Where to Eat in Havana

Here are 5 great places to dine when you’re in Havana:

1- Paladar Doña Eutimia: A great little gem in Old Havana. Be sure to start off with a mojito frappe, it’s their specialty.

2- Rio Mar Restaurant: Amazing setting and superb seafood.  The restaurant is located in the  neighbourhood of Mirama and there are wonderful views of the river and the Malecón seawall.

Rio Mar

3- Ivan & Justo: Not only will you enjoy the freshness of the food but you’ll love the décor. Try the ceviche de pescado or the tacos de la casa, our two faves.

Ivan and Justo

4- 304 O’Reilly: This restaurant isn’t hard to find as the name is the address in Old Havana. Owner José Carlos learned how to cook from his grandmother and has a passion for food and art which is evident when you step inside. Have a Caesar, it’s made from scratch.

304 O'reilly

5- El Litoral: Enjoy a healthy buffet or their à la carte menu. Not hungry? Have a cappuccino outside and enjoy a view of the water.

El Litoral

 

Things to See & Do in San Diego

SEE:

The Lodge at Torrey Pines

Kilt-clad doormen greet you and open the doors to a Craftsman-style lobby that features original art, furniture, and wood paneling. Even if you’re not staying there, it’s worth stopping by to soak in the atmosphere. And since it’s San Diego, the weather’s probably beautiful.

Torrey Pines Lodge

Photography by Angela Auclair

 

Torrey Pines Gliderport

Watch colorful gliders fill the air like a flock of soaring birds, going where the wind takes them.

Gliders

Photography by Angela Auclair

 

SHOP:

Newport Avenue, Ocean Beach

Right where the road ends and the beach begins, enjoy browsing numerous antique stores. It’s an eclectic scene and, whether you’re a surfer or a shopper, there’s plenty to do and see.

Silhouettes

Shop Silhouettes in the Antique Area. Photography by Angela Auclair

 

Progress:

Housed in part of an old trolley station (you can see the tracks), this is a South Park gem. Everything in Progress is thoughtfully chosen, regardless of size or price. So linger on a custom sofa as you thumb through a copy of “The Manly Art of Knitting”.

Progress

Photography by Angela Auclair

 

Jamaica: Top Spots in Montego Bay

Montego Bay has more than a few temptations. Here are 6 reasons (beyond spectacular beaches, lovely people and great food!) to visit now.

1. Pamper yourself with a leisurely massage at the Ferntree Spa, the ultimate relaxation experience at Half Moon RockResort.

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The Ferntree Spa at Half Moon RockResort.
Photography by Angela Auclair

2. Don’t miss the sunset at Doctor’s Cave Beach. The long pier seems never-ending, just like the legendary sunset.

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The pier at Doctor’s Cave Beach.
Photography by Angela Auclair

3. As far as haunted mansions go, Rose Hall Great Hall is the most notorious and the most beautiful one in Jamaica. Annie Palmer (aka White Witch) is the local spectre. It’s said she murdered all her husbands here, one-by-one. If you’re not afraid, you’ll enjoy a tour of the tastefully decorated interiors.

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Rose Hall Great Hall
Photography by Angela Auclair

4. Immerse yourself in Jamaican culture and art at the Old Fort Craft and Heritage Park. Meet artisans and crafters and find something unique to love and bring home.

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Handmade crafts at Old Fort Craft and Heritage Park
Photography by Angela Auclair

5. Located at the centre of Montego Bay and amongst the cobblestone streets of Sam Sharpe Square are heritage structures dedicated to Jamaica’s national hero, Samuel Sharpe. Samuel spoke out against slavery and was eventually tried and hung after the rebellion to abolish slavery failed. His bravery lives on.

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Heritage sculptures at Sam Sharpe Square
Photography by Angela Auclair

6. Take a walk through history when you visit this authentic sugar plantation at Greenwood Great House. The home features most of the original furniture and some rare musical instruments.

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Greenwood Great House
Photography by Angela Auclair

Jamaica: Top Spots in Ochos Rios

Ochos Rios is the ideal antidote to winter. Here are 6 warm reasons to visit now.

1. In 1955, the famed English playwright, Noël Coward purchased a retreat 1,200 feet above Blue Harbour for $150. Here he would build a simple house, which he named Firefly. The hilltop property boasts incredible views of the north coast of Jamaica which is open to the public for exploring.

