travel: an education… (2017)

Lotus.

It has been over a dozen years since I started recording and reporting here.  Yet, despite my dwindling updates, I have not lost enthusiasm or eagerness for it. What little time I manage to devote to writing my blog remains exciting and important to me, because above all, it represents an incredible education.

Since leaving the law firm at the top of 2011, and more significantly, leaving my anonymity behind shortly thereafter, I began writing from a different perspective.  With an explosion of blogs and food media that began flooding the internet restaurant-related minutiae, the need for detailed reports like mine diminished. So, I broadened the scope of this blog to do more of what I love doing: connecting the many reference points I had gathered over the years, and championing those who are producing something of quality and substance.

Sadly, I can’t say I’ve been very regular about it. For the past few years, I’ve deferred much of my reflecting and sharing to the end the year, when I scramble to collect my thoughts and preserve some of what I have been too busy to file in the preceding 12 months.* And this task has only become more challenging as my calendar has grown more and more crowded each year.

Of course this is a good thing.  It means those blurred lines that I described in 2013 have sharpened.  Blissfully shrugging off the ambiguities (and the one-dimensional pigeon hole) of “food blogging,” I have moved into a truer and more fulfilling role as a photographer.  Documenting the world with a camera has been an essential part of my life now for more than two decades.  Before I had an adequate grasp of writing, or an understanding of the restaurant industry, I was framing the world around me through a lens. Now, in my adult life, I am blessed to be able to do this professionally.

2017 took me to far corners of our globe.  Logging over 120,00 miles, I visited 8 countries on 4 continents, as well as cities across the United States.  Much of it was to photograph restaurants, food, and chefs, both professionally and for personal pleasure.  But much of it was for other things that interest me – art, history, and culture.  When I’m not eating or writing about food, these are the things that occupy my time and thoughts.

So, before I turn to anthologizing my year in eating, as I have done for a decade or more, I’d like to share a bit of where I went, what I experienced, and what I learned last year.  Of course, if you’re not interested in these things, I invite you to skip to the bottom of this post, where I log all of the restaurants I visited in 2017.

Cape Point

I was having dinner at Kong Hans Kælder in Copenhagen, a house to which I have grown familiar over the past few years, when I mentioned to Peter Pepke, the manager and wine director, that I was heading to Africa.  Peter had grown up in southern Africa, and had gone to school in Zimbabwe, one of the countries on my itinerary.  He told me that, coincidentally, Tobias Nilsson, one of the sommeliers at the restaurant, who I also knew, was moving to South Africa within the month. A Danish family had purchased an estate in wine country, outside of Cape Town, and he was moving there to manage the property and cultivate the vineyards for wine production. Tobias told me that the estate had plenty of guest rooms, and invited me to visit him.  Thrilled to have found a friend in Africa, I gave him my dates of travel, and we planned on seeing each other a few months later.

In my freshman year of college, I chose, as one of my two, compulsory writing seminars, “Modern South African History.”  Two unexpectedly wonderful things happened in that class. First, I met Mike Tetelman, then a young, PhD candidate for African studies at my university.  I credit Tetelman with teaching me how to write, and, more importantly, inspiring me to want to be a better writer. Secondly, Tetelman assigned one of the most transformative books of my life, written by a man who had been imprisoned for 18 years on a faraway island for fighting racial injustice.  Although this autobiography had been decades in the making, much of it happened within my own, recent memory.  It was only a few years before I read the book that its author Nelson Mandela had been set free by then-President of South Africa F.W. de Klerk.  I remember watching evening news reports about the two men negotiating the end of apartheid. And, as a high school student, I remember when Mandela and de Klerk were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize together in 1993 for their bipartisan reforms, and when Mandela was elected the first black president of South Africa a year later.  My own coming of age coincided with that of a great nation and people.

A year after I took the class with Tetelman, the prison on the faraway island closed, ending its 400-year history as a place of banishment and imprisonment.

