• A Delicious Find!

    Paris, France…a cold and wintery city of lights. I stumbled upon a cool and also delicious restaurant in the 11th Arrondissement near Republique! A former Pharmacy converted to a restaurant with amazing food, low key vibe, cute servers, and reasonable prices….

    A delicious steak with the finest sliced and roasted potatoes! Oh, Paris always delivers on gourmet but this new find makes it really hip too.

    Bon Appetit!




  • A Chicago One-of-a-Kind!

    Chicago, IL…Gene & Jude’s is a popular and iconic hot dog stand on River Road in River Grove, Illinois, founded in 1946 by friends and Chicago city workers Gene Mormino and Jude DeSantis. The stand is famous for its narrow approach to the Chicago-style hot dog, its toppings departing from tradition by including only mustard, onions, relish, sport peppers and fresh cut French fries placed on top, known as a Depression Dog. The menu is limited to hot dogs, double dogs, tamales and fries, and, typical of Chicago hot dog, lacks any trace of ketchup.

    In 2006, Gene’s & Jude’s was inducted into the Vienna Beef Hot Dog Hall of Fame. In 2011, in a competition of 64 hot dog stands across the country, it was chosen by the magazine “Every Day with Rachel Ray” and the food blog Serious Eats as the best hot dog in America.

    I grew up with these infamous dogs close to my home in Elmwood Park and always need to get my “fix” when in Chicago!




  • Asian Influence!

    Melbourne, Australia…at times today it seemed as if I travelled to Asia rather than Australia!

    As I walked around the city streets, I could see Melbourne has a sizable Asian population…especially near the university where I presume there must be a large number of Asians who attend college Down Under!

    What surprised me most was the sheer number and variety of Asian restaurants one after another on the streets! Every Asian culture was represented over and over…within a few blocks I saw what seemed like a hundred different Asian restaurants!

    There is also a vibrant Chinatown…I walked thru this authentic area and felt transported to a street off Nathan Road in Hong Kong…red painted walls, Peking duck and barbecued pork hanging in shop windows, and dumplings makers pinching away!

    This vibrant city definitely seems like a melting pot of every Asian country…India, China, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and on and on!







  • My First Taste of Hawaii!

    Hilo, Hawaii…after a long 4 days at sea, we arrived at land…the Big Island of Hawaii! The port of Hilo is on the island’s rainy side and the rain greets us as expected…but soon the clouds part and the sun makes its appearance.

    After getting back on land, I walked around the sleepy hippie town of Hilo. Vintage clothing, local crafts, and shops of healers fill the old town…the pace is relaxed and slow and many of the locals have a very laid back hippie meets surfer vibe!

    The sunny side of the Island is the Kona side…so, I make a deal with a local taxi driver and we head out on the hour long drive to other side of the island!

    The driver introduces me to “Malasadas”, an island delicacy! Yum! These Portuguese sweet bread donuts are AMAZING! Fluffy and light yet sweet, with a light coating of sugar…a real treat!

    Hawaii is a unique mix of local culture infused with influences of Philippine, Japanese, and Portuguese immigrants! These delicious donuts give me a first taste of how delicious it all comes together!


  • Indulging in La La Land!

    Los Angeles, California…food is a huge part of travel and I luv FOOD! I arrive to beautiful warm weather in sunny California and eating one of my West Coast favorites is on my mind…IN-N-OUT burger!

    These have to be the best fast food burgers in the USA! Fresh toppings on a yummy meat patty with their own “special spread”. I am a total burger traditionalist…no cheese, onions, lettuce, tomatoes with crisp fries on the side! But it seems most people go for the double burger with cheese…but a simple burger is $1.95! Wow! What a deal!

    I sit outside and look up at the palm trees that line Sunset Blvd and I know I am in La La Land! This is a MUST on any trip out west!





  • Pizza, Pizza, Pizza!

    Chicago, Illinois…farewell to my hometown! A trip to Chicago wouldn’t be complete without Pizza! I have a few favorites here, but my Bon Voyage meal was a family outing for traditional Chicago deep dish…Lou Malnati’s is a Windy City institution and always lives up to its fame!

    The restaurant is low key…not anything to look at…the star is the pizza! A crispy crust filled with oozing cheese and topped with fresh chopped tomato sauce and crumbled sausage! It’s truly decadent as the slice goes from pan to plate with the cheese stringing between slices. The tomato sauce is slightly tangy which creates a delicious flavor mix! We started our meal with their signature salad, which is a meal in itself, so I could only plow through two slices of pizza! We had leftovers for days!

    The Midwest is definitely a place of hearty food! Chicago definitely shines with its share of comfort foods that I long for from my youth! It was a great visit seeing family, hanging out with old and new friends, and reacquainting myself with the city I grew up in and some of my favorite memories!





  • Hot Diggety Dog!

