Food + Drink
What hotel employees crave during their shifts.
Chicago: Hearty rib-eye sukiyaki and shoyu ramen from Cocoro are go-to orders for the staff at the Peninsula, seven blocks away. 668 N. Wells St. $$
Hoi An, Vietnam: The bell desk at the Nam Hai swears by the pork-and-pâté bánh mì from beloved Hoi An stallkeeper Phuong, who recently opened a brick-and-mortar shop. 2 Phan Chau Trinh St.; no phone. $
Mexico City: Around the corner from the Four Seasons Hotel México, D.F., Tacos de Fabiruchis fills fresh-made tortillas with chorizo in salsa verde or home-style chicharrón prensado (pressed and shredded pork rinds). Calle Burdeos; no phone. $
Mumbai: Just behind the landmark Taj Mahal Palace is the equally iconic Bademiya, where Mumbaikars have come since 1942 for their late-night smoky, spicy kebab fix. Tulloch Rd.; 91-22/2284-8038. $
Appeared as “95 Places to Eat Like a Local: Staff Meals” in T+L Magazine
Best Places to Eat Like a Local
Best Local Specialty Foods
Chefs’ Favorite Hot Spots
Photo by Jonny Valiant
How do China’s rival food capitals stack up?
The Noodle Joints
Shanghai: Wei Xiang Zhai (pictured)
Join a communal table and order ma jiang mian, thick wheat noodles covered in a peanut-sesame sauce and spiked with chili oil. 14 Yandang Lu; 86-21/5383-9032. $
Hong Kong: Kau Kee
Beef brisket on noodles (flat, egg, or vermicelli) in a clear, flavor-packed broth is the ultimate Cantonese comfort food. Taste it at this tried-and-true spot. 21 Gough St., Central; 852/2850-5967. $
Your unofficial fourth meal awaits.
Flour Bakery, Boston: Call ahead to reserve your sticky bun—these caramel-smothered, pecan-studded brioche rolls are among the best you’ll ever have. No wonder they sell out in mere hours.
Charly’s Bakery, Cape Town: Where to find Cape Town’s premier buttercream-frosted everythings? Behind a pastel-pink-and-white façade resembling a giant layer cake, of course. Our preferred pairing: the “wicked” chocolate cake, topped with a layer of dark ganache. 38 Canterbury St.
Gion Kinana, Kyoto, Japan: With a taste akin to peanut butter, kinako, or roasted soybean flour, is as quintessentially Japanese as matcha. It’s the signature ingredient at this tiny ice cream shop, inside a traditional wooden merchant’s house in the Gion geisha district. 570-119 Gion-machi Minami-gawa.
Where every order comes with a side of history.
Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlor, Dania Beach, FL: Alongside an endless array of vintage kitsch (turn-of-the-20th-century license plates; displays of retro candy) are 45-plus flavors of south Florida’s favorite ice cream, handmade daily for 58 years. 128 S. Federal Hwy. $$
Fountain Coffee Room, Beverly Hills: The luncheonette at the Beverly Hills Hotel has served local starlets and studio heads since 1949. While the banana-leaf wallpaper remains, there are nods to today’s tastes: cold-pressed juices and a decadent caramel pumpkin pie named for Mary J. Blige. 9641 Sunset Blvd. $$$
Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar, Melbourne: Melbourne’s reputation as a coffee capital began here, where the city’s first-ever espresso was made in 1954. The look is pretty much unchanged, as is our order: a short black. 66 Bourke St.; 61-3/9662-1885. $
Food-obsessed Instagrammers share their top local meals of the year.
