Unplugging in Rural Wales

Last spring, a bout of city fatigue left me dreaming of unplugged pleasures in the countryside. As showers fell in New York City, I charted a road trip through rural Wales—from Pembrokeshire to Snowdonia National Park to Anglesey—where windswept walks on empty beaches and tucked-away hotels with kitchen gardens seemed like the perfect antidote to…

A Slice of Tokyo in New York City

When home cooks are looking for a night away from the stove, criteria may differ for what kind of restaurant fits the bill. Perhaps somewhere with a stocked bar is a priority or one that serves a style of food not often cooked at home. For this home cook, I want a few things in…

Hunting for White Truffles by Moonlight

A man with a wicker basket lined with blue checkered cloth walked towards me. It was early November, the height of truffle season in the northern Italian region of Piemonte, and this truffle hunter was delivering a haul to a local restaurant where I’d just had lunch. I could have let him walk right by,…

Snapshot of a Saturday on the Basque Coast

Saturday in the Basque Country began like this: I stepped into the shower, turned on the water, and looked out the window. Just beyond the glass, a cow was grazing. He had one eye on his breakfast and one eye on me washing my hair. After my own breakfast, I headed out for a drive…

Solo in Tokyo

It’s Saturday morning. You pick up the newspaper and open the travel section. As a travel writer, this weekend ritual can be research, but once in a while, there’s also regret. Regret that you did not pitch the story that is now in front of you, often written beautifully. Regret that you did not take…

The Honey Harvest in Portland

When we drizzle honey on our oatmeal (or our Greek yogurt and granola, or in our salad dressings) — we think we’re making a smart, healthy decision. How many of us have raced through a grocery store, grabbing a honey bear, believing the label when it says “honey” that the contents inside are actually honey?…

Cucina Tipica Romana

The first place I set foot in Italy, was Rome. I remember smelling freshly pulled espresso when my plane touched down in Ciampino Airport after dark. At lunch, wine was often cheaper than bottled water. A whole pizza could be devoured for 5 euros. I walked and took photographs, connected dots on maps to visit…

Seen in Tokyo

  I landed in Tokyo 24-hours before a typhoon hit. After sleeping off the jet lag, I donned my raincoat and headed out into the rain — I couldn’t wait to explore the city streets, and plus, rain is the perfect weather for soup. Almost every day of my trip I ate a big bowl…

Hot Out of the Irish Oven

“Some breads, like the baguette, are immediately seductive. But brown bread is different. It isn’t fussy or needy. It doesn’t require an artist’s touch (actually, the less you handle the dough, the better) and, for some, can take time to love.” This line is from a draft of a story that just came out in…

Morning in the Market

I don’t know if it was the altitude or the extra oxygen being pumped into the hotel room, but in Cusco, I was an early riser. My first few days in this city in Peru weren’t spent in Cusco at all — each morning I embarked on an excursion to feed alpacas, explore Incan ruins,…

A Food Tour of Athens

Some friendships just make sense from the beginning. For Peter and I, the connection was food. Or more specifically, the pleasure of sharing food deeply rooted in place with someone who appreciates it just as much. This was the foundation of a recent day spent in the capital of Greece, with my friend and Athens…

Gone Conching

I woke at dawn thinking I was going quahogging, but stepping onto a boat in Bristol harbor at 7am, it turned out that it was a day for conching. I had volunteered as an extra pair of (inquisitive) hands for a morning of conching with a father and daughter shell fishing team on their normal…

Writer in the Kitchen: Daniel Boulud

“Do you speak French?” Daniel Boulud, the award-winning chef and cookbook author asked me. We were seated at a quiet table in the corner of Cafe Boulud in the Four Seasons Toronto for a talk about New York, travel, and cooking. “I wish I did, but fortunately my partner does, which comes in handy during…

Best Meals of 2012

After a year of traveling and eating, it’s time to reflect. My best meals in 2012 all share a few common threads: the food was both delicious and a bit surprising, passionate servers/chefs enhanced the quality of the meal, and I’m still thinking about it in 2013. With Chinatown only a handful of blocks from…

A Flick of the Wrist

My grandmother’s family came from Naples, and though I never had the chance to travel to Italy with her, there was always her cooking. She was a patient cook, a true believer in the “low and slow” philosophy that results in deep, developed flavors. She loved the ritual of spending an entire Sunday in the…

East Village Nostalgia

Instantly I was four again. I was wearing a brand new pair of Keds, in a small town shoe store on Main Street. While my sisters were fitted for their new shoes, I held the binocular-like device and brought it to my eyes. Inside, a colorful 3-D image of a barn and farm leaped out…

Spontaneous Travel

I remember the first time. I was 10 years old, tucked away in my room reading. As I turned the pages, I marveled at their ability to swallow me whole and spit me out somewhere far from home. I did not yet know the thrill of physically stepping foot in these faraway places, of the…

Long Live the Greeks

Managing to take my eyes off piles of produce in a bustling Greek market, I noticed something. Despite the deep fried pastries smothered in honey I had just eaten with a frothy little coffee, everyone around me was remarkably healthy. Stalls were run by husband-and-wife pairs in their 80s, moving quickly from one sale to…

Lunchtime in Copenhagen

I walked right past the sign for the grave of Hans Christian Anderson. It’s not that I wasn’t interested in paying my respects to the Danish master of fairytales, but my stomach started to rumble. After a morning exploring two of Copenhagen‘s emerging neighborhoods — Vesterbro and Norrebro — it was time for lunch. From…

A Snowy Breakfast in Stockholm

This morning I woke to the first snowfall of the season in New York City. Before it turns to slush, when there’s still just a few footsteps crushed into powder, snow in the city can be beautiful. A few years ago during a winter trip to Stockholm, I woke to six pristine inches of snow….

