Introducing Feasting Flyer

Welcome to Feasting Flyer, a blog about food and travel. I have launched this project to share my knowledge and passion for America’s food and restaurant scene and to help readers navigate the often-confusing world of airline miles, hotel points, and credit cards. Along with regular content and resources for travelers, I have created a prototype of a Feasting Flyer app, designed to help travelers experience a city’s culture through food.

How did Feasting Flyer come to be?

Looking back at my life, if I had to list my relationship with food and travel on Facebook, I’d say “it’s complicated.” Until my early twenties, I was scared to try new foods. It impacted my health and social life and caused plenty of stress for my family.

Zahav in Philadelphia, PA

Zahav in Philadelphia, PA

I avoided meals at the homes of my friends and dreaded travel. I had a paralyzing fear of food and sometimes refused to eat. I declined invitations to go places with my friends, because I worried that they would try to make me eat something I didn’t want. I lied and told people I was picky, allergic, or observing a religious holiday, but none of those excuses were true. Things were actually much more dire and embarrassing.

Traveling made it all worse. Eating at even the most basic restaurant was my worst nightmare, because I had to see and smell other people’s food and it terrified me. For what seemed like hours, I would sit there ashamed that I could only order a side of French fries.

I much preferred the safety of my house. There, my mom would have the fridge stocked with the handful of items I willingly consumed — string cheese, hot dogs, peanut butter, bacon, milk, grapes, and a few other items. I refused almost everything else.

It wasn’t until high school that I started eating pizza. I was 20 when I first ate a burger, 21 when I had my first scrambled eggs, and 22 the first time I tried salmon and steak.

An unlikely direction

Growing up, I always liked to write and wanted to be a sportswriter. But looking back on my childhood, I never would have imagined that my eventual passion would be food and travel instead of baseball and basketball.

My relationship with food improved over the years and it made travel much more appealing to me. School, family, sports, and work allowed me to explore new places around the country and grow as a person. The more I traveled, the more I wanted to keep traveling.

Mt. St. Helens

Mt. St. Helens

As the Feasting Flyer blog grows, I’ll share more about my personal history with food. But if we fast forward to today, I’ve done a complete reversal — I eat everything and can’t wait to try new ingredients, creative dishes, and old favorites prepared in innovative ways.

Somewhere along the way, I landed a job that required me to be on the road extensively. Before I knew it, I had over 300,000 Delta miles and a dozen free hotel nights to burn. I started studying frequent flyer programs and finding other tips and tricks to greatly reduce the cost of travel.

I now fly an average of about 75,000 miles per year. I’ve eaten my way through all 50 states and more than a dozen countries.

Food is my first priority when I travel and I view it as an entry point into the culture and history of whatever city, region, or country I’m visiting. Through my meals, I try to gain additional understanding of the past, present, and future of that particular place.

What to expect on Feasting Flyer

If food matters to you when you visit a new city, I think you’ll like the Feasting Flyer blog. If work has you on the road 100+ nights per year, I’ve been there and can help you make the most of your reward earnings. If you simply want to travel more often, I’ll post great deals and useful tips and tricks. If you want luxury travel experiences and value major international trips, you’ll learn a lot here, too.

Marukin Ramen in Portland, OR

Marukin Ramen in Portland, OR

On the Feasting Flyer blog, I will write about food and restaurants and how you can afford to travel for them. Like anybody else, I encounter places I don’t like, disappointing meals, and occasional bad service. But I won’t be focusing on criticism or false outrage or anything sensational.

I’ll treat business owners and the producers, preparers, and servers of my food with respect and ask that readers do the same in their comments online and on social media. Feasting Flyer will celebrate the diversity of our country, the people that make our food system work, and the regional cuisines from coast to coast, border to border, and beyond.

There are many more important things going on in the world. But food and travel have the ability to open doors, start important conversations, and bridge divides. Through food and travel we can build community, learn, and educate others. We can support the businesses that do the right thing, and we can share and laugh and love and respect. A meal can transport us somewhere else in the world or do just the opposite — take people from different cultures and bring them to a common place.

I hope you enjoy Feasting Flyer and that you find the information and resources on the site helpful. You can bookmark the blog and follow along on Facebook, twitter, and instagram. And if you enjoy the content, please share.

Coming up

Cafe du Monde in New Orleans, LA

Cafe du Monde in New Orleans, LA

There are a number of exciting things in the works. I’ll add additional guides to the most exciting food cities in the country. I’ll visit with the farmers providing your food. I’ll write more extensively about how I grew out of my fear of food. This year, I’ve already visited New Orleans, Memphis, Boston, San Francisco, Buenos Aires, Chicago, New York City, Portland (Oregon), Los Angeles, Montreal, Austin, Kansas City, Tampa, Philadelphia, Charleston, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Nashville, Louisville, Detroit, Denver, San Diego, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh.

And before the year is out, I’ll share details of my upcoming trips to Boston, Portland (Maine), San Francisco, Nashville, Miami, New York City, Minneapolis, Detroit, Austin, Seattle, and Santa Fe.

I’ll tell you how I booked those trips without breaking the bank and I’ll share the best things that I find to eat in those cities. I hope you’ll join me, send me feedback and recommendations, and ask me any questions you may have. I’ll do my best to respond and I’ll always be honest with you.

I appreciate you reading this far and look forward to future discussions with all of you about great meals and travel and how we can all have a little more of both.