A long time ago, I made the choice to remain single. I really did not want to deal with relationships and I was genuinely happy to take life’s journey on my own. Little did I know that the Universe had a completely different plan for me. I met my (now) husband on September 12, 2012 at a wine tasting in Beverly Hills. Fast forward a year, and he proposed on September 12, 2013. Keep going… we got married April 12, 2014. Why does this matter? Well, it leads me into this restaurant… Boragó.
My husband and I have always had South America on top of our lists for travel. So when we planned our wedding, we planned it specifically to coincide with the wine harvest in South America. (If you’re a wine-o and you know it, clap your hands!) So April was an easy choice. Before we went on our honeymoon, we did our research and made sure we hit up the top restaurants. So begins the story of Boragó… a progressive restaurant in Santiago, Chile that collects its ingredients only from a 150 km radius of the restaurant.
Most of my travel is food focused. I’m headed somewhere to meet people who make interesting food tied to a place and to taste that food. Over the past decade I find that the line between vacation, educational junket and personal exploration has blurred. If I travel with food friends then we tend to be like dogs searching for the same tasty bone to turn up. It can get weirdly competitive or punishingly about the next bite even when enough bites have been had by all.
When I started traveling as a kid I wandered. Often I traveled alone, free to choose this road at that speed to stop and see this thing, sink into the culture of that place and eat those dishes. They were my decisions at my pace. No “have to” or “can’t miss”, just wandering and discovery. I miss those days. Of course time tends to be an impediment. I don’t have an extra five or six weeks to spare anymore, so focus is to often at the root of today’s travel.
But, recently a friend (who loves to cook, but is not a foodie) took possession of a long sought shack on the beach in the Pacific Northwest of Costa Rica. She was taking the first trip back to see how the beginnings of rebuilding the shack were going and to install her 21 yr old son for a two-month stay as “remodeling supervisor”. Would I come along?
Still looking for something to get your dad? How about surprising him with a once-in-a lifetime vacation to Alaska? This came through our mailbox and we just had to share. Mostly because we wish we could go...we'll have to settle on making the recipe.
In honor of National Fishing & Boating Week (June 1 – 8) - who knew there was such a thing? - and Father's Day (June 15), we wanted to share a tasty "Grilled Salmon with Alyeska BBQ Sauce" recipe from Alaska's premier luxury fishing lodge, Waterfall Resort. The resort is gearing up for its 2014 season (June 13 - August 18), and offers the ultimate salmon fishing adventure in its unparalleled location in Ketchikan, AK.
Waterfall Resort is honoring the occasion by offering 25% off its King Salmon Fishing Package through the peak of king salmon fishing season in June. Travelers will save nearly $1,000 per package, with rates starting at $2,572 per peson (airfare, licenses, tip not included) for an all-inclusive three-day, two-night stay, available June 19 – June 25, 2014. For more details, visit their website.
We knew nothing about Fado other than that our friend, Mark Miller, who had lived in Lisbon for a year and basically planned our recent trip to the city, said it is "a must". He promised great food from a host and hostess who will treat us as family and sing traditional Fado songs. "It will be a long night," he warned, "but still you must go to Sr. Fado." He then added, with a touch of a smile, that he should make the reservations. Sr. Fado is hard to get into but over Mark's year living in Lisbon, he and the owners had become close. He called. We were in.
Sr. Fado is owned by Duarte and Marina Santos, though "owner" hardly describes everything they do. It might be better to say that Duarte and Marina Santos are Sr. Fado. Duarte is the front man, meeting the guests, serving the food and bussing the plates. Marina is the cook. Eating at Sr. Fado is like spending a perfect night in what could be a modest Portuguese home, while eating traditional Portuguese foods and hearing its traditional music.
When we entered the restaurant we were greeted with both warmth and a touch of skepticism. "Do you have a reservation? The restaurant is fully booked," was the first thing we were asked by Duarte. (As the night progressed we more than understood his cautious approach as we saw Duarte turn away at least a dozen walk-ins before the last reserved tabled filled, at which point he simply locked the door.) Yes, we had a reservation, we assured Duarte. In fact we were the friends of Mark's. "Mark's friends!!" he beamed. "Marina, Mark's friends are here" he called into the kitchen. Then the hugs.
We were married in the garden of my parent's home in Palm Beach and then hurried to a Norsea 26, the small sailboat my wife had purchased before our marriage, waiting at the dock on Palm Beach's Lake Trail. Nothing in the City of Light could promise to be more luminous than our island home.
Wild parrots, raucous and fast, lived in Palm Beach also. They had moved here from the south and formed a colony. When they landed at night in a park or neighboring tree, it was like emerald rain. I would go to Kay Rybovich's clapboard house along the Intracoastal Waterway in the early morning for coffee when I was growing up. She and her husband John had owned a marine works, and made fishing craft for Hemingway; Kay and John would motor them to Cuba, and she told me about fishing with the author and of marlin and swordfish that rose from the sea like gods.
Ann and I clambered aboard her boat, and lazed north. We stayed close to shore. If there were great shadows in the foliage and the shadows were silver and wet in the morning from brushing against leaves, they were Florida black bears. When they lumbered from their feeding place, spoonbills burst above the trees.