It is with all of this personal history that my trip to South Africa last year fulfilled twenty years of anticipation.  On Robben Island, I visited the tiny cell – smaller than the kennels in which the prison guard dogs were kept – where Nelson Mandela started writing his “Long Walk To Freedom.” I saw the prison courtyard, where he hid the manuscript behind a vine tree. And I got a tour of the prison by a former, political prisoner on the island, who described the horrors and injustice that he and his fellow inmates endured, sockless and shoeless, for years. If you haven’t read Mandela’s autobiography, read it now. It is one of the most powerful stories of the human will for justice you will ever experience.

Dusk.

Wildepaardejacht is a stunning estate nestled at the foothills of the craggy mountains of Paarl, a wine district about an hour’s drive from Cape Town.  Established in 1688 by Dutch settlers, the gabled manse occupies a unique position in the area.  It offers a breathtaking survey of its surroundings – sprawling vineyards and orchards fenced in by rocky rises.  And yet, it is entirely invisible to the outside world.  You can’t see the beautiful, white structure from any road, not even the one that leads you right to its gates.

Kirsten Madsen welcomed me to her home.  She and her husband had purchased the estate some years ago, and had been alternating between spending time in their homeland of Denmark, and in the wintry months, escaping to the sunnier, summery cape of South Africa.

She showed me to my quarters, a generous suite of beautifully wood-paneled rooms, including a bathroom with a heavy, bulletproof door.  When I asked about the door, Kirsten told me that the prior occupant of the house had been none other than F.W. de Klerk, the former president of South Africa. The Madsens had purchased Wildepaardejacht from de Klerk and his (second) wife Elita. The bathroom had been the president’s safe room in case of an attack.  The panic button inside the bathroom was still active, and I was cautioned not to mistake it for the light switch, lest I set off a string of alarms and send the guards running.

Perhaps my friend Tobias had told me that the estate he was now managing was the former residence of de Klerk.  In fact, I’m sure he had. But in the weeks leading up to my trip, we had both been overwhelmed with work and travel, and our communication was spotty and short.  Somehow, this extraordinary fact escaped me.

Imagine my astonishment.

Just two days before, I had been in the prison cell of de Klerk’s successor. And now, I would be staying in de Klerk’s house and home.

The Madsens left de Klerk’s suite largely untouched.  Simple and spare, his bedroom was dominated by a pair of handsome wardrobes and a large bed, over which a small, framed map of South Africa hung.  There was a chair, two nightstands, and de Klerk’s valet stand.  Otherwise, there was nothing to distract you from the view outside.  Three, large windows framed the surrounding property, offering a 180-degree view of the manicured estate, and the mountains beyond.

Here, at Wildepaardejacht, de Klerk hosted heads of state, including Margaret Thatcher. And the dining room table, where my breakfast was set out every morning, is where much of the de Klerk-Mandela negotiations were conducted.

Rarely have I been so intimately close to history.  And if it were not for the dedication and care of faithful stewards, like the Madsens, these encounters would not be possible.

Tobias Mørkeberg Nilsson

Using Wildepaardejacht (which roughly translates to “wild horse hunt” in Dutch) as home base, Tobias and I took day trips around wine country in a gorgeous, Volkswagen van from the 1960s.

We drove over to Franschhoek, originally a French settlement as its name suggests. We had lunch perched on those hills, at a quaint auberge called La Petite Ferme.  Afterwards, Tobias deftly negotiated the narrow curves of the Franschhoek pass that snaked upwards and beyond the mountains, for a spectacular view of the valley below.

On Paarl Rock, the second largest rock in the world after Uluru (or Ayers Rock) in Australia, we leaned into breathtaking winds that nearly swept us off our feet.

One morning, we relished the commercialized downtown of Stellenbosch, where Tobias, especially, had access to many supplies and creature comforts that were unavailable to him in the smaller town of Paarl near him.  Home to one of South Africa’s largest universities, Stellenbosch was a scene of youth and activity, a welcomed contrast to the sea of despair and disparity that still dominates South Africa’s countryside today.

