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Hawaii, You Had Me at Aloha

In the May Travel + Leisure—our annual Food Issue—I take a look at the next wave of Hawaiian cuisine. This January I spent two weeks eating my way around Oahu and the Big Island, along with my wife, T+L Features Director and Food Editor Nilou Motamed. (You may know Nilou from NBC’s Today Show.) And I have to say: Hawaii, you had me at aloha. Island chefs, restaurateurs, farmers, and food artisans are firing on all cylinders these days, driving a remarkably creative culinary scene—one that’s also surprisingly affordable, given the state’s reputation for high prices. You heard it here first, people: Hawaii is shaping up to be one of the hot food destinations for 2012. Book your flights now.

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GloboMaestro Video: Snout-to-Tail Italian on NYC's Lower East Side

Exclusive GloboMaestro Video  |  We’ve heard there are more Italian restaurants in NYC than any other kind. Still, Gotham has an appetite for more. Enter Sauce.  

Just a few months into the opening of his rustic Italian trattoria, owner and chef Frank Prisinzano's (who also runs Frank, Lil’ Frankies, and Supper) temple to meat—and, of course, Italian red sauce—is enjoying some well-seasoned buzz. His passion for tomatoes (recent tweet: “Tomatoes are thought to originate in Peru. The name comes from the Aztec “xitomatl,” which means “plump thing with navel.”) almost surpasses his love of the animal, all of the animal. The snout-to-tail restaurant even has an in-house butcher, who flashes his knives in front of a sidewalk-facing window. Call it culinary performance art. You can also buy cuts to go. And sandwiches, too, at the take-out window.

Take a quick tour in this new GloboMaestro video with the concierge from the nearby Bowery Hotel, who’s on the pulse of Downtown’s hotspots.

Sauce, 78 Rivington St., Lower East Side, New York City; (212) 420-7700.

Adrien Glover is deputy digital editor at Travel + Leisure.

Video courtesy of GloboMaestro

Guide to 2012's World Design Capital: Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki, Finland: A21 Dining

A head-to-hand guide to this year’s World Design Capital.

Smell: Lilies and lilacs mingling with the aroma of freshly brewed espresso at the cozy café and flower shop Fleuriste. 13 Uudenmaankatu; 358-40/051-9745.

See: Cutting-edge furniture and light installations at Design Gallery 12 inside the downtown Design Museum, which showcases work from creative up-and-comers. 23 Korkeavuorenkatu; 358-9/622-0540.

Hear: Symphony No. 2 by renowned Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, performed by the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra at the recently opened Helsinki Music Center. April 25–26; 13 Mannerheimintie; 358-20/707-0400.

Touch: Silk sundresses and feather-print tunics from local fashion house Ivana Helsinki at its flagship store. 15 Uudenmaankatu; 358-50/505-1624.

Taste: Foraged meadow herbs with elderflower vinaigrette and cloudberry-glazed wild boar at A21 Dining, the city’s latest hot spot, or a basil-and-rhubarb martini at its chic neighboring cocktail bar. 17 Kalevankatu; 358-40/171-1117; dinner for two $105.

Photo courtesy of A21

Annual Varli Food Festival Celebrates Indian Cuisine in NYC

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Calling all Indian cuisine aficionados: if you believe in heaven, then the Varli Food Festival just might be it. Tomorrow, April 5, the second annual food and wine extravaganza descends upon New York City's Metropolitan Pavilion, bringing with it tastings and demos from more than 60 celebrated restaurants from all over the world. The epicurean event features a culinary constellation of New York's Indian celebrity chefs—Vikas Khanna of the Michelin-starred Junoon, Suvir Saran of Devi, and Jehangir Mehta of Graffiti and Mehtaphor—as well as some global superstars like Vancouver's Vikram Vij, Kunal Kapur of New Delhi, and Ajay Chopra, formerly of Mint Leaf in London. Not enough gourmet wattage for you? The festival is hosted by Top Chef's Padma Lakshmi and Indian TV chef Sanjeev Kapoor.

Tickets won't be available at the door, so get yours ASAP online.

[Insert your own horrible "Curry up before it's too late!" joke here]

2010-hs-sarah-khan3jpg Sarah Khan is a copy editor at Travel + Leisure. You can follow her on Twitter @BySarahKhan.

Photos courtesy of Varli Magazine

Q&A with Amsterdam's Hester van Eeghen

Amsterdam's Hester Van Eeghen bag

This Dutch designer has become a cult favorite thanks to her brightly colored leather bags, wallets, and shoes. Here, the plugged-in local shares her top hometown picks.

