Watch and find out T+L Features Director Nilou Motamed's picks for the best epicurean destinations. Discover where to sip truffle-infused cocktails in Chicago, sample legendary macaron cookies in Paris, and experience agroturismo, Italian style.
Since Americans are still recovering from Thanksgiving, it's only appropriate that this week's Guess Where is of food. Can you guess where this delicious treat is?
Log in and leave your guesses below and check back on Monday for the answer.
Lyndsey Matthews is an assistant digital editor at Travel + Leisure.
Photo Courtesy of T+L's Photo Contest
Resident big-screen tough guy Chazz Palminteri—of A Bronx Tale and The Usual Suspects fame—recently added restaurateur to his resume, bringing a slice of his New York neighborhood to Baltimore’s Harbor East area. Aptly named Chazz: A Bronx Original, the family-friendly Italian spot is a partnership between the Oscar-nominated actor and the local Vitale family. Palminteri paid a visit to the Travel + Leisure offices to talk about his latest venture.
Q: What inspired you to open a restaurant?
A: “I always wanted to open a restaurant. But we all know the story: Hollywood actor partners up with aspirational childhood friends, opens to media attention, and the restaurant fails because of management or food issues. I always knew I had to find the right partners—serious restaurateurs who knew how to put out great food consistently, but also manage the restaurant professionally. And I finally found that in the Vitale brothers, Sergio and Alessandro. They grew up in the restaurant business and run one of the best Italian restaurants I’ve ever been to, bar none—Aldo’s in Baltimore—and they shared my vision. Also, food has played an important role in my life since I was young and living in the Bronx. I would wake up and smell the sausage and peppers coming through the windows and wanted to share that experience with everyone else. When you walk into Chazz, you walk into a little piece of my life—the sights, the smells, the tastes—and I’m so happy to share that.
Chef Oliver Glowig was the first to make the move to Rome with his namesake restaurant at Aldrovandi Villa Borghese (dinner for two $250), serving inventive Mediterranean dishes, including spaghetti all’amatriciana with prawns and tomato sorbet.
Chef Lucio Sforza relocated his renowned L’Asino d’Oro (73 Via del Boschetto; 39-06/4891-3832; dinner for two $160) from the historic Umbrian town of Orvieto. Tables at the 40-seat restaurant—known for rustic regional specialties such as wild boar—have become the most requested in town.
Up-and-comer Giuseppe De Rosa made a shorter journey—just across the city—to open the sleek Brò Porta Portese (2-3 Largo Alessandro Toja; 39-06/581-3500; dinner for two $140), which showcases his distinctive takes on local favorites such as smoked eggplant with roasted octopus and crisp Parmesan chips.
Photo by Laissez Fare
Austin’s roots rock veterans the Gourds are no strangers to the road. For seventeen years they’ve toured the U.S. and abroad with their sweet and spicy brand of southern country-blues-rock. With a new record out, Old Mad Joy, and a whopping nine other studio albums under their belt, the band shows no signs of slowing down. The Old Mad Joy tour takes the Texans from San Francisco to Philadelphia and dozens of towns in between. Frontman Kevin “Shinyribs” Russell calls the live show “kind of a cross between a revival, a house party, a pep rally and a pow wow.” We connected with the guys to ask about their time on tour and tips for would-be road warriors.
Q: You hail from Austin, which has been an indie hotbed for some time now (here’s looking at you, SXSW). Have you noticed a shift in the city’s music scene over the course of your careers?
A: Yes, the scene has been constantly changing for decades now. The biggest change has come from the economic boom of the last 15 years; dot com bubble/high tech expansion and real estate bubble. Also the focus of the city on encouraging downtown residential occupancy and a ridiculous sound ordinance has transformed live music into a migratory population in search of affordable leases and appropriate neighborhoods. The musicians and service workers sort of gravitate nearer to these places. So, lots of them are now in east Austin. The styles have become much more diverse and the talent level much more exceptional.
Here at T+L, beating jetlag is something of a sport. So we’re all pretty pumped for The Layover—the new show from globetrotting chef-author Anthony Bourdain, he of No Reservations notoriety—premiering at 9pm ET/PT tonight on the Travel Channel. In ten hour-long episodes, Tony travels everywhere from London to Hong Kong to Los Angeles in search of the best that each city has to offer.
