From Kentucky to Hungary
The next time Jim Larkin takes a road trip, I want to come along ["Country Kitchens," June]. The whimsical account of his gastronomic journey through Kentucky made me feel as if I were a stowaway in his rented Mustang. I was delighted to learn that so many of the restaurants and inns mentioned in Favorite Recipes from Famous Eating Places, the 1950's Ford Motor Company travel guide, were still in existence and using the same recipes. Larkin's piece is Americana at its best.

Waitress in the Sky
I was very offended by film director Mira Nair's comment in "Business Class" [Stylish Traveler, May] about telling people she's a waitress when she wants to avoid chatty seatmates while flying. I've been a waitress for almost 20 years and have met hundreds of interesting people—from a mother who had scraped together enough money to take her kids out for lunch to a man who had donated an entire building to a hospital. If Ms. Nair feels like talking the next time she's on a plane, I hope she is fortunate enough to be sitting next to a waitress. She'll probably be entertained all the way to China.

Once and Future Ireland
As a Dublin resident, I was intrigued by Suzannah Lessard's article about land development in County Mayo ["Ireland's Wild West," May]. There is certainly a big argument against modernizing the countryside too quickly; some people worry that much of its charm will be forfeited. However, rural Ireland is such a conservative area that I can't imagine its pastoral quaintness being endangered in the near future. We've been quite clever in realizing what a draw it is for visitors and residents alike.

  • Sweet Treat
  • I enjoyed Hillary Geronemus's interview of Arnold Carbone, tastemaker and conductor of "Bizarre & D" for Ben & Jerry's ice cream [10 Questions, June]. The research that goes into creating a new flavor is amazing, and I was surprised to learn how much it depends on travel. Although I haven't completely recovered from the fact that my favorite flavor, Rainforest Crunch, is no longer available, I'm looking forward to trying the latest creations.

Canadian High
I just returned from Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia, and Kim Brown Seely's piece ["Making Waves," June] was right on the money. The area is simply seafood heaven. I followed her advice and ate at Brasserie L'École. I started with a plate of oysters and a British Columbia Chardonnay—delicious. In Vancouver, I tried a Japanese restaurant called Tojo's [777 W. Broadway; 604/872-8050; dinner for two $130]. You would never guess from its location in a nondescript office building that the dining room offers an unobstructed view of downtown and the mountains beyond. A local instructed me to go straight to the sushi bar and let the chef improvise. Two words: cloud nine.

Hungary for History
I recently visited Budapest. While reading Eve Kahn's article ["The New Budapest," May], I felt as if I were reliving my trip through her words. I was disappointed to hear that the new government may be closing the House of Terror museum, a series of interrogation chambers used by the Communist secret police in the 1940's and 50's. The building is not only a monument to those who suffered within its rooms, but it is also a work of art.

Last December, my wife and I discovered an affordable 19th-century hotel in the historic Sultanahmet district of Istanbul. The Hotel Poem [Akbiyik Caddesi, 12 Terbiyik Sokak; 90-212/638-9744;; doubles from $50], named for the Turkish poems that, in lieu of numbers, identify rooms, is just minutes from the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, and bazaars. Many of the basic rooms have views of the Sea of Marmara, and the English-speaking staff was very helpful—they secured two tickets to a dance performance and let us in on secret sightseeing spots.

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This award-winning Japanese restaurant and sushi bar on West Broadway has an international reputation to uphold. Sushi enthusiasts from all corners of the world find their way to Tojo's when in Vancouver. Courted (unsuccessfully) by restauranteurs in New York and Los Angeles, owner/head chef Tojo prepares meticulously crafted, locally influenced Omakase nightly, inspiring near-rapturous reviews. Short on ambiance—the restaurant has the feel of a semi-empty convention center—Tojo's keeps its emphasis on the food. Well-executed Japanese fare and extensive sake offerings join the sushi to round out the celebrated restaurant's menu.

The Hotel Poem

Istanbul’s lyrical qualities find literal manifestation at the Hotel Poem on the southern edge of the historic neighborhood Sultanahmet. Each of its 16 Ottoman-style rooms are named after famous Turkish poems and decorated with antique furniture and rugs, wrought-iron beds, silk tapestries, and wide views of the Marmara Sea. Breakfast is served every morning in an adjacent greenhouse, while seating for dinner and drinks is located on the open-air roof terrace, which is especially popular at sunset. The hotel’s multilingual concierge can help arrange trips to major attractions outside the city.