I generally spend my time here telling you about things I’ve observed, things I’ve done, or things I like and dislike. But I thought I would give you a break and instead tell you about all the great stories you’ll find in this issue.

I have many favorites, but I’ll start with our story on landscaping. I love the idea of flowers and trees and shrubs and fountains, and often stare into my backyard and think of all the wonderful things I could do with it. And every year, right about the time the temperature starts creeping into the 90s, I obsess about a vegetable garden. Unfortunately, thanks to what I believe might be a minor case of ADD, no sooner do I get the plants, vegetables, or herbs into the ground and tend to them for a few weeks, then I invariably lose interest, and the poor things slowly wither away. Huh, there I go talking about myself again. Back to the story.

After reading it, I was once again inspired to take the advice of the experts and turn my yard into a verdant paradise. But luckily I came to my senses, and before I headed out to the nursery and dropped a car payment on some plants, I reminded myself that no matter how good the instruction or how much inspiration I had, I simply wouldn’t finish what I had started.

Hopefully, you have more staying power than I do and can take these ideas to heart to create your own backyard utopia. At the very least you can check out the story and imagine what could be.

Another article that is near to my heart (or maybe my stomach) is our piece on ethnic super­markets. One of my favorite ways to spend a weekend (sorry, it’s all about me again — old habits are hard to break) is touring the local markets for all sorts of fascinating food finds. Whether it’s one of the many Thai stores near my home, a Mexican bakery, or small Italian deli, the sights and smells of these jampacked markets make it almost like going to another country.

Better yet, after a visit I can cart home my treasures and try my hand at pad Thai, spring rolls, chiles rellenos, or some other inter­national delicacy. While they aren’t always successful, the fun is in the experimentation. So I’m happy that rather than dying out, these ethnic markets — both small and large — are burgeoning in our foodie society.

Finally, the magazine just wouldn’t be complete without a few exemplary travel pieces. We have an international flair this issue, and kick it off with the darling Adrien Brody showing us around New Zealand. Despite his slight frame, this boy can eat — and he came across some excellent dining spots that he shares with us.

Italy is one of my favorite countries, and our story on a region outside of Rome made me want to escape to the sun, wine, water, and wonderful people of this little-known area.

And whether you loved or hated The Da Vinci Code (a debate I won’t go into here), I dare you to resist the charms of Scotland’s Rosslyn Chapel. Author Carl Honoré takes us on a hauntingly beautiful and historically interesting tour of what has become a required stop for fans of Dan Brown’s book and for those on the eternal search for the Holy Grail.

As always, no matter if you’re searching for somewhere to go, something to eat, something to do, or something to think about, we’ve got you covered. Enjoy.
Picture of Sheri Burns