Episode 2: David Sanders on the Road (and Airplane) in Europe

Long-time followers (pre-COVID) will recall the Blog’s numerous international posts from France (search “France”), Switzerland, the Netherlands (search “Amsterdam”), and Vietnam. We’re happy to resume our international coverage with reports from the archives of the peripatetic David Sanders.

A while back I introduced you to David Sanders and posted an initial batch of photos from some of his past trips. I promised to post more but then had a summer and fall with lots of travel and interesting restaurants. I got sidetracked, as I so often do. At last, here’s Episode 2, and it includes a huge shift from Episode 1, which was an inspirational Carolina-Georgia barbecue trip, with many, many diversions to bakeries and ice cream. And biscuits.

David Sanders, of course, is the Orpheus of the cello, a longtime and very distinguished member of the Chicago Symphony, which probably is the finest orchestra in the world. When he’s not eating barbecue or desserts, just fiddling around (I apologize, I apologize), he goes on scouting trips to help select hotels for the orchestra members, and, of course, for concerts. David’s travels take him around the world. David also is one of the world’s great experts on desserts.

A note on David Sanders. In addition to his musical brilliance, David is a great Roadfood afficianado, i.e., he never eats at chains. Well, hardly ever. Just as my friend, Jean Webb, is a committed vegan (now recovered) who made an exception for a particular barbecue sandwich, David makes an exception for the best coffee shop brand in the United States (no, not that one) for a doughnut (no, not that one, either). In that he shows wisdom, a foolish consistency being the hobgoblin of little appetites.

Back to the travelogue. This episode starts off in the Southeast but then transports you to Europe, with concert trips to Warsaw, Geneva, Paris, and Vienna, followed by a second tour to Kansas City, then Chapel Hill. Whiplash!

The first trip of 2014 can be viewed here. It covers some of the same ground as Episode 1 but is even more impressive. It features alluring photos of an awe-inspiring selection of great places in the Carolinas, including Stephenson’s, the Skylight Inn, Parkers, Flo’s, B’s, Bum’s, Bill’s (back in its glory days), Grady’s, Kelly’s, Maurice’s Piggy Park, 521 BBQ, the Barbecue Center, Richard’s, Midwood Smokehouse, and Bill Spoon’s. For those wishing more information, many of the places are reviewed (search the name) on my Blog. And those meals are followed by ice cream and pastry shops too numerous to mention. David returned to North Carolina later in the year, and his December 2014 trip can be found here. Okay, enough introduction.

And now for something completely different: a Chicago Symphony Orchestra tour of Warsaw, Paris, and Vienna, with extra days in Poland. This October 2014 trip can be viewed here, and I particularly enjoyed getting a sense of those places and their food. Our last international trip, after preliminaries in Paris and Lyons, was a Viking cruise down the Rhone. We enjoyed it immensely. (See my review of the food on the cruise here.) Nancy and I promptly planned a river cruise down the Danube with side trips to Paris, Prague, and Berlin. Then COVID hit. Looking at David’s photos reinvigorated my interest in seeing more of Europe. In the Paris section, there’s a heavy focus on desserts, and as you can imagine, the pictures are appetite-inspiring. I’ve never been to any of those restaurants, but I sure want to go. The photos of Café Neko in Vienna will be a treat for cat lovers.

The October 2015 Symphony tour took David to Kansas City and Ann Arbor, then back to Chapel Hill. That trip was followed by a personal trip to Charleston, Savannah, and Spartanburg. The trip can be viewed here, with Kansas City reports from Gate’s, SLAP’s, Arthur Bryant’s, and Jack Stack’s in Kansas City, plus much, much more.

My hat is off to David. I was done in after four places in three states in one day during the Great Memphis Region Barbecue Sandwich Tour, and was impressed by Monk’s three lunches in one neighborhood on the same day. David Sanders’ typical day, regardless of where he is in the world, seems to involve a couple of big breakfasts followed by two or three lunches followed by desserts at a couple of places, all ending just in time for a supper or two. And a dessert or three. David also provides commentary on each of the places and ranks the barbecue places at the end of each trip. Note: David and I differ on corn sticks. He doesn’t like them, nor does he like the cornmeal-centric cornbread at the Skyline Inn, although he may be coming around.

Stay tuned for more of David Sanders’ trips from around the world. Next Episode: Asia!


And while you’re at it, click “follow” on our front page to receive blog posts in your email box.  Or bookmark us and check in from time to time.  If you’re planning a trip, you can “Search” the name of the destination city, state, or country for good restaurants (in Europe, often close to sites, like the Louvre or the Van Gogh Museum, that you’ll want to visit in any event). And stick around for news, all manner of recipes, and the occasional book or movie review and fine arts and architecture commentary.  Comments, questions, and suggestions of places to eat or stories to cover are very welcome.  And check out our Instagram page, johntannerbbq.


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