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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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Travel

A Funky New Santa Barbara Boutique

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supply room

© Jen Murphy
The Supply Room at the Presidio Motel.

Santa Barbara, California’s Presidio Motel has gotten a super-hip makeover since Kenny Osehan and Chris Sewell took over the space about five years ago. They started the transformation by asking University of Santa Barbara art students to reimagine the motel’s 16 guest rooms. Some fun results: whimsical origami mobiles and purple cloud murals. Live bands come play on the upper deck, which is outfitted with bright orange chairs—and, sometimes, an inflatable kiddie pool filled with bottles of local craft beer. The newest addition is a funky little boutique that opened in July called the Supply Room. Reminiscent of Opening Ceremony’s space at the Ace Hotel in NYC, the Supply Room carries indie designers from the Santa Barbara area, as well as from Brooklyn and L.A. When I stopped in, the store was stocked with fun beaded jewelry from local designer Camilla Bourbon, handmade sheepskin slippers made in Bodega Bay and Osei-Duro clothing from Ghana. There are also fun travel items like vintage postcards and Japanese toothpaste. With the Supply Room now open, Osehan and Sewell have turned their attention to their next project: a 1956 Shasta Trailer RV that will most likely be turned into a happy hour lounge in the parking lot.
 

Farms

Santa Barbara’s Newest Food Stand

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farmstand

© Jen Murphy
Jalama Road Farm Stand

 

Last weekend I was in Santa Barbara County eating, drinking and trying to catch a few waves from an unexpected south swell. My friend and I drove out to Jalama Beach, which in addition to being a great surf spot is also home to the famous Jalama burger. The wind wasn’t working in our favor for surfing, but on the drive back we discovered the awesome new Jalama Road Family Farm Stand (look for signs along Jalama Road about one mile after the turn off of Highway 1). My friend and I had used the last of our cash for parking at the beach but offered to barter two bottles of wine for heirloom tomatoes, squash, peppers, pumpkins, homemade jams and sunflowers. The produce and artisanal goods all come from the Pata and Malloy families (that I later learned were the surf world’s legendary Malloys. The adorable packaging on the butter beans (which includes a recipe for hummus) and labels on the honey were created by Erin Pata, who also owns Butterbean Studios.  The stand is open Fridays through Sundays from noon to 5:00p.m.

Bars

Where to Eat, Drink and Sleep in Toronto

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The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is now in full swing: The dramas! The comedies! The thrillers! And that’s just half of what happens at the parties participating in the TIFF extended bar hours. (Instead of 1 a.m., many bars and restaurants associated with TIFF are allowed to stay open until 4 a.m. during the 10 days of the festival.)

Here are the best spots in Toronto to eat, drink and sleep:

Victor at Le Germain Hotel Try the Social 52 menu, which emphasizes the diversity of neighborhoods—and cuisines—in the city. Dishes could include Korean-inspired ribs and kimchi or Portuguese grilled sardines.

Scarpetta at the Thompson Hotel Star chef Scott Conant's Toronto outpost offers seemingly simple but utterly spectacular spaghetti with tomato sauce, and creamy polenta with truffled mushroom stew.

One at the Hazelton Hotel Where else can you find Clive Owen, Juliette Lewis, a trio of Raptors players and a renowned environmentalist, all under one roof? An absolutely divine starter: the butter-braised lobster spoons.

Avenue in the Four Seasons Toronto Ground central for TIFF for most of its 35 years, the hotel is closing up and moving around the corner in the near future. But for now, it’s still your best shot at hobnobbing with Hollywood—and for a terrific burger with Parmesan frites.

The Roof Lounge at the Park Hyatt Best bar in the city, bar none. It offers amazing panoramic views of the skyline—as well as an elegant Old World room with a fireplace. Have one of the veteran bartenders prepare a classic Canadian cocktail, like the Caesar.

Restaurants

How to Eat like a Film Star in Toronto

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The 35th Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) just got underway and runs until September 19th. During these 10 days, film lovers descend upon Toronto from around the globe to see the best from international, Hollywood and Canadian cinema. And the stars come to eat and play, too. As a helpful outreach program, I've come up with suggestions for where and what to eat for some of the biggest names attending the festival:
Natalie Portman: The star of Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan will love the delicious, raw, gluten-free and vegan dishes served at Live Organic Food Bar. Must try: garden lasagna, a raw main dish full of herbed "ricotta cheese,” fresh pesto and marinated tomatoes sandwiched between zucchini “noodles.”
Ryan Reynolds: After the premiere of Buried, I picture him tucking into a steaming-hot take-out carton of Canada’s unofficial national dish poutine—hand-cut Yukon Gold french fries topped with gravy and squeaky Quebec cheese curds. The version from Smoke’s Poutinerie is stellar.
Marion Cotillard: Here to support Les Petits Mouchoirs (Little White Lies), she should head for the elegant Italian dishes served at Buca. Must try: crisp Roman-style pizzas served on large wooden cheeseboards, some swathed with house-made charcuterie, all accompanied by a pair of scissors for pizza-snipping.
Will Ferrell: Everything Must Go is the name of his latest film, but Caplansky’s Delicatessen is where the comedic star should stop for lunch. Must try: hand-sliced pickled tongue, served hot on rye bread.
Freida Pinto: Julian Schnabel has eclectic tastes, as does the star of his film Miral. I’d send them both to Origin for international small plates. Must have: spiced chocolate pudding with fromage frais and frozen aerated milk chocolate. 
As for TIFF actor attendees Clive Owen, Ryan Gossling, Jon Hamm and James Franco? Well, they’re all invited to dine at my house!
Check back here later this week for great spots to eat and drink, in between film-going and star-gazing.

