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  • 06/24/15--06:00: Church Night
  • "Go to Lou's in Lakeview. Ask for Angel. If he's not there, leave.”

    I was lucky to get the clandestine, word-of-mouth invitation. Visiting Birmingham, Alabama, and desperately seeking a cocktail as the sun slid away on a Sunday afternoon, I didn't have many options. Over a third of Alabama's counties are dry, but even in wet Birmingham, many places abstain from serving on Sundays; liquor stores stay closed, too.

    From the street, Lou's doesn't look like much. Green neon script in the window spells out “Lou's Pub & Package Store,” and for the most part it delivers on that humble promise as a hybrid beer-and-shot dive bar and liquor shop (the retail side stays closed on Sundays). Locals drop in for a Bud at the low-ceilinged, dark-wood bar or sit on the patio, a few stone benches and tables arranged on the concrete out front. Some buy a bottle of Jack to take home at the end of the night. Most days of the week, it's a watering hole like any other, a little shabby, sure, but not without straightforward, reliable comforts—an empty stool, a cold beer.

    On Sundays and Wednesdays, however, things are a little different: It's Church Night at Lou's. On those nights, bartender Angel Negrín sets up a craft cocktail pop-up, something like a swank supper club plunked into a greasy spoon. The dive-bar bones are still there, of course, but Negrín adds a bit of flash as he unpacks diamond-cut mixing glasses and shiny jiggers. The genial Bud-drinkers in T-shirts remain, too, but they sit elbow to elbow with a younger crowd dressed in vintage finds and sipping Corpse Revivers, Old Pals, and other classic cocktails.

    “Is Angel here?” I ask the barrel-chested man in a flannel shirt who's standing at the clunky cash register over a display of gum and candy in a dusty glass case. Without a word, he jerks a thumb down the narrow bar. Negrín is easy to identify as mixologist material: tall and with a clean-shaven head, gracefully stirring two drinks at a time with long-handled bar spoons. Yes, this is the guy you want making your drink. I ease into one of the round tables arranged artlessly in the retail space between the long walls of bottles and scan the menu. There are a handful of original cocktails, including the Mid-Bar Purse Dump, a tall, fruity vodka sipper. But mostly Negrín sticks to classics: I order the Diamondback (rye whiskey, applejack, and yellow Chartreuse)—a vintage drink, but a new one to me. It's balanced and bracing, and it disappears awfully fast.

    Melina Hammer

    “It didn't start as a Church Night,” Negrín says. “It just happened that way.” Before Lou's, Negrín, a Pennsylvania native, mixed drinks at Birmingham's fine-dining restaurants, including Frank Stitt's French bistro, Chez Fonfon, and Italian-inspired Bettola. Around then, he noticed that Birmingham had little in the way of stand-alone cocktail bars. When the owner of Lou's mused aloud one night about offering craft cocktails, Negrín volunteered to jump in on the slow nights, Wednesday and Sunday. Coincidentally, those are the same two days that many of the Bible Belt faithful attend church. “You go to church twice a week if you don't want to be talked about bad by your congregation,” Negrín says. But it wasn't any rebellion against moralists that got Church Night going—it was the dearth of great drinks. “The cocktail scene in Birmingham is so young,” says Negrín. “It wasn't that long ago that you couldn't get a good cocktail here.”

    At Church Night, the low steel-and-vinyl barstools are full—one ponytailed gent in spectacles and a vest chats up a woman sporting plenty of ink and a crocheted dress. By the window, a table of denim-clad locals makes birthday toasts with bottles of beer and tequila shots. In a whiskey-fueled reverie, I squint and—just for a moment—the bottle-green neon glow in Lou's window almost looks like stained glass. A burst of laughter erupts from the group by the window, bringing me back, and it's time to order another round.

    See the recipe for the Diamondback Cocktail »


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    Drinking Vermouth

    Matt Taylor-Gross

    At the Mercado de San Fernando in Madrid’s hipster-leaning Lavapiés neighborhood, day drinking is a family affair. Every Sunday afternoon, locals crowd the market’s grid of vintage deli counters that are repurposed to sell everything from the traditional jamón iberico to sushi rolls to paperbacks stacked tall like cuts of meat. But the most crowded stalls are the bars, where adults slug glasses of vermouth lightened with a little soda water and an orange peel when they’re not spooning bites of Day-Glo yellow paella into the waiting mouths of their offspring. The scene resembles what Brooklyn’s Park Slope might be like if its open-container laws were a little less restrictive.

    Though I was aware of the habit in advance, the prevalence of vermouth still came as a surprise during my recent trip to Spain. It was suddenly everywhere, from the Madrid market to ancient open-air bars in Seville to Granada tourist traps. Each spot comes with its own variations. Seville’s heat was met with a refreshing splash of extra soda, while Granada’s chilly altitude meant an apéritif served straight, dark, and pungent. And there was always a snack nearby—bits of chorizo, fried seafood, tortilla española—to go alongside it.

    This ritual of tomar un vermut—literally, “taking a vermouth”—is to Spain what grabbing an espresso is to Italy. It’s a social activity undertaken pretty much whenever over the course of daylight hours, preferably with a friend or three. The beverage is less an intoxicant than a way to pass the time. It accelerates your afternoon rather than ending it, unlike New York City’s excessive bottomless mimosas. In Spain, excess is not the point; enjoyment is.

    Spaniards know how to day-drink with relentless aplomb. Their beverages of choice—whether low-alcohol vermouth, precise glasses of Rioja, or almost offensively light beers—enable this superpower. While we throw back thick bloody marys and headache-inducing prosecco mixers, we could be having a lot more fun with something less heavy.

    Luckily for us, the time is right. Vermouth has recently shed its formerly fusty reputation in the U.S.; bars have begun serving it on its own, and small vermouth producers are popping up around the country. But we remain somewhat lost as to how to consume it. It’s time for us to adopt the social traditions that come along with vermouth and drink it the way Spaniards do: all day, every day.

    One of vermouth’s many advantages is its flexibility. At the Basque restaurant Huertas in Manhattan’s East Village, beverage director Nate Adler pours two types of house vermouth: red and white. As Adler explains it, vermouth isn’t limited to a single format. “There are no regulations as to origin, what goes into it, what the alcohol by volume is,” Adler explains. Vermouth is simply wine, usually with brandy, plus bitter herbs and roots like gentian and angelica. “You can drink it all day long,” Adler says.

    Huertas’s red vermouth is served both straight up and in cocktails: There’s the Tinto del Verano, a fizzy mainstay with a splash of soda; the Fumador, with cherry syrup; and a sherry Negroni, which doesn’t actually include any gin. It’s not just about straight vermouth, but about representing the full gamut of drinks found across Spain. “We wanted to recreate that cultural experience,” Adler says.

    Following Spanish tradition, you might want to stick to sunlight hours to drink your vermouth. But you don’t have to fancy it up to enjoy it.

    “If I want something that’s kind of like sangria but not disgusting, I like vermouth with lambrusco in equal parts."

    “I love throwing in a dash of bitters and splash of soda and a peel of whatever citrus I have laying around,” says Bianca Miraglia, the founder of Uncouth Vermouth, a Brooklyn-based vermouth maker that works with Huertas. “If I want something that’s kind of like sangria but not disgusting, I like vermouth with lambrusco in equal parts. That’s a really great daytime cocktail.”

    Sangria, the Spanish wine cocktail we know best, albeit in a badly Americanized form, has a cloying reputation; the kalimotxo, cola added to red wine, is catching on as well, but it still hides behind sweetness. Vermouth has nothing to conceal.

    Vermouth doesn’t care how or when you drink it—in fact, the earlier the better, so as to fit more into the day. It doesn’t care what you mix it with. It’s not about finding the perfect craft cocktail formula or the precise appellation of French wine. Vermouth is chill, perfect for sunny summer Fridays when you can drink and picnic like you’re in Spain even if you don’t have a vacation planned—and you’ll still make it out afterwards.

    Madrileños appreciate vermouth’s slight insouciance. At Bar Barroso, one of those popular counters in the Mercado de San Fernando, a portly, balding gentleman will tip a two-foot-tall bottle of Cocchi into a glass, splash tonic from a bottle, throw in an orange peel, and serve it up. One afternoon, he tilted the bottle too enthusiastically in a rush to serve his waiting patrons and the vermouth splashed everywhere over the metal counter. It sat stickily for a long time, in which the bartender poured and served several more glasses, before being wiped up.

    In Madrid:
    Bar Barroso
    Mercado de San Fernando
    Calle de Embajadores, 41
    Madrid, Spain

    In Manhattan:
    Huertas
    107 1st Avenue
    New York, NY 10003

    Kyle Chayka is a writer living in Brooklyn.


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    Morocco, Marrakech, Nomad

    Jessica Pepper-Peterson

    Morocco is the land of spices, herbs, and scents; of seven-vegetable couscous and clay tagines that stew up anything from chicken to beef to fish with little more than an occasional stir. While classic kebabs and slurpy snail soup can be found in the nightly stalls of Marrakech’s bustling Jemaa el-Fna Square, where snakes are charmed and bright round oranges are pressed into pulpy juice, there’s no shortage of more traditional restaurants either. But traditional doesn’t mean predictable. Each of these five spots offer a little something extra with mealtime: From Parisian chefs whipping their Michelin stars into north African delicacies while live music plays in the courtyard to local dadas (traditional female cooks) who eschew blenders for their hands and will teach you to do the same.

    Morocco, Marrakech, Le Jardin

    Jessica Pepper-Peterson

    To Escape the Medina, with Lunch and Juice: Le Jardin
    After you’ve haggled the price of your Berber carpet and picked out all your copper lanterns from the souks of Marrakech’s maze-like medina, or old city, weave your way to this lovely respite in the center of souk El jeld. Surrounded by lush greenery where turtles roam the garden eating lettuce at your feet, it’s a great spot for a fresh juice (try the orange and beet), a milky date shake, or something simple, like a club sandwich and a side of fries. There are Moroccan dishes, too, but the space, with its upstairs pop-up shop full of high-priced kaftans from Algerian-born designer Norya Ayron, caters especially to visitors and expats—but won’t make you feel like you’ve just gotten off the tour bus.

    Le Jardin
    32, Souk Sidi Abdelaziz
    +212 5 24 37 82 95
    Monday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-12 a.m.

    Morocco, Marrakech, La Maison Arabe

    Jessica Pepper-Peterson

    For a Traditional Tagine that Comes with a Lesson: La Maison Arabe
    What started out as a restaurant back in 1946 is now a full-fledged hotel with 26 rooms and a first-rate cooking school where students can spend four hours with a dada, learning how to preserve lemons and then mixing them up with chicken and olives in a tagine. Two classes are held daily: One at the hotel and one on their off-site property 15 minutes away, where eclectic herbs like lemon verbena and chocolate mint grow wild in the garden. During the class, participants get their own cooking station, complete with a video screen to mimic the dada, and ingredients to chop and measure. Once all’s been stirred and stewed, you’ll feast outdoors before receiving a completion “diploma”—and your own mini tagine to take home. It’s an absolute must in the medina.

    La Maison Arabe
    Derb Assehbii
    +212 5 24 38 70 10
    Half-day cooking courses at 10 a.m. or 3 p.m.; 600 dirham pp not including alcohol (or $62 at 9.67 dirham to the $1)

    For Late Afternoon Story Telling with a Snack: Cafe Clock
    “Morocco is not only about monkeys with diapers in the square,” said an apprentice storyteller before introducing his mentor Hajj Ahmed Ezzaraghani, 75, who shares tales that date back thousands of years—known as hikayat—at Cafe Clock every Thursday night. The cool hangout, opened in 2014 by British expat Mike Richardson, is not only a self-proclaimed “cross-cultural” destination for fables or morning yoga classes—it serves starters and snacks like creamy artichoke soup and a vegetable bastilla, or savory pie, and it’s home to the famed Clock Camel Burger with homemade “Tza” Ketchup (loaded with cinnamon), which is out of this world.

    Cafe Clock
    224 Derb Chtouka
    +212 5 24 37 83 67
    Monday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

    For a Michelin-Starred Dinner with Music: Le Grande Table Marocaine
    From the pouf (a pillow-top stool) provided for your handbag to the orange blossom water brought over to your table for hand washing, this is decadent dining in all its glory. If you can’t afford to stay in one of the Royal Mansour’s private riads—a traditional, open-roofed house—for upwards of €1,000 a night, settling for Parisian chef Yannick Alleno’s Moroccan Table (his Table Francais is just across the courtyard) is an excellent alternative. Here, snails are grilled and stuffed into ravioli, clams from the country’s Dukkaha Abda region are cooked in a tagine, and beef is served with gnocchi spiced with saffron from Ourika in the Atlas Mountains. Start with a glass of Laurent Perrier Rosé Champagne before the meal where a man plays an Arabic string instrument called an oud in the blue-tiled, open-air courtyard. There’s not a worry in the world—except maybe the bill.

    Le Grande Table Marocaine
    Rue Abou Abbas El Sebti
    Dinner only, Monday-Sunday from 7:30 p.m.

    Morocco, Marrakech, Nomad

    Jessica Pepper-Peterson

    For a Modern Moroccan Dinner, with Cocktails: Nomad
    This rooftop spot, which opened in November, is just steps from the historical Jemaa el-Fna Square—but it couldn’t be more contemporary and cool. Co-owned by Brit Sebastian de Gzell, who collaborated with Serge Becker on Miss Lilly’s in New York City’s SoHo, it’s a multi-level restaurant dressed up in designs from local artisans but maintains a more minimalist look with tan cushions and black and white patterned placemats. The modern Moroccan cuisine features eclectic twists on classics such as a bastilla filled with vegetables and goat’s cheese (instead of pigeon) and calamari from Agadir in a cumin and anchovy-infused sauce with harissa. Alcohol can be hard to find in this city, but here, cocktails like cucumber martinis or mojitos are on tap for international clientele.

    Nomad
    1, Derb Aarjan
    +212 5 24 38 16 09
    Monday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.

    Sara Lieberman is a freelance lifestyle and travel journalist whose work appears in the New York Times, Hemispheres, The Daily Beast and more. She enjoys practicing yoga in unusual places, all things New York and Paris (her two “homes”), and considers one piece of pizza the perfect snack. Her personal musings on self-discovery while discovering the world can be found on her blog News Girl About Towns.


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  • 06/25/15--08:42: Travel Guide: Rome
  • Rome Guide

    Katie Parla

    With a city nicknamed Caput Mundi—Capital of the World—it’s only natural that Romans are accustomed to seeing their home as unrivaled in matters of history, culture, and food. And while it's true that traditional local cuisine holds a sacred place at the table, the Eternal City is hardly impervious to change. The city’s classics, from carbonara to cacio e pepe, are still universally beloved, but Rome’s dining and drinking culture, like that of all cities, is in a constant state of slow evolution. Recently, tightening purse strings, a transitioning food economy, and changing palates have conspired to create exciting new ways of dining, drinking, and shopping for food. Visitors to the Italian capital will be endlessly satisfied, whether they are after traditional foods or fresh flavors.

    The innovative features of Rome’s flourishing food and drinks scene are at their best when they use tradition as a foundation: neo-trattorias like Cesare al Casaletto serve clever twists on the classics, while the nascent craft cocktail culture, embodied by The Jerry Thomas Project, embraces historic spirits and forgotten flavors. Wine bars and craft beer pubs run by enthusiastic experts promote small producers over conventional choices and a revived interest in food provenance has given rise to a growing number of farmers’ markets—which contrary to popular belief are relative newcomers to the city’s gastronomic landscape.

    Where to Eat

    Terre e Domus
    “Locavore” isn’t a trendy buzzword at this wine bar and restaurant near the Roman Forum; it’s an imperative. Terre e Domus is run by Rome’s county government and its aim is to support local farmers and winemakers by only using ingredients sourced in the city’s environs. Even the bottled water comes from a nearby spring. Chef Marco Pasquali serves seasonal Roman classics like vignarola, a stew of artichokes, fava beans, peas, and lettuce, as well as perennial favorites like potato gnocchi and polpette di bollito, deep fried patties of simmered beef. The espresso is among the finest in town, but you don’t need to sit down for a whole meal to try it—just swing by on your way to the Forum and get a quick caffeine fix at the bar. The place gets busy at lunch, so book ahead and request a table with a view of Trajan’s Column.

    Terre e Domus
    Via Foro Traiano 82-4
    Piazza Venezia, Rome, Italy
    +390669940273

    Cesare al Casaletto
    If there is any place in Rome that warrants a trip across town, it’s this neo-trattoria in the Gianicolense district. Getting there is simple: just hop on the #8 tram at Piazza Venezia and take it to the end. A short walk from the tram stop, chef Leonardo Vignoli serves classic and innovative Roman fare. He has a flair for fried starters like eggplant croquettes, baby octopus, squash blossoms, and polpette di bollito, while his tripe, oxtail, and pig liver always hit the mark on flavor and texture. The wine list, which mixes small producers from Italy and France, is outrageously affordable and features mainly organic and biodynamic producers.

    Cesare al Casaletto
    Via del Casaletto, 45
    Gianicolense, Rome, Italy
    +3906536015

    Tavernaccia da Bruno
    When Bruno opened his “tavernaccia” in southern Trastevere in 1968, he served Roman classics alongside rustic country dishes from his native Umbria. Now, Bruno’s daughters are at the helm and follow in their father’s footsteps with a few additions to the repertoire. The Sardinian chef—Bruno’s son in law—masterfully uses the wood-burning oven to slow-roast punta di petto (beef brisket) and maialino (suckling pig) to tender perfection. The wood-fired lasagna is exceptional and there is a tasty assortment of thin-crusted pizzas and flatbreads, as well.

    Tavernaccia da Bruno
    Via G. da Castelbolognese, 63, corner with via Panfilo Castaldi 12
    Trastevere, Rome, Italy
    +39065812792

    Salumeria Roscioli
    For the past decade, this deli-wine bar-restaurant combo has captivated chefs and food writers drawn in by its exceptional ingredients. They are best when presented simply: burrata with semi-sun-dried tomatoes, mortadella, and 30-month aged Parmigiano-Reggiano; and Isigny butter and Cantabrian anchovies on the house sourdough. The rigatoni alla gricia is dressed in a tight sauce of cured pork jowl, black pepper, and copious amounts of finely grated Pecorino Romano, and the spaghetti alla carbonara is made with the eggs of goat’s milk-drinking Livorno hens. Book a table on the ground floor near the kitchen for marginally roomier seating than you'll find in the crowded basement or deli area.

    Salumeria Roscioli
    Via dei Giubbonari, 21/22
    Campo de’ Fiori, Rome, Italy
    +39066875287

    Metamorfosi
    Few Michelin-starred venues in Rome are worth the investment or the calories; Metamorfosi is a noted exception. The Rome-trained international kitchen flawlessly executes contemporary cuisine drawing on native Italian ingredients fused with modern techniques and exotic (by local standards) flavors. Signature dishes like candied tomato ravioli with burrata and cured pork jowl and miso-lacquered eel with caramelized onions and tangy vinegar sorbet are supremely balanced; the rest of the menu, which changes a few times a year, is guided by the seasons.

    Metamorfosi
    Via Giovanni Antonelli, 30/32
    Parioli, Rome, Italy
    +39068076839

    La Torricella
    The Testaccio neighborhood, the site of a former slaughterhouse, may be known for quinto quarto (offal and poor cuts), but the menu at this family-run institution on the edge of the district is decidedly fish-focused. The D’Alfonsi family serves fresh catch from the nearby Tyrrhenian Sea, and their antipasti are particularly good: pan-fried anchovies, fried and marinated baby octopus, and fresh octopus salads. Be sure to ask about the antipasto cart, which tends to be rolled only to tables of regulars, before ordering. Pastas and mains change regularly, but there are always whole fish on the menu, served roasted or grilled.

