Category Archives: travel

Here Comes L’Espresso 2019!

Errr … 2019? I am still not used to 2018!

But, yes, we will soon be moving into the new year. And with that, we will need updates on where to find the best things to see, do, and last but not least, eat.

Let’s say you were headed to Italy for a few weeks in 2019. You would certainly want to know where the best restaurants can be found. And therefore, you would want a copy of L’Espresso 2019.

More than 2,000 dining establishments are featured in the L’Espresso 2019 guide, and not just  the fanciest ones, but also trattorie, osterie, pizzerie, street food places, vegetarian and vegan-friendly restaurants, hamburger places, panino (sandwich) places, and more. (Incidentally, L’Espresso’s selection represents just 1% of the 200,000 restaurants open in Italy.  These were reviewed by a team of 90 food journalists who every year visit approximately 7,000 restaurants across the boot.)

Image result for L'Espresso 2019

A quaint feature

Restaurants in the guide are assigned from one to five hats, with one hat indicating a good cuisine and five hats indicating excellence, the best overall.

Check out the above link to see the 7 restaurants that got 5 hats. And there is the new “golden hat” category, not to mention “lunch of the year”.

There is a dedicated web site and an app!


Liguria with Coffee

Many seek out “la Dolce Vita”. They suppose that it might be found with effort.  Nick Papa points out that this is an illusion. La Dolce Vita creeps up on you when you are not trying at all.

Check out his sampling of Ligurian attractions over coffee this Sunday morning. You might even hear the sound of laughter and waves on the beach as if you were there. Here is a peek

Italians start the day with a quick espresso. In Santa Margherita Ligure, they linger over their morning coffee with a slice of focaccia Genovese, which is typical of the area. The freshest bread comes from Panificio Fiordiponti, a bakery that prides itself on following ancient Ligurian recipes. They claim there’s no highly guarded secret — just olive oil and salt brushed on the dough before the final leavening — but to taste this focaccia is to know there must be something more.

The men in charge

Image result for Panificio Fiordiponti

A place for you?

Image result for Panificio Fiordiponti


Italian Autumn Food Festivals? Why Not!

Here is a peek

he world’s largest and best-known exhibition of truffles from the Piedmont hills (Unesco-inscribed Langhe, Roero and Monferrato) is the go-to event for truffle lovers. The program includes sensory evaluations led by experts, historical parades, wine tasting, truffle shows and of course hikes in the woods to search for the prized round-shaped tartufo bianco di Alba in the company of trained dogs.

Every weekend from October 14 to November 17.

And here is a monster white truffle to get you thinking

Image result for tartufo bianco di Alba

And there is more! Check it out!

Calling all Bohemians and Creative Powerhouses!

There are only a few places that successfully combine art and money. The balance has to be just right. Too much art, and you get the Burning Man type of crazies. Too much money, and you get Bermuda.

Which leads me to a place on the Pacific coast of Mexico, Careyes. The main complex looks like this

Image result for Careyes

Here is the story

Italian banker Gian Franco Brignone discovered Careyes in 1968 while flying over the sublime coastline in a Cessna. It was seeing from above the lush green Mexican jungle with mangroves and white sand beaches separating it from the deep blue ocean that caught Brignone’s eye. Before returning to Europe he purchased thousands of acres. While colorful casitas, bungalows, private villas, and ocean castles inspired by architect Luis Barragan now dot the stunning coastline, the Brignone family has been very deliberate not to overdevelop and ensure the exclusivity of this hideaway with a Mediterranean spirit. Filippo Brignone, Gian Franco’s son and President of the Careyes Foundation said, “If a place doesn’t grow, it dies. If a place grows too fast, it dies.”

And now, Careyes caters to the well healed creative set who want to get away form it all, but not stray too far form the pool.  You want details?

The luxury property has over 90 pools and most of them are infinity style. There are 64 villas each with its own pool, 5 casitas with pools, 10 casitas with plunge pools, and El Careyes Club & Residences has 5 large infinity pools in addition to 5 apartments with private plunge pools. Plus 4 constellation villas, each containing their own plunge pool. The widest and biggest infinity pools are at ocean castles Sol de Oriente and Sol de Occidente that sit at the top of two hills which bookend a bay, both with 1,000 square meter infinity pools that wrap around the property. The longest pool is 70 meters in a rectangular shape at ocean castle Quinto Sol and the second longest is 55 meters in a more organic shape at villa Triton.

So what about art?

One of the most iconic art installations is the large scale structure that is Copa del Sol. Dramatically perched atop a cliff overlooking Playa Teopa. Copa del Sol is 88 feet in diameter and 35 feet tall. At the right angle when the sun is setting, it looks as if the sun falls directly into the Copa. During this year’s annual Arte Careyes festival, photography artist JR unveiled his contribution to the Careyes landscape—a diver landing into the center of Copa del Sol.

Image result for Careyes Copa del sol

a bit odd, I would say.  And this, taken from behind the diver?

Image result for Careyes Copa del sol JR photo

I suppose one could stay by the pool.

Heading to Autumn Tuscan Wine Festivals?

For many, autumn means back to school or back to work. Things get more serious. Too bad for them! Because autumn is a great time to travel. The crowds are gone. The air is cooler. And there are wonderful things to enjoy.  How about this?

In autumn, Tuscan thoughts turn from beach to vineyard as the region prepares for one its favourite traditions, the vendemmia (wine harvest). After a year’s worth of careful tending, trimming and tasting, the grapes are ready to be transformed into what is music to every Tuscan’s ear, vino nuovo (new wine).

The linked article offers some options for you to experience this

Only one YiFang Mudflip per person?

First, you probably want to know what is a mudflip?

The Mudflip is made with tapioca pearls, brown sugar, and milk.

The Taiwanese firm YiFang makes the mudflip and has opened 3 outlets in London. This is causing a bit of a stir, as it is only served 2 times per day, and 1 per person.

Image result for YiFang Mudflip

What is the big deal?

The Mudflip is made with tapioca pearls, brown sugar, and milk. Before serving, the pearls have to cook in the sugar for about two hours, which is why the tea is such a limited edition.

Ah! Perfect to start a summer craze! Not to worry. If you can’t get your hands on a mudflip, you might want to check out some of the other YiFang teas

Their Shaftesbury Avenue address will serve 20 varieties of tea taken from the recipe book of its founder’s great grandmother. YiFang’s three signature teas are the YiFang Fruit Tea (mountain-tea with apple, orange, pineapple, passion fruit and their secret-recipe pineapple jam), Fresh Milk Tea with Pearl (the perfect balance of mountain-tea and fresh milk) and the Brown Sugar Milk With Pearl or ‘YiFang Mud Flip’ as it is known