Mayssam was born and raised in Lebanon and lived in New York City before finally settling on Montreal about 20 years ago. In a few previous lives, she worked as an interior designer, a graphic artist and even dabbled in catering. She has since reconnected with her true passions – food and travel – and now roams Montreal (and the planet!) as a blogger searching for delicious culinary discoveries. From Michelin-starred restaurants across the planet to the latest hole-in-the-wall restaurants down the street, she wants to taste it all! Follow Mayssam’s adventures on her blog, Will Travel For Food.
Cheapflights: How much of a role does food play in deciding where you travel?
Mayssam: It plays a major role in deciding where I go, but it is not the only factor – because wherever I go, I always manage to find some delicious food to eat. I do have to say though that I usually book restaurants before I’ve even booked my plane ticket!
CF: What’s the most memorable food-related experience you’ve had traveling?
M: There have been so many, from the time I traveled to Turkey with my parents and picnicked on a hilltop in the Turkish countryside barbecuing our own meat and enjoying the fresh air to the first time I bit into a Momofuku cake truffle in New York City – both are very different experiences but just as memorable. Oh, and there was also last summer when I interviewed Albert Adria at his new restaurant Tickets in Barcelona then sat down to enjoy a meal prepared by him.
CF: How has exploring food taught you about people and cultures?
M: You learn so much about a culture through its food! What is the origin of tapas? I got a lesson in culture and history when I asked that question in Barcelona this past summer. Ask a question about food and odds are you will get so much more than you bargained for and that the answer will be so very interesting!
CF: Is there a destination that you visit regularly?
M: I go to New York every few months. I used to live there and I consider it a second home. It is a source of inspiration for me – and such a great eating destination!
CF: How do you discover local or off-the-beaten-path places?
M: The internet and social media are great sources of information. I get a lot of info and recommendations through my Twitter account: @mayssamaha. I have followers all over the world and love getting recommendations from the people who live in a city I’m visiting. I very often return the favor by recommending local places in Montreal.
CF: Do you have a routine for staying healthy when you travel?
M: I try to get as much sleep as possible even when I travel. I need my seven to eight hours of sleep to function properly. I also try and stay as hydrated as possible.
CF: What is an absolute must on your packing list?
M: My iPad, which is usually filled with maps and lists of places to visits, itineraries, reservations, books, music, etc.
CF: What’s your routine before you fly?
M: I clean my apartment and tidy up well and I leave very detailed instructions to the cat-sitter. I then make sure I have good music on my iPhone or iPod, and a good book in my iPad. I check my packing list and make sure I have everything. I then try and get a good night of sleep, which usually never happens because I am so excited about my trip!
CF: Any tips on researching a new destination before taking off?
M: Being a foodie, I usually go through my list of restaurants first and make reservations. I then organize the rest of my time around that. I research by looking on the net. If it’s a long trip, I will buy a paper guide of my destination to take with me.
Cheapflights is proud to have guest voices express their opinions. The views expressed are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Cheapflights Media (USA) Inc.
(Images: Mayssam,Carrie MacPherson; Montreal, Manu_H)