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San Francisco: 5 Things We're Craving Now

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Here's my personal and subjective list of five things I want to seek out to taste this month in San Francisco:

1. Creative cupcakes from punky pastry chef Luis Villavelazquez, whose Les Elements stand at the biweekly Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market includes an intriguing Darjeeling tea cupcake with black pepper frosting.

2. The Margharita pizza from Una Pizza Napoletana, where the dough is made from wild yeast spores and topped with buffalo mozzarella.

3. Local Hodo Soy Beanery's yuba tofu strips, marinated in spicy teriyaki sauce and pan-fried.

4. A whisky cocktail at the newly renovated House of Shields, one of the city's most historic and beautiful bars.

5. The red velvet fried chicken (yes, really) at American Cupcake (pictured above).

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Jaime Gross is Travel + Leisure's San Francisco correspondent.

Photo courtesy of digitalShe™

It List: Best New Hotels 2011

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Today, Travel + Leisure unveils its sixth annual list of "It" hotels. Editors scoured the globe for the best new properties—from the Trump SoHo in New York City to Liz Lambert's stylish new Hotel Havana on San Antonio's Riverwalk—some of which are less than $300/night.

For the full list, read the online article: It List: Best New Hotels 2011.


Sarah Spagnolo is the digital projects editor at Travel + Leisure.

Perfect Men’s Spring Outfit

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These sporty pieces will have you ready for a weekend getaway.

A Dapper Look: Cotton polo shirt, $80, by Lacoste. Lightweight corduroy blazer, $695, Gant by Michael Bastian. Linen shirt, $195, and cotton pants, $125, Façonnable. Seersucker belt, $80, Ernest Alexander. Leather-and-suede saddle shoes with Nike Air technology, $198, Cole Haan. Gingham bow tie, $60, Ernest Alexander. Canvas tote with calfskin details, $450, Ralph Lauren.

Photo by Teru Onishi

Best Espadrilles for Spring

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For a shoe traditionally made out of canvas and esparto grass, the espadrille has logged a lot of miles over the years. First worn by Catalan peasants in the 1200’s, by the mid 1900’s they were all over Europe, slipping on and off the feet of Salvador Dalí, Coco Chanel, and Brigitte Bardot. In 1970 the look went high fashion when Yves Saint Laurent sent a high-heeled, gold-ribboned pair down his runway. Since then the shoe has been reimagined season after season, appearing on travelers from Malibu to Marrakesh—and no wonder. Whether a graphic Tory Burch flat or a wedge sandal by Coach, the espadrille is the tunic of footwear: easily tucked into a weekender, it can go for a stroll along the beach or a night out on the town.

Photo by Charles Masters

Style Hunter's Find: Viva Zapata

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Viva Zapata is a sturdy collection of funky bags made by Argentinian expat Tania Carole Lugones. Each weekend for 7 years she would set up a table in New York City's Soho neighborhood outside of the Camper boutique selling her designs hand sewn out of vinyl remnants from bus seats in Buenos Aires. To date Tania has sold more than 8,000 of them. That’s a lot of seat covers! Up until last year she had to work as a nanny to support herself. This is the first year she can focus solely on design.

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Usai’s New Travel Jacket

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For more than 40 years, the Usai family has been making gear for the Italian armed forces. Now they’re bringing their sartorial tradition and top-notch workmanship to civilians. Our favorite piece for spring? This durable, refined nylon jacket ($865). With its sharp, cadet-style cut and and exposed seaming, it’s sure to stand the test of time for fashion lovers and travel warriors alike. usaicollection.com.

Mimi Lombardo is the fashion director at Travel + Leisure.

Photo courtesy of Usai

Hola Yola: Cool New Yogurt Spot Debuts in DC

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Washington D.C.’s new, one-off Yola yogurt parfait bar near Dupont Circle is a great way to start the day. First, there’s the general feeling of well-being derived from the warm, polished wood floors, the exposed-brick walls, and the contemporary tables and chairs, made from recycled aluminum and bamboo (Yola is a certified green restaurant, after all, powered in part by carbon offsets and locally generated wind power).

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Riddle: What’s Called a Travel Guide But Isn’t One?

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Baechtold’s Best: Afghanistan visually explores a stunning variety of Afghan experiences.  Each 2-page spread in this short book is dedicated to a simple theme like Taxi, Burka, Meal, or Poppy. The left-hand page offers sixteen thumbnail photos on the theme and a graphic map indicating where each was taken. The right-hand page has a large image chosen by the editors as the best example—Baechtold’s Best—with the briefest of identifying captions.

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SF Eats: Sushi + Burrito = Sushirrito!

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A nouveau addition to the foodie scene has San Francisco’s downtown Financial District buzzing. The melding of two San Fran staples has lunchtime crowds bending around street corners for up to an hour in order to get a taste of a new hybrid—the sushi burrito.

Northern California is a nursery of innovation and Sushirrito has answered the call with creations like the Crispy Ebi, a nori-wrapped, one-pound roll with ingredients that dance between Asian and Latin influence—tempura shrimp, melted pepper jack, shredded crab, and plantains. Or the Mamacita Roll, a tuna wrap packed with shiitake mushrooms, Daikon radish, and Tobiko fortified with a Mexican Kabayaki sauce. So far, the diminutive space and long wait haven’t done anything to temper the enthusiasm for the Bay Area’s newest gastronomic revelation.

Just get there early.

Nate Storey is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure.

Photo courtesy of Sushiritto

The Best Brunch in Philadelphia?

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I recently returned from a low-key weekend excursion to nearby Philadelphia—a city near and dear to me, as the site of my first on-my-own apartment—to visit friends. Since I somehow managed to let nearly a year lapse between visits, I had the urge to wander around my first morning. My friend/host Rob and I (with his short-haired lhasa apso, Rufus, in tow), strayed from his Rittenhouse Square abode east into Center City, where we stumbled upon Garces Trading Company.

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