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A Fashion Photog Goes Rogue in London

201104-b-fashion-1jpgI am backstage at the Michael Van Der Ham fashion show in London, in an ancient-looking building on the Thames. In the midst of the crush of models, dressers, other photographers and frantic hair and makeup teams, I am trying to get a great "beauty" photo for my client, a top fashion magazine. A makeup artist I know from New York, hands buried in a hunk of hair extensions, asks, "Are you going to Milan, too? Where are you staying?" So I tell her the truth—in an apartment with a Milanese couple.

"Oh, how do you know them?"

I don't. I found them on the Internet.

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Taste the Whisky on Your Tonga


The latest Canadian Club "Hide A Case" competition is now underway—without me. As you might remember from an item posted here last year, the company has hidden dozens of cases of Canadian Club in exotic locales around the world since 1967; most of them were discovered by adventurers thanks to the distillery's clues printed in magazine advertisements. Now four Americans and four Canadians have solved the latest series of clues and are headed for the island-nation of Tonga, where one of the few remaining hidden cases of C.C. whisky—and a check for $100,000—awaits the person who discovers the exact location.

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All About Apples at Pomze, Paris

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When I think of French food, images of smooth foie gras, flavorful duck confit, sumptuous cheeses and fluffy cream puffs instantly come to mind. But apples? A more unexpected association. Convinced of the limitless culinary uses of the forbidden fruit, brothers Daniel and Emmanuel Dayan opened Pomze in Paris in November, 2006 in a converted Haussmanian apartment in the 8th arrondissement, where more than 120 apple varieties are worked into their seasonally updated offering. Approximately 600kg of apples are delivered each week to satisfy client demand, proof that the fruit-focused hotspot has garnered a loyal following.

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Barcelona’s New Tapas Restaurant

Barcelona tapas

Food adventurers lamenting that they’ll never see the inside of El Bulli, now that the temple of experimental cuisine on the Costa Brava is being transformed into a cooking foundation, have reason to celebrate. Mad-scientist brothers Ferran and Albert Adrià have another trick up their sleeves. The just-opened Tickets, in Barcelona’s former cabaret district, aims to reinvigorate that Catalan staple, the tapa—with an Adrià twist, of course. “We want to offer a new approach to a traditional cuisine,” says Albert, whose nearby, more classic tapas bar, Lolita (formerly called Inopia), still draws lines around the block, even after five years. At Tickets, guests can grab a seat at one of six themed bars, including a parrilla grill station and another devoted to Mediterranean ingredients. On the menu: inflatos (fried, aromatized cereals) and artichokes with smoked Idiazábal cheese serum. For the concoctions that made El Bulli famous—sliced Parmesan ice cream, spherified “olives”—choose something off the menu at the cocktail bar, 41. As its name might suggest, Tickets is dining as entertainment, a concept driven home at the Technicolor dessert area, set beneath a big-top tent, where staff theatrically greet guests with flattering comments. “Only if they deserve it,” Albert says. 164 Avda. del Paral-lel; 34/93-423-2448; dinner for two $90.

Photo by Javier Salas

Walking Virginia's Widening Wine Trail

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As any University of Virginia grad will breathlessly assert, Charlottesville, VA is America's greatest college town. Perhaps even the world's. (Oxford? Bah!) Even this state-school graduate must admit there's a case to be made. C'ville, as it's known, is a lovely and vibrant little town rich with history, thanks in no small part to UVA's spacious, rolling grounds that have been painstakingly preserved since the university's founding in 1819. But there's more to Charlottesville than just UVA (and its famous Corner, a stretch of shops and eateries where students gather to slop down cheap, serviceable sustenance).

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Final Four Deals at Four Seasons Hotel Houston

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My experience in the world of sports piqued when I joined my local tee ball league; I spent my time in left field picking flowers and after hitting the ball, I may or may not have run to third base first. Needless to say, I don’t know a thing about sports.

That being said, I’m told that the NCAA Final Four (that’s basketball, folks) is upon us, and to celebrate, since the games are being played in Houston, Four Seasons Hotel Houston is offering some pretty cool specials. If you're a local and weren't able to score tickets (or just happen to be breezing through town), and want to enjoy the games in style, hit up the Lobby Lounge for salmon sashimi cleverly shaped like basketballs. (Just try to tell me those aren’t awesomely adorable.) For $16, you’ll score four.

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Stockholm’s Artsy Birkastan Neighborhood

Stockholm

On the outskirts of Sweden’s capital, the neighborhood of Birkastan has become a center for the city’s new creative class. Here are our favorite insider spots:

Ulrika Sandström Studio: Feminine frills and romantic ruffles get a dose of rock-and-roll in the homegrown designer’s latest collection, but don’t miss her line of neutral shifts at the pocket-size shop. 36 Norrbackagatan; 46-8/5456-4410; ulrikasandstrom.se.

Carin Wester: The current darling of the Stockholm fashion scene, Wester stands out with sharp silhouettes and playful prints for men and women, all on display in her white-walled boutique. 24 Rörstrandsgatan; 46-8/305-415; carinwester.com.

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First "Hotel Restaurant Week" Kicks Off

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Restaurant weeks are ubiquitous across the country, each one giving diners access to affordable, gourmet meals at the nation’s top eateries. This year, for the first time anywhere, Atlanta is home to a new event to highlight hotel restaurants. From April 2 through April 9, you can enjoy a $25 (not including tax and tip) three-course dinner at a multitude of the ATL’s hotspots.

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Berlin’s Hottest Spots Right Now

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Be in the know; here are the latest things to do and eat in Berlin.

Eat It
The pork-filled spring roll with prawns and garden beans at Sage Restaurant (dinner for two $155), located on the River Spree.

See It
A retrospective of 187 photographs by Robert Mapplethorpe at C/O Gallery (through March 27), from snapshots of Debbie Harry and Patti Smith to his controversial portraits of male nudes.

Book It
The light-filled Camper Suite at Casa Camper (doubles from $264), with views of the historic Mitte district and fiery Spanish-red walls softened by wood accents.

Buy It
The retro-casual hat collection at Rike Feurstein ($155), made by hand in a range of materials (cotton; raffia; Panama straw).

Ralph Martin is a contributor to Travel + Leisure.

Photo by Robert Mapplethorpe/Courtesy of Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation

High-Flying Design: KLM Teams with Marcel Wanders

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KLM is bringing a little style to the skies—and its World Business Class passengers. The Dutch airline is teaming up with celebrated artist Marcel Wanders, who's also recently collaborated with Baccarat crystal and Target, in addition to designing the interior of the Mondrian South Beach. His eco-friendly tableware debuts this March.

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