Name: Andi Fisher
Occupation: Director of Social Media for a bank; travel and food blogger, freelance writer
Where were you born?: San Pablo, California
Where do you live?: Berkeley, California. I may have been born in the San Francisco Bay Area and currently live there, but there have been a whole bunch of places in between.
Andi is a full-time corporate gal, AFAR Ambassador, Local Expert of San Francisco, and travel blogger for Misadventures with Andi. She works in social media and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area where she loves to play tourist. She grew up living all over the world and continues to be a gypsy as often as possible. A true foodie, most of her travel focuses on the local food and restaurant scene and how much of it she can get in her mouth!
How would you describe your travel style?
Flexible, spontaneous, adventurous. However adventurous doesn’t mean that I don’t want a good shower and a good bed.
What’s your earliest travel memory?
I have flashes of living in Panama, of going on a day trip with our maid, being on a bus, crossing busy roads and eating salty plantains and really sweet coffee with lots of milk and sugar. That would be about 4 years old.
When researching travel destinations, how important are food/drink choices and experiences to your overall decision-making process?
I lead with food! I can plan a whole trip around one food item. I recently went to Hawaii and made loco moco the star. I did research up front, ate many different kinds and centered 5 days in Hilo around this local dish. While living in France, it would not be unusual for my hubby and I to drive three and a half hours just to buy some syrup from monks at an abbey. [True story!]
Culinary traveler or food explorer? Which do you relate to more?
I have multiple-personality disorder because I can be both! Depends on the trip!
If we ask your best friends if you’re a foodie, what would they say?
They’d say, “Please make her stop!” I can talk food 24/7. I have a team meeting every morning and at least 10 minutes of every meeting is about the food we ate in the last 24-hours. I love food; I am obsessed with food and do all my traveling through my stomach!
What’s in your carry-on? Any essential food or kitchen tools you won’t leave home without?
My carry-on has a lot of electronic devices, a scarf, digestive enzymes and snacks. I like things like seaweed, fig bars, a hard-boiled egg, almonds, I love savory items. Returning home from Hawaii, I will always have a musubi (or two).
The other thing I do is make or buy a sandwich (but only good ones). When flying back from Paris (my hubby is French so we do that about once a year) I always get a jambon beurre sandwich from Paul bakery. I bring a water bottle as well but also usually buy coconut water at the airport. Some airports now you can even get kombucha, which I love (I do live in Berkeley after all!).
What’s the most unusual food you’ve eaten?
Whale sperm. I was in Tokyo at the TX fish market and my colleague and I had jet lag, so we headed over there at something like 4:30 a.m. and went to this 5-seat restaurant inside the market. We ate our fill of fresh sashimi and I think the chef was impressed with the gusto in which we were enjoying it, so he offered us something very special. As soon as the chef said what is was, my male colleague backed out. I decided to go for it. Wasn’t the best thing I ever ate, but I can say I did it!
If we handed you a ticket to anywhere in the world, where would you go?
Ack, that is like asking someone what they would do if they won the lottery! The answer for today is Croatia. I am a big fan of Anthony Bourdain and ever since he went there the last season of No Reservations, I can’t get that lamb stew he ate at the winery out of my head. I am sure I am in good company when I say I want to travel just for that dish!
What’s the best culinary travel experience you’ve ever had?
An incredible meal at The Willows Inn on Lummi Island in the San Juan Islands (above Washington State). Chef Blaine Wetzel sous-cheffed under Noma’s René Redzepi and as a local forager of Pacific Northwest products, the experience is incredible.
Any great travel tips to share?
Go with the flow. Things will always go slightly off-course, stay zen and just make it work. I think research is good, but be ready to throw your plans out the window in favor of falling down the rabbit hole and into a truffle patch!
Favorite Culinary Destination: Tokyo. The sushi. The unagi. The tonkatsu. The X grilled. The udon. The mocha. The matcha. Oy!
Favorite Cuisine: Again, Japanese because I haven’t met a Japanese dish yet that I didn’t love. I am also a HUGE fan of dim sum and eat it nearly every weekend.
Favorite Restaurant: There is a tiny bistro in Paris called Chez Didi. Best boeuf bourginon in my life.
Favorite Street Food: Anything grilled on a stick!
Favorite Food Market: The Nishiki Market in Kyoto. (Paris needs a food market!)
Favorite Gourmet Shop: Lafitte in Paris – their cans of duck rillettes are ever-present in any picnic basket I make.
Favorite Winery: J in Healdsburg, 1789 in the Portland area.
Favorite Brewery: Kona Brewery – love Longboard beer!
Favorite Cooking Class: La Cuisine Paris – from bread to macarons and everything in between and a gorgeous view of the Seine.
Favorite Food/Tasting Tour: I did a custom Context Travel food tour in Florence, I still think about the Panini tartufati and champagne from Procacci.
Favorite Culinary Tour Operator: Context Travel, I have done food tours with them in London, Paris, Florence and Kyoto and have never, ever been disappointed. Here in San Francisco Edible Excursions does a fabulous job!
Favorite Travel App: AFAR. This app from the travel magazine of the same name allows me to tap into other travelers and see recommendations for just about anywhere in the world.
Want to visit Andi’s favorite culinary hotspot, Tokyo? Stay at the Claska in the Shibuya neighborhood. Shibuya is the epicenter of restaurants, nightlife and shopping in Tokyo and Claska is the perfect place to stay to appreciate all it has to offer. Japanese seasonal ingredients are the star of the culinary show in Claska’s restaurant.