Food + Drink
It all started with a website, where photographer Todd Selby posted shots of his friends in their homes. Next came a project with Louis Vuitton, a spin-off book, and, most recently, a column in The New York Times T Magazine. It’s this latest development—scrapbook-y pages of playful illustrations, hand-written notes, and photographs of people in the food world—in which Selby seems to have found his calling. It even inspired his second book, Edible Selby, out this month. Here’s an inside look:
How did you end up focusing on food-related spaces? My first book, The Selby is In Your Place, did well, and I started thinking about what I wanted to do next. My passion has always been food and cooking and eating and restaurants and chefs, and I thought I could figure out a way to approach the food world in a new way.
How would you describe the book? It has a feeling of a photo book meets a cookbook, but more than anything it’s a travel guide. You can look through it and get fun ideas for places to visit.
How did you discover the places? The best stuff in the book was very much word of mouth. I talked to chef Ignacio Mattos at New York’s Il Buco Alimentari, and he knew all these people who were connected to Chez Panisse. From them I met this guy who told me about this fisherman who told me about the guy who does Japanese catering.
What was one of your favorite finds? Hartwood in Tulum. The chef ended up being on the cover. I would call this a chef’s fantasy. It was so DIY—just the him and his wife creating the ultimate chef’s table, piled high with vegetables from the jungle.
What was your most memorable meal from the road? This old man has a restaurant on a cliff in Mallorca, and he makes paella over a fire. You can only get there by boat. Actually, you can also hike down to it, but the chicer way is to take a boat. He’s had it since the 70’s. One of the people there said Halle Berry and Tom Hanks had recently visited, so it’s not a secret anymore.
What about back home in New York? I’m an investor with Mission Chinese, and I’m obsessed with the catfish soup. It has pink peppercorn, so it’s a bit numbing; I just get into this zone where I’m eating it and I’m sweating, and it’s just incredible. I also love the bakery Four and Twenty Blackbirds in Brooklyn. The sad thing is I’ve seen what they put in the pies. With pastry it’s better to never know. I got the pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving this year; if you’re not on the waiting list right now then forget it.
Brooke Porter is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure
Photo of Todd Selby courtesy Hadassa Haack
First came food co-ops, then CSAs, then buy-your-own-raw-milk clubs. Next up: community-supported restaurants. A natural next step in the increasing obsession with hyper-local food, CSRs allow customers to become small investors in local eateries, giving them perks such as free meals—as well as a vested interest in seeing the restaurant succeed. For travelers, dining at a CSR means eating somewhere that is truly rooted in the surrounding community. We think these six new CSRs are worth checking out. If you agree, you can always buy in.
Rock Hill, South Carolina: Lell’s Café
This two-year-old spot features hearty, down-home cooking (bacon and pimento cheese sandwich; vanilla-bourbon sticky-finger French toast) made with seasonal Carolina ingredients. It opened with no bank loans, just the support of community investors.
Photographer Annie Leibovitz has captured volumes through the prism of her camera lens during a storied career shooting rock stars, celebrities, and politicians for venerable publications like Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair. But a photo campaign for a whiskey? That’s a first for Leibovitz, who was commissioned by Macallan for the third instillation of their Masters of Photography series, capturing portraits of Scottish Actor Kevin Mckidd (Grey’s Anatomy) across Manhattan. The images will be featured on four limited edition single casks—Library, Gallery, Bar, Skyline—aged between 16 and 23 years. But you’ll have to loosen the purse strings if you want a bottle from this rare batch; the 1,000-bottle collection retails for a hefty $2,750 a pop.
Nate Storey is an editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure.
Images courtesy of The Macallan.
It may not have a rhyming slogan all its own, but the world screams plenty for gelato. This week, enthusiasm for the extra-creamy Italian treat will culminate at the grand opening of the world’s first Gelato Museum in Bologna, Italy. Yes, gelato is finally immortalized in its very own museum. And, it's no surprise that the grand idea came from Carpigiani, one of Italy's early gelato innovators.
Is San Francisco the new Munich? With a crop of new German-style drinking establishments in the city, it would seem so. At the uber-popular, 100-seat Biergarten (above) in Hayes Valley, you can sip your brew while sitting on one of the authentic German beer garden benches. There’s plenty of outdoor seating at the new Southern Pacific Brewing Company (below), a big, beautiful brewery that opened in a warehouse in an industrial corner of the Mission earlier this year.
The recent rage for wine bars reflects a change in the way the French think—and drink.
I’ve been visiting Paris since the 1970’s. But on a recent trip, I noted something radically unfamiliar. At Verjus, a new hot spot by the Palais Royal, a roomful of people were sipping Chinon and Chenin Blanc by the glass, not a dinner plate in sight.
Wine bars have always seemed the antithesis of how the French experience wine. While Americans gravitate toward big-bodied creations with the kick of a cocktail, the French favor restraint, seeing it as a piece of a larger prandial puzzle. An aperitif in Paris has always meant a Lillet, a kir, maybe a beer. Wines by the glass were usually barely drinkable vin ordinaire.
For anyone who’s felt a certain despair when setting out for a transcontinental flight—after being offered nothing but a cardboard box of crackers, cheese and deli meat that most 2nd graders would find gastronomically unsatisfying—there is a vivid outlet for your culinary bitterness.
Airlinemeals.net actually started 10 years ago, when frequent flier Marco t'Hart decided to upload some shots of terrible meals he’s had (if not eaten) aloft, and invited other travelers to do the same.
Today the site has grown 26,000 images strong, and is reportedly getting more attention from airline catering companies, which are sifting through the reviews to help improve in-cabin dining—and which no doubt will enable coach-class food critics even more.
Out of all the places to have a farming renaissance, who would guess uber-urban Hong Kong? But it’s true: concerns about food safety in China coupled with a rising interest in the provenance and quality of ingredients has sparked action. HK Farm is a 4,000-square-foot rooftop farm in industrial Ngau Tau Kok started by a group of artists and designers, with plans to expand. Zen Organic is a former pig farm that a pair of siblings inherited and turned into one of the city’s most sought-after sources of produce. Down with pollution and in with the greens!
Want a definition of great service? Sink into an armchair at £10, the semisecret Macallan scotch bar at the Montage Beverly Hills, and let your barman go to work. He’ll wheel out a mahogany cart stocked with Lalique crystal glassware, chilled soapstone rocks (for those who frown on dilution), and an array of rare single malts, with which he’ll prepare the best damn scotch you’ve ever had. Maybe it’s the distillery’s smoky, spicy 18-year Sherry Oak ($35). Or the Macallan 64 Years Old, a goblet of which will set you back $64,000, not including tip. You should tip well.
Photo by Jessica Sample
While the pyrotechnics of Alinea’s molecular gastronomy and the tweezer-armed chefs at Noma fussing over strands of seaweed may garner all the accolades in the food world these days, other chefs are turning back the clock. They’re going back decades, even hundreds, of years.
Vintage-inspired menus—think Champagne-glazed Virginia hams, Waldorf pudding studded with nuggets of foie gras, poached salmon bathed in creamy French sauces—took off this year when restaurants across the country commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s demise.
At Prime Meats in Brooklyn, diners paid $150 in April to taste the last meal served on the British ship, supposedly crafted under the consultation of Georges-Auguste Escoffier and Cesar Ritz. A Hindenburg dinner may follow.