The DeBruce is your ultimate Catskills getaway

The DeBruce will always hold a special place in my heart because there's where I got engaged!!! Every part of that moment was surreal and luckily my fiancé timed it so well that after we got engaged there was a 9 course dinner awaiting me in the glass windowed dining room at the DeBruce. The DeBruce offers much more than just impeccable farm to table food. This place meets all the criteria of a luxurious Catskill getaway complete with your own hiking trails, streams of water, an incredible chef on call, pool side lounging, flyfishing and a bar just steps away from your room. Your per night cost covers breakfast every morning and a special 5 course dinner on Friday night as well as the signature 9 course tasting menu on Saturday night. Chef Aksel Theilkuhl lives on the property and cooks every night with his close knit team based upon the items they forage in the woods right behind the property. This luxurious B&B is a dream come true. 

The photos below are from The DeBruce's signature 9 course tasting menu-

Foraging: fiddleheads, daisy, berries, yarrow flowers

Foraging: fiddleheads, daisy, berries, yarrow flowers

Chicken Liver- country rye, pickled wild strawberries, sweet & sour onion

Chicken Liver- country rye, pickled wild strawberries, sweet & sour onion

Summer Garden

Summer Garden

Trout- cured & cold smoked, last season's pickles

Trout- cured & cold smoked, last season's pickles

Corn- empanada, pork belly, nectar

Corn- empanada, pork belly, nectar

Mushroom- clover & timothy hay, blueberry wood

Mushroom- clover & timothy hay, blueberry wood

Rabbit- in a meadow

Rabbit- in a meadow

Display of after dinner cheese and desserts

Display of after dinner cheese and desserts

Bangkok: The city of spice

Bangkok is a BIG city and it is easy to forget that when you're staying downtown. Like most people I stayed where the crowds, food and shopping were centrally located but if you leave the areas of Siam and Silom you will find residential neighborhoods, schools, parks and all the makings of a "city-suburbia". But if you are like me and you only have a few days to see Bangkok then you'll most likely spend your time in the center city. Therefore my food guide is focused on downtown Bangkok as well. 

Somtum Der- Somtum Der is famous for their spicy papaya salads but don't overlook the soups and noodles. Most dishes come spicy (really spicy) but you can ask your waitress to make it mild. Although I think a little huffing and puffing is good when you're eating to really enjoy the taste. Remember that red peppers are famous for their taste and of course spiciness in Thailand.

Chicken soup with herbs

Chicken soup with herbs

Spicy papaya salad with tomatoes 

Spicy papaya salad with tomatoes 

Roasted duck noodles (vermicellie noodles) with cilantro and peanuts

Roasted duck noodles (vermicellie noodles) with cilantro and peanuts

Too Fast To Sleep- The name is hilarious and I don't know what they mean by it. This place is huge with its own street restaurants, working spaces, cafes and a "secret restaurant" which, is where I ate. The Thai food here will remind you of NY Thai food which avoids the excess use of fish sauce. You will notice that fish sauce is used generously in most dishes in Thailand. A little reminder of home with the authenticity of Thai, Too Fast To Sleep is a good option for lunch.

Calamari fritters

Calamari fritters

Crab wontons

Crab wontons

Chicken pad thai

Chicken pad thai

Spicy tom yum soup with shrimp

Spicy tom yum soup with shrimp

Although restaurants in Bangkok serve delicious foods you should definitely be indulging in street foods as well. Especially fruits! Thailand being the tropical destination it is grows fruits year round which means you'll always be eating the freshest mango, guava, banana, papaya and more. Amongst the fruit vendors are vendors that sell mango with sticky rice (a Thai traditional dish) which is sweet and savory at the same time. It is absolutely delicious!

Mango with sticky rice

Mango with sticky rice

Thai Rung Ruang Noodle- Another street vendor with incredible thai noodle with fish ball soup. The broth is relatively mild but they will give you extra spices and peppers on the side to make it as spicy as you please. I think the more spice the better but you be the judge!

