Thank you, Eileen Fisher, for reminding us of what's important besides beautiful and practical clothes for travel - and to the League of Women Voters for this important service. Whether you travel for business or pleasure, fill out this form and act now!
I have strong women on my mind in these recent weeks as courageous women have been petulantly (and liberally) dismissed or vilified in some quarters, so my brief encounter with Misty Copeland, the American Ballet Theatre's first African-American female principal dancer, was all the more significant.
Channeling MFK Fisher, the remarkable sage of food writing and gastronomic pleasure, I took off for Glen Ellen in Sonoma County about 40 north of San Francisco, California, knowing the limitations of my adventure even before I started. First of all, Fisher died in 1992, and second of all, her cottage retreat, “Last House,” is now part of the Audubon Canyon Ranch’s 535-acre Bouverie Preserve and is not open to the public - yet.
My Womantraveler pal and I have a routine before and after the San Francisco Ballet matinees on Saturday - food, like dance, is at the center. For brunch we arrive by 12 noon (no later than 12:30 pm) at Monsieur Benjamin (451 Gough Street, 415.403.2233), a bustling French bistro in Hayes Valley, a few blocks from the War Memorial where the ballet begins promptly at 2 pm. It's really smart to book a reservation at this neighborhood spot, although if you're lucky you can squeeze in at the counter. The scene is entertaining like any other French bistro - and...
Little Beet Table's vegetable-forward menu is a refreshing change from the rich, heavy fare often layered on at dinner in Midtown Manhattan. The vegetable plates and carefully selected fish, poultry or meat are complimented with 3-4 unusual ingredient combinations that result in tasty but not overwrought dishes. The casual decor also brings with it easy-going, friendly, personalized service - the care that goes with "from my garden to your table."
Bo CaPhe is a delicious Vietnamese-American restaurant in New York's Soho, where you should go for real Vietnamese food - and some yummy American eating, too.
Hearth Restaurant's Italian-inflected cooking in Manhattan's East Village is, of course, organic and proudly supportive of local, family farms. They recognize that the closer the farmers are to the table, the fresher the food. I look at the restaurant title and can't help noting that the word "Hearth" incorporates "earth" and that you feel here, close to the ground, real.
Parnassus Books, co-owned by writer Ann Patchett and one of the nation's premier independent bookstores, sits in the most unamazing location in a strip mall, tucked in among Chipotle, The Vitamin Shoppe, Ten Thousand Villages and other small businesses whose exteriors are dull caramel trimmed in dark chocolate. Like other independent bookstores, which represent the souls of local communities, you might pass it a couple of times before you actually find it. But persevere on as a reader and you will be home again.
A chef I know uses coffee shops to assess what's hot in the local food scene when he's traveling. So in Nashville, we follow the coffee trail to two neighborhoods that are turning Music City into the next "food destination" in the South -- Germantown and East Nash.
One of the pleasures of living in South Florida and the West are the small neighborhood restaurants featuring regional cuisines. So in Dallas, searching for something more inventive near Love Field, we discovered Gloria's Latin Cuisine, whose menu blends Salvadorean specialties and Tex-Mex fare and their cross-over, called "Salvatex." That means meats carefully marinaded in aromatic spices before grilling, additions of yuca, Spanish rice, grilled vegetables and sweet fried plaintains along with the traditional Southwestern fare that includes tacos, enchiladas, beans and pico de gallo. Salvadorean food is distinctive for its Mayan, Spanish and Native American influences.