Travel Guides for Design Snobs

Ever wish you could find a travel guide that had as much personality as the place you were visiting? Sure, Frommers and Lonely Planet have plenty of solid information, but they’re not very pretty too look at. I recently stumbled across the London-based Herb Lester, which produces some of the most gorgeously illustrated, cheerily written city guides I’ve seen.


A little about them, via the Herb Lester Associates website:

“We research, write, print and distribute travel guides to the world’s great cities. We seek out the well-used and much-loved, and enjoy the extraordinary as well as the everyday. Old bookshops and new coffee shops, park benches and dive bars, hat shops and haberdashers: this is the world according to Herb Lester.”


So not only do a get a comprehensive guide to your locale of choice—off-the-beaten paths included—you also get what are essentially beautifully-wrought maps that could easily be framed and hung on the wall once you return from your trip.

In other words, happy shopping.

Images via herblester.com

 

Tahiti in Photos, Pt. II

The discovery of Tahiti’s interior beauty was spectacular, but I couldn’t resist my time at the beach, either. The competition for the nicest beach in Tahiti is a tight one, but here are the notes I took while sunbathing:

Beaches on Tahiti:
Pointe Venus: Black sand beach, home of the historical lighthouse
Radisson Public Beach: Also black sand, but considerably less crowded and cleaner
Le Meridien Public Beach: Great snorkeling, but tons of sea slugs
Plage de Maui: A heckuva drive, but not crowded, some of the best snorkeling around

Beaches on Mo’orea:
Tem’aa: Not very good snorkeling, but clear sand for frolics and swimming

Cheap Eats: The Roulottes of French Polynesia

993980_970032849361_1055521967_nEvery guidebook writes about them—the roulottes of Tahiti. Tahiti, which is one of the more expensive island getaways, boasts a wide selection of restaurants and eateries. But the places to go if you want an authentic island experience (and want to eat with real Tahitians) are les roulottes, small groups of Tahitian food trucks, clustered in neighborhoods and pull-offs around the island. Here’s a run-down of my favorites and their specialties.


First off, the roulottes of Place To’ata. Place To’ata is located in downtown Papeete, right on the wharf. Cons? Parking can be a little tricky, as it doesn’t have a lot. Pro? It’s the widest array of roulottes on the island, and right on the water besides. Despite the variety, one roulotte rises to the top: Chez Mamy. Their steak frites, a staple of roulotte fare, is excellently seasoned, char-grilled (literally) to perfection. Beyond that, they offer an excellent selection of Chinese dishes and seafood.

If you’re staying beyond the city (say, in Le Meridien or Manava Suite Resort or a pension) Chez Vatea in Punuaiaa should be on your radar. They were one of the cheapest roulottes we found, offering ample parking and even more ample portions. Seriously huge plates heaped with fries, chicken, steak, veggies, rice…amazing. They share the parking lot of 2 + 2 Elementary School with a dessert roulotte, whose nutella crepes are to die for.

If you’re staying on the other side of Papeete (in the Radisson area) Chez Jacob should definitely be on your radar. Grab a seat and butter up your freshly slicedbaguette as you wait for your meat to come off the grill—if the butter and fresh herbs don’t get your stomach rumbling, the smells from the barbecue certainly will!

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(Poulet citrus and steak frites from Chez Mamy)

Tahiti in Photos, Pt. I

When I say that I’ve just gotten back from Tahiti, the first thing people ask is “How were the beaches?” That’s a fair question, since the pristine beaches, crystal clear waters, and myriads of swirling fish in brightly-colored coral are the hallmarks of Tahitian tourism (and believe me, I’ll have another whole post dedicated to just those sorts of shots). But something I really enjoyed this trip was getting to see the interior of the island—the lush green foliage, the thickly dark soil, the jagged crags of rock that make up the perfect foil for all that winsome blue.