And we paused at the gates of Drakenstein Correctional Centre to see the famous statue of Nelson Mandela with his fist raised high. This was the last place he was imprisoned, after being transferred from Robben Island. And it was from these gates that he finally walked free, just a few miles down the road from the home of the president who he would succeed. Because Drakenstein is still an operating prison today, we were unable to enter.

Bar.  Victoria Falls Hotel

Zimbabwe has its own currency, which is supposed to be on par (that is, dollar-for-dollar) with the U.S. Dollar. However, it has no confidence, and therefore, is worthless outside of Zimbabwe.  So, the country uses U.S. currency (this is one of two countries I visited last year that operates almost entirely on U.S. currency).

When I landed in Zimbabwe, I was prepared. I had 200 U.S. Dollars in $10 bills (because I was told that locals will not accept bills higher than $20). I spent $50 on my visa at the border. Shortly after I passed through immigration, a young German couple, who had been on my flight, was stuck behind. They did not know that Zimbabwe immigration did not accept credit cards.  And they had no U.S. currency.  One of them was allowed to pass through to the arrivals hall to get cash out of a cash machine. But the cash machine was empty. So, they were unable to enter Zimbabwe.

Why was the cash machine empty? Zimbabwe was headed into an election. And the sitting president Robert Mugabe (who had been in power for nearly 40 years) appeared to be rigging it in favor of his wife – unaffectionately dubbed “Gucci Grace” by her detractors – to succeed him. So, in preparation for the election, Mugabe froze all cashflow, essentially holding his people captive in exchange for their votes. As a result, the cash machines were empty, and the banks were not allowed to release any currency. There was a bank across the street from my hotel, and every day, a line of dozens trailed out the front door – locals desperate for any cash they could withdraw to pay for everyday necessities.

Thankfully, all of my ground expenses, except my meals and visa, had been prepaid. So, on my faith in humanity, I lent the German couple the $100 they needed for their entry visas, and relied on my credit card for the remainder of my stay. The couple not only repaid me when they returned to Germany, but sent far more than I lent them as thanks. And, I made two, new friends.

While our stories ended well, what about the people of Zimbabwe?

A month later, in November, the Zimbabwe military staged a coup, overthrowing Mugabe.

Victoria Falls

Zambezi Tram

Following the months of dry season, the Zambezi River’s level drops significantly.  In fact, during these months – the winter months in the northern hemisphere – by the time the river reaches the Zambia-Zimbabwe border, where it pours over a cliff in an expansive fall that stretches a mile wide, the Zambezi dwindles to just 10% of its capacity in high season.

The famous British explorer David Livingstone, searching for the source of the Nile River, first arrived here in 1855, and named this magnificent, natural phenomenon – the largest falling sheet of water in the world – after his queen.

Victoria Falls pours into a long, narrow crack in the earth – which happens to mark the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.  So it is not possible to view the waterfall from the bottom. It can only be viewed from the top of the gorge.  I think most would agree that the best view of the falls is from the Zimbabwe side, where roped trails in Victoria National Park bring you within feet of the edge. From this side, you have a full-frontal view of the falls across the narrow gorge – about 500 feet across.  You’re so close to the falls that the mist rising from the gorge – which can be seen miles away – drenches everything near it, turning the park trail into a lush rainforest. (Some say the best view is from the air; helicopter rides are available.)

But, during low season, when I visited, you can also get a rare view of the falls from the Zambia side.  When the Zambezi is at its lowest levels, it is possible to take a boat downstream to Livingstone Island, a rocky outcropping that perches at the edge of the falls.  From there, you can jump in a small pool of water that eddies at the ledge. Appropriately named “Devil’s Pool,” this unique spot, just a few feet away from roaring currents that sweep by and pummel 300-some feet to the bottom, allows the daring to swim right up to the lip for a spectacular view, both across and down the gorge.  Despite being a fraidy cat when it comes to heights, I did just that.

If you are not a confident swimmer, I will warn you that you cannot touch the bottom of Devil’s Pool.  You will need to swim, or cling to rocks while making your way around the rim to the edge of the falls. If you can tread water, then the current in the pool, which isn’t forceful enough to take you over, will carry you to the edge without much effort.

