2006: The Year in Travel


What was your most memorable trip this year? A culinary tour of China. I had 77 meals in 17 days.
Your most memorable meal (not necessarily on the same trip)? A lavish meal in Paris to celebrate a friend's 50th birthday, with caviar and salmon, homemade blini foie gras, and milk-fed baby lamb, among other delicacies.
What was the most exciting thing that happened close to home?
The best thing that happened was what didn't happened: BART determined that an anticipated earthquake retrofit of a trans-Bay tunnel, which would have had big implications for the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market, wasn't necessary.
Did you stay in, or visit, a hotel that particularly wowed you? Certainly not in China, and I always rent wherever else I go.
What place did you find overrated or disappointing? Some parts of China were depressing—filled with pollution and too much construction.
What was your worst (or funniest) travel experience?
I was very disappointed to have missed rat season—by a week—in one of the regions of Sichuan province, where we had crunchy fried beetles instead.


zuni cafe cookbook

What's going to be hot this year? Santa Barbara, Cabo, Portland, Uruguay, and Argentina.
What is going to be the big-deal hotel opening? Solage, in Calistoga in the Napa Valley, from the company behind Auberge de Soleil. Heritage House, on the coast in Mendocina, a vintage hotel from the '40s with unimaginable views from a water's-edge perch above the sea (it would be impossible to build there today). The food was never very good, but all that should change with the new Australian chef.
Is there a restaurant or a chef whom everyone is watching? Judy Rogers, at Zuni Cafe, has taken on a partner, Gilbert Pilgram, so everyone is wondering if their favorite San Francisco restaurant is about to change.
What trips do you have planned for 2007? South America, on a cattle-ranching expedition.
Where do you most want to go in the world that is still a dream away? Japan.
Where wouldn't you go even if you won an all-expenses-paid, first-class trip? Mcensk, five hours south of Moscow. I went there once to do a story on Russian pickles. Had I not brought Powerbars and salami from home, I might have starved.

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