If this place could be more Texan it would be riding a horse and brandishing a six shooter.
Chunky cuts of steak in tasty chili sauce (choose hot, spicy or mild). Good enchiladas too. Not a great beer selection but the atmosphere and quirky service makes up for this.
22 Ships is a brand new, modern tapas restaurant brought to us by Michelin starred chef, Jason Atherton (protégé of Gordon Ramsey and El Bulli's Ferran Adrià).
A cosy 35-seater restaurant tucked away on the strip de jour in Wanchai (from which it takes its name), Ship Street, 22 Ships is the perfect pit-stop to refuel and refresh before heading out for the night. Whitewashed exposed brick walls are hung with framed black and white photographs and big blackboards with the day's specials chalked across them. The atmosphere is laid-back but buzzy; a neighbourhood restaurant with a bit of sparkle.
Settle on high stools at the bar, for a front row view of the blur of action in the open kitchen or bag a table by the open front - ideal for spilling out onto the pavement with a group of friends while tapas grazing and working your way through a couple of bottles of wine.
Once you're settled, go ahead and order up a storm, with this menu you really can't go wrong. Stand outs include the DIY tuna tartare, the scallop ceviche and the mindblowingly awesome char grilled Iberico pork and foie gras burgers (heaven in a bun).
Sweet tooth? Finish off with the peanut butter ice-cream with blue fruit sorbet and salted peanut caramel. Positively ambrosial!
22 Ship Street, Wanchai, Hong Kong.
(+852) 2555 0722
Google map: bit.ly/RRmBbZ
* Natalie is our local for Hong Kong. You can read all about her here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/hong-kong-local-natalie-robinson.jsp and follow her tips here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/travellers/natalierobinson
She also has her own blog at: www.3badmice.com/
Burritos, Tacos, Fajitas, and enchiladas. Since moving to Austin Texas I have finally learnt the difference between these delicious belt-loosening meals. I can recommend a great number of excellent Tex-Mex places, but for a touch of class then look no further than Papi Tinos on the hipster end of East Sixth Street. Sit out under the stars on the front garden of this beautiful white craftsman’s houses, as candles
flicker on intimate simple white tables and a Mexican acoustic guitar sets a calming rhythm. The menu is small, but each dish is intricately constructed in a way that dispels the common myth that Tex-Mex dishes are simply stogy mush. I particularly recommend the Cerviche de Pescado served with Mango and the Camerones a la Diablo (Grilled shrimp tossed in a spicy peanut salsa on a bed of diced avocado and mango with a splash of lime juice). Chicken, veggie or cheese enchiladas are served with red salsa, green salsa or de mole and they really are homemade. Unlike many places, the margaritas are made from fresh ingredients and are perfect
accompaniments to the spice. I advise you to keep room for pudding. While the Churros are tempting, I fully recommend the Helado de Mazapan (Peanut ice-cream with a puff cruller and seasonal fresh fruit – it is a bit like eating a classy Snickers bar. The Brunch menu is also excellent, particularly for egg lovers. Papi Tinos is ideal for a romantic evening, but the back yard also contains large tables for groups looking for a delicious meal before a trendy night out in one of the neighboring dive bars.
A la antiguita, 1306 east 6th Austin, TX 78702
+1 512 479 1306
Google map: bit.ly/WgBKcD
* Mark Sheaves is our Been there local for Austin. You can read his profile and about Austin here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/austin-local-mark-sheaves.jsp and you can follow his tips here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/travellers/MarkSheaves. Check out other locals here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/trails/been-there-locals.jsp
It's the best restaurant we found in Riga. The food is served in tapas sized portions so you can try three or four of them. Everything we had was great.
Not exactly a beautiful restaurant but the ribs are frankly amazeballs and the brisket just great. It's a real BBQ institution. The meat is smoked and the portions are massive (by British standards.) We shared a peach cobbler for pudding but our eyes were much too big for our stomachs and we had to leave most of it. For a real taste of Texas I don't really think you can find anything more authentic.