His Majesty, King Bhumibol Adulyadej  Country #44.

Construction on the royal crematorium – an elaborate pavilion in which Bhumibol Adulyadej, the ninth Rama of the Chakri Dynasty, would be cremated – was near completion when I arrived in Bangkok in September (he was subsequently cremated on 29 October, 2017). One of the longest reigning monarchs in world history, this king was so beloved by his Thai people that they conferred upon him the sobriquet “The Great.”  Despite having been dead for nearly a year, his image remained enshrined everywhere – in taxis, on billboards, buildings, street signs, and temples.  In keeping with the royal tradition of observing a year of mourning, his son and successor Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun, styled Rama X, deferred his enthronement and coronation (and, as of January of 2018, the new king remains uncrowned).

Sadly, I didn’t see much while in Bangkok.  The heat, humidity, and the horrific traffic  discouraged me from exploring beyond my neighborhood, which, like most neighborhoods in Asian metropolises, is larger and more populated than many American and European cities. Other than a few destination dinners that forced me afield (I’ll get to these in my subsequent posts), I stayed near my hotel in the heart of the city, where I had walking access to plenty of shops and restaurants.

Although I spent a week in Bangkok – my true aim on this trip was Cambodia.  From Bangkok, a short, one-hour flight put me in Siem Reap.

Raffles Hotel Grand d'Angkor

At market.

Cambodia also runs on U.S. currency. But unlike Zimbabweans, Cambodians are far more particular about their cash – they will reject a bill for the slightest tear, crease, or flaw. Cambodian cash machines and merchants alike dispense crisp, clean bills that look as if they just rolled off the press at the U.S. mint.  How this is possible, I do not know.

Whereas the Zimbabwe Dollar is supposed to be on par with the U.S. Dollar, that is not the case with the Cambodian Real, which is comparatively debased.  While neither country uses American coinage, because the Zimbabwe Dollar is on par with the U.S. Dollar, and because the Zimbabwe economy is more robust than the Cambodian economy, Zimbabweans have an easier solution: everything in Zimbabwe is rounded out to whole-dollar amounts. Although the cost of living in Zimbabwe is cheaper than in the U.S., American (or European) tourists might not see much of a price break in the areas they’re most likely to visit.  My meals at the Victoria Falls Hotel, for example, were commensurate with the price of a meal at a nice restaurant in the United States.

By comparison, goods and services in Cambodia – even in touristy areas – are far cheaper. For the sake of convenience, most services are bartered in whole-dollar amounts (tuk tuk rides, for example). However, if you pay for goods in U.S. Dollars, change will be returned in Cambodian Riel (at the time I was in Siem Reap, the exchange rate was 10,000 Riel to one U.S. Dollar).  So, when I paid for a $0.65 espresso with a George Washington Dollar was given back 3,500 Real in change, dispensed in seven, crisp bills of 500 Reals.

Ta Prohm

Angkor Wat

How the Khmer thrived in the thick and soupy lowlands of present-day Siem Reap I do not know. Unaccustomed, and not particularly friendly to heat or humidity to begin with, I found the steamy jungle unbearable. During the day, I relished and relied on open-air tuk-tuk rides to cool me off between destinations.

Angkor is the largest religious complex in the world.  Built nearly a millennium ago by Khmer kings, it is comprised of scores of temples and monuments.  Spread over 400 acres, this ancient city was, at the height of the Khmer empire, home to a million people – the largest, known pre-industrial city in the world.  Now, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Cambodia’s most visited landmark (Angkor Wat, the main temple, is depicted on the Cambodian national flag; and the overgrown temples of Ta Prohm are probably far better known for being the backdrop of the movie Tomb Raider).

I was surprised by the level of access that visitors have here.  With few exceptions, you can walk through the temples – even in parts where collapse, if not already arrived, appeared imminent.  And, in many cases, you can climb up the perilously steep sides.  For both safety and preservation, I doubt these generous allowances will continue for long.

