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Stocking a vacation rental kitchen
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  • Stocking a vacation rental kitchen

    Post #1 - April 26th, 2019, 9:23 am
    Post #1 - April 26th, 2019, 9:23 am Post #1 - April 26th, 2019, 9:23 am
    I’m sure there’s a thread about this somewhere but I can’t seem to find it. On vacation, we often try and rent a condo/house/apartment with a kitchen. We try and limit eating out to one meal a day, especially in locations not known for great restaurants . Over the years, I feel like I’ve gotten a little wiser about what to buy and bring to make using a strange, typically poorly-equipped kitchen a little easier. I’m hoping others have good info/suggestions to add. Here are my bring/buy lists for stocking a vacation rental kitchen for about 1 week (recently used for a week in Florida).
    What to bring
    Tools:
    Good knife with knife guard
    Microplane grater
    Tongs
    Spatula
    Bench scraper
    Peeler

    Seasonings/Spices:
    Small container kosher salt
    pepper with built in grinder
    Consider can of thai curry paste
    Pill box with spices (in a Ziploc bac in case of spillage): cumin, coriander, red pepper flakes, curry powder, chile powder (I like Nambe), garam masala, turmeric

    What to buy
    Produce
    • avocado
    • carrots
    • basil
    • bell pepper
    • lemons/limes (lots for ceviche)
    • orange
    • jalapeno
    • lettuce
    • onion (red and yellow)
    • garlic
    • cucumber
    • scallions
    • Mango
    • strawberries
    • ginger
    Meat & Fish
    • boneless chicken thighs
    • bacon
    • sliced turkey for sandwiches? If good quality
    • plan to buy local seafood
    Grains
    • granola
    • bread for sandwiches
    • tortillas
    • pasta (spaghetti)
    Preferably in bulk, if available
    • Sugar
    • small bag of rice
    • cashews
    • pistachios
    • ?granola
    Dairy
    • butter
    • eggs
    • milk
    • half and half
    • parmesan cheese
    • feta or goat cheese
    • yogurt
    Snacks, Desserts & Condiments
    • Chips (potato, tortilla, pita)
    • chocolate covered almonds
    • ground coffee
    • olive oil
    • peanut butter
    • mayo
    • chicken broth
    Dream list
    • coconut milk
    • fish sauce
    • huy fong chili sauce
    • rice noodles
  • Post #2 - April 26th, 2019, 9:36 am
    Post #2 - April 26th, 2019, 9:36 am Post #2 - April 26th, 2019, 9:36 am
    This is an amazing list! I'd add coffee grounds if your group likes decent coffee.

    Also wine! :)
  • Post #3 - April 26th, 2019, 9:39 am
    Post #3 - April 26th, 2019, 9:39 am Post #3 - April 26th, 2019, 9:39 am
    Yes, wine and coffee are definitely on the list (forgot to write those down)!! And sparkling water.
    Also, for future trips, we will likely bring a Melitta dripper and filters (to avoid burnt tasting coffee out of a lousy coffee maker).
  • Post #4 - April 26th, 2019, 9:49 am
    Post #4 - April 26th, 2019, 9:49 am Post #4 - April 26th, 2019, 9:49 am
    This is fantastic and is very similar to my typical strategy, the only thing I'd add is a small, countertop knife sharpener. Like a Chef's Choice 4640. It can be great to run through the random drawer of knives in the vacation rental to add an edge to a few other blades, or resharpen the blade of the knife I bought three years ago and left in the house/condo that is still there but badly dulled.
  • Post #5 - April 26th, 2019, 9:53 am
    Post #5 - April 26th, 2019, 9:53 am Post #5 - April 26th, 2019, 9:53 am
    We used to plan elaborate dinners and bring all sorts of gear but the idea of a vacation is to explore the reason you are visiting.

    We found out all we were doing was preparing, cooking and cleaning. ... and then onto the next meal.

    As ordinary as a location is you can always find a local diner that will make a passible bacon and eggs. Also you get a feel for the locals, make some friends.

    Dinner might be the only meal we will make in and that will be kept to a simple 3 ingredient, 1 pan meal. Often a grill is available and we will put that to use instead.

    I always make French Press coffee using my camping water boiler. Imagine that! Making coffee on the coffee table? :)

    For drinks we will usually go with a readily available mixed drink that the ingredients can be purchased locally.

