Food + Drink
As any frequent traveler will tell you, there comes a point when all the rental cars, airline seats, hotel rooms, and even cities start to blur together. Sure, business travel can take us to exciting new destinations, but it can also—and frequently does—take us to cookie-cutter suburban office parks and nondescript hotels.
For me, the solution to breaking up the monotony is to find good meals. Food can be very comforting, and restaurants often provide a chance to (pardon the pun) get a taste for local culture.
One of my most memorable business trip meals came a few years ago in western Minnesota, near the South Dakota border. I was spending one night in a tiny prairie town surrounded by corn and soybean fields. Population: 740. Dining options: far fewer.
Three ways to get your Southern fix in and around Atlanta.
The Sanctuary: Piedmont Park
Honking horns give way to birdsong in Piedmont Park’s dense hardwood forest—made more accessible by a new set of footbridges and paved trails. Next year the leafy 200-acre park, set among Midtown’s high-rises, celebrates its 110th anniversary by opening 12 1/2 more acres, plus open-air classrooms for courses on sustainability. Save some time for a stroll through the adjoining Atlanta Botanical Garden, where asters, goldenrods, and other fall blooms are opening this month.
The Neighborhood: Old Fourth Ward
History meets hip in the O4W, the birthplace of Martin Luther King Jr. A short walk—but worlds away—from MLK’s National Historic Site is kitschy bar Sister Louisa’s Church, where Owen Wilson and Lady Gaga have been spotted playing Ping-Pong. At local favorite 4th & Swift ($$$), chef Jay Swift puts an upscale spin on comfort food (pheasant-confit mac-and-cheese; pork loin with bourbon peaches). Need a pick-me-up? Head to Dancing Goats Coffee Shop (pictured) in the new food-centric Ponce City Market.
With East Berlin certifiably yuppified, locals are moving back to the old West. The epicenter? This former hotbed of counterculture.
Gallerist Johann König has resurrected St. Agnes, a Brutalist-style Catholic church and an adjacent community center, transforming them into dramatic art spaces (a café will open next year). Now on view: interactive sculptures by Berlin-based artist Jeppe Hein. 118-121 Alexandrinenstrasse.
The latest “it” handbag designer knows a thing or two about L.A.’s hottest hoods: she lives in Echo Park and her namesake store is in boho Silver Lake. Vivier leads us around her east-side haunts.
Stay: “The Moroccan-style Figueroa Hotel ($), a former YWCA residence, is soulful like the Chateau Marmont—but very affordable.”
Eat: “I’m half Mexican, so tortillas are important. The ones that Bar Amá ($$) serves with its fajitas and tangy ceviches are delicious. At Taix ($$), a classic steak-frites-and-mussels brasserie, I always sit in the dimly lit bar area, which attracts everyone from hipsters to cops.”
Shop: “Mohawk General Store carries great clothing, including Japanese-inspired knitwear from local line Black Crane. En Soie, a heritage label from Zurich, is filled with textiles and pottery—plus hard-to-find E. Porselli ballet flats.”
Do: “Echo Park, which has been immortalized in so many movies, was just beautifully restored; you can rent a paddleboat for the lake.” —as told to David A. Keeps
Photo by Jessica Sample
The U.S. ramen scene is booming—and it’s about to get even more exciting with the arrival of one of Tokyo’s hottest noodle gurus, Ivan Orkin. The New York native—who earned serious food cred in Japan at his two Ivan Ramen restaurants—is returning to his roots, bringing two outposts of his cult brand to Manhattan. Here, Orkin, whose first cookbook is out this month, gives us the lowdown on the soup that made him famous.
Q: How did you break into the Tokyo dining scene?
A: It was a crazy idea for a white guy from New York to open a ramen restaurant there. But in Japan, people respect passion and a good work ethic, and I think that came across. Also, when I started, making your own noodles was very uncommon, and I decided to do mine in house.