Here’s the catch: the entire series was shot in 30 days, and he has only 24-48 hours in each place. The result? A whirlwind world tour that’s peppered with all the biting Bourdain commentary we’ve come to love and expect, even if it’s tempered with a dash of jetlag. I got a sneak peek at the first episode (spoiler alert!), in which Tony spends a day in Singapore.
Big-name international chefs continue to set up shop here with Michael White opening Al Molo in Tsim Sha Tsui this month. Restaurateur Alan Yau of London’s Hakkasan and Wagamama teamed up with Andre Fu to create Bettys, a refined European bistro in the harborside IFC Mall.
French cuisine is making a comeback, after last year’s mania for Italian. A handful of new bistros: La Marmite, the latest venture by the Aqua group; the cozy Bouchon in Soho; and Chez Patrick Deli in the trendy Star Street area of Wanchai. Opening next month is The News Room by the Press Room group, which runs the popular Press Room, The Pawn, and Classified restaurants.
Hong Kongers don’t mind queuing up for their food. … Diners are literally lining up for Butao Ramen, a cubby-hole of a noodle shop that serves only 200 bowls of pork-bone soup a day. Ramen shops with cult status have been opening in China and Singapore as well.
Finally, part of the local-goes-upmarket trend, Cantopop, a collaboration between two New York Italian transplants and a Hong Kong chef, opened in April. It re-imagines the humble cha chaa teng, the city’s take on the coffeeshop. (Think the fabulous 1960’s diners in Wong Kar Wai’s movies.)
Jennifer Chen is Travel + Leisure's Asia correspondent. You can follow her on Twitter at xiaochen6.
Photo by Christian Kerber
Gastón Acurio dishes on his favorite places to enjoy the big blue’s bounty.
With 30 restaurants worldwide, 20 books, and a weekly TV show to his name, celeb chef Gastón Acurio has become something of a seafood hero. Fresh off the opening of New York’s La Mar Cebicheria Peruana (11 Madison Ave.; 212/612-3388; dinner for two $100)—the seventh outpost of his hit Lima restaurant—he filled us in on his favorite seafood spots around the globe.
“At Chez Wong, a tiny ten-table dining room by the side of his own house, chef Javier Wong uses just two ingredients, flounder and octopus, and one knife and one wok.”
Don’t Miss: “Everyone gets a flounder ceviche starter; then he will talk to you about your life, and prepare the main course especially for you. He never repeats a recipe.”
New York City
“Chef Eric Ripert of Le Bernardin is a reference point when you talk about excellence in fish. He’s about elegant simplicity and coaxing out different flavors within the same ingredient.”
Don’t Miss: “The fluke ceviche sampler, which moves from light to complex flavors. It was such an experience to have one kind of fish presented in a variety of ways.”
“At Elkano, a family-run place on the Basque coast about an hour’s boat ride from San Sebastián, they work with the catch of the day and respect it so much they serve every part of the fish, from the muscles in the mouth to the belly.”
Don’t Miss: “The specialty is turbot. You might get the head in white wine, then the tail grilled.”
Photo by Ines Menacho
Celebrity chef David Rocco has a full plate these days. The host of The Cooking Channel's travel-food show David Rocco's Dolce Vita has just wrapped shooting on his next series for that network, David Rocco's Amalfi Getaway, which will air in March. He'll be joining Bobby Flay and other culinary grandees at the Chef's Challenge charity event November 26-27 in Toronto to support women's cancer research. He's a passionate spokesman for Ruffino wines, and tours the country on their behalf. He and his wife had their third child in October (a baby boy named Dante). And simply to fill all the empty hours in his day, he's written his second cookbook, Made in Italy, just out from Clarkson Potter. I sat down with Rocco over lunch in Midtown Manhattan last week and asked him about his new book.
You won’t find McDonald’s here.
Sydney is joining the ranks of various Asian cities by giving the bland, cafeteria-style food court some high-end treatment. Think classy food bars and chic décor inviting shoppers to actually linger over lunch instead of wolf it down.