Where To Stay, Eat, Drink

Welcome to NYLON’s City Guides, your one-stop shop for the ideal vacation. Here, you’ll find the ultimate recommendations when it comes to where to stay, eat, drink, shop, and more for the world’s hottest cities — all tried and tested by NYLON editors. Read on for your ideal, NYLON-approved itinerary.

Miami is Florida’s crown jewel for a reason. The 305 operates on vibrancy all year round, and there’s something about the permanent heat that makes the hedonism come out to play. It’s a city in rare form, one where you can hop from galleries and museums to pristine beaches, and then indulge in fine dining and even finer partying, all in a single day. Few cities can balance offering rambunctious fun with blissed-out tranquility the way Miami can, making it the ideal destination for an escape from winter’s dreariness, or a full-throttle summertime vacation. A few days exploring everything from South Beach’s art deco architecture to Wynwood’s bars to Miami Beach’s serene waters are sure to revitalize the soul, and have you considering extending your trip by a day or two. It really doesn’t matter what circumstances lead you to a visit to Miami — just know you’re in for an adventure. Read on to prepare your next trip to Miami from where to stay, eat, drink, and more.

Where To Stay

Moxy South Beach
Moxy South Beach

Moxy South Beach: If you’re going to Miami, having a beach within a few blocks is key. Enter Moxy South Beach, which checks that box, along with everything else you need for the ultimate stay. Prime location? Check. Welcoming entryway filled with bright hues and a fully stocked (and always popping bar?) Check. An early morning and late night “bodega” slinging freshly made tacos and burritos, fruit popsicles, and margaritas by the jug? Check.

Here’s our tip for the ideal day: grab a breakfast quesadilla and fresh fruit bowl from Los Buenos Tacos, located in the lobby, then take a 5 min stroll to hit the beach for the morning (towels are conveniently available at the hotel front desk). After a leisurely morning in the sun, head back for a long lunch at Serena, the open-aired restaurant overlooking South Beach (the tuna tostada is a must, as is any mezcal drink), before hitting the pool steps away. From there, choose your own adventure for the evening before crashing into (the very comfortable, we must note) bed.

Where To Eat

Puerto Sagua: Hitting up a Cuban restaurant is an unspoken rule of crossing the Miami-Dade county line. South Beach’s Puerto Sagua offers the best of Cuban comfort foods – ropa vieja, café cubano, and, of course, a cuban sandwich – in a no-frills diner spot. It’s the ideal spot to refuel after a night of partying, and once you’re done, you can quickly cross the street for a blissed-out day at the beach.

La Santa Taqueria: Simply put, everything from La Santa Taqueria absolutely slaps. The birria and al pastor options — both tender and spiced to perfection — are not to be missed, and the cocktails are strong and pretty enough that even the staunchest “live in the moment” type of person will cave in to snap a photo. La Santa’s ambiance is as vibrant as its food; it’s the perfect spot for a fun dinner and a quick drive from Miami’s bustling neighborhood, Wynwood, where you can continue the debauchery.

La Santa Taqueria
La Santa Taqueria

Where To Drink

Miami Mojito Company: Nothing pairs better with Miami’s brutal heat than an ice cold mojito, and Miami Mojito Company has you covered with the best, most creative flavors of the tropical cocktail. Tucked away in a beachy tiki bar with enough plants to trick the inebriated mind into thinking it’s potentially in a jungle, the bar is an ideal locale for large groups. The Wynwood spot is just south of the Miami Design District, so stop by for a mojito (or two, or three) before hitting up the gallery scene, or vice versa. Our pick: the passion fruit mojito.

What To Do

Pérez Art Museum Miami: The Pérez Art Museum, or the PAMM, is Miami’s premiere destination for modern and contemporary art. The waterfront museum offers beautiful views of Biscayne Bay and is a nice place to cool off and take in some culture. The museum’s sculpture garden is particularly impressive, and includes Venezuelan artist Jesús Rafael Soto’s “Penetrable BBL Bleu,” an immersive installation made of hundreds of thin, blue suspended vertical rods through which the visitor can traverse. Spoiler alert: It’s very fun. See all of PAMM’s current exhibitions here.


Vizcaya Museum & Gardens: If you find yourself in the mood to immerse yourself in old-school luxury, spend a few hours at Vizcaya Museum & Gardens, the former villa and estate of businessman James Deering in the present-day Miami neighborhood of Coconut Grove. Vizcaya’s gardens are enchanting and serene; manicured grounds sit next to magnificent banyan trees, and orchids bloom in exquisite bursts of color. Then there’s the mansion itself, with 32 rooms packed with exquisite details, making this landmark an appealing stop for both the history buff and the aesthete in equal measure.

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Traveling through the Des Moines airport? Here’s what to eat and drink

The Des Moines International Airport reveals a new bar to go along with Iowa craft beers and food.

Few things in life are more pleasurable while waiting for a flight to board out of Des Moines International Airport than sipping an ice-cold pint of beer. 

The always reliable, and somehow more delicious, airport beer — add in some stress from traveling during the holidays, or flying for the first time since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, and that wheaty airport beer can mark the official start to vacation. 

But the airport has more to offer than beer. While not comparable to the sprawling, endless options found at larger airports, Des Moines travelers can find some delicious meals for breakfast, lunch, dinner and yes, even some Iowa craft beers to sample.

Related: Holiday travel rebounds despite ongoing pandemic

Kayla Kovarna, spokesperson for the airport, said travelers should anticipate long wait times and encourages passengers to arrive early amid busier holiday travel months

“Pack your patience and exude Iowa nice,” Kovarna said. “Know everyone is doing their best to get you to where you need to go. Airline ground crews are working hard and being patient and understanding makes these peak travel times much more enjoyable. And bring an extra mask.”

Here’s what’s waiting before you step on the plane or during your layover at the Des Moines airport: 

More: Amazon Air arrives at Des Moines International Airport as company pushes toward same-day service


Before Transportation Security Administration screening, fliers and those waiting for travelers can order a beer at Berk & Chester’s or shop for an Iowa gift at Hudson, a national travel retailer. Currently Berk & Chester’s is only serving drinks, while its kitchen — serving breakfast, lunch and dinner — remains closed since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

“We will reopen the kitchen when we see more demand for landside dining options,” Kovarna said.

At Hudson, don’t miss the selection of local gifts, including Bozz Print T-shirts, Pickle Creek oils and vinegars and dog treats from Woofables.


After passing through the TSA checkpoint, travelers arrive at the airport’s terminals, where six dining and drinking options stand ready to serve.

More: Airports are getting busy again—here’s what you need to make your travels more comfortable

Another Hudson gift shop also awaits travelers with an extensive display of wireless headphones and a wide selection of sunglasses. One section of the store includes more Iowa-related products including Raygun apparel, locally made jams, and tiny corn plushies for those looking for souvenirs or holiday gifts. Prices for snacks and drinks are reasonable, too.

Friedrichs Coffee

Opening at 4:30 a.m., Friedrichs Coffee is the obvious choice for early-morning travelers looking for a quick, low-hassle breakfast. The coffee bar serves hot, custom breakfast sandwiches on English muffins, bagels, croissants or biscuits. Smoothies, muffins, cinnamon rolls and premade sandwiches are also available. According to staff, the Snickeroo latte is one of the most popular drinks but for an early morning buzz, try the frozen espresso martini.

Mill Supply Co.

Mill Supply is the airport’s version of a convenience store, offering nearly every snack imaginable. The mini shop is perfect for grab-and-go travelers who prefer to munch on Peanut M&Ms rather than eat a full meal at the airport. Kovarna said her go-to is a cup of fruit as something refreshing and low maintenance to bring onto flights. Don’t forget to pick up a pack of gum to chew that will help pop ears after the elevation change after the flight takes off. 


The full-service bar and grill Portermill is the airport’s flagship restaurant offering meals throughout the day and a selection of 18 Iowa-made beers on tap. Opened in 2017, Portermill centers around the restaurant’s broad, horseshoe-shaped bar. Windows along the back wall let travelers watch planes take off while they sip bloody marys or flights of beer.

