Costa Rica is well known for its lush rainforests, epic surf spots, and three-toed sloths, but its food scene is also worthy of attention. Its rich culinary culture is strongly influenced by the dizzying array of fruits and veggies made possible by the same biodiversity and microclimates that make it a destination for nature lovers. The food scene there is definitely worth checking out — from epic farmers markets to high elevation coffee plantations and great street food.
You can check out my article at Travel + Leisure that goes along with the video here, which details all the dishes I recommend you try out when in Costa Rica.
Each month I write the Departures Magazine Dining Agenda, giving you the scoop on what’s shaking in food and beverage around the world. I’m talking everything from festivals to openings and chef shifts — all so you can stay in the know on what’s going on around the globe. Here’s what’s happening this December.
Getting around LAX can be a lot like navigating the city of Los Angeles; for the uninitiated, it can seem like an absolutely daunting maze, especially during the upcoming holiday season. But I grew up in L.A., and have some helpful hints for how to make the most of any layover or pre-flight experience in L.A. You can check out my tips over at LAXisHappening.com, and be sure to watch the video below.
It’s hard not to get swept up in what’s #trending, especially when it comes to travel. Trouble is, once you get to a destination that’s been infiltrating your feed, you realize your friends somehow managed to crop out the throngs of tourists that populate it.
If you’re looking for something a little more off-the-beaten path, something that harkens to the early, undiscovered days of your favorite destination, I combed the map to find an alluring alternative for each one. I picked out 10 destinations that make fine replacements that are worth exploring now—before they catch up to their siblings.
Remember way back when I started that Dishlist column — you know, the handy dandy one that gave the rundown on the absolutely essential dishes you have to try in a given region, city, or country? Well, it’s baaaaaack! And now, in Travel + Leisure magazine!
I first started this series because as a food-focused traveler, I’m always looking for a list of must-trys before hitting the road, how to say the dishes’ names like a native, and where to find the best.
I started my first installation for T + L with none other than Tokyo, a city I fell in love with a few months ago on my first trip to Japan.
Characterized by an unrelenting attention to detail and the persistent pursuit of excellence, the megalopolis of Tokyo is known as one of the world’s best eating cities.
Last month I had the pleasure of traveling to Anguilla, a teensy Caribbean island located about 20 minutes north of St. Martin by boat. I flew down for the Festival Del Mar, a local celebration of everything the sea has to offer, from traditional Anguillan sailboat racing to bountiful seafood.
I tried everything from massive lobster and crayfish to cowfish, which looks a lot like puffer fish, but isn’t nearly as poisonous as fugu.
What were my favorite bites? Take a look to find out!
A while back I wrote about an old Indian health drink called shilajit that is regarded by Ayurvedic healers for its restorative properties. This resin pitch is made of humic substance, and it’s very rich in fulvic acid, which is created by the decomposition of plant material. Translation: you’re drinking really old, hardened compost. When the weather warms, the stuff oozes out of the ground — mainly in Himalayan mountains between India and Nepal — to be collected by its believers.
Which is all well and good, but let me tell you, the stuff tastes gnarly.
At The Springs, an adorable multipurpose restaurant, workspace and wellness spa in DTLA, they dilute a brand of shilajit called PurBlack with water and sell it in a 1 oz shot form with a lemon wedge chaser for $4. I couldn’t resist a taste when I heard the crazy story from one of the bartenders, and ended up writing about my experience sipping on the stuff for a story headlined “L.A’s Latest Bizarre Health Drink Tastes A Lot Like Bong Water.”
Apparently the ridiculous recounting grabbed the attention of NYT writer Brooks Barnes, who did a bang-up job of making me chuckle in his story about The Springs, which you can check out here.I can’t blame him for poking fun of L.A. in this story. I mean, much as I am obsessed with the design of The Springs, the place offers everything a caricature of a health crazed Angeleno would need: yoga, food, juice, music, and colonics, all under one roof.
So, tell me, have you tried shilajit? What’s the strangest thing you’ve done for the sake of health?
L.A. has always been a destination for starry-eyed Hollywood fans, but the city has been making name for itself outside of Awards Season, with an incredible local food scene, top-notch shopping, and hotels to match. I’m pretty darn proud of my native city! Thankfully, there’s been a cadre of design-forward properties opening in L.A. as of late, with more coming down the pike, meaning that you have plenty of opps to stay in outside-the-box spaces.
Mama Shelterwill be opening their first American outpost this summer in Hollywood, and the historic Hotel Figueroa is in the process of receiving an L.A.-style face lift.
For a peek at what I’m digging now, you can check ’em it out here.
Holy mole, you guys! How the heck did it get to be April already? This is insane. As I sit here there are April showers pouring down outside my window, but from the looks of things, there are plenty of flowers on the horizon. And by flowers I mean a bevy of blossoming new restaurants and exciting food events.
I rounded up the world’s biggest food news for Departures in my monthly Dining Agenda column, which you can check out here.Some of my most anticipated openings are the super rad new magic show Upstairs at The Nomad called The Magician starring Dan White, and the stunning new SoHo House Istanbul, which includes two rooftop pools overlooking The Bosphorus. I’ll be heading to the show Upstairs later this month, and fingers crossed on trip to Turkey — still one of my bucket list destinations! (Do you blame me? Those markets tho!)
That’s me in culinary school circa 2010 (Photo courtesy of Felicia Friesema)
Ever since I was a wee one, I’ve been totally intrigued with the concept of cooking. Perhaps I was watching too much PBS TV for someone that young, or maybe it was just the fact that my mom used to have me help her make dinner every night perched on a step stool so I could reach the stove. Whatever it was, culinary school was always one of those things I was compelled to do. So my senior year of college at UC Santa Cruz, I started looking into it.
And man, was it expensive.
The idea of going into debt immediately after getting my degree was off-putting, so I held off and waited for (what seemed like) a logical time to go to culinary school: when I had a full time job working as an editor for an alt weekly at the LA Times. (Can you sense the snark here? Well, you should.) Let me tell you, it was NOT easy. I know plenty of people out there do night school, and my hats go off, because it was exhausting. Being elbow deep in dishes at 11 p.m. and getting snapped at by a French chef is not exactly my idea of fun after a full day’s work, but I learned a lot. And I always want to keep learning.
That’s one of the reasons I love traveling. Every time I hit the road, I try to glean some sort of inspiration from the cooks I encounter. Whether it’s watching someone grill street meat in Southeast Asia or shuck oysters in Baja, there are tons of techniques to be learned. And even better if I can take some classes along the way.
Which is what brought me to this cool little round-up for Departures. There are so many great cooking class options for travelers these days, especially on-site at properties. I’ve picked out a few for every type of learner — from aspiring homesteaders to competitive cooks. You can read all about it here.
And remember: Stay hungry. Stay foolish. And never, ever stop learning.