William P. Rayner is not a fan of Facebook. His ideal outlet for chronicling his life and travels? Good old-fashioned black sketchbooks. For the last 40-plus years, the trained painter and former writer for Vogue, House & Garden, and Vanity Fair has kept diaries while on the road, filling them with personal reflections and watercolors, plus wine labels, stamps, and other memorabilia. Now, he’s opening them up to the world in the two-volume Notes and Sketches (Glitterati Inc.), one covering North Africa and the Middle East, the other India and Southeast Asia.
Flight delays and layovers in the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport just got a lot more bearable—you may even look forward to them—thanks to the new Centurion Lounge, which is setting the standard in the growing independent lounge sector. Entry to the 9,000-square-foot space from American Express (Travel + Leisure's former parent company) is free for Platinum and Centurion members, and $50 for all other American Express cardholders. (This also goes for the original location in Las Vegas, which opened last February.) Here’s what you’ll find inside those signature blue doors:
1. Massages. Facials. Manicures. At the on-site Exhale Spa, 15-minute treatments are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Have a long layover? Sign up for one of each.
Culling the inventory for a high-end getaway on HomeAway—a vacation rental company that lists more than 775,000 properties in 171 countries—just got a little less overwhelming. The Austin-based company has launched Luxury Rentals from HomeAway, a curated collection of villas, estates, and the like geared to customers looking for a more deluxe experience.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 throughAirline: Style at 30,000Feet, 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
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, firstname.lastname@example.org) or Mia Lehmann (215-568-6655 x257, email@example.com).
Brooke Porter is an associate editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.