Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mouth of Clara: Favorite #2

(We're away for two weeks, so everyday while we're gone you'll get to read Clara's answers to the question "What's your favorite place you've ever been", in her order of preference.)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mouth of Clara: Favorite #1

(We're away for two weeks, so everyday while we're gone you'll get to read Clara's answers to the question "What's your favorite place you've ever been", in her order of preference.)

Friday, August 27, 2010

I'm Dreaming of: Swedish Islands

Once again I've found some very cool properties in UK Traveller. These two were in their June 2010 issue, and are on the west coast of Sweden, near Gothenburg...so almost best to consider pairing them with a trip to Copenhagen (if you take this beyond the dreaming about them stage). The one on top is called Salt&Sill, and it's a floating hotel, and certainly not for families with little kids (see the lack of railings in the above lower right picture). The one below is called Vaderoarna (site is in Swedish, but the owners speak English)--it's on it's own island, has its own restaurant, and looks also like a sweet place to go if you don't have kids under 5 (see those lovely rocks that are probably incredibly enticing to a 4 year old, and are probably very slippery.)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I'm Dreaming of: Murtoli Estate in Corsica

I'm finally getting through all of my magazines that have been stacking up, and found this lovely property, Domaine de Murtoli, in the UK edition of Conde Nast Traveller (that's a tear sheet above from the article). It looks perfect. Basically, it's a family estate that has a number of properties from little shepherd's cottages to larger villas that can sleep up to 13 people. There are sandy beaches, pools, great kitchens in your rental, gardens to pick and cook from, two restaurants on property. It's run by a family that has four kids, which usually means built-in new friends, and there's tons for kids to do. Sign me up for next summer. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Vintage Travel Book Find

Whenever I'm in upstate New York, I always hit the Salvation Army, used bookstores, and garage sales, and I usually have really good luck finding all sorts of treasures. Recently I found this series called the Let's Travel Books , and picked up books on India, France, and England (each for $1). Even if they're dated (published in the 60's) they are still great introductions to the countries, and easy to look at with your kids--either just checking out the pictures, or reading all the way through. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

Eloise's Bedroom+Amazing Food Court

Last week we went to The Plaza Hotel to check out their new Eloise suite, which Clara absolutely loved and begged to stay in. But skip over this and don't show your kid unless a price tag of around $900 (and that's just for the Eloise suite, which is definitely a kid's room--and I don't think you parents want to sleep on rollaway beds do you?) doesn't intimidate you.  Add in the adjacent room and you're in honeymoon territory, or once-in-a-lifetime kid birthday territory. After the tour, Clara and I were starving, and I decided to check out the new food court on the lower level of the Plaza. At first I was super skeptical, since I couldn't figure out the set-up--it's all bar seating, with lots of different stations. But once we sat down at the Japanese noodle/dumpling station, and a waiter came by to explain it, it was all pretty easy. Here's the deal: it's a European style food market hall with a number of different stations. You get a menu that has the offerings from each (burgers, oysters, sushi, etc) and you can pick something from any one of the stations, and you don't have to be seated at the station you're ordering from. We happened to stick to udon and dumplings, but it's nice to know there are all those options.  Great place to go with picky/difficult friends. The food was quite good, the Pacifico beer was icy,  and the prices were actually decent considering we were in the Plaza, after all.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Fair Season Friend

Today was a sketchy weather day in upstate NY, so we decided to check out the Delaware County Fair, which was so much fun. Then again, I really think most any county fair is a blast--the problem is remembering when one is, that is near you. Here's my suggestion: Take every fair (or any annual event for that matter) that you've ever been curious about going to, and find out the dates now, for next year, and put it in the calendar. That way next summer when you've got no plans lined up for a weekend, you already have choices lined up. For next year, we've got in the Afton Fair and the 127 Yard Sale (the one that spans something like six states and hundreds of miles). 

Friday, August 13, 2010

Sushi Reunion

Matt and I lived on W. 4th Street for over 10 years, and our favorite place to eat was a hole-in-the-wall Japanese restaurant called Cotan, just around the corner from us, on W. 3rd St. It was a magical place. We ate there probably three times a week, and became friends with the owner, Miki, and the staff. When Matt would go fishing, he'd bring back a striped bass to Miki, who would show him how to cut it up, and would serve it in the restaurant. We spent the night of the blackout there, with candles, helping him eat through as much fish as we could, since it wouldn't last without refrigeration. There was the Tuesday night group, made up of several people who didn't come together, but just knew they would all be there on Tuesdays, enjoying Miki's amazing fish. Then one day, after 25 years of business, Miki decided he didn't want to do it anymore, and he closed. And we moved to Brooklyn shortly thereafter. Now it's been five years that he hasn't had Cotan, and he worked in some fusion place in Midtown. We went to see him, but it just wasn't the same.  But, just last week, he called us up, and asked us to come to Cotan, just re-opened, in the East Village, on 1st Avenue. We went immediately, and it was just as we remembered. Yes, it's in a different location, and the awning has a new logo, but it was just as remembered i. The fish is the perfect temperature, cut perfectly...the yellowtail is still the best we've ever had. He has his chef Shige reunited with him, and one of his waitresses, who hadn't seen Clara since she was two. It's one of these places that doesn't look like it's special or charming, but it really is. 
P.S.  (If you go, the tempura udon was a big hit with Clara,  and Matt suggests you get the sushi omakase.

P.S.S.  Tell the staff that Yolanda, Matt, and Clara sent you. 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I'm Dreaming of: Alonissos, Greece

Every May I think "this is the year we're going to go to Greece"...and it never happens. I haven't been there since I was in my early twenties, and I'm dying to go back. But I'm very concerned that I find the perfect place to bring Matt (who has never been, and would rather go to Italy than anywhere, so Greece is a hard sell) and Clara...I want a beach front property, near a sandy beach, within walking distance to a town. The island should also not have an airport (which brings in the riff-raff), and it should also not take 3 ferries to get to. I know, I'm being a little impossible. Well, as I search, I'll post what seems like it just might fit the bill.  Here's one: