Champagne Wishes and Caviar Dreams

People often ask me* how I keep things in perspective while constantly voyaging from to one exotic locale to another. For example, just this month, I traveled to Albany, Syracuse AND Lakeville, CT. I guess I would have to credit my strict Quaker upbringing and solid Midwestern values for keeping me grounded. Or since I’m neither Quaker nor from the Midwest, it’s probably just the boxed wine.

In any case, here are some snaps from my latest trip, during which I visited some of the hottest spots in upstate New York and northwest Connecticut.

Stop 1: The Fountain Restaurant, Albany, NY

Like its legendary counterparts, Raffles in Singapore and Harry’s in Paris, The Fountain is known for its impeccable service, gourmet fare (try the nachos made with Doritos!) and classic cocktails. The Miller Lite draft rivals that of the finest watering holes under Port Authority. If you’re lucky, you will spot a celebrity – maybe jazz great Skip Parsons, former Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings, or even my mom. The bar seats tend to fill up with people who sat down in 1987 and haven’t gotten up since, so get there early to snag a prime spot, possibly one near the jukebox that plays Tom Petty all night.


Stop 2: Private Residence, Jamesville, NY

After a quick ride on the New York State Thruway, a journey that took me past rust-belt-chic vistas of abandoned factories and crumbling infrastructure, my next stop was Jamesville, just outside Syracuse. There I visited a 19th century private residence that is home to many priceless works of art, including this one, by a 7-year-old artist known only as “Phoebe.”


Critics, most notably me, have hailed this evocative mixed-media installation as “terrifying,” and “like something out of a Post-Trumpian nightmare.” It’s clear that this emerging artist has a lot to say and I look forward to seeing her work in the Whitney one day.

Stop 3: Scotch ‘N Sirloin, DeWitt, NY


This delightful throwback pays homage to a simpler time, when Jimmy Carter was in the White House, Gloria Gaynor was on the radio and VD was just a punchline on a Very Special Episode of Good Times. Ensconce yourself in an overstuffed red pleather booth and order a White Zinfandel. Savor the crisp iceberg lettuce and tangy ranch dressing at the over-chilled salad bar. Admire the dark wood-paneling seasoned with forty years of nicotine stains and cigarette smoke. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a faint whiff of Old Spice and Harvey’s Bristol Cream as the Ghost of Divorcés Past glides by, clanging his gold chain and asking you to help him put the “lay” in malaise. Yes, dinner at the Scotch ‘N Sirloin is truly a journey to a classier, much more glamorous era.

Stop 4: A Random Lake, Lakeville, CT

Next on the list is this marina on a random lake in the aptly named hamlet of Lakeville, CT. These luxury vessels can seat up to two people and are eco-friendly, fueled by an alternative energy known as “paddling.” Amenities include life jackets (not pictured).


Stop 5: Hotel room, Lakeville, CT

Finally, I never travel without a healthy organic snack, and this trip was no exception. I found these artisanal crackers at a gourmet market called CVS (pronounced, I believe, “CIV-iss”) in Millerton, NY. Made with real cheez, these paleo-friendly tidbits pack a zesty crunch and are high in sodium. You can find them at specialty stores, gas stations and vending machines pretty much anywhere.


Well, there you have it: highlights from my whirlwind tour across two states. I hope you enjoyed it!

*Literally no one has ever asked me that.

And now for some Shameless Self-Promotion

My latest opus from Matador:

Border Run! 6 Awesome International Cities Only a Quick Flight from the East Coast

Many thanks to my favorite Canadaphile, Allison, for the tips on Toronto.

And! I’m huge in Japan. Huge!

6 Mistakes a Traveler Tends to Commit in New York

This was reprinted on Japanese website Tabi Labo and the Google translation is amazing. My favorite line is “If you absolutely want to go to Staten Island, let’s do that.” Let’s indeed.

As always, thanks for indulging my nonsense. Drop a line or share if you like it.



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