Ask Chinese designer Han Feng what she loves most about her hometown, and she doesn’t hesitate: the art scene. One of her top stops is James Cohan Gallery, in the French Concession. “He’s brought international talent, such as Italy’s Francesco Clemente and New York video artist Bill Viola, to China for the first time,” she says. Feng reveals a few other favorites below.
“In the morning, I often head to the intersection of Changle and Xiangyang North Roads for a hearty meal fresh off the outdoor stoves: pan-fried breads; Chinese churros; steamed buns with different fillings.”
“The classic Shanghainese cuisine at Fu 1039($$), in the Changning neighborhood, is simply amazing. They serve delicious pork stew in a two-layer ceramic pot filled with water so the meat stays tender.”
“Hidden in a tiny basement, Old Jesse(41 Tianping Rd.; 86-21/6282-9260; $$) is the place to try home-style cooking. I always recommend the fried scallion codfish.”
Dubai may be the land of futuristic towers and the world’s largest mall, but you wouldn’t know that from the images on Gulfography.com, a new website dedicated to emerging photographers—many of them women—from the Middle East’s gulf region. The founders, filmmaker Shammi Samano and UAW native Asma Al Kendi, are currently planning on taking photos offline for the first time, at a gallery in San Francisco. Exhibits in the Middle East and Europe—and, they hope, a book collection—are also still to come.
Brooke Porter is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure.
The capital of Azerbaijan has long been a stomping ground for oil-industry tycoons. And with a surge of glam hotels hitting the scene, it’s hoping to become the next destination for the Vuitton set. Here, five notable newcomers.
Opening date: Early 2013
Number of rooms: 318
What you’ll love: Multiplex cinema; designer stores; four restaurants; 18-room spa from Espa.
You know you’re in Baku when you…spy the undulating-flame-shaped building, which pays tribute to the country’s nickname, the Land of the Fire.
A few weeks ago, Dominique Crenn of San Francisco’s Atelier Crenn became the first female chef in the U.S. to earn two Michelin stars. She certainly gets points for creativity: The France native substitutes her own 13-line poem for the restaurant’s longer tasting menu—one course per line. (The five-course menu is equally artistic, with dishes called “The Sea’ and “Walk in a Forest.”) This weekend, Crenn will be teaching a master class at the Omnivore World Tour, taking place Nov. 9–11 in San Francisco. Here, she dishes on her big win, her restaurant bucket list, and more.
Q: How does it feel to be the first woman in the U.S. to earn two Michelin stars? A:I’m from France and grew up with Michelin and respect it in a different way. It feels great for my team because we’re pushing for excellence every day, trying to bring the best experience to our customers, from the food to the wine to the service. I also think it’s inspiring for young women. Women can kick ass, too!
A lawyer for 40-plus years, Larry Lederman never planned to have a second career. But his love of trees led him to pick up a camera—and a new calling. His photography book, Magnificent Trees of the New York Botanical Garden (Monacelli Press; $50), hits shelves in time for prime leaf peeping—and it’s no surprise that his top spot for taking in foliage is the garden’s Native Forest, where maples and hickories turn surreal autumnal shades. T+L asked him for a few more favorites.
It all started with a website, where photographer Todd Selby posted shots of his friends in their homes. Next came a project with Louis Vuitton, a spin-off book, and, most recently, a column in The New York Times T Magazine. It’s this latest development—scrapbook-y pages of playful illustrations, hand-written notes, and photographs of people in the food world—in which Selby seems to have found his calling. It even inspired his second book, Edible Selby, out this month. Here’s an inside look:
How did you end up focusing on food-related spaces? My first book, The Selby is In Your Place, did well, and I started thinking about what I wanted to do next. My passion has always been food and cooking and eating and restaurants and chefs, and I thought I could figure out a way to approach the food world in a new way.
How would you describe the book? It has a feeling of a photo book meets a cookbook, but more than anything it’s a travel guide. You can look through it and get fun ideas for places to visit.
How did you discover the places? The best stuff in the book was very much word of mouth. I talked to chef Ignacio Mattos at New York’s Il Buco Alimentari, and he knew all these people who were connected to Chez Panisse. From them I met this guy who told me about this fisherman who told me about the guy who does Japanese catering.
What was one of your favorite finds? Hartwood in Tulum. The chef ended up being on the cover. I would call this a chef’s fantasy. It was so DIY—just the him and his wife creating the ultimate chef’s table, piled high with vegetables from the jungle.
What was your most memorable meal from the road? This old man has a restaurant on a cliff in Mallorca, and he makes paella over a fire. You can only get there by boat. Actually, you can also hike down to it, but the chicer way is to take a boat. He’s had it since the 70’s. One of the people there said Halle Berry and Tom Hanks had recently visited, so it’s not a secret anymore.
What about back home in New York? I’m an investor with Mission Chinese, and I’m obsessed with the catfish soup. It has pink peppercorn, so it’s a bit numbing; I just get into this zone where I’m eating it and I’m sweating, and it’s just incredible. I also love the bakery Four and Twenty Blackbirds in Brooklyn. The sad thing is I’ve seen what they put in the pies. With pastry it’s better to never know. I got the pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving this year; if you’re not on the waiting list right now then forget it.
Brooke Porter is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure
As a Los Angeles native, I’m ashamed to admit that I had never been to Big Sur—only one of the most photographed and picturesque areas in California—until last July, when my fiancé and I embarked on a road trip up Highway 1 from L.A. to Napa. I had never seen the huge elephant seals lazing the day away (just south in Piedra Blancas), never gotten so close to a deer (at Point Lobos State Reserve); never stayed on a campground enclosed by towering redwood trees.
Ours was a high-low vacation: we saved money one night to splurge the next. But the budget-friendly stay in one of Fernwood Resort’s new adventure tents—complete with lamps, fluffy queen beds, and wood-burning stoves—turned out to be the highlight of the trip. (Although, as I blindly stumbled my way to the campground’s outhouse for the third time that night, I can’t say I didn’t fantasize about the luxe Post Ranch Inndown the road.)
It’s the birthplace of the Cuban sandwich, invented in the suburb of Ybor City in the 19th century by cigar-factory workers, who stuffed flaky white bread with ham, pork, salami, Swiss cheese, mustard, and pickles. Try one at the Columbia(2217 E. Seventh Ave.; $), Florida’s oldest restaurant.
Set on the waterfront, Bayshore Boulevard has the world’s longest continuous sidewalk, measuring 4 1/2 miles. It’ll take you by the marina and some of the city’s most historic houses.
If you’ve seen the 1998 documentary The Cruise, then you’ll recognize Timothy “Speed” Levitch, the Gray Line tour guide who would be right at home in a Woody Allen movie. The guy with a crazy mop of hair and nasally voice is now hosting Up to Speed, a six-episode travel series made exclusively for Hulu, and directed by Richard Linklater (of Dazed and Confused and School of Rock fame). In addition to illuminating the more mundane “monumentally ignored monuments” across the U.S., it sheds new light on well-known landmarks, too.
What exactly is a “monumentally ignored monument,” and why do they hold such appeal for you? When you work in tourism for a little while, you start to realize it’s a lot like high school. A lot of famous landmarks are pretty vapid—it’s the dweebs and the wallflowers, like the ignored monuments, that often have more interesting things to say. It’s the idea of finding beauty in the unexpected. History is hiding in plain sight all around us.