It pains me to reveal this secret spot but then it is on Main Street in Breckenridge so perhaps it's not that secret. Daylight Donuts is a fantastic place to go for breakfast before hitting the slopes. You can choose from a series of set platters - pancakes, bacon and hash browns or tortillas or sweeter options - plus endless coffee and some of the best donuts you'll ever munch. Good place to meet locals too and not expensive even taking the crashing exchange rate into account.
305 North Main Street, Breckenridge
In desperate need of a break from the credit crunch doom and winter gloom and conscious of our pledge to pull in our purse strings, with a little organizing and shrewd spending we had a fabulous time in Le Marche, Italy.
We saved loads by booking a weekday flight with Ryan Air to Ancona and heading into the beautiful province of Macerata, just outside the beautiful Sibillini National Park.
To keep costs down we stayed at some excellent self catering apartments that cost under £20pp a night, and shopped locally for food. Prices for some items in the supermarkets are no cheaper than the UK, but if you shop ‘Italian’; wine, parmesan, mascarpone and bread, you get good value and good quality. The weekly markets in most towns are full of fresh, seasonal produce for creating a fantastic meal. If you want cheaper wine, buy it direct from the local cantinas. We found one in Tolentino called Il Pollenza where we bought some lovely Rosso Piceno for €1.40 per litre.
We like to go walking, and this place was ideal for short walks around town or longer, more challenging hiking in the mountains. The owners of the villa where we were staying had walking itineraries and maps we could use. We stayed in the lower snow free foothills as higher up the local ski resort was in full swing, and although we didn’t ski, at our holiday villa they had a few skis and a sledge available for guests.
One thing we did cotton on to was the fabulous bar snacks that are free if you turn up to the bar just before midday and have a small glass of Verdicchio or an aperitivo with the locals. If you drink what the locals are drinking you can save on your bar bill (beers in Italy are not cheap).
We did splash out a couple of nights on dinner. There were plenty of local places to choose from. We had the best pizza ever for €5 and another night we went to a great osteria "Scherzi parte" that served up regional Marche dishes. As we had had our free ‘starter’ at the bar before hand we skipped antipasti and had a two plates of pasta between us, which was just right, and then tucked in to the tasty grilled meats and salad. We drank the house wine at €5 per litre and finished off with a light, creamy, home made pannacotta. The bill was just over €60 for four.
Madrid isn't necessarily the cheapest city in the world in which to eat out, and if you're on a budget, and fancy hitting the town too but don't know how you can afford to do both, this is the answer: do as the Spanish do and drink and snack all evening in the multitudes of Tapas Bars throughout the city. Placa Santa Ana is one of the liveliest and most celebrated places in which to do this, though prices can be higher than in more up and coming districts such as Chueca or Lavapies - though both these areas have a wide range of trendy places serving quality food and drinks. Avoid the Placa Mayor and its immediate environs as you pay vastly inflated prices which don't equate to value for money. If you're not sure which bar to choose, just check out the menus and prices, ask one of the (usually friendly and helpful) locals or as a rule of thumb head for somewhere that looks busy. Not only are you eating and drinking for far less than a restaurant or cocktail bar, you are getting a real taste of what Madrid life is all about. Enjoy!
Across central Madrid
Edinburgh isn't exactly a city that hides its charms: a castle bang in the centre of town atop dramatic cliffs, a gothic skyline, a cobbled old town crammed full of tourist shops, a Georgian 'New Town' of refined restaurants and leafy squares, and several celebrated museums and galleries.
However, if you tire of tourists and want to seek real, everyday Edinburgh, consider a trip to the district just south-west of the city centre. Tollcross isn't what you would call beautiful, but is home to some of the city's finest ethnic restaurants (such as Number 1 Sushi and Lai Thai), as well as the King's Theatre and the Cameo Cinema. One of the finest arthouse cinemas in the country, the Cameo is both atmospheric and cheap, and with several screens offers something for every discerning cinema goer, as well as a much loved bar seeping with old-world atmosphere. The Beckett Pub nearby is similarly atmospheric, and neighbourhood newcomer, Cuckoo's Nest offers some of the cities best value for money drinks (particularly the cocktails).
Heading up the hill, you reach the Bruntsfield Links on your left, and beyond spectacular views across the Meadows to the Castle, Old Town and Arthur's Seat. Bruntsfield itself is one of the city's loveliest districts, a pleasing mixture of vibrant student district and upscale residential neighbourhood. Its main drag is home to several quality restaurants and bars, as well as a handful of intriguing shops, especially for foodies.
