You never know where your next great meal is coming from. In my case, it was a stopover for lunch on the way to my husband John’s high school reunion in Baltimore. An emergency call to T+L contributing editor Francine Maroukian led us to the source: a Greek-Cypriot restaurant, Kanella, on Spruce Street in Philadelphia, and eggs, halloumi—a salty, hard cheese—and lounza, or grilled smoked pork, for me, grilled swordfish kebab for him. I must admit that access to a 2010 James Beard Award–winning local gave me an important edge in tackling an unfamiliar city—Francine knew not only the location that made the most sense for our route down I-95 but also what we would like, something both the iPhone app Urbanspoon and my search of worthy listings on phillymag.com/restaurants failed to do. Consider this a challenge to digital impresarios everywhere: a few steps beyond GPS is, well, mind reading, and I hope you figure it out soon. In the meantime, there’s “100 Best City Restaurants,” contributing editor Anya von Bremzen’s road map to the best places to eat right now in 10 culinary capitals, from New York and Paris to Sydney and Hong Kong.
Speaking of great meals, you’ll find many more recommendations in this, Travel + Leisure’s second annual Food and Travel Special. Along with novelist Gary Shteyngart’s account of the delectable flavors of that authentic but lesser-known Tuscan gem, Lucca, there is editor-at-large Peter Jon Lindberg’s report on his north-to-south quest through Vietnam, which he anoints as the best Asian food destination for its pho and other specialties. Luke Barr revisits Sonoma, that California breadbasket of artisanal wines and cheeses and gracious living, and Bruno Maddox offers an appreciation of those mealtime facilitators (and souvenirs)—menus—from far and wide. For easy reference, you’ll also find the “Worldwide Guide to Restaurant Tipping,” followed by Bruce Schoenfeld’s primer for ordering the right wine on four continents.
One of the pleasures of travel is bringing it all back home, a thought I had recently over lamb tagine at our friends Bet and Bill’s. The intense flavor of saffron and apricot transported me back to my stay in Marrakesh last November. One more bit of evidence that food and travel go hand in hand.
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