Revolution Flatbread, Leaf Peeping, Echo Lake Aquarium, 10 Do's, No Don'ts of Burlington Vermont by Tracey Medeiros

After a stop in New Delhi earlier this month, last 10 do's and don'ts of 2013 takes us to Burlington (Vermont) courtesy of Tracey Medeiros whose most recent book is The Vermont Farm Table Cookbook (Countryman Press, May 2013).

Tracey wanted to keep it positive so she only offered do's.

THINGS TO DO IN BURLINGTON, VERMONT

Don’t Miss:

AMERICAN FLATBREAD BURLINGTON HEARTH

At American Flatbread Burlington Hearth, the emphasis is on “quality and integrity.” Look for flatbreads like the Revolution, with caramelized onions and mushrooms and the New Vermont Sausage, with nitrate-free maple-fennel sausage and sundried tomatoes.

115 Saint Paul Street
Burlington
802-861-2999

American flabread

L’AMANTE RISTORANTE

What L’Amante Ristorante offers is a seasonal menu showcasing the simple, straightforward creations of traditional Italian fare at its best. The flavorful Grilled N.Y. Strip and the succulent Roasted Duck entrees reflect Chef and co-owner Kevin Cleary’s no-fuss philosophy of allowing the ingredients and simple preparation to shine through.

126 College Street
Burlington
802-863-5200

LEAF PEEPER

With Leaf Peeper don’t miss autumn foliage in Vermont!

BURLINGTON FARMERS’ MARKET

Located in the heart of the city at City Hall Park, the Burlington Farmers’ Market is held every Saturday, starting from Mother’s Day weekend through the last Saturday in October. The Burlington Winter Farmers’ Market is held at the Memorial Auditorium, near the corner of Main and South Union streets, the third Saturday of the month, January to April, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm,

City Hall Park
Burlington
888-889-8188

CITY MARKET/ONION RIVER CO-OP

Shop and get useful tips like how to create a Pennywise Pantry (on January 7, 2014) at City Market, Onion River Co-op, is downtown Burlington’s consumer cooperative grocery store. If you are looking to take a little slice of Vermont back home with you, there is a wonderful selection of local, natural, and conventional foods.

82 South Winooski Avenue
Burlington
802-861-9700

Citymarket coop

Do:

VERMONT CHEESE TRAIL

The Vermont Cheese Council has organized artisanal cheese makers onto a Vermont Cheese Trail map. Many of the farms are only open seasonally to the general public; it is highly recommended to call ahead.

2011cheesemap

ECHO LAKE AQUARIUM AND SCIENCE CENTER

A 36,00 square foot, award-winning LEED-certified facility, ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center is a great place to take children to see over 70 species of fish, amphibians, invertebrates, and reptiles plus interactive exhibits and science education programs. Echo is open year round, 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, except Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and New Year's Day.

1 College Street
Burlington
802-864-1848

Echolake

FROG HOLLOW VERMONT STATE CRAFT CENTER

Headquartered in Burlington Vermont, Frog Hollow, a nonprofit arts organization represents over 200 Vermont artisans and is honored as the nation’s first Sates Craft Center in the nation.

85 Church Street
Burlington
802-863-6458

FLYNN CENTER FOR THE PERFORMNG ARTS

Take in a local theater show at Flynn Center for the performing arts. They are part of First Night Burlington on December 31, 2013.

153 Main Street
Burlington
802-863-5966

Enjoy breakfast at:

PENNY CLUSE CAFÉ

Located just off Church Street Marketplace in Burlington, the Penny Cluse Café has been serving breakfast and lunch since 1988. The menu is eclectic, and will happily satisfy a wide range of tastes. Noteworthy plates are Mama Cruz’s Huevos Rancheros and Chorizo & Egg Tacos.

169 Cherry Street
Burlington
802-651-8834

I hope you discovered as many new spots as i did in these 10 do's (no don'ts) of Burlington, Vermont thanks to Tracey Medeiros.

( Photo and illustration credits: American Flabread 'Brewfest' pic from their Twitter page, City Market Coop from their Facebook album, Vermont Cheese Trail 2011 map from Vermont Cheese Council site, Echo Lake Aquarium from their Facebook page...)


Qutub Minar in Backdrop for Sunday Brunch, Indian Terracotta at Sanskriti Museum, New Delhi 10 Do's and Don'ts

Previous 10 do's and don'ts took us to Charleston...

We take a giant leap across the globe for today's pick, New Delhi.

It is offered by Deepak Goel, founder and CEO of Drizzlin (a social media marketing agency) who currently splits his time between New Delhi and Mumbai.

Delhi 10 Do's and Don'ts

Dos: 

1. A walk in The Lodhi Gardens is one of the most pleasurable ones to take. Specially on winter afternoons or evenings any time of the year. 
 
Lodhi gardens
 
2. A look at the Visual Arts Gallery at The India Habitat Centre is always a good one to get a sense of contemporary Indian Art. 
 
3. The India Habitat Centre also opens avenues to some interesting plays, classical music concerts and more art exhibits. 
 
4. The India International Centre is a good catch if geo political issues catch your fancy from India's foreign policy perspective. The occasional classical performances and broader scope lectures are also a delight. 
 
5. Well the latest buzz in town is Hauz Khas Village, a place like no other in India. Cafe's, Restaurants, Boutiques selling fashion, interiors and other trinkets are a delight. Well the amazing backdrop of the fort and a lake is totally worth the visit. 
 
6. Paharganj near the New Delhi train station is a good walk to take for its food and roof top restaurants. The place has undergone massive renovations (that has taken away the old world charm) but still a good view of the buzzy city. 
 
7. Olive Bar and Kitchen near Mehrauli is a great Sunday brunch location, good food even better location in the backdrop of the Qutub Minar makes the leafy surroundings superb. 
 
Olivebardelhi
 
8. Purani Dilli (Old Delhi) near Jama Masjid takes you to Karim's - one of the best places for Mughal Cuisine. It can be really greasy but very tasty. 
 
9. How can I not talk about one of the best places to eat at Gung The Palace in Green Park. If you're looking for a break from Indian food, there is no place as wonderful as this Korean restaurant. 
 