Fish ball soup with noodles

Fish ball soup with noodles

Canton House- Dim Sum is not just beloved by the Chinese. The Thai people have fully embraced dim sum and put their own spin on it which you'll taste when you eat their duck! You can't beat the price so splurge a little here. It's worth it.

Shrimp tempura and sesame paste buns

Shrimp tempura and sesame paste buns

Roast duck 

Roast duck 

L&R Seafood- Ready for a brand new eating experience? This street vendor is so popular that in order to accommodate the inflow of customers they've resorted to putting tables and chairs on the street. While that can make one wary rest assured that you won't get run over because drivers know what they're getting themselves into when they drive through Chinatown! L&R Seafood true to its name is famous for their seafood. You can get it fried, grilled, boiled or in curry. We tried a variety of styles to get the full flavor profile.

Fried chicken wings

Fried chicken wings

Grilled large prawns

Grilled large prawns

Prawn curry

Prawn curry

Sauteed mornign glory (chinese vegetable) with peppers

Sauteed mornign glory (chinese vegetable) with peppers

Bangkok is a place that can challenge anyone's taste palate...and surprisingly even a New Yorker's. But it's a delicious challenge that you'll be excited to conquer. Welcome to the city of spice! 

Throwback to old Holland: Windmills, a fishing village and Dutch clogs

Day three in Amsterdam calls for an adventure outside the city. While the trains in Europe make it incredible easy to travel to other countries in a few hours there is a lot to see in the Netherlands. A trip to the Holland countryside is the perfect half day trip. You'll see the old windmills in Zaanse Schans which once powered the country's economy, the fishing village of Marken, an old school shoe making factory (Dutch clogs) and a trip to the seaside town of Volendam. You can find this particular tour on Viator which makes your life easier because the company will provide all tour guides, transport to and from as well as entrance fees. 

The windmills of Zaanse Schans

The windmills of Zaanse Schans

The clog factory/store in Marken 

The clog factory/store in Marken 

The cute town of Volendam by the water

The cute town of Volendam by the water

While you are in Volendam you'll have the chance to eat some local delicacies like kibbeling (fried fish), bitterballen and waffles. The tour also includes a stop at the cheese museum where you can sample various types of Dutch cheeses!

Kibbeling and fries

Kibbeling and fries

Bitterballen

Bitterballen

Waffles with powdered sugar, chocolate spread, jam

Waffles with powdered sugar, chocolate spread, jam

The tour ends around 6:30 and you'll get back to Amsterdam around 7-7:30pm. Although you do snack throughout the tour, a late dinner in the city is definitely doable and something I encourage! Bussia is a great choice for a modern Italian dinner. The restaurant offers a selection of tasting courses and a la carte dishes. The tasting menus are a great to sample all the dishes the restaurant has to offer and the additional wine tasting is definitely worth the splurge. The restaurant layout is open, well lit but intimate at the same time. 

Amuse bouche

Amuse bouche

Amuse bouche

Amuse bouche

Salad of jerusalem artichoke, homemade fresh cheese and roasted red onion

Salad of jerusalem artichoke, homemade fresh cheese and roasted red onion

Red gurnard of the char grill

Red gurnard of the char grill

Watercress stuffed ravioli 

Watercress stuffed ravioli 

Risotto with fresh porcini mushrooms

Risotto with fresh porcini mushrooms

Roasted wild duck with pumpkin and black trumpet mushrooms

Roasted wild duck with pumpkin and black trumpet mushrooms

Chocolate mousse with red berries, dolce di latte ice-cream and sauce of hazelnut

Chocolate mousse with red berries, dolce di latte ice-cream and sauce of hazelnut

I hope day three has been more relaxing and filled with delicious foods. It's amazing how even a small city like Amsterdam has so much to offer whether it is different cuisines, history, modern art exhibits and of course the gorgeous canals.

