This is a short post, announcing my newsletter. I'll be writing about published pieces, things I've done, eaten or seen that didn't make it into pieces and will be sharing things from around the world that I read or saw that are particularly interesting. Please sign up here:
I've recently joined the team at Eater San Diego as a contributor and am thrilled to be on board! It's definitely the gold standard when it comes to food news in San Diego, so it's a great opportunity. My first two pieces for them were for Eater national's "Road Trip" week: a day-long food itinerary for Ensenada, which usually gets the shaft in favor of Tijuana and the Valle de Guadalupe, and a heatmap for Tijuana.
I contributed to three Thrillist pieces: about Baja California as a good weekend trip destination, the unwritten rules of flying and Dresden as a must-visit destination for Americans.
My friend Jim Sullivan and I headed up to Los Angeles a few weeks ago to investigate vertical farming pods for Life & Thyme. We went to Otium and had a delicious brunch before interviewing the chef and seeing how the pods work in real life. While there, Jim also shot some pictures of yours truly! I didn't shower that morning (whoops) so my hair's a little mangy.
I'm at the end of a long weekend trip home to New York, where I kicked around the city and Hamptons for a few glorious days. God, I miss it so much here, but I'm energized to get back to San Diego because that's where the work is. My time in San Diego will be short-lived, though: it's off to Spain for an entire month on the 29th! I'm also in the middle of planning a border road trip to begin doing research for a web series I'll be contributing to, as well as begin the process of formulating a border-related book proposal.
This week saw one of my big projects wind down, so I'm back in pitch mode, scouring the world for more bylines and, hopefully, another anchor client. The freelance life is constantly in flux and while I'm always in some phase of pitching, I was able to go lighter the last couple of months due to a large anchor client and many random things being assigned to me, which is always a delight. The ride never ends!
I had an essay--my first personal essay--go live at Flung Magazine, which was my first byline for them. It was about a heavy day I spent on the eastern Arizona/Sonora border and all of the tensions and contradictions therein. It reads a little sensational--mentions of El Chapo, the Sinaloa Cartel, Al Qaeda and migrant deaths--but the reality is these are facts that are part of daily life in that area of the border. I'm really quite proud of how it came out, especially since it was my first stab at this kind of writing.
I also had a feature published at Thrillist, in their national travel section, which is so exciting because that site gets a crazy amount of eyes on it. It was about my trip to Grenada--why you should go, why people haven't been going, and what you should do while there. I really like working with Thrillist--their editors are great and they've highly collaborative and accessible. They also move quickly and pay quickly, which are two things that are a bit of a rarity in this business.
A short piece of mine went live at Roads & Kingdoms, which was about drinking apple wine in Frankfurt and how surreal it was being in Europe during the first round of the French elections, particularly after our own American election last fall. That story ended up having a happy ending, but I didn't know that at the time I was experiencing it.
On the horizon is a quick trip home to New York, a lot of deadlines, some new freelance bylines and a month-long trip to Barcelona with a quick side trip to Italy to do R&D for upcoming Salt & Wind trips. With a helluva lot of pitching in between!
Pretty much my three favorite things right now!
I am anxiously waiting for many things to be published, which is always an exciting feeling--especially since it's back to the grindstone as soon as it goes live. No rest for the weary in freelance life.
The first this week was at Life & Thyme and was a story I wrote about Hog Island Oyster Company. It's my first story for L&T and my friend Jim Sullivan shot the gorgeous images from a trip we took up to Marshall, California last month. They have an inspiring company with killer product--basically, the ideal subject for any kind of food nerd. In theory, I understood what sustainable shellfish farming meant, but I didn't really understand the practicalities of it until I went up to Hog Island.
The second, at New Worlder, is an exhaustive guide to wineries in the Valle de Guadalupe--something that is surprisingly missing out in the glut of media focusing on the Valle these days. Everyone knows I love the Valle and think its one of the most exciting places to be right now, but I also think the wine has some way to go to reach extremely high quality. They're growing some good fruit down there, but some winemakers need to figure out how best to harness that. I think the Valle is an interesting challenge for traditional wine lovers who are stuck in their ways. There are weird blends and different tastes, including riffs on common varietals that just have a different twinge down there. In any case, this is your one stop shopping for all things wine in Baja. Many of the beautiful photos, including the one below, were shot by my friend Cintia Soto.
