- Two Restaurants in Bangkok
- Trattoria Mario, Florence
- A Gem in Manila
- Best Pizza in Civitavecchia
- Happy Hour in Charleston, SC
- B&B in Charleston
- Shave Ice in Hawaii
- Cats & Wine in Charleston, SC
- One Hot Mama in Hilton Head
- Find at Disney World
- Tony’s in Cedar Key, Florida
- Champers in Barbados
- Cheeseburgers, St Croix
- Wine Bars in Rome
- Old Faithful Lodge
Thanks for visiting and we appreciate your support.
We will be traveling starting April 14th with very limited access to the internet until mid May. I will hope to make a few posts along the way provided I can get to the net. Hope to see you again when we get home.
Last summer, after years of trying to plan a trip to Yellowstone, with a stay at the Old Faithful Lodge, we actually got there.
The Old Faithful Inn is as much an icon of Yellowstone Park as the nearby geyser(s) and was an experience we had looked forward to for a long time. We planned that trip around a land tour with Caravan Tours which included the two nights at the lodge and we couldn’t say more about the tour.
Named for the famous geyser in the basin its construction started in 1903, the Old Faithful Inn epitomizes the use of rustic architecture on a large scale and has been copied a number of times. Construction was done using local stone for the building’s foundation, and local lodgepole pine logs for its walls. Craftsmen framed the windows and stairways with gnarled wood selected for its beauty in the construction. It was designed by architect Robert Reamer, and the inn combines rugged materials and organic motifs in a way that expresses both frontier sensibilities and elegance.
The Old Faithful Inn opened in 1904, and was equipped with electric lighting, but Reamer designed the light fixtures to look like candlesticks. Both the electricity and the radiators were fueled by a unique steam generator. Dinner was accompanied by a string quartet (which still plays in the lodge), and dancing was customary on most nights. The east wing was added in 1919 and the west wing was added in 1927, both under Reamer’s supervision, bringing the inn’s total number of guest rooms to about 340. Since that time annexes have been added to increase occupancy and provide for park staff.
Just being in the Upper Geyser Basin is the experience of a lifetime and spending time at the inn is just icing on the cake. The lodge is a magnificent structure with a lobby that stands four stories high with numerous seating areas, a huge fireplace and includes a main dining room, a snack bar and a bar that features light fare. The rustic architectural details are worth special attention and there is a front deck where you can sit and view the geyser.
It seems almost a requirement to have at least one meal in this historic log dining room with its impressive stone fireplace, more for the ambiance than the food. Its best buy is a buffet breakfast and lunch along with a buffet option at dinner. There are several other eating options in the main lodge including a snack bar as well as out-buildings. The general store just down the hill has a good lunch counter and there is a cafeteria in the newest building off to the side of Old Faithful.
We had a good breakfast and dinner in the main dining room and really enjoyed the bison chili and burger in the bar. Prices are not really excessive considering the location. There is very little to brag about in the Spartan guest rooms that have no air conditioning, TV or WiFi but luxurious accommodations are not what we came for.
We spent the entire day walking thru Rome with a late lunch on the Via Veneto. It was getting dark by the time we returned to our hotel but it was still too early to call it a day. We were staying only five blocks from the Termini and referring to our planning notes found a wine bar only a short walk away.
It was highly rated and Trimani deserves the praise it got. It turns out that Trimani has been a name in Rome for a very long time, with its founders selling wine for over 175 years. It is one of the best known enotecas in Rome. It features wines from all over the world at more than fair prices.
The atmosphere was welcoming and comfortable and the staff knowledgeable and friendly. We enjoyed a number of good glasses of wine and a generous cheese plate along with an order of small bites.
Italian wine bars are called Enoteche an Italian word derived from a Greek word which literally means “wine repository”. The word is used to describe a type of local or regional wine shop that originated in Italy and recently has spread to some other European countries.
Trimani Enoteca is located at via Goito 20, Rome, Italy not far from the Termini.
A genuine enoteca is intended to give locals, visitors and tourists the opportunity to taste wines at a reasonable price before buying the bottle. Regionally an enoteca is often run in collaboration with wineries and tourism organizations in a area. They were intended as a source of information on local wines rather than as regular retail outlet.
There are a number of these wine bars in Rome with many serving snacks and light dishes. If you are not looking for a full meal these are good choices. Three additional ones that are highly rated in other neighborhoods in Rome are:
Enoteca Regionale Palatium
Highlighting regional quality is at the heart of this enoteca, located only steps from Piazza di Spagna in central Rome. Because it’s a true regional enoteca it focuses on the wines and tastes of Lazio. All the best of local producers of both food and wine are showcased at Palatium, making it a must visit for every wine loving tourist in Rome.
Enoteca Regionale Palatium via Frattina 94, Rome, Italy
Enoteca del Frate
Located in one of Rome’s Prati neighborhood north of the Vatican, Enoteca del Frate is an historical wine bar and enoteca which is a meeting point for local and foreign wine lovers. With continuous efforts to bring only the very best to Roman customers at discounted prices, and with offers ranging from wine to liquors, this enoteca, along with the nearby wine bar, will have something for every palate and every occasion. On the menu there are a series of appetizers to accompany the wine as well as other more elaborate dishes for those who are seeking a great meal.
Enoteca del Frate via degli Scipioni 118-122, Rome, Italy
After that trip we were looking up the Trimani in a Fodor’s Rome Guide and they noted in the listing that it is customary to leave a tip at wine bars in Rome? When in Rome we are not in the habit of tipping as it is not expected. In recent years in Rome, more and more service people are getting spoiled with foreigners leaving tips and are now almost expecting them. The custom is you don’t need to tip in Italy. You’re probably already paying a supplement through the servizio (service charge) on your restaurant bill and/or the coperto (cover charge), sometimes both. At this point I am not sure what Fodor is saying but I would appreciate an thoughts on this?
