Richard Phibbs
| Credit: Richard Phibbs

Here’s a simple truth: food is an important component of travel and therefore of this magazine. It’s also a topic my editors and I are passionate about in our personal and professional lives.

The latest restaurant find, whether in New York or New Delhi; the best honey, olive oil, coffee, or butter; the most picture- and produce-perfect orchard, farm, or farm stand—these are frequently discussed topics on the 10th floor of 1120 Avenue of the Americas.

As is my habit, I am writing this letter on one of the last days of this issue’s close, and it has been an especially rib-sticking one at that. I jumped in over coffee by reading special correspondent Christopher Petkanas’s story about a food-lover’s fantasy in Paris—a six-times-a-year fair of delectable provisions from makers and growers throughout France (Pari Fermier; Paris Farmer’s Market)—then moved on (with the same author) to a dumpling- and poppy seed–rich romp through the taverns, Gasthäuser, and restaurants of northeast Austria (Austria’s Traditional Cuisine). Over lunch (egg salad on greens at my desk), I reviewed the captions and display type in the final proof of contributing editor Alexandra Marshall’s sojourn through that classic English country destination the Cotswolds, recently reborn as a haven for art- and style-savvy Londoners, among them a handful of noteworthy chefs who have put their stamp on the burgeoning local food scene (Discovering England’s Cotwolds). Then I turned to editor-at-large Peter Jon Lindberg’s account of the Southeast Asian metropolis-in-the-making Ho Chi Minh City (The New Look of Saigon, Vietnam), where the restaurant scene is a vivid reflection of the influx of global consciousness and culture—I can’t wait to try the spicy noodle soup at Bun Bo Xu. Finally, on to my afternoon snack (a nectarine) and our ultimate fall travel guide, Easy Fall Weekend Getaways, featuring local specialties from microbrews to morels and other seasonal bounty in New York’s Lake Placid; Asheville, North Carolina; Taos, New Mexico; and more.

To point the way to the best food and the best vacations, whether in the South Seas or the Indian Ocean, Paris or Las Vegas, we offer our annual A-List Guide to Top Travel Experts, a 16-page honor roll of 128 trip specialists. And because, as they say in that TV ad, An informed consumer is our best bet, T+L’s Smart Traveler columnist, Andrea Bennett, provides sound advice on how to avoid those extra airline charges (How to Avoid New Airline Surcharges). To ease your mind once you’re there, we address that age-old quandary of what to tip (2008 Worldwide Guide to Tipping)—in taxis, hotels, restaurants, and spas around the world. After all those vicarious meals, I at last dug into a real one for dinner, and herewith, my own latest restaurant find: Persephone, on East 60th Street, just east of Park Avenue. Don’t miss the grilled octopus.