I’ve always loved entertaining in my home and going to my friend’s dinner parties. I thought to myself, “I wonder if there’s a similar experience I could have while traveling?” I googled “eat with locals” and came up with the EatWith website. It’s a super fun idea where “hosts” post meals, dates, etc… on the website and you basically choose where to go, pay and secure a reservation. It’s that simple! Okay, it does take a little bit of work to find a date that works into your vacation schedule, a convenient location to where you’ll be staying, and obviously a menu you want to try. Lots of times it’s just vague…Asian Fusion, Moroccan, etc… and sometimes they have posted their specific menu.
When I traveled to London this past December I tried to secure a rez somewhere, but it was the week of Christmas, so there weren’t many options and nothing that I could get to easily. So, that didn’t work out…bummer.
I’m traveling to Paris next week, staying with a new friend in the 14th arrondissement. I met Caroline when she stayed with me for two weeks back in November of last year. It’s called a “hospitality exchange” on the homeexchange website…where you are home and host someone in a spare bedroom…and then they do the same for you. So, I’ll be soaking up everything Parisian while visiting Caroline during Spring break and I was determined to add an EatWith experience to my visit.
I started researching the same way as I had back in 2016…googling “eat with locals.” There are several companies that offer this experience now so it’s a bit more time consuming due to all the options….VizEat, BonAppetour, Eat-with-locals…to name a few (I’m pretty sure many of them operate under the umbrella of the same company, just varied hosts, because their websites look very similar in design). I sat at my computer for a few hours checking dates, meal options, and numerous websites. Sometimes there’s a little notice next to a date that says “2 openings left” so you know there’s already a party happening, but I wasn’t finding any that fit into my schedule that had that information and I didn’t want to be the only one dining with the host. So, for this meal I had to first email the hosts to make sure I wasn’t going to be the only one in attendance. After a few emails back and forth with numerous hosts, I finally secured a dinner reservation on BonAppetour that looks like it’s going to be awesome!
The meal is in a Haussmann building a couple of blocks from The Avenue des Champs–Élysées and if the pictures are any indication, it is a fabulous apartment with lots of artwork and beautiful architecture. I’m looking so forward to meeting my host and the other guests that will be in attendance.
So next time you’re in a new locale…whether here in U.S. or abroad…step out of your comfort zone and have a meal with some strangers…because I can assure you that they’re just as excited to meet new people too! I’m planning on signing up for one in Los Angeles this summer and having a stay-cation, while dining with locals!
Stay tuned for a review of my Parisian dinner when I return…..