travel: in dazzling relief… (2019)

– Cologne and wood smoke hit me as I peered through my camera for the first time in weeks. The lingering evidence of where I had last used it was a jarring telescope of just how far away two months ago feels. As I tap out this tardy review of 2019 from my fastness on […]

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Cologne and wood smoke hit me as I peered through my camera for the first time in weeks. The lingering evidence of where I had last used it was a jarring telescope of just how far away two months ago feels.

As I tap out this tardy review of 2019 from my fastness on the edge of the prairie plains, I have been isolating at home now for 67 days.

From here, I’ve watched the cycles of grief and panic play out online as a generation, spoilt by decades of nearly unhindered convenience, grapples with stoppage and sacrifice. I’m quietly horrified by the daily doses of trauma porn that have streamed across our screens, and the reaction among those who have succumbed to them. Having little patience for doom, I’ve turned off the spook show and look to the better angels among us for the kind of sensible solutions and hope that will carry us out of this pandemic. Thankfully, there is plenty of triumph to be found – among the frontlines and the innovators, and in the everyday acts of kindness and generosity that get drowned out by the Chicken Littles of our day.

La Sagrada Familia

Suddenly confronted, in stark terms, with the degree to which my role in society is “non-essential,” I am now increasingly grateful for the luxury of having been able to indulge my non-essentialness for so long. But being sidelined during this pandemic has heightened a sense of uselessness, an unsettling feeling at a time when there is so much to be done for the world.

So I’ve focused on bettering my little corner, and have learned to be useful in it. Fortuitously, this pause has enabled me to minister to a string of scary, family health crises that would have been unthinkably stressful to handle from the road, not to mention during a viral outbreak that preys upon the compromised.  It has also allowed me time to address a backlog of projects that requires the kind of stationary attention that had been sorely lacking in my life.  Most of them have been mundane tasks, like cleaning out closets and backing up hard drives: my archive of nearly two decades’ worth of photographs and data has finally found a safer, second home up in the cloud.  Some have been fun detours, to add color to the blandness of endless isolation: between FaceTime and Zoom chats, I’ve finally gotten around to watching the “Sopranos,” for example, and finishing Ron Chernow’s epic encomium on Alexander Hamilton. And I’ve happily disappeared for hours into old Graham Norton shows, and geeking and gawking on Hodinkee.

But the bulk of my attention has been devoted to quiet creativity.  I’ve updated my photography website. It now more accurately reflects recent work, some of which I will write about here shortly.  Having toyed with starting a podcast, I’m finally finding audio hardware arriving at my doorstep (advice and suggestions are welcome).  And, most importantly for you, the readers of this blog, changes are afoot: this is the last time you’ll be reading a post from this site, as you’ve known it. Thanks to a chance meeting and the generosity of WordPress, which has hosted this site for well over a decade, this blog is getting a much needed facelift.  The next post you read will be on a far more handsome and robust platform, which, I am hoping, will encourage me to deliver more content more consistently. This blog has been the most regrettable collateral damage of my growing busyness over the years – 2019 saw the least number of posts since I started writing here some 15 years ago.  And I intend to use this relaunch to correct that.

Ernest Hemingway House

Unlike previous years, there were no far-flung excursions to exotic lands: I didn’t perch on the rim of a great waterfall in Africa, or climb temple ruins in the jungles of Southeast Asia, like in 2017.  There were no caribou hunts in Greenland as in 2018, or Antipodean adventures, like I had in 2016.

Yet, framed against the sobering backdrop of present events, 2019 now shines in particularly dazzling relief.  

In the seven years since I started transitioning to professional photography, last year was the first year in which I achieved a critical mass of work. A calendar that began to brim with clients in 2017 finally overflowed in 2019.  Reaching that tipping point has not only been professionally satisfying but incredibly edifying as well.  I marvel at the growing cast of extraordinary people that now surrounds me, some of the brightest and most successful in the culinary and hospitality industries.  Working alongside them and learning from them has been as humbling as it has been rewarding.

Untitled

Due to a tightly packed schedule, most of my leisure travel in 2019 was piggy-backed on to work trips. But I was able to wedge in a few personal detours, like a brief escape to Whidbey Island to see my godchildren, a soul-satisfying week of fly-fishing in Montana, quick hits in New Orleans and Chicago, and celebrating with friends at weddings in Los Angeles and Los Cabos.

