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This is still a WIP (consider it v1.0)

Toptable is your friend – check here before you venture to anywhere upmarket, they have great deals (like 25% off if you are out the door by 7)

$ Borough Market – if you´re a foodie, this is heaven. GO EARLY (get there by 10) you can eat there or buy food and make a picnic (weather permitting)

$$ Levant – beautiful restaurant, good Middle Eastern food. Skip the seafood platter and get the meat.

$-$$ Lots Road Pub – good for lunch, brunch or dinner. What a gastropub should be. Make reservations.

$$$ Bluebird Cafe – it´s an institution but I still like it. They do a good brunch.

$$$ Nobu – the best deal is to go at lunch and have the Binto box. OR get snacks in the bar, not really worth the money for a full dinner.

$$ Electric Bar and Brasserie Notting Hill – Great people watching on Notting Hill (and good food). Excellent for brunhc/lunch

$$$ Arbutus – A reasonable Michelin Star restaurant. Worth the splurge. They do wine by carafe/half carafe as well which is cool. Book well in advance

$$ Tsunami – Excellent (reasonably priced) Japanese fusion food.

$$ The Bombay Brasserie – I had been told it was the best indian food in London and I have to say, I think I agree. It´s pricey but they do a good lunch special (14 GBP)

$$ Admiral Codrington – another good Gastrobpub. They specialize in Seafood (yum crabcakes)

$ Beirut Express – Maroush has Lebanese restaurants all over London but I usually go to the one at South Ken. The Hummus Beiruty is rocking. We generally get the shwarma sandwichs.

$ Bagels on Bricklane – 24 hours real bagels..the best thing at the end of a long night. Or a shopping break snack.

$$-$$$ Hunan – my favorite restaurant in London. There´s no menu but you will be asked for any dietary restrictions you have then then you will eat some of the best Chinese food you ever had (ask for the pork with prunes). Let Mikey pick the wine for you.

$ Dim Sum place in Bayswater – the most authentic Dim Sum we found in London.. They don´t take reservations so get there early. (I need to confirm the name with Ann)

$-$$ Jakob´s – Organic predominantly vegetarian Armenian deli/cafe (try the falafel sandwich)

Hummingbird Bakery – REALLY good cupcakes (my fav is the red velvet).

Bars:

Janet´s bar

Bohemian Kitchen on Old whatever street (need to check this one again)

Misc:

Upstart Market (Sundays only) – an indoor market for emerging clothing and accesarry designers. Some cool ethnic food stalls as well.

If you like markets, this is a good listing: http://www.streetsensation.co.uk/markets.htm

The Bar at La Gloria

The first accolade is not only based on my personal experience but also on the advice of my Liman friends. Unlike some other Pisco Sours we tried, it wasn´t too sweet or syrupy. It still packs a serious whallop, definitely the strongest cocktail I ever had. La Gloria is not cheap, even by international standards, but if you´re going to splurge on one meal in Lima – this is the place (but you can also just drink at the bar in the front room). Make sure to order the grilled calamari!! (reservations are a must)

For those who don´t know: A Pisco Sour is a cocktail which contains Pisco (a regional brandy), lemon juice, egg whites, simple syrup, and regional bitters (like Amargo bitters, though Angostura bitters work if regional bitters are unavailable).

I arrived in Buenos Aires VERY early yesterday and settled into my studio apartment I rented for a month. I think I´m in Barrio Norte but different maps seem to tell me different things… today I wandered around Recoleta and had the cheapest afternoon at the salon ever ($3 to get my brows dealt with – and it was a pretty nice place!!). Not speaking Spanish made it interesting and before I looked in the mirror I imagined myself with Greta Garbo eyebrows, which thankfully was not the case. Tomorrow I will try to sort out the Spanish lessons and SIM card (apparently I need my passport to get one..who knew?).

Luckily my corner store is run by Chinese people, otherwise I would have starved. OK, that´s an exaggeration but Mandarin did some in handy – esp when I went to pay and realized I forgot my wallet at home. The staff were pretty surprised (and entertained) to hear a gringa bust out the Putonghua .

Peruvian Potatoes

  • Lima looks similar to Sao Paulo, but safer, cleaner, nicer and with fewer bars on the windows
  • Peruvians really like salt, I mean REALLY like salt
  • Almost every restaurant we have been to serves the same style of (tasty) Chicken Soup
  • Peru is exceptionally clean, unlike in tourist towns in SEA there´s almost no garbage around
  • There are about 2000 types of potatoes and Peruanos aren´t afraid to use them
  • Being on the road is as scary, if not scarier than in China
  • All food is red, yellow, orange or white
  • There are almost no straight [single] men in Lima
  • Peruvians are pretty old school, no PDA and girls still live at home until they are married (even in the more progressive families)

As soon as we got back to Lima we met with Augusto, Angeline´s friend we´re staying with. We handed over the dirty laundry and packed to head back to his beach house. Unfortunately, it was overcast and we didn´t really make it to the beach but we did have a hard-partying weekend with Augusto and his friends. The other night there was a UFO sighting, I missed it by 2 minutes but did see something moving in the fog – I can´t really saw definitively what it was… Sunday we spent the day on Augusto´s friend`s Catamaran having lunch and a bit of a put around the bay. We got back to Lima late last night and spent today chilling. My first day of doing almost nothing and it´s been nice 🙂 I decided I don´t feel like travelling around by myself so instead of heading to Arequipa and Coca Valley I´m heading to Buenos Aires to plant myself for about a month. Instead of staying in a hostel I found a few apartments on Craigslist that I will hopefully check out once I´m there.

