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What Does America Taste Like? Colman Andrews' New Book Has the Answers

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Ever heard of schnecken? How about pawpaws? Me either. If the new book Taste of America (Phaidon, $29.95) does one thing, it will make you realize that you know a lot less about American food than you thought. (Answers: a raisin-studded cinnamon roll found in Cincinnati, and mango-like fruit native to the East Coast’s temperate forests.)

Written by Colman Andrews, the co-founder of Saveur and a former editor at Gourmet, this illustrated anthology includes 250 write-ups of foods that define eating in the U.S., broken down by category (baked goods, poultry, and condiments, to name a few). It’s a mix of specific products from specific brands (e.g. Butter Mints from Katharine Beecher) and more general entries, such as cherries and rainbow trout.

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Tips for Antiquing from Interior Designer Stephen Sills

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Anna Wintour. Vera Wang. Tina Turner. The client list of interior designer Stephen Sills reads like a who’s who of the style world. Since the 1980’s, Sills—one of Elle Décor’s Top 25 Designers—has decorated everything from a penthouse on Manhattan’s Fifth Avenue to a modern mountain retreat in Aspen. (Back in the day, he also worked on hotels, including London’s Connaught Hotel and the St. Regis in New York.) As for his own Bedford, New York country house? Karl Lagerfeld has called it the “chicest house in America.” His latest book, Stephen Sills: Decoration (Rizzoli), which celebrates 16 design projects, hits shelves this month. Here, Sills shares some inspiration, advice on navigating antiques markets, and more.

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Book Your Tickets Now for New York City Wine & Food Festival

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The feeding frenzy known as the New York City Wine & Food Festival is just days away. You name a culinary superstar, and chances are good he or she will be there: Daniel Boulud, David Chang, Alex Atala, April Bloomfield—the list goes on. (Even Whoopi Goldberg is making an appearance at a chicken-themed evening.)

While many of the big-ticket items are already sold out—including Martha Stewart’s cake-decorating class and a dinner with Eleven Madison Park’s Daniel Humm and Will Guidara—there are still plenty of ways to get a taste of what the fifth anniversary event has to offer.

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Pittsburgh Restaurant Serves Cuisine from Countries in Conflict with the U.S.

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It all started—as many ideas do—with an off-the-cuff conversation. While brainstorming concepts for a possible restaurant project in Pittsburgh, artists Jon Rubin and Dawn Weleski started listing types of food they couldn’t find in the city. “We realized we were naming cuisines from countries that the U.S. government was in conflict with,” Weleski says. And just like that, Conflict Kitchen was born.

Every three months, the take out-only spot in Schenley Plaza rotates its menu—and its design scheme—to reflect a different destination, one that they hope will stimulate thoughtful political conversations. So far, they’ve featured Venezuela, Afghanistan, and Iran, and Cuba is up until October.

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Video: How to Eat a Lobster with Seafood Expert, Luke Holden

Last week, a six-clawed lobster was found off of Midcoast Maine, and just a week earlier a two-toned lobster was pulled from similar waters. But most lobster fans have been buzzing over the rare affordability of lobsters these days—prices per pound are the lowest they've been in 20 years. Maybe this is the one good side of Global Warming?

Americans consumed 231 million pounds of Maine lobster last year—a record high. The conclusion? A trip to Maine—especially in the late-summer or early fall—is not complete without eating lobster. In warmer months, lobsters molt, and their shells become so soft you can eat them with your hands, without the aid of crackers. Just ask for a "shedder" and you'll sound like a local. Maine native Luke Holden, of Luke's Lobster in New York City, shows you just what to do.

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Book Gives Nostalgic Nod to Airline Travel

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White-gloved stewardesses, lobster dinners served on bone china, on-board cocktail lounges—there’s a lot to miss about the golden days of air travel. (In-flight smoking, not so much.) Re-live the era through Airline: Style at 30,000 Feet, which hits shelves Sept. 10. The soft-cover book—originally released as a hardback in 2000 in the U.K.—presents a highly researched history of uniforms, food, and interior design. Sure, it’s interesting to read, but the images (and detailed captions) really tell the story. The final chapter takes a look at airline corporate identity, with a focus on logos and branding. Bet you didn’t know that now-defunct British European Airways had their own Benson & Hedges cigarettes and gave out complementary ashtrays adorned with “Fly BEA.” Today, that would never, er, fly.