Even so, efforts to restore the temples are ongoing.  I saw a number of sites where the enormous blocks of rubble were being sorted and reconstructed. It was also apparent that many of the temples were still being used as places of worship – predominantly Buddhist.

Vestiges of French colonialism are palpable in Siem Reap, especially in some of the older quarters of the city.  My hotel, The Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor, is an excellent example of this. Built in the French colonial style of the early 20th century (it dates to 1937), this stately structure sits on a street named after French president Charles de Gaulle.  Culturally and culinarily too, the French left their imprint, confluent with the Thai and Chinese.  These influences are evident in a walk through the city’s old market, where you’ll find everything from turtles, frogs, and giant, roach-like water bugs (I’ve been told that, when cooked, their papery skeleton bursts with a creamy interior akin to watery, licorice-flavored, scrambled eggs) to Chinese sausages, curry, baguettes, and coffee.

Rock Chalk

Golden hour.

There were far too many other destinations in 2017 to include here.

Some of them I’ve already written about on this blog – my trips last year to Paris, Noirmoutier, New York, and Arkansas, for example. And my month in Napa (California) was well-documented in a series of posts about the Twelve Days of Christmas; it’s become an annual highlight.

Others you can learn about in my writings elsewhere. My annual trip to South Carolina to photograph Music To Your Mouth was the subject of this personal essay that I wrote for Palmetto Bluff. And an extended trip to Mexico City with Adam Goldberg (Publisher) and Daniela Velasco (Creative Director) for their sister publications Drift (vol. 6) and Ambrosia (vol. 4), for which I serve as an editor at large, is well documented in the latest issue of each. In them, you’ll find an interview I did with Enrique Olvera, chef of Pujol, as well as an article I wrote and photographed about the pre-Hispanic chinampas of the Mexico City basin.

Sadly, I only made it to Scandinavia once in 2017. After traveling there more than a dozen times over the past three years for the immensely educational Friends of Lysverket series, my friend Christopher Haatuft decided to end the collaborative project to focus on opening a second restaurant.  But this didn’t stop me from going back to visit my friends in Norway (I was in both Oslo and Bergen, crossing the country on the breathtaking rail line that connects the two), or my friends in nearby Denmark.  In Denmark, I was mostly in Copenhagen (in part to photograph for Format, a new restaurant at the Hotel Sankt Annae).  But I also escaped the capital for brief trips to Odense and to Århus, the country’s second largest city, to visit the ARoS Kunstmuseum, famously crowned with Olafur Eliasson’s colorful halo entitled “Your Rainbow Panorama.”

Domestically, I was all over the map: Los Angeles, Boston, Houston, Chicago, Tampa, Seattle, Charleston, and San Francisco, where I photographed for a number of restaurants, including Quince and Saison.  I returned to photograph Gourmet Fest for a second year.  It’s a Relais & Châteaux event hosted by l’Auberge Carmel in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California.  I also returned for a second year to photograph the Synergy Series, a quarterly charity dinner hosted by Gavin Kaysen at his restaurant Spoon & Stable in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Kaysen just informed me that the Synergy Series will continue in 2018 for a third season.  I look forward to it.

Per annual tradition, before I turn to consider the highlights of my year in eating, I pause to account all of the restaurants I visited in 2017.  Here is that list.

JANUARY

AEP Thai (Kansas City, Missouri)
Bluestem (Kansas City, Missouri)
Café Europa – Union Hill (Kansas City, Missouri)
Kin Lin (Kansas City, Missouri)
Ponak’s (Kansas City, Missouri)
Q39 (Kansas City, Missouri)
Speak Sandwiches (Kansas City, Missouri)

FEBRUARY

Arsaga’s (Fayetteville, Arkansas)
Hive at 21C (Bentonville, Arkansas)
Jarocho (Kansas City, Kansas)
Preacher’s Son (Bentonville, Arkansas)
Pressroom (Bentonville, Arkansas)
Shio Ramen (Kansas City, Missouri)
Speak Sandwiches (Kansas City, Missouri)
Stock Hill (Kansas City, Missouri)
Ye Olde Union Oyster House (Boston, Massachusetts)

