Travel Writer & Author

Month: September 2017

Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon Review

After World War II, Portuguese Prime Minister Salazar established a prestigious hotel in Lisbon and appointed Queiroz Pereira to direct the luxury project, dedicated to promoting and preserving Portuguese art and culture. The Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon’s classic, mid-century Modernist structure — enhanced by more than 400,000 square feet of rare marble — achieved that vision.

French interior designer Henri Samuel created a sense of place by mixing straight-legged Louis XVI style with Art Deco pizazz and showcasing art from a cadre of local luminaries, including the notable Portuguese artist José Almada Negreiros. In 1956, Almada was commissioned to make a trilogy of handmade Centauros tapestries — the eye-catching backdrop of the lobby lounge named for the artist.

Since 1997, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts managed the property, where park-facing rooms and the Varanda Restaurant overlook the lush Edward VII park.

© Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon


I had lunch there on my first visit to Lisbon in November 2016. Even before I learned about Executive Chef Pascal Meynard’s gastro-local policy, it was evident Portuguese produce and products, including sea salt and olive oil, accessorized the dishes. I became an immediate fan of his simple, elegant fare and couldn’t wait to return for dinner in May.

Before dinner, I enjoyed Perrier Jouet served in a slim, engraved Champagne glass and enjoyed the posh, timeless setting, with its zebra-striped and studded leather chairs, mahogany bookcases and window walls leading to the terrace.

Brito, the maître d’, welcomed me to the Varanda — a traditional room with coffered ceilings, huge chandeliers, and amazing floral displays. I chose the four-course Signature Menu, which included eight choices, during which Sommelier Gabriela Marques chose wines, including prominent local samples and Port from the hotel’s 300-bottle selection.

Dinner began with an inspired two-bite snack, which arrived on a wooden plank; an amuse-bouche of a delectable raw clam on a half-shell atop a bed of sea salt; and a bread course with chorizo butter and herbed lemon butter. An artfully presented prawn centered a plate accompanied by white asparagus, crispy tomato bits and a pesto drizzle. Foie gras and black truffle sauce topped the Irish beef a la ficelleentrée, and the pre-dessert, dessert and après-dessert mignardises were handcrafted by Chef Patissier Fabian Nguyen.

I also experienced an exceptional facial in the subterranean spa, which boasts a light-filled indoor pool and access to an outdoor terrace and park views.

Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon offers a variety of special services, including a popular Sunday brunch, a tea inspired by Almada, a street art tour and a day-long excursion to Sintra, which sits atop a pine-studded hillside.

Four Seasons Hotel Ritz Lisbon

Rodrigo da Fonseca 88
Lisboa, Portugal
tel 351 21 381 1400


See original review
Global Traveler

The City at Its Most Inviting: Autumn in New York

The City at Its Most Inviting: Autumn in New York


Trade towers that were destroyed on September 11, 2001. You can learn more about the legacy of the attacks at the nearby National September 11 Memorial & Museum. The memorial portion includes two reflecting pools with North America’s largest manmade waterfalls.

Further along the west side you’ll find a spot where community activists united to preserve a rotting freight railroad spur. Today, the exquisitely landscaped 1.45-mile-long elevated linear park known as the High Line links Gansevort and 34th Streets (with various elevator accesses and a ramp at 34th and 12th). Docents offer garden and art tours, volunteers help plant, and in the course of just a few short years this scenic route has become a public

living room and one of Manhattan’s most popular fair-weather places.

Up in midtown, The Top of the Rock observation decks, 850 feet above street level at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, offer fresh air and incomparable views from atop the Art Deco skyscraper. First opened in 1933, the original design evokes an ocean liner, complete with large, stack-like air vents. There are 360° views from Central Park to the Chrysler and Empire State buildings.

At street level you’ll find of the city’s most magical spots: The Rink at Rockefeller Center, a tradition that dates back 81 years. It officially reopened for the season on October 11th this year.

Wherever you choose to experience it, autumn in New York is a delight.

Statue Cruises is your connection to Lady Liberty, with stunning New York Harbor views all the way.

The lyrics of Vernon Duke’s Autumn in New York lead listeners from “canyons of steel” to “benches in Central Park,” providing a taste of how inviting the city really is in fall. On clear October days, the sophisticated city becomes

an outdoorsy nirvana where Great Lawns vie with High Line walkways, pocket parks, riverside promenades, and spectacular rooftop observation decks.

Waterway cruises circle it all.
Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises leaves from Midtown West and connects with some of the best views of the skyline— including unforgettable encounters with the city’s historic bridges and other landmarks. Brand new, state-of-the-art Empire Class ships have recently launched, providing quieter rides, better sound for the personable onboard guides, bigger windows, improved climate control, and more outdoor deck space.

Downtown you can access the Statue of Liberty, which celebrates its anniversary in October (the 28th). The statue, designed by French sculptor Frederick Bartholdi and framed by French architect Gustave Eiffel, was a gift from the people of France in 1886. Statue Cruises provides passenger access to Lady Liberty and Ellis Island from historic Castle Clinton in Battery Park.

