Of beignets and brisket and börek
When I’m busy or stressed, I tend to grab whatever food is nearest—not the best culinary habit, I admit. So with the book release this week, I’ve taken to eating some fare that hasn’t exactly settled my stomach. I’ve been craving vegetables for weeks, which is a wee sign that my body longs for health.
I’m writing this on the plane somewhere over Nevada, en route to Austin. Next to me are my daughter’s yogurt-fruit-granola concoction, my youngest son’s grilled cheese sandwich, and for me, a bag of peanuts. Not the best.
But it’s in times like these when I give myself a bit of grace, because soon enough, the storm will calm and we’ll be settling in for something we know well—road-tripping. We like to eat real food on the road, filling a cooler in the trunk with apples, carrots, pepperoni, and the like. Riding in the car with these four other people has become our family’s modus operandi, and for that, I’m grateful.
We also like to sample local fare as often as we can (so long as the budget allows). In my book, I share stories about my discovery of “slow food” in Greece, çaj on the side of a Yugoslav hill, and lip-staining strawberries in Turkey. One of the best parts of travel, for me? The food, undoubtedly.
Admittedly, this is a big reason I’m excited to be headed to Austin, my hometown. Oh, okay, the people and the IF: Gathering and the book party, too, but I’ve rarely found better tacos than at Torchy’s or better brisket than at Rudy’s (or Franklin’s, or Stubb’s). Amirite, fellow Austinites? Man shall note live on bread alone—because there’s chips and salsa to be had. And margaritas.
A few other culinary delights I want to try over the next few weeks:
• Beignets in New Orleans for our nine-year-old’s birthday #notpaleo
• Fried chicken in Georgia
• Carolina barbecue somewhere near Charlotte (because I’ve got to give it a fair shot before crowning Texas bbq as the clear winner)
• Back to Jeni’s for more ridiculously fantastic ice cream in Nashville
• Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine in the D.C. area
• Greasy, cheesy pizza in New York City #alsonotpaleo
Why all this food scattered hither and yon? So yeah, this is my roundabout way of saying we’ve finalized our east coast Blue Bike Ridealong (aka, Book Tour, but less fancy and more fun), and we’d love to meet you!
We wish we could visit all the cities you’ve mentioned, but alas, there’s only so many days in the month and only so much of the backseat three kids can handle. We hope you understand. If you’re able to drive to one of these cities? Well, I’d be seriously tickled pink. Head here for more details.
Yes, we’ll add west coast cities soon, and yes, I’d love to figure out a way to add Chicago (and Denver, and…) in the near future. I’ll keep you posted.
In the meantime, here are all the meetup details—please spread the word. All are totally welcome. For real. If it’s a coffee shop or reader’s house where we’re gathering, please get your book in advance if you’d like me to sign it. (I’ll also sign any other book you like—I don’t have to have written it. I’ve been practicing my “Jane Austen” and “Oscar Wilde” just for the occasion.)
Oh, and I’ve seriously loved scrolling through the #notesfromabluebike Instagram hashtag. Keep ’em coming—any photo of you with the book or of an actual blue bike, and one person a day until the 17th will get an Enjoy the Ride necklace from Lisa Leonard.
If you haven’t yet, don’t forget to enter the giveaway for a trip to DisneyWorld! I still can’t believe the publisher is having all these amazing contests for you guys. I may sneak in the suitcase of whoever wins this one.
For more conversations about food, work, and entertainment, head to The Art of Simple Podcast for the most recent episodes with Shauna Niequist, Jon and Jenny Acuff, and Shaun Groves. (Psst… And a travel podcast will be added this week, followed by education the next.)
And you guys? I’m so very thankful for you. This simple idea about the power behind our daily choices adding up to a life that makes sense with our passions can, I believe, drastically change our frenetically fast-paced culture, one person at a time. I feel it in my bones. I’ll be preaching its necessity (and its beauty) until I’m old and gray. Life’s too short and too glorious to be lived worshiping the squares in our calendar and the worry over what the neighbors think.
Now, who will I see this month? And what are your food recommendations? (Keep in mind, we dig local, fresh, and cheap.)
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