10. In Anandagram, Sanskriti Foundation with its great Indian terracotta collection, Museum of Everyday Art and beautiful huts is a hidden treasure on the Gurgaon Mehrauli road.  
 
Sanskriti foundation
 
Dont's
 
1. Late nights aren't very exciting in the city. So if its past 11pm, you better know your way and company. The city is not as unsafe as its made to believe, but there isn't much fun around. 
 
2. Don't visit the popular markets of South Extention, GK 1, Defence Colony etc - they all look the same and are chaotic beyond belief. Unless thats what you're seeking. 
 
3. Street food in summer - just be careful. Lack of good storage makes it a bit tricky. 
 
4. Palika Bazaar - a market worth seeing but not buying. 
 
5. Rickshaw / Taxis - know your way, be with a local if possible. Trust the radio taxis otherwise. 
 
(* Photo credits: Lodhi Gardens via $umit, Olive Bar and Kitchen from from Olive at the Qutub Facebook page, Indian Terra-cotta from Sanskriti Museums Facebook page)

Prepare Yourself for Imbibing, Make time for Historic Churches, Take Ghost Town Tour, Charleston 10 Do's and Don'ts

After Visit to Lisbon, 10 do's and don'ts turns it sights to Charleston , South Carolina.

One of the partners at soon to be opened Bay Street Biergarten, dear Laura Patrick, serves us a local take on this Southern Belle.

Bay Street Biergarten aims to offer "atmosphere of a traditional German Biergarten, combined with the newest experience in beer, Bavarian-inspired, southern made cuisine from Executive Chef Jason Walker."

10 Do's and Don'ts of Charleston.

Do's: 

Explore the city on foot.  It’s the best way to see all of the gorgeous South of Broad streets. 

Goatsheepcowcharleston

Dine out as much as possible.  Whether you’re looking for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, there are so many delicious options in town. 

Visit one of our historic churches. There’s a reason Charleston is known as the “holy city.”  Don’t leave without checking out some of these amazing old buildings that are still operating churches.  

Stmichaelsepiscopal

Dine out as much as possible.  Whether you’re looking for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, there are so many delicious options in town. 

Take a walk on one of our gorgeous beaches and spend the afternoon in a classic beach spot like Poe’s on Sullivan’s Island. 

Venture outside of downtown to check out the classic lowcountry sites like Middleton Plantation, Cypress Gardens (pictured below), and Boone Hall Plantation.

Cypressgardens

Prepare yourself for imbibing while you’re in our fair city.  There are bars, pubs and and craft cocktail establishments in every neighborhood, and you should stop by as many as possible.  Of course, leave some room for a trip to the Bay Street Biergarten. 

Do take a ghost tour downtown. This is a haunted city best viewed at night. 

Try some amazing burgers around town:  Husk, Cypress, Two Boroughs Larder are all great choices. 

Dark-Larder-Sign

Eat shrimp and grits, a lowcountry speciality.  Our favorite version is at Hanks, but there are great ones all over the city.  

Try to catch a show at the Dock Street Theatre, rumored to be one of the most haunted buildings in the city.  

Take in some beautiful art at some of the cities best galleries.  We love Robert Lange Studios, Helena Fox Gallery, and Horton Hayes, all conveniently located in the beautiful French quarter of downtown.  

Don’t: 

Don’t eat in a chain restaurant. Charleston is known for the bounty of its waterways and local farms.  Support our farmers and fisherman by dining local! 

Don’t stay outside of downtown.  You really get a chance to see the city like a local when you are wandering back to your hotel on foot after a great dinner.  

Don’t visit like a tourist.  Talk to the locals and find out where they’re going; that’s how to do a city properly.

Don’t forget your sunscreen if you are visiting in the summer.  Charleston summers can be brutal. 

Don’t try to beat our meter maids.  You will get a ticket.

Don’t litter!  We are proud of our gorgeous city, help us keep it beautiful.

Don’t forget to take a rickshaw ride around the battery.  It’s a great way to experience Charleston.

Don’t be lured in by long lines and neon signs.  That doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re at the right place. 

Baystreetbiergarten
Don’t rush!  We are genteel and slow moving here in the south.  Sit back and enjoy our pace.

Don’t even think about taking a dip in a pond.  One word:  ALLIGATORS! 

Thanks Laura for taking a break from your pre-opening work to serve this taste of Charleston.

(* Photo credits: Goat.Sheep.Cow shop in South of Broad from their Facebook page, St Michael's Episcopal Church from Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau Facebook page, Cypress Gardens fall image from their Facebook page, Two Boroughs Larder from their site)


Indie Music at Ze dos Bois, Old Style Cafes like Pastelaria Versailles, Explore Miradouros, Lisbon 10 Do's and Don'ts by Luisa Santos

After one of the rare 10 do's and don'ts reports from Latin America (we are working to correct that) with Buenos Aires by Vanessa Camozzi, we cross the Atlantic and head for Portugal with 10 do's and don'ts of Lisbon by Luisa Santos an art curator who divides her time between London and Lisbon.

10 do’s and 10 don’ts in Lisbon 

Lisbon is the city where I was born and raised. I have lived in some different cities, as Linz, Copenhagen and London in my 20s and was lucky enough to get to know cities in different continents as the USA, Europe and Asia. I cannot name a favorite city but if I would have to name a city “home” that would certainly be Lisbon, where I find my roots in the sea and my dreams in the bright white light. 

Cafeversaillebox

10 do’s: 

Go to old cafés like Pasteleria Versailles in Saldanha and Pastelaria Mexicana (it’s not a Mexican café) located Avenida Guerra Junqueiro 30 C, founded in the 1940s, with its amazing tiles and a sort of aquarium full of colourful birds. 

Visit Gulbenkian. It’s composed of two Museums, a traditional one and a Contemporary / Modern Art Center and it has the most beautiful gardens in the city. It was planned and designed by architect Ribeiro Telles. The exhibition programme at the Modern Art Centre is impressive and there are always good concerts if you like classical music and jazz; 

Save time for Miradouros as Miradouro da Graça, Miradouro da Nossa Senhora do Monte and Miradouro de Santa Luzia. Lisbon is the city of the seven hills and the views are amazing. From each point, the city is visible almost fully and the view to the river is always quite refreshing and somehow, makes you feel like getting into a boat, like the Lisboners of the 15th Century did in the discoveries. 

