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    Sussman Beer Mussels

    Matt Taylor-Gross

    Since arriving in Montauk for the summer, I keep asking myself: How did I get so lucky? What is a nice Jewish boy from the Detroit suburbs, an ex-deli chef, a Williamsburg resident, doing all the way out on the easternmost tip of Long Island, living and working in what is arguably the nation’s finest fishing village?

    When my brother Max and I were asked to run the restaurant at Ruschmeyer’s hotel this summer, we felt like we had won the summer cooking gig lottery. The allure of cooking seafood that comes in daily off boats from just a few miles away, and the ability to develop relationships with farmers and local businesses all around the Hamptons sounded too good to be true. A chance to work among the farmers and fishermen and showcase their tremendous product was an opportunity we couldn’t pass up. So we loaded up our cars and moved as far east in New York as we could for the summer.

    This series will focus on the natural beauty, the wonderful people who live here year-round working the land and building their businesses, and the passionate locals that discovered the natural wonder of Montauk long before the Jitney began to unload here all weekend long. In this new series, I will be sharing stories of the people and companies that we work with in Montauk and Amagansett, and how we use their products at Ruschmeyer's. This week, I spoke with the founders of Montauk Brewing Company about how they started their company and am sharing a recipe for the mussels we serve at Ruschmeyer's that uses their Driftwood Ale.

    Montauk Brewing Company was started in 2008 when Eric Moss, Vaughan Cutillo, and Joe Sullivan began home brewing small batches of beer for summer barbecues. Guests loved the beer and so they began the arduous process of traversing the tough Hamptons political and legal climate to get approval to become the easternmost brewery in New York state. In 2012, the three friends and lifelong Hamptons residents opened the brewery, where they currently have four beers in their stable: an English-style pale ale, a summer ale, an IPA, and an Irish Red Ale.

    For these three, opening a brewery in Montauk was always the dream. Vaughan (who is from Montauk) along with Joe and Eric (who are both from East Hampton) had been ocean lifeguards for a decade so they had been actively working and living in this community their entire lives. They have created a brand that showcases their beach lifestyle and love for Montauk vibes—sailing, surfing, relaxing, and being near the water.

    Montauk Brewing Company has recently cultivated a relationship with Amber Waves Farm in Amagansett to grow wheat for their beers, and have set up a tasting room in Montauk so the public can swing by and share their love for the brewing process.

    Montauk Brewery

    Nic Alegre

    When imagining a new mussels dish for the menu at Ruschmeyer’s, we immediately felt that using Montauk Brewery’s Driftwood, an English-style pale ale, would be a clean and vibrant base for the sauce. The Driftwood beer has Magnum and Tettnang hops and earthy tones that work perfectly with the chipotle aïoli and fresh tarragon. A bowl of mussels is a perfect light summer dinner on its own or a delicious starter to snack on while the fish or chicken is on the grill. Just remember to toast plenty slices of baguette to soak up all the delicious sauce at the bottom of the bowl.

    See the recipe for Mussels with Pale Ale and Spicy Aïoli »

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    My son bit off a chunk of crab sauce-drenched anchovy and resumed pushing his toy car over the stone facade of Bar Txepetxa. We had been making our way on foot—and in-stroller—through the network of narrow alleyways that form San Sebastian’s pintxo bar-heavy Parte Vieja neighborhood. It was the first meal of my weeklong trip to the renowned culinary capital, and unsurprisingly it was shaping up to be some of the best eating I’d done in my life. There was the plate of veal cheek-stuffed pimientos at Borda Berri, the Tortilla Española at Bar Nestor, and the bacalao croquetas at Ganbara. By sunset, while lingering over gambas and glasses of Txakoli just outside Bar Goiz Argi, I realized that a pintxo bar crawl is the ideal family dining experience.

    Consider the factors at play when dining out with even the mellowest toddler: the short attention span, the infinite energy reserve, and the fondness for expressing whatever heightened state of emotion surfaces in a given moment. Now consider what it means for an American restaurant to present itself as family-friendly: a disposable children’s menu that doubles as a water-ringed coloring sheet.

    Before my husband and I arrived in San Sebastian—traveling with another couple and their daughter—I worried we would raise eyebrows, or even ire, by bringing two children under two along with us to the pintxo bars. But it turned out that we were joining in on a local dining tradition. For a week I watched pigtailed toddlers wobble over cobblestones and older kids dribble soccer balls expertly through the crowds, while their parents congregated at high outdoor tables and every so often called them over for a bite of crispy pig ears.

    Allison Gibson

    In San Sebastian, family-friendly has nothing to do with crayons or booster seats. It’s an attitude. They treat the presence of children not as an obstacle to be worked around but as an inevitability—as much a part of Old Town’s dining culture as the omnipresent squares of blotting paper that pintxo bars try to pass off as napkins.

    The movable nature of a pintxo crawl is the antithesis of the high chair-bound restaurant meal. For the kids, every spot presented exciting new food to try and new storm grates to jump on. The district’s confined alleyways meant traffic was almost exclusively pedestrian, allowing our kids to safely play a few feet from us while we paired coherent adult conversation with world-class food.

    Back outside Txepetxa one afternoon, I glanced down between sips of Txakoli to see that my son had slipped into the kind of instant and pillowy sleep that only a well fed, worn out toddler can manage. As I gently reclined the seat of his stroller, my friend emerged from the bar holding a fresh plate of their legendary anchovies. While my son napped to the sounds of the city’s built-in noise machine, I raised my glass and toasted San Sebastian for having perfected the art of the long, leisurely family meal.

    Allison Gibson

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    The Union Trading Company, Shanghai

    The Union Trading Company, Shanghai

    Fiona Reilly

    Shanghai is one of the world’s most exciting cocktail cities, a humming metropolis of glittering high-rise bars and intimate speakeasies filled with a savvy, cosmopolitan crowd. You are as likely to rub shoulders with a Chinese eco-entrepreneur as an American designer or French photographer on location. Shanghai’s cocktail scene has long sought inspiration from abroad, notably New York, Tokyo, Taipei, and London. But the city’s own cocktail culture has now come of age. A new wave of homegrown Chinese bartenders is emerging, using unique local ingredients to make creations with a sophisticated Chinese accent.

    Aromatics used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries—zesty green Sichuan pepper, honey-sweet osmanthus blossoms, cassia bark, and Chinese cardamom—are now finding their way into complex, layered cocktails along with fruits like mulberry-purple yang mei, goji berries, and lychee. Chinese wines and spirits have found a place in the cocktail maker’s lexicon, too, with grain liquor baijiu and smooth amber haungjiu rice wine adding intriguing new flavor to cocktail classics. Shanghai bartender and cocktail competition judge Yao Lu has noticed the trend, too, saying of recent national cocktail bartending championships, “just like in Chinese cuisine there were huge regional variations in the cocktails—spices and mala (the numbing spice of Sichuan pepper) in Chengdu, tropical fruits in southern Guangzhou, classic elegant ingredients in Shanghai and heavy syrups and liqueurs from the colder northern climate in Beijing.”

    Here’s where to meet the next generation of cocktail makers and try a taste of something new, in six Shanghai bars of note.

    The Tailor Bar
    Upstairs from a traditional Chinese medicine shop, the scent of ginseng and dried herbs wafts through this tiny bar with a spectacular view over the glittering golden pagodas of Jing’an Temple. Owner Eddy Yang, considered by many as the godfather of the Shanghai cocktail scene, is a perfectionist who considers every aspect of a cocktail, down to the water his ice is made from and the exquisitely cut crystal glassware. (When Yang became dissatisfied with locally available tonic water, he distilled his own quinine syrup for a more authentic tasting gin and tonic.) When you sit down for a drink, he might ask, “How are you feeling? Energetic? Relaxed? Mellow?” His question is less to determine the state of your well-being and more to tailor a cocktail to your mood and the exact moment. There’s no menu, just a delightful conversation.