According to AJ Marrs, airport operations manager of Aero Service Group, which manages the airport’s food and dining options, Portermill sells burgers and fries more than anything else on its menu.

The cheese curds are the real star of the show. Portermill sources its Gouda fresh from Frisian Farms Cheese House in Leighton. The fried, cheesy nuggets come with Portermill’s house ketchup that’s a sweet, tangy sauce. 

While Portermill’s menu features eggs Benedict and other breakfast dishes until 10:30 a.m., and salads, sandwiches, pasta and salmon in the afternoon and evening, the airport restaurant’s own pork tenderloin ($14.50) could compete with those found at the Iowa State Fair. 

The meaty sandwich was crispy and topped with salty, maple-glazed ham. The Confluence IPA chicken breast ($17) continued the local fair theme and came drizzled with a maple-mustard sauce.

Aside from 18 Iowa beers on tap, the restaurant’s bottle and can list features another 30-plus craft brews such as Single Speed Tip the Cow milk stout, West O peanut butter stout and Railgater pale stout from Reclaimed Rails. Beer flights include four five-ounce pours for $14.

Arugula & Rye

Those who want to avoid sitting down at Portermill can stop by Arugula & Rye for quicker bites and lighter fare. The cafe includes a deli, a self-service salad bar and a full menu of made-to-order flatbreads. The restaurant connected to Portermill also includes a row of windows for plane watching. Try the Cuban or any of the flatbreads.

At C Concourse

Coffee & Bar opened in July 2020 as a remote bar offering more accessible coffee, drinks and snacks for passengers. The C Bar is an extension of Portermill, offering a full bar for travelers who want to stay close to their gates. According to Kovarna, “within a couple months, the revenues from the C Bar were meeting pre-pandemic expectations,” leading to the recent opening of a similar remote bar in the A Concourse. 

At A Concourse

The bigger sister of C Bar, A Bar opened Monday at A Concourse and mirrors the menu at C Bar. To fit the bar on the concourse, the airport removed some seating.

“We knew we were not capturing all of the demand, which is why we moved forward with opening the C Bar and the A Bar to recapture passengers who bypassed Friedrich’s due to a long line,” Kovarna said. “Portermill offers craft beer and a full restaurant dining experience, whereas The C Bar and A Bar offer limited food options, but cater to those passengers who want to be near their gates while they enjoy a quick bite and a drink.”

More: A fifth of Iowans would be ‘thrilled’ to see an Ikea, In-N-Out Burger come to the state, Iowa Poll finds

Hannah Rodriguez covers retail for the Register. Reach her at [email protected] or on Twitter @byherodriguez.

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Don’t Go Here  — Eat This Not That

Earlier this fall, COVID-19 numbers were ticking down nationwide, and it looked like the pandemic was finally tapering out. But to the dismay of virus experts, that trend didn’t hold. The numbers are rising again—driven, experts say, by unvaccinated people and those who  “I don’t know what’s going to happen over the next few weeks. But I have a feeling it’s not going to be pretty,” Dr. Michael Osterholm, head of the center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, told CNN on Nov. 12.

So what does that mean for you, these winter months? Where is it safe to go, and what is best avoided? There are few absolutely clear answers; where you go depends on your personal level of risk tolerance. Earlier this month, STAT News asked 28 virus experts about where they would and wouldn’t go in public these days. These are five places a preponderance of the experts said they wouldn’t go. Read on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.

Alan Jackson

In the biggest overall “no” of the survey, 23 of the 28 experts said they would not attend an indoor concert or event where masking was not required of attendees. Four said they would go if masked themselves. “With a good-fitting N95, the risk is low,” said Sarah Cobey, an associate professor of viral ecology and evolution at the University of Chicago. “But this sounds like a situation with shouting or singing at close quarters. Unless others were recently tested and ventilation were excellent, my enthusiasm would be dampened enough to tip the cost/benefit ratio.”

movie theater snacks

Asked about whether they’d go see a movie in person, twelve of the experts said they would not go to a movie theater. “I am still heartbroken at not being able to see Dune because it just doesn’t feel right to go to a theater while our ICUs are so full,” said coronavirus virologist Angela Rasmussen of the University of Saskatchewan. Three experts said they would; thirteen said they would while wearing a mask. 

A young woman wearing face mask is traveling on airplane , New normal travel after covid-19 pandemic

Twenty-six of the 28 experts said they would only board public transportation while wearing a mask. Some said they planned to avoid specific modes of travel—like buses and trains—this holiday season because of concerns about spacing and ventilation. Only one expert said they felt comfortable traveling without a mask. 

RELATED: 7 Signs Someone is Getting Alzheimer’s, According to Experts

grandmother carrying turkey for family on thanksgiving dinner

The expert panel was somewhat split here: Twelve said they wouldn’t attend a Thanksgiving meal where everyone wasn’t vaccinated, 14 said they would and one said they would while masked as much as possible. Several suggested using rapid tests before a gathering to reduce risk to the vulnerable and elderly. “If people can get a Covid test done before the gathering, and if the vulnerable people are boosted, I would feel comfortable,” said Akiko Iwasaki, a virologist and immunologist at Yale University.

RELATED: Virus Experts Warn Don’t Go Here Even if It’s Open

Fitness girl lifting dumbbell in the morning.

Fifteen of the experts said they would not work out in a gym right now. Thirteen said they would—seven only while masked, while six felt comfortable without a mask. One expert said he would continue to exercise outdoors instead, while Rasmussen said she would forgo the gym for her Peloton bike at home: “Doing cardio while masked sucks,” she said. 

RELATED: 7 Ways You’re Ruining Your Body After 60, Say Experts

Brunette woman wearing a KN95 FPP2 mask.

Follow the fundamentals and help end this pandemic, no matter where you live—get vaccinated ASAP; if you live in an area with low vaccination rates, wear an N95 face mask, don’t travel, social distance, avoid large crowds, don’t go indoors with people you’re not sheltering with (especially in bars), practice good hand hygiene, and to protect your life and the lives of others, don’t visit any of these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.


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Is it safe to eat or drink on a flight during covid? Experts warn against it, even vaccinated.

“When [planes] turn into a flying restaurant, the dynamics of spread become very different,” Wachter says. “I would not eat at an indoor restaurant at this point, even being fully vaccinated, and so the time during which the plane is, in fact, an indoor restaurant is a time when it is somewhat less safe.”

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The #1 Anti-Aging Tips Doctors Use Themselves — Eat This Not That

If you know any doctors—we mean, know them well—you know the deep, dark secret hiding under their lab coats: They’re human. “Doctors are not really known to take care of themselves as much as they should!” admits Dr. Thomas Jeneby, a plastic surgeon from Texas. “But there are some perks!” One perk is that they know how to be healthy—better than anyone—whether they live that way or not. Which is why we asked the experts what you should do to live longerRead on to find out more—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don’t miss these Sure Signs You’ve Already Had COVID.

“Pet ownership is a 24/7 form of pet therapy and is a personal stress reducer for me,” says Carmen Echols, MD. “Shortly after my husband and I married, we got a dog—that we still own, by the way. After especially challenging days at work, I sit on the couch and watch TV while petting the dog and find that simple activity so relaxing.”

young black man wearing athletic wear sitting in the park exercising yoga

“I’ll tell you my experience in the field of holistic medicine what I’ve learned from other top doctors,” says Dean C. Mitchell, M.D., Clinical Assistant Professor at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine.

  • “Some form of meditation: it can be walking, swimming or even sitting—preferably in nature.”
  • “Careful with their diet: Plant-based being main item on their plate; eating lots of natural foods: nuts, seeds, fruits.”
  • “Exercise: cardio and weight-training.”
  • “Stretching or yoga—flexibility is so important as you age.”
  • “Keeping your brain young by taking on new challenges: travel, vacations every two months is great for mental sharpness, learning new areas and listening to music.”

The simple things really work!

