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O C TO B E R 2 01 4

TRUTH IN TR AVEL

THE
FOOD ISSUE
ISS
SSUE
UE
The chefs, restaurants,
and meals that are changing
the way we travel

94

104

114

116

124

Perus Melting Pot

Catskills
Collective

Supertaster

Magic Kingdom

Top Chef host Padma


Lakshmi likes room
serviceand is tired of
hearing about farm-totable cuisine.

Whitney Robinson goes


beyond Abu Dhabis
man-made islands and
delves into its culinary
and artisanal traditions.

Rhapsody in
a Bowl

In Upstate New York,


Abby Aguirre discovers
an epicurean utopia of
transplanted foodies.

Forget Tokyo: For the


best ramen of your
life, head to Fukuoka,
Junot Daz raves.

PHOTOGRAPH BY PEDEN & MUNK

The new epicenter of


high cuisine? Its Lima.
Kevin West on the next
great dining capital.

C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4

TALK TO US

WORD OF MOUTH

Where are you going this


year? Send your photos and
tips to letters@
condenasttraveler.com.
12
Through the Lens Of Before
Instagram there was Martin Parr,
godfather of overhead food shots.

26
Micro-Neighborhood A oneblock-long street is Copenhagens
next dining destination.

34
Eat Here Now Ludo Lefebvres Parisian-style
bistro serves up hearty French classics and masterful
cocktailsin a Los Angeles strip mall, no less.

THE COVER
Late afternoon in Italy,
photographed by
Gentl & Hyers. Styling
by Amy Wilson.

C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4

36
Well-Traveled Where the French
Laundrys Laura Cunningham
travels for inspiration.

PINTEREST

Cannelle et Vanille Blogger


Aran Goyoaga curates a harvestinspired board this fall
at Pinterest.com/cntraveler.

40
Stay Here Now The new
La Rserve hotel takes its cues
from La Belle poque Paris.

42
In Transit Reasons to look forward
to your layover, including tortas
at OHare and caviar at Heathrow.

30
The Upgrade Watches to
keep you in one time zone while
youre dreaming of the next.

FIRST ROW: PHOTOGRAPHS BY MARTIN PARR/MAGNUM PHOTOS; COURTESY HOTEL URSO. SECOND ROW: PHOTOGRAPHS BY ULF SVANE; MATT HRANEK; DEBORAH JONES/COURTESY THE FRENCH LAUNDRY.
THIRD ROW: PHOTOGRAPHS BY GENTL & HYERS (COVER); ARAN GOYOAGA; COURTESY LA RSERVE PARIS HOTEL, SPA AND APARTMENTS. BOTTOM ROW: PHOTOGRAPHS BY LOUIS MOSES/CORBIS; ADRIAN GAUT

Contents

Contents

SUBSCRIBE

WHERE WHAT HOW

Call 800-777-0700,
visit cntraveler.com/
services/subscriptions, or
e-mail subscriptions
@condenasttraveler.com.

82
Next Up Alexander Maksik
goes back home to Idaho and
falls hard for Boise.

Download our
digital edition for
interactive features and
bonus content at
cntraveler.com/apps.
56
Pilgrimage Two bon vivant
New York chefs take us on their
annual Sicilian food odyssey.

62
Anatomy of a Hotel From the Chateau Marmont to
his global empire of Standards, Andr Balazs keeps even himself
guessing as he creates one of-the-moment hotel after another.

LEAVE IT
TO THE
OMBUDSMAN

INSTAGRAM

#globalcandy
This month were sharing our
favorite candy from around the
world @cntraveler.

72
Hotels We Love Three gourmet destinations in Scotland,
Sweden, and Italy (above) that are as much about eating as
they are about getting a good nights sleep.

129
Travel Intel Apps to add to your travel arsenal;
what to drink in Lima (at any time of day); an unlimited ski pass
for Vail; and why you should be booking a trip to China now.

10

C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4

Advice and mediation for


the trials of travel.
Got a problem? E-mail us at
ombudsman
@cntraveler.com.

134
Souvenir Whether its the old-world filigree typeface
or the evocation of a time and place, theres a reason we always
have the urge to stuff the hotel coaster into our pocket.

FIRST ROW: PHOTOGRAPHS BY MATT HRANEK; GRANT CORNETT. SECOND ROW: PHOTOGRAPHS BY MATT HRANEK; COURTESY THE STANDARD. THIRD
ROW: PHOTOGRAPHS BY CANNELL & WESTERHOFF; MATT ARMENDARIZ. BOTTOM ROW: PHOTOGRAPHS BY CHRISTOPHER TESTANI; GENTL & HYERS

DIGITAL EDITION

Through the Lens Of

Martin Parrs photograph of a juicy red grapefruit on a table in his native United
Kingdom may appear to be yet another shot-from-above food portrait on Instagram, but in
fact it was taken before the technology made our obsession with capturing and
sharing the dish in front of us as much a fact of life as eating itself. A prolic documentary
photographer and collector, Parr has spent years creating images of food (among
other subjects) in his blunt, close-up (and deliberately unromantic) signature style, using
a macro lens and a ring ash. While Parr considers the ubiquity of food photography
on social media a trend like the sele, this more appetizing image reminds us of the visceral
power of a good food photograph: Though a picture of a meal can never fully replicate
the experience of enjoying itthe smells, the tastes, the conversationit can be a powerful
evocation of the small, wondrous moments we encounter when we travel,
a direct connection to the memories only a special meal can create. Kate Cunningham

12

C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4

Photograph by Martin Parr

MAGNUM PHOTOS

Abergavenny, Wales

Editors Letter

Check out
the rest of
my October
inspiration
board on
pinterest.com/
cntraveler.

AS FRIENDS AND FAMILY can attest, I


have been known to get morbidly depressed after a disappointing meal.
This can include Midtown workweek
lunches, where standards are by definition low and offenses can range from
assembly-line haste (lettuce that hasnt
been properly dried, rendering the
dressing avorless) to the overwrought
(a foie grasstuffed burger to the tune
of $40). The risk of displeasure is only
heightened on foreign soil, where you
might get just one shot at an authentic
lunch in a particular corner of the world.
I have more than once forced my family to leave a restaurant if the breada
meals most prophetic signis stale or
otherwise substandard. Id rather have
a slice or a sh taco from a street vendor
than a mediocre restaurant meal.
It should come as no surprise that
we at Cond Nast Traveler believe that
good food can not only anchor a day
but inspire a journey. The way a meal
and the permission to drink a midday
bottle of rosbookends an afternoon
of browsing and sightseeing is the very
denition of vacation. Of his ramen and
gyoza pilgrimage to Fukuoka (page 124),
Junot Daz writes, Every bowl of ramen is said to contain a universe, and
this universe is a celestial symphony of
14

C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4

tender noodles, farm-fresh green onions, and pungent porky splendor.


Taste, second only to kindred olfactory senses, is our most primal memory
keeper. Experiencing a dish in context
forever changes your impression of not
just the cuisine but the culture itself
whether its the vegetarian delicacy avial
in Kerala or a raclette in the Pennine
Alps. Only when you go to southern
Italy, for example, can you understand
the proliferationand bastardization
in the Statesof the caprese salad, or of
fried calamari, which should be a delicately battered affair, not the deep-fried
happy-hour alternative to buffalo wings.
The simplicity of a pomodoro sauce in
Amalfi makes sense when made with
just-picked sun-ripened tomatoes, which
require only a few minutes in a pan with
a clove of garlic and a glug of olive oil to
achieve that slurpy gestalt which can
seem so elusive when we try it at home.
While the farm-to-table movement
has made some approximation of Western European ingredients available to
the American home cook, some cuisines really dont, cant, exist anywhere
else but where, say, an obscure Amazonian fish or ancient Incan tuber is
availableas is the case in Lima, where
Kevin West discovered a booming food

culture (page 94). Part of the fun of


eating in Lima today, he writes, is
to realize how much you dont know
about food. A good trip should, after
all, walk that ne line between humility
and awe on the one hand and a sense of
conquest and edication on the other.
But for all our food snobbery, we believe a culinary journey can start even
before you board your flight. For our
airport food story (page 42), we polled
a network of trusted global citizens for
their favorite gate-side restaurants, watering holes, and snack bars. For many of
us, airports are homes away from home,
lonely and transitional spaces where
we most need the comfort of a good
meal. (The only reason I stopped grousing about the seemingly interminable
walk from security to Gate B38 in JFKs
Delta terminal is because theres a Shake
Shack at B36.) So while we will keep our
list rolling digitally ad innitum, we suggest you tear this one out for the next
time you get on a plane.

Pilar Guzmn, Editor in Chief


@pilar_guzman

PHOTOGRAPH BY GORMAN STUDIO

Never Waste a Meal

Editors Itinerary

Tweet us using #EditorsItinerary and


tell us where you want to go next month.

Heres Where You Should Go

You told us you wanted beaches, long-haul train rides, and wine-tasting in France.
Weve narrowed the universe into four trips, from the spontaneous to the once-in-a-lifetime.
I NEED A
VACATION NOW

IM JUST THINKING
ABOUT MY NEXT TRIP

Beach or
mountains?

Is this the one big vacation


youll take this year?

Yes! Lets make


it count.

Hopefully not.
I just want a few
nights away.

I could use a few


days in the sun . . .

Give me rolling hills, wildlife,


and open skies.

I want lots of
nature.

Can I see it all


without driving?

Im a city
slicker.

Does a Saint-milion
excite you?

Not enough to plan


a trip around.

PRIVATE
HAWAIIAN ISLAND

You can
have both.
Go by train.

CANADA BY RAIL

Or how about a
chauffeur?

BORDEAUX
WINE-TASTING

CHILE AND
EASTER ISLAND

Its shoulder season in Hawaii


this month, which means
great hotel deals and crowdfree beaches. Add a day-trip
to the private isle of Niihau, a
ten-minute helicopter ride
from Kauaiits like having an
island all to yourself.

VIA Rail Canadas recently


restored Canadian crosses the
country between Vancouver and
Toronto, slicing right through the
Rockies. Spacious new sleeper
cabins have extra-large windows,
and glass-domed cars let you
take in the vistas while sipping a
full-bodied red from Nova Scotia.

Harvest season is already in full


swing, but flights to Bordeaux
are cheaper in spring according
to Kayak.com, so book now for
an April visit. Youll stay at a
luxury hotel and have a driver to
whisk you to private tastings
at the regions best chteaux.

Nows the time to lock in


the best hotels for a January
tripwhen the South
American summer is at its
peak. With eight flights a
week from Santiago, tacking
on a side trip to Easter Island
is easier than ever.

Six nights, $6,795 per person


before discount (Susan
Tanzman of Martins Travel
and Tours; 310-390-7685).

Four nights, $2,217 per


person before discount
(Sylvia Blishak of Train Travel
Consulting; 800-347-0645).

Five nights, $5,490 per


person before discount (Pascale
Bernasse of French Wine
Explorers; 877-261-1500).

Six nights, $4,380 per


person before discount
(Eric Sheets of Latin
Excursions; 305-356-8488).

The rst ten to book each trip will receive a ten percent discount. For more on these trips, visit editorsitinerary.cntraveler.com.

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C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4

ILLUSTRATIONS BY BROWN BIRD DESIGN

. . . but I cant deal with


crowds.

Yes! And Margaux and


Sauternes . . .

T R U T H I N T R AV E L

pilar guzmn

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The new and the cool: the restaurants, hotels,


and things we cant stop talking about.
26
One street, six meals:
Copenhagens foodie destination.

30
Time to travel:
the watches you need now.

34
Splendor in the strip mall: L.A.s
reinvented bistro.

40
Jewel box: Pariss latest
boutique hotel.

word
of
Fresh-baked
croissants
at Copenhagens
Meyers Bageri.

mouth
Photograph by Ulf Svane

O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4 / C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R

25

Micro-Neighborhood

Restaurants,
shops, and bakeries
are plentiful on
Copenhagens oneblock-long
Jgersborggade.

Jgersborggade
Everything that makes Copenhagen a culinary hotbedrock-star chefs, foraging as art
can be found on this cobblestoned street in the citys lively Nrrebro neighborhood.
THESE DAYS, any foodie knows that Copenhagen has joined
New York, Tokyo, and San Francisco as one of the culinary
capitals of the world. Thats largely thanks to Ren Redzepis groundbreaking restaurant, Noma, which since its
opening in 2003 has been converting diners to the wonders
of foraged reindeer mossas well as producing the next
generation of inventive chefs, many of whom now helm
their own kitchens. One of Nomas most acclaimed alums
26

C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4

is Christian F. Puglisi, who in 2010 launched Rel in the


once-seedy Nrrebro neighborhood. Everyone thought I
was crazy when I wanted to open here, Puglisi says. Today, Jgersborggade is a great place to be. A ten-minute
bike ride north of the city center, the street is just a block
long and is home to dozens of shops and restaurants that
cater to the eating-and-drinking obsessed. Come for
lunch; you wont end up leaving until well after dinner.
Photographs by Ulf Svane

Micro-Neighborhood

For recipes from Chef


Puglisis new cookbook,
A Book of Ideas, visit
cntraveler.com.

1 Poached egg with


cabbage, pickled new
onions, and crusty
bread at Manfreds.

2 Dining alfresco
on Jgersborggade.

REL
Being an immigrant forced me
to be inventive instead of relying
on the elements of cooking I
already knew, says the SicilianNorwegian Puglisi of his casual
42-seat, Michelin-starred restaurant. Three prix fixe menus are
on offer here: Omnivore, Herbivore, and, for those with a
huge appetite, Lets-Try-It-All
Ivore. There are usually only
two waiters, so the chefs double
as servers, and diners are responsible for resetting their own silverware between courses (extra
cutlery is stored in a drawer
in the custom-designed wooden
table). The foodcreative but
accessible dishes like sous vide
chicken with bottarga and sweet
cornis so good, you wouldnt
mind washing the plates as well.
Puglisis long-awaited cookbook,
A Book of Ideas, hits shelves
this month, and his new pizzeria
and bakery will open on nearby
Guldbergsgade by years end
(No. 41; 45-3696-6609; restaurant
-relae.dk; prix fixes from $81).
MANFREDS
Puglisis caf and wine bar is right
across the street from Rel, and
its not uncommon to see him and
his cooks carting whole sides of
28

animals and trays of prepped vegetables back and forth throughout


the day. At Rel, were very strict
and focused, Puglisi says. Manfreds is an outlet for our rustic
ideas. But no less sophisticated:
One standout in a recent meal
included beef tartare with watercress and rye, and charred spring
onions with elderflower and
salty, semi-hard Havgus cheese.
Go with the Chefs Choice
menua mix of seven vegetable,
meat, and fish dishes for about
$45 per person. Make reservations earlythe wait can be over
an hour, and there are only 20
bar seats available for walk-ins
(No. 40; 45-3696-6593; manfreds
.dk; small plates from $6).
COFFEE COLLECTIVE
Scandinavias coffee scene now
rivals Seattles, with small-batch
roasters who take their brews
very, very seriously. This shop
prides itself on its direct-trade
sourcing practices and highly
trained baristas, who regularly
compete in the Danish Coffee
Championships (and bring home
top prize). Sure, the place is
the size of a cramped kitchen in
a tiny apartmenttheres not
even a counter between you and
the baristasbut no one seems

C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4

bothered by the lack of ambience.


