Posts Tagged With: food

The World’s Greatest Beer – Coors Light

A certain friend of mine tells a great story.  It has to do with the time he met the CEO of Coors Light.  Now for those international readers who don’t know, Coors is a big time US beer brand, but it’s on the way to Europe now so keep an eye out.  In fact I was sitting in a bar here in Menorca just the other day and saw a killer add for Coors Light with Jean Claude Van Damme (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZL9UZHAyN6E), but back to the story.

My friend had come to meet with the Coors Company in order to try and make them a bit environmentally friendlier by selling them pollution offsets.  It’s a big time company so making a sale here would mean big news for my friend.  Of course making sales are hard and it’s normal to get the runaround so you can imagine his delight when he found he’d be meeting with the big cheese himself.  Make the sale to him and there’d be no more hurdles to jump.

So in comes the CEO and my friend starts his pitch:  “Buy carbon offsets with us.  It’s the future.  You can advertise being carbon neutral on your products.”

“Ok, let me stop you there,” says the CEO. “Let’s be honest. I make cheap beer for people who like drinking drink cheap beer. Are you telling me when my customer goes to the store and says to himself ‘what’s the cheapest beer they have?’, he’s going to pause and say ‘oh wait! Coors Light is a bit more expensive but it’s carbon neutral!  I’ll buy that instead!’ Is that what you’re saying?”

“Uhh, yeah.”

“Really?”

Alas, no sale was to be made that day.

My bike trip food equivalent to Coors Light.

Now flash forward a year, I’m at a party at the house of the richest guy I know and he’s not just rich, he’s got megabucks, silly money.  I mean money in this guy’s house is like steroids in baseball: it’s everywhere.  There a humidor the size of a pirate chest full of cigars.  There’s high end Vodka and Champagne being abused like homeless guys abuse Boons.  In short, it’s paradise.

Still, I’m more of a beer drinker, so I pass over the fine wine and head for the fridge half expecting to open it and find a hidden beer cellar, but when I open up the door what do I see?  Coors Light, hundreds of cans of it.  For a moment I thought I’d fallen asleep and dreamt I was in a Coors Light commercial.

“Dude, why do you have so much Coors Light?” I asked more than slightly perplexed.

He looked back at me with an equal look of puzzlement, “I like it.”

Champions may drink Gatorade, but Billionaires drink Coors Light.

This all makes one very important point.  No matter who you are you can find things you love that are very cheap.  All children know this, which is why you could leave caviar and wine next to Kool-Aid and cookies in a kindergarten, without ever having to worry about finding a bunch of drunk four year old.  Unfortunately, as adults, most of us have forgotten how enjoyable inexpensive things can be.  There’s no better time to recapture that pleasure than when you’re traveling.  In many countries you’ll find inexpensive fruits, meats and cheeses you can’t find back home.  You can try new pastries and snacks and spend even less than you would at your local supermarket.  Even something as simple as trying exotic pizza toppings can allow you to sample local cuisine without spending more than you normally would at home.

As I mentioned in my last post there’s more to food and drink than money.  Many people imagine that I’m living like Oliver and begging for a little extra oatmeal after breakfast, but fortunately that’s not quite true.  In fact, for just a few cent I can have a cup of green tea, some fresh fruit and a chocolate croissant for breakfast, a meal that only an emperor could have had just a few centuries ago, except for the croissant with chocolate, since they wouldn’t have been discovered yet.  So take a few dollars and go out and enjoy yourself today.  You can eat like an Emperor or drink like a billionaire.

Maybe the junk food did do it for you, but check out this local cuisine I found.

Categories: Travel, Words | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Love the Food You’re With

One thing I’m often asked to write about when it comes to traveling is how to save money on food and drink.  It’s a great question and one I will dedicate several posts to answering.  Today I’d just like to hammer home one piece of key advice: buy what’s cheap where you are.  This may sound like trite and superficial advice, but it’s among my most profound travel wisdom.  What exactly do I mean?  Well, let’s break it down.

We live in a capitalist society and one of the values we’ve been taught from the time we were small children is “You get what you pay for.”  While I’m not saying that’s never true, it’s certainly not true a lot of the time.  For example, let’s say you live in Chicago and you take a trip to the local grocery store.  You’d probably find that a bottle of wine costs around $12, a big bottle of beer around $2, milk around $1.50, and a 2 liter of coke around 99 cents.  Now having seen prices like this your whole life you’ve probably reached the very reasonable conclusion that this reflects the relative value of the products.  Coke is poison, milk is reasonably healthy but doesn’t taste great, beer is a cheap way to get drunk and wine will make you talk with a French accent.

The thing is what’s determining the prices here isn’t quality, it’s not even the cost of making the products (as it turns out cows cost more than grapes), rather it’s some hellishly complex series of factors involving taxes, marketing costs, government subsidies and other stuff that gives economics professors goose bumps.

Now what if I told you there’s a store where you’d fine wine that cost 50 cents a liter, beer is 24 cents a can, milk is around $3 and the coke is about $1.50.  You’d probably tell me I was homeless guy having a great dream, but no, you’d simply be in Spain.

I'm not saying it's Dom Perignon, but you get the idea...

So what does this all mean?  Well, for one thing, it means there are a lot of drunk Americans wandering around Spain, but it also means that when traveling you shouldn’t stick to the “you get what you pay for mentality” rather you should buy what’s cheap where you are.  In France and Spain drink wine cheaper, in Belgium drink beer cheaper, in Switzerland eat cheese cheaper, in the US drink coke cheaper, in Thailand… well you get the point.

Now knowing what’s cheap where takes a little travel experience, but in general things are cheaper closer to where they are made or grown, e.g. vodka in Poland, oranges in Florida. Not only that, things often taste better before they make a transoceanic voyage, as I learned when drinking beer served by the same monks who brewed it.  Of course, there’s more to buying food than price and location, personal taste has just as much if not more to do with it, and that’s something I’ll touch on in my next post: The World’s Greatest Beer – Coors Light.  Until then please share the travel bargains you’ve found.  Is tea cheaper in China?  What about hamburgers in Hamburg? Let us know!

Categories: Spain, Travel, Words | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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