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Chef’s Tour: Dallas with Matt McCallister

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The blue-eyed chef is making waves at his seasonal, Gulf-inspired restaurant, FT33—he even snagged a spot on Food & Wine magazine’s prestigious roster of Best New Chefs this year. We caught up with McCallister to find out his top local haunts in Dallas.

BreakfastSmoke’s Blueberry Pancakes and Smoked Brisket Cornbread Hash. ‘Nuff said.

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Six Sydney Restaurants to Try Now

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Our abridged, meal-by-meal guide to where and what to eat now.

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Q+A: Chef Hugh Acheson Talks Savannah, Seafood, and His New Restaurant, The Florence

201407-hd-hugh-achesonjpgThis summer, James Beard Award-winning chef Hugh Acheson adds yet another restaurant to his growing Georgia empire. Following in the footsteps of his four existing Peach State successes, The Florence, Acheson's highly anticipated take on Italian cuisine, opened this June in a former ice factory, just minutes from Savannah College of Art and Design's campus.

Serving a menu of contemporary Italian fare infused with Southern ingredients (think a Sicilian fisherman's stew filled with fresh Savannah seafood or Neapolitan-style pizza piled high with local cheeses), the restaurant is a welcome addition to the coastal city's growing food scene.

Below, the Top Chef judge fills us in on his favorite Savannah spots, travel tips for foodies, and what diners can expect from The Florence.

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Chef and Music Freak Andrew Carmellini on what Makes a Great Restaurant Soundtrack

andrew carmellini on restaurant soundtracks

Beware the “shuffle” button! I create playlists for all my restaurants. Maybe I’m a control freak, but I love the process. If I have 100 things to do, “Make soundtracks” is the one I’ll jump to first. (Right after “Test these four pasta recipes.”) At each place, it’s the same list every night, in order. So I know it’s 9:45 when Broken Bells comes on at the Dutch ($$$). Playlists are a progression—you want the music to unfold throughout the night, in terms of genres, BPM (beats per minute), the mood you set.

When the restaurant’s full, you shouldn’t really “hear” the music. You’ll know it’s there, but it won’t take over. Then again, if the room is too quiet—you hear waitstaff gossiping, glasses being cleaned—that’s distracting as well. Music fills that sonic space. It actually helps you focus on your conversation. But no 14-minute cuts! It’s annoying when a song is droning on and on while you’re waiting for dessert. You need a fresh track every three to four minutes.

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London's Clubino Piano Bar Opens to Hotel Guests and Private Members

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London's newest members-only lounge, Clubino Piano Bar, is proving to be an exciting option for discerning locals and guests at the Baglioni Hotel London. On a recent trip, club founder Luca Del Bono invited me to preview the intimate space, tucked beneath the hotel’s park-view bar.

“I’m trying to bring back a setting where people [can] drift away,” said Clubino’s founder, Luca Del Bono, “[like] we used to enjoy back in Italy a few decades ago.” 

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OpenTable Acquired By Priceline for $2.6 Billion

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In a deal that closed on Friday, OpenTable was purchased by Priceline for a hefty $2.6 billion—46 percent more than its previous closing share price would have suggested—marking a sea change in the way that online travel companies are thinking about business. Gone are the days of providing services just for planning and booking; these days, the mightiest of OTAs are thinking about how they can also capitalize on travelers once they’re on the ground. See TripAdvisor, long known as the site you check for reviews before booking (or to pen your own upon return): it has also gotten into the restaurant reservations game with the recent acquisition of Lafourquette, a European site much like OpenTable. It all makes tons of sense. If you’re as selective about where you eat as you are about where you stay, you need to book your restaurants well before traveling. And for Priceline, that will come to the tune of 15 million total diners a month. As for what’s next? We’d put money on local excursion booking tools, which have fast gained traction in the digital travel booking space over the last year.  

ne_headshotjpgNikki Ekstein is an Assistant Editor at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.

How Long is Too Long to Linger at a Table?

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Most good restaurants in the United States expect to turn over a table two to three times each night—that means they anticipate a party of two will stay for about an hour and 45 minutes (four-tops are usually allotted two hours). So once you’ve paid your bill, try not to spend the next hour nursing your final sip of wine. Internationally, diners enjoy a more leisurely pace. In Italy, for instance, experts say it’s virtually impossible to overstay your welcome. In countries from Australia and China to Argentina, meals typically run a full two to three hours. If you don’t know the protocol, look to the waitstaff for cues. They’ll let you know when your time’s up.

Related Links:
Travel Etiquette Do’s and Don’ts
Worldwide Guide to Restaurant Tipping
Craziest Travel Confessions

Amy FarleyHave a travel dilemma? Need some tips and remedies? Send your questions to news editor Amy Farley at tripdoctor@timeinc.com. Follow @tltripdoctor on Twitter.


Photo by iStockphoto

Hottest New Restaurants in the U.S.

New Restaurants: Pizza Domenica

New York City: Burrata with lox; buffalo skate wings: Amanda Freitag takes greasy-spoon food to new heights at Empire Diner ($$), a reboot of the Chelsea landmark. The 65-seat Brooklyn Fare Manhattan ($$$$) has finally opened, bringing the outer borough’s most coveted reservation to Hell’s Kitchen.

Philadelphia: Expect two spots in May from the increasingly prolific Michael Solomonov and Steve Cook (Zahav): Abe Fisher ($$$), inspired by Jewish cuisine from Europe, the U.S., and Canada, and the casual Israeli-style hummusiya Dizengoff ($).

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London's Peruvian Food Craze

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Scallops, Chia Seeds, Tumbo Passion.

The list of Peruvian restaurants in London seems to grow longer each month as Chotto Matte, Ceviche, Andina, Coya, and Lima (the first Peruvian restaurant to receive a Michelin star) are playing with ancient culinary traditions and introducing them to eager foodies. While each spot decidedly offers their own style, it's the blend of Japanese and Peruvian techniques and flavors, called Nikkei cuisine, that offers some of the most innovative, exciting dishes I’ve tasted.

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Q+A with René Redzepi, Chef at Noma—Just Named World's Top Restaurant (Again)

René Redzepi at Tacos Morelos

Well, we called it - René Redzepi's Noma reclaimed first place this year at the prestigious World's Best Restaurants awards. Noma first received the honor in 2010 and held steady through 2012, but came in second last year to Spain's El Celler de Can Roca, which retreated to second place in this year's rankings. T+L's Adam Sachs recently caught up with the revered chef in New York City.

A pocket-size mutt stares intently up at René Redzepi through the window of Tacos Morelos, a four-table taqueria in New York’s East Village. We’ve over-ordered—tongue tacos and fish tacos and house-made tortillas folded around a stewy, soft thing called suadero. This might seem an unlikely place to lunch with the charming forager, chef of Copenhagen’s Noma, chief progenitor of the New Nordic style, and accidental ringleader for a generation of international chef dudes. But René Redzepi is really into tacos. Enough so that his next venture will be helping Noma’s sous-chef, Rosio Sanchez, open a new taco shop in Copenhagen called Hija de Sanchez. (Yes, there are Mexican restaurants in Copenhagen. No, they’re not any good. “You’ve got Danish students in sombreros serving you,” Redzepi says, sadly. “You want to punch them.”)

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