Molly Ford and Sarah Jesup, founders of The Food Lens, which offers insights into the Boston dining scene, love to sample dishes and drinks particular to the areas they visit on their travels. The Boston University grads — Ford, 28, is from San Diego, and Jesup, 27, from Putney, Vt. – live on Beacon Hill (Ford with a roommate and Jesup with her husband, Brett Hershey, and their three dogs). They have partnered with Airbnb Experience and The Hawthorne to offer a signature experience for wine and spirits enthusiasts called “classic cocktails and how to mix ’em” Monday nights at The Hawthorne through May 28.
“The Hawthorne is deeply committed to spirits and cocktail education,” Jesup said. “We wanted to create a platform for them to share that passion with guests.” We caught up with Ford and Jesup to talk about all things travel.
Favorite vacation destination?
MF: This is hard because I love so many places around the world for so many different reasons . . . but for a relaxing vacation with amazing food and wine, I would have to say the Amalfi Coast.
SJ: Istanbul, Turkey. I have been three times and cannot wait to go back. It truly is both physically and culturally where East meets West, and unlike anywhere else I have traveled. There is so much rich history to explore and it has hands down the best food in the world.
Favorite food or drink while vacationing?
MF: This always depends on where I am — I like to eat or drink whatever is local to the place. If I’m in Mexico, I’m eating al pastor tacos and drinking margaritas, but if I’m in Turkey, I’m eating dürüm and drinking raki.
SJ: For me, my favorite food and drink are constantly changing. I think that in order to truly experience a new place when traveling, it is crucial to always eat and drink like a local would.
Where would you like to travel to but haven’t?
MF: My travel list is always long, but I’m dying to explore Southeast Asia at the moment. I would love to take off a whole month to explore Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. I love exploring different cultures and the food is supposed to be incredible.
SJ: Somewhere that has been at the top of my list for a while now is Vietnam. The food scene is supposed to be incredible and I absolutely love Southeast Asia.
One item you can’t leave home without when traveling?
MF: I hate to say it, but my iPhone. I do love going off the radar when I travel, but between music, Wi-Fi, the camera, and Google Maps, it’s a necessity at this point. Plus, I always have to be online these days since starting The Food Lens.
SJ: Hand sanitizer.
Aisle or window?
MF: I’ve always been a window girl because not only do I need it for sleeping, but I love the view. I’ll listen to a good song on my iPhone and stare out the window upon landing to get pumped up for my vacation.
SJ: Window, because I am terrified of flying and need to be able to see outside the plane.
Favorite childhood travel memory?
MF: Since I grew up in San Diego, family trips to Mexico were frequent. One year, my family rented a house in Las Gaviotas, which is just south of Tijuana. We surfed, fished, had bonfires on the beach, and ate so much amazing Mexican food. Heaven.
SJ: Learning how to fish for king salmon, halibut, and king crab in Alaska with my little sister.
Guilty pleasure when traveling?
MF: Eating at as many restaurants as possible — even if it means doubling up on some meals. Calories don’t count on vacation.
SJ: Eating and drinking whatever I want whenever I want it.
Best travel tip?
MF: Pack lightly — it makes traveling more efficient. I tend to hop around a lot whenever I travel so packing lightly is key.
SJ: Always do your research beforehand.