Bund

I will clean this up later, but this is the basic “Shanghai Email” I dole out on request.

I included addresses, but I suggest looking a place up on
Smartshanghai before you go and you can print the
address in Chinese to show the taxi driver. 
 
They also have a great interactive SH street map
 
Art Galleries
Moganshan Lu
 
Restaurants
Laris – The food here is great and the view is amazing, call in
advance and request a table by the window. It’s pricey, but worth it.
Generally considered best Western Food in Shanghai. Bar Rouge is around the corner at 8 on the Bund
in Shanghai.
Address:
6/F, 17 Guangdong Road, inside “3 on the Bund”
Crossstreet:
Zhongshan Dong Yi Road
Phone:
6321 9922

Lao Beijing (great Beijing duck) – see earlier post

Viva/Azul – Tapas
18 Dongping Lu near Hengshan lu
Tel: +86 (21) 6433 1172

Brunch at M on the Bund is always great as well.

Coconut Grove – gorgeous colonial house with great garden for eating
outside. Best Thai food in Shanghai
Address:
38 Fumin Lu (near Yanan Lu)
富民路38号

1221 – Shaghainese food
Address:
1221 Yanan Xi Road
Crossstreet:
Panyu Road
Phone:
6213 6585 6213 2441

Drinks
Sacha’s – nice colonial house – indoor and outdoor seating
(around the corner from Viva/Azul)
9 Dong Ping Road
Crossstreet:
Hengshan Road
Phone:
6474-6628

Face – A MUST. gorgeous old house with cool interior – indoor and
outdoo seating.
Address: Ruijin Guest House, 118 Ruijin Er Road
Phone: 6466 4328

Bar Rouge – Amazing view, – go early and have a drink on the deck and leave before the crowds hit around 10/11.

JZ bar – live Jazz, very relaxing
Address:
46 Fuxing Road
Crossstreet:
Yongfu Road
Phone:
6431 0169

See and Do:

  • Go to the top of the Jin Mao
  • Walk around the Old area (Yu Gardens) and go into the garden
  • Walk through the antique market (on XiZang [Tibet] road 2 blocks south
    of Huaihai road across fromt the Pet market, which is also interesting
    to check out) 
  • Massage: Green Massage is my fav, they get full so book a day ahead
    (or in the morning). A few minutes walk from XinTianDi
    tel. 5386-0222
    58 Taicang Lu
    near Jinan Lu
    太仓路58号
    近济南路
    Open 10:30am-2am

ghostmovieinsohonewyorkkf7.jpg

Back in Beantown Jeanette and I would go on to priceline, find a deal on a decent hotel and drive down to NYC for the weekend every couple months. After moving to Asia, I would route my trips home through NYC and Lisa and I carried on the tradition of NYC weekends. As we got older, these weekends got a lot less wild, but it’s still one of my favorite cities to spend a weekend. Saturdays are the best day to be there.

  1. Cab/walk down to Soho and have breakfast in one of the little cafes (I like the ones on Mulberry St)
  2. After the feed, walk down Prince St. There’s an open air ‘market’ [read: card tables on the sidewalk] between  Mott & Mulberry St
  3. Continue on and wander around the side-streets.
  4. Meander up to the Union Square farmers market (or Broadway is a straightshot).

Bund

Needless to say there are tons of hotels in Shanghai. Below are a few between ranging between 300 to 2000RMB/night that I can vouch for.

Old House  – A boutique hotel in a restored lane house in the French Concession area. Decked out with Chinese antiques, it might be a little on the romantic side for some but it’s very fair priced and a cool experience.

Lapis Casa – Another boutique hotel, minutes walk from Xin Tian Di. Less ‘couple-y’ than the above and around the same price.

Green Tree Inn – Cheap and clean. An early attempt at decent budget hotels in China. OK location and very fair for the price (about 300RMB).

JW Marriot – No one I know stayed at the JW and was displeased. It’s pricier, but you know exactly what to expect from a Marriot and some China first-timers like that.

Le Royal Méridien Shanghai – I stayed here during their soft launch early last fall. The rooms were great (including a DVD player) the hotel restaurants are good and it’s right on People’s Square. It’s pricey now, but a nice option.

BKK Street Food

BKK is known for good food. After BBQ Chicken from food stalls on the street, these are a few of my favorite places:

Royal India–  BEST Indian food I had outside of India. VERY casual – kind of like eating in someone’s living room. The nan is amazing.

Laothai – Cheap good Thai and Lao food (and nice deck to sit outside):  Sukhumvit soi 16, #186 (tell your taxi driver Somerset Apartments, it’s another half block down on the opposite side)

Spring – YUMMY chocolate desert place:  sukhumvit soi 199, #1

Sukhothai Hotel – if you’re in BKK on a weekend, the champagne brunch is awesome. Not cheap, but they make their own truffles and have an amazing cheese table and and and..

Cabbages and Condoms – great cause, great Thai food.

Friends The Restaurant

Friends the Restaurant is a venture of Mith Samlanh Friends, one of my favorite organizations – I aspire to working with them in the future. Aside from the fact they do such amazing things for street kids and their families, the food and service was excellent – best meal we had in Cambodia. Learn more about Mith Samlanh Friends and they awesome things they do.

Flickr Photos