Museudofado

Get lost in the narrow streets of Alfama , eat some fish and bread and sit with the locals by the square of the Museu do Fado (above) honoring this Portuguese music style. 

Pay visit to Bairro de Alvalade, a neighborhood from the 1950s (which is something rather recent for Portuguese terms), the architecture is very different from the one in the old town (as Alfama and Bairro Alto) and there are many local shops selling way nicer and cheaper products than in the touristy areas as downtown (Baixa). 

Have lunch at Martim Moniz , a sort of a melting pot of cultures. There, you can easily eat a Chinese meal together with an Indian Mango Lassi. It’s very vibrant and it’s being renewed as it used to be a quite dodgy area.

Go to Estação do Rossio , it’s a beautiful train station located in Restauradores on the end of Liberdade Avenue, a very posh avenue with shops like Louis Vouitton, Prada and the like. Restauradores is very near to Rossio Square, in the Pombaline Downtown (18th Century, built after the 1755 earthquake and tsunami which wrecked the whole city) of Lisbon. 

Rua_Augusta_Lisboa

DO go to Largo do Intendente. Most people will tell you it’s the equivalent to the red district in Amsterdam. That is partially true but it’s also wrong as it’s been subject to a huge renovation and the Largo (square) is now full of artists, the Mayor has moved there, you can find a residency for artists and there are always live concerts in the Summer as well as performances and site-specific artworks which are changing a lot the perception people have towards this area. 

Visit Belém (take the tram 15 at Cais to Sodré) and have a Pastel de Belém at the Fábrica dos Pastéis de Belém. The queue is long and full of tourists as well as locals. A Pastel de Belém is not the same as a Pastel de Nata, it’s always warm, and the Fábrica dos Pastéis de Belém is filled with beautiful traditional Portuguese tiles. Once you’re in the area, have a look at Mosteiro dos Jerónimos , Padrão dos Descobrimentos  and stop to watch the river. On the other side of the river you’ll see Almada, which is also worth a boat trip from Terreiro do Paço... 

Pasteisdebelem
Make an evening stop at Zé dos Bois if you are into alternative / indie music. It’s a very peculiar space, an old building in the old town (Bairro Alto) with an exhibition space, a bookshop, a bar and a concerts’ room.

10 Don’ts:

DON’T go to any Starbuck’s café. Lisbon is filled with traditional cafés, why would someone pay double for an expresso (an expresso in Lisbon costs roughly 0,60 Eur and at Starbuck’s costs around 1,20 Eur), which tastes bad? And it’s a chain that you can find anywhere in the world.

DON’T go to any Padaria Portuguesa. To a tourist, at first sight, might look as something traditional but it’s not. It’s a chain and the quality is poor.

Stay away from Hard Rock Café. The music is not terrible but there are so many nice concert and music places in Lisbon that this one is the one to be missed.

Skip Colombo, Vasco da Gama or any shopping mall. Please support local and small shops. You are in the city of the white light, please don’t spend your days in a closed space.

DON’T visit Lisbon in August, it’s way too hot and there are many shops closed for holidays.

DON’T go to a Fado House where there is a person giving you a leaflet at the entrance and pushing you to enter. The best Fado Houses don’t need to ask for clients and are usually located in narrow streets and corners in Bairro Alto (old town) and Alfama.

DON’T forget to try a Port wine. It’s from Porto but if you are in Lisbon you’ll find it as well.

DON’T rent a car if you are staying in the city or even if you want to go to Cascais or Sintra. Take trains and metro instead. The traffic in Lisbon is unbearable and it’s very difficult (and pricey) to park.

No need to take a cab from the airport. Lisbon has just built a new metro station in the airport and it takes you everywhere in the city for 1,50 Eur (a cab can cost you from 10 to 50 Eur, depending on where you want to go).

Hoteldah

No need to choose the cheapest hotel or the most expensive (as Tivoli or Sheraton). There are very good deals in areas as Alameda Dom Afonso Henriques, Saldanha and even the Old Town (Bairro Alto). There are some new hostels that might be a good option but it’s also nice to rent a flat from a local. 

Thanks Luisa!

(* Photo credits: Pastelaria Versailles pastry box from Eating the World piece on this Cafe, Museu do Fado from Museu do Fado Facebook page, Rua Augusta in Pombaline by Osvaldo Gago via Wikipedia, Hotel DAH in Alameda Dom Afonso Henriques from Hotel DAH website, 


Ice Cream at Freddo, Concert at Teatro Colon, Dinner at 10, Vanessa 10 Do's and Don'ts of Buenos Aires

Last published 10 do's and don'ts was Key West back in March...We travel further south with Vanessa Camozzi 10 do's and don'ts of Buenos Aires.

Vanessa Camozzi is an expat living in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is the owner of Fukuro Noodle Bar. Her love and passion for the restaurant industry prompted her and her husband (a native of Argentina) to open up #FNB in the heart of Palermo Hollywood. The couple decided to return back to Buenos Aires and finally open their own restaurant after spending the past ten years working in the gastro scene in the U.S.

Vanessa's 10 Do’s and 10 Don’ts of Buenos Aires: 

Do's:

1) Visit the incredible landmark Palacio DuHau at the Park Hyatt and have a glass of champagne outside in the beautiful patio garden. Palacio Duhau is perfectly located on Avenida Alvear, in the heart of the French heritage district of Recoleta. 

Palacioduhau_1

2) Have the best ice cream you have ever tried in your life at one of Argentina’s many ice cream parlors. Argentineans know their ice cream—indulge in delicious flavors like dulce de leche granizado, malbec y frutos rojos, and chocolate suizo. Though there are many places to choose from I rank Freddo as one of the best ice cream shops in the city. 

Freddo_2

3) Be sure to visit the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA). The institution was organized around the Costantini Collection, and has continued to expand its selection of works from modern artists from across Latin America. The museum welcomes over a million visitors annually. 

Malba_3

4) Order Argentina’s national drink “Fernet with Coca-Cola” when you go out at night for cocktails. Fernet is a type of amaro, a bitter, aromatic spirit made from a number of herbs and spices. You can’t leave Argentina without trying it!   