    La Torricella
    Via Evangelista Torricelli, 2/12
    Testaccio, Rome, Italy
    +39065746311

    falvio carbonara rome travel pasta

    Katie Parla

    Flavio al Velavevodetto
    At the edge of the Testaccio neighborhood’s nightclub row, Flavio De Maio serves an offal-driven menu of Roman comfort food in a deeply historical setting; the dining rooms are excavated into a hill made of 2,000-year-old olive oil jugs. De Maio’s rigatoni alla carbonara is deceptively light in spite of its rich ingredients—eggs, cured pork jowl, and Pecorino Romano—and you’ll want to pick up his braised oxtail with your hands and eat it off the bone. The cacio e pepe, simmered tripe, and fried lamb chops are similarly alluring, but be sure to save room for Rome’s creamiest tiramisù.

    Flavio al Velavevodetto
    Via di Monte Testaccio, 97
    Testaccio, Rome, Italy
    +39065744194

    Tempio di Iside
    Francesco Tripodi, a Calabrian transplant to Rome, serves exquisitely fresh fish at this cavernous restaurant near the Colosseum. The raw items, including French oysters and Adriatic shrimp, are without rival in the Italian capital, and the pasta dishes—like spaghetti with sea urchin roe and linguine with crab—are elegant in their simplicity. In Rome, fresh fish is a luxury, which is reflected in the prices at Tempio, but you’ll be hard pressed to find fish in this category anywhere else in town.

    Tempio di Iside
    Via Pietro Verri, 11
    Colosseo, Rome, Italy
    +39067004741

    Pizzeria Ostiense
    Three young friends opened this lively pizzeria in April 2014 in the Ostiense district, a rapidly transitioning industrial zone. Pizzas may be the main event, but locals know to begin with assorted fried starters like fiori di zucca (squash blossoms filled with mozzarella and anchovies), filetti di baccalà (battered cod), and simmered beans. The pizzas are made in the classic Roman style: briefly leavened dough is stretched, rolled flat, then baked in a wood-burning oven. The result is a crispy, practically rimless pie. The best pizzas are the ones sparsely topped like the Napoli (with tomato, mozzarella, and anchovies) and fiori di zucca (with mozzarella, squash blossoms, and anchovies). Desserts like panna cotta (served dripping with chocolate sauce) and tiramisù are creamy and satisfying.

    Pizzeria Ostiense
    Via Ostiense, 56 b/c
    Ostiense, Rome, Italy
    +390657305081

    Tonda
    North of the city center, Tonda’s domed, ceramic-clad oven bakes Rome’s finest thick-rimmed pizzas. Although the local Roman style calls for a thin, crispy base, Tonda emulates the Neapolitan tradition of a thicker, slightly chewy crust. Toppings range from classic margherita to innovative carbonara (topped with the ingredients traditionally found in the pasta dish) and there is a wide assortment of fried appetizers to start with. Tonda also serves trapizzini—triangular pockets of dough filled with simmered meats or offal. All ingredients are top-notch and the wine list is well curated, but the gourmet sourcing doesn’t translate to a pretentious atmosphere. Tonda is a down-to-earth neighborhood joint with friendly service and a loyal following, so be sure to book in advance.

    Tonda
    Via Valle Corteno, 31
    Nomentano, Rome, Italy
    +39068180960

    Where to Stay

    Hotel 47
    Built on the ruins of Rome’s ancient livestock market, this early 20th century building was designed in a rational/fascist architectural style, complete with clean lines and plenty of white limestone. But now, the austere atmosphere has been replaced with hospitable modernity and restrained luxury. The upper floors have views of the verdant Aventine Hill and over ancient temples to the rooftops of Trastevere. The top floor bar, which is open to visitors as well as guests, provides a shaded retreat from the ruins below.

    Hotel 47
    Via Luigi Petroselli, 47
    Circo Massimo, Rome, Italy
    +39066787816

    babuino 181 hotel

    Courtesy of Babuino 181 Hotel

    Babuino 181
    Part of Alberto Moncada di Paternò’s Rome Luxury Suites hotel chain, Babuino 181 is located mid-way between Piazza del Popolo and Piazza di Spagna, a bustling shopping district. Each of the 24 rooms is furnished with muted tones, large beds, and marble bathrooms. In the summer, the rooftop terrace hosts al fresco breakfast service and evening cocktails.

    Babuino 181
    Via del Babuino, 181
    Campo Marzio, Rome, Italy
    +390632295295

    JK Place
    Housed in La Sapienza University’s former architecture building, the JK Place, which opened in 2013, is a relative newcomer to Rome’s growing number of boutique luxury hotels. Each of the 30 lavishly decorated rooms, many of which are set in converted classrooms, are outfitted with fine textiles and beautifully designed furniture, while the common areas are packed with pieces of Neo-Classical sculpture and contemporary art. In spite of its location near the intersection of Via del Corso and Via dei Condotti—Rome’s high-end shopping nexus—the rooms are quiet and sheltered from street traffic.

    JK Place
    Via di Monte D'Oro, 30
    Campo Marzio, Rome, Italy
    +3906982634

    Where to Drink

    Stavio
    Just south of the city center, Rome’s old industrial zone and commercial port is slowly transitioning into a trendy nightlife district with clubs, cocktail bars, and pubs. Stavio, which is set in an old granary, pours beers from its dozen or so taps and hand pumps. Brews from the eponymous brewery are on constant rotation alongside craft beers from Italy, Belgium, and the UK. Stavio attracts a young crowd for their nightly aperitivo (a sort of happy hour) when they serve discounted beer with complimentary snacks.

    Stavio
    Via Antonio Pacinotti, 83
    Portuense, Rome, Italy
    +390694363146

    Caffè Propaganda
    Caffè Propaganda’s long, polished zinc bar is home to one of the city’s most exciting cocktail programs. Helmed by top mixologist Patrick Pistolesi, Propaganda serves dozens of classic cocktails with an Italian twist. Pistolesi draws on Italian spirits, citrus, vermouth, and even red wine when crafting his concoctions. The bar gets crowded and patrons are admitted on a first-come, first-served basis, so pop in for an early aperitivo followed by a stroll past the neighboring Colosseum.

    Caffè Propaganda
    Via Claudia, 15
    Colosseo, Rome, Italy
    +390694534255

    rome bar travel

    Katie Parla

    The Jerry Thomas Project
    The faux-speakeasy trend may be old news in the U.S., but it is currently in full swing in Rome. At The Jerry Thomas Project, a team of well-traveled friends has joined forces to create a cocktail mecca in central Rome. The house cocktails include historic drinks, many of which were first mixed by the bar’s pre-Prohibition namesake, as well as original creations featuring obscure spirits and house-made vermouths based on turn of the 20th century recipes. A booking and a password are prerequisites for entry, so come prepared.

    The Jerry Thomas Project
    Vicolo Cellini, 30
    Campo de’ Fiori, Rome, Italy
    +390696845937

    La Barrique
    La Barrique is part of a growing number of Roman wine bars that completely eschews conventional wines in favor of organic, biodynamic, traditional, and natural options. Their assortment of sparklers is stellar and the white, red, rosé, and orange wines showcase excellent and affordable producers from Italy, France, Austria, and Slovenia. The list of wines by the glass is extensive and ideal for solo drinkers eager to taste a variety of styles, but groups should dive into the fabulous bottle list.

    La Barrique
    Via del Boschetto, 41
    Monti, Rome, Italy
    +390647825953

    Litro
    The leafy Monteverde Vecchio neighborhood is home to one of Rome’s most dynamic wine and cocktail bars. The owners are obsessive about knowing all their producers personally, and each bottle on the constantly changing list is chosen for its ability to express the terroir of its origins. Recently, mixologist Valeria Sebastiani took over behind the bar and introduced a refreshing assortment of aperitivos, as well as some stiffer cocktails for mezcal and whiskey lovers. The tiny kitchen serves a selection of small plates, cheeses, and cured meats.

    Litro
    Via Fratelli Bonnet, 5
    Monteverde Vecchio, Rome, Italy
    +390645447639

    What to Do

    Daniela's Cooking School
    Taking a cooking class with Daniela Del Balzo feels like learning to cook from your sweetest friend. Guests begin with a trip to the nearby Testaccio Market to shop for ingredients, then return to Daniela’s beautiful home on the Aventine Hill to prepare and eat a full meal. She is supremely hospitable and an excellent teacher, so her classes book up well in advance.

    Daniela's Cooking School
    Aventino, Rome, Italy

    Peroni
    Not to be confused with the industrial beer company, Peroni is a kitchenware shop a short walk from the Vatican. The showroom brims with pots, pans, tools, glassware, and gadgets, and items range from simple pasta tools to French enamel cookware. At storefront 16-17 on the same square, their other shop, Peroni in Pasticceria, specializes in baking tools and ingredients.

    Peroni
    Piazza dell’Unità 29
    Prati, Rome, Italy
    +39063210852

    Elifant Archaeo-Culinary Tours
    Classical archeologist Elizabeth Bartman and prolific food writer and historian Maureen Fant recently launched a culinary tour company that focuses on food history and archeology in Rome and Naples. Their Roman itineraries sample historic dishes, contemplate ancient food commerce, and explore the city’s ancient Jewish culinary tradition, providing a thorough portrait of more than 2,000 years of Roman dining and drinking.

    Elifant Archaeo-Culinary Tours
    +13478686345

    Antiqua Tours
    Wife and husband team Sarah May Grunwald and Ettore Bellardini are the hardest-working couple in the local wine tourism business. The two trained sommeliers organize wine events, offer private tours, and coordinate small group tastings in Rome and its environs. For a deeper understanding of Italian regional wine, spend an afternoon with them visiting historic wine bars in Rome’s historical center, or take a vineyard excursion to the nearby countryside.

    Antiqua Tours
    +393497197603

    Trionfale Market
    Its roughly 200 stalls fill a modern covered space a few blocks north of the Vatican, yet the city-run Trionfale Market remains unadulterated by Rome’s notorious tourist flood. Dozens of produce stalls showcase local and seasonal specialties, while several international stalls cater to Rome’s robust immigrant community. Roman and Halal butchers sell meat and offal, while specialty stalls sell dried fruits, spices, eggs, and honey. Its atmosphere, energy, and excellent produce make this a great destination to snag picnic provisions or to stock up on ingredients if you're staying somewhere with a kitchen.

    Trionfale Market
    Via Andrea Doria
    Trionfale, Rome, Italy
    +390639720786

    Biomercato
    The farmers’ market phenomenon is slowly gaining momentum in Rome. Since the late 19th century, city authorities have actually tried to maintain an elongated supply chain in order to generate jobs and ensure regulation, but a few groups of farmers have emerged to change the game. At the Biomercato, which is held Sundays in Testaccio’s converted slaughterhouse, biodynamic farmers sell seasonal produce beside artisanal bakers and pig farmers selling beautifully cured pork.

    Biomercato
    Largo Dino Frisullo
    Testaccio, Rome, Italy
    +393337035270

    Costantini
    This historic wine and spirits shop near Castel Sant’Angelo and the Vatican has a vast basement cellar full of Italian and French wine, but be sure to linger on the ground floor for a look at one of Rome’s few prestigious spirits collections. Stock up on artisanal amaro, gentian root-based liquors, and grappa, all beverages traditionally consumed to promote postprandial digestion.

    Costantini
    Piazza Cavour 16
    Prati, Rome, Italy
    +39063203575

    Prelibato
    At Prelibato in Monteverde Vecchio, a bakery that opened in 2014, chef-turned-baker Stefano Preli makes traditional loaves and sweets. Look for heirloom wheat-based breads, classic pound cakes, and sweet leavened buns. Don’t miss the pizza by the slice, which comes with assorted toppings including amatriciana (tomato, guanciale, and Pecorino Romano), a riff on the popular pasta dish.

    Prelibato
    Viale di Villa Pamphili, 214
    Monteverde Vecchio, Rome, Italy
    +390693577165

    vino roma wine tasting travel
    Vino Roma
    Italian wine lists can be daunting due to complex regional wine laws and an utter lack of consistency from one list to the next. A tasting at Vino Roma, a wine studio in the Monti neighborhood, will demystify the opaque world of vino italiano. During tastings, a trained sommelier guides your experience, pouring wines selected to highlight typical styles and indigenous Italian grapes.

    Vino Roma
    Via in Selci 84/G
    Monti, Rome, Italy
    +393284874497

    Domus Birrae
    This craft beer shop near Santa Maria Maggiore on the Esquiline Hill stocks a well-chosen selection of Italian craft beers and imported brews. At the front of the shop, cold beers are sold from fridges, ready to drink, while the back room is devoted to larger-format bottles and brewing equipment. The selection of sour ales from LoverBeer and Montegioco’s beers brewed with heirloom fruit are ace.

    Domus Birrae
    Via Cavour, 88
    Esquilino, Rome, Italy
    +390697997570

    Pasticceria Regoli
    Founded near Piazza Vittorio in 1916, this historic shop sells luscious strawberry tarts, whipped cream-filled sweet buns, and luscious Chantilly cream-filled pastries. It’s the kind of place Romans go to fetch pastries when they want to make a good impression as dinner guests. Items are only sold to take away, but in late 2014, Regoli opened a coffee shop next door where you can also purchase their pastries to eat in.

    Pasticceria Regoli
    Via dello Statuto, 60
    Esquilino, Rome, Italy
    +39064872812

    Katie Parla is a Rome-based food and beverage journalist, educator, and culinary guide. She is the author of the blog Parla Food, the mobile app Katie Parla's Rome and co-author of the forthcoming cookbook Tasting Rome (Clarkson Potter, 2016).


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    This weekend we will haul out the beers, barbecue, and berry pies, and consider what it means to be American. We will also tell stories: stories of our forefathers, of Independence Days past, of patriotism. To add to that arsenal, we have collected our favorite USA-centric stories, about Italian immigrants and summers in Alaska and the cultural identity of a tuna fish sandwich. So before you light up the grill, do some light reading from SAVEUR issues past.


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    Vino Noceto vineyard CA

    Vino Noceto Winery

    Laura Itzkowitz

    When visiting California wine country, most people head straight to the rolling hills of Napa and Sonoma. But about 100 miles east lies Amador County, a region with vineyards that date back to the Gold Rush and still have that rugged, untamed frontier vibe.

    This under-the-radar area boasts the country’s oldest Zinfandel plantings. While Napa is cooler and wetter due to its proximity to San Francisco Bay (great for Cabernet Sauvignons and Chardonnays), Amador County has the right micro-climate for hardy Italian varietals like Barbera and Sangiovese, which do well in the hot days and cool nights common in the Sierra Nevadas. And while fine Napa wines get better with age, Amador County vintages make great everyday wines that pair well with food. There are over forty wineries in the 606-square-mile region, many of which are family-run, forming a supportive community that’s palpable even to outsiders.

    After a recent visit to Napa and Sonoma, I headed east to explore Amador County and felt like I had stumbled upon a relic of the Wild West: staunch old towns where suntanned vintners in cowboy boots kick up rust-colored dirt as they walk between the vines. Go to Napa for manicured lawns, upscale wineries, chic boutiques, and fancy restaurants, like Thomas Keller’s pop-up Ad Lib. When you get tired of Napa’s crowds and traffic, head to Amador. You can spend a relaxing day visiting several wineries and getting one-on-one attention from the welcoming vintners, who make you feel comfortable asking questions, even if you’re a novice. Below are three exceptional wineries to visit, plus where to shop and eat if you go.

    Where to find your wine

    Vino Noceto vineyard CA

    Vino Noceto Winery

    Laura Itzkowitz

    Vino Noceto
    For a close-up look at Amador’s vines, I went straight to Vino Noceto, which offers farm-to-glass tours. After pouring a sample of crisp Pinot Grigio in the tasting room, the bubbly Director of Hospitality Melinda Klescewski led me into the vineyards. Vino Noceto is one of the few wineries with its own vineyard on the property, so I got up close and personal with the vines and learned about how everything from the soil quality to the amount of sunlight affects the way wines taste. Vino Noceto specializes in Sangiovese, partly because owners Jim and Suzy Gullett studied growing and winemaking techniques in Tuscany when they founded the winery in 1984. They also grow walnuts and olives on the property and sell their own olive oil.

    Vino Noceto
    11011 Shenandoah Road
    Plymouth, CA
    (209) 245-6556

    Jeff Runquist Wines
    Just up the road from Vino Noceto, Jeff Runquist blends award-winning wines using grapes from Amador County and beyond. He focuses on winemaking rather than growing, and works with vineyards in Amador County, Clarksburg, El Dorado County, Lodi, Stanislaus, Napa Valley, Paso Robles, and River Junction that he knows will deliver the best crop. He blends European varietals, ranging from a delicate Pinot Noir to a bold, fruit-forward Zinfandel, though my favorite was the robust, silky Barbera. Runquist’s wines are distributed in 27 states, but haven’t reached New York (or many other states) so bring home a bottle if you can.

    Jeff Runquist Wines
    10776 Shenandoah Road
    Plymouth, CA
    (209) 245-6283

    Scott Harvey Wines
    Just beyond Scott Harvey’s winery, I saw the vines that produce the Petit Sirah, Tempranillo, and Muscat grapes used in his wines. Harvey has been in the viticulture business for over forty years and opened his own winery in 2004. A champion of the local terroir, he only uses sustainably farmed Amador County grapes for the wines released under his label. (His wife Jana has her own label using Napa grapes.) He’s best known for his Zinfandel, Barbera and Syrah from the Sierras, and his friendly staff will guide you through a tasting. Harvey is currently redecorating his tasting room to provide a comfortable, welcoming lounge for visitors.

    Scott Harvey Wines
    10861 Shenandoah Road
    Plymouth, CA
    (209) 245-3670

    Where to shop

    Sutter Creek California

    Sutter Creek

    Laura Itzkowitz

    A visit to Amador County wouldn’t be complete without a jaunt in Sutter Creek. The center of town is full of old Western-style wooden buildings that harken back to the days of the California Gold Rush. The boutiques, galleries, cafes, and inns are concentrated on Main Street, under wooden arcades. There are several great antique shops selling old lace, vintage milkshake makers, and collectible glassware.

    Sutter Creek
    Main Street
    Sutter Creek, CA

    Where to dine

    A recent top-to-bottom renovation put a new sheen on the Hanford House Inn, a historic property in Sutter Creek. The guest rooms and cottages are full of quirky design touches, like headboards made from the building’s old doors. The inn’s restaurant, Element, serves globally-inspired cuisine prepared with local California produce and has a curated list of Amador County wines. After a day of exploring, I was content to tuck into the arancini, which were delightfully crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, and a palm salad with white asparagus, shrimp, and buttermilk.

    Hanford House Inn
    61 Hanford Street
    Sutter Creek, CA
    (209) 267-0747

    Laura is a Brooklyn-based writer and researcher whose words have appeared in Travel + Leisure, Departures, and Refinery29, among others. She is the co-author of a forthcoming guide to New York City's hidden bars and restaurants and wrote the Williamsburg and Greenpoint guides in Fodor's forthcoming Brooklyn book. She likes her gin shaken, not stirred.


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  • 07/10/15--08:32: Travel Guide: Berlin
  • Berlin Prater Beer Garden

    Prater Beer Garden

    Courtesy of Kavita Meelu

    The roaring twenties, GDR socialism, the punk movement, progressive art, techno—Berlin has been a breeding ground of many a movement, but food culture was never one of them. Until now.

    The Berlin Wall didn't just divide the city in two; for over 25 years it also cut off East Berlin from the influences of modern food trends and turned West Berlin into an isolated island—not exactly the best environment for food culture to flourish. Berlin has its fair share of fascinating food tales to be told, of families smuggling banned items like coffee, bananas, and veal liver to family members trapped in the East or Americans hoarding food supplies in West Berlin to prevent another Soviet blockade.

    The fall of the Wall marked not only the end of isolation but also the chance for the city's food culture to finally flourish. Always heavily influenced by the food heritage of its immigrant communities, the city traditionally boasts a multifaceted Turkish, Italian, and Vietnamese restaurant culture. Over the last 20 years, the city has developed a truly global restaurant scene, thanks to the creative immigrants that have been flocking to the city from all over the world.

    This booming food scene means that the cultural focus is switching from music, fashion, and art to food and restaurants. Exciting pop-up dinner clubs, a burgeoning street food scene, and quality farmers' markets are now everyday parts of Berlin’s culinary world. The city’s food scene is full of hidden food gems, unique dining experiences, and culinary entrepreneurs with fascinating stories, and remains one of Europe’s most affordable food destinations.

