Always Impressed with Columbus’ Airport

airport

As I was sitting in LaGuardia airport waiting to catch my flight to Columbus, Ohio, I couldn’t help but realize how desperately in need it was of a renovation. Run-down interior, outdated facilities…it’s one of the worst airports I’ve visited in a long time. But the worst part? The lack of public power outlets! As I was desperately searching for a spot to charge my almost-dead iPhone, I felt sorry for my poor fellow travelers who had nowhere to charge their phones and tablets. The horror!

outletsThe frustration caused by my dead iPhone debacle made me realize how great my home city of Columbus’ airport really is. It’s night and day compared to New York’s outdated airport. What really stuck out in my mind was the vast availability of electrical outlets. According to their website, the airport offer more than 2,000 built in power outlets and USB ports. Each gate basically offers one per chair! And did I mentioned FREE wifi? Yes, free. It’s something that we take for granted these days, but Jeni'sconsidering that large airports like MIA still do not offer free access, it’s pretty great that CMH does.

The goodness doesn’t stop there. When you’re looking for a place to kill some time before a flight, there’s a Wolfgang Puck outpost with good food (and even better bloody marys!). A Jeni’s vending machine was also recently added, which may take the cake for the coolest vending machine of all time. Who doesn’t want ice cream on the go?

I’ve spent a lot of time in many, many airports, and this one always keeps its spot around the top of the list. Port Columbus International Airport, you have yet to disappoint.

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Back to New York

Up on the 86th floor

As a former New Yorker, I’m always excited to get back to my old stomping ground. The energy, the action, the lights…I can’t get enough. I always feel at home in new york, even though I now live 500 miles away from Manhattan. When my husband was called to a business trip, I decided to tag along for a long weekend. When I met him on a Friday afternoon, we had a lot to do in the short weekend ahead of us.

The last time my husband was in New York was over 20 years ago, so I had to show him some of the tourist must-dos. The first thing on our agenda was a trip to the Empire State building. Even though I had been there many, many times before, the view always makes it worth going again.

View from the top

 

After checking out the view from the top, we headed downtown to my old neighborhood, the West Village. Seeing the old street brought back so many memories. Many of the stores and restaurants on the block had changed, but it still felt the same. Around the corner from my old place was the entrance to Washington Square Park. The arch remains one of my favorite New York landmarks.

my old block

washington square park

ottoAfter the park, we stopped into Otto, a pizza restaurant right around the corner from my old apartment. This Mario Batali – owned spot may be past it’s heyday (I once witnessed a Sex and the city episode being filmed here), but it’s still an old standby for a good glass of wine and pizza. I just love the lively atmosphere, and the train departures board is a cool touch. I started with a blood orange bellini, then ordered the pane frattau – a thin crust pizza topped with an egg. Yes, an egg! It was delish, and right on par with Manhattan’s other great pizza spots.

Otto's pane frattau

Otto’s pane frattau

We headed out just as the snow started to fall. Not wanting to walk around in the wintery cold, we ventured uptown for an afternoon at the Museum of Modern Art. Check out my post on our trip to MOMA here. We finished out the weekend with some shopping in Soho, a trip to Central Park (so pretty in the Winter!), and a visit to Cafe Gitane with friends. It was a great weekend trip, and it’s always good to go back.

Eating My Way Through San Juan

If you’ve ever been to Puerto Rico, you know that one of the best things about the island is the food. Lechon, tostones, mallorcas; the list is endless. So during a recent trip to San Juan, my girlfriends and I made sure that we tried everything the city had to offer (when we weren’t lazily soaking up the Caribbean sun on the beach, of course).

Paella at Plato's

Paella at Plato’s

After a long flight and a stop at our hotel to check in, we were famished. Our first stop was Plato’s in Isla Verde, after it came recommended by the staff at the InterContinental San Juan. Oh my, were they ever right. My red snapper was cooked perfectly and had to be at least two pounds! My friend said the seafood paella was on par with the paella she had in Spain. Everyone’s dish was so good. However, we all agreed that the best part was their coconut sangria. Heavenly.

Mofongo!

Mofongo!