Fernet_cocacola_4

5) Block out a morning or afternoon to get pampered at Gino Lozano hair salon. This full service salon will have you looking and feeling like one of Argentina’s many beautiful models in no time. Argentines take their time while getting pampered and don’t rush through any of the services they provide—so make sure to have enough time blocked out and sign up for a mani/pedi and a “brushing” (a hair blow out) It is so worth it. 

6) Make sure to try and hook up with a local to go and have a real Argentinean “asado a la parilla” at somebody house. Asado is a term used both for a range of barbecue techniques and the social event of having or attending a barbecue, An asado usually consists of beef alongside various other meats, which are cooked on a grill called a parrilla, or an open fire. It’s an ABSOLUTE MUST TRY if you are in Argentina. Don’t forget to put chimichurri on all of your meats to add that final delicious flavor to your plate. And If you don’t know a local then head over to Pobre Luis a typical traditional restaurant that serves up killer asado. 

Pobre_luis_6

7) Drink coffee. Do be sure to have lots and lots of “cortados” while sitting outside in one of Argentina’s many cafes. The most popular traditional Argentine coffees are small black coffees (café solos), small espresso coffees with milk (cortados- which also come in larger jarrito size), and larger coffees with milk (café con leches). Sit outside in the sun like a real porteno with a cortado in hand and let the day pass by as you get nice and caffeinated with each delicious sip. Don’t know which café to choose? Try El Gato Negro you won’t be disappointed. 

8) Visit El Teatro Colón. It has just recently been newly renovated. The Teatro Colón is the main opera house in Buenos Aires and is acoustically considered to be amongst the five best concert venues in the world. 

9) Spend time at upscale gourmet harborside of Puerto Madero. Puerto Madero was of course originally a port. It was built to accommodate the cargo ships of the day, but the increasing use of larger cargo ships around that time quickly rendered it obsolete. It’s now filled with a plethora of restaurants and cafes. Here you will be sure to have great food with a beautiful scenic view. 

10) Get a dose of dulce de leche infused “facturas.” Nearly every other block in Buenos Aires has a panaderia (bakery) where you can try these delicious sugared pastries. The most popular fillings are dulce de lechecustard (crema pastelera), and quince paste (dulce de membrillo.) You generally buy them by the dozen and have them during teatime or with friends while drinking “yerba mate.” Mate, also known as chimarrão or cimarrón, is a traditional South American infused drink, particularly in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and the southern states of Brazil and to a lesser degree in south of Chile, the Bolivian Chaco, Syria and Lebanon. Mate is the perfect partner to go along with these tasty facturas. 

DONT’S 

1) Don’t try to rent a car and drive yourself through this city. Buenos Aires is way too big of a city not to mention the people drive crazy--you can forget about everyone staying in their own lanes and following any traffic laws. The city is way too large to try and navigate solo or even with a travel partner. Public transportation is a much more viable and smarter option. Take the bus, subway, a taxi or just walk, as these are all better options.

2) Don’t make dinner reservations for 7:00pm. Argentinians do NOT eat dinner early and never go out at 6 or 7pm to have dinner. It doesn’t matter if it’s a weeknight or weekend. Everything in this city stays open until late and it’s completely normal to make dinner reservations for 10:30 or 11:00 pm. 

3) Don’t go to MicroCentro otherwise known as the financial district in Buenos Aires— it’s old, over crowded and overrated. 

4) Don’t be shocked if somebody kisses you on the cheek when you are meeting them for the first time— it’s customary in Argentina— no handshakes here. One kiss on the side of your cheek is the practice, regardless of your age or gender. 

5) Don’t expect the right of way when you are crossing the street. Pedestrians do not have the right of way. Once in a blue moon a car may stop for you to cross but nine times out of ten, they wont. 

6) Don’t take the trains, they are overcrowded and accidents seem to regularly occur each year. The trains are not well maintained so it’s not the best form of transportation to take. 

7) Don’t be surprised to see lots of dog poop on the streets and dog walkers walking up to 10 to 12 dogs at a time. Try and look down when you walk as much as possible or if not you will get a nice frequent surprise on the bottom of your shoe. 

Donts_dogwalker_7

8) Don’t come here with large bills in hand and expect to get change. Change is a highly coveted thing in Argentina. Taxis, kiosks and stores don’t just give out change willingly—so be strategic when you use a large bill, otherwise you may not be able to make your purchase. 

100pesos_8

9) If you are from the United States, don’t say “No hablo espanol soy Americano/a” Instead you should say “Soy de los Estados Unidos” It’s considered rude to say you’re “American” since you are still in America just a lot further South. 

10) Don’t leave without coming to Fukuro Noodle Bar. If you’ve stuffed yourself over and over with tons of meat and malbec then come to FNB for some fresh ramen, craft cocktails, dumplings, steamed pork buns, and milk and cookies. See you in Buenos Aires!

Fukuro_10

Thanks Vanessa for 20 on the spot tips...


Key West is Not Alcohol The Theme Park, Enjoy Mornings Too, Justin and Norman Van Aken '10 Do's and Don'ts' of Key West

Reading My Key West Kitchen (Kyle Books, 2012) by father and son team, Norman Van Aken and Justin Van Aken, you cannot help but feel their passion for the place.

With that in mind, it was only natural that I would ask them to share their personal recommendations on the place. Some of you might even be there for Spring Break.

Justin sticks to advice on enjoying the real Key West while Norman covers mostly food places, bars and history.

Here's Justin and Norman Van Aken 10 do's and don'ts of Key West.

Sandy's cafe

Justin

DON'T Bother with any chain restaurants or bars. Can't anybody buy that garbage off any interstate in America?

DO Support our local businesses, please. We have many establishments around town serving great local fare unique to our little island. Sure, you've heard of Conch Chowder, but, a Mollete? 

DON'T Forget that you're in one of the oldest cities in the country, not Alcohol: The Theme Park.

DO Take in some culture! Museums, cabarets, various tours, rides, or walks; water-based un like snorkeling, paddleboarding, kayaking, and fishing; or just hang out and drink Buchis with the Bubbas! (You might have to visit to find out what that means!) 

DON'T Stay out for the late nights and sleep until noon each day, even if you're on vacation!

DO Get out and enjoy some of the mornings, too. The gentle sunlight, idyllic pace, and perfect temperatures of most mornings in Key West create the perfect setting for a long easy stroll around before the midday heat sets in, requiring (possibly sudsy) liquid refreshment -- and plenty of it.