    Why would you go through the trouble and expense to go somewhere and try to replicate the at home experience? I just don't get it.
    "Very good... but not my favorite." ~ Johnny Depp as Roux the Gypsy in Chocolat
  • Post #6 - April 26th, 2019, 10:13 am
    Post #6 - April 26th, 2019, 10:13 am Post #6 - April 26th, 2019, 10:13 am
    I would move the tortillas from the "buy" category to the "bring" category. Have found it hard to find good tortillas on vacation.
    "I live on good soup, not on fine words." -Moliere
  • Post #7 - April 26th, 2019, 10:28 am
    Post #7 - April 26th, 2019, 10:28 am Post #7 - April 26th, 2019, 10:28 am
    Hi,

    I just saw this article yesterday.

    Toby Sonneman had a blog post in 2013 about this very topic. I cannot find it presently, but I do have this quote from an email, "Along with the electric tea kettle, I now bring a salad spinner for any fresh food we can get, olive oil and lemons -- and my lemon* reamer and Microplane zester." Obviously this is a road trip rather than a plane.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    *She wrote a book on lemons.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #8 - April 26th, 2019, 4:08 pm
    Post #8 - April 26th, 2019, 4:08 pm Post #8 - April 26th, 2019, 4:08 pm
    My family; especially my sisters; are very, very vegetarian conscious and they pack stuff to take with on vacation.

    Their last trips to Mexico; with their respective families; have involved them taking their Instant Pot with them. They are so happy with that decision; they are planning more trips just so they can take the IP with them. :-)

    So if you have an Electric Pressure cooker, consider taking it along.
    The art of living well and art of dying well are one. ---Epicurus
  • Post #9 - April 26th, 2019, 8:08 pm
    Post #9 - April 26th, 2019, 8:08 pm Post #9 - April 26th, 2019, 8:08 pm
    IndianBadger,

    Did your family take an instantpot on a plane?

    ***

    I contacted Toby to find the blog posts I read long ago:

    Road trip kitchen
    Road trip salads (and picnics)
    Picnics (and more) on the road

    I was 18 when I discovered Elizabeth David's books, which when many were written were effectively culinary fantasies. England was rationing food well into the 1950's. She would talk about buying a bottle of wine they later cooled in a running stream, all sorts of sausages (ok, she used charcuterie), cheese and bread for a fine country picnic. I could never convince my family to go along with this idea.

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #10 - April 26th, 2019, 9:12 pm
    Post #10 - April 26th, 2019, 9:12 pm Post #10 - April 26th, 2019, 9:12 pm
    We prefer to shop for fresh food and ingredients day to day. We did this when we lived in Scottsdale for a month and it was great to shop daily at the many farmer's markets. We've done this when we traveled to Europe for a two to three week stint. Nothing like going to the market and purchasing food much fresher than in the United States.

    CSD
    Mark A Reitman, PhD
    Professor of Hot Dogs
    Hot Dog University/Vienna Beef
  • Post #11 - April 27th, 2019, 7:06 am
    Post #11 - April 27th, 2019, 7:06 am Post #11 - April 27th, 2019, 7:06 am
    I always bring my emersion blender. Packs a punch and takes little space in the suitcase.
  • Post #12 - April 27th, 2019, 8:13 am
    Post #12 - April 27th, 2019, 8:13 am Post #12 - April 27th, 2019, 8:13 am
    Great thread! On my "ideal" list, which generally is decided based on whether we're checking luggage or carrying on, is a Thermapen.

    Ever since my first trip to Paris, when I lamented not being able to cook from the local markets, and sealed after drooling at the Harrods food halls, we prefer to stay at a place with a kitchen so we can cook local fare for at least one dinner. It has been fun in that even if we go in thinking we know what we want, we choose based on what looks good that day, so the intended duck or goose in Quebec City turned into a rack of goat (where we purchased a cheap insta-read thermometer and left it in the guest house drawer), and a trip to Borough Market in London resulted in perhaps the best pasta carbonara we've made.
  • Post #13 - April 27th, 2019, 10:48 am
    Post #13 - April 27th, 2019, 10:48 am Post #13 - April 27th, 2019, 10:48 am
    I have to admit that that list is too much for me. I would probably bring one pan, one pot, and several of my good knives. And all of that will fit is a single box in checked baggage.

    Part of my purpose of travel is to get away from the kitchen and my normal recipes and the like. Why do I want to duplicate that in an unfamiliar kitchen?

