George brainerd-790-xxx
photo by george b. brained

8.2.13 At Liberty

August is here and so I bid you farewell as I embark on my annual semi-retreat from the internet. Five weeks! Of course I've got a list of projects as long as my arm—pickling okra, making jam, a whole stack of clothes to dye, a short story to write, a new segment on our local radio station WJFF and something with which I need your help. Something very near and dear to my heart. This blog launched in 2010 and I have gradually built a small but choice following, for which I am very grateful. The thing is, I can't help wondering why my work doesn't engage the sort of wider audience that seems to flock elsewhere in droves. So I would really like to know how this blog might serve you better. More of this? Less of that? To find out what you like best and what new terrain I should explore, I'm putting together a survey that I'll be sending out to subscribers. If you haven't yet subscribed, please do so by simply entering your email address at the very top of the site next to the heart. (While you're at it, you can also connect with me on Facebook; Instagram - @laurasilverman; and Twitter - @glutton4life) Guess how I'll be luring you into participating?
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Tagged — vacation
Beach-790-xxx
photo by ray metzker

8.6.12 The Living Is Easy

I almost forgot: Every August I take a vacation from the blog. So the time has come. I hate to leave you, but rules is rules. It's a good opportunity for me to regroup and recharge, and perhaps for you to dig into the archive and discover lots of new things (like posts from the past three summers!). I'll be back right after Labor Day with the faintest of tan lines and renewed vigor for all manner of projects, in and out of the kitchen. But before I go, here are a few ideas to inspire you to make the most of these last sun-drenched and carefree days of the season.
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Tagged — vacation
Venezia-790-xxx

5.2.12 Wanderlust

There's good new and there's bad news. I'll give you the bad first: My blog was horribly hacked and all sorts of things went haywire. The subscriber email alerts stopped working, the site got "blacklisted" and who knows what else. On the upside, magical elves have stepped in and made some changes, so everything should be working well soon if not right now. A new design is forthcoming in the next month or so. AND,  I'm leaving for Venice this evening!! It is, without a doubt, among the most magical places I have ever been. This time, G and I rented a little garden apartment in Dorsoduro for the week and plan to shop at the Rialto market, eat cichetti and stroll aimlessly to our hearts' content. And let's not forget the impetus for the trip: a black-tie birthday bash in honor of a dear friend at this glorious palazzo...
Palazzo-loredan-790-xxx
palazzo loredan dell'ambasciatore
Despite our recent Hawaiian idyll, I feel desperately in need of a vacation and am longing for a few carefree days with the freedom to explore and discover, and no pressure from deadlines. I promise plenty of pictures and detailed accounts of all the wonders we encounter. Ciao for now!
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Tagged — vacation
Pololu-790-xxx
photos by george billard

3.26.12 Nature Calls

Hawaii's Big Island was full of impressively lush vistas like this one. For the first part of our stay, we were on a wonderful private ranch at the island's northern tip, near Hawi. Horses, chickens and a sweet dog roamed the property where our group of six inhabited two separate bungalows. Ours had a hot tub and a resident spider (see below). There were avocado, mango, macadamia, guava and papaya trees and an organic vegetable garden. From our high bed we could look out over blooming violet jacarandas and golden-green meadows to the ocean in the distance. It was heavenly.
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Tagged — vacation
Green-790-xxx
photo by peter buchanan-smith

8.1.11 Time Out

I can scarcely believe that August has arrived already! The dog days are nipping at my heels, urging me towards the hammock. (I will put my feet up, I will put my feet up.) I miss you already. It will be all I can do not to tell you about every delightful morsel that passes my lips, every bear that climbs over the fence behind the bedroom window (yes, this happened last week!), every adorable gherkin that goes straight from the vine to the jar of pickling brine in the fridge. But rest and recharge I must, and focus on my novel, where progress is slow but steady. Much like G's rehab. He is slouching toward wellness, and his second coming will be glorious to behold.If you haven't been following the blog since its inception, I urge you to check out posts from summers past during my month off. There are plenty of seasonal recipes (like panna cotta scented with lemon balm and korean barbecue and blackberry-geranium sorbet) and images of other Augusts to keep you inspired and engaged. Or maybe you need a little time off, too. Perhaps you'll visit the new Aesop kiosk in Grand Central, made entirely out of more than 1,000 copies of The New York Times. Or catch the Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Met before it closes next week. Or finally get to Brooklyn to eat at Fatty 'Cue. (See you there!) Or read a great book. Live in LA? Maybe you'll track down that Korean taco truck to see what all the fuss is about. Live in Chicago? Maybe you'll score a reservation at Grant Achatz's new "Next" restaurant. Maybe you'll buy a new juicer, or a fabulous pair of fall boots, or the quintessential Gray Kunz spoons like the ones I got from my thoughtful friend Louise. Whatever you're doing, I hope it makes your toes curl and your tongue tingle and your mind race and your heart swell with passion, like a true glutton for life.See you after Labor Day!
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Tagged — vacation
Urchin-790-xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