We then headed to Old San Juan for some shopping and sightseeing. After exploring the old town, with its cobblestone streets and pastel colored buildings, we walked to Raices for dinner. Located on a busy Old San Juan street, it was packed when we arrived at 8 p.m. We waited and were seated after 45 minutes. We started with mojitos; pineapple for my friend and tamarind for me. An island that’s the leading producer of the world’s rum has to make good mojitos, right? As for my meal, I have one word – mofongo. Their starch-tastic mix of plantains and garlic is a top contender for my last meal on earth. Seriously, the shrimp mofongo was that good.

Enjoying our mojitos at Raices

Enjoying our mojitos at Raices

panaderia espana

Panaderia Espana

The morning after a night out on the town, we were in search of an authentic Puerto Rican breakfast. We did some searching online and decided to venture to Panaderia Espana. After a short walk from our Isla Verde hotel through a not-to-pretty, non touristy neighborhood, we arrived at the unassuming panaderia. This place was full with tourists and locals alike, which I always take as a good sign. This place had everything – coffee, pastries, sandwiches, traditional entrees. It even sold bottled wine! Strong cafe con leche and my medianoche sandwich of roast pork, ham and swiss cheese was exactly what the doctor ordered after a late night. A to-go box full of guava tarts, mango cheesecake and quesitos for later made the trip complete.

Now that I’m home, I long for some of the specialties I tasted on this trip. I’m on a constant quest for a good Puerto Rican restaurant in my city, but there don’t seem to be any! If you’ve been to Puerto Rico, what are some of your favorite dishes or treats?

My 10 Favorite Quotes about New York

New York

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
There is something in the New York air that makes sleep useless.  -Simone De Beauvoir

More than anything else New York is a city of superlatives, a place where the best, the brightest, the biggest is the norm.  -Marilyn J. Appleberg

There is more sophistication and less sense in New York than anywhere else on the globe.  -Don Herold

New York remains what it has always been: a city of ebb and flow, a city of constant shifts of population and economics, a city of virtually no rest. It is harsh, dirty, and dangerous, it is whimsical and fanciful, it is beautiful and soaring – it is not one or another of these things but all of them, all at once, and to fail to accept this paradox is to deny the reality of city existence.  -Paul Goldberger

New York is the only real city-city.  -Truman Capote

I think New York is not the cultural center of America, but the business and administrative center of American culture.  -Saul Bellow

One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.  -Tom Wolfe

Once you have lived in New York and it has become your home, no other place is good enough.  -John Steinbeck

No matter who you are, if you believe in yourself and your dream, New York will always be the place for you. -Michael Bloomberg

If you want to become a real New Yorker, there’s only one rule: You have to believe New York is, has been, and always will be the greatest city on earth. The center of the universe. -Ellen R. Shapiro

Where To Go In 2014

Is your new year’s resolution to travel more? If so, you’re going to need this list of my top places to hit in 2014. From beaches to nightlife to architecture, these spots have something for everyone.

MarbellaMarbella, Spain: This one tops my personal list for 2014. The cosmopolitan resort town is a wonderful spot for some R&R after traveling throughout Andalucia. Golfing at one of the city’s many courses, followed by a walk through the old part of town (complete with orange trees!), sounds pretty amazing right about now.

Dalmation CoastCroatia’s Dalmation Coast: Beyonce and Jay Z have been spotted yachtin’ it up here, and can you blame them? This “Pearl of the Adriatic” has sunshine, a beautiful coastline and a party scene that’s made it popular with European trendsetters. Don’t miss Dubrovnik’s city walls for an unforgettable view.

CuritibaCuritiba, Brazil: If you’re planning to head to Brazil for this year’s World Cup, don’t just stop in Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro. Take time to visit Curitiba, the biggest city in the country’s southern region. Spend an afternoon exploring its beautiful botanical garden, or venture to the museum dedicated to architect Oscar Niemeyer. Hungry? The city’s numerous churrascarias offer unlimited options for carnivores, and the region’s large German influence can be seen in popular desserts.

CambodiaCambodia: It’s full of awe-inspiring temples like Agkor Wat, and also home to some of Southeast Asia’s best beaches. Island hop in the Gulf of Thailand, where bungalows go for as low as $10 a night. Yes, $10 a night.

Denver

Denver: It’s long been popular for its mix of natural beauty and big city nightlife, but 2014 is going to be Denver’s biggest year yet. Millions are expected to flock to the city for “green tourism,” but the Mile High city’s other gems are not to be overlooked. Red Rocks Park is a sight to see, and the 16th Street Mall offers good dining and entertainment options.