Sometime you just want a good burger. We’ve seen fast food chains in places all around the world including Ho Chi Minh City (McDonalds and Carl’s Jr) Bergen, Norway (McDonalds and Burger King) Barcelona (McDonalds), Copenhagen (McDonalds), Thailand (Burger King and McDonalds).
While having taken advantage of fast food while traveling we prefer non-chain restaurants and we’ve satisfied our craving for a good old American cheeseburger in a number of locations as well. We’ve had burgers from Barbados (Bubba’s, pretty good), to Barcelona (so, so), to Honolulu (a monster concoction at Teddy’s) to St. Croix (at Cheeseburgers, simply a real good burger).
Even the concept of McDonalds style fast food is no longer exclusive to America as more and more chains spring up. Jollibee features burgers and
chicken and started over forty years ago in Manila. It has spread over Asia and is now well establish in the United States. Quickly growing is SuperMac’s in Ireland that features only Irish beef and serves a menu of french fries, including curry as well as covered in slaw and taco filling.
We first visited Cheeseburger In America’s Paradise in St. Croix after hurricane Hugo in 1990 and the place hasn’t changed at all since. It’s an outdoor place under tents out on the eastern north shore on East End Road. Back then the radio played country western in honor of the Texan linemen that were rebuilding the island and had live music at times in the evening. It was becoming the place for happy hour for East Enders and probably will again as the island recovers. It offers a simple menu that mostly features really good open-flame cooked hamburgers and beer. On this visit it really did take us back as the radio was playing a C&W station.
The bottom line is if you are visiting St. Croix and want a reasonably priced, really good burger, drive on out to Cheeseburger In America’s Paradise.
On a trip this December we passed through Barbados and met up with some old friends. We joined them for lunch at Champers, one of our preferred restaurants on the island. Barbados is a favorite destination of ours and is particularly well known for the quality of its’ restaurants.
Champers is located on Skeetes Hill near Rockley Beach on the south coast, and rests on a point with commanding views of the sea and beach. Sitting on the main floor deck looking out at white
sand, palm trees and ten shades of turquoise water you just know you are in paradise. The restaurant features great food, spectacular views and a very attentive staff, and you just can’t do much better for an elegant dinner or lunch while on the island.
We’ve never had a bad experience at Champers and this time was no exception. When in Barbados it’s a tradition to have flying fish, which I had
(fried with caper dressing) along with an appetizer of coconut shrimp with chili sauce, and both were excellent. Lunch was finished with an excellent warm bread pudding. My wife had West Indian shrimp curry with jasmine rice and grilled vegetables, also outstanding.
We were lucky enough to finish that day sitting on the porch of our friend’s house out at The Crane sipping famous Bajan Rum Punch.
Barbados Rum Punch Recipe:
- One part Sour (fresh squeezed lime juice*)
- Two parts Sweet (Demerara sugar**)
- Three parts Strong (Barbados Rum (Our preference is Mt. Gay Extra Old))
- Four parts Weak (Water)
Mix well and add a few drops of Angostura bitters. Pour over ice and add a bit of fresh grated nutmeg to each glass when serving
* Mexican or Key limes are preferred.
**Demerara is a type of raw cane sugar that has a large grain, hard texture, with a pale brown color. A substitute If you don’t have Dmerara sugar on hand, is to use an equal amount of granulated sugar and light brown sugar in its’ place.
If you travel west on Florida State Road 24 from Gainesville to where the road literally ends, you find yourself in a bit of old Florida. Out in the middle of nowhere on Florida’s northwest coast is the little village of Cedar Key with its’ population of around 700. At the corner of D and 2nd is Tony’s Seafood Restaurant which is home to what many claim is the world’s best clam chowder.
The Great Chowder Cook-Off is an annual event that has been held at the Newport Yachting Center in Newport, Rhode Island, for thirty-three years. It ranks right up there with the Terlingua International Championship Chili Cookoff or the Texas Championship BBQ Cookoff. All these American classic foods have passionate followers by the millions, hero’s by the score with reputations to protect and profit from.
On Saturday June 6, 2009 Tony’s Cedar Key Clam Chowder won the 28th Annual Great Chowder Cook-off and claimed the title, Clam Chowder World Champion.
Back for another title hunt in New England, Tony’s took to the field again on June 5, 2010 and for the second consecutive year won the 29th Annual Great Chowder Cook-off claiming another Clam Chowder World Championship.
At stake on June 4, 2011 was a third title and a chance for the recipe to be retired into the Cook-Off Hall of Fame. Not even a Grand Champion Chowder from New Jersey could deny Tony’s a third world championship. For the third year in a row Tony’s Cedar Key Clam Chowder captured the title and did so with impressive style in another landslide victory.
With Tony’s third title in three years and the recipe retired into the Great Chowder Cook-off Hall of Fame, the future is still bright for what many fans call the “King of Chowder”.
On our visit to Cedar Key that was where we went for our first meal and we were not disappointed. Some people come to this tiny town for the fishing and some come for the art galleries and crafts shops but we came for the chowder and all I can offer is it was worth the drive. If you are looking for white tablecloths and atmosphere you’re probably going to be disappointed but you won’t be in the food and specifically their world champion chowder.
If out of the way Cedar Key is too far to go for a bowl of chowder you can mail order some, as they have a very successful canning and shipping operation as well.