Food + Drink
Fluorescent blues and shades of fuchsia recently illuminated the main hall of the New York Public Library at the Manhattan Cocktail Classic, which kicked off under a star-flecked ceiling as dapper guests were serenated by a Gatsby-era band. The opening night gala commenced a five-day tippler showcase through New York City and Brooklyn, with everything from technical seminars to mixology classes to tiki safaris packing the schedule. Most of all, it was a chance to take stock of the ever-evolving spirits scene and toast the innovative bartenders who keep the industry fresh with classical riffs and forward-thinking renditions. What trends are dominating cocktail culture across the U.S. right now? Not surprisingly, it depends on whom you ask.
Leo Robitschek, bar manager at The Nomad and Eleven Madison Park
“I’m really into nitro-infusions right now. It’s perfect for drinks made with mints and herbs because it eliminates the bitter qualities that you sometimes get by muddling. It also works great for chocolate or vanilla bean.”
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We asked true travel pros what to do near in Waikiki, Hawaii. Want to share your advice? Join our community on Facebook at facebook.com/travelandleisure and at Twitter @TravlandLeisure.
“Have a li hing mui (salty plum) margarita at Duke’s at sunset. You won’t be disappointed!” —Michael Capelli, via Facebook
“Surfing lessons by hot firefighters from Hawaiian Fire (3318 Campbell Ave., Kapahulu)…what could be better?” —@thegaytraveler
“Make a reservation for afternoon tea on the veranda at the Moana Surfrider hotel ($$$$).” —Kristen Corpolongo, via Facebook
“Hike to the top of Diamond Head—the view of #Waikiki is spectacular.” —@krissyvanntn
“See Doris Duke’s collection of Islamic art at Shangri La museum (4055 Papu Circle, Kahala).” —@rebeccapang
T+L drops in on Bemelmans, New York’s iconic Upper East Side watering hole.
Its clientele has included Harry Truman, Jackie Kennedy, and Cyndi Lauper (who sang impromptu with the house band last year), but one of the most celebrated locals at Bemelmans Bar, in the Carlyle, a Rosewood Hotel, was Ludwig Bemelmans himself. In 1947 the Madeline author and illustrator lived rent-free upstairs while he painted scenes of Central Parkon the bar’s walls. (Years later skilled art restorers used countless slices of wet Wonder Bread to sop up the decades of nicotine buildup on the murals.) Today the bar is a hangout for scenesters of every age. Case in point: after Hurricane Sandy, the leather banquettes were so filled with electricity-deprived fashionistas that it was deemed the “Uptown Boom Boom Room.” Some places never lose their spark.
The Parisian beer scene is coming to a head. “France now has more microbreweries than Belgium,” says Simon Thillou, co-owner of La Fine Mousse (6 Ave. Jean Aicard, 11th Arr.), the city’s first bar dedicated to craft brews. Chic cocktail bar Le Mary Celeste (1 Rue Commines, Third Arr.) has Brooklyn Lager on tap. And Peoples Drug Store (78 Rue des Martyrs, 18th Arr.) has tables crowded with chess-boards and bottles of Agent Provocateur on offer.
Photo by Céline Clanet
Set on 210 yucca- and cedar scrub-dotted acres in Texas Hill Country, Travaasa Austin has 70 streamlined guest rooms, an 11-room spa and infinity pool, an equestrian center, and two miles of hiking trails. This June, the resort will debut a three-and-a-quarter-acre farm anticipated to produce a whopping 30,000 pounds of food in its first year.
Need inspiration for a summer road trip? Look no further than The Prophets of Smoked Meat: A Journey Through Texas Barbecue, by T+L contributor Daniel Vaughn. The new release is jam-packed with over 200 pit stops throughout the Lone Star State—as well as a guide to the different style of Texas ‘cue and the stories behind the pitmasters. To execute this true labor of love, Vaughn clocked an estimated 10,000 miles—but with chapters devoted to individual regions, it offers plenty of smaller itineraries that’ll ramp up your appetite. Need extra persuasion? See the Austin-based, BBQ-obsessed trip that Vaughn created for T+L right here.
Nikki Ekstein is an Editorial Assistant at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her at on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.
Photo courtesy of Anthony Bourdain/Ecco
Bloody Marys have been a brunch staple since 1921, when Fernand Petiot began serving them up at Harry’s New York Bar in Paris.
As families across the country prepare to toast mom this Sunday, Iron Chef Jose Garces has created an internationally inspired Bloody Mary menu for Renaissance Hotels, each recipe evoking the flavor and style of a global hot spot. A few not to miss: Dat Eye Opener, a blend of green tomato juice, creole seasonings, and garnish of pickled okra inspired by the Big Easy; Hong Kong’s Bloody Pearl, mixed with black vinegar, Chinese hot sauce, and ground caraway seeds; or San Jaun’s Puerto Maria, a zesty combo of Spanish onions, green bell peppers, cilantro, plantain, and ají dulce (sweet peppers). Other destinations-inspired riffs include New York, Miami, Chicago, San Francisco, São Paulo, Shanghai, and Tuscany.
