Food & Wine

That Travel Meal :: Best-in-Show Burrata at Ava Gene's


[trip style = food + wine]

Last month we started a series called "That Travel Meal," a taste of the delicioso dishes I savor while trip styling and tasting around the globe. The plates that make it into this series are the cream of the crop, the ones I must recreateeither through the acquired recipe or hours of  trial and errorand share with you as the travel souvenir that keeps on giving. 

That Travel Meal dishes won't keep you in the kitchen {or driving all over town to source ingredients} for hours; they're pretty easy to recreate. For example, I'm OB-sessed with Parisienne croissants, but that's something I'll leave to Le Cordon Bleu alumni.  

The latest fare I'm adding to the TS menu is a burrata appetizer I ordered last month from Ava Gene's, one of my go-to restaurants in Portland. As a burrata lover, I've tested a lot of the melt-in-your-mouth mozza, but this rendition is the bestideal for a petite dinner paired with rosé, or as a dinner party starter.  

Ava Gene's Burrata {serves 2}
- 6" square of focaccia, sliced into 6 fingers
- 4 oz burrata 
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp jalapeno, minced
- 1 tsp shallot, minced
- 3 tbsp fresh corn 
- 2 tomatillos, sliced
- 7 gooseberries,  halved {or nectarine if gooseberries are hard to find}
- 2 tbsp chopped walnuts
- 6 mint leaves, slapped {to release flavor} and sliced
- salt and pepper to taste

Warm and crisp sliced focaccia in the oven at 200 F for 12 minutes. Mix 1 tbsp of olive oil with jalapeno, shallot, corn, tomatillos, gooseberries, walnuts and mint in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste. Take burrata out of the fridge, place on your serving dish and top with contents from your mixing bowl. Pour remaining olive oil over the burrata and mint mixture. Remove focaccia from the oven, place on your plate and serve. 


Trip Styler Tip: Ava Gene's changes their burrata weekly depending on what's in season. Use this recipe as a guide, but feel free to take a cue from Portland's obsession with local bounty and add or subtract what's currently growing in your backyard.

That Travel Meal :: Goat Cheese-Prociutto-Pear-Arugula Pizza

[photos by @tripstyler]

Roam+Board :: Four Seasons Hong Kong


[trip style = luxe + urban + food & wine]

Editor's Note: This R+B is part of a series on my luxury jaunt to Asia. Earlier posts: flying Cathay Pacific's business class, and exploring Hong Kong

The Four Seasons Hong Kong exists at the cusp of business and pleasure, boasting the streamlined efficiency of a Fortune 500 company and the escapism of a far-flung retreat. Graced with a soothing blend of Asian hospitality and Four Seasons' signature service, I felt at home the minute I walked into the sleek and daylight-drenched lobby.  

Not holding anything back, each room features floor-to-ceiling views and a marble ensuite flaunting fresh flowers and separate spaces to soak and rinse. The pillowy-firm beds, seemingly outfitted for the long-haul traveler, mean sweet dreams quickly overtake jet lag. 

Completely content with the lure of the Spa, Pool Terrace and Michelin-star restaurants, there were moments when I second-guessed walking out the front door into the waterfront metropolis. There's a distinct retreat quality to the urban tower.

Intent on experiencing the hotel with all five senses, every day, I did two things: Swim in the infinity pool perched over Victoria Harbour {pictured above}, and visit the Spa's water therapy circuit, complimentary for guests and the ULTIMATE way reinvigorate the body after flying.

At night, it only seemed fitting to delve deeper into the hotel's global allure and toast the city, where I started dating my husband, at Caprice, home to Asia's largest selection of artisanal French cheese. In the discreet and dark-hued bar-lounge, I sat in a velvet settee with a glass of Bordeaux, a wooden board of cheese and the hope that my trip styled stay could one day be repeated. Trip Styler approved.

In the heart of the Financial District on Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong, 25 minutes from the airport via the Airport Express train or 35 minutes by car/taxi.

Hong Kong's weather is sweetest in spring and fall when precipitation is at a minimum and temperatures are warm like a West Coast summer.

