As a professed snow snob I scoffed when a group of friends
recently proposed a ski weekend in Killington, Vermont. It’s hard to get
excited about mountains that look more like the hills I used to sled down as a
kid in Salt Lake City than the exhilarating, death-defying declines that tattoo
the Rocky Mountains. When you grow up within an hour of seven world-class ski
resorts you tend to develop a cavalier attitude about the prospects of cleaving
down a worn, icy tilt and paying good money for it. So I opted to head for this
quaint northeastern burg sans my snowboard. Half the fun of a ski vacation
anyway is exploring the town, enjoying the fresh air, eating at great
restaurants, and plunging into the après ski scene.
The grapes of Napa often grab the headlines coming out of California wine country but the discerning vino cognoscenti knows that the Golden State harbors some of the best wineries in the world along its central coast. In the thick of it is Paso Robles, a vast countryside of rolling vineyards where vintners sport rustic spurs on their cowboy boots and the pace of life is calm. The annual Harvest Wine Weekend kicks off today, Friday, and promises to be the most robust yet. Over 150 wineries will host grape stomps, tours, tastings, dinners, and pairings (wine and bacon anyone?). One oenophile who will be traipsing around Harvest is Paso Wine Man (above)—the unabashed, vivacious Paso wine country cheerleader whose verve for the region’s splendors knows no bounds.
T+L caught up with the wine man before the big weekend to uncover his wines of choice; find out what makes “Tuscany with cowboys” so special; and why Paso Robles's brand of reds can’t be made anywhere else.
It’s either unchecked hedonism or outright
denial that led me to New York’s Fire Island the weekend
after summer’s unofficial demise. While most
vacationers packed up their share-houses and kissed farewell to the spit of
sand off Long Island’s south coast over Labor Day, I
was still dreaming of bike rides, summer ales, and one last coat of sun.
It doesn’t hurt that hotel prices fall off a cliff once
beachgoers pack up their white (I paid $225 per night at Clegg's Hotel, while
rates during summer’s apex can be double that). So I
found myself at the Island Mermaid pulling on a straw filled with its signature
Rocket Fuel (a dark rum piña colada with a Cruzan 151 “sinker” at the bottom and a pond of Amaretto floating on top) and stretching summer out
as long as possible before the looming cold throws its death grip around New
York City. I wasn’t ready for fall, not yet.
If you follow the dusty, pebble-scattered dirt road to Playa
Langosta from Tamarindo on Costa Rica’s dense Pacific coast, you’ll
observe a small stop sign jutting from tropical foliage, demanding you to halt—for
tacos. The sign serves equal parts recommendation and warning, as it’s
the last place to catch a bite before Tamarindo’s ubiquitous eateries
give way to Langosta’s private beach estates.
Perennially recognized as the gold standard of gastronomy,
Spain’s Michelin three-star El Bulli will shutter its doors on
July 30th and prepare for its transformation into a culinary research
foundation and think tank (at least until 2014). For the mass of foodies never
fortunate enough to take in chef Ferran Adrià’smastery of molecular gastronomy—only a few thousand palates are so lucky
every year—a peek into his world of foams, mousses and nouveau hybrid dishes
can still be had via the silver screen.
Bulli: Cooking in Progress debuts at New York's Film Forum tonight, the kickoff of a 10-city tour. The film pulls back the curtain and invites viewers along for
Adrià’s journey from his experimentation
lab in Barcelona—El Bulli closes for six months every autumn so its chefs can
invent the following year’s menu—to the launch of a new season at the world’s
most renowned restaurant on the Costa Brava. Adrià’s imaginative methods are on full display as he deploys
thermo-mixing, vacuumizing, de-juicing, blanching and a vast range of other cooking
techniques en route to a nightly 30-course-plus dinner menu. For many, it will be the first and last opportunity at a glimpse inside an eatery that's stamp on modern cuisine will never fade.
here for a full list of tour dates and cities.
Nate Storey is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure
This evening Swedish chef Marcus Samuelsson will pay homage to Red Rooster’s namesake, a speakeasy jazz legend Nat King Cole and author/civil rights activist James Baldwin used to tip back at, with an event during dinner service at his American joint dubbed “Chicken & Champagne.” Gourmands in the NYC area with a hankering for comfort food and bubbly should locate themselves to Harlem from 6 to 10:30 p.m. for chicken and waffle bites, deviled eggs, and curried chitlins ($4). Paul Goerg Champagne will be on pour ($10), along with a variety of champagne libations ($12). Tonight's tribute honors Chitlins' & Champagne Tuesdays, a weekly tradition held at the Great-Depression-era watering hole (210 Lennox Ave; 212-792-9001). We're not sure why Samuelsson planned a Monday event for a Tuesday tradition, but frankly we don't care—we'll take his cooking any day of the week.
Nate Storey is a Research Assistant at Travel + Leisure.
Photos courtesy of Beth Garrabrant, Photo Assistant to Special Projects at T&L
The newest addition to Vikram Chatwal's Dream hotel line may be his trippiest yet. The aquatic Dream Downtown opens this week on the brim of NYC's Meatpacking District to much chatter. A converted structure that once housed the city’s homeless is now home to the notably hyped Romera New York, where the pre-fixe will set guests back a cool $245.
A new travel website is turning friends into travel agents, coworkers into guidebooks, and families into concierges. Gtrot.com (short for globetrotters) recently stepped out of its beta phase and is now a full-blown social travel site with various tools designed to personalize trips at home and abroad. The brainchild of Harvard-grad Zachary Smith and co-founder Brittany Laughlin, Gtrot registers past, present, and future trips through Facebook with the vision of friends swapping secrets and gems from around the world.
Memorial Day Weekend always kicks off the summer season in the Hamptons, and after weeks of endless rain, east coasters have never been more keen on escaping to the glamorous sliver of earth that juts into the Atlantic on New York’s Long Island. The race to define the newest in vogue summer spot is an annual ritual on the Gold Coast. This year the buzz is behind South Pointe, the newest and most robust addition to the Hamptons night scene.
That zany four-pack Phil, Stu, Alan, Doug and their fifth wheel Mr. Chow are back with another mind-blowing bender—this time in Thailand—as The Hangover Part II hits silver screens today across the U.S. While no one may ever match the debauchery of their first go-around in Las Vegas, on a smaller level (I’ve never commandeered a cop car or abducted Mike Tyson’s tiger) I can relate to this buffoonish bunch.
Once on a 14-hour, cross-continental schlep from Salt Lake City to Brisbane, Australia, things got a bit foggy. When I peeled my eyelids open in the morning, I was met by a nausea only achievable when quaffing strong cocktails 3,000-feet above ground. On another trip, I found myself leaning against a pillar at the Acropolis in the sweltering European heat after indulging in copious amounts of Ouzo on the last leg of a connecting flight to Athens the previous night. Not even a Greek deity could have curbed that queasiness.
The plight of the red-eye flier is common. Who can resist settling in for a pre-trip potation? Luckily for travelers everywhere, the choice between in-flight inebriation and next-day functionality may be over.