    Restaurants

    Edible Flowers Berlin Nobelhart

    Edible Flowers, Nobelhart

    Courtesy of Kavita Meelu

    Nobelhart & Schmutzig
    No signs of olive oil or even black pepper will be found in this radically local restaurant, where eight simple yet sophisticated courses are paired with a courageous drinks menu. The stunning restaurant architecture allows guests to sit almost inside the kitchen. Billy Wagner, the sommelier, restaurant owner, and character is an infallible host who manages to dedicate time to every one of his guests. Get a table at the bar, which is best enjoyed in parties no larger than three.

    Nobelhart & Schmutzig
    Friedrichstraße 218,
    10969 Berlin
    +49 (0) 30 25940610

    Zur Haxe
    A fantastic German eatery hidden in Northern Prenzlauer Berg where you can eat Berlin’s best Bavarian-style pork knuckle and satisfy your deepest pork crackling cravings. Add one of the loveliest service teams of the city, complete with Lederhosen and Dirndl outfits, and you are guaranteed to have an extraordinary dining experience.

    Zur Haxe
    Erich-Weinert-Str. 128
    10409 Berlin
    +49 30 – 42 16 312

    Industry Standard
    Owner Ramses Manneck and his crew have put the Neukölln neighborhood on the city’s culinary map with this new restaurant. Signature dishes like the beef tartare with horseradish yogurt, fermented beets, and crispy chicken skin make Industry Standard one of the hottest new restaurants in Berlin right now. Order one of everything (including the dishes on their bar menu) and share!

    Industry Standard
    Sonnenallee 83
    12045 Berlin
    +49 (0) 30-62-72-7732

    La Soupe Populaire
    Berlin chef Tim Raue has taken on the task of refining the region’s traditional cuisine, based out of a stunning former brewery in Prenzlauer Berg. His version of the Königsberger Klopse (German meatballs in white sauce), served with a silky-smooth potato mash, was good enough for Obama and will also make you reconsider any assumptions that German is heavy or boring.

    La Soupe Populaire
    Prenzlauer Allee 242
    10405 Berlin
    +49 (0) 30 44319680

    District Mot
    The city’s coolest Vietnamese restaurant is the perfect place for a night full of cocktails and authentic Vietnamese street food with a modern twist. Take a seat on a plastic stool; order a table full of pho, bun cha, and bo la lot (beef wrapped in Betel leaf); and take the fast track to a busy street in Saigon. Don’t forget to try their award-winning Bao burger.

    District Mot
    Rosenthalerstr 62
    10119 Berlin
    +49 (0) 30 20089284

    Bandol Sur Mer
    Modern and relaxed fine dining are on the menu at this tiny venue in the central Mitte neighborhood. The chefs here take French bistro food to the next level; their deconstructed foie gras dishes are outstanding. Dinner here is a great alternative to the city’s pricier Michelin-starred restaurants—the value at Bandol Sur Mer is extraordinary.

    Bandol Sur Mer
    Torstraße 167
    10115 Berlin
    +49 (0) 30 67302051

    **Doyum ** People come to Doyum for one thing: the famous Adana lamb kebab skewer, grilled to perfection over charcoal. Enjoy it in several variations—the best is served with grilled eggplant on bread—and wash it all down with plenty of ayran, a Turkish salty yogurt drink.

    Doyum
    Admiralstraße 36
    10999 Berlin
    +49 (0) 30 61656127

    Alt Wien
    If you fancy a truly great Schnitzel twice the size of your plate and enjoy well-cooked Austrian food, then Alt Wien is the place for you. This cozy restaurant brings a piece of Vienna to Berlin and is the perfect choice for a hearty meal. Don’t forget to order the extraordinarily delicious kaiserschmarrn, an eggy pancake dessert.

    Alt Wien
    Hufelandstraße 22
    10407 Berlin
    +49 (0) 30 70129610

    Lokal
    An excellent neighborhood restaurant serving up farm-to-table German cuisine in generous, hearty portions. The casual but bustling atmosphere and its beer on tap bring the locals back. Ask your waiter for the off-menu dish of the day and end your meal with the best regional cheese plate in town.

    Lokal
    Linienstraße 160,
    10115 Berlin
    +49 (0) 30 28449500

    Cordobar
    This modern Austrian wine bar boasts a fantastic selection of natural wines, great service, and some of the city's most interesting food—mostly sharing plates, like the famous blood sausage pizza. Reserve a table and don’t miss the bathroom where an audio recording of Germany’s football defeat to Austria in 1978 is played on loop.

    Cordobar
    Große Hamburger Str. 32
    10115 Berlin
    +49 (0) 30 27581215

    Bars

    Würgeengel
    Hidden away in a traditionally punk part of town, this classic cocktail bar has been serving up exquisite classics for the past 25 years. Their talented bar staff are happy to take off-menu orders. Ask Clemens, the kind door man, to seat you at the front of the bar so you can observe the antics of an oddly captivating public. It fills up on the weekends, so try to arrive before 10 p.m. to get a table, or visit on a weeknight to avoid the tourists and share a drink with a local.

    Würgeengel
    Dresdener Str. 122,
    10999 Berlin
    +49 (0) 30 6155560

    Klunker Kranich
    Located on the top deck of a parking lot inside a questionable shopping mall, this "alternative" rooftop-bar-slash-adult-playground is the perfect spot for a sunset drink set against the beats of electro swing. Most evenings offer a program of live music, which more often than not includes a full gypsy band; Monday night is cinema night. If you fancy a quiet drink between friends, head over before 4 p.m., when they start charging a small cover fee.

    Klunker Kranich
    Karl-Marx-Straße 66
    12043 Berlin

    Kaschk
    This very centrally located bar is operated by a bearded crew of Norwegians and has quickly turned into one of the city's prime craft beer spots. Choose from a wide selection of German and imported craft beers on tap, then sneak down to the cellar to challenge a local in a game of shuffleboard. It's also a great place for a coffee during the day.

    Kaschk
    Linienstraße 40
    10178 Berlin
    +49 (0) 1578 1979970

    Prater Garten
    A Berlin institution that’s been around for over 100 years, this is the city’s most beautiful Biergarten. Prater is the perfect place to hang out on a sunny afternoon for a Prater beer or a Berliner Weisse (a sour wheat beer) beneath the ancient chestnut trees. The connected restaurant is also great for a proper German meal; they serve a mean schnitzel.

    Prater Garten
    Kastanienallee 7-9
    10435 Berlin
    +49 (0) 30 4485688

    Maxim
    Berlin’s—and Germany’s—foremost natural wine bar is a must-visit for fans of the natural wine culture that’s gaining traction throughout Europe. Enjoy some of the tasty little snacks served at the bar, like the cheese and charcuterie platter, and have the friendly staff pair your food with some excellent glasses of wine.

    Maxim
    Gormannstraße 25
    10119 Berlin
    +49 (0) 30 65833962

    Food Destinations

    Street Food Thursday Berlin

    Street Food Thursday, Berlin

    Courtesy of Kavita Meelu

    Street Food Thursday
    Dive right into Berlin’s Food world. Here, 40 to 50 young food entrepreneurs showcase their very best in street food once a week, from takoyaki (Japanese Octopus balls) to Taiwanese pork belly baos, Peruvian ceviche to Indian naan wraps (filled with Berlin-made paneer). Come early to avoid lines, and grab a table and a bottle of German Riesling from the Weinhandlung Suff Wine stand while gathering a feast with friends.

    Street Food Thursday
    Thursdays from 5pm-10pm
    Eisenbahnstraße 42-43,
    10997 Berlin
    +49 (0) 30 61073473

    Prinzessinnengarten
    A fantastic urban gardening project where vegetables, herbs, and mushrooms are grown in mobile containers right in the middle of the trendy Kreuzberg neighborhood. Take a break from the busy city life, have a chat with the inspiring people behind the project, and enjoy a lovely meal in the garden restaurant.

    Prinzenstrasse
    Prinzenstrasse 35 – 38
    10969 Berlin
    +49 (0) 176 24332297

    Ka De We
    A piece of history and a landmark on the shopping avenue Kurfürstendamm, the top floor of the iconic department store features one of the city’s finest food departments. Swing by to pick up some German delicacies and stick around for a splendid lunch at one of their food bars. Highly recommended is the sausage bar, where you can feast on speciality wurst from every region in Germany.

    Ka De We
    Tauentzienstraße 21-24
    10789 Berlin

    **Pop-Ups ** As a result of the city’s thriving food culture, many young chefs are using the pop-up format to arrange exclusive restaurant nights for lucky guests. Prime examples include Canadian chef Dylan Watson and his project Ernst, a Japanese-French take on modern fine dining; the Korean-American-German couple Mr. Susan, with their heartwarming American-Korean Seoul food; or the two Dutch chefs Lode & Stijn, with their modern bistro concept. Check their websites for availability and book in advance to be part of these unique dining experiences.

    ErnstMr. SusanLode & Stijn

    Markthalle Neun **Farmers Market ** Home to Germany's new food movement, this 120-year-old deserted market hall was revived three years ago by new owners who invited food producers and artisans from around the region to set up home, offering the locals a weekly farmers market on Fridays and Saturdays. Make sure you stop by Glut & Späne for smoked fish and wash it down with a pale ale brewed by Heidenpeters in the cellar. Finish off your trip with a Schwarzwalder Kirsch torte from Frau Zeller’s award-winning cake stand and a Milch kaffee from the house coffee shop, Cafe 9.

    Markthalle Neun
    Eisenbahnstraße 42-43,
    10997 Berlin
    +49 (0) 30 61073473

    **Currywurst ** It would be a sin to leave Berlin without having a Currywurst, arguably the city’s number one contribution to culinary history. You can queue with the masses at Curry 36 in Kreuzberg, have a classic version at the iconic Krasselts in Steglitz, or go organic at Witty’s in Schöneberg. And remember: The real Currywurst is always ordered without sausage skin, and with onions.

    Curry 36
    Mehringdamm 36,
    10961 Berlin +49 30 2517368

    Krasselt’s
    Steglitzer Damm 22,
    12169 Berlin
    +49 30 7969147

    Witty’s
    Wittenbergplatz 5,
    10789 Berlin
    +49 30 2119496

    Third Wave Coffee Tour Coffee culture is blooming in Berlin and there are plenty of options for serious bean aficionados. Bonanza Coffee Heroes in Prenzlauer Berg and Five Elephant in Kreuzberg are two of the city’s largest third-wave roasters and both iconic coffee shops that shouldn’t be missed. Companion Coffee in Kreuzberg is another, headed up by Shawn Barber and Chris Onton; they run the friendliest coffee shop in town located in one of the coolest fashion stores in Kreuzberg.

    Bonanza Coffee Roasters
    Oderberger Str. 35,
    10435 Berlin
    +49 171 5630795

    Five Elephant
    Reichenberger Str. 101
    10999 Berlin

    Companion Coffee
    Oranienstraße 24
    10997 Berlin
    +49 163 1640275

    Turkish Market
    There are plenty of lovely farmers' markets around the city, and one of the most iconic ones is the Turkish market on the Neukölln Maybachufer that happens every Tuesday and Friday. It’s an El Dorado for vegetables, Turkish produce, fabrics, and everything else imaginable, and there is an abundance of lovely things to snack on while you shop.

    Maybachufer
    10999 Berlin

    Blutwurst Manufaktur
    In 2004 the French Confrerie des Chevaliers du Goûte Boudin (The Black Pudding Fraternity of Lovers of Good Food) ordained Marcus Benzer a knight for blood sausage; Benzer is one of the only butchers outside of France to have this auspicious title. The butcher shop is located in the historic area of Rixdorf and has been producing sausages for the last 100 years. Luckily for tourists, he vacuum packs them to make the perfect Berlin food gift.

    Blutwurst Manufaktur
    Karl-Marx-Platz 7
    12043 Berlin
    +49 (0) 306872004

    Preussische Spirituosen Manufaktur
    Unchanged since 1874, this stunning distillery is the last of its kind. Once visited daily by the Prussian King Wilhelm, this space has served as a laboratory, factory, and a school for distilling. These days it's more of a museum and factory combined into one. It's worth registering in advance for one of the guided tours; don’t forget to visit the shop to stock up on Prussian spirits before you leave.

    Preussische Spirituosen Manufaktur
    Seestraße 13,
    13353 Berlin
    +49 (0) 30 45028537

    Hotels

    25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin
    This colorful design hotel overlooks the famous Berlin zoo situated in the lush city park, Tiergarten. Book a jungle room to ensure a room with a zoo view or simply enjoy your morning coffee and a nightcap in the Monkey bar to take in some of the best views of the city. It's built in a creative shopping complex perfect for finding the ultimate Berlin design souvenirs. Make sure you add breakfast onto your stay—the in-house Israeli restaurant Neni puts on a great mediterranean breakfast buffet, and they have sourced what's arguably the best cheesecake in the city from Five Elephant bakery, found in their lobby cafe.

    25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin
    Budapester Straße 40
    10787 Berlin
    +49 (0) 30120221255

    Michelberger Hotel Berlin

    Michelberger Hotel, Berlin

    Courtesy of Kavita Meelu

    Michelberger Hotel
    A playful boutique hotel that captures the personality of the youthful Berliner, this is definitely where the cool kids come to stay. Situated on the border of Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain, this loud neighbourhood is alive 24/7. You’ll find plenty of cafés, bars, flea markets, and clubs in a two-mile radius of the hotel. The loft room is their standard room with a king-sized adult bunk bed. Be sure to spend an evening in the lobby bar with the local city hipsters sipping on the hotel's own house-made coconut water.

    Michelberger Hotel
    Warschauer Str. 39/40,
    10243 Berlin
    +49 (0) 30 29778590

    Das Stue
    Hidden away on the outskirts of Tiergarten, this luxury boutique hotel is nestled between the Spanish embassy and one of Berlin's best-loved beer gardens. Built in what was the former Royal Danish embassy, this grand building houses plenty of comfortable corners, such as multi-story libraries and an in-house spa that will help you escape the concrete of the city. Their Michelin-starred restaurant, Cinco, offers one of the most courageous tasting menus in the city and makes for the perfect date night meal.

    Das Stue
    Drakestraße 1,
    10787 Berlin
    +49 (0) 30 3117220

    Kavita Meelu is a pioneering curator and organizer of some of Berlin's most exciting food projects, including Street Food Thursday, Burgers & Hip Hop, and Schlachtfest. Per Meurling is a Swede living in Berlin who devotes his time to searching for the city’s best restaurants on his blog BerlinFoodStories.com


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    Oaxen Krog and Slip in Stockholm

    Oaxen Krog & Slip in Stockholm, Sweden

    Erik Olsson


    Michelin-starred Brooklyn chef Fredrik Berselius doesn’t make it back to his hometown of Stockholm as often as he’d like, but when summer rolls around, he makes sure to slot in a few vacation days to make the trip. Summer’s his favorite season in the city: when it's warm, he can swim in one of the waters in the middle of the city (city hall or Djurgärden, per Berselius’ suggestion), go mushroom hunting and berry picking just outside the city, or take a quick boat ride out to the Stockholm archipelago, where Berselius likes to picnic.

    Though he says he can’t always keep up with what’s going on in Sweden’s food scene while living in Manhattan, with the guidance of his friends and family in Stockholm, he eats out as often as he can when he’s visiting. If you ever find yourself in the city, do as Berselius does and eat at one of his five favorite restaurants—and make sure to save a little time for a picnic with friends in the archipelago, too.

    Gro
    This restaurant is all about vegetables—if something is local and in season, it will be on the menu. Berselius likes to go for lunch, when you choose a meat, fish, or vegetarian main, which all come with vegetable-heavy sides; you could get a dish of roasted carrots, lentils, and sunflower seeds, or cucumber, pollock, and caraway seeds. He calls it “simple, delicious, and healthy food with a lot of heart.”

    Gro
    Sankt Eriksgatan 67
    113 32 Stockholm
    +46 8 643 42 22

    Oaxen Krog and Slip
    Divided into two sections, the “Krog” and the “Slip,” this waterside restaurant housed in a refurbished boatyard shed is one that “always lands in the top spots in guide books,” Berselius says. For innovative Scandinavian cuisine in six or 10 courses, go to the two-Michelin-starred Krog; for plates of Swedish bistro food, which is heavy on local seafood (like herring and cod) and vegetable plates (like baked tomatoes and green cabbage salad), go to the Slip, whose dishes are meant to be shared.

    Oaxen Krog and Slip
    Beckholmsvägen 26
    115 21 Stockholm
    +46 8 551 531 05

    Ekstedt Restaurant in Stockholm

    Pork, Sausage, Apple, and Breadcrumbs at Ekstedt

    Per-Anders Jorgensen

    Ekstedt
    Run by restaurateur Niklas Ekstedt, who Berselius says is a “household name” in Sweden due to his popular TV shows and cookbooks, this tasting-menu-only restaurant’s all about cooking with fire—over a fire pit, in the wood-fired oven, or on top of a wood stove. So, Ekstedt lets the natural flavors of meats and produce shine—with a smoky, charred flavor—and serves dishes like beef baked in hay with salsify and ramson capers, and Smoked char with beans and Swedish seaweed. “The food is thoughtful and delicious,” Berselius says. And to complete the rustic vibe, the restaurant’s decor is ultra-Scandinavian with birch wood (the same wood the restaurant uses for cooking), copper, and sandstone decorating half-timbered walls.

    Ekstedt
    Humlegårdsgatan 17
    114 46 Stockholm
    +46 8-611 12 10

    Volt
    “Natural food and natural wine” is how Berselius describes the offerings at this restaurant owned by four friends, where you can order à la carte, or opt for a three-, five-, or seven-course menu. Current offerings include chicken with three types of mushrooms, and elk with pickled beets, bone marrow, and spruce oil. Just don’t go between July 19th and August 18th—it’s closed for summer holiday.

    Volt
    Kommendörsgatan 16
    114 48 Stockholm
    +46 8-662 34 00

    Spritmuseum
    After leaving Paris’ renowned La Gazzetta in late 2013, Sweden-born Petter Nilsson returned home and opened up this restaurant in Stockholm’s Spritmuseum, a museum housed in 18th-century naval buildings that’s dedicated to anything and everything booze-related. So, grab a drink and dine on dishes like boudin noir with grilled rye bread, elderberries, and strawberries, or semi-freddo of rosehip with meringues. “This is a nice place to have a great meal and enjoy the views of the waters surrounding Stockholm,” Berselius says. He suggests getting to the restaurant—which is located on the island of Djurgården—by taking the tram, biking, or simply walking from downtown. And after dining, make sure to make time to explore what else the museum has to offer: wine and spirits tastings, booze-related art exhibitions, and an open-air café where you can gather with friends (with a drink, of course).

    Spritmuseum
    Djurgårdsvägen 38
    115 21 Stockholm
    +46 8-121 313 00


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    Born and raised in New Orleans, Ann Tuennerman is an established entrepreneur and go-to authority on well-crafted cocktails. Founder and director of Tales of the Cocktail, Tuennerman supports and celebrates the international cocktail industry. From July 13-20, Tales of the Cocktail, a premier international cocktail festival, will take place in New Orleans, where guests can enjoy seminars, tastings, product launches, competitions, and networking events. The week-long festival raises money to invest back into the international cocktail industry. Since Tuennerman has a lifetime of knowledge on the bar scene in New Orleans, we asked her to share her five favorite spots for a cocktail in New Orleans.

    chris hannah french 75 bar new orleans

    Arnaud’s French 75 Bar

    Head Bartender Chris Hannah

    French 75 Bar
    This cocktail lounge and cigar bar is connected to and owned by Arnaud’s fine dining restaurant. It holds a special place in my husband's and my heart because we were married at Arnaud’s. The head bartender, Chris Hannah, also makes a perfect Sazerac.

    French 75 Bar
    813 Bienville St
    New Orleans, LA 70112
    (504) 523-5433

    booty's new orleans bar bywater bomber

    Booty's Street Food New Orleans

    Bywater Bomber

    Booty's
    This place is my go-to neighborhood bar that is conveniently located two blocks from my office. The bar manager, Wyatt Lowery, and his team have a welcoming atmosphere, and the Bywater Bomber is a nice Frozen Daiquri that features Old New Orleans rum, rose water, house-made bitters, and fresh pineapple, orange, and lime juice.

