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Hey there, Food Adventurer Friend,

Right now, I’m nursing a French press with Black Rifle coffee. If you’ve been reading Five Bites for a while, you may remember my mentioning Black Rifle as a veteran-owned brand worth trying.

Well, now that I have done so myself, I’m happy to report the company’s customer service is primo. And experiencing their product as a French press can transport you to coffee nirvana.

So what are you drinking?

By the way, if all that’s stopping you from making a French press is knowing howthe instructions here will show you the way.

Now on to our …


1. If Romania hasn’t ranked high on your list of places to go in Europe, this collection of souvenirs you should buy there may change your mind. Each item reveals a slice of culture that will help you remember Romania with fondness long after your trip. Consider, for instance, 1) A bottle of tuicā, the national plum brandy drink because, well, plums😊. Or 2) handmade dishes for cradling the olives and other small foods you’ll be noshing between sips. 

2. The latest on my reading list is Parwana: Recipes & Stories from an Afghan Kitchen. The book offers more than yum Afghan dishes you’ll want to make again and again like Kabuli Palau. Word is you’ll also find tales and photography that take your breath away.

3. Have you met Stefano and Roberta? They’re from Bologna, Italy — the world’s pasta capital — and have a few things to say about the not-from-Italy “Italian foods” we’ve come to love in America. So listen in, watch as they sample them for the very first time, and prepare to smile. Especially if you grew up believing Chef Boyardee’s spaghetti and meatballs🍝 was one of the best.things.ever.

4. Don’t be surprised If you’ve never come across a restaurant focused on Polynesian foods. Until Monique Fiso opened one in her native New Zealand a few years ago, there wasn’t any there either. Long story short: Her restaurant, Hiakai, is a hit. Ah, but it’s thousands of miles away. So what to do until you can get there? Look out for Chef Fiso’s book on Maori cooking to show up in the U.S. and enJoy her beautiful food from afar by following Hiakai’s Instagram feed.

5. A quote: “Barbecue may not be the road🛣 to world peace, but it’s a start.” — Anthony Bourdain

Adding a few more lines today to tell you this edition of Five Bites is the last. Your decision to welcome my words and pictures into your inbox — whether by reading Five Bites or my previous e-letter series, Romancing SNM — has blessed me beyond measure. It allows me to think I’ve helped in some way. And no way do I want to give that that up! 

So as I’m plotting a different path with new ideas, please know that I look forward to sharing updates with you as they occur. And that you are more than welcome to stay for the ride. 

Dive deep,