Food + Drink
Along Spring Mountain Road—a.k.a. Chinatown—are scores of authentic Asian restaurants. Here, six highlights.
Pho 87 (pictured): Purists flock to this unassuming storefront for super-fresh goi cuon (summer rolls) and fragrant oxtail pho. 3620 S. Jones Blvd.; 702/233-8787. $
China Mama: Order the signature soup dumplings—here called steamed juicy pork buns—and don’t overlook the lamb with cumin or the crispy beef. 3420 S. Jones Blvd.; 702/873-1977. $
Whatever you call a savory topped flatbread—lahmacun, khachapuri, manakeesh, or simply “pizza”—you’ll find every piece of the pie in New York. Here are our favorite global slices, and where the city does them best.
Coca, Spain: A cross between a pizza and a tart, coca (pictured) is a staple of Catalonia, Valencia, and the Balearic Islands. Try it here with blue cheese and roasted onions. La Vara 268 Clinton St., Brooklyn. $$
Lahmacun, Turkey: The ultimate Turkish street food: supple and charred from a brief stint in a kebab oven, with a spicy, tomatoey schmear of ground lamb. Ali Baba 212 E. 34th St. $$
Peripatetic actress Toni Collette—doing her second turn on Broadway this month—tells T+L about some of her favorite places.
“The writing is so smart and beautiful,” says Toni Collette about Will Eno’s dark comedy The Realistic Joneses, in which she shares the stage with Tracy Letts, Marisa Tomei, and Michael C. Hall. “He captures life, warts and all.” Smart, beautiful, and at times unflinching are also ways to describe the actress—and her travel m.o. Here, Collette’s secret address book:
Off-the-Radar Trek: “I once fled the Toronto Film Festival to meet a boyfriend in Kathmandu. Sleeping under the stars, white-water rafting, playing soccer with local kids—it was all unforgettable. The only challenge was the leeches!”
We know what you’re craving. And we know where to find it.
The Fried Chicken: Little Skillet
Cayenne-and-paprika-spiced fried chicken served with maple syrup and waffles dusted in powdered sugar. 360 Ritch St.; 415/777-2777. $$
The Coffee: Sightglass
Classic cappuccino made with small-batch, single-origin beans. 270 Seventh St. $
Rotisserie Chicken: The seductive aroma of spit-roasted chicken has three food capitals in a spin. On Manhattan’s Upper East Side, at the new Rôtisserie Georgette, the juicy poulet rôti is matched with sublimely crunchy potatoes and flame-kissed leeks. Heirloom chickens and game birds are the specialty at Le Coq Rico (pictured), in Paris’s boho Abbesses quarter. And in London, two young chefs have turned a 2006 Ford Transit van into the roving rotisserie Spit & Roast, whose free-range Suffolk chickens are now a cult sensation.
The most frustrating part of planning a trip? Not being able to score the right restaurant reservations (well, for this foodie, anyway). Several city-specific tools have cropped up to serve those of us who are both discerning eaters and poor planners (SoonSpoon.com in Boston; TableSavvy in Chicago; New York’s @LastMinuteEatin’ on Twitter), but today OpenTable is announcing a new program that will take the model coast to coast.
With Hot Tables, OpenTable lets VIP users (those who make at least 12 reservations a year) sign up for alerts when their preferred restaurant is already booked—anyone who has signed up for the alert will get a text message notification the second a table opens up. (In other words, there will still be competition.) Sound a lot like Rezhound? That’s because it is—the independent site had been offering the exact same service without being under OpenTable’s purview, proving just how much demand there might be for an official product.
Chef Thang Pham—born in Vietnam, raised in America, running a kitchen in Barcelona— presents the world on a plate, the summation of his influences wrapped in a banana leaf: his mother; his childhood best friend who welcomed him into an African American southern home; Washington, D.C.’s Anne Cashion; his Catalan present. Pham’s restaurant “Me” (Vietnamese for Mother), is in Barcelona’s Eixample neighborhood. Here, this architect-turned-Cordon Bleu graduate presents nimble plates for a sophisticated audience.
Q: How did you end up in BCN?
A: Having studied architecture, I came here because of Antonio Gaudi and I stumbled upon Ferran Adria and all those fantastic chefs—it was a very creatively rich atmosphere. My plan was to stay here a year—13 years ago! Spain has an absolutely amazing the sense of passion for and quality of product that is unrivaled—the black pork, all the seafood, even the artichokes. The reverence for simple, quality food is unique.
The waterfront district of Chiaia—long home to top-notch Italian tailors—is now bursting at the seams with style.
Anhelo: The source for locally roasted Neapolitan coffee—and a go-to spot for Italian ladies who lunch. Tapas-style dishes make the most of regional Italian ingredients (try the tempura squid with pepper sauce). 3 Via Bisignano. $$
Rubinacci: The maestro of unstructured men’s tailoring has moved into appropriately posh digs: the imposing 16th-century Palazzo Cellamare. You’ll find brightly colored ties, silk foulards depicting Neapolitan landmarks, and soft-shouldered suits in new and vintage fabrics. 149 Via Chiaia.
Plug into the scene at one of these stylish spots.
Borkonyha Wine Kitchen, Budapest: A fashionable bistro dedicated to Hungary’s woefully underrated wines. Late nights draw well-heeled locals for sautéed duck liver and freshwater trout with dill. 3 Sas Utca. $$$
Paraje Arevalo, Buenos Aires: On the still-boho side of Palermo Hollywood, this storefront bistro attracts a chic clientele with brilliantly flavored blackboard specials influenced by the chefs’ stints at renowned European restaurants Mugaritz and the Fat Duck. 1502 Arevalo. $$$$
Where to end a night on the town.
Octopus Bar, Atlanta (pictured): In an unmarked room behind an East Atlanta pho house, kitchen workers and industry minions meet after work to lick their wounds and shoot Fernet. To eat, there’s high-minded Asian cooking, like monkfish-liver torchon and freshwater-eel congee. 560 Gresham Ave. S.E. $$
East Side King, Austin, TX: James Beard Award–winning chef Paul Qui is behind this graffitied food trailer (one of two) that sets up in the backyard of East Side hot spot Liberty Bar and serves till 1:30 a.m. Get the piping-hot beet home fries with Kewpie mayo and sweet deep-fried chicken thighs. 1618 1/2 E. Sixth St. $$
Bar Velodromo, Barcelona: The sprawling Art Deco interior of this 1933 landmark is as inviting in the madrugada (late at night) as it is during the day. Why wait for breakfast to order huevos estrellados (eggs over fries)? $$
Tatsu Ramen, Los Angeles: A stylish strip-mall noodle bar in Little Osaka that serves a rich and savory tonkotsu ramen as well as a vegan-friendly version (this is L.A., after all). 2123 Sawtelle Blvd. $$
La Sandwicherie, Miami Beach: Swing by this teeny SoBe sandwich shop late enough, and you’ll see chefs such as José Mendin (of the ragingly popular PubBelly) scarfing down post-shift saucisson-and-Camembert baguettes. $
Restaurant Pricing Key
$ Less than $25
$$ $25 to $75
$$$ $75 to $150
$$$$ More than $150
Appeared as “95 Places to Eat Like a Local: After Hours” in T+L Magazine
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Photo by Alex Martinez