1. Where was your photo taken: La Torre, a great restaurant in Viterbo, about an hour north of Rome . The guy to my left is Paul Steffen, an 87-year-old American dancer who, at one time, was quite famous in Italy for his choreography. Those who have read my book, An Irreverent Curiosity, should be familiar with him. The photo was taken by Pancho Garrison, another good friend and Calcata character who has a sizeable presence in my book.
2. Where do you live now: New York City
3. Scariest airline flown: A “retired” Aeroflot plane that was being chartered by a tour operator. I was flying from Prague to the Black Sea coast in Bulgaria.
4. Favorite city/country/place: People ask me this question all the time and the answer changes depending on where I’ve traveled recently and my mood. I lived in Prague for a few years and was quite attached to the city long after I left. Also I lived in a village near Rome called Calcata and still have a deep fondness for both the Italian capital and Calcata. I was recently in Vietnam and came back home hoping I’ll be able to spend a lot more time there in the future.
5. Most remote corner of the globe visited: I’m not terribly well traveled. I was recently in La Paz, 13,000 feet up in the Andes and with altitude sickness weighing me down as if a truck-sized boulder was on top of me, I felt like I had entered a completely different and very remote dimension.
6. Favorite guidebook series: It depends. Often I just opt to gather my own info via travel articles, news and magazine articles, and info from friends of friends who live in the destination. When I do use a guidebook I tend to gravitate to the Time Out series though.
7. The most unusual food I’ve ever eaten is... I’ve eaten rat in Vietnam, llama in Bolivia, fish sperm ducts in the Czech Republic, but the weirdest thing I’ve eaten is “Italian” food –or, rather, what someone decided to define as Italian food –at American chain restaurants like the Olive Garden.
8. Favorite Foreign Dish/Restaurant? Is there still such a thing as a “foreign dish” in this very globalized 21st century? Some of my favorite restaurants are La Grotta dei Germogli in Calcata, ; Da Enzo in Rome; La Torre in Viterbo, Italy; any taqueria in Los Angeles with a Department of Public Health food facility rating of “B” or worse; Momofuku Ssam Bar and Ipudo in New York City . I also love eating cau lau at the central food market in Hoi An, Vietnam. One of the best meals I had in a long time was a few months ago at David Burke Townhouse in New York.
9. When I’m not writing for Gadling, I’m…eating and drinking and then, usually, writing about it for various travel magazines and newspaper travel sections.
10. Next trip: Oakland, CA. and then Belarus and then …