Altogether, 2019 took me to a score of cities scattered across more than a dozen states and six countries (propelling me over the one million milestone of cumulative travel with Delta Airlines).  Obviously, there’s not enough room for all of it in this post – I really should have done a better job of issuing updates throughout the year.  Instead, as in previous years, I provide an abbreviated tour, mostly for my own record.

While most of my photography work revolves around food and beverage, I am thankful that many of my clients have supported me in exploring other orbits. Indeed, they’ve not only allowed but have encouraged me to give in to the gravitational pull of editorial, as well outdoor and lifestyle content. And I love it.

In 2019, I significantly enlarged my footprint within the hotel industry.

I worked with properties that ranged from small, privately owned luxury hotels, like The Umstead – a gem in Cary, North Carolina – to the global Fairmont family of hotels, which stretches from Brazil to Singapore.  In 2019, I was hired to photograph for restaurants at its properties across Canada, including the Palliser in Calgary, the flagship Royal York in Toronto, as well as the storied landmark The Plaza Hotel in New York City, now under the Fairmont umbrella.  I was also brought in to photograph a corporate campaign to launch a brand-wide cocktail program, which took me to the legendary The Savoy in London (the magnificently preserved, lacquer-paneled lifts are stunning). That was a treat.

And, I eagerly returned to work with Blackberry Farm and Blackberry Mountain for a second year. These sister properties, on sprawling acreage in the Smoky Mountains, represent the pinnacle of American hospitality.  I’ve enjoyed experiencing and capturing the seasonality of the Appalachia, and seeing how each property adapts everything, from food service to decor and activities, accordingly. I was also flattered to be asked to contribute an article to the their inaugural issue of Blackberry Magazine, which launched in the second half of last year.

Fox hunt.

For years, the bulk of my work came from a core coterie that has become a beloved part of my annual routine.  They are among my earliest and most loyal supporters, and have not only become colleagues, but friends. They decorate my calendar perennially with shiny objects that keep me motivated and excited throughout.

I was in Minneapolis thrice to photograph for Gavin Kaysen’s Synergy Series, which returned for a third season, after going dark in 2018 while he was opening his latest restaurant Demi.

I continued photographing for Joshua Skenes and his growing roster of restaurants in California.  In 2019, I spent quite a bit of time photographing for both Angler restaurants – the one in San Francisco, and the second one that opened in Los Angeles last June.  I also spent a week with him being broiled in the staggering heat of the Florida flats in search of tarpon. Seven days of nothing ended in a majestic, 160 lb. beauty that he brought to boat on day eight. It was worth the wait.

I went not once, but twice to Palmetto Bluff, the idyllic Lowcountry haven spread across 20,000 acres of coastal South Carolina. In January, Courtney Hampson tapped me for a new event that she was hosting, “Field + Fire.” It’s an outdoorsman’s extravaganza that includes falconry, clay shooting, and a fox hunt (delicious food and great music are, of course, de rigueur). In November, I returned for the ninth year to photograph “Music To Your Mouth.”

December was spent at Napa Valley, where I have been spoiled working with Christopher and Martina Kostow, and their amazing teams at The Restaurant at Meadowood.  This was my seventh year photographing “The Twelve Days of Christmas.

And, in a very different field, I marked my fifth year at Drift, and my fourth year with its sister magazine, Ambrosia. I’m very lucky to be included in the incredibly talented editorial staff, which includes the founder Adam Goldberg, the Creative Director Daniela Velasco, and the Executive Editor Elyssa Goldberg.

Benton's ham.

In the rickhouse.

Between work trips, I managed to check off a number of bucket list items.

I finally set eyes on the Canadian Rockies in Banff National Park, and walked across the legendary Lake Louise. In early April, the glacial reservoir is a frozen expanse hemmed in by steep banks of pine.

I went to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee and learned a bit of country music history. On the other side of that state, Sharon Benton taught me how to make biscuits at their home in Madisonville and sent me off with a duffle bursting with Allan’s prized ham.

My first trip to Louisville, Kentucky included hot browns and plenty of bourbon, appropriate accessories for a boys’ trip.  We drove to Frankfort and visited Julian van Winkle, who was kind enough to show us around the distillery at Buffalo Trace, where is family’s bourbon is made.

