Cafe Marly at the Louvre in Paris

Cafe Marly at the Louvre in Paris
Relax with a glass of wine at Cafe Marly overlooking the pyramid entrance to the Louvre.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Dining under the stars in Madrid.

El Mirador del Museo
International and Spanish dishes are served under the stars on the top floor of the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. Truly a unique experience. Good wine list. Info: 8 Paseo del Prado. Tel 914292732. Open Jul and Aug. Reservations required. Metro: Banco de España.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Eating & Drinking in Italy: Turin (Torino)

Turin, host of the last winter Olympics, is a wonderful city. On my recent trip to check out its restaurants, I visited the quaint Al Bicerin. Founded in 1763, this tiny cafe is a great place when visiting the market at nearby Piazza della Repubblica  (Monday to Saturday 8am-2pm). You have to order a bicerin, a combination of chocolate, coffee and cream. Info: 5 Piazza della Consolata. Tel. 011/4369325. Closed Wed.

Monday, March 16, 2009

An Irish Terrier helps you calculate the cost of your next trip (Happy St. Patrick's Day!)

Times are tough, so before you take your vacation, figure out how much it really is going to cost. Go to the link below and do a quick calculation of the cost of your next trip. The calculator reminds you to include such things as parking and pet care costs while you're away. A helpful tool!

Photo of Rosie, the Irish Terrier, on her 4th birthday on St. Patrick's Day.

Paris Favorites: Eating, Drinking and Shopping

David Lebovitz has one of the best web sites/bogs for "foodies" visiting Paris. He's compiled  a list of favorite dining spots by authors of guides to Paris. It's definitely worth checking out, so here's where you'll find the list...

Photo courtesy of David Lebovitz (

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Long layover at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport? Visit an art museum.

The Rijksmuseum (Royal Museum) in Amsterdam is one of the world's greatest art museums with masterpieces by Rembrandt, Vermeer, and countless others. It's also the first museum in the world to have an annex in an airport. The Rijksmuseum Amsterdam Schiphol is located behind passport control between the E and F Piers. It's free and open every day from 7am to 8pm. So, next time you have a long layover here, take in some fantastic art!

Eating & Drinking in Paris: La Veraison

Sometimes it's fun to travel to "remote" areas of Paris to have dinner. La Veraison is certainly worth the trip. It's casual and small -- the one-man kitchen is up front, and you'll see the chef cooking as you walk in. Excellent selection of wines (the chef will obligingly zip out from behind the stove to help you make a selection). The food is a modern take on traditional French cooking. The neighborhood is residential and we were the only non-locals dining. My veal was excellent and the chocolate and creme caramel dessert was fantastic. Highly recommended.
La Veraison
64 rue de la Croix Nivert
Tel. 01/
15th/Metro Commerce
Closed Sun and Mon

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Eating & Drinking in Italy: Positano

Da Aldolfo
After a 15-minute boat ride, you'll arrive at Laurito beach where you'll find this beachfront restaurant and bar. There are changing rooms and showers, and you can rent an umbrella and lounge chair. The specialty here is grilled mozzarella on lemon leaves. Delicious fish dishes. Unique! Info: Accessible by the "red fish" boat departing from the main pier from 10am to 1pm and 4pm to about 6:30pm - later on Sat. in July and August. Closed Oct-Apr.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Madrid's Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza

While you can see traditional art at the Prado and contemporary art at the Reina Sofia, you can see both at the Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. This interesting and eclectic collection (very Impressionism-heavy), acquired by the Spanish government in 1993, features works by Picasso, Velázquez, Goya, El Greco, Dürer, Caravaggio and Rembrandt. It also has a collection of contemporary works, including some by Pollock, Lichtenstein and Kandinsky, and there’s an interesting section of art from the USA, including works by Georgia O’Keefe and David Hockney. Info: 8 Paseo del Prado. Closed Mon. Metro: Banco de España.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Barcelona's Mercat de la Boqueria.

Pass through the iron gateway to one of the largest, most interesting and colorful markets in Europe. You’ll find everything from fresh produce to delicious snacks under its wrought iron-and-glass roof. Each stall in the market is numbered. My favorite is the counter of El Quim at numbers 584-585. It’s a great place for a drink and tapas. Info: 91 La Rambla. Open 8am-8:30pm. Closed Sundays. Admission: Free.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Eating & Drinking in Cinque Terre

The highlight of any trip to the Liguria region of Italy is Cinque Terre. Five beautiful towns, which until recently were accessible only by train or a series of hiking paths. Perched on dramatic cliffs above the sea, you will experience car-free serenity and an Italy of old. Here are some recommended restaurants to visit while exploring the Cinque Terre.

De Mananan
117 Via Fieschi, Corniglia
Tel. 0187/821166
Closed Tue.
Hearty fare served in the cellar of a home in the smallest Cinque Terre town. Many dishes feature pesto. Try the pansoti (triangular-shaped filled pasta). Moderate

Marina Piccola
16 Via Lo Scalo, Manarola
Tel. 0187/920103
Closed Tue.
Dine on delicious cozze (mussels) or zuppe di pesce (fish stew) at this waterside restaurant. Moderate

104 Via Fegina, Monterosso al Mare
Tel. 0187/817608
Closed Tue. from Sep. to July, and all of Nov. and Dec.
Ligurian seafood served in this charming Cinque Terre town. Enjoy delicious antipasti while you take in the sea view. Moderate – Expensive

Gambero Rosso
7 Piazza Marconi, Vernazza
Tel. 0187/812265
Closed Mon., Jan. and Feb.
Ligurian specialties at this harborside restaurant (it’s been open for over 100 years). The creamy pesto is fantastic. Moderate – Expensive

Trattoria Gianni Franzi
1 Piazza Marconi, Vernazza
Tel. 0187/821003
Closed Wed., Mar. to mid-July and mid-Sep. to Jan.
Dine on fresh grilled fish and excellent ravioli on the lovely main square. Have a glass of limoncino (lemon liqueur). Moderate

For more on dining in Italy, check out the 5th edition of Eating & Drinking in Italy: Italian Menu Translator and Restaurant Guide.