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Everything Tastes Better in Bora Bora

Lunch at Four Seasons Bora Bora’s Tere Nui

By Beth Friedman
Your Journey By Beth
@FoodTravelrBeth

A great meal can be made even better when eating it in paradise. Take Bora Bora: just being there gives you a huge jump start on everything from romance to relaxation, and both things make everything destined to taste better. If you’ve never been to Bora Bora, it’s one of those places that you can’t leave this earth without seeing. The colors of the pristine water, the incredible resorts and of course the food gave me reason to pause several times a day to say WOW. I had a lot of memorable meals, and here’s a little run down of a few of them.

To start, what could be more dreamy than the freshest, fattiest, raw tuna presented to you with a touch of foie gras, and pea puree (below).

This amazing starter was the opening course I had a the lovely Kaina Hut restaurant on the main island. It was buttery, rich and decadent, yet still light and bright. This adorable little place is casual, fine dining that maintains it’s French Polynesian elegance even with its thatched roof and sandy floor. The main course was a grilled white fish sitting on a plantain mash with coconut foam, and while it was the ‘whitest’ dish I’d ever seen, it was absolutely delicious, texturally perfect and something I had never had before.

Another seductive meal I experienced was the incredible steak with chocolate sauce at Le Tipanié, which is the fine dining restaurant at Le Merdien Bora Bora. The meat was tender and juicy, the sauce was both bitter and sweet and the plating – gorgeous. It was a meal well suited to a romantic dinner for two.

The restaurant itself sits on the resort’s lagoon, where you can allow yourself to be mesmerized by more than just your companion. Watching the fish and sea turtles that live in the crystal clear and shallow water make this a special place to dine. And if you love sea turtles, then Le Meridien is the place for you with its famous Marine Turtle Protection Centre. The photo below was taken looking down into the water of the lagoon during daylight hours. At night, it’s lit up.

Another great hotel dining experience is St. Regis Bora Bora’s Polynesian buffet at Te Pahu, one of their four restaurants. There is so much to choose from, including suckling pig (pictured below), a ton of creative raw fish items, grilled meats and salads. The restaurant sits beachside, which in and of itself is lovely, and to top it all off, entertains with a traditional Polynesian show.

Bora Bora’s French influence is front and center at La Villa Mahan Restaurant, owned by the island’s most well-known chef, Damien Rinaldi Dovio and his family. He’s a sweetheart of a man who has amazing creativity and passion for his food and an honest desire to give his guests the best of the best. Getting a table here isn’t easy. It’s small and in high demand so make sure when you’re booking your trip, you’re working with somebody who has an in (like me!) The most desired seat in the house is a private, loft-like area that sits above the patio and offers a super romantic atmosphere (pictured below). But even the indoor dining room is interesting with hand drawn murals and artwork created by local artists and members of Dovio family.

The menu changes every few months, but it’s always French using local ingredients and earning rave reviews. I feel fortunate to have met Chef Damien and thank him for the personal tour of his restaurant. Check out the cool guitar that was hanging on the wall. To me, it summed up La Villa Mahan with its color, character and artistry. I wish I could’ve taken it home with me!

One of Bora Bora’s most famous restaurants is Bloody Mary’s, a super casual dining establishment that’s been around since the late 1970’s. It’s a giant thatch-roofed hut with a sand floor giving you a true French Polynesian vibe. You can choose from the freshest of seafood which is displayed daily, or order from their low-key menu filled with everything from chicken sandwiches to rock lobster. One of my favorite things is their charred and peppered tuna sashimi, washed down with an ice-cold Hinano, the local beer. Clearly I can’t get enough raw tuna!

Bloody Mary is famous among the famous, and you’ll hear stories about the likes of Jimmy Buffett and Ron Wood of the Rolling Stone’s coming in to play. It’s a fun place with great energy and while touristy, someplace you shouldn’t miss.

Whenever you travel, whether it be to a tropical island or a big city, and no matter how picky you might be, challenge yourself to try something that you can’t get at home. Food is fun and exciting, plays with all of your senses and allows you to taste a little bit of what life is like someplace else. So as they say in Bora Bora, “Tama’a Maita’i” (enjoy your meal, bon appetit)!

For more details about Bora Bora and the hotels and restaurants above – or if you’re interested in planning a trip, contact me anytime! And checkout my previous posting called Paradise on Earth.