The third piece to go live was in print in Ranch & Coast's July issue. My monthly column talks about Riesling and recaps my April 2017 journey through the Rheingau, where I discovered that I'm completely obsessed with the German varietal. We have such a wrong view of it in the United States! Most of them aren't even sweet and the Rheingau's many vineyards with small production means we miss out on much of the best. I also shot the three photos used for the piece on my new mirrorless camera--below is one from one of the cellars at Kloster Eberbach.
I'm exhausted, a little sick and physically worse for the wear but writing from a very happy place: home and AFTER our inaugural Salt & Wind trip to Baja.
It was a raging success! I feel so lucky and grateful to be bringing people who would have never ventured just south of the border to Tijuana and the Valle de Guadalupe and can't wait to do it all over again. Truthfully, we had no major snafus--none of the mood killers or organizational problems that would have killed a group trip. There were some minor things that need smoothing out, as any first run of any venture will reveal, but mostly everything worked exactly the way we wanted it to. Mostly, it was so exciting to hear people's genuine excitement about the region, as well as their surprise over how fun and special they think it is.
We were able to show our new friends all of the dynamic businesses of our Baja friends: design stores, art galleries, boutique hotels, taco stands, breweries, fine dining restaurants, wineries and more. Being in San Diego, I know people here are inundated with info about Baja. I forget that outside this area, not many people know about all of the exciting things happening there, so it's a true honor to be able to showcase that. Below are some snaps from the past four days -- here's to many more!
To drum up attention and support for our upcoming trips to Baja, Aida (of Salt & Wind) and I teamed up with Feastly and Zagat 30 Under 30 chef Ted Montoya to host a series of Baja-inspired pop up dinners.
The results were great! I missed the first dinner, as I was in Germany, but was able to make it to Los Angeles for the second. The crowd was great: a mix of Salt & Wind fans, lovers of Montoya's cooking and Feastly enthusiasts, all of whom were game to try some Baja California-made wines and the inventive cooking of one of LA's most passionate up-and-coming chefs.
Mezcal brand Gem & Bolt provided the mezcal, which Montoya whipped into a cocktail called the Mezcal Daisy, which he concocted using lime agua fresca. The Gem & Bolt crew also had extra bottles on hand for straight tasting and sipping. It's a nice mezcal--the alcohol clocks in at 44% and makes a great sipper, thanks to the damiana that's added during the distilling process. I hadn't heard of them before and I'm glad that now I do.
As for the menu, Montoya made a charred caesar salad with tobiko in place of anchovies; a calle de hacho with scallops, asian pear and citrus; aguachile with cucumber-marinated shrimp done in a mix of Sinaloa and Baja style--red and green; flank steak with charred capers and white jalapenos with fresh tortillas and a mango raspado. He's a killer cook and I can't wait to see how he rises up in the ranks and takes Alta California cuisine by storm.
Also to drink were several Baja California wines: selections from Adobe Guadalupe, Finca La Carrodilla, Torres Alegre and Fluxus. The Fluxus wines were a crowd favorite--a palomino and a classic GSM.
We don't have any more dinners planned but that won't be the reality for long as we're looking to do them periodically and will plan some for San Diego, as well. Sign up for Salt & Wind's newsletters to keep abreast or contact me and follow along here.
Here are some pictures from the evening!
I think that's a clickbaity title if I've ever come up with one, no?
I arrived back from Germany this week and think I'm getting the hang of this constantly traveling, wrangling jet lag thing. I was able to get back into my routine fairly quickly. The end of my trip was spent in Berlin, where I reconnected with a good friend from high school who happened to be visiting at the same time. Berlin is a captivating city: naturally counterculture, intensely livable. I wish it were an option for us!
I am currently at Portland International Airport, waiting for my flight back to San Diego. I spent the weekend in the Tualatin Valley, checking out quirky hotels, good coffee, local food and the wonders of Oregon pinot noir. It was a treat being able to taste so much Oregon pinot & riesling, something they're known for, right on the heels of having tasted all this pinot & riesling in Germany, something that country is known for, as well.
