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Anywhere, Anytime

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Were travel, art, architecture, fashion, food and adventure meet. Founder and global adventurer Geren Lockhart was "Born Packed" when she started traveling at a young age and never stopped. This site follows along on her journey. 

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Filtering by Tag: Food

THE ALILA HOTEL IN UBUD, BALI

Geren Lockhart

AN OASIS IN THE MIDDLE OF THE BALI JUNGLE. THIS HOTEL IS A GREAT SPOT TO RELAX AND EASE INTO THE CULTURE OF UBUD.

The Alila Hotel in Ubud, Bali is a unique and calming world where design meets jungle. From Denpasar airport, the property is an exciting and sometimes shockingly beautiful ninety min drive up into the mountains. We spent our first night in Bali here and would recommend it to anyone visiting for a longer stay as a great entry point. Waking up to the sunrise and the jungle monkeys roaming around was a lovely entry to a new world.  The food throughout our stay was a highlight, somewhat expected since it’s a program that was framed out by Elke and Ray from Locavore in downtown Ubud. Locavore is one of our favorite spots to experience food on the planet. Elke and Ray are visionaries and magicians who practice their art through the idea of integrating European technique with only local ingredients. These ideals are still in place at the Alila, putting their best foot forward when the restaurant is serving it’s decadent must have breakfast every day. This is NOT a lukewarm hotel buffet set-up. There was a multitude of beverage options and tons of small plates to try. The menu changes daily and you are encouraged to order 3 or 4 things, and if you’re sharing you can go even crazier, the portions are manageable and are meant to give you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the food of Bali, to immerse yourself in the place. 

The grounds are lush, and the all of the spaces are well designed and still Balinese enough that you don’t feel like an urban alien dropped into the middle of an ancient civilization. Rooms are comfortable and chic if not ultra luxurious. The personal products through the property, room and spa are all from the locally produced namesake brand, and they’re great! Enough so that we not only squirreled away the ones from our room but went a bit crazy in the spa store stocking up since we didn't have an idea of when we might return. 

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The highlight of our stay was the pool. An "infinity-ish" moment set near the edge of a cliff and perfectly laid out so you can enjoy laying in the pool as much as relaxing beside it. Save a day for this. A full mid morning to sunset to immerse fully in the experience. Lunch in the lower-level grand scale lounge area, dip in and out of the pool, the sun, and the very comfortable beds as you wish. 

Relaxation is pretty much guaranteed here and as with most properties in Bali the rates are a great value for the level of the stay. 

 Alila Ubud


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KZU WARUNG

Geren Lockhart

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Kzu is hands down the best warung in Bali. A warung is a local easy "cafe" offering up a rotating daily selection of mostly Indonesian dishes. My introduction to this hidden gem came through ex-pat Danish fashion designer Birgitte Rabens. Lucky her she spends part of each year in Bali designing and producing her Rabens Saloner collection, and she was kind enough to show me around. Birgitte has the most impeccable taste. Japanese chef Kazuya Takami has created a complete experience. Beginning with the contemporary industrial open-plan space that is designed yet welcoming. The highlight of Kzu waits for you behind the giant perforated metal door guarding the entrance. On offer, you will find a rotating daily selection of about fifty healthy, delicious and largely vegan dishes. Chef Takami counts Japanese, Indonesian, Italian, and Indian cuisines among his influences. Combining these influences with his intense focus on local produce he masterfully balances ingredients, spices and preparations. If I were lucky enough to be a local, I would find a reason to be here at least once a day. The food isn't foodie gourmet; it's just really good and good for you. Opening hours from 11 am to 7 pm mean you really can fit in a meal and a snack in if you are industrious. Full disclosure I ate here every day I was in Seminyak. Grab a Bintang and a full plate of nourishment for what amounts to less than seven US dollars at the current exchange.