Work as volunteer. Experienced senior volunteer holding garbage bag

“Some studies have shown that having a purpose in life helps to maintain mental and possibly physical health and benefit longevity. Intuitively this makes sense as it maintains an energetic ‘drive’ in life,” says Jack J Springer, MD, Assistant Professor Emergency Medicine at Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra-Northwell. “This purpose can be intellectual, emotional, physical or spiritual. Before writing my new book, I focus on the purpose—helping people with anxiety—which is energizing physically and mentally. It also allows for more focus which decreases distraction and ‘wasted’ time spent doing things that may, in the short term, feel good, but ultimately are taking time from more beneficial, healthful and rewarding activities.”

RELATED: The #1 Way to Reduce Inflammation, Says Science

Portrait of asian woman doctor wear protection face mask showing a patient some information on digital tablet clip board, patient listen to specialist doctor in clinic office

“One thing physicians do to live longer is to go to the doctor!” says Carmen Echols, MD. “Many people assume that we physicians can take care of our own health concerns merely because we have the medical knowledge to do so, but that simply is not for the best. It is always wise for us to have the objective expertise of a colleague when it comes to personal physical and mental health.”

genetic test assay

“The field of epigenetics is where doctors are looking when it comes to reversing rapid aging and preventing disease,” says Dr. Elena Villanueva of Modern Holistic Health. “With genetic testing doctors can uncover their unique individualized ‘operations manual’ to understand what foods, environmental toxins, and lifestyle choices they should make. Then they can even understand what type of exercise will benefit them the most, what sleeping patterns they should adhere to, and what supplements will benefit them.”

leg massage

“Massage therapy is an excellent way to improve muscle spasms and help relax,” says Dr. Allen Conrad, BS, DC, CSCS of Montgomery County Chiropractic Center. “Not to mention relieve stress.”

RELATED: Everyday Habits That Lead to Aging

Woman running

“I find that exercise is a very important part of my routine to control stress and be healthier,” says Nathan Rock, OD, FAAO. “As doctors, we know that exercise has positive benefits in many ways including promoting excellent cardiovascular health and promoting a balanced mood through release of endorphins. Personally, I have found that exercise, when possible, both before and after work can help to prepare for a successful day as well as relieve any stress from a day’s work.” He enjoys yoga “in the morning, as they very first thing to start my day. In the evenings, I enjoy running and weight lifting.” Don’t discount the power of doing it with others. “I have found I enjoy exercising with others, so I have joined two running clubs in my community which I run with on two weeknights. This adds to the social aspects of exercise and helps me keep motivated and accountable.”

mature woman sleeping on bed

“As a 49-year-old physician, there are several things I try to do in order to live healthier and longer. Getting enough sleep is crucial, and I aim to get at least 6 hours a night,” says Dr. Monique May, a physician. (Most healthy adults need between 7 to 9 hours.)

RELATED: Stop Doing This or You’ll Get Obese, Experts Warn

woman hand flush toilet after using

“I also stay well-hydrated by drinking enough water each day so that my urine is clear and not dark yellow,” admits Dr. May. “The amount of water I drink can vary depending on how much exercise I have done for the day, so I go by the color of my urine as a good indicator. Also, when I feel hungry I drink water. If I drink water before I eat I do not eat as much, and it prevents thirst. By the time one feels thirsty, he or she is actually already dehydrated, so one should drink when they feel hunger to prevent that.”

“I also exercise at least 3-5 times a week, and do a variety of activities, such as spin class, yoga, and kickboxing. I also like to dance as well,” says Dr. May.

RELATED: These 7 States Have “High Risk” COVID Now

Fruits and veggies

“Eating right is key, and I have recently incorporated more fruits and vegetables in my diet as I cut down on my meat intake,” says Dr. May. “I still have to have a juicy burger every now and then!”

Male feet on glass scales, men's diet, body weight, close up, man stepping up on scales

“There are so many diseases that arise with an increased body mass that maintaining a healthy weight is crucial to longevity,” says Dr. Thanu Jey, Clinic Director at Yorkville Sports Medicine Clinic. “Extra weight also puts a substantial burden on your joints causing earlier joint problems like arthritis—wear and tear—and tendonitis.”

RELATED: Everyday Habits That Wreck Your Brain

middle aged man stretching on park bench

“Stretching your muscles helps keep you flexible and mobile, which helps prevent many compensatory injuries,” says Dr. Jay. “Stretching increases blood circulation, joint health, mobility, balance and much more that’ll help you live a longer, happier life.”

Medical hyperbaric single pressure chamber

“I have been utilizing my Hyperbaric Chamber which increases the volume of oxygen absorption by increasing atmospheric pressure,” says Dr. Rudy Gehrman, DC Executive Director and Founder of Physio Logic NYC. “It can create new blood vessels, essentially enabling new circulation and oxygen to areas that are depleted. It can reduce inflammation and speed up healing. These treatments can also help the immune system kill harmful bacteria and viruses. In simple terms, the fastest way to kill a human being (outside of trauma) is to deplete them of oxygen. What better way to reverse signs of aging than to push oxygen at a cellular level throughout your body!”

running water of shower faucet

“Three to four days per week I implement whole body hot and cold contrasts treatments by soaking in a hot bath to induce a fever, followed by an ice cold shower,” says Dr. Rudy Gehrman, DC, Executive Director and Founder of Physio Logic NYC. “This process pumps up the lymph system which is responsible for moving inflammation causing movement of stagnant fluids through the body.”

Smiling couple holding hands and dancing together at home

“Ballroom dancing has been a passion of mine since college at Harvard and MIT, when I was members of ballroom dancing clubs,” says Dr. Ming Wang, MD, Ph.D., an ophthalmologist in Nashville. “I still practice it today weekly and participate in local and regional championships. I find it to be a great way to relax, relieve stress, as well as stay active.”

RELATED: Ugly Side Effects of Too Many Supplements

Meal prep breakfast lunch dinner salmon salad pancakes fruit

“It can be easy with the busy routine of medicine to fall into poor eating habits,” says Dr. Wang. “After all, fast food and unhealthy options are much easier to come by. I feel it is important to make conscious decisions to eat healthier. The easiest way to do this is bring my own lunch to work when I can. Because food cooked at home can generally be prepared much more healthy than what is bought from a restaurant, it is a good way to control exactly what I am eating in the correct portion. It also has another benefit of avoiding the stress that can come from trying to grab a lunch if the lunch hour is busy.”

Woman eating breakfast yogurt

“I can single out a simple way to get started to increasing longevity: Eat a good breakfast on a regular basis,” says Morton Tavel, MD, Clinical Professor Emeritus of Medicine, Indiana University School of Medicine. “Those who regularly consume this meal enjoy greater longevity and find it easier to maintain a lower weight. Breakfast is more apt to contain more nutritious foods such as fruit and protein. Protein also provides more persistent satiation that delays hunger and, therefore, the desire for mid-morning snacks. Protein is especially helpful, for it not only provides a lengthier sense of fullness but also burns up more energy while being digested, resulting in fewer excess net calories to deal with. Therefore, don’t forget to include protein sources such as eggs, yogurt, low-fat milk, cheese, nuts, etc.,”—like the recipes in Zero Belly Breakfasts, for example—”but minimize such processed meat sources as bacon, sausage and the like, for the latter pose, in themselves, significant threats to health.”

middle aged woman applying sunscreen lotion on face on the beach

“I have two tips for living a longer, healthier life,” says Dr. Joshua D. Zuckerman, a plastic surgeon. “First, I wear sunscreen! Skin cancer is pervasive, and melanoma especially is aggressive and can be deadly. Photodamage (sun damage) from UV exposure is cumulative, so it’s important to wear sun protection every day whether it’s cold and cloudy or warm and sunny. I typically recommend higher SPF than most: 30+ for medium skin tones and 50+ for those with fair skin.” Read on to hear his second tip!

woman standing on a scale, happy about weight loss

“Second, I try to maintain a stable weight,” says Dr. Zuckerman. “Whether by diet and exercise or other means, a stable weight helps an individual maintain activity levels and general life satisfaction. In addition, as we age it can be more difficult to lose weight, and losing weight can have side effects such as leaving excess skin or sag. This is due to tissues losing elasticity as we age, and once stretched beyond the limit of its elasticity, tissue cannot fully contract back down.”