The entire menu is available at participating Renaissance Hotels throughout May. So bring your mom and raise a glass for all that she does—if she’s anything like mine, god knows she deserves it!
Nate Storey is an editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure. Follow him on Twitter at @StoreysTL.
Photo ccourtesy of Renaissance Hotels/ Jose Garces
When chef Tom Colicchio’s long-awaited Topping Rose House restaurant opened its doors last September, it became the most buzzed-about spot on the East End. Now, the 19th-century Bridgehampton mansion is experiencing a second wave, with 22 rooms and cottages set to debut this month. Fellow Top Chef judge Gail Simmons sat down with the restaurateur turned innkeeper to discuss the opening, the menu, and his newfound interest in the hotel world.
Simmons: Why did you decide to get into the hotel business?
Colicchio: When Topping Rose House’s owners, Bill Campbell and Simon Critchell, approached me about two years ago to do a restaurant, I thought it would be too difficult with such a small property to have someone running the restaurant and someone else taking care of the rooms. We felt that we understood what needed to happen from a hospitality standpoint. We just needed to hire someone who had the experience to take care of the day-to-day. The idea was that this business would ultimately provide a springboard to do other hotels.
Last night, the food world’s glitterati came together at New York’s Lincoln Center for the annual James Beard Awards. Food and film was this year’s theme (tagline: “Lights! Camera! Taste!”). Actor Oliver Platt hosted, guests wore 3-D glasses, and the post-award reception menu included movie-inspired bites (Nate Appleman’s take on Pulp Fiction’s Royale with Cheese was a big hit).
Here, we highlight a few of the night’s big winners—and all the things we’ve had to say about them.
Best Chef: Great Lakes
Stephanie Izard, Chicago
The Top Chef winner took home top honors for her work in Chicago. Her Girl & the Goat empire now includes Goat Market and Little Goat Diner, which we highlighted in this roundup of America’s coolest diners.
Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic
Johnny Monis, Washington, D.C.
This Virginia-born chef was just 24 when he opened the Greek-inspired Komi, featured in our definitive guide to Washington, D.C.
Best Chef: Southeast
Joseph Lenn, Walland, Tennessee
The Tennessee native creates masterful dishes using ingredients fresh from Blackberry Farm, where he is executive chef. In our April food issue, Aleksandra Crapanzano penned an ode to outdoor dining at this classic Great Smokey Mountains retreat.
Best Chef: New York City
Wylie Dufresne, Manhattan
Call him the Susan Lucci of the James Beard Awards: this kitchen wizard has finally won after 10 nominations. His famed restaurant wd-50 made our list of New York’s most adventurous restaurants.
Best New Restaurant
State Bird Provisions, San Francisco
Adam Sachs didn’t show a lot of love for this quirky spot known for its dim sum-inspired cart service—but his recent story on San Francisco dining proves the city is the place to be for new boundary-pushing restaurants.
Rising Star Chef of the Year
The blue-haired chef (pictured above) has been the talk of both coasts, now that his runaway hit Mission Chinese Food is open in San Francisco and New York. Both locations were showcased on this list of best Chinese restaurants in the U.S.
Brooke Porter is an associate editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.
Photo credit: Kent Miller
You’ll sooner find Berliners dancing all night than eating a proper meal—which is why see-and-be-seen restaurants are popping up inside the hottest nightclubs. One of the pioneers of the latest is Cookies Cream, which serves upscale vegetarian under the glow of enormous peacock lamps at the 1920’s-inspired club Drayton. And at the Grand, a bi-level, supper-club-style spot in Mitte where a posh crowd samples beef tartare and truffle-spiked risotto. Katerschmaus, on the third floor of the graffiti-covered KaterHolzig, is known for modern takes on German dishes like turnip ragôut with crisp herb dumplings.
An expanding population of Jewish expats from the U.S. and Israel has helped spur the recent boom of Bubbe-style cuisine. The recently renovated Jewish Girls School in Mitte—four floors of contemporary art galleries and restaurants—includes everyone’s favorite deli, Mogg & Melzer, which specializes in house-made pastrami. The Kosher Classroom hosts a four-course Shabbat dinner (with traditional favorites such as smoked salmon and kreplach soup) and a Sunday brunch of Mediterranean meze. On Torstrasse, Israeli-inspired dishes are found at Hotel Mani’s intimate Restaurant Mani, where guests sample upscale street food (think saffron-spiced cauliflower, falafel with prawns).
The locavore movement came late to Berlin, but chefs are finally embracing the farm-to-table ethos. Michael Hoffmann of Restaurant Margaux uses produce from his nearby farmland, while restaurants like Little Otik, Lokal, and Katz Orange are sourced from local hunters and gatherers. The trend’s hub is the revived 19th-century Markthalle 9, in Kreuzberg, where you’ll find artisanal bakery Soluna Brot und Öl, Big Stuff Smoked BBQ, and the city’s first microbrewery.
Photo courtesy of Cookies Cream