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.
Is San Francisco the new Munich? With a crop of new German-style drinking establishments in the city, it would seem so. At the uber-popular, 100-seat Biergarten (above) in Hayes Valley, you can sip your brew while sitting on one of the authentic German beer garden benches. There’s plenty of outdoor seating at the new Southern Pacific Brewing Company (below), a big, beautiful brewery that opened in a warehouse in an industrial corner of the Mission earlier this year.
While the pyrotechnics of Alinea’s molecular gastronomy and the tweezer-armed chefs at Noma fussing over strands of seaweed may garner all the accolades in the food world these days, other chefs are turning back the clock. They’re going back decades, even hundreds, of years.
Vintage-inspired menus—think Champagne-glazed Virginia hams, Waldorf pudding studded with nuggets of foie gras, poached salmon bathed in creamy French sauces—took off this year when restaurants across the country commemorated the 100th anniversary of the Titanic’s demise.
At Prime Meats in Brooklyn, diners paid $150 in April to taste the last meal served on the British ship, supposedly crafted under the consultation of Georges-Auguste Escoffier and Cesar Ritz. A Hindenburg dinner may follow.
It’s a city of pop-ups. San Francisco has bred a myriad of mobile food entrepreneurs who blog, tweet and serve up everything from ramen to fish tacos to loyal customers willing to hit the sidewalk. That’s about to change—slightly. Recently, some pop-ups have gone permanent, shouldering leases and outfitting commercial spaces. A few of the city’s newest restaurant fixtures? Radio Africa Kitchen (below), which serves creative Ethiopian food, recently opened up shop in Bayview. Meanwhile, the super-popular ramen/boba tea spot Ken-Ken Ramen has launched in the Mission. If deli is your thing, don’t miss the outpost of Wise Sons Delicatessen (above)for some of the city’s best bialys and challah.
It was 1925 when Harry’s New York Bar, the famed American cocktail oasis in Paris, served the first French hot dog. Now, nearly a century later, a new spot in the City of Light takes on chien chaud. Yannick Alléno, the Michelin-starred head chef from Le Meurice, recently launched his first bistro in the imposing Art Deco institution Maison de la Mutualité in the 5th. Terroir Parisien (24 rue Saint Victor), which opened in March, serves seasonal Parisian fare and specialty dishes like mackerel in white wine and sole gratin with duxelles. But the menu highlight is the headlining “Parisian hot dog,” made of veal and served in a crusty baguette. Be advised: the popular veau chaud sells out early—customers should arrive before noon to score one of these gourmet dogs.
Tina Isaac is Travel + Leisure’s Paris correspondent.
Photo by Jean-François Mallet
Mexican: the cuisine London could never get right. While the city mastered Emirati, Ethiopian, Polish, Syrian, Lebanese (and how!)—even Argentine steaks—attempts at Mexican fare have historically been less well-received. But that was then. Three years ago, the arrival of Mestizo—followed by the opening of popular burrito bar Chilango—began transforming London into a Mexican food mecca. Now the big guns from across the pond have arrived. Last month, Serge Becker opened hotspot taquería La Bodega Negra in Soho. Not to be outdone, Derek Sanders, the force behind New York City’s haute Mexican diner/speakeasy La Esquina, will soon open his London outpost right around the corner.
And don’t forget Peru! Star Peruvian chef Virgilio Martinez, who gained worldwide recognition for Central restaurant in Lima, will open his first London eatery this June. Meanwhile, Ceviche (pictured), which opened in March in Soho, is receiving buzz for its extensive menu and dedicated Pisco Sour bar.
Photo courtesy of Ceviche
For months T+L has been counting down to this summer in London, a city already pulsating with game-changing events and pioneering cultural festivals. Now, we’re adding another spot to your London itinerary: The Fringe 2012, a new pop-up members club that will offer ticket-holders some respite from all the Olympic buzz. Just a hundred yards from Olympic Stadium, The Fringe is housed in a converted Victorian stable house at Swan Wharf and will provide some of London’s finest food and drink (with Sweet&Chilli bringing their unique brand of creative cocktails to the experience). Olympic fans shouldn’t fret about missing any of the action—large LCD screens will broadcast all the main events.
The Fringe 2012 will officially pop-up on July 20th, a week before the Opening Ceremony, and operate through the Olympic and Paralympic Games until September 9th. Individual tickets start at $112 per day.
Briana Fasone is a digital editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure. You can follow her on Twitter @brifasone.
Photo courtesy of Nylon Communications Limited.
When you’re in Philadelphia to... check out the opening of the gleaming 4 1/2-acre city campus of the Barnes Foundation, home to 181 Renoirs—the largest collection in the world.
Eat at... The Dandelion (124 S. 18th St.; 215/558-2500; dinner for two $60), a new gastropub from Stephen Starr; we recommend the classic fish-and-chips.
Photo by Jason Varney
Here’s a first-visit-to-Cape Town mandate: you must do the scenic Cape Point drive. If you enjoy views, or fresh air, or anything good in life, this is surely one of the world’s most epic routes. Leave the city by looping around the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront and head south along the coast, with stops at Maiden’s Cove and Chapman’s Peak for some stellar photo ops. You’ll pass lovely towns, and may want to drop by the Bay Harbour Market at Hout Bay or the salty waterfront at Kalk’s Bay, where a visit to Olympia Café & Deli is preordained. Beware of baboons—they’re known for letting themselves into passing cars in hopes of relieving people of their snacks—but the ostriches you might spot on the side of the road are harmless.