This was another fun week for publishing. I had my very first byline at The Independent, one of the UK's largest digital publications. The city of Venice recently announced they would try to enact charging for entry into Piazza San Marco. Having witnessed similar measures in Barcelona, I think it's a bit ridiculous and doesn't adequately address the crush of tourism. I managed to sufficiently piss off the "Save Venice" internet mob, who seemed not to read the details of my piece--but are you even publishing real opinions if half the internet doesn't come after you for it? Nonetheless, I stand by it and I'm glad I wrote it.
I also had a small contribution to this Thrillist roundup of places you need to visit before you turn 30 (HA!). I wrote about Hanoi, Vietnam, where I lived for a time when I was 21.
I also wrote a short story for Roads & Kingdoms, about the centipede/marijuana/deer horn/overproof rum hooch I sampled while in Grenada a few months ago.
T-2 weeks until Salt & Wind Baja trip liftoff! Tomorrow it's off to Tijuana and Valle de Guadalupe for our final "trip before the trip."
Here are some snaps from my trip to Germany:
I cannot believe it's practically May--this time last year, I was almost a month out of my finance career, freaking out and hitting the pavement. That hasn't exactly abated, but life is busy and good and I can't believe I'm doing all of this just a year later.
I'm typing this from Dresden, one of my new favorite cities in the world. What a dynamic place--being here and experiencing its energy, it's easy to forget it's only 500,000 people. Prior to this, I spent time in Meissen, where I slept at a winery owned by an actual Prince and Princess; Frankfurt, where I drank a lot of Apple wine and walked the entirety of the city; and Ruedesheim, where I ate an ungodly amount of schnitzel and drank my face off with Riesling. Tomorrow, I head to Berlin and from there I'll fly back to California. This trip was incredible--I was on my own for most of it, which I love, and I enjoyed Germany every bit as much as I expected. Now comes the "fun" part, selling articles! I have two lined up with many more good ideas right behind it.
I had a lot published this past week. At Salt & Wind, I published a guide about what to eat in Baja California. My boss and colleague, Aida, who owns and runs the site, realized that nothing out there gives a comprehensive guide to Baja food. So we decided that I should write it for us.
At AFAR, my long-awaited story about Long Island wine went live. It focuses on cabernet franc and mentions some of my most favorite wineries. Writing this made me decently homesick and sad that I don't have plans to go back any time soon. Nonetheless, I'm glad Long Island wine is finally quality and getting its time in the sun.
New Worlder published my eat list for San Diego, which has some surprising picks apart from the usual lists that pop up around town (if I do say so myself) and is LatAm heavy, as one should expect from reading the site. It's also basically my and my husband's "where should we eat tonight" go-to list. The photos are beautiful and it came out really nicely, I think.
My cheeky list of things you have to know before visiting Tijuana for the first time went up at Thrillist San Diego. This was a quick and dirty one and I got to fire off a few pot shots at pendejo gringos while mentioning some businesses and people I love supporting.
Getting a head start on monthly San Diego print articles was the lead feature I wrote for Pacific Magazine, which was my first story for them. It was--shock!!!--about Tijuana, specifically where to go, what to do and why. It was chopped up into a couple of sections, but this is the whole series, which is worth checking out.
Tomorrow is off to Berlin, home for a few precious days to actually spend time with my husband who I miss terribly, and then later in the week I'm out again to Washington County, Oregon for a quick two-day trip. Then to Baja for some final trip prep--we're in crunch time at Salt & Wind. Adios!
It's been quite a few weeks! Last week, I was tied up with Salt & Wind, touring through Tijuana and the Valle de Guadalupe yet again to put the final touches on our trips there. Our first is in just a month and we could not be more excited!
We also got the opportunity to stay in the new OneBunk hotel on Avenida Revolucion in Tijuana. It's an industrial-chic space with masculine, tasteful design and a perfect perch from which to explore Tijuana's most infamous drag. It's booked only through Airbnb and I highly recommend checking it out--if you haven't had a reason to visit Tijuana yet, the city's first boutique hotel is probably a good one.
