As I begin to close out my reviews for 2013, I’ve got a review of possibly one of the most interesting (and most interestingly named) places I visited during the year: Beaver Choice in Mesa, AZ. Beaver Choice had been on my radar for a while—while visiting Arizona in August of 2012 for some “extreme climate testing”, I had checked out various review sites for something new and interesting, and Beaver Choice came up near the top of several East Valley listings, so I drove by to check them out (at the time, they were located on Broadway in Tempe behind
Where Offbeat Eats has been:
Normally, even when I go to fairly obscure places (like, say, Iceland), it’s still pretty obvious, between my reviews and the geocoding, where I went. But this year’s vacation took us to yet another island destination, this one not even a blip on even most adventuresome Americans’ radar. Indeed, when telling people where this year’s vacation destination was, aside from one French coworker, everyone’s immediate response was “Where?”. This “mystery destination” was the Île de la Réunion, a small (smaller than Rhode Island, although much more rugged), volcanic island, located 550 miles due East of Madagascar in the Indian Ocean. It’s actually an “overseas Department” of France, which gives it a status similar to Hawaii, in that it’s actually considered part of France and not a territory or colony (but, a bit oddly, not part of the Schengen Treaty Area, so a flight from Paris to Réunion was actually “international” with duty-free shopping). If I had to come up with a short and reasonably accurate description, it’s basically the French version of the big island of Hawaii: beaches, volcanoes, great scenery, coffee (and vanilla, and banana…) plantations. And, for a number of reasons, tourism there, until very recently, was almost exclusively consisting of people from mainland France.