In nearby Bardstown, we toured Willett Distillery, and met with Drew Kulsveen, the master distiller, who generously invited us to join him for lunch afterward at the newly opened bar on property.  John Sleasman, who I last saw cooking at McCrady’s, is now chef there. He makes a killer egg salad sandwich. The burger ain’t too shabby either.

I spent my birthday with friends in Spain. We started on the northern Basque coast, where we stuffed our faces with jamón and turbot, and juicy strips of chuleta. On our drive to Barcelona, we crossed over into France and stopped for oysters in Biarritz. A couple of hours later, we took a crisp, afternoon breather in the mountain enclave of Andorra, where we happened to catch the FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup. That was a three-country day.

In September, I made my annual pilgrimage to Copenhagen.  It had been a full year since my prior visit, and I missed it.  I caught up with dear friends, and ate at my favorite restaurants, as well as a couple of newcomers, including Alouette, Nick Curtin’s Michelin-starred perch in the warehouse district of Islands Brygge, and at Yves Le Lay’s cozy new francophone à terre, near Kongens Nytorv.  The weather being glorious at that time of year, I spent all my free time wheeling about the city, taking leisurely bike rides to Juno Bakery in Østerbro for cardamom buns, and Richard Hart’s eponymous bageri in Frederiksberg for cookies and coffee.

If there was one centerpiece to my travels, it was London.  I visited twice.

In the spring, I went with friends from Kansas City who had never been to England.

We visited Hatfield House, the glorious Jacobean site of sororal feuds and the seat of the ancient Cecil dynasty.  We also toured the massive fortress at Dover Castle and the imposing Tudor court at Hampton Palace. Especially unforgettable was the warren of underground tunnels of Churchill’s War Rooms – an inspiring reminder of the will for victory.

With my friends, I revisited Windsor Castle, paid our respects to the Duke of Wellington at St. Paul’s Cathedral, and admired the glittering Crown Jewels, which I had not seen since college. (They’ve installed people movers to funnel and keep the foot traffic moving. It being a surprisingly slow day, my friends and I rode it like a carousel, back and forth for repeated inspections of those shiny objects.)  And I dragged them to the abbey at Westminster, where I was entranced by Jeremy Irons on the audio guide, narrating a millennium of history in that deep, lazy drool of his.  It’s disgusting the way he yawns from one word to the next. I love it.*

We had slip sole at The Sportsman, and bacon butties and kippers for breakfast at The Hand and Flowers in Marlow.

In London, we grazed our way from Shoreditch to Mayfair.  There was a beautifully burnished pig and trotter pie at St. John Bread & Wine.  We drowned big, ripe strawberries in cream at The Goring, and had a lovely courtyard breakfast at Rochelle Canteen, where I returned the next day for a nicely cooked sole with velvety dulse butter.

We went to the River Café, which is one of the first restaurants in London where I dined as an adult. That plate of ricotta gnudi alone, humming with nutmeg, is worth the trek to Hammersmith. I learned afterward that there is a strict curfew in that neighborhood, which explains the abrupt end to our night. The bill was collected as hastily as it had been dropped off, and we were practically ushered out while eating our desserts.

And there was an uproariously fun night at le Gavroche, where we were waited upon by identical twins. Dressed distinctly in matching uniforms, with thick-rimmed glasses, they served us one at a time for the first half of the dinner – never appearing together. Imagine our confusion when we eventually looked up from our table to see them standing next to each other.  I’m convinced the mischief was premeditated.  We laughed for days. 

Rainbow.

In the fall, I returned to London on my own.  A pit stop between destinations – let’s just call it what it was: a fashion errand – gave me an excuse to visit a few restaurants that had come to my attention. I swung by James Lowe’s new eatery Flor at Borough Market for breakfast (terrific pastries). By chance I caught him for a chat, and stayed for lunch, which I thoroughly enjoyed.  I also had dinner at Ikoyi at St. James’s to get a preview of what chef Jeremy Chan might be cooking at the Twelve Days of Christmas later in December.  You’ll find commentary on both meals in this prior post.