Nana (goodbye in Tahitian) for now!

on Twitter @FoodTravelrBeth
Facebook: Your Journey By Beth
Email: journeybybeth@gmail.com
Email: journeybybeth@gmail.com

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Filed under exotic, food, Foodie, Fun, honeymoon, island, luxury, Paradise, Romantic, travel, tropical, Uncategorized

Beth Eats Italy Part VI: A Little Taste of Positano

@BethLovesTravel
facebook.com/beth.friedman1

Positano, Italy was one of the most romantic places I’d ever been, so its a shame that my boyfriend Joe wasn’t there with me. After spending a few days exploring it’s narrow, hilly streets, soaking in the sun and of course eating my way around town on my own, I can safely say that he and I will plan to be there together sometime soon. As I write this months later, I can still close my eyes and feel the breeze on my skin and recall the scent of the sea air mixed with the slightest hint of lemon. I can’t wait for that day to come.

I was in Positano with a group of travel agents and we were primarily there to check out hotels. There are several stand outs like La Sirenuse and Hotel Palazzo Murat that are located right in town and have a lot to offer a variety of tastes. But one that really differentiates itself from the others is Il San Pietro Di Positano. It is truly something special because it’s the only property that is a full service resort with its own private beach, sun-deck, yacht, tennis court and spa. It sits high on a cliff with a vast terrace overlooking the sea, lush gardens where they grow everything they use in their restaurants, and quiet walking paths. It is seriously idyllic and perfect for a honeymoon, destination wedding or romantic getaway.

We had the good fortune to spend two nights at the Il San Pietro and to enjoy all that it had to offer. I took the photo above from an upper level path looking down upon the beach. An elevator built into the cliff takes you to and from the sun bathing deck, dock and beach straight into the lobby and throughout the hotel’s floors. It is outside of town, so offers privacy and a peacefulness you won’t find anywhere else in Positano (with 24 hour Mercedes-Benz shuttle service to and from).

There are two restaurants at Il San Pietro that are very different from one another; the casual Carlino where you can dine al fresco overlooking the beach and where they hold intimate cooking classes in their fabulous, state-of-the-art kitchen. And their formal dining, one Michelin star restaurant called Il San Pietro is extremely romantic with floor to ceiling windows and an outdoor space that shows off their beautiful views.

My favorite meals at the San Pietro were at Carlino’s where we enjoyed ‘light’ lunches that included marinated anchovies (my time in Italy converted me into a fan!), grilled eggplant (aubergine here) and zucchini, tomato and hand-made mozzarella cheese along with one of my favorite dishes of all time, steamed mussels and clams in white wine broth with garlic and crusty bread. The anchovies were an eye opener and the more time I spent in Italy, the more I realized how wrong I’ve been about these tiny little, misunderstood sea creatures. That’s me with the hairband in the back with my colleagues enjoying Carlino in the picture above.

Dinner at Il San Pietro was lovely too. Suffice it to say, the chef does wonders with a chicken breast (those are black truffles sitting on the chicken below!), potatoes (those perfectly round things pictured below) and spinach (with giant capers, garlic and olive oil). Believe it or not, this was my attempt at a light dinner!

The service at Il San Pietro in both the restaurants and the hotel is personal and impeccable. And the accommodations are very traditionally italian right down to the beautifully tiled floors. Each room is completely unique unto itself, and all have terraces with unforgettable views.

I loved my time at the Il San Pietro for many reasons and sincerely thank their gracious owners, the Cinque family, for creating such an amazingly perfect home away from home for all of their guests.

Saying arrivederci to Positano made me sad, but my next stop was Rome, where I got to fulfill another lifelong dream!

I had so much fun eating my way through the Amalfi Coast, but only skimmed the surface of all of the wonderful places to see, stay and eat so I can’t wait to return! Italy is proving to be an endless adventure in all things romantic & culinary and it’s reputation for fantastic hospitality and kindness is absolutely spot on.

Onto “The City of Fountains”!

Ciao for now!

Beth Friedman
Your Journey By Beth

If you’re interested in traveling to Positano or the Amalfi Coast (or anywhere else for that matter!), it’s my job make it happen for you! I can be reached at:

journeybybeth@yahoo.com
beth@elitetravelinternational.com
yourjourneybybeth.wordpress.com

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Filed under destination wedding, food, honeymoon, Italy, Romantic, travel

A Carb-Fest To Remember on the Amalfi Coast!

In the ancient town of Ravello, Italy I had one of the most mind-blowing carb-fests of my life. This culinary windfall happened at the Belvedere Restaurant at the Orient Express Hotel Caruso, and was served by their talented and friendly chef, Joe Pantalones (yes, Pantalones, as in Pants!).

The Caruso sits on the cliffs above the Amalfi Coast with sweeping views that are as one would expect: beautiful, restful and romantic. And the hotel itself is a former 11th century palace that is very, very italian, with beautiful, cozy and elegant rooms and suites that emulate it’s historic character.

