Although Spain has been undergoing an exciting modern transformation in recent years, I often wish contemporary design would be kept to the cities—Madrid, Barcelona, and Bilbao—and not show up in Elciego, where I visited the Marqués de Riscal winery and saw the final stages of Frank Gehry’s new hotel [’Vintage Gehry,’ December]. I wonder whether the traditional "old" Spanish experience is becoming obsolete now that the landscape is marred by the glimmering structure. Instead of admiring the rolling mountains, I was distracted by Gehry’s masterpiece.
—Robert H. Jacques, Toms River, N.J.
David Samuels’s "Grand Cayman Glitz" [November] was the first insightful article I have read that recognizes the resurgence the island has seen since the devastating Hurricane Ivan in 2004. A healthy economy, booming real estate market, and rebounding tourism industry have not affected the few island jewels that, thankfully, remain well-kept secrets. Cayman is rapidly emerging as the most exclusive island in the Caribbean; I attribute this largely to its cleanliness and safety, and the friendliness of its people.
—Greg Wray, Nashville, Tenn.
Eat Your Vegetables
"New York’s Top 50" [December] left out one of my very favorite restaurants. In-the-know vegetarian New Yorkers are eating at Candle 79 [154 E. 79th St.; 212/537-7179; www.candlecafe.com; dinner for two $80], an excellent all-natural vegan restaurant spun off from the original Candle Café, on Third Avenue. I love to order scrumptious crispy dumplings, seitan picatta with spinach and roasted potatoes, and Mexican chocolate cake with ginger coconut sauce, and finish with a mocha latte—with soy milk, of course.
—Elaine Sloan, New York, N.Y.
Argentina on Horseback
When I first saw the lonesome landscape photos by Frédéric Lagrange that accompany "Patagonia Inside Out" [November], I hoped that the story would explore a traveler’s riding trip on the back of a criollo horse. I had just returned from this unspoiled wilderness after an adventurous trip with the equestrian tour group Cross Country International [800/828-8768; www.equestrianvacations.com; trips from $1,250]. We rode along the mountain trails and glacial lakes and were lifted six feet in the air—with a much better view than the travelers on foot.
—Robert Stroop, McLean, Va.
It was such a pleasure to see Petit Bacaye, a cottage hotel in Grenada, featured as an undiscovered retreat in "The Ultimate Caribbean Hotel Guide" [December]. I was married there and stayed at the hotel for my honeymoon, and I cannot say enough wonderful things about the gorgeous wedding ceremony and the secluded property. The gourmet food and charming British vibe helped to make it our most special (and romantic) vacation ever.
—Sandra Hansmann, Edinburg, Tex.
Reader’s Find: Rome
In Italy last spring, my husband and I visited trattorias and pizzerias, and Al Moro [13 Vicolo Delle Bollette; 39-06/678-3495; dinner for two $145], in Rome, left us completely satisfied. Sit at a candlelit table along the narrow cobblestoned street and try the spaghetti carbonara al moro, paired with the house red wine. Don’t be shy if you don’t speak Italian—the restaurant prints the menu in English, too.
—Holly Kaiser, Winnetka, Ill.
For more on Rome, see "Hidden Rome"
Along one of the less traveled side streets near the Trevi Fountain, Al Moro was a 1970’s hotbed for dining Italian filmmakers like Federico Fellini. Opened by Moro in 1929, the eponymous restaurant is now operated by his son Franco, serving the same traditional Roman cuisine in a mostly unchanged dining room. The typically decorated space of Italian posters and artwork, hardwood floors, and bottles of wine on shelves, is narrow and bright. Local residents, seasoned tourists, and celebrities like Ellen Degeneres enjoy signatures like spaghetti alla Moro with egg, crispy artichokes, and roasted baby goat with rosemary.