Category: travel

10 Off-The-Beaten-Path, Undiscovered Destinations

By Krista,


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.

You can read my full story for Travel + Leisure here.

The Dishlist: What To Eat In Tokyo For Travel + Leisure Magazine

By Krista,

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 2.59.31 PM


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.

You can read the full story at T + L here. 


Diving into Anguilla’s Seafood

By Krista,

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 Little Love From The New York Times For My Story On Shilajit, India’s Ultimate Health Drink

By Krista,



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?


My Fave Design Hotels In L.A.

By Krista,



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 Shelter will 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.

Exciting Restaurant News And Openings Around The Globe This April

By Krista,


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!)

Cool Cooking Classes Around The World For Every Kind of Food Geek

By Krista,

Photo by Felicia Freisma

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.

Hunting And Fishing Excursions Worth Traveling For

By Krista,



Adventurous epicures like myself have an insatiable appetite to learn more about where food comes from, and that curiosity stretches way beyond farm visits and market tours. The Simmons family — including my uncle, an expert hunter — has historically been drawn to the sport of hunting, and one of my goals this year is to learn more about it. That’s what sparked this round-up that I did for Departures on some of the coolest hunting and fishing experiences around the globe. From fishing the same river from A River Runs Through It in stunning Big Sky Country to hunting wild boar in Tuscany, it’s all here, and I hope that I can do even more it this coming year.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering what is that I caught while fly fishing in Montana, it’s a super rare bull trout, which apparently some fly fisherman search their whole lives for. Like I said, I guess it’s in my genes! My guide was completely shocked I caught one on my first time fly fishing, and so was his pooch. (You can tell he approves by the smooches.)

You can read my full story for Departures here.

Matcha On My Mind: Sip This Japanese Green Tea Cocktail

By Krista,



You guys, did I mention how absolutely positively ecstatic I am to finally be going to Japan in May? Cuz I AM! Seriously, it’s been at the tip-top of my Bucket List destinations as far back as I can remember. Ever since Michael and I booked our tickets last month, I’ve been going bonkers with cooking and researching all sorts of Japanese eats, which is where this next recipe comes into play.

With matcha on my mind, I crafted this gorgeous green cocktail for POM Wonderful in honor of St. Paddy’s Day, but to be honest it’s a fantastic sipper that you can enjoy year-round. (As you can tell by the photo, I much prefer some Sugarfish sushi to corned beef and cabbage, but you could do that too if you’d like.)

The idea for a matcha cocktail first came to me while enjoying a similar drink over at Gracias Madre in West Hollywood, an awesome vegan Mexican restaurant that serves a boozy boba cocktail made using matcha.

Matcha is a finely milled green tea powder that’s used in Japanese tea ceremonies. It’s traditionally a higher grade tea leaf that’s shade grown and hand-ground, meaning it is a bit more expensive, but oh-so-complex in flavor. It can be consumed as tea, as an addition to smoothies and lattes, and can even be used in baking, as mentioned by Bon Appetit earlier today.

In traditional Japanese tea ceremonies, matcha is typically frothed with a bamboo whisk called a “chasen.” To make things simpler for the home cook, I made my matcha base in a blender. (Apologies to the tea purists out there. Just workin’ with what I’ve got.)

Oh, and in case you’re curious, the styling is done with an awesome eco-friendly line called Coyuchi, who so graciously sent me some of their goodies to play with. How adorable are these chambray napkins? I mean come on!

Here’s how it’s done:



For matcha:

1 tbsp ceremonial grade matcha powder

1.5 cups coconut milk


For cocktail:

1 oz vodka (we used True Organic Vodka for this recipe)

2 oz POM Pomegranate Honey Green Tea

1 oz coconut milk

.5 oz coconut nectar or agave syrup

2 shakes orange bitters

about 1 cup ice cubes

candied ginger for garnish



First make your matcha by placing matcha powder and 1.5 cups coconut milk in a blender, then blending on high for 2 minutes. Place the blended matcha in a Mason jar or Tupperware for storage. (You’ll have some leftover depending on how many cocktails you make, so this’ll make for easier cleanup and storage.)

Place the cocktail ingredients in a Boston shaker with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a cocktail coupe and garnish with candied ginger. Enjoy!

The Best New Restaurant + Bar Openings Around The Globe This March

By Krista,



What’s the happs in the food scene right now, you ask? I’ll tell you what: a whole lot! I just love writing my monthly Dining Agenda column for Departures, as it makes me keep a bird’s eye view on the global food scene. (The caveat, of course, is that it makes my wanderlust gets even wilder!)

My March column has all sorts of fun food news from some of my favorite fine dining chefs: good ol’ Heston Blumenthal has adopted a strict photo policy at his restaurants, including Dinner at London’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel and his Michelin three-star Fat Duck pop-up in Australia; Inaki Aizpitarte, one of France’s most lauded chefs, is slated to open Le Chabanais in London this spring; and fellow Top Chef Masters alum and James Beard Award–nominated chef Mark Peel will open Bombo Foods in Grand Central Market, the hub of alt eating in L.A. (Peel won one of the Knife Fight episodes I judged, too.)

Check out all the food news that’s fit to print in my Dining Agenda for Departures Magazine, right this way.