I visited Kensington Palace. Did you know: at the death of King George IV, he and his six brothers had fathered no fewer than 50 illegitimate children, but had not one legitimate male heir among them? Guys, you had one job…

I also carved out an afternoon for the National Portrait Gallery, where I gushed at an embarrassment of Holbein (the Younger), which littered this incredible collection of art (I found more of the meister’s work next door at the National Gallery).  I worshiped a trove of paintings by Sir Thomas Lawrence, including more than one of his patron, the aforementioned George IV, rendered in all of his flamboyant charm.  And I couldn’t linger long enough in front of the delicious portrait of James II by Sir Peter Lely, a smug swagger and withering glance framed by a magnificent mane. Outrageous, I tell you. Outrageous.

If you think the collection of Holbein I saw in London would top my year, it was rivaled by the breathtaking pair I found at the Frick Collection in New York in November. I had heard the museum was closing for a prolonged renovation. So I hurried in to steal one last glance at those two magnificent portraits by Holbein of Sir Thomas More (those velvet sleeves!) and Thomas Cromwell, mortal enemies in life, now destined to stare at each other in eternal irony on the walls of Henry Clay Frick’s living room.

There was also an unforgettable collection of art and jewelry on display at Sotheby’s a few blocks away, where the incumbent Duke of Devonshire was auctioning off parts of his private collection from Chatsworth.  I was dumbstruck by the breadth and depth of his holdings – everything from da Vinci to John Singer Sargent, and yes, even a portrait of Henry VIII from the workshop of Holbein.

And there was the highly acclaimed (and, in my opinion, bizarre) production of Philip Glass’s “Akhnaten” at the Metropolitan Opera, which was the actual reason for this brief visit to New York.

The Hongs.

Sarah Steffen

When will I work again?  I don’t know.

Am I worried?  Like most who work in and around the hospitality industry, of course I am. I feel like I’m in a suspended state of animation, bracing for an impact that may not come until next month, or in six months, or maybe not at all.

The specter of uncertainty haunts all of us.  And this post – actually, all of my annual walks down memory lane – serves as a personal reminder to be grateful for all of the opportunities that I’ve had, and, especially, for having maximized every one of them.  I can happily say that I have no regrets from 2019.  I squeezed every ounce of pleasure from it.  And if I am to have no more, I am content knowing that I’ve already enjoyed more than my fair share.

But let’s hope it doesn’t end here.

There are projects to be continued.  In 2019, I partnered with the Karbank family to create a series of symposia highlighting issues in the culinary community.  We’ve hosted two already, and look forward to more.

There are stories to be told: Even as I type, work has commenced on the next volumes of Drift and Ambrosia.

There are meals to be had.  My 40th birthday dinner was postponed two years ago due to an unexpected renovation at that restaurant. Rescheduled for late March this year, it was put on hold again due to this pandemic.  I will have that meal.  

And there is world to see.  So much world to see!

I’ve talked with chefs and restaurateurs.  I know how grim the numbers look. I’ve also spoken with doctors and healthcare workers, and know just how grisly those numbers have looked as well.  But I’m inspired by the persistence and resilience I see all around me. Despite bombastic headlines that irresponsibly incite fear and outrage, sow division, and rob us of reason (to what good end?), glimmers of hope increase by the day.  I watch with cautious optimism as parts of the world slowly reopen.  And I pray for their success, because their success will be all of our success.

God speed.

In preparation for my annual posts about my favorite dishes, desserts, and meals from 2019, I provide here an accounting of all of the restaurants that I visited last year.

JANUARY

Bella Napoli (Kansas City, Missouri)
Blue Koi (Kansas City, Missouri)
Carniceria San Antonio (Kansas City, Missouri)
Columbus Park Ramen (Kansas City, Missouri)
Corvino Supper Club & Tasting Room (Kansas City, Missouri)
Farm Bluffton, The (Bluffton, South Carolina)
Grey, The (Savannah, Georgia)
Grey Market, The (Savannah, Georgia)
Happy Gillis Café & Hangout (Kansas City, Missouri)
Kin Lin (Kansas City, Missouri)
Messenger Coffee (Kansas City, Missouri)
Restaurant at 1900, The (Fairway, Kansas)
Rye (Kansas City, Missouri)
Slap’s BBQ (Kansas City, Kansas)
Vietnam Café (Kansas City, Missouri)