I just arrived in Napa for one of my good friend's weddings, which will be in the exceptionally charming town of Calistoga. It was a fun week of getting to this point. On Monday, I flew to San Francisco to spend the day in Tomales Bay at Hog Island Oyster Co.--I interviewed them, had a decadent charcuterie and oyster lunch, went out on the boat to check out the oyster beds and jetted out to Seattle in the early evening. It was a magical day with good food.
From Seattle, I set out with one of my best friends on a two-day road trip to Napa. We drove the entire Oregon coast, which is one of the most rugged and stunning I've ever seen. The charming towns and steel grey ocean reminded me of New England, but the sheer power of the sea, dense evergreen forests cascading down mountains into the water and the accompanying rock outcroppings made the scene distinctly Pacific at the same time. We also stopped in the cool Columbia river town of Astoria, Oregon, which is a hipster-blue collar fishing town hybrid with cool shops, cute boutique hotels and good dive bars--not to mention a lot of craft beer.
We stayed in an Airbnb in Brookings, Oregon, which is on the border with California. It was directly on the ocean and had a hot tub with unobstructed, pristine views. After two days of driving, it was a welcome reprieve and one of the best Airbnb experiences I've ever had, for only $165/night. We continued on to California and drove through several Redwood forests, which was my first time. The combination of the sheer size and age of the trees alongside the force of the Pacific Ocean that we had felt the last few days made me feel small in the best way.
This week saw some of my favorite pieces go live:
This in-depth look at Ilegal Mezcal at New Worlder. I had a long, boozy afternoon-long lunch and interview with its founder, John Rexer, while I was in Antigua Guatemala in February. We talked asshole white people; precious narratives surrounding mezcal; economic, social and environmental sustainability and other things. I think it's a great story and a must if you're into agave spirits.
I also produced a list for Thrillist in conjunction with San Diego Tourism about why San Diego is the place to be in 2017.
Also at Thrillist, I wrote a story about tiki culture in San Diego--why we've always had it and always will in high quality form. TIki is taking the country by storm right now, but I think San Diego is its natural home, being a beachside city.
Greetings from the magical island of Grenada! I've been here for the past 4/5 days on a whirlwind tour of this misunderstood island nation. I don't want to give too much away here, since the blog is primarily for sharing published work and I intend on saving the good stuff for forthcoming articles, but this place is wonderful. Grenada is less touristed than other Caribbean islands but just as beautiful--essentially, a winning combination. More to come.
I've been working like a madwoman but things have been slow to publish, and I'm pretty sure I have a whole lot of yet-to-be-published work out in the world that will surface without me remembering I even wrote it. Which is exciting! This short piece at Roads & Kingdoms went live--it's about my recent trip to Guatemala with the folks at Ilegal Mezcal. The brand owner also owns a bar, called Cafe No Se, and I think it might be the greatest bar in the world. And definitely one of the shadiest, but that often goes hand-in-hand.
On the print front, it's time for the monthly magazine release and deluge. My Ranch & Coast column talks about botanical cocktails you can find around San Diego. I have a very short part of San Diego Magazine's Best of North County issue, where I plug my favorite Spanish restaurant in the United States, Cesar in Rancho Santa Fe. In Modern Luxury San Diego's April issue, I wrote the Eat Sheet, which talks about the new incarnations of local favorites: the new Buona Forchetta in Liberty Station, the new Streetcar Merchants in La Jolla and Herb and Wood's casual eatery, which recently opened in Little Italy. Called Herb & Eatery, it's my designated "on the way to Mexico" stop for their awesome vanilla-mint latte and its location right off the freeway. I also wrote about the opening of Hive, a new eating and drinking adult arcade on Convoy.
Lots of good things on the horizon, including the launch of our Salt & Wind trips in late May and trips to Baja, Napa, Seattle, San Francisco, Germany and Oregon's Tualatin Valley. Almost all of it is work-related, so keep an eye out for corresponding articles.
This week was filled with R&D for our Salt & Wind Baja trips and playing catch up from my Arizona road trip.
On the published front, I was supposed to have an article about where to find whiskey in San Diego on St. Patrick's Day come out on Time Out, but it was branded content and since it isn't published, it appears the client didn't move on it fast enough. While branded, it would have been my first time at Time Out, so hopefully it surfaces at some point.
