Backpacker Travel Trends and Culture Blog

Izuno Travel

Travelling the US? Find Good Food

January 31st, 2010 by Jordan

101 Tasties Places to Chowdown

What does a travel guy do when he’s bored and out of money?  He watches the Travel Channel…and gets hungry when he sees the Chowdown Countdown.

I also became a little upset because most all these places look great but who is going to write all that information down on the chance they will be in the area.  Not me.  Luckily I was not so upset after visiting the TC website and finding that they already did the logistics with google maps.  All 101 eateries on the countdown are on the website….listed by state.  I’m not saying it’s the most navigation friendly way of searching, but at least they published it online.  As for the restaurants…they are for the most part ma & pop shops with original recipes, great atmospheres, and what appears to be great food.  Somebody needs to make an app for this kind of food.

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Zunzi’s Savannah

August 22nd, 2009 by Jordan


Any of those wanting to know the reason for the lack of updates will be happy to know that I was travelling.  A short trip to the southern US.  And a city on the most recent trip was Savannah, Georgia.  Savannah is where I came accross a small corner restaurant called Zunzi’s.  It is owned/operated by a South African who along with his staff is pushing out a lot of good food.  This is one of those places that has a line outside the door at 3:00 in the afternoon.  That is what originally triggered my attention.  One Godfather sandwich later… I’m hooked.  I met a few locals in town who visit this place regularly and they say it’s a favorite among the business lunch crowd.

I’ve added a few more pictures of my trip to Savannah and Tybee Island, featuring the Sand Castle Izuno Mountain after the link.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Chopsticks for Travel

July 12th, 2009 by Jordan


Brunton FlipSticks are made for campers and backpackers.  However, anything that packs down smaller works for travellers as well.  At $32.80, they seem overpriced, but hey, if you are a tight packer, every little bit helps I suppose.  And if I were going to the far east, they would probably come in useful and be a conversation starter at the least.

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Cheap DIY Travel Souvenir

June 28th, 2009 by Jordan


Most travelers and backpackers I know aren’t into collecting souvenirs.  Face it, there comes a time in everyone’s life when they take down their collection of shot glasses.  Also, as a backpacker carrying home breakables and added weight is a burden especially on a month or longer trip.  During a bar visit, I noticed some well designed coasters that were being used.  Most beer companies and restaurants use a coaster that has a front and back, and more often than not, the two sides correlate with each other.  This gives us a perfect opportunity to use a free souvenir to decorate the pad back home.

Step #1:  Collect 3 coasters from wherever you may travel.  Make sure they have different front and backs.

Step #2:  Go to your local art & craft store and pick up a cheap framing mat board.  They usually don’t cost more than a couple of bucks.  (And they are big so you can often reuse them).  Using black or white mat board creates a little better contrast to most coasters I find.

Step #3:  Line up three (art lesson 101 – odd numbers usually work better than even numbers) of the coasters and space them about how you want it to appear.  Then…cut the mat board with a utility knife so that the three coasters fill most the space.

Step #4:  Glue the coasters to the mat and hang in desired location.


So there we have an idea that is cheap, reminds you of that special place you visited, and adds decor to the apartment walls when you’re not travelling.  Cheers.

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Tapas Locals in the US

June 14th, 2009 by Jordan


I managed to sneak away to Philadelphia this week, and found a great tapas restaurant.  Amada, which is in downtown Philly was a great meal that reminded me of what it was like in Spain…without the language barrier.  I really wish the US would adopt more tapas bars, as it’s a very healthy way to eat, in addition to getting a variety of food instead of pounding down a 16 oz steak for an hour straight.

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Epicurious Japan – Shabu Shabu

June 7th, 2009 by Jordan


Shabu Shabu is a Japanese dish that is self served in a boiled water or broth. The dish Shabu Shabu is Japanese for Swish Swish, meaning you cook the meat and ingredients very quickly because the beef strips are so thin.  It makes for quick cooking/eating.  Main ingredients are usually a very thin sliced high end cut of beef, greens such as spinach, leeks or bok choy, shitake mushrooms, cabbage, and basically whatever else you want to throw in it.  Some start with chicken broth to add more flavor, and some use a ginger soy sauce to dip in.    I’ve listed a few different recipes I’ve found online to try it out at home, as I imagine it would be hard to make in a hostel.

Epicurious Shabu-Shabu
Food Network Shabu-Shabu

But if you want the true experience, you’ll have to go to Tokyo or Taiwan as I’ve heard these are some of the best places to get this dish or at least a version of it.  Hot Pot, Sukiyaki, are similar and while I’m not going to get into a debate about the history and origins of food here, I will say that this is one meal you may want to spend a little more money on than usual and be wary of cheap versions.  It’s all about the beef, and since the beef is cut so thin, and cooked so quickly, it’s important for your health to not get into cheap cuts.

