Fathom Questionnaire

Meet the Cook: Anna Watson Carl

by Anna Watson Carl

Anna in the courtyard at Ralph's in Paris.

Hometown: Nashville, TN 

Occupation: Cook, writer. 

Favorite destinations: Paris (and Beaune), France; Sardinia (and Rome), Italy; Kaikoura, New Zealand; Cape Town, South Africa; Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Dying to visit: The cinnamon forests of Vietnam.  

Bizarre travel rituals: Until recently, I took my childhood teddy bear Arthur with me on every trip. I literally could not sleep without him. Once I accidentally left him in a hotel in Umbria and had to travel five hours by train to go back and get him.  

In-flight relaxation regime: Champagne.

Always in carry-on: Lots of magazines. (It's my time to catch up on reading!)

Concierge or DIY? DIY.

See it all or take it easy? A combination of the two. 

Drive or be driven? Drive. (Though sometimes I regret that decision!)

Travel hero: My friend Micah Puncochar, who becomes a local wherever he goes. He spent 2 1/2 year in rural Paraguay and built his own house, grew a garden, and worked on a yerba mate co-op. 

Weirdest thing seen on travels: This is more sad than weird, but seeing vast shantytowns of over a million people — with no running water or proper sanitation — in South Africa was both shocking and heartbreaking.

Best hotel amenity: The Royal Monceau in Paris had toilet-seat warmers...that was pretty cool. But I'd say my favorite amenities are breakfast in bed, a terrific terrace, and a deep-soaking tub (bonus points for a nice view).

I dream about my meal at Châlet de la Pricaz...overlooking Lake Annecy while the sun set. Stunning!! (Food was phenomenal, too!)

Everywhere I go, I check out the local farmers' markets.

When I arrive in a new place, I learn the lay of the land by taking a run. 

I always bring home wine. 

If I never return to a youth hostel again it'll be too soon because I'm not keen on cold showers and communal bunks.

I travel for the food!