I had a small bit in this Thrillist article about where to travel in Europe on the cheap--my contribution was Girona, Spain, which is about an hour north of Barcelona. It's filled with Catalan culture and close to the Costa Brava. The food is excellent and the old city, gorgeous. And speaking of Catalonia! We just booked our tickets for Barcelona this July to visit my husband's family and friends. He'll stay for two weeks, me for a month. We are so excited.
I also published this piece at Luxury Living International about a Miami coffee executive's stunning home.
Did I mention our Salt & Wind trips to Baja are on sale? Because they are. Tell everyone you know! We did an Instagram takeover at New Worlder yesterday, so head to their account to check it out (@new_worlder).
I just returned from a week in Arizona, where I was traveling around Southern Arizona and workshopping with a great author, Tom Miller. We had many adventures on both sides of the border and I have a lot of great material for stories to come. The most striking difference, to me, was how much more angry and politicized the Arizona border is than the line in San Diego. Other than that, it was a delight spending the waning winter days in the desert. I'm starting to become one of those "desert people"--I really love the beauty, serenity and strange vibration of the Sonoran Desert.
I wrote this guide for surfers at Luxury Living International. It details the best places to live and surf in the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico.
My second piece for Ranch & Coast Magazine was posted online. It's a print mag, but they eventually reproduce the pieces digitally. This one is about natural wine, last month's was about mezcal. I may have mentioned this before, but it's absolutely one of my favorite assignments. A monthly drink column, short and sweet. It's really fun to write and to continually be brainstorming about what comes next. I hope it'll continue for awhile to come.
Off to Cabo now, with all of my friends from New York! Have a great weekend.
I had yet another busy week--decompressing from Guatemala and getting ready for a week-long run to Tucson and Cabo San Lucas.
Firstly, we are getting ready to launch our Salt & Wind trips! A lot of blood, sweat and tears (literally) has gone into this planning and we can't wait to start booking and taking people on adventures. March 8th is the date, with four trips going live in May and June. We are working with some wonderful partners, including the roving supper club Club Tengo Hambre.
I had yet another piece go live about Tijuana, this time at Roads and Kingdoms. Unlike the others, this was a short narrative about an afternoon I spent with Food Not Bombs in Tijuana's Zona Norte, searching for Haitian chicken and learning about food politics.
Also published was a piece I did for AFAR about the best spa I've ever been to, no exaggeration. Cabo San Lucas' Resort at Pedregal, besides being one of the nicest resorts on the planet, has a killer spa that infuses local curanderismo principles with treatments adhering to the cycles of the moon and sea.
On the print front, I had several local pieces come out. My second installation for what's looking to be a monthly drink column for Ranch & Coast was printed in the March issue. It's about biodynamic/natural wines (you can find it by clicking on "Clips") and I got to include a nice quote from a great interview I conducted with Rajat Parr last spring. San Diego Magazine's March issue also went live, which includes a feature about why San Diego is better than Los Angeles. My contribution is, unsurprisingly, about the fact that we're a border city. You can also find my byline in Modern Luxury San Diego's March issue, with a reprinted bit about a North Park-based speaker console designer called Wrensilva. It was originally printed in the winter issue of Modern Luxury Interiors California (also in "Clips").
I had two articles about Tijuana go live this week, somewhat coincidentally.
The first was at New Worlder and is about some of the new things you can find on the city's main drag, Avenida Revolucion. In a really absurd turn of events, a Tijuana-based publication lifted it, word for word, and republished it in Spanish on their site, jacking all of the pictures as well. When confronted, they tried to say they credited me and the site (not true, we had screenshots). Even if that had been true, they published it in full--something that is 100%, completely not kosher. In an additional sleazy twist, they also contacted my sources, saying they had featured them in "their article," and asked if my sources then wanted to buy ad space with them. Thankfully, after a bit of strong-arming by my wonderful editor, it was taken down, but I admit, it shook me. Seeing someone else try to claim and profit off of my work was more upsetting than I would have originally thought.
The second is on AFAR.com, and covers the entire city rather than just that one street. In all honesty, they're a little similar, but were supposed to be published at different times, rather than one day apart. That one focuses on the city and one on a small subset of it will have to be good enough!