Statue of Noel Coward at Firefly Photography courtesy Angela Auclair

Statue of Noel Coward at Firefly
Photographed by Angela Auclair

2. Famous for its Jam-Italian fusion cuisine, the restaurant Evita’s has hosted many celebrities including Princess Margaret and Brad Pitt. The menu celebrates creativity and has garnered a reputation as “the best little pasta house in Jamaica”.

Contributor Nicholas Rosaci poses with Evita and a Chef. Photographed by Angela Auclair

Contributor Nicholas Rosaci poses with Evita and Chef in the kitchen at Evita’s.
Photographed by Angela Auclair

3. Right outside Ochos Rios are the breathtaking Dunn’s River Falls, which are over 600 meters high and cascade through steps of crystal clear water into the Caribbean Sea. Be brave and climb the falls at Jamaica’s most famous water attraction or be led in a human chain by an experienced Falls Guide.

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Climb Dunn’s River Falls alone or with a Falls Guide.
Photography by Angela Auclair

4. Wassi Art is the premier place for a one of a kind Jamaican pottery. Local artists create beautifully sculpted and painted merchandise in plain view of their audience. If you are looking for something special, it’s worth spending an afternoon right here.

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See pottery being made first hand at Wassi Art.
Photography by Angela Auclair

5. Located on the Good Hope Plantation, David Pinto’s Ceramic Art Studio offers an immersive and educational look into the fundamentals of ceramic making. David’s world recognized work ranges from clay teacup to spectacular life size objects of art.

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Meet David and his team at David Pinto’s Ceramic Art Studio.
Photography by Angela Auclair

Jamaica: Top Spots in Negril

Jamaica’s top cities are top of our bucket list after seeing these great photos by Angela Auclair. Nicholas Rosaci shares his fave stops along the way!

1. Atop a limestone cliff, 12 colourful cottages make up Jamaica’s famous Caves – one of the best places to stay in Jamaica. This oceanfront resort has a tropical reef system that comes right up to the edge of the cliff and is one of the most beautiful places to dive and explore marine life. Cutouts in the ancient fossilized walls allow for the brave to dive up to 50 feet into the clear aqua water.

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Photography by Angela Auclair

2. Spend a late afternoon sipping a Red Stripe beer while you rock out to live reggae music at Rick’s Café. Watch experienced cliff divers show off their acrobatic talents as they fearlessly jump 30 feet into the seawater below. Even better, bare witness to a few brave tourists attempts.

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Photography by Angela Auclair

3. It’s worth climbing the narrow stairs of the historic Negril Lighthouse to experience the most famous sunset around. Be sure to tip the caretaker for helping you make your way up the (somewhat frightening) trip to the top.

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Photography by Angela Auclair

3 Days in Savannah

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Day 1

MORNING Have a light breakfast at your hotel, you’ll want to save room for lunch.

MID-MORNING Make it a design day. Start at Forsyth Park and enjoy the majestic fountain before you stroll along Bull Street to West Jones Street for some shopping.

12 NOON Get in line early (10:30-11:00 am) because you won’t want to miss family style dining at Mrs. Wilkes Dining Room.

AFTERNOON After a large meal, take a walk through the Design District on Whitaker Street. Visit One Fish, Two Fish, Arcanum and No. Four Eleven.

LATE AFTERNOON Book a tour at Mercer House and enjoy the interiors (and the tiny garden) so deliciously described in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Shop the Mercer Carriage Store for goodies to take back home.

EVENING Once you’ve walked off your lunch and gained an appetite again, have a delicious urban-style meal at Local 11 Ten.

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Day 2

MORNING Have a tasty breakfast at B. Matthew’s on East Bay Street.

MID-MORNING Continue along East Bay Street and shop the Factors Walk towards City Market.

12 NOON You must be hungry again? Stop for a cheesy slice at Vinnie Van Go-Go.

AFTERNOON Dedicate at least three hours to shopping on Broughton Street.

LATE AFTERNOON Coffee time. Make it a café au lait at The Paris Market & Brocante.

EVENING Head back towards East Bay Street for a lovely meal and great views at Vic’s On the River.

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Day 3

MID-MORNING If you’ve got time for a day trip you won’t want to miss Tybee Island.

12 NOON Enjoy some fresh seafood at the Crab Shack: “Where the elite eat and shop in their bare feet.”

AFTERNOON Lounge on the beach and take advantage of the Savannah sun.

EVENING Return to Savannah for a fabulous meal at the Olde Pink House. If you don’t see a ghost there, take a late night Ghost Walking Tour.