Voted one of the best places to live in America by CNN and a keynote stop in the fall tours of America's New England region, Hanover offers the best of the natural and town life that America has to offer.
Home to the famous Ivy League Dartmouth college, the town boasts an array of amazing restaurants using local, organic fresh produce. Whipping the natural freshness into amazingly decadent or simple fresh dishes - the restaurant selection has something for every eater's pallet and budget. For high end try Simon Pierce's Zins restaurant, while simple fresh is Rosie Jeacks restaurant (and shop!); family fun is Molly's Ballon, complete with sugar laced butter and bread that will make your children smile. Coffee shops, clothing boutiques (with high-end city sleek clothes for the undergrads or refined country knits for the locals), gellatto and ice cream bars for the kids and wine bars for the grown ups are just some of the town's attractions.
For activities, there is no end to the fall fun. With Pine Park offering natural glory within walking distance of the town, it is perfect for an afternoon stroll with fall leaves that will take your breath away. The park is a great stop for a quick afternoon activity. For longer trips head into the White Mountains (a major natural treasure) where the miles upon miles of undisturbed forests and woodlands lie in pristine condition and boast some of the most amazing fall views for "leaf peepers" (fall leaves enthusiasts) in the world. The trails offer a number of short or longer hikes ranging from two hours to days that are suitable for the casual walker or hiking enthusiast alike.
As a brief resident of this area, I cannot recommend its fall woodlands highly enough. It is a sight that I wish everyone could see at some point - and with a town filled with world class pubs, restaurants and shops it is the perfect trip for those looking for a New England Fall excursion.
This typical strip town in the heart of the White Mountain National Forest has been the centre of a couple of great hiking holidays for us. You're never more than an hour's drive from all the White Mountain's 4000-footers, but on your off days you've got a discount shopping mall which, with no sales tax, can satiate most retail needs. There are plenty of great restaurants and a real favourite of ours was the Flat Bread Pizza Company, and the Golden Gables Inn is a warm and friendly independent motel.
Flat Bread Pizza Company:
2760 White Mountain Highway North Conway, NH 03860, United States
+1(603) 356 4470
1814 White Mountain Highway North Conway, NH 03860, United States
+1 (603) 356 2878
Google map: bit.ly/R0AxD7
There are a few gems from medieval Berlin if you're up to searching for them. Not much is left after the bombs and the DDR but enough for the city to be taken very seriously. This is old Berlin - the two settlements of Berlin and Colln.
Go west and south of the Fernsehturm, across the busy Muhlendamm/Grunerstrasse road from Nikolaivertel's reconstructed old squares (and the magnificent Nikolaikirsche, the oldest church in the city), you seem to be in a characterless quarter with nothing to recommend it. But search out Klostersrasse, then Waisenstrasse and you find Zur Letzen Instanz, an old, much repaired bar/eatery in a narrow leafy street, built in 1621 and with a fine reputation for German cuisine and a history of serving Napoleon and Beethoven among many others. Some say it's the oldest restaurant in Berlin. There's a small beer garden to the side and just beyond that a genuine stretch of old Berlin wall from the 13th Century. A bit further past two bronze sculptures to the left there's the magnificent Gothic ruin of a Francescan monastery from the 14th century set in trees, but not far from the roaring traffic where you'll find a number of circular exhibition spots celebrating the city's 775th anniversary, with detailed info on the Berlin beneath your feet (English translation). Great to find such quiet gems amid so much noise and ugliness, just across a six lane highway from Alexanderplatz.
Two superb places to eat and drink. Wood throughout and lots of brewing equipment on display. Lively atmosphere, very friendly staff, great range of German food at different prices (good quantities) and they brew some of their many beers (the 'Natural' is a really tasty semi-dark one) while having different guest beers each month. They had tasty Oktoberfest brews from Munich in October.