Cocktails

San Francisco Hotel Indulgence

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vitale

© JDV Hotels
Americano at the Hotel Vitale, San Francisco.



On a recent trip to San Francisco, I stayed at Hotel Vitale, which I’ve decided may be the most perfect hotel in the city. Its location is dangerously convenient to the artisanal awesomeness of the Ferry Building Marketplace—just across the street. Still, I saved room for chef Kory Stewart’s stellar food at the hotel restaurant, Americano. Stewart took over as chef about six months ago and is cooking super-satisfying Italian-inspired dishes, the type I crave nearly any time of day, like spicy parmesan shoestring fries with aioli and and pizza topped with crushed tomatoes, mozzarella and salumi. I was slighty obsessed with his breakfast menu, particularly the wild-mushroom scramble with Grana Padano cheese, truffle oil and fairy-size chanterelles fresh from the Oregon coast. A large outdoor patio was great for late-afternoon cocktails, like the signature Americano: crushed orange slices with Campari and Carpona sweet vermouth over ice.

I was able to balance out all of the indulgence by taking advantage of the hotel’s free morning yoga sessions and its great little running maps that revealed long-and-hilly or short-and-flat routes. Then there was the hotel spa, hidden away on the top floor, where three treatment rooms and deep soaking tubs surrounded by bamboo overlook the bay and feel a world away from the city.

Wine

Music, Food & Wine in Golden Gate Park

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osl

© John Margaretten
Korean tacos from Namu at Outside Lands.


This weekend I had a chance to eat, drink and see some phenomenal bands rock out in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park at the third annual Outside Lands music festival. Here, some highlights:

* Sampling insanely good food from the 34 stalls. Maverick went through 750 pounds of pig for its pulled-pork sandwiches! Other favorites included the barbecued oysters from Anchor & Hope and vermicelli noodles from Out the Door. Patrick Hallahan of the band My Morning Jacket was a fan of Namu’s Korean tacos.

* Cruising the Wine Lands tent with Outside Lands producer Rick Farman and Vintage Berkeley wine-shop owner Peter Eastlake, the wine director of Wine Lands. Eastlake lined up 25 top California wineries this year. There were 75 wines available by the taste or glass; my favorites included 2009 Wind Gap Trousseau Gris, 2008 A.P. Vin Kanzler Pinot Noir and 2008 Manifesto! Cabernet Sauvignon. (Kings of Leon were drinking Sinskey and Copain wines backstage.)

* Hanging with winemaker Jamey Whetstone (read more about him in the October issue of F&W). He was offering wines from his Whetstone and Manifesto! labels in Wine Lands, though he did manage to sneak away to see Social Distortion play.

* Watching Gogol Bordello while eating Hawaiian poke and Baja-shrimp ceviche from Pacific Catch restaurant.

* Checking out the on-site farmers’ market next to the stage where the Rebirth Brass Band performed.

* Going backstage after the Kings of Leon show for the late-night after-party, which included spiked hot chocolate and massive oatmeal-raisin cookies.

Restaurants

Rio de Janeiro's Newest Hotels

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© Courtesy Hotel Fasano
Fasano's rooftop pool

With both World Cup and the Olympics coming up for Rio de Janeiro in the next six years, the city is getting ready to host a slew of travelers. Rio's hotel scene runs from large chains to the old guard Copacabana Palace—as well as two relatively new boutique hotels: the Fasano and the Hotel Santa Teresa. The three-year-old Fasano, Bohemian Ipanema's first luxury hotel, is right on the waterfront. It's designed by Philippe Starck, but with a casual, beachy feel, it's more understated than many of his other projects (each guest is given a pair of Brazil's national flip-flop, Havaianas). The food is no afterthought: Fasano Al Mare, a Mediterranean seafood spot, is the work of Luca Gozzani of Michelin three-starred Enoteca Pinchiorri in Florence. The year-old Hotel Santa Teresa is located in another artsy neighborhood, the up-and-coming hillside community of Santa Teresa, which is a maze of galleries, charmingly run-down mansions and art studios. The property was a former coffee plantation and houses another ambitious restaurant, the French-Brazilian Térèze, from Frenchman and Alain Ducasse alum Damien Montecer.

Travel

Eat, Pray, Love Escapes

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© Denzil Sequeira
Elsewhere, Goa

With so much hype leading up to last weekend's opening of Eat Pray Love, the film may have already reached its saturation point. Whether you love the book and its film adaptation or not, I can’t think of three more fabulous destinations than Bali, India and Italy. Below, see my picks on great escapes in each. I can’t guarantee Javier Bardem or James Franco run-ins, but all three will deliver incredible food experiences and instant relaxation.

