Menton was our last stop in France, prior to returning to NYC (via Copenhagen). It is about a 30 minute train ride from Nice, and sits on the border of Italy. It could be described as a smaller, older version of Nice. We happened to be there during the Fête du Citron, which is the festival of Lemons. As a result, the whole town was replete with large scale sculptures made from lemons and oranges.Continue reading
During our stay in Nice last month, Britt and I took a couple of day trips to some nearby spots. One such spot was the small medieval village in Èze. From Nice it is a 15 minute bus ride along a picturesque coastal highway that winds along the coast. The fare is less the the price of a Metrocard swipe. The bus drops you right at the base of Le Jardin Exotique, which is set atop a very, very old little village. We wandered through the stone walled passages for a few hours including the garden itself. We packed some sammies from the boulanger in Nice and enjoyed them in the garden’s sunny main lookout.Continue reading
Nothing like spending the holidays with family. It just so happens that we have some family in Costa Rica, and had the pleasure of spending Thanksgiving with them. It was my first time setting foot in the country and I cannot wait to get back there. We flew into Liberia, which is a chill little airport to the north of San Jose. We spent a week eating, swimming, golfing, surfing and relaxing. Even though I brought an SLR on with me, most of the photos I took were with either with a GoPro or my Fuji range finder (FujiFilm X100-s). Here is a short list of places I can recommend:
- Sentido Norte— Excellent sunset views from this place (see image directly below). The food and drinks were also top notch. I recommend the tuna sashimi.
- Patagonia del Mar— We actually ate here twice. It is a newish spot in the area (although the owners have two other similar restaurants in nearby towns). It was bumping both times we ate there. They had a fantastic selection of locally caught fish and Argentine beef. I was impressed by both the surf and the turf offerings. Supah affordable, as well.
- Playa Avellanas— Delicious waves, offshore breeze and surfboard rentals right on the beach. This beach is also home to Lola’s Bar, which on its own is reason enough to visit. The bar is home to a giant pig named Lola, giving the joint its namesake. Seating is right on the beach under a manicured group of mangroves. Food and drink were tasty and affordable.
- Reserva Conchal— This is where we stayed, and it is also where we golfed. The course is the prettiest one that I have ever played.
- Frijoles Locos— Awesome little surf shop near Playa Grande. Believe it or not, I forgot to pack board shorts. This shop saved the day.
Some additional photos-
As James Dean once said, “There is only a certain amount of time that you can spend as a tourist in a non-tropical city without experiencing a bit of boredom”; look it up. Heeding Dean’s advice, we jumped a London bound Eurostar after spending a few days in Paris, and a couple of hours later found ourselves in the (barely) pre-brexit UK. To be exact, we were in Shoreditch, camping at The ACE. Forgive me for oversimplifying, but Shoreditch felt like Brooklyn, east. I mean, I have stayed at The ACE in NYC, and the London version felt more like NY than the one on 29th Street. I was not upset by this fact. Below is a list of establishments that I can recommend patronizing. Here we go-
- Bull in a China Shop – Feels a lot like the Dead Rabbit in FiDi, without the sawdust on the floor, and without all of the finance bros dipping in after their steakhouse dinners. Whatever type of whiskey you are craving, they have it. To keep it chilled, they will make you a customized ice cube, diamond, or etc.. They made us some really nice drinks and fed us some delicious food.
- Flat Iron – This place has a wood fired oven, popcorn, cocktails, and a decent vibe. As a steak snob, I didn’t find the meat to be amazing, but it was above average. In a town with a rep for having bland food, this joint breaks the stereotype. We were there on Thanksgiving, and had our first course of dinner here; a ribeye steak together with some sides, and we were not disappointed.
- Pizza East, Shorditch – I’ll be honest, B did not love this spot. I did. It was a large space with community tables. We were there late (and there is a club downstairs, so the door security was slightly annoying). But… they are open late, have a wood fired oven, and a massive wine list. Vibe was decent, and the pizza was decent (in my opinion, not B’s).
- The Bike Shed – It is funny how long Americans have been biting UK culture. If you want clear evidence that the UK is biting back in a major way, look no further than this place. It is like a giant version of Union Garage tucked under awesome vaulted brick ceilings. They also managed to pack in a full sized pub/restaurant, and barber shop, complete with a giant Brooklyn Brewery neon light mounted on the wall. Oh yeah, and Bikes. Lots of rad bikes. But seriously, you don’t need to be into motorcycles to appreciate this place.