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Savannah: Top 5 Travel Destinations

1  For low-country seaside it’s is a quick drive to Tybee Island.  Visit the Crab Shack: “Where the elite eat in their bare feet”. On your way back, stop at the entrance of Fort Pulaski and see fisherman catching trout at the Cockspur Island Bridge. If you go at dusk, you might see a herd of white-tailed deer grazing in the marshes.

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2  Seen the movie, read the book, know the story?  Tour the Mercer House in Monterey Square and you’ll enter the real-life setting of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. The historic home still showcases much of Jim William’s collection of fine furniture, art and accessories.

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Mercer House

3  Looking for affordable souvenirs? The City Market has plenty. Plus  restaurants, bars, art, galleries and a little touristy shopping.

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4  If you plan to shop River Street wear comfortable shoes to navigate the cobblestone streets. Start at the top of the hill and visit the antique stores and restaurants at Factors Walk. 

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The Cotton Exchange

5  Perhaps North America’s earliest urban planning, Savannah’s squares (21 in total)  form a smart  grid and have been a backdrop to countless films including Robert Redford’s Conspirator.

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Forsyth Park

 

3 Days in Barcelona

Day 1

MORNING Take in a late breakfast at Bar Lobo then stroll down La Rambla and marvel at the crowds and abundant shopping. Crossing into the city’s oldest neighbourhoods the pace slows, which suits architecture buffs who will enjoy the views of medieval buildings en route to Picasso Museu. With an impressive collection and equally magnificent surroundings you’ll need a minimum of two hours for the experience. The adjoining gift shop is lovely as well.

12 NOON Return to La Rambla and wind your way to Mercat Bouqueria where bustling doesn’t quite describe the market scene; it’s more of a contact sport. Inside, grab a stool at Universal Kiosk and enjoy light tapas that is fresh, fast and reasonably priced.

EVENING It would hardly be a trip to Spain without a little Flamenco dancing, so ask your concierge to recommend a show before dinner.

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Day 2

MORNING Immerse yourself in Gaudí’s Barcelona today. Purchase a Hop On, Hop Off bus pass or hire a knowledgeable, private guide to lead you through the primary sites.

LATE AFTERNOON With a serious dose of culture under your belt, it’s time for some guilt-free shopping on Passeig de Gràcia. There are hundreds of shops to visit and nearly as many tapas and wine bars, so pace yourself.

EVENING No doubt exhausted from the day’s festivities, make time for a siesta so you’ll be awake for a late night dinner at one of our recommendations.

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Day 3

MORNING A light breakfast is all you’ll need this morning and a trip to Caelum’s for coffee and a pastry is sure to satisfy.

MID-MORNING Brush up on your Catalan cooking skills with Cook and Taste. Since you’re in the neighbourhood anyway, don’t forget to visit the nearby Roman ruins.

AFTERNOON There’s more shopping in the Born neighbourhood and no reason to hurry back since dinner is late tonight anyway. Save the rest of the day for aimless exploring.

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3 Days in New Orleans

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Dabble’s Perfect New Orleans Itinerary

Day 1

MORNING If you’re staying at Soniat House or the Ritz-Carlton, breakfast is covered. Otherwise, head to the French Quarter and order a chocolate filled or straight up croissant from Croissant D’Or Patisserie. This will surely give you the fuel required to explore and shop the Quarter for the rest of the day. 617 Ursulines Avenue. (504) 524-4663

NOON The courtyard at Cafe Amelie is a perfect spot to lunch before continuing to prowl the Quarter. Once fortified, take a tour of Hermann-Grima house with its 19th century charm. Next, head to the French Market for souvenirs and end the afternoon with the best margarita in the world (yes, the world) at El Gato Negro.

EVENING Taking the streetcar to Upperline is a trip highlight. Getting a warm greeting from the owner makes you feel like a local and a VIP.

Day 2

MORNING Work up an appetite with a 40 minute stroll from the French Quarter to Magazine Street. Once there, breakfast is guilt-free, so stop at the first bakery. Or, cab it to Velvet and indulge in a Spanish latte and a tea cake (aka mini-cupcake). Either way, use the street-by-street guide (above) and shop ’til you drop. 5637 Magazine Street. (504) 450-2129

NOON Sure, it’s a few blocks off Magazine Street but no obstacle is too great for a chance to eat at Atchafalaya. If fried green tomatoes sound intriguing, this is the place to try them. Don’t linger if you plan to see Lafayette Cemetery (in nearby Garden District) as it closes by 3:00 pm.