    4th Floor, 2 Huashan Rd, Jing'an, Shanghai, China
    +86 183 0197 7360

    Taste Buds Cocktail Palace, Shanghai

    Taste Buds Cocktail Palace, Shanghai

    Fiona Reilly

    Taste Buds Cocktail Palace
    Inside his intimate, jewel-like bar in the former French Concession, owner-bartender Daniel An is exploring Chinese ingredients not usually seen in cocktails—Yunnan rose powder, osmanthus blossom honey, and oolong tea infusions. Try the Taste of Mulata, inspired by spiced chocolate cake and the classic Cuban Mulata cocktail with aged rum and creme de cacao. It’s made with Diplomatico Reserva Exclusiva 12 year old rum infused with chile and Sichuan pepper, dark chocolate syrup, lime, basil, and a dash of chocolate bitters. The initial sharp sour lime and basil yields to a long mellow finish of chocolate and chile.

    2nd Floor, 368 Wukang Lu, Xuhui District, Shanghai
    +86 13 8180 21597
    Open nightly from 6pm

    The Union Trading Company
    Chinese-Americans Austin Hu and Yao Lu front The Union Trading Company, a narrow two-story space in the heart of the former French Concession. Hu serves up classic bar food with a twist, such as blue cheese-stuffed fried olives and Scotch quail eggs, while Yao presides over the inspired cocktail list. “At the end of the day, my job is to make people walk out of here happier than when they walked in,” says Yao.

    Try Yao’s Bad Poet, with osmanthus blossom wine, Old Tom gin, pressed lemon, rose petal syrup, orange bitters, and rose water. The rose and osmanthus combine to give a floral bouquet and sweet finish, and yes, you’ll walk out happy.

    Building 2, 64 Fenyang Lu (entrance on Fuxing Zhong Lu), Xuhui district, Shanghai
    +86 21 6418 3077
    Open Mon-Sat from 6pm. Closed Sundays

    Speak Low, Shanghai

    Speak Low, Shanghai

    Fiona Reilly

    Speak Low
    Shanghai’s best speakeasy is found behind a secret bookshelf inside a cocktail supply store. The shelf slides open to reveal a hidden passage leading to a cozy wood-paneled room with pressed tin ceilings, a jazz vibe, and an impeccably dressed cocktail bartender. Head bartender Atsushi Suzuki, formerly of Japanese-influenced Angel’s Share in New York, brings with him an exemplary cocktail pedigree. “Bartending culture in Japan comes from the precision and elegance of the traditional tea ceremony, and Chinese tea and cocktail culture is very similar.” Their top summer cocktail is the Serenity Royal, with lychee-cello (lychee infused citrus vodka), raspberry sorbet, pink grapefruit juice, and Perrier-Jouet champagne.

    579 Fuxing Zhong Lu, near Ruijin Er Lu, Huangpu district
    +86 21 6416 0133
    Open daily from 6pm

    Enter through a London red telephone booth into this bar mixing classics and unique new blends for a local Chinese crowd. Barules has a deft touch for incorporating Chinese wines and spirits in their cocktails. The much-maligned baijiu, or clear sorghum liquor, normally drunk as shots, has a strong taste that can be difficult to harness in a cocktail. But at Barules they know good quality baijiu has a refined side, with a floral aroma that pairs well with citrus and fruit, or a savory aroma that blends well with herbs and chile.

    51 Fenyang Lu, Xuhui District, Shanghai
    +86 138 1713 1574
    Open nightly from 8pm

    Barules, Shanghai

    Barules, Shanghai

    Fiona Reilly

    “In Shanghai you have to connect with a global audience,” says Epic’s bartender and owner Cross Yu. He sees cocktails in China progressing in the same way as food, with an emphasis not only on taste but also quality and freshness of ingredients, presentation, provenance, and texture.

    In Epic’s industrial loft-style space Cross is using shiso-infused gin. “Most people think of shiso as Japanese, but it’s native to China and very Chinese—zi su leaves are used in tea and Chinese medicine.” Cross effortlessly crosses cultures to combine these Japanese and Chinese references into his Umeko cocktail, inspired by the memory of a salty plum candy from Japan. Dry gin, sloe gin, lime juice, grenadine and violet liqueur are topped with the salty crunch of a fried shiso leaf crisp.

    17 Gaoyou Lu, near Fuxing Xi Lu, Xuhui district
    +86 21 5411 1189
    Open nightly from 6pm

    Epic, Shanghai

    Epic, Shanghai

    Fiona Reilly

    Fiona Reilly is a food and travel writer specializing in China. She divides her time between Shanghai and Australia, trawling the streets for good eats and great stories.

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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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    Martha's Vineyard, Travel Guide

    Elizabeth Cecil

    This 88-square-mile island, located off the coast of Cape Cod, is full of hidden ponds lurking off of main roads, beautiful beaches stretching on for miles, and loads of fresh produce and seafood, making it an ideal place to visit during the warmer months. There are several communities on the Vineyard—year-round locals who tend the land and run the farm stands, summer residents of the Kennedy ilk—and this guide reveals the best-kept secrets of the former group for the benefit of the rest of us. Where to EatWhere to Go

    Getting There

    You can reach the island either by water or air. Delta and JetBlue offer direct flights from New York City, US Airways from Washington, D.C., and Cape Air from Boston; ferries leave frequently from various locations on the eastern seaboard, including Woods Hole, New Bedford, and Hyannis (all in Massachusetts). For more information, check out

    Where to Stay

    Lambert’s Cove Inn
    This charming inn, located on seven acres in West Tisbury and walking distance from both Lambert’s Cove Beach and Ice House Pound, offers 15 cozy guest rooms in three buildings and a 70-seat restaurant. A full cooked-to-order breakfast, including omelets and breakfast sandwiches, is included in the room price. Rooms start at $250 during the summer.

    Lambert’s Cove Inn
    90 Manaquayak Rd, West Tisbury, MA 02575
    (508) 693-2298

    Captain Flanders
    Located on 60 acres in the small town of Chilmark, the main farmhouse of this inn dates back to the 1700s. There are four rooms in the house and two stand-alone cottages. Fresh bread, muffins, honey, and jams are part of the complimentary breakfast.

    Captain Flanders Inn
    440 North Road, Chilmark MA 02535

    Martha's Vineyard, The Bite, Travel Guide

    Elizabeth Cecil

    Larsen’s Fish Market
    This family-run operation opened in 1969 and is now helmed by Betsy Larsen, daughter of founders Louis and Mary; it boasts some of the freshest seafood on the island. If you have means to cook, stop by for fresh filets or shellfish; if you don't, grab a dozen shucked oysters, a hot buttered lobster roll, or a bowl of chowder and eat outside on the docks, watching various Larsens unload the day’s catch.

    Larsen’s Fish Market
    56 Basin Road, Chilmark MA, 02535

    The Bite
    If you love good, crispy fried seafood—and who doesn't?—head to this small take-out shack with picnic tables out back. Get there early, when the fryer first starts up and the lines are short, for a paper container stuffed with crisp, golden fried clams or shrimp.

    The Bite
    29 Basin Road, Menemsha, MA

    Billing itself as a “farm-to-takeout” joint, this small shop sells one of the island’s great breakfast sandwiches (add the bacon), along with a handful of lunch sandwiches, prepared foods, and baked goods. Most of the ingredients are sourced locally.

    1045 State Road, West Tisbury, MA

    Look Out Tavern
    In the mood for a beer and fish taco in a low-key setting where you can catch the night’s game? This favorite, packed with locals, has televisions, but if you can tear your eyes away from the screen, opt for a seat by the railing so you can look out over the harbor.

    Look Out Tavern
    8 Seaview Avenue, Oak Bluffs

    For a more upscale establishment, dine at this hot spot in Edgartown, where you’ll find dishes like grilled Atlantic swordfish paired with local greens, or a bowl of steamers with drawn butter.

    71 Main Street, Edgartown, MA

    Martha's Vineyard, Beach, Travel Guide

    Elizabeth Cecil

    Aquinnah Public Beach
    A surf beach that’s a ten-minute walk from the parking lot. Park for $15/day. Wander around on the dunes, but beware of ticks.

    Katama Beach (South Beach)
    Three miles of beach at the south end of the island, with a salt pond abutting it. Open to all.