FEBRUARY

American, The (Kansas City, Missouri)
Barn at Blackberry Farm, The (Walland, Tennessee) (2x)
Brennan’s (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Café du Monde (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Carniceria San Antonio (Kansas City, Missouri)
Coquette (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Dogwood at Blackberry Farm (Walland, Tennessee) (2x
Domilise’s (New Orleans, Louisiana)
J.C. Holdway (Knoxville, Tennessee)
Joe’s Kansas City (Kansas City, Kansas)
Justine (New Orleans, Louisiana)
La Petite Grocery (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Messenger Coffee (Kansas City, Missouri)
Napoleon House (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Tacos el Gallo (Kansas City, Missouri)
Three Sisters at Blackberry Mountain (Walland, Tennessee)
Turkey and the Wolf (New Orleans, Louisiana)

MARCH

Asador Etxebarri (Axtondo, Spain)
Bar Von der Fels (Calgary, Alberta; Canada)
Bar Zabaleta (San Sebastian, Spain)
Bluestem (Kansas City, Missouri)
Borda Berri (San Sebastian, Spain)
Brobeck’s Barbeque (Leawood, Kansas)
Campground, The (Kansas City, Missouri)
Cervecería Catalana (Barcelona, Spain)
Elkano (Getaria, Spain)
El Nacional (Barcelona, Spain)
El Quim de la Boqueria (Barcelona, Spain) (2x)
Farina (Kansas City, Missouri) (2x)
Firetower at Blackberry Mountain (Walland, Tennessee) (3x)
Ganbara (San Sebastian, Spain) (2x)
Granja M. Viader (Barcelona, Spain)
Grapes at the Fairmont Banff Springs (Banff Springs, Canada)
Hawthorn (Calgary, Alberta; Canada) (4x)
Les Halles (Biarritz, France)
Mesón Bidea Berri (San Sebastian, Spain)
Messenger Coffee (Kansas City, Missouri)
Poi-Ō (Kansas City, Missouri)
Poppy Brasserie (Lake Louise, Canada)
Rye (Kansas City, Missouri)
Salamanca Silvestre (Barcelona, Spain)
Sidreria Lizeaga (San Sebastian, Spain)
Silver Dragon, The (Calgary, Alberta; Canada)
Three Sisters at Blackberry Mountain (Walland, Tennessee) (3x)
Vermillion Room (Banff Springs, Canada)
Walliser Stube (Lake Louise, Canada)

APRIL

Angler (San Francisco, California)
Atlantikos (Bal Harbour, Florida)
La Mercerie (New York, New York)
Le Coucou (New York, New York)
Messenger Coffee (Kansas City, Missouri)
Surf Club, The (Miami, Florida)
TAK Room (New York, New York)
Verjus (San Francisco, California)

MAY

3 Arts Café (Chicago, Illinois)
Avec (Chicago, Illinois)
Barn at Blackberry Farm, The (Walland, Tennessee)
Bavette Bar & Boeuf (Chicago, Illinois)
Beech House (St. Albans, The United Kingdom)
Biscuit Love (Nashville, Tennessee)
Butcher and the Bee (Nashville, Tennessee)
Arnold’s Country Kitchen (Nashville, Tennessee)
Café Marie-Jeanne (Chicago, Illinois)
Dishoom (London, The United Kingdom)
Firetower at Blackberry Mountain (Walland, Tennessee) (4x)
Forge (Whitstable, The United Kingdom)
Goring, The (London, The United Kingdom)
Gymkhana (London, The United Kingdom)
Hand and Flowers, The (Marlow, The United Kingdom)
Herons (Cary, North Carolina) (2x)
Hatfield House (Hatfield, The United Kingdom)
Kaspar’s at The Savoy (London, The United Kingdom)
Le Gavroche (London, The United Kingdom)
Lily Vanilli (London, The United Kingdom)
Lyle’s (London, The United Kingdom)
Messenger Coffee (Kansas City, Missouri)
Pinewood Social (Nashville, Tennessee)
River Café, The (London, The United Kingdom)
Rochelle Canteen (London, The United Kingdom) (2x
Rolf & Daughters (Nashville, Tennessee)
Savoy Grill (London, The United Kingdom)
Sportsman, The (Seasalter, The United Kingdom)
St. John Bread & Wine (London, The United Kingdom) (2x)
Umstead Hotel & Spa (Cary, North Carolina)
Violet Bakery (London, The United Kingdom)
Wolseley, The (London, The United Kingdom)
Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese (London, The United Kingdom)

