Rule #1 of traveling: plan ahead. There's nothing worse than standing around in a beautiful city, wondering, "What should we do?" or "What should we eat?" or "Where are we?"
Okay, there are worse things, but still.
This doesn't necessarily mean that you need to create a detailed itinerary for every day of your trip, but it does help to have a general idea of the things you'd want to do and the places you'd like to eat.
For me, food is important. My memories from traveling are easily evoked from my food experiences. Some of my favorite food memories are from Vancouver:
eating soft, buttery, fresh Toro in a hole in the wall Japanese sushi bar;
strolling through downtown eating sweet, creamy, frozen custard on a hot summer day;
sipping rich, hot Belgian chocolate on a chilly August night;
drinking cold, crisp peach cider (and Kokanee) while watching the sunset over the English Bay.
It brings back happy memories.
So, before I embark on our summer vacation (see my sad map!), I've compiled a list of places I'd like to try in each city. Most of these are from running mental lists of restaurants I've read or heard about over the years, and some are ones I've specifically searched for (e.g., best gelato in Chicago).
Anyway, with that all being said, here's my list of food places I want to visit in each city.
Yung Sing Pastry Shop
St. Viateur Bagels
Jean Talon Market
Le Lapin Sauté
Zero One Sushi
Guu with Garlic
Truthfully, I really just want to eat deep dish pizza in Chicago and heaps of crepes, bagels, pastries, and French food in Montreal/Quebec City. Oh, and fresh sushi in Vancouver.
That would make me a happy, fat camper with loads of jolly memories.
Cheers to food and travel!