    For more information about beaches, click here

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    Crickets in Mexico City

    Hallie Bateman

    We wander through Mexico City’s Coyoacan neighborhood eating corn, the street coyotes of its namesake now streams of blissful loiterers curling around the merchants into Plaza Hidalgo. The colors all shock and burst, the grifters look like your niece. Everyone is flexing a fist or flashing a grin, eager for energy. We’d just been gawking at Frida Kahlo’s death mask and I’d felt thick, dark, but now in the rushing light I am ageless and unbounded. The square is a lemon having a fit. It’s old colonial Mexico in bright bloom.

    Restaurant patios line the back wall of the square, all with their own busker in front; we choose the only one with a table open. This is where Cortés, with the ghosts of an empire dripping from his hands, tortured Cuauhtémoc, the last Aztec emperor. The square now all laughter and accordions, knock-off Minions and Bart Simpsons, we order beer and tequila. We order guacamole, too, but con chapulines throws us off, and the waiter, pinching his fingers together and struggling, can’t seem to find the word either. We decide to try it regardless.

    He returns and sets a small white bowl down. Ah. Chapulines.

    ¿Cómo se dice?” he asks.


    They look like tiny grasshoppers. They’ve been toasted to a dry crisp, salted and limed, like a sunflower seed with a face. You’ll see them on barrio streets piled into soft, coppery pyramids, sold by the cupful. I hold one up by its brittle back leg and examine it, how frozen it seems, suspended in a faraway time like the people of Aztlán, like my own Mexican heritage hanging thin and fading in some familial echo.

    And we crunch them and dip them and wash them down with the cold beer, their bronzed bodies like dead royalty waiting in the sunlit bowl. Their taste is all subtle hints: ajo, lima, spikes of salt. I am astounded by the facts: we are in Mexico City, we are eating crickets, we are beaming. I am an arm reaching back through generations, I see my grandmother’s hands in my hands, I am staked into an exploding history. Which likely means nothing, I think, while a guitar creaks, while my amber beer beads, while the young plaza girls try to shake pesos from our trees.

    Alan Hanson is a writer from California and an amateur entomophagist. You can find him on Twitter here.

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    There’s a new dynamism in the Twin Cities culinary scene, thanks to a deeply food-engaged populace supporting not only restaurants, cocktail bars, and taphouses, but a dozen independent food cooperatives (supermarkets with a focus on organic and local produce). Our feature in the June/July issue of Saveur visits four Minneapolis chefs in their kitchens and comes away with some kick-ass new recipes for summer. In the course of reporting the story, we visited many more restaurants, salumi makers, bakers, and food trucks than we had room in the story for. So we've put together this list of some our favorite finds.

    Minneapolis Guide, Surdyk's Liquor and Cheese

    Surdyk's Liquor and Cheese

    Courtesy of Surdyk's Liquor and Cheese

    Bachelor Farmer
    In this warm, post-and-beam former warehouse, James Beard Award-winning chef Paul Berglund fashions boldly flavored food from north country ingredients. Your roasted celeriac soup with toasted walnuts and lemon might be served in a clay bowl thrown by Berglund—an amateur potter—himself.

    Bachelor Farmer
    50 2nd Avenue N
    (612) 206-3920

    Minneapolis Guide, Borough, Octopus

    Octopus at Borough

    Courtesy of Borough

    Drew Yancey serves globe-trotting plates like raw tuna with miso, pineapple, sesame, and lime at this chefs' hangout in the North Loop. And barkeep Jesse Held, a seasoned veteran of the Minneapolis mixology scene, shakes cocktails for adventurous sippers, viz. the Awkward Silence, made with bourbon, peach-pit liqueur, yerba mate honey, artichoke liqueur, and “salt solution.”

    730 N. Washington Avenue
    (612) 354-3135

    Minneapolis Guide, Curious Goat

    Burgers at The Curious Goat

    TJ Turner

    Curious Goat
    Torqued-up comforts with refined technique (think purple potatoes with sunchoke cream or a meatloaf sandwich with onion jam and gravy) are this food truck’s calling card. And you don’t have to hunt far and wide for this mobile operation because it’s in residence semi-permanently at Sociable Cider Werks.

    Curious Goat
    1500 Fillmore Street NE
    (612) 229-2364

    Haute Dish
    As you might have guessed by the name, Landon Schoenefeld’s restaurant serves Midwestern food with modern, cheffy flourishes. His upmarket riff on the Midwestern staple “hot dish” casserole includes beef short rib, porcini mushrooms, and of course, tater tots—and has become a Twin Cities icon.

    Haute Dish
    119 Washington Avenue N
    (612) 338-8484

    Dominated by a freewheeling open kitchen and a few barns’ worth of reclaimed wood, Jim Christiansen’s vegetable-focused restaurant offers cooking with a lightness and purity, shown in dishes like a warm appetizer of a fried egg over chanterelles, quick-pickled blackberries, green garlic, and toasted hazelnuts. The claytonia, morels, and spring onions that Christiansen finds in Theodore Wirth Park make regular appearances on plates here.

    2700 Lyndale Avenue S
    (612) 200-9369

    La Belle Vie
    The grand dame of Minneapolis fine dining has a new chef de cuisine in Shane Oporto. The jury’s still out on how the menu of French-inflected refinements that won executive chef Tim McKee a James Beard Award for Best Chef Midwest in 2009 will get tweaked, if at all. In the meantime, the bar here—widely credited with igniting the craft cocktail scene in the city—is superb for popping in for an aperitif before a night on the town.

    La Belle Vie
    510 Groveland Avenue
    (612) 874-6440

    Since 1954, this warm, inviting meat market and restaurant has been delivering the old-world flavors of eastern Europe, primarily in the form of sausages and more sausages: Every style of mett, brat, and wurst is available here.

    215 E Hennepin Avenue
    (612) 379-3018

    Minneapolis Guide, Marvel Bar, Alkaline Trio

    The Marvel Bar's "alkaline trio"

    Charlie Ward

    Marvel Bar
    This industrial-posh speakeasy underneath Bachelor Farmer has the city’s most extensive selection of spirits from Minnesota distilleries and some of its best cocktails, too. The house style is a restrained refinement—no seaweed tinctures here!—that is nevertheless sly and winning.

    Marvel Bar
    50 2nd Avenue N
    (612) 206-3929

    Doug Flicker is the Obi Wan Kenobi of the Minneapolis dining scene and his tiny, 36-seat jewel box spot in South Minneapolis is a must on any food-lover’s tour. His dishes marry craveable comfort with tweezer-prodded artistry, like braised salsify with smoked oysters, hen of the woods mushrooms, horseradish, and cress. And don’t miss his signature scrambled eggs with pickled pigs' feet and truffle butter.

    4300 Bryant Avenue S
    (612) 827-8111

    Red Table Meat Co.
    Heirloom pigs, transformed into traditional Italian-style salumi and whole-muscle cures, are the specialty of this year-old salumeria, run by ace chefs Mike Phillips and Peter Ireland. Their gleaming Willy Wonka-esque facility has a USDA inspector onsite and floor-to-ceiling glass windows that reveal to visitors every step of the process, from butchering, to production, to curing, to aging.

    Red Table Meat Co.
    1401 Marshall Street NE
    (612) 200-8245

    Minneapolis Guide, Salty Tart

    Salty tarts at Salty Tart

    Emily J. Davis

    Salty Tart
    In a city with a brace of top-notch bakeries (Patisserie 46, Rustica), Michelle Gayer’s spot—a kiosk tucked into the Midtown Global Market—focuses on decadent, delicious confections you’d expect from a James Beard-nominated pastry chef, like a chocolate trifle with moist chocolate cake, silky chocolate mousse, and toasty caramel served in a half-pint deli container. Grab a plastic spoon and dig in!

    Salty Tart
    920 E Lake Street
    (612) 874-9206

    Spoon and Stable
    In a sun-splashed lofty former stable, Minnesota native Gavin Kaysen—whose previous gig was seven years helming New York’s Café Boulud—turns out elegant seasonal cuisine, like wood-grilled duck with black rice, beets, and honey, with the highest-quality Midwestern ingredients.