Family Enjoying Meal Around Table At Home Together

“Physicians make thousands of decisions every day, answer a million questions, and work long hours. I have two strategies to live longer. One, I have dinner with my wife and kids every evening,” says Dr. George Hennawi, director of the department of geriatrics at MedStar Good Samaritan Hospital in Baltimore. Read on for his second tip!

RELATED: The #1 Best Cure for Visceral Fat, Say Experts

two buckets over white background

“Two, I categorize my decisions into buckets,” says Dr. Hennawi. “One bucket is people wanting to vent—so I listen and sympathize. Another bucket is a systemic issue that needs a deeper dive and time to answer. The last bucket is an urgent matter that needs attention as soon as possible. As you may guess, a lot falls into the first category, which allows me to reduce stress and live longer, hopefully.”


“There are several ways we can stay healthy and live a longer, higher quality life,” says Anthony Kouri, M.D., an Orthopedic Surgeon at the University of Toledo Medical Center. “I personally take calcium and vitamin D supplementation daily. Something that is not appreciated by many people is the effect that low calcium and vitamin D can have on us as we age. It is most common in post-menopausal women, and both genders after age 50, however it can be found in young people as well. Our peak bone density is found in the second and third decade of life, typically around age 30. Nearly 50% of all people are deficient in vitamin D, which can lead to osteopenia, osteoporosis, and has been linked to breast, prostate and colon cancers, as well as hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Many people don’t feel the effects of vitamin D deficiency until it’s too late.”

Man runner wearing medical mask

“Though any exercise is better than no exercise at all, the type of exercise makes a difference when it comes to bone health,” says Dr. Kouri. “From the age of 30, we begin to lose bone mineral density. Studies have demonstrated that moderate-impact exercise is ideal for maximizing bone mineral density as we age. Moderate impact running and jogging in the elderly leads to a significant increase in bone mineral density when compared to those who do minimal activity. Preventing osteoporosis or osteopenia from occurring is the best way to avoid big, life-altering problems in the future.”

woman worker have Webcam group conference with coworkers on modern laptop at home

“Spend as much time with close friends and family,” recommends Dr. Springer. “Loneliness is closely tied to poor health (over time) and certainly decreased longevity. It is epidemic in many areas of the world (especially the ‘Western’ highly developed countries) it is a killer of spirit and life, literally. Intimacy (in person!) is a great human need. This connection is vital to the health if humans and its absence is probably a major factor in the global epidemic of anxiety and depression. People with whom you can be yourself and not hold back for fear of judgement. To understand the importance, think about how you feel mentally and physically after a few hours talking or laughing or just sitting with someone close to you.”


“Develop a sense of ties to the community around you: this could be semi-regular block parties, clubs, service organizations, religious or spiritual groups,” advises Dr. Springer. “This ties together both a sense of purpose and intimacy.”

RELATED: If You Can’t Remember This, You May Have Memory Loss

Thoughtful young woman doing a cryptic crossword puzzle in a newspaper

“Keep learning: whether crossword puzzles, Sudoku, a new language, instrument, or hobby—expressive ones such as art/ performance may be best,” says Dr. Springer. “Again, group activities are ideal.”

Doctor examined the patient's ear with Otoscope. Patient seem to have problems with hearing

Leslie P. Soiles, Chief Audiologist at HearingLife, recommends visiting a hearing health center to get your ears assessed, as side effects from hearing loss can impact living a long and healthy life. Hearing problems can lead to other serious physical and mental health issues such as, balance issues, dementia, depression and Alzheimer’s.

RELATED: Ways You’re Ruining Your Body After 60, Say Experts

Putting leftovers away

“My non-obvious health tip: don’t eat your children’s leftovers,” says Dr. Edna Ma, MD. “I grew up eating all the food from my plate before being allowed to leave the dinner table. This was probably due to our family’s poor economic status at the time. My parents were first generation Chinese immigrants who grew up during China’s worst famine. This aversion to food waste also deepened during my time as a Survivor (yes, the TV show!) contestant. Now that I am a parent, it’s still hard for me to see food waste. As adults, our nutritional needs are different that children’s. And eating their leftovers will lead to unnecessary caloric intake and weight gain.”

happy woman enjoying summer outdoors

“Living longer isn’t just a recipe to eat this, use this cream, or do crossword puzzles everyday,” says Dr. Jacqueline Darna, N.M.D. “Instead longevity of life is about a state of mind. I have heard countless friends who stop doing what they love, working as a physician, and start to decline in health. Do what gives you purpose and love life. As a physician I want my patients to see I live a healthy life by example, I cycle every morning so I can enjoy food and not count calories, I don’t put poisons in my body and choose natural remedies, I dance everyday (from the shower to the car), and I always look on the bright side.”

RELATED: Vitamins That Can Prevent Aging, Say Studies

woman sitting at home on laptop

“The cliché is true: ‘The things that you own are the things that own you,'” says Dr. Will Kirby, a board certified dermatologist and the Chief Medical Officer of LaserAway. “And no one was ever on their deathbed and said, ‘I wish I spent more time buying stuff on Amazon.’ So recognize that physical possessions only make you happy very temporarily while less tangible pastimes will give you a more stable, long term endorphin boost! I’m not naive enough to think that we aren’t consumer but I sold my expensive car and walk it bike or use ride-sharing. I don’t own an expensive watch, and I try to minimize the physical possessions I own. After all, I don’t own them… they actually own me!”

High fiber breakfast whole grain oatmeal with fresh berries nuts and seeds

“Fiber is an excellent way to stay healthy and lose weight” states Dr. Conrad. “People who regularly eat a lot of fiber have lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol, and fiber is a healthy low sugar option for diabetics. Foods high in fiber include oatmeal, flax seeds, chia seeds, broccoli and beans.”

RELATED: Sure Signs You Have Abdominal Fat, Say Experts

Group Friends Video Chat Connection Concept

“Contribute to society through mentorship: Humans are social creatures and for tens of thousands we worked in collective groups to benefit our cause,” says Dr. Kirby. “In modern society, that has all but disappeared—we are no much more selfish and driven to only accomplish quantifiable persists. So it’s my contention that one of the best things that you can do to live a long life is to find meaning and purpose by helping others in your community or profession.”

Stressed male doctor sat at his desk. Mid adult male doctor working long hours. Overworked doctor in his office. Not even doctors are exempt from burnout

“Don’t avoid stress: So many people want to minimize stress for longevity but not only is stress is terribly misunderstood and it is a mistake to attempt to avoid it,” says Dr. Kirby. “Many people who live though incredible hardship live a long time. And I’m not advocating monthly trips to Everest but embracing the concept that stressful events eventually pass and you often because emotionally (and even physically!) stronger following stressful events.”

Happy couple

“I listen to my wife,” says Eric Branda, AuD, PhD at Signia. “All jokes about marriage aside, many of us put the well-being of our families and significant others above our own health. Consequently, we may neglect being as attentive to our own health needs. It’s important to remember that those significant others in our lives may pick up and call attention to changes in our health that we may be slower to act on.”

Woman with outstretched arms

“I personally travel to a least a new country every year alone,” says Colin Zhu, DO, DipABLM of the Thrive Bites podcast. “For me, solitude gives me stress relief and balance and clarity. Also, it helps me to re-engage my five senses again. On a daily basis, it would be cooking at home. It’s very therapeutic for me and also reinforces social connection especially when I cook with others!”

woman doing lunges at the gym wearing n95 face mask

“Weight-bearing exercise can help slow bone loss,” says Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, author of The Magnesium Miracle. “Putting weight on your bones by walking, running and/or lifting weights stimulates the growth of new bone. Exercise can also help keep joint cartilage healthy. Strong muscles support joints and reduce the load on them.” As for yourself: To get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don’t miss these 35 Places You’re Most Likely to Catch COVID.

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How To Eat Your Way Through Ohio’s 80-Mile Donut Trail

Travelers to southwest Ohio’s Butler County, just north of Cincinnati, will need sustenance to fuel their journey through the area’s small towns. With 13 mom-and-pop donut shops on Butler County’s Donut Trail, it has one of the highest numbers per capita of donut shops in the Midwest.

Note: Thank you to Butler County for hosting my visit. The opinions offered are mine.

