Food + Drink
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
Ride back to the Middle Ages with this French eatery, much swankier than a tournament at Medieval Times.
Distressed, castle-style doors greet you at new Paris restaurant, Le Sergent Recruteur. While there are no knights in shining armor at this tavern, an expansive stainless steel bar serves up full goblets of wine with each course.
The all-fixed, five-course menu starts at 65 euros for lunch, 95 euros for dinner, and 35 euros for wine pairings. Top plates to try include the poached oyster in seaweed broth and cucumber foam, warm praline and cabbage salad, and a deconstructed chocolate vacherin for dessert.
Although swordfights are absent in Le Sergent Recruteur, acting refined after five hefty wine pairings is a battle all its own.
Maria Pedone is a digital editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.
Photo by Klunderbie
Overrun by touristy cafes and dives, Les Halles, Paris finally catches a break with new restaurant, Pirouette. Plate glass windows reminiscent of Los Angeles beckon crowds to this quality bistro that aims for an honest price and satisfying product.
The two-course lunch menu is a steal: servers trot out traditional eats like pot roast with carrot puree, and crispy chicken breast with mashed potatoes. The higher priced three-course menu features more elaborate options, such as chilled cream of lettuce soup with an egg cooked sous-vide to medium, smoked eel with confit potatoes, rare roasted pigeon, and pan-seared whiting with withered zucchini and tomato and fresh radish. Classic desserts are given a twist, like the soggy baba au rhum with lime sauce.
With most Les Halles eateries plagued by crowds, niche bistro Pirouette grants epicurean city-goers a sigh of relief.
Maria Pedone is a digital editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.
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We asked true travel pros what to do near the Sydney Opera House. Want to share your expertise? Join our community on Facebook at facebook.com/travelandleisure and at Twitter @TravlandLeisure.
“Scale the Harbour Bridge with Bridge Climb Sydney. I’m terrified of heights but I loved it.” —@jenafox
“Quay Restaurant (Overseas Passenger Terminal, level 3, Hickson Rd.; $$$$) at Circular Quay has the most beautiful menu. Get the guava snow egg for dessert!” —@plasticdiaries
“The Museum of Contemporary Art Australia has free entry for the permanent collection.” —Iwan D. Diran, via Facebook
“Palmer & Co. (Abercrombie Lane) is a fabulous speakeasy-style bar—and the staff dress like it’s 1930.” —@wordsbykerrie
“The historic boutique Russell Hotel (143A George St.; $$), in the Rocks, is a little gem.” —@rhum88
“Take a walk through the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney, for stunning views.” —@peteraforeman
The next time you find yourself enjoying a finely crafted beer, you might want to ask yourself what it took to bring that drink to your lips. Tom Acitelli, author of The Audacity of Hops: The History of America's Craft Beer Revolution (Chicago Review Press) did more than wonder about it: He went off across America in search of the stories behind the suds.
Acitelli, the founding editor of Curbed Boston, and a contributor to The New York Times and other publications, answered a few of our questions about where to find the best beers, how Europe is catching onto America's craft movement, and what it's like drinking brews infused with St. John's Wort or hot peppers.
Here are some of his insights:
Where is the heart of the American craft brewing scene?
Tom Acitelli: There are now more than 2,300 breweries in the United States, the most since the 1880s, so pinpointing a definite geographic heart might be a tad difficult. Spiritually, however, the American craft beer movement indisputably pivots on Northern California—specifically, the San Francisco Bay Area. The oldest craft brewery still in operation (Anchor Brewery, famous for its steam beer) is in an old coffee roastery in San Francisco's Potrero Hill neighborhood. The first startup craft brewery since Prohibition (New Albion Brewery, which went out of business in 1983) was also nearby, in Sonoma County wine country; and the nation's second- and third-oldest brewpubs, Mendocino Brewing and Buffalo Bill's, started just outside of San Francisco.