    Booty's
    800 Louisa Street
    New Orleans, LA 70117
    (504) 266-2887

    bellocq bar new orleans

    Trevor Mark Photography

    Bellocq
    The Lillet Cobbler, made with a house-made strawberry syrup and citrus, is a drink I never tire of because it’s so refreshing and low proof. This bar is great place to hold an after-5 p.m. business meeting.

    Bellocq
    936 St Charles Ave
    New Orleans, LA 70130
    (504) 962-0911

    Tiki Tolteca
    Upstairs from Felipe's on Decatur Street, this Latin American-themed tiki lounge makes for a great hiding place. Because it is above street level, no one can walk by and see you sipping your mai tais and frozen daiquiris.

    Tiki Tolteca
    301 N Peters St
    New Orleans, LA 70130
    (504) 288-8226

    cane and table bar new orleans

    Kevin O'Mara

    Cane and Table
    Nick Detrich is the jolliest bartender in town and has such a friendly and warm personality that you can’t help but love his bar. He serves a modern Hurricane, which will make you re-think any preconceived notions that you may have of the drink. The drinks are prepared with fresh fruits and juices, so after one, you’ll definitely want another.

    Cane and Table
    1113 Decatur St
    New Orleans, LA 70116
    (504) 581-1112


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  • 07/14/15--12:42: Scenes from Bordeaux
  • Wineries in Bordeaux, like in the rest of France, are imbued with a rich and elaborate history, woven together with politics, heritage, culture, and of course, terroir. The region is dominated by tradition: the vines here were first planted by ancient Romans, and many date back 2000 years. But “tradition” for winemakers in Bordeaux has always been subject to change; their traditions are not static. They look to a past of constant adaptation and evolution as part of their history. Some winemakers are turning to new innovations in organic farming and more sustainable farming methods as a way to preserve the terroir and the heritage of the region. Others are evolving their wines with highly customized and advanced viticulture equipment. Some of the best Châteaus in the world have both horse-drawn plows and state-of-the-art fermentation vats. I took a visit to eight châteaus in Bordeaux with Oliver Dixon, an international sommelier for Emirates airline, as my guide, to find out how the region balances tradition and innovation.


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  • 07/14/15--16:50: All the Tea in Taiwan
  • Tea Fields Taiwan

    The view from Shan Lin Xi mountain

    Max Falkowitz

    It’s all fun and noodle soup at the teahouse until Theresa Wong gets to brewing. The smells of heather and burnt caramel fill the room and we sip a few steepings of Maokong village’s local specialty: Muzha Tieguanyin tea. It’s buttery and orchid-sweet, with a ferrous intensity that blooms in my throat.

    Wong takes a sip, diplomatically nods her head this way and that, then says to me, “This is alright. It has the dark roast, but not the rich base flavor I like in Tieguanyin.”

    “Alright” for Wong is still top of the line for most tea drinkers, but there are dozens of teahouses in Maokong like this one, and we didn’t fly 18 hours to Taiwan, then ride the Taipei subway to the end of the line and take a gondola up a mountain, for “alright.”

    Wong is the owner of T Shop, a devout but welcoming tea room in New York City. She’s here to meet farmers, visit teahouses, and sample as many teas as she can in search of a few exceptional batches worth adding to her collection of Taiwan’s prized oolongs.

    Black tea leaves are fully oxidized before they’re dried. Green tea leaves are completely unoxidized. Oolong teas lie somewhere in between, and they’re the most labor-intensive teas to make. Every step of processing—withering, bruising, resting, rolling, drying, and roasting—has to be done just so to coax the right balance of sweetness, body, flavor, and fragrance out of the leaves. In Taiwan, this isn’t just an industry; it’s an art form.

    Taiwanese Tea Tasting

    Tasting tea at a roaster's shop in Taipei

    Max Falkowitz

    We’re not alone on the road: Tea tourism here is a national pastime, the Asian equivalent of wine tasting trips in the West, and one that draws thousands of local—as well as Chinese and Japanese—tea drunks to hike the lush countryside, then sip some of the world’s most distinctive tea in farmers’ quaint tasting rooms. That may mean nutty, sesame-tinged Dong Ding; or a verdant green Shan Lin Xi loaded with woodsy, tropical aromas; or prized vintages of aged tea that some obsessive has hoarded for decades.

    Though Taiwanese tea began with mainland Chinese cultivars and traditions, over the past 150 years it’s developed into a culture and style all its own. Pristine high-elevation farmland, ample government support, and innovative processing methods all make Taiwan a standard-bearer in the global tea market. And a high-speed rail system helps visitors get around easily—it takes all of two hours with a bus transfer to reach the famed tea mountains of Nantou County from Taipei, their misty peaks a world away from the city’s swampy haze.

    The most difficult part of a tea trip is fitting enough eating in between all the shops; a mere five meals a day don’t suffice to properly binge on the local fare. Oily pancakes draw crowds in Taipei, but out in tea country, herb-stuffed chickens roast streetside in clay ovens, then get doused in their drippings to moisten the bronzed skins. Young bamboo, served a dozen ways, is invariably juicy, woodsy, and unfairly good. For dessert there are pineapples tender to the core, so imbued with coconutty sweetness they’re practically piña coladas already.

    The day after our visit to Maokong, we catch a mid-morning train south to Taichung City, then ride a bus into one of Nantou’s many mountain tea villages. On some winding roads, every other storefront is a tea shop run by their family's farmer, ready to offer you a free cup of tea. At the tea table, there’s no ceremony or pretense. Maybe you talk about this year’s harsh drought, which cost some tea farmers 50 percent of their harvest. You might make friends with strangers also on the hunt for good tea. And you drink, and keep drinking, because a proud seller always plays fast and loose with the samples.

    Making tea

    The "kill green" stage of tea processing, where rolled tea leaves are heated in spinning drums to halt oxidation

    Max Falkowitz

    A farmer friend of Theresa’s joins for an afternoon and introduces us to a buddy on Dong Ding mountain. The farmer brews a few Dong Ding-style oolongs, classically nutty and creamy, but they're not Theresa’s speed. Seeing her disappointment, he digs around for one last tea. It’s another Dong Ding, but harvested from a plot not sprayed with pesticides, so little leaf-hopping bugs can chew on the leaves, driving the wounded tea bush into nutrient-producing overdrive. The resulting brew might as well be peach juice, with toasted undertones brought into clear, crisp focus, and a tarte tatin sweetness on every outward breath. Theresa sips more and smiles. This one is coming back to New York.

    Adventurous travelers or Mandarin-speakers should have an easy time trekking the oolong trail on their own. Taichung City, near Dong Ding and Shan Lin Xi mountains, has no shortage of cheap but high-quality hotels, and tea villages like Lugu and Xitou are full of family run B&Bs with full amenities for all of 50 USD a night. But there’s also been a boom of Western-facing Taiwanese tea companies in the past couple years. Regardless of where you go or where you stay—or if you simply buy Taiwanese tea from your local tea shop—sip your tea slowly. It's come a long way.

    To brew your own Taiwanese tea without making the trip, try these sellers that buy directly from Taiwanese farmers:

    • T Shop: A small but sterling catalogue ranging from crisp and vegetal Green Jade and Shan Lin Xi to dark, honey-sweet Red Water Oolong.
    • Eco-Cha: This Taiwan-based company values tradition-heavy, sustainable agriculture, and stocks affordable, excellent tea, mostly from Nantou County.
    • : A supplier to the tea menu at New York’s Eleven Madison Park. Their Oriental Beauty oolong is remarkably bold and lemony with a surprising kick of cinnamon.
    • Song Tea: A San Francisco tea room with pricey but rare teas from Taiwan and China, like the Winter Sprout, a Lishan mountain tea as sweet as cotton candy.
    • Everlasting Tea: The fanatic’s draw here is a pair of ~30-year-aged Baozhongs, full of deep plummy notes with a long, soothing finish.

    When not traveling the world in search of great tea, Max Falkowitz is the Senior Features Editor at Serious Eats, where he covers international dining in New York and geeks out over the science of ice cream.


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    Back Where I'm From is an occasional series in which we explore the best food in the less-heralded parts of America.

    Boca Restaurant Cincinnati

    Boca

    Photography For the People

    Cincinnati is the next big food city. I’m just going to say it because I’m hoping I can will it to happen. I’m going to say it because I am from there—because I know it deserves to be. I am tired of other midsize cities like Nashville and Pittsburgh, Louisville, and Asheville (all deserving in their own ways) being called the next big food city when hardly anyone says that about Cincinnati. I am frustrated that so many talented chefs are working their tails off trying to draw attention to this shining city on the hill (really—it’s built on seven hills). And I am surprised that no one seems to notice.

    Yes, Cincinnati’s been celebrated by road-food warriors like Adam Richman and Guy Fieri. They’ve called it out for its homey mom-and-pop diners and, of course, its chili parlors, where locals twirl forkfuls of pasta coated in chocolate-and-cinnamon-spiked chili, not minding if the dish, called a three-way, splatters all over their shirts (for Cincinnatians, chili stains are a badge of honor). Goetta, our scrapple-like breakfast staple made of sausage and steel-cut oats, has been written about by some of the most esteemed food magazines—this one included—and even Oprah herself once said that our beloved Graeter’s has the best ice cream in America.

    But what most people don’t know about Cincinnati is its legacy of fine dining. In the 1970s it was home to three Mobil Travel Guide five-star restaurants while New York was home to two. Those restaurants, all French, included Pigall’s, where you could order black cod with a truffle pinot noir sauce, or rabbit confit with grapes and rice galette. The Gourmet Room had a 30-foot mural by the artist Joan Miró (it now hangs in the Cincinnati Art Museum) wrapped around its dining room. And the Maisonette, an ornate chandeliered French restaurant downtown, still holds the record for the most consecutive years with a five-star Mobil guide rating, at 41.

    This is the mark of a true Ohioan; we think everything we have is better than yours

    All still existed when my family moved to Cincinnati from Massachusetts in 1979, and I grew up thinking of the city as the pinnacle of fine dining—home to the kind of restaurants that required my finest clip-on tie and well-polished Stride Rites on the few occasions my parents deigned to let me dine out with them on date night.

    Even the more casual spots were places to see and be seen. At a former-police-station-turned-steakhouse called The Precinct (still great) you might run into former Reds catcher Johnny Bench digging into a porterhouse alongside former Bengals quarterback Kenny Anderson. Local celebrities like Jerry Springer and Nick Clooney (father of George) could also be found at Rookwood Pottery—now a phenomenal restaurant simply called The Rookwood, it is housed in a former ceramics factory perched atop scenic Mount Adams where you can devour the best burgers in town while sitting inside actual brick kilns.

    It was Cincinnati that turned me into a gourmand and a food snob. So proud was I of its culinary swagger that when I found myself living in New Orleans in 1998, I complained to a friend that the food in Cincinnati was better than it was in the Big Easy. This is the mark of a true Ohioan; we think everything we have is better than yours, though I now count gumbo, roast beef po’boys, and Zapp’s potato chips among civilization’s proudest achievements.

    Beginning in the early aughts, my conviction in Cincinnati’s culinary stamina began to wane. Logging onto the Cincinnati Enquirer’s website one day in 2005, I read that the Maisonette, a dining destination since 1949, was closing its doors because of dwindling profits and a shift from fine dining to more casual, Brooklyn-esque buttoned-down fare. My confidence was shaken further four years later, when I read that Pigall’s, which was helmed by the magnificent French chef Jean-Robert de Cavel, had also closed. In February of that year, National Public Radio aired a story titled “Ohio’s Only Four-Star Restaurant To Close.” “Maybe it’s the times,” a heartbroken regular told the NPR reporter. “But it’s a shame because it’s something that’s hard to recapture after it’s gone.”

    But Cincinnati is recapturing something, and while it’s a little different—a little less formal—than the opulent dining scene of its past, it’s definitely something worth checking out the next time a magazine article lures you to Louisville. Last year, when I returned home as a panelist at the first-annual Cincinnati Food & Wine Classic, I breathed a sigh of relief as I stood inside the rosewood-paneled French Art Deco dining room of The Orchids at Palm Court, a magnificent restaurant located in the historic Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza hotel—the same hotel where my mother used to take me for tea during my Little Lord Fauntleroy youth. At Orchids, I indulged in executive chef Todd Kelly’s pork belly and escargot served in a creamy sunchoke velouté—one of the many dishes that have earned Kelly national acclaim.

    Afterward, I roamed the streets of Cincinnati’s recently revamped Over the Rhine neighborhood, gasping at the beauty of its restored Italianate buildings and tucking into a crispy pan-roasted quail served with spring peas and caramelized fennel at Chicago transplant chef Dan Wright’s wondrous Abigail Street. I then pulled a Louis CK–style “bang bang”: eating dinner again, immediately after, at Salazar restaurant a block away, where, along with a locally brewed Rhinegeist beer, I wolfed down a slow-cooked pork shank, creamy polenta, beer-braised collard greens, and a black-eyed pea chicharrón. Jose Salazar, the restaurant’s owner and executive chef, is an alumnus of New York’s Per Se and will open a second, more upscale restaurant in Cincinnati’s central business district later this year. Heading back to the city’s new 21c Museum Hotel, I discovered that former Pigall’s chef Jean-Robert de Cavel was alive and well with his new restaurant Jean-Robert’s Table, which offers a sublimely flaky vol-au-vent filled with sweetbreads and lobster, and an exquisitely hammy croque monsieur.

    It was Cincinnati that turned me into a gourmand and a food snob

    It seemed appropriate that my final stop in Cincinnati would be a restaurant called Boca. After all, it’s located at 114 E. 6th St.—the same spot where, ten years ago, the Maisonette closed its doors for good. Walking into its storied dining room, I realized that the restaurant, like the Cincinnati dining scene itself, had risen from the dead. Under the direction of chef David Falk, Boca has received the necessary makeover it needed to regain its relevance. Former Cincinnati Magazine restaurant critic Donna Covrett expertly described it as “an interior with one foot in 19th-century Paris and the other in contemporary Milan,” with its massive chandelier, exposed brick, and “blood orange leather.”

    Sitting down at a blood orange booth, I went traditional, ordering the oysters Rockefeller, along with pommes soufflés served with a béarnaise sauce, before digging into the restaurant’s Italian side with an exquisite fresh corn agnolotti with brown butter, truffles, and parmesan. All I can say is this: In one meal, Boca proved itself a worthy successor to Cincinnati’s most venerable old restaurant.

    At the airport a few days later, I stopped at a Gold Star Chili for one last three-way before heading back to New York. Sitting at a red Formica table, I twirled a forkful of the meat-slathered spaghetti as it splattered onto my white oxford shirt, but I couldn’t have cared less. I was just happy to be reacquainted with the unique tastes of my hometown; relieved to find that they were even better than I remembered them, wondering if the rest of the world would ever take notice—if Cincinnati would ever be the next big thing.

    Former SAVEUR senior editor Keith Pandolfi's work can be found in The Wall Street Journal, Epicurious, Eater, Cooking Light and other publications. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter.


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  • 07/17/15--11:08: Travel Guide: New York City
  • Russ & Daughters

    Courtesy of Russ & Daughters

    Farm-to-table bistros, craft cocktail bars, Michelin-starred tasting rooms, English gastropubs, pioneering pizzerias, tapas bars, underground supper clubs, world class food halls, rooftop farms, dives, storied literary haunts, and hip new hotels—New York has it all. Food movements are born here and spread around the world. Even the city’s nickname—the Big Apple—reflects our obsession with gastronomy.

    And we’ve never had greater variety and higher quality culinary options than we do now. Chefs appear on hit TV shows; bartenders might as well be rock stars. Anthony Bourdain walks onto an elevator and everyone swoons. Any chef worth his salt has a cookbook (or several). The competition is fierce, which is good news for those of us who care about the provenance of our food and the attention paid to its preparation.

    But with so many options, where do you begin? Even for New Yorkers, choosing a restaurant from among the myriad offerings can be an overwhelming undertaking. The city is a food lover’s paradise and we’re spoiled with choices. Though it often seems like New Yorkers worship at the altar of the new, constantly chasing the latest opening, there’s a lot to be said for the city’s tried and true classics. Whether you’re visiting for the first time or the hundredth time, you’re sure to discover something amazing in this list of the city’s best restaurants, bars, hotels, and culinary experiences.

    Restaurants

    Carbone

    Daniel Krieger

    Carbone
    Mario Carbone’s namesake restaurant is an ode to the old-school red sauce joints of yore, and a delicious one at that. Entering the blue-walled restaurant where waiters wear maroon dinner jackets and speak with Brooklyn accents feels like walking onto the set of The Godfather. The bread basket alone is reason enough to visit, thanks to Carbone’s signature garlic bread, and the offerings keep getting better. By the time they wheel the dessert cart over, you’ll probably be stuffed, but don’t let that stop you from ordering a slice of the intense tiramisu.

    Carbone
    181 Thompson Street
    New York, NY 10012
    (212) 254-3000*

    Le Bernardin
    When it comes to fine dining, it doesn’t get any better than Le Bernardin. Opened in 1986 by Maguy and Gilbert Le Coze, the award-winning restaurant’s mission has always been to let the fish shine on the plate. When Eric Ripert took over in 1994, he introduced more global flavors, using ingredients like yuzu and miso to complement the seafood and earning countless accolades in the process.

    Le Bernardin
    155 W 51st Street
    (212) 554-1515

    Prune
    Gabrielle Hamilton opened this tiny East Village bistro in 1999 with the simple goal of cooking for her neighbors. Since then, she has been breaking all the rules of conventional restaurants, including prioritizing homey cuisine over haute (one of the menu's most famous mainstays is a plate of sardines and Triscuits). More than 15 years in, Prune is still a neighborhood staple.

    Prune
    54 E 1st Street
    New York, NY 10003
    (212) 677-6221

    Prosperity Dumpling
    The maze of narrow streets, cramped markets, and indistinguishable restaurants in Chinatown can be hard to navigate. New Yorkers in-the-know flock to this hole in the wall for the best dollar dumplings the neighborhood has to offer. Though pork and chive dumplings are standard, Prosperity is known for excellent vegetable options too.

    Prosperity Dumpling
    46 Eldridge Street
    New York, NY 10002
    (212) 343-0683

    Roberta’s
    This pioneering pizzeria was one of the first to draw food lovers to the once-gritty Brooklyn neighborhood of Bushwick. In a no-frills cinder block building with a rooftop garden, Carlo Mirarchi turns out drool-inducing wood-fired pizzas. Order the off-menu Cheesus Christ with three cheeses, mushrooms, and honey. A word to the wise: come early or late, as this place has a no-reservations policy and waits can easily exceed an hour.

    Roberta’s Pizzeria
    261 Moore Street
    Brooklyn, NY 11206
    (718) 417-1118

    Peter Luger Steak House
    Established in 1887, Peter Luger’s steak house has been a Williamsburg staple since long before the neighborhood became hip. The porterhouse steak is legendary and waiters still wear white aprons and black bowties. Bring lots of cash—this place doesn’t accept credit cards.

    Peter Luger Steak House
    178 Broadway
    Brooklyn, NY 11211
    (718) 387-7400

    Estela
    Hailing from Uruguay, chef-owner Ignacio Mattos earned his stripes in master grillman Francis Mallman’s kitchen, and on a recent visit, Mallman himself was dining there. In the hip but cozy downtown restaurant, Mattos puts his spin on dishes like arroz negro with squid (a must-try) and mussels escabeche on toast.

    Estela
    47 E Houston Street
    New York, NY 10012
    (212) 219-7693

    Sushi Yasuda
    Expect perfection at Sushi Yasuda. There’s no fancy artwork, no music, no wine or cocktail list, nothing in the minimalist dining room to distract from the masterful work of the sushi chefs and the ingredients they bring to the table. Order a la carte if you must, but you’d be wiser to do the omakase, letting the chef select the freshest fish for you.

