Ditch that Guidebook…Foodie Travel E-guides are Hot

by Liz Caskey on September 30, 2009


You know the sensation. You are packed out, weighed within the luggage allowance, and are ready to roll. Then you look at the bed and spot that 2-inch thick, 4-pound monster of a guidebook that you have to schlep with you everywhere on vacation. If you don’t though, uh oh, you may not be in the know of where to go, what to see, and the worst, where to eat and drink (gasp!). Let me ask you, how much of that guide are you really going to use? Is it worth it? There has to be a better and easier way.

In this age of new digital media, online and downloadable travel e-guides are the way of the future. First, you have the obvious space considerations: download to your iPhone, Blackberry, iPod, or even gmail and have a quick and easy reference from anywhere. Or just print the pages that you need and take it along or reference it on your mobile. All of a sudden, you carry-on just got a lot lighter.  Second, this new generation of e-guides are usually written by locals for travelers (or expats) in English. That means you are getting the total scoop from an inside source. Way better than a traditional guide that dispatches foreign generalist writers to check out a city in a week. The Guardian just published an article about this yesterday. Check it out here.

So where am I going with this? Well, I will tip you guys off to a little secret. We (as in me and my business, Liz Caskey Culinary & Wine Experiences), are about to launch the first of our foodie e-guides in South America, Eat Wine, in just two more weeks. Yep, on Wednesday, October 14, 2009, the Eat Wine Guides beta site will be going live. And where else will we be getting the party started? Why, in Santiago de Chile, of course!

Let me share the story of how this guide was born. I started fielding a kazillion emails from readers, clients, and foodies stumbling upon our site asking for restaurant recs, datos on where to buy ingredients, my favorite bars/joints/markets, you get the picture. Heck, even I was looking for some kind of reliable source that fit my taste buds and it just was not happening. There were the traditional guide books that pointed out the restaurants on the tourist circuit written, reviews on the Internet that relied too  heavily on the palate (or lack thereof) of the consumer, and there were the local restaurant reviews that were geared towards a Chilean public, in Spanish, that for me at least, produced more disappointments than triumphs. Something wasn’t jiving.

So it got me thinking. Where would I take my best clients, editors, family, and friends if they visited Santiago? What would I show them to experience Chile’s cuisine and food/wine culture? What if I could assemble a guide personally vetted by moi to really help people eat and drink better, and, ultimately have more fun in Santiago? And what if I could fuse that with new technology to get the information out faster, easier, and more mobile than ever. Thus (drum roll), Eat Wine Guides, was conceived as a solution to all of this.

As we get closer to launch,  I will be sharing more info, tips, and the scoop on this truly innovative guide series (hint, hint more cities to follow). I also totally want to hear from you guys about what you’d want in the guide. At the end, we are all in pursuit of the same: more pleasure. Just happens that for us foodie travelers, it comes in the form of good food, drink, and company.  Cheers to that!


Ruth Alegria October 2, 2009 at 1:41 am

Bravo, great idea! Will be waiting with bated breath for launch date.

Carroll B. Merriman January 11, 2010 at 3:33 am

Anguilla sounds like a great place.

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