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Gastón Acurio's Favorite Restaurants

Gaston Acurio

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.

Lima, Peru
“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.”

Getaria, Spain
“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

A New Cookbook from the Very, Very Busy David Rocco

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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.

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The Rise of Sydney's High-End Food Courts

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.

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Italy's Top Chefs Converge in NYC - Buon Appetito!

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So you’ve eaten your way through Italy. You know your pecorini from your parmigiani. You’ve already ordered the latest edition of the Silver Spoon, that classic Italian cooking tome that's resided on many a nonna’s shelf since 1950. If that’s the case, the second-annual Identita New York—a two-day event in New York City next week where six of the bel paese’s most celebrated chefs will show off their cooking prowess alongside six American culinary bigwigs—might already be on your radar.

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Beloved Provençal Winery Becomes Region's New Art Destination

Chateau La Coste

Many who love Provence are familiar with Château La Coste, which produces some of the region’s best-known rosé. But what many do not know (yet) is that since the vineyard was taken over by an Irish businessman, in 2002, not only have the wines gone organic, the sprawling domain has become the most ambitious art and architecture complex in France—and perhaps in all of Europe.

The idea: to bring together art, wine and architecture in a way that is organic and site-specific, yet defies easy definition. Too vast to be a sculpture garden and too diverse to be an art collection, this exceptional compilation opened without fanfare in June.

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Paso Robles Celebrates Harvest Weekend

The grapes of Napa often grab the headlines coming out of California wine country but the discerning vino cognoscenti knows that the Golden State harbors some of the best wineries in the world along its central coast. In the thick of it is Paso Robles, a vast countryside of rolling vineyards where vintners sport rustic spurs on their cowboy boots and the pace of life is calm. The annual Harvest Wine Weekend kicks off today, Friday, and promises to be the most robust yet. Over 150 wineries will host grape stomps, tours, tastings, dinners, and pairings (wine and bacon anyone?). One oenophile who will be traipsing around Harvest is Paso Wine Man (above)—the unabashed, vivacious Paso wine country cheerleader whose verve for the region’s splendors knows no bounds.

T+L caught up with the wine man before the big weekend to uncover his wines of choice; find out what makes “Tuscany with cowboys” so special; and why Paso Robles's brand of reds can’t be made anywhere else.

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Copenhagen's Top New Hotspots

Copenhagen hotspot: Meyers Bageri

Once-gritty Jægersborggade, a cobblestoned thoroughfare in Copenhagen’s Nørrebro district, has been transformed by locals selling everything from house-made candy to flea-market treasures.

Arrive early at the compact café Meyers Bageri, owned by a cofounder of Noma (S. Pellegrino’s best restaurant in the world for 2011). The pumpkinseed rye bread and cinnamon buns made with organic Nordic flour often sell out by 9 a.m. No. 9; 45/3918-6900; breakfast for two $15.

Coffee Collective brews a clean cuppa using direct-trade beans from the developing world that are hand-roasted on site. Learn DIY techniques during one of its monthly courses. Coffee for two $6.

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Singapore Trend Alert: Supper Clubs, Chinese Sweet Soups, More

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Underground dining—experimental dinner parties with random strangers—is popping up around Singapore. Three supper clubs that are on the radar: Ping’s Illegal Diners Club run by food consultant focused on healthy eats; lolla’s secret suppers, hosted by champagne importers; and Social Candy, a network of like-minded amateur cooks. Locations change with each event and diners sign up via Facebook. It’s an eye-catching trend in a country that’s such a stickler for rules; we’ll see if it goes anywhere.

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On the Rise: Traverse City, Michigan

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On the northeastern side of Lake Michigan, Traverse City is a hip little town that has exploded in recent years with new wineries, a slew of fantastic farm-to-table restaurants, and its very own Michael Moore-founded film festival. Surrounded by lush farmland, vineyards, and pristine beaches, the area is still blissfully under-the-radar. But not for long: with summer-resident and star chef Mario Batali singing its praises, Traverse City’s on the rise.

BEST MEAL: Located in the historic Bowers Harbor Inn on Old Mission Peninsula, Mission Table reopened in 2010 after a major renovation and menu overhaul. Their commitment to local, sustainable ingredients is evident in their ultra-seasonal farm-to-table fare.

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A Luxe Travel Insider Launches New Website

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PR guru/savvy entrepreneur/enthusiastic globetrotter/longtime friend of T+L Melanie Brandman lives a life many would envy, traveling to all corners of the globe for her namesake company’s top-name travel clients.

And having also grown up in Australia and the Middle East, it’s no surprise Melanie’s world view is big—one that’s surely influenced and helped cultivate her good eye (and her good taste). Few know, however, that before her start in the travel industry, she worked as an editor at Vogue Australia.

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Today, Melanie officially returns to her early professional roots with the launch of The Travel Curator. The new website is her little black book of favorite finds from the road. Think of it as the short list or cheat sheet (hotels, restaurants, shops, more) for the world’s top luxury destinations mixed with smart trend coverage.

The first city in the spotlight? Sydney, of course. Melanie tips readers off to everything from a Surry Hills boutique renown for its custom textiles to what she calls “the best food truck in the Southern Hemisphere,” which sells meat pies with all the fixings around the clock. “Believe me, at 2 a.m. it’s just what the doctor ordered.” We do, Melanie!

Next month, travel with Melanie to New York City.

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