Best Meals of 2011

Narrowing down a year’s worth of eating to 5 memorable morsels is a challenging task. Sure, I loved the teeny oyster sandwiches at the Dutch — just like most other food bloggers in New York — and yes the lamb tacos at Empellon are delicious. But what makes a single bite stand above the rest…

Just for the Holidays

The holidays are a time to splurge. As temperatures start to drop in New York City, everyone seems to be talking about upcoming travel plans: where to go to enjoy the snow, and where to go to escape it. This is also the time of year when people are scrambling to come up with creative…

Glass Half Full

There is a lot written about luxury, yet much of it ignores the luxury of time. It is a rare destination that allows us as travelers to find the sweet spot between the mindless beach vacation and the action-packed getaway that blows by too quickly, leaving us more tired than when we first left home….

At the Olive Mill

The back of the truck was full of burlap sacks of olives. It was time to go to the mill. After participating in the hand-picking of olives in Costa Navarino, it was now time to witness the next step of the process. As the workers moved their green netting to the next tree to start…

In the Shade of Olive Trees

I’m currently in Greece and couldn’t resist sharing a photo with my readers. Expect more posts to come (today we harvested olives, pressed them, and tasted the fresh olive oil) but for now, here is a photograph of a picnic in the shade of olive trees. Those picnic baskets are filled with delicious Greek goodies.

Neighborhood Spotlight: Notting Hill in London

Is there anything more delicious than a vacation Monday? Sleeping in when the rest of the world is getting up. Savoring a leisurely breakfast with an extra cup of tea. This was the beginning to my Monday waking up in the Notting Hill neighborhood of London, where I spent a lazy day wandering through the…

Pleasures Along the Pacific

Traveling is full of unexpected surprises. Sometimes, a meal we are anticipating is a complete disappointment. Sometimes, a simple breakfast can be elevated to something truly memorable. During my trip to San Diego last week I was reminded that no matter how much you plan and research, travel will find a way to venture off…

Armchair Travel

Some readers may not have been convinced by my recent post about the pleasures of winter travel. If you’re waiting for the spring thaw to board a plane (despite all my advice on how to enjoy the pleasures of the season!) some armchair travel might provide your travel fix. The following books all have their…

Staying Warm: Winter Travel Tips

The winter forces us to get a little creative. Heading south isn’t the only way to cope with winter – in fact – with just a few simple tips traveling during the winter might not seem so bad. As I was reminded this week during a taping of David Letterman, banish the winter blues while…

A Culinary Pilgrimage & Oxford in Detail

Have you ever eaten a meal that left you with an intense craving? How about a craving so consuming, you would cross the ocean to satisfy it? For me, restaurants that reach ‘crave’ status – restaurants that I’m thinking about days, months, and even years after a first visit – are well worth a culinary pilgrimage….

The Common Ground Between New Years Resolutions and Travel

There’s no time like January to make some travel resolutions for the New Year. If you’ve been wanting to expand the ways you travel, to travel smarter, or to become more immersed in local culture – keep reading. We all get into bad habits when it comes to traveling, but sometimes breaking out of our…

Favorite Culinary Moments of 2010

As the year comes to a close, I got to thinking about the best culinary moments of 2010. I sat down at tables from Dublin to Sicily to New York City this year, but a few moments of real culinary genius stand out from the rest. These were meals that I started craving the moment…

Celebrating Thanksgiving Abroad

My first Thanksgiving living abroad I woke up in Berlin on a grey Thursday morning. On the streets, people rushed to work, tying scarves tighter around their necks to keep out the cold and wind. There was no parade, no fragrant aromas escaping from my beneath my neighbors doors, no laughter from a family catching…

A Snapshot of Soho

When the boxes were finally unpacked, I skipped down the front steps to explore my new neighborhood, Soho. Before I even made it to the sidewalk, I bumped into a neighbor of mine, who had called this leafy block in Manhattan home for the last 30 years. During our conversation I learned that this area…

One Man Makes a Difference

After writing last week about Massimo, the owner of a bar in Vernazza, a village in Cinque Terre, Italy I got to thinking about other people who influenced my travels. After a long winter, when spring finally began to announce its arrival, my travel partner and I decided that it was time to get to…

Afternoon Tea with an Artistic Twist

When I first moved to Dublin, one of the traditional experiences I found most enticing was afternoon tea. In the States it can be difficult to find good scones or good tea, so to me, the tradition of sitting down for a couple hours in the afternoon to nibble on teensy sandwiches and scones sounded…

A Table on the Mediterranean

This week a new article for Luxury Travel Magazine, ‘The Spirit of Sicily: A Journey Into Italy’s Next Frontier‘ was published. Two special boutique hotels, and perhaps more importantly, the people behind these hotels, are described in detail in the article. Here’s a sneak preview of the full piece: From the moment I first stepped…

Restaurant Report: Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons

A few months ago in the dark month of January I began planning an Easter-weekend trip to Oxford and London. Budgets are always stretched thin in January, so instead of dining out, I read restaurant reviews, travel articles, and menus online that all convinced me this Easter trip could also be a foodie-getaway. As the…

Get on the Local Schedule

While some travelers have all the luck and seem to stumble upon buzzing restaurants or packed festivals without doing a bit of research – the rest of us can benefit from a little planning ahead. Getting on the local schedule almost always guarantees finding the type of atmosphere that will bring a destination to life….