Ask T+L: Thanksgiving Hotels, Art in Sydney, Affordable Road Trips
Can you recommend some top U.S. city hotels that serve an exceptional Thanksgiving dinner? —T.M., DALLAS, TEX.
Convenient to New York City's Thanksgiving parade route, chef Alain Allegretti dishes up roasted scallops with celeriac in rémoulade followed by organic turkey stuffed with country bread and foie gras at the Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park (50 Central Park S.; 212/308-9100; dinner for two $210). Save room for the pumpkin pie with gingerbread ice cream. Chicago's Drake Hotel (140 E. Walton Place; 312/787-2200; dinner for two $170) fills ravioli with butternut squash and pairs cold poached salmon with a pineapple relish. Desserts include baked alaska. Fresh oysters and prawns begin the feast at Seattle's Fairmont Olympic Hotel (411 University St.; 206/621-1700; dinner for two $190). Choose between turkey with dressing or prime rib with truffled mashed potatoes. Reservations are recommended— these restaurants can fill up well in advance.
Where can I find the best modern and contemporary art in Sydney?
—B.F., ST. PAUL, MINN.
The Museum of Contemporary Art (140 George St., The Rocks; www.mca.com.au) is a natural place to start, with its excellent collection of modern Australian (including Aboriginal) pieces. Catch the Erwin Wurm exhibition opening at the end of this month: visitors follow instructions, strike poses, and become living sculptures. Don't miss the dynamic art scene in the eastern suburbs, especially in Woollahra. Works by native sons Sidney Nolan, Brett Whiteley, Roy de Maistre, and others are on view at Eva Breuer Art Dealer (83 Moncur St., Woollahra; www.evabreuerartdealer.com.au). The Robin Gibson Gallery (278 Liverpool St., Darlinghurst; www.robingibson.net) houses modern sculpture and prints, all in a three- story Georgian sandstone building. Check out the Paddington neighborhood: Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery (816 Soudan Lane; www.roslynoxley9.com.au) showcases a wide range of media: performance, video, installation art, and photography.
Given the record high price of gasoline, is there anything I can do to save money on a road trip?
—J.K., NORTHRIDGE, CALIF.
You will no doubt spend more at the pump this holiday season. However, there are a few things you can do to increase the efficiency of your ride. If you are traveling a long distance, consider renting a hybrid—for example, the Toyota Prius or the newest Ford Escape. These models, which use a combination of gas and electric power, get phenomenal mileage: up to 60 miles per gallon. Also, solo drivers are allowed to travel in carpool lanes in some states (California and Virginia), letting you bypass heavier traffic. And no matter what kind of car you choose, it's a good idea to empty the trunk of unnecessary objects, says Jenny Mack, a spokesperson for the American Automobile Association. She also suggests checking your tires regularly for air: underinflated tires can reduce fuel efficiency.
T+L ASKS Will the higher price of gasoline alter your plans for car travel?Send us an e-mail (address below) and let us know.
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Music Box Theatre
In Lakeview off Southport Avenue, bright red lights illuminate the sign above an old-fashioned marquee at this retro theater. Completed in 1929 when movie palaces were popping up all around downtown Chicago, the Music Box Theatre is now considered the best theater in the city for foreign and independent films and has also hosted such notable premieres as Gone Baby Gone. The main 800-seat auditorium retains original features like the enormous columns, dramatic red curtain, and cove-lit ceiling, which resembles a night sky with twinkling stars and moving clouds. Monthly silent movie screenings are accompanied by the theater organ.
Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery
Exhibiting edgy and often controversial Contemporary art is the mission of this Paddington gallery, which opened in 1982. In particular, Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery highlights Asia-Pacific artist, especially in Japan, New Zealand, and Australia. The nondescript, two-story white building has hosted the works of notable artists like Bill Henson, James Angus, and Fiona Hall. Artist talks and group shows are a part of the monthly calendar, as well as the promotion of public art installations like Windwatcher by Mikala Dwyer, a colorful windsock (almost 35 feet long) mounted on the tall chimney of a local brewery.
Robin Gibson Gallery
This Darlinghurst neighborhood gallery has dedicated itself to promoting the provocative and edgy works of artists, both well-established and up-and-coming, within the Contemporary art form. Owner Robin Gibson launched his eponymous gallery in 1976 inside an 1850 residence building, and now exclusively represents such major Australian artists as Bryan Westwood and Clement Meadmore. This two-story, three-room gallery is a member of the Australian Commercial Galleries Association and showcases pieces from multiple mediums, including photography, ceramics, and sculpture. Exhibits change every four weeks, and previous artists on display have included Ian Grant, Tim Storrier, and Brett Whiteley.
Eva Breuer Art Dealer
Located in Woollahra, this gallery showcases the work of 20th- and 21st-century Australian artists. Breuer opened the gallery when she decided to stop working from home and eventually expanded into the neighboring building when it became available, providing the gallery with a space for exhibitions. Artists on display include Stephen Nothling, Ena Joyce, and Adrian Strampp. Each year, the exhibition calendar showcases a handful of contemporary artists, as well as thematic displays. The gallery regularly publishes and sells catalogues of past exhibitions.
Museum of Contemporary Art Australia
It's modern art a-go-go at the MCA, Sydney's chicest art museum with a top harborside spot in the Rocks. A striking 1952 sandstone building with a cuboid black, white, and gray 2012 extension, it displays contemporary Australian, indigenous, and international art. Take in the free permanent collection or crowd-pulling exhibitions starring big names such as Anish Kapoor, Yoko Ono, and Grayson Perry (fees apply), with optional guided tours. The rooftop café boasts wow-worthy views of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House (unless a pesky cruise ship blocks the horizon) and the shop stocks stylish souvenirs. Thursday late nights draw a hip crowd.
As the preferred stop for visiting heads of state, the Drake is the grande dame of Chicago hotels, with a prime location, storied history, white-glove service, and of course a distinguished guest list. The experience begins in the palatial lobby, where the ornate crystal chandeliers, soaring wood-paneled ceiling, and red upholstered walls conspire to make guests feel like royalty, especially when enjoying high tea in the gilded confines of the Palm Court. The 535 guest rooms and suites, traditionally outfitted with Regency-style furnishings, combine a scattering of antiques with crisp white bed linens. Those who are lucky enough to score rooms facing north and east have unobstructed views of the lake and Lake Michigan’s Oak Street Beach.
Room to Book: No. 550, the luxurious six-room Presidential Suite, where Princess Diana stayed during her 1996 visit to the city.
The Ritz-Carlton New York, Central Park
The Fairmont Olympic Hotel
If your preferred aesthetic is grande dame rather than high design, this historic property—which has hosted black-tie galas since 1924—is your only choice in Seattle. Afternoon tea in the Terrace Lounge, outrageously expensive shopping in the adjacent arcade, and elbows-off-the-table dining at the vaunted Georgian all create a sense of old-world glamour that’s rare in this city. Extensive renovations in 2010 refreshed all 450 of the rooms, and replaced the dated pastel color scheme with a richer palette of cranberry, gold, and robin’s egg blue accents in others. Designer Jinnie Kim updated the hotel’s elegant interiors without turning them into a postmodern hodgepodge; a dark wood chair with classic Biedermeier lines may be upholstered in lime green, while the modern marble sheen of the bathrooms might be tempered by delightful trompe l’oeil wallpaper.