AFTERNOON There’s more Magazine Street to explore and once that’s finished, stroll the adjacent Garden District with its antebellum homes and star appeal.

EVENING Fish lovers should try GW Fins and pork lovers, Cochon. Either way, end the evening with the joyful music coming from Frenchman Street.

Day 3

MORNING Decision time…is it a day-trip to Oak Alley Plantation or a wander through the National WWII Museum? Oh heck, try to fit them both in. You can rest when you’re back home. Head to the plantation first, then take a cab to the museum and start the tour with lunch in one of the on-site restaurants.

EVENING Finish the New Orleans culinary tour with dinner at Louisiana Bistro. The inventive menu changes frequently. Post dinner, take one last stroll through the French Quarter and Bourbon Street if you’re so inclined.

3 Days in Budapest

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Day 1

MORNING Spend your first day in Pest and enjoy the flat terrain as you wander it most impressive sites. Start with a hearty breakfast of apple strudel and strong coffee at Első Pesti Rétesház just steps from the Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Palace and St. Stephen’s Basilica— two destinations at the top of your itinerary today.

MID-MORNING Wander towards the Gothic Revival style Hungarian Parliament Building near the edge of the Danuble. The red star of communism was removed from the central steeple in 1990 and today the building is a symbol of Hungary’s solidarity. It’s worth a short side trip to cross over to the edge of the Danube from the Parliament Building and locate the Shoes on the Danube Promenade.

NOON A tour of the Dohány Street Great Synagogue is a moving and sobering experience. Professional guides provide historic context and point out the area’s most moving monuments.

AFTERNOON Next, hop a street car and exit at the Great Market Hall. Surely, you’re hungry by now? Order a cold beer and sausage with sauerkraut before taking in the souvenirs on display.

EVENING Stroll along picturesque Andrássy útca en route to dinner and an opera. Café Callas neighbours the Hungarian State Opera House so you’ll have time to eat and make the 7:00 pm curtain.

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Day 2

MORNING Have an early breakfast at your hotel before heading to the Ecseri Flea Market. Hunt for vintage Herend porcelain and fine art oil paintings among rustic outdoor stands.

Dabble Savvy: Bring cash and expect to bargain.

LUNCH Ask the cab to drop you at Buda Castle and you’re steps from Alabárdos Étterem and a truly memorable meal. Authentic home cooking tastes even better served on fine Herend china.

AFTERNOON Buda Castle’s majestic Hungarian National Gallery is the premier place to appreciate Hungary’s artistic achievements. The paintings rival Europe’s finest and a knowledgeable guide brings the experience to life.

MID-AFTERNOON For culture of a different varietal, the cellars of Királyi Borok are steps from Buda Castle.

EVENING Dinner at Café Kör is simply a must.

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Day 3

MORNING Spend the morning shopping in the folksy village of Szentendre, a mere 30 minutes from the city centre. Stay for lunch and then grab a cab back into town.

AFTERNOON What trip to Budapest would be complete without a visit to the Gellért Baths? Don’t forget your bathing suit and bring a towel from your hotel.

EVENING It’s hard to resist the romantic pull of a Danube River cruise. There are dozens of boats leaving at various times, so ask your concierge for a recommendation. For those who prefer dry land, a meal at Gundel is memorable.

3 Days in Charleston

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Day 1

MORNING Wake up early and start your day with an espresso and decadent pastry at Caviar and Bananas on George Street. Fortified, you’re ready to walk the entire Design District. Even with frequent stopping and lingering it won’t take more than three to four hours to shop ‘til you drop. Make sure to sample the honeys at Savannah Bee Company.

NOON Once you’ve worked up an appetite, have a casual lunch at Fast and French on Broad Street. A soup, sandwich and glass of wine come in around $10 so you’ll have funds for shopping. After lunch, take a horse and carriage ride down King Street and enjoy a guided historic tour. Stop at the Nathaniel Russell House or Calhoun Masion to learn more about Antebellum homes.

EVENING Eat an early dinner at FIG and you’ll have plenty of time to watch the sun set at Waterfront Park. Or, if you’re visiting in the spring or fall, take one of the Home and Garden Tours. Prepare yourself for three hours of walking. You’ll want a comfortable pair of walking shoes and a flashlight for evening tours.