    Spoon and Stable
    211 1st Street N
    (612) 224-9850

    Minneapolis Guide, Surdyk's Liquor and Cheese

    Surdyk's Liquor and Cheese

    Courtesy of Surdyk's Liquor and Cheese

    Surdyk’s Liquor and Cheese
    A sprawling market—really two markets in one—is a one-stop shop for Twin-Cities-made provisions, like Red Table Meat Co. salamis, cocktail bitters by Dashfire, and B.T. McElrath’s award-winning Salty Dog Chocolate Bars.

    Surdyk’s Liquor and Cheese
    303 E Hennepin Avenue
    (612) 379-3232

    This ur-neighborhood restaurant seems like it’s been there since Betty Crocker’s heyday. It's a warm taproom (featuring 21 tightly curated draft beers) with creaky hardwood floors, glowing schoolhouse lanterns, and chipped Thonet chairs. Chef Steven Brown isn’t afraid to elevate well-sourced Minneapolis lake fish and vegetables with global flourishes like dukka spices and ras el hanout.

    2726 W 43rd Street
    (612) 354-2806

    New and on-the-horizon:

    Erik Anderson returned to Minneapolis from Nashville’s lauded The Catbird Seat, and teamed up with Jamie Malone, former executive chef of Twin Cities seafood temple Sea Change, to create Brut, a classic French restaurant slated for a fall opening. Their pop-ups have been setting Instagram ablaze. Stay up-to-date with developments and opening date on Twitter.

    Nighthawks and Birdie
    Landon Schoenefeld first made a name for himself with Haute Dish (see above). Nighthawks, named for the Edward Hopper painting, is his postmodern diner; Birdie, opening later this summer, will be a tasting-menu-only restaurant-within-a-restaurant located in Nighthawk’s kitchen.

    3753 Nicollet Avenue S
    (612) 248 8111

    Patisserie 46
    Much-laureled pastry chef John Kraus crafts all the soigné French patisseries—mille-feuilles, eclairs, macarons—at this laid-back neighborhood café and bakery. But Kraus’ kouign-amann twist, his foot-long take on the classic Breton delectable, is a must. There are also killer tartines and crêpes.

    Patisserie 46
    4552 Grand Ave S
    (612) 354-3257

    North Carolina-bred Thomas Boemer won over the Twin Cities with his cooking at Corner Table, a genial neighborhood bistro with deft Italian-ish fare and seasonal Midwestern ethics. His newly-opened spot Revival pays homage to the southern dishes he grew up with, such as fried chicken and pork barbecue with chopped slaw.

    4257 Nicollet Avenue S (612) 345-4516

    Cookbook authors Matt Lee and Ted Lee are the hosts of the TV series "Southern Uncovered with The Lee Bros.” which premieres on Ovation June 14, 2015.

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    Photographer Matt Conant recently spent two weeks road tripping through Croatia with his wife, documenting their journey from Istria to Split, over to the island of Vis, and down to Dubrovnik. Hitting the road in a tiny stickshift hatchback with their gear, they slowly made their way down the Adriatic coast, taking in the otherworldly scenery and staying in AirBnBs along the way. During their trip, they tasted wines on the island of Vis; ate fish from the Adriatic sea; toured salt fields in Ston; and visited the many honey producers in Istria. "The whole country smelled like honey. Even the islands," Conant says.

    Seeing Croatia from the road turned out to be the ideal way to experience it, according to Conant: "Driving let us keep a pretty loose plan so we could come and go as we pleased and check out small towns whenever we felt like it," he says, "or stop at a roadside stand and buy honey or whatever they were selling." Everywhere they went, they were welcomed into homes and cafés. They showed up at one restaurant on the island of Vis only to find it closed, but instead of being turned away, the owner insisted on opening up shop and cooking them a meal himself. And this wasn't atypical: "The people we met were shockingly nice," he says. "Wonderful and very hospitable."

    They left with a newfound obsession with the country, its food, and its people—and an SD card full of stunning photos. Check out some of the highlights from their trip above.

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    Every year my family travels to Europe for a week-long spring break trip. When the kids were very young, we’d take them to the islands, somewhere easy—but once they got older we wanted to get back on the road and show them the world. It has become a wonderful foray into the cities of Europe.

    When I was a kid, my father was a diplomat and we were constantly traveling—when we visited a new city my dad would take us to every museum, and I vowed I’d never do that to my kids; on our trips, meals are always a focus, as well as a great adventure.

    This year we went to Spain, and chose our destinations based mostly on our love of paella, pigs, and architecture. Below is a diary from our trip.

    Day One: Barcelona

    Spain, Travel, Snails at Portes

    Snails at Portes, Barcelona

    Marc Murphy

    We arrive in Barcelona and make our way to the apartment we’ve rented through Friendly Rentals. We generally choose apartments over hotels because they allow us to live like locals. Our apartment is right on the Rambla de Catalunya—a perfect jumping-off point for all of our eating and sightseeing.

    We drop our bags and head out towards the water, eager to see the ocean. We walk along the water and find ourselves at 7 Portes, one of the oldest restaurants in Barcelona. We order a bottle of Albariño and tuck into platters of clams, oysters, sea snails, and paella, a house specialty. We’re all surprised by how different the paella is in this part of Spain: a little creamier and soupier than what we’re accustomed to in the States. It’s delicious.

    After lunch, we wander through the streets near the port and make our way up to the incredible Gaudí cathedral, La Sagrada Familia. Even under scaffolding, the architecture is still staggering; it’s a great introduction for the kids to the rest of the Gaudí buildings and parks we’ll see in the coming days.

    For dinner, we eat at Boca Grande, another restaurant known for its fresh fish and seafood. We order platters of oysters and gambas (large shrimp) on the grill, and finish everything off with an incredible chocolate cake.

    Day Two: Barcelona

    Travel, Spain, Juice Boqueria, Barcelona

    Juice at Boqueria, Barcelona

    Marc Murphy

    We are lucky enough to have secured a reservation at the uber-popular Cal Pep, famous for its incredible tapas, so we eat a light breakfast in anticipation of the meal to come. Our good intentions are quickly thrown out the window when we take a stroll through the Boqueria market.

    This is perhaps one of the most incredible places I have ever been. Yes, it is a tourist destination and has a fair share of Instagrammers at its entrance, but once you get inside the market opens up and you see stall after stall of fish, produce, spices, and fruits. In back, we find amazing prepared foods and a number of tapas bars already buzzing with morning meetings and locals having a quick bite. My kids love the paper cones filled with sliced meats sold throughout the market. It’s a great take on street food.

    Travel, Spain, Bacalao boqueria

    Bacalao at Boqueria, Barcelona

    Marc Murphy

    When we arrive at Cal Pep for lunch, the front room, which houses a simple '50s-style diner counter, is already full with a line out the door. But because there are 7 of us, we are ushered into the back by Barcelona’s most engaging and animated waiter. At Cal Pep, there is no menu; once you sit down, the food just starts coming. Plate after plate of hand-sliced jamón, perfectly fried boquerones, super-fresh tuna tartare, artichoke hearts with ham—it goes on and on. The finale is an amazing crème catalan, branded with the restaurant’s name.

    After lunch we take a walk down to the beach. This might be my favorite thing about Barcelona: the city makes its way right up to the sea—the best of both worlds for those of us who love the ocean as much as we love the city. We wander along, stopping to take our shoes off and run into the surf.

    Thanks to a dear friend who is from Barcelona and has some great connections, we have a reservation at Tickets for dinner. Tickets is one of five restaurants owned by Albert and Ferran Adrià (of the much-loved and now-shuttered El Bulli). It’s part of their “5.0 project”: They wanted to create five completely different restaurant concepts that would form a culinary amusement park.

    To call this meal an experience would be an understatement. It is molecular gastronomy at its wackiest and its finest. I’m not even sure I can adequately describe what we ate, I'll just say that it’s Willy Wonka meets Cirque du Soleil. It was delicious, inventive, and crazy, and maybe one of my favorite meals ever. My kids loved it.

