Town Restaurant: Ottawa's Prince Charming

Delicious smells in a warm room make you realize that you're already in your Happily Ever After … welcome to Town.

Once upon a time in castle-laden Ottawa, Canada, lived fair maiden Lori Wojcik and her charming prince chef of a husband, Marc Doiron.

"Darling, I've got a bun in the oven," Marc announced. She widened her pretty eyes and agreed, "Of course, honey. You're a baker."

"No -- I have a dream. I want to open a full restaurant where I create the most delightful food in all of our Canadian capital's land."

And so it began. . .  after ten years of saving ducats, nigh on three years ago, they flung open the doors of their Bistronomy demi-castle.

Chef Marc is the stuff of which legendary cooks are made.

Acabar: Behold The Beauty With A Brain

I pull open the glitzy golden doors of the restaurant and her beauty takes my breath away.  But I want brains behind the blonde. The exotic seductress pulls me in close. Her luscious lips brush against my ear, making me tingle as she whispers, The way you do anything is the way you do everything.

Her name . . .  Acabar.

After spending some time together she proved that she can carry on a conversation as brilliantly as her gleaming shell.

I hope she has stamina, because I can dine all night.

Nobu Malibu: Life's A Beach

Menu wiht chopsticks sticking out
I look good wet.

Just before reaching shore I dove underwater, then arched my back and exhaled up out of the chilly Pacific, getting my land legs back as I walked a bit unsteadily out of the surf. I wiped the sea water off my face before it could sting my eyes, pushed my open palms across my forehead, and used my fingers to comb my hair back.

My tanned body carried some of the glisten from the sea. I glanced over my shoulder at my beautiful boat, happy to have it but hungry for the food of the sushi gods, Nobu.

Large blue ship at sea

Approaching Nobu Malibu was like walking up to a venerable fortress. By the time I swung the wide wooden door open on its pivot, I'd slipped off my backpack and into a tight t-shirt and loose pants.

Seattle's Art of The Table: You Can Go Home Again....

What's the name of that restaurant so many of us love? You know, the one that's been around a long time, where you eat whatever they happen to be serving? Oh yeah -- Home.

Visiting Seattle, I had the luxurious 9-course tasting dinner ($75) at Art of the Table. It was like having dinner at home. A warm, loving home where the dad works extraordinarily hard yet is still a fantastic storyteller.

In 1900, my grandmother bench-pressed a handcart miles across the Oklahoma Territory when she was four. The windy, West Texas dirt pushed back but she pushed harder and defiantly bloomed into a delicate beauty of a hard-hugging woman who always stopped her stirring to lock me in her arms, soaking me with her love of food.  

Tuck Shop -- Love at First Bite

A friend of mine used to date Enrique Iglesias. Enrique was such an energetic and passionate lover that their sessions often broke furniture.
At the end they were breathless, totally satisfied, but anxious for more. Thankfully he had stamina.

I've never lustily busted up a Noguchi table, but I had a thrilling dinner at Montreal's Tuck Shop.

I swung open the door where smiling host Miles extended his arm which is lyrically tattooed with a musical note hinting that perhaps he was named for Miles Davis.

His friendly handshake told me that not only was he happy to have me there, he was happy to be there.

Gaia Hotel & Reserve: The Costa Rica Crown Jewel

Costa Rica is a diamond in the rough. Her crown of a coastline is set with semiprecious stones with one serenely polished gem mounted at the center of Manual Antonio.

Behold Gaia Hotel & Reserve.

view of a hotel on a hill in the jungle

On paper, it's the Sally Field of resorts -- she's won every award and everybody likes her. But you'll discover that this one's more curvy and luscious like Salma Hayek, barely able to keep her "assets" contained in the jungle of a sweater wrapped tightly around her.

La Luna at Gaia... Sweet Bird of Youth

Every morning at 3:30, a young Costa Rican boy stood in the kitchen doorway, wearing brightly colored pajamas, rubbing his sleepy eyes open to watch his mother make sandwiches to sell to the local fishermen. As soon as he could hold a knife, his mother taught him to slice vegetables.

By age 12, Miguel Monge Solís was a vital part of his mother's kitchen operation. He learned to reach outside and grab the bountiful flavors, and cook. In Costa Rica, banana trees are like pop-up restaurants -- coconuts, plantains, coffee, and tamarind grow for the taking, and making, of creative food.

After professional training in San Jose, Miguel "Mayky" is now the executive chef at La Luna, the diamond-in-the-rough Costa Rican jungle fine-dining restaurant at Gaia: Manuel Antonio's unrivaled luxury hotel, spa and nature reserve. Everything about this resort is overwhelmingly refreshing. Even Chef Mayky -- he's 22.