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Amsterdam 101 - Tips on Navigating a Great City

 AMSTERDAM, AN EASY GATEWAY TO EUROPE The Netherlands is a good starter-country for Americans who want to visit Europe. With easy access through Schiphol airport, Amsterdam is a compact city, hosting dozens of world class museums, miles of picturesque canals, well-maintained parks, narrow streets with old-world charm, hundreds of outdoor cafes and cozy bars. Most importantly, English is the second language. So don't worry if you need help. You don't have to ask, "Do you speak English?" because everyone does.    The city is a good destination for couples on a romantic get-away, families with children who want a rich cultural experience, and young men and women on holiday in search of entertainment and night life. Amsterdam prides itself on being a dynamic city and the best way to keep up with new developments is to check out the Netherlands Tourism Board 's frequently updated  web site  offering the latest information about accommodations, attractions, and entertai
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For a Taste of Italy and Spain, Travel to Your Kitchen

  Getting ready to travel to Italy next week, I remembered  my last trip three years ago , a few weeks before the world changed and my overseas travel was limited to webinars and Instagram posts. In the fall of 2019, I visited Piedmont and Milan.  Walking one day in the courtyard of the Duomo, that wonderful cathedral in the heart of Milan, and the next day descending hand chiseled stairs that led down to an Infernot where farmers stored produce and later wine.  Before the discovery of the New World, Italian farmers in the Piedmont were digging deep into the sandstone underneath their homes in their own exploration of discovery, building rooms where men gathered to eat, talk and drink wine. All they lacked was air. Without a ventilation system, once the air was used up, the men rushed up those hand chiseled stairs before they passed out. On that trip, I ate local cheeses, charcuterie, bagna cauda (an anchovy-garlic dip), spaghetti with clams, and so many dishes that made me very happy.

Ready, Set, Go: Make Italian Limoncello

For the moment, long distance travel to Italy, one of my favorite destinations, is not possible. To remind myself of my trip last fall to  Milan  and the  Piedmont , I have been enjoying Italian treats. Charred red peppers topped with anchovies. Homemade pasta. And, limoncello. From the scourges of the pandemic, we can learn that our good fortune is fragile and that our determination to overcome adversity is indomitable. Staying safe at home, we're taking the long view. The days are good. We do our work remotely. At dinner we watch the  PBS NewsHour ,  then we stream episodes of the Swedish  The Restaurant  or the French  The Bureau  or the Israeli  Shtisel . We look forward to the time when we'll be able to have a meal at a restaurant, meet friends for a walk on the beach (even as we still observe social distancing), go to a movie theater and have a dinner party at our house. To celebrate that time, I'm infusing spirits. Italian limoncello is made with vodk

New York City Restaurant Recommendations for an LA Friend Who Is Visiting the City

Ever since I was a babe-in-arms, I have visited New York every year from my home in Los Angeles.    I grew up visiting New York City because my grandmother lived on 110th close to Amsterdam, with a view of St. John the Divine.  For several years I taught at RIC in Providence, R.I., so I visited more frequently. Since I am now LA-based, on average I visit the city at least twice a year.  When I visit, it's only for a few days, which means I walk a lot (LA is a city-for-cars-only) and I revisit my favorites.  New York City has thousands of restaurants and millions of residents and visitors. Everyone has their favorite restaurants. These are mine. Downtown Chinese, Japanese and Vietnamese (you can see posts on Instagram - mr.manmade): Nha Trang One Restaurant 87 Baxter Street, NYC 10013 212) 233-5948 #18 salt/pepper shrimp + order a plate of steamed rice The shrimp arrive on a mountain of shredded lettuce. Delicious. Add shrimp, lettuce

Los Angeles Restaurant Recommendations for a Friend who Lives in New York

Sometimes out of town friends ask for restaurant recommendations. The restaurants I love in Los Angeles are spread all over town and they usually aren't ones that are famous.  I thought I'd share the list with you. Adana Restaurant 6918 San Fernando Road, Glendale 91201 818/843-6237 Delicious food. Written about by me, Mark Bittman and Jonathan Gold. We all love it. The chef, Edward Khechemyan, is a hard working, inventive man. The food is freshly made. Affordable. Delicious. Here are links to reviews: Mark Bittman http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/28/magazine/this-armenian-life.html?_r=0 Jonathan Gold http://www.latimes.com/food/la-fo-0307-gold-adana-restaurant-20150307-story.html David Latt http://menwholiketocook.blogspot.com/search/label/Adana%20Restaurant Yabu  11820 W. Pico Blvd LA CA 90064  (310) 473-9757 The best affordable sushi, tempura, udon and soba in LA. An intimate, cozy, friendly space.  Here is  my review