Coco's is arguably Edinburgh's best chocolatier, and sits near to a branch of Peckham's delicatessen and an extravagant cake shop. For those who wish to continue, the main road heads down into extremely well-heeled Morningside (though the shopping strip is perhaps a little underwhelming), and neighbouring the Grange and Merchiston, all of which are home to some beautiful Victorian villas on their leafy streets, and are a pleasure to stroll around.
Tollcross is at the southern end of Lothian Road, a ten-fifteen minute walk from all parts of central Edinburgh. The main road, Gilmore Place-Bruntsfield Place leads up the hill to Bruntsfield and then round towards Morningside. Multiple buses to all of these neighbourhoods, see Lothian Buses website.
"I've been to legendary L.A. sushi restaurant] Geisha House, and this is better," my friend told me as we entered the unassuming Gugu Sushi in L.A.'s South Bay. I haven't been to Geisha House, but I find it hard to imagine the possibility of better sushi, except perhaps in Japan.
Gug Sushi isn't a place you come to flash the cash (unlike much of L.A.) or even for the atmosphere: its sole raison d'etre is the fantastic food. The menu offers a bewildering variety of different roll combinations, so it was only fair that we tasted quite a few. The names of most now escape me, though all were delectable, however, the eponymous Gugu roll and one which prominently featured unagi (eel) stick in my mind.
It may be a bit of a trek from the more popular tourist areas of the city, but for sushi fans it is definitely worth it, and the prices are extremely reasonable.
Gu Gu Sushi & Roll, 1121 Aviation Boulevard, Hermosa Beach, Los Angeles CA 90254
Located in central Hoi An, you will find this chilled little restaurant serving tasty, modern Vietnamese/Asian food and, if you are in the mood, excellent cocktails. Grab yourself a spot on the raised tatami 'flooring' with a table in the middle and enjoy excellent views of the lantern-lit river at night. Superb service.
111 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Hoi An.
When someone says 'Venice', you think of gondolas and canals. But there is so much more to Venice.
If you go down any backstreet you will find little shops like no others in the world. Small bars, restaurants, that only the locals know about - and you can see why they haven't told anyone - some of the nicest food I have ever tasted was in these backstreets.
Also, don't buy a map- just let your senses take you wherever. Get lost in the Venice Backstreets.
Any backstreet in Venice.
This is "real" Alexandria and a real treat too. Unlike the Khan in Cairo, tourists don't get hassled to buy stuff here. As it is not touristy you'd better bring a phrase book if you are looking for something specific, otherwise just enjoy wandering around the streets.
The Eastern end starts with clothes and material (some lovely scarves here), then there are a few streets with spices (far, far cheaper than Cairo!) and then the fresh fish, fruit and vegetables take over.
Best buys are loofas, dried Hibiscus, dates and Halva.
It's relatively easy to find your way home as well; as turning off the main street will take you to the Corniche and a taxi will never be too far away.
Walk inland from the Unknown Soldier memorial on the Corniche (Midan Orabi) until you hit the main crossroads (Midan el-Tahrir). Go right here and you'll gradually walk deeper and deeper into the market. It runs parallel to the Corniche between here and El-Anfushi area, just a few blocks in from the bay.
This is a fabulous guesthouse in the cafe'd, art gallery'd town, Holywood, Co.Down and they serve the most amazing breakfast which you choose from a delightfully interesting menu. I thought the creamy 'chilled porridge' would be a return to childhood horrors however it was delicious. The staff are the essence of Irish charm and couldn't do enough for you. Because this place is only ten mins from Belfast you get the best of both worlds.
A self-service café set in the vaults of University Church of St Mary the Virgin. Inside is all long shared tables and dimly lit café wonderfulness. A leisurely coffee and a good book are perfectly matched to its unpretentious welcome. Its Catte St garden faces the Radcliffe Camera so summer lunching is particularly pleasant. The restaurant itself serves consistently tasty and adventurous locally sourced organic food and cakes and fairly traded teas coffees - we have only ever been for lunch after the storytime session at the central library - needless to say it is kid-friendly and affordable too. One thing to bear in mind is lunch is served from 12pm and is very popular so arrive early to avoid queues and shortages.
Tel. 01865 279112
Radcliffe Square, off High St, Oxford.
I love sushi and I would rate Ozumo as one of my favourite sushi restaurants. It's contemporary Japanese cuisine so I would recommend trying their specials. We asked the waitress to choose for us and we were very happy with the selection. The cocktails are delicious and they have a great selection of sake for those of you who like sake (I don't!).