Recently I visited one of the U.K's most celebrated cities and there enjoyed the old and the new in hotels and cuisine. I must admit I do try to find little known places where grace and charm can still be enjoyed, and the passion of chefs is translated into wonderful food. Edinburgh is a truly lovely city. Glorious buildings abound built in grey stone and there are many townhouses which have been converted into elegant hotels.
The Howard is one of the Edinburgh Collection Hotels and offers luxury accommodations unparalleled in Edinburgh. Besides providing traditional Georgian pampering with your own dedicated butler service, each one of the eighteen individually characterized rooms uses the finest of fittings, fabrics, paintings and antique furniture and features exquisite body care items, thick white cuddly towels and towel coats – you know all those things that make you feel pampered and cared for! Of course for the techies, there are e-TV, DVD, video, games and hi-fi systems.
Downstairs you can enjoy high tea and, a little later, cocktails in the warmth and comfort of the Drawing Room with its wood burning fire, deep comfy couches and armchairs in deep golden hues. Breakfast and dinner are served in 'The Atholl', the small, elegant restaurant which is the original dining room of this once private residence built in 1820 – naturally it has been renovated but a mural painted in 'Watteausque' style at that time still survives.
So I had some time to kill in Europe before my boyfriend (now husband) was to join me on our first international adventure. While I "knew" French from high school and college, I was not proficient or confident enough to spend two weeks by myself in a country where I could not really understand or be understood. I could kick my wine-loving self now, but c'est la vie. England was too expensive as a solo traveler, so I decided to go to Ireland.
I didn't know much about Ireland, but it looked beautiful, the people had a friendly reputation, the food wasn't too weird (I was a picky eater back then) and most of all they spoke English. Plus the train system was so extensive and affordable I could see the sights without having to drive on the wrong side of the road - though I would consistently try to get in the passenger / driver side when I was over there, much to the cabbies irritation and my embarrassment.
While this was many years ago, these are a few things that have stuck with me from that trip.
1) Nature can't reach that distinct color of green - and it is unparalleled - without it raining…a lot. Like everyday. Not ALL DAY, every day, but for some time every day. It was nice coming from a place where it rains maybe 15 days a year. You don't see that color in Southern California EVER. On the flip side of that, 70 degrees is a perfectly acceptable temperature to sunbath as long as it's sunny. I was wearing a jacket, the Dubliners were as naked as they could get away with in a public park. I guess you have to take your sun worshipping when you can get it.
There are two faces of Carnival. Friday night my husband and I stood next to Hermes parade newcomers from Dallas, and when they asked where to eat I peppered them with questions to find the right restaurant. It's my favorite food writer challenge. They were looking for casual so I recommended SoBou from the Commander's Palace family for cocktails, Crescent City Brewhouse for brunch with a balcony, and Elizabeth's for fried chicken if they make it out of the French Quarter to the Bywater -- ask for Erin. We parted friends, and I hope their bellies benefited from the exchange.
On Samedi Gras, the Saturday before Mardi Gras Day, I had two goals: 1) See my artist friend Shannon Kelly's American Eagle in the Krewe of Tucks Parade; and 2) Stock up on coffee. Enter the other face of Carnival. A woman walked a wheelchair next to the parade barricade and stood on it as floats passed by, while flashing her pasties for beads. This was during a day parade surrounded by families. When a throw didn't make it close enough, she jumped the barricade to grab it and climb back over.
That was a bridge too far for the policewoman patrolling the parade route. “The next time you do that, I'm taking you to jail,” she told the reveler. “I'm DISABLED!” Pasty shouted as she angrily climbed back atop the wheelchair. I hope she really does need the wheelchair and was miraculously healed for two hours by the Ghost of Friar Tuck. But I doubt it. And I miss the Friday couple.
ANGELI CAFFE PASSOVER POP-UP - MARCH 21st
In preparation for Passover, EVAN KLEIMAN, host of KCRW's "Good Food" and former owner of the much-missed Angeli Caffe, and SEAN SHERIDAN, Executive Chef of the Skirball are hosting a sumptuous Italian-inspired Passover meal on Friday, March 21 at 7:00pm at the Skirball Cultural Center.
This special Passover dinner, served family-style, will reflect the bounty of the spring garden. Wine will be available for purchase, and select recipes will be provided. This meal is not certified kosher.
To see the menu and purchase tickets, click here. Registration closes on March 17th.
One of London’s most elegant hotels is The Royal Horseguards situated on the paved Embankment overlooking the mighty River Thames flowing sedately along to the sea. This grand property has been the center of the seated establishment for many a decade and still offers warmth, glamour and service to its many patrons. Many politicians and statesmen frequent the hotel today because of its closeness to the Houses of Parliament and Ministry of Defense.
Standing on the site of Whitehall which once was one of the most famous Tudor royal palaces – I am sure Henry V111 would have loved to look out at the now London Eye twisting it’s quite ugly façade in space. The Tudor Palace was destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1698 but the Banqueting House escaped the conflagration and is still used for banquets at the corner of Horseguards Parade.
For those of you who are movie fans you might like to know that Whitehall Court was featured in the 1983 Bond film ‘Octopussy’ and also in ‘Skyfall’ the latest James Bond flick.