I remember I was 21 at the time. I was working at this great restaurant, Frasca, in Boulder, Colorado. And I saved up all my money to go to Osteria Francescana [in Italy], which at the time was the best restaurant in the world. I stayed in a shared hostel in Modena, like the cheapest common accommodations you could ever have. And then I spent all of my money and drank a ridiculous bottle and amount of wine by myself at Osteria Francescana. I was this dweeby, young American kid that came into this restaurant and balled out by himself. And then I went back to my dirty, small hostel because I didn't have any money. You could say I was living beyond my means in that period.
I visited the northern part of Norway, these uninhabited islands. We were there for skiing, but we would have to take a dinghy off the side of a boat and hike up the mountain to ski down. It was definitely worth it — aside from the scars from the blisters I then had on my feet. Another was (rest in peace) Fäviken, the restaurant in northern Sweden, which is a giant pain in the ass to get to, but one of the most special dining experiences I'll maybe ever have. A group of friends and I rented out the place a couple of times. It closed down probably two years ago. You have to fly to Stockholm, spend the night in Stockholm, fly to a small town called Åre, and then from there get picked up in a car, then travel two hours down a dirt road to pretty much just eat dinner. And they don't let you stay there for more than one night. So you just traveled to eat, and like an idiot you get drunk, you wake up the next morning and they're like, OK, cool, here's breakfast, you gotta go. It's no longer open. But it was really special.
La Colline du Colombier. It's like the country house of this three-star Michelin place in the middle of nowhere France. The Michelin restaurant is this old-school place called Troisgros. But then they have this farmhouse, a tiny restaurant called La Colline du Colombier where you eat outside in the hills of France, and it’s pretty amazing. Super beautiful. Kind of fancy. You go there, stay there, and eat there. The hotel part is like these trailers — that's a terrible term, but they're like architectural trailers littered throughout these cow hills. Their main place Maison Troisgros is the super swank château. And then La Colline du Colombier is the slightly rustic version of it.
Grant Reynolds is the co-author of “How To Drink Wine” and the founder of Parcelle, an online wine shop run by sommeliers from some of the greatest restaurants in the world. Prior to that he was a partner in some of New York City’s top wine destinations — Charlie Bird, Pasquale Jones, and Legacy Records.
Hisham Akira Bharoocha Illustrator
Hisham Akira Bharoocha is a multimedia artist based in Brooklyn, New York, working across various mediums including large-scale murals, paintings, drawings, collages, audio/visual installations, and performances.