The Anti Tourist at SXSW

We’re throwing a big party during SXSW week. A house party. March 17th. 3pm-2am. We’ll be giving away eco-friendly TAT drawstring backpacks to our Facebook fans, so make sure you LIKE our Facebook page to get on the list for a free bag: The Anti Tourist Facebook page.

Ohio Street Food

Check out
Founded by some friends of mine I grew up with in, you guessed it, Ohio, these guys are taking on the task of covering Ohio’s mobile food industry. From what we saw on a recent trip to Columbus, it looks as though street food is on the up and up there just as it is down here in ATX. They’re smart guys, smart with impressive senses of humor, smart with impressive senses of humor and fun, too. So support them. The end.


Wandering in Komissar Wallander’s footsteps

There is a little town called Ystad in the very south of Sweden right on the Baltic sea. It is best known for its most prominent (and fictitious) police officer, Kurt Wallander. He is the agent in Henning Mankell‘s crime stories that are all placed in Ystad or somewhere around here.

A lot of hotel rooms and vacation homes are equipped with maps and brochures that point out all places that play a role in the movies. You can go visit Wallander’s house in the Mariagatan, the train station that serves as his office building. Or drink coffee in the “Hotell Continental” where Wallander takes his coffee, or even go to the beaches in the “Hagestad Naturreservat” east of Ystad where Wallander retreats to to think about his current cases.

But even if everything seems to be about Swedish movies, and especially Henning Mankell’s crime stories, this region, called southern Skane, has so much more to offer. Coffee is indeed a pretty serious thing here—not only is there a cafe in almost every other house in the town but it is also very good, very strong, and very tasty.

Sweden’s most beautiful beaches (voted for by some Swedish magazine in 2009) along the Baltic sea attract thousands of visitors over the summer. In the fall, they are deserted and are an inviting place to take a walk. An important prehistoric site, alnes stener, (which translates to something like ale’s stones) is just a few miles along the coast east of Ystad. built by the Vikings some 1000-1500 years ago it is a bunch of big stones erected in the shape of a viking’s ship. It is probably comparable to Stonehenge in a way, I didn’t dare ask, though, for fear of offending Vikings.

The roaring green hills of the inland is full of old castles and big mansions that sit in the midst of rich farmland and forests. Some of them, like Marsvinsholm, allow visitors to stride through their big parks, sculpture gardens, and orchards, and they even host summer festivals and concerts. A few natural reserves close to Ystad are also worth visiting. I have never seen more wild birds of prey than here.

By: Christoph Sahle

San Jose, Costa Rica, from Above

(Trip courtesy of Marriott Costa Rica)

Ah, Latin American cities: what’s not to love? Wide boulevards, awe-inspiring palaces, gorgeous old-world-new-world architecture…packs of stray dogs, beggars, choking smog, bewildering transportation options… San José is better than most, but it can be difficult to maintain perspective while tired and footsore, your head all a-whirl from the noise and traffic and giant billboards.

Check out the view from here.

I was standing on the top of a hill overlooking San José, Costa Rica, a little travel-worn and stressed about a frank exchange of opinions (about Obama’s healthcare plan…how blasé) I’d had with another, wealthier American I had met there. It happened at Tiquicia, a nice, though tourist-focused restaurant serving traditional Costa Rican fare.

There’s a full bar, live music and dancing on weekends—but the real attraction is the view, which, as you’ve already seen, is breathtaking.

It was a foggy night that was beginning to clear as I shot the view. From there, from that distance, perspective was forced into my brain with a jolt, forcing me to recalibrate. San José had transformed from a manic whirlwind of cars and dogs to a sea of twinkling lights and orange-illuminated clouds far beneath me. And, the inevitable analogy: that even my most deeply held beliefs are, in the long run, silly preoccupations. I didn’t even care, as it turned out, about that asshole’s position on healthcare, and I can’t change his mind for him. Proselytizing is pointless. Just, focus on one point, breathe, and enjoy the view.