Recipe Book: Favorite Japanese Dishes (Quick & Easy)

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Stage 2 – Roughing in Ingredients

April 23rd, 2009 by Jordan


NOTE: This is a continuation from Stage 1 – Setting Guidelines. I encourage all travelers and those at home to participate and create your own drink. Think of this project as your own drink you will want in your hand when you die, the drink you want when celebrating, and the drink to toast to the world.

Stage 2 – Roughing in Ingredients
From the beginning I knew I wanted to use rum as a major ingredient in the ‘Izuno’ cocktail. Rum has been a staple of the warm zone I love so much, and the Caribbean is a major player in the rum industry, which I enjoy visiting. So I first needed to study rum. After a jaunt to wiki-load myself with facts on rum, I realized most cocktails use light rum. However most light rum is produced faster and cheaper out of a by-product of sugarcane (molasses based). I wanted this drink to be about discovery and truth (stage 1 guideline #4). So I think to be true, rum should be made straight from the product and not the by-product. The rum must also be able to be infused and mixed with different ingredients, so a long aged rum in oak barrels to add hints of spice, nuts, etc. wasn’t necessary. It is not going to be drunk straight, so a premium aged rum is just a waste of money. After a few trips to the store, I decided on Agua Luca. It fit my requirements (mixable, straight from the sugar-cane, and not premium aged) plus the clerk recommended it based on what I wanted.

Next, I need to add some uniqueness to it. Agua Luca is from Brazil, so I wanted to find out the exact opposite area (globe and weather wise) and what that area produces so that there is a balance in opposites which will fit my global requirement (stage 1, guideline #3). So I went to look at a globe. What is on the other side of the world from Brazil?…The Philippines/Malaysia area. Naturally, the weather is similar since both locations are close to the equator, but that is okay. After more wiki-ness and searches, I found a few potential fruits that might play a part. The papaya, mangosteen, lime, or pineapple are all potential fruits that just might find a home in the ‘Izuno.’ I will have to do some testing to get a final decision.

More ingredients I might choose to add later may be simple syrup, sugar, soda, or really just some standard cocktail ingredients. Those will have to be on trial during Stage 3 – Testing and Elimination – Coming Soon.

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Stage 1 – Guidelines for an ‘Izuno’ Drink

April 6th, 2009 by Jordan


There are many questions one must find their own answers to in life…and one of those questions is…”What will by my drink.” A drink to be created by oneself and take the name of the creator or in this case the name of my handle (izuno) for years after I am gone. I introduce…the story of an ‘Izuno’.

Stage 1 – Setting Guidelines

So to begin the long process in figuring out what concoction of cocktail I will be using, it’s important to set some general guides and limits. If you are making your own drink, be sure to define yourself when defining guidelines for your drink.

1. The drink must be chilled with 2-3 squares of clear ice. I thrive on warm weather, and I’m happiest when warm…so therefore a perfect drink must accomodate the perfect temperature.

2. The drink must be unique. I’m sure whatever my final recipe is, there will have already been 20 different online versions of the same drink…so whether it is a particular brand of alcohol or a particular volume…I must be orginal and specific in creation.

3. I’m a traveler. Therefore I need to incorporate ingredients and liquors from around the world. Being careful not to get too wrapped up and sacrifice on taste. If I leave a continent or two out the drink it is not a big deal, however it must not be direct from one region.

4. A drink is special only when there is cause for celebration. So what I celebrate will have an impact on the drink. My life has been a celebration of discovery and truth…therefore an ‘Izuno’ must also be about discovery and truth.

5. And finally, as a designer, I realize the important of aesthetics. The drink must be a good color, a good scent, a proper smoothness, a natural clean look, and of course a great taste.

Stage 2 – Roughing Out Ingredients

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Airline Food Surprises No More

March 24th, 2009 by Jordan

airline_food has a ridiculously huge database of airline food information and pictures it’s a bit scary. Not only do they have a description and a picture of each meal, but they tell you which route it was served on, duration of the flight, comments by the author, cabin class, and aircraft type. Add that with a sortable list by airline, and I’d be willing to bet you have the largest, if not best site devoted to airline meals. I love it.

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Wanko Soba

March 20th, 2009 by Jordan


I figured the title of this post is interesting enough. Wanko Soba is more of a competition against the server than a type of food. Apparently, you have to eat all your noodles with sides of raw fish and other traditional Japanese side dishes before the server refills your bowl (generally numerous bowls are filled and eaten). And that is all the server wants to do is refill refill refill. Yell “MAITTA” and cover your bowl as long as you have finished your noodles to cease soba fire. Here are the full instructions.

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