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Just Back: Killington, Vermont

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As a professed snow snob I scoffed when a group of friends recently proposed a ski weekend in Killington, Vermont. It’s hard to get excited about mountains that look more like the hills I used to sled down as a kid in Salt Lake City than the exhilarating, death-defying declines that tattoo the Rocky Mountains. When you grow up within an hour of seven world-class ski resorts you tend to develop a cavalier attitude about the prospects of cleaving down a worn, icy tilt and paying good money for it. So I opted to head for this quaint northeastern burg sans my snowboard. Half the fun of a ski vacation anyway is exploring the town, enjoying the fresh air, eating at great restaurants, and plunging into the après ski scene.

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News from Asia: Score One for the Sharks

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Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts announced yesterday that it was placing an immediate ban on shark fin and phasing out Chilean sea bass and blue-fin tuna within the year. According to Shangri-La spokeswoman Maria Kuhn, the new policy, which affects all 72 properties, has been a long time coming. “In December 2010, we took shark’s fin off our menus as a first step towards completely phasing it out,” says Kuhn, who is based in Hong Kong, where the company’s headquarters are.

Shangri-La joins Peninsula hotels, which announced a ban on shark fin in November. For both properties, it’s a bold, gutsy move. Both have a serious presence in China, where shark fin, long considered a delicacy, has become de rigueur at banquets. In fact, Shangri-La, which already runs 35 hotels in Hong Kong and mainland China, has 23 properties under development in China. It also has hotels in Taiwan and Singapore.

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3 Fab Smoky Cocktails for the Winter Season

cocktails

Los Angeles
Where to Go: The molecular-minded Bar Centro at the Bazaar by José Andrés.
The Drink: Smoke on the Water ($18).
What’s in It: Blackberries, atomized Islay Scotch, liquid nitrogen, and a flaming orange peel.

Miami
Where to Go: The new Yardbird Southern Table & Bar, helmed by Top Chef’s Jeff McInnis.
The Drink: Smoked Pear ($8).
What’s in It: Woodford Reserve bourbon, pear liqueur, lemon juice, maple bitters, and smoked-pear purée. 1600 Lenox Ave.; 305/538-5220.

Boston
Where to Go: Clio, home to the city’s most extensive cocktail list.
The Drink: The Hunter ($13).
What’s in It : Sage-infused white rum, Willet single-barrel rye, and apple cider, plus a cloud of burned oak and cinnamon.

Nikki Goldstein is an editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure.

Photo by Jessica Sample

A Meaty Meal in Miami

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I’m a confirmed carnivore, and whenever I’m asked to name my favorite food, I don’t hesitate: a Cuban dish called vaca frita that translates, literally, to “fried cow”—how apt.

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The Power of Dessert: Christmas in Prague

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“It’s like our version of fruitcake,” said my Roman friend Enrico during my first Christmas in the Eternal City in 2002 as he sliced a piece of panettone onto a plate. As soon as he uttered the words “fruit” and “cake” in dangerous succession of each other, I lost my appetite, thinking of the “delicacy” Americans have relegated to a holiday culinary punch line.

I like to think of myself as open minded, especially when on the road. I’ve lived in Prague, Paris, and Rome, and have gluttonously celebrated holidays in each place. And while I didn’t end up eating the spongy, candied-fruit-studded dessert that night, I eventually learned that one person’s panettone is not just another person’s fruitcake. Enrico’s sweet of choice is what Pistachio baklava is to a Greek or amaranth-laced dulce de alegria (which means “sweets of joy”) is to a Mexican or a cardamom-scented cannoli-like krumkake is to a Norwegian. Holiday desserts—whether at home or abroad—are more than just the last course of a big meal.

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Best Mountain-Top Meals

Tamarack Lodge

A handful of on-mountain restaurants are reinventing the cafeteria concept.

Heavenly, California: Tamarack Lodge
Peak Pick: Seared peppercorn-encrusted ahi sandwich and house-made peach cobbler.
Getting There: California Trail, a blue run offering views of Lake Tahoe from 3,000 feet up.
Top of the gondola; 775/586-7000; lunch for two $32–$40.

Niseko Village, Japan: Goshiki
Peak Pick: Hokkaido-crab miso soup and local lily bulb tempura.
Getting There: Misoshiru (which means miso soup), a black diamond featuring Niseko’s signature powder.
The Green Leaf; 81-136/443-311; lunch for two $52.

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American Dining in Sydney Shows True Grits

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Sydney draws its culinary influences from a variety of areas, as evidenced by the meat pie stands sandwiched between Turkish kebab joints and dumpling shacks. American fare, however, has largely been left off the table until recently. It’s actually the southern staples more than anything else anchoring the menus at these new establishments.

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Finding the Best Sustainable Caviar

best caviar

It used to be that great caviar came only from Russia and Iran—but other parts of the world are catching up. Eat these sustainably farmed varieties in situ, or purchase some for a perfect holiday gift.

Uruguay
Type: Black River Sturgeon
Uruguayan osetra
Tasting Notes:
Nutty and silky, with a long, rich finish and a glossy sheen.
Enjoy It Locally:
Punta del Este’s La Bourgogne (Avda. del Mar and Pedragosa Sierra; 598-42/482-007) pairs osetra with blinis, brioche toasts, and lemony crème fraîche.
Buy:
blackrivercaviar.com; 50 grams for $110.

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Ritz-Carlton SF Debuts New Nob Hill Restaurant

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At T+L, we know our readers love San Francisco for its food, so we thought we’d let you know about a promising new restaurant on Nob Hill that opens today. Located inside the Ritz-Carlton, Parallel 37 features a menu by Chef Ron Siegel that celebrates the geographic latitude Parallel 37 near the San Francisco Bay Area.

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Jamaican Blackwell Rum Now Sold in the U.S.

Jamaican Blackwell Rum

Raise a glass to Blackwell Rum ($30): formerly available only in Jamaica, black gold, as it’s called, is now sold stateside. Reggae-music mogul turned hotelier Chris Blackwell crafted the liquor using a centuries-old family recipe, infusing it with tropical fruits such as banana and mango. Try it neat, or in the signature cocktail at Oracabessa Bay’s GoldenEye Hotel & Resort: on ice with two shots of simple syrup and a shot each of lime, orange, and pineapple juices—shaken, not stirred.

Photo by Lars Klove

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