161 Steuart St
San Francisco, CA 94105
+1 415 882 1333
Do Mori is simply not to be missed. It's a little hard to find but is near the Rialto market and worth the hunt. You should only find locals here - it's where the market traders go from mid-morning for their 'ombra' - a glass of wine and perhaps some ciccheti (little snacks).
There are no tables here and no waiter service, so simply go up to the counter of the little dark bar, choose your wine, choose some snacks and enjoy a taste of real Venice. Don't expect service with a smile but do expect to feel part of the real city.
San Polo 429 - Entrances on Calle Galiazza and Calle Do Mori, In San Polo, Venice
Nestled on a side street in the shadow of the Papal Palace, La Vache a Carreaux could justly claim to be one of the finest restaurants in Provence, a region renowned for its cuisine. Simply yet quirkily decorated and with a homely feel added to by the extremely friendly and attentive service, La Vache a Carreaux offers a wonderful range of local dishes and a fantastic wine list to accompany it. A truly memorable dining experience, the food is of the highest quality (the succulent salmon was cooked to absolute perfection) and every effort is made to ensure your satisfaction. Its moderate pricing is truly fantastic value for what you get.
18 Rue Peyrollerie, 84000 Avignon, France.
In the heart of San Francisco's vibrant Mexican district, the Mission, simply named La Taqueria is a bastion of authenticity in an increasingly yuppified area that remains popular because of its sheer quality and value for money. In traditional, homely surroundings you can order some of the finest Mexican food on offer in the Bay Area, either to eat in or take out. No airs and graces, just good quality food in generous portions and at low prices. And what's more, the guacamole is to die for.
2889 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110. Nearest BART: 24th & Mission Station.
Fantastic little restaurant running since 1860 (the whole time with the same family). We had a delicious meal there (pastas around seven euros, salads four, desserts four) and thoroughly enjoyed both the delicious food and the great service and ambience. Highly reccommended.
43-45 Via Sant'Antonio
Lyon may (perhaps justly) lay claim to be France's gastronomic capital but the mountain city of Grenoble has a clutch of fantastic restaurants. Perhaps the best, and certainly the most unusual, is Tete a l'Envers. Located on a dark street near the river and art museum, Tete a l'Envers looks like someone's dining room. With few tables and no concessions made to trendy decor, it is the kind of intimate place you dream of stumbling upon. The friendly proprietor-and-chef cooks only three dishes a day but uses the finest quality ingredients to create a meal you'll never forget. At Tete a l'Envers, you have to get all three courses (it isn't obligatory, but, trust me, you'd be missing out): the starter comes as a sharing platter and varies hugely from day to day. A range of unusual but extremely tasty flavour combinations are presented for your degustation (think small-scale Heston Blumenthal), ranging from curried gnocchi to aubergine chocolate brownies to salad with balsamic vinegar sorbet. Next is the main course, meat or fish with a range of innovatively spiced vegetables; and finally desert - five unusual takes on traditional cakes and puddings, if you can guess the ingredients then you get a free coffee (but in all honesty, it is highly unlikely that you will). This is a meal that should be savoured and may last several hours, accompanied by a stellar wine list and finished with complimentary gourmet rum. It is not the cheapest meal you will ever have but considering what you get it offers absolutely superb value for money.
Rue Chenoise, Grenoble, 38000 Isere, France. Nearest tram stop: Notre Dame-Musée, 30 seconds walk - line B from the main train station.
A short walk from downtown Berkeley and the famous university campus, Cheeseboard might be a trek from the city but the pizza is justly famous throughout the Bay Area. Only serving one kind of pizza per day (and they're all vegetarian), their offerings range from highest-quality Margherita to more out-there combinations such as Blue Cheese and Pear but the pizza is invariably delicious. Served by the (huge) slice, a slice and a drink can be an inexpensive light lunch, or a whole (giant) pizza could be shared by several for a heartier meal.
1512 Shattuck Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94709. Nearest BART: Downtown Berkeley.
This café is steeped in history and is one of the best coffee houses in Prague. There is a huge breakfast selection and the restaurant serves superb traditional Czech food. The summer terrace is also a really great way to imagine you’re in the company of Kafka, Capek and Einstein who all frequented here. We were staying at the hostel downtown, so it was the perfect place to meet up with friends for a drink as the café is open every evening until 11:30 pm.
Národní 22, Praha 1, 110 00,
tel: +420 224 930 949
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