Food + Drink
It’s good if the place looks a bit beat-up. The outside doesn’t matter that much. Peanut shells or sawdust all over the floor is always a good sign. It’s a real dive bar if the owners haven’t bothered to keep up with the times. Chez Jay, in Santa Monica, is amazing. So is the Frolic Room (323/462-5890), on Hollywood and Vine.
It’s all about access to great stories: you want people there who have them. I love waterfront bars, like the Liar’s Saloon (631/668-9597), in Montauk, New York. Same guys sitting on the same stool for decades. These guys know the real story of Jaws, the guy who caught that shark. There’s something about having a salty old guy or woman behind the bar doing shots with customers.
Texas taco chain, Torchy’s, announced April 1 that their month-long special would be taco smoothies "all freshly whipped and available in a compostable 18oz. cup!" After midnight, the April Fools prank complete, Torchy’s named a chipotle pork taco as the real taco of the month.
See Torchy’s in Best Tacos in America
Editor’s Picks: Austin
See Austin in America’s Strangest People
and Best U.S. Cities for Affordable Getaways
and America’s Best Beer Cities
Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.
Photo courtesy of T+L Photo Contest
Don’t think of it as just a stopover; Johannesburg deserves serious exploration of its own.
Because downtown is back. For ages, visitors have sought refuge in the gated suburbs north of town, but inner-city crime rates are dropping and young urbanites are moving in. Walk down lively Juta Street in gritty-but-safe Braamfontein, where Dokter & Misses sells hand-cast ceramics and Afro-Deco furniture, then join the crowd for retro cocktails at the 108-year-old Kitchener’s Carvery Bar (27-11/403-0166; $).
Elevating food and design to a work of art, these new museum restaurants are destinations in their own right.
London: With its undulating fabric roof, the Magazine (pictured) at Serpentine Sackler Gallery is unmistakably Zaha Hadid. German chef Oliver Lange shows off his Japanese training with a menu that includes both sushi and côte de boeuf. $$$$
Each year, 70 percent of Czechs go mushroom-picking (and know to avoid ones like the poisonous Amanita muscaria, pictured here).
See mushrooms in World’s Most Dangerous Foods
Editor’s Picks: Czech Republic
See the Czech Republic in Europe’s Most Beautiful Villages
and World’s Creepiest Attractions
and Beautiful Castles Around the World
Lyndsey Matthews is an associate digital editor at Travel + Leisure. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.
Photo courtesy of T+L Photo Contest
If you’re looking for some travel inspiration this spring, get thee to New York’s Boulud Sud, where Executive Chef Travis Swikard just launched a series of special dinners highlighting the global cuisines he’s obsessed with now—Israel, Greece, Sicily, the Cote d’ Azur, and more (get tickets here). In the meantime, I asked him to share the highlights of his recent culinary adventures in Catalonia and Basque Country.
Just back from the African country’s dramatic sand dunes and wildlife-filled reserves, T+L deputy editor Laura Begley Bloom shares a few of her favorite finds.
Most Memorable Sundowner: Here I am, having an end-of-day drink while at Okahirongo Elephant Lodge ($$$$), in the Kaokoveld—known for its rare desert elephants and black rhinos.
The Sands of Sossusvlei: Full disclosure: I didn’t quite make it to the top of Dune 45. We stayed nearby at Little Kulala ($$$$$), where I coveted the ostrich eggshell chandeliers, below, and bought this recycled glass necklace.
Local Souvenir: Wood-and-seed earrings from Okahirongo, where I also got the best wakeup call on the trip: an elephant purring just outside my window.
Top View: Watching animals gather around the watering hole at Onguma The Fort ($$$), a hotel near Etosha National Park.
Gary Shteyngart takes on Los Angeles’ restaurants and eats his way through the best food in the city right now.
I’m East Coast through and through, but I’m not ashamed to say it: I love L.A. My first encounter with the mega-megalopolis took place at the advanced age of 30. A college friend of mine had a cousin who rented a place by the beach. Which particular beach, I do not recall, but the path to the sands was lined with giant swaths of bougainvillea, which made me think for just a brief moment that I was in southern France. That notion was dispelled when we reached the beach, which abutted a body of water that was no mere Mediterranean. I had never seen the Pacific Ocean before, had understood its vastness only on childhood maps. Made placid by the better portion of a bottle of California Chardonnay, I walked into the moonlit water, bent down, and slapped the onrushing waves. Somewhere up (or down) the coast, an enormous industrial building, a waste-processing plant, perhaps, smoked its way deep into the night. But I refused to let go of the moment’s magic, because that lump of ugliness amid the grandeur of the Pacific was Southern California too. I continued to walk into the ocean, the water dark blue around my legs, the temperature, as always, perfectly set to sixty-eight degrees, my gaze resolutely drawn toward Asia in the infinite distance. And I thought: Oh, this isn’t so bad.
Napa Valley Wine tastings. A Provençal cooking class. Dinner from a celebrity chef in Mexico. This month’s exclusive deals are guaranteed to make you hungry.
Hamptons: 35% off Greek Revival manor house
Customized Culinary Experience tour includes:
• 2 nights' accommodations in a king room at Topping Rose House (pictured) in the Hamptons, a Greek Revival manor house with 4 ultramodern cottages and a Tom Colicchio restaurant
• Scour the property’s farm to create a dinner menu suited to your tastes
Cost: $1,000 ($500 per night)
Book now for travel through May 31.
For more information or to book, please visit Topping Rose House.
What combines Ricky Ricardo, whirling dervishes, and electronica? The Cosmopolitan’s avant-garde new nightlife mash-up.
Entertainment options in Sin City are as limitless as the house’s luck. But they can feel “prescriptive,” as John Unwin, CEO of the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, puts it: dinner and a show, followed by some blackjack or an evening out at a club. Unwin’s hotel is defying tradition with a few-holds-barred “social experiment” called Rose. Rabbit. Lie. T+L breaks it down.