Arthur Frommer has been one of America's foremost budget travel authorities since the 1950's and with the help of his daughter, Pauline Frommer, he continues to spread his budget friendly travel tips with WOR listeners. Arthur has published series of guides which consist of more than 340 titles reaching more than 6 million travelers per year. He contributes to countless magazines on a wide variety of travel subjects on every major travel destination in the world. Pauline Frommer carries on the family tradition with her own series of award winning travel guidebooks. She was also awarded a Lowell Thomas Medal by the Society of American Travel Writers for her magazine work and a People's Voice Weeby Award for her work as founding editor of Frommers.com. Together the father-daughter duo co-host "The Travel Show" which is nationally syndicated.
As I promised, here's my dish on what had to be one of the funniest meals of my life. Now, I enjoy laughter, so in a sense this was quite a good thing. But every once in a while, the pretentiousness of the experience reached laughable levels.
It was at one of Chicago's most celebrated restaurants, a tasting-menu-only, Michelin starred joint with the plainest decor I've ever seen in a restaurant (I suppose all that unadorned wood was meant to keep the focus on the food). The music was the kind you hear before and during a very bad massage. And the waitstaff scuttled around like Secret Service agents, each with earpieces and a mic on their sleeve so that they could share your every whim with the kitchen and time the meal to the second. (That being said, they were a friendly bunch, though the sommelier performed her duties almost as if she were in some sort of odd ballet, so stylized was her presentation of the food).
The first course was a long rectangular plate with about 12, teeny, tiny dots of sauce on it (none larger than a dime) to represent everything you'd eat in the meal to come. That was a fun touch, I thought. Next up were a slew of still lifes; some were delicious, like the "duck a lorange" which consisted of a glass box with an orange in it, and a plate of duck on top; the diner then poured sauce from inside the hollowed out orange over the duck. Others were just, well, odd, like a very fishy fish dish; and a "breakfast radish" concoction which consisted of every single radish known to mankind, surrounded by butter every which way, from artfully sculpted with liquid nitrogen, to aerated butter, to shaved butter. And what did all this butter taste like? Well, like butter. At one point, a large pile of wood covered with ribbons of cinnamon were placed on my table, followed by a blowtorch weilding waitress who ran the flame over the cinamon simply so I could smell it as I dined on bison. Other chi chi ingredients included tundra grass from Alaska, candied praying hand fruit, foie gras and on and on.
I'll admit, I enjoyed it. But was it worth $175. Not by a long shot.
Ah well, live and learn. I have had masterful molecular gastronomy elsewhere (most notably in Aix En Provence), but not here.
Any guesses which restaurant it was (not that I'm sure I'll say)?
With Black History Month right on the horizon, and the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr's famous "I Have a Dream Speech" occurring on August 28th, interest in the history of the Civil Rights movement has never been more widespread. Which is why I wanted to direct your attention, dear reader, to an excellent website on Civil Rights travel curated by Larry Bleiburg.
Bleiburg is a decorated travel journalist, long the travel editor for the Dallas Morning News, and a former President of the Society of American Travel Writers. His site CivilRightsTravel.com is the best resource I know of for people hoping to follow the trail of the Freedom Riders, or hop from museum to historic site in the American South.
Not only does Bleiburg offer a dramatic retelling of the events of the 1950's and 60's, he also offers information--or links to information--on such necessary touristic items as where to stay and eat in the destinations covered.
Frankly, if you plan on visiting Alabama, Georgia, Washington, DC or any number of other southern states and you don't take a peek at this website first, you're missing out.