4.20.11 Sea Delicates

A month or so before we got married in October of 2007, G whisked me off to Turkey for a quick getaway. Although we had big plans to travel around and see lots of sights, after a couple of days in Istanbul we found ourselves holed up in the unbelievably charming Hotel Ada in Turkbuku, in the hills above Bodrum, with absolutely no desire to go anywhere else. This gorgeous stone hotel is built around several 150-year-old olive trees, has a lovely hammam for bathing and steams, and is beautifully furnished in a warm and eclectic style. Our room had stunning views of the Aegean and a private pool where we sunned and swam every day. We breakfasted on juicy peaches and sweet figs on our balcony; lunched on fresh salads and icy cold watermelon juice by our pool; and dined in bed on just-caught seafood. G was especially taken with a pasta dish piled high with what they called "sea delicates"—little scallops, shrimp, squid and fish in a tomatoey sauce. At the time, he did not know that gluten was a big problem for him, so this was truly an instance of ignorance being bliss. Ditto the molten chocolate cake he had for dessert every night.
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Tagged — vacation
Green-lizard-790-xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

4.19.11 Flora & Fauna

This beautiful green chameleon is the first creature I captured with my new camera, a present from G who is leaving Antigua early today to shoot a job in the Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia. Although my new toy hardly makes up for losing my better half for a couple of weeks, it will prove a welcome distraction. The food here is not much to write home about, though we did enjoy dinner on the beach last night, including a delicious chowder made with local shrimp, lobster, clams and fish. Earlier in the day we'd seen a haul of a couple of big, square-headed, glistening yellow mahi mahi, but there was none of the simple and fresh ceviche you might hope for. Still, I can't complain, when the days consist of sunning, napping, reading, hammocking and sipping piña coladas. (Note to self: must perfect this drink at home this summer without that noxious, soapy Coco Lopez). And the nights consist of family dinners, rum-&-tonics with extra lime, moon-gazing, more reading and the beautiful music of tree frogs.
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Tagged — vacation
Antigua-790-xxx
photo by george billard

4.18.11 Spring Break

I'm on vacation in Antigua this week. Being lulled to sleep every night by the sound of the crashing surf just outside my room. Yesterday, I saw a red-spotted starfish beneath the crystalline waters. A wonderful Balinese woman scrubbed me from head to toe with sea salt and green coffee as I looked through the massage table headpiece at a bowl of green sea glass. I've eaten callaloo soup (like a spinach puree) and a summer roll made with buttery soft lobster. Tonight is dinner on the beach with a bonfire, dancing and entertainment by the island's premier singer of soca, a music with traditional African roots. G bought me a new camera before this trip and I hope to capture some photos of this paradise for you. My vacation reading list includes: Stardust by Joseph Kannon (reading now, it's fantastic); I Think I Love You by Allison Pearson; Mudbound by Hillary Jordan; The Tiger's Wife by Tea Obreht; The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer; and The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman. Ambitious? For sure. But it gives me the same feelings of security, wealth and possibility that having a full pantry does. My Kindle runneth over...
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Tagged — vacation
Villa-santa-cruz-790-xxx
photos by george billard

1.5.11 ¡Feliz Año!

As it turns out, Villa Santa Cruz in Todos Santos, Mexico, is absolute perfection. This funky and spacious 4-bedroom home is just off the best surf beach in the area and has a gorgeous view of the Pacific. We could lie in bed and watch the sunset—not to mention the all-day show of whales, dolphins and pelicans. It was a bit cool so we didn't do a lot of beach time, but we did go out for a lunch of fish tacos, hike in the desert among the dramatic cacti, and host an impromptu poolside gathering on New Year's day. Our good friends Sarah and Gordon have a house in town and brought other expats over to enjoy our spacious digs, partake in some sweet local shrimp and toast the new year with delicious house tequila, aging in an oak cask just inside our front door.
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Tagged — vacation
Turks1-790-xxx
photo by george billard

3.31.10 Island Girl

Blindingly white beaches. Pale turquoise waters. Enormous lobster tails. Relentless sunshine. Balmy breezes. The occasional piña colada. Room to breathe. Toes buried in the sand. The nostalgic scent of suntan lotion. Salty rasta curls. Family dynamics. Herbal steam and massage. Tan lines. Poolside lunch. Kids splashing. Mangoes. Hours of reading (yea, Kindle). Naps. Freedom. Moonlight romance. Early nights. Bliss.
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Tagged — vacation
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