These days, you mostly hear about chefs in Copenhagen—not those who choose to leave. But in 2011, Paul Cunningham shuttered his Michelin-starred The Paul and headed to what he calls “Denmark’s wild West Coast,” turning the 200-year-old former coaching inn Henne Kirkeby Kro into a 12-table restaurant with five individually designed guest rooms. “It was the stress of city life,” he says. “I wanted something smaller, less mainstream.” Cunningham raises his own livestock, cultivates a kitchen garden, and serves whatever inspires him—from a simple, perfectly roasted lamb to langoustines with crushed tomato and garlic confit. Now he’s opened the first new building on the site in two centuries, Jægerhuset (hunters lodge). The seven rooms—including one named for Jóhannes Larsen, the renowned nature painter who vacationed here in the 19th century—are outfitted with pieces by iconic Danish designers (Hans Wegner; Finn Juhl). As for the handmade-brick exterior, Cunningham—ever the chef—likens it to blocks of nougatine. $$
Photo by Paul Cunningham
We crisscrossed Spain’s capital, asking stylish locals to reveal their insider favorites.
Diego Cabrera, Owner of Le Cabrera cocktail bar: “You can find great antiques at Sunday’s flea market El Rasto; I always stop by Almoneda Verona (20 Calle de Mira El Río Baja)—I recently got a vintage cocktail shaker.”
Asun Moriel, Museum designer: “I’m a fan of hybrid spaces such as Espíritu 23 (23 Calle del Espíritu Santo), which hosts photography workshops, yoga classes, concerts, and wine tastings.”
Talk about a dream team: renowned German photographer Juergen Teller, London-based author Will Self, and chef Antonio Guida—whose restaurant at Tuscany’s luxurious Hotel Il Pellicano has earned two Michelin stars—have all come together for Eating at Hotel Il Pellicano (Violette Editions). The pink-paged cookbook highlights 11 multi-course menus, each named for a prominent hotel guest of the past and present; think Missoni, Borghese, and Noguchi. Dishes range from surf (roasted lobster with masala, hazelnut oil, and couscous) to turf (suckling pig with celeriac purée and Campari-marinated beetroot) to sweet (beignets with chocolate, gold leaf-wrapped caramel ice cream, and rosemary sauce). But you’ll likely spend more time gawking at the beautiful photographs than you will trying to recreate the recipes in your own kitchen. The chef himself concurs, writing in the intro that they are “too challenging for a home cook without a brigade behind him or her.”
Brooke Porter is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.
Photo courtesy of Violette Editions
Consider it a happy accident of timing that a mere week after Time magazine’s men-only Gods of Food issue came out and offended everyone that had a clue, the hottest restaurant guide in Paris, Le Fooding, assembled an august, all-woman panel of eleven chefs, a sommelier and a winemaker to put together a pop-up dinner from November 15-17. Le Clan des Madones, as the event was called, had actually been in the works for six months, and Le Fooding had nothing else in mind for it but to shine a light on the abundant female talent working in France, and raise some money for an orphanage in Brazzaville, Congo. But Time’s article, and a similarly exclusionary piece on “the new French bistro” published the day before in the French newsweekly L’Express, gave the event, held in a macho (and freezing) parking garage in the 15tharrondissement, an added dose of right-on-sisterliness.
Juice Press in New York. Pressed Juicery in California. Another day, another juice bar. Over the last year, this all-liquid health food trend has captivated cities across the country—and hotels have been squeezing what they can out of it as well. A few of the latest offerings we’ve come across:
The Hotel Palomar San Francisco—home to the gluten-free mini bar—has teamed up with Pressed Juicery, which recently opened its first San Francisco location. The “Pressed, Pampered & Purified” package includes six daily juices, a cleansing guide, cooler, and complimentary use of bikes. (If eschewing chewing in America’s best food city seems like torture, try drinking them just for breakfast and/or lunch.)