There are two of these in Berlin. We enjoyed one so much we searched out the other which was almost better than the first. One is just off Hackesher Markt up Dirksenstrasse under the S-Bahn. The other is opposite Schloss Charlottenburgh (side on in Luisenplatz)with a superb view. Strongly recommended.
Tucked away on a leafy square just off 25th August St, this quirky, family-owned restaurant/taverna prepares creative and original dishes which touch all corners of Greece. There’s no doubting that their range of fantastically fresh local fish and seafood, many of which can be served as small plates (mezedes), ranks among the best in Heraklion. Fresh salads, grilled meats, pastas and risottos, not forgetting their signature dish of pork tenderloin cooked with wine and tomatoes and served in a pita roll (my favourite!) are sure to hit the spot.
Agios Titos 18, Heraklion, Crete, Greece
Situated on Highway 50, midway between Sacramento and South Lake Tahoe, an ideal stopping off point if en route from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe and its associated ski resorts. There is the archetypal Main Street, complete with Bell Tower, canopies, bars, restaurants and a host of independent stores, including an amazing hardware store, the oldest West of the Mississipi. For breakfast dine outside at Sweetie Pie's, blueberry pancakes and maple syrup. For lunch and dinner, try Cascada, Mexican favourites plus an amazing selection of margeritas, freshly prepared using top quality tequilas and lime juice. Just outside of town, and heading NE is Apple Hill, a wine producing area with several tasting rooms, and for the beer drinker, try the Jack Russell micro brewery. Gold was discovered not far away in 1848 at Coloma, and for aquatic adventures go rafting with one of the commercial companies on the South fork of the American River. A great stopping off point before hitting the slopes at Tahoe, or in summer, lounging by the lake.
577 Main Street Placerville, CA 95667, United States
+1 (530) 642 0128
384 Main Street Placerville, CA 95667, United States
+1 (530) 344 7757
Google map: bit.ly/UKTE7L
Norman Rockwell called Stockbridge ‘the best of America’, and this small Berkshire town where he lived retains its old-fashioned charm. Wandering along the flag-strewn Main Street, you can browse in the quaint local shops or stop for a glass of cider on the porch of the Red Lion Inn. Around the corner, The Elm Street Market is a nostalgic little place where you can chat with the locals at the counter while breakfast is made. Go to the Norman Rockwell Museum to view the artist’s vision of small-town life and decide how much (or how little) Stockbridge has changed in forty years.
Red Lion Inn:
30 Main Street, PO Box 954, Stockbridge MA 01262-0954
+1 (413) 298 5545
Google map: bit.ly/QYDEcW
Elm Street Market:
4 Elm Street Stockbridge, MA 01262, United States
+1 (413) 298 3634
Google map: bit.ly/W5ouWt
Norman Rockwell Museum:
9 Massachusetts 183 Stockbridge, MA 01262, United States
+1 (413) 298 4100
Google map: bit.ly/Ppo0KG
Bisbee is a little town in southern Arizona, close to the border with Mexico and quite unlike most of small town America with its Victorian and European style houses clinging to the hillsides. We stayed in a vintage trailer at The Shady Dell trailer park, which has a selection of vintage trailers from the 1940s and 50s. As well as Airstreams there are more unusual and rarer models, including the 1947 Airporter which has been transformed into a 'Polynesian Palace'. The Shady Dell also hosts the tiny 1950s Dot's Diner, which was transported here from Los Angeles in 1996. We loved the Bisbee Breakfast Club, a short walk from the trailer park. The BBC was set up in 2005 and caters mainly for the very welcoming locals who are loyal not just to the venue but to specific dishes. Try the wally cakes - free form pancakes with walnuts. On weekends only they serve gooey, sticky buns. Take time to browse the quirky shops and galleries, including the Bisbee Bicycle Brothel with its huge collection of new and vintage bikes and ephemera.