    Sushi Yasuda
    204 E 43rd Street
    New York, NY 10017
    (212) 972-1001

    Russ & Daughters
    A true Lower East Side institution, Russ & Daughters Appetizing Shop celebrated its centennial in 2014 and finally opened their first eat-in restaurant a few blocks from the shop on Houston Street. Still family-run, this is THE place to get New York Jewish delicacies, like smoked fish, rugelach, and babka. Go for the bagel board with all the fixings.

    Russ & Daughters
    127 Orchard Street
    New York, NY 10002
    (212) 475-4881

    Momofuku Ssäm Bar
    In David Chang’s mini-empire, Ssäm Bar stands out from the pack. While the Noodle Bar focuses on modern ramen, Ssäm Bar showcases everything wrapped (its namesake refers to the Korean word for wrapped food). This might mean buffalo pork buns with crispy pork belly, spicy sauce, and blue cheese, or grilled Spanish mackerel with taro root, kohlrabi and pineapple. Expect to be surprised by the odd, yet somehow balanced, items on the ever-changing menu.

    Momofuku Ssäm Bar
    207 2nd Avenue
    New York, NY 1003

    Tertulia

    Evan Sung

    Tertulia
    It may seem odd that an Irish-American chef is behind the city’s most authentic Spanish tapas, but that’s New York for you. Chef-owner Seamus Mullen has traveled extensively through Spain, came up through the ranks at Boqueria, and now has two restaurants and a butchery in New York. Tertulia is his first and the coziest. Go for mouthwatering tapas, like the signature arroz a la plancha, jamón iberico, and artisanal cheeses paired with an excellent wine list.

    Tertulia
    359 6th Avenue
    New York, NY 10014
    (646) 559-9909

    Marlow & Sons
    Restaurateur Andrew Tarlow turned Brooklyn into the farm-to-table food destination it is today with his first restaurant, Diner, tucked under the Williamsburg Bridge. Marlow & Sons, right next door, continues the locavore tradition with a daily-changing menu in a space that resembles a turn-of-the-century grocery store. Dishes that look deceptively simple on paper appear as revelations on the plate. One constant: the salted caramel chocolate tart, which is exactly as delicious as it sounds.

    Marlow & Sons
    81 Broadway
    Brooklyn, NY 11249
    (718) 384-1441

    Eleven Madison Park
    It’s not an exaggeration to say that at Eleven Madison Park, every detail counts, right down to the way the pillows are fluffed before the guests arrive. Since Daniel Humm took over, the three-Michelin-starred restaurant has won numerous accolades for its playful, inventive takes on American cuisine, its excellent bar program, and its unparalleled service. The restaurant works like a well-oiled machine, with every member of the team, from the maître d’ to the sommelier, working together to provide the optimal experience.

    Eleven Madison Park
    11 Madison Avenue
    New York, NY 10019
    (212) 889-0905

    Streetbird
    Marcus Samuelsson’s newest restaurant is a reflection of the myriad influences that inspire him, from soul food to Sriracha. More casual than nearby Red Rooster, Streetbird’s funky decor (think: colorful vinyl booths, boomboxes, and light fixtures made of bike wheels) is pure Harlem. Rotisserie chicken is the theme and the pulled chicken is a standout. Don’t forget a side of cornbread.

    Streetbird
    2149 Frederick Douglass Boulevard
    New York, NY 10027
    (212) 256-2257

    Pearl Oyster Bar
    Pearl claims the distinction of being the first place to introduce the lobster roll to New York City. Chef-owner Rebecca Charles grew up summering in Maine and opened this little Greenwich Village raw bar and seafood bistro in 1997. Plenty of other lobster shacks have popped up since then, but this is still the place for massive lobster rolls with shoestring fries and a slice of blueberry crumble pie for dessert.

    Pearl Oyster Bar
    18 Cornelia Street
    New York, NY 10014
    (212) 691-8211

    Bars

    Bemelman’s Bar
    It doesn’t get more classic New York than Bemelman’s Bar in the Carlyle Hotel. Ludwig Bemelmans, author of the Madeline children’s book series, painted the whimsical murals in 1947 in exchange for room and board. Ever since, the bar has drawn illustrious guests, including John F. Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, and George Clooney. Snag a booth to soak up the atmosphere with a classic cocktail.

    Bemelman’s Bar
    35 E 76th Street
    New York, NY 10021
    (212) 744-1600

    The NoMad Bar

    Benoit Linero

    The NoMad Bar
    With its formidable wooden paneling and low lighting, the NoMad Bar may look like a classic, but it’s a relatively recent arrival, and one of the spots that’s turned the neighborhood around Madison Square Park into a destination. The bar program is headed up by one of the city’s best bartenders, Leo Robitschek, while Daniel Humm is behind the menu of upscale tavern fare.

    The NoMad Bar
    10 West 28th Street
    New York, NY
    (212) 796-1500

    Old Town Bar & Grill
    Opened in 1892, the Old Town Bar & Grill has serious historic cred. In the 120 years since it’s been around, it looks like the only update to the décor was the neon sign out front. Don’t expect fancy cocktails here. Go for whatever’s on tap and dependable pub grub, like mozzarella sticks and fried calamari. A dumbwaiter in the back transports food from the upstairs kitchen to the barroom on the ground floor.

    Old Town Bar & Grill
    45 E 18th Street
    New York, NY 10003
    (212) 529-6732

    The Long Island Bar
    Revered bartender and writer Toby Cecchini took over this neighborhood stalwart and kept the décor exactly as it’s always been for the past 50 years. While it may feel like a time capsule, it has all the accoutrements of a modern cocktail bar, including a menu of updated classics. Get the daiquiri, which has a subtle hint of ginger.

    The Long Island Bar
    110 Atlantic Avenue
    Brooklyn, NY 11201
    (718) 625-8908

    Attaboy If you can get into Attaboy (not an easy feat, as there’s no standing room and no reservations), don’t bother asking for a menu. There isn’t one. Sam Ross and Michael McIlroy (protegés of barman Sasha Petraske) took over the tiny Chinatown space that was once Milk & Honey. The bartenders know every cocktail in the book. Late nights become a who’s who of the city’s industry insiders.

    Attaboy 134 Eldridge Street New York, NY 10002

    The Ear Inn
    This storied drinking den is arguably Manhattan’s oldest bar, and functioned as a speakeasy during Prohibition with a brothel upstairs. It became known as the Ear Inn when the neon Bar sign stopped working properly, transforming the B into an E. Today locals flock here for a good selection of beers on tap served by gruff, no-nonsense bartenders.

    The Ear Inn
    326 Spring Street
    New York, NY 10013
    (212) 226-9060

    Tørst
    Some may say that serving beer in wine glasses is a bit precious, but it seems fitting for the highbrow craft brews served here. The Scandinavian-inspired spot may be the most civilized beer bar in New York, with a marble counter, 21 taps and a chill local crowd. Hidden behind it is chef-owner (and Noma alum) Daniel Burns’ Nordic tasting room, Luksus—the world’s only Michelin-starred restaurant without a wine list.

    Tørst
    615 Manhattan Avenue
    Brooklyn, NY 11222
    (718) 389-6034

    Jimmy’s No. 43
    This subterranean spot has one of the best craft beer selections in the city, a tiny kitchen that hosts rotating guest chefs (currently Tito King is serving up Filipino dishes), and a hidden back room where live bands play. If you come by for a beer, be sure to introduce yourself to the bar’s gregarious owner Jimmy, who will regale you with stories of the pre-gentrification East Village.

    Jimmy’s No. 43
    43 E 7th Street
    New York, NY 10003
    (212) 982-3006

    Terroir
    Don’t be intimidated by the wine list (or rather, binder full of wacky graphics and offbeat stream-of-consciousness ramblings). Just surrender your palate to owner-sommelier Paul Grieco, known for his idiosyncratic menus meant to educate, not pander to the masses. It’s his mission to make people reconsider rieslings. If you just want a crisp sauvignon blanc, this is not the place for you.

    Terroir
    24 Harrison Street
    New York, NY 10013
    (212) 625-9463

    Aldo Sohm Wine Bar
    Sometimes referred to as Le Bernardin’s little brother, the Aldo Sohm Wine Bar aims for a more casual but still refined vibe with tables at a low sofa in the center of the room and colorful Keith Haring paintings on the walls. The staff aims to please and will graciously help you find the wine you’re in the mood for (including that crisp sauvignon blanc) and pair it with cured meats from Brooklyn or a selection of Murray’s cheese.

    Aldo Sohm Wine Bar
    151 W 51st Street
    New York, NY 10019
    (212) 554-1143

    Sunny’s Bar
    Once a mariner’s bar, this Red Hook watering hole now draws a hip crowd for bottled beer (there’s no tap) and live bluegrass. An old timey, pseudo-divey aesthetic prevails with worn leather booths and kitschy statuettes above the bar. On warm nights, the small backyard fills up with a chill crowd lounging on 1950s garden chairs under the night sky.

    Sunny’s Bar
    253 Conover Street
    Brooklyn, NY 11231
    (718) 625-8211

    Ten Bells
    For the city’s best selection of natural and sustainable wines, look no further than Ten Bells. This place is cozy and unpretentious, as are its owners. Meet the winemaker events are less like formal lectures on terroir and more like casual conversations in a corner of the bar. At happy hour, you can get dollar oysters and a $15 carafe of the house wine.

    Ten Bells
    247 Broome Street
    New York, NY 10002
    (212) 228-4450

    Mayahuel
    This unmarked drinking den in the East Village is an ode to tequila by the partners behind Amor y Amargo bitters bar, Cienfuegos rum bar, and Gin Palace. The list, which stars tequila and mezcal-based cocktails, goes way beyond the standard margarita, from the relatively familiar spicy paloma to the more creative greenhouse garden with tequila, Thai basil-infused vermouth, ginger, lemon and ancho bitters.

    Mayahuel
    304 E 6th Street
    New York, NY 10003
    (212) 253-5888

    Maison Premiere
    Inspired by weathered New Orleans saloons, Maison Premiere has an entire menu page dedicated to absinthe cocktails shaken by bartenders wearing suspenders and bowties. They pair especially well with the oysters and seafood towers served on antique platters. The hidden garden in back is a romantic hideaway with white garden tables and ferns that will whisk you away to a more picturesque time and place.

    Maison Premiere
    289 Bedford Avenue
    Brooklyn, NY 11211
    (347) 355-0446

    Raines Law Room at the William
    The expert team behind the speakeasy-style Raines Law Room in Chelsea opened a second location inside Midtown’s William Hotel and it’s even better than the original. Both take inspiration from Victorian parlors, with plush sofas and service bells you ring to get a waiter’s attention. Both serve superb takes on the classics, combined with originals by head bartender Meaghan Dorman. The second location has the added bonus of a few barstools for those who like to chat with their bartenders and a more secluded room resembling a library. You can’t go wrong with either.

    *Raines Law Room at the William
    24 E 39th Street
    New York, NY 10016

    Hotels

    The bar at the Breslin

    Melissa Hom

    Ace Hotel New York
    These days, many hotels claim to be the living room of their neighborhood, but the Ace actually functions as a hangout space and dining room for locals and visitors alike. Creative types work on laptops in the lobby, which doubles as a bar, while office workers beeline to the John Dory Oyster Bar at happy hour for cocktails and bivalves. The Breslin is the hotel’s crowning jewel by gastronomic royalty April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman. A coffee bar by Stumptown rounds out the offerings.

    Ace Hotel New York
    20 W 29th Street
    New York, NY 10019
    (212) 679-2222

    High Line Hotel
    Legendary design firm Roman & Williams created a Gothic-inspired masterpiece in part of the General Theological Seminary. Entering the hotel feels like stepping into a Wes Anderson film full of taxidermy, Oriental rugs, antique furniture, and rotary phones. Inside, you’ll find the Intelligentsia coffee bar, which becomes a cocktail bar by night. In the warmer months, Alta Linea takes up residence in the courtyard, serving Italian aperitivi.

    High Line Hotel
    180 10th Avenue
    New York, NY 10011
    (212) 929-3888

    Viceroy

    Courtesy of Gerber Group

    Viceroy New York
    The Viceroy is the cool kid on the block known as Billionare’s Row—a street with no shortage of luxe digs—thanks to its downtown vibe and the collaboration between famed chef Marc Murphy and the Gerber Group. Start with a drink on the Roof, which draws a big after-work crowd for cocktails with a view of Central Park. Then head to Kingside, on the ground floor, where Murphy serves a menu of New American dishes, like lobster toast and pan-seared scallops with fava beans and mint.

    Viceroy New York
    120 W 57th Street
    New York, NY 10019
    (212) 830-8000

    Wythe Hotel
    When the Wythe Hotel opened in Williamsburg in 2012, it was a sure sign that the neighborhood had officially arrived. The hip hotel in a former cooperage exudes the artisanal, creative vibe Brooklyn is known for, down to the custom Brooklyn toile wallpaper and contemporary art curated by painter Kimia Ferdowsi Kline. Andrew Tarlow brought his signature farm-to-table fare to the ground-floor restaurant Reynard, where even the granola is made in house. The Ides rooftop bar boasts incomparable views of the Manhattan skyline. There’s no room service, but the minibars are stocked with local treats, including a limited edition chocolate bar by the Mast Brothers.

    Wythe Hotel
    80 Wythe Avenue
    Brooklyn, NY 11249
    (718) 460-8000

    The NoMad Hotel
    With its Art Nouveau cupola and 1920s Parisian vibe, the NoMad Hotel is nothing short of dramatic. French architect Jacques Garcia was tapped to design the property, which includes a gorgeous library where you can sip tea while reading the paper, an airy main dining room illuminated by a skylight, a red dining room with pressed leaves from Paris’s famous Deyrolle shop adorning the walls, and of course the iconic NoMad Bar. With Daniel Humm and Leo Robitscheck heading up the food and beverage program, you can be sure that any meal at the NoMad will be memorable.

    The NoMad Hotel
    1170 Broadway
    New York, NY 10001
    (212) 796-1500

    Crosby Street Hotel
    The Crosby Street Hotel’s crowning jewel is the rooftop garden where Chef Anthony Paris raises chickens and grows garnishes, like zucchini blossoms that might appear on a plate lightly fried. London’s Kit Kemp brought her whimsical design touches to Firmdale’s first New York property, from the colors and textures in the individually designed rooms to the custom china adorned by sea monsters. In proper English fashion, the restaurant serves a renowned afternoon tea with cucumber sandwiches and petit fours. As a bonus, the hotel opens up its private cinema to the public once a month for dinner and a movie.

    Crosby Street Hotel
    79 Crosby Street
    New York, NY 10012
    (212) 226-6400

    Gramercy Park Hotel
    Ian Schrager and Julian Schnabel’s masterpiece hotel is known for its unparalleled art collection and swanky Rose Bar. Rooms are opulently decorated in rich, deep hues and many come with bar carts. Capping off the hotel’s culinary attractions is Maialino, Danny Meyer’s Roman-inspired trattoria complete with blue-and-white gingham tablecloths, a 17th-century map of the Eternal City, and inventive Roman fare. The cacio e pepe soft scrambled eggs and olive oil muffin definitely beat the standard hotel breakfast. Bonus: guests can borrow a key to Gramercy Park.

    Gramercy Park Hotel
    2 Lexington Avenue
    New York, NY 10010
    (212) 920-3300

    The New York Edition
    At Ian Schrager’s just-opened New York Edition in the former Met Life Insurance Building at Madison Square Park, much of the buzz surrounds British chef Jason Atherton’s first restaurant on this side of the pond. In the aptly-named Clocktower restaurant, Atherton’s artful platings complement the rarified setting in the former executives’ board room, which Schrager decorated with photos from his Studio 54 days. Atherton’s fish and chips with mushy peas is an inspired take on the English classic and the vegetable tartine arrives looking like a Flemish still life on toast. Don’t miss the gold leaf-lined bar.

    The New York Edition
    5 Madison Avenue
    New York, NY 10010
    (212) 413-4200

    Smyth, a Thompson Hotel
    Visitors to the Smyth will find two excellent reasons to rejoice. At Little Park, Andrew Carmellini’s latest venture, seasonal small plates are simple but original in their execution. (The burrata comes not with tomatoes, but with strawberries, and arctic char is garnished with pea pods and kumquats.) For a nitecap, there’s Evening Bar, where you’ll find updated classics in a space that resembles a mid-century living room, an aesthetic that prevails throughout the property.

    Smyth, a Thompson Hotel
    85 West Broadway
    New York, NY 10007
    (212) 587-7000

    Marta

    Jonathan Chesley

    Martha Washington Hotel
    Formerly a women’s-only hotel, the landmarked Renaissance Revival building was recently restored by Chelsea Hotels. The rebirth included a return to its original name; a clean, streamlined design; and—best of all—Marta, a casual pizzeria by Danny Meyer serving Roman-style thin crust pies. Chef Nick Anderer works with local farms to get the best produce, like the zucchini blossoms that top the Fiore di Zucca pizza.

    Martha Washington Hotel
    29 E 29th Street
    New York, NY 10016
    (212) 689-1900

    Culinary Experiences

    Gotham West Market
    Skip touristy Chelsea Market and head up to Hell’s Kitchen for the food lover’s paradise known as Gotham West Market. This food hall features an outpost of Ivan Ramen, Michelin-starred chef Brad Farmerie’s California diner-inspired Genuine Roadside, and Seamus Mullen’s wine and tapas bar El Colmado, to name just a few.

    Gotham West Market
    600 11th Avenue
    New York, NY 10036
    (212) 582-7940

    Brooklyn Grange
    Brooklyn Grange comprises not one but two rooftop farms—one in Brooklyn, one in Queens—that together form the world’s largest rooftop soil farms. Over 50,000 pounds of organically cultivated produce are grown here yearly and sold to restaurants and locals via CSA and farm stands. Brooklyn Grange considers educating the public part of its mission, and you can tour the rooftop farms to learn more about urban agriculture.

    Brooklyn Grange
    37-18 Northern Boulevard
    Long Island City, NY 11101
    (347) 670-3660

    Golden Mall Flushing

    Michelle Young

    Golden Mall Food Court New Yorkers know the more authentic Chinatown isn’t the one in Lower Manhattan; it’s at the end of the 7 train in Flushing, Queens. Asian restaurants, shops, and markets line the streets, but the most epic experience is the Golden Mall, an underground warren of snaking corridors leading to hand-pulled noodle stalls, dumpling spots, and more serving authentic Chinese delicacies. Look for the original outpost of Xi-An Famous Foods and Lan Zhou Hand Pulled Noodles.

    Golden Mall 41-28 Main Street Flushing, Queens 11355

    La Boîte à Épices
    Inspired by his travels and experiences cooking around the world, Lior Lev Sercaz founded La Boîte à Épices, where he sells unique spices and blends. It’s considered a go-to spot for industry insiders; some of the city’s best chefs and bartenders, including Eric Ripert, Seamus Mullen, and Jim Meehan, have collaborated with Sercaz to create their own blends.

    La Boîte à Épices
    724 11th Avenue
    New York, NY 11019
    (212) 247-4407

    Kitchen Arts & Letters
    For cookbooks and more, look no further than this little Upper East Side bookshop, which has been around for over thirty years. You’ll find all the latest cookbooks by your favorite chefs, a wide range of magazines, hard-to-find and out-of-print titles, and even unpublished proofs for browsing.

    Kitchen Arts & Letters
    1435 Lexington Avenue
    New York, NY 10128
    (212) 876-5550

    Red Hook Food Trucks For an under-the-radar alternative to Williamsburg's Smorgasburg, make the trek to Red Hook, on the fringes of Brooklyn. Every weekend in spring and summer, Latin American food trucks (some of which have been around since the 1970s) serve up tacos, arepas, pupusas, and other specialties at the ballpark. Snag one of the picnic tables and have a street food feast.

    Red Hook Food Trucks Bay Street between Columbia Street and Clinton Street, Brooklyn, NY

    New York Distilling Company
    This Williamsburg distillery was one of New York City’s first craft distilleries and it’s one of the best places to learn about the trade. Their Dorothy Parker gin appears in cocktail bars all over the city and they recently opened their first barrels of rye. Go on the weekend, when they give free tours, and stay for a cocktail at the attached bar, the Shanty.

