'Tis the season of being stuck at home, and I hate it too! But until it's safe to travel, home is where we should stay.
Instead of complaining about the vacation I'm not having, I've decided to quench and quell my wanderlust by having the foods and flavors of the places I'd rather be delivered to my doorstep.
If You Wish You Were On....
The Amalfi Coast — Talia Neapolitan Pizza
Look, no one was a bigger skeptic than me, because I've had Naples' best pizza many times. (A tie between Sorbillo and Brandi — and go ahead and pick a fight with me about it.) So it was with a raised eyebrow and lower-than-low expectations that I slid Talia's frozen 11-inch pizza into the oven. The publicist, my pal Agatha (who is married to chef Ryan Hardy of Pasquale Jones fame and also knows a thing or to about good pizza) had sent a selection — margherita, four cheeses, and broccoli rabe — and I was happily surprised with the tasty result. The crust was crispy, the cheese was melty, the sauce was saucy. The pizzas are made in Naples with quality local ingredients (no preservatives, additives, or GMOs) and shipped across the Atlantic in eco-friendly packaging developed in partnership with Rutgers University Packaging Engineering School. (That sounds really impressive.) Until I can ship myself across the Atlantic, these will tame the late-night munchies. (From $82 for a 6-pack.)
The Great Smoky Mountains – Blackberry Farm Biscuit Mix, Smoked Bacon Jam, and Tomato Jam
This year marks a second summer that I didn't make it down to Tennessee to discover firsthand how awesome everything is at Blackberry Mountain, the new hotel from the creators of Blackberry Farm, one of Fathom's favorite foodie experiences. So I'll take my Southern hospitality as I can get delivered here in Manhattan, in the farm's Biscuits 3 Ways ($70), which comes with two biscuit mixes, Blackberry Farm sausage, bacon from local favorite Benton's, and Reserve blueberry jam. And because I'm a glutton, I'll add tomato jam ($14) and bacon jam made with Tennessee whiskey ($16) to the order. With a little lettuce, I'll whip up a heavenly BBBLT — a biscuit, bacon (two ways), lettuce, and tomato (jam) snack. Okay, if you ask nicely, I'll make one for you and drop it off.
Valencia, Spain - Paella
Since we can't follow chef José Andrés to Restaurant Levante in Valencia, where his friend Rafael Vidal reigns as Paella King, we'll learn to make it ourselves with Andrés' at-home kit and follow his paella-making tips and recipes. The ingredients — rice, base, spices, and even the iconic pan and spoon — are sold separately (from $10.95) or as a kit ($85.95).
Savannah, Georgia - Salted Honey Pie
Between Tennessee and Georgia, clearly the South is on my mind. Of course, with so much attention on drive-market travel this summer, I'm extra aware of all the places I haven't been on the East Coast. Namely, Savannah, which I know is beautiful and historic and haunted. And is home to The Grey, the restaurant in a converted Greyhound bus station that's been winning heaps of awards since it debuted. Before she opened, chef Mashama Bailey invited me to a preview meal in NYC, the memory of which still makes me drool. (Inelegant, I know, but no one can see me at home.) Her salted honey pie, which has been described as "the bottom of a pecan pie," is sold at her second outpost, The Grey Market, and can be shipped throughout the United States. Yes, ma'am, I'll take one of those and a big fork. ($62.)
Puglia, Italy - Orecchiette with Tomato Sauce
Wow, am I missing Italy this summer. And I usually avoid Italy in the summertime! Especially in August. But I'd give anything to be on the beach in Puglia while staying at Borgo Egnazia right now. (Read more on Fathom about the hotel and the spa to see why.) In the meantime, I'll whip up a simple, local pasta speciality using ingredients from their online shop: durum wheat orecchiette (€15) and Apulian tomato sauce (€7,50). Maybe I'll pick up a few gorgeous pieces for home and closet because their selection is just beautiful. I'll definitely serve the meal with a bottle of local Tormaresca Calafuria, my favorite summer rosé.
Portland, Oregon - Pear & Blue Cheese Ice Cream
Speaking of dessert, because I'm missing my usual summer diet of hyper-locavore Americana treats, Salt + Straw's newest ice cream flavor, Pear & Blue Cheese, sounds mighty tasty. It's blue cheese that was voted the world's best from Oregon's Rogue Creamery and local Bartlett pears. And because it would be a crying shame to order just one pint of ice cream, I have my eye on Huckleberry Cast Iron Corn Bread and Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons. ($13 per pint.)
Speed Round of Spice-It-Up Flavors
When I don't want a whole meal but just a little foreign accent, these ingredients will liven up whatever I'm cooking.
Do you want it sweet or savory? Chef Auria Abraham's focused collection of Malaysian coconut jams (kaya) and chili pastes (sambal) will wake up your proteins, vegetables, and ice creams. (From $8.99) If you want to learn more about Malaysian cuisine, listen to the podcasts we did with Auria and bookmark her little black book of the best places to eat in Malaysia (save it for 2021).
Our editor California is obsessed with Japanese Kewpie mayo. As is everyone in her house, as well as Fathom co-founder Jeralyn. What's the secret? For starters, it's made with egg yolks, not whole eggs, and contains no added salt or sugar. For 100 years, it's been the cack of mayonnaise. ($6.99)
Hawa Hassan was born in Somalia and lived as a refugee in Kenya when she fled civil war with her mother, before relocating with family friends in Seattle. She developed her two sauces with her mother as a tribute to the flavors of her homeland. Tamarind Date Sauce (smoky, mild, fruity) and Coconut Cilantro Chutney (tangy, spicy) are versatile, vegan, gluten-free, and non-GMO. ($9.99)