Q: Favorite restaurant?
A:
Proef (12 Gosschalklaan; 31-20/682-2656; dinner for two $120), a small, no-nonsense restaurant that’s organic and fresh, both in its menu and its urban-farmhouse-style décor. Try the beet ravioli. Book ahead.

Q: Must-visit jewelry store?
A: BLGK Goldsmiths
(28 Hartenstraat; 31-20/624-8154) carries metal jewelry that honors the natural shape of gemstones; I’m inspired by the window display alone.

Q: Top cultural spot?
A:
The Museum of Bags & Purses (573 Herengracht; 31-20/524-6452) has a collection of 4,000-plus pieces that offers a fascinating historical overview of my favorite accessory.

Q: Best mode of transportation?
A:
My husband and I bike everywhere. I love the bicycles from Vanmoof; they’re lightweight and rust-resistant, and have a built-in lock. You can rent them at Cyclelution (258 Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal; 31-65/363-1973; $10 for two hours).

Photo courtesy of hveus.com

A Local’s Guide to Hamburg, Germany

Hamburg, Germany

David Einsiedler, shop owner, and his dog Laban
“I own a vintage furniture store called Ply, so I’m a bit design-obsessed. Tide is a small, beautiful café lined with driftwood from the North Sea; I also go to the modern Klippkroog for regional food like Rollbraten (rolled roast).”

Nadira Nasser, costume designer
“Speicherstadt, the old warehouse district, is filled with museums now. At Miniatur Wunderland, the ‘chocolate factory’ exhibit actually produces a tiny piece of Swiss chocolate for you while you wait.”

Andrea Schneider (pictured), book cover designer
“HafenCity is the next great neighborhood, with many new buildings, including the concert hall Elbphilharmonie, scheduled to open in 2014. It’s right on the river Elbe; I like to watch the container ships coming in and out.”

Kevin Reschka, operations manager of an automotive company
“Sometimes after basketball we go to 3 Freunde for their inventive cocktails. My favorite is the Filmriss Deluxe, with vodka, vanilla liqueur, sparkling wine, passion fruit, and lime.”

Photo by Christian Kerber

On Our Radar: Savannah Music Festival

Savannah music Savannah is one of those mysterious places that I imagined coming to life in the dusty pages of antiquarian books. Other than what I saw in Clint Eastwood’s colorful depiction of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and some Civil War trivia, I didn’t know much about it. So when the opportunity arose to check out a new music festival, Savannah Stopover, I jumped at the chance to experience the Southern legend firsthand.

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Happy 250 Years to the Sandwich!

sandwich

I can’t think of a food that is as wholly satisfactory as a sandwich. I could start my day with an egg and biscuit combo, followed by a tomato and mozzarella panini for lunch, and curried chicken salad on baguette for dinner. The sandwich can be as comforting and easy as a peanut butter and jelly or as globally inspired as a báhn mì or cubano.

This year, 250 years of that delicious nosh is celebrated where it all began, in the town of Sandwich, Kent, England. Though he was not the first person to put food between bread, the Fourth Earl of Sandwich gave the snack its name. Legend goes that he was a gambler and demanded meat between two slices of bread so he wouldn’t have to get up from his games.

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Brits Abuzz Over British Airways Pop-Up

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It’s pop-up galore these days, but this one caught our eye: From Apr. 4–17, British Airways will host FlightBA2012 in Shoreditch. The event is a culmination of last year’s airline-sponsored search to find three “Great Britons,” rising stars from different creative fields. Their mentors? Celeb chef Heston Blumenthal, YBA Tracey Emin, and actor/writer/director Richard E. Grant.

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Vancouver: A (Hungry) Diner's Tour

We’re wrapping up our May food issue here at Travel + Leisure, and the delectable stories we’ve dished up (don’t read this one on an empty stomach, you just may eat the pictures) simply reaffirmed to me how vital a component dining is to a memorable travel experience. I, for one, explore a locale with both my eyes and my stomach. So, intrepid gastronaut that I am, on my first trip to Vancouver recently I saw all the sights (don’t miss the random Jimi Hendrix shrine tucked into the outskirts of Chinatown, or, if you have children, the wonderful Kids Market on Granville Island) while still squeezing in meals that ran the gamut from high-end to hole-in-the-wall, each worth writing home about. So let’s pretend you all are “home,” and here goes my paean.

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