You're looking to make a splash in Hong Kong, both in the rooftop infinity pool, as well as in the Michelin-starred restaurants.

Rates start around $545 a night and include free WiFi and access to the Spa's vitality lounge, thalassotherapy pool, steam, infrared sauna. 


Pool terrace

Pool terrace

My room

My room

My bathroom

My bathroom

Bathroom orchids

Bathroom orchids

Tai Chi with master William

Tai Chi with master William

Dim sum in Lung King Heen, the world's first three Michelin star restaurant

Dim sum in Lung King Heen, the world's first three Michelin star restaurant

Caprice Bar

Caprice Bar

French cheese board at Caprice Bar

French cheese board at Caprice Bar

Thalassotherapy pool with chi water in the Spa

Thalassotherapy pool with chi water in the Spa

More Roam+Board
Korakia Pensione - Palm Springs 
La Gazelle d'Or – Morocco
Mandarin Oriental – Las Vegas
Hotel Lone – Croatia
Four Seasons Resort at Manele Bay - Lanai

[photos by @tripstyler, except lead image and Caprice Bar via Four Seasons Hong Kong, taken as a guest of the hotel]

Weekend in Palm Springs

[trip style = sun + food + luxe + spa + active]

When I’m in need of a major dose of Vitamin D, I retreat into Palm Springs’ sunny embrace. Steeped in enough swagger and style to outlast the coolest cats in town—just about every big-name celeb has had a brush with Hollywood's first love, including the newest recruit, Leonardo Dicaprio—its effortless cool delivers from dawn till dusk. Here's where to lounge like an A-lister in the desert sun.

Trip Styler Tip: For full details, check out my styled suggestions in 48 hours in Palm Springs for the Expedia Viewfinder.

Day One


  • Norma's for alfresco dining fuelled by complimentary smoothie shooters
  • King's Highway order an iconic date shake with vanilla bean gelato in the former and upstyled Denny’s
  • Cheeky's for the bacon flight alone {and the owner’s fave: crispy buttermilk waffles doused in salted butter and syrup}

Stroll along North Palm Canyon Drive into the Uptown Design District to browse furniture stores akin to midcentury museums, and while you're in the place that popularized poolside cocktail parties, play the part in a scene-stealing dress or striped seersucker suit from desert-based designer Trina Turk---a shop so legit, you're offered a chilled mimosa upon entering.

Check into Korakia Pensione, and if your room isn't prepped—check-in is technically in the later afternoon—cool off under the shade of an umbrella beside one of two saltwater pools at the Mediterranean-inspired retreat.

Replenish your sun-scorched electrolytes at the Lemonade Stand deep in the citrus grove at The Parker Palm Springs. Sit and sip a muddled lemon bev of your choosing at the chic white marble bar, or under the shade of a tangerine and yellow umbrella. And since you’re on vacation, head a few steps leeward to PSYC {Palm Springs Yacht Club}, a nautical-themed spa offering a co-ed dipping pool and boozy pre-treatment shots.

Since you’re already at The Parker, saddle up to the six-seat Mini Bar for a tipple.

Satisfy your stomach at Birba, an alfresco pizza and pasta place warmed by the wood-burning pizza oven and a bevy of outdoor fireplaces. Birba is my first dinner stop every single time I lollygag in Palm Springs.

Day Two

Korakia Pensione includes breakfast in one of the most gorgeous settings in the Coachella Valley: a spot next to a fountain under the shade of orange trees. Bite into a rotating menu of dishes like rustic potatoes paired with eggs and multigrain toast.

Since Palm Springs and modernism mingle in the same circles---it's home to the country's largest concentration of the throwback structures and style---check out some of the homes that have helped to make the city famous. Look up Robert Imber at Palm Springs Modern Tours or stop by the Palm Springs Visitors Center for a $5 map of Modern Palm Springs. Both the DIY and hosted tours are excellent; choose one based on how much time you want to spend drooling over design.

