Food + Drink
Keith McNally’s New York institution recently cloned itself in London—but does the buzz match that of the original? T+L hops across the pond to find out.
For me, entering Balthazar London ($$$$) is an out-of-body experience—as if I’ve been beamed up from New York City to Covent Garden, where Keith McNally’s new brasserie is a dead ringer for the 16-year-old original, or—as we Balthazaristas call it—the Mother Ship. I walk in, expecting to see familiar faces—is that Meg Ryan?—but instead hear the whispers (the British are not subtle), “Is that Gwyneth?” “Is that Nigella?” “Is that…?”
Yes, it is Alan Bennett, the English playwright, with the cast of his latest show, People—and indeed, Balthazar is a grand, gorgeous, beautifully lit set. Both of them are. Distressed French mirrors, brass rails, red leather banquettes—this is Paris of the imagination.
Good-bye, runny eggs and sad-looking cereal stations. Hello, Vietnamese bánh mì and French almond sponge cake. These hotel buffets are eating others for brunch.
Mamilla Hotel, Jerusalem: The Piero Lissoni–designed hotel puts a modern spin on Israel’s historically hearty meal. There’s shakshouka (eggs poached in tomato sauce), chocolate babka, and 10 kinds of salad. $33.
Christian Boyens, general manager of the Ritz Paris—currently undergoing renovations—reveals his short list for where to eat in the City of Light.
First Arr.-Verjus ($$$$): French farm food, great setting. Kinugawa ($$$): Japanese bento boxes for lunch.
Second Arr.-Chez Georges (pictured; 1 Rue du Mail; $$$): well-preserved classic, market-fresh specials. Le Mesturet ($$): real Parisian bistro, good price-to-quality ratio. Le Petit Vendôme ($$): hole-in-the-wall for lunch; get the escalope de veau with mushrooms.
Third Arr.-Derrière ($$$): young, eclectic scene, great patio, table tennis, rotisserie ham. Chez Janou ($$$): French bistro, get the duck and the chocolate mousse; fish soup only so-so.
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We asked true travel pros what to do near the InterContinental Hong Kong. Want to share your advice? Join our community on Facebook at facebook.com/travelandleisure and at Twitter @TravlandLeisure.
Hit the rooftop pool at the InterContinental Hong Kong ($$$), in Kowloon.
“My favorite shopping is at Harbour City (3-27 Canton Rd.)—there are about 1,000 stores!” —@travelingperly
“Go to Oyster & Wine Bar for a great view of the skyline and Victoria Harbour.” —@pavel_tsm
“The Star Ferry is a must, but be sure to watch the nightly light show from the Kowloon side.” —Michele Palmer, via Facebook
“Don’t miss dim sum at Lin Heung Tea House (160 Wellington St.; 852/2544-4556).” —Cindy Lin, via Facebook
“Start your day with a delicious gourmet breakfast at the Andre Fu–designed Upper House hotel.” —Andi Perullo de Ledesma, via Facebook
Now that it’s officially summer, New Yorkers can be found fleeing the city every Friday for their weekend homes in the Hamptons. And why not: it’s got everything from picturesque beaches and antiques shops to lobster roll-selling seafood shacks. Come July 12-13, there’s one more reason to hop on the Jitney bound for Bridgehampton: the third-annual Dan’s Taste of Two Forks, an event hosted by Iron Chefs Bobby Flay and Alex Guaraschelli that celebrates Long Island’s local culinary talent. For the first time, a Friday night affair has been added: GrillHampton, emceed by restaurateur Geoffrey Zakarian. Think of it as a live version of your favorite foodie competition: 16 chefs (eight each from New York and the Hamptons) will take a turn at the grill, and a panel of celebrity judges (including Food & Wine’s Kate Krader) will crown a winner. As for Saturday’s main event, expect 40 restaurants dishing out food and drink until the sun goes down. Yes, there will be lobster rolls.
Brooke Porter is an associate editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.
Photo courtesy of Geoffrey Zakarian
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.