If the Walls Could Talk at Restaurante Botin in Madrid

On Calle de los Cuchilleros, near Madrid’s Plaza Mayor, sits Restaurante Botin. Opened in 1725, it purports to be the be the world’s oldest continuously operating restaurant, and even has a couple of prominently displayed Guiness World Record certificates to prove it. Because of this distinction, as well as the fact that they serve some of the best roast suckling pig in this part of Spain, the place is consistently packed with tourists and locals alike.

If you’re going to experience the world’s oldest restaurant, do it right. Arrange a tour, one where you get to explore all the nooks and crannies of the place before it opens for the day–and, of course, one that includes a sampling of multiple courses from Botin’s menu. 

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Sunday Night at Galatoire’s

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Years ago, on a crowded night in the French Quarter, we had no reservations for dinner and seemingly no prospects of eating anything worthwhile, having been firmly rebuffed by every hostess desk within walking distance of our hotel. All, that is, except for Galatoire’s. With its “no reservations” policy for the downstairs dining room (and that is the place to be), you’ve got an equal opportunity shot of getting into Galatoire’s.

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Feasting on Manna Korean in North Austin

On a recent Saturday in downtown Austin, everyone was moving. Sidewalks were teeming with UT kids, happy to have reached the weekend. Panting joggers darted through intersections. Scullers zipped under the Congress Avenue Bridge that spans Lady Bird Lake (formerly Town Lake). We, on the other hand, just needed some lunch. Preferably Asian in nature. And hopefully very close by, since it was going on 2:00 p.m., which for our family is a time so late in the day as to cause panic, hallucination and temporary vision and hearing loss if we have not yet eaten our second meal by then.

SIRI “suggested” a Mama Fu’s Asian House close by. We had never eaten at a Mama Fu’s. A little over a year ago, the chain opened its first location in Houston on West Gray, and, with 6 locations in Austin, it’s already a pervasive presence there. Great, then–lunch was settled.

Well, not so fast…

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Via Emilia in The Woodlands

Do we throw around an expression like “gracious service” these days? And is there a scarcity of places that provide it? In an age when some of the best upscale dining seems to require the symbols of self-consciously “unselfconscious” informality (sleeve tattoos, chef-owners in ball caps, exposed bricks and beams, communal tables, menus full of undecipherable sharing plates to be eaten in who knows what order), it’s nice to find a place that is going against the grain. Career waiters in ties? A straightforward menu? How daring! And the well-presented dishes taste like recipes from Mama. (Because they are.)

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Delicious Detours: You Want to Eat at Guy’s

You do want to eat lunch at Guy’s Oyster Bar in downtown Amite, Louisiana.

When you are heading north on I-55 from around Hammond, Louisiana, not long before you reach the Mississippi border, look for the Amite exit. Yes, Guy’s is a bar, and it’s a little dark in there, and there are die-hard patrons perched on the stools who may give you a little glance upon entering. Yes, there is lots of kitschy memorabilia and there are a few politically pointed signs and posters.

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A Visit to Hahn Winery and Our Pinot Noir Picks from the Santa Lucia Highlands & Beyond

A trip to the Monterey Peninsula would not be complete without an excursion to the nearby wine country of the Santa Lucia Highlands. I had done the research, but it wasn’t until we actually touched down in San Francisco that our group was able to come together and figure out which day was going to work with our schedule. So I was in baggage claim, propping up suitcases and golf clubs and coats and purses with one arm, when I made the call to David at Hahn Winery, hoping he could offer us a full-fledged tour that involved more than just a tasting. David did not disappoint.

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Hello, Gorgeous: California’s Monterey Peninsula is a Head-Turner Without Even Trying

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If Monterey Peninsula were a woman, she’d be the one that all the others envy. The one who doesn’t give much thought to hair or clothes or makeup. For her, it all just comes together effortlessly, a unique kind of beautiful that you can’t get from poring over the fashion boards on Pinterest. Like the Kate Upton character in last year’s female revenge comedy, The Other Woman:

“You smell amazing! What is that?”

(Pause) “I think it’s just sweat.”

That’s Monterey Peninsula. The gorgeous seems to ooze from every rock and tree and wave. Continue reading

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