Monthly Archive for January, 2009

One of America’s favorite destinations for reasons too obvious to mention, it would seem there is little about the 50th state that might not be known to even a first-time visitor. Check them off – leis, the hula, luaus, resplendent sunsets, beaches of sugary white (or silky black) sands, palms fronds ticking in voluptuous breezes, [...]

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Where In The World….?

Scroll Down For Answers

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That April In Paris

The French Really, Really Don’t Suck The flowering trees in the pocket plazas of the Latin Quarter had burst into voluptuous bloom the day before we arrived, and the willows down by the Seine were leafing out in palest shimmering green. By the end of the week, they were joined by the horse chestnuts and [...]

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After a brief look-in at the South Street Seaport, we walked north a few blocks in a blisteringly cold wind to Chinatown.  A little way down Mott Street is Ping (22 Mott St., 212-602-9988), a seafood emporium popular with several recent mayors.  Downstairs is a relatively formal dining room, while upstairs is a noisy but orderly [...]

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Whether you prefer New York to Los Angeles or Paris to London or, to the point here, Barcelona to Madrid, may well depend upon which city you experienced first.  I first saw Barcelona in 1955 and didn’t get around to Madrid until six years later.  Fiercely exotic Barcelona had me wowed and wide-eyed, after which [...]

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My Pyjamas

This Was Then Most of what I know about food I learned in Spain.  After all, Spaniards eat just about anything that trots, swims, sprouts, crawls, flies, or germinates.  (Nearly anything, at least. They aren’t fond of corn or hot peppers.)  That isn’t a revelation.  Most of the world’s great cuisines began as peasant food, [...]

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London Losing Luster

After a few days in London fore and aft of our two weeks in Paris, I came reluctantly to the conclusion that it is a city in chaotic decline. It wasn’t the famously awful weather, which actually was fine, with temps in the high 60s (shrieked one tabloid headline, LONDON SWELTERS IN HEAT WAVE!). Always the [...]

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Why Americans Are Fat: Tradition

From The Big Oyster, describing a celebratory mid-19th Century banquet in New York: “The first course consisted of three soups, including oyster ‘potage‘, and fish – trout, bass, and shad – all products of the Hudson River.  The second course offered six different cold dishes, including oysters in aspic, as well as roasted sirloin, saddle [...]

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As a child of the post-war New York sububurbs, I don’t remember when I first heard the simple but evocative advertising slogan “Castles In Spain”. In that time before five TV channels became five hundred, those three words summoned images of chest-thumping knights in armor, chest-heaving ladies-in-waiting, dramatic jousts with trumpets announcing deadly competitions, and [...]

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Discomfort Food

Ferran Adrià has a lot to answer for. The mega-star Catalan chef holds court at his restaurant El Bulli in the village of Roses off Spain’s Costa Brava and in his laboratory near Barcelona. Yes, his lab. Adrià closes the restaurant for six months a year to fiddle endlessly with foodstuffs so he can bring [...]

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