To include a donut shop on the Donut Trail, it must be in Butler County, Ohio, and not part of a national chain. In addition, its primary business must be donuts, and it must make them on site.

You must get an early start because some of the most popular donuts sell out early, even on weekdays. Some of the smaller shops sell out in their entirety. Be prepared to stand in line, especially on the weekends, when everyone seems to have the same idea. 

You’ll find two items helpful in conquering the trail: the Donut Trail Map and the Donut Trail Passport. Download the passport or request one at your first stop. Next, ask the staff to stamp their shop with their official Donut Trail stamp. You’ll have a head start, with one shop already stamped. Visit all the others, get your passport stamped at each shop, and earn a Donut Trail T-shirt.

Each shop has seasonal specialties, so if you’re a pumpkin fanatic or love apple cider donuts, you’ll want to tackle this trail in the fall.

I’ve organized this trail in the order that I took it. Over 3 days, I collected donuts every morning. I sampled some on the spot, but I kept others for an afternoon or bedtime snack. You must pace yourself.

The Donut Hole By Milton’s, West Chester

“You need to sign a waiver so that if you get addicted, I won’t be responsible,” jokes the man behind the counter as I place my order at The Donut Hole by Milton’s.

A local tipped me off that these cake donuts are moist even after a couple of days. I can’t imagine donuts not being eaten long before that, but it’s good to know. The glaze is light and just sweet enough, rather than overly sweet. The must-try offering here is the fried cream cheese Danish.

Pro Tip: Before starting the Donut Trail, plan your route. With over 13 shops on the trail and a fair distance between those on each side of the county, you’ll want to be efficient and plan your strategy using the Donut Trail map.

Stan the Donut Man in West Chester
Photo Credit: Butler County Visitors Bureau

Stan The Donut Man, West Chester

Stan the Donut Man started in Lebanon, Ohio, over 60 years ago. Today, Stan’s son Marty is at the helm of Stan the Donut Man and has continued the family tradition in West Chester for 25 years. Using the same made-from-scratch family recipes his father started, customers know Marty’s shop for the fritters — apple and pineapple. The apple fritter has chunks of apple and cinnamon with a light glaze.

Pro Tip: The Donut Trail has a concierge, a Donut Trail expert, to help customize your experience. Call 513-860-0917 for assistance.

Holtman's Donuts in West Chester
Photo Credit: Butler County Visitors Bureau

Holtman’s Donuts, West Chester

Holtman’s Donuts is a third-generation family business. Charles Holtman started the shop in 1960, and today the family still makes everything from scratch. It takes about 2 hours of prep before they start popping out the donuts. You can watch them work in the large window to the kitchen.

The shop has a pretty turquoise and white décor, where you can sit down and enjoy your donut with a cup of coffee. You’ll find a wide variety of specialty donuts. For example, you’ll find donuts decorated as sharks during Shark Week. The maple bacon donut, a yeast donut, topped with maple icing and crispy bits of real bacon, put them on the map. Another one of my favorites here was the pumpkin cake donut with cream cheese topping.

Pro Tip: This shop stays open later than most, until 7 p.m. on Tuesday through Saturday and until 2 p.m. on Sunday.

The Donut Dude in Liberty Township
Photo Credit: Butler County Visitors Bureau

The Donut Dude, Liberty Township

While The Donut Dude is a relative newcomer to the donut business, his shop has been open for 3 years. Glen Huey has been a donut lover most of his life. A comfortable atmosphere with friendly banter between the Donut Dude and his customers ends with, “See you in a week or so!” Glen has new offerings weekly with 60 to 65 different varieties in total. Coming soon to the showcase is the Bananas Foster donut.

Martin’s Donuts, Trenton

People said not to overlook the little places and you can’t ignore Martin’s Donuts. The tall bright pink building stands out boldly against the landscape. The shop, owned and operated by the Mason family since 2003, specializes in handmade donuts. The team comes in and starts baking before midnight to offer a fresh variety of donuts in the morning. They make everything in-house, the donuts, icings, and glazes.

Martin’s is known for the Twisted Sister, a braided donut. Then there’s the maple bacon twist. The cream horn came highly recommended by the woman behind the counter. She admitted to taking them home and hiding in the bathroom to eat them so she wouldn’t have to share. They are just that good.

Pro Tip: If you plan to visit several shops in a single day, pace yourself. Share a single donut with three other friends or cut out a bite-sized piece and save the rest for later.

Milton's Donuts in Middletown
Photo Credit: Butler County Visitors Bureau

Milton’s Donuts, Middletown

Milton’s Donuts offers award-winning donuts. The shop won first in the region and third in the state for the best donuts, one employee proudly informed me. The team at this family-owned business has been handcrafting donuts since 1960. The kiddos are sure to love the Fruity Pebbles iced yeast donut.

Pro Tip: The Donut Trail is a fun group activity for birthday parties and other celebrations. That way, you can share smaller pieces of each donut and sample a wider variety.

Central Pastry Shop, Middletown

Central Pastry Shop has been a tradition in Middletown for more than 69 years. Customers standing in line recall fond memories of Central Pastry Shop from their childhood. The shop sits between two schools, and now customers recall stopping by for a donut and a glass of milk before school. The Central Pastry Shop is famous for the yeast donut known as the cinnamon square. It’s glazed and has housemade cinnamon crumble topping.

Pro Tip: In addition to donuts, Central Pastry Shop is a full-service bakery, including crafting decorative cakes

Kelly’s Bakery, Hamilton

If you’re visiting Hamilton, you can sample three shops without leaving the city. Owned by a mom and daughter team, Kelly’s Bakery has been open for over 6 years now. Of course, you’ll want to taste the Buckeye Donut, a yeast donut with a peanut butter filling and chocolate icing. Another local favorite is the Kelly Bread, a glazed donut with cinnamon icing that pulls apart like monkey bread.

Pro Tip: The donut trail doesn’t have a time limit. Do all 13 in one day or tackle it over several months. Just be sure to take your passport to each shop when you go.

Mimi's Donuts & Bakery in Hamilton
Photo Credit: Butler County Visitors Bureau

Mimi’s Donuts & Bakery, Hamilton

After 30 years as a police officer, Sherry Richardson retired and opened Mimi’s Donuts & Bakery. The shop is famous for the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup donut, filled with peanut buttercream and topped with chocolate icing. Another favorite is the lemon-iced blueberry cake donut.

Pro Tip: If a shop sells out of donuts, it may close early. Getting an early start on the trail will help ensure you can get donuts at all the shops on that day’s itinerary.

Ross Bakery, Hamilton

If you like strawberry cheesecake, you’ll want to sample the strawberry cheesecake donut at Ross Bakery. Topped with fresh glazed strawberries, I wanted to go back for another one. They were just that delicious. Ross Bakery is also known for the glazed donuts, another must-try.

Pro Tip: If you’re going to tackle the Butler County Donut Trail, pace yourself. Remember to mix savory food throughout your trip to avoid a sugar high.

Oxford Donut Shoppe in Oxford
Photo Credit: Butler County Visitors Bureau

Oxford Donut Shoppe, Oxford

Located close to Miami University’s campus, the Oxford Donut Shoppe has offered donuts for more than 50 years. Its most famous donut is the blueberry cake donut. In addition, the shop has perfected making the old-fashioned, kettle-fried donuts. Other specialties at this donut shop are fried croissants, cream horns, and cinnamon rolls.

Pro Tip: A non-donut favorite at this shop is the cinnamon rolls.

Jupiter Coffee & Donuts in Fairfield
Photo Credit: Butler County Visitors Bureau

Jupiter Coffee & Donuts, Fairfield

Jupiter Coffee & Donuts has an out-of-this-world maple bacon donut. It flavors the donut with maple syrup from the owner’s family farm. Another specialty is the Red Storm Roll, with a nod to Jupiter’s red storm. The donut has a raspberry filling with cream cheese frosting and a red swirl on top.

Pro Tip: Pair the shop’s house-roasted coffee with one of its donuts.