MARCH

Canlis (Seattle, Washington)
Corvino Supper Club (Kansas City, Missouri)
Heirloom (Kansas City, Missouri)
Howard’s Grocery (Kansas City, Missouri)
Poppy (Seattle, Washington)
Portia’s Café (Kansas City, Missouri)
Rye (Leawood, Kansas)
Spices Asian (Kansas City, Missouri)
Urban Café (Kansas City, Missouri)
West Bottoms Kitchen (Kansas City, Missouri)
Willows Inn (Lummi Island, Washington)

APRIL

3 Arts Café (Chicago, Illinois)
Arsicault (San Francisco, California)
Bad Hunter (Chicago, Illinois)
Bellecour (Wayzata, Minnesota)
Bo Ling’s (Kansas City, Missouri)
Boulette’s Larder (San Francisco, California)
Columbus Park Ramen (Kansas City, Missouri)
Deli Board (San Francisco, California)
Genessee Royale Bistro (Kansas City, Missouri)
Great China (Berkeley, California)
Happy Gillis Café & Hangout (Kansas City, Missouri)
Kin Lin (Kansas City, Missouri)
Mario’s in Westport (Kansas City, Missouri)
Marla (San Francisco, California)
McClain’s Bakery (Kansas City, Missouri)
Michael Smith (Kansas City, Missouri)
Quince (San Francisco, California)
Saison (San Francisco, California)
Single Thread (Healdsburg, California)
Speak Sandwiches (Kansas City, Missouri)
Smyth (Chicago, Illinois)
Sun Street Bakery (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
Town Topic (Kansas City, Missouri)
Voltaire (Kansas City, Missouri)
Young Joni (Minneapolis, Minnesota)

MAY

Asia Market Thai Lao (Houston, Texas)
Better Luck Tomorrow (Houston, Texas)
Blackbird (Chicago, Illinois)
Blacksmith (Houston, Texas)
Bluestem (Kansas City, Missouri)
Breakers Café (Stinson Beach, California)
Café Robey (Chicago, Illinois)
Cellar Door Provisions (Chicago, Illinois)
Champa Garden (Redding, California)
Columbus Park Ramen (Kansas City, Missouri)
Corvino Tasting Room (Kansas City, Missouri)
Cotogna (San Francisco, California)
Dot Coffee (Houston, Texas)
Hamano (San Francisco, California)
Himalaya (Houston, Texas)
Joe’s Kansas City (Kansas City, Kansas)
Kata Robata (Houston, Texas)
LC’s Bar-B-Q (Kansas City, Missouri)
Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot (San Francisco, California)
Morningstar (Houston, Texas) (2x)
Pho Binh (Houston, Texas)
Pit Room, The (Houston, Texas)
Roister (Chicago, Illinois)
Rye (Leawood, Kansas)
Thien Thanh (Houston, Texas)
Won Fun 2 Fun (Chicago, Illinois)

JUNE

Al’s Place (San Francisco, California)
Bellecour (Wayzata, Minnesota)
Blue Koi (Leawood, Kansas)
Boulette’s Larder (San Francisco, California) (3x)
Comedor Jacinta (Mexico City, Mexico)
Contramar (Mexico City, Mexico)
Dad’s Luncheonette (Half Moon Bay, California)
Duarte’s Tavern (Pescadero, California)
Eno Loncheria (Mexico City, Mexico) (2x)
el Farolito (Mexico City, Mexico)
Fonda Mayora (Mexico City, Mexico)
Lalo (Mexico City, Mexico)
Maximo Bistrot (Mexico City, Mexico)
Oja de Agua (Mexico City, Mexico)
Pujol (Mexico City, Mexico)
Quintonil (Mexico City, Mexico)
Saison (San Francisco, California)
Slanted Door, The (San Francisco, California)
Sushikyo (Mexico City, Mexico)
Z&Y (San Francisco, California)
Zuni Café (San Francisco, California) (2x)

