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Summer Cuisine

June 21, 2017
When it is blazing hot outside, few people want a hearty meal. The summer is the time for lighter cuisine, with dishes that match the seasonal availability of many fruits and vegetables – and often don’t require adding to the home’s heat problems by turning on the oven.

Mitch-Stuart loves to send donors on foodie adventures with its non-profit fundraising auction travel packages. During the summer, those trips are less about rib-sticking soul food or heavy cream-based sauces and recipes, and more about light dishes, the type that don’t weigh a diner down afterward and can be eaten in between hikes, bike rides or even surfing runs. If you’ve got some supporters who think the way to a good vacation is through the stomach, we’ve got destinations to which they’d like to go during the summer months.

When it comes to lighter summer fare, no city may spring to mind faster than Los Angeles. The City of Angels eats lean throughout the year, and there’s an abundance of options; some of the country’s best sushi restaurants are here (five of the top 20, according to an MSN list released in late 2016), and seafood is fresh and abundant. In addition, health-conscious Angelinos take some of the lightest options from elsewhere and make them their own, as evident in the town’s current poke fever.

More than a continent away, Italian food is often stereotyped as being heavy, thanks to rich sauces and plates full of pasta. But in the southern part of the state, especially along the coasts, seafood reigns. A city like Sorrento is as well known for its clams as its spaghetti – in fact, the combination of the two is one of the town’s most popular dishes. And almost every meal here for those of age ends with a digestif of limoncello; it’s such a tradition, some restaurants offer a pour of it free of charge when diners ask for the bill.

Lighter cuisine can also describe the portions, too. Take Barcelona, where its traditional foods like gazpacho and paella are served as tapas, or small plates. Not only does this mean no entrée-sized calorie bombs, but also it allows for diners to sample a wider range of dishes. Dinner at a restaurant in Barcelona often means being able to sample, snack on and share the entire menu, rather than making just one choice. Considering that options will often range from pa amb tomaquet (tomato bread) to Iberian ham, even the heartiest diners may want to downsize their dishes.