The Donut Spot in Fairfield
Photo Credit: Butler County Visitors Bureau

The Donut Spot, Fairfield

Even with an early start, The Donut Spot had a line out the door on Saturday morning. Of course, you’ll want to try the raspberry-filled donut. That’s one of the standouts here. If you’re a chocolate lover, try the chocolate Bavarian cream yeast donut.

Pro Tip: Once you’ve completed the Donut Trail, you can wear your Donut Trail T-shirt to receive over 30 additional offers and savings at other Butler County businesses with the Extra Sweet Savings Pass.

For other things to do while you’re exploring Butler County’s Donut Trail, check out these other activities:

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The Best Places to Eat near TD Garden

Before you head to a concert or game, fuel up with Mexican food from a TV-star chef, some of Boston’s best burgers, and more.

It’s officially Celtics and Bruins season again, which means many of us will be heading back to TD Garden for a game for the first time since before—well, you know. (We get sick of saying it, too.) Between that and concert schedules being back in the swing of things, we thought it might be helpful to remind you what’s close and good for pre- and post-venue dining in a neighborhood that’s experienced rapid redevelopment in recent years. From a new star chef-associated cocina to Detroit-style pizzas and a huge new food hall, skate over to these spots.

Smoked scallop conserva at Alcove. / Photo courtesy


Not that we needed another reason to retreat to Alcove, a lovely modern bastion of coastal New England-meets-Mediterranean cuisine on the West End waterfront, but the recent addition of a raw bar doesn’t exactly hurt. It gives talented toque Brian Paszko something new to play with: sustainable, line-caught fish used for smoked scallop conserva and crudo presentations—hake dressed sweet chili, radish, and black sesame, perhaps. Of course, that’s in addition to a dinner menu that already includes some seafood-skewing dishes like roasted skate wing and ginger soy-glazed salmon.

50 Lovejoy Wharf, Boston, 617-248-0050, alcoveboston.com.

Bodega Canal

Bodega Canal is a vibe: one fueled by tequila, bottle service, and DJs spinning, as the night goes on. Before the place starts getting too clubby, though, it’s a solid choice to pre-game with big party-friendly Mexican plates: Order up a bunch of tacos, filled with everything from blackened shrimp to short rib—plus a Nachos Supreme platter, natch—and let your crew go to town before you hit the town.

57 Canal St., Boston, 617-833-4885, bodegacanal.com.

Photo courtesy of Guy Fieri’s Tequila Cocina

Guy Fieri’s Tequila Cocina

If you prefer your Mexican-inspired dining with a bit more star power and frosted tips, make a bee-line to Guy Fieri’s first—and only, for a few more weeks, anyway—Boston restaurant. It’s everything you want if you’re a fan of the food TV star, meaning it’s filled with some goofy, gooey starters, like the signature Trash Can nachos, spilling out of a metal container; some boldly flavored entrees, such as the whole fish with green salsa, chipotle crema, and pickled red onion and cabbage slaw; pitchers of margaritas; and colorful decor that is suitably loud for a Fieri establishment. Opened in partnership with Boston’s Big Night Entertainment Group, the cocina is attached to the Big Night Live concert hall, so it’s a particularly fun place to hit before a show.

110 Causeway St., Boston, 617-896-5222, guyscocina.com.

Ramen at Momosan in Hub Hall. / Photo courtesy of Momosan

Hub Hall

Boston’s latest food hall, which opened right next to TD Garden this month, has a hell of a lineup. Inside you’ll find an outlet of Cusser’s, which happens to serve Boston’s best roast beef sandwich; APizza, Mida chef Douglass Williams’ new destination for New Haven- and Roman-inspired pies; and Momosan, Iron Chef icon Masaharu Morimoto’s Boston debut with ramen bowls, bar snacks, and sake. Add additional locations of local-favorite chains like the Smoke Shop BBQ and Greek restaurant Greco, plus wine and juice bars, and more, and you’ve got the recipe for the best food-hall lineup around (at least until High Street Place brings heavy competition next year).

80 Causeway St., Boston, 617-263-8900, hubhallboston.com.

Detroit-style pizzas. / Photo courtesy of Night Shift Brewing

Night Shift Brewing

You’d be forgiven for being surprised that Boston’s best pizza happens to be served just outside the Italian landmarks of the North End. Over at Lovejoy Wharf in the West End, though, Night Shift smartly surprised us with its Detroit-style pies: rectangular, deep-dish pizzas built by drizzling sweet tomato sauce on top of cheese that reaches to every well-crisped edge. They’re the highlights of the brewery’s very tasty menu, and perfect for pairing with recent Night Shift releases like the Cranagram, a hazy IPA made with cranberries and oranges.

1 Lovejoy Wharf, Boston, 617-456-7687, nightshiftbrewing.com.

Tasty Burger tater tots and cheeseburger

A filling combo from Tasty Burger. / Photo by Wayne Chinnock

Tasty Burger

More than a decade after it debuted, this Boston mini-chain still makes some of the best burgers in town. That gorgonzola-covered patty, in particular, is among Tasty’s mouthwatering top options—so is the Rise ‘n’ Shine, a breakfast-anytime burger with a fried egg and bacon, and the patty melt, which trades a traditional bun for toasted white bread and adds some caramelized onions and cheese. The West End outpost at North Station will not disappoint, and it’s also got all the usual, best-in-class milkshakes for slurping down, too.

1 Nashua St., Boston, 617-303-0800, tastyburger.com.

The Tip Tap Room

On the backside of Beacon Hill, the Tip Tap Room is a short walk away from TD Garden—in the direction that fewer tourists seem to travel. That’s not to say chef Brian Poe’s gastropub will be quiet: In fact, the place gets pretty busy and buzzy. But at least you’ll be more likely to avoid out-of-town fanny packs in favor of hanging with the locals, who descend after work for meat tips (including steak, turkey, and wild game specials) and beer taps that flow with a lengthy list of craft brews from around the country.

138 Cambridge St., Boston, 857-350-3344, thetiptaproom.com.

Ward 8

Where’s Ward 8? Right on the West End/North End borderline, across the street from sibling restaurant Tony & Elaine’s, which trades on the Italian-American fare of the latter neighborhood. On the west side of the street, though, Ward 8 is much more eclectic: spicy fried chicken sandwiches, sweet chili-glazed duck wings, steak frites, and pork belly steam buns are just a few of the bases covered. The big central bar, meanwhile, does a fine job keeping pace with the pre- and post-game crowds, and plying them with well-made negronis and sazeracs.

90 N Washington St., Boston, 617-823-4478, ward8.com.

West End Johnnie’s

The area around TD Garden has changed a ton in recent years, with shiny new buildings sprouting up left and right. West End Johnnie’s is an old-timer at this point, its sports memorabilia-covered walls attesting to its legacy as a Celtics and Bruins fan favorite. As local pub grub goes, it’s got your back with a delicious Buffalo chicken dip, plus a smoked BBQ burger, gouda-feta mac ‘n’ cheese, and more—plus a reggae brunch on Sundays, when the coconut shrimp and Caribbean tunes come out.

138 Portland St., Boston, 617-227-1588, westendjohnnies.com.

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Readers tell us what to see, do and eat on a West Texas road trip

I asked. You answered.

Readers were not shy about responding when I asked, in a Sept. 14 “Think, Texas” column: “What should I see, do and eat on a road trip to West Texas?”

Hundreds of tips poured in through social media — few readers stopped at one suggestion. One single reader shared 31 ideas.

Although I will not be able to make all these cool stops on this particular road trip, I was determined to share a healthy sampling of your travel advice.

I’ve divided the tips into four categories:

I will do this in West Texas

Several readers suggested that I add two 19th century military bases en route to Fort Concho in San Angelo: The very well preserved Fort McKavett, a state historic site in Menard County, and Fort Chadbourne, located on a private ranch but open to the public in Coke County.

Author Stephen Harrigan reminded me that the grave of Texas great writer Katherine Anne Porter can be found at Indian Creek Cemetery south of Brownwood. No way I’d miss that.

John F. Henley thinks that the nearby hamlet of Indian Creek is worth a stop: “Look for images of it. If the old school and church still stand — and they were very solid — then it’s a very ‘Last Picture Show’ kind of experience.”