Norman on eating out and getting around

Dress Code: Shorts are fine everywhere

Hogfish-PG2-001

More Casual: 

Hogfish Bar and GrillIt is not on Key West but on Stock Island. Hard to find place but it is like the original classic joints of Key West back in the day. Their “specials” are a good bet.

5 Brothers Grocery: 930 Southard Street. Food to Go. Breakfast on the bench outside. Bollos. 

Sandy’s Café: Food to go at a laundromat. 1026 White St. Midnight Sandwich. Café con Leche.

Blue Heaven: Petronia and Thomas Streets. Drinks or Breakfast is my preference. Crowds. 

Bad Boy Burrito: Chris Otten’s little spot on Simonton. Fish is fresh and local. 

The Half Shell Raw Bar: New owner is said to be bringing back the old FUNK. 

La Crêperie: Charming place run by 2 French women. (Across from Blue Heaven). Go.

Pepé’s: 806 Caroline St. Tiny and laid back local hangout

El Siboney: 900 Catherine. Cuban family place with authentic fare. Breakfast/Lunch.

The Banana Café: On the “upper end” of Duval. Breakfast. Charming ambience. 

The Elk’s Club. Barbeque on the sidewalk each Saturday around Noon. 1107 Whitehead St.

A Bit More Upscale (for KW):

Café Marquesa: Simonton and Fleming Sts. Chef Susan Ferry, (Great small/historic Hotel). 

Azur: Has some promise. In the Eden House Hotel. 

Antonia’s on Duval, (It has an Italian/American style and has been there 20 years). 

Louie’s Backyard: 700 Waddell. Afternoons on The Afterdeck Bar for a Cocktail.

Bars:

The Green Parrot Bar: 601 Whitehead Street. Our Favorite Bar. Great live music scene.

Little Room Jazz Bar. 800 block of Duval. New. Live Music every night at 8.

Vinos: Small wine bar at 810 Duval. Good vibe. 

Vinosonduval

If you’re into Craft Beers try “The Porch” across from The Bull off Duval. Up the stairs. 

Tourist Attractions I recommend:

The Conch Train: History and a great sense of the layout of the town. 

The Lighthouse on Whitehead: What a view!

The Hemingway House 

Sharon Wells of Island City Strolls, (305) 294-8380, publishes the free "Walking and Biking Guide to Historic Key West" and gives personalized walking and biking tours of the island's gardens, architecture, history, or whatever you're interested in.

The Historic Florida Keys Preservation Board, (305) 292-6718, publishes a free pamphlet and map to several historic walking tours and leads tours of the cemetery Tuesday and Thursday at 9:30.

Writers' Walk is a one-hour guided tour on weekends of the residences of prominent Key West authors, including Hemingway, Frost, and Williams. It's sponsored by the Key West Literary Seminar, (305) 293-9291).

Keywestliterary

The Old Island Restoration Foundation publishes Pelican Path a free walking guide to Old Town's history and architecture.

Thanks to Norman and Justin Van Aken for sharing their slice of heaven.

Previously:

Climb 550 Steps To Fourviere Basilica, Don't Visit on Monday, Lucy's 10 Dos and Don’t’s of Lyon


Climb 550 Steps To Fourviere Basilica, Don't Visit on Monday, Lucy's 10 Dos and Don’t’s of Lyon

It's been a few weeks in the making and I am glad Lucy Vanel found time away from her Plum Teaching Kitchen in Lyon to offer her 10 Dos and Don’t’s on the city.

Here they are, freshly prepared.

DO's:  

Lyon1st

• DO consider staying in the 1st, 2nd, or 5th arrondissements and consider a Bed & Breakfast or an apartment with a kitchen.  The atmosphere in these quartiers is much more interesting and accessible to the great shopping and cafes that this city is known for, and often apartment rentals by the week are better deals than hotels.  Even if you are not a huge cook, having a kitchen will mean you can buy cheeses, the great fresh and dried sausages Lyon is famous for, and have a chance to sample Lyon’s specialties on your own in small doses.

• DO keep your eye out for good things to sample in what is called a traiteur here.  As a rule, they are local delis that prepare all of their dishes in their own kitchens, and are often artisan charcutiers, where you can sample very good charcuterie products that are prepared in-house.  Some local traiteurs I recommend are Pignol, with a branch on Place Bellecour, Au Petit Vatel on rue Pierre-Corneille in the 6th arrondissement, and Charcuterie Bonnard on rue Grenette in the 2nd.

Stairclimb

• DO choose a stair climb instead of hitting the fitness room at your hotel.  Lyon features some pretty amazing staircases, for example, one that goes from Gare St. Paul all the way up to the Fourviere cathedral, which has over 550 steps.  You can tackle it in about 20 minutes if you’re in reasonable shape, and be rewarded by the beautiful panoramic view of the city of Lyon with Mont Blanc in the distance on a clear day. The hills of the Croix Rousse in Lyon’s 1st arrondissement leading up to the plateau are teeming with mysterious and beautiful passages and stairwells to climb.  You can soak up a bit of history and get your blood pumping all through this neighborhood.

• DO visit Les Halles Paul Bocuse on Cours Lafayette.  This historic market has never been a wholesale market like les Halles in Paris, but since its inception has always been the place in Lyon dedicated to the very best of Lyon’s gastronomy, with boutiques and stands offering excellent variety and choices in food, as well as good examples of local specialties of Lyon. 

• DO explore an outdoor market.  The three best markets in my opinion are the Croix Rousse market on a Tuesday or a Saturday, the producers market on Place Carnot near Perrache station on Wednesday afternoons from 3:00-7:00 PM, and the St. Antoine market on on the Saone River banks on a Saturday or Sunday.  Lyon has over 40 outdoor markets, but the Croix Rousse market is larger by far than any of the others.  On Saturdays, a section of the market is reserved for organic vendors, and many local farmers sell their own vegetables, meats and cheeses at all three markets, which is really getting to the heart of what Lyon gastronomy is all about.

