Monday
Jul042016

Great Fosters

One night overnight in or near London, on the way to the continent can be challenging to do both easily and nicely. Airport hotel is easy, but hardly charming. A nice hotel and good dinner is to be had in London, with the hassle of a cab and traffic, or the express train to a cab to a hotel. What to do?

Twenty minutes from Heathrow sits an oasis of serene greenery and historic architecture called Great Fosters—a lovely country house hotel set in a 50 acre parkland, with fantastic and varied gardens, and a terrific restaurant.

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Friday
Oct232015

Royal Scotsman

We’ve enjoyed multi-night train journeys in historic train cars on several occasions in the past, including the Venice-Simplon Orient Express from Venice to Paris, and the Eastern and Oriental in Southeast Asia. A run around the Scottish Highlands on the Royal Scotsman, now owned by the Belmond group, has been on Troy’s bucket list for some while, so it was time for another “cruising by rail” journey.

Belmond’s Classic journey is a 4 night/5 day loop around Scotland, beginning in Edinburgh travelling through the highlands, past its capital Inverness, and reaching Kyle of Lochalsh—which translates to "strait of the foaming loch" and which is the crossing to the Isle of Skye.

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Saturday
Apr182015

Sonoran Desert

Tucson sits at 2600 feet in the high Sonoran dessert, surrounded by mountains on four sides--the conical peaks and sharp ridges of the Tucson mountains to the west, the long, craggy ridge of the Santa Catalina mountains to the north, where mount Lemmon peaks at over 9,000 feet, the Rincons to the east, which contains the eastern portion of Saguaro National Park, and further to the south, around forty miles, the Santa Rita's. The vistas are stunning in all directions, and one can understand why this place was settled in the opening of the west.

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Wednesday
Jan212015

Restaurant Pujol--the finest dining in Mexico City

Over the last few years chef Enrique Olvera has made Pujol (poo-yol) into the most celebrated restaurant in Mexico City, and one of the top in the world. His approach is to start with the sometimes centuries-old regional food traditions of Mexico, and build on, expand, reinterpret and sometimes deconstruct them into something modern, elegant, and deeply flavorful. He has said: “Our dishes carry that DNA, they carry those ingredients, techniques and ideas. The dishes at Pujol tell a complex, distinct history of flavors—you can find rural flavors, flavors from indigenous cooking: earthier, more direct flavors; but you can also experience others whose references are obviously urban and contemporary. . . . . We adapt to modern technologies that help us work in a more precise way, and we also adapt to todays customers.”

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Monday
Apr072014

Inverness Interlude

No, not near Loch Lomond in the norther wilds of Scotland, but in the conifer covered hills of the Marin coast adjacent to the loch-like finger of Tomales Bay, which cleaves the mainland from the Point Reyes peninsula and forms the eastern boundary of the Point Reyes National Seashore, an outdoor lovers paradise with spectacular and dramatic vistas. Miles of hiking trails in the hills and around winding lagoons, pristine beaches, sand dunes and marshlands provide many activities for the nature and outdoor lover.

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Monday
Jan202014

Hawker Center Food - Singapore

Singapore Hawker Centers -- originally dingy, dim sheds crammed with street vendor carts have morphed into full food courts, are a vital part of Singapore life and the source of some of Singapore’s best food. Lau Pa Sat is perhaps one of the most iconic Hawker Centers, set in a Victorian cast-iron and glass building, but is under renovation and unavailable during our stay.

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Wednesday
Apr172013

Low Country Cuisine

Food fuels and gastronomy rules Savannah, and there is no shortage of good restaurants, many of which feature southern cuisine: seafood, grits, okra, greens and all things fried.  Shrimp turns out to be trumps for us in the Savannah dining scene...so very fresh, something incredibly hard to find at home. We commence the eating with fried green tomatoes and cold shrimp at Vic's on the River, a classic seafood house. Then comes a small army-feeding platter of flash-fried Georgia white shrimp and gulf oysters atop a mound of grits along with half dozen asparagus spears.

The twenty two garden squares and their surrounding wards that make up historic central Savannah offer just a few dining spots. Six Pence Pub is one, and a local's favorite. The shrimp salad sandwich here was next. We  had to wait a half hour as they boiled and cooled shrimp for a fresh batch, as the'yd run out just as we found a couple of coveted bar seats on Sunday morning. It was worth the wait. An obvious local who sat next to us ordered a bloody mary, "mostly mary". When I asked about that, she  said it signifies heavy on the vodka.

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Wednesday
Dec122012

Eataly in Rome

Marché, mercado, merkatuan, markt, mercato—markets , food halls are our thing. Every trip to Venice finds us canal-side at the Rialto market; visits to Barcelona, at La Boqueria. In Rome there are always multiple trips to the Campo dei Fiori, but on a recent trip we decided to venture further afield to the Mercato Testaccio south of Rome's center, in the meat packing district. Taking a cab ride to that area, we found the market square and found the wire and wood barricade that boarded the place closed, tighter than a drum. Inquiry in a cafe elicited the fact of permanent closure.

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