JUNE

Aloette (Toronto, Ontario; Canada)
Angler (Los Angeles, California) (2x)
A.O.C. (Los Angeles, California)
Bar Raval (Toronto, Ontario; Canada)
Brewery Bhavana (Raleigh, North Carolina)
Corvino Supper Club & Tasting Room (Kansas City, Missouri)
Crown Pastries (Toronto, Ontario; Canada)
Dandylion (Toronto, Ontario; Canada)
Dialogue (Santa Monica, California)
Felix Trattoria (Venice, California)
GB Hand-Pulled Noodles (Toronto, Ontario; Canada)
Ghadir Meat (Makam, Ontario; Canada)
Gjusta (Venice, California) (3x)
Happy Gillis Café & Hangout (Kansas City, Missouri)
Leo’s Taco Truck (Los Angeles, California)
Messenger Coffee (Kansas City, Missouri)
Northern Dumpling Kitchen (Richmond Hill, Ontario; Canada)
Pizzeria Mozza (Los Angeles, California)
Polo Lounge (Beverly Hills, California)
Reign at the Fairmont Royal York (Toronto, Ontario; Canada) (3x)
Restorans Malaysia (Toronto, Ontario; Canada)
Sonoratown (Los Angeles, California)
Tacos la Guera (Los Angeles, California)

JULY

Angler (Los Angeles, California)
Angler (San Francisco, California)
Boulette’s Larder (San Francisco, California)
Dialogue (Santa Monica, California)
Fox and Pearl (Kansas City, Missouri)
Gjusta (Venice, California)
Jam! (Bozeman, Montana)
Messenger Coffee (Kansas City, Missouri)
Petit Trois (Los Angeles, California)
République (Los Angeles, California)
Shack, The (Twin Bridges, Montana) (4x)
Verjus (San Francisco, California)
Wagon Wheel, The (Twin Bridges, Montana)
Wells Fargo Steakhouse (Virginia City, Montana)
Zuni Café (San Francisco, California)

AUGUST

1900 Barker (Lawrence, Kansas)
Fox and Pearl (Kansas City, Missouri)
J. Rieger & Co. (Kansas City, Missouri)
Mass Street Fish House & Raw Bar (Lawrence, Kansas)
Messenger Coffee (Kansas City, Missouri)
Ragazza (Kansas City, Missouri)
Rye (Leawood, Kansas)
Savoy at 21C (Kansas City, Missouri)
Tacos el Gallo (Kansas City, Missouri)

SEPTEMBER

108 Corner (Copenhagen, Denmark) (once, twice)
à terre (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Alouette (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Angler (Los Angeles, California) (3x)
Antico (Los Angeles, California)
Apollo Bar (Copenhagen, Denmark) (2x)
atoboy (New York, New York)
Bistro Bohême (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Café Altro Paradiso (New York, New York)
Flor (London, The United Kingdom)
Gjusta (Venice, California)
Hija de Sanchez (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Holborn Dining Room (London, the United Kingdom)
Ikoyi (London, The United Kingdom)
Juno the Bakery (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Kong Hans Kælder (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Marchal (Copenhagen, Denmark)
Messenger Coffee (Kansas City, Missouri)
Pasjoli (Santa Monica, California)
Pavillion at Kensington Palace (London, The United Kingdom)
Plaza Hotel, The (New York, New York) (4x)
Restaurant at 1900, The (Fairway, Kansas)
Rye (Kansas City, Missouri)
Shun (New York, New York)
St. John (London, The United Kingdom)
Tartine Sycamore (Los Angeles, California)
Will at the Bridge; Broens Gadekøkken (Copenhagen, Denmark)

