blogger of Big World, Small Girl

My biggest foodie aspiration would be to drink with the brewers at Band of Bohemia in Chicago, the first and only Michelin Rated brewpub in the world. This brewpub is accomplishing quite the feat; infusing culinary flavors into beers while pairing them with delicious plates takes twice the genius.

Change is good at Band of Bohemia. The brewpub is always experimenting with innovative flavors and styles so no matter when you visit you can always expect a unique, creative lineup.  Currently, some of the beers on tap at Band of Bohemia include a Guava Pink Peppercorn Rye and the Midnight in Kyoto, a black ale brewed with Cherry Blossoms and Green Tea (yay caffeine!). The weather and snow have always kept me from traveling to Chicago, but now the city’s at the top of my list!

Sharon, blogger of StreetSmart Kitchen

You know what travel means?

Taking a break, relaxing, sight seeing, meeting new people, learning a different culture, eating local food, and doing stuff you don’t normally do in your own town such as cliff jumping, mountain biking, or rock climbing on a gigantic vertical rock located in the middle of the ocean wearing a bathing suit and rock climbing shoes only. The list goes on. Oh yeah! I am 100% with you on all that fun stuff. I am especially fond of the eating part during travel. And sometimes I go a little out of the way to recreate my favorite local dishes after my trips are over. It could be a Caribbean-Style Corn on The Cob which I absolutely loved when I was in Key West, Florida; three Authentic Mexican Salsa that I learned on a 3-week cross-country trip in Mexico; an Authentic Thai Vegetable Soup that I simply couldn’t get enough of during a cooking class I took in Chiang Mai, Thailand, etc.

I find that by reverse engineering certain dishes I had from my trip, it brings back the good memories, including the flavors from the places I visited. I love sharing that part of the experience with my readers through recipes. One day, I’d LOVE to go to Europe and experience true French and Italian cooking and bring back a few recipes from small restaurants owned by local families. It’s a dream, a dream that’s worth pursuing…

Kaylin, blogger of Enticing Healthy Eating

There aren’t many restaurants in the world that I just have to visit. I’m far more interested in those special moments where one can make a unique or difficult-to-craft food. A few of the foods I have on my “must make” list are sourdough bread, crescent rolls, sweet potato gnocchi, sous vide steak, and sauerkraut. I’m also interested in the idea of making homemade kombucha! Clearly, I like those foods which need the help of fermentation or bacteria to come to fruition. I’d say near the top of my foodie aspiration list, though, is to go on a salmon fishing expedition somewhere in the Northwest with the opportunity to also cook and eat the salmon that I catch. That and going on a truffle hunting expedition with those truffle-hunting pigs!

Shayda, blogger of Dine with Shayda

I was born into an American-Iranian family. My father is a first generation Iranian, who moved to America during the revolution in the 70’s and later met my mother, a sweet southern lady from Texas. I’ve grown up my whole life enjoying my father’s cooking, learning to perfect his dishes and indulging in the special spices and flavors of the middle east. But one thing that I have yet to do is to take a trip with my dad to his homeland. Iran is rich in native ingredients ranging from pistachios, saffron, pomegranates, and grapes. The Persian Empire is known for being one of the most, if not most, powerful empires in the history of the world, and with that came a rich culture of food. I dream of visiting the markets, picking out spices in the spice shops, and spending time with family soaking up the culture and the food of my ancestors. Some of my favorite dishes to eat, that I would love to try directly from the source, are koobideh kebab, which is a mixture of ground meat usually beef or lamb, seasoned with minced onion, salt, and pepper. It sounds simple, but the taste is addicting. Another dish that I aspire to perfect is a side dish, called Tadeeg. It’s essentially the burnt underparts of rice in a pan, but when Persians do it, they mix the right amount of spice, including saffron, and lots of butter to make a crispy staple in Persian cooking. I know there are places to get my fix of this cuisine, but to me, nothing would beat a trip to Iran to enjoy it first-hand!

Anita, blogger of Fearless Captivations

Of course, I couldn’t end this post without sharing a part of my ever-growing foodie bucket list.

