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Tuesday
Feb102015

Flying With Faber: French Cuisine – It’s Simple Yet Elegant 

By Stuart J. Faber

In the mid-60s, I embarked on my first trip to Europe. Things were cheap then. I purchased a round-trip ticket from Los Angeles to London for $250–a First Class Eurail Pass for $90, which allowed me unlimited back-and-forth travel anywhere in Western Europe. I roamed around for about six weeks––from Norway to Italy and from England to the Hungarian border.

During an interlude in Spain, I luxuriated in an oceanfront casita on the Costa Brava for five dollars and consumed a whole lobster dinner for three dollars. After six weeks of visits to virtually every country, I exhausted my $1,000 worth of traveler’s checks and headed home–broke but richer in heart and spirit than I had ever been.

England, my first stop, was a breeze. After several days in London, I rambled on to Dover, marveled at the White Cliffs, and hopped a ferry (today, you can travel under the English Channel by Chunnel), to Calais, France. I boarded a train and soon arrived in the heart of Paris at Gare du Nord.

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Tuesday
Dec092014

Flying With Faber: December 2014

Ventura County–Small Town Feeling–Huge Attractions

By Stuart J. Faber

Aerial view of Ventura. (Broc Ellinger)Across the United States, there are so many destinations competing for the tourist buck, it’s often difficult for the traveler to make a decision–especially when your family or group has a variety of interests. One kid loves the water, another hates it, dad wants to explore the wine country, mom loves museums. Perhaps one family member wants to play golf or go fishing. Another wants to pick strawberries.

Some destinations have one or two of these features. Ventura County is one place where you can have them all. And that’s not limited to the human members of the group. My gentle pit bull, Clara Belle, breaks out in a victory dance at the mere mention of an excursion to dog-friendly Ventura County. Plus, it’s a pilot’s paradise. Two fabulous airports with superb facilities are within miles of each other, not to mention Santa Paula Airport with its legendary assemblage of antique, hi-performance and homemade airplanes. Ventura County, with its three major cities, Ventura, Camarillo and Oxnard, has something for everyone. Pick strawberries under the warm sun in the morning and cool off at a quiet beach in the afternoon. Cycling, hiking, diving, golf, theater, top-notch cuisine–the list of exciting activities is endless. If these do not fill your plate, you can take a painting class or attend a local beer festival.

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Thursday
Nov132014

Flying With Faber: November 2014

Thanksgiving With Faber

By Stuart J. Faber

I’m a nomad. I make no apologies for my affliction to roam. Just about any time of the year, I will drop whatever I am doing, hop in my airplane (or one operated by an airline), and travel to some distant, or even nearby place. As much as I love my home and my hanger, at least once a week, my airplane and I become overwhelmed with a severe case of cabin fever–or hangar fever. There is no cure for this disease. The only way to palliate the symptoms is to go somewhere.

That being said, rarely, if ever, do I stray beyond my kitchen on Thanksgiving. I won’t even go to a restaurant for Thanksgiving.  After all, the Pilgrims cooked Thanksgiving dinner at home.  

I love to prepare for and cook a Thanksgiving dinner. Not only is it festive, fun and colorful, guests scream with delight as they circle our huge dining room table, which we convert into a buffet.  

As guests pull up to our home, I might peek out the window and observe the smiles on their faces. The kitchen fragrances migrate to the outside like advection fog and fill the noses of the arriving crowd. Generally, we invite a busload of friends.  Some folks who have little, if anything to do with me for most of the years begin calling around mid-October. They’ve heard about my Thanksgiving culinary festivals. Occasionally, we invite a few folks whom we don’t even like that much. I refer to them as Thanksgiving orphans–you know–those obnoxious or grumpy types whom everyone avoids. But at Thanksgiving, they are welcome at our table, well, some of them. Of course most of the guests are dear old friends.

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Monday
Oct202014

Flying with Faber

Final Stopover at Auckland, New Zealand

By Stuart J. Faber

A view of downtown Auckland and the Marina. (Stuart J. Faber)Back in the ‘60s, as I was about to embark on my very first trip to Europe, a friend, who had just returned, imparted some sage advice.

“If you plan to visit several countries, from Great Britain to Hungary and from Sweden to the tip of Italy, chances are you will fall in love with each country. This will create severe serial separation anxiety. As much as you love the country you are about to depart, tear yourself away. You will love the next destination even more.”

To this day, that was one of the best travel tips I have ever received. As our B-737 departed Queenstown, I twisted my head back as far as I could for one last look at this magnificent parcel of earth. Saddened, I recalled the words my friend had uttered almost a half century ago.  Auckland will be even better – and it was true.

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Wednesday
Jul092014

Flying with Faber: Queenstown, New Zealand

One of the Most Beautiful Places in the World

By Stuart J. Faber

Part One

Downtown Queenstown. (Stuart J. Faber)For the past 40-plus years, my life as a travel and culinary journalist has taken me to more than 100 countries and every state in the Union. One might assume that I have grown weary and jaded with travel – quite the contrary.  Each time I board a plane, be it my own or one operated by a commercial carrier, a wave of excitement overcomes me.  As I step off the plane for the first touch of the foreign soil, the excitement intensifies – just as if it were my first time away from home.

It has been more than 30 years since my last visit to New Zealand.  Although I have a love affair with many foreign and domestic destinations, I have always cradled a special yearning to return to these South Pacific islands.  As soon as I stepped on the tarmac of Queenstown (the airport has no jet ways), I knew why. It seemed as if nothing had changed.

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