Marchelyon

• DO spend time in Vieux Lyon, the area on the northern end of the 5th Arrondissement by the Saone in the morning, when the historic courtyards and tunnels called traboules are open to the public. They are open and accessible to the public during certain hours by law, because they are an important part of Lyon’s history. You can access them by pressing the button below the entry code pad, which will magically unlock the door between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and noon. Most of the historically significant passageways will have plaques with dates and figures of interest, or you can also pick up a guide to the traboules at most local booksellers or at the Office de Tourisme.  

Lunchlyon
• DO take a stroll in the streets just south of Place Bellecour (in Lyon’s 2nd arrondissement), near the metro stop Ampere Victor Hugo. It is a charming neighborhood full of little antique shops and art galleries, with some little tea house gems that serve old style French home baked goods to enjoy with your tea.

• DO reserve at one of Lyon’s Bouchons during one lunch or dinner of your stay. The atmosphere and interesting food will be a memorable part of your visit, even if there is much more to discover in Lyon’s amazing array of cafes, brasseries and bistros.

Bouchonlyon
• DO save time for two bean-to-bar chocolate makers, that is chocolate makers that roast their own raw cocoa beans.  While the provenance of chocolate is important, roasting methods can create unique flavors in chocolate.  The two bean-to-bar chocolate makers in Lyon are Bernachon, with more than 65 different kinds of chocolates to choose from in Lyon’s 6th arrondissement, and Weiss (you can find a boutique on rue de Brest in Lyon’s 2nd arrondissement), a chocolate producer that has more than 150 years experience at what they do best.  

DON’T 

• Don’t plan a short visit to Lyon on a Monday or a Wednesday.  Timing is everything when it comes to Lyon.  On Mondays, many of the best places to shop and eat are closed, as well as the museums and local attractions.  On Monday’s Lyon’s outdoor markets don’t set up either. Even if the official hours posted say that Les Halles is open to the public on Wednesdays, at least half of the stands and boutiques at Les Halles can be shuttered down on this day.
 
• Don’t be fixated on the Bouchon Lyonnais as pinnacle of Lyonnais gastronomy. It is interesting and fun to eat in a Bouchon if not just for the atmosphere, and everyone should do it while they’re here (you can get a list from the Office de Tourisme, or look in local guide books for lists), but there is much much more to discover in the food scene here.

• Don’t try to fit too many programmed activities into your visit at once.  Part of the charm of Lyon is the city itself, and you must give yourself a chance to simply explore, spend some time tasting local wines and writing postcards, and enjoying the view.

I hope you loved Luc'ys 10 do's and don'ts of Lyon as much as I did.

( * All photos copyright Lucy Vanel 2005-2013, all rights reserved)


Visit Snake People, Swim in Ken River, Khajuraho 10 Do's and Don' ts, Madhya Pradesh

It might not be mentioned as often as Mumbai or Delhi yet Khajuraho is one of the most popular travel destinations thanks to tantric influenced Khajuraho Group of Monuments, a Unesco World Heritage Centre.

When Ulrike Reinhard who currently resides in Khajuraho where she is working on We the School project asked me if I was interested in her take on the city, I had to say yes.

10 Do's and Don'ts in Khajuraho

DOs

Enjoy the Temples in the early morning.

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Spent more than 1 or 2 nights there. It's a powerful place.

Enjoy some Sula Vineyards white wine.

Visit the snake people around Peera.

Talk a long early morning walk beyond Shivsagar Lake.

Stroll through the old village.

Go cross country with a motorbike.

Buy some fresh fish in the afternoon market and get it cooked, grilled what so ever in one of the restaurants!

Visit Raja Cafè. The cappuccino is truly Italian! 

Go inside The Lalit Templeview Hotel and have a swim in the wonderfully located pool. 

Lalithotel

Enjoy the Treehouse (Ken River Lodge) and have a swim in the river (Ken river).

Kenriverlodge

DONTS

Don't go out in big groups. Khajuraho is best when you explore it on your own!

Don't rush through Khajuraho - take your time there. 

Don't pay the prices they ask for in the first round.

Don't tease the buffalos in the streets.

Don't go there by plane, come by train.

Don't get stuck with the tourist part of Khajuraho. There is much more to explore!

Don't use the ATM right next to Raja Cafe!

Don't think Kamasutra is only about erotics.

As a woman, don't trust the men in Khajuraho

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Don't forget Khajuraho is in Central India. It's rural India and decades behind cities such as Mumbai or Delhi. But that's its charme. 

Previous 10 Do's and Don'ts:

One Way Streets and Red Lights Take new Meaning, Knafeh for Breakfast , Beirut 10 Do's and Don'ts by Salma Abdelnour

(* Image of Lalit Hotel swimming pool from their Facebook page)


One Way Streets and Red Lights Take new Meaning, Knafeh for Breakfast , Beirut 10 Do's and Don'ts by Salma Abdelnour

No Middle East city having yet been featured in 10 Do's and Don'ts, I jumped on the opportunity to ask Salma Abdelnour to offer her take on Beirut which is the main character in her recently published memoir Jasmine and Fire 'A Bittersweet Year in Beirut' (Broadway Books-Random House, June 2012).

Beirut 10 Do’s and Don’ts By Salma Abdelnour

Do's

-Before you head to any restaurant, bar, club, shop, or obscure art gallery in Beirut, make sure you find out what city landmark it’s near—for instance, is it next door to a famous old hotel, across from a big theater, or behind a historic café? Beirutis, obsessed though they may be by the trendiest new thing, tend to give directions by referring to famous old sites—never mind if those places haven’t actually been open for decades. Street names and building numbers are mostly irrelevant in Beirut, since you’ll rarely find signs with useful information like that. Landmarks are usually all you have to go by. Looking for the new February 30 bar? It’s in a little alleyway near the old Liban Poste building in Hamra. Want to find The Gathering restaurant? It’s down the street from the electric company headquarters, aka “shirket al kahraba,” in Gemmayzeh. 

- Get to The Gathering (see above) early in the evening, i.e. before 8pm, if you want to luck into a table for dinner. The name makes it sound like a ‘70s cult, but the restaurant is uber-hip, combining an Italian trattoria, a wine bar, and a salumeria in a trio of gorgeously renovated old Lebanese houses set around a breezy courtyard. The food is fantastic—made with mostly organic local ingredients—and the design is super-cool, and everyone wants to be there; alas the place doesn’t take reservations.