If your last day in Colorado involves hiking, beer, food then you've done this place justice

On your last day in Colorado I highly recommend visiting Rocky Mountain National Park. No amount of words can do the mountains, the lake and the forest justice so you have to take my word and see for yourself. The Rockies are about an hour and a half drive away from Denver. You'll need to wake up early if you want to see as much as possible because remember this park is gigantic and especially so if you want to see various lakes, do summit hikes and trek towards waterfalls. A great guide to understanding what different options you have (in terms of hiking) in the park can be found here. I also suggest spending some time on the park's website itself to understand what else you can see and do within the park aside from hiking. There is also a tourism office in the town before entering Rocky Mountain National Park called Estes Park. It's a teeny town along the mountainside with a few restaurants, Rocky Mountain souvenir shops and the Stanley Hotel (the inspiration for the movie, The Shining). Stop by the tourism office in Estes Park if you want more maps or need directions for the park.

View from Mills Lake inside of Rocky Mountain National Park

View from Mills Lake inside of Rocky Mountain National Park

All this talk of hiking the gorgeous Rockies must have you excited but no good hike is possible without a filling nutritious meal. If you're looking to get up early but also in need of a worthy meal check out Snooze AM Eatery. They open at 6:30am and serve all the brunch egg dishes you could possibly want. Their side of hash browns is crisped perfectly and I love their berry jam that comes with toast. You can actually taste the seeds in the jam!

Egg scramble with jalapeños, chicken sausage and goat cheese with a side of sourdough toast and home fries

Egg scramble with jalapeños, chicken sausage and goat cheese with a side of sourdough toast and home fries

Havana Daydreaming Sammie (Free-range house pork, shaved ham, gruyere cheese, homemade pickles and a sunny side egg with Dijon hollandaise, served up open-face on a hoagie roll) 

Havana Daydreaming Sammie (Free-range house pork, shaved ham, gruyere cheese, homemade pickles and a sunny side egg with Dijon hollandaise, served up open-face on a hoagie roll) 

After your hike I highly suggest grabbing a bite to eat within Estes Park. You may have been snacking for fuel throughout your hike but you'll need to recharge for the drive back to Denver. I cannot recommend Nepal's Cafe enough. This cafe is located in the back of a strip mall and run by a Nepalese family that lives in Estes Park. They know just the comfort food to feed you so that you can recuperate from your journey. The fried chicken momos are incredible (comes with a red curry dipping sauce) and their Nepalese coffee is also delicious. 

Fried chicken momos

Fried chicken momos

Once you're back in Denver and in the comfort of your hotel you can finally relax, shower, take a well deserved nap and dream of the beauty that you witnessed today. After you're feeling refreshed you may want to go someplace where you can lay low and enjoy the weather or just people watch. Denver Beer Company is the perfect hang out spot for all of that plus local brew. I loved their raspberry lime shandy and their pretzels are freshly baked, warm and comes with spicy deli mustard that hits the spot!

Local brew, pretzel with spicy deli mustard

Local brew, pretzel with spicy deli mustard

Since this is your last day in Colorado I suggest taking the rest of the late afternoon/evening strolling the city, relaxing in Commons Park or doing some last minute shopping. For your last meal in Denver I recommend Root Down, a trendy farm to table restaurant in the Highlands. Their vegetables are seasonal and truly live up to the hype so don't be nervous to order them. Although I went for happy hour I was so tempted to stay for dinner but regrettably didn't. I hope you won't make the same mistake. Check out their dinner menu- it makes me hungry just thinking about it.

Roasted baby beets, arugula, goat cheese, toasted hazelnuts, sunflower seed pesto

Roasted baby beets, arugula, goat cheese, toasted hazelnuts, sunflower seed pesto

Sweet potato fries with curry lime dipping sauce

Sweet potato fries with curry lime dipping sauce

Colorado lamb slider with harissa aioli 

Colorado lamb slider with harissa aioli 

Leave room after dinner for some ice cream from Little Man Ice Cream. It's a few minutes by walking from Root Down. Not only is the ice cream good at Little Man but you have to see this place. The storefront is a huge milk jug! You can enjoy your ice cream in the ample seating area with string lights hanging above right next to the store. It's very cozy. 

German cake chocolate ice cream 

German cake chocolate ice cream 

It's been a great few days exploring Colorado and the Rockies were the perfect way to close out this vacation. Until next time Colorado!