Following is a list of my favorite travel and food sites, in no particular order of importance and definitely a work in progress.
The American Southwest is the most comprehensive site for Southwest travel. I used it extensively to plan the two road trips we took there. Very few sites provide the descriptions, technical detail and extremely useful trail guides like this one. Lately, it has been branching out beyond the traditional Southwest states to include almost the entire West Coast of the U.S., which begs the question whether it should be renamed. It seems the author is bent on describing every natural point-of-interest in the Western U.S. If there is any better resource for Western attractions and hiking, I am not aware of it.
The National Park Service’s own website has enough detail about America’s national parks and monuments under its jurisdiction to make your travel plans, including high-res maps that normally appear in the park brochures.
For European travel, there is none better than Rick Steves. The website has all sorts of useful information, including tips from past travelers. We took his guided tour to Italy and used his guidebook as a bible.
The Lonely Planet has been writing superb guidebooks for a long time. Their website is a good place to start dreaming. As with many enterprises, success breeds excess. One wonders whether many titles in their catalog are really necessary or published simply to sell more books. Nevertheless, their basic guidebooks are indispensable.
National Geographic Traveler magazine is the one I like to read above all other travel publications. Every issue explores different places and has tons of travel tips. Like Saveur does for food, Traveler provides glimpses into places you know little about and provokes more curiosity and wanderlust than they satisfy. NG’s website is a portal not only to the magazine but all sorts of useful travel-related material.
The recent earthquakes in Christchurch were of concern to me and my wife since our daughter and her family live there. This blogger does a wonderful job of chronicling the city’s post-earthquake(s) rebuilding and indomitable Kiwi spirit.
My favorite food magazine, Saveur authoritatively writes about cuisines from all over the world and provides travel and food writing that literally makes you want to drop everything and go. The magazine’s special issues dedicated to a culinary capital or regional cooking are gems of cultural writing, gorgeous photographs and genuine, mouth-watering recipes. What better way to find out what the world eats.
When we went to Hawaii, twice recently, I found these two blogs about Hawaiian food helpful and entertaining:
One of the best blogs on Oahu eating is written by a local who knows his island surroundings like no other. Tasty Island is a remarkable, thorough and engaging blog on the eateries (and other happenings) on Oahu.
Epicurious is a vast compendium of recipes that appeared in both Gourmet and Bon Appetit magazines.
Road food is an adventure, a foray into local specialties that you wouldn’t (or couldn’t) normally cook at home, thus worth seeking out at least once when you’re in an area. The Sterns have written about America’s road food in several books, including their latest one, and are guest writers for several magazines. Now their passion has spilled over to their website.
Of the several food writers I follow as a hobby, Jonathan Gold is in a class by himself. He was the first food critic ever to win a Pulitzer Prize for his writing. His food columns that appeared in LA Weekly can be found in the archives. He now writes for the Los Angeles Times. I read his reviews with more than passing interest since I used to live in Southern California.
For ramen addicts, there is no better reviewer than rameniac, the person who has searched the world over for the perfect bowl of ramen noodles. He knows his stuff, too. Eating your way through all those carbs is bound to have a serious health consequence, so lately rameniac has opted for more healthful eating, as in a Mediterranean diet. Still, if you want to find a serious bowl of noodles, look no further.