Name: Lisa Lubin
Occupation: Freelancer extraordinaire: food & travel writer, photographer, speaker, & video consultant
Where were you born?: New Jersey!
Where do you live?: Chicago and New Jersey ☺
I am a three-time Emmy® Award winning television writer, producer, photographer, and video consultant. After more than a decade in broadcast television I took a sabbatical of sorts, which turned into 3 years traveling around the world. I document my (mis)adventures on my blog, LLworldtour.com, with photographs and articles from the road/train/rickshaw/camel. My writing and photography has been published by The Wall Street Journal, American Way Magazine, West Jet Magazine, Sunset Magazine, Latina, Smithsonian Online, the Malibu Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Dallas Morning News, The Boston Globe, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Encyclopedia Britannica, Orbitz, theLatinKitchen.com, Jetsetter.com and the Huffington Post. I recently published The Ultimate Travel Tips: Essential Advice for Your Adventures available on Amazon.
How would you describe your travel style?
Mostly, I’m a solo traveler (still prefer it!) who likes to mix in with the people by taking public transportation and maybe staying at a local apartment through airbnb. But I don’t turn down a modern, boutique hotel either. I like to meet locals, but as a freelance writer, I also like to stay and eat in newer, on trend spots.
What’s your earliest travel memory?
Oh wow. I loved spending every summer with our grandparents down in Ft Lauderdale, Florida. It was magical, but mostly because of them (now, I’d never want to live there!). But my first “adventure” was probably joining my other grandma as we took a tour down the California coast in high school. That was really wonderful.
When researching travel destinations, how important are food/drink choices and experiences to your overall decision-making process?
Food is THE most important. As I’ve traveled intensively for the last 6 years, I realize more and more, that I plan trips around food. I turn right to the dining sections of travel guides and plan my visits around all the restaurants I want to check out.
Culinary traveler or food explorer? Which do you identify more closely with?
Both! I am definitely a culinary traveler as food drives my travels and is such an integral part of communities around the world. Plus, I like to get local and try local foods, markets, and dishes, being more of a food explorer. I like the story of food — the history, where it comes from, how it’s produced and being more aware of the implications, good and bad, of all that.
If we ask your best friends if you’re a foodie, what would they say?
Yes. I was the one who always had the ‘restaurant list’ of Chicago, and friends would always come to me for suggestions on where to eat. I made it into this Chicago’s Best Restaurants post!
What’s the most unusual food you’ve eaten?
There’s been a few, mostly in Asia. The most unusual would probably be bull penis. It was part of a stew in Vietnam. It was chewy.
If we handed you a ticket to anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I’ve been to 55+ countries so far, but there’s still so much more to see and places I definitely must return. It’s pretty expensive to get to Antarctica, so I’d say there. It’s my last continent!
What’s the best culinary travel experience you’ve ever had?
There’ve been too many for me to recount. Anything that involves eating local foods with local people. It’s the combination of food and people that makes these moments so memorable — from sharing dim sum with locals in Hong Kong, to fresh oysters in San Malo, France, to a baguette, cheese and charcuterie picnic in Italy, to a roadside stand for noodles in Vietnam.
Any great travel tips to share?
Get beneath the surface. Meet locals. Try airbnb or Mealsharing.com as ways to meet others.
Favorite Culinary Destination: I think the whole world is a culinary destination, but you can’t deny the fresh, wonderful food of Italy and the varied, rich flavors of Mexico.
Favorite Cuisine: Ha! This is impossible. Some of my favorites are sushi, Middle Eastern (falafel, baba ghanoush), Greek, Mexican, Italian, a bahn mi sandwich, and a good bagel and lox!
Favorite Restaurant: I have covered food and restaurants for two decades in Chicago, so I know the most about our restaurants here. I love anything in Greektown, Avec, GT Fish & Oyster, tacos at Big Star, tortas at XOCO, fish at Fahlstrom’s, and the Girl and the Goat.
I recently had an amazing meal at New York’s Gramercy Tavern.
Favorite Street Food: Mmm…has to be a good shawarma/gyro or falafel on pita.
Favorite Food Market: There are many. Love Mahane Yehuda in Jerusalem. I recently enjoyed the Milwaukee Public Market and love all the little food markets all over France.
Favorite Gourmet Shop: All of them! Love finding little local gourmet shops. But am also a big fan of Eataly (I’ve been to the original in Torino, Italy, New York’s and Chicago’s) and the huge Japanese market in the States: Mitsuwa.
Favorite Travel App: I love maps! I like to get my bearings, see where I am, and see what food is near…so Google Maps!
Want to visit one of Lisa’s favorite culinary destinations, Mexico City? Enjoy a stay at the beautifully designed, Las Alcobas. With some of Mexico City’s best shopping and restaurants just outside the doors of the hotel, Las Alcobas is a great place to base yourself to explore Mexico City. The hotel’s two restaurants offer an incredible experience in Mexican gastronomy.
Laura Goyer, CCTP
Digital Content Creator
Laura is a world traveler and culinary travel professional on a mission to help busy prime-time women find the best local food when they travel.