Tawlet

- Have lunch at Tawlet, (some dishes above) where each day the offerings focus on a different region of Lebanon, and are likely to include dishes you won’t see in any other restaurant in Beirut. The lunches (Tawlet is not open for dinner) are served on an abundant buffet counter in the sunny dining room, and owner Kamal Mouzawak—who is also responsible for starting the Souk El Tayeb farmer’s market downtown on Saturdays—walks around greeting guests. If you’re feeling more adventurous, take a daytrip to the new sister-restaurant Tawlet Ammiq in the Bekaa Valley.

- Stop by Saifi Gardens, in an out-of-the-way corner of the Gemmayzeh neighborhood, where you’ll find a mellow Lebanese café called Em Nazih overlooking a pleasant garden. Directly above the café (climb a few flights of stairs) is a rooftop bar called Coop D’Etat which, unlike many bars in Gemmayzeh, attracts a cool crowd more interested in kicking back over drinks and local indie-band music than in dressing up and getting sloppy-hammered. 

- Take a walk through the Mar Mikhael neighborhood and hit some of the eclectic hangouts there: for instance Internazionale, a new bar that has on one of its walls a giant mural showing the inside of a crowded 1960s Alitalia flight, complete with cigarette-puffing passengers.

- If you plan on treating a group of friends to dinner, secretly slip your credit card to the maître d’ as soon as you walk into the restaurant. The Lebanese can be generous to a fault, and they’ll often fight over who gets to pay the bill—and if you speak up a nanosecond too late, you’ll lose. In some cities on Earth, this would all sound very puzzling. But in Beirut it’s normal: People like to play host. More and more lately, people will agree to split the bill—especially if they’re a group in the habit of dining together. But if you’re intent on inviting your friends out and picking up the tab, be quick on the draw.

- Try to sneak into the American University of Beirut campus (you technically need a campus I.D. to get in), or take a stroll through the Sanayeh Gardens nearby. Besides the Corniche—the wide boulevard along the Mediterranean—those are among the very few outdoor pedestrian spaces with actual trees and flowers still left in Beirut. 

- Try knafeh (below) , a cakelike breakfast dish made with a sweet crumbly dough topped with melted white cheese and sugar syrup—and usually eaten wrapped in sesame bread. It sounds insanely rich. It is. But don’t miss it. It’s a classic Lebanese confection and deserves the reverence locals attach to it. Have it on a day when you’re willing to start with the heaviest meal first—and to postpone lunch for a few hours.

Knafeh

- Get around and see as many neighborhoods as you can in Beirut, from Burj Hammoud, the mazelike Armenian neighborhood on the east side, to Basta, a flea-market-filled area to the west—and beyond. Beirut is hard to sum up. It’s best to experience as many varied and seemingly contradictory parts of it as you can before even trying to get a handle on the place. 

- Swim. If it’s summer, buy a day-pass at one of the beach clubs along the Corniche, for instance the retro Sporting, the fancier Riviera Beach, or the (pictured below) super-sceney La Plage. (They all have rocky beaches, well-maintained pools, and outdoor cocktail bars.) If you’d prefer to swim at a sandy beach, head south to Jiyeh or to Tyre, which has beautiful public beaches that you can wade into even in winter. 

LaPlage

Don'ts

- In Beirut, don’t even try to arrive right on time for dinner or drinks. You’ll be the first one there by a longshot. But if, say, you’re going to a concert or performance and the announced starting time is “8pm sharp,” that usually means around 8:30—although it can occasionally mean 8pm sharp, for real. It’s a gamble. Usually no one in Beirut takes an exact start-time seriously. But you might want to call ahead to find out what the consequences of lateness might be. (For instance, people have been known to arrive at 8:15pm to a dance performance that actually started at 8pm sharp, and get sent away with no refund.)

- Don’t turn down an offer of something to eat or drink if you’re visiting Lebanese people in their home. At least accept a glass of water. The Lebanese are hard-wired to ply you with food and drink, and an all-out rejection of their efforts to give you things—things you may not actually want or need—will be seen as a failure to please you. Don’t try to see the logic in this. There is none.

- Don’t worry about sending a thank-you note if you’ve received a gift or you’ve been taken out to dinner. The Lebanese don’t really do thank-you notes, but a phone call or a return invitation is always appreciated—and sending a bouquet of flowers to someone’s home is a sweet (though unnecessary) gesture if you’ve been especially bowled over by an act of generosity or hospitality. 

- Try not to panic if you hear alarming shot-like noises or booms around you, unless everyone else seems to be panicking. Given Lebanon’s history, past and present, panic often seems like a wise response, but there are lots of things in Beirut that go boom—construction sounds, cars whose engines are held together by thread and scotch tape, and the ever-popular recreational fireworks. Don’t be careless about where you go in Beirut or elsewhere in the country if there’s political trouble brewing, but don’t get needlessly worked up over the city’s hyper-noisy everyday soundscape. 

- Don’t expect to get through an entire elevator ride without shuddering to a stop midway through. The electricity shuts down for a few hours each day across the city, on a rotating basis: morning, midday, or afternoon. Many buildings and nearly all hotels have generators, but there are frequent hiccups and blackouts. The electric company headquarters (see Do #1 above) is a major city landmark, but locals often wonder what exactly goes on inside that building. 

- Make sure not to miss out on taking a daytrip outside Beirut. You’ll no doubt already have the ancient Roman ruins in Baalbeck and the historic city of Byblos on your itinerary, but try to hit more relaxing destinations too, like the coastal towns of Amsheet (pictured below) and Batroun, north of Beirut. Beautiful old houses, winding little streets, and a seaside setting make for a gorgeous escape that will make you forget Beirut’s urban chaos for a few hours. 

Amsheet (1)

- Never assume a one-way street in Beirut is in fact a one-way street. Ever. Look both ways, and also up, down, front, back—any direction you can think of. Keep a keen eye out for motorcycles and mopeds, which seem to drop out of the sky. 

- Don’t expect anyone or anything to stop at a red light or a stop sign. Lately, traffic cops (who ever knew Beirut had traffic cops?) have been turning up to give the occasional ticket when someone runs a red light, but not often enough to convince people to change their driving habits so dramatically.