In fact, your AeroPress pour-over
is best enjoyed from one of the
wooden benches outside, while
you watch the stylish locals
stroll down the street (No. 10).
MEYERS BAGERI
Think of chef-restaurateur
Claus Meyer as the Danish Mario
Batali: Hes a TV personality, he
co-founded Noma, and in 2016
hes set to open the Nordic
Food HallScandinavias answer
to Eatalyin New York Citys
Grand Central Terminal. His small
bakery on Jgersborggade has
earned him legions of local fans,
who cant start their day without
the shops signature morning
pastry, the kanelsnurrer, which
is similar to a cinnamon roll (No.
9; clausmeyer.dk).
TERROIRISTEN
Stefan Jensen, founder of this
wine bar, can remember the first
time he sipped a natural wine
(that means no filtering, clarification, temperature control, or sulfur up until the time of bottling).
It was the late nineties, and
it changed me forever, he says.
In the years since, Jensen has
become a crusader for wines
that are produced in a way that

reflects the origin of the grape


in the truest sense. He stocks
varietals from Italy, Slovenia,
Georgia, and Hungaryincluding
bottles by trailblazers like Josko
Gravner and Frank Cornelissen,
arguably Mount Etnas best
producer, which pair nicely with
charcuterie (No. 52; 45-36906040; terroiristen.dk).
KERAMIKER INGE VINCENTS
Each of the shops and eateries
on this street represents the
owners desire to excel within
his or her fieldbe it coffee,
caramels, or ceramics, says
Inge Vincents, whose paper-thin,
mostly white bowls, platters,
and cups line the floor-to-ceiling
shelves in her quaint pottery
shop. My studio is part of the
synergy that makes our street
a destination. Everything
is produced on-site and is handshapedmeaning no two pieces
are identical. Im fascinated with
the translucency of the porcelain, she says. It gives an object
a delicate lightness. But dont
let the delicacy of the pieces
dissuade you from taking anything home: Vincents has a way
with bubble wrap and is happy
to ship her wares (No. 27;
45-4070-1750; vincents.dk). X

The Ultimate Multitaskers


A 9 A.M. board meeting back home and martini hour in Londonno problem.
Be in two places at onceif only in your dreamswith these dual time zone watches.
Clockwise from top left: Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600 M Co-Axial GMT (Omega boutiques nationwide; $8,100);

Blancpain Villeret Demi-Fuseau Horaire 8 Jours (blancpain.com; $44,400); TAG Heuer Carrera Calibre 8 GMT
(shop.tagheuer.com; $4,000); Patek Philippe Nautilus Travel Time Chronograph (212-2818-1240; $57,300); Baume & Mercier Clifton
GMT (baume-et-mercier.com; $3,350); Jaquet Droz Grande Heure GMT (jaquet-droz.com; $26,400). Matt Hranek
30

C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4

Photograph by Adrian Gaut

PROP STYLING BY ANDRA HUELSE

The Upgrade

Out in the World

E AT THI S S TR E E T

Southeast
Division
When Andy Ricker
opened Pok Pok on
Portland, Oregons
Southeast Division
Street in 2005, little
did he know he was
setting the stage
for the citys liveliest
restaurant row. Here
are our favorite new
kids on the block:

TR AVE L TOOL

Blue Is the
New Black
Book
One hundred and fifty
Paris insiderschefs,
authors, artists, and
otherscontributed
their picks of the
best sights, restaurants, shops, and
bars to the latest City
Secrets guidebook.
The tips are practical
(for the perfect onemile jog, loop around
the perimeter of
the Tuileries) and
personal: Legendary
designer Azzedine
Alaa reveals his
favorite bookstore
(Les Cahiers de Colette, in the Marais),
and three-Michelinstarred chef Alain
Passard raves about
the Boulangerie
Stphane Henry on
the Canal St-Martin.
H OT PRO PE R T Y

THIS MONTH Tourist

season is ebbing,
the weathers still
mild, and if it rains,
you can duck into
the stunning Frank
Gehrydesigned
Fondation Louis
Vuitton (opens Oct.
27) and catch the
Centre Pompidous
Gehry retrospective
(opens Oct. 8).

Royal Madrid
Spain has been a little glum of late, but
there are nally signs of a brighter economic future. In Madrid, hotelier Pablo
Carrington just added the Hotel Urso to
his stable of exceptional Spanish properties (Cap Rocat on Mallorca, Hotel
Viura in lava, Torralbenc on Menorca).

The nineteenth-century former palacio,


on a corner site that allows all 78 rooms
and suites to have great views of the
neighborhood, has beneted from a sleek
yet sober redesign by Antonio Obrador
that emphasizes original details like the
stained glass windows and wood-lined
elevator. Just across the street is another
harbinger of change: the revamped Barcel food market (Meja Lequerica 8;
34-914-444-458; hotelurso.com; doubles
from $270). Paul Richardson

U P YOU R G AM E

Fall Finds
After a summer of
Birkenstocks and caftans,
were excited for falls
return to polished,
grown-up accessories
in the seasons signature
huesburgundy and
deep blue.
32

+
All you need for a
bright, brisk fall day?
A flattering pair
of Gucci sunglasses
with a colorful frame
(available at Solstice
stores; $295).

C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4

+
This burnished oxblood leather convertible handbag/clutch
by Salvatore Ferragamo is perfectly
autumnal (ferragamo
.com; $2,450).

Inspired by the walls


of the Jardin Majorelle
in Marrakech, Eddie
Borgos rose-gold cuff
matches Octobers
clear blue skies (Bergdorf Goodman; $325).

Bollywood Theater
Chez Panisse alum
Troy MacLarty has
done for Indian street
food what Ricker did
for Thai. Try the bhel
puri (puffed rice with
veggies, peanuts,
and tamarind chutney). bollywood
theaterpdx.com
Pizza Maria In a
city of superlative
wood-fired pizza, the
charred Neapolitan
pies here are exceptional. Baker Sean
Coyne perfected his
craft at Manhattans
Sullivan Street Bakery
and Per Se, where he
made pizzas for staff.
pizzamariapdx.com
Roe Reserve a spot
at this restaurant,
hidden in the recesses of the larger
restaurant Block &
Tackle, for a sevencourse tasting menu
of modernist seafood
including poached
lobster with grapefruit custard and tobiko over shaved foie
gras. roe-pdx.com
Hannah Wallace

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: PHOTOGRAPHS BY GORMAN STUDIO; COURTESY HOTEL URSO;
COURTESY EDDIE BORGO; COURTESY SALVATORE FERRAGAMO; GORMAN STUDIO

Ava Genes Chef


Joshua McFadden
elevates the humble
vegetable at his
obsessively seasonal
trattoria with standout dishes like a
celery and sunchoke
salad with Parmesan
cheese, lemon, and
almonds. If you cant
get a table, take
comfort in a slice of
mushroom pizza bianca at sister restaurant Roman Candle,
next door. avagenes
.com; romancandle
baking.com

Eat Here Now

Lefebvre offers
a modern take
on traditional
French food, with
lots of strong
cocktails.

Only in L.A.
The L.A. strip mall, like the city itself, has become a blank canvas for reinvention.
Chef-owner Ludo Lefebvres recent transformation of a Thai
takeout joint into a classic French bistro leaves us saying merci beaucoup.
YOU CAN credit the existence of Petit
Trois, Ludo Lefebvres new French restaurant in Hollywood, to Don Draper
as much as to St-Germain-des-Prss
Brasserie Lipp. When I first moved
to Los Angeles in 1996, I saw that
Americans liked to drink cocktails all
through dinner, says French-born
Lefebvre. Watching Mad Men, I realized they always dined that way.
Cocktails and the hearty dishes Lefebvre grew up with are the foundation of this restaurant. The location in
a nondescript strip mall is pure L.A.
The interior has been transformed into
34

C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4

a textbook version of a Parisian neighborhood bistro, complete with checkerboard floor, marble counters, and
copper pots hanging over a tiny open
kitchen (Trois Mec, which Le febvre
co-owns with Jon Shook and Vinny
Dotolo, is next door). Here you can sip a
bracing and aromatic Mauresque cocktail made with pastis and pear brandy,
while choosing from one of ve rustic
but perfectly executed disheseach reinterpreted just enough to delight even
the most jaded Francophile. Chicken
legs are cooked in duck fat, fried, and
then sauced with butter in which

brioche dough has been caramelized.


Salty french fries crisped in beef fat are
hand-cutas Lefebvre says, the way
my mama and grandma did it. A tender omelet reveals a center of melting
Boursin, and after 10 p.m. you can order
a late-night croque-monsieur. Its food
with a backbone, designed to stand
up to strong drinks. Lefebvre calls his
concept a bar la carte and has stenciled the phrase in gold on the window.
Consider it a new formula for FrancoAngeleno diningone that works gloriously (718 N. Highland Ave.; no phone;
entres from $11). Hugh Garvey
Photographs by Matt Hranek

Well-Traveled

Laura Cunningham
When shes not at the legendary French Laundry in Napa Valley,
chef Thomas Kellers partner in business and life is traveling the world in search
of inspiration, from amazing meals to graceful amenities.

Cities that are worth a visit


just for the food: San Sebas-

tin, Spain; Tokyo; Paris.


Favorite restaurants around
the world: Chez lAmi

Jean, Paris; Miyamasou,


Kyoto; Asador Etxebarri,
Vizcaya, Spain.
Best hotel bar: Claridges

for the tradition, the ice


cubes, and the gin and tonic.
Go-to in-flight meal or
snack: Bouchon Bakery

corn muffins, unsalted


almonds, Nestl Crunch,
vitamin C pack.
Most memorable room
service of my life: Breakfast

at La Bastide de Moustiers in
Provence, and the chicken
soup at the George V in Paris.
Tried-and-true jet lag
cure: New Metabolisms

protein shake.
Notable hotel room luxuries:

Im embarrassed I havent
been to: New Orleans.
I hate to admit it, but I have
no desire to go to: Bangkok.
Next up on my must-go list:

The Maldives; South Africa.


Two surprising things I bring
on board are: Prospector

Co.s Compressed Towel Tablets and Equator green tea.


The airplane of my dreams
would have: Heated

seats and no turbulence.


Lindsay Talbot
Photograph by Andrew Southam

HAIR BY ALEX POLILLO. MAKEUP BY JENN STREICHER

Im partial to the somewhat


corny ones tailored to the
guest: initialed pillowcases,
custom-stocked minibars,
and the warm gingersnaps
at the Plaza Athne in
Paris (they asked in advance
for my favorite cookie).

Out in the World

TR AVE L WI S D OM

D R I N K H E R E N OW

Modern
Nomad

San Francisco Straight Up

We asked Julia
ChaplinNew Yorker,
author (her latest
book is Gypset Living),
and motherhow she
travels in style.
Always in your suitcase? A sarong from
Nairobi that I use as
a bathrobe, beach
blanket, and cover-up.
And a tribal necklace,
which pairs amazingly
well with designer
dresses. Theyre also
great conversation
starters. I have one
from the Masai Mara
made of cow vertebrae and another
from Hawaii made
of boars horn.
Best trip? Mongolia
in July, when the
weathers mild and the
Naadam festival (a
mini Olympics) is held.
Biggest near miss?
Almost departing
on a plane for La
Paz, Bolivia, instead
of La Paz, Mexico.
Advice for traveling
with kids? Get
them involved. Before
we leave, I show
my daughter on
a map where were
going and how
were getting there.
Favorite beach?
Agua Blanca on Ibiza.

R E D UX

Favorite hotel? The


Hotel Raya on Panarea.

Zegna Oasis

Shopping abroad
score? A goat hair
lined coat from
Mongolia. A family
of five brought it over
to my camp on a
motorcycletheyd
had it for decades.
Ondine Cohane

38

A Zegna suit is shorthand for a certain kind of luxuryunderstated, beautiful, and above all Italian.
The same can be said of the Oasi Zegna, the familys
39-square-mile eco-reserve in the foothills of the
Italian Alps, near Trivero, where Ermenegildo Zegna founded his woolen mill in 1910. Now, skiers and
hikers can again stay on the reserve in the beautifully
renovated Albergo Bucaneve, a 22-room hotel built
in 1963 by Italian architect Luigi Vietti. Meticulously
restored to its original chic-but-rustic simplicity using local timber and, of course, Zegna wool, the hotel
is an ode to the regions traditions and avors. On the
menu at the antler-adorned dining room is typical
Piedmontese food: baked polenta, porcini-studded
carnaroli risotto, and a rich, chocolaty bonet dessert

C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4

made with amaretti biscuits. Unlike the earthy extravagance of the food, the hotel is refreshingly spare,
a perfect place in which to contemplate the majesty
of the rolling hills and the meadows blooming with
wildflowers and rhododendrons (39-015-744-184;
bucaneve.eu; doubles from $107).

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: PHOTOGRAPHS BY ALLISON WEBBER (3); MATT HRANEK (2); JULIEN CAPMEIL/COURTESY ASSOULINE

Perusing a map of San Francisco has never been as much


fun (or as delicious) as it is at Trick Dog, a Mission District cocktail bar that tops our list of places to drink in
a city full of excellent watering holes. The menu lists the
bars libationsall 13 of which are named for local landmarkson a lovely watercolor map. The Lombard
Street, named for the infamous hairpin lane, is a smoky
citrus mix of Pierde Almas mezcal, chili liqueur, and
manzanilla, while the Painted Ladiesmade with vodka,
melon soda, honey, and mintpays tribute to the
citys iconic pastel-hued Victorian houses. You can even
leave with a souvenir: The coasters, which are printed
with the different drinks ingredients, double as postcards (3010 20th St.; trickdogbar.com). Chaney Kwak

Stay Here Now

French Impression

Designer Jacques
Garcia decorated
La Rserves 40
rooms and suites with
antique furniture
and objets dart.

40

C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4

PARIS IS in the midst of a hotel boom,


with a number of glamorous openings (The Peninsula in August) and
reopenings (the Plaza Athne, also
in August, and the Ritz and the Htel
de Crillon early next year). But tucked
away on a leafy, gracious avenue in the
eighth arrondissementa block from
both the Champs-lyses and the rue
du Faubourg St-Honorstands a
limestone htel particulier thats a lovely
contrast to the gilded grandes dames
currently grabbing the spotlight. La
Rserve opens next month in an 1854
Haussmann-style mansion with only
40 rooms (most with views of the Eiffel Tower and the Grand Palais), the
third property in the La Rserve group
after Geneva and Ramatuelle, near StTropez. Designed by Jacques Garcia,
the master of haute boutique hotel designhes responsible for the Geneva
sister property as well as Parisian institutions like the Htel Costes and
LHotelthe interiors have the feel of a
private residence, with antique settees
upholstered in rich velvets and walls
adorned with intricately patterned
silk damask. In fact, Garcia says that
he drew inspiration from nineteenthcentury Parisian high society, specically as it appears in James Tissots Le
Cercle de la rue Royale, an oil painting
of a private club circa 1868 that hangs
in the Muse dOrsay. Its palette of soft
neutrals and air of quiet privilege has
been gorgeously brought to life in La
Rserve; indeed, walking through the
hotels smoking parlor, library, and
cocktail lounge is a bit like being transported back to the dawn of La Belle
poque (42 ave. Gabriel; 33-1-53-70-5370; lareserve-paris.com; doubles from
$1,472). John Wogan

PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY LA RSERVE PARIS HOTEL, SPA AND APARTMENTS

Pariss newest boutique hotel has transformed a nineteenth-century maison


into a discreetly opulent hideaway for the modern-day beau monde.

In Transit

Fast-food chains and anonymous food courts may still dominate many airports. But
increasingly you dont have to settle for mediocre food when youre between ights. We asked
our network of trusted travelers (with very discriminating palates) what restaurants and
bars theyve discovered on the way to the gate. Their go-to dishesfrom roast duck noodles
to short rib tortas and soft-shell crabswill leave you craving a layover.

Great Airport Food


Really Does Exist
DOMESTIC
Dallas/Fort Worth

Boston Logan

I happened into Cousins Bar-B-Q one day


and ended up almost
missing my flight
because I got seconds.
Have some pulled
pork, then go back for
brisket. Dont take it
on the plane or youre
likely to be mobbed.
Terminal B, Gate 28

Legal Sea Foods


is the ideal place for
airport breakfast.
I arrive extra early to
have fried eggs, coffee,
and a Bloody Mary.
Terminals B and C

San Francisco

Jamie Bissonnette,
chef, Coppa and Toro
in Boston; Toro in N.Y.C.