I also just returned from Guatemala, where I was palling around with Ilegal Mezcal for five hard-living days. Their brand has an incredible story and I can't wait to tell it in one form or another--when I sober up and get some sleep, most likely. Traveling to a Latin American country that isn't Mexico has reignited a fire in me to travel more around the Americas, so I'm looking forward to trying to tackle that more. Especially Central America, as this had been my first time to the area. All of the nations in Central America are beautiful and fascinating, and many have tragic histories that they're beginning or trying to recover from. I would love to learn more be able to tell some of the region's stories some day.
I have some exciting assignments and a good run of travel coming up. Also, I'll have lots more on Tijuana to come. Turns out, the more you do, the more you do!
Feeling the world could use some yoga, collectively, I wrote a comprehensive list of the best yoga retreats in the tropical Americas. It looks like Costa Rica is ground zero for all things yoga, so I expect to write more on the topic as it relates to that country.
I was asked to contribute to a Thrillist piece about cities Americans overlook traveling to as they're too "dangerous," exotic, far away or, simply, not in Europe. My contribution was Guadalajara, a city I spent a week in last fall that is best known for its art and tech scenes, mariachi, tequila and the gut-busting torta ahogada--a breakfast food that is comprised of roasted pork in a baguette completely smothered in searing hot tomato salsa.
I had a print piece come out in Ranch & Coast Magazine, a print publication based here in San Diego County. It's about mezcal, and gives a brief history and introduction to the spirit while providing a proprietary cocktail recipe from my latest favorite bar in town, The Grass Skirt. It was short but very fun to write and I'm thrilled to be contributing for the magazine!
Planning for the Salt & Wind Baja trips is going along swimmingly and we're looking at liftoff in early April. Correspondingly, my guide to Baja for Salt & Wind was published, and it's basically a huge information dump. I left some hidden gems out, of course, but it's a great, one-stop shop for anyone who wants to know the overall deal.
I have no problem getting political. I'm an avowed opponent of Donald Trump's, and have been for as long as I can remember. You see, being a New Yorker means that for my entire life, he's been in the news. And not in a positive way. Everyone in New York has hated Trump pretty much...forever, because he's always been a lying, cheating, unprincipled, slimy scumbag of a human and businessman. So, it's baffling and horrifying to see him being taken so seriously by so many other people. I know that's that New York exceptionalism that the rest of the country hates us for, but this time it's legit. Welcome to the party, America--we've despised The Donald for years.
I'm not going to go into why--the horrors of his platform and now his administration are well-documented elsewhere in print and on the web. What I will do is a bit of self-reflection. As a writer, I feel compelled to somehow contribute to commentary our national tragedy. I'm not a political writer, though, and I don't know enough about policy to become one. I'm not sure I even really want to, to be honest. I was a United States Government major in college during the Bush years and that gave me so much anxiety I decided to focus on other topics for the rest of my life. But now, writing about food and travel and the luxury beat I stumbled into feels a bit frivolous. That may be true, but life must also go on. I have bills to pay. Still, I have this nagging feeling that I'm selling out.
I've decided that I can contribute in many ways. Of course, I can and have been donating my time and money to organizations that help assuage the violence of Trump's administration. My guilt about writing about what I'm being assigned to write about needs to slink off--again, I have bills to pay and bylines to stack, and I'm not sitting here writing pro-Trump pieces nor am I writing about the splendors of a Trump hotel or golf course. Writing about food and culture seems more important than ever, as they are things that keep us alive and make us feel human--two things that seem to be under fire more than ever.
Also, my most major beat at the moment is Mexico and what an incredible country it is. The diversity of its food, languages, cultures, customs and natural wonders. Why the Mexico you've heard about is, most definitely, not the same as the real Mexico that millions live and work in every day. So, in this new age of shitty U.S.-Mexico relations, I'm happy to contribute about a sorely misunderstood country--one who should be a close ally and partner, whose borderland is also our own. I feel privileged and lucky to not only be able to travel back and forth from Mexico so often, but to live on the border and have a glimpse into this crazy "third country" at such a tense time. If my writing helps dispel misconceptions about Mexico and the border in any way, it will be one of my greatest professional triumphs.
