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This post is a competition entry for Surprise Trips. Surprise Trips are a company who create city breaks to an unknown destination in Europe, aside from deciding the length of your stay, departure airport, and vetoing three potential cities, the rest is a complete surprise and you will not find out where you are off to until you arrive at the airport two hours prior.
Pretty exciting right? I love the idea of the complete unknown and the idea of not having an itinerary on arrival, creating a spontaneous weekend.
When planning trips, one of the things I enjoying doing is finding fantastic one-off places to eat, because I love food and with a world of incredible food blogs around you can easily plan every meal of your trip. However, I like to keep some open space for those restaurants and food stalls you just stumble upon and surprise you, those places that you have not seen mentioned online but when a friend asks you for tips about a city you end up saying ‘There is this great little place in…’
So this post is a shout out to those places for making my stomach incredibly happy and that really do deserve a mention on the internet.
Berlin, Germany – Monsieur Vuong’s
Aside from Burgermeister, this was my favourite place we ate in Berlin. I found that Berlin was full of Vietnamese restaurants but this place located off on a quiet side street always had queues of locals out of the door – always a good sign in my opinion. Along with great fresh food, this place had amazing laid back vibes perfect for relaxing after a day of sightseeing.
Hoi An, Vietnam – I think you like
We ended up eating here for convenience on our last day in Hoi An, as it was located next to our hotel (The Sunshine Hotel) but I am so glad we did. This adorable place was run by a brother and sister who were given the money by their parents to start a business, and their food is just fantastic. Everything was cooked fresh to order and nothing was too much of an ask (and I mean nothing, they had run out of the drink I wanted so ended up jumping on a moped to go purchase one elsewhere for me!)
Copenhagen, Denmark – Blue Taco
I believe I have mentioned Blue Taco a number of times on here before, which is obviously a sign of how much I enjoyed it.We actually had the intention of eating at a nearby Indian restaurant but due to it being closed we chose Blue Taco instead! They serve a range of delectable gluten-free Mexican tacos with a twist including Corona chicken and Coca-cola beef. Grab a beer, sit outside on the brightly coloured benches and soak in all the Latin American influences.
Los Angeles, California – Frida Taco
Los Angeles was very hit and miss with me, I found it incredibly manic and much preferred to spend time by the chilled Santa Monica beaches, but I did enjoy the food around the Hollywood district. Along with the obvious classic American dining, we also found a lot of Mexican-inspired restaurants, especially on the Melrose Avenue. Frida Taco offered a wide range of meat and vegetarian options for a low price, considering the area, but still packed with spices and incredible flavour.
London, England – Pimp My Ramen
Would you believe that we stumbled upon Pimp My Ramen after completing a 10k charity run? Jackpot. Located inside the Greenwich Market, Pimp my Ramen has put a Filipino twist on a classic burger and they have got it just right, definitely one for a more indulgent day but I recommend this place to everyone. Not only is there name pretty awesome they are also really good chefs.
New York City, New York -Burrito Box
I think if we have learnt anything today, it is that I like Mexican food, in particular burritos and tacos, but I could not leave out a restaurant we stumbled upon during a snowy walk around Manhatten. This laid back kitchen serve a huge range of vegetarian options in many different forms all of which can be enjoyed alongside a cold beer. I personally recommend the Pinto Bean Taco Salad.
Bath, England – Burgers and Barrels
Arrive at this place hungry, because the portions are huge! This cool restaurant just serves burgers and sides, however, they have the biggest choice of burgers I have ever seen and all of which are named after different films. What I really loved about this place was the amazing decor of collected items of film memorabilia that really brought the walls to life. Burgers and Barrels is quite small and are a walk away from the main town centre, so I would recommend booking a table to avoid disappointment.
Writing this post has made me incredibly hungry but I hope it has shown you, through my love of food, that sometimes the best decisions are the spontaneous ones, not the perfectly planned ones and while structure is sometimes needed, sometimes an adventure is needed more. I believe Surprise Trips is encapturing this perfectly with their city breaks, and I can only imagine the incredible places I might stumble upon on a completely unplanned trip in Europe.
Rather than fear the unknown, let’s start to embrace it. Even revel in it.