Brooke Porter is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.

Image from the book AIRLINE: STYLE AT 30,000 FEET by Keith Lovegrove. Courtesy of Laurence King Publishing

Travel to Israel with Chef Michael Solomonov

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Philadelphia-based chef Michael Solomonov, known for his modern Israeli restaurant Zahav, is heading to Israel on October 6 for 10 days—and a few lucky fans will get to go with him. For $6,750 per person (all inclusive), travelers will explore Jerusalem’s Old City and Machane Yehuda Market, hike to the top of Masada, sleep in a Bedouin tent, and, of course, eat and drink their way through the country where the chef was born. Guests will also share in a personal moment: a tribute dinner in an apple orchard near the Lebanese border, where Solomonov’s brother—and an Israeli soldier—was killed 10 years ago. To book, contact Donna Palmieri (215-568-6655 x260, donnap@giltravel.com) or Mia Lehmann (215-568-6655 x257, mial@giltravel.com).

Brooke Porter
Brooke Porter is an associate editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.

Photo credit: Michael T. Regan

Sweetgreen Salad Shop Debuts in New York

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Ask a New Yorker where to get a salad in Midtown Manhattan, and you’ll likely get an answer that includes “too expensive,” “wilted lettuce,” or other unenthusiastic sentiments. As of tomorrow, however, there will be another response: Sweetgreen, a new organic, farm-to-table salad shop at the Nomad hotel.

Founded in 2007 by three then-seniors at Georgetown University, Sweetgreen became a fast favorite in Washington, D.C., and over the last six years, expanded to 20 locations in Virginia, Maryland, Philadelphia, Boston, and, now, New York. (A Tribeca location will open in December.) All of the ingredients are locally sourced; a chalkboard lists the New York or New Jersey farm where each originated. As for the prices, nothing on the signature menu costs more than $11.85 (the "District Chopped"), and that one comes with roasted chicken, goat cheese, bacon, and avocado—a who’s who of costly add-ons at most other spots. Beyond salad (which are big enough to last two meals), you’ll find fresh-pressed juice, gazpacho, and “sweetflow” tart frozen yogurt. Try it all tomorrow from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., when the Nomad location is inviting diners to pay what they want, with all proceeds going to City Harvest.

Brooke Porter
Brooke Porter is an associate editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.

Photo courtesy of Brooke Porter

5 Delicious Hotel Brunches

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Good-bye, runny eggs and sad-looking cereal stations. Hello, Vietnamese bánh mì and French almond sponge cake. These hotel buffets are eating others for brunch.

Mamilla Hotel, Jerusalem: The Piero Lissoni–designed hotel puts a modern spin on Israel’s historically hearty meal. There’s shakshouka (eggs poached in tomato sauce), chocolate babka, and 10 kinds of salad. $33.

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Bobby Flay, Geoffrey Zakarian, and More Iron Chefs Invade the Hamptons

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Now that it’s officially summer, New Yorkers can be found fleeing the city every Friday for their weekend homes in the Hamptons. And why not: it’s got everything from picturesque beaches and antiques shops to lobster roll-selling seafood shacks. Come July 12-13, there’s one more reason to hop on the Jitney bound for Bridgehampton: the third-annual Dan’s Taste of Two Forks, an event hosted by Iron Chefs Bobby Flay and Alex Guaraschelli that celebrates Long Island’s local culinary talent. For the first time, a Friday night affair has been added: GrillHampton, emceed by restaurateur Geoffrey Zakarian. Think of it as a live version of your favorite foodie competition: 16 chefs (eight each from New York and the Hamptons) will take a turn at the grill, and a panel of celebrity judges (including Food & Wine’s Kate Krader) will crown a winner. As for Saturday’s main event, expect 40 restaurants dishing out food and drink until the sun goes down. Yes, there will be lobster rolls.

Brooke Porter
Brooke Porter is an associate editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.

Photo courtesy of Geoffrey Zakarian

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