Indagare Insider: Ali Zweben

Ali Zweben began a career in PR and marketing in New York before following her true passion of eating well and discovering the city’s best dining. She launched the popular food blog Unbuttoning Pants in 2010 with her sister, Daryl, and together they have sampled hundreds of restaurants in New York and beyond. Her love of unique cuisines and cultures has taken Zweben around the world where she is always on the lookout for incredible meals and extraordinary experiences. Here, Ali talks to Indagare about her favorite hotels, most transformative trip and where to find delicious foreign dishes.

Name a favorite city and describe a perfect day there. The best way to start my day in Miami is boxing with Dino, at the World Famous Fifth Street Gym for an intense, butt-kicking workout. Miami days are perfect for sun, sand and sipping, and I love the beach at Soho Beach House. I either pick up a sandwich from La Sandwicherie on my way or eat lunch in my lounge chair with a glass of rosé. If it is not a beach day, I opt for a long lunch at Joe's Stone Crab; besides the crab, the fried chicken is the best I have had anywhere.

There is fantastic shopping in Miami, including the classic Bal Harbour shops and the new stores in the Design District, but the most unique boutique is the Webster. I think there is nothing better than sitting alfresco at Casa Tua for a romantic dinner, and the new Faena is not to be missed for an after dinner drink, where the people watching is rivaled only by the over-the-top aesthetic of the hotel.

Related: What's New: Miami.

Name three destinations on your travel wishlist. Morocco

, Japan and Iceland

Name a destination that surprised you and tell us why. I was really surprised by Rio de Janeiro because I had no idea what to expect, especially after experiencing the dense, endless urbanity of São Paolo. I love that Rio is a bustling city that also takes advantage of its seaside location and everyone is active and outside. Brazil is extremely large with a unique culture that is unlike any I have encountered elsewhere.  

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="620"]Rio de Janeiro aerial view at sunset Rio de Janeiro[/caption]

What is always in your carry-on bag? Evian mist, snacks, my iPad loaded with magazines and an I Pezzi Dipinti shawl.

What is the most romantic hotel you have visited? The Singita Sabora tented camp in Tanzania. It transports you to a gauzy, romantic vision of Hemingway in Africa.

This trip was planned by Indagare's Africa experts. To plan a trip to Tanzania, contact the Bookings Team.

Related: Indagare's Favorite Romantic Escapes.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="620"]Bedroom at Singita Sabora resort Singita Sabora[/caption]

What trip has changed your perspective? I have been lucky enough to travel to Africa twice, and each time my perspective has been expanded and changed for the better. The pure power of nature and the endless landscapes are breathtaking, and the privilege of viewing animals in the wild is profound. Everywhere I stayed I encountered an authentic desire to please and an emphasis on hospitality. In Africa, I always learn something new about other cultures and about myself.

What are some of your favorite items to buy abroad?

Sandals in Capri, especially from Canfora

Related: Indagare Matchmaker: Capri.

What is your favorite travel splurge? Extra legroom in any form possible – every inch counts! 

What is your favorite foreign dish? Where can we find it? Thai food in Thailand. Either in Bangkok, in the mountains or by the sea, the cuisine in Thailand is on another level from any Thai food in the states. The spices and flavors are just mind-blowing.

Related: Top 10: Foodie-Friendly Cities.

Pick one: city, beach, desert or mountains Beach: Flamands, St Barth’s

Anse des Flamands beach in St. BarthsName three of your favorite hotels you've ever visited:La Scalinatella

(Capri), Le Bristol (Paris), Les Crayères (Reims)

Published onFebruary 23, 2017

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