By: Ben Britz

The Purple Fiddle: Thomas, West Virginia

Droves of people visit the Canaan Valley area in West Virginia area during all four seasons for scenic hiking, mountain biking, skiing, and other general outdoor pleasures. Many of these visitors also take time to explore the tiny adjacent mountain town of Davis, WV–population 600ish–with it’s single grocery store and bank, wonderful places to eat (a.k.a. Hellbenders; more on that later) and even more wonderful residents and passers-through. What many people don’t know is that if they continued on just a few more miles to the next tiny mountain town, Thomas, W.V.–population 400ish–they would stumble upon a rare gem called The Purple Fiddle Café, Brews and Stage.

My best friend’s parents (Editor’s Note: Coincidentally, I know these people. And they are fantastic. This should, perhaps, be indicative of the kinds of people here) are some of the few permanent residents of the Canaan area and so we have a summer tradition of visiting the area for long and relaxing getaways. Every summer we hike, eat, drink, and repeat on a daily basis. In our minds those few days are what we live for. The only thing that breaks our routine is The Purple Fiddle, or the peak of Thomas, W.V. night life. Despite its remote and sparse permanent population, Tucker County has a ridiculously active music scene that draws professional and nationally touring musicians from across the state and beyond.

The Purple Fiddle is a restaurant and music venue that offers more than your standard country and bluegrass fare. Rock, reggae, blues, folk–you name it, it’s been played here. It’s even a family-friendly place, so feel free to bring the rug-rats as long as you can keep them quiet. Kidding. This is a place where kids can feel free to be loud and crazy along with the adults.

Once the music starts, the atmosphere is contagious. People dance and drink and laugh and bond over the music and the small town camaraderie. There are dozens of brew choices on the menu–and you can never try just one. If you decide to retreat for some fresh air, there is an attached outdoor area stage-left though on a typical Friday or Saturday night it’s probably more crowded than the interior. Some bands draw big enough crowds that it feels like the whole town is there at once… so wear some deodorant for god’s sake.

John and Kate Bright, the extremely kind and friendly owners of The Purple Fiddle, live in the upstairs portion of the building and work hard to maintain a welcoming and entertaining environment for everyone. Along with the eclectic décor, there is a bit of a country store feel too, as they offer some local novelty items in addition to the band merchandise being sold.

The word on the street is the staff affiliated with the The Purple Fiddle may start recording and producing some of its many traveling artists so if you are already a fan keep an eye out. The Purple Fiddle is easily the heart of this artsy mountain community and every trip I take to Canaan will be punctuated with a stop at the Fiddle.

By: Megan Longfellow

The Anti Tourist on National Geographic: Columbus’ Local Food Scene

Oh my. Oh my, oh my, oh my. We have not told you very many stories lately, have we? We have been eerily quiet over here on The Anti Tourist front. This you must know. But know this as well: our silence can be undeniably credited to our relocation. From New York City to Austin, our headquarters have traveled with us as we’ve migrated and sought a warmer winter for 2010/2011. And warmer, it is. We like it that way. Meanwhile, we’re brainstorming the makeovers for the site we have in mind and we’re making more thrift store shopping trips than Ikea ones in an effort to furnish our office space with more spirit and less cookie-cutter. In the meantime, I put together this piece for National Geographic recently on the local farm-to-table food scene in Columbus. Shockingly, Columbus has got it all over many other cities who try and fail to support each other. Amazed at the success Columbus is having with this movement, I wrote this piece.

Growing up in Marietta, Ohio, Columbus was the “big city.” My mom would force us all into the car on Saturdays and we’d head to the JCPenney outlet store on the outskirts of the town. I remember dozing off to the soothing voices of NPR storytellers on the drive to Columbus. I dozed off on the drive back home usually, too. But that was because my entire family had just binged at the nearest all-you-can-eat buffet. The freshness or origin of the food at these joints wasn’t ever really in question. We were a family of five on a budget and food was food.

As high school graduation neared, most of my peers had already chosen to stay in Columbus and attend Ohio State. I however went to New York City, in step with the “Midwestern Girl Follows Dreams” cliche, and dismissed Columbus as a slow-lane college town, cookie-cut from the same dough as every other town between New York City and Los Angeles. And of course I thought that. I was 18 and uninformed.

The unfortunate thing is that it took me the better part of a decade to blink an eye at the city of Columbus again. After a recent thorough touring of Columbus’ culinary delights, however, I now know there was plenty else to eat. Plenty.

Read the rest of the piece on the National Geographic blog. Read it, comment on it, let the folks over there know you like it when The Anti Tourist’s voice is heard.