    Day Three: Barcelona
    We start our day at another Gaudí stunner, La Pedrera. It is part museum and part residence, and I’ve always thought that its split personality makes it all the more interesting. We spend a good while on the roof before making our way to Tapas 24, an often-recommended tapas place from uber-chef Carles Abellan. It’s a tiny space on a side street with three tables on the sidewalk and a line out the door. We were lucky to get there when we did and only waited about 30 minutes for a prime spot outside. I would have waited 24 hours. We share perfectly fried boquerones, the famous Bikini Comerç 24 (a glorified grilled cheese with perfectly sliced jamón and black truffle), pork ribs, pulled pork tacos, fried eggs with french fries and chorizo (our new favorite dish!), and a few bottles of rosé to wash it all down. It’s a spectacular meal. As we finish up, we are already planning our next visit.

    At night, we attend an FC Barcelona soccer match against Manchester City. Having grown up in Europe, I’ve always been a huge football fan and it’s amazing to see the devotion that Barcelona fans have for their team. The roar of the crowd is deafening. And there’s something magical about being in an outdoor stadium in the middle of the city.

    The game ends quite late—Barcelona wins, of course!—but that doesn’t stop us from hunting down another meal. We head back across town to Paco Meralgo, another great tapas restaurant. Here we sit at a high table in a very casual room and feast on super spicy patatas bravas, zucchini flowers delicately fried and stuffed with mozzarella, fried artichokes, and grilled razor clams.

    Day Four: Barcelona

    Travel, Spain, Boqueria baby clams

    Baby Clams at Boqueria, Barcelona

    Marc Murphy

    We have another early lunch at Tapas 24, almost identical to yesterday’s, and it’s still sublime.

    After lunch we jump in a taxi and make our way to Gaudí’s Parc Guell. It sits at the top of a hill and we hike around the outskirts of the sculpture area for a few hours. It’s stunning. The kids run around, completely thrilled. From here we can see the whole city, over Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia, straight to the ocean.

    It’s our last night in Barcelona, so we make another trip to the Boqueria and stock up on wine, tomatoes, bread, cheeses, and meats, and eat at home.

    Day Five: Seville
    We fly south from Barcelona to Seville—the capital of Andalusia—which has a much older feel to it. Our rented apartment is on a very small square and has a stunning view of the Cathedral, the centerpiece of the city. Once settled, we head to lunch at Casa Roman, recommended to us by the greeter at our rental. The place is empty when we get there, which concerns me, but we order some wine and grilled vegetables and boquerones, and pretty soon it’s filling up with locals—there isn’t a tourist in sight—which is a very good sign. Our waiter, Curro, brings us plates of the best jamón in Seville, fried eggs with French fries and jamón, simply grilled pork ribs, and incredible pork cheek stew. We quickly decide that we won’t be going anywhere else for lunch during our time here.

    After lunch we tour the Cathedral—the city’s oldest church—and climb up to the bell tower. It’s raining but the view is still incredible, and I even meet a group of Chopped fans!

    Dinner tonight is at La Brunilda Tapas, a newcomer on the Seville dining scene and worth the line we wait in outside to get in. The tapas here not as straightforward as what we had in Barcelona, but still really delicious: Small portions of spicy patatas bravas, mini burgers that are anything but American, and perfectly grilled octopus. Dessert is simple: ice cream.

    Day Six: Seville

    Travel, Spain, Sevilla

    Sevilla from above

    Marc Murphy

    Today we take a day trip to Aracena, a town about an hour North of Seville. It is, most notably, home to the Jamón Museum, but it also boasts the most incredible underground caves: La Gruta de las Maravillas. As the name suggests—maravilla means “marvel”—they are stunning. After our tour we sit down for lunch at Montecruz, the perfect choice for a big lunch up in the hills. As with almost every meal we will eat in this country, there is jamón. There are also red peppers stuffed with anchovies, perfectly grilled lamb chops, beef cheek stew, and for dessert, an arroz con leche (Spanish rice pudding) with anisette.

    Where to eat like Marc in Spain:

    The Jamón Museum is just what you would expect from an institution dedicated to ham in all its forms. And it’s really interesting! We have a blast learning about all the various pigs, the different types of ham they make, and how different each type is.

    After our tour we head back into Seville and eat our last dinner at Enrique Becerra, another relative newcomer. We have pre-ordered the paella, and it does not disappoint. We are very happy to only have one course.

    Day Seven: Madrid
    We arrive in Madrid by train, check into our hotel, and head out for lunch. We eat at Marina Ventura where we have yet another amazing paella along with fried eggs over fried whitebait, an incredible cheese plate, and more arroz con leche for dessert. After lunch we meet our guide, Juan, at our hotel and he takes us on the most incredible tour of the Prado Museum, where there’s a really excellent Picasso exhibit going on.

    It’s our last night of vacation and we eat at the oldest restaurant in the world: Botin, which is known for its roast sucking pig. We order a whole pig, plus some blood sausage and boquerones for good measure.

    The next morning we fly back to New York, where we eat no ham. At least for a few days.


    Tapas 24
    Carrer de la Diputació, 269
    08007 Barcelona, Spain
    +34 934 88 09 77

    Paco Meralgo
    Carrer de Muntaner, 171
    08036 Barcelona, Spain
    +34 934 30 90 27

    7 Portes
    Passeig Isabel II, 14
    08003 Barcelona, Spain
    34 933 19 30 33

    Boca Grande
    Passatge de la Concepció, 12
    08008 Barcelona, Spain
    +34 934 67 51 49

    Cal Pep
    Plaça de les Olles, 8
    08003 Barcelona, Spain
    +34 933 10 79 61

    Av. del Paraŀlel, 164
    08015 Barcelona, Spain
    +34 932 92 42 54


    Casa Roman
    Plaza de los Venerables, 1
    41004 Sevilla, Spain
    +34 954 22 84 83

    La Brunilda Tapas
    Calle Galera, 5
    41002 Sevilla, Spain
    +34 954 22 04 8

    Calle San Pedro, 36
    21200 Aracena, Huelva, Spain
    +34 959 12 60 13

    Enrique Becerra
    Calle Gamazo, 2
    41001 Sevilla, Spain
    +34 954 21 30 49


    Marina Ventura
    C/ Ventura de la Vega, 13
    28014 Madrid, Spain
    +34 914 29 38 10

    Calle Cuchilleros, 17
    28005 Madrid, Spain
    +34 913 66 42 17

    Part worldly epicure, part laid-back surfer, Marc Murphy fell in love with French and Italian cuisine during a childhood spent living throughout Europe. He went on to work in some of the most highly esteemed kitchens in the world from Paris to Monte Carlo and today is one of New York's most celebrated chefs.

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    Grilled octopus at the Sabores San Miguel festival

    Sara Deseran

    Neal Fraser's grilled octopus salad

    I didn’t get a lot of sleep last week in the lively, beautiful town of San Miguel de Allende. My husband Joe and I, representing our Tacolicious restaurants in San Francisco, were lucky enough to be part of the posse of chefs and restaurant owners brought down to Mexico to participate in the third year of the Sabores San Miguel food festival. For three days in mid-June, it seemed like the whole town was eating and drinking and dancing it up under one tent in the leafy, lush Parque Juarez.

    The festival, produced by Donnie Masterton and Angela Lewis Serrano, was a testament to the fantastic food being cooked up in SMA. Next to local restaurants such as Aguamiel and Aperi and patisseries such as Cumpanio, SMA was treated to the food cooked by an international group: Neil Fraser of LA's Redbird served one of his signature salads made up of tender and smoky charred grilled octopus, chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, and an anchovy vinaigrette. Across the crowded tent, London-based Lily Vanilli, representing her eponymous bakery, sold gorgeous pear cakes with chile, ginger, and chamomile syrup with candied spiced pepitas. Carlo Mirarchi of Roberta’s in Brooklyn was there too, slinging suckling pig.

