All posts filed under: Uruguay

Global “Running” Club

While on Easter Island, we drove our rented ATV up the steep slopes of Rano Kau, a volcano near the main town of Hanga Roa. We came around a bend and eyed a dude ahead of us, running at a quick clip. Blake pulled up beside him. “Sir, are you okay? Is someone chasing you? Are you in distress?” He looked confused, and only at that point did we realize he was running by choice—jogging, if you will. It takes all kinds. We, meanwhile, strictly limited our running to once a location in order to bring you our trip in roughly 90 seconds:

3/tres from Punta del Este, Uruguay

Pictured above: our lovely hotel in La Barra, CasaZinc. Scene-setter: Punta del Este is a resort city roughly in the middle of Uruguay’s Atlantic coast. We stayed in nearby La Barra, a low-key town between Punta and Jose Ignacio, summer playground of the South American rich and famous. Our personal scene-setter was our former therapist, who is originally from Buenos Aires and, like many Porteños, visits the Uruguayan coast regularly. She gave us tons of recommendations and generally got us pumped to explore the area. But since you probably don’t know our therapist, which is your loss, your scene-setter can be Suite Punta del Este, by the prolific tango composer Astor Piazzolla. If you’re a tango fan, you’ll know it. If you’re a 12 Monkeys fan, you’ll also know it as it formed the basis for the soundtrack. Pound-the-table recommendation: At Parador La Huella, a handsome monster of a restaurant sitting on beach sand in Jose Ignacio, there must be 100 outdoor seats and another 50 that are indoor-outdoor. If you’re like us, when you’re …

The Uruguayan Michael Chiarello and Friends

We considered just apple-c apple-v’ing the entirety of Danielle Pergament’s excellent NYTimes article about the vineyards around Carmelo, but we’re not HuffPo, so. Suffice to say we planned our itinerary based largely on Pergament’s recommendations. Considering what a wonderfully come-hither piece of travel writing it is, we were fairly surprised by the utter lack of tourist activity in the area, at least in March. We visited three vineyards and one olive oil producer during our time in Carmelo; we saw one other group of tourists. All the restaurants we ate at seemed to be open exclusively for us. At dinner the first night, over candlelight and gnocchi in the empty, beautiful restaurant at CampoTinto, we had a glimpse of what our lives would be like if we were Piedmontese duchesses, heirs to an eroded fortune with a single loyal servant named Carolina. Except obviously if Carolina worked for us and not CampoTinto, her uniform would not be a branded polo. Maybe an airy linen smock in charcoal. A+ uniforms at Bodega Narbona, however, another lovely …

3/tres from Carmelo, Uruguay

Scene-setter: Carmelo is a teeny town in Uruguay just over the Río de la Plata from Argentina. Don’t really have an idea of where Uruguay is? Let Homer be of assistance: Pound-the-table recommendation: Rent a scooter somewhere (ours came from Doris, who owns a small shop in Balneario Zagarzazú, but fair warning: it broke down thrice) and drive from Carmelo to the surrounding vineyards on the easy winding country roads. You’ll feel like Easy Rider but, you know, on a shitty scooter instead of a Harley. When you travel for an extended period, life on the road becomes your new normal, and it can be easy to lose perspective. In and among all the booking and planning, you sometimes forget to pause and appreciate the place you’re in presently. But when you do, it’s pretty rad to have that moment of, “Damn, we’re driving a scooter through a tiny wine region in western Uruguay, trees arching over the road like tunnels, and we haven’t seen another car or person for miles.” And then you run …

The UPDATED Best Restaurants in the World: A Definitive Ranking by Blake MacKay, Master of English Literature and Professional Expert

(JK. But not about the Masters part.) I am on a four-and-a-half month, ’round-the-world “honeymoon” with my wife, hence this very blog. I’ve worked in the restaurant industry in New York City for seven years and when I travel, I care about nothing more than my meals. Below are the top ten restaurants I visited in the first three months of my trip, up through the end of our time in South America. (See the first installment here.) I will update again when Spain and Turkey inevitably squeeze out two-thirds of this list. See snapshots at @wearethemacks and @blakewmackay on Instagram and hit me up at heywearethemacks@gmail.com.) 1. Huen Muan Jai (Chiang Mai, Thailand—formerly #1): It’s been three months since we set off on our trip and two months since we were in Chiang Mai, and still no dining experience (emphasis on the dining experience, as opposed to a single dish or bite of food) has left as much of an impression on my culinary imagination as Huen Muan Jai. Its #1 ranking is undoubtedly …