GET INSPIRED: What to Read, Eat, See and Experience in 2018


JP Morgan’s #NextList2018 inspired me to develop my own recommendations of outstanding books, restaurants, and travel destinations.

Today’s post celebrates the best of the traveling, learning and exploring I’ve done this year. Here’s to the most unforgettable restaurants, art installations, books, and global destinations!!

In putting together the list, one key theme kept emerging: NORDIC!! But more on that later.

I want to start with my most important re-discovery: READING

  •  Even as a child, I was an avid reader. Over the last several years it had dropped off my radar until my friend, Nick Belperio got me back on track.
  • Also, EVERY single business leader or entrepreneur I admire has been a voracious reader: Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffett, Mark Cuban, Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey.
  • And it’s not just any kind of reading. They read to learn and for self-improvement. Few read purely for entertainment.

As the Harvard Business Review notes: For those who want to lead, read!!


My #1 book of the year is Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss.

Look forward to tearing into this book each evening to learn more about each of the 137 people interviewed. Each mentor was asked the same 11 questions but these three are the most revelatory:

  • How has a failure set you up for a later success?
  • What advice would you give to a college student about to enter the “real world”? What advice should they ignore?
  • What books have greatly influenced your life?

This last question is building up my reading list for 2018. The book I am now most curious to read is Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (Yuval Noah Harari)


Read on below for my top restaurant, art and travel finds for 2018.



#1:   LA has developed an especially vibrant food scene with much of it in DTLA.

The Exchange at the Freehand Hotel. I know it just looks like a sandwich but it was the most delicious thing I ate while in LA -sublime.


  • Top Recommendations: The Exchange Restaurant at the Freehand Hotel (above) and Sari Sari for their Buko Pie at the Grand Central Market
  • Note: Everyone raves about Felix in Venice, it’s good but but I can’t say it’s the best pasta I’ve ever had.


#2:   Restaurant Norman at A/D/O in Greenpoint, Brooklyn – NORDIC!!

The restaurant was conceptualized by Fredrik Berselius (owner/chef at Aska) and Claus Meyer (culinary entrepreneur, owner Agern and the Great Northern Food Hall in Grand Central Station, co-owner of Noma!)


#3:   Made Nice by Daniel Humm

This new fast casual restaurant brought to us by Daniel Humm (top-rated chef from Eleven Madison) is fantastic.

  •  How Pete Wells can give it only a “satisfactory” rating in the NY Times is beyond me.
  • Reading between the lines, Wells seemed especially annoyed to be assigned a fast casual place to review.


#4:   Storfjord Hotel in Skodie, Norway

Our stay at this hotel on my Nat Geo trip this past June was so agreeable, it inspired my upcoming 4-6 week sojourn in the Nordic countries. I plan to spend a week each in Oslo, Stockholm, Copenhagen and Helsinki.

  • All the meals at the Storfjord were sublime – freshly baked breads and home-made jams every morning. Fish, freshly caught in the fjord that we overlooked from the hotel dining room. Wonderful chef and staff.


#5:   The Grey in Savannah

This is an absolute game-changer for Savannah. Opened in late 2014 in a restored 1938 art deco Greyhound Bus Station

  •  The Grey is owned by a former NYer – Johno Morisano.
  • The inventive food is by Chef Mashama Bailey.
  • The Grey was just named 2017’s Restaurant of the Year by Eater – absolutely deserved!!



Two standouts I cannot get out of my mind.

#1:   The Goat Farm in Atlanta

My absolute favorite spot in the ATL. The buildings and the art installations all around the complex are sensational.

  • And yes, there are real goats on premise, as well as llamas.
  • Highly recommend doing some research on open studios or available tours before you come.
  • But even if just dropping in, you’ll see amazing outdoor art installations including a file cabinet piece by David Baerwalde.
  • The Goat Farm may look familiar to some of you. It has been used in the filming of The Walking Dead and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.


#2: Marciano Art Foundation – LA

If you only have time to visit one gallery/museum while in Los Angeles, make this the one. Absolutely stellar

  • This huge building (over 100,000 sq ft) was originally built as a Masonic Temple in 1961 (make sure you check out the library, contains many relics of its former life).
  • The renovation to contemporary art space was led by wHY architects of Culver City (same group renovating/repurposing ROW DTLA).
  • The exhibition I saw was the extraordinary Jim Shaw show (up thru late December 2017).
  • And yes, the Marcianos are the Guess jeans guys.
  • IMPORTANT: While it’s free, you do need to book your ticket online (you will not be admitted without).
  • Only open Thursday, Friday and Saturday.




The buzz around the Nordic countries is building. Here’s why:

  • Jaw-dropping, sublime, natural beauty (fijords, aurora borealis)
  • Incredible, healthy food (and I especially love fish so this is perfect for me)
  • Healthy people – biking, walking
  • People are well-educated, innovation is high, most speak English
  • Culturally progressive (e.g. women’s rights, gay marriage)
  • Quirky (e.g. trolls, elves, Vikings, Bjork, Abba)

I am currently deep in the planning stages of this 4-6 week trip to 4 Nordic countries. I’ve also started following a handful of accounts on instagram to inspire me and get me informed:

  • ettrumtill (content director ELLE Sweden)
  • govisitdenmark
  • nina-bruun (Copenhagen-based designer, trendspotter)
  • madaboutcopenhagen (exploring copenhagen thru food and drink)
  • visitcopenhagen (a daily look at copenhagen)
  • ett hem (beautiful private house in Stockholm turned into a luxury hotel, way out of my price range)
  • steffolsen (art director in oslo)
  • copenhagenstreetfood (street food market)


In the meantime, I’m heading to the Antarctica on January 15th and if icy beauty is up your alley, I also highly recommend, Greenland. Absolutely stunning.

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