Passion Points: Style
Incan earrings from Mexico, spaghetti alle vongole in Porto Ercole and a Mini Cooper tour of St. Barth’s … these are a few of our favorite travel experiences of 2011. The staff of Indagare is often on the road—scouting and updating our destination reports. In recent months alone, we’ve traveled to Laos, the Netherlands, Thailand, Mexico, Cuba, Morocco, Nicaragua, India and Argentina, among others. Here’s a sampling of the best discoveries of 2011.
For advice on hotels and itineraries for your trips in 2012, contact our Bookings Team.
- Favorite Meal 2011: My birthday dinner at Graffiti, (224 East 10th Street, New York City; 212-464-7743) a tiny restaurant in the East Village owned by chef Jehangir Mehta.
- Learned While on the Road: That exciting travel doesn’t have to be international. I went to New Orleans for Labor Day and had one of my most memorable trips of the year.
- Favorite Travel App: Not so much a travel app but in lieu of a camera I used the “Hipstamatic” camera app on my iphone for some pretty amazing photos while traveling.
- Favorite Indagare Story 2011: The Paris Restaurant Round Up since I am going to Paris over Christmas and it will undoubtedly be my bible!
- Favorite Trip 2011: Exploring Nicaragua’s colonial gem, Granada, and its eco-lodges on the Pacific coast
- Favorite Restaurant 2011: La Mar Cebicheria. (11 Madison Avenue; 212-612-3388) The scallops ceviche and pisco sours are seriously delicious.
- Learned While on the Road: Many cosmetics stores will give you free samples of items like shampoo, moisturizer and face-wash. When I get them home I put them in my travel toiletries bag so I’m always ready to go.
- Favorite Indagare Story 2011: Conversation with New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik, one of my all-time favorite writers.
- Favorite Trip 2011: Northern India, for its rich culture, vibrant colors and sensational shopping.
- Favorite Dishes 2011: Anything on the menu at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s ABC Kitchen and the baby-octopus and bone-marrow fusilli served at Marea, both in New York City.
- Learned While on the Road: Beware of altitude sickness in Cusco, Peru.
- Favorite Trip Booked for Indagare: A honeymoon to South Africa and Mozambique with time on safari (Lion Sands), Cape Town and the Winelands.
- Favorite Indagare Story 2011: Hong Kong Dining, about the best eateries in this food-obsessed city.
- Favorite Trip 2011: Thailand
- Favorite Discovery: Our insider connections in Havana.
- Favorite Resort 2011: Four Seasons Chiang Mai
- Learned While on the Road: For international travel, there is no better investment than VIP airport assistance, where available.
- Favorite Travel App: Chef’s Feed – fabulous chef’s recommendations in NYC, San Francisco, LA and Chicago. Find Thomas Keller’s favorite sushi in LA and Jonathan Waxman’s favorite meatballs in New York City.
- Favorite Indagare Story 2011: Same Sky interview! (You may recall that I bawled in your office immediately after reading)
- Favorite Trip 2011: Paris
- Favorite Discovery: Nougatine
- Favorite Resort 2011: St Regis Deer Valley
- Favorite Restaurant 2011: Marea
- Learned While on the Road: Shipping bags ahead with luggagefree.com is particularly helpful in ski season.
- Favorite Trip 2011: St. Barth’s, splitting time between Isle de France and the Guanahani, napping on the beach, dancing at Le Yacht Club and enjoying every second of a vacation without the kids
- Favorite Discovery: Buying the Even More Legroom seats on JetBlue gets you into an expedited security line.
- Learned While on the Road: I hate flying, but a cool plane can turn that around. Shockingly, I actually enjoyed the flight to Paris on the new A380 and will be using Tradewind this summer for Martha’s Vineyard now that I know what a wonderful experience they offer in the Caribbean.
- Favorite Trip 2011: Tokyo. You know how some places just grab you? Tokyo was like that for me, and since then I’ve been telling anyone who’ll listen: go! Even if it’s just for a few days, and even if you don’t get out of the city to Hakone or Kyoto or another part of the country, you’ll have an incredible time. Seeing the place challenges you, teaches you and rewards you—it is a hugely rich travel experience, especially given what we know happened in the northern part of the country because of the earthquake. I wish someone had woken me up a long time ago to how thrilling a city this is, so that’s what I’m trying to do every time I get the chance now: I’m telling people to go!
- Favorite Trip 2011: Dublin and Galway.
- Learned While on the Road: When I arrive in a new place, I try to take a long walk or even a run, which lets me get my bearings.
- Favorite Indagare Story: A Journey to Lo Manthang, an amazing personal essay by Antonio Sersale about trekking through Nepal.
- Dying to Go Next: The list is very long, but I think the three top destinations would have to be Marrakech (so that I can stay at Kasbah Tamadot), the Basque Country and Iceland.
- Favorite Trip 2011: My honeymoon in St. Barth’s. We are already planning our return for next year and want to repeat everything from our perfect little program: the convertible Mini, the risotto at L’Isola, the hike to pristine Colombier beach, the rosé at Santa Fe, the party at Ti St. Barth’s, and baguettes at Petite Colombe. It’s the perfect getaway.
- Favorite Meal 2011: Eleven Madison, New York. I still dream about the warm truffled minibeignets dipped in crème fraîche.
- Learned While on the Road: Never settle for the room you are given at a hotel. Ask if an upgrade is available or for a room with a better view.
- Favorite Travel App: I use the Google Maps app for BlackBerry in every city I visit. The app recognizes your current location and guides you with street-by-street directions and public transportation options.
- Favorite Trip Booked for Indagare: An incredible excursion to Laucala, in Fiji, and to New Zealand’s Matakauri Lodge.
- Favorite Trip 2011: An Italian trip: Five days on the beach in Ansedonia, two days in the countryside of San Giustino Valdarno, and two days in Rome
- Favorite Meal 2011: Spagetti alle vongole at Il Pellicano in Porto Ercole, Italy
- Favorite Trip 2011: Berlin, a city that thoroughly surprised me and is a great fit for anyone interested in culture, history, art and a young scene.
- Favorite Discoveries: Foodie treasures in Paris: L’Avant Comptoir, La Patisserie des Reves, La Régalade, Simone & Nicola and Pierre Hermé’s newest shop in the 16th.
- Favorite Hotel 2011: Returning to the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok and to the Upper House in Hong Kong, both fantastic properties that offer great locations, views and service.
- Favorite Meal 2011: Dinner in Luang Prabang at Coconut Garden, sitting al fresco and eating simply prepared, incredibly flavorful Laotion cuisine. And the innovative vegetarian fare at Cookies Cream in Berlin.
- Learned While on the Road: That going with a fantastic guide can not only make the trip but transform you into a city insider in a matter of hours.
- Favorite Trip 2011: Normandy for a wedding
- Best Purchase Made While on the Road: Sterling silver Incan earrings in San Miguel de Allende
- Favorite Indagare Story 2011: The Same Sky feature.
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- Indagare means to discover, explore, seek, scout in Latin.