I've had this on my mind for most of the last week, and as a result had a pretty major creative block. I'm waiting to hear back on several pitches and was assigned a few fun stories last week: mainly about Mexico and wine, which I'll never complain about. I also published this for Luxury Living International, which lists the hottest real estate markets in paradise. I thought it would be dry but turned out to be a fun article to research and write--even though the homes mentioned remain in my dreams. If you end up buying a home thanks to this article, do me a favor and throw me an invite.
At the beginning of this week, I received a last minute email offering a rare interview with famed French chef Joel Robuchon. The catch was minor: I had to go to Las Vegas to do so and would also get a chance to eat at his 3 Michelin star eponymous restaurant, Joel Robuchon. Since I'm a little bit lazy, the first thing I did was check flights. $550 and none at the ideal time--I had to be in Vegas by 11:30 Tuesday morning and my best friend was visiting until late Monday night.
So, driving was the only option and I left at 4 AM Tuesday morning for my solo trek across the Mojave desert. Which, by the way, is beautiful! Everyone told me the drive to Vegas was "super boring," but I was delighted by the elevation changes, mountain vistas and random outcroppings of Joshua Trees. Not to mention, the In-n-Out in Barstow saved my ass on the way back.
Interviewing Mr. Robuchon was a real treat: I learned about his absolute, near-religious devotion to cooking more healthily, something that trickles down to his restaurants. He also told me about his new culinary school, in France, which offers guests and would-be chefs an all-encompassing hospitality experience by also building a on-site hotel. The dinner, of course, was excellent. We sampled some new menu items, the creation of which was overseen by Mr. Robuchon himself. It's hard to pick a favorite, but in the running was the duck with acacia honey and coriander, glazed turnips and his famous pomme puree or the John Dory filet with shisho leaf tempura on squid ink risotto. Or the rose shrimp in bonito broth with ginger and kombu seaweed. Or the avocado and Scottish salmon canneloni with osetra caviar that was paired with a sublime Chablis: Vielle Vignes Saint Clair, Domaine Jean-Marc Brocard 2013. You get the idea.
My first pieces were published at Thrillist this week, as well. I helped them roll out a full-scale guide for visitors to San Diego, with my contributions being the best beaches and must-eat, most iconic foods in the city. I also helped with some of the general introductions around the guide. Also live is the video we did for the Fork Yeah series, which is about the tuna ribbon fishbowl. I art directed and also wrote the accompanying blurb. PETA will be thrilled about this one.
Also exciting, I'm partnering up with Aida Mollenkamp of the gorgeous travel & food site Salt & Wind. I'll be contributing editorial content about San Diego and Baja and will be helping her get her upcoming trips to Baja off the ground. It's a real, tangible way to turn my knowledge of the region into something fun and useful and I am honestly thrilled to be on board. Please, if you're interested at all, ask me more or sign up to be on the information list HERE. We're looking at a late spring launch with trips running throughout the rest of 2017.
I was so proud to get this piece at New Worlder out into the world. It's about the rise of fine dining in Oaxaca, which is one of my absolute favorite places in Mexico and, by far, one of the best places to eat on the planet. I am really happy with how it came out and loved writing (and researching) this story.
Over at Luxury Living, I listed the best places to travel in the tropical Americas for 2017. I was able to highlight Grenada, an island I'm really excited to visit this coming March.
I also listed Grand Cayman as another hotspot, bolstered even more by this article I did about a stunning new home on Grand Cayman designed by Miami-based interior designer Bea Pila. Talk about home envy.
On the travel front, I lined up another trip, this time to Guatemala, which will come at the end of February. I finalized my Tucson, Arizona plans for the week of March 9th. I'm currently in Newport Beach, CA for the Newport Beach Restaurant Week preview, which is exciting despite the gloomy rain in southern California. On Tuesday, I head to Las Vegas to interview famed chef Joel Robuchon, which I couldn't be more excited for.
I began my stint at Luxury Living International with a detail of the W Fort Lauderdale's $55 million renovation.
Back on the home island, my piece about why Long Islanders miss Long Island summer went live. Being in San Diego, I can't say January really ever makes me long for summer, but it's been raining here for two straight weeks. A true anomaly. So, I'm feeling it.