The Shady Dell:
Bisbee Breakfast Club: bisbeebreakfastclub.com/bbc-bisbee-home.aspx
Dot's Diner: www.theshadydell.com/Dots_Diner.html
Bisbee Bicycle Brothel:
Google map: bit.ly/SPyIJE
A charming Texas Hill Country town that embraces its strong German heritage by celebrating Oktoberfest and hosting a Christmas market, Fredericksburg is known for its many antique shops. With mild temperatures in the autumn and winter, hiking and picnicking can also be enjoyed year round at Enchanted Rock State Park just 18 miles outside of town. Spend the day visiting nearby vineyards, or if you’re short on time, sample some of the local wines with an elegant yet hearty meal at the Cotton Gin (cottonginlodging.com).
Excellent food cooked by real chefs in a small and intimate atmosphere. The menu is not huge but the quality is really good and we had a really enjoyable evening meal. It's not the cheapest but it's great value when you consider the quality of the ingredients, the innovative dishes and excellent presentation.
This small central Texas town has a strong German influence and is home to one of the best water parks in the world, the Schlitterbahn. They allow guests to bring in their own ice chest full of cold drinks and picnic fixings. Families park their belongings at a picnic table for the day and other guests respect that the table is taken. I have never heard of any problems with this set up. The park is fed with cold spring water from the Comal River which on its own allows for some fine tubing. Several companies rent the tubes and you literally just lay back and float down river for hours on end. Landa Park, a public park, has beautiful grounds and a small train for all ages to enjoy.
If you are hungry, German food and barbecue beckon but my favorite is Schobels set on the banks of the Guadalupe River. It is an all you can eat home style cooking buffet. Pastries and coffee are best at Naeglin's Bakery set around the historic town square. You can finish your day with a visit to one of the most famous honky tonks in the entire US and Texas' oldest dance hall, Gruene Hall.
Hotels and self catering facilities are plentiful and range from budget to expensive with many on the Comal or Guadalupe Rivers.
400 N. Liberty Avenue, New Braunfels, TX, United States
+1 830 625 2351
Google map: bit.ly/OSwNoD
Close to the Seattle Center, this Chinese vegan (and certified Kosher) restaurant has been in business for decades and serves amazing food that satisfies the appetite of carnivores and herbivores alike. Don't be fooled by the menu, which lists dishes under the categories of meat, poultry and seafood. Everything is made from vegetable protein products, but prepared in a traditional manner that makes it sometimes easy to mistake for meat. Only the fortune cookies contain eggs.
This Victorian town, a short drive north of San Francisco, is so quintessentially small town USA that it's been used as the backdrop for nostalgic films like American Graffiti and Pleasantville. The historic town centre, full of buildings which survived the 1906 earthquake that destroyed most of San Francisco, is small and easily walkable, with boutique shops, cafes, antique stores, a Carnegie library (now the town museum) and beautiful 1933 post office. Don't miss Volpi's, a grocery store in business since 1925 with a Prohibition-era "speakeasy" in back, the riverfront and 150 year old mill, and the old bank building now selling heirloom vegetable seeds.
The Mill Cafe and Supper Club is tucked away in the oldest part of Lyme Regis within the beautifully renovated Town Mill which has a pottery, a micro-brewery, a milliner and galleries. The Supper Club (you don't have to join anything to eat there) has a set price menu of genuine Italian food that is simple, good value and delicious. There's no choice but there's always a vegetarian option. It's something quite different to anything else in Lyme and the room is one of the cosiest I've ever eaten in. We had a lemon risotto to start with, then a slowly braised pork done in milk from the Emilia-Romagna region. Finally a wonderful chocolate, hazelnut and mascarpone cake. All for £20. The homemade bread to soak up the pork juices was the thing that really made it for me. Real Italian home cooking - not the stuff that normally tries to pass itself off as Italian.
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