JULY

Alma Hotel (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
Bellecour (Wayzata, Minneosta) (2x)
el Camino Real (Kansas City, Kansas)
Grand Café (Minneapolis, Minnesota)

AUGUST

108 (Copenhagen, Denmark)
108 Corner (Copenhagen, Denmark)
á l’Aise (Oslo, Norway)
Apollo Bar (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Atelier September (Copenhagen, Denmark) (2x)
Barr (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Bekkjarvik Gjestgiveri (Bekkjarvik, Norway)
Bistro Bohème (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Blings (Oslo, Norway)
la Cabra (Århus, Denmark)
Café Don Pippo (Bergen, Norway) (2x)
Charter Oak, the (St. Helena, California)
Chez Panisse Café (Berkeley, California)
Format (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Fuglen (Oslo, Norway)
Gastromé (Århus, Denmark)
Gott’s Roadside (St. Helena, California)
Kaffemisjonen (Bergen, Norway) (2x)
Kolonialen Bislett (Oslo, Norway)
Kong Hans Kælder (Copenhagen, Denmark) (2x)
Lysverket (Bergen, Norway) (2x)
Nico (San Francisco, California)
Sortebro Kro (Odense, Denmark)

SEPTEMBER

510 Lounge (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
Al’s Breakfast (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
Bakery at the Plaza Athenée (Bangkok, Thailand) (2x)
Bellecour (Wayzata, Minnesota)
Blackbird (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
Bo.Lan (Bangkok Thailand)
B.S. Taqueria (Los Angeles, California)
Ça Va (Kansas City, Missouri)
Carniceria San Antonio (Kansas City, Missouri)
Cuisine Wat Damnak (Siem Reap, Cambodia)
Destroyer (Culver City, California)
Dialogue (Santa Monica, California)
Din Tai Fung at Century Embassy (Bangkok, Thailand)
Eathai at Century Embassy (Bangkok, Thailand)
Gaggan (Bangkok, Thailand)
Gjusta (Venice, California)
Hmong Village (St. Paul, Minnesota)
Maisen at Century Embassy (Bangkok, Thailand)
Malis (Siem Reap, Cambodia) (2x)
Marum (Siem Reap, Cambodia)
Myung in Dumplings (Los Angeles, California)
Nahm (Bangkok, Thailand)
Rohatt Café (Siem Reap, Cambodia)
Sari Sari at Grand Central Market (Los Angeles, California)
Somboon Seafood at Century Embassy (Bangkok, Thailand)
Supanniga Tasting Room (Bangkok, Thailand)
Uncle Joe’s Ham & Eggs (Los Angeles, California)
White Castle (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
World Street Kitchen (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
Young Joni (Minneapolis, Minnesota)

OCTOBER

l’Ambroisie (Paris, France)
Chez l’Ami Jean (Paris, France)
Clown Bar, The (Paris, France)
Brasserie Grandcœur (Paris, France)
le Dauphin (Paris, France)
Desnoyez (Paris, France)
Fire Fish at the V&A Waterfront (Cape Town, South Africa)
la Fontaine de Bellevie (Paris, France) (2x)
Grill, The (New York, New York)
Hemlock (New York, New York)
Lidia’s (Kansas City, Missouri)
Made Nice (New York New York)
Maison Moizeau (Noirmoutier, France)
la Marine (Noirmoutier, France)
Noble Rice (Tampa, Florida)
du Pain et des Idées (Paris, France)
el Pollo Rey (Kansas City, Kansas)
Per Se (New York, New York)
Penny’s (Minneapolis, Minnesota)
Stanley’s Terrace at Victoria Falls Hotel (Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe) (3x)
Wildair (New York, New York)
Wolfgang Puck at Hotel Bel-Air (Bel-Air, California)