OCTOBER

A Dopo (Knoxville, Tennessee)
Angler (Los Angeles, California)
Barn at Blackberry Farm, The (Walland, Tennessee)
Bavel (Los Angeles, California)
Bluestem (Kansas City, Missouri)
County Road Ice House (Kansas City, Missouri)
Emilia (Knoxville, Tennessee)
Firetower at Blackberry Mountain (Walland, Tennessee)
Fox and Pearl (Kansas City, Missouri)
Gjusta (Venice, California)
J.C. Holdway (Knoxville, Tennessee)
Joe’s Kansas City (Kansas City, Kansas)
LC’s BBQ (Kansas City, Missouri)
Messenger Coffee (Kansas City, Missouri)
Night + Market (Los Angeles, California)
Pasjoli (Santa Monica, California)
Polo Lounge (Beverly Hills, California)
République (Los Angeles, California)
Seva Cuisine of India (Liberty, Missouri)
Sichuan Impressions (Los Angeles, California)
Tartine Sycamore (Los Angeles, California)
Three Sisters at Blackberry Mountain (Walland, Tennessee) (3x)
Wild Love Bakehouse (Knoxville, Tennessee)

NOVEMBER

Angler (San Francisco, California)
Brown Hotel (Louisville, Kentucky)
Butchertown Grocery (Louisville, Kentucky)
Eagle, The (Louisville, Kentucky)
Lincoln Ristorante (New York, New York)
Mako (Los Cabos, Mexico)
Messenger Coffee (Kansas City, Missouri)
Mozza Pi (Louisville, Kentucky)
PPQ Dungeness Island (San Francisco, California)
Tsukushinbo (Seattle, Washington)
White Light Diner (Frankfort, Kentucky)
Willett Distillery (Bardstown, Kentucky)

DECEMBER

Birdie G’s (Santa Monica, California)
Bouchon (Yountville, California)
Charter Oak, The (St. Helena, California) (4x)
French Laundry, The (Yountville, California)
Giugni’s Deli (St. Helena, California)
Gott’s (St. Helena, California) (2x)
Mizaki (Los Cabos, Mexico)
Model Bakery (St. Helena, California (5x)
Restaurant at Meadowood, The (St. Helena, California)
Restaurant at Meadowood, The (St. Helena, California; The Twelve Days of Christmas: Camara, Shields, Calvert, Avillez, Park, Chan, Nørregaard, Williams, Charles, Lee, Cantu, and Kostow)
Tartine Sycamore (Los Angeles, California) (2x)

Tarpon

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

2011: suitcase party…
2012: foreign and domestic…
2013: blurred lines…
2014: leapfrogging… 
2015: fairytale…
2016: hemispheres and horizons… 
2017: an education…
2018: field and stream…

Lake Louise

* You can listen to Jeremy Irons narrate the entire tour of the abbey through the Westminster app, which you can download to your smartphone.

Photos: “Victory of Alexander over the Caesars” by Verrio – the grand staircase to King William III’s apartments at Hampton Court Palace; the stained glass windows at la Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain; the house of Ernest Hemingway in Key West, Florida; wedding in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico; in the garden at The Umstead Hotel & Spa in Cary, North Carolina; in-room breakfast at The Plaza in New York, New York; a fox hunt at Field & Fire, Palmetto Bluff, South Carolina; bacon hanging at Allan Benton’s smokehouse in Madisonville, Tennessee; in the rick house at Buffalo Trace with Julian van Winkle, Frankfort, Kentucky; el Nacional in Barcelona, Spain; Kim Dolva at Alouette in Copenhagen, Denmark; the great hall at Hatfield House in Hatfield, The United Kingdom; pastries at Violet Bakery in London; lunch at the counter at Flor in London; the “Coronation Portrait” of Elizabeth I at the National Portrait Gallery in London; Felix Roasting Co. in New York, New York; Bookbinders at Hudson Yards in New York, New York; Katianna and John Hong at The American Restaurant in Kansas City, Missouri; Sarah Steffan at The Restaurant at 1900 in Fairway, Kansas; the latticed dining room at Brennan’s in New Orleans, Louisiana; Richard Hart at Hart Bageri in Copenhagen, Denmark; Joshua Skenes pulling in a giant tarpon in the Florida flats; and a frozen Lake Louise, Banff National Park, Canada. 

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1 reply on “travel: in dazzling relief… (2019)”

Thank you for this post. You bring some much needed relief, we all are in a limbo and don’t know when it ends. We have to use this time wisely, reflect, energize and re-focus. It will end, hopefully sooner than later. Thanks again.

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