Seattle: “This chanterelle, apple, and egg dish at Sitka & Spruce ($$) is the ultimate winter brunch.” —Aran Goyoaga (@Cannellevanille), Food Blogger and Stylist
Los Angeles: “Kang Hodong Baekjeong (3465 W. Sixth St.; $$) has the best Korean BBQ in town right now, if you’re willing to wait in line.” —Zach Brooks (@Midtownlunchla), Founder of the Midtown Lunch Blog
New York City: “Harold Dieterle creates delicious Thai-inspired dishes at Kin Shop (469 Sixth Ave.; $$$). This house special is braised cobia fish with sawtooth herb, mini bok choy, and rambutan curry.” —Daniel Krieger (@Danielkrieger), Photographer
Asheville, NC: “I love the bánh mì and spicy sriracha chicken-fry sandwiches at Asheville Sandwich Co. (202 State St.; $). They put fries in the sandwich.” —Tim Robison (@Timrobisonjr), Photographer/Illustrator
Restaurant Pricing Key
$ Less than $25
$$ $25 to $75
$$$ $75 to $150
$$$$ More than $150
Appeared as “95 Places to Eat Like a Local: The Hometown Dish” in T+L Magazine
Best Places to Eat Like a Local
Best Local Specialty Foods
Social Media’s Most Innovative Travel Companies
Clockwise from top left: photos by Aran Goyoaga, Zach Brooks, Tim Robison, and Daniel Krieger
Less than two hours north of San Francisco, this chilled-out county is a world away. Here, where to take it all in.
Get Outdoors: Overlooking a rocky sweep of the Pacific Ocean, Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens (Fort Bragg) is home to 150 species of birds (ash-throated flycatchers; savannah sparrows) and rhododendrons that thrive in the foggy air.
Seven indulgent reasons to get out of the hotel early.
Pancake Bakery, Amsterdam: Bacon-, cheese-, or apple-topped pannenkoeken (larger and thinner than American flapjacks) are the items to order at this intimate canal-side space. 191 Prinsengracht. $$
Lauras Bakery, Copenhagen: In a land obsessed with morning pastries (Danish, anyone?), Lauras takes the cake. Expect rows of kanelsnegle (intensely spiced cinnamon rolls) and Pop-Tart-like hindbærsnitters, all in the culinary mecca that is Torvehallerne Market. 17 Linnesgade. $
I love little towns with histories: quirky, literary, musical, genteel, revolutionary. Dockery Farms in Cleveland, Mississippi, is the plantation where Howlin’ Wolf, Charlie Patton, and all the blues guys worked. At night they’d play on the porch of a little juke joint. The music that came out of there is incredible. My dad was three when his family moved to Dyess, Arkansas, a colony created for poor families during the Depression. When I was 12, my dad took us for a visit. I couldn’t believe he’d grown up there. I’ve said no to almost all the Johnny Cash projects that have come across my plate, but when Arkansas State University bought the house and told me they wanted to restore it, I said, yeah, I’ll get involved.
With Christie's auction house right around the corner and the Queen’s palace not too far away, Avenue restaurant on the posh St. James Street in the heart of Mayfair, has re-launched, bringing a distinctive Manhattan power-dining scene to London. Everything from the Prohibition era cocktails to the wine list to the menu to the portion sizes to the friendly service is done with a nod to England’s former colony across the pond. This trend toward all things American is not new in London. Every other opening recently has been some variety of burger shack, hot dog stand, or BBQ joint, but Avenue offers a more upscale take on Americana. You get two cornmeal crusted soft shell crabs for a starter and they’re crispy and lovely with the spicy mayo sauce that accompanies them. Meanwhile, the very large lobster macaroni and cheese is positively packed full of lobster meat and the aromas wafting from the “pig” loaf at the next table made me swoon. With reasonable prices and many more items on the list I’d like to try, Avenue made this American girl feel very much at home.
Sally Hurst is a chef and food writer based in London. You can follow her on Twitter at @chefsallyjane.
Photo Courtesy of D&D London
Awhile back, pastry chefs at Ritz-Carlton hotels around the world were given a task: To create a cake to celebrate the hotel's founding and a dessert that distinctly represented the Ritz-Carlton brand. But there were a few requirements. Grand Marnier had to be an ingredient (Mr. Marnier La Postelle was a friend of Cesar Ritz and an investor in the original Ritz-Carlton hotel). Also, the cake must travel well.
The cake that, well, took the cake, is a moist Valrhona chocolate sponge cake layered with bitter caramel and orange ganache made from Grand Marnier by chef Yusuke Aoki from Toronto. We had the pleasure of tasting it over here at Travel + Leisure and it was gobbled up within minutes of opening the simple, yet elegant black cake box. The rich chocolate and orange cake is a crowd pleaser and would make great souvenir to bring back from your next stay at a Ritz-Carlton hotel.
Lyndsey Matthews is an assistant digital editor at Travel + Leisure
Photo Courtesy of Ritz-Carlton