- As of September 2012, it’s illegal to smoke in restaurants, bars, and enclosed public spaces—so don’t light up unless you want to test your luck. How strongly will this law be enforced? Remains to be seen.

- No need to fret if you haven’t had a chance to pick up presents for everyone back home before you leave Lebanon. The shopping at the Beirut airport is actually quite good: You’ll find locally made artisanal textiles and clothing, a well-stocked Virgin bookstore, and Lebanese pastries galore, attractively packaged to give out to (sure-to-be-thrilled) friends.

Read more from Salma on Jasmine and Fire blog.


Maybachufer Market on Friday, Treptow Park on River Spree, Yaam Bar, Berlin 10 Do's and Dont's

After 2 French women's'take on Toulouse a week ago with Lunch at Au Nez Rouge, Visit to Black Virgin of La Daurade, an ex-Londoner gives us his take on Berlin after 2 years spent in the city. We only spent a few hours in the German capital last Wednesday morning between flights from New York and to Toulouse.

10 Berlin do's and dont's with @unionberlinman

Mark Wilson came to Berlin with his girlfriend for a weekend and 6 months later he had quit his job in London and realised his dream of leaving Glastonbury festival in a camper van and not going back to a 9-5 job. He's been in Berlin 2 years and blogs about the local cult football team, 1. FC Union Berlin, works as a political consultant and runs a networking event for the Berlin tech startup community called Uberthirst.

Do's

1. Do take a tour that looks at an alternative side to Berlin. Check out Gidsy and you'll find an activity to suit your taste whether it be taking a 60 minutes sightseeing flight over the city, discovering Berlin’s hidden secrets to hunting for antiques.

2. Do check out Maybachufer market on a Tuesday or Friday. There are numerous food stalls and it's always a laid back atmosphere in the summer with musicians and locals hanging out at the end of the market overlooking the canal. Try a Gözleme – Turkish pastry filled with spinach and cheese.

3. Make sure you go to Mauerpark on a Sunday and check out the flea market. Karaoke is the main attraction though and is situated just outside the flea market in an old amphitheatre. Arrive about 5pm, get yourself a cold beer and a seat and watch until it finishes at around 7pm. The mad and crazy of Berlin congregate here and you may see 'Bubble Man' blowing his bubbles or a woman trying to streak ushered off the stage by the police - and that's just my last two visits.

4. If you like your history and you like your monuments big then take the time to head out east to Treptow Park and check out the Soviet War Memorial. It's well worth the trek and seems to always be devoid of huge swathes of tourists.

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5. Do Google 'Berlin blogs' and check out the Slow Travel Berlin guide to the top 25 and see what takes your fancy. If you want a hip website to check out then look no further than Mogli Oak Berlin for insider tips. You could end up part of a Berlin flashmob running amok in Ostbahnhof Station or at one of the more off-the-beaten-track clubs Berlin has to offer.

6. Berlin has a number of beach bars. Yaam is probably my favourite. The relaxed atmosphere, strong cocktails and river side views make for an excellent summer's evening. If you don't want to pay the €3 entrance fee then just along from Yaam is Oststrand. It's touristy, but if you get a deck chair over-looking the river Spree, you hardly notice the crowds and the chilled out music creates a nice vibe.

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7. Do get involved in Späti drinking culture. This is essentially getting a group of mates together and drinking outside a ‘late’ shop that sells alcohol. Berliners love a späti party and if you stumble upon one - GET INVOLVED. You can go to as many bars and clubs as you like but until you have whiled away a Berlin evening outside a Spätkauf then you have not sampled the real Berlin life.

8. The drink of choice on a Sunday morning, which will help keep you awake, is Club Mate and vodka. Club Mate is served in 330ml or 500ml glass bottles. You'll be asked to take a swig (make it a big one) and you'll be rewarded with the bottle being topped up with vodka. The caffeine content is impressive so an ideal 'mate' on a big night out.

9. Do try and come to Berlin in May. To counter the Mayday riots you now have Maifest - a great day out full of drinking, music and great Turkish food. The last weekend in May sees the Kreuzberg district play host to The Carnival of Cultures. A weekend celebrating the diversity of the city. The pinnacle of the weekend is the Sunday parade. It finishes around 10pm and numerous after parties ensure you’ll still be dancing on Monday morning.

10. Attend an FC Union Berlin match. Union are in the German second tier and you can still stand on the terraces – unlike at neighbours Hertha Berlin where it is all seated. Union have cult status and are an association with a proud history whose fans stood up against the Stassi. The atmosphere at Union is revered throughout footballing circles. Check out my blog I'm an FC Union Berlin Man for more info. 

Don'ts

1.  Don't worry about not speaking any German. You can live here for years, try and learn the language and most Germans will insist on speaking English to you - even if you are not English as an Estonian friend of mine testified. Bonkers.

2. Don't go to Berghain. There. I've said it. The unmentionable. Yes, it's a cool venue and yes of course it's worth checking out, but Berlin has so many more weird and wonderful clubs. Seek and you shall find. My favourite club is Sisyphos - the club, situated in an abandoned dog biscuit factory - has to be seen to be believed. Arrive about 5am when it starts to get going. It's often open all weekend until Sunday night.

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3. Don't leave without trying a Dönner Kebab. Bagdad in Kreuzberg is one of the best and close to all the action in terms of clubs and bars in Schlesisches Tor. 

4. Live in the city and don't work for a while. It almost feels the norm when you meet so many like-minded souls doing the same and enjoying the laid back Berlin life style.

5. Don't listen to people about how cold the winter is. Yes it's a tad cold but you're still in Berlin. Wrap up warm, sup some glühwein and seek out a cosy Kneipe.

6. Never go out hungry. The service is Berlin is exceptionally slow. Enjoy it, soak up the atmosphere and have a drink while you wait. 

7. Don't have a currywurst - they usually consist of a low quality sausage and ketchup with a sprinkling of curry powder. If you are a fan though you should check out the Currywurst Museum.

8. Don't be surprised if you see a protest. Berliners are always protesting - often about the raising rents.

9. Don't put your glass bottles in the bin, especially during the summer. They are worth a few cents and someone will be collecting them to make an extra few euros.

10. In the words of Basil Fawlty, "Don't mention the war!"

Danke Schon, Mark!