We had talked about visiting Cuba for the last couple of years, it seemed like the rules and advance planning were overwhelming, they were not. We did do quite a bit of research and made plans in advance because we had limited time and there is limited internet, happy we did. If you can, go. If you can have the people who hosted us to show you around do, they made the trip for us.
Guides who made our trip:
David, firstname.lastname@example.org took us around Havana, taught us about history, art, architecture, politics and then took us to the beach for a swim. He also arranged for transportation for us to go to Vignales. If you want someone to arrange logistics of traveling in Havana and around the whole country he is your person.
Marilyn, who with Alex Jr. hosts a farm visit in Vignales, https://www.airbnb.com/experiences/176867. Go on this one, there is lots of tourism in Vignales but this was to an out of the way farm, have lunch if you can and use these two as a resource for a day trip from Havana or if you want to stay for longer.
Nini and Ricky, took us on a couple hour tour to Jardin Tropical, abandoned gardens and party venue that is accessed through a Havana neighborhood, https://www.airbnb.com/experiences/391324. The gardens and fading structures were phenomenal and it was great to see with them as our guides, Ricky grew up in the neighborhood and as a child played in the gardens.
Abel, we did a two hour salsa lesson with him the day we arrived, https://www.airbnb.com/users/show/150405691 he is an incredible dancer and teacher. Highly recommended.
We stayed in an air b and b there are lots of choices. Our house was in Miramar, it was about a 15 minute car ride to Old Havana but the house had a lovely out door area where we were able to relax, hang out and visit. We also had breakfast at the house every morning. The hosts were super helpful with calling cabs, assisting with reservations, fixing a bank problem we had and giving us a ride in their own car to dinner one night when there was a huge rain storm and there were no cabs available.
Restaurants for next trip:
There was some snow grilling…..
Bacon and Apple, Caviar and Celery Root, Brussel Sprout and Pickled Ginger,Halibut and Kohlrabi, Duck and Carrot
Thyme Lemon Vodka Cocktail
Scallops with Vanilla and Cauliflower- Buckwheat Olive Oil Bread
Luigi Ferrando Erbaluce de Caluso “Cascina Cariola” 2015
Maitake Mushroom with White Beans and Chard- Sesame Whole Wheat Bread
Jean-Claude Thevenet Bourgogne Rouge “Buissieres Les Clos” 2016
Wood Grilled Flat Iron Steak with Parsnip, Blackened Onion, Arugula and Horseradish- 48 Hour Charcoal Bread
Jean Royer Chateauneuf du Pape “Tradition” 2016
Beaufort Cheese and Cracker
Frozen Black Perigord Truffle with Cornbread, Quince, Apple and Candied Pumpkin Seeds
Champagne Bereche Crus Selectionne Cote des Blancs ‘40 Mois du Cave
Dessert Bites: Chocolate Chocolate Chip Drops, Ginger Snaps, Satsuma Oranges
Goodie Bags: Salty Rosemary Oatmeal Thins
Quick January get away. Left DC at 7:30am and we were on the beach by 2:30pm. Isla Holobox was a fishing village that has been slowly become a tourist destination but for now it still has a small town feel- no large hotels, no cars, lively town square, plenty of good food, a few great shops, gorgeous sandy beaches and endless opportunities to connect with nature. It was the first time we experienced bioluminescence which is astounding.
Travel: Direct flight DC to Cancun, pre-arranged a round trip private shuttle with Holbox Shuttle they were on time and responsive to all questions. The shuttle took us to Chiquila a 1 1/2 -2 hour drive from the airport where we took a ferry to Holbox which runs every 30 minutes, it is not necessary to buy ferry tickets in advance.
Other travel tip: Bring pesos it is hard to get money on the island.
Lodging: We stayed at Las Nubes which is perfectly located toward the end of the island and has paddle board and kayaks available for guests. The accommodations are simple but lovely, especially the beach front rooms but the service is not great. If I go back I might look into Casa Sandra or Air B and B.
Excursions: We met Patricio who owns Sacred Mexico and he took us night kayaking to see the stars and bioluminescence as well as sailing another day. He is super knowledgeable and highly suggest contacting him to arrange exploring the mangroves, sea, whale sharks (they were not around when we were there)… email@example.com
Food: all with great vegan options- creative thoughtful tapas- Luuma, beautiful beachfront restaurant:- Mandarina low key taco shop, which was probably my favorite meal- Barba Negra good low-key Mexican:- Rosa Mexicana
Shopping: two great stores selling Mexican made clothing and jewelry Le BazaarRead More
Whenever Pum from Design Army asks me to collaborate on anything the answer is always yes! Her creativity is contagious and over the years each project that we have worked on has been rewarding. Recently Design Army opened a new space, At Yolk- hard to define it is a photo studio, venue, hub of artistic collaboration… We worked on this first Master Class together where we celebrated flowers, photography, styling, art direction and food. Collaborators were Kate Headley, Reema Desai Boldes, Middle Kingdom Porcelain, BD3 Design, Vannys Music and each participant.
We host dinners at our Home Restaurant for personal and business. This was a holiday weekend rehearsal dinner–– Saturday night we cooked and Sunday we did wedding flowers. It was a privilege and pleasure to share in the celebration!
PASSING- Shishito Peppers, Cipolline and Balsamic, Purple Potato with Rhubarb Ketchup, Scallop on Kohlrabi with Pickled Ginger, Salmon on Cucumber with Chive, Chateau Les Valentines Cotes du Provence ROSE 2017 and Lemon Verbena Vodka Cocktail
Chanterelle, French Bean, Roasted Beets and Leek Salad, Sesame Bread, Daniel-Etienne DeFaix Chablis "Vielles Vignes" 2013
Halibut with Tomato, Eggplant, Late Summer Squash, Chard, and Basil, 48 Hour Bread, Chateau Moulin de Tricot Margaux 2013
Pleasant Ridge Reserve Cheese and Cracker
Chocolate Cake with Coconut Cream and Fig, Pierre Paillard Champagne Bouzy Grand Cru 'Les Terres Roses' ROSÉ NV
DESSERT BITES- Hazelnut Macaroon, Oatmeal Lemon and Thyme Drop, Charcoal Sesame
A dear friend and talented photographer Abby Greenawalt documented.
Nell contacted me about her wedding and mentioned that it was going to take place at her fiance’s family home. I was completely unprepared for the secret garden (seriously), farm house, pool, gazebo, views… The bride, groom and partygoers were relaxed and at home on the property–– Nell was in the pool until just before the ceremony. All the way around- Wedding Goals!