Food + Drink
Ask around at a cocktail party, and you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who isn't hooked on Bravo’s reality programming. So when I found out that my long-time pal, Marissa Hermer, was set to join the cast of Ladies of London, I nearly flipped. A Newport Beach native—but recently-crowned British citizen— Marissa and her husband, Matt Hermer, own several successful restaurants and nightclubs around the world. Among their London projects: Bumpkin, which highlights seasonal English fare at three chic locations, and Boujis, a nightlife spot that’s big with the royals. Marissa was in town the other day, and she stopped by to open up her little black book.
Tasting the world’s top-rated beer, Westvleteren XII Ale, requires a commitment. First you call to receive instructions about which morning to arrive at the gates of the monastery in western Belgium where it’s brewed. A monk will check your license plate against the reservation, process your credit card, then load two cases of the brew into your car. (Don’t drink and drive.)
See Bruges (pictured) in World’s Most Beautiful Canal Cities
Editor’s Picks: Belgium
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Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @aegisnyc. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.
Photo courtesy of T+L Photo Contest
Thanks to a new partnership with online menu platform Zuppler, in-room dining is now a lot more exciting—and easier—at Choice Hotels. Through the branded website ChoiceHotelsMenus.com or an iOS and Android app, guests can place orders for delivery from nearby restaurants; if you share your location, it will automatically bring up the hotel closest to you. A few options for those staying at Comfort Inn Manhattan Bridge: Indian from Baluchi’s, falafel from Pita Grill, and cold-press juices from Magic Mix Juicery. More than 250 Choice Hotels—which includes Quality Inn, Comfort Inn, Comfort Suites, and Econo Lodge—and 4,500-plus restaurant chains across the country have signed on so far.
Brooke Porter Katz is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.
Photo courtesy of Zuppler
Ultimate travel industry disrupter Airbnb is at it again—this time testing out a pilot program in San Francisco whereby hosts also make meals for their guests. According to a recent article in Reuters, one of the trial dinners was $25 per person for three courses; Airbnb would take a portion of the earnings. The company isn’t offering any details, stating only, “We are always experimenting with new ways to create meaningful experiences on Airbnb.”
Dominican Republic: 39% off beach hotel
Beach Rendezvous package includes:
• 4 nights in a one-bedroom suite at Sublime Samana Hotel & Residences, on the island’s palm-fringed northeastern coast
• Horseback riding on the beach
• Bottle of wine upon arrival
• Outdoor spa treatment
Cost: $840 ($210 per night)
Book by August 31 for travel through December 2014.
For more information or to book, please visit Samana Hotel Dominican Republic.
Leave it to Andrew Zimmern—the Travel Channel’s peripatetic Bizarre Foods TV host—to create the ultimate foodie traveler’s global bucket list. We love that no place is too fancy (a caviar bar in St. Petersburg, Russia), too humble (noodle soup at a wholesale market in Bangkok), or too far-flung (tuna and lamb ribs in Samoa) to make the cut. We caught up with Zimmern at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen last weekend to get the inside scoop on his picks. Check out the full list on Pinterest here.
How did you choose your 31 meals?
The word “meal” to me seems limiting: how do you decide on 30 meals in the world when there are hundreds of thousands of places to choose from? I love leading people to travel experiences where they can carve out their own food destiny for themselves. That’s why the majority of my choices ended up being markets. I’m more about people seeking out unique adventures and letting them decide for themselves what they like about it.
Markets can be overwhelming though. How can travelers navigate their way to the best eating experiences?
You should either ask locals for their recommendations, or just look for the longest line. There are hundreds of vendors at any given market, but there’s one guy who’s got the biggest line early in the morning. Guess what? That’s where you should be eating.
Asia’s famous Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo isn’t on your list, but Noryangjin Fish Market in Seoul is. Why?
The reason, very simply, is that at Noryangjin is not as touristed or fetishized as Tsukiji, and more importantly, there’s an entire restaurant culture that’s sprung up around the market where anyone can buy a fish or shellfish and take it to the restaurant and have it cooked. That doesn't really exist at Tsukiji market. To me, the essence of travel is about discovery, so I’d rather have someone go to Noryingjan seafood market and become a part of the action and ask around: where’s the restaurant where I can take this amazing yellow snapper to? It's the type of experience that you can go and participate in.
How does a Michelin-starred meal such as Mugaritz in San Sebastián, Spain, stand up next to a humble seafood shack like Badjao Seafood House in Palawan, in the Philippines?
You can’t say that a meal at Mugaritz is any better than a meal at Badjao Seafood House. The fish and shellfish at Badjao rivals what’s at Mugaritz. It’s as well tended, and it’s as beautifully created. You’re talking about a culinary experience in a magical restaurant versus a transporting little place where you walk out on a dock and sit in this little bamboo hut perched out over the water. “Best” and “most interesting” are relative terms.
We noticed that you included Kau Kee restaurant in Hong Kong—a favorite among T+L staff. What made it worthy of your top 31?
I like to go to Kau Kee and sit there for about an hour and a half, and every half hour I’ll have a bowl of brisket and noodles. It’s the essential Hong Kong experience: you’re in an old restaurant that only does one thing, and it costs anywhere between $1.50 and $3 per bowl. The reason I sit there for an hour and a half is not because I want time to have six bowls of soup. It's so I can watch all of Hong Kong go by—neighbors, families, shop owners—right from those tables. These are the types of experiences that make travel so unique.
Jennifer Flowers is the Hotels & Food Editor at Travel + Leisure. Find her on Twitter at @JennFlowers.
Photo courtesy of Travel Channel
World Cup 2014 is heating up in Rio de Janeiro and Belmond Copacabana Palace has added its own spice to the mix. The iconic hotel’s new pan-Asian restaurant MEE, fronted by celebrity chef Ken Hom, has created a beguiling concoction that’s casting a spell on World Cup fans.
The “Mandinga” cocktail is a seductive blend of Cachaça (a distilled spirit made from sugarcane juice) and cashew juice with a dash of hazelnut and mandarin liqueurs. MEE hopes this touch of Afro-Brazilian magic will carry the Seleção squad to their sixth World Cup trophy. Brazil may not have invented soccer, but they are known for perfecting it. Saúde!
Mandinga Cocktail Recipe:
- 1.5 fl. oz. Leblon Cachaça
- ¼ fl. oz. Frangelico liqueur
- ¼ fl. oz. Mandarinetto liqueur
- 1 fl. oz. cashew juice
- ¼ fl. oz. lemon juice
- ¼ fl. oz. sugar syrup
Nora Walsh is Travel + Leisure's Latin America correspondent.
Photo courtesy of Belmond
Today is National Chocolate Éclair Day (really!), which seems like a good excuse to tell you about a delicious new program Le Méridien hotels is launching with everyone's favorite pastry chef, Johnny Iuzzini. The former head judge from Top Chef Just Desserts will create eight seasonal éclair recipes for the chain, revealing them over the next 12 months as he stays at different Le Méridien hotels around the world. (First up: San Francisco, to be revealed on July 27. We're hoping it doesn't involve salt-water taffy.)
Our abridged, meal-by-meal guide to where and what to eat now.
Alexander Gilkes took the art world by storm with his online auction site, Paddle8; his wife, designer Misha Nonoo, is an emerging fashion darling. Together they lead us on their tour of Manhattan.
—As told to Julia Chaplin