Unique Variations of Escargot

There are a couple of things that we almost always order at restaurants when we’re traveling if we happen to find them on the menu. One of them is escargot, which not everyone enjoys, but it is certainly a favorite of ours. Occasionally they are served in their shells, but often they are served on a special baking dish specifically designed to nestle the escargot in their own little cavity. We have had them in many different locations throughout Europe where they are more popular than they are here in the United States.

Escargot at a French Bistro
Cheese Covered Escargot

The most traditional way to have them is baked in butter with lots of garlic and herbs. As good as the actual snail is to eat, the real treat is dunking bread into each of the little holes to soak up the garlic butter. It is a little decadent, but well worth the calories. On a couple of occasions we had them where they were covered in cheese as well, which we found to be an interesting take on them.

Snails and Potato Cakes
Gruyere Covered Snails for an Extra Cheesy Treat

Since we don’t always find them on menus, when we do it is almost a guarantee that we will order them. It isn’t something that we’ve ever cooked for ourselves, but that doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t try it in the future. For those that have never tried escargot, we would highly recommend that you don’t let the thought of eating a snail deter you from trying this delicacy.

Escargot in Heidelberg, Germany
Classic Escargot

The Food of Vientiane

Although we were only in Vientiane for a few days, we wanted to make sure that we tried as many local Laotian dishes as we could. The food of Laos is influenced greatly by its neighboring countries as well as the French who occupied it. With that said, there are a few dishes that are unique to Laos. With Vientiane sitting on the Mekong River, fish from the river can be found on most of the local menus.

Fried Noodles with Beef

Mekong Fish in Coconut Sauce Served with Sticky Rice

Nothing Like a Good Cup of Coffee

One of the first meals that we ate in Vientiane was Laab, which is considered to be national dish of Laos. We had the choice of chicken, pork, duck, or fried fish, but chose to have it with pork. Laab, which means “good fortune” in the Lao language, is a mix of meat, banana flowers, fish sauce, lime juice, chili, and herbs. We also ate fish from the Mekong River that was in a coconut sauce. Another common item that we ate several times was sticky rice. We had a couple of different versions of sticky rice, some more flavorful than others. Fried noodles with beef, chicken, or pork is a local favorite throughout the region and we enjoyed having it as well.

Pork Laab

Sticky Rice

Spicy Noodles with Seafood

We also ate a local chicken soup that was cooked and served with the bones in for even more flavor. Spicy noodles is common throughout the region and we chose to have it with seafood. The wide noodles were different than most of the other noodles that we ate during our time in Southeast Asia. We also had some crab dim sum that was light and refreshing. There are plenty of options for street food and coffee and beer are definitely popular as well. On our last day, we stopped in at an Indian/Pakistani restaurant where we had vegetable and chicken samosas.

Street Food

Chicken Soup

Crab Dim Sum

No matter where you travel, it is important to taste the local cuisine as it is a window into the culture. The food in Vientiane, Laos was certainly true of that as well. The food was very flavorful and had just the right amount of spice for our tastes. We would certainly recommend trying the Laab, Mekong Fish, and Sticky Rice if you have the opportunity to visit Laos.

Vegetable and Chicken Samosas

National Lao Beer


Bloody Mary Brunch

If you’re looking for a fun entertaining idea, consider throwing a Bloody Mary brunch party. People can have Bloody Marys with or without vodka, you can provide different flavors of vodka, and let them garnish their own Bloody Mary. The actual origin of the Bloody Mary drink is uncertain with claims that it was invented in the 1920’s in Paris while other people claim that it originated in New York, and others say it was invented in Chicago. Wherever it came from, it is certainly a staple on many drink menus around the world. Brunch items can be simple and you can certainly offer for people to bring their own favorite items. We decided to throw one over the weekend and for our brunch items, we chose to make deviled eggs, mini-frittatas, bacon wrapped sesame bread sticks, and French toast sticks with syrup. We made our own Bloody Mary mix and had shrimp, pepperoncini, celery, pickles, cherry tomatoes, and olives (some stuffed with pimentos and some stuffed with jalapeno peppers) as garnish. Letting guests poor their own Bloody Mary and garnish it themselves allows them to control the amount of alcohol that they want as well as be creative with the way that they garnish their own drink. We have provided our recipe for the Bloody Mary mix, but if you’d like information on any of the brunch items, just let us know.

Mini Frittatas
Mini- Frittatas



  • 48 oz Tomato Juice
  • 12 oz Clamato Juice
  • 1/4 cup Beef Broth
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 4 tbsp Prepared Horseradish
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Celery Salt
  • 2 to 3 dashes of Tabasco Sauce

Bloody Mary Mix
Bloody Mary Mix

Bacon Wrapped Bread Sticks
Bacon Wrapped Sesame Bread Sticks

Bloody Mary
Bloody Mary


Add all of the ingredients in a large picture, stirring to incorporate all of the horseradish. If you can’t find Clamato brand tomato juice, you can add the 10 ounces of tomato juice and 2 ounces of clam juice. If you would like a more or less spicy Bloody Mary mix, simply increase or decrease the amount of horseradish and tabasco sauce that you add.

Deviled Eggs
Deviled Eggs

French Toast Sticks
French Toast Sticks

Bloody Mary 2
A Different Garnish