Karrie Jacobs’s San Francisco’s Eco-Evolution eloquently describes my favorite aspects of life in the Bay Area. I’ve seldom seen it captured so well in print, and I was delighted to be included. Readers who enjoyed the piece may also like to know that Slow Food USA has decided to hold its first major event, Slow Food Nation, in San Francisco this August. Architects and designers—some mentioned in the article—are donating their time to realize this vision, “intertwining virtue and pleasure,” as Jacobs put it. —Alice Waters, Berkeley, Calif.
I enjoyed Guy Trebay’s story on Cumberland Island, Wild at Heart. I cannot remember a time when I found myself laughing so much while reading a travel article. I’m now determined to visit, and will not rest until I find the elusive prehistoric shark’s tooth. —Kerry Miskovits, East Rockaway, N.Y.
I live for cupcakes, and I’m originally from Los Angeles. So naturally, L.A.’s Cupcake Boom caught my eye. Although I agree with Heather Smith MacIsaac’s choices (Sprinkle’s in Beverly Hills is worth sampling, but the 20-minute wait gets irritating), I offer an alternative: Venture into the Valley and stop in Leda’s Bakeshop. Don’t let the shop’s meager aesthetic distract you from the moist, airy cakes topped with sweet (but not cloying), creamy icing. I have a particular fondness for traditional yellow cake, but Leda’s passion-fruit version is like nothing I’ve ever tried. —Adrienne Cobb, Houston, Tex.
A Taste of Ireland
Reading about County Cork’s culinary scene in Celtic Quest made me want to book a flight to Shannon Airport, if only to sample the area’s smoked fish, legendary cheeses, and famed black pudding. I did make it to Galway on my last trip, and I agree with Matt Lee and Ted Lee’s favorable review—the oysters are well deserving of the acclaim. —Sara Hale, New York, N.Y.
South American Escape
I went on vacation to Cartagena a few weeks ago and, as Oliver Schwaner-Albright writes in Cartagena Lights Up, the city is a Colombian treasure. My favorite neighborhood was Getsemaní—children play soccer in the streets, vendors sell carved fruit, and locals gather in the Plaza de la Trinidad to discuss current events. I stayed at Casa el Carretero, recommended in a previous issue, and concur with its favorable review: the staff greeted me by name, and there was a beautiful view of the city from the rooftop pool. —Juliana Smith, Lafayette, La.
Reader’s Find: New Zealand
On a recent trip to Auckland, a friend and I rented a car and visited North Island. The drive—along deserted roads flanked by farmland and the South Pacific Ocean—was lovely, but the highlight was staying at Villa Orewa, a bed-and-breakfast in the small town it’s named after. The owner designed the inn after his wife asked him to “build [her] a Greek getaway.” She certainly got what she wanted: the house looks like it could just as easily have been built into a Santorini cliff. The three colorful guest rooms have views of the water, and private patios. The breakfast—freshly squeezed fruit juice, granola, yogurt, and pancakes—was house-made from local ingredients. —Molly Nixon, Long Island, N.Y.