Restaurant critics’ opinions of the world’s best restaurants change from year to year but I hope I’m always seeking to discover what makes these restaurants stand out and experience as many as possible. I would love to dine at Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York because I believe in its mission of conscious dining. I’m still curious about dining at Per Se, Daniel, Alinea, and The French Laundry, some of the most notable, expensive, and hard-to-get-into restaurants in the U.S.

Dishes / Ingredients / Drinks
I’ve been intrigued about Pliny the Elder, an award-winning double IPA by Russian River Brewing Company in California since I heard about it and it is only distributed to a few places. I’ve made a plethora of desserts (Pavlova, macarons, baklava, and creme brulee are some of my favorites) but I don’t want to stop there! Bread pudding, Danish pastries, and Black Forest Cake are on my list. I also want to learn to make Kanom Sai Sai, an amazing coconut dessert I loved in Thailand, think about frequently, and haven’t found here.

Food Travel / Experiences
It would be so interesting to forage with Chef Rene Redzepi of award-winning restaurant Noma in Copenhagen, Denmark, and I would at least want to go eat at his restaurant. He closed the restaurant in February 2017 and will be opening a 2.0 version soon. Foodie travels are my favorite! I would love to visit Mexico City for the tacos, indulge in the best sushi in Japan, and go on a croissant-tasting tour in France. Now that I have a deeper curiosity for my culture, I would love to return to Guangzhou and Hong Kong to taste the most authentic dishes, like eating dim sum at Yan Toh Heen or an egg tart at Tai Cheong Bakery.

As Kelsey mentioned, Austin is an incredible foodie city and my Austin bucket list is never done because new places open up each month. I’m always on the mission to visit every brewery in town and I have about two left to visit before new ones open. At the top of my Austin restaurant bucket list are Otoko and Kyoten. Maybe I’ll cross those off before the year ends?

Your turn! What’s on your foodie bucket list? I would love to hear it in the comments below!

P.S. Curious about how to travel like a foodie? Check out this post.

Keep up with my foodie adventures! You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Bloglovin’. You can also subscribe to the exclusive email list.

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  • Sharon Chen September 8, 2017 at 8:43 pm

    This is such a beautiful and unique roundup, Anita! Thank you for including me and my blog as part of the list. LOVE being surrounded by foodie friends like you. 🙂

    • Anita | Fearless Captivations September 11, 2017 at 1:20 pm

      Thank you for sharing your foodie dreams, Sharon! I hope you get to visit Europe sooner than later!

  • Caitlin Johnson September 8, 2017 at 8:53 pm

    Anita!!! This is the greatest post ever, loved reading everyone’s foodie aspirations. I feel like I’ve learned so much about the foodie world from your post! <3

  • charlottejulie79 September 9, 2017 at 11:59 am

    Which breweries in Austin are your favorites?

  • Kelsey Caroline Nagel September 11, 2017 at 12:42 pm

    I’m so jealous of these people who get to make a career out of traveling and eating! I’d love to join in, but I can’t brainstorm a good name that hasn’t been taken. Will just have to make it a recurring series on the main blog!

    • Anita | Fearless Captivations September 11, 2017 at 1:24 pm

      It would be really fun to travel and eat all the time, especially since there is SO MUCH TO SEE AND EAT! Thank you for reading!

  • terra September 11, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    I love this post! And I’m going to Mexico City later this year and cannot wait to eat ALL OF THE THINGS, especially street food and tacos and, really, anything and everything.

    • Anita | Fearless Captivations September 11, 2017 at 1:26 pm

      AHHH I’m so excited for you! I can’t wait to follow along your trip. EAT ALL THE THINGS! I’m crossing my fingers I’ll visit next year. Thank you for reading, Terra!

  • Kelsey @SoMuchLife September 12, 2017 at 9:51 am

    Anita, this is SUCH A FUN POST!! I just added about 20 things to my foodie bucket list from everyone’s suggestions, haha!

    • Anita | Fearless Captivations September 12, 2017 at 4:33 pm

      My list definitely increased also! I loved reading everyone’s suggestions and I learned a lot too. Thank you for sharing yours!