Where I went, what I ate, and why I do this to myself

Bon Appétit sent me to Copenhagen to write a City Guide. Friends always say they want to come with me to research food stories, but they usually lock themselves in their rooms by Day Two/Meal Twelve. This trip was no exception: The Google map I created had 50 pins on it to hit in less than five days.

The highlights?
Game-changing ramen at Slurp Noodle Joint
Warm cardamom rolls at Juno the Bakery
Fizzy kombucha made from leftover coffee at Coffee Collective
Mortadella pizza at Baest Fresh ricotta with perfect sourdough in the gorgeous Apollo Bar
An impromptu late-night natural wine tasting with the owner of Barabba
Lunch at Noma 2.0
Shopping at Illums Bolighus, one of the world’s best one-stop home stores
Scoring crazy 80s Italian vintage at Studio Travel boutique
Oh, and biking everywhere, even in the snow — truly my dream — thanks to the excellent loaners from Hotel Alexandra and Hotel Sanders

A few days later, I was eating tacos on Navajo fry bread at the lodge at Dunton Hot Springs, an extremely nice (though not fancy) hotel in remotest Colorado. I was happy to experience the Noma effect here, too, as the chef sourced as many local — and therefore Native American — ingredients as he could in an effort to tell the Colorado story on the family-style platters. In the three meals that I ate there between dips in the restorative hot springs, I felt like I had widened my sense of understanding about what American food means.

And throughout the month, I introduced at least eight people to King via ladies lunches, because to me it’s the best time to experience what has become one of my favorite NYC restaurants. Jess Shadbolt and Clare de Boer’s country Italian cooking and easy vibe are a welcome break from noisy/fussy/overtly cool restaurants that get all the attention. Even Eric Ripert, with whom I had a very caffeinated lunch after our epic chocolate tasting, came away moved by the gracious simplicity.

Between my trips and lunches, not to mention a couple of days in Dallas checking out Mexican restaurants when not working with a client, I was reminded of why I do crazy, exhausting, calorie-intensive trips like these: Because I love to have just a few days to figure out what’s best in a given city or place, and then sending people there. Because who really has more than three days in Copenhagen or 36 hours in Dallas? Or even time for a lovely New York lunch?

With xtine, I want to make it easy for you to get straight to the most memorable moments — in food, travel, and life. Oh, and chocolate.