Over the years, I’ve found one of the best ways to know a city’s best-kept secrets is to talk to its artists. I recently connected with one of Montreal’s rising stars—award-winning filmmaker and musician Daniel Isaiah, who's signed, appropriately, with music label Secret City Records.
Last month saw the opening of Rogue 24, a new restaurant by James Beard Award-winning chef RJ Cooper, in Washington D.C. Chef Cooper, previously the chef de cuisine at D.C.’s acclaimed Vidalia, was inspired to create his own restaurant concept after “going rogue” at his former post—creating a new, 24-course tasting menu for Vidalia diners.
What do you do with a stack of pre-Credit Crisis megaloplex plans and a 1.5 million square foot, post-Crisis cement hole? Why, make lemonade, of course!
Since 2008, not-Ft. Greene-not-DUMBO (NoFUMBO?) has awaited 60 stories of neo-ultra-Wow where Brooklyn’s Albee Square Mall once stood. We’ve scanned the Brownstoner and wondered, watching that blue plywood fence sway in the wind. Till now.
Now, from Manhattan Bridge to DeKalb, Flatbush Ave. is transformed. Kiosks direct tourists and Manhattanites. That blue fence? Gone.
Instead, broad steps descend past produce beds to a canopied dining area. Shipping containers become boutiques, concessions, a radio station...
Downtown Brooklyn, meet DeKalb Market. DeKalb Market, DoBro (as promoters say). Lemonade, anyone?
At a time when everyone’s a stickler for provenance, the wine atelier O Château has struck a chord with its wine-and-tapas bar concept on the Rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau near Les Halles. The concept, in addition to regularly scheduled wine tastings, is to offer a selection of exceptional wines by the glass. The house wine list offers 500 varieties (!) from around the world, with a selection of 40 wines by the glass (!) featured daily. Adding to the charm is the location: this landmark building was once a hotel particulier belonging to Madame Pompadour. A more recent claim to fame is that the chef, Tiffany Depardieu, was recently a contestant on Top Chef. An ideal location and great excuse, as if any were needed, to get to know your Latours from your Margaux. 68 rue Jean Jacques Rousseau, 1st. tel 33-1/44 73 97 80.
Tina Isaac is Travel + Leisure’s Paris correspondent.
Photo Courtesy of O Château
If you follow the dusty, pebble-scattered dirt road to Playa Langosta from Tamarindo on Costa Rica’s dense Pacific coast, you’ll observe a small stop sign jutting from tropical foliage, demanding you to halt—for tacos. The sign serves equal parts recommendation and warning, as it’s the last place to catch a bite before Tamarindo’s ubiquitous eateries give way to Langosta’s private beach estates.
Although well-known to locals, the 1.2-mile Sentier du Littoral pathway leading from Cap d’Ail on the Riviera to Monaco remains relatively obscure to visitors. That is set to change this summer, with the recent opening of A’Trego, Philippe Starck’s haute take on a humble fishing hut. This three-level fantasia, which sits on its own isle 100 feet offshore, is where chef Laurent Sturbois whips up traditional cuisine with a dash of extravagance, but what’s even more likely to make it a hot address are the venue’s two bars, one on the terrace and the other for members only.
Who She Is: Though she’s been known for years as a writer of books about Italian interiors, Elizabeth Minchilli’s greatest passion is food—an interest that blossomed after her family moved from St. Louis to Rome when she was 12. “By the time I was 14, I was cooking for the whole family,” recalls the writer, who, in addition to writing for Food & Wine, posts daily about Italian cuisine and travel on her blog.
Her Big Idea: “I’ve always had my own list of restaurants to recommend to friends when they come to town,” Minchilli explains. “People kept saying, ‘You should do an app.’” Earlier this year, she did just that, with the launch of Eat Rome and Eat Florence ($2.99 each; iTunes). Both are searchable, GPS-enabled apps with Minchilli’s picks and reviews for the best places to eat, drink, and shop for food in each city, complete with downloadable maps for offline viewing (to avoid costly roaming charges).
Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Minchilli
Perennially recognized as the gold standard of gastronomy, Spain’s Michelin three-star El Bulli will shutter its doors on July 30th and prepare for its transformation into a culinary research foundation and think tank (at least until 2014). For the mass of foodies never fortunate enough to take in chef Ferran Adrià’s mastery of molecular gastronomy—only a few thousand palates are so lucky every year—a peek into his world of foams, mousses and nouveau hybrid dishes can still be had via the silver screen.
El Bulli: Cooking in Progress debuts at New York's Film Forum tonight, the kickoff of a 10-city tour. The film pulls back the curtain and invites viewers along for Adrià’s journey from his experimentation lab in Barcelona—El Bulli closes for six months every autumn so its chefs can invent the following year’s menu—to the launch of a new season at the world’s most renowned restaurant on the Costa Brava. Adrià’s imaginative methods are on full display as he deploys thermo-mixing, vacuumizing, de-juicing, blanching and a vast range of other cooking techniques en route to a nightly 30-course-plus dinner menu. For many, it will be the first and last opportunity at a glimpse inside an eatery that's stamp on modern cuisine will never fade.
Click here for a full list of tour dates and cities.
Nate Storey is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure
Do you suffer from office ennui? Is walking around the block your idea of getting “fresh air”? Green a color you only see on weekends? If yes, then we invite you to kick back in your cubicle for a taste of a different kind of job: meet Kerry Clasby, professional forager.
This evening Swedish chef Marcus Samuelsson will pay homage to Red Rooster’s namesake, a speakeasy jazz legend Nat King Cole and author/civil rights activist James Baldwin used to tip back at, with an event during dinner service at his American joint dubbed “Chicken & Champagne.” Gourmands in the NYC area with a hankering for comfort food and bubbly should locate themselves to Harlem from 6 to 10:30 p.m. for chicken and waffle bites, deviled eggs, and curried chitlins ($4). Paul Goerg Champagne will be on pour ($10), along with a variety of champagne libations ($12). Tonight's tribute honors Chitlins' & Champagne Tuesdays, a weekly tradition held at the Great-Depression-era watering hole (210 Lennox Ave; 212-792-9001). We're not sure why Samuelsson planned a Monday event for a Tuesday tradition, but frankly we don't care—we'll take his cooking any day of the week.
Nate Storey is a Research Assistant at Travel + Leisure.