Daniel Holzman, chef,


N.Y.C.s Meatball Shop

John F. Kennedy (New York)


Fung Lum for the Roast
Duck Noodlesits
topped with half a duck,
so its both delicious
and filling before a
long flight. International
Terminal, Main Hall
Masaharu Morimoto,
chef, Morimoto restaurants

The Palm Bar & Grille


is a great outpost of this
restaurant thats known
for its meat. I order the
Bozzi burger with aged
Gouda, smoky barbecue
sauce, and crispy fried
onions. You also cant go
wrong with the steaks.
International Terminal 4

I have to order the fried


chicken with collards
and mashed potatoes
or Grandmas Meatballs
at Uptown Brasserie.
Terminal 4, near Gate B32
Richard Blais,
chef/restaurateur

Marc Murphy, chef,


N.Y.C.s Landmarc and Ditch
Plains restaurants; judge
on the TV show Chopped

42

C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4

Cat Coras Kitchen is


so good. Order the oysters, grilled artichokes,
and saffron mussel
penne pasta. Terminal 2,
Boarding Area D
Grant Achatz, chef,
Alinea and Next in Chicago

I often get a classic New


England clam chowder,
a big seafood salad,
and an adult beverage
depending on the time of
day, usually a chardonnay,
at Yankee Pier. This restaurant is made for those
on the go. Its perfectly
located at the start of the
busiest terminalUnitedsand they get you
in and out in 20 minutes,
especially if you eat at
the counter. Terminal 3,
near Gate 72
Chip Conley, head
of global hospitality and
strategy, Airbnb

Im totally addicted
to Ebisu. I always get
the same thing: edamame, shrimp tempura,
udon, and a very cold

Asahi. International
Terminal, Main Hall
North Food Court,
near Boarding Area G
Rainy Chan, general
manager, The Peninsula
Hong Kong

I recently had the


Dungeness crab cake
and a glass of white wine
at Lark Creek, and it
was the greatest thing
in the world. Terminal 2,
Boarding Area D
Jonathan Waxman,
chef, Barbuto in N.Y.C. and
Adeles in Nashville

Illustrations by Melinda Josie

In Transit

DOMESTIC

INTERNATIONAL

Hartseld-Jackson
(Atlanta)

The Southern food at


One Flew South is good,
but the wine list is the
star, with expertly chosen wines by the glass.
For me its a toss-up
between a Vouvray and
Heidsieck Monopole
Champagne. Terminal E

Nashville

One of the best pies


in the country is
at Varasanos Pizzeria.
Concourse A
Richard Blais

Yazoo Brewing Company has a draft beer


stand in the middle
of the airport. I love
that you can walk up
and get a killer beer
to enjoy with your barbecue. Concourse C
Jonathan Waxman

Carluccios is a wonderful place to have eggs


and coffee before a long
flight. Its also my secret
resource for Italian
sweets to give as gifts.
Terminals 4 and 5

Miami

Ambra Medda, co-founder/


creative director, shopping
site Larcobaleno.com

Geoffrey Zakarian, chef/


partner, N.Y.C.s Lambs
Club, among others

McCarran
(Las Vegas)

Dulles,
Washington, D.C.

London Heathrow

When I visit my
restaurant in London,
I go to Gordon Ramsays
Plane Food and order
the butter chicken
curry with fried chickpea
rice. Terminal 5

Caviar and a glass of


champagne at the
Caviar House & Prunier
Seafood Bar. Its a tradition that my grandfather
kept, dating back to
when caviar was served
in first class. Terminals
1, 2, 3, and 4
Brenda Valansi, founder,
ArtRio International Art Fair

Daniel Boulud, chef/


restaurateur

My go-to before a
long trip is a slice of
pepperoni pizza from
Vegas staple Metro
Pizza. West D Gates
Jon Gray, vice president/
general manager, Linq,
Las Vegas

General Mitchell
(Milwaukee)

I go with the beerboiled Johnsonville


Brat and a side of
fried cheese curds at
Northpoint Custard.
Main Terminal
Julia Jaksic, executive
chef, Employees Only
in N.Y.C.

44

Go to Matsutake
Sushi for the deepfried soft-shell crab.
Concourse A
Reem Acra,
fashion designer

I have my vaca
frita and espresso
at the counter at
La Carreta. Terminal
D West, Gate D37

Singapore Changi

Santos Dumont
(Rio) and
Congonhas (So
Paulo)

This is the only


airport Ill get to four
hours early just to eat
before a flight. They
have hawker-style food
throughout Changi,
and my absolute favorite is the chili crabs at
Kampong Cafe.
Terminal 3

The traditional Brazilian cheese bread at


Casa do Po de Queijo
is my favorite. I always
buy two and take
them on the plane.
Departures Terminal,
near Gate 36, Santos
Dumont; Passenger
Terminal Area T1,
Congonhas

Jesse Schenker,
chef/owner, The Gander
and Recette in N.Y.C.

LaGuardia (New York)

Bisoux is an excellent
Provenale-inspired
bistro. Order the
poached chicken salad
with ratatouille, hardboiled eggs, and pesto.
Terminal D, Gates 34
Marc Murphy

C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4

An Americana burger
a single patty topped
with American cheese
at Custom Burgers by
Pat LaFrieda.
Terminal D, Food Court
Richard Blais

Ken Oringer, chef,


Bostons Clio, Uni, and
Coppa, among others

Brenda Valansi

In Transit

For more great


restaurants in airports,
visit cntraveler.com.

INTERNATIONAL
Hong Kong

Narita (Tokyo)

Theres a great mix


of options here, from
kiosks that let you grab
that last bowl of wonton noodles to seated
dining, like Maxims,
which has solid dim
sum. I arrive early
to grab a meal there.
Terminal 1, Level 8

To me, eating airport


sushi is a hazard to
yourself and others on
the plane, but on the
past two trips to Japan
Ive stopped at Sushi
Kyotatsu, which had
a huge line for sushi to
go and a line down the
corridor to stay. The
quality of the fish was
beyond superb, and you

Dominique Ansel,
owner, Dominique Ansel
Bakery in N.Y.C.

Dubai

Cdiz Tapas for when


I need a little wine
and have time to
wind down before
my flight. Terminal 3,
near Gate B26
Reem Acra

have a fantastic view


of the planes taking off.
Its a perfect farewell to
Japan. Terminal 1, No. 3
Satellite, Third Floor
Chris Cosentino, chef,
Boccalone and Porcellino
in San Francisco

I fly to Japan frequentlyits one of my


favorite placesand
I always get zaru soba

Venice Marco Polo


Airport

Cam Ranh (Khanh


Hoa, Vietnam)

The mozzarella pomodoro pane tostato at


Rustichelli & Mangione
is amazing. Ground
Floor, before Security

The Ad Coffee
caf has the best syrupy Vietnamese
coffee and cappuccino
in the country.
Domestic Terminal

Antonio Sersale,
owner/director, Le
Sirenuse, Positano, Italy

THE WINNER

Tortas Frontera by Rick Bayless,


at Chicago OHare

46

Fiumicino (Rome)

A classic porchetta
roll from Colosseum.
Its deboned rotisserie
pork with crispy crackling and a wonderful
herbed stuffing inside
fresh-baked bread.
Terminal 1 Food Court
Lauren Yates, founder,
Ponytailjournal.com

Steven Alan,
fashion designer

Suvarnabhumi (Bangkok)

Miracle Food Village


serves a delicious sticky
rice with mango.
Near Entry Gate 5
Valentina Rice, founder,
Manykitchens.com

Neil Jacobs, CEO, Six


Senses Hotels Resorts Spas

Our experts agree: Rick Bayless, who


brought high Mexican to an American
audience, has the best airport restaurant
in the country. Chef Anita Lo of N.Y.C.s
Annisa says Tortas Frontera is one of
a few that actually deliver and live up to
the chefs name. Michael Chernow of
N.Y.C.s Meatball Shop says its the best
airport food Ive had to date, and chef
Jonathan Waxman deems it really special. What to order? Daniel Boulud likes
the braised short rib tortas la plancha, Chernow gets the eggs and rajas
torta or smoked pork mollete, and
Lo goes for the beer-braised short rib
torta: It comes with these tangy pickled
jalapeos, cheese, beans, and cilantro.
Chef Grant Achatz says save time for
a Deal-Breaker margarita.
Terminal 1, Gate B11; Terminal 3, Gate
K4; and Terminal 5, Gate M12

C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4

with tororo at Sanbei.


For the ride back home,
I pick up oshizushi
at Kyotaruits a type
of pressed sushi thats
formed from a special
wooden box mold.
Terminal 2, Main
Building, Fourth Floor

A bowl of tom yum talay,


a really delicious Thai
seafood soup without
noodles, at Kin Ramen.
Concourse D
Tim Wildin, brand director,
ShopHouse Southeast
Asian Kitchen

WED LOVE TO SEE MORE OF . . .


Regional chains are wising up to travelers craving
for authentic local food even (and especially)
at the airport. Here are five of our favorite outposts.
1. Shake Shack New
Yorkers queue up for the
burgers in the city, but
for the sausage-and-egg
breakfast sandwich, they
have to hit JFK: Its available only at the airport.
2. Whitts Barbecue
Travelers can get one
last slaw-topped pulledpork slider from the
beloved smokehouse
at Nashvilles BNA.
3. Umami Burger L.A.s
cult burger joint didnt
dumb anything down for

its LAX outpost, where


the insanely good truffle
burger is on the menu.
4. The Plant If ever there
was a time to guzzle the
San Francisco chainlets
ginger-spiked Immune
Builder juice, its at SFO,
before you spend hours
with a sniffling seatmate.
5. Gustavs Pub & Grill
The popular Portland,
Oregon, beer hall keeps
the good times rolling
with a bratwurst and
a stein of bock at PDX.

Where were going next, who were following, and strategies


for getting from inspiration to destination.
56
Eating through Sicily with
New Yorks favorite bon vivants.

62
Andr Balazss ever-expanding
empire of hip hotels.

72
Destination dinner: hotels
where food comes first.

82
The best little town
in the West.

where
what
A sixth-century
B.C. Grecian
temple in
Selinunte, Italy.

how
Photograph by Matt Hranek

O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4 / C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R

55

Pilgrimage

Crates of
Nocellara del
Belice olives
stacked in an
old VW.

Olive Oil Odyssey


Every year, chefs Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli travel to the land of their forebears
on businesswhich is really just an excuse to eat their way through Sicily.

NEW YORKERS KNOW the Franks


chefs, friends, and business partners
Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli
of Brooklyns Frankies 457 and Prime
Meats and Manhattans Frankies 570
as restaurateurs and purveyors of excellent hard-to-source Sicilian foodstuffs.
But in their other lives, the men are what
you might call gourmet adventurers,
traveling every year to their ancestral
home of Sicily to source the islands best
delicacies, from olive oil to honey.
Our trips to Sicily are like an Inspec56

C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4

tor Montalbano mystery novel, Falcinelli says, alluding to Sicilian author


Andrea Camilleris spiky and sybaritic
detective. He molds his whole itinerary
around where hes going to eat: Theres
a robbery up in Catania? Perfect, the
best linguine con vongole on the island is
right there. Murder in Marsala? Excellent, its the height of cuttlesh season
there. And its the same with us: We
take care of our business and then organize the rest of the visit around where
were going to eat.

The Franks Sicily trips always begin in mid-October and start in the
same place: with a trip to Partanna,
in the heart of the agriculturally rich
Trapani province, to visit their olive oil
producer, Tommaso Asaro. Here they
sample the olio nuovothe rst batch
of cold-pressed olives. Electric green
in color with a fresh, chlorophyll-rich
avor, the olive oil is a signature of the
Franks restaurants and the foundation of their eating tour.
Asaros olive oil is superlative for
Photographs by Matt Hranek

Pilgrimage

1 Plates of antipasti
at Baffos in Marinella
di Selinunte.

2 Frank Castronovo,
left, and Frank
Falcinelli.

many reasons, but its unique in that it


is both organic and DOP (Denominazione di Origine Protetta, a designation
that offers an official imprimatur on
a regions local specialties). The grove
that produces the Frankies brand of
olive oil is home to gnarled, centuriesold Nocellara del Belice trees planted in
an ancient riverbed. The roots burrow
deep into the pebbled ground for watertheres no irrigation system. Every
spring, olive seedlings are planted in
and around the older trees; their young
leaves prove irresistible to the pests that
would normally afflict the mature trees.
Its an ancient planting method, one that
eliminates the need for insecticide.
Next, the Franks and Asaro revisit
some of their favorite area restaurants,
including Ardigna, a farmhouse restaurant deep in the Trapani hills. Formerly
58

C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4

3 The Grecian
ruins of Selinunte
in Trapani.

4 Crossroads on
the way to Partanna
from Selinunte.

WHEN TO EAT WHAT


A guide to savoring the seasons in Sicily.
Spring
Apricots (albicocche),
artichokes (carciofi),
cherries (ciliegie),
fava beans (fave),
sardines (sarde),
strawberries (fragole),
swordfish (pesce
spada), tuna (tonno),
wild asparagus
(asparagi), wild fennel
(finocchio selvatico).
Summer
Almonds (mandorle),
cantaloupe
(cantalupo), figs
(fichi), peaches
(pesche), plums
(susine), watermelon
(anguria).

Autumn
Chestnuts
(castagne), olives
(olive), prickly pears
(fichi dindia), wild
game (selvaggina
with hunting season
running from
September through
January).
Winter
Cardoons (carduni),
grapes (uve),
mandarin oranges
(mandarini), oranges
(arance), sea urchins
(riccio di mare
from mid-November
through April).

Note: Many of these items are available


year round, but this list emphasizes when
theyre at their peak.

a hunting lodge, Ardigna can seat tables


of 20 or more and specializes in local
products grown or foraged from the
surrounding hills. The antipasti go on
for, like, 30 courses, and then the meal
starts, Castronovo says. Most people
cant make it past the antipasti, and then
theres the pasta, and then the primi and
secondi, and then the dessert goes on for
another 30 dishes. Its unbelievable.
The marathon ends with a large cannoli
piped full of sweet ricotta fresca. Asaro,
a bottle of his olio nuovo never far from
his side, skips the cannoli and instead
pours the oil over the ricotta.
Then the trio are off to the eastern
side of Sicily and the regions surrounding Mount Etna. In the province of
Catania, they always pay a visit to their
friend Riccardo Sciuto, whose father,
Salvatore, is the DOP inspector for all

Pilgrimage

For additional images of


Sicily and more on the Franks,
download our digital edition
or visit cntraveler.com.

1 Fishing boats
off the coast
of Castelvetrano.

of Sicily. Salvatore turns us on to the


best products on the island, Falcinelli
explains, whether its the best natural
honey or a great new vineyard. Thats
how they discovered Azienda Agricola
Pintagro in CastellUmberto, a smallbatch jarring facility that preserves
the produce grown in the areas fertile
valleys. Its how everything used to
be done in Italy, with nothing going to
waste, says Castronovo. Pintagros
pice de rsistance is its sette anni pepper, a long green pepper so named because it was once believed that the plant
needed seven years to bear fruit. After
harvesting, Pintagro pickles the peppers for one year, Falcinelli explains.
The following year, they stuff them
with anchovies or sardines and then
store them in sunflower oil that they
press on the farm right down the road.
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C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4

2 Asaro, Falcinelli,
and Castronovo in
their olive grove.

The taste, he says, combines the spice


of Sicilys countryside and the salinity
of its oceanonce you taste them you
are hooked for life.
THE FRANKS MAKE their way around the
island with a packed agenda, but it is
the unplanned detours that often prove
to be the most revelatory. Once, on the
way to Pintagro, Riccardo insisted on a
quick snack in Brontea town nestled
on the lower, northwestern slope of
Mount Etna and the self-proclaimed
world capital of pistachiosat Pasticceria F. Lli Gangi, a bar famous for its
arancini di pistacchio, a lightly fried ball
of risotto lled with a pale-green bchamel made with nut paste. It tastes so
much like pistachio, you cant believe
it, Falcinelli says. Its like it almost
tastes fake, its so real.

3 Asaros freshpressed olio nuovo


in Partanna.

4 Frutti di
mare ready to
be cooked.

Though their trip always beginsand


endswith food, its never complete
without a visit to the Grecian ruins of
Selinunte, on the south coast of Trapani.
These colossal sixth-century b.c. limestone temples, built to glorify the gods
of Mount Olympus, arent cordoned off
or even that well maintained. And yet
in their weathered splendor, they embodyperfectly, majesticallySicilys
very character, its combination of raw
beauty and offhand sophistication. Sicily is a throwback, Castronovo says. Its
a place thats close to nature and close to
family, a place that leaves glitz far behind. And of course, it doesnt hurt
that you can nd the best example of the
areas renowned octopus dish, polpo bollito, right down the road from the ruins.
Inspector Montalbano would surely approve. Calder Quinn

Anatomy of a Hotel

The Alchemist
Call him a ringleader, call him a real estate magnate, call him a restaurateur
just dont call him a hotelier. How Andr Balazs is taking
his empire of buzz into unexpected new territory. By Lindsay Talbot
WHEN ANDR BALAZS was 22 years old,
he checked himself into the Bowery Mission, a homeless shelter on Manhattans
Lower East Side. Though the redbrick
buildings half-timbered, neo-Tudor
facade was designed to look as inviting

Balazs in
the garden at
New Yorks
Standard East
Village hotel.