Be back soon with content.

By: Elizabeth Seward

Hello, Hi, News, Buy Jewelry, Etc.

Hi! So, your guys in the sky in charge of this whole thing, and by guys, I mean guy and girl, me being the lady involved here, are effectively, more or less, settled into Austin, Texas now! And what a change from Brooklyn. We’re getting the office together and plan on building up The Anti Tourist team ATX style (interested in being an intern? email us at shout(at)

I also have been spending some rare free hours making jewelry. I’ve used a lot of materials from my travels across the globe, so if that interests you, if you like jewelry, if you want to think about the holiday gift-giving sooner than the day before this year, check out my store on Etsy here. You can browse the jewelry (most of which is under $20) and even order a customized apron/tote bag/pillow case set. Plenty of other goods will be in there soon.

Will of this rambling over and done with, we’ll have more posts to you soon. We aren’t done talking about some of our rad trips from summer 2010, so just hold those horses of yours. In the meantime, stay up with The Anti Tourist Facebook page for more regular updates/on the spot iPhone picture-sending, etc.

Love you all,

Enter The Anti Tourist Travel Photo Contest and Win The Care Package!

Interested in winning a big ol’ goodie bag from The Anti Tourist‘s most recent travels? Then enter the most recent travel photo contest on The Anti Tourist Facebook Page. All you have to do is post your favorite travel photos to the Facebook wall and then have your friends come LIKE your photos once they’re in the Contest Photo Album. The photo with the most LIKES by noon on Friday, October 8th will get shipped a box of special things from our recent travels.

Pictured above, the package includes:

Bay leaves from Grenada
Chunks of cinnamon from Grenada
Bath Salt from Grenada
Nutmeg from Grenada
Cloves from Grenada
Handmade soap from Grenada
Organic Cocoa Balls from Grenada
Pure Vanilla from Grenada
Caribbean Naturals Bug Spray from Grenada
Full nutmeg in pouch from Grenada

Ruby Port Red Wine Brownie by Mary Louise Butter from Austin, TX

“One Foot in the Gravy” cd by The Hillbilly Gypsies, from Morgantown, WV

Winona Lake, Warsaw, Indiana

Warsaw and neighboring community Winona Lake are only a couple hours from Chicago, which is a town we loved. It’s a little in the middle of nowhere, and known mainly for the research and development and manufacture of orthopedics—companies like DePuy, Zimmer, and Biomet are headquartered here. That said, there’s also a beautiful lake, a local-centric economy, farm stands and markets, and a great community feeling. There’s even a large Mexican population, which raises the palatability of the cuisine considerably.

Cerulean Restaurant is a sushi and tapas place on Winona Lake with a quickly rotating beer selection—according to our hosts, the 6 taps were completely different two weeks ago. My pear cider was crisp and lively, similar to some Rieslings I’ve had, and my companions assured me their beers were great too—not that I would know from personal experience, since beer is packed with all kinds of gluten and I am not supposed to have that, moan, whine, moan again. In any case I had some great homemade beef jerky there as well as some incredible tapas.

The Bak Efe (just say Bay Café), also right on the lake, has great coffee and cookies which tasted like hot fudge went outside and laid in the sun. Also: blueberry scones, almond cream cheese Danish, and the best pizza this side of the Mississippi. Ok, one of the best pizzas this side of the Mississippi.

Get your ice cream next door at Kelainey’s, a very cute “shoppe” and perfect for an ice cream fix.

Eagle Creek Farm’s market has local, raw milk, local cheese, meat, and produce, and a very sweet proprietress. Stop by for an authentic, undoctored taste of rural Indiana.

On the other side of town, you cannot miss Los Gordos. Of the dozens of Mexican places in town, this was my favorite, a delicate mixture of old diner, corner tex-mex place, lounge, bar, and family restaurant.

The food is great though, with all the Mexican staples—cheesy enchiladas, cheesy burritos, cheesy fajitas, nachos with cheese, agua de horchata (or hibiscus or tamarind), Negra Modelo, more rice and beans than anyone could ever eat, ever, etc. El Gordo himself runs the place, and he’s gentleman. To be honest I don’t know if the place is named after him but whatever. This is my favorite place in town.

By: Ben Britz