    New York Distilling Company
    79 Richardson Street
    Brooklyn, NY 11211
    (718) 412-0874

    Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory
    A factory tour at Williamsburg’s artisanal bean-to-bar chocolatiers is a must for any chocolate fan. The Mast Brothers are best known for their single origin barely-sweet bars, which you can sample in the shop, though they also make tasty truffles. Check out their brew bar a few doors down, where they brew iced chocolate that tastes like no other chocolate drink you’ve ever tried.

    Mast Brothers Chocolate Factory
    111 N. 3rd Street
    Brooklyn, NY 11211
    (718) 388-2625

    Union Square Greenmarket
    New York has many, many farmers’ markets, but the one at Union Square is the Greenmarket flagship. It started in 1976 and has grown to include 140 vendors in peak season, including local favorites Ronnybrook Farms and Red Jacket Orchards. This is where New York’s top chefs, like Michael Anthony and Nick Anderer, shop for seasonal produce that appears on the menus of Gramercy Tavern, Maialino, and Marta.

    Union Square Greenmarket
    North and west sides of Union Square Park Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays

    EatWith Supper Clubs More intimate than any restaurant, supper clubs offer a glimpse into New Yorkers’ private homes and the chance to share a unique meal with a group of like-minded individuals. EatWith connects diners to hosts, like Ai, who serves a Japanese tasting menu in her Williamsburg loft with veggies and herbs grown on her rooftop garden. Check the listings for dozens of events around the city.

    EatWith locations vary


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    book tour food

    Alex Testere

    Dining on book tour is rarely easy or fun. I’m often squeezing in meals between readings and interviews, or relying on others to make decisions on my behalf. Airport sandwiches are always devastating. Sometimes I just pick a restaurant close to my hotel because of sheer exhaustion, but choosing proximity and ease over taste and aesthetics is almost never a good idea. And sometimes I plan something special in advance, from afar; if it crashes and burns, my mortality sings a sad, sad song to me. I hate leaving a dining experience and thinking: Well, that was functional. Why bother eating? Why bother living, really?

    But as I’ve learned through five books in the last nine years, book tours are business trips, not vacations. The most I can hope for is sharing a meal with someone special—an old friend I haven’t seen in a while who I trust to take me somewhere good, or a new friend, often someone I know through the literary world or the internet—and that their tastes match my own. I remember meeting Canadian writer and editor Emily Keeler for the first time at the International Festival of Authors in Toronto, and how she immediately offered to take me to the best fried chicken place in town the following night. I was doubtful, never having thought to myself: "When you get to Toronto, you must find yourself some fried chicken tout de suite." But the company was great and the fried chicken at Bar Isabel was indeed delicious.

    So this summer, as I set out on tour to promote my latest novel, Saint Mazie, I decided to let friends and strangers—both online and in real life—decide my meals once again. There were some hits and some misses. (I shall spare you the misses, but you know who you are, flaccid restaurants of the American suburb.) But the company I shared my meals with was always great. These are the most memorable dishes from my eleven days on the road.

    Northbrook, IL: The Reuben at Max and Benny’s

    I gave my first reading of the tour at an author’s series at Max and Benny's, a classic Jewish deli in Northbrook, IL, that hosts a monthly book event. They had promised to feed both me and my parents, with whom I was staying in my childhood home. How could I say no? The curator of the series, Richard Reeder, told me that the best thing on the menu was the Reuben. He also suggested I get the chocolate egg cream, which I declined, and I am full of regret about that choice even as I type these words. Who am I to decline an egg cream? Such hubris.

    But that Reuben! It’s worth a drive to the suburbs, Chicagoans. The corned beef is delicious, juicy, fresh, hot, the rye bread both buttery and crisp, matching beautifully with the slaw and Russian dressing, both of which were tangy, but not overwhelming. As we left, we were graciously handed a sturdy box of mixed rugelach, and my family grazed on it for a few days, until finally it was agreed upon that my mother should just take the rest of it to work to share with her coworkers so as to avoid further temptation.

    Chicago, IL: The duck breast at Sepia

    First, three sepia-related things in my life:

    1. I recently spent time on the roof of my Brooklyn apartment building with a new friend drinking bourbon and staring at the Manhattan skyline, and he later described the whole night as being sepia-colored.

    2. A few days ago I pulled a tarot card for a friend who is trying to have a baby and when I thought about her deeply beforehand, I saw her whole life in sepia. I took this to be a good thing.

    3. From an email I sent to another new friend: “Nothing in my past is in sepia tones for me. I had a miserable childhood, my twenties I was in a rut, my thirties I was recovering from my twenties...I spent all this time finding my voice, still ceaselessly working at it now. But I am capable of living in the moment, having present tense joy, just now it's happening, I recognize these possibilities.”

    In Chicago, I dined at a restaurant called Sepia, which was recommended to me on twitter by fashion bloggers/novelists The Fug Girls. I was in a rush that night, I had planned the whole thing poorly, underestimated the time that was needed for the meal and how long it would take me to get to my radio interview afterward, all of it, and I hurriedly ate. But the duck breast was very, very good. It was served with rhubarb, celery, mustard greens, radishes, and red wine jus, and it was tender, and plated beautifully, a colorful, compact, clean plate. And I enjoyed talking to my friend, Lindsay Hunter, a novelist and a short story writer who I have only met a few times before. She brought me a gift, a tiny crown that I could clip to my head and feel like a queen whenever I liked.

    San Francisco, CA: Two chicken dishes in San Francisco

    My first night in San Francisco, I headed to Souvla, a Greek restaurant, an employee of which had invited me to dinner over Twitter. I ate their spit-fired chicken salad, served with fennel, navel orange, pickled red onion, pea shoots, and mizithra cheese, topped with their memorable, zingy Greek yogurt ranch (“Granch”) dressing. It was a perfect post-plane-ride meal, fresh, juicy, wholesome, energizing, light, tasty. Also we tried the frozen Greek soft serve yogurt, one cup with Greek olive oil and sea salt, another with baklava crumbles and syrup, both of which were refreshing and light but still sparkled on the tongue, a sublime salty-sweet combo. I dined there with my old friend Joshua Mohr, another novelist, and we talked about being at a crossroads in our lives, deciding what’s next in our futures, and also people who take too many drugs.

    The next night I went to Zuni Café with an internet friend I was meeting for the first time, a writer named Leah Reich, who was tall, striking, and fit, with long, pretty hair. There is a particular delight in dining with a friend who is bright and charming but also easy on the eyes. While we waited patiently at the bar for an hour, a waitress accidentally spilled an entire glass of wine on me. But how was the food? Well, the roasted chicken with bread salad was delicious. Listen, no one is lying about it. It’s great. It’s been on the menu forever for a reason. But if I had to pick which chicken dish in San Francisco I enjoyed more, I guess I’d have to pick the one I ate when I didn’t smell like a glass of wine.

    Los Angeles, CA: Frozen Drinks and Slippery Shrimp in Los Angeles

    A few weeks before I left on tour, I decided to extend my stay in Los Angeles an extra day, as a little reward for all the work I’d been doing. (One day in Los Angeles is not a vacation. What is it? It’s a day off, I suppose.) I knew I wanted to eat something healthy. California, with all your gorgeous produce and healthy people with shiny hair and clear complexions, teach me your ways. A dear friend, Caitlyn Wooton, is an expert healthy eater. She made us a reservation at vegan restaurant Crossroads. I felt virtuous already.

    But then, the day after my final event at the Ace Hotel, I ended up just spending it in my hotel’s rooftop pool, drinking frozen drinks and having a mini-collapse. Luckily, people came to visit me. My old friend Sarah showed up with her young daughter Sally, who loves the Beatles and decided my name was Yoko Ono and called me Yoko for a few pleasant hours, and then Caitlyn arrived and we flatlined in the sunshine, and then novelist Rachel Kushner came, so sharp and cool and right-headed, and she bought me another drink and we bobbed around in the pool, and I was grinning, those frozen drinks were a kind of meal in themselves, can you count them as a meal?

    By then it was dinner, and when it came down to it, Caitlyn and I didn’t feel like eating healthy. She said, “You know what we should really eat? Slippery shrimp.” So instead we went to Yang Chow in Chinatown and ate an entire plate of it, sticky-sweet-spicy-fried shrimp, all of it, gone. An unplanned, spontaneous meal, a last-minute decision, an indulgence, a delight. It wasn’t tour anymore, but it wasn’t regular life either. It was something in between. And that’s when you eat the slippery shrimp.

    Jami Attenberg is the author of five books of fiction, including The Middlesteins. Her latest is Saint Mazie.


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    As a portrait and travel photographer, I've visited and lived in many countries, but Japan is an exceptional place to me. So exceptional, in fact, that I made Tokyo my home earlier this year. In daily life, there is a near reverence for detail and quality that I have not seen elsewhere. This is apparent in almost everything, but for me it's most poetically expressed in the simple rice ball snacks called onigiri. I love their versatility, their minimalism, and the fact that even in the humblest of places, onigiri are made with attention and care.

    Onigiri are portable parcels that fit in the palm of your hand (nigiri means “to squeeze”). They are sold in tiny rice shops, izakayas, department-store food halls, and convenience stores, like 7-Eleven. They look a little bit like sushi, but they aren't seasoned with mirin the way sushi rice is. Some are wrapped in crisp nori or fresh shiso leaves; others are naked or made with rice mixed with ingredients like sesame seeds. I like the classic fillings, such as salmon, kombu, and tarako (salted cod roe). Umeboshi (pickled plum) is also quite popular, as is tuna, shrimp tempura, and even cheese.

    Before I moved to Japan, I eagerly sought out onigiri on every visit. It was my go-to quick snack, light lunch, or parting souvenir for the plane. But now that I live here, I realize that the same qualities that make them convenient snacks also make onigiri great finger food for parties—you can prepare them ahead of time, their fillings are interchangeable, and they come in fun, tidy packages. After 15 years of obsessing over them, I wanted to learn more about making onigiri for my own shop, so I visited Reiko Yamada, author of Everyday Onigiri (Pottoshupan 2014), in Tokyo.

    I expected to learn a strict tradition—complicated techniques and precise rules passed down over centuries and centuries. But what Reiko-san reinforced was the sense that there are no rules. “Just have fun,” she told me. There is no need for a rice cooker; an old pot with a lid will do. You can use whatever fillings are right for your mood. I noticed that making onigiri with Reiko-san in Tokyo—cupping the rice gently into triangles or balls and stuffing them or patting on toppings—felt just like decorating holiday cookies back in New York City. She showed me that onigiri are as simple or as fancy as you want them to be. That is their beauty.

    See the recipe for Onigiri »

    The Best Onigiri Shops in Tokyo

    Andrea Fazzari

    Matsuya Ginza
    This shop has a counter for regular onigiri, and another for boxes of mini onigiri with many tempura fillings within the Matsuya department store.

    Isetan Shinjuku
    This sits within a great and expansive food hall in the basement of the luxury department store Isetan. They have a vast selection and menus in both Japanese and English.

    Seibu Ikebukuro
    One of the more extensive selections of traditional onigiri in the huge department store Seibu.

    Omusubi Gonbei
    A freestanding onigiri chain, they offer a wide variety of onigiri in all shapes and sizes, not just the most popular rounded triangles.

    Iizuka Seimaiten
    This is part rice shop, part onigiri shop in the Meguro area of Tokyo. In the mornings they sell a number of onigiri using pesticide-free rice.


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  • 07/23/15--12:25: Travel Guide: London
  • V&A Café

    Victoria and Albert Museum

    Though it should come as no surprise that one can find every conceivable type of international eats in London, one of the most culturally diverse capitals, the pervasive myth that British food itself is terrible refuses to die. Divisive local customs such as jellied eel aside, its residents and regular visitors know that London’s food scene is one of the best. Even top French chef Joël Robuchon (in a move that, surprisingly, did not cost him his French citizenship) has stated that he “would argue that London is very possibly the gastronomic capital of the world.”

    The truth is that British cuisine has been experiencing a renaissance for some time now. In addition to culinary pioneers such as Heston Blumenthal leading the way to the future with scientifically informed innovations, there’s been a strong push to revisit traditional dishes, in combination with the “Best of British” movement and its strong focus on top-quality seasonal produce, heritage meats and seafood, and artisan dairy products.

    Even pub fare, once something to be tolerated rather than enjoyed, has been continuously elevated and upgraded since the Eagle in Clerkenwell launched the “gastropub” concept in 1991. And when The Harwood Arms become the city’s first Michelin-starred pub in 2010, the notion that pub food is an afterthought to the beer was forever laid to rest.

    While it is surprising that most pubs still close at 11 p.m. in this cosmopolitan metropolis, that’s why Londoners start getting their drink on early. Cocktail lounges stay open later, though, and with eight London locales on the “World’s 50 Best Bars” list—more than any other city—the town is top of the heap for drinks as well.

    Where to Eat

    St. John
    Fergus Henderson launched the nose-to-tail trend when, nearly 24 years ago, he opened this stark white restaurant in an old smokehouse near Smithfield meat market. Now Michelin-starred, it continues to turn out fresh takes on traditional British dishes, accompanied by excellent wines and house-baked breads. Roast bone marrow with parsley salad is a perennial favorite and baked-to-order madeleines for dessert are worth the wait.

    St. John
    26 St. John Street
    London EC1M 4AY, United Kingdom
    +44 20 7251 0848

    Tayyab’s
    This bustling, family-run Punjabi institution in Whitechapel has been in business for more than 40 years. Waiters whirl through modern rooms with lounge-like décor, delivering platter after steaming platter of the house specialty, sizzling grilled lamb chops. But the entire selection of spicy curries, vegetarian dishes and tandoor-baked breads is consistently excellent. It’s BYOB and booking ahead is highly recommended.

    Tayyab’s
    83-89 Fieldgate Street
    London E1 1JU, United Kingdom
    +44 20 7247 6400

    Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
    One of the forerunners of cutting-edge molecular gastronomy has now turned his eye to the past. Heston Blumenthal’s Dinner, in Knightsbridge’s posh Mandarin Oriental hotel, produces artistic interpretations of historic British recipes dating back to 1390. Though it’s breathtakingly pricey, the dazzling presentations of dishes such as Meat Fruit (c. 1500), Salamagundy (1720), and Powdered Duck Breast (1670) are matched by the heady flavors.

    Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
    Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park
    66 Knightsbridge
    London SW1X 7LA, United Kingdom
    +44 20 7201 3833

    The Wolseley

    Simon Bevan

    The Wolseley
    This glamorous Art Deco grand café in the Parisian or Viennese tradition, all black marble, gold accents, and soaring ceilings, was originally an automobile showroom when it opened in 1921. Antique Orientalist décor and mismatched silver-plated teapots are part of the Old World charm. It’s a fantastic choice for breakfast or afternoon tea, but an all-day menu of elegant European dishes is available till midnight.

    The Wolseley
    160 Piccadilly
    London W1J 9EB, United Kingdom
    +44 20 7499 6996

    E. Pellicci
    This compact East London greasy spoon has been run by the same Italian family since 1900. And how many greasy spoons are lined with lovely Art Deco wood paneling? It’s a particular favorite for a hearty “fry up” (full English breakfast) as well espresso drinks, an array of inexpensive sandwiches, and familiar Italian and British mains.

    E. Pellicci
    332 Bethnal Green Road
    London, E2 0AG, United Kingdom
    +44 20 7739 4873

    Hunan Restaurant
    This small, menu-less spot in Pimlico with understated ambiance has been quietly making magic for more than 30 years. Guests are simply asked what they can’t (or won’t) eat, and then the seemingly endless wave of bite-sized plates begins. Chef Mr. Pang revisits regional Chinese standards with top-of-the-line ingredients and a light touch, periodically popping out of the kitchen to admonish diners not to “waste the sauce.”

    Hunan Restaurant
    51 Pimlico Road
    London SW1W 8NE, United Kingdom
    +44 20 7730 5712

    Caravan
    This hip café in Farringdon’s Exmouth Market is also an independent coffee roaster, supplying beans to many other London locales. The menu is eclectic, featuring everything from massamun goat curry and Welsh lamb to Nepalese momos, all featuring “Best of British” ingredients. Breakfasts and brunches, with picks like a creamy banana-caramel porridge, really shine. The bar offers classic cocktails and a well-curated wine list.

    Caravan
    11-13 Exmouth Market
    London EC1R 4QD, United Kingdom
    +44 20 7833 8115

    Ottolenghi
    With five London restaurants and seven cookbooks, renowned Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi’s culinary empire continues to grow, but the down-to-earth ambiance and unwavering excellence of his modern Mediterranean small plates remain. The front window of the Islington location brims with tempting cakes and puddings, but the seasonal savory dishes and fantastic wine list—with unusual options such as orange wines—are the stars.

    Ottolenghi
    287 Upper Street
    London N1 2TZ, United Kingdom
    +44 20 7288 1454

    Poppies
    Decked out in memorabilia and staffed by girls in retro outfits, this chip shop looks like a nostalgic memory of what a post-war chippy might have been. Yet owner Pop Newland has in fact been doling out ample portions of fish and chips in East London since 1945. Quality is top: incredibly fresh, tender, and flaky fish in a light, crisp batter.

    Poppies
    6-8 Hanbury Street
    London, E1 6QR, United Kingdom
    +44 20 7247 0892

    The Harwood Arms
    London’s only Michelin-starred pub takes gastropub dining to new heights. Set in a relaxed, circa-1840 dining room in calm pastel tones, the Modern British menu focuses particularly on wild game and local produce—some sourced from their own rooftop garden. Also somewhat unusual for a pub is the serious wine list. Bookings are essential.

    The Harwood Arms
    Walham Grove
    London, SW6 1QP, United Kingdom
    +44 20 7386 1847

    Lima

    Courtesy of Lima

    Lima
    Chef Virgilio Martinez showcases indigenous Peruvian ingredients in gorgeous, refined small plates at his Michelin-starred Fitzrovia restaurant. Served in a bright, compact space, standouts include sea-bream ceviche with cancha (crunchy roast corn) and braised octopus with quinoa and Botija olive puree. Tasty cocktails are based on pisco and tropical fruits. His new branch, Lima Floral, has a downstairs pisco bar serving piqueos, Peruvian small plates.

    Lima
    31 Rathbone Place
    London, W1T 1JH, United Kingdom
    +44 20 3002 2640

    Lima Floral
    14 Garrick Street
    London, WC2E 9BJ, United Kingdom
    +44 20 7240 5778

    Hawksmoor
    Widely considered some of London’s best steakhouses, the five Hawksmoor restaurants all specialize in top-shelf cocktails and prime cuts of dry-aged beef sourced from grass-fed British heritage breeds. But in a chic Art Deco room at Piccadilly’s Air Street location, charcoal-grilled seafood from Brixham Fish Market in Devon gets equal billing. The Guildhall branch serves elevated full English breakfasts and all offer traditional Sunday roasts.

    Hawksmoor
    5 Air Street, Mayfair
    London, W1J 0AD, United Kingdom
    +44 20 7406 3980

    Rasa Sayang
    A no-frills, halal eatery in Chinatown preparing authentic Straits cuisine. Malaysian and Singaporean mainstays such as flaky roti canai dipped in curry, beef rendang, and satay skewers are on the more accessible end for the uninitiated, while the more adventurous can head for the menu’s “Heat Zone” and try spicy, pungent options such as stir-fried sambal petai (a.k.a., “stink beans”).

    Rasa Sayang
    5 Macclesfield Street
    London W1D 6AY, United Kingdom
    +44 20 7734 1382

    Dub Jam
    A ska, reggae, and dub playlist thumps from the wall of upcycled speakers in this tiny, colorful joint in Covent Garden. Jamaican-style jerk skewers and rum punch served in hand-painted tin cans (two-for-one during daily happy hours) add to the festive Caribbean beach-shack vibe. Also available are burgers, patties, veggie options and, of course, Red Stripe.

