On the Side of the Road in Ireland

During a summer road trip through the west of Ireland, it wasn’t only sleepy sheep taking a nap in the road that brought my car to a halt. Two unique food experiences stand out as highlights of my trip exploring this wild stretch of Connemara coastline. The Misunderstood Heron has been called Ireland’s most remote…

A Trail of Lighthouses in Ireland

In Ireland, you walk for many reasons. You walk to the store for milk when the carton is empty and the kettle is boiled. You walk to the pub, where friends that know your order are waiting. And sometimes, when you’re standing in the harbor of an island off the coast of County Mayo, you…

On the Pleasures of the Off Season

Every December, I get in a car in Dublin. We drive north or west or south, out of the city, into the Irish countryside. We hop on the motorway in the days before Christmas, when most locals are busy wrapping up shopping or preparing holiday meals. When we arrive in Connemara or Antrim or Wexford, we…

In the Footsteps of Giants

In Ireland, everyone has their favorite nook of the island. Families are often nostalgic for a certain corner, packing up the car and heading off for long weekends in Cork or Galway or Clare or Donegal, settling into their happy place for a bank holiday weekend. For my soon-to-be family, that happy place is craggy…

A Walk in the Woods

After a few days of Sonoma’s temptations — wine, farm fresh food and more wine — it is time for a walk. On a recent sunny Monday after a gluttonous weekend, I was ready to see a different side of Sonoma County. Far from my full e-mail inbox, I stepped into the silent forest of…

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…

A Taste of Virginia

How does an oyster find its way to your plate? These briny bivalves have been a favorite of mine for years, but until recently, I didn’t ask too many questions about them. As I navigated my way through New York oyster bars, I began to wonder. How long does it take for an oyster to…

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…

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…

The Art of Olive Picking

‘The tree bears more fruit when it feels threatened’ I was told, while watching a burlap sack fill with 100 pounds of electric green olives. ‘That’s why we prune the trees so severely, to encourage more fruit.’ It was a sunny October day in the southwest Peloponnese and the first day of the local harvest….

One Perfect Day in Dublin

On my recent trip to Dublin I was asked by an American traveler, ‘if you had one day in Dublin, what would you do?’ We were sitting at breakfast munching on fresh-baked brown soda bread while sunlight streamed through the windows. This question can be answered in many ways – I mentioned a couple of…

A Sense of Place

Does the food we eat deliver a sense of place? One of the pleasures of traveling is sitting down to a meal that so distinctly represents the place we are visiting that those flavors and aromas tunnel deep into our memory. But what about the food we eat when we aren’t traveling? Can we similarly…

All Eyes on Ireland

Last week for St Patrick’s Day, all eyes were on Ireland. Now that the green beer is a distant memory, you might have a leftover curiosity about the Emerald Isle. I write frequently about the capital city of Dublin and Ireland in general on this blog, and recently I’ve had a few readers asking for…

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 Style and Grace of the Gilded Age

One of my favorite motivations for travel is the opportunity to live in someone else’s shoes. The exciting part about this travel tactic is that it has no limit. There is always a new culture, cuisine, or point in history to explore. A few weeks ago, when I spent a weekend at Blantyre, a country…