Kzu Warung

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LOLITA EL BULLI STYLE

Geren Lockhart

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Meet Mauro Buffo, notable chef who's been in many of the best kitchens in the world. Most noteworthy were the four "courses" or seasons that he was a part of the team at El Bulli. I had the pleasure of having met Mauro through mutual friends in New York, and then a few years later embarking on what I like to call the insider foodie tour of Barcelona with him. We landed in Spain from different corners of the world and started the tour of Mauro's favorite spots inside and just outside Barcelona. Many of the team that Mauro was a part of at  El Bulli had since moved onto their own or other endeavors and we were able to partake of those new successes. My favorite Barcelonian was Albert Raurich who's place Dos Pallilos (two chopsticks) made for a real "situation" for me. Albert was at El Bulli in the beginning and stayed for well over a decade before stepping out on his own. I will be writing about our visit to El Bulli and our many meals at Dos Palillos soon, but for now it's a focus on Lolita, a perfect tapas spot formerly helmed by Albert Ferran and called Inopia. We were in town the weekend the switchover happened from Inopia to Lolita and yum is about the best way to sum it up. We sat down at a high bar along the wall and began ordering basically everything on the menu. A menu which is formed from a tight edit of heightened standard tapas fare, from ham to sardines to burgers all made differently with standout details added. The hot dogs are served with toy guns full of catchup which made for fun and good photos. The highlight of the night came when we literally ran into Albert Raurich as he was winding down from the service at Dos Palillos and joined us for cocktails and desert. He was heading to Lolita for a chill after work chef snack and an evening cocktail. I can admit that it felt like I was somehow privy to a life that I hadn't earned, but very much enjoyed being a part of. I suggest the Gin & Tonic which was all the two chef's drank and it's somewhat of a ceremony for them end of shift. Mauro currently makes food magic happen high up in the alps at the Vigilius Mountain Resort in Lana, Italy. 

Lolita


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FORMENTERA IS PARADISE

Geren Lockhart

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The sexy, chic, and relaxing island of Formentera was high on my list of places to visit while I was based out of London last year. It is a small island that is part of the Islas Baleareas sitting off the coast of Spain in the Mediterranean Sea. The beauty of Formentera is an underexploited secret sitting just south of Ibiza. There is no airport. You fly into Ibiza, taxi to the port, and then ferry to the island. That is an adventure in itself. I recommend renting a car for your time on Formentera. They are reasonably priced and prove necessary to freely see what you want to while you're in residence. The island is small but not walkable if you want to partake of the many beaches, experiences, and sites to be seen.

IN-RESIDENCE / Dotted throughout the island and almost all out of sight from the main roads are small luxury resorts, bo-ho chic party spots, and bungalows on the beach. There aren't any large properties on the island. Below are my three picks for places to stay on the island. Two a bit more lux, posh, and chill and one a bit more affordable, with an authentic beach party vibe. All good, and all worth going back to again. 

Es Mares Hotel & Spa • A 20 room luxury boutique property situated in the main city of San Francesc. This enclave of breezy chill is very centrally located and makes for easily jetting to any part of the island. The property is pared back with a beach decor that feels very mediterranean. The restaurant and spa are excellent so even if you're not laying your head here I recommend dropping in for an afternoon or evening. Book here ∞ hotelesmares.com

Es Ram • With just 8 double rooms and 4 villas this is definitely an exclusive luxury eco-resort. A gorgeous property that is completely secluded a mile down a sand road a thirty minute drive from the ferry.  This is the kind of property you can stay put at for an entire stay. You will feel like you live here from the moment you arrive. This is small footprint luxury at it's best. The staff is welcoming and the common areas, rooms and villas are stunning and stylish. The grounds make you want to meander for hours. With pools and lots of lounging bungalows, the days will slip away. Book here ∞ esramresort.com

Las Banderas • Located directly on Mitjorn beach a 20 minute drive from the ferry in one of the most historic buildings on the island this bo-ho chic 8 room property is an enjoyable place to stay. The rooms are basic but well maintained and have the kind of character you want. Each room has an outdoor area with ocean views and you're just steps from the sand. The food and drink are good but not stellar and the outdoor bar area is a great place to watch the sunset. I stayed here and left having had a great time and feeling like it was a great value. Book here ∞ hotelresidenceformentera.com

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FOOD / I didn't have a bad snack or meal while I was on the island and there are ton's of small spots that sit right on the water.  As an island just off the coast of one of the most foodie nations on earth with mostly Italian visitors. The expectations for food and beverage are lofty. 

People • The chiringuito (aka beach bar) sits directly on Platja de es Pujols is where you will end up often. No matter where else on the island you are if you're like me you will find a way to be there for lunch or cocktail hour on more than one occasion. The libations are divine - think huge delicious refreshing adult beverages made with fresh ingredients served over crushed ice - and the snacks are above par for beach food. 