The San Jacinto Mountains, visible from nearly every sun-scorched vantage point, beg to be conquered. Rev your heartbeat and score a killer view of the Coachella Valley hiking one of the many trails that start along the edge of town. Talk to your hotel concierge for a list of nearby trailheads.

You're in Palm Springs, so spending time by your hotel pool is not only encouraged, but expected.

Toast your last night of desert decadence at one of Palm Springs’ most iconic addresses, the ever-hip Purple Palm Restaurant and Bar. Named in a nod to the hotel’s original owner—a mob boss and member of the Purple Gang—the elegant eatery is perched next to the Colony Palms Hotel pool.

[photos by @tripstyler, except mini bar via Parker Palm]

San Francisco :: Eat

[trip style = urban + food + wine]

There are way too many restaurants on my where-to-eat-in-San-Francisco list---28 to be exact, which I've organized by neighborhood and cuisine. I keep a list of restaurants, cafes, bars, shops, museums and outdoor spaces for many of my favorite cities, like Los Angeles, Portland and New York. This practice has always guaranteed fantastic meals, whether I'm looking for a quick bite near Dolores Park {Pizzeria Delfina} or a leisurely brunch near Ocean Beach {Outerlands}. I knocked a couple off my list last week and they were so good I had to share. Two down, 26 to go. The only problem is that I loved these two so much I can't wait to go back.

Trip Styler Tip: When you hear about a fantastic restaurant from a friend, in a magazine or on Instagram, keep a note of it in your phone under the name of the city and how you heard about it. Or, if you want to get extra fancy, make a custom Google Map.

State Bird Provisions
Neighborhood: Western Addition
I'm optimistically confident when I tell you this will be your most memorable dining experience in San Francisco. That is, if you can find it---and if you can get in. There's no name on the outside and their reservations are famously filled 60 days ahead, though they leave a third for walk-ins. But don't let that scare you off; once you set foot inside you'll feel welcomed. Despite its hotspot status---Bon Appetit named it the best new restaurant of 2012---the restaurant has a neighborhood feel. While I waited for my table, I saw several diners hugging and chatting with chefs and servers like old friends.

But you want to hear about the food, I know! They serve it conventionally and unconventionally; you can order off a menu or you can order dim sum style, off carts and trays brought past your table throughout the meal. This is dangerous because everything looks delicious. The menu is always changing, but we ate: garlic bread with burrata, raw oyster with spicy kohlrabi kraut & sesame, grilled asparagus with gribiche & toasted hazelnuts, smoked trout quinoa tabouleh, steak tartare caesar lettuce cups, hamachi & avocado mousse on a seaweed cracker and pork belly blood orange salad. We finished our incredible meal with a half order of spiced almond cocoa nib ice cream sandwiches in plum fudge. {}

Trip Styler Tip: Drop by when they open or early in the evening to secure a table for the same night. I came in around 6:30 and scored a 9:30 reservation.

Bar Tartine
Neighborhood: the Mission
Sister restaurant to Tartine Bakery, whose cultlike following lines up out the door and down the block for bread and pastries on the daily, Bar Tartine is a stylish bistro where the dishes are as delicious as they are beautiful, as distinctive as they are simple. Open for dinner, weekend brunch and as a sandwich counter wednesdays through fridays, this nearly decade-old restaurant is always hopping. Many of the dishes are built around their famous bread, baked on site daily. Vogue recently called co-owner and baker Chad Robertson "the cult prince of American breadmaking".

I made a same-day reservation for the very European dinner time of 10:30pm. The room and staff are warm and inviting; I loved the small touches like fresh flowers in the restrooms and the thoughtful wine recommendations from our attentive server. We ate: sliced bread with cultured squash in sunflower oil, smoked potatoes with black garlic, kale with sunflower tahini and yogurt, beef tartare on toast with horseradish, chicken in paprika sauce with buckwheat and chard and rainbow trout with mustard greens and shiitake in broth. {}

This post is written by Trip Styler fashion and lifestyle blogger Heather.

San Francisco Coffee Crawl
Stylish Stays in San Francisco
Spring in San Francisco

[photos by @heatherlovesit and via instagram, eater sf & chow]