Stephen Travels

And he's ready to take you with him.


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Opa! It Will Be All Greek to You at Poros in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Poros, Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaGiven the diversity of dining options in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania — Polish, Thai, German, Peruvian, Italian, and so on — deciding on where to have dinner becomes a perplexing, but pleasant, problem. And strolling around the weekly farmers market in landmark Market Square, when more than 30 vendors purvey a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, fresh-pressed juices, milk, cheese, honey, and breads, will certainly put you in a gastronomic frame of mind. You can act immediately on that particular mental state without leaving the square by settling in for dinner at Poros, a stylish Greek estiatorio that’s a fine credit to its culture. Read more >

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Comfort Food in Council Bluffs, Iowa

After a stroll through Bayliss Park in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and a visit at the Union Pacific Railroad Museum, I started to search for a spot for lunch, but none were forthcoming in this pleasant residential neighborhood. So, after a tour of the Historic General Dodge House, I asked the staff for a recommendation. Both ladies offered the same suggestion: Dixie Quick’s. Nothing fancy, they said, but high-quality food makes it a popular destination. They turned out to be quite right. Read more >


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A Singular Serving of Asian Cuisine in the Heart of New York State

The hemp and granola feel of Ithaca, New York, famous for its colleges, farmers market, outdoorsy predilections, and annual musical Porchfest, was in full swing, with plenty of plaid and skateboarders as well as a handlebar mustache or two. So I was more than a little surprised to stumble upon Mia Tapas Bar & Restaurant, an unexpectedly sophisticated pan-Asian restaurant in the heart of the city and one of Ithaca’s finest — and most creative — establishments. Read more >


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Authenticity Without Pretensions: Creole Serves Up Fantastic Food in St. Kitts

On another perfect Caribbean day in St. Kitts, I hopped in my rental car and headed out from my lodging, the wonderful Ottley’s Plantation Inn, and began the drive on the road that loops around the island, with Cockleshell Beach slated as my final destination. By the time I reached Frigate Bay, the first thought of lunch popped into my head. Two minutes later, I spotted the sign advertising authentic Caribbean and local cuisine at an unpretentious restaurant called Creole. It would turn out to be one of the best meals I had over the course of a week on this verdant island. Read more >


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Dine Like a Knight at Palazzo Preca in Valletta, Malta

Palazzo Preca, Valletta, MaltaWhen the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta, more easily referred to as the Knights of St. John, arrived in Malta in 1530, they began a prolific 250-year rule, during which time they famously defended their new homeland against a three-month siege by the Turks in 1565, dealt a fatal blow to the Ottoman navy three months later, and built the city of Valletta, filling it with elaborate churches, grid-pattern streets, and sumptuous palaces as their homes. One of those 16th-century palaces has been converted into the Palazzo Preca Restaurant, where the exceptional food, wine, service, and atmosphere combine to form a truly memorable dining experience. Read more >


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Linger Over Casual Caribbean Fare at Ferdinand’s in Grand Cayman

I had already relished a fantastic dinner at Beach House, the more upscale of the two restaurants at the Westin hotel adjacent to Seven Mile Beach in Grand Cayman. The next night, happily fatigued from a day of cycling and swimming, I decided to return to the more casual Ferdinand’s Caribbean Café, where an informal atmosphere negates the need to dress up and unhurried service accommodates your need to unwind and enjoy the view. Read more >


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Pure Comfort Food in Freiburg, Germany

The drizzly weather that continued all morning into the early afternoon kept everyone dining at the restaurants around the cobblestone Münsterplatz in Freiburg from eating al fresco. I was in town on the third day of a weeklong pilgrimage through German Christmas markets in seven different cities, and this small city had emerged as one of my favorites. I spent the morning ambling around the City Garden and exploring Freiburg Münster, the beautiful Gothic cathedral completed in 1330 that withstood the bombings of World War II. Before I ventured to the markets, lunch was in order. The conveniently located Ganter Brauereiausschank, just across from the cathedral, beckoned me with its Baden atmosphere and hearty menu, perfect for a wet day in early December. Read more >