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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.

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well if one has not dined well. -Virginia Woolf

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!

Blue Bike (and The Art of Simple) reader meetups!

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.)


Order Blue Bike before this Saturday, February 8 to get some freebies, including a new ebook I wrote and some fantastic art by my friend (and the book’s illustrator) Connie Gabbert.

Living well doesn't mean not doing hard things.

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.

Enjoy The Ride necklace by 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.)

Reading Time:

3 minutes





  1. Rachel

    Oh, beignets… chicory coffee… Cafe Du Monde. I’m so jealous of Tate’s birthday! I hope she loves it!

  2. Katie

    So excited you’ll be in Georgia soon – you know we have some pretty delicious BBQ here too….just in case you want to add it to the Carolina/Texas competition. Try Fox Brothers if you can make it out during your quick stop!

  3. Angie

    Oh what I would do to join you in Austin. We will be gathering for the simulcast and that will be great too. (I still want Austin.) Have fun with the book party and IF. We’ll join you in spirit.

  4. steph

    What you need to do is come to Charleston! We have a great bookshop called “Blue Bicycle” that could host you…and we have some wonderful food 🙂

  5. Dee

    Wait! You mention New Orleans (and Tate will LOVE Beignets!) but there’s no date scheduled? We are a big book city. Please tell me you’re not missing an opportunity to do something here. Check it out, we even have a reading radio show: Great local independent book stores (Maple St. Books, Octavia Books, Garden District Bookshop). It’s really a great place to talk books.

    • Allison

      I wondered the same thing. I live outside of New Orleans but would definitely make a trip in for a reader meet-up! And those independent booksellers are wonderful!

    • Diane freedman

      Yes, that would be absolutely fantastic if you would schedule something in New Orleans!!! I’m so excited you’re coming here, there are so many wonderful things to see and do and eat! And try and wear light colored cloths if you can when you eat beignets, the powdered sugar can get a little messy, especialły with kids! 😉

  6. Traci

    Sounds like you have lots of good, regional eats in your future! Jeni’s ice cream is THE BEST. I live in Ohio and have only had it here. It changed my life. I hope you write more about what you discover in different places!

  7. Kristin

    Sad to miss the Austin party. Have a blast! I’ll be looking for the Dallas date, and plan to make it!

  8. Stephanie

    Beignets! Brought back memories of a trip this northerner took to New Orleans about 13 years ago. We had beignets on the last morning before we headed to the airport to board our plane back to Pittsburgh!

  9. Amy

    If you’re going to be at Amelie’s in Charlotte, head on over to Mac’s Speed Shop for BBQ, about 10 minutes from Amelie’s. Yum yum!

  10. Kelley J Leigh

    Hi Tsh,
    A little help?
    I am getting ready to post on my blog and will be linking up with the Blue Bike Blog Tour. Could you please let me know how to link up — or where to find the instructions?
    Love the book.
    Happy to participate.


  11. Kristin S

    You can’t compare Carolina BBQ with Texas BBQ. Pork and beef. I love both for such different reasons. AND there are three types of Carolina BBQ – Eastern NC, Western NC, and SC. All so very different.

    So, try it in NC at a hole in the wall but you can still love both.

  12. Jasie

    Have some Ethiopian food while you are in DC. It’s the best place to get it.

  13. Sally

    I really think you might want to save fried chicken for Charlotte, and head to Price’s Chicken Coop – delicious! If you have your heart set on some Carolina BBQ, check out Mac’s Speed Shop, or Midtown Smokehouse.

  14. Stephanie

    I smiled when I read your sentence about “one of the best parts of travel” being the food.

    Our family is well-versed in road-tripping and we love traveling to new places…but our experience has been that it’s very difficult to find and prepare healthful foods when we’re away from home. In fact, on our last trip, I told Tim that food was one of the hardest things about travel. 😉

    Best wishes with your book tour. Hope you can squeeze in an Arizona stop! I’m more than happy to help coordinate…

  15. Hannah

    Okay, now you have me craving Torchy’s Tacos! Putting at the top of my list for Things to Eat When We Return. Maybe someone will bring some to the airport. 😉
    And speaking of food and airports, isn’t the local fare the best thing about Austin-Bergstrom?!

  16. gina

    Have an amazing book tour! Was a little disappointed when entering Disney giveaway. Couldn’t enter with just a comment. Had to be connected to social media only. Ironic because as I practice my version of living simple, I have chosen not to be connected to social media. Contest says, “For all Art of Simple fans”…..

  17. matt


    You are in Bend, OR? I just got back from NOLA, and am craving beignets. Does anyone make them locally?



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