I recently treated our older son, Zack, to a trip to New York for his 24th birthday. While there were lots of things we wanted to see during our visit, such as the Met Cloisters, what we wanted to do most was eat.
We returned to Joe’s Shanghai in Chinatown for xiao long bao, the steamy soup dumplings we loved so much during Zack’s last visit to New York six years ago. We beat the crowd to Katz’s Delicatessen for an early lunch of pastrami on rye and matzo ball soup. …
I recently traveled to Portland, Oregon, to spend some time in the city’s lovely botanical gardens for an upcoming Morning Beats television segment. Also known as “Rose City,” Portland has a warm summer Mediterranean climate, which makes it appealing to not only a wide variety of plants but also a wide variety of people.
It’s mind-boggling to me that Portland, Oregon, has the same climate as Porto, Portugal; Cape Town, South Africa; and parts of Sicily, Italy. But thinking about that latter similarity makes my favorite dish from the trip all the more enjoyable.
Having visited more than 100 countries on all seven continents at this point, it’s difficult to remember life before I was a traveler. But our first trip to Morocco was my first trip anywhere outside North America and the Caribbean, and it happened just eight years ago.
Mr. Mike Ballard and I were celebrating our fifth wedding anniversary with a trip we’d been planning since our engagement. In fact, I only agreed to marry him after he promised he’d take me somewhere exotic for this big marriage milestone.
We were spending three weeks exploring Spain, Gibraltar, and Morocco, which are…
My favorite burger isn’t American.
There, I’ve said it.
My go-to burger is a Greek lamb burger that I first tasted while gazing at the Parthenon of the famous Acropolis in Athens, Greece. Granted, anything you ate while that was in your sights was likely to taste better, but this was a truly delicious burger.
So when I’m thinking of what to grill for Independence Day, it’s actually appropriate that I’m thinking Greek, since Ancient Greece was the birthplace of modern democracy.
The word “democracy” first appeared in Greek political and philosophical writings during classical antiquity. The word comes from…
It’s amazing just how much your childhood shapes you. Even the things you might not consciously remember can play an important part in your love for them. Such is the case with my inordinate affection for classic cowboys.
My father loves Westerns. Stagecoach. Unforgiven. The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. A Fistfull of Dollars. True Grit. The Magnificent Seven. Even Blazing Saddles.
As a young child, he also introduced me to the magical musical storytelling of Marty Robbins, and “El Paso” has been stuck in my head for the past 40 years.
Timbuktu. Bora-Bora. Darjeeling. Kathmandu. Zanzibar.
I’ve been intrigued by these places my whole life, even though I didn’t know anything about them beyond their melodious and exotic-sounding names.
Home to humans for more than 20,000 years, Zanzibar was ruled by the British and Portuguese from 1498 until 1964. The Zanzibari had finally had enough of outsiders taking their spices and other exports, not to mention a long history of enslavement, so they staged a successful revolution in 1964 that earned them status as an semi-autonomous, independent country within the British Commonwealth. …
When you’re in the Mediterranean, you can’t help but crave seafood. The smell of the ocean is in the air, the boats are in the harbor, and it’s difficult to imagine cows and pigs and goats. They’re there, but they seem out of place.
We were on the island of Mallorca, the largest of the Balearic Islands and an autonomous region of Spain. It’s an incredibly popular destination for German and British tourists, and you’ll find a mashup of modern Euro-style nightlife and prehistoric archeological artifacts. …
Did you know it’s possible to see a rainbow at night?
Yosemite Falls at Yosemite National Park is famous for them, particularly this time of year when the water is gushing from spring snowmelt and you can catch a full, or nearly full, moon that’s sitting low over the horizon.
John Muir compared the moonbow to a religious experience, describing it as a “grand arc of color, glowing in mild, shapely beauty.”
Thanks to John Muir’s passionate writing, even people who’d never seen Yosemite firsthand knew the land was something special. …
Stroll the sidewalks of Europe in the summer, you’ll see café table after café table topped with glasses of bright orange liquid.
It’s the ubiquitous Aperol spritz, featuring the century-old bitter orange and rhubarb liqueur that gives the cocktail its distinctive color.
We spent the summer of 2018 in Europe, and Aperol spritzes were the featured cocktail special everywhere from London to Lisbon. But nowhere was the drink more prominent than in Italy.
“It’s because it’s served over ice,” said my friend Caron Guillo. “There aren’t many iced cocktails in Italy.”
My family wasn’t a camping family. We tried it once when I was little, and I believe we lasted one whole night before we turned around and drove home, never to attempt it again.
Mr. Mike Ballard’s family, on the other hand, are tried-and-true campers. Their hometown church has been camping at Tennessee’s Fall Creek Falls State Park every Memorial Day weekend for more than 50 years. The group has only missed two years since 1964: once in 1995 when a tornado destroyed the campground and then in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
And this means that I, too…
Food and folklore from my travels to over 100 countries.