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About Randall

Randall Kempner is the founder and president of
Prosperity Strategies, LLC, an economic development consulting firm based in Washington, DC and Austin, Texas. He was also co-founder and Vice President of ontheFRONTIER, a Monitor Group company. For nearly a decade, Randall has been advising private and public sector leaders on cluster development and teaching strategy seminars in the United States, Latin America, and the Caribbean.

He is presently the lead advisor for the Clusters of Innovation Initiative, a project sponsored by the U.S. Council on Competitiveness that is developing policy recommendations for how regions can best develop and support innovative firms.

Internationally, Randall was project director of Monitor's national competitiveness project in Peru, and has led cluster development projects in Bermuda, Colombia, and El Salvador. Randall holds an MBA and a Masters in Public Affairs (MPA) from the University of Texas at Austin and a BA in Government from Harvard University.

Insider Travel tips from Randall Kempner

Randall's Tips for Boston

  • For a nice old-style European hotel in a great location, try the Copley Square Hotel. Can usually get pretty decent rates (especially compared to the nearby Copley Plaza, Westin, and Marriott).
  • Eat at Red Bones BBQ, Davis Square (Somerville). The BBQ is as good as it gets north of the Red River.
  • Visit Original Sports Bar and Saloon, Copley Square (Boston). The place is much smaller and less well known than the Champions Sports Bar across the St. on Huntington Ave. And the food is much better. The Wednesday night all-you-can-eat baby-back ribs special is almost worth the trip to Boston.
  • Visit Leo's Place in Harvard Square (Cambridge). This is a diner for the common folk in Harvard Square. In four years of college, I ate there probably twice a month and saw a total of probably ten fellow students. Food is nothing special, just great breakfast comfort food at prices well below those typically found so close to the Yard.
  • Travel tip: Use the T. Trying to drive around and park in the City is a mess, particularly with the Big Dig.

Randall's Tips for Austin, Texas

  • Cool places to stay: The San Jose and the Austin Motel. Funky hotels in the heart of Austin's funky South Congress area. Both are across the street from the Continental Club, one of Austin's most revered music venues. The San Jose is more swank. The Austin Motel is more down to earth.
  • Austin, like most Texas cities, is a Mecca for great Tex-Mex food. You almost can't go wrong, though you can get stuck waiting if you go to the well recognized touristy places. I have two favorites for enchiladas, the quintessential Tex-Mex dish, that are off the beaten path. Enchiladas y Mas, on Anderson Lane, has the best traditional carne (brown meat) sauce while Elsi's, on Burnet Road has great green (tomatillo) sauce chicken enchiladas.
  • There is also an abundance of excellent bar-be-cue in Austin, but my favorite is Ruby's. Its centrally located on Guadalupe St., near the University of Texas campus, uses only organically fed beef, and has a great spicy sauce (though you don't actually need it because the meat is so well smoked).
  • To move beyond these Texan standards, try the East Side Cafe. Excellent and creative American food, typically prepared with herbs and spices from their backyard garden.
  • Austin claims to be the live music capital of the world and it ain't a lie. Check out 6th and 4th streets for dozens of live music venues. The Broken Spoke is THE place for traditional country dancin'. No line dances allowed except the Cotton-Eyed-Joe.
  • Austin is known for its weird festivals. Two of the best are Spamarama, a celebration of everyone's favorite luncheon meat (held in May usually), and Eeyore's Birthday Party, a tie-died celebration of Winnie-the-Pooh's good buddy (held the last week of April).

Randall's Tips for Lima, Peru

  • Stay at Los Delfines Hotel (San Isidro). Live dolphins in a lobby pool. You can look at them from the bar in the basement. Great service.
  • Eat at Como Agua para Chocolate (in the San Isidro district). Weird to find top notch Mexican (not Tex-Mex, but the traditional stuff) in Peru, but its there. The owner is a former investment banker from Mexico City who decided she would rather live in Lima and cook. I totally approve of her choice and her incredible mole. Take your local friends to this restaurant, it seems tourists know about it more than the natives.
  • There is no BBQ to be found in town except perhaps at Chili's and Tony Roma's. But even I can live without it given the amazing Peruvian cuisine. Some good places for local favorites like aji de gallina and lomo saltado include Las Brujas de Cachiche (Miraflores) and Jose Antonio (San Isidro). One other cool joint is called Manos Morenos (in Barranco) that serves typical Afro-Peruvian food.
  • DO eat the ceviche. Don't be scared away by the fact that its raw (it's actually "cured" in lemon juice), but DO pick a clean, reputable restaurant. You are more likely to get sick from unpurified ice in your drinking water than the fish.
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