A Few of My Favorite NYC Restaurants


(Photograph taken at La Biblioteque, NYC) Who doesn’t appreciate restaurant recommendations, especially if you planning on spending a long weekend in NYC, as I did recently. I always enjoy hearing about new restaurants from friends, especially when I’m traveling.  The three restaurants that I’m about to tell you about are not new or trendy but

Tired of Mother’s Day Brunch? Try a Tea


  “There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.” -Henry James, 1881 Three thirty in the afternoon this Mother’s Day, I will be sitting with Mallory and Averell at Bergdorf Goodman’s in New York City enjoying afternoon tea. Being with my daughters and enjoying

A Divine Dessert: A Floating Island


  Today, we need to talk about Floating Islands.   Just close your eyes please and imagine pillowy soft meringues floating in a puddle of rich, creamy custard, topped with caramel sauce. Congratulations! You have managed to conjure up an image of the most heavenly dessert… A Floating Island. I’ve been longing to make this

My Urban Garden


April hath put a spirit of youth in everything. William Shakespeare As much as I love our house, from the start it was always about the garden. It hugs the house so it can be seen from every window, inviting you to step outside and enjoy it.It’s a southern facing garden, which means that the

The Black Cat


Who can resist an evening at The Black Cat, a San Francisco gem, serving up live music in a bar and speakeasy venue? “Certainly not me” I thought as I sped down to the heart of the Tenderloin in the back of an Uber. The all black exterior of the building with a neon cat

Spring At The Japanese Tea Garden


    It is positively warm in San Francisco today! I mean seriously, throw open all the windows, walk a bit slower, jacket off warm. Cherry blossoms are blooming, flowers are bursting and there is a real risk of construction workers taking their shirts off any minute. Things are looking up! It’s also the perfect

Leos Oyster Bar


all photographs taken by Ashley Urban When I stepped through the imposing black and gold doors at Leos Oyster Bar, I couldn’t help but smile at tropical wall paper,  mother of pearl chandeliers, a long pink onyx bar with an oyster container at the end and a neat row of tables set before pleated banquets.

Fish Tales from New Zealand


My first day in the north island of New Zealand, we helicoptered from Poronui, a 16,000 acre fishing lodge where we were staying, to a remote river of volcanic origins.  I was told it was populated by good size rainbow trout. (My best buddy Noodle, who jumped on the helicopter every morning eager to hit

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