San Diego Magazine's January issue and Modern Luxury's January/February issue are both on stands. I have articles in both - check it out!
On the 2017 travel calendar front: I have a weeklong trip to Germany booked for April, which I'm crazily excited about. I'll be visiting wine regions and the East German cities of Leipzig and Dresden and am looking forward to seeing what will come out of it. I'm also finalizing a trip to Grenada, which should come not long after a trip with friends to Cabo San Lucas and Todos Santos in March. I'm in the process of developing a self-designed writing retreat to Tucson, Arizona in February where I'll be mentored by a travel writer I've long admired. Looking forward to an exciting year!
Initially, I intended for this space to be an online home for just my portfolio - nothing else. Over time, I realized that it would be helpful and fun to talk about the interesting things I see and eat that don't make it into an article, as well as have a place to kick some ideas around without the pressure of publishing. Also, I wanted another space to share some published work I don't necessarily want to post on my portfolio, for reasons of brevity.
Since this site will, primarily, remain a spot to share published work, I figured I'd start 2017 with a roundup of things I wrote that came out in 2016. Enjoy, and thanks for visiting!
First things first: I was incredibly proud to publish at Roads & Kingdoms for the first time. Especially considering it's about a topic near and dear to my heart, Mexico's Valle de Guadalupe. Wonderful though the area is, it has a major problem that spells big trouble for its future.
This story, also about the Valle de Guadalupe for Harper's BAZAAR digital, was my first national piece and what broke everything wide open for me, so to speak. I was happy to do another piece for them later in the year about a wonderful culinary trip I took to Oaxaca in July 2016.
I began contributing to a new site about food and culture in the Americas, called New Worlder. I'm proud to be among their ranks and excited to see how the site will grow - if you check out the various contributors, you'll see everyone has a pretty stacked resume and is putting out great content. I wrote about the classic Oaxacan street food, the tlayuda as well as the rise of another agave spirit called raicilla, for which I won 1st prize in the food category at the annual San Diego Press Club Excellence in Journalism Awards.
I also began contributing to AFAR digital, where I wrote stories about the Valle de Guadalupe (and profiled a man who, unknown to me at the time, would end up being my boss for 6 months just a few months later) and raicilla.
I returned to the Infatuation to host a dinner in San Diego for them in partnership with American Express. The corresponding article lists the best spots in San Diego for celebrations. Later in the year, they invited me to produce a re-write of a guide to Barcelona that I had originally written for them in 2014.
I became a digital contributor to Long Island PULSE magazine, my hometown regional publication. I wrote a restaurant overview as well as a few "Strong Island" pieces, including this one, which was one of their 10 most read of 2016.
I had a few month-long stint as the lifestyle editor for a luxury lifestyle site called JustLuxe, which sadly, is closing its doors in January 2017. While there, I got to write some great features: an interview with the Roca brothers of Spain's El Celler de Can Roca (3rd place in the Profiles category at the San Diego Press Club Excellence in Journalism Awards), an interview with Spanish-American chef Jose Andres just before he was awarded his first Michelin stars, a dive into the world of natural wine, a insider's look at the value of the Aspen Food & Wine Classic, an interview with JetSmarter CEO Sergey Petrossov, an interview with yacht designer Luiz de Basto, a profile on the ultra-exclusive dating app Raya, a look at South Africa's booming fine dining scene, and the billions that go into the Monaco Grand Prix.
I had a memorable year in print, as well, producing several pieces for Locale Magazine, Modern Luxury San Diego and my first solo byline for San Diego Magazine, which was about a culinary-themed trip I took to Arizona.
I produced several pieces for a San Diego-based travel company, called Classic Journeys. Although they're marketing material, I'm actually quite proud with how they came out and would feel comfortable recommending any of them to someone visiting the Basque Country, Vietnam or Iceland - all places I've visited (and lived in) and loved
At the very end of the year, I formally joined Luxury Living International as their editor. Prior to that, I wrote about the Valle de Guadalupe, raicilla, handmade yachts, developer and jack of all trades Peter de Savary, Cabo San Lucas' Resort at Pedregal and the best spots in the Caribbean to host a wedding.