Meet the Cook: Anna Watson Carl
Anna in the courtyard at Ralph's in Paris.
Hometown: Nashville, TN
Occupation: Cook, writer.
Favorite destinations: Paris (and Beaune), France; Sardinia (and Rome), Italy; Kaikoura, New Zealand; Cape Town, South Africa; Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Dying to visit: The cinnamon forests of Vietnam.
Bizarre travel rituals: Until recently, I took my childhood teddy bear Arthur with me on every trip. I literally could not sleep without him. Once I accidentally left him in a hotel in Umbria and had to travel five hours by train to go back and get him.
In-flight relaxation regime: Champagne.
Always in carry-on: Lots of magazines. (It's my time to catch up on reading!)
Concierge or DIY? DIY.
See it all or take it easy? A combination of the two.
Drive or be driven? Drive. (Though sometimes I regret that decision!)
Travel hero: My friend Micah Puncochar, who becomes a local wherever he goes. He spent 2 1/2 year in rural Paraguay and built his own house, grew a garden, and worked on a yerba mate co-op.
Weirdest thing seen on travels: This is more sad than weird, but seeing vast shantytowns of over a million people — with no running water or proper sanitation — in South Africa was both shocking and heartbreaking.
Best hotel amenity: The Royal Monceau in Paris had toilet-seat warmers...that was pretty cool. But I'd say my favorite amenities are breakfast in bed, a terrific terrace, and a deep-soaking tub (bonus points for a nice view).
I dream about my meal at Châlet de la Pricaz...overlooking Lake Annecy while the sun set. Stunning!! (Food was phenomenal, too!)
Everywhere I go, I check out the local farmers' markets.
When I arrive in a new place, I learn the lay of the land by taking a run.
I always bring home wine.
If I never return to a youth hostel again it'll be too soon because I'm not keen on cold showers and communal bunks.
I travel for the food!