Andy’s Top 5 – July, 2012by Andy Levine
When we're not wondering where in the world Andy is right now, we're curious to know what is exciting and new in the world of DuVine.
What better way to discover the latest and greatest from all over the world than to ask Andy for his Top 5 favorite picks of the month?
Not surprisingly, topping the list are two favorites from Corsica, also his current favorite destination.
Saint Florent, Corsica
This hotel is a must if you find yourself in St Florent! And I guarantee that you'll be taken care of in DuVine style. From its welcoming owner who provides guests with a gift of fresh local honey, to the well-appointed rooms and breakfast in bed (or by the pool), the Demeure Loredana is a true gem. Located on the Cap of Corsica, this intimate hotel rests across from the ocean and offers spectacular views of the azure sea. And with great suites and impeccable service, you can't go wrong with this pick.
Hotel la Villa
Another one of my personal favorites, this hotel boasts amazing private villas and one of the best beach club restaurants I've ever found, Ricantu. Here Patrick, who looks a lot like Phil Collins, will greet you like an old friend and treat you to an amazing lunch on the beach. The menu at Ricantu has some great healthy and fresh offerings, including fresh fish carpaccio and homemade pasta Bolognese, but you have to try the Chapon! This freshly caught white fish is incredible. Also known as Rascasse Rouge (scorpion fish), this delightful fish tastes like lobster. Apparently it has a huge head and can live as deep as 500 meters below the ocean's surface among the rocks. Perhaps not an attractive fish, but the way it tastes will certainly win you over. Definitely give it a try.
Larson's Fish Market
Menemsha, Martha'a Vineyard
Yes, it's my own version of island hopping. From the beaches of Corsica to the sands of Martha's Vineyard, I'm finding the best spots for you. And Larson's is the place to go for your seafood needs. Located on the actual dock where the fishermen pull in, you'll find the freshest products literally right off the boat! You can either take out or, even better, plan ahead and bring your own beer or bottle of rose and pull up one of the nearest milk crates to sit down to enjoy some fresh shucked oysters with your beverage of choice. Remember to purchase prior to your arrival in Menemsha, as it is a dry town. And we don't want a lack of drinks to spoil your meal. Oh, and don't miss the coleslaw – it's unbelievable! This is the perfect spot to hit after a day of riding through the charming towns of West Tisbury, Chilmark and Gay Head. A refreshing end to a pleasant day in the saddle.
Dinner at Amphitryon
Castillon du Gard, Provence
No trip to Provence is complete without a visit to Amphitryon for dinner. What makes this place so special? The perfect balance of ambiance, incredible food, a great wine list, and Mario! Mario, the owner of the restaurant, is both the consummate host and engaging entertainer, adding character and charm to your evening dinner. He loves to joke that the fresh fish you are enjoying that evening was caught fresh from the Pont du Gard (wink, wink). In fact, his presence is such an indelible part of the experience that I usually refer to the restaurant as Mario's rather than Amphitryon. Check it out and let me know what you think. I might just join you there.
Biking Stage 10 & 11 of the 2012 Tour de France
The Alps, France
What could be more epic than tackling some of the very same climbs as the riders of the Tour de France just hours before they race to the finish? Nothing, really. I have to admit, these were some of the best and most challenging rides of my life. Definitely on the list. What an exhilarating feeling to be able to test my body on the Col du Grand Columbier and the Col de la Croix de Fer, arrive in time to grab lunch, watch the crazy caravan go through and then be at the finish to watch the riders race up, competing for the stage victory. The atmosphere is electric and so invigorating! Even better, I didn't have to show up a day before to secure my spot and sit and wait for the Tour to arrive. I got an amazing workout, had lunch and watched the race, all in the span of 3-4 hours!