sinuous lines

IMG_3154The former TWA Terminal at John F. Kennedy Airport is a significant example of 20th-Century modern architecture and engineering. A masterpiece of sinuous lines actualized out of poured concrete, it was designed by the mid-century modernist Eero Saarinen. Opened in 1962 it was the final terminal built at what was then called New York International Airport, as well as one of Saarinen’s last projects. Revolutionary and influential, it was Saarinen’s intention that the terminal express the excitement of travel and “reveal the terminal as a place of movement and transition.” Fifty years after the fact it remains as exciting and forward-looking as ever. And dare I say it, soignee. When was the last time an airport – or any public building for that matter – made you feel sexy? Saarinen’s building does just that, while sweeping you up in the promise and possibility of a future that, unfortunately, never quite came to pass. After laying dormant for over a decade, it was recently announced that the terminal would be developed into a luxury hotel. Thanks to Open House New York, yesterday was one of those last-chance opportunities to experience the building in full – before getting caught up in the inevitable tide of transition.

TWA terminal


last looks: carlingford lough

Quick and dirty this weekend pit stop in Ireland has been. Oh well, I takes what I can get.lough panorama


pitstop: ireland



oops, i did it again

IMG_2279I swear I had the best of intentions, and yet this morning I managed to find myself a flaneur in Les Halles – outside E. Dehillerin (la specialiste du materiel de cuisine, depuis 1820!) like a homing pigeon returned to the roost. Who am I to argue with serendipity? Rest assured my tradition of hauling copper pots across multiple countries remains intact.


food crush



prelude to a kiss

IMG_2239Across the road from The French Laundry is what appears at first glance to be a public park. On closer inspection, however, it reveals itself as the restaurant’s extensive chef’s garden. Interestingly, it’s neither gated nor guarded, giving anyone and everyone free rein to roam the planted beds and see what a handful of lucky diners might be feasting on that evening. Tonight, one of those lucky diners is me – turning my early evening stumble into a serendipitous aperitif.


tasting time

IMG_2232Hall is one of those small-scale wineries that make tasting your way through the Napa Valley so enjoyable: intimate, artisanal, organic, they produce fourteen-odd varietals each season, two of which you might find in your local liquor store – if you’re lucky. Because they’re such a diminutive producer, the majority of their wines sell out via subscription. Which means to taste the breadth of their fabulous Cabernet, you really need to visit the St. Helena estate vineyards. Though currently in the throes of constructing a major new guest experience facility – of which I’ll tell you more later – I still got the chance to relax in the dappled sunlight of the tasting garden and sip my way through a handful of choice bottles. Cabernet is like the Chardonnay of reds: people either love it or loathe it. If your palate falls into the latter camp you might be surprised, however, by the pure and vivid flavors Hall achieves. Unfined and unfiltered, these wines are layered, expressive, and totally delicious.


in the garden with cindy

IMG_2224Chef Cindy Pawlcyn is one of the original Napa Valley trailblazers. On the eve of her pioneering eatery Mustard’s Grill celebrating it’s 30th anniversary of dishing up heaping plates of honest American fare with worldly sophistication, she took time out to take me through her gardens and sound off on what it’s like for a one-time hippie to suddenly find herself part of the establishment, the importance of educating diners about what’s on their plates, and why she can’t stand reality shows like Top Chef. Alas, you’ll have to wait until the story is published later this year; I can’t give away everything here for free.


big gay road trip



feast or famine

113987980__341337cSummer is prime time for festivals chock-a-block with regional curiosities. And since part of the adventure of traveling is trying new things, I’m usually game to try  just about anything. Here are three feasts, however, that might make me question how much is too much?

Roadkill Cook-Off, Marlinton, West Virginia. It’s not quite as disgusting as it sounds, honestly. This festival, on Saturday September 28, serves up meals made from creatures who often find themselves flattened on the side of the road. Actual roadkill isn’t used in the dishes, but visitors will be sure to get an authentic roadkill experience with sample dishes such as tacos filled with armadillo, porcupine stew and marinated bear.


BugFest, Raleigh, North Carolina. For those with an ironclad stomach (or fans of “Fear Factor”), the annual BugFest, sponsored by the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, incorporates insects and creepy crawlers in all of its featured dishes. The September 21 festival encourages participants to try bug-inspired foods prepared by local chefs, and fine-tune their entomophagy skills – that’s the practice of eating bugs. Some of last year’s popular dishes included superworm enchiladas and cinnamon-sugar crickets.

bull_ballsTesticle Festival, Clinton, Montana. The “testes festy” is an event you’ll need, um, balls for. As you’d expect, the August festival is named for the main dish being served: bull testicles. Reports from last year’s festival found that participants consumed an average of 110 pounds of bull and bison testicles – served deep-fried, beer-battered or marinated. Let me hazard a guess at the t-shirt: “I had a ball at the Testicle Festival.”


playing hooky with james turrell



birds-eye bay view

IMG_2047It’s been an enjoyable (if terse) time in and around the Monterey peninsula. (Though passing the wreckage of the Air Asiana as I arrived into SFO this morning was a doubly disturbing sight.) I can’t say I’m looking forward to trading in the cool Pacific breeze for an East Coast heat wave, yet as George Harrison is currently crooning on my iPod, “all things must pass away….”


pebble beach (no magic on 17)



chowder time

IMG_1896Unlike the tourist trap of the same name in San Francisco, the old Fisherman’s Wharf in Monterey retains a flavor of its commercial past. Sure it’s pockmarked with t-shirts shops and all manner of snow globe sellers, but dayboats still head out in the early morning hours to troll for the seasonal catch of the day – making it an arresting setting for a big bowl of seafood chowder.


a toe in the water




Proudly powered by WordPress
Theme: Esquire by Matthew Buchanan.