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A Travel Blog from the Editors of T+L

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Hawaii, You Had Me at Aloha

In the May Travel + Leisure—our annual Food Issue—I take a look at the next wave of Hawaiian cuisine. This January I spent two weeks eating my way around Oahu and the Big Island, along with my wife, T+L Features Director and Food Editor Nilou Motamed. (You may know Nilou from NBC’s Today Show.) And I have to say: Hawaii, you had me at aloha. Island chefs, restaurateurs, farmers, and food artisans are firing on all cylinders these days, driving a remarkably creative culinary scene—one that’s also surprisingly affordable, given the state’s reputation for high prices. You heard it here first, people: Hawaii is shaping up to be one of the hot food destinations for 2012. Book your flights now.

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Cinque Terre News: Flood Devastates Vernazza, Italy

Vernazza, Cinque Terre, Italy

The before/after photographs are harrowing: in the first, a postcard-perfect Italian village, with pine-green shutters and lemon and rose façades, lapped by the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean. In the next, the same village buried in a horrifying avalanche of mud, its harbor now the color and consistency of cement.

On October 25, flooding from a freak rainstorm devastated the town of Vernazza, one of the five villages that make up the celebrated Cinque Terre in Liguria . Rivers of water and mud cascaded down the steep and narrow streets, burying the town’s lowest levels in as much as 13 feet of debris, while also overwhelming the railroad tracks that provided the primary way in or out of Vernazza. (Part of the Cinque Terre’s allure is that four of its cliff-hugging villages are accessible only by train, boat, or hiking trail.)

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The Luxe Life on Koh Samui

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As we report in our current issue, high-end resorts are booming on Koh Samui, Thailand’s second-largest island—and three in particular now rank among the finest Southeast Asia has to offer.

But not everything is up in Samui’s rising tide. While the luxury market expands at a rapid clip, last year the island actually lost 1,800 hotel rooms, or 11% of its total supply—most of them at the budget level.

“As Samui becomes more sophisticated, the lower-end tourist trade has been pushed out to other islands like Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Tao,” says Bill Barnett, a Thailand-based hotel consultant, who penned a provocative white paper on the island’s future chances.

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Great Eating in San Francisco

As a New Yorker I’m seldom envious of other cities’ food scenes. Climate, basketball teams, affordable housing stock, sure, but not food. And then there’s San Francisco. I hate you, San Francisco, because I love your food so much. Not too long ago I was there for a two-day visit and spent pretty much the entire time eating, in one long progressive meal. Thank God I was on foot.

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The Oyster is My World

Do you love oysters? I do. I love them so much I’ve spent the last three years on a madcap international Oyster Quest, traveling to 19 countries on six continents in search of the perfect oyster, and the perfect oyster bar. (Okay, I was already going to most of those places anyway—but wherever I traveled, bivalves were never far from mind.)

You'll soon find the, er, pearls of my transglobal trek in T+L’s August issue. Meanwhile, a quick hit of briny goodness from one of my local haunts, the great Shaffer City oyster bar in New York:
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Shaffer City has 15 to 20 varieties on offer at any moment, even in summer, and they’re the only one in New York I know of to stock the coveted Olympia oyster, native to Washington State and seldom found elsewhere. Olys are smoky, coppery specimens the size of a bottlecap with a flavor ten times as big. If you run across some, grab them up immediately—and if you don’t like the taste, send the rest to me.


Peter Jon Lindberg is Travel + Leisure's editor at large.

Photo courtesy of Peter Jon Lindberg

U2 in Barcelona

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One night after a mind-blowing dinner at El Bulli last week I caught the opening stand of the new U2 tour in Barcelona.. The show was astonishing, the crowd and the venue equally so. Read my full report here.

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Foodie Buzz: "The Maine Event"

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BOY, do I want to do this.

Five days in August in Camden, Maine, in the company of 20 fellow foodies and four guest chefs, for a sort of locavore Olympics: lobster-trapping, oyster-shucking, mussel-hunting, trout-smoking, sausage-making, mozzarella-crafting, blueberry-picking, pie-making, whiskey-distilling, ale-brewing—even pig-butchering, under the tutelage of the extremely cool Tom Mylan from Brooklyn’s Marlow & Daughters. All that, plus a lobster bake and dinner at Francine Bistro with the fantastic Brian Hill?

BOY.

Peter Jon Lindberg is Travel + Leisure's editor at large.

Photo courtesy of Salt Water Farm

Traveling to Australia? Keep it short.

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Australians are an aggressively casual people. Their insistence on a defiantly relaxed, “no worries” worldview has turned them into chronic abbreviators and nicknamers. This happens whether you like it or not. In Australia, for instance, I have never once been called by my proper, two-syllable name (which I greatly prefer). Instead I am forever “Pete.” Or maybe “Petey,” or “Pete-O.”

I hereby offer this brief glossary to aid in translation.

chardy = chardonnay
voddy = vodka (though you’d rarely order just one, hence the more common “voddies”)
pokies = video poker machines in Aussie pubs
brekkie = breakfast
arvo = afternoon
mozzies = mosquitoes
sunnies = sunglasses
ute = utility truck
spag bol = spaghetti Bolognese
Darlo = Darlinghurst, the SoHo of Sydney
footie = football, as in Australian Rules Football, the national obsession
blunnies = Blundstone boots

Sometimes abbreviating seems inappropriate. On a December visit to Sydney I kept noticing signs in shops saying “Sale for Chrissie!” or “Buy Something Special For Chrissie!” and wondered who this lucky “Chrissie” person was until I realized they meant Christmas. Really?I thought. I mean, “X-Mas” is irreverent enough, but “Chrissie”?
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Other times the diminutives are just baffling. Some Sydneysiders abbreviate their hometown into something kind of like “Sidd-y,” which, having no fewer syllables and only one fewer consanant than the original -- and also being easily confused with the word “city” -- makes no sense whatsoever. Would it require THAT much more effort to pronounce the “n”?I think I know the answer: No worries on the ‘brevvies, Pete-O!

Peter Lindberg is Travel + Leisure's editor-at-large.

 

Photos by Peter Jon Lindberg

 

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