    At our own table, SMA-based gordita maker Rosa, who brought her own bowl of blue-corn masa, patiently patted out one gordita after another on a comal that emanated a wave of heat to match the hot SMA summer sun. After cooking each gordita on the griddle, she sliced them open and stuffed them with our signature Tacolicious guisado, a braised guajillo-braised short rib. Nearby, Donnie put lamb on a spit (shawarma was the original inspiration for tacos al pastor, after all) and carved it off into handmade flour tortillas with a dollop of yogurt and chile sauce—a glorious culmination of Mexican and the Mediterranean. Inhaling it, all I could think is thank god cuisine is a shape-shifter.

    San Miguel de Allende

    Sara Deseran

    Flags line the cobblestone streets leading to the festival.

    Those of us who thought we were going to slumber off the inevitable overdose of tequila afterwards were in for a surprise. The hundreds of churches that line the meandering cobblestoned streets of SMA make sure that gluttony does not go unpunished; we woke in the wee hours to a cacophonous battle of church bells and the heart-palpitating rat-a-tat-tat of firecrackers. But by that point, smitten as we were with San Miguel Allende and its food, we hardly minded.

    See the recipe for Grilled Octopus with Chickpeas, Cherry Tomatoes, and Anchovy Vinaigrette »

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    Negima Yakitori

    Ocdp via Wikimedia Commons

    A native Long Islander who runs some of the most highly-respected ramen shops in both Tokyo and New York City, Ivan Orkin (one of the featured chefs at this year’s Saveur Summer Cookout) is a yakitori obsessive. Though yakitori translates to "grilled chicken," yakitori restaurants serve all types of skewered and grilled foods, from scallions to chicken hearts to bacon-wrapped mochi. When Orkin’s in Tokyo, he frequents these specialty restaurants where patrons gather every night to eat grilled-to-order chicken skewers. Here are five of Orkin’s Tokyo favorites, all places he himself eats after a night at his restaurant.

    The menu at this joint is, quite literally, an anatomy chart of the chicken—you choose the part you want (meat, skin, intestines, heart, whatever) and they grill it. Orkin also likes it for its large selection of sakes and otsumami (drinking snacks).

    6-22-19 Shirokane
    Minato-ku, Tokyo

    Unlike many other yakitori-ya, they only offer a tasting menu. “They end the meal with oyakodon, which literally means "parent and child rice bowl"—just a fluffy egg and chicken on rice,” says Orkin. “Sublime.”

    2-12-3 Kanda Jimbocho
    Chiyoda-Ku, Tokyo

    This restaurant, located in Tokyo’s bustling commercial center, exclusively uses Takasaka-wadori (a brand of chicken), which are only fed organically. Orkin’s favorite skewer at this restaurant: The liver.

    2-14-8 Ginza
    Chuo-ku, Tokyo

    “This is now a must go yakitori-ya in Tokyo, famous for it’s ‘nose-to-tail’ style,” says Orkin. The prices are higher here, due to the quality of chicken they use, but it’s far cheaper than its neighbor—Sushi Jiro, of Jiro Dreams of Sushi fame.

    4-2-15 Ginza
    Chuo-ku, Tokyo

    Iseya (Kichijoji Koen Ten)
    This 80-year old shop is, in Orkin’s words, “down and dirty” and full of loyal customers. “I’ve been here many times and met my wife in the nearby park, so it’s special,” Orkin says.

    Iseya (Kichijoji Koen Ten)
    1-15-8, Musashi no shi
    Kichijoji Minami Cho, Tokyo

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    London, St John Bread and Wine

    St. John Bread and Wine

    Stefan Johnson

    She may originally hail from Ireland, but Diana Henry, cookbook author and columnist at the Sunday Telegraph, has lived in London long enough to earn the status of a local. So we asked her to share her favorite neighborhood restaurants across the city, those places that may not be the flashiest but have a loyal local following, reliable food, and kind service. Because when you're traveling, sometimes that's all you want.

    It can be difficult to get a handle on a city’s food. Guidebooks and blogs often lead you to fine dining restaurants and the latest hip opening; you’ll be encouraged to visit the temple of a big-name chef and a "must-go-now" joint that hasn't yet hit its stride (or is simply overhyped). You’ll often queue for an hour before getting a drafty table by the door. What I want to find in a city are the restaurants where people who love good food—but don’t want to spend a fortune—go, the places that tell me something about that city, that give me a broad view of what is going on.

    In the 30 years that I've been living in London, I've found my own favorite neighborhood restaurants, the places where I want to bring my visiting friends not because they're the hot new thing, but because they are comfortable and the food is good. These restaurants are all about the food, not the décor—and if you go you’ll eat with Londoners (for the most part) rather than visitors. You’ll see that fermentation is big here; that we like old-fashioned British food, as long as it’s done well; that pubs are a great place to eat out (if you know the good ones); and that we’re still in love with rough and ready Mediterranean fare. You won’t find a cheffy smear on your plate or an expense account diner in any of them. This is the best of laid-back dining in London, the places we locals go on a Friday night.

    London, Brawn


    John Carey

    You wouldn’t notice this place—it’s on a corner site in East London, the white-washed interior filled with bare chunky tables and chairs—though you can smell it (garlic and warm olive oil) halfway down the street. The menu is bald, almost terse, and divided into Pig (the charcuterie is excellent), Plancha, Raw, Slow-Cooked, Pudding (read: dessert), and Cheese. The food is a mixture of old-fashioned French, Italian, and Spanish. Come here if you’re yearning for clams in fino, cassoulet, allioli, and romesco sauce. The word "gutsy" really does apply. The sourcing is excellent, the clientele are young (though don’t let that put you off if you’re not), and there’s always a contented buzz.

    49 Columbia Road
    London E2 7RG
    020 7729 5692

    London, 10 Greek Street

    10 Greek Street

    10 Greek Street
    You can reserve a table for lunch here, but not dinner, otherwise I’d be in a lot more often (they say the "no reservations" policy helps keep the tables full, and therefore their prices low). The dining room is long and narrow, with a white-tiled open kitchen at the far end. It looks almost Scandinavian in its plainness and the food is similarly pared back: gnudi with leeks, St George’s mushrooms, and wild garlic; lamb with purple sprouting broccoli and anchovies; plaice with wild asparagus, samphire, and brown shrimps; every dish is pure and unfussy and the flavors sing. Lovely puddings—especially the ices—keep up the standard. A gem in central London.

    10 Greek Street
    10 Greek Street
    London W1
    020 7734 4677

    London, St. John Bread and Wine

    St. John Bread and Wine

    Stefan Johnson

    St. John Bread & Wine
    This is the baby brother to chef Fergus Henderson’s St John’s (he’s famous for "nose to tail eating" and robust British dishes) and has a similarly canteen-like feel. But what a canteen: white walls, dark tables and chairs, a triumph of plainness. The kitchen’s approach is similar too, using British ingredients to produce a mixture of old-fashioned and more modern dishes. It’s all gratifyingly unfussy. You might find toasted sourdough (their bread is fabulous) topped with goat’s curd and grilled spring onions; pigeon with peas; carrots and barley; rice pudding with stewed rhubarb. They serve breakfast, too—their bacon sandwich is well known—and even offer "elevenses" (try the seed cake and a glass of Madeira or their legendary doughnuts) mid-morning.

    St. John Bread & Wine
    94-96 Commercial Street
    London E1 6LZ
    O20 7251 0848

    London, Smokehouse

    Shortrib Bourguignon, The Smokehouse

    The Smokehouse
    The people behind this dining pub own four food-centric boozers but this is the best one. Smoking and meat is a main feature (they do their own smoking and barbecuing) so you might find smoked pork belly with potato scones, apple, and black pudding, or smoked duck breast with kimchi and a fried egg, but there’s fish as well (fish and chips with monk’s beard and mussel sauce or fried oysters on toast with bone marrow). The menu girdles the earth—there’s usually a French or Italian classic as well as a Thai or Korean number—but owes much to American barbecue techniques (a trend which has survived in London and seems certain to stay).