    Some of the places that I have thought (or been told) were "poor" restaurant areas have had a good number of pleasant surprises. My journeys through rural Utah and Salt Lake City have provided me with a number of excellent opportunities.

    Generally, if we are heading out to remote areas like NE Ontario, we will produce the meals in our home kitchen, freeze them, and buy dry ice. Even then, we might miss the diner that was purchased by a Sri Lankan family who when asked, was able to produce a couple of outstanding curry dishes.

    When I head to my in-laws, I will admit that I always bring knives if I have to cook. And all the knives that I bring are the gifts that my friends give me in appreciation of meals that I have cooked for them in the past five years.
  • Post #14 - April 27th, 2019, 4:18 pm
    Post #14 - April 27th, 2019, 4:18 pm Post #14 - April 27th, 2019, 4:18 pm
    thaiobsessed wrote:Here are my bring/buy lists for stocking a vacation rental kitchen for about 1 week
    Terrific list, thanks for sharing!

    When we travel, stay at friend/relative or hotel I always bring a pocket knife and two sided Fallkniven sharpening stone. I can make due short term with crappy cookware, not so much without a sharp knife.

    As an aside, most of our friends and relatives have nice to very nice cookware/kitchens. But, and I am eternally surprised, dull as your know-it-all brother in-law crappy knives.
    TravelKnife3.jpg Carbon Steel Madison Barlow

    TravelKnife4.jpg Fallkniven two sided sharpening stone
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #15 - April 27th, 2019, 6:24 pm
    Post #15 - April 27th, 2019, 6:24 pm Post #15 - April 27th, 2019, 6:24 pm
    We travel with a hand cranked mill for home-roasted coffee.

    We also pack good tea. We like both.

    We buy bottled water (this is a problem for us) because lots of local water is not as great tasting as Lake Michigan's finest. As long as the local water tastes okay we just use the purchased water while we are out and about for the day, maybe to make tea or coffee, and to mix bread dough.

    I usually travel with a loaf of bread baked. We can always find serviceable cheese or butter or olive oil or avocados for the bread if nothing else.

    And now, if there is a kitchen, I travel with a bit of wild yeast starter packed in the toiletries to make bread during the week.
    Last edited by pairs4life on April 29th, 2019, 2:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #16 - April 27th, 2019, 6:30 pm
    Post #16 - April 27th, 2019, 6:30 pm Post #16 - April 27th, 2019, 6:30 pm
    Cathy2 wrote:IndianBadger,

    Did your family take an instantpot on a plane?

    ***

    I contacted Toby to find the blog posts I read long ago:

    Road trip kitchen
    Road trip salads (and picnics)
    Picnics (and more) on the road

    I was 18 when I discovered Elizabeth David's books, which when many were written were effectively culinary fantasies. England was rationing food well into the 1950's. She would talk about buying a bottle of wine they later cooled in a running stream, all sorts of sausages (ok, she used charcuterie), cheese and bread for a fine country picnic. I could never convince my family to go along with this idea.

    Regards,
    Cathy2


    Great links Cathy. They remind me of last summer's road trip. We knew we had a cabin without electricity. We ate raw fruits, a bit of hummus, cheese, bread, and non-dairy yogurts for most meals those 3 days. I did buy some peeled boiled eggs at the commissary for us as well.
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #17 - April 28th, 2019, 6:24 am
    Post #17 - April 28th, 2019, 6:24 am Post #17 - April 28th, 2019, 6:24 am
    And now, if there is a kitchen, I travel with a bit of wild yeast starter packed in the toiletries to make bread during the week.


    That is a great idea!
    I also like the idea of a citrus reamer (we had planned to make ceviche in Florida, but the idea of hand squeezing the citrus made me change my mind). Immersion blender and knife sharpener are also great options.
    I should note that the list of groceries is for a place I anticipate won't have great eating out options (most recently Sanibel Island, which has some fine options but not enough to make me want to eat out 2-3 times a day). Fripp Island, in South Carolina is the perfect example of a destination where you need a good shopping strategy--few restaurants, no grocery stores so we always shop on the way in and pick up seafood at the nearby Gay Fish Market in nearby St. Helena.
    For places with great produce, meat, seafood, cheese, etc. (a trip to Puglia about 6 years ago comes to mind) we'd just get some pantry staples and pick up perishables daily.
    I've only stayed at hotels while in Paris, but I agree with Smassey, the shopping options there make me yearn for an apartment with a decent kitchen (for a few meals--I'd have no problems dining out for the rest)!

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