Inn of the Month: Canadian Beauty
Much of the appeal of Hastings House on British Columbia's Salt Spring Island lies in its remote location. The 25-acre retreat can be reached via seaplane from Seattle (11/2 hours) or Vancouver (20 minutes), or, better yet, by private yacht. The inn's seven buildings include the new Churchill Cottage, with harbor views, and the Manor House, a replica of an 11th-century English estate. In the dining room, chef Marcel Kauer prepares five-course dinners--halibut ceviche, ahi tuna brochette on ginger risotto--with herbs from the garden. A recently added spa tempts guests with Declor facials, but leave time for mountain biking, bird-watching, or a moonlit kayak expedition. Hastings House, 160 Upper Ganges Rd., Salt Spring Island; 800/661-9255 or 250/537-2362; http://www.hastingshouse.com; doubles from $280, including breakfast.
--Susan G. Hauser
Shopping: Head of the Class
Dansk flatware and the PalmPilot stylus are examples of "the possible outcomes of a RISD education," says Matthew Bird, director of a new store that sells products by Rhode Island School of Design alumni and faculty. Bird shows works by unknown and established artists, and supplies a bio with each purchase, whether it's a bracelet by Leanne Herreid or a Nicole Miller travel umbrella. RISD Works, 10 Westminster St., Providence, R.I.; 401/277-4949; www.risdworks.com.
Food News: Check, Mates
In a deliciously postmodern reversal of fortune, London has turned into a colonial outpost for Australian restaurateurs. The gifted chef David Thompson--formerly of Sydney's Darley Street Thai--has moved his wok, smoke, and barrels of fish sauce to Nahm (Halkin Hotel, 5-6 Halkin St.; 44-207/333-1234; dinner for two $140), where his blazingly authentic curries and his signature salmon, watermelon, and betel leaf packages have earned him a Michelin star (the first ever for a Thai restaurant in Europe). Tetsuya Wakuda is ferrying between his Sydney temple Tetsuya and MjU (Millennium Knightsbridge, 17 Sloane St.; 44-207/201-6330; dinner for two $126) to put his delicate Franco-Japanese touches on dishes like lobster mousse with wasabi and wakame (seaweed) jelly. Meanwhile, Will Ricker, the extravagant Melburnian behind several East London hot spots, including Cicada and Great Eastern Dining Rooms, has turned E&O (14 Blenheim Crescent; 44-207/229-5454; dinner for two $78) into the new Ivy. Expect to see Kate Moss, Richard Branson, and (of course) fellow Aussie Nicole Kidman nibbling on the succulent pumpkin and lychee curry.
--Anya von Bremzen
At Home in Bangkok
Baan restaurants (in private houses) are a Bangkok institution. Feast on these three additions to the culinary secret society.
Le Lys 75/2 Soi 3 Lang Suan; 66-2/652-2401; dinner for two $15. With a pátanque court out back and curry inside, the French-Thai owners bridge two worlds. Best bite: Grilled stuffed squid with tamarind sauce.
Baan Khanitha 49 Ruam Rudee Soi; 66-2/253-4638; dinner for two $34. A gallery-restaurant near the U.S. Embassy, popular with diplomats and expats alike. Best bite: Cottonfish grilled in a banana leaf.
Le Dalat Indochine 14 Sukhumvit Soi 23; 66-2/661-7967; dinner for two $25. Madame Hoa-Ly's rendition of colonial Hanoi, off busy Sukhumvit Road. Best bite: Fried Hué-style crabmeat spring rolls.