    The Smokehouse
    63-69 Canonbury Road
    London N1 2DG
    020 7354 1144

    London, Rawduck

    Raw Duck

    Joe Woodhouse

    With simple, seasonal food served on rough-hewn tables decorated with vases of wildflowers, Rawduck very much has its own identity. They think a lot about health and nourishment, without serving fare that is wackily health-foodie. And they take fermentation and preserving very seriously. Jams, pickles, sipping vinegars, and cordials are made in-house (you’ll even find a PICKLES, SALTS, AND SMOKED menu). Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, they serve food that is thoroughly global: rare steak in a brioche bun with kimchi slaw; turmeric spiced mackerel with lime pickle and coconut; and rice and orange blossom pudding with blood oranges have all appeared on the ever-changing daily menu.

    Raw Duck
    197 Richmond Road
    London E8 3NJ
    020 8986 6534

    Diana Henry is an award-winning food writer and broadcaster based in London and a James Beard nominee. She is one of most loved and respected voices in food in the UK and the author of nine books. She has been a food columnist on The Daily Telegraph for over 12 years. Born and brought up in Ireland, she studied English Literature at Oxford University and was a television producer at BBC Television for many years before she started writing about food.

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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:
    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.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. 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.

    Morocco, Marrakech, Le Jardin

    Jessica Pepper-Peterson

    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

    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.

    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.

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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.

    Via Giovanni Antonelli, 30/32
    Parioli, Rome, Italy

    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

    falvio carbonara rome travel pasta

    Katie Parla

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

    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

    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

    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.

    Via Valle Corteno, 31
    Nomentano, Rome, Italy

    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

    babuino 181 hotel

    Courtesy of Babuino 181 Hotel

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

    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

    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.

    Via Antonio Pacinotti, 83
    Portuense, Rome, Italy

    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

    rome bar travel

    Katie Parla

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

    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

    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.

    Via Fratelli Bonnet, 5
    Monteverde Vecchio, Rome, Italy

    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

    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.

    Piazza dell’Unità 29
    Prati, Rome, Italy

    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

    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

    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

    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.

    Largo Dino Frisullo
    Testaccio, Rome, Italy

    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.

    Piazza Cavour 16
    Prati, Rome, Italy

    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.

    Viale di Villa Pamphili, 214
    Monteverde Vecchio, Rome, Italy

    vino roma wine tasting travel

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

    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

    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

    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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    There are countless lovely ways to pass time in Paris, but one of my favorites is to stop into Jugetsudo, a Japanese tea shop and tasting room in the 6th arrondissement. This serene, bamboo-filled space houses high-quality teas, museum-like displays of handmade tea wares, and a large table for enjoying tastings, complete with all the quiet ceremony that goes into a properly brewed cup of tea.

    Watching tea being prepared for you can be mesmerizing. Each type served here has its own process, requiring particular vessels or tools—it’s much more complicated (and elegant) than dumping boiling water over leaves. There are specific details, like measurements, temperatures and timing, that might leave the average person fumbling and clumsy, but the staff here know these things inherently. They make the intricate processes look effortless, and a little like magic.

    The most interesting experience comes with gyokuro, what they describe as the “noblest” of Japanese teas. The leaves yield an intensely savory drink, full of umami. They’re brewed three times, and each brew tastes slightly different from the last. After the third round, the leaves are prepared with a mix of soy sauce and rice vinegar and presented for eating. Until my first visit to Jugetsudo, I’d never done this; the novelty of it stuck with me for days.

    Each tea is served on a small tray with some kind of accompaniment. They have a selection that includes handmade cookies flecked with tea leaves, savory rice crackers, and traditional Japanese cakes. Everything is delicious, you can’t make a bad choice.

    Jugetsudo has become a place I make sure to visit any time I’m in Paris. It’s perfect for taking a midday break (and I know I’m not alone in thinking so — every time I visit there are ladies at the table engrossed in books while sipping their drinks) or waiting out some passing rain.

    95 Rue de Seine
    Paris, France 75006
    +33 1 46 33 94 90

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    The Piña Colada has long been the national drink of Puerto Rico, the world’s largest producer of rum. But there’s another refreshing alcoholic beverage on the rise in PR: beer—craft beer, in particular. Puerto Rico’s nascent craft beer industry is in part a result of the island’s emergence as the Caribbean’s unofficial culinary capital, with chefs like Jose Enrique, the island’s first James Beard Award finalist in 2015, attracting national attention. “The rise in the craft beer movement goes hand-in-hand with Puerto Rico’s culinary growth,” says Jorge Castro, proprietor of the Beer Box, a craft beer store in Aguadilla. “Since food here has become more sophisticated, people are starting to taste and appreciate different styles of craft beer.” Within the last two years, there’s been an explosion of breweries making the most complex, flavorful beers that the island has ever seen, and on October 23-24 the West Beer Fest in Mayaguez on the west coast of the island will showcase these local brewers.

    Here are our four favorites:

    Barlovento Brewing Company (Manati)

    Founders Jose Carlos Gonzalez, Jose Lomeña, and Pedro Garcia have a penchant for using local ingredients. Their recently-released Coffee Stout incorporates beans from a Puerto Rico roaster, El Cafeito. And the island’s preferred spirit, rum, plays a role in their process as well—the Galeón 90 Scottish Ale is aged in rum barrels.

    Where to sample: In their recently-opened tasting room and cigar bar atop the brewery (25 Paseo del Atenas, Manati, 787-424-5475); at Parcela Gastropub in San Juan (1131 Ashford Ave., San Juan, 787-728-9876).

    Boquerón Brewing Company (Cabo Rojo)

    The copper-colored, malty, and slightly sweet Crash Boat IPA, which was named after a picturesque local beach, is the most popular beer at this modest brewery, Reflecting Puerto Rico’s Old World meets New World vibe, it blends hops from the Britain and the United States. Boquerón produces ten styles of beer, including a a sweetly dry Honey IPA that incorporates wildflower honey from the municipality of Añasco.

    Where to sample: 5to Elemento Gastropub (148 Calle Estacion, Cabo Rojo, 787-255-2333) is conveniently located just next door to the brewery. In San Juan, enjoy it in the beer garden at The Place (1368 Ashford Ave., San Juan, 787-998-4209).

    FOK Brewing Co. (Caguas)

    Though it sounds a bit obscene, FOK, which will grow its production from 375 gallons per week to 1500, is actually an acronym for “Fresh Of Keg.” Founder Greg Santiago is fond of naming his beers in the same nomenclature as software programs: Version 1.1 is made with honey from Jauco and orange peel from Lares.

    Where to sample: Four Points Sheraton in Caguas (500 Alhambra En Granada Blvd., Caguas, 787-653-1111) offers FOK beer pairing dinners; in San Juan, enjoy it in the Old City’s Taberna Lupulo (151 Calle San Sebastian, San Juan, 787-721-1542).

    Señorial Brewing Co. (Ponce)

    Señorial, operated by cousins Armando and Luis Rodriguez, only makes three beers: El Vigia, a pale, nutty ale; Colora, a fruity, citrusy, wheat beer; and a creamy oatmeal stout, Señora de la Noche. For a hair-of-the-dog breakfast, the cousins Rodriguez like to pair the Señora de la Noche with domplines, a fried dough native to Ponce.

    Where to sample: Taska Gau, Ponce’s favorite beer bar (21 Calle Mayor, Ponce, 939-644-0312); Rincon Brewing Co., which offers flights of local beer along with food pairings (15 Calle Muñoz Rivera, Rincon, 787-823-2538).

    Kathleen Squires is a food and travel writer based in New York City. She is also the co-producer of the upcoming documentary America’s First Foodie: The Incredible Life of James Beard.