Maline McCalla suggested St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in San Angelo: “Years ago  the church  was able to undergo a renovation. I was hired to repair — not feasible — or re-create — which I did — the large ceramic tile mural — 8 feet by 10 feet as I can best recall — on the outside of the church on 17th Street side.” 

Among other gems, Bobby Earl Smith convincingly urged an extra San Angelo stop: “Though it may seem like an odd recommendation, the Calvary Cemetery at 1501 W. Avenue N is fascinating to me. My friend Albert Tijerina is buried there. He was the drum major and I was band president our senior years. He got shot down in Laos at a time when our government was denying our presence there. San Angelo integrated its school in 1955, but the cemetery is testament to folks in one part of town buried in one place and folks in another, another. It is a colorful funeral garden contrasted with the old staid cemetery immediately adjacent, separated by a fence.”

More: EXCLUSIVE: ‘Destination’ hotel coming to historic strip of Fredericksburg, a Texas daytrip hotspot

Rosemary Moore recommended some San Angelo attractions already in our sights: Fort ConchoHattie’s Bordello, Cactus Hotel, Tom Green Country Courthouse and Chicken Farm Art Center. She insisted, too, that I eat at Twin Mountains Steakhouse, “probably the best steakhouse in Texas — maybe the world. Be sure to order ‘Scraps.'” 

Lisa Harris, who visited San Angelo not long ago, hoped that I would take in the Danner Museum of Telephony and International Waterlily Collection: “Early April turned out to be too early in the year to see a full waterlily display; now would be a much better time to see that.” Ellen Jeschke agreed that this flowery attraction was a must-go: “People come from all over the world to see it.”

Laure McLaughlin was among readers who recommended a special exhibit at the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts: “Asked my father, Mark McLaughlin, if he had anything to add — he’s lived in San Angelo 50+ years and is 90 now. He suggested an exhibit put together by Howard Taylor at Fort Concho, ‘Caseta,’ that is now housed at the San Angelo Museum of Fine Arts (as part of) the Center for the Advancement and Study of Early Texas Arts. Paintings from the early 1900s are collected and displayed.”

Jackie Martin, who has served on several community boards in San Angelo, sent in more than 10 sterling tips.

MoreTexas History: Notable Texans recall growing up in the Lone Star State

My favorite: “At the risk of shameful self-promotion, I will introduce our company, Anodyne Wool. Our four-generation, family-owned business sources and processes 100% of the wool used in all U.S. military dress uniforms, as well as providing wool to companies worldwide. You would be welcomed to tour our warehouse for a sense of how wool is processed and shipped.”

I am so there.

Sam Young had a similar suggestion: “You might be interested in visiting the Aermotor factory at 4277 Dan Hanks Lane. The history of Aermotor windmills is quite a story. If you go there, they will give you a tour and if you mention my father’s name, Peck Young, they will know who you are talking about.”

Multiple readers, including Micky Dorsey, Harry Olmsted, Bobby Earl Smith and John T. Wende, recommended the Cactus Book Shop in San Angelo. Dorsey: “Great collection of Texana and Western history.”

If there’s a bookstore anywhere — I found three in tiny Glen Rose on an earlier road trip — I’ll be there.

I hope to do this in West Texas

Clearly, there is no way to take up all the marvelous tips. If convenient, however, I’d add these:

Fred Fuchs advised three food and drink stops: The town of Eola, which beckons with a brewpub in an old schoolhouse; Wines of Dotson-Cervantes located in Pontotoc, a stop that comes with the life story of an African American football player named Alphonse Dotson; and chicken fried steak at Henry’s in San Angelo. “May be the best in Texas.” 

Many steakhouses made our readers’ lists. Gene Bates, who attended college at what is now Angelo State University sent me an enthusiastic endorsement along with football lore: Western Sky Steakhouse “is the place to chow down, at as well as the Angry Cactus.”

Mel Daniels shared a very particular tip: “I never go through Brownwood near meal time without eating at Underwood’s Cafeteria. My wife and I order one meat, and then put on several vegetables — at no extra cost — and have more than enough for a 90 year-old-man and his wife. Clearly the best bargain and best tasting food in Texas.”

Jack London has a special reason to send me to the Dove Creek Battlefield, located near the village of Knickerbocker southwest of San Angelo, where Confederates fought Kickapoos: “An ancestor of one of my high school classmates named Keahey was killed in the battle.”

Pamala Mathison efficiently sent me a spreadsheet on San Angelo-area attractions, including “Hummer House in Christoval is special, too … the hummingbirds migrate through in May, but I’m not sure when they migrate back.” In fact, the hummers are in full migration right now!

Walt Wilkins intuited that I’d need to take a break from history, nature and art: “There is a completely unique bar and live music venue in downtown San Angelo called House of FiFi Dubois. Cool hang, and surprising maybe. There is a boot company based downtown, too, called Ranch Road Boots. Cool owner with a cool story. I’ve bought two pair so far.”

Similarly, Teresa Drisdale recommended refreshments in Brownwood, along with means to find out more: Teddy’s Brewhaus (on Facebook), Tr3s Leches bakery (on Facebook), Baked Artisan Goods (on Facebook), and the Turtle Restaurant (on Facebook).

Brownwood native Patti Halladay also focused on Brownwood hotspots, including: Steves’ Market and Deli, located at 110 E. Chandler St., is owned by two delightful guys, both named Steve, and provides amazing healthy, tasty food. They are only open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., so plan accordingly. Phone number is 325-646-6676.”

Alice Adams sent me scintillating stories about football legends, polio patients and World War II prisoners of war in San Angelo and Brownwood. Had to share this one, which relates tangentially to Hattie’s Bordello: “When a tent city sprung up on the river bank, opposite Fort Concho, one of the most popular and frequent guests of this pop-up ‘Sin City’ was Lottie Deno, a humdinger of a poker player, who began her legendary journey from Fort Worth to San Antonio to Fort Concho and up to Albany — north of Abilene — before marrying her long-time boyfriend and went with him to New Mexico, where they became respectable citizens of the town.

More: Texas History: Giant 1940s steam locomotive, Big Boy, steams around Texas

“Lottie could beat the hound outta Doc Holliday at the poker table, but remained friends with Doc’s gal, ‘Big Nose Sally.’ Lottie may have worked for the local madam in St. Angelus — before it became San Angelo — when card tables were slow.”

Mrs. Lou Dove Wirht provided me with a tantalizing prospect: “My uncle was one who helped build Camp Bowie in Brownwood. He then became a member of the 36th Division, serving in the European theater of World War II. I must say I have not visited the site of Camp Bowie and understand that not much is left to remind one of World War II days. It does hold an important place in our history, however.” 

Wayne Walther of Lockhart had several tips ready for Runnels County, located in the middle of our planned itinerary: Rowena for the To Our Liberty monument, the Horny Toad Brewing Co., and the latest iteration of the Lowake Steak House. Also Ballinger for Pompeo Coppini’s statute of cowboy Charles H. Noyes: “The young man pictured was killed when his horse stumbled — on a prairie dog hole? — and his parents commissioned the statue as a memorial.”

I likely won’t get to these West Texas spots this time

Several readers suggested their favorite haunts in Alpine, Marfa, Big Bend National Park, Fort Davis, Balmorhea, Guadalupe Mountains National Park, McKittrick Canyon (for fall colors) and Big Spring. Alas, these top attractions lie far out of the range for this particular trip’s itinerary. 

Since we are visiting historic hotels in Brownwood and San Angelo, readers such as Mary Paige Huey urged me to head further up the road to Big Spring to see the beautifully restored Hotel Settles: “It was quite a place back in the day. My father, Paige Benbow, was the general manager in 1931, and it was a hub for special area events. I have a lot of memorabilia from his days there; my sister, Ann Benbow, was born there in 1933 where the family resided in the penthouse.”

Huey passed along some charming pictures of the Settles Hotel, always appreciated.

I probably won’t make it up to Cross Plains on this trip, but have noted what Jeb Boyt said about the author of the “Conan the Barbarian” series and that whole fantasy subgenre: “Visit the Robert E. Howard Museum. … REH’s grave is in Brownwood. On Main Street, the library has some of REH’s manuscripts and correspondence. Across from the library is mercantile with some great early 20th century architecture.”

