What’s it really like to work at a hip NYC restaurant? A server dishes the dirt.
“Some people are so impatient: one lady poked me in the hand with a fork while I was taking another order because she thought her food was taking too long.”
“Please don’t ask for a more desirable table. I get that you weren’t allowed to sit at the cool table in high school, but it’s only a table. Just sit down.”
“I’ve never seen a server spit in someone’s food, no matter how much the customer deserves it. It’s just not worth it.”
Photo by Corbis Flirt / Alamy
Watch out, B.A.—Santiago is South America’s new culinary capital. Our tip sheet.
Head to the buzzy Barrio Italia neighborhood for an espresso and Chocolatón (a wickedly rich chocolate cake) at Café Emporio Da Noi (1776 Avda. Italia). For pizzas and generous charcuterie platters, wait it out at the scene-y Ciudadano (400 Seminario; $$), where reservations are a tough score. The local music spot Café Bar Cinco Minutos (451 Avda. Santa Isabel)offers a small but standout menu, including a gloriously oozy steak-and-cheese sandwich—often called the city’s best.
Attention San Francsico foodies: a wave of new restaurants is hitting Hayes Valley in time for the opening of the neighborhood’s $60 million SFJAZZ Center (pictured), slated for January 2013. Dobbs Ferry is a new bistro that marries West Coast cuisine with old school, small-town New York style. (Owners Scott Broccoli and Danny Sterling hail from Dobbs Ferry, New York and the restaurant pays homage to their East Coast roots).
Thai classics are served up at Lers Ros, which has a robust menu featuring unexpected dishes, like garlic frog and chicken entrails with basil. Classic cocktails and seasonal-inspired small plates are the rage at Two Sisters Bar and Books. For the area’s best bread pudding, Schulzies (pictured), an outpost of the Venice location, is a must: the bread bar offers 108 different flavors of the dessert.
Photos courtesy of Mark Cavagnero Associates and Schulzies
Earlier this year, I took a weeklong anniversary trip to San Francisco, Napa, and Sonoma with my husband, Lee, an academic who gets hives at the thought of anything luxurious. Keeping him comfortable meant mixing extraordinary meals with unexpected finds and cheap local favorites. Here’s the best of our high-low itinerary that kept both of us satisfied.
Graydon Carter, the Vanity Fair editor-in-chief who moonlights as a restaurateur, has a Midas touch when it comes to reviving classic New York spots. He brought the Waverly Inn back to life in 2006, and Monkey Bar shortly thereafter. His latest transformation, with partners Emil Varda and Brett Rasinski: the West Village’s Beatrice Inn (285 W. 12th St.; $$$$), a 1950’s-era Italian restaurant turned nightclub turned chophouse. Here, Carter dishes on what it takes to succeed, the perfect sound track for eating steak, and more.
What to expect at the Beatrice Inn: This is downtown, so we don’t serve traditional huge steaks. Brian Nasworthy, a former Per Se sous-chef, runs the kitchen. There are a lot of salads—my wife demanded that.
Favorite New York chophouse: Keens Steakhouse (72 W. 36th St.; $$$). It was the hot place in the late 1800's, and it is still packed. The food is wonderful, and the drinks are hearty. I have the roast beef twice a year.
Prefer off-the-radar eateries to flashy, five-star affairs? That’s why Travel + Leisure and CNN teamed up for our series 100 Places to Eat Like a Local. For the next few months, we are combining iReports from you with chef and editor finds to give you tips on the best local food around.
Ever wonder where to get amazing Chinese food in Philadelphia? Chinatown might be a good guess, but how do you choose from the countless noodle houses lining the streets? Thankfully, we discovered Nan Zhou Noodle House (brought to our attention by cathybranch). Nan Zhou’s noodles are hand drawn and made to order, meaning you get to choose how you want them- broad or narrow, thick or thin. You can also pick from an array of proteins- from clam or shrimp to ox tail or lamb- to customize your dish.
Our iReporter suggests spicy pig ears to start while your noodles are being prepared. A few more insider tips- Nan Zhou Noodle House only accepts cash, so make sure to stop by an ATM on your way there. This joint is also BYOB, so while they do not sell wine or beer, you are welcome to bring your own to enjoy. Happy slurping!
Have your own suggestion for eating like a local? Share your iReport today!
Maria Pedone is a digital editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.
Inventive chefs have restaurants in Music City singing a different tune. Check out five of our favorite openings.
With a strong Southern food identity and a bevy of nearby farms, all Nashville needed to become a red-hot culinary destination was a dose of innovation—and it has arrived. At the Catbird Seat (1711 Division St.; $$$), chefs Josh Habiger and Erik Anderson have turned heads with their whimsical tasting menu (Wonder Bread purée, anyone?). Pizzas get a creative spin at Bella Nashville (Farmers Market, 900 Rosa L. Parks Blvd.; 615/457-3863; lunch only; $), where toppings include hummus and beets. The hip coffee shop Barista Parlor (pictured; 519B Gallatin Ave.; 615/712-9766; $$) offers more than just cups of joe: its chicken and waffles sells out in hours. Local food icon Deb Paquette goes global at Etch (303 Demonbreun St.; $$$), serving dishes such as Moroccan-spiced duck breast with harissa cranberries. Finally, Silo (1121 Fifth Ave. N.; $$) offers smoked-pork pot pie and grits with bacon jam, proof that even down-home classics can have an edge.
Photo by Caroline Allison
Celebrated Italian restaurateur Sirio Maccioni (the man behind New York's Le Cirque and a handful of other restaurants across Las Vegas and now New Delhi) returns to The Pierre with Sirio Ristorante, forty years after serving as maître d' at the same hotel's venerable La Forêt supper club kickstarted his illustrious career.
Shared plates and creative cocktails have replaced plumbing and electrical supplies at Laurel Hardware, a new West Hollywood haven for hunky men, leggy blondes, and the rest of the trendy Los Angeles crowd.
The city's hippest summer outpost opened recently in a former hardware store on Santa Monica Boulevard (nostalgic appliance-shoppers can take solace in the fact that the original sign and storefront remain).
First came food co-ops, then CSAs, then buy-your-own-raw-milk clubs. Next up: community-supported restaurants. A natural next step in the increasing obsession with hyper-local food, CSRs allow customers to become small investors in local eateries, giving them perks such as free meals—as well as a vested interest in seeing the restaurant succeed. For travelers, dining at a CSR means eating somewhere that is truly rooted in the surrounding community. We think these six new CSRs are worth checking out. If you agree, you can always buy in.
Rock Hill, South Carolina: Lell’s Café
This two-year-old spot features hearty, down-home cooking (bacon and pimento cheese sandwich; vanilla-bourbon sticky-finger French toast) made with seasonal Carolina ingredients. It opened with no bank loans, just the support of community investors.