    Chicago, Illinois…I travelled from Paris to my hometown of Chicago via London! I grew up in this town and it’s nice to get back once in awhile…

    My first stop is my all time favorite and most missed thing about living here: Chicago Hot Dogs! There is nothing better than these treats and no matter how many other people try, they never seem the same anywhere else but in the Windy City…

    The poppy seed bun, that taste of the Vienna beef hotdog, and all the toppings! They make me so happy!

    Food is such a big memory of growing up and getting the opportunity to return to Chicago in order to indulge once again in the city’s famous hot dogs is a true treat of traveling!




  • Creature of Habit!

    Paris, France…I have travelled to Paris yearly for decades and of course I have “my places”!

    I have done this trip on business so many times that I have an automatic itinerary and route I follow. I can cover this city in under three days like a true pro!

    This time my trip is more relaxed and I don’t need to be so thorough…I am taking my time and just hitting my absolute favorites and by going off course I hope to discover spots I may have overlooked on previous visits!

    But there is one habit that I cannot break…lunch or dinner at Chez Andre! It’s a must, I don’t feel I have been in Paris if I have not been here. I have brought many people here and introduced them to this charming French bistro near the Champs Élysées. I was introduced to it on one of my first trips in 1990 and have returned religiously ever since! I have years of memories logged at this place shared with various friends and colleagues over the years.

    Chez Andre dates back to the 1930’s and I love the very Parisian waitresses in their black uniforms with starch white collar and matching apron. Several of these ladies have been here as long as I have been indulging in their delicious French fare!

    I start with a delicious kir royale, then either the amazing lentil salad or goat cheese salad, of course accompanied by to die for bread and fresh butter..but the “piece de resistance” for me is the steak tartare with a side of pommes frites! Oh la la! Yum Yum! Today I skip desert, but the tarte tatin is heaven…

    Some habits die hard and this French tradition is going no where! I look forward to returning to Paris soon along with another amazing meal at Chez Andrez…





  • Something’s Fishy!

    Cape Town, South Africa…I have been really enjoying South Africa…food is of course a highlight of any trip…the chance to eat things you have never had before and experience brand new flavors! Being situated on the water, Cape Town is a haven for seafood! But, I have been perplexed by fish I have never heard of and makes ordering very difficult…

    Besides the typical Salmon, Tuna, and Yellowtail, there are a myriad of different species that are not popular in the USA or anywhere else I have travelled for that matter. So I did some research and compiled a list of some of these local delicacies…I have tried most and have really enjoyed the seafood of Cape Town!

    Here is an overview:

    Hake: They are a mild fish, having a more subtle flavour than cod. Hake is considered one of the best fish in the whiting family because of its firm, sweet, white meat and medium flake. Commonly used for delicious local fish & chips.

    Kob or Dusky Kob: a much sought after fish, due to its firm, white flesh & mild flavor ensuring an outstanding culinary experience…usually prepared simply and delicious.

    Kingklip: this fish has mild, sweet flavor with firm and dense flesh resembling monkfish, but softer and with large loose flakes. I have experienced a popular cajun preparation of this that was outstanding! The denseness holds up and is a delicious fish.

    Soldierfish: This red fish with meat is kind of mushy, so you have to cook it longer so that it dries out a little. It can be fishy tasting but it is very popular in Japan as well as here in South Africa.

    Snoek: This is the fish most associated with South Africa. It is sold fresh, smoked, canned and frozen. It is oily, extremely bony (although the bones are large and easily removed from the cooked fish) and has very fine scales which are almost undetectable, making it unnecessary to scale the fish while cleaning. Snoek has a very distinctive taste. It is prepared very much like tuna from sandwiches to Snoek cakes.

    Bluenose: also known as antarctic butterfish: Bluenose have firm textured flesh, which is moist and succulent. The pink/white flesh whitens on cooking. Bluenose are regarded as premium fillets, which suit most cooking methods.

    I love learning about anything new and I love to eat! I make every trip into a culinary experience from street food to fine restaurants, this way you really can get a feel of a place!



  • Culinary Treats

    Istanbul, Turkey…this bustling city is a literal assault on the senses…smells, flavors, and colors!

    Food is a major element to any culture, but here food may look unusual, but it’s out of this world! Amazing dips and spreads, kebabs of every kind, sticky nutty baklava type deserts, and wonderful breads and pitas. Of course, aromatic teas accompany everything served in clear hourglass shaped glasses.

    I love street food, even though I am not always brave enough to indulge in it; I think it gives insight into local tastes! A must try are the freshly caught and grilled fish sandwiches sold off elaborate barges on the Bosphorous at the Galata Bridge. Also you can sample here a array of fresh corn, roasted nuts, sweet pistachio topped donuts, and sesame bread rings. So much to savor!

    There is nothing like a Mezze platter of different Turkish salads and dips! On my final afternoon in Istanbul, that’s exactly how I bid farewell to this delicious city…it was to die for! Tomato Couscous made tasty with fresh parsley, zucchini fried and then topped with Tzatziki, Hummus and Babaganoush, stuffed grape leaves, and assorted fresh salads. We grazed and grazed!

    Farewell to Istanbul…a place that really spoils a visitor with it’s many riches!