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    Berlin, Market, Markt IX

    Markt IX

    Christina Holmes

    Berlin is in the midst of a major market revival: The city is renovating its old market halls and new street markets have opened to cater to the growing demand for locally grown organic produce. Here’s a curated selection of some of the ones you can’t miss on your next visit:

    Now a protected German national landmark, this ornate red-brick market with Gothic-style bay windows and elaborate floral motifs on its cast-iron pillars opened in 1891 in the Moabit district, was badly damaged during World War II, and then extensively renovated in 1996. Among the best stalls here are Brotkorb, which translates to breadbasket (don’t miss its vegan breads, including the Pomerania farm bread and spelt whole-grain); Kartoffel Krüger, a stand specializing in potatoes; and Genusswerk, which hawks locally grown fruit and vegetables, preserves, juices, and a great selection of apple products from the estate of Countess Daisy von Arnim, also known as “the Apple Countess” (die Apfelgräfin).
    Arminiusstrasse 2-4
    Open daily, except Sundays

    Berlin, Market, Markt IX

    Markt IX

    Christina Holmes

    Markt IX
    On the eve of World War II, Berlin had 14 major municipally built inner-city neighborhood food markets, often handsome Victorian structures of brick, cast iron, and glass. After falling out of favor, those that survived World War II are being renovated and relaunched, and this one, in the winningly funky Kreuzberg district and commonly known as “Neun” (nine), is especially beloved by Berliners. The all-organic market has a terrific collection of bakers, butchers, cheese-and-dairy merchants, fishmongers, and specialty stalls like Das Berliner Frühstück (The Berliner Breakfast), which sells 12 kinds of organic muesli. The Street Food Thursdays (5 p.m.–10 p.m.) held at the market have become a local institution.
    Eisenbahnstrasse 42-43
    Open Mon-Wed: 8am-6pm; Thurs: 8am-10pm; Fri-Sat: 8am-8pm; closed Sunday

    More than 50 owner-run stalls sell organic foods and handicrafts like homemade jams, pickles, and beeswax candles at this friendly, intimate open-air organic market, which is held every Thursday in the Prenzlauer Berg district.
    Open Thursday: 12pm–6pm

    BiOriental Markt
    Also known as the “Türkenmarkt” (Turkish market), this open-air market in the Neukölln district features vendors selling foods from Turkey, Egypt, Nigeria, and other countries. It offers a delicious lesson in the fact that Berlin is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in Europe. Great street food, too.
    Tuesdays and Fridays: 11am-6.30pm

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    Tokyo Department Store Food

    Alex Testere

    A continuous stream of arigatou gozaimas poured from clerks and deli staff. "Thank you," they said while helping with my purchases, "thank you." I bowed and thanked them back. I was shopping in the grocery-filled basement, or depachika, of the Odakyu Department Store in Tokyo, one of the material wonders of the world, and I wanted to buy everything. Canned sardines, canned matcha, sashimi grade hamachi, Japanese whisky, grilled fish on a stick. The store's stylish opulence was designed to trigger the consumer impulse, as if to say, "Yatte minahare (go for it)!" I almost did. But the standard depachika sells around 30,000 items, and I needed to save room in my luggage during my three-week stay in Japan.

    With an average of seven to ten stories filled with clothes, electronics, stationery and kitchen gear, the depato (デパート) are living shrines to Japan's expert craftsmanship and willingness to pay for luxury goods. Large Japanese train stations usually house at least one department store, because train companies cleverly built their own stores to turn commuters into customers. The Odakyu, Seibu, and Keio stores bear the names of their parent rail lines. Outside the stations, well-respected stores such as Takashimaya, Mitsukoshi, and Isetan offer housewares and cutting-edge fashion, each with subterranean food halls. America has department stores, but not like this. Some of the world's finest food is housed under Tokyo's streets.

    The 'depa' in depachika is slang for department store, and 'chika' means 'underground mall' or 'basement.' Many depatos have niches. Marui 0101 specializes in designer brands and edgy fashion. Tokyu Hands markets the DIY lifestyle with supplies for hobbies and home improvement projects. Many depachika differentiate themselves with daily osozai side-dish specials, limited edition sandwiches, and unique vendors, but their basic design is similar. That's a good thing, because it means shoppers can't go wrong.

    In them, you'll find entire counters dedicated to salted plums, counters selling only roasted soybeans, whole sections for high-end miso and sencha tea. You'll find long, open-top refrigerated cases filled with fresh filleted tuna and silver-sided fish you can't identify but want to eat. The delis devote separate sections to tempura and fish skewers, bento boxes and sushi sets, traditional ebisen shrimp crackers, as well as cold cases filled with green salads, pasta salads, soba and side-dishes made from ingredients such as stewed eggplant and lotus. Save room for hot food; staff grill fresh traditional items like yaki-onigiria rice balls and takoyaki octopus dumplings while calling "Oishii! Oishii!," ("Delicious!") Save room for the bakery. And for creamy parfaits with bright banded colors. And sake, whisky, condiments and heirloom rice, shelved on rack upon rack.

    Most depato open around 10am and stay open until 8 or 9pm. Late in the day, stores slash prices to move perishable sushi and pastry, so 5pm is a good time to ride an escalator down and explore. Once the dizziness passes, you will fall in love with them. Here are five popular Tokyo depachika not to miss on your next visit:

    Founded as the Echigoya dry goods store in 1673, Mitsukoshi's Nihonbashi location is Tokyo's oldest depato, often described as the Harrods of Japan. But its Ginza branch has one of the city's best depachika. Few food halls offer counters or tables; you have to stand by the stalls to eat, or take your chances ignoring the "no eating" signs in seating areas. Mitsukoshi customers can take their depachika food to the tables on the ninth floor, or enjoy the garden patio. Just because your food came from a windowless basement doesn't mean you have to eat it down there!
    4-6-16 Ginza, Chūō-ku
    Access through Ginza Station: from the Ginza, Hibiya or Marunouchi subway lines, use exits A7, A8 or A11.

    The archetype depato, Isetan is a short walk from Shinjuku Station. In its massive, upscale basement, crowds form as smiling staff hand out free samples of cooked fish and furikake rice seasoning made with bright shiso leaf. If you want top shelf Japanese single malt whisky, Isetan is your place. You'll pay more than at a grocery store, but you'll find exceptional malts like Chichibu, and serious shoppers can sample whiskies. Instead of getting discounted food at night, come early to line up in the doorway. The staff wait to unlock the door until exactly 10:30am, then stand along the aisles to greet passing customers.
    3-14-1 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku
    Access from neighboring Shinjuku-Sanchome Station: use exits B3, B4 or B5 from the Marunouchi or Shinjuku subway lines. If you're walking from Shinjuku Station, use the East Exit.

    One of Japan's largest depato, their Shinjuku location, in the Takashimaya Times Square development, has fifteen retail floors, a 2,700-square foot depachika, and twenty-eight different restaurants. If you want to see how extravagant depatos can get, look no further. Grab some roasted fish and a few vegetable side dishes and eat them on a bench in nearby Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden. Whether in spring or winter, it's lovely.
    5-24-2 Sendagaya, Shibuya-ku
    Access from Shinjuku Station

    Neither the biggest nor the best depachika, Odakyu is one of my favorites because it was my first. There is an enormous dessert and deli department. Their sencha tea is phenomenal, and their miso will make it hard to go back to eating the brands back in the States. For under two dollars, a cook will prepare you hot, fresh dango rice gluten balls, grilled and dipped in a sweet savory sauce. "Japanese pasta," the cook said before handing me the skewer. Yes, the Sembikiya fruit store sells the famous hundred dollar muskmelons and gift baskets of twelve strawberries for sixty bucks. But the regular produce section also has reasonably priced strawberries, and the largest, thickest carrots I've ever seen, priced under a dollar.
    1-1-3 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku
    Access from Shinjuku Station: from the Marunouchi subway line, use exits A12 through A14; use the West Exit from the Yamanote or Chuo lines; use Exit 3 from the Oedo line.

    Ikebukuro Station has two huge, competing depatos: Seibu on the Station's east exit, and Tobu on the west. Tobu has Tokyo's biggest depachika. It occupies two floors. If you want to feel the sensory impact of scale, do not skip it.
    1-1-25 Nishi-Ikebukuro, Toshima-ku
    Access from Ikebukuro Station: Use the West Exit from the JR Line, the Tobu-Tojo Line, or the Seibu Ikebukuro Line; use Exit 6 from the Marunouchi Subway Line, the Yurakucho Line or the Fukutoshin Line.

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