Showing posts from 2018

Mayura Indian Restaurant - South Indian Home Cooking in Culver City

Tucked away in a mini-mall on the corner of busy Venice Boulevard and Motor Avenue not far from Sony Studios, Mayura Indian Restaurant (10406 Venice Boulevard, Culver City, CA 90232, 310/559-9644) is a treasure. The restaurant is the love child of Padmini Aniyan and Aniyan Puthampurayil. They moved from Kerala, a state on the Malabar Coast on the southern tip of India to Culver City and created Mayura to share their culinary heritage.

A friend had returned from working in Atlanta for half a year. His text said, "I'm back. Let's eat. Someplace new. And good." Most of the places that fit that description were in DTLA or farther east. I live in the Palisades. Dean lives in Larchmont. So we wanted someplace in between.

I skimmed through my restaurant lists. Nothing new and interesting. I looked online. Nothing looked good. I turned to Jonathan Gold's 101 Best Restaurants (2017). I scrolled and read and scrolled and read through a list of great restaurants. Many were …

Tips on Travel: Ready, Set, Go, Time to Visit Japan

Japan is wonderful. The people are friendly. The landscape is beautiful. The food fantastic. The history fascinating. The culture captivating. In the past year I have had the good fortune to visit several times. As I traveled in large cities and out in the heartland, I jotted down some tips to help when you travel to Japan.

As Japan prepares for the 2019 Rugby World Cup and the 2020 Summer Olympics, English language signs can now be found in the subway and railway systems. In busy transit centers in the cities, uniformed guides are also available to help English speaking travelers.

That being said, if you want to explore the heartland outside of the major cities, Japan is not especially easy for English-speaking travelers. If you have the resources, it is best to hire an English speaking guide and, if possible, a driver.
When looking for a guide, understand there is a vast difference between “English proficient” and “English fluent” guides. Ideally you want a gu…

Hike a Forested Pilgrimage Trail and Escape to a Hidden Shrine in Japan’s Mie Prefecture

I’ve been writing a lot about the Japan I have come to love, the Japan outside of Tokyo and Kyoto, the Japan of the heartland prefectures.

For my latest trip, I visited the Shoryudo Region of Honshū, Japan’s main island. Made up of nine prefectures stretching between the Sea of Japan and the Pacific Ocean, Shoryudo is known for its rich agricultural land, spiritual landscapes and majestic mountains, including the iconic Mt. Fuji.

I explored Mie Prefecture on the eastern edge of the region. Bordering the Pacific Ocean and Ise Bay, the prefecture is home to pilgrimage trails that cut through ancient forests and lead to the most famous Shinto shrines in Japan.
The Route Magose-toge Pass on the Kumano Kodo Iseji Route
Trucks and cars jockeyed for position as they sped up the steep hill on busy Route 42 (Kumano Kaido). We pulled off the highway as quickly as we could to avoid the traffic and parked at a trailhead where there was room for about a dozen cars.
During Japan’s feudal era, travel b…