“Summer afternoon — summer afternoon; to me those have been the two most beautiful words in the English language,” Henry James wrote in Portrait of a Lady.

I couldn’t agree more. Summer afternoons come in all flavors, from lazing around the backyard reading, to combing the streets of a new city in search of lunch. Whether you’re going to a local beach, a far and distant land, or anywhere in between, I’ve got you covered.

Discovering a new restaurant is one of my favorite summer travel pleasures. When I’m in an unfamiliar place, the journey is often the pleasure, sometimes an adventure – think old European city with cobblestone streets and pedestrian-only alleyways (where GPS doesn’t always work). Finding Men Impossible, a 20-seat (one communal table) ramen restaurant in Amsterdam, was like winning a Culinary Tour de France

My Latest Culinary Adventures:

The plant-based restaurant explosion has reached every corner of the world. (I never thought I’d live to see the day when Eater would publish Essential Vegan Restaurants in Paris.) The trend accommodates every budget, from Daniel Humm’s Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park (NYC) to Pinky Cole’s Slutty Vegan (everywhere) fast-food empire. In Phoenix one Saturday morning we happily stumbled upon Vegan Social, a plant-based food truck gathering, where I ate Naughty Vegan crab cakes, and Pachamama’s banana pudding, a dessert so decadent it should have been illegal.

Make a plan to seek out plant-based food while you’re traveling. You’ll understand what all the fuss is about.

Here’s How to Find Food to Write Home About:

  1. Download the Happy Cow app onto your phone. It’s the Yelp of crowd-sourced healthy eating. You can search on Vegan, Vegetarian, and Veg-Friendly Options.
  2. Make friends with Google. Perhaps you’ll find your next favorite restaurant, or even a non-culinary, unexpected pleasure. A search for “Best Vegan Pizza in Monteverde, Costa Rica” led my husband and me to mediocre pizza, and one of the most stunning ocean sunsets we’d ever seen.
  3. Research restaurants in advance. Don’t wait until you arrive, especially during high-season summer months. It’s likely you’ll need a reservation. Plant-based restaurants are hot …. especially in places like NYC, L.A. and London.
  4. Visit a supermarket or local farmers’ market. There’s no better way to get to know a place than to see where and how the locals shop. Tip: If you’re perusing a market in France, do NOT touch the produce — unless you’re looking for a travel memory that includes being berated (in French) by an angry vendor. Read up on customs before you go.

5. Ask locals. When my husband and I find a plant-based restaurant we like, we strike up a conversation with our server, and ask where else we should eat. This is how we find off-the-beaten-track places that only those “in the know” know, like Men Impossible.
6. Eat at the first restaurant in the world to include the carbon footprint of each item on the menu, Max Burgers. The chain has moved half of its customers from beef burgers to more climate-friendly options. Give them a visit if you happen to be in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Poland, Egypt or the United Arab Emirates.
7. Treat yourself to a meal at one of these restaurants if you are traveling domestically. Looking for Michelin rated? Try these. (Michelin no longer = fancy and expensive). You won’t be disappointed.
8. Be flexible. What’s the most important thing you should pack when you travel? Flexibility. No matter how well you plan, sometimes the journey takes a turn.