    Dub Jam
    20 Bedford Street
    London WC2E 9HP, United Kingdom
    +44 20 7836 5876

    Fifteen
    Jamie Oliver’s nonprofit restaurant on a quiet street in Shoreditch creates modern, globally inspired plates with a focus on seasonal British ingredients such as Lindisfarne oysters and samphire. Each year, its apprentice program takes on 15 unemployed young trainees, culminating in a week when they take over the kitchen. The chic bar crafts classic and modern cocktails.

    Fifteen
    15 Westland Place
    London N1 7LP, United Kingdom
    +44 20 3375 1515

    Where to Drink

    Nightjar

    Jerome Courtial

    Nightjar
    Live jazz and blues acts and lustrous Art Deco mirrors add to the Prohibition-era feel of this cozy, candlelit underground lounge. An extensive menu of consistently excellent and artfully presented cocktails is arranged by era, from “Pre-Prohibition” to “Post-War.” There’s a cover for the live music, but not on Sundays, Mondays, and Tuesdays. It’s table service-only, and popular, so it’s a good idea to book ahead.

    Nightjar
    129 City Road
    London EC1V 1JB, United Kingdom
    +44 20 7253 4101

    Cahoots

    Courtesy of Cahoots

    Cahoots
    In true speakeasy style, it’s not easy to find this hopping bar, but here’s a hint: Imagine there’s a disused underground station beneath Soho’s Kingly Court. Book ahead for tickets to 1940s London and seats in an air-raid shelter or vintage Tube car. Creative, quirky cocktails (“Give Peas a Chance” makes magic from the unlikely combo of garden peas and champagne), war ration-inspired snacks, and a swinging soundtrack guarantee good times.

    Cahoots
    Kingly Court
    London, W1B 5PW
    +44 20 7352 6200

    The Spaniards Inn
    Even for a town rife with historic pubs, The Spaniards, dating to 1585, has a venerable pedigree. Its wood-paneled rooms were frequented by Dickens and Keats allegedly wrote ‘Ode to a Nightingale’ in the spacious beer garden. Cask ales and ciders are paired with classic pub fare like Scotch eggs or pie and mash, as well as modern gastropub bites such as seasonal flatbreads.

    The Spaniards Inn
    Spaniards Road, Hampstead
    London, NW3 7JJ, United Kingdom
    +44 20 8731 8406

    White Lyan
    Cocktail geekery has reached its pinnacle in this sleek, black-on-black Hoxton nook. In the interest of consistency, the rules are: no ice, no perishables (including citrus zest and fruit juice), and pre-mixed house drinks only. Peculiar ingredients include beeswax, bone, dandelion soda, and ambergris. While it’s pretty high-concept, the atmosphere is low-key, lively, and unpretentious, and you can even buy bottled cocktails to take home.

    White Lyan
    153-155 Hoxton Street
    London, N1 6PJ, United Kingdom
    +44 20 3011 1153

    Mother Kelly’s
    In an airy, tranquil space under a railway arch in Bethnal Green, this modern tap room and bottle shop has a colorful graffiti wall and indoor/outdoor seating at long wooden tables. A daily changing cast of 19 craft beers is on draft, with a focus on London breweries. Four taps are reserved for ciders, perries, prosecco and wine, while six refrigerators are packed with bottles from around the world.

    Mother Kelly’s
    251 Paradise Row
    London, E2 9LE, United Kingdom
    +44 20 7012 1244

    Where to Stay

    The Hoxton
    This pair of trendy hotels feature rooms with funky décor (One of Shoreditch’s eight East London concept rooms was inspired by the famed Beigel Bake), hip diner-style restaurants, and daily delivered breakfast. The High Holborn outpost also has room-size options ranging from “Shoebox” to “Roomy,” an espresso bar, and a nail salon. In-house events include art shows, DJs, film screenings, and technophile classes.

    The Hoxton, Shoreditch
    81 Great Eastern Street
    London, EC2A 3HU, United Kingdom
    +44 20 7550 1000

    The Hoxton, Holborn
    199-206 High Holborn
    London, WC1V 7BD, United Kingdom
    +44 20 7661 3000

    citizenM

    Courtesy of citizenM

    citizenM
    The Bankside branch of this Dutch hotel chain offers stylish, affordable lodgings. The high-tech rooms are compact and minimalist, with a touchscreen tablet for all controls. The spacious lounge and work space, wrapped around a garden atrium, features iconic modern furniture and art and a pop-up store of design books. There’s also a 24-hour bar and self-service canteen stocked with light eats.

    citizenM
    20 Lavington Street
    London, SE1 0NZ, United Kingdom
    +44 20 3519 1680

    Artist Residence

    Courtesy of Artist Residence

    Artist Residence
    A 10-room Regency-era townhouse in genteel Pimlico has been transformed into a stylish, intimate boutique hotel. Each comfy room is different, but all have eclectic furnishings with retro touches, irreverent artwork, and high-end fixtures. The two suites also have sitting areas and freestanding claw-foot bathtubs. On the ground floor, there’s a cozy, boho guest lounge and a private dining room.

    Artist Residence
    52 Cambridge Street
    London, SW1V 4QQ, United Kingdom
    +44 20 7828 6684

    What to Do

    Borough Market

    Danette St. Onge

    Borough Market
    The city’s oldest market, sprawling under the railway lines near London Bridge, is a food-lover’s paradise. Beneath the 19th-century glass-and-steel roof, nearly 100 stalls sell produce, cheese, bread, meat, wine and groceries from around the world. Many, such as Roast To Go (an offshoot of Iqbal Wahhab’s celebrated Roast restaurant, upstairs), also sell sandwiches or hot dishes, making Borough a great option for a breakfast butty, quick lunch, or stocking up on picnic provisions.

    Borough Market
    8 Southwark Street
    London, SE1 1TL, United Kingdom
    +44 20 7407 1002

    Neal’s Yard Dairy
    Stop into one of their three handsome shops (at Borough Market, Covent Garden and Bermondsey) to sample a large, carefully curated selection of artisan cheeses from dairy farms around the British Isles. Or sign up for one of their cheese-pairing or cheese-history classes. For the truly cheese-obsessed, they can even create custom celebration or wedding “cakes” from stacks of cheese wheels.

    Neal’s Yard Dairy
    6 Park Street
    London, SE1 9AB, United Kingdom
    +44 20 7367 0799

    Tour a Distillery…
    Learn about the history and production of one of London’s favorite tipples at COLD, the first gin distillery within the city limits in nearly 200 years. It offers regular tastings and guided tours (including a G&T), or for a more hands-on experience, Gin Lab classes offer the chance to create a custom botanical blend and distill your very own bottle of “mother’s ruin.”

    City of London Distillery (COLD)
    22-24 Bride Lane
    London, EC4Y 8DT, United Kingdom
    +44 20 7936 3636

    …or a Brewery
    Explore the making of the city’s other favorite beverage at this independent craft brewery built under converted Victorian railway arches, offering both drop-in and pre-booked tours. Or taste the house beers—including lagers, stouts and Gentleman’s Wit, a bergamot-flavored white beer—at The Brewery Bar, which hosts a rotating cast of food trucks on weekends.

    Camden Town Brewery
    55 Wilkin Street Mews
    London, NW5 3NN, United Kingdom
    +44 20 7485 1671

    V&A Café

    Victoria and Albert Museum

    Take Time for Tea
    The ultra-British ritual of taking afternoon tea can be performed in any number of posh hotels, but advance reservations—and deep pockets—are usually required. For a more spontaneous pause, savor classic scones and tea cakes at the self-service V&A Café at the Victoria and Albert Museum (admission is free), with three truly opulent 19th-century rooms (one designed by William Morris) and live piano music on weekends. For a more formal service, try The Wolseley or the 18th-century Orangery in Kensington Palace Gardens: genteel options for traditional cream teas or towers of dainty sandwiches and pastries.

    V&A Café
    Victoria and Albert Museum
    Cromwell Road
    London, SW7 2RL, United Kingdom
    +44 20 7942 2000

    The Orangery
    Kensington Palace, Kensington Gardens
    London, W8 4PX, United Kingdom
    +44 20 3166 6113

    Picnic in a Park
    Take advantage of a sunny day by picking up a picnic hamper at luxury emporium Fortnum & Mason’s hallowed Food Hall and heading for the lush lawns of Green, Hyde, or Regent’s Park. On a budget? Take your pick from rows of vintage picnic baskets at Notting Hill’s Portobello Road antiques market and stock it yourself with goodies from Borough Market.

    Fortnum & Mason
    181 Piccadilly
    London, W1A 1ER, United Kingdom
    +44 20 7734 8040

    Portobello Road Antiques Market
    London, W10 5TA, United Kingdom
    +44 20 7727 7684

    Join a Pop-Up Dinner
    For an out-of-the-ordinary dining experience, the GrubClub website proposes pop-up dinners in unique settings such as the St. Pancras Clock Tower, on a double-decker bus, or in a vintage Underground car. More intimate events include themed tea parties, international family-style meals, private garden supper clubs or BYOB dinners in the homes of Michelin-trained chefs.

    GrubClub

    Dine Outdoors
    Every Friday and Saturday night from May through September, Dalston Yard comes alive with Street Feast, an international mish-mash of street-food hawkers and pop-up bars with a block-party vibe. More than 20 stalls and food trucks sell bites ranging from burgers and Taiwanese buns to Indian tapas and Korean tacos. Starting June 12, Dinerama in Shoreditch features open-air dining and rooftop bars five days a week.

    Street Feast
    Dalston Yard, Hartwell Street
    London, E8 3DU, United Kingdom

    Dinerama
    Shoreditch Yard, 19 Great Eastern Street
    London, EC2A 3EJ, United Kingdom

    Late-Night Nosh
    Suited businessmen and drunken revelers alike line up for the soft, chewy bagels at this 24-hour Brick Lane institution that has been turning out thousands daily since 1977. At just 25 pence each, they give lie to the belief that bargain bites do not exist in London. A popular option is a sandwich heaped with slabs of steaming-hot salt beef, mustard and pickles.

    Beigel Bake
    159 Brick Lane
    London, E1 6SB, United Kingdom
    +44 20 7729 0616

    Chin Chin Labs

    Chin Chin Labs

    Futuristic Frozen Treats
    Tucked in a corner of teeming Camden Market, this tiny shop outfitted with vintage lab equipment churns ice cream to order amid billowing clouds of liquid-nitrogen fog. Aside from the thrill factor, the super-fast freezing ensures that even dairy-free flavors have an astonishingly smooth texture. Top-quality chocolate and vanilla are mainstays, with imaginative guest stars such as “Strawberry and Hay” or “Scones, Jam, and Tea.”

    Chin Chin Labs
    49-50 Camden Lock Place
    London, NW1 8AF, United Kingdom
    +44 7885 604284


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  • 07/24/15--10:10: Dispatch: Ministry of Crab
  • Ministry Crab, Sri Lanka

    David Hagerman

    The red ceramic-tiled roof, vaulted ceilings, and polished teak beams of Colombo’s recently renovated Old Dutch Hospital, originally built in 1677, are a symbol of the progress Sri Lanka has made in the last six years. Since the conclusion of a 27-year-old struggle against the notorious terrorist group known as the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam), business is booming on the island, known in antiquity as Serendib (“Paradise”). Tourists are flocking to her sun-drenched shores in droves.

    The former hospital currently houses an upscale restaurant and shopping complex, which includes Ministry of Crab, a jewel in Colombo’s expanding culinary landscape that was also recently cited among the 50 Best Restaurants of Asia as compiled by Diner’s Club. The brainchild of veteran restaurateur Darshan Munidasa, 44, Ministry is one of the few places on the island where you can enjoy the humongous Sri Lankan lagoon crabs, which were previously tagged for “export only” to Singapore, along with a smorgasbord of local seafood.

    The open floor plan gives you an unimpeded view of the nontraditional kitchen, whose centerpiece consists of 8 wok stations. Displayed on a bed of ice at the front sits the day’s catch—including, prawns, clams, oysters, seer fish, and grouper—while the live crabs are kept in large aquariums at the back. Friendly servers greet diners, and taking their orders with iads, helping them into bibs that will come in handy later on.

    Ministry Crab, Sri Lanka

    David Hagerman

    “Crabzilla” is a term you will probably never see on another restaurant menu, but at Ministry of Crab that’s what they call the monsters weighing 2 kilos and above—that’s almost 4 1/2 pounds of crab at a cost of 1250 rupees/kilo (about US $4/pound). When I visited, my companions and I order 2 smaller ones, a chili garlic crab and a pepper crab, whose combined weight was still over 4 pounds. When they arrived, it wasn’t so much their size that struck me, but rather their rich, succulent flesh. I grew up in Baltimore, and have eaten my fair share of crabs—but nothing as delicious as these.

    We sopped up the addictive chili garlic sauce, made of Italian olive oil, Japanese soy sauce, garlic, and piquant pepperoncini, with thick slices of kade pan or traditional white bread baked in a wood fired oven. We also enjoyed the claypot prawn curry, made of giant Black Tiger prawns in a spicy gravy. And then there were the sides: garlic sautéed kankun, or morning glory, a popular green; and pol sambol, the condiment of choice in Sri Lanka, made of shredded coconut with chili, lime, and salt. The food went down easy after a few Small Island Iced Teas, a creation of Chef Darshan himself, featuring the local liquor arrack, embellished with Ceylon tea, soda water, and lime. Though our meal was far from the traditional “rice and curry” that Sri Lankans eat, it was most definitely a taste of paradise.

    Ministry Crab, Sri Lanka

    David Hagerman

    Ministry of Crab
    Old Dutch Hospital Bank of Ceylon Mawatha
    Colombo, Sri Lanka

    S.H. Fernando Jr. is a writer, producer, and gastronaut. He is the author of Rice & Curry: Sri Lankan Home Cooking (Hippocrene Books, 2012), a New York Times notable cookbook.


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    suttons drug store chapel hill

    Sutton's Drug Store

    Ying-Ao Zhang

    Restaurants mysteriously disappear from Franklin Street, the main drag at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I’ve watched as Qdoba, Caribou Coffee, Top This!, and Gigi’s Cupcakes came and went with the passing semesters. Sutton's Drug Store, however, remains a constant fixture.

    In 1923, Linwood and Lucy Sutton opened the drugstore, where they also sold groceries and other essential items. When the store was sold in 1977 to business partners, John Woodward Jr. and current owner Don Pinney, they decided to clear out a portion of the merchandise area in order to make room for a lunch counter and dining tables. Starting with just 18 seats for in-house dining, they’ve gradually added more and more booths, allowing families, students, and visitors to Chapel Hill to frequent Sutton’s for cheeseburgers (their most popular item), hot dogs, and sandwiches.

    Sutton’s is the mecca for delicious comfort food in Chapel Hill. In June of 2014, the drugstore portion of Sutton’s was sold to CVS Pharmacy, a newer addition to Franklin Street. Now that the pharmacy is no longer part of the store, the only vital remedy that Sutton’s offers is a bacon, egg, and cheese to a crowd of ailing college students on Sunday mornings.

    Aside from comfort food, they also sell jams and jellies made from family recipes that draw on local, seasonal ingredients. The crowd favorite is “Frog Jam,” which consists of figs, raspberries, orange juice, and ginger. In July 2014, Sutton’s began stocking 30 varieties of vintage sodas. One year later, they now carry 87 different sodas, and the best sellers are Cheerwine, RC Cola, and Nehi. They make for the perfect sweet counterpart to your meal, whether glugged straight from the glass bottle or poured over a cup of the best crushed ice in town (seriously, it’s important).

    If you’re looking for Chapel Hill’s trendiest restaurant, I’d tell you to shift your gaze towards any of the newer joints along Franklin Street. At Sutton’s, the food is uncomplicated and impossible to dislike, but the best part is the experience. The service is always friendly and welcoming*, and the atmosphere is casual and fun. Pinney says, “We want you to feel like you're family when you walk in.” The walls are covered in UNC athletic rosters, Tar Heel paraphernalia, and autographed pictures of the movie stars, past presidents, and professional athletes that found their way to a Sutton’s booth. Your chances of spotting a UNC athlete are also pretty good, which is a huge incentive for young sport fans or eager college students looking to be mildly socially relevant. It’s nearly impossible sink your teeth into a burger without making eye contact with a historic UNC figure plastered on the posters throughout the store. I always leave reeking of a combination of fries and unrivaled greatness.

    It’s only right that the oldest (unbiased) and greatest (biased) public university in America is home to a joint like Sutton’s. I go because it’s a special place with at least one familiar face, a meaningful history and great chicken fingers. I also go for the ice. I’m telling you, it’s really great.

    *Can’t speak for Duke fans


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  • 06/25/15--08:42: Travel Guide: Rome
  • Rome Guide

    Katie Parla

    With a city nicknamed Caput Mundi—Capital of the World—it’s only natural that Romans are accustomed to seeing their home as unrivaled in matters of history, culture, and food. And while it's true that traditional local cuisine holds a sacred place at the table, the Eternal City is hardly impervious to change. The city’s classics, from carbonara to cacio e pepe, are still universally beloved, but Rome’s dining and drinking culture, like that of all cities, is in a constant state of slow evolution. Recently, tightening purse strings, a transitioning food economy, and changing palates have conspired to create exciting new ways of dining, drinking, and shopping for food. Visitors to the Italian capital will be endlessly satisfied, whether they are after traditional foods or fresh flavors.

    Where to Eat

    Flavio al Velavevodetto At the edge of the Testaccio neighborhood’s nightclub row, Flavio De Maio serves an offal-driven menu of Roman comfort food in a deeply historical setting; the dining rooms are excavated into a hill made of 2,000-year-old olive oil jugs. De Maio’s rigatoni alla carbonara is deceptively light in spite of its rich ingredients—eggs, cured pork jowl, and Pecorino Romano—and you’ll want to pick up his braised oxtail with your hands and eat it off the bone. The cacio e pepe, simmered tripe, and fried lamb chops are similarly alluring, but be sure to save room for Rome’s creamiest tiramisù.

    Where to Stay

    Babuino 181 Part of Alberto Moncada di Paternò’s Rome Luxury Suites hotel chain, Babuino 181 is located mid-way between Piazza del Popolo and Piazza di Spagna, a bustling shopping district. Each of the 24 rooms is furnished with muted tones, large beds, and marble bathrooms. In the summer, the rooftop terrace hosts al fresco breakfast service and evening cocktails.

    Where to Drink

    The Jerry Thomas Project The faux-speakeasy trend may be old news in the U.S., but it is currently in full swing in Rome. At The Jerry Thomas Project, a team of well-traveled friends has joined forces to create a cocktail mecca in central Rome. The house cocktails include historic drinks, many of which were first mixed by the bar’s pre-Prohibition namesake, as well as original creations featuring obscure spirits and house-made vermouths based on turn of the 20th century recipes. A booking and a password are prerequisites for entry, so come prepared.

    What to Do

    Vino Roma Italian wine lists can be daunting due to complex regional wine laws and an utter lack of consistency from one list to the next. A tasting at Vino Roma, a wine studio in the Monti neighborhood, will demystify the opaque world of vino italiano. During tastings, a trained sommelier guides your experience, pouring wines selected to highlight typical styles and indigenous Italian grapes.

    The innovative features of Rome’s flourishing food and drinks scene are at their best when they use tradition as a foundation: neo-trattorias like Cesare al Casaletto serve clever twists on the classics, while the nascent craft cocktail culture, embodied by The Jerry Thomas Project, embraces historic spirits and forgotten flavors. Wine bars and craft beer pubs run by enthusiastic experts promote small producers over conventional choices and a revived interest in food provenance has given rise to a growing number of farmers’ markets—which contrary to popular belief are relative newcomers to the city’s gastronomic landscape.

    Terre e Domus
    “Locavore” isn’t a trendy buzzword at this wine bar and restaurant near the Roman Forum; it’s an imperative. Terre e Domus is run by Rome’s county government and its aim is to support local farmers and winemakers by only using ingredients sourced in the city’s environs. Even the bottled water comes from a nearby spring. Chef Marco Pasquali serves seasonal Roman classics like vignarola, a stew of artichokes, fava beans, peas, and lettuce, as well as perennial favorites like potato gnocchi and polpette di bollito, deep fried patties of simmered beef. The espresso is among the finest in town, but you don’t need to sit down for a whole meal to try it—just swing by on your way to the Forum and get a quick caffeine fix at the bar. The place gets busy at lunch, so book ahead and request a table with a view of Trajan’s Column.

