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Wherever I may roam

BENT ANTENNA - Audrey N. Carpio (The Philippine Star) - April 11, 2014 - 12:00am

Instagram’s sole purpose is to make people envious of your meals, your outfits and your workouts, but most especially your holidays. You’ll hit the “like” jackpot if you manage to combine all four, i.e. “Post-yoga foie gras burger at Le Marais in my Loubs!” but I do think many of us miss those days of traveling without the frame and the filter always in mind. It’s hard to truly get lost nowadays when you’re constantly checking in. YStyle asked four women who travel about the wheres and whys of their favorite journeys, the ins and outs of their most beloved places. You might get a little expedition envy, but you’ll more likely be inspired to discover your own uncharted territories. Now get lost.

Vicki Abary

Brand consultant, Vogue Concepts

Favorite city to get lost in?

San Francisco. There are so many neighborhoods to visit and explore and each has its own personality. My last trip in September 2013 I revisited the Mission District — it used to be a somewhat seedy part of town I would only visit to eat at Ti Couz, a restaurant known for its amazing French crepes. That resto is long gone and over the years it has gentrified and it’s now got an amazing vibe. It was a beautiful warm fall day when we visited and people were all over Dolores Park, soaking up the rays. I absolutely love Clarion Alley with its super-creative mural graffiti that anyone with an artistic vision is welcome to create. A trip here is never complete without eating the yummy handcrafted Bi-Rite Creamery ice cream. There’s a snakeline outside but with unique flavors like Honey Lavender or Orange Cardamom, it’s worth it.

Hole in the wall that no one has heard of?

Though I do enjoy the occasional Michelin-star restaurant (his treat, haha!) the Vietnamese resto Thanh Long started out as a hole in the wall but now that its garlic noodles and roasted Dungeness crabs are world-famous, I can’t say that. So my new pick would be this seafood diner I stumbled upon in Nob Hill, Swan, that had another snakeline out the door. It’s got only bar seating so one of my companions didn’t even dine with us but ohmygod, for an oyster lover, it’s heaven. They serve only local oysters, the freshest you’ll ever find, as well as other seafood like clam chowder, shrimp cocktail and even sashimi. Love. Be ready to stuff your face in an unladylike manner.

Things to do or see not in the guidebook?

There are a million things you can do in San Francisco depending on who you are. Because I used to live in Los Angeles and I sorely miss road trips, my favorite thing to do is take a road trip out of San Francisco to see something else for a change. Take your pick: there’s Sonoma Valley, Carmel, Monterey, Napa Valley, you name it. Don’t want to go too far or tired of wandering around by foot? Try the 49-Mile Drive Scenic Drive, a designated route that will lead you all over the landscape so that you can soak in the city by driving through its neighborhoods.

Memorable moment that captures the city for you?

The time I drove myself from Los Angeles to San Francisco to visit my brother and his family for Fourth of July weekend when I was around 22 or 23. It was like a coming of age — it was the first time I had ever done something like that. It made me realize that I had freedom. Freedom to decide to go to San Francisco, choose my route, listen to my own tunes, stop when I felt like it, eat where I wanted. To shop at the outlets at my leisure without anyone telling me they wanted to leave already. Freedom to feel slightly afraid but being brave. I believe this encapsulates the spirit of San Francisco. Much like life, it is what you make of it.

Debrah Eastwood

Singer, Skint Eastwood

Favorite city to get lost in?

Mexico City DF, because it is huge, chaotic, colorful, has undertones of interesting history, religion, art, or the bizarre in every corner, and is easy to get lost in. It also helps that the food is amazing, there is a great art and music scene, and it is surprisingly convenient to get around on the metro.

Hole in the wall that no one has heard of?

I am big on the street food there (especially street-fruit with chili-lime powder), but Cantina Margarita in Colonia del Valle (Roma area) is spot on for after-hours Mexican food after a long night out.

Things to do or see not in the guidebook?

Xochimilco canals on the outskirts of the city, a beautiful nature break and home to the Island of the Dolls.

Best store for unexpected finds or unique items?

There is a market called Mercado De Sonora where you can find very strange items including voodoo dolls, mostly for Mexican rituals, but I really like a store/parlor called Goodbye Folk on Calle Colima, they do bespoke shoes and stock some amazing vintage clothes, as well as give haircuts.

Memorable moment that captures the city for you?

Eating jicama (singkamas) dipped in chili-lime powder on a lollypop stick with my sister while strolling through the Zocalo’s historic center in-between government buildings, churches, and ancient ruins of Aztec temples, watching people zigzagging to the metros to get to work, and being approached by a man in white who casually asked us if we knew about the secrets of the ancient feathered serpent god.

