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Restaurants On the Edge: Local Foods, Memories, and Inspiration #ShelterinPlaceCooking


With our shelter-in-place order in full force, I've streamed quite a few shows in recent days. I never watch this much television. But in just a few days, I watched all six episodes of the Netflix series Restaurants on the Edge. The premise is simple: A restaurateur (Nick Liberato), a chef ( Dennis Prescott), and an interior designer (Karin Bohn) travel the world to rehab restaurants that have great views but lousy food. Once you watch more than two episodes - and there are only six! - you see the formula. But it doesn't make the show any less appealing.

I was intrigued by the ways in which Prescott embraced the local food traditions and helped (re)infuse the restaurants with their cultural roots. Each episode made my mouth water, reminded me of food memories, and put a place on my travel list.

Malta
The trio traveled to Marsaxlokk, Malta where Justin Haber, Maltese footballer and goalkeeper, has a failing seafood restaurant. I loved how Prescott visited the Xuereb family on Gozo’s rugged northern coast where they keep the tradition of ancient salt-harvesting alive. Prescott, then, incorporates a salt-crusted fish into Haber's refreshed menu.


Back in 2013, I interviewed a local-to-me salt maker who was using solar dehydration to create artisan cooking salts. That's the Carmel Valley salt in the photo above. I have never been to Malta, but after this episode, it's definitely on my list!


Hong Kong
The group headed to Tai O, a Hong Kong fishing village where a waterside restaurant is more abandoned gift shop than anything else. Using feng shui principles and a complete reinvention of the space and menu, the Banyan Tree is reinvigorated. Prescott embraces the alacrity and variety of the local street food, trying snake soup, curry balls, and more. If you follow my blog at all, you know that all four of us love street food and, often, choose food trucks when we travel over sit-down restaurants though, my first choice is always to hit the local markets and cook for myself. We hit The Bite in Tumalo, Oregon a few times during our trip there. The Bai Tong food truck offered a variety of traditional Thai dishes. You can see one of the coconut soups I had above. Okay, it's not made with snakes, but it was tasty, filling, and fast. I was also inspired to see if I can make my own version of XO sauce. Seriously, that looked umami-azing!

Tobermory
In Tobermory, Canada, the team took a tired harborside tiki bar from floundering to festive with a fresh Caribbean menu and an updated tiki patio. I am still not sure how a restaurant survives with a six-week tourist season. But, if anyone can, Coconut Joe's looks like it will.


Costa Rica
In Costa Rica’s Playas del Coco, the trio of experts resuscitate a flailing seafood restaurant by turning up the pura vida. Years ago we traveled to Costa Rica for Fall Break and loved visiting the local markets, picking guavas straight from the trees, and adventuring all around the country from the Pacific to the Caribbean.


We didn't remember if we visited the Guanacaste region when we were there, but I was excited to learn about Blue Zones. More on that soon. But that was definitely a trip we still talk about.


Austria
Arlberg Boutique Eatery is located in Pettneu, a village in the Austrian Alps, in the state of Tyrol. And, for the most part, it sits empty because it features a global menu that's far too eclectic to survive. The experts add in more regional fare and more cowbell. Seriously. This episode showcases foraging and schnitzel. I have been lucky enough to have a friend who lived in German for many years make me a traditional schnitzel dinner. Read my post - Feasting for Sankt Nikolaus Tag: German Sips, Schweineschnitzel,Spätzle, and Sauerkraut.

St. Lucia
This episode resonated with me the least for some reason, despite having visited St. Lucia after I graduated from college. In any case, Karin, Dennis, and Nick transform a literal hole in the wall to a chic Caribbean shack that matches the beautiful view and honors the owner's mom.

What are you binge-watching while we wait out the coronavirus? Anything worthy of sharing?

Comments

  1. Perhaps I will look this up. I've been watching an inordinate amount of television too.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I binged watched these in no time flat. I hope there's a season two!

    ReplyDelete

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