Juan y Andrea • A posh beachfront restaurant that has evolved from a small bar founded in 1972 into a see and be seen hot spot today. The food is good, the drinks are classic and it's an experience worth having for the people watching alone. Situated on a secluded beach almost at the end of Playa Illetes the journey is almost as good as the place itself. juanyandrea.com

Can Dani • A true foodie level experience in the middle of the island. Eating al fresco in the courtyard makes this a great dinner choice and you will certainly have a memorable meal. The chef works primarily with local ingredients, and with those simple beginnings she makes magic happen. I recommend the tasting menu, a luxurious valuecandaniformentera.com

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BEACHES / The beaches are the number one reason to visit Formentera, While they are all gorgeous my favorites were: 

  • Cala Saona
  • Platja Migjorn
  • Platja des Canyers
  • Platja Tramuntana
  • Platja de Ses Illetes 

LIGHTHOUSES / There are three on the island, two that I visited primarily because they offered vistas that I wouldn't be privy to. They were breathtaking cliffs on both occasions with interesting surrounding areas. 

La Mola • the highest lighthouse on the island it sits atop a 1200 ft cliff. The best part about visiting this spot was the scale it gave to the island. I ventured out my first late afternoon and ended up dropping into the "Hippie Market" which is really more of and artisanal market. Situated on the main road in El Pilar de la Mola and open Wednesday and Sunday afternoons this is a must do if you're in the area on those days. Please while you are there pick up some leather bracelets from the charming leather worker. I bought two and have much to my dismay lost them in my travels. I loved them so much I sometimes daydream about heading back just to procure some more.

Es Cap de Barbaría • this lighthouse is a bit more off the beaten path, but it's worth the drive. The views are stunning and you get a chance to hike a bit further and see a watchtower that was used to protect the island in century's past. The watchtower is stunning up close. (there is a photo at the top of this story with people providing scale)

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Formentera is a magical place not far from civilization geographically but very far in reality. It is a part of the world that still moves slowly most of the time. The air is fresh, the water is sparkling, and you breath. Really breath when you are there. The cultures of Catalan, Spain, and Italy collide to protect what it means to be living completely in the moment. The residents are welcoming and the tourists I encountered were all relaxed, mostly Italian and there for the same reasons I was. While it's not an easy location to get to from Los Angeles or New York where I spend most of my time. I know I will be back to this tiny piece of the world again in this lifetime. I'm counting down the days.


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ST. ELMO BYRON BAY

Geren Lockhart

A month into my time in Australia I decided to steal away to Byron Bay for a long weekend. Byron Bay is a quick flight from Sydney Kingston to Gold Coast Airport. I picked up my second Audi A1 and hit the road. I made my way to Atlantic Guesthouse located in the middle of town. I checked in quickly and ran out the door to secure a late lunch. This would be my first meal of the day. Rounding a corner I discovered the bar & restaurant St. Elmo. It was 4pm which sadly fell directly in between their lunch and dinner services. I think I screamed I was so happy to find out that they were still able to mix and make during the break. A few spicy margaritas and some delicious tapas later St. Elmo was beginning to fill up with hip and friendly locals. I knew that I would be back.

Angela Honeywell and Tom Miller are the owners of St. Elmo. They left Sydney and their careers behind to set up shop in Bryon. This being fashion for Angela, and restaurants for Tom. Jamie who is Angela's high school best friend runs the extensive and well stocked bar program. He was working away in London when the phone rang, and Angela tempted him with the opportunity to master his craft in paradise. With his partner in crime Russ, they mixed cocktails that consistently delivered treats far beyond my expectations. The food concept is a truly solid offering of Spanish influenced tapas and main plates. Fresh and subtly complex the menu did not miss the entire trip.

The restaurant and bar decor are contemporary yet organic and exceptionally welcoming. St. Elmo is an upscale neighborhood spot in the middle of a resort town. An oasis to be honest. The front of house staff is outfitted with crafty aprons that would fly out the door if they had them on offer. The best part is that the original batch was handcrafted by Angela's grandma.

I managed to make my way back to St. Elmo at least once each day that I was in Byron. No doubt there is great food in town and the surrounding areas to be had.  For me, nothing came close to the mix that the young dedicated entrepreneurs and their close knit team had on offer.

St. Elmo // stelmodining.com

on the corner of Fletcher Street and Lawson Lane, Byron Bay, Australia

4pm to late // Monday to Thursday, noon to late // Saturday, noon to 10pm // Sunday

Reservations (02) 6680 7426


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