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Day 2

MORNING If you are staying in the lovely Charleston Place Hotel, you’ll want to enjoy breakfast at your hotel before heading out for a day at the plantations. Hop in your rental car and take a one hour drive to Middleton Place. Linger in the gardens.

12 NOON A lowcountry lunch at the Middleton Place Restaurant is a hearty affair, but may be worth the extra hole in your belt. If you have energy after lunch head to the nearby Magnolia Plantation and enjoy their tour as well.

EVENING Head back to Charleston for a tasty dinner on East Broad Street. Try the shrimp and grits at SNOB or the oysters at Pearlz and then take a stroll on Vendue Street and finish the day with a scoop from Paolo’s Gelato.

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Day 3

MORNING It may be a good morning to sleep in and that’s just an excuse for brunch. High Cotton is an excellent choice and it’s just cross the street from the city’s best kitchen shop and cooking classes at Charleston Cooks. If you’d like to take a class, arrange it ahead of time.

AFTERNOON Spend the remainder of the afternoon poking around the city’s art galleries or finish your souvenir shopping at City Market.

EVENING It’s easier to stroll on the sidewalk of the French Quarter since cobblestone streets are tough to negotiate. Afterwards, take in the theatre at the Footlight Players.

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New Orleans Food Guide

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Where to Eat

Cafe Amelie: A courtyard table at Cafe Amelie is just about the best seat in town. Order a leafy green salad and tall iced tea if you’re ready for a break from heavier southern fare. 912 Royal Street. (504) 779-5188

Upperline: The impeccable service, homey atmosphere and personal greeting by owner, JoAnn Clevenger, contribute to his position. But, at the end of the day, it’s all about the food and there’s none better. 1413 Upperline Street. (504) 891-9822

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Central Grocery: It’s difficult to argue with foodies who insist Central Grocery is still the best muffaletta in town. Join the lineup at this humble Sicilian grocer, order the famous stacked sandwich to go and share it with a friend once you find a vacant bench by the nearby Mississippi River. 923 Decatur Street. (504) 523-1620

GW Fins: Exceptional service (a uniformed waiter discreetly swaps a white napkin for black to avoid lint transfer to dark pants) and divine seafood make GW Fins a winner. The feast begins with buttery biscuits, so sweet it feels like having dessert first. Try the scalibut, a scallop topped halibut dish. 808 Bienville Street. (504) 581-FINS PS. Thanks to our waiter, Karl, for recommending Two Sisters, an authentic soul food restaurant in Treme . 613 Royal Street. (504) 522-7261

Atchafalaya: If you’ve never heard of boudin stuffed quail, order it anyway. No visit to Atchafalaya is complete without this local dish. Husband and wife team Rachel Jaffe and Tony Tocco opened three years ago and there’s been a lineup ever since. 901 Louisiana Avenue. (504) 891-9626

Louisiana Bistro: The mood is merry and maybe that’s because diners trust Chef Mars to dazzle the palate with his oft-changing menu. Order whatever the waiter recommends and enjoy a first-rate meal. 337 Rue Dauphine. (504) 525-3335

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Where to Drink

El Gato Negro: In a town famous for its syrupy mixed drinks, the handmade, fresh fruit margaritas at El Gato Negro really stand out. Consider a contemporary combination of pineapple and cilantro or opt for muddled fruit like blackberry, blueberry or strawberry, which renders the thick straw useless. There’s a foodie in the kitchen, so stay for dinner. 81 French Market Place. (504) 525-9752

Cochon: Those desiring a truly southern experience will surrender to the promise of moonshine served nightly at Cochon. Well-loved for their pork specialties, Cochon serves an authentic spread of Cajun and German dishes. Try the pork cheeks if you can get past the name, the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender. As for the moonshine…let’s just say it’s an acquired taste. 930 Tchoupitoulas Street. (504) 588-2123

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What to Experience

New Orleans Cooking Experience: We loved this hands on experience. Most teachers are local chefs like Frank Brigtsen of Brigtsen’s Restaurant. Jackie ‘Boo’ Macomber peppers her classes with colourful commentary and Chiqui Collier can only be described as a ‘hoot’. 2275 Bayou Road. (504) 945-9104

Meltdown: On hot days the gourmet popsicles at Meltdown go down pretty easy. Show up early if you want the popular chocolate sea salt with pistachios. Or try the more adventurous cucumber, kefir and lime. 508 Dumaine Street. (504) 301-0905