West of the park, along the Hudson, lies the Battery Park Promenade,
which hosts the Museum of Jewish Heritage—A Living Memorial to the Holocaust, an institution that celebrates the lives and traditions of both those who survived and those who perished

in the Shoah. It’s beautifully sited along parkland and waterfront, capped by Andy Goldsworthy’s beautiful living memorial, Garden of Stones.

The nearby One World Trade Center offers an observatory located
on the top three floors (100, 101, and 102 to be exact) with stunning views
all around. The tallest building in the Western Hemisphere rises to 1,776 feet, a height that pays homage to the year the U.S. Declaration of Independence was signed. One World Trade Center was built on the site of the original World

City Guide NY
Cover Story by Irvina Lew

Memorable Dining in the Hamptons After Labor Day

Eons before farm to table, market fresh, or locally sourced were part of my vocabulary, I recall turkeys in our backyard coop, a post-WWII Victory garden, and playing the “incubator game,” to guess the date when eggs would hatch at the family’s hay, grain, and feed store. Summers in Bay Shore—on Long Island’s South Shore, midway between Manhattan and The Hamptons—meant biking to Ghosio’s farm for corn, wading into the water to scoop up clams with my toes, and special Sunday “suppers” in a grand old Southampton mansion. I always ordered Long Island Duckling, which appeared on every menu (typically served with an overly-sweet orange glaze). I ate it to salute my mom, who—before she was old enough for a driver’s license—transported the quacking birds in the back of my grandpa’s red wooden truck from various duck farms in Eastport to Manhattan. Life was more carefree when I was 15, when I rode in my boyfriend’s red convertible to a burger shack across from the ocean on Dune Road, Westhampton. After marrying an avid sailor, our summer cruises overnighted in Montauk, where I ate lobster at Gosman’s Dock; Sag Harbor, where I tasted my first Pate de Foie de Canard with toast points and cornichons, mini-gherkin pickles at the American Hotel; and on Shelter Island, where the lure of the Victorian Chequit Inn, now Red Maple at The Chequit, was an easy walk from and within view of the harbor.

In those days, there was no talk of traffic and mansions were “old” and hidden behind tall shrubs south of the highway, not mega-new and built on potato fields. Money came from family, not from show business or Wall Street. The first vineyard was planted in 1973 on the North Fork.

Hampton’s bounty, however, has sustained Eastenders since Colonial Times, and it’s at its peak at summer’s end, when my friend and I restaurant-hopped recently.

From our lunch table on the narrow front porch of the American Hotel, l watched weekenders stepping off the Jitney, parents pushing strollers, and old-timers chatting about the fundraising efforts to rebuild the Sag Harbor Cinema, destroyed when fire raged down Main Street in December 2016. The American Hotel long promoted an off-season, midweek dinner-and-movie special, and memories of those evenings sparked a sudden Proustian madeleine moment. We ordered simple favorites: a beautifully presented Cobb salad, a crab cake burger, and my duck sandwich, which was sourced from Crescent Farm, the very last remaining duck farm on Long Island, and served with a lime aioli and apple slivers.

One evening, we dined at The Maidstone, across from the Hook Windmill, in East Hampton, which was known as The Maidstone Arms when I first dined there in 1996. The 18th-century clapboard colonial inn has recently been refurbished with the owners’ contemporary art collection and a décor accented by animal skins atop porch chairs and on the floors. The ingredient-focused menu showcased perfect produce: tomatoes, heirloom or in gazpacho; corn, in a risotto and in a most creative Corn Off the Cob, spiced with green chilies, cilantro, lime and ginger and peaches, grilled with mint, lemon ricotta and water cress, in pie, gelato and even grilled in a bourbon-based Old Fashioned. Local fish and Joyce Farm beef enhance the choices, as did a lovely Cuvée on the reasonably priced wine list.

For our last night, we dined at Jean-Georges at the Topping Rose House, one of an illustrious group of stars in the JG galaxy, which showcase his magic with spices and subtle flavors. Here, Drew Hiatt, chef de cuisine, has overseen the kitchen for my past few meals, each of which has been prepared using ingredients from the one-acre farm on the property of the 19th century former mansion. With drinks, we shared a signature JG dish—the best truffle and fontina cheese pizza. Another signature, the tuna tartare on avocado, is topped with spicy radish rings and flavored with a ginger marinade. The roasted Maine lobster is served with roasted corn, sweet corn vinaigrette, and basil, and the Parmesan-crusted chicken arrives atop artichokes with a lemon-basil sauce. A delightful assortment of mignardises followed the berries and ice cream that we ordered for dessert.

After Labor Day, it’s easier to drive (or take the train or Jitney) the 100 miles east of Manhattan and restaurant reservations are more available. Be assured, local fish and farm-fresh ingredients appear until Thanksgiving and December is the season for sweet, local bay scallops. Much as I adore summer bounty, fall has its appeal and I usually order a lobster roll at Bobby Van’s (Bridgehampton), onion soup at Rowdy Hall (East Hampton) and linguine with clams at Cappelletti’s (Sag Harbor).

Written for The Daily Meal

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