After a tour the rooms and grounds that include their world famous infinity pool and Belvedere gardens it was time to eat!

Lunch began with a salad bar….actually, an antipasti bar! I’m not usually fond of salad bars but this one was special with (among other things) hand made buffalo mozzarella, seafood and octopus salads, artichoke salads, grilled zucchini with mint, arugula with a citrus vinaigrette, white bean salad and crispy pizza ‘bread’ baked in their outdoor pizza oven. It was a tad bit different from your basic Souplantation or Beefsteak Charlies (remember Beefsteak Charlies????). Everything looked so beautiful in the self-serve display that we filled our plates. The look of horror on our host’s face (the dapper GM of the hotel) was priceless when he reminded his American lunch guests that there was more food to come!

Now for the main event: the pasta! Not just one pasta course. TWO pasta courses and when Chef Pantalones came out to describe first, I have to admit that I was very skeptical. We were going to be served spaghetti with anchovy juice (called colutura), parsley, lemon rind, olive oil and hot chili flakes. Now is it me? Or does “anchovy juice” sound beyond unappealing? Well letmetellyou that at the risk of sounding like a broken record, this was one of the best dishes I had ever had. The spaghetti was perfectly al dente and the flavors were salty, but fresh and bright! The lemon and fruity olive oil along with the colutura were just beautiful and completely new to me. This plate of pasta is the perfect symbol for one of the reasons why I am so passionate about travel. You get to expand your life’s palette, and obviously not just with food.


Pasta #2 was calamarrata pasta (looks like calamari) with shrimp, porcini mushrooms, cherry tomato with chili oil and all I can say is ohmygod. It was spicy and earthy with such a fantastic texture! Simple and brilliant!

After cleaning both plates (what I like to call ‘happy plates’) and well on my way into a food coma, the meal was capped off with home-made pizza that was charred and crispy with olives, capers and oregano. Delicious!

I passed on desert, but accepted a glass of limoncello because I just can’t say no! Plus, it’s a digestif, so doesn’t that mean it will help me digest? I hope so.

Ravello is just a short 11 kilometers to Positano where we were staying for a couple of days, and the drive is largely up (or down) a steep and narrow road and along the famed Amalphi Coast Road. It’s a good thing that I wasn’t driving, because I was in need of a serious powernap to prepare for the dinner I was anticipating at the Hotel Il San Pietro di Positano.

I am tempted to keep writing and to take you to Positano now, but after re-living this memorable meal, I’m feeling a little bit the same way as I did that day – like taking a nap – so I’ll save it for next time…….

Ciao for now and Vacanze Felici! (Happy Holidays)!

If you’d like more information about the Hotel Caruso or about traveling throughout the Amalphi Coast (or anywhere else!!), let me know!

Beth Friedman
Your Journey By Beth
JourneybyBeth@yahoo.com
beth@elitetravelinternational.com
http://www.twitter.com/BethLovesTravel
http://www.facebook.com/Beth.Friedman1
http://www.yourjourneybybeth.wordpress.com

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Filed under food, Italy, travel, Uncategorized

Beth Eats Italy Part IV: The “PLACE” and the “PALACE”

If you have been following my Italian Adventure from the beginning, than welcome back to Capri! If this is your first time joining in, it is my third post about this small, but amazing island. I wouldn’t have imagined that the two short days I spent there would garner three separate blogs (and I could go on!) but that, in and of itself says something about why you should visit! If you’re getting married anytime soon, Capri and the Amalphi coast is a fantastic honeymoon destination too. I can’t think of a more seductive getaway!

If you are looking for THE best and most romantic in terms of accommodations and service there are several choices here. On this day, we visited another wonderful property called JK Place for a tour and lunch. Their charming GM showed us around this intimate hotel as though it were his home. In fact at JK Place you have the distinct feeling of being in someone’s house the moment you walk through the front door. I loved it!

Each of the 22 rooms are beautifully appointed, cozy and not pretentious, the bathrooms are to die for and very spa-like. The spa itself is lovely and opens up to the pool which is tremendous, especially considering how few guests there are at any given time. And the pièce de résistance of the day was the food at JKitchen.

After the tour we gathered in their small bar for a cocktail and some finger food. I had a Campari and OJ (it only seemed appropriate!) with mini tuna tartar tossed in basil, lemon and olive oil, mini calzones and savory zeppoli, which were salty and chewy and delicious! In anticipation of another multi-course lunch, I was forced to limit myself to one of each!

In a dining room that was reminiscent of sitting in one’s residence, we were treated to a great lunch that included pancetta wrapped white fish over a puree of rosemary potatoes (an amuse-bouche) and smoked mozzarella draped over eggplant ‘tartar” as a starter.