- Crown and Shuttle – This place was chill and had 10-20 beers on tap. We didn’t try the food, but the service was awesome, and the vibe was nice. Despite looking like they used this website to come up with their name, we have only good things to say about this spot.
- The Culpeper – Also a hotel, this joint was bumping on a Friday night! Great selection of beer/wine/spirits with an upscale (but not too upscale) flow. Lots of attractive looking peeps and a steezy ye olde Londonney decor.
- The Ten Bells – This pub was right across the street from the Spitalfields market. So you can whet your whistle after a long afternoon of scooping weird vintage wares and vinyl. Nothing really remarkable about this place, but B and I both put it on our respective lists, so we must have both liked it!
- Found – Buried in the bowels of Ravey Street, this spot had the best cocktails that we experienced in London, hands down. Look for the door with the big number 5 on it. We walked past it twice before figuring out that was the entrance. Get the “Tommy Goes to Thailand” for some spicy deliciousness.
- Old Blue Last – This place has some sort of connection to Vice media. I didn’t care enough to gather the details. But there you are. I didn’t love it. B did. It is a pretty typical pub, with very high ceilings, and a lot of taxidermied big game mounted on the wall. Plenty of brew on tap.
- The Griffin – Possibly the most unpretentious “cool” bar that I have ever been to. I mean, just look at their super basic website. The bar is the same way. No frills, but super genuine awesomeness. We were there Friday night late, and there was a gaggle of people standing around on the sidewalk outside the door enjoying pints. Inside, The Kinks were blasting over the sound system in the most un-ironic way possible. We became pretty friendly with the bartender, and she got a very out of focus photo of us that B and I both love.
Some additional photos from the UK-
Did a night and a morning in Seattle (I recommend checking out Black Bottle), then drove to Hood River via the Columbia River gorge. Stayed the night at the Hood River Hotel. It had an old school mountain town vibe and an amazing scando brunch joint adjacent to the lobby. More good stuff in Hood River: check out Double Mountain and Sushi Okalani if you have a chance. On the way back to Portland, we drove over Mount Hood. There was a cloud parked on top of it, which made for some ethereal scenery. I Mixed in some crappy celly shots again. Apologies.
After spending Friday night and Saturday in Portland, we drove south toward Newport where we met up with some other good friends of ours. They had secured a beach house for the weekend in the town of Waldport. The weather was sunny and awesome. We explored the beach and flew kites Sunday afternoon. Monday, my friend Jon and I caught some rock fish in the morning, and we ended up grilling them up for dinner. We were having so much fun being social that I didn’t really get any snaps (except a sunset) with a real camera. So there are a mix of celly shots in this post. Apologies for the crap quality.
Tuesday morning we drove up the 101 north. One of the highlights was Cannon Beach, and Ecola State Park.
B snapped this one of me below, posing at one of the 10 or so view points along the 101, where we pulled over to take in the sights.
The pano of Crescent Beach below was a celly shot. Here is a link to the full resolution, for kicks.
We spent memorial day in the pacific northwest. Some good friends of ours were tying the knot in Portland, and it gave us a great excuse to explore the Oregon/Washington coast. It always blows my mind how green it is in that part of the country. We arrived in Portland late on Friday night and spent the next morning exploring the city by foot before the wedding. Luckily, we were still on NY time. So we were up early and did a lap of the waterfront and most of downtown before noon. It was overcast and a mild temperature. Here are some snaps. The Faith47 piece below was one of the highlights for me.
On our way home from Morocco, we stopped in Oslo for almost a full 24 hours. It was a gorgeous spring day, so we took advantage explored the city a bit. The city center was pretty easy to navigate and small enough that we did the whole thing on foot. The airport is a very quick train ride from the main train station in the center of Oslo. Some of our favorite spots were the opera house (top photo was from the roof of the opera house), and the Mathallen food hall. I didn’t get any photos of the latter. But it has a similar vibe to Chelsea Market or Gansevoort Market. Here are some other snaps from various spots around the city.
The last day in Marrakech, we did a day excursion and hired a driver to take us to the Ourika Valley, in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains (as seen from Marrakech in the image directly below). It rained on and off for most of the day that day, so it turned out to be a good time to spend riding in the car. Those who know the desert, know that it completely changes when rain falls. Most notably, all of the green comes out. I wouldn’t really recommend this excursion to anyone because honestly, it turned out to be super touristy. But seeing the desert in bloom from the rain was worthwhile. The fast moving clouds also provided for some dramatic lighting at times.