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Blog posts of '2015' 'July'

An Interview with David Downie
In his new book A Passion for Paris David Downie embarks on an irreverent secular pilgrimage to the most romantic sites in Paris, weaving his own observations of the city's most alluring parks, atmospheric cafes and inspiring vistas with those of literary lights Victor Hugo, Georges Sand, Charles Baudelaire and other great Romantics. In this interview he answers our questions about Paris, revealing some unexpectedly romantic spots, from aisle seats to cemeteries.
  Longitude. How did your own love affair with Paris begin? Downie. In the fall of 1976, on a dark and stormy night... the affair was not love at first sight for either of us. I was 18 and bent by the weight of the world.
Kitchens of the Great Midwest
If director Wes Anderson and food writer M.F.K. Fisher joined forces to produce a novel, it would probably look something like the quirky Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal. Set in various towns across the Midwest, the novel follows the life of Eva Thorvald, an orphan who becomes one of the top chefs in the country. A worthwhile protagonist, Eva is fresh, sweet and bubbly without being cloying and also possesses an amazing natural palate and enviable culinary prowess. Readers spend the majority of the uniquely structured novel learning about Eva from the people who pass through her life, including a proud Scandinavian father, a jilted high school boyfriend and a jealous competitor.
Passage to Cuba
As relations between the United State and Cuba continue to soften, travelers are eager to glimpse the island nation for the first time -- and before the country changes too quickly. Cuba's isolation meant certain elements of its culture remained frozen in time, allowing the visitor to feel themselves transported back to a different era, in which the automobiles, music and dance of previous days are preserved.
Pamplona, Spain
Kindly contributed by Peter Milligan, author of the new book Bulls Before Breakfast. Milligan, who has cheated death in Pamplona over 70 times, introduces readers to the sights and sounds of the city made famous by Ernest Hemingway while recounting his daring showdowns with its long-horned killers, los toros bravos. When he's not running for his life, Milligan focuses on local knowledge, eateries and the Spanish countryside.
  From July 7 to July 14, I run with the bulls with my brother in Pamplona every morning—every summer.
Matterhorn Summit
July 14 is usually a day for the French, but this year the Swiss will join in with celebrations of their own. On that day 150 years ago, British climber Edward Whymper and his expedition team were the first to reach the peak of the Matterhorn at 4,478 meters. Throughout this anniversary year the remarkable feat will be celebrated with a variety of mountaineering experiences, classic alpine traditions and plenty of festivity in Zermatt and surrounding villages. Read more here to plan your trip, then pick up some of these fascinating books on the subject. Killing Dragons, The Conquest of the Alps.
Peru: The Cookbook
Peruvian cuisine is gaining popularity in America. Chefs from San Francisco to New York are making Peruvian ceviche, quinoa and lomo saltado -- dishes featuring unique ingredients like the distinct "aji amarillo" chile pepper. Peru: The Cookbook, the new, beautifully produced compendium from Phaidon, showcases tantalizing, traditional home cooking from what is quickly becoming one of the world's most popular culinary destinations. From the bright, multi-colored textured cover to the gorgeous, mouth-watering photographs, the book's design is aimed to inspire the most timid chef. In 500 recipes, author Gaston Acurio moves from ceviche to street food, from broths to beverages.
An Interview with Stephan Van Dam
Map maker, designer and entrepreneur Stephan Van Dam shares the vision and inspiration behind his unique maps, from sexy packaging to the “art of ellipses.”
  Longitude. How and when did VanDam Maps begin? Van Dam. While studying environmental design at Parsons I invented an origami design which refolded automatically. It craved cartographic uses. So I sought out a group of European cartographers to show me the ropes and became a map maker. I also patented the fold and built a machine to fold the maps. When American Express agreed to offer The World Unfolds to card members I was in business and a publisher.

Travels in Vermeer
In Travels in Vermeer poet and professor Michael White copes with the aftermath of his divorce by studying Johannes Vermeer paintings around the world. White stumbles into this mechanism accidentally when he takes an impromptu spring break trip to Amsterdam to escape life. While there, he visits the Rijksmuseum and walks into the Vermeer room, where the paintings are “unexpectedly small, but the force of the spell they cast is so eerily powerful that it’s difficult to move, to breathe.” White is mesmerized, and though he tries to explore the rest of the museum, he finds himself back in the Vermeer room, his faith in love suddenly restored.