Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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San Chez Bistro: Stellar Spanish Tapas in Grand Rapids, Michigan

After the terrifically bizarre blatherskite stumbled out of Divani, the pleasant bar where I was enjoying a glass of Bowen’s Harbor semi-dry Riesling, produced in Michigan, I shared a good laugh over her antics with the bartender and the woman whose ear she had been chewing for a while. During the conversation that ensued, I broached the topic of restaurant recommendations here in downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. They offered several suggestions, but the one that kept popping up was San Chez Bistro, only a couple of blocks away. Heeding their advice, I popped into San Chez the following night for dinner. And I’ve been recalling it fondly ever since. Read more >

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Custer’s First Choice: Sage Creek Grille

The small city of Custer, South Dakota, served as my base for exploring the region’s Black Hills National Forest and the treasures within its boundaries: Mount Rushmore National Memorial, one of the world’s 10 most beautiful drives, and two of the world’s top 10 caves and caverns. Once I returned to the town at night, dinner was never more than a little walk from my hotel, and one of the best I had was at Sage Creek Grille, an unpretentious little place where you can contemplate which pieces of artwork you’d like to take home as you enjoy your evening meal. Read more >


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Breaking for Lunch at Bassaterre’s Ballahoo

Literally steps away from Port Zante, the terminal that attracts countless cruise ships every year to the Caribbean island of St. Kitts, you would expect Ballahoo to be overrun with megaship devotees with massive appetites. But, because so many passengers never make it past Port Zante’s duty-free shops and restaurants run by Chinese and Indian immigrants and don’t venture into the island’s capital city, this terrific restaurant practically ensures that you won’t be sitting next to people from your hometown, pressed for time and anxious to get back to their ship. All of that is great for you: You’ll be able to easily select a desirable table and enjoy a laid-back, delicious local meal with a view and without a crowd. Read more >


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Big Flavors in Little Malta: Legligin Wine Bar’s Incomparable Tasting Menu

Before a recent trip to Malta, I had never sampled Maltese food. It was a cuisine that simply didn’t exist where I lived, and one that had never crossed my mind to seek out. But after a nearly three-hour dinner at Legligin Wine Bar on my first night in the country’s capital of Valletta, I was completely addicted. Malta’s culinary offerings reflect the country’s complicated history, during which this archipelago was occupied by Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Muslims, Normans, Aragonese, Knights of St. John, French, and British, culminating in a complex and outstanding cuisine that this superior restaurant deftly and deliciously captures. Read more about Legligin >


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The Sweetest Restaurant in Buffalo, New York

After a two-mile late-afternoon walk down historic Delaware Avenue in Buffalo, New York, lined with tremendous mansions and noteworthy churches from the city’s heyday, the weather suddenly turned dark, blustery, and chilly. Almost before I began searching for a warm place for dinner, I saw the signage for The Chocolate Bar, the sweetest restaurant in the city. Who could resist that? Read more >


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East Meets West at Khazana in Edmonton, Alberta

My third gray, drizzly, chilly day in Edmonton, Alberta, took a delightfully warm and colorful turn when I opened the door to Khazana. Consistently ranked as one of the best Indian restaurants in Alberta’s capital, Khazana (which means “treasure”) captures the timeless spirit of India through both its décor that combines traditional and modern and its outstanding menu of the finest the subcontinent has to offer. Bolstered by polite and flawless service, this fine-dining establishment creates a culinary experience of unmatched authenticity. Read more >


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Indulging in a Dutch Tradition at The Pancake Bakery

All around Amsterdam, I had been noticing a formidable number of restaurants touting their pancake menus. I didn’t realize what all the fuss was until I read up a bit on this traditional Dutch mainstay, and then I was intrigued when I learned just how creative pancakes can get in the Netherlands. They’re not your typical grilled batter with maybe some blueberries or chocolate chips thrown in. At The Pancake Bakery, a menu of 79 different types will make you completely reevaluate your notion of what a pancake can be. Read more >