Abba Nappa

Partner, The Moment Group

Favorite city to get lost in?

I’m a Gemini. I can’t choose one! Cape Town, Paris and Copenhagen, because in my humble opinion I think they hold a lot to be discovered and strike that remarkably enticing balance between a charming past and a vibrant and evolving present.

Hole in the wall that no one has heard of?

I’m not quite sure if these are holes in the walls, because nowadays I think it’s tough for anything not to be discovered eventually. But these are places I discovered through good friends and not through guidebooks or blogs or what not. This little burger joint in Paris in the 1st arrondissement called Ferdi, because sometimes you just want a good burger… in Paris! And this neighborhood bistro, Le Troquet, in the 15th arrondissement, is sentimental for me.  Anytime I get the chance to spend time in Paris, I will always go and have a meal at the end of my trip. After trying the newest-fangled tastings, it’s nice to have a downright hearty and real meal with good company, and meals at Le Troquet symbolize that for me. This little cocktail bar in Copenhagen called Ruby, by the water and across from the Danish Parliament, it’s great because it opens at 4 p.m. and moreover because they really know what they’re doing.

Things to do or see not in the guidebook?

A traveling dinner cirque extravaganza — Madame Zingara — in Cape Town.

Best store for unexpected finds or unique items?

I’m drawing a blank. I’m sadly so one-dimensional it seems. All that matters to me when traveling is sitting at a table and sharing a meal and a drink with people I love.

Memorable moment that captures the city for you?

Whirling around over Cape Town on a Huey combat chopper with open doors surveying a city with arguably unparalleled natural beauty. ‘Tis the stuff National Geographic spreads are made of, and sights you would never see otherwise. Trying our hand at cycling around Copenhagen and its version of the meatpacking district in a neighborhood called Vesterbro, between a few glasses of wine here and there.

Ces Olondriz

Art director, Esquire magazine

Favorite city to get lost in?

A few years ago I took an Eat, Pray, Love-esque trip to Montreal. I had nothing but a bag of clothes and keys to a friend’s empty apartment on Le Plateau. I knew nothing of the place going in and decided to keep it that way to make the most out of everything. I was excited to experience a sense of Europe again. Discovering Jean-Talon farmers market opened my eyes to the local food and the hospitality of the Québécois. On Mount Royal I got to see a drum circle adjacent to people in the midst of live-action role-playing medieval battles. Summertime in Montreal is undoubtedly magical.

Hole in the wall that no one has heard of?

I would have to say that La Lagrima Taqueria in Cebu is one of my favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurants in recent memory. The food is authentically Mexican with all the spice and soft, juicy street tacos you can fill yourself with. You’d need a map of sorts to locate it unless you know someone who can show you the way. The spicy hot sauce and green mystery sauce literally makes your mouth water.

Things to do or see not in the guidebook?

One of my hands-down all-time favorite things to do is get takeout when I get to visit Oahu, Hawai’i. I routinely go to an L&L Drive In, Leonard’s Bakery, or a food truck to pick up lunch/merienda then drive up to any parking lot overlooking a beach. I usually go to Hawai’i Kai’s Sandy Beach early in the morning to get the best parking spot available then pop the trunk facing the ocean.

Best store for unexpected finds or unique items?

I used to go to this store in Bradenton, Florida called Retro Rosie and Cobweb’s Unique Finds. It’s located in a pink building on an unassuming street in a small town nearby where I used to go to college. The store is bursting at the seams with memorabilia from a time long gone like a perfectly preserved time capsule. What is brilliant about this store is that everything inside is in perfect condition. World War II nurses hats, sailors uniforms, scarves, gloves, poodle skirts, bras, jewelry, signage, wedding dresses, and anything else you can dream of.

Memorable moment that captures the city for you?

The most memorable moment was discovering the beauty of Chicago via bicycle. It was during college when my best girlfriend decided for me that it was about time I hopped on one and cycled around the city with her. Despite my initial adverse reaction to the clichéd art school biking culture, I gave it a try. It turned out to be one of my most favorite things about living in the Windy City. We ended up biking to all imaginable places that summer — along Lakeshore Drive from the suburbs all the way down to the Hogwarts-like campus of University of Chicago, to the Museum of Science and Industry, to Chinatown and Wicker Park.

ABBA NAPPA CAPE TOWN CITY FAVORITE LE TROQUET ONE SAN FRANCISCO
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