On the other hand, a side trip to Cross Plains is starting to sound pretty attractive.

Jay Simpson recommended the Regency Bridge, a one-lane suspension bridge over the Colorado River in San Saba County. I once tried to find this “swing bridge” while tracing 50 Texas rivers, and could never pinpoint its location. Maybe now with better maps loaded onto mobile devices the magic will happen.

Not actually in West Texas, but super tips for road trips down the line

Just the term “road trip” excited some readers, who kindly sent me toward points that are actually north or east of Austin. You can bet that I will spend more time in these spots, and I hope you do, too.

John Bernadoni, for instance, is a big promoter of his ancestral Galveston. He sent in no fewer than 31 tips for time spent there: “I can think of no other city in Texas with a richer history than this extraordinarily unique island. … Would be happy to expand on these elements and more should you need my help. Tally ho!”

Suzanne Madley told me about the New Zion Missionary Baptist Church’s Barbecue in Huntsville. Wish I’d known about that joint this June, when I visited the unsettling Texas Prison Museum in that East Texas city. (My Instagram joke attached to a picture of my sainted mother smiling below a barbed wire fence: “I put my mom through the Scared Straight program at the Texas Prison Museum.”)

Advertising wizard Tim McClure urged a detour northward to Corsicana: “Site of the first oil well west of the Mississippi and Fruitcake Capital of Texas, thanks to the Collin Street Bakery’s legendary deluxe fruitcake — I know, I know, fruitcake? Need more? I’m from there, a.k.a the Adman Who Coined the Legendary Anti-Litter Battle Cry, ‘Don’t Mess With Texas!’” 

Michael Barnes writes about the people, places, culture and history of Austin and Texas. He can be reached at [email protected]

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Sign up for Think, Texas, a newsletter delivered every Tuesday, at profile.statesman.com/newsletters/manage. And if the weekly email just isn’t enough, there’s more. Follow Michael Barnes on Twitter: @outandabout. Miss a column? Check out the Think, Texas archive at statesman.com/news/austin-history. 

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12 Tips On How To Eat Like A Local In Italy

Italian food is one of the main reasons for visiting Italy. Heck, it was the whole “eat” part of Eat, Pray, Love. Master of None did a whole season in Italy, just so Aziz Ansari could eat Italian food. Iron Chef Bobby Flay and Rome native Giada De Laurentiis spent six weeks sampling everything from gelato to pizza for their new mouthwatering Discovery+ show, Bobby and Giada in Italy.

Eating is a big part of anyone’s Italian vacation. Knowing how to eat like a local in Italy is important because no one wants to stick out like a sore thumb, or worse, inadvertently offend someone. We reached out to Steve Perillo, CEO, President, and third-generation family owner of Perillo Tours, America’s leading tour company to Italy, for some expert advice on how to eat like a local in Italy. Here are some tips he shared with us.

1. Seat Yourself At Cafés And Bars

Italian seating customs will be familiar to Americans. “While visiting a ristorante (restaurant) or pizzeria/trattoria, guests should wait for the host to seat you. At a café or bar, guests can seat themselves,” according to Steve.

Few coins and the bill on a coffee table after the clients have left.
Radu Razvan / Shutterstock.com

2. Tips On Tipping

Steve’s advice on leaving a tip: “You are not expected to tip restaurants in Italy, but it is appreciated. If you are sitting down or standing for coffee, you can leave one euro, which is more than enough. You can tip as much or as little as you like, but the tip is not anywhere near the 20 percent that has become standard in the U.S. A good rule of thumb in a restaurant is about one euro per person. Or you can round up the bill. For example, if the bill is $91, you can leave $100.” Read on for an explanation of charges you may see on your bill.


Steve says to keep in mind that there is sometimes a charge called a coperto. “This coperto should be clearly stated somewhere on the menu and may range from one to three euro per person. A coperto is not a tip, it is a cover charge to offset the price of bread, oil, salt, and anything else you might be using.”


Steve told us, “Another charge that you may be charged is called the servizio. This should also be clearly stated on the menu and should be used for groups of eight or more. The servizio is a tip, so there is no need to leave anything more if you have been charged this fee.”

A residential street in Rome, Italy, where people are dining outdoors at a small neighborhood restaurant on an old cobblestone street at night.
CherylRamalho / Shutterstock.com

Steve recommends making reservations for dinner, especially in major cities.

4. Dress For Dinner

Italians are quite fashion-conscious. While American standards for dining dress consist of “No shirt, no shoes, no service,” Italians would expand that to say, “No tank tops, no shorts, no flip flops.”

When we asked about dress codes, Steve responded, “Unless it is a fancy restaurant that enforces a dress code, one can wear slacks with a nice shirt or blouse. Jeans are also fine unless it is a fancy restaurant.”

Italian Bruschetta (Photo Credit: Laura Ray)

5. Don’t Butter Your Bread

In Italy, bread is served with the meal, not as an appetizer. Steve explains why: “A typical Italian meal consists of a first course, ‘il primo’ (pasta or soup); a second course, ‘il secondo’ (meat or fish), served together with a side dish, ‘il contorno’ (vegetable or salad); dessert; and coffee. No pasta dish is complete without the act of ‘fare la scarpetta,’ which literally means make a little shoe and mop up the leftover sauce on your plate. It’s a widely used ritual in Italy. This is why bread is usually left on tables in restaurants. Butter and oil are not served with bread in Italy.”

Friends having a pasta dinner at home or at a restaurant.
Yulia Grigoryeva / Shutterstock.com

6. Follow These Table Manner Dos And Don’ts

Here are a few more tips from our guide Steve that you may not be aware of:

  • Don’t cut your pasta with a knife
  • Do fill up your neighbor’s glass before your own
  • Don’t ask for salad dressing — oil and vinegar are all you need. 
  • Don’t expect ice in your drinks! Italians do not drink ice-cold drinks and normally do not put more than one cube in a drink unless you ask for it. 
  • Don’t put any cheese on pasta with seafood.
  • Don’t ask for a doggie bag at a restaurant.
23 may 2015-rome-italy-Places to eat in the district of Trastevere,rome
Ghischeforever / Shutterstock.com

7. Don’t Order Cappuccino After Mid-Morning

Ordering a cappuccino after a certain hour of the day is a sure-fire way to oust yourself as a tourist. According to Steve, “Cappuccino is considered a breakfast coffee and is never drank later than mid-morning.”

Cup of fresh espresso coffee in a cafe with view on Vesuvius mount in Naples, Campania, Southern Italy
Ekaterina Pokrovsky / Shutterstock.com

8. If You Ask For A Latte, You’ll Get A Glass Of Milk

Steve sets us straight when it comes to Italian coffee: “The classic Italian coffee is an espresso, though the term espresso is hardly ever used in Italy — it’s simply called a caffè. The word lattè means milk, so if you order a ‘latte’ at an Italian bar, you’ll get a glass of cold milk. Ask for a caffè con latte if you want the Italian version.”

9. At The Café, Pay Then Order

It may seem backward to Americans, but if you stop at a café for a quick coffee, pay at the cash register first, then take your receipt to the barista and give them your order. 

Alessandro Perazzoli / Shutterstock.com

10. Don’t Buy Bottled Water

Just bring your own reusable water bottle! As Steve relates, “Italian fountains contain some of the freshest water in the country. Rather than buy multiple water bottles, do as the locals do and bring your own disposable bottle and refill it from these fountains. If you don’t have a water bottle handy, you can plug the side spigot on most fountains with your thumb and the water will come out of a top spigot so you can drink.”

In Italy, it’s customary to bring dessert, wine, or prosecco instead of gifts.
Jacob Lund / Shutterstock.com

11. Bring Something Edible As A Hostess Gift

If you’re going to someone’s house for dinner, don’t bring soap or candles as a gift. In Italy, it’s customary to bring dessert, wine, or prosecco instead.

12. Take La Passeggiata After Dinner

“Passeggiata is a daily ritual that Italians really enjoy,” according to Steve. “Take some time later in the day to stroll through the streets, chat with friends, or do some window shopping.”

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