Miami is constantly reinventing itself, and over the past year, I discovered that Coconut Grove - hip and cool 30 years ago, then declasse and "tired," has been remaking itself in the classic "boom-bust-and-boom" Miami style. Its funky, artsy personality remains as glass-wrapped high rises line up along South Bayshore Drive. Here's more of what to find today in Miami.
Bo CaPhe is a delicious Vietnamese-American restaurant in New York's Soho, where you should go for real Vietnamese food - and some yummy American eating, too.
One of the pleasures of living in South Florida and the West are the small neighborhood restaurants featuring regional cuisines. So in Dallas, searching for something more inventive near Love Field, we discovered Gloria's Latin Cuisine, whose menu blends Salvadorean specialties and Tex-Mex fare and their cross-over, called "Salvatex." That means meats carefully marinaded in aromatic spices before grilling, additions of yuca, Spanish rice, grilled vegetables and sweet fried plaintains along with the traditional Southwestern fare that includes tacos, enchiladas, beans and pico de gallo. Salvadorean food is distinctive for its Mayan, Spanish and Native American influences.
If you travel to cities with great museums, enjoying them like a local refines the experience. On a tip from another Womantraveler, I joined the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City with a reasonably priced "National Associate" membership. Then, after more research, I discovered that certain museums closer to home provide reciprocal memberships with those across the country, so, for example, my membership to San Francisco's Museum of Modern Art admits me to the new Whitney in Manhattan's Meatpacking District, the Guggenheim and more than 30 others in the US and Canada.
Everyone wants to be close to clients for quick travel across downtown DC, but I've been trending toward a few hotels - both downtown and on the edges - that stand out for personalized service, often offer more spacious rooms, are usually quieter and still afford easy access to anywhere in the nation's capital. Here's why I recommend The River Inn, Sofitel at Lafayette Square and Ritz Carlton Pentagon City...
Rohini Dey's story as a former McKinsey and World Bank executive-turned-restaurateur of Vermilion in Chicago and New York showcases how a female entrepreneur can realize her big vision with both smarts and verve. Vermilion melds Indian and Latin culinary worlds - which though worlds apart makes a lot of sense, not only in concept but in experience. Check out the Peninsula Hotel for an elegant evening and the dependable South Water Kitchen.
The River Inn is a longtime stalwart in the Foggy Bottom part of DC, now renovated as a European-style all-suite "luxury boutique hotel." Having been a habitue over the years of the hotel, for all these reasons, along with the comparable price and the quiet townhouse-filled neighborhood, I'd consider it a competitive choice to better-known properties like The Ritz Carlton locations.
When you're a business womantraveler on the road with a transition day between meetings, what do you do? Fly back home and start out again before dawn the next morning? Or, take a more creative path - find the nearest lap of luxury and spoil yourself for a day? I chose the Ballantyne Hotel and Lodge in Charlotte, N.C. It's tempting to take the easy path - stay on the plane and stick to the routine. Putting together the alternative, the "take care of yourself" option, requires more research, creativity and budget.
As a womantraveler now working from the West Coast, I'm always in search of a convenient East Coast rendezvous to catch up with longtime friends. Surprisingly, Philadelphia has moved far up the list.
Despite frequent trips to Paris, I had always taken the Eiffel Tower for granted. Both awesome and flamboyant, it's always in the distant background in the City of Light. But during this trip the Eiffel Tower was a friendly a good neighbor just a few blocks away -- always in sight out the window, glowing warmly at night and shimmering each hour on the hour after dark with stunning drama and poise. The 7th Arrondissement along and around Rue Saint-Dominique was a perfect home base for a week with the girlfriends, an upscale but not pretentious neighborhood, where one of the girlfriends found a well-appointed apartment, fittingly, from Paris Perfect.