Saturday, June 9, 2018

The New York Botanical Garden and the Georgia O'Keeffe: Visions of Hawai'i Exhibit

For stressed out New Yorkers or visitors who want to experience a bucolic version of city life, head on out to the New York Botanical Garden.

Chartered in 1891, the NYBG encompasses a sprawling 250 acres in the Bronx and is the largest botanical garden in any American city.

The mission of the Garden is threefold: "to conduct basic and applied research on the plants of the world with the goal of protecting and preserving them where they live in the wild; to maintain and improve the gardens and collections at the highest horticultural standard; and to use the Garden itself as a venue for teaching the public about plant biology, horticulture, and the natural world generally."

The Rock Garden
There are many outdoor...

The Marjorie G. Rosen Seasonal Walk

The Rose Garden

...and indoor exhibits.

The Enid A. Haupt Conservatory
The Mertz Library
From May 19 till October 28, 2018 the Garden presents Georgia O'Keeffe: Visions Of Hawai'i

The O'Keeffe exhibit offers a rare look at the 17 paintings this modernest painter created during a 9 week trip to Hawaii in 1939, sponsored by the Hawaiian Pineapple Co. later to become Dole.

This is the first time all of these paintings have been presented together since their debut in 1940.

There's a very engaging short film about O'Keeffe's personal thoughts regarding the trip and the gorgeous plant life she discovered and which influenced her work for the rest of her life.

Throughout the garden there are creative contributions to the Hawaiian theme such as Mark Chai's lanterns. The Garden also offers Aloha Nights which include live music and lei-making demonstrations.

There's a Summer Concert Series at the garden celebrating jazz this season - June 22, July 13 and 27, as well as ongoing classes for young and old alike.

Photo courtesy of the NYBG

Still, one of my favorite things to do at the Botanical Garden is to just stroll by the vast fields.

Growing up in Northern Massachusetts, the terrain and plant life here happily reminds me of New Hampshire.


Thursday, May 10, 2018

The Costume Exhibit at the Met 2018

Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination
The Met Fifth Avenue
1000 5th Avenue
New York, NY
May 10 - October 8, 2018

It's early May... it's time once again for the opening of the annual Costume Exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

With designers ranging from John Paul Gautier and Christian Lacroix, to John Galliano and Versace, the Met's Heavenly Bodies is eye-openingly creative. Massive, the exhibit takes place within the Anna Wintour Costume Center (a wing within the Met), the Byzantine and Medieval galleries and on up to the Cloisters. Hautingly exquisite, the show features the relationship fashion has with the devotional practices and traditions of Catholicism.


Thursday, January 25, 2018

Cuculia Restaurant, Florence, Italy

Via dei Serragli, 3/R
50124 Firenze
Cuculia's website
email -
+39 055 277 6205

On a recent trip to Florence, Italy to do research for an upcoming feature article in Passport Magazine, I stumbled upon several exciting restaurants. One extraordinary establishment was Cuculia.


Cuculia is located in the Oltrarno neighborhood, which basically means the other side of the Arno River. The historic centre of Florence is on one side and when you crossover the Ponte Vecchio...

Ponte Vecchio

... (or several other bridges), you're in the Oltrarno. This also happens to be the part of town I prefer to stay in. It's quieter, less touristy and full of great artisan shops, museums, and restaurants. One evening, while strolling through the neighbor trying to decide where to have dinner, we came across Cuculia. There was something very homey and charming about the look of the restaurant and once glancing at the menu, the decision was made to see if we could get a table without reservations.

Yes! Probably because it was a Tuesday night. For the weekend, I would definitely recommend reservations. Cuculia refers to the twitter sound the cuckoo bird makes and this restaurant is the love child of Chef Oliver Bentancourt and his wife, Roberta. Also a library, the dining experience was exceptional from the innovative culinary creations to Rosa, our smart and entertaining server. Our gastronomical adventure started off with an unexpected "on the house" soup.

Pumpkin and Carrot Soup

Pumpkin and carrot with cauliflower, beet foam, spinach and croutons. Simply delicious and gorgeous to look at. In fact all of the dishes were stunning artistic creations. Here we have a chard roll stuffed with buckwheat and beetroot with apple chutney served on a bed of celery and walnut pesto.

Chard Roll

The Winter Salad below was composed of fennel, avocado, winter melon, pumpkin seeds and pomegranate served on a bed of chickpea humus.

Winter Salad

As an entreé, the sunflower pasta made with hulled wheat stuffed with goat cheese and honey on a bed of chestnut purée that was scented with fresh thyme was surprisingly delectable.

Sunflower Pasta with Goat Cheese and Honey

We also ordered the delicate ginger cod fish perfumed with a saffron rose infusion.

Cod with Rose Infusion

Note: all flowers were eatable and gobbled up! For dessert, a refreshing fruit sorbet was enjoyed as well as a...

Fruit Sorbet

...chocolate fondue with bananas, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries!

Chocolate Fondue

 The Dizzy Traveler is cuckoo for Cuculia!