NOVEMBER

Bean in Love (Paarl, South Africa)
Belota (Paarl, South Africa)
Blue Crane & Butterfly (Stellenbosch, South Africa)
Café Europa at Union Hill (Kansas City, Missouri)
Carniceria San Antonio (Charleston, South Carolina)
Cattle Baron (Paarl, South Africa)
EJ’s Urban Eatery (Kansas City, Missouri)
Giulio’s Café (Cape Town, South Africa)
Heirloom (Kansas City, Missouri)
Henrietta’s at Dewberry Hotel (Charleston, South Carolina)
Jason’s Bakery (Cape Town, South Africa)
Kuriba at V&A Waterfront (Cape Town, South Africa)
McCrady’s (Charleston, South Carolina)
McCrady’s Tavern (Charleston, South Carolina)
Minero (Charleston, South Carolina)
Noop (Paarl, South Africa)
la Petite Ferme (Franschhoek, South Africa)
Rodney Scott’s BBQ (Charleston, South Carolina)
Rye (Kansas City, Missouri) (2x)
Sahara (Kansas City, Missouri)
Shortmarket Club (Cape Town, South Africa)
Willoughby & Co. at V&A Waterfront (Cape Town, South Africa)

DECEMBER

Boulette’s Larder (San Francisco, California)
Charter Oak, The (St. Helena, California) (4x)
Cotogna (San Francisco, California)
Cowgirl Creamery at Ferry Building Marketplace (San Francisco, California)
Gott’s Roadside (St. Helena, California) (5x)
In Situ (San Francisco, California)
Kin Khao (San Francisco, California)
Restaurant at Meadowood, The (St. Helena, California)
Restaurant at Meadowood, The (St. Helena, California) (The Twelve Days of Christmas: Lundgaard Nielsen, Mehrotra, Stone & von Hauske, Fox, Sukle, Brock, Takazawa, Keller, Werner, Zonfrillo, Couillon, and Kostow)
Saison (San Francisco, California)
Tosca Café (San Francisco, California)
Z&Y (San Francisco, California)
Zuni Café (San Francisco, California)

Ain't no party like a tuxedo party.  Saturated, still.

* Here is a catalog of my year-end posts:

2011: suitcase party…
2012: foreign and domestic…
2013: blurred lines…
2014: leapfrogging… 
2015: fairytale…
2016: hemispheres and horizons… 

Cape Point

Photos: Lilies in the moat that surrounds Angkor Wat in Angkor, Cambodia; the breathtaking view from Cape Point, South Africa; pool with the mountains of Paarl rising in the background, dusk at Wildepaardejacht in Paarl, South Africa; Tobias Nilsson and a beautiful VW van at Fraschhoek Pass, South Africa; the bar at the Royal Livingstone in Livingstone, Zambia; butter-yellow staircases at the Victoria Falls Hotel in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe; Victoria Falls from Victoria Falls National Park, Zimbabwe; Zambezi tram in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe; an enormous portrait of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej in Bangkok, Thailand; mopeds, cars, and buses in Bangkok, Thailand; the expansive pool at the Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor in Siem Reap, Cambodia; turtles, frogs, fish, bamboo shoots and more at the Old Siem Reap Market in Siem Reap, Cambodia; ruins at the temple of Ta Prohm in Angkor, Cambodia; a Buddhist monk at Angkor Wat in Angkor, Thailand; Allen Fieldhouse, home of the University of Kansas Jayhawks in Lawrence, Kansas; “El Ángel” on the Pasea de la Reforma in Mexico City, Mexico; “Your Rainbow Panorama” at the ARoS Kunstmusem in Århus, Denmark; a colony of penguins on Boulder Beach in Simon Town, South Africa; the wharf at Bekkjarvik, Norway; Cape Point, South Africa.

~ by ulterior epicure on January 23, 2018.

5 Responses to “travel: an education… (2017)”

  1. Al’s Breakfast, hurrah.

  2. I’m so happy to see this post. Sometimes we lose enthusiasm over one thing just to have it replaced with another reflecting the ebb and flow life. Stunning photos and amazing experiences!

  3. One of my favorite posts in recent memory. Can’t wait for the best of…..

  4. Thank you!

  5. this blog has given me untold hours of joy and inspiration, both as a food lover and as a chef. Here’s to you, sir!

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