For the pasta course, it was hand-made fussilli with butter, garlic, parsley, shrimp, clams and mussels. The whole meal was delicious, but the star was this pasta dish. I’m typically not a huge fan of seafood with pasta (except for perfectly done linguine vongole, which in my experience is hard to find), but THIS had me doing that thing you do when your eyes close and you audibly sigh with the first bite. The shrimp was beyond sweet, and was a pink that I had never seen before. It truly was perfection on a plate.

Dessert was an array of several dreamy pastry, but to be honest, I was so full at this point, I lost the will to document it! Suffice it to say – it was all beautiful.

Back at the Capri Tiberio Palace Hotel (see Part II: Ah, Capri, for more on what was my “home” in Capri if you missed it!), with another very full stomach, I had some much-needed time to come out of my food coma, answer some emails and oh yes, head over to the Blu Mediterrean spa for another fantastic massage.

I was quickly learning on this trip that pacing myself was very important because every meal was (and would be) a marathon of very special and seductive food. That night, cocktails were planned at the famed Caesar Augustus Hotel (another wonderful hotel option in Capri), to be followed by dinner at the 2 Michelin star L’Olivio at the Capri Palace Hotel, which is another 5 diamond deluxe property.

When we arrived at the Capri Palace up in AnaCapri, we were taken to see several of their wonderfully clever accommodations including the Paltrow Suite (for Gwyneth) and the Margritte (as in René) Suite. Each have unusual private pools that reflect their namesakes and the rooms themselves were equally sexy and unique:

There are several incredible “Art” and “Star” suites to choose from along with room types that are not themed per se, but still honor this hotels dedication to beauty, comfort, style and of course, service. In fact, throughout the entire hotel, you can’t help but notice a clear appreciation for the arts and creativity.

Upon entering L’Olivio, it was clear that this feeling extended into the food! The vibe at this fine dining restaurant is incredibly comfortable given it’s luxe interior. Our party of 8 was very cozy at a huge square table which boasted cushy couches on three sides with separate armchairs on one. We were immediately served flutes of Ca ‘del Bosco Spumanti and sipped them while scanning the menu. The decision-making process was painful because there were so many unique and delicious sounding choices. After much deliberation, here’s what I had for dinner:

The duo of amuses were anchovies with ricotta (I discovered that I love anchovies after all!!), eggplant & chicory salad with bacon and a bruschetta with salt cod. Please trust me when I tell you that my descriptions hardly do justice to the reality. The bread sticks weren’t just any bread sticks and they were served with buffalo cream instead of butter or olive oil. It was all crazy good!

My first course, called the Seafood Mosaic, was one of the most imaginative and delicious plates that has ever been placed in front of me. It is exactly what it sounds like; a mosaic of 9 single bites, each a raw item where one was more mouth-watering than the next.

My pasta was spaghetti with sea urchin and white tomato juice. Anybody who knows me, knows that sea urchin is an all-time favorite, and this plate practically made me swoon.

I made sure to keep room for the main course, which was a braised veal leg scented with spices with citrus fruits and assorted veggies. All I can think of to say is “Ah”.

As a gift, I was given the most enormous cookbook I’ve ever seen called “Oliver Glowig Arte e Gusto a Capri”, which has recipes and photos of the dishes they serve at L’Olivio. It’s written in Italian of course, but even if it was in English, to replicate what their chef’s do at home in my kitchen would be a challenge to say the least. This book (all 10ish pounds of it) is a prized souvenir that I will always cherish. It wasn’t easy to it schlep all all over Italy – then home. But I’m so glad I did!

So four days into this trip and I’m guessing that I may have already gained 5 pounds! I would call that a good start! Tomorrow, we’re off to Positano and while I’m sad to say arrivederci to Capri I can’t wait!

If you’re interested in hearing more about Capri (or anywhere else for that matter) let me know! It’s my job to send people off on great adventures!

Ciao for now!
Beth

Beth@elitetravelinternational.com
journeybybeth@yahoo.com.
http://www.twitter.com/BethLovesTravel
http://www.Facebook.com/beth.friedman1

If you missed Parts I-III of Beth Eats Italy, here are the links:
Naples: https://yourjourneybybeth.wordpress.com/2010/10/29/beth-eats-italy-part-1-naples-2/
Ah, Capri: https://yourjourneybybeth.wordpress.com/2010/11/09/beth-eats-italy-part-ii-ah-capri/
More Capri: https://yourjourneybybeth.wordpress.com/2010/11/19/beth-eats-italy-part-iii-more-on-capri/

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