Category Archives: food and drink

Barcelona Highlights

Five great memories from a quick visit to Barcelona:

5. Tapas and cava sangria at Ramplax in the Eixample district.

4.   Churros and hot chocolate (for dipping, not necessarily drinking) at Granja La Pallaresa in the Barri Gotic.

3. A leisurely dinner at Semproniana, where we were the only tourists.

2. The view of the city from the tower tour of La Sagrada Familia.

1. Exchanging a rose (for me) and a book (for my husband) to mark the Diada de  Sant Jordi.


Dining Outside in Las Vegas


View at dinner. (Kate Symmonds)

Al fresco dining in Las Vegas? It’s not only possible, it can be tons of fun.

Last night, my daughter, her fiance and I got lucky and scored an outside table at Mon Ami Gabi at the Paris hotel on the Strip. It was around 9 p.m., the temperature somewhere in the 80s and we were right up against the railing with a splendid view of the Bellagio fountains.

While Mon Ami Gabi counts as a bit of splurge in my book, it’s a moderately priced restaurant by Las Vegas standards. The steak frites is a house specialty at about $22 and it’s very good.

And with the view we had, I wouldn’t trade it for a $65 entree at the Strip’s really expensive places.

Spain Is For Wine Lovers

Wine in Spain I was just looking at the photos from my recent trip to Spain and this one made me want to go right back.

Yes, that’s a wine rack in a supermarket with Freixenet cava at 5.25 euros and decent red wines from the area for less than 1 euro a bottle.

And all I managed to get back in my suitcase was a bottle of wine from the Bierzo region and a big chunk of the Galician cheese called tetilla — both long gone now. Adios.

WineDiaper: Pamper Your Booze

It is well-known that in the spring of 2006 I pioneered the use of the vodka diaper for transporting alcoholic beverages in luggage.

Imagine my chagrin at finding that my idea has been adapted by the makers of the WineDiaper, which is said to “cradle your wine in a padded container” and is alleged to contain “absorbent material to quickly soak up any spills.”

My sister just used WineDiapers to transport two bottles of Georgian wine back to the United States, and I admit they arrived quite intact (and delicious).  And they looked considerably less bizarre than my Huggies-swaddled Russky Standart.

But seriously. Shouldn’t a purist use real diapers?

New York Restaurant Week (Plus) Begins

New York’s Restaurant Week kicked off today and lasts until July 25.

I know, that’s two weeks. Well, almost. Saturdays are excluded and some restaurants don’t participate on Sundays, either. And then there’s another restaurant week in the winter, so I guess this is summer Restaurant Week. Or fortnight. Or whatever.

More than 275 restaurants are participating, offering prix-fixe lunches for $24.07 and dinners for $35.  Taxes, tips and beverages are extra.

So if you hanker to dine fancy in New York at a discount, now would be the time to check out the details.