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C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4

as a sixteenth-century English inn, the


rescue mission was anything buta last
resort for the derelict and the down-andout. I stayed for ten days, as though I
were homeless, says Balazs, who was
there undercover while writing his

masters thesis at the Columbia School of


Journalism. The Bowery was all sailors
and ophouses back then.
Much of the Bowery has changed in
the last ten years: The famed rock-androll club CBGB has been turned into
a John Varvatos boutique, and theres
a gleaming museum of contemporary
art, but the street remains impervious
to total transformation. The restaurantsupply wholesalers and the industrial
lighting stores are thriving, and the
Bowery Mission still stands. Now, that
old tenement building on Fifth Street,
just two blocks from the rescue mission,
is the entrance to Balazss Standard East
Village hotel. If you find it disorienting, thats the point. The ceramic lamps
hanging in the trees; the mismatched
lawn furniture and kooky sculpture in
the courtyard in the manner of an East
Village victory garden; the colorful sidewalk caf that Balazs says pays homage
to a fast-disappearing downtown caf
culture, when Raouls, Cafe Gitane, and
the Shark Bar on the Lower East Side
were the places to goits all so convincingly propped that even a local might
think hed stumbled into 1995.
Amid this artful bit of gentrication,
its easy to forget that the 21-story frittedglass tower attached to the tenement was
once the ill-fated Cooper Square Hotel,
which Balazs bought in 2011 and has
been slowly transforming into his fth
Standard. When the tower rst went up
in 2008, residents of the tenement, like
the poet Hettie Jones, refused to vacate,
forcing the developers of the Cooper
Square to build around it. Balazs, however, decided to build through it. The 1865
structure, with its stained glass windows, was to him quintessentially East
Village and therefore the perfect setting
for a lobby that would offset the daunting
scale of the tower and allow him to mix
Photograph by Douglas Lyle Thompson

Anatomy of a Hotel

BALAZS MAY CONSIDER Csar Ritz his


hero, but hes perhaps most indebted
to Morris Lapidus, who brought architectural theatricality to 1950s Miami
Beach resorts like the Fontainebleau
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C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4

IMAGINING THE INFLUENCES BEHIND ANDR BALAZSS HOTEL HITS

Mary Pickford

The Eagles
Hotel California

Billy Wilders
Sunset Boulevard

Chateau Marmont

Studio 54

AstroTurf

Barbarella

The Standard
Hollywood

Baden-Baden

Morris Lapidus

Boca Raton bingo

The Standard
Spa, Miami Beach

Hofbruhaus

Le Corbusier

Weegee

The Standard
High Line

and Eden Roc. (Lapidus designed the


Lido Spa, which Balazs transformed
into Miami Beachs Standard Spa hotel,
and the Fontainebleaus nightclub was
called the Boom Boom Room, the name
of the lounge at the top of The Standard
High Line.) His hotels were like stage
setspublic backdrops for private dramasand Lapidus knew the virtue of
vulgarity: lots of color, lots of curves, and
lots of camp. He put live alligators in the
lobby pool of the Americana so guests
would know they were in Florida; he
thought about having monkeys swinging from trapezes but decided that they
might damage the chandeliers.
Like Lapidus, Balazs is something of a

Hollywood showman from a bygone era.


For each project, he says, we create a
team like something from the old studio
system. Theyd pick a theme for a movie,
then assemble the right people to make it
happen. I love producing the story, and
I like then running the show. To me, its
all a continuum. And Balazss hotels do
often feel like spectacles, thanks in large
part to Shawn Hausman, a former Hollywood production designer whos worked
with him on nearly all of his properties.
At The Standard, nothing is standard.
You get condoms in place of sewing
kits, and even the hotel signs are upside
down. Theres a suggestive playfulness involved, Balazs says, explaining

FIRST ROW: PHOTOGRAPHS BY ALAMY (2); TIM STREET-PORTER/BEATEWORKS/CORBIS. SECOND ROW: PHOTOGRAPHS BY ALAMY (3); TODD EBERLE/COURTESY THE STANDARD. THIRD ROW: PHOTOGRAPHS BY DOROTHEA
SCHMID/LAIF/REDUX; ALAMY; ISTOCKPHOTO/GETTY IMAGES; COURTESY THE STANDARD. FOURTH ROW: PHOTOGRAPHS BY GETTY IMAGES; ALAMY; GETTY IMAGES; CHRIS MOSIER/COURTESY THE STANDARD

and match a host of nostalgic references:


a concierge desk framed by red globes
that mimic old subway station lamps; a
concession stand, based on a vintage library card catalog, where you can buy
Joness poetry (along with condoms and
Advil); a caf with Victoriana moldings
and a Haight Ashburylike hanging
garden. Everything has been painstakingly consideredfrom the Muji-esque
wallet youre given when you check in
(with one of ve different artist-designed
key cards) to the cafs minuscule pink
matchbooks. And yet Balazs has, by his
own admission, hardly touched the 145
hotel rooms above, except for adding a
giant lip-shaped pillow to every bed, a
visual ploy to distract you from the fact
that nothing else has changed.
The Standard East Village is so centered around a cluster of smartly contrived public spaces that it feels much
less like a hotel than a hangout for certain clued-in locals. Tellingly, the propertys restaurant, Narcissawhich looks
like a cross between a Scandinavian ski
lodge and a Japanese teahousedrew so
much foot traffic in its rst three months
that the carpet had to be rebound. And
you can bet that most of those stilettos
werent taking the elevator down from
the guest rooms. Such is the Balazsian
philosophy: More than comfortable beds
or nice shower gel (both of which The
Standard East Village has), what travelers really care about is atmosphere, sex
appeal, and the ability to feel like theyre
actually living a movie version of the
New York, Los Angeles, or Miami life.
His latest projects, in London, will further the point: Hes turned a Victorian
firehouse on Chiltern Street into a 26room hotel and restaurant, is opening a
pub across the street in December, and
will soon start converting a former town
hall in Camden into his sixth Standard.
You could call it an anti-hotel approach,
one that has led Balazs to redefine for
himself what being a hotelier means.

how Hausman spent months obsessing


over the stained glass mural above the
concierge desk at The Standard East
Village. Its orange and yellow swirling
patterns suggest writhing bodiesa
subtler version of the roller girls whod
sit on display in the glass vitrine above
the check-in desk at The Standard Hollywood. It seems like the oldest thing
in the world, [like] a Tiffany piece from
1890, he says, but then its somehow
subverted. Or perverted.
Call it subversion, or appropriation, or
just masterful theft: What Balazs brings
to all of his hotels is an ability to borrow
ideas from a staggeringly wide range of
sources, to see possibilities in challenging structures (dreary office buildings,
old fur warehouses), and then to twist
it all together, tweak the levels just so,
and give the world exactly what it didnt
know it wanted at precisely the right moment. Chateau Marmont, his fabled faux
Loire castle on the Sunset Strip, became
the perfect Hollywood bolt-holeintentionally shabby, discreet but not too
much soat the advent of celebrity culture. In the era of 90s ash, his Mercer
Hotel in SoHo had its cake and ate it too:
a restaurant so
buzzy that it was
The barbershop on
Chiltern Street.
kept separate from

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C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4

the hotel itself, which had its own subtly


chic, guests-only lobby around the corner. And then, in the age of masstige and
democratized design, Balazs opened the
first Standard in a former retirement
home on Sunset Boulevard and scrapped
any remaining rules of how hotel spaces
are traditionally programmed. There
was a DJ booth in the lobby, a front desk
lined with bar stools, and a diner open
24/7 to cater to the late-night crowd.
There are now two Standards in L.A.,
one in Miami Beach, and two in New
York, and they all use the same vocabulary, but each has its own distinct personality, Balazs says. Constitutionally,
I cant do anything twiceit seems like
the waste of a lifetime.
WHEN BALAZS opens the 280-room Standard in London, hell add another new
page to his portfolio. The hotel will occupy a former town hall annexits exactly awless, a great 1970s building, he
saysin Londons very liberal, very Labour neighborhood of Camden. Growing
up in Cambridge, Massachusetts, during
the 1960s, Balazs developed a taste for
Left-leaning politics while learning to
play Ping-Pong on the public tables in
Harvard Square. After college he worked
to revive Ed Kochs old political club in

the West Village. Camden, he says, is


essentially as close to Cambridge as you
can get in London.
Its also the counterpoint to Marylebone, the quaint London neighborhood
of Edwardian storefronts and mews
houses that surrounds his 26-room Chiltern Firehouse Hotel, which opened earlier this year in an 1888 re station with
interiors that he describes as part military barracks, part cathedralre poles
plus Gothic arches. The hotel is really a
little bit over the top, says Balazs, who
lives in the Chiltern when hes in London. Until May, the rooms were only
open to friends and family, and he smiles
as he recalls those intimate inaugural
evenings when the hotel was lled with
all the people you would respect culturally and creatively, just padding around
in their bathrobes. Its a charmingly,
well, perverse image, especially considering the studiously chintzy decor of
paisley carpet and lots of grandmotherly
pink and green (honest, he calls it)
and the fact that the restaurant draws
a steady stream of celebrities trailed by
swarms of paparazzi. Its the ultimate
Balazsian anti-hotel: hospitality carved
out of a seemingly inhospitable space,
a stage set to act out urban life, and an
abrupt redenition of whats cool.
Lately, Balazs has been eyeing other
spots on the blocks around the Chiltern,
expanding beyond the sound-stage confines of a hotel, as it were, and creating his own Hollywood back-lot Main
Street. Hes already provided backing
for neighborhood joints like Marios
Gents barbershop and a newsstand
two shops directly across the street Ive
saved by investing in. And he recently
bought an unassuming stock-brick tavern, formerly called the Bok Bar, just beyond the Chilterns courtyard. He wont
say yet what the new name will be, but
the pub will open in December and
there are rumored plans for a handful of
bedrooms on the three oors above. Reviving the centuries-old idea of a quaint
little English beer-brewing boardinghouseits a brilliantly disruptive conceit and pure Balazs. At the very least,
he says, I can now say that Im officially
a publican from Massachusetts. X

PHOTOGRAPH BY ROBERT FAIRER

Anatomy of a Hotel

Hotels We Love

Table to Bed
These days, we romanticize the European country stay as
much for the charm of vintage oral wallpaper and
ironed linens as we do for the unforgettable meal. Here are
three properties that get both just right.

DON ALFONSO
1890
SantAgata sui Due Golfi, Italy
Distance from Naples 37 miles
For owner Alfonso Iaccarino,
Don Alfonso 1890a rosecolored eight-room former villa
on Italys Sorrentine Peninsula,
just a few miles from Positano
and Amalfiis a family affair.
The third-generation hotelier,
who runs the property with his
wife, Livia, and their two sons,
is also the Michelin-starred chef
at the hotels restaurant. Every
bit of produce on Don Alfonsos
Mediterranean menu comes
from his nearby 17-acre organic
farm, where olive and lemon
trees grow alongside the vegetables and herbs that inform the
seafood-focused menu. (Guests
can also try their hand at cooking
with the homegrown ingredients.) Book one of the cheerful
roomsall in shades of the
buildings signature pinkand
youll be right in the center of
one of Italys most picturesque
coastal regions. Calder Quinn

Bring Back A bottle of Le Peracciole Liquore di Limone, a lemon


liqueur made with fruit from Don
Alfonsos organic farm.

Don Alfonso 1890


Corso SantAgata 11-13,
SantAgata sui Due Golfi;
39-08-1878-0026;
donalfonso.com; entres from
$60; doubles from $388.
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C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4

PHOTOGRAPH BY PHILIPPE SHAFF/COURTESY DON ALFONSO 1890

Dont Miss A ride to Capri on


a gozzo (a classic canopied
wooden boat), which you can
book through the hotel.

Hotels We Love

FVIKEN
Jrpen, Sweden
Distance from
Stockholm 375 miles
The meteoric rise of New Nordic
cuisine has inspired a wave of
epicurean pilgrimages to Copenhagen and Stockholm, but the
most remarkable Scandinavian
culinary experience may be on
a remote 22,000-acre farm
hundreds of miles north of the
Swedish capital. It is from this
forested landscape, populated
with chickens, goats, and lambs,
and the surrounding vegetation
that chef Magnus Nilsson
sources and creates all of his
wildly unusualthough deceptively simpledishes. In summer, as part of Fvikens highly
seasonal 20-course tasting
menu, a typical dish might include poached trout topped with
a scattering of just-picked edible
wildflowers, whereas roasted
bone marrow (Nilsson saws the
bone open in front of you before
scooping out the goods) with
raw diced moose heart and sage
salt is a signature winter offering.
And when youre ready for bed,
its just a few steps to one of
the five rooms in the 1745 farmhouse, where you can sleep off
the grilled quail poached in
mead before starting again in
the morning with a full breakfast
of porridge with cloudberry
compote and black currant juice.
John Wogan

Fviken
Fviken 216, Jrpen; 46-647-40177; faviken.com; tasting
menu, $255; doubles, $364.

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C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4

Bring Back A jar of Kalixljrom


whitefish roe, a Swedish delicacy,
to spread on Wasabrd crisp rye
bread.

PHOTOGRAPHS BY GENTL & HYERS

Dont Miss In winter, hit the


slopes in re, Swedens
premier ski destination, about
30 minutes west of Fviken.

FROM TOP: PHOTOGRAPHS BY TIM GRAHAM/ALAMY; TOM HULL

For additional images and an indepth look at still more foodcentric hotels, download our digital
edition or visit cntraveler.com.

THREE CHIMNEYS
Isle of Skye, Scotland
Distance from
Glasgow 232 miles
The six-hour drive from Glasgow
to Colboston the rugged, verdant northern shore of Scotlands
Isle of Skyemay seem daunting, but anyone whos visited
Three Chimneys knows its well
worth the effort for chef Michael
Smiths take on traditional Scottish cuisine. We have a wonderful, abundant larder right on
our doorstep, says Smith, who
gets his juicy langoustines, scallops, and oysters straight from
fishing boats docked near his
nineteenth-century farmhouse.
The seafood stars in dishes like

the standout Colbost Skink,


a pine smokeinfused stew of
smoked haddock, black pudding
crumble, and golden-yellow
egg yolk finished with a splash
of Talisker Scotch whisky. Like
everything on the menu, the sixroom inn next door is an experience that can only be had in the
Highlands, with every room looking out over Loch Dunvegan
and the mountain peaks beyond.
Sajan Kuriakos

Dont Miss Loch Dunvegan is


home to seals, whales, and dolphins, and the hotel can arrange
boat tours to see them up close.

Hotels We Love

Three Chimneys
Colbost, Dunvegan, Isle of Skye;
44-1470-511258; threechimneys
.co.uk; prix fixe, $100; doubles
from $576.

Bring Back Isle of Skye Sea Salt,


harvested from the pristine
Loch Snizortstop by a local
grocery store for a canister.

O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4 / C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R

75

Next Up

The Wests Best-Kept Secret


Former Idahoan Alexander Maksik makes a
long-overdue return to Boise and discovers a thriving city with
a surprising wine scene and a clear sense of optimism.
IVE BEEN driving past Boise for years,
partly because I grew up in Sun Valley and inherited some of its snobbery,
and partly because, from I-84, the city
doesnt beckontheres no striking skyline, no great monument, no illuminated
tower. At 70 miles per hour, Boise is just
a streak of green, an outlet mall, some
mountains, and then its gone. Hardly a
city at all, it seems. But what I learned
recently is that Boise happily hides its
charms from those of us who happen
to be ying past (or over) on our way to
better-known places.
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C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4

Im hardly the rst to make this discovery. Boise (population: 215,000) is


ranked regularly on those ubiquitous
lists: Eighth Most Underrated City in
the West (Life), Fourth Best Place for
Women (Womens Health), Best City
for Men (Mens Health), Best Town in
the Western U.S. (Outside Magazine),
etc. Wherever it ranks, I should have
come sooner. Almost immediately after
turning off the highway, Im struck by
how quickly the noise of the interstate
vanishes and how green it all is. I cross
the river, turn west, and nd my way

to The Modern Hotel and Bar. In 2006,


Elizabeth Tullis bought a seedy Travelodge, renovated it, and, in what was
then a cultural dead zone, turned that
Travelodge into the citys most stylish
hotelcomfortable, smartly conceived,
and inexpensive. It also has one of the
best bars in Boise, where friendly and
talented bartenders mix great drinks (I
recommend the Hemingway Daiquiri).
But what really distinguishes The
Modern, not only from other hotels in
Boise but from other hotels anywhere,
is its support of artists. On any given
Photographs by Grant Cornett

Next Up

evening, outside among the re pits in


the lovely courtyard, locals and guests
gather to hear musicians play or writers
read as part of The Moderns Campre
Stories series.
On this warm, windy evening, after that daiquiri, I walk into downtown, which, like more and more small
American cities these days, is full of
independent businesses and is bustling
with people. Restaurants and cafs are
jammed. I stop at Rediscovered Books, a
thoughtfully stocked bookstore, before
meeting an old friend for dinner at the
nearby Juniper. We sit at the bar and eat
delicious bison meatballs and grilled
kale salad with pancetta and fried eggs.
The next morning, I wake up early
and go for a run on the Greenbelt, a
lush, serene park that stretches 25 miles
along the Boise River. Bikers glide past
on their way to work, students sit beneath trees reading, a couple eat breakfast on a bench, watching the water
ow by. The park, which is impeccably
maintained, is a surprise because it
feels hidden, like the rest of the citya
pretty secret that no one is all that interested in sharing.
After breakfast in The Moderns
courtyard, I wander back downtown. Im
beginning to understand why Boise consistently ranks so high on those amorphous lists. Its one of those rare places,
not unlike Boulder, where both outdoor
and urban lifestyles are possible. Set
between the Rocky Mountains and the
Great Basin Desert and at the convergence of three rivers, the city is a gateway
to remarkable hiking, skiing, rafting, and
mountain biking. Its no wonder theres
a palpable sense of optimism and pride
shared by everyone I meet.
Later, I stop at Bleubird for lunch. Its
a bright, lovingly designed sandwich
shop with a line of people out the door.
I grab a stool at the stainless steel counter, drink a house-made grapefruitrosemary soda, and eat a Reuben with
Gruyre and purple slaw. Along with
functionaries from the nearby capitol,
tattooed skate-punks, and everyone in
between, I watch the master sandwichmakers work.
Im now thoroughly charmed by
84

C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4

At the bar at The


Modern Hotel: the
Sherry Cobbler with
amontillado sherry,
demerara syrup,
and orange garnish.