    Terre e Domus
    Via Foro Traiano 82-4
    Piazza Venezia, Rome, Italy
    +390669940273

    Cesare al Casaletto
    If there is any place in Rome that warrants a trip across town, it’s this neo-trattoria in the Gianicolense district. Getting there is simple: just hop on the #8 tram at Piazza Venezia and take it to the end. A short walk from the tram stop, chef Leonardo Vignoli serves classic and innovative Roman fare. He has a flair for fried starters like eggplant croquettes, baby octopus, squash blossoms, and polpette di bollito, while his tripe, oxtail, and pig liver always hit the mark on flavor and texture. The wine list, which mixes small producers from Italy and France, is outrageously affordable and features mainly organic and biodynamic producers.

    Cesare al Casaletto
    Via del Casaletto, 45
    Gianicolense, Rome, Italy
    +3906536015

    Tavernaccia da Bruno
    When Bruno opened his “tavernaccia” in southern Trastevere in 1968, he served Roman classics alongside rustic country dishes from his native Umbria. Now, Bruno’s daughters are at the helm and follow in their father’s footsteps with a few additions to the repertoire. The Sardinian chef—Bruno’s son in law—masterfully uses the wood-burning oven to slow-roast punta di petto (beef brisket) and maialino (suckling pig) to tender perfection. The wood-fired lasagna is exceptional and there is a tasty assortment of thin-crusted pizzas and flatbreads, as well.

    Tavernaccia da Bruno
    Via G. da Castelbolognese, 63, corner with via Panfilo Castaldi 12
    Trastevere, Rome, Italy
    +39065812792

    Salumeria Roscioli
    For the past decade, this deli-wine bar-restaurant combo has captivated chefs and food writers drawn in by its exceptional ingredients. They are best when presented simply: burrata with semi-sun-dried tomatoes, mortadella, and 30-month aged Parmigiano-Reggiano; and Isigny butter and Cantabrian anchovies on the house sourdough. The rigatoni alla gricia is dressed in a tight sauce of cured pork jowl, black pepper, and copious amounts of finely grated Pecorino Romano, and the spaghetti alla carbonara is made with the eggs of goat’s milk-drinking Livorno hens. Book a table on the ground floor near the kitchen for marginally roomier seating than you'll find in the crowded basement or deli area.

    Salumeria Roscioli
    Via dei Giubbonari, 21/22
    Campo de’ Fiori, Rome, Italy
    +39066875287

    Metamorfosi
    Few Michelin-starred venues in Rome are worth the investment or the calories; Metamorfosi is a noted exception. The Rome-trained international kitchen flawlessly executes contemporary cuisine drawing on native Italian ingredients fused with modern techniques and exotic (by local standards) flavors. Signature dishes like candied tomato ravioli with burrata and cured pork jowl and miso-lacquered eel with caramelized onions and tangy vinegar sorbet are supremely balanced; the rest of the menu, which changes a few times a year, is guided by the seasons.

    Metamorfosi
    Via Giovanni Antonelli, 30/32
    Parioli, Rome, Italy
    +39068076839

    La Torricella
    The Testaccio neighborhood, the site of a former slaughterhouse, may be known for quinto quarto (offal and poor cuts), but the menu at this family-run institution on the edge of the district is decidedly fish-focused. The D’Alfonsi family serves fresh catch from the nearby Tyrrhenian Sea, and their antipasti are particularly good: pan-fried anchovies, fried and marinated baby octopus, and fresh octopus salads. Be sure to ask about the antipasto cart, which tends to be rolled only to tables of regulars, before ordering. Pastas and mains change regularly, but there are always whole fish on the menu, served roasted or grilled.

    La Torricella
    Via Evangelista Torricelli, 2/12
    Testaccio, Rome, Italy
    +39065746311

    falvio carbonara rome travel pasta

    Katie Parla


    Flavio al Velavevodetto
    Via di Monte Testaccio, 97
    Testaccio, Rome, Italy
    +39065744194

    Tempio di Iside
    Francesco Tripodi, a Calabrian transplant to Rome, serves exquisitely fresh fish at this cavernous restaurant near the Colosseum. The raw items, including French oysters and Adriatic shrimp, are without rival in the Italian capital, and the pasta dishes—like spaghetti with sea urchin roe and linguine with crab—are elegant in their simplicity. In Rome, fresh fish is a luxury, which is reflected in the prices at Tempio, but you’ll be hard pressed to find fish in this category anywhere else in town.

    Tempio di Iside
    Via Pietro Verri, 11
    Colosseo, Rome, Italy
    +39067004741

    Pizzeria Ostiense
    Three young friends opened this lively pizzeria in April 2014 in the Ostiense district, a rapidly transitioning industrial zone. Pizzas may be the main event, but locals know to begin with assorted fried starters like fiori di zucca (squash blossoms filled with mozzarella and anchovies), filetti di baccalà (battered cod), and simmered beans. The pizzas are made in the classic Roman style: briefly leavened dough is stretched, rolled flat, then baked in a wood-burning oven. The result is a crispy, practically rimless pie. The best pizzas are the ones sparsely topped like the Napoli (with tomato, mozzarella, and anchovies) and fiori di zucca (with mozzarella, squash blossoms, and anchovies). Desserts like panna cotta (served dripping with chocolate sauce) and tiramisù are creamy and satisfying.

    Pizzeria Ostiense
    Via Ostiense, 56 b/c
    Ostiense, Rome, Italy
    +390657305081

    Tonda
    North of the city center, Tonda’s domed, ceramic-clad oven bakes Rome’s finest thick-rimmed pizzas. Although the local Roman style calls for a thin, crispy base, Tonda emulates the Neapolitan tradition of a thicker, slightly chewy crust. Toppings range from classic margherita to innovative carbonara (topped with the ingredients traditionally found in the pasta dish) and there is a wide assortment of fried appetizers to start with. Tonda also serves trapizzini—triangular pockets of dough filled with simmered meats or offal. All ingredients are top-notch and the wine list is well curated, but the gourmet sourcing doesn’t translate to a pretentious atmosphere. Tonda is a down-to-earth neighborhood joint with friendly service and a loyal following, so be sure to book in advance.

    Tonda
    Via Valle Corteno, 31
    Nomentano, Rome, Italy
    +39068180960

    Hotel 47
    Built on the ruins of Rome’s ancient livestock market, this early 20th century building was designed in a rational/fascist architectural style, complete with clean lines and plenty of white limestone. But now, the austere atmosphere has been replaced with hospitable modernity and restrained luxury. The upper floors have views of the verdant Aventine Hill and over ancient temples to the rooftops of Trastevere. The top floor bar, which is open to visitors as well as guests, provides a shaded retreat from the ruins below.

    Hotel 47
    Via Luigi Petroselli, 47
    Circo Massimo, Rome, Italy
    +39066787816

    babuino 181 hotel

    Courtesy of Babuino 181 Hotel


    Babuino 181
    Via del Babuino, 181
    Campo Marzio, Rome, Italy
    +390632295295

    JK Place
    Housed in La Sapienza University’s former architecture building, the JK Place, which opened in 2013, is a relative newcomer to Rome’s growing number of boutique luxury hotels. Each of the 30 lavishly decorated rooms, many of which are set in converted classrooms, are outfitted with fine textiles and beautifully designed furniture, while the common areas are packed with pieces of Neo-Classical sculpture and contemporary art. In spite of its location near the intersection of Via del Corso and Via dei Condotti—Rome’s high-end shopping nexus—the rooms are quiet and sheltered from street traffic.

    JK Place
    Via di Monte D'Oro, 30
    Campo Marzio, Rome, Italy
    +3906982634

    Stavio
    Just south of the city center, Rome’s old industrial zone and commercial port is slowly transitioning into a trendy nightlife district with clubs, cocktail bars, and pubs. Stavio, which is set in an old granary, pours beers from its dozen or so taps and hand pumps. Brews from the eponymous brewery are on constant rotation alongside craft beers from Italy, Belgium, and the UK. Stavio attracts a young crowd for their nightly aperitivo (a sort of happy hour) when they serve discounted beer with complimentary snacks.

    Stavio
    Via Antonio Pacinotti, 83
    Portuense, Rome, Italy
    +390694363146

    Caffè Propaganda
    Caffè Propaganda’s long, polished zinc bar is home to one of the city’s most exciting cocktail programs. Helmed by top mixologist Patrick Pistolesi, Propaganda serves dozens of classic cocktails with an Italian twist. Pistolesi draws on Italian spirits, citrus, vermouth, and even red wine when crafting his concoctions. The bar gets crowded and patrons are admitted on a first-come, first-served basis, so pop in for an early aperitivo followed by a stroll past the neighboring Colosseum.

    Caffè Propaganda
    Via Claudia, 15
    Colosseo, Rome, Italy
    +390694534255

    rome bar travel

    Katie Parla


    The Jerry Thomas Project
    Vicolo Cellini, 30
    Campo de’ Fiori, Rome, Italy
    +390696845937

    La Barrique
    La Barrique is part of a growing number of Roman wine bars that completely eschews conventional wines in favor of organic, biodynamic, traditional, and natural options. Their assortment of sparklers is stellar and the white, red, rosé, and orange wines showcase excellent and affordable producers from Italy, France, Austria, and Slovenia. The list of wines by the glass is extensive and ideal for solo drinkers eager to taste a variety of styles, but groups should dive into the fabulous bottle list.

    La Barrique
    Via del Boschetto, 41
    Monti, Rome, Italy
    +390647825953

    Litro
    The leafy Monteverde Vecchio neighborhood is home to one of Rome’s most dynamic wine and cocktail bars. The owners are obsessive about knowing all their producers personally, and each bottle on the constantly changing list is chosen for its ability to express the terroir of its origins. Recently, mixologist Valeria Sebastiani took over behind the bar and introduced a refreshing assortment of aperitivos, as well as some stiffer cocktails for mezcal and whiskey lovers. The tiny kitchen serves a selection of small plates, cheeses, and cured meats.

    Litro
    Via Fratelli Bonnet, 5
    Monteverde Vecchio, Rome, Italy
    +390645447639

    Daniela's Cooking School
    Taking a cooking class with Daniela Del Balzo feels like learning to cook from your sweetest friend. Guests begin with a trip to the nearby Testaccio Market to shop for ingredients, then return to Daniela’s beautiful home on the Aventine Hill to prepare and eat a full meal. She is supremely hospitable and an excellent teacher, so her classes book up well in advance.

    Daniela's Cooking School
    Aventino, Rome, Italy

    Peroni
    Not to be confused with the industrial beer company, Peroni is a kitchenware shop a short walk from the Vatican. The showroom brims with pots, pans, tools, glassware, and gadgets, and items range from simple pasta tools to French enamel cookware. At storefront 16-17 on the same square, their other shop, Peroni in Pasticceria, specializes in baking tools and ingredients.

    Peroni
    Piazza dell’Unità 29
    Prati, Rome, Italy
    +39063210852

    Elifant Archaeo-Culinary Tours
    Classical archeologist Elizabeth Bartman and prolific food writer and historian Maureen Fant recently launched a culinary tour company that focuses on food history and archeology in Rome and Naples. Their Roman itineraries sample historic dishes, contemplate ancient food commerce, and explore the city’s ancient Jewish culinary tradition, providing a thorough portrait of more than 2,000 years of Roman dining and drinking.

    Elifant Archaeo-Culinary Tours
    +13478686345

    Antiqua Tours
    Wife and husband team Sarah May Grunwald and Ettore Bellardini are the hardest-working couple in the local wine tourism business. The two trained sommeliers organize wine events, offer private tours, and coordinate small group tastings in Rome and its environs. For a deeper understanding of Italian regional wine, spend an afternoon with them visiting historic wine bars in Rome’s historical center, or take a vineyard excursion to the nearby countryside.

    Antiqua Tours
    +393497197603

    Trionfale Market
    Its roughly 200 stalls fill a modern covered space a few blocks north of the Vatican, yet the city-run Trionfale Market remains unadulterated by Rome’s notorious tourist flood. Dozens of produce stalls showcase local and seasonal specialties, while several international stalls cater to Rome’s robust immigrant community. Roman and Halal butchers sell meat and offal, while specialty stalls sell dried fruits, spices, eggs, and honey. Its atmosphere, energy, and excellent produce make this a great destination to snag picnic provisions or to stock up on ingredients if you're staying somewhere with a kitchen.

    Trionfale Market
    Via Andrea Doria
    Trionfale, Rome, Italy
    +390639720786

    Biomercato
    The farmers’ market phenomenon is slowly gaining momentum in Rome. Since the late 19th century, city authorities have actually tried to maintain an elongated supply chain in order to generate jobs and ensure regulation, but a few groups of farmers have emerged to change the game. At the Biomercato, which is held Sundays in Testaccio’s converted slaughterhouse, biodynamic farmers sell seasonal produce beside artisanal bakers and pig farmers selling beautifully cured pork.

    Biomercato
    Largo Dino Frisullo
    Testaccio, Rome, Italy
    +393337035270

    Costantini
    This historic wine and spirits shop near Castel Sant’Angelo and the Vatican has a vast basement cellar full of Italian and French wine, but be sure to linger on the ground floor for a look at one of Rome’s few prestigious spirits collections. Stock up on artisanal amaro, gentian root-based liquors, and grappa, all beverages traditionally consumed to promote postprandial digestion.

    Costantini
    Piazza Cavour 16
    Prati, Rome, Italy
    +39063203575

    Prelibato
    At Prelibato in Monteverde Vecchio, a bakery that opened in 2014, chef-turned-baker Stefano Preli makes traditional loaves and sweets. Look for heirloom wheat-based breads, classic pound cakes, and sweet leavened buns. Don’t miss the pizza by the slice, which comes with assorted toppings including amatriciana (tomato, guanciale, and Pecorino Romano), a riff on the popular pasta dish.

    Prelibato
    Viale di Villa Pamphili, 214
    Monteverde Vecchio, Rome, Italy
    +390693577165

    vino roma wine tasting travel

    Vino Roma
    Via in Selci 84/G
    Monti, Rome, Italy
    +393284874497

    Domus Birrae
    This craft beer shop near Santa Maria Maggiore on the Esquiline Hill stocks a well-chosen selection of Italian craft beers and imported brews. At the front of the shop, cold beers are sold from fridges, ready to drink, while the back room is devoted to larger-format bottles and brewing equipment. The selection of sour ales from LoverBeer and Montegioco’s beers brewed with heirloom fruit are ace.

    Domus Birrae
    Via Cavour, 88
    Esquilino, Rome, Italy
    +390697997570

    Pasticceria Regoli
    Founded near Piazza Vittorio in 1916, this historic shop sells luscious strawberry tarts, whipped cream-filled sweet buns, and luscious Chantilly cream-filled pastries. It’s the kind of place Romans go to fetch pastries when they want to make a good impression as dinner guests. Items are only sold to take away, but in late 2014, Regoli opened a coffee shop next door where you can also purchase their pastries to eat in.

    Pasticceria Regoli
    Via dello Statuto, 60
    Esquilino, Rome, Italy
    +39064872812

    Katie Parla is a Rome-based food and beverage journalist, educator, and culinary guide. She is the author of the blog Parla Food, the mobile app Katie Parla's Rome and co-author of the forthcoming cookbook Tasting Rome (Clarkson Potter, 2016).


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    Back Where I'm From is an occasional series in which we explore the best food in the less-heralded parts of America.

    At Leo’s Coney Island in Flint, Michigan, the waitress asks me: Detroit-style or Flint? I don’t understand. Born and bred in Detroit’s western suburbs, a good hour or so south of Flint, there was only one way to eat a coney dog: piled high with bean-less beef chili, mustard, and chopped white onions. Granted, as a kid, I’d forgo the mustard and onions and slather my own chili-covered hot dog with ketchup, but that’s beside the point. I soon learn that Flint-style involves a dry chili—just seasoned ground beef to me—in place of the wet, sloppy mess of my childhood. While common knowledge to some, this, to me, is a revelation: Even now, there are things to learn about my home state.

    Hours earlier, I’d landed in Detroit after flying from Brooklyn, my current home, on my way Up North. My parents, currently living in Virginia, just bought a cabin on a lake in northern Michigan, marking a permanent return to our home state more than a decade in the making.

    Hold up your right hand, with your palm facing you and your fingers extended and pressed together. Somewhere around the second crease in your middle finger is our cabin. Further south, on the outward edge of your thumb, is Detroit. Its suburbs, my grade school stomping grounds, fan outwards in an impeccable numbered grid. It’s been five years since I last came to Michigan, and as I eat my coney dogs opposite my mom and dad, the memories come flooding back. Last time I was here I was on my way to my grandfather’s funeral, and the time before that, many summers ago, he was still here with us.

    Farmington Hills, the summer before 7th grade. My parents head to work and drop me off at my grandpa’s for the day. He had a dry cleaning business, and once a week he’d take me on the delivery route. He smokes a cigar on the way there, and my legs stick to the hot leather Cadillac seats as I crane my neck toward the crack in the passenger seat window, searching for a breath of fresh air. The only time he’d roll the windows down all the way was at our routine lunch stop at the A&W carhop on Grand River: Parked under an awning, my grandpa orders hot dogs for us, (remembering my crucial ketchup-only stance), and a nice lady on roller skates brings out two frosty mugs filled with root beer, and latches the tray onto the side of the car. The French fries are perfectly crisp and the mugs are like ice in my hand.

    Northville, 7th grade. My friends and I are playing Pokémon in the school cafeteria and eating Bosco sticks—the fluffy, cheesy stuff of dreams. They were breadsticks, yes, but soft breadsticks stuffed with melted mozzarella and accompanied by a dippable tub of pizza sauce that had every eleven-year-old for miles worked up in a frenzy. Somewhere out there in the suburbs, a committee of education professionals deemed this local chain’s stuffed cheese bread suitable for school lunch (if only once a week), and the pupils of Hillside Middle School couldn’t have been happier. The topic of the day is Eminem’s new semi-autobiographical film—an R-rated one that none of us were about to see anytime soon—and we were thrilled, if not a little confused, that a big-deal film starring a big-deal person should be called 8 Mile. After all, Eight Mile Road, known then to sentient adults as the northern border of Detroit proper, was to us just the road our parents took to drive us to school.

    Northville, the summer after 7th grade. We spend our days scootering (Razors were very in then) from friend’s house to friend’s house, a slovenly gang of boys with tongues dyed crimson from too much Faygo Redpop and shirts stained with Jet’s pizza grease. We’d drink Vernors ice cream floats; the robust, highly carbonated ginger ale was a cure-all for childhood ailments, and still tickles my nose when I think of it. Late at night, when sugary pop was no longer allowed, I go straight for the source, standing in the light of the fridge with the two liter bottle in hand, panicked that my mother might hear the piercing tssss that I so desperately try to muffle.

    Since moving to New York, many of those experiences are simply lost to the past; no matter how many future visits to Michigan I have in store, I will probably never eat another Bosco stick – I don’t even know where I’d get one. I can still go to the A&W on Grand River, but they’ve done away with the waitresses on roller skates. My late night soda cravings have vanished. But others stand the test of time: Sitting across from my parents at this diner, a pit stop on the first of many road trips up to the cabin, I order a Vernor’s, my first in probably ten years. The ginger soda, as sweet and effervescent as I remember it, is the perfect foil for the dense chili-slathered coney dogs; my ten-year-old self definitely took it for granted.

    The next time we make the trip, we can stop at Bread Basket Deli, and my dad can order the mile-high pastrami sandwich he used to eat with my grandpa, and that he still dreams of to this day. We can go to Guernsey Farms Dairy for an ice cream cone as big as my head, though I might actually be able to finish it now. When we come up in the fall, we can visit Parmenter’s Cider Mill for the season’s first local apple press, and get some doughnuts to take up with us. With this return to my home state, my family and I have already begun making new memories, creating new traditions. My mom and I share a Greek salad, and I enjoy my coney dogs with the traditional mustard and onions now, proof of my palate’s graduation into adulthood. But even still, I reach for the ketchup, because some things never change.


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