On my trip to Cuba and South America in our winter 2019, I had tremendous luck in the top international restaurants I was able to get a table to eat at, not planned as part of my trip initially, but just evolving during my travels, and often booked at very short notice. One of the most disappointing dining experience relative to its 26th rank on the World’s 50 Best Restaurant list was at Boragó (meaning Borage) in Santiago in Chile, at the end of August. Continue reading →
The Sweet Service Award goes to Bahia-Sub in Vilanova de Arousa, and its skipper Santiago. The boat company uses its rubber duck, seating about twelve Camino pilgrims at a time, transporting them on the Rio Sar, from Vilanova de Arousa to Pontecesures, a journey of about one hour, but we were on the water for 90 minutes. Skipper Santiago was a true gentleman, slowing down or stopping the engine to show and inform us about interesting sights along the way, including the mussel farming outside Vilanova de Arousa, the second largest in the world, clam fishing, crosses in honour of Saint James and two other holy persons on a little island on the river, and ruins of a church and a castle on the river bank, with a replica of a Viking boat that pilgrims used to travel to Santiago de Compostela. The real spoil was a tea break, with hot tea and a mini muffin served.
Through a stroke of luck I was invited to visit Santiago in Chile for four days, and in this time I was able to drink some Chilean wines. I also visited Casablanca, a wine region outside Santiago, with my friends Guy and Pia, who live near Casablanca. Continue reading →
My post below comes from Facebook, a post I wrote in the last few days of my journey through eight countries, walking and dancing 1,2 million steps and just under 1000 km in three months. It was a tongue in cheek story about my journey, motivated in writing my third SwitchBitch Book, but also to share with my Blog readers the World’s 50 Best Restaurants I ate at in Lima, Buenos Aires, Santiago in Chile, Rio de Janeiro, and a Michelin star restaurant in Lisbon, with other great and not so great restaurants, and the interesting Mendoza wine region in Argentina, synonymous with Malbec and the largest in the country. I will be posting stories as soon as I have settled in again and got over the jet lag. Continue reading →
The Sweet Service Award goes to the Park Hyatt Hotel Mendoza and its GM Miguel Ángel Bermejo, for his excellent service recovery after a shaky start when I checked in at the hotel a week ago. He had been traveling and away from the hotel for a few days, yet made time on the day of his arrival to meet with me for a tea/coffee, so that I could share the service incident with him. Before meeting with him, he had already sent three bottles of wine to my room, as well as a vase of flowers for my bathroom. What blew me away was that he had the South African flag hoisted outside the hotel during my stay, an amazing touch. During our meeting he recommended top restaurants in Santiago in Chile, he organised a room for me for an extra night, had top lady clothing shop names sent to my room, had a table reserved for me at a local restaurant he recommended highly, as being the best in Mendoza, and invited me to try their Bistro. He is an excellent listener, and had done his homework on me. He is honest, and not defensive about the feedback. A day later I asked him a question via a concierge, and he came to reception, to say hello personally. Unbelievable service! Continue reading →
On Saturday evening I ate dinner at Tegui Restaurant in Palermo, Buenos Aires, getting a reservation easily at this the 86th Best Restaurant in the World. While it has an attractive interior design, its food presentation does not match this look, and while suggesting that it is Proudly Argentinian, it seemed a little too close to what Peruvian 6th Best Restaurant Central is serving! The Chef sadly oversalts his food. Continue reading →
I have a fascination with the late author Ernest Hemingway, referred to as ‘Papa’ in Cuba, but I have yet to read one of his books. In Havana I followed in the author’s footsteps yet again, after having been ‘introduced’ to him in Pamplona in Spain whilst walking the Camino in 2018. My interest in him is growing, and I will look to buy his books on my return. There is no doubt that Hemingway may be equally or better known for his drinking and hanging around in bars as he is for his books!
Last week I was invited to try Little Saint restaurant on Upper Bree Street, in the semi-detached section of Cape Town’s top trendy restaurant street. I was pleasantly surprised to find the first working herb ‘garden’ inside a restaurant. Continue reading →