STAY
Hotel 43
981 W. Grove St.;
208-342-4622;
hotel43.com;
doubles from $159.

The Modern Hotel


and Bar
1314 W. Grove St.;
208-424-8244;
themodernhotel
.com; doubles from
$104.

EAT
Bleubird
224 N. 10th St.;
208-345-1055;
bleubirdboise.com;
entres from $5.

Janjou Ptisserie
1754 W. State St.;
208-297-5853;
janjou.com.

Juniper
211 N. 8th St.;
208-342-1142;
juniperon8th.com;
entres from $9.

State & Lemp


2870 W. State St.;
208-429-6735;
stateandlemp.com;
prix fixe, $75.

SHOP
Boise Co-op Wine
Shop
915 N. 8th St.;
208-472-4519;
boise.coop/
wineshop.

Rediscovered Books
180 N. 8th St.;
208-376-4229;
rdbooks.org.

Boise, but snobbery is a hard habit to


break. The next afternoon, I head west to
meet the owners of a year-old restaurant
called State & Lemp. Im skeptical. A $75
ve-course prix-xe menu? Another $30
if you want the wine pairings? In Boise?
Im quickly put in my place. Inside,
elegant wooden tables and chairs extend the length of the room, forming
one long communal table. I sit with
owners Jay Henry and Remi McManus
and talk. Immediately their passion for
food, and for their restaurant, is evident. Theres no faking it, and the pride
(there it is again) with which they discuss State & Lemp, and Boise itself, is
remarkable. Their concept for the restaurant is a simple and appealing one,
more frequently found in France than
in the United Statesone price, one
menu, no choice. As we talk, Kris Komori, the chef, delivers stuffed squash
blossoms and shrimp with apricots,
peas, salted plums, and truffle oil.
Theres wonderful local ale from Sockeye Brewing and a superb Hondarrabi
Zuri, a Basque white. Then a dessert of
local strawberries and Breton cookies
made by pastry chef Michelle Kwak,
who trained at Eleven Madison Park.
Its all outstanding, and without any of
the pretension or imitation I expected.
What I nd here instead is an authentic enthusiasm for the restaurant, the
food, the regions farmers, and, as
much as anything, the city.
Later, I stop by the Boise Co-op Wine
Shop and, on McManus and Henrys
recommendation, pick up a bottle made
by Cinder, a winery just outside Boise.
By now Ive learned my lesson, and this
time, I expect something good. Indeed,
it is a surprisingly sophisticated and
avorful red thats a blend of syrah and
viognier grapes grown in the nearby
Snake River Valley.
As I drive back to the hotel, I think
about Los Angelesthe spirit of that
food scene, and the way some of its best
restaurants can be found in unexpected
places. Theres something of that spirit
here too, but this is a younger, brighter
city on the rise. As I walk along the
river, the sun falling lower, I very much
look forward to returning. X

Fresh-caught chita (Peruvian grunt fish)


at the Miraflores beach area of Lima.

Photograph by Christopher Testani

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93

Blessed with a mind-blowingly fertile ecosystem3,000 varieties of


potatoes is just the half of itLima is emerging as a new global culinary epicenter.
Kevin West meets the ingenious chefs who arent just
inventing new ways of eating but are using food to forge a national identity.

Photographs by Christopher Testani

94

C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4

AT A LITTLE PAST 5 A.M., it was hard for me to keep up with Toshi Mat-

sufuji, the slight twentysomething chef of Al Toke Pez, as he moved


through Limas Villa Maria del Triunfo sh market, the citys largest. For one thing, I was sluggish from a 24-course dinner the night before
at Astrid y Gastn, a gastronomic palace run by the countrys most famous
chef, Gastn Acurio. Matsufuji, on the other hand, rises early several times
a week to shop for his tiny restaurantwhich in local parlance is a huarique,
or hole in the wallthat operates out of a narrow storefront in a gentrifying

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C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4

generic category: freshwater sh, tropical fruit, Andean tuber, aromatic herb,
ancient grain. Part of the fun of eating in
Lima today is to realize how much you
dont know about food. Over a lunch of
home-style criollo cooking a few days
later, Salazar confessed that even he, a
food critic who grew up in Lima, nds
it an exercise in humiliation to eat in
some of the Peruvian capitals ambitious
restaurants, like Malabar, Pedro Miguel
Schiaffinos ode to Amazonian biodiversity. Its like Sanskrit, he said of the
menu. Salazars wife, journalist Lizzy
Cant, added, Half the words youve
never seen before, and the other half
you cant pronounce. You want to say
to the chef, Oh come on! You must have
made this up!
That night I had dinner at Malabar on
my own, and the tasting menu led me
through ingredients that ranged from
the merely exotic (alpaca, freshwater
snails) to the fantastical. One course
featured a vegetable ceviche made
from a cocklebur-like member of the
cucumber-melon family, and coshuro,
gelatinous beads of algae that thrive in
high-altitude lakes. Even ingredients
that I thought I knew turned out to be
completely unfamiliar. One of the best
dishes I had all week was Malabars
baked cherimoya with passion fruit and
avocado granitafruits I recognized
from L.A. farmers markets. But here
the cherimoya was more custardy, the
passion fruit wilder, the avocados richness cut with a bitter edge.
Many critics have proposed that Peru
is the next Scandinaviaa region that
has gestated a new generation of great
chefs dedicated to radical localismbut
Peruvians enjoy a big advantage over the
narrow ecological connes of Scandinavias northern climate (the easy caricature of its cuisine is lichens, twigs, and
weeds on a plate). Peru has some of the

worlds richest ecosystems and most fertile soils. The country famously yields
3,000 varieties of potatoes, but have
you heard about the other Incan tubers
such as yacon, olluco, and oca, the last of
which looks, when raw, like a gold potato ecked with pink glitter and, when
cooked, tastes appealingly like an overripe banana? Quinoa has now reached
American supermarkets, but Limas
chefs are also experimenting with the
equally archaic grains kiwicha and kaihua. The herb huacataywhich made me
think of chervil, tarragon, and mint chatting among themselves about rose geraniumis to Lima what basil is to Rome.
Todays Peruvian chefs are exploring this patrimony as if it were a virgin
continent newly opened for the world
to taste, a collective quest sometimes
called Nuevo Andino or just Modern
Peruvian. By whatever name, it is a
uniquely twenty-first-century movementa kind of Wiki-cuisine with
contributions from the huariques and
the gastronomic temples, from Perus
ancestral Moche culture and the global
culinary avant-garde. Theres an air of
space-race excitement in this city, a rush
of individual research contributing to
shared advances. And after a week of
eating with locals and talking about
their food, I came to see that Modern
Peruvian cuisine has become, for chefs
and average citizens alike, the banner of
a modern Peruvian identity.
the only thing we
talk about, Salazar told
me. Its the only thing we
actually share as a city, from the poorest
guy to the richest guy. One of the theories is that we suck at soccer, so the one
thing we have to be proud of is food.
Nationalist pride in Peruvian food is
not new, but the restaurant scene is. Before the sustained economic growth of
FOOD IS

ILLUSTRATION BY AGNESE BICOCCHI

part of town with a few counter seats


facing a primitive two-burner stove. The
line of customers sometimes stretches
up the block.
Matsufuji is accustomed to the markets clangor, but I was simply overwhelmed by the oceanic kaleidoscope.
There were tuna that appeared to have
been made of aluminum, blunt-headed
dorado, pin-cushion sea urchins,
pink-eshed swordsh nearly as thick
through the waist as Matsufuji himself,
and noble lenguado, a platter-shaped
sole locally considered the ideal sh for
ceviche, Perus national dish.
When I stopped to look into a lenguados side-by-side eyes, my other
guide, the journalist and food critic Diego Salazar, warned me to keep my own
eyes open for the porters who charge
through the crowd with overloaded
carts; he said that he once saw someones arm slashed open by a passing
swordfishs bill. I looked around and
kept moving, only to be stopped again
by the sight of a giant squid, its body the
size of a pillowcase.
Yes, and thats a small one, Salazar
said with raised eyebrows.
As Matsufuji wrapped up his shopping, he steered me past one last vendor
who specializes in the strange catch of
the Amazon basin: paiche as long as my
leg and covered with scales like poker
chips; small catfish elegantly clad in
gray and white, like Edwardian dandies; and a prehistoric bottom feeder
in black armor, something that would
swarm in nightmares, which yields
scant meat but deeply avors a broth.
You see how rich the Pacic Ocean
is, Matsufuji said. Its incredible. We
eat everything.
Astonishment became the theme of
my entire trip, as I struggled to keep
up with the abundance of local edibles
that I didnt recognize beyond the most

Previous page: A mix of tropical and subtropical fruit at El Mercadocherimoya, pepino, prickly pear, ground cherries, pomegranate, and
papaya. This page, clockwise from top left: A frothy Guayabo (Hangover) cocktail with mint and spun sugar at Malabar; chef Virgilio
Martnez grows European and South American herbs in his garden at the restaurant Central; Centrals Octopus in the Desert (grilled octopus
with a purple corn sauce); the modernist dining room at Central faces an open kitchen.
O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4 / C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R

97

Opposite: Sudado de cachete (a stew of fish cheeks and collar) at Al Toke Pez, Toshi Matsufujis tiny seafood-centric huarique (loosely
translated as hole in the wall). Above: A dish called Ten Mile Fish at Central displays the diversity of the marine environment around Lima.
O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4 / C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R

99

the past decade, Limeos were too poor


or too afraid of crime to venture out at
night. People ate well, but at home. Now
that the Communist insurgency of the
1980s has faded, foreign investment
has poured in and Limas streets are
jammed with shiny new cars and eets
of construction trucks trying to keep
pace with the building boom. And the
newly prosperous classeswhich admittedly remain a minority among the
nine million residentshave rushed
out to eat. We trade restaurant tips like
kids trade baseball cards, Salazar said.
Ecology and economy only partially
account for why Limas food scene is
ourishing. History explains the rest.
The conquistadors may have plundered
the Incan empire for gold, but the agricultural treasure was richer still. They
found potatoes, corn, tomatoes, and
chili peppers, and in turn their ships
unloaded cattle, pigs, sheep, chickens,
spices, rice, wheat, olives, and grapes.
(They also brought the distilling technology that made possible Perus ery
pisco.) All manner of ingredients went
into the common cook pot to create criollo food (even subtle Arabic inuences
via Spains Moorish cooking). And Peru

already had a 2,000-year-old tradition


of marinating raw sh with the juice of a
tart passion fruit called tumbo; Spanish
citrus and onions transformed it into
ceviche. An exceptional meal I ate at
Hector Soliss Fiesta included a deconstructed causamashed potatoes rolled
around a savory llingthat combined
roasted grouper with new-world potatoes, sweet potatoes, and oca alongside
onions, olives, and raisins. It recounted,
in one plate, Perus colonial history.
After Peruvian independence in 1821,
the cuisine continued to expand with the
arrival of African slaves, Italian immigrants, Chinese railroad workers, and,
perhaps most crucial, Japanese farmers and shermen, resulting in dishes
like lomo saltado (essentially Chinese
stir-fry) and a reinvention of ceviche by
Japanese-Peruvian, or Nikkei, chefs
(Nobu Matsuhisa being the most famous): Raw fish used to be soaked in
lime juice for hours; now its tossed in at
the last minute so that youre basically
eating raw sh. I ate an inventive Nikkeistyle sashimi called tiradito (lenguado,
pecans, zucchini) and a fish stir-fry
called chifa (with bok choy, mushrooms,
and cantaloupe) at the huarique of Javier

Wong, Limas septuagenarian ceviche


genius. It was the kind of Asian hip-hop
cooking that chefs like David Chang and
Roy Choi are doing in America. Except
Limas chefs got there rst.
I was still thinking about Wong later
that night when I went to Maido, where
chef Mitsuharu Tsumura brilliantly
fuses multicultural references. The tenth
course on the tasting menu arrived in a
bamboo basket of the sort used to steam
dumplings. But instead of dumplings,
it held a perfect little tamale thatsurprise againwas made of rice instead of
corn. Its pork belly lling inspired a pair
of garnishes that spanned the Pacific
Ocean: Asian-style scallion threads and
sarza criolla, the marinated onions that
come with the pork belly sandwich that
is Limas universal fast food.
Molecular gastronomy, everywhere
on Limas menus, is only the most recent foreign inuence to stretch Perus
incredibly elastic culinary imagination. At the restaurant Central, I saw on
chef Virgilio Martnezs elaborate tasting menu every key Modern Peruvian
theme: the strange native ingredients,
the seafood array, the references to
pre-Columbian cooking (a dehydrated

Below, from left: Seafood chowder at Canta Rana includes rice and colorful spices; a display of ingredients at the restaurant Central.
Opposite: Dry aged rib roast at Osso, an influential butcher shop/restaurant.

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101

BETWEEN MEALS, I tried


to walk up an appetite by
getting out on the street
to explore the sights. It turns out that
Lima is neither pedestrian-friendly nor
particularly scenicit has a persistent
winter fogbut here and there I saw
touristic glimpses of the citys past: a
stray pre-Columbian monument in San
Isidro, the downtown viceregal palaces
with their touches of Moorish architecture, and the nineteenth-century mansions striving for European elegance in
Barranco, an older neighborhood thats
been reclaimed by artists and bohemians. As I walked around, something
that Salazar told me stuck in my mind.
For all of the republics history, he
said, we have been ashamed of everything that was not European.
Until recently, Peruvian culture looked
to Europe for its touchstones, and places
like the exclusive Country Club Hotel
satised Eurocentric expectations with
fancied-up Continental cuisine. Gastn
Acurio, the son of a prominent politician,
trained at the Cordon Bleu in Paris, and
his rst restaurant with his wife, Astrid
Gutsche, served French fare. He was
trying to sell foie gras and caviar to rich
Peruvians, Salazar said. In the mid1990s, Acurio turned his eyes from Paris
to Peru, and through some act of persuasion convinced diners to eat quinoa,
then a poor mans food, by cooking it like
risotto. New Andean cuisine was born.
Today, Acurio runs 32 restaurants
around the world and is a national celebrity. Even cabbies wanted to tell me
about Gastn, and several Peruvians said in apparent seriousness that
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C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4

Acurio could become president if he


chose to run. Really the most clever
thing that Gastn realized is that food
could be the glue that sticks us together, Salazar said.
This year, Acurio moved Astrid y
Gastn into Casa Moreyra, a lavishly
restored 300-year-old mansion that
once belonged to a Spanish-Peruvian
family who ranked high among the
ruling hierarchy. Its a potent symbol:
You might even say that by building
his own palace in the shell of faded colonial power, Acurio, the emperor of
New Andean cuisine, is leading a reverse conquest of the Peruvian table.
Acurios hit television show, Aventura
Culinaria, takes viewers to the chef s
favorite huariques and street carts, and
the food festival he launched, Mistura,
showcases Limas native talent to an
increasingly international audience.
Acurios reach is such that his blessing can launch a career. Just down
the street from his cevicheria La Mar
is a crowded little restaurant called
Grimenesa Vargas Anticuchos that began as a street cart at Mistura. It serves
Peruvian cooking at its most basic:
charcoal-grilled beef heart anticuchos,
boiled yellow potatoes, and choclo
large-kernel cornon the cob, all of
which I ate with my hands.
In fact, I ate with my hands a lot in
Lima, even in ne dining establishments,

EAT
Al Toke Pez
av. angamos 886;
entres from $5.
Astrid y Gastn
Casa Moreyra
av. paz soldan
290; 511-442-2775;
tasting menu,
$215, including
wine pairings.
Canta Rana
genova 101;
511-247-7274;
entres from $10.
Central
calle santa isabel
376; 511-242-8515;
entres from $21.
Chez Wong
calle enrique
len garca 114;
511-470-6217.

El Mercado
hiplito unanue
203; 511-221-1322;
entres from $10.
Fiesta
av. reducto 1278;
511-242-9009;
entres from $30.
Maido
calle san martn
399; 511-444-2568;
entres from $35.
Malabar
camino real 101;
511-440-5200;
tasting menu, $145,
including wine
pairings.
Osso
calle tahiti 175;
511-368-1046.

For more images of Lima, download our


digital edition, and for tips on how to
navigate Peru on a budget, visit
cntraveler.com.

where courses arrived without silverware. I picked up edible rocks from


a tray of real pebbles, plucked leaves
and fruit off branches, and excavated
sand to nd tasty nuggets. At Astrid
y Gastn, waiters presented me with an
adobe brick of real earth that cracked
open to reveal three varieties of roasted
potato. There is a point to all of this:
Upper-crust Limeos take pride in
their formal table manners, a snobby reminder of colonial protocols and the old
aristocratic bias against working with
your hands. Acurios joke is to make his
diners dig for their own potatoes. He
makes them touch their native soil, so
to speak, to harvest for themselves the
riches of their culinary patrimony. Acurio doesnt just want to feed people, he
wants to convert them.
Maybe it all seems a little much, but
there is nonetheless a whole generation of chefs spreading this nationalist
vision with youthful zeal. Salazar took
me to meet 31-year-old Renzo Garibaldi,
who runs a whole-carcass butcher shop
called Osso where he also hosts wordof-mouth dinners on Sundays after closing. The night I was there, the dozen
other guests included Salazar and his
wife, Centrals Virgilio Martnez, and
visiting chef David Johnston, of the celebrated Bangkok restaurant Nahm. We
took our seats at a communal butcherblock table and submitted to a mad
onslaught of meat. Garibaldi passed
around wooden platters of charcuterie,
lardo, rillettes, tartare, fried trotters,
mini-burgers, smoked bacon, hot dogs,
chifa-style pork, crusty short ribs, eight
different cuts of steak aged up to 200
days, and a grand nale of dinosaurian
beef ribs in criollo sauce. Not once did a
fork appear at the table.
Here, said Garibaldi at the start of
the meal, we use our hands. As Salazar wiped his greasy ngers on a napkin, he entertained the table with a story
about the archbishop of Lima, who came
to Osso for a birthday dinner arranged
by a wealthy businessman. The prelate
was shocked at the lack of cutlery and
initially refused to eat. But as the platters of luscious fatty meat rounded the
table, the archbishop finally relented.
He pulled back his sleeves and reached
out to share in the meat communion, another reverse conquest by the apostles of
new Peruvian cuisine. X

ILLUSTRATION BY AGNESE BICOCCHI

potato inspired by carapulcra, the Andean sun-dried potato stew), and a


Nikkei-inuenced grilled octopus with
purple corn sauce. Martnez modernized it all with trendy molecular
touches: foam, edible dirt, plates arranged with tweezer precision and
painterly air. But there was a conceptual underpinning to the tasting menu.
Martnez, like other chefs, experiments
with ancient ingredients not just to
garnish his plates but also as a kind of
R-and-D lab: I began to grasp what Catalan super-chef Ferran Adri may have
intended with his often-quoted remark
that the future of gastronomy is being
cooked up in Peru.

Canta Rana is a popular


neighborhood restaurant
for ceviche and other
Peruvian specialties.

Just a few hours from New York City, a group of smalltown restaurateurs with big ideas are creating a
new culinary weekend getaway. Abby Aguirre digs in.

Photographs by Gentl & Hyers

ITS FRIDAY night in Bloomville, New York, population


213. Im sitting at a communal picnic table in the backyard of an 1860s Italianate house, eating
what must be one of the most exquisite
wood-red pizzas west of the Hudson.
The crust is sourdough, thin, chewy,
and salted in a way that makes me wonder what exactly Ive been doing wrong
with salt all this time, and its topped
with lemon-marinated fennel, feta
cheese, and fresh parsley. It tastes like
a garden. A guitarist and drummer are
playing pleasant instrumental music in
a corner of the yard, while families at
other picnic tables clink wine glasses
under crisscrossing strings of glowing
lights. It seems impossible that a pizza
this remarkable was baked in a nostoplight town. But more to the point, it
seems impossible that a spot this rural
and remote-feeling should exist three
and a half hours by car from my home
in New York City.
The restaurant is called Table on Ten,
and its a caf, inn, and something of
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C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4

a hub for the farmers and artists who


populate the area, which is Delaware
County, just west of the Hudson Valley.
New Yorkers like to say that Upstate
New York is the new Hamptons, but the
towns most often associated with that
pronouncement are the ones along the
river and the Amtrak line: Cold Spring,
Garrison, Rhinebeck, Woodstock, and
of course Hudson, which with its strip
of antiques stores and upscale restaurants feels increasingly like a satellite of
Brooklyn. In more than one sense, Delaware County is somewhere else.
Its in the Western Catskills, to the
north of the Catskills Forest Preserve,
and perhaps because it was never properly part of the Borscht Beltthe chain of
Jewish summer resort towns of the 1920s
through the 1970sit still feels like the
nineteenth century. Its villages are small
and spread out, and theres no clear center. These virtues, along with low real estate prices, have in recent years attracted
New Yorkers of a certain stripe and, over
time, made permanent residents of them.
This was the case with the couple behind

TO GET here you turn off


I-87 near Kingston and head
west on Route 28, but rather
than stop in Woodstock, you keep going, past Phoenicia and Big Indian to
Belleayre Mountain, where the valley
opens onto rolling meadows and the
real farmland starts. On my trip up, the
rst super moon of the year was rising
behind the mountains, casting a gold
light on the green elds and deciduous
trees below. Somewhere near the county
line, the temperature began to drop, and

by the time I reached Highway 10, from


which Table on Ten takes its name, the
air was a full ten degrees cooler than it
had been an hour before. If you didnt
know what to look for, you might breeze
right by the inn and perhaps through all
of Bloomville without knowing youd
missed anything. This is true of many of
the spots worth seeking out in Delaware
County, making a long weekend here
feel a bit like a scavenger hunt.
The idea for Table on Ten was hatched
as a way to combine Inezs cooking with
Justuss carpentry. At the 28-seat restaurant and in the three guest rooms upstairs, his woodworking is on display:
picnic tables, custom beds, and shelving
built with rough-sawn hemlock from
nearby mills. Inez designs the menu
around whatever is in season at the local
farms. The salad lineup involves freshpicked mizuna, mibuna, mustard, oakleaf, frise, sylvetta, and purslane leaves,
all subtly dressed. For breakfast, she
bakes eggs from Last Harvest Farm in
a skillet with marinara and fresh basil,
and the house-made granola comes with
local honey and Cowbella Farms maple
yogurt. To go with it, theres a fresh rhubarb and mint soda I wont soon forget.
On pizza nights, which happen every
Friday and Saturday, pies are baked in
a brick oven built by Justus and topped
with unexpected combinations like ngerling potatoes with caramelized cipollini onions and goat cheese; chocolate

shavings, ricotta, honey, and Maldon sea


salt; and tomato sauce, mascarpone, prosciutto, Parmesan, and arugula.
Its the kind of food that brings people
together, as evidenced by the full parking lotvisitors from the city, locals
from around the county, and weekenders who own houses in the area. I
think of this place as my home and my
city apartment as my pad, says one
such weekender, a nutritionist named
Jeanette Brone, pulling out her iPhone
to show me snaps of her Scandinavianstyle cabin in the neighboring town of
Bovina. Its a creative bubble in a way
thats really special, she says of the
community. There are lots of photographers in the area, lots of people from
the art world. But here its all about being together, eating together, and being
outside. We dont talk about work. We
talk about human things.
The food does double duty as an advertisement for the local farms, many
of which maintain small stands for the
public, offering up their yield on the
honor system. Driving around to hit
the farm standsthere are scores of
themis what visitors come here to do.
fresh eggs, says one sign on Highway
10; heirloom tomatoes, says the next.
At Burnett Farms, in Bovina, guests
follow the custom of the country and
weigh their kale, chard, cucumbers, and
scapes before leaving their money in a
little wooden box next to the scale. The

Previous page: The


Upstate New York
fall foliage colors
County Route 2
as it winds through
the town of Andes.
This page, from
left: Fallen apples
gathered from native
wild apple trees
in Delaware County;
local farmer and
cheesemaker
Dan Finn with one
of his Jersey cows
that produce the
cheese used at
Table on Ten; wild
arugula and bantam
egg breakfast pizza
at Table on Ten.

106

C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4

PREVIOUS PAGE AND HERE: ILLUSTRATION BY AGNESE BICOCCHI

Table on Ten, Inez Valk-Kempthorne


and Justus Kempthorne, a former model
and woodworker, respectively, who rst
visited Delaware County in the midaughts and by 2010 had relocated from
Williamsburg, Brooklyn.
We had a small community of friends
who decided to buy inexpensive land
here and build cabins, Inez says. Thats
how we got up here. And at some point
it was just kind of our turn. Once their
own cabin was built, Inez says, the
question came up: What are we going to
do next? The answer for them, and for
an increasing number of other city transplants, was to open a business. And its
this growing crop of outpostsmainly in
the towns of Bovina, Andes, and Delhi,
which are about ten miles from one anotherthat is turning this once off-thegrid bucolic corner of the Catskills into
an on-the-grid bucolic destination.

1014-WELL CATSKILLS
REV SHIPPED 8-21

O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4 / C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R

107

specialties of the nearby Bovina Valley


Farm are Alderney cheese and maple
syrup made by owner Dan Finn in a
sugar shack on his property. Dan grew
up in the area and worked in film for
15 years before returning to his hometown about a decade ago. At rst I was
a weekender, he says, looking every bit
the farmer in railroad-striped overalls.
By 2002 I was up here full-time.
Driving around, I began to get the feeling that the differences between these
parts and other, more well-known destinations in the Catskills run deeper than
the landscape. In Woodstock, where I
have a cabin, it can often seem that there
are two economiesone for the locals
and one for the weekenders. The man
who delivers rewood, say, will have two
sets of prices. Id heard from people who
own cabins in Delaware County that the
coexistence here was more integrated,
and the honor-system arrangement of
the farm stands gives this impression.
I had to wonder if the reason for this
is that people who buy homes in Delaware County tend to move here altogether: put down roots, start businesses,
and invest in the community in ways
that do more than just increase property values. The area is far enough away
that people who really need to be within
striking distance of the city, who can
drive two hours to a second home but
maybe not three and a half, seem not to
buy here in large numbers. So there isnt
the same mass of peoplea brunching mass, dressed in black and glued to
their phonesparachuting in on Friday
nights and out on Sunday afternoons.
Holley and Richard Giles, owners
of the Lucky Dog Farm Store, an institution in the town of Hamden, lived
in Brooklyn for yearsshe working
as a copywriter for a small publisher,
he developing film at a photographic
agencyand rst started visiting Delaware County on weekends. Originally
we were going to do it slowly, just coming up whenever we could, but very
quickly we decided to move altogether,
Holley says. They established a farm,
then a farm store and caf. (Inez worked
at the Lucky Dog Cafe before opening
Table on Ten, incidentally.) The Gileses
also opened the Hamden Inn across the
street, offering four modest yet comfortable rooms. But as with everyone
else here, it seems, their focus is on the
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109

Previous page:
The Delaware River.
This page, from
left: Beet pasta and
squash ravioli at
Table on Ten; sheep
at Thyme Hill Farm.

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111

BLOOMVILLE
DELHI
HAMDEN
WALTON

BOVINA
ANDES
BIG INDIAN

NY

PHOENICIA

Hudson River

PA

STAY
Table on Ten
Farm-to-table restaurant with three airy
guest rooms upstairs.
52030 main st.,
bloomville;
607-643-6509;
tableonten.com;
doubles from $115;
pizzas from $12.

hamden; 607-7468383; luckydogorganic


.com; entres from $5.

EAT

Two Old Tarts


Popular bakery
and lunch spot.
22 lee lane, andes;
845-676-3300;
twooldtarts.com.

Brushland
Eating House
Newcomer serving
simple seasonal fare.
1927 county
hwy. 6, bovina;
607-832-4861;
brushlandeatinghouse
.com; entres from $5.
Lucky Dog Cafe
and Farm Store
Caf and shop centered around local
goods and ingredients from its farm.
35796 main st.,
112

Russells
General store and
canteen that serves
great breakfast.
2099 main st., bovina; 607- 832-4242;
russellsstore.com.

SHOP
Kabinett & Kammer
Gorgeous vintage
nds from
Sean Scherer.
7 main st., andes;
845-676-4242;
kabinettandkammer
.com.

C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4

food. When Holley isnt working on


her own farm, she works with a local
cheesemaker, not far from where another recently transplanted couple are
making apple cider in the town of Walton, which also happens to be where a
woman named Cheryl Lins is distilling
some very popular absinthe (its carried
at the inuential Astor Wines & Spirits
in Manhattan). There are more and
more food enterprises springing up everywhere, Holley says.
One particularly noteworthy newcomer opened in downtown Bovina in
May. Called Brushland Eating House,
it was started byyou guessed ita
young couple from Brooklyn, Sohail
Zandi and Sara Elbert. He used to work
at Prime Meats, she at sister restaurant
Frankies 457 (see Olive Oil Odyssey,
page 56). They had been to the region
only a few times when they found the
building that now houses Brushland.
We fell in love with the area right away,
and we thought, we have to end up in
this place in the long term, Sohail says.
And then the long term became the
short term. My ten-year plan happened
in, like, 18 months. The two serve a
simple menu for brunch, lunch, and
dinnerdishes like crushed beets with
horseradish, hand-rolled pasta, and
a one-flip burger with fancy sauce.
And true to the Delaware County formula, they also offer lodgings upstairs,
in the form of a homey two-bedroom
apartment.

WHILE THERE are the usual outdoorsy


things to do herehiking, fishing,
horseback ridingit is also, somewhat
counterintuitively, a compelling place
to shop. The country stores and secondhand shops in each village have a
wonderfully eclectic selection. Table on
Ten carries the Maldon sea salt used on
its pizzas, magnicent beeswax candles
from local candlemaker Susan Riesen,
and the simple, stylish wares of ceramicist Kelli Cain, whose nearby studio
can be visited by appointment. And the
areas many antiques stores are overflowing with moderately priced gems,
especially in the town of Andes: There
are three alone near the corner of Main
Street and Delaware Avenue.
The most well known of the bunch
is Kabinett & Kammer, whose owner, a
painter named Sean Scherer, bought an
1840s Cape-style farmhouse on 90 acres
in Walton in 2002. Brooke Alderson,
an antiques dealer in Andes who lives
nearby with her husband, Peter Schjeldahl, the art critic for The New Yorker,
convinced Sean to open his shop, which
carries utilitarian furniture, vintage photographs, taxidermy, and glamorously
quirky objets dart. Ive always been
interested in the nineteenth century, and
Delaware County hasnt changed much
in a couple hundred years, Sean says.
Two friends visited from the city for the
rst time this weekend, and they both
said the same thing: I had no idea this
was here. X

MAP BY HAISAM HUSSEIN

This page, from left:


Wild local blackberries, foraged as
late as October; Inez
Valk-Kempthorne,
co-owner of Table on
Ten; the Attic Room
at Table on Ten,
available for rent
on Airbnb.

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113

As the host of Top Chef, which begins its twelfth season this month, Padma Lakshmi
eats better (and more adventurously) than even the most avid gourmet.
So where in the world will the self-proclaimed culinary spelunker explore next?

MAKEUP BY LISA BUTLER. HAIR BY AKKI. NAILS BY DARIA HARDEMAN. JEWELRY BY INEZ AND VINOODH, AVAILABLE AT NET-A-PORTER
.COM. BEAUTY NOTE: GET THE LOOK WITH MAKEUP FOR EVER MAT VELVET AND MATIFYING FOUNDATION ($36), CHANEL VARIATION
ROUGE COCO SHINE IN SATISFACTION ($35), AND LANCME HYPNSE DRAMA INSTANT FULL BODY VOLUME MASCARA ($28)

Photograph by Inez and Vinoodh

I am who I am because I traveled.


I was four when I took my rst big voyagethats when I came to America.
I was traveling alone from Madras (now
called Chennai) in South India to New
York to meet my mother, whod moved
there two years before. We couldnt afford a direct flight, so the route was
New DelhiCairoRomeLondonNew
York. I was all by myself, but I wasnt
scared. I was excited.
Helping my mother when I was little is how I learned to cook. In India,
I always hung around the kitchen while
my grandmother and my aunts cooked
thats where all the action was. Once
I was settled in America, my mother
didnt want me to lose my sense of Indian
culture, so the minute school was out,
I was on a plane to see my grandparents.
I spent every summer with them.
Wherever I go, Im hunting and
gathering. Travel taught me to understand spice and avor. Say you want to
incorporate a hit of citrus into a soup or
salad: You can use a dried Omani lime,
or a preserved lemon from Morocco, or
a kaffir lime leaf from Thailand. All are
very distinct, very memorable avors.
I scour markets everywhere I go, and not
just for ingredients but for kitchen tools
as wella mortar and pestle, weird utensils, a coconut grater. Ive also collected a

lot of dishes over the years, be they Mexican pottery or Moroccan tagines. Ill even
venture into the kitchen of a restaurant
I like to beg, borrow, and steal!
Its true: Ive been known to get on a
plane for a meal. Of course, I ventured
to Noma in Copenhagen and El Bulli in
the Pyreneesand on other trips, Ive
made it a point to t in a meal at Las Dos
Lunas in Ibiza; a trattoria called Il Rigolo
in Brera, Milan; the seafood restaurant
Trishna in Mumbai; and Le Voltaire and
La Tour dArgent in Paris. In my hometown, New York, I love WD-50 (and for
those of you who havent been, go now
its closing its doors on November 30).
I never want to eat at the hotel.
I always prefer to go to some crazy
market. And there are few things I like
more than pulling off the road because
I see somebody barbecuing out of the
back of a truck. But sometimes, nothing beats 24-hour service, especially if
Im with my daughter, whos ve years
old. So while I may gravitate toward
off-the-beaten-path hotels, I also love
staying at classic places like the Taj
Mahal Palace in Mumbai, the Grand
Hotel et de Milan, and the Ritz in
Paris. Everyone always talks about La
Mamounia in Marrakech, but I liked
the Htel Marrakech Le Tichka even
moreit was just magical.

If youre traveling to eat, Id recommend Bali for its pan-Asian food


culture. And Singapore. In India, Id
send you to Kerala; the food there is
gorgeous and unusualand its ideal if
youre vegan or vegetarian. I dont think
Westerners have really discovered how
different Indian food is, and I predict
that regional Indian cuisine will be the
next great food trend in the West. In
general, though, Im over all the current food trendsIm very happy to
see the end of the bacon-in-everything
craze. And whenever someone tells me
that their restaurant is farm-to-table,
I laugh. By this point, everything should
be farm-to-table.
Id call myself a culinary spelunker,
but I still have a lot more exploring to do. Ive seen most of Europe
and Ive lived in Spain, Paris, and Milan, but there are so many places Ive
never been. I havent traveled enough
in Japan, for instance; so many of my
chef friends love it there. Im neutral about Tokyo but know its a place
I should explore more, foodwise. I
havent seen much of South America,
either. Ive never been to Peru. Id like
to go to Venezuela and Colombia. It
seems like nows the moment to visit, so
thats denitely up next on my hit list.
As told to Lindsay Talbot
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115

From mega-malls to articial ski slopes to crystal-strewn hotels, Abu Dhabithe wealthiest of
the seven tiny oil-rich states that make up the United Arab Emiratesis embracing the latest
extravagances for travelers. But not far from the dazzle is a different version of the emirate: a
place where the local markets, not the malls, are still the best spots to shop, and where the souks are
fragrant with spices. Whitney Robinson takes the measure of Abu Dhabis past . . . and future.

ILLUSTRATION BY AGNESE BICOCCHI

Photographs by Peden & Munk

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117

WHEN PEOPLE ask me what it was like to live and travel in the Gulf States

for the better part of two years, I tell them that it comes down to perception versus reality. That is to say, beyond the glitter, the hype,
and the superlativesthe worlds tallest buildings, biggest articial ski slopes,
and most fantastic wonder mallslie authentic bedouin civilizations. The fact
that the majority of the region is riding a rocket ship to the future thanks to export proceeds from its plentiful natural resources doesnt negate the Middle
Easts vast traditions and values: Its just a little harder to nd them these days.
traditionally accepted personal expression, both by introducing Western artists like Jeff Koons and Richard Serra
into the aesthetic vernacular and by
opening hugely ambitious museums
and underwriting public art projects.
The U.A.E., Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait,
and even Saudi Arabia are also investing heavily in the domestic and international art scenes, but to vastly different
ends, from education and tourism to
just plain commodity.
THEN THERES Abu Dhabi, the official
capital of the U.A.E., which had for
years been considered the quiet, older
(and richer) sister among the three most
important Emirati cities (there are seven
in all, of which Dubai, Sharjah, and
Abu Dhabiwhich has a population
of 2.34 million, 80 percent of whom are
expatriatesare the most populous).
Until relatively recently, Abu Dhabi
had been known as the regions federal

telecommunications and banking hub,


not the tourist destination that Dubai,
about a 90-minute drive away, had become. This is because unlike Dubai,
whose economy relies almost solely on
tourism and foreign investment, and
Sharjah, which in Gulf terms is relatively
poor (but whose rulers support an ambitious and renowned art biennial), Abu
Dhabi has vast natural deposits of oil
that account for nearly 95 percent of the
U.A.E.s total production. In other words,
Abu Dhabi never had to do anything.
That all changed in the late nineties,
however, when the rulers of Abu Dhabi,
the Al Nahyan family (each of the emirates is governed by a different tribe,
though they are all related) decided to
diversify (rumor has it, too, that they
were jealous of the attention being lavished on their cousins in Dubai, the Al
Maktoum clan). This diversication saw
the creation of Etihad Airways, which
competes directly with Dubais Emirates

Previous page:
The majestic Sheikh
Zayed Mosque.
Left: The desert
horizon, viewed from
Anantaras Qasr
Al Sarab Resort.
Opposite, clockwise
from top left:
Oranges at the fruit
souk; fresh fish at
the bustling Mina
Zayed Fish Market; a
spread of traditional
mezes; not-sotraditional (but
delicious) macarons
at Emirates Palace.

118

C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4

ILLUSTRATION BY AGNESE BICOCCHI

One of the biggest and most enduring


misconceptions about the region is that
the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman,
Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United
Arab Emirates) are all alike. Indeed,
saying that the countries which make
up the GCC are interchangeable is like
suggesting that Italy and Spain are the
same because the majority of the people
in each country are Catholic.
Because secular Islam is mostly an
anomaly in this part of the world, the
uninitiated might imagine that these
countries have shared goals and belief
systems. But all of the nations rulers
and ruling dynastiessee themselves
and the future of their countries very
differently.
In Doha, Qatar, for example, where
I lived from 2011 to 2013 (I co-founded
a Middle Eastern arts and culture
Web site, Qulture.com), the Al Thani
family is pushing the boundaries of

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119

120

C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4

ANISSA HELOUS ABU DHABI

for passengers; Yas Island, an articial


wonderland with its own Formula One
track and Ferrari World amusement
park; Guggenheim and Louvre outposts;
a new N.Y.U. campus; and the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, which occupies more than
30 acres and is home to the worlds largest carpet. All of thisnot to mention an
accompanying boom in hotel construction and a series of mega public works
projects like highways and water desalination plantswas completed in the last
20 years.
DESPITE ALL

122

C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4

STAY

EAT

SHOP

Emirates Palace
Its total Abu Dhabi
opulence here: two
huge pools (one
with waterslides for
kids, the other with
a swim-up bar for
adults), a private
beach club, a 167-berth
marina, and nine different restaurants,
including an outpost
of the swanky Chinese chain Hakkasan.
w. corniche rd.;
971-2-690-9000;
kempinski.com;
doubles from $1,300.

Al Asalah Heritage
Restaurant
The food at this
traditional restaurant
in Abu Dhabis Heritage Village is hardly
high gastronomy,
but the views from
the terrace overlooking the lake are
lovely. If youre lucky,
you might see a dhow
race or one of the official ceremonies held
here and attended
by local sheikhs.
heritage village;
971-2-681-2188;
alasalahrestaurants
.com; entres from $7.

Madinat Zayed
Shopping Centre
and Gold Centre
On the ground oor
of the unassuming
Madinat Zayed Mall,
this collection of 70
or so stores is a treasure trove of every
type of gold jewelry
and trinket imaginable. At the high
end are intricate wedding parures inlaid
with aquamarine,
malachite, and topaz.
madinat zayed
mall; 971-2-633-3311.

Qasr Al Sarab
Desert Resort by
Anantara
A two-hour drive
south of Abu Dhabi,
the Qasr Al Sarab is
a true oasis in the desert. The wonderfully
plush rooms have
Arabian arches and
terraces that look out
over the palm-ringed
pool toward the
dunes. The feeling of
being in the middle of
nowhere, surrounded
by desert, is magical.
And an afternoon
of off-roading through
the sands is a must.
971-2-886-2088; qasr
alsarab.anantara.com;
doubles from $270.
Previous page:
The interior of one
of the stunning
stained-glass domes
at the Sheikh Zayed
Mosque; Anantaras
Qasr Al Sarab is a
picture-perfect oasis.
Opposite, clockwise
from top left:
Cocktails at the
Yas Viceroy Resort;
a carpet seller at
the souk; fresh-made
hummus; cooking
up a feast in the RitzCarltons kitchens.
For more images
of Abu Dhabi,
download our
digital edition.

Yas Viceroy
This futuristic landmark has views of
the Yas Marina and
is the rst hotel built
over a Formula One
racetrack. On race
days, dine on the
terrace at Kazu, its
top-notch sushi restaurant, and watch
the cars weave in
and out of the building. Almost as impressive: the Ferraris
and Maseratis at
valet parking.
yas island; 971-2656-0000; viceroy
hotelsandresorts.com;
doubles from $130.

Al Fanar
Restaurant & Cafe
at the Ritz-Carlton
Most people visiting
Abu Dhabi dont
get the chance to try
authentic Emirati
food, with its staples
of rice, seafood, and
spices (mainly cardamom and saffron),
unless local friends
invite them to their
homes. Al Fanar is
one of the citys few
high-end Emirati
restaurants serving
regional dishes like
Arabic-style biryanis
and harees (a silky
porridge of cracked
wheat and mutton).
grand canal,
venetian village;
971-2-448-1144;
alfanarrestaurant.com;
entres from $20.
Mina Zayed Fish
Market
Buy a sh in the
souk (hamouralso
known as grouperis
the standout in the
region) and you
can have it seasoned
and grilled at one
of the stalls. In winter,
when the weather
is gorgeous, the
nearby gardens are
perfect for picnicking.
al mina, mina
zayed port.

Yas
Perfume and incense
are essential elements
in Abu Dhabis hospitality tradition. Before
you leave a friends
home, your host will
burn incense and fan
the smoke onto your
hair and clothes. Yas,
in the Marina Mall,
sells exotic scents and
essences like sandalwood, musk, and
amber, all in beautiful
Arabian packaging.
marina mall;
971-2-681-1138.

ILLUSTRATION BY AGNESE BICOCCHI

this growth,
whats really fascinating
about Abu Dhabi is how it
still retains so much of its
unique customs and avor. According to
Anissa Helou, a chef, author, and former
adviser to the Kuwaiti royal family who
has traveled here over the last few years,
Abu Dhabi is the place to go to experience
true Emirati food and culture. Its a lot
more genuine than Dubai, she told me
from London, where she runs a soughtafter cooking school. Sure, it has glitzy
buildings and malls, but alongside them
are places like the Mina Zayed Fish Market, where the locals shop.
And if you want to see old-fashioned
Abu Dhabi, thats a good place to start.
Filled to the brim with thousands of
colorful varieties of Gulf sh, shrimp
from Dubai, and Omani lobsters, the
souk can be overwhelming. But it and
the nearby fruit and vegetable market
where mountains of juicy dates, a staple
in signature dishes like roasted whole
baby camel, are piled precariously high
on wooden cartsremain an essential part of everyday life in Abu Dhabi.
The souks are where the locals go for
their food (and their clothes, for that
matter) even though nowadays they
drive there in rainbow-hued Bentleys.
Theyre a living, lasting reminder that
despite the million-dollar cars, the Roman Empireworthy amount of marble,
and the shopping malls that would put
Madison Avenue to shame, its in the
jostle of markets like these, the spiritual descendants of the original trading
posts between East and West, that you
nd the true Abu Dhabi: the riches of a
burgeoning twenty-rst-century world
power abutting a tenth-century one, the
air fragrant with the perfume of oud
and cloves. X

You dont want to stay in a boutique hotel in


Abu Dhabi, says chef Anissa Helou. When
it comes to accommodations, Helou, Londons
resident expert on the culture of the Middle East,
recommends going bigat one of the citys
30-some ve-star resorts. But for food and
souvenirs, youre better off going local. Below,
her favorite places to find incense, home-style
Emirati cooking, and stacks of gold bangles.

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123

PHOTOGRAPH BY GETTY IMAGES

Ever since he devoured his rst life-altering bowl of ramen,


Junot Daz dreamed of going to Fukuoka, home to some of the
best noodles in the world. When he nally made it there,
he found not only the ramen of his fantasies but unbelievable
gyoza and hot pot and chicken sashimi (yes, you read that right).
Welcome to the next great Japanese food city.

124

C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4

FUKUOKA BEGANthe way all important love affairs shouldwith a meal.

ILLUSTRATION BY AGNESE BICOCCHI

This was on my rst trip to Japan, way back in the 90s. My ight landed after supper, and by the time I hauled myself from Narita to Shimokitazawa,
that coolest of Tokyo districts, I was straight starving, so my boy Michi took me to his
local ramen-ya. Remember: This was before there was any Ippudo NYC. Before Totto.
Before Jin. Id never had real ramen in my life, but that simple bowl of Hakata-style
tonkotsuthe pork-bone broth of your dreamsjust tore open my brain, my soul,
my tongue. Afterward, in a state of jetlagged exaltation, I swore to myself that,
no matter what, I would go to Fukuoka,
which Michi had identied as the birthplace of the ramen we had just eaten.
Yes, that rst night in Shimokitazawa,
under the lights of the old train station
(now demolished), I swore a sacred ramen oath.
Turns out I suck at sacred ramen
oaths, however, because over the years
I visited Japan 13 more times and never
once made it to Fukuoka. What can I
tell you? Something, it seems, always
came up: trips up north, trips down
the coast, a love affair with Osaka, with
Kyoto, with Tokyoalways Tokyo. In
the end, I never made it farther south
than Miyajima.
And yet despite everything, Fukuoka
seemed to stay in the picture. Close
friends visited the city and brought
back glowing reports and even better
photos. An ex-girlfriend, Dominicana,
revealed out of nowhere that she had
visited the city in the 80s and loved it.
Monocle named it one of the most livable
cities in the world. And then, weirdest
of all, in 2010 the Dominican superstar
Juan Luis Guerra dropped his single
Bachata en Fukuoka. Legend has it
that JLG had gone to Fukuoka to play
a gig and was so blown away by the
Japanese audienceby their energy
and by the fact that they knew all the
words to his songs and could actually
dance bachatathat he recorded the
song in Fukuokas honor. Bachata en
Fukuoka became a number one hit in
the Latin market, and just like that, Fukuoka entered the Dominican lexicon,
guaranteeing that even my country-ass
relatives know that Fukuoka is a city in
Japan. (Its a good song, too.) Anyway, I
took that shit as a sign. And yet clearly I
must not be big on signs, either, because
another four trips to Japan passed before Bachata en Fukuoka came on
one last time and I had finally had it.

Enough, I thought. Enough. I bought


my tickets and, nearly 20 years after the
whole Fukuoka affair began, it was on.
AND NOW that Ive been, I can say in my
best public service voice: Folks, please
dont be like mego to Fukuoka as soon
as possible.
With its canals and river walks and
nighttime neon spectacle, Fukuoka is
the kind of place that inspires songs,
that makes latecomers like me wish
we had visited sooner. The town is the
perfect size for taking in: The weather
is salubrious; the inhabitants are both
welcoming and famously handsome
(Fukuokan women recently ranked
third hottest after Akitas and Kyotos,
according to a national survey); and
if the masses of Korean and Chinese
shoppers are any metric (they were
snapping up everything from the latest
PlayStations to multiple Bao Bao Issey
Miyake bags), the retail options are
endless. There are cool museums and
some Yayoi Kusama and Keith Haring
sculptures and even a Rem Koolhaas
designed housing complex. Just outside the city stands one of the loveliest
Shinto shrines in all of Japan, Dazaifu
Tenmangu, the final resting place of
Japans great brain, poet-scholar Sugawara Michizane, a.k.a. Tenjin, the god
of scholarship. Throw in Hakata Bay,
around which Fukuoka has grown like
a lobster claw, and the nearby beaches
and easy access to Korea, and you can
understand why the city is a favorite of
both travel cognoscenti and bachateros.
And the eats? Well, as I sensed that
rst night in Japan, the grub in Fukuoka
is the absolute topsthe citys gift to the
world. Our little group of three started
eating as soon as we landed and didnt
stop until we were boarding our train
to go. As a diner, you simply cannot
go wrong. (Well, maybe you can, but I
suspect you have to really try.) Theres
Fujiyoshi for out-of-this-world yakitori

and ridiculously savory chicken butts.


For the famous local chicken hot pot,
mizutaki, run to its famed creator, Suigetsu Honten. (They also do a mouthwatering chicken sashimiyes, chicken
sashimi. The way I see it, if youre going
to try semi-raw chicken, it might as well
be in super-hygienic Japan.) Theres
even swell eats on the approach to the
Dazaifu shrine: The fragrant, densely
delicious black sesame ice cream should
not be missed.
But no trip to Fukuoka is complete
without gyoza. Fukuoka is, after all, one
of the birthplaces of said dumpling; it
was here that veterans returning from
the failed war with China re-created the
jiaozi that so many of them had grown
to love. World War II might not always
make it into the textbooks in Japan, but
its gustatory echo is on nearly every Japanese menu. There are many contenders
for best gyoza in town, but Im partial to
the beautifully charred juicies at Temujin. The fact that a restaurant serving
Japanese interpretations of a Chinese
dumpling is named for the Mongol overlord Genghis Khan, whose grandson
Kublai would twice fail to invade Japan via Fukuoka, exemplies just how
deepand complicatedthe citys connections with the Asian mainland run.
And as for the ramen that started
this whole odyssey? All I can say is that
what I ate at the source of the tonkotsubroth Nile exceeded all expectations. I
know the world is supposed to be all
global now, but from where I chow,
what counts as outstanding in a ramen
periphery like New York would only
rate as pretty good in a ramen metropole like Fukuoka. Rather than perorate
needlessly, I simply recommend that a
traveler hit any of the branches of Ichiran, which styles itself as the most dedicated Ramen Company to the study of
Tonkotsu Ramen in the whole world,
as well as the more local Shin-Shin. Sit
yourself down, order your bowl, and
O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4 / C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R

125

SO OKAY, all of us food and


travel heads agree: The dining in Fukuoka is divine!
And yet.
And yet this aint even half of what
makes Fukuoka so fascinating. For real.
As corny as this might sound, and believe me, it is super-corny, Fukuokas
real drawthe umami of its broth, if you
willis its people. But its true. In all
of my trips to Japan, Ive never had the
pleasure of meeting a friendlier, more
welcoming bunch. They are almost
Latin in their warmth, in their simpatico. (Maybe Guerra shouldnt have
been surprised; if any Japanese were
going to know bachata, it would be the
Fukuokans.)
And, man, do they ever talk. Inscrutable Asians, nothing. Everywhere we
went, locals engaged us at length without the least bit of encouragement. And
it was awesome. In Yanagibashi Market, where you can buy everything from
sweet mochi to gasping sh, one of the
merchants, a Mr. Yoshida, told us about
his father who had emigrated to Hawaii
in, Im guessing, the 20s; the old man
started a sweetshop somewhere on the
islands but eventually returned to Japan.
Well, recently Mr. Yoshida and the wife
took a vacay to Hawaii and managed to
track down the old sweetshop and guess
what: His fathers name was still on it.
The new owners had kept it. Amazing,
right? And then there was the night we
were on the Deaibashi Bridge, enjoying
the reection of the neon sizzle across the
surface of the Naka River, and a guitarist
selling CDs got us all talking. He wasnt
the Bachata en Fukuoka type, but he
did serenade the girls with some sharp
Whitesnake and Aerosmith covers, and
under the rst of the years cherry blossoms, bathed in lights, you couldnt have
orchestrated anything more sublime.
Human moments like these are naturally
what cities are all aboutthey just seem
to happen at a higher rate in Fukuoka.
126

C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4

If you ask me, the same thing that


makes the city such a wonderful eating
destination is also what makes its people so fantastically extroverted. Closer
to the mainland than to the capitalits
just 132 miles from Busan, South Korea,
but 555 miles west of TokyoFukuoka
has historically been one of Japans
most outward-looking places, a crossroads of sorts, a cultural crucible, what
the scholar Mary Louise Pratt would
have called a contact zone: a social
space where cultures meet, clash, and
grapple with each other. Its here that
the larger world, for better or for worse,
rst leaked into Japan, and Japan, for
better or for worse, leaked out, and
where so much of the transculturation

The world is supposed


to be all global now,
but from where I
chow, what counts as
outstanding in a
ramen periphery like
New York would only
rate as pretty good
in a ramen metropole
like Fukuoka.

that made Japan and its kitchen what


they are today took place. Contact zones
are areas of conict but also, as Pratt
writes, of exhilarating moments of
wonder and revelation. And yes, joy.
Are we surprised then that the children
of contact zones, Caribbean types all,
tend to have a greater curiosity, a larger
appetite if you will, for what is strange,
what is elsewhere, what is other? That
rather than running from these things,
they embrace them?
It is this spirit of the contact zone that
is the true soul of Fukuoka, and why
I fell so hard for the city. (For I too am
a child of a contact zone and therefore
highly vulnerable to such enchantments.) And why, despite all the fancy
eats of the city, I found myself returning

again and again to, of all places, Fukuokas famous yatai. These little food
stalls serving home-style cooking, like
oden and yakitori, were once widespread
in Japan but now survive only in Fukuoka and its vicinity. In general, yatai
get almost no love. Travel guides dismiss them as touristic one-offs, and every Japanese person I mentioned them
to gave me the same spiel: Yatai are for
tourists; locals dont eat there; the food
is expensive and not that great.
Bueno. Maybe Im just a gaijin dummy,
but I did a whole series of yatai and
found the food, on average, to be delicious and affordable, and even when the
food was so-so it didnt really matter,
because the camaraderie inside those
haphazard wood-and-tarp walls was
about the best thing in Fukuoka. I urge
you to sit down at Mami-chans yatai on
Showa-dori, and after she warns you
about the yatai near the river (Same
food as here, but overpriced), tuck into
the rst complimentary wing she dishes
out, followed by her glorious handmade
gyoza and her special yaki-ramennoodles in a very small serving of broth (another local invention)and let the spirit
of Fukuoka, the spirit of contact, take
hold of you. Let it put its hands on you
and let it, like in a bachata, carry you
along. On a good night, everyone will be
talking: to your group, to Mami-chan,
to one another. There will be men in
suits welcoming a new colleague from
Nagoya. A pair of young women who
just graduated from high school and are
celebrating while crammed alongside
a tall, handsome elder, another local,
who hasnt been in a yatai in 30 years.
Back when I was young, he will explain, yatai were where the hungry
boys ate. And something will tell you
that when this prosperous businessman
was young, he too was one of the hungry boys.
Sit in a yatai and its secret will be
revealed: Yatai are nothing less and
nothing more than diminutive contact
zonesplaces where the foundational
physics that made Fukuoka (and the nation) play out in miniature. Sit in a yatai,
shoulder to shoulder with locals and,
yes, with tourists, and what you will
hear, smell, taste, and participate in will
be nothing less and nothing more than
the simple magic from which nations
like ours are born. X

ILLUSTRATION BY AGNESE BICOCCHI

observe as bite by bite, slurp by slurp,


your mind gets blown. Every bowl of
ramen is said to contain a universe, and
this universe is a celestial symphony of
tender noodles, farm-fresh green onions, and pungent porky splendor. If its
true that the culinary gods shine their
glory on Japan, then that glory shines a
little brighter in Fukuoka.

PHOTOGRAPH BY AMANA IMAGES/GETTY IMAGES

EAT
Fujiyoshi
9-6 nishi-nakasu,
chuo-ku;
81-92-761-5692;
entres from $10.

Suigetsu Honten
3-16-14 hirao,
chuo-ku;
81-92-531-0031;
prix xes from $25.

Ichiran
Fourteen locations
in Fukuoka.
ichiran.co.jp/english;
entres from $8.

Temujin
1-1 hakataekichuogai,
hakata ward;
81-92-413-5239;
gyouzaya.net;
entres from $6.

Shin-Shin
3 chome-2-19
tenjin, chuo-ku;
81-92-732-4006;
hakata-shinshin.com;
entres from $6.

Yatai food stands


line the river in
the Nakasu district
of Fukuoka.

TRAVEL INTEL
Tips, tricks, and miscellany: Our editors guide to this months destinations.

Ombudsman Why keeping


a paper trail always pays off.
We picked up our Budget rental car in Madrid and were well
into the drive to Barcelona when the check-engine light
came on. Even though the vehicle was running ne, we called
the Madrid office to inform them of the situation. Unfortunately, a
language barrier kept us from getting clear instructions on what to do
next, so we drove 60 miles out of our way to the airport in Zaragoza,
hoping that a Budget office at the terminal could help. There was no
Budget counter at the airport, howeverthe office was a few miles
awayand the staff there insisted that our car be towed in despite the
fact that it was still running ne. Once at the office, we swapped our
original vehicle for a new one and carried on with our vacation. When
we returned the car at the end of our trip, Budget stuck us with a
bill for the tow as well as a refueling chargeeven though we returned
the vehicle with a full tank. Shouldnt these extra fees be waived?

Illustration by Ping Zhu

We think so. Why should


you pay for a tow you
didnt need or want?
Initially, the company offered a
$25 certicate toward a future
rental, but after receiving the
extensive written documentation
our reader wisely kept during
the trip, they agreed to refund all
extraneous chargesabout
$120. Its a good reminder that,
particularly in countries where
you dont speak the language,
written records are the best
way to protect yourself against
overcharges.

16

Number of special
meal offerings
on Deltas flights,
the most of any
domestic carrier.
Options include
toddler, Japanese,
gluten free,
Hindu, Muslim,
and bland.

Need help solving a travel conundrum? Ombudsman offers a free


service of advice and mediation. E-mail ombudsman@cntraveler.com.

O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4 / C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R

129

Travel Intel

The Five Things Travelers


Should Do This Month

1
2
3
4
5

Lock in your ski trip.


Buy your unrestricted Epic Pass for
unlimited skiing at all Vail Resorts in
Colorado, Utah, and California for
the 201415 season, says Meg Austin
of The Travel Society. It is $729 for
an adult, has no blackout dates, and
includes Vail, Beaver Creek, and
Breckenridge; Heavenly in Tahoe;
the Canyons in Utah; and more.
Reserve a last-minute cruise.
Booking now can land you a great
deal on some far-flung itineraries
in early 2015, says cruise expert
Linda Allen. She suggests AmaWaterways Mekong River cruise,
which includes stops in Hanoi,
Angkor Wat, and Phnom Penh.
Score a shoulder-season deal.
The shing, water temperatures,
and prices are great in Los Cabos
right now, says Mexico-based villa
broker Julie Byrd, as long as you
stay away from the big fishingtournament dates (October 1719).
Book your Grand Slam tickets.
The Australian Open doesnt start
until January, but tickets sell out
almost immediately after October
7, when they go on sale, says Donna
Thomas of New Zealand Travel.
Its one of the biggest draws of the
Southern Hemisphere summer.
Visit China in the off-season.
October is best for crisp blue skies
at the Great Wall, says Mei Zhang
of Wild China. Later in the winter is
equally lovely, says David Allardice
of Eastern Journeys: Yes, itll be
cold, but youll get unbelievable
rates at leading hotels.

What to Drink in
Lima at . . .
9 A.M.

EMOLIENTE

Its a traditional hot brew of barley


flavored with medicinal plants like
boldo, cats claw, and flaxseed.
Where to find it:
Streetside carts dot the city, or
try La Emolientera in Miraflores.
12 P . M .

CHICHA MORADA

The non-alcoholic purple corn


drink is often flavored with
pineapple, cinnamon, and clove.
Where to find it:
Everywhere. But skip the
store-bought stuff in favor of
house-made versions.
9 P.M.

PISCO SOUR

Perus national drink combines


unaged grape brandy, lemon,
sugar, and (often) egg white.
Where to find it:
Some of the best are shaken
at Bar Ingls, at the Country Club
Lima Hotel.

ILLUSTRATIONS BY DAVID SPARSHOTT

You Tell Us What Souvenirs


Do You Actually Use?

The beautiful white


lace napkins I found
off Market Square
in Bruges.
Abby Yang,
Arlington, Texas

The lovely cast iron tea


pot I purchased in
Nikko, Japanwith the
smell of fresh sencha
(green tea) lingering.
@spinthemap

A set of copper pots


from a quincaillerie, or
hardware store, on the rue
Cler in Parisits the one
with the straw totes hanging under the awning.
@theweekender
O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4 / C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R

131

Travel Intel

Six New
Nonstop Flights

The Apps We
Love for . . .

Getting where youre going


is now easier than ever.

. . . booking a lastminute reservation at an


in-demand restaurant:

AUSTRIAN AIRLINES

TABLE8

WOULD YOU
EVER . . .

Snag a table for


a small fee with just
a few days notice
(or even on the day of)
in San Francisco,
Los Angeles, or New York.

Newark

Vienna

Who Benets United iersthe New


Jersey hub now joins Dulles and
OHare and offers ve ights weekly.

CHINA SOUTHERN AIRLINES


New York

. . . getting tickets
to a Broadway show:

Who Benets Visitors to the Pearl


River Delta, who no longer need
to y to Hong Kong and then take a
ferry and a train to get there.

TODAYTIX

Discounted tickets
will be hand-delivered
to you (in New York
and London).

JETSMARTER

Become a member
($6,999 annually)
or pay as you go (from
$1,980 per hour).

ETIHAD AIRLINES
. . . ride an Air Wheel,
a portable electric
wheel thats like a
Segway without
handlebars? (airwheel
.net; from $650 on
amazon.com)

$381

The average U.S.


domestic airfare last
year, according
to the Department of
Transportation.

. . . bypassing the
room service menu:
SEAMLESS

Many hotels
are doing away with
in-room dining,
but a cheeseburger is
always just a click
away (available in
more than 600 cities).

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C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4

San Francisco Abu Dhabi


Starting in November
Dallas Abu Dhabi
Starting in December
Who Benets Those seeking one-stop
trips to the Maldives and Sri Lanka.

JETBLUE
New York Curaao
Starting in December
Who Benets New Yorkers who want
to see a Caribbean island they havent
seen yetand be there by lunch.

QATAR AIRWAYS
Dallas

Doha

Who Benets Business travelers


who would otherwise have to connect
on the East Coast.

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ILLUSTRATIONS BY DAVID SPARSHOTT

. . . securing a
private jet:

Guangzhou

Souvenir

Coast to Coast
That espresso at SantEustachio before seeing the Pantheon in Rome; the gin zz at an oldschool New York speakeasy; the chocolat chaud sipped while listening to church bells
outside the Crillon in Parisnothing quite sparks our nostalgia like a Proustian memory of
the rst perfect sip. Sometimes its the little things that we bring back from a placea
cocktail coaster, a bar napkin, a tearoom doilythat end up becoming the most transporting.
Like stamps on the pages of a passport, theyre proof of the sights weve seen and
the meals weve savored, from confetterie and cafs to taverns and trattorias. Lindsay Talbot
134

C O N D N A S T T R AV E L E R / O C TO B E R 2 0 1 4

Photograph by Gentl & Hyers