Category Archives: Travel

“Come fly with me, let’s fly, let’s fly away…”

“Fries, eh?” – Trying poutine (Canadian fries)

Poutine, photo credit Guilhem Vellut via Flickr, used unmodified under CC BY 2.0 Attribution license

Photo credit: Guilhem Vellut via Flickr, used unmodified under CC BY 2.0 license

I love French fries, so I’m pretty excited about trying poutine, which people tell me is fries with gravy and cheese. Sort of like the concept of nachos, but with fries, and from Canada. That’s what I hear anyway.

We’re at a bar at a ski resort in Idaho (but not to ski, story for another time). The Winter Olympics (hosted in Canada) are playing on the TV, and we sit with it in view. The server comes by and tells us they’re having some specials in honor of the Olympics, and hands us a piece of paper with several items, including poutine.

Okay, the description doesn’t sound that great (because I prefer ketchup or Ranch on my fries, not gravy and cheese), but it’s unique and something that I haven’t tried yet. So… one order of poutine for the table, please!

When it arrives, I pull out one of the fries hanging over the edge, and it comes out with a bit of gravy and some melted cheese. That looks promising, I think, because it reminds me of other melty-cheese foods I like.

But, when I taste it, I’m not sure if I like it.

I’m not sure why it’s weirding me out so much. Mashed potatoes have gravy, and baked potatoes have cheese. I love both. But this is different somehow. Maybe the fried taste with the gravy?

The second fry has more gravy and I like it much less. This poutine adventure isn’t as great as I’d thought it would be. That’s sort of disappointing.

But with the three of us, we eat most of them, until the rest are a soggy mess at the bottom, wallowing in the gravy (actually, those aren’t that bad, they’re more like mashed potatoes, but by now I’m pretty full, and this is a very salty food).

Still, the most memorable thing about poutine is yet to come:

When we get the bill, the poutine is listed as, “Fries, eh?” 

Makes me smile every time I think of it! 🙂

So, while I’m grateful for the opportunity to try a new (to me) food, it’s probably the top way to ruin good French fries. But maybe it’s because I didn’t eat them in Canada. Either way, I’d be open to trying again, at least once. At least the receipt made it worth this first experience!

Have you eaten poutine? Do you like it? 

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Advice on booking travel… and bucket list ideas – #TravelSkills summary

Most weeks I participate in the #TravelSkills Twitter chat (Fridays, 12pm ET/9am PT, for one hour). They’re always around a topic related to travel, and people share great tips and interesting stories. Normally I’d just leave it on Twitter, but this past Friday had several tweets that really stood out to me, so I have to share.

The topic was about booking travel (specifically airline travel), so I’ve included some of the tips that were shared during the chat related to this topic.

I’m also including the top three tweets I liked the best (all in response to other questions asked during the chat).

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I wrote off an entire area as “not for me” but I was wrong

“Why would you want to travel to ___?!?” (Fill in the blank with any place you wouldn’t wouldn’t want to go on vacation.)

“What are you going to do there, anyway, besides ___, ___, and ___?” (Fill in those blanks with the activities that place is stereotypically well-known for, and that don’t interest you.)

I love traveling, and I really want to go as many places as possible, but sometimes it’s simply because I enjoy traveling anywhere, not that I’m particularly looking forward to going to that specific place. It’s hard to get excited about a place that you think has nothing for you.

I have several places like this, but recently I’ve had to change my mind about one of them.

Until a few months ago, I thought the only reasons to go to Western Montana (apart from visiting family) were Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park (which I thought only had skiing), and hunting/fishing. Since I’ve already been to Yellowstone (wouldn’t mind going again, though, but it’s not as high priority as somewhere I’ve never been), only go fishing when other people are going, and don’t have a great desire to try hunting or skiing, none of these made this area really appealing as a travel destination.

Then I went to a travel industry event with representatives from Western Montana’s Glacier Country, Missoula, Whitefish, and Kalispell and found out that my assumptions were very wrong.

Although pleasantly surprising, it was a bit uncomfortable to admit that I’d written off a really interesting place because I’d gone only on these assumptions and hadn’t really looked into it.

(Of course, if I’d really been planning to go, I’d have looked into it a bit more then, but sometimes it’s hard to look for things you don’t expect to find, so I’m sure my searching wouldn’t have turned up as big of a list.)

Now I have a real list of things to do when I go to Western Montana.

In addition to my first guess about Yellowstone, Glacier NP, and hunting/skiing, the area’s also known for beautiful natural landscapes, Native American history and culture, local food/drink/foodie experiences, biking trails, music and nightlife, museums and art, historical buildings, lakes and beaches, and bucket-list worthy events.

Here’s my current list of things I’d be interested in doing in the area (bucket list style):

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