For Phil Rosenthal, food is “the great connector.”
The Everybody Loves Raymond creator has reinforced this mantra time and time again through his travels, which he is documenting on the new series Somebody Feed Phil, premiering on Netflix today. There is one caveat, though, to his belief.
“The connector is only as good as the connection that it makes — and the connection is the people,” he says. “The people are the main thing.”
And Rosenthal comes across a multitude of them throughout the season. He sits down with locals ranging from Civil Rights legends to Michelin Star chefs in each of his 6 host cities — and finds common ground with each of them.
“I find the most beautiful thing about traveling is you find out how similar we are,” he tells PEOPLE.
Not only has the series helped him achieve his goal of “trying to hit everything,” the writer and producer also hopes it inspires fans to take action toward tackling their vacation bucket list.
“I know sometimes people are reticent to travel. Two-thirds of Americans don’t even have a passport,” he says. “But I’m here to say if I can do it, you can do it. I am not the tough guy; I am not the cool guy. I’m the opposite.”
Still feeling unsure of where to begin? Let his guides to four of his favorite hotspots help you jump-start your trip:
Eat: Lutenitsa on fresh pita at SHAYA. “Believe it or not, that Israeli restaurant is rated the number one restaurant in New Orleans. In a place famous for Cajun and Creole food, this is rated the best. So that’s incredible.”
See: Jazz legends Corey Henry & the Treme Funktet perform. “You have to go listen to music. That’s as famous as the food.”
Pack: “A hangover cure.”
Eat: Carnitas tacos at Páramo. “You can have some of the best tacos you’ll ever have anywhere in the world.”
See: “I saw the most beautiful sunset I’ve ever seen in my life from the room of my hotel, the St. Regis at Mexico City. You can’t imagine how spectacular. You start to understand why the Aztecs worship the sun.”
Pack: “You gotta bring a camera to get those sunsets.”
Eat: Pastel de nata pastry at Pastéis de Belém. “It’s like a crispy little pastry cup filled with cream. You have that with a coffee, you’re dead. That’s it.”
See: Bike My Side tour. “They give a tour where you sit in the sidecar of a motorcycle like you’re Batman and Robin. I recommend that tour to anybody.”
Pack: “You’re walking shoes. You’re going to walk up the hills. Get in shape, bring your trainer.”
Eat: Crab omelette at Jay Fai. “What you get is a football filled with crab. It’s one of the best things you’ll ever eat in your life.”
See: Taling Chan floating market. “You slowly go up at the canal and you can buy flowers, something to eat, pad thai noodles from a lady making it on the boat — and they hand it to you, and you eat it on the water! It’s spectacular and so much fun. I don’t know anyone who wouldn’t like this except my parents.”
Pack: “It can get warm there, so you gotta bring your shorts and your t-shirts. But you also can’t just walk into these beautiful temples wearing that so you need the other clothes, too. It’s going to be warm, but the people are warm, too.”