Food and drink

Japanese restaurant owner invests £42/$65 a slice on tuna sushi


Whopping tuna catch in Tokyo

A Japanese restaurant owner ignored the global recession and shelled out a staggering 56.49 million yen (£476,082/$736,500) on a  269-kilogramme (592-pound) tuna fish in the first auction of the year at Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market.

At those prices, a single slice of the highly regarded blue-fin tuna could cost 5000 yen (£42/$65) but the sushi restaurant owner said it will be priced at a more reasonable 418 yen (£3.50/$5.40), despite western countries calling for a ban on fishing of the endangered Atlantic bluefin tuna.

Tips for a wonder-filled break in Rome


The Coliseum, Rome

Rome is a wonder of the world. Literally! Every corner you turn there is an architectural wonder, a gastronomic wonder, a religious wonder, a wonder of ancient Rome, or a view to wonder at (romantically or otherwise). However, if you are only visiting for a short break be sure to not try and cram in too much. If you do, things will pass by in the blurr, you’ll wear yourself out, and you will not appreciate one my favourite things to do in Rome – wandering the cobbled streets of the Centro Storico or Trastevere areas drinking coffee (or prosecco), snacking on arancini, and stumbling across yet another enchanting church.

Ye Olde, er, Japanese tearooms … in the middle of the English countryside!?


Looking for a quirky twist in the middle of the English countryside? Well, East meets West right here in the middle of Cotswolds Life with the Japanese family-run English tea rooms, The Olde Bakery Tea Shoppe, named Les Routiers Café of the Year 2005, Wales & The Marches.

Owned and run by the Miyawaki family, and housed in a Grade II listed building, award winning cream tea, afternoon tea, cakes and pastries are served up in a traditional English setting in the beautiful town of Winchcombe.

Benvenido a Miami


Will Smith’s party tune, Welcome to Miami, became my personal anthem for our big American road trip.

I sang it silently in my head in the queue for the aeroplane, hummed it as we picked up the Mustang and sang out very loud as we drove along en a 2000 mile route towards Miami.  Will told us to: ‘Party in the city where the heat is on. All night on the beach ‘till the break of dawn’. And we took his advice!

N’awlins – that’s New Orleans to you and me


Apparently I am a disgrace, terribly unpatriotic and should be drowned in the Mississippi….. for leaving my country on the day of the biggest and most important wedding in history. A debatbale point of view but one which many Americans were quick to share with me because, on 29 April 2011, I was in New Orleans for a wedding much closer to my heart; that of my friend Erin (we met on the terrace of a bed bug-ridden filthy hole-of-a-hotel in Taipei and consoled ourselves, for having trusted Lonely Planet’s recommendation, by drinking enough tall boys until we didn’t mind that you had to put your hand right inside the grimy cistern in order to flush the toilet). And I think Rosy’s Jazz Hall is a much better location for a wedding than Westminster Abbey anyway.

Turkey: more than just a good kebab


[…] When a friend of mine, realizing that her last summer of unrestrained pleasure before entering into careerdom was upon her, asked me to take her on an adventure I thought what better place to go for a little culture and excitement than the crossroads between Europe and Asia … Turkey.

Turkey – more than just a good kebab (September 2003)

The good life in Costa Rica’s blue zone


This time last year my boyfriend and I were sitting on a beach in Costa Rica. It was just coming to the end of the rainy season and subsequently there were still relatively few tourists around. Those that were there were surfers, typically North Americans or Europeans, who had rented a room for six months to take advantage of the cheap long-term ‘green season’ rates, the epic waves and the empty beaches. We were also coming to the end of our own six-month trip, during which I’d been working as a freelance travel writer in Ecuador and Guatemala. And Santa Teresa, on the Nicoya peninsular, was the perfect place to stop, re-group and take it all in.

London that won’t break the bank


Magnificent Nunhead Cemetery

London may be known for being one of the most expensive cities in the world but what a lot of people don’t know is that there are loads of totally free activities to fill your days and nights, leaving you with more pennies to save for your next trip. London’s museum and galleries have been free for some time now but there are lots of other cheap, cheerful and less-well known attractions just waiting to be discovered. So here it is: an insider’s top five tip-off to get you started (and when you’ve got through these, pick up one of the many free newspapers given out on the underground to give you even more ideas).

Five of Antigua’s best restaurants


Antigua, Guatemala, may not be at the top of just anyone’s must-visit list but the fact is it should be at the top of yours, especially if you’re a discerning foodie also partial to a fine tipple. In 1997 Antigua became the first ever designated UNESCO World Heritage Site, an accolade it well-deserves. The setting is stunning: surrounded by the lush green peaks of the Agua and Fuego volcanoes (the latter occasionally letting out a sigh of smoke), the evocative cobblestone streets and tended ruins (homage to the tenacity of the inhabitants who survived and rebuilt the city after numerous earthquakes throughout the 1700s), the Maya in bright traditional dress with their horse-drawn carts around the plaza central reminiscent of a simpler time, all this comes together to create a fairy tale-like setting where the pressures of reality seem suspended. And within this oasis of calm you’re free to wander and discover the hundreds of gastronomic gems. In fact, there’s a different restaurant here for every day of the week so you are literally spoilt for choice. However, if you only had a week these are five of the best you should not miss.

A pub crawl across America: tips on the new best places to drink in the States


Beer trails from coats to coast: the beer connoisseur’s guide to America’s frothy new landscape – by Karen Nagy