The latest wine country hotels come in several varietals—some bold, others more subtle. Below, four of our favorites.
Delaire Graff Estate, South Africa(pictured): British jewelry baron Laurence Graff brings a new level of sophistication (doting butlers; world-class art) to rural Stellenbosch with his 10-villa estate, an hour from Cape Town. After a walk through the Keith Kirsten–designed gardens, take a dip in your private plunge pool. $$$$
Entre Cielos, Argentina: This airy, 16-room property in Luján de Cuyo offers more than just easy access to some of Mendoza’s top producers. Linger over perfectly grilled sirloin paired with a glass of the hotel’s own Malbec at the on-site restaurant, or lose yourself in the hammam, where Bacchus-themed treatments include a grape-seed body scrub. $$$
See if your hotel concierge can get you in. If not, you’ll have to use your wiles. At pint-size hot spots such as Atera or Blanca, your chances are slim. But established favorites, such as Daniel or Maialino, have more tables—and more cancellations. Call at or after 3 p.m., when the hosts finish reconfirming the evening’s reservations. There just might be a spot. OpenTable is also a great resource. It may not get you in to your first choice, but it will show you nearby restaurants that do have availability. If all else fails, walk in. Casual arrivals may find seats at the bar—and if you dress the part, some maître d’s will reward a bold, spontaneous request with a table.
Follow discriminating Romans to the city’s emerging foodie district—Testaccio—which grows fresher by the day.
At the airy, solar-paneled Nuovo Mercato di Testaccio—which recently replaced a 97-year-old market nearby—you’ll see nonnas searching for fresh pasta and artichokes, and stalls selling everything you came to Italy for: organic olive oil, handmade gnocchi, and tozzetti cookies. Between Via Galvani and Via Alessandro Volta.
Tucked inside the market is 20MQ Design & Derivati, a treasure trove of housewares. Among the quirky finds? A serving tray made from vinyl records and a lamp crafted out of teacups. 66 Via Aldo Manuzio.
Thanks to collaborative chef dinners—in which chefs invite fellow toques to take over their kitchens for a night—diners have the chance to sample dishes that would normally require a plane ticket to taste. Here, a few of our favorite upcoming events:
Graffiato, Washington, D.C. On the first Monday of each month, head to this Italian-inspired spot in D.C.’s Chinatown, where chef/owner Mike Isabella recently launched Industry Takeover Nights. From 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., the kitchen is turned over to chefs and mixologists for late-night snacks and cocktails. Coming up: Kyle Bailey and Tiffany MacIsaac, the husband-and-wife team behind Dupont Circle’s forthcoming fried chicken-and-donut concept GBD (May 6), and Jamie Bissionnette of Boston’s always-packed tapas restaurant Toro, coming soon to New York (June 3).
Would you drop out of an Ivy League university for chocolate? Former University of Pennsylvania undergrad, David "Mott" Green did.
Originally from New York City, Mott left Penn to pursue a more altruistic (and sunny) lifestyle in Hermitage, Grenada. After noticing how exploitive the chocolate industry was on the island, he thought, Why don’t cocoa farmers produce the chocolate themselves? Since then, Mott has spent the last 25 years operating the bean-to-bar Grenada Chocolate Company. His efforts to bring Grenadian citizens back into agriculture have helped create a sustainable alternative to the harsh chocolate industry.
Ditching the classroom to eat, live, and breathe chocolate? Sounds like the sweet life to us!
Natty couples channel their grandparents in a supper-club setting at Carbone($$$$), with upgraded Italian American classics—linguine with clams; chicken scarpariello—by the duo behind the ever-popular Torrisi.
Two big names are vying for West Villagers’ affections. Top Chef alum Harold Dieterle explores his German and Italian roots at the Marrow($$$), while Gabriel Stulman—whose retro neighborhood joints Joseph Leonard and Fedora have a cult following—veers into new territory with the Frenchified sushi at Chez Sardine($$$).
At Lafayette($$), his all-day NoHo brasserie, Andrew Carmellini returns to his French training (he cooked under Daniel Boulud), serving country-style dishes to the fashion set.
Across the river in Brooklyn, the culinary intelligentsia clamor for tables at Aska(pictured; $$), a New Nordic spot in Williamsburg.
As a pioneer of the city’s locavore food movement, chef Didem Şenol serves obsessively crafted Turkish dishes at her popular restaurants, Lokanta Maya($$) and Gram(lunch only; $$), both in Beyoğlu. We asked Şenol for tips on navigating the area.
“On the way to work, I often stop at Galata Simitçisi. Simit are like Turkish bagels; the ones here, made in a wood-burning oven, are especially salty-sweet.”
“For dinner, Asmali Cavit(90-212/292-4950; $$$) is an institution known for its mezes. Try the fava beans and the burnt-aubergine salad.”
The New York restaurateur serves up his packing wisdom.
As co-owner of Manhattan’s Eleven Madison Park and NoMad restaurants (and co-author, with chef Daniel Humm, of the cookbook I Love NY, out in April), Will Guidara travels often—and light. “I can fit four days in my duffel,” he says. “Some people overpack because they’re scared of stains, but I’d rather just buy a new shirt!” When Guidara takes tasting trips—Hong Kong, London, and Copenhagen are on deck—he tends to head straight from plane to table. “It’s so flattering when people show up with luggage. It means your restaurant is the first thing they want to experience.”
• “My Victorinox jacket($2,250) has tons of pockets for small items (like bags of Goldfish, my go-to travel snack).”
• “We serve Intelligentsia coffee at E.M.P.—the house blend from Colombia and Peru. It’s the best.”
• “I love my twill-and- leather Ghurka duffel($995). My dad had the all-leather version.”
• “Breaking in A.P.C. jeans($185) is worth it: they’re sturdy and durable.”
• “Even jeans look better with my Ferragamo moccasins($440).”