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Thursday, September 13, 2012

THE ULTIMATE GOURMET JOURNEY

I am cerebrating over my final global adventure this coming Spring, and mentioning this because I would like to encourage my friends and family to join me, either for the whole journey, portions, or, perhaps, just a lunch or dinner if I'm passing through your city.  At this early stage, I am open to any input.

This will not be like The Odyssey, for Odyyseus' trip took twenty years, and only within the Mediterranean, where he fought in a  ten year war, spent some time in captivity and used a raft.  I don't plan to do any of that, and will expand the  travel to a worldwide journey.

My initial thinking was to spend two or three days each in my top dozen cities, enjoying the cuisine of Michelin 3 Star and Pellegrino Best Hundred restaurants.  I wonder if I'm reading this correctly, but that reference indicates Tokyo has 16 three star restaurants, 52 two stars and 179 1 star, whereas Paris only has 10 3-stars, 17 2-stars, and 52 1-star.  

Also, Osaka-Kyoto (they are neighboring cities) has a dozen 3-star eating places, while San Francisco and Los Angeles have zero.  However, Coi in Frisco is #58 (so as there are 106 Michelin 3-stars, this means I can still stop by that city) on the Pellegrino list.  #1 is Noma (Copenhagen, yes, that's me above...it was really cold) and #4 D.O.M. (San Paulo).  Kenji's golf group (see next paragraph) will be in the vicinity of #43, French Laundry in Yountville, and #98, Chez Panisse in Berkeley.

I'll need to leave Honolulu by early April, for I would like to link with the Sumida golf safari through California's wine country during the first week of May.  Anyway, March is generally still too cold.  Comfort is one parameter of importance.  Others are security and great restaurants.  I always travel west, and during the day, so you can enjoy the flight.  I once actually had 24 different drinks from Honolulu to Bangkok, with a short stop in Tokyo (where I had that feast to the right in the United First Class lounge).  I don't do stupidity like that anymore.

In discussions with friends, Santiago (Chile) was mentioned, and I've never been there, so, perhaps it will be my ideal 10, plus two more.  This number of a dozen is because you are allowed only 15 segments on Star Alliance, for a few trips will require a transfer.

The around the world fares range from $5,000 (economy) to $10,000 (business) to $20,000 (first).  I've never used them, but I'm also considering Airtreks.  I hear they might be able to get a cheaper fare.

I plan to stay in Starwood's St. Regis Hotel, when available, for it was just ranked #1 by Business Travel News among luxury hotels.  Four Seasons, #1 last year, fell to #5.  Starwood's W hotel also did well, beating out last year's #1, JW Marriott, among upper-upscale hotels.  This survey only rated U.S. hotels, but the St. Regis hotels are far better internationally.  The San Francisco St. Regis, for example, is very mediocre.  My two favorite places to stay are the Osaka St. Regis and the Beijing St. Regis.

Subject to considerable change, here is a very preliminary itinerary:

  Leave early April  Honolulu
  1.  Tokyo
  2.  Seoul
  3.  Bangkok
  4.  Australia (I plan to hike up Ayers Rock)
  5. Hong Kong (or Shanghai, but I hate the China visa process)
  6.  Berlin
  7.  Paris
  8. Barcelona
  9.  Sao Paulo
10. Santiago
11.  ??
12.  San Francisco
Home  Honolulu

I will follow up in a month or so with more details.

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Wow, Sanba is now a Super Typhoon at 170 MPH:


As predicted a couple of days ago, this monster is heading straight for Naha,Okinawa, then on to Cheju Island.

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