While most people take a vacation to escape their jobs, the Reserve Channel’s new YouTube series, EX-PATS shows how an island retreat can turn into a full-time position.
In the sixth episode, former Wall Street lawyer KC Hardin is so inspired by the vibrant culture of Casco Viejo, Panama that he tosses his career to help revitalize the neighborhood. Now founder of the organization, El Conservatorio, KC’s days are spent restoring the eclectic architecture of this 350-year-old UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Host Savannah Jane Buffet follows KC and his wife, Patrizia, as they renovate music halls, plant community gardens, and pour tall glasses of wine at their home’s rooftop. Press “play” to watch the inspiring tale.
Maria Pedone is a digital editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.
Compared to Shanghai—let along Hong Kong, Singapore, and that summit of culinary summits, Tokyo—Beijing’s fine dining scene still has a long way to go. There’s a lot of mediocrity swimming in a sea of pretense and new money. At the end of the day, Beijingers are a rough-and-ready lot who prefer Sichuan hotpot in a hole-in-the-wall. We recently ate at S.T.A.Y.(pictured), three Michelin-starred chef Yannick Alleno’s outpost at the Shangri-La Beijing. The service was good, the food above average, but the room was utterly dead—we were one of four tables.
But back to the Sichuan hotpot: Beijing has a pretty comprehensive array of restaurants serving regional cuisines. Ten years ago, most Chinese food fanatics would have told you Taipei and Hong Kong were the best places for Chinese food, Beijing being littered with restaurants that served greasy gristle. (Communism plus Cultural Revolution equals abysmal food.) Since we moved here, I’ve had some solid Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, Cantonese, Nanjing, Xinjiang, and even Taiwanese meals here—in nice settings, surrounded mostly by Chinese people.
Throughout the United States, the holidays is the season for the Nutcracker ballet. T+L spoke with Mikko Nissinen, the Finnish artistic director of the Boston Ballet and its new–and spectacular–production.
Q: Is this your first production of the Nutcracker in Boston?
A: No, when I came to Boston, I inherited an extravaganza that had contributions from seven choreographers! There is such a thing as too many cooks in the kitchen. So I started to narrow down the production. I staged the first act, the second act, the Land of Sweets, was by another choreographer. For our new Nutcracker, I have staged the entire ballet, both acts.
The fashion-forward Neubau district is a hub of inventive boutiques, buzzy restaurants, and the city’s top museums.
Bisovsky: The appointment-only atelier of Susanne Bisovsky, who trained under Vivienne Westwood, sells dramatic couture and ready-to-wear pieces, inspired by traditional Mitteleuropa costume. 13/6 Seidengasse.
Park: This concept store showcases high-profile labels (Martin Margiela; Raf Simons) plus such up-and-comers as Paris-based Damir Doma. You’ll also find art books, Hans Wegner chairs, and brooches made from safety pins. 20 Mondscheingasse.
Lena Hoschek: At the intersection of rockabilly, punk, and Mad Men lies Hoschek’s boudoir-like boutique. The dirndls, dresses, and flowy blouses—ideal for hourglass figures—hit just the right classic-modern note. 17 Gutenberggasse.
Hirsch & Kamel: This new upscale gastropub serves traditional Viennese comfort food with Persian flourishes. Our pick: veal meatballs with pistachios served over mashed potatoes. 6 Stuckgasse.$$
MuseumsQuartier Wien(pictured): The former Hapsburg stables have been transformed into a cultural space with concerts, theater, and plenty of people-watching. Don’t miss the Leopold Museum, home to iconic works by Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele. 1 Museumsplatz.
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.
Attention San Francsico foodies: a wave of new restaurants is hitting Hayes Valley in time for the opening of the neighborhood’s $60 million SFJAZZ Center(pictured), slated for January 2013. Dobbs Ferry is a new bistro that marries West Coast cuisine with old school, small-town New York style. (Owners Scott Broccoli and Danny Sterling hail from Dobbs Ferry, New York and the restaurant pays homage to their East Coast roots).
Thai classics are served up at Lers Ros, which has a robust menu featuring unexpected dishes, like garlic frog and chicken entrails with basil. Classic cocktails and seasonal-inspired small plates are the rage at Two Sisters Bar and Books. For the area’s best bread pudding, Schulzies(pictured), an outpost of the Venice location, is a must: the bread bar offers 108 different flavors of the dessert.
Photos courtesy of Mark Cavagnero Associates and Schulzies
The sixth-century Hagia Sophia (a basilica turned mosque turned museum) retains its jaw-dropping 180-foot dome. We asked true travel pros what to do nearby. Want to share your expertise? Join our community on Facebook at facebook.com/travelandleisure and at Twitter @TravlandLeisure.
“The most authentic Ottoman cuisine can be found at Matbah(6 Caferiye Sk.; $$), where you can eat on a terrace and look out to Topkapi Palace.” —Mine Demiroren, via Facebook