Rarely had I seen a bluer sky or whiter snow than the landscape I woke up to. We got our first view of Mývatn that morning in daylight, no snowstorm or winds, and we observed that the lake itself is only part of the draw of the region — huge volcanoes with deep snow-filled craters circle the lake at a distance, making for a dramatic landscape in the winter and, inevitably, an inviting hiking destination in the summer.
A replacement SUV rental arrived mid-morning, shortly after we finished our complimentary breakfast in the Höfn Inn’s charming dining room across the street from the guesthouse. We loaded up the car and were soon on our way to the resort area of Lake Mývatn, where we would be staying at a guesthouse with a working dairy farm. I booked it before we’d even bought our flights.
We had every reason to be optimistic about the day’s drive, for a change. Read the rest of this entry »
My guy let me sleep in a little while he looked into driving conditions, doing research on the internet first and then consulting with the concierge at Icelandair Hotel Klaustur. We had no good options, only poor ones in varying degrees of risk and expense. Read the rest of this entry »
The view out the bedroom window in the morning startled me. In the morning sunlight, in what I would find out was about an hour’s drive east, I saw a long line of snow-capped peaks along the horizon. The evening prior, the visibility wasn’t that good, and the eastward view just looked like farmland. But that morning, Read the rest of this entry »
The day’s plan was to see the popular tourist attractions near Reykjavik that make up the Golden Circle — Þingvellir, Geysir, and Gulfoss — and then begin our weeklong journey around the circumference of the island, spending the night on a horse farm in the south. I saw more tourists on this one day than the rest of the week combined. Actually, that’s an overstatement — of how many tourists I saw the rest of the week. If you’re planning to go to Iceland to “get away from it all,” you’ll need to get further away from Reykjavik than the Golden Circle. Read the rest of this entry »
We slept so soundly that first night. I have not a single complaint about any of the beds I slept on in Iceland, but that first one was especially good, with a plush duvet cover for each of us and natural light streaming in from all sides. We reveled in a small breakfast of Icelandic yogurt we’d purchased at the grocery store the evening before, then we set out to explore Reyjkavik.
We wandered downhill on Laugavegur in the morning, Read the rest of this entry »
Iceland didn’t feel exciting to me at first. Disembarking to a wet runway at Keflavik International Airport not long after sunrise, at what felt like 11:00 p.m. Pacific Standard Time, I thought it was flat, barren, and colorless. I worried I was at the southwest corner of a small and uninteresting island, adrift between continents.
But after spending almost two weeks circling the perimeter of the country, I’m grateful for my uninspiring introduction to the country. Iceland is a cold bath and a hot tub all at once, both alarming and comforting, best eased into slowly. Only hours after that initial misreading, everything about Iceland was surprising to me, and to extents that I’d never experienced in my life before then.
Turns out, Iceland is pretty exciting.
In somewhat of an order. Chronological-ish. Really long, so I expect no one to actually read this, just something I wanted to do. Read the rest of this entry »
That’s a lie. I’m listing 11, all completely deserving, but 10 just sounds flashier. In no particular order (except the prettiest photo is going at the top)…
The Beef Tongue Schitzel, $12.00
Bäco Mercat, 408 S Main Street, 90013
Okay. It’s actually a very close call between the tongue schitzel bäco with pickles, harissa, and smoky aioli, and the toron bäco with oxtail, a cheddar hashbrown, and horseradish yogurt sauce. Maybe, in my mind, my dream bäco is breaded and fried beef tongue with a cheddar hashbrown and creamy horseradish sauce. Either way, I’m just happy I live in a world (and especially a city) where chef Josef Centeno has invented these puffy flatbread wraps with forceful meat cuts and innovative sauces and unexpected spices, with the most pleasing textures. He makes a mean mole enchilada at Bar Amá, too.
Turkey Reuben and Waffle Fries, $9.95
Home Los Feliz, 1760 Hillhurst Ave, 90027
Also known as a Georgia Reuben, Home’s turkey reuben comes with Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve often thought it would be nice to get married in Louisville, Kentucky. My dream guy and I would say “I do” in a small chapel in the blue hills in front of our families and closest friends, then we’d all go back downtown to the 21C Museum Hotel and party the night away in the company of red penguins and modern art. I discovered the hotel as a business traveler in early 2007, soon after it opened, and I eagerly returned several times to continue to enjoy its rotating art exhibits, menus, and acrylic red penguins with their enviable posture in the guest room hallways. (When you return to your room in the evening, they’re rarely standing where they were when you left in the morning.)
Last fall, as my then-boyfriend and I started to talk about a future wedding, he admitted he had reservations about marrying in Louisville. It had meaning mostly to me, really, and neither of us were from there. But we did have a good memory of it, together. When I moved to Los Angeles in 2010 to close the gap on our long-distance relationship, my guy joined me for the drive, and I requested that Louisville be our first overnight stop (and he requested that Las Vegas be our last).
We arrived in time for the end of the dinner hour and had a wonderful meal at Proof on Main, but by the time we were finished the galleries were either dark or locked. We went to the concierge and asked if there was any way to see them, since we had to leave early to get on the road, and a docent was summoned to come out. She turned on the lights and unlocked the doors to the galleries for us. And then she left us. We absorbed the art, kissed once or twice since no one was looking (except for security cameras), and went to bed.