In an age of distraction, nothing can feel more luxurious than paying attention.

Pico Iyer


A close listen in a conversation can reveal all the detail of a great date. Luckily for you, I have a cheat sheet of all my favorite places.



NYC – A big apple in many flavors.

Weekend brunch on a sailboat enjoying oysters on the half shell and Champs at Grand Banks,

An evening tour of European wines by the glass at Aldo Sohm or bourbon or martini at Bemelman’s.

Dim Sum Sunday? Check out Golden Unicorn or Jing Fong

Tacos at Tacombi. Italian at Bad Roman or Maialino. Spanish at Casa Mono or my fav, Bar Jamon. Pig Beach is calling for all things bbq.

Perhaps a night cap at the Rose Bar or Salon De Ning?


The Park Hyatt is pretty damn awesome and you can’t beat the Four Seasons. Head down to Wall Street, the Beekman is chic. You get the steamy picture… so to speak.


Charleston – Southern, earthy charm makes a Yankee feel at home.

One of my favorite southern cities, Charleston. Y’all have a part of my heart. The low country charm, sophisticated cuisine. Dinner at Wild Olive or The Ordinary? They have the best fried oyster sandwich. Let’s enjoy reggae, beer and ramen at Chico Feo. A lighter lunch at Leon’s – listen to blues, dine on a shrimp roll to die for, with potato chips for that extra crunch and freshest Asian style salads with their famous chicken. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Mt. Plastic, ehem…Pleasant. The Shellmore is small but welcoming to those looking for bespoke cuisine without the pretense.

Let’s get down in the low country.


Carmel – California dreamin’ on any delicious day.

The only reason to love California…said a right coaster. The Carmel/Monterrey area, which technically is part of Big Sur, is a peaceful, goooorgeous slice of heaven. We can start with fresh palates, and wine taste at Boekenoogen, a family owned winery dating back to the 1840s, who started as cattle farmers. Lets enjoy an intimate lazy lunch at La Balena or Roux after a fun day at Laguna Seca or hiking at Point Lobos. I feel the need…the need for speed! Wind down the day with dinner at Bernardus in the Valley, or the cozy Cafe Rustica.


The Carmel Valley Ranch is nestled in the valley, with vineyard views, bathtubs on decks of certain suites with two-sided fireplaces and gorgeous bathrooms. Their bath products are heavenly, made with lavender grown on site. Though I haven’t stayed there, the Quail Lodge is also recommended, especially for golfers. The Highlands Inn, has breathtaking views but warning – the rooms are outdated.


Chicago – Blows me away in with culinary magic.

Admittedly, its been about 6 years since I’ve visited the Windy City. However, it is on my list of places to visit post-pandemic. Let’s go Americana at the the RL Grill. The Manager’s special – steak tartare with jalepenos is to DIE for. Chi is a slice of foodie heaven. The best burger (topped with foie) is at Au Cheval. RIP, Everest.

Let’s not forget that Chicago is a sports’ lovers town. My eastern European heritage appreciates sausage and onions from a ball park or hockey rink.

I love surprises. Let’s paint the town red, while you show me your city.


Jackson Hole – Magical epicurean playground.

My favorite little city in the US. Amazing restaurants – Snake River Grill , Piste and White Buffalo Club. Persephone’s has the most delicious breakfast and casual lunch staples. Don’t forget to try their hot chocolate!

As cliche as it is, do go to the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar for live music and to get your shoes shined. I hope the cobbler is still there. He’s 3rd generation and LOVES his job. Last but certainly not least, the Wort Hotel is a great way to round out the night.


Philadelphia – The city of brotherly love lives up to its name with some fabulous hotels and dining.

I lived here before moving to NYC 15 years ago. Many underestimate it but Stephen Starr, Jose Garces, Greg Vernick, Michael Solomonov and Steve Cook and old school South Philly, keep the epicurean love growing.

Favorites places: Abe Fisher’s for THE best chicken, Parc, A Kitchen and Bar, Butcher & Singer. Vernick. Best bakery: K’Far for Jerusalem bagels or Haegele’s – family -owned German bakery with amazingly fresh desserts.

Best local bars: Ray’s Happy Birthday Bar and the Rooster.


Minneapolis – Old school food scene with many twists.

The twin cities are worth a mention. I visit several times a year. I love its old school flavor mixed with modern cuisine. The St. Paul Grill is my go-to. The bartender gave me her secret recipe for curing a cold….and they have a fantastic chicken pot pie. We can sink our teeth into a Juicy Lucy…let’s head over to Matt’s! I’m also down for a trip to Stillwater – the birth place of Minnesota! Show me your Minnesota. It’s been awhile.


Boston – East Coast Prep meets Nana.

I don’t consider Boston a foodie city, but there are some wonderful gems in the city and the suburbs. I have explored this gem of a city a little more, thanks to some very savvy friends and family.

For the Parisian feel on Boyleston, check out Bistro Du Midi. The venison tartare is to die for! Have a hankering for oysters? Don’t miss out on Neptune Oyster bar while in the city but get there before they open. There is always a line. Last but certainly not least, take a short trip over to Cambridge and check out the haute but unpretentious cuisine and wine list of Oleana. A well-curated wine list and fabulous small-dishes will leave you feeling impressed.



Vinotta and Stazione di Federal on Moody. Stazione can make your martini with Eleni gin, the smoothest gin from Piedmont Italy. It was made by a winemaker for his wife, Eleni, who hates wine.


Moving To Waltham’s neighbor, Newton/Chestnut Hill. Let’s take you shopping. Mr. Sid’s is MtM heaven for any man who appreciates style. Ask for Stuart Siegel.


Do not miss out on Sycamore . Scott the bartender is happy to make a bespoke cocktail and the menu is light and fresh. Chestnut Hill has Capital Grille on Thursday’s (standing room only). Chef Dave’s, The Street, is small and exclusive, my friend’s husband is the chef, fresh off the boat from Italy, so you are guaranteed to have an amazing meal. The courses at all of these suburban restaurants are expedited from pan to plate, a welcome change from typical dining.


Staying in Burlington? Capital Grille is convenient and always a good time. Eddie V’s has the best bar scene with live music. Craving Indian? Head to Bedford, the neighboring town, to Holi. Early Harvest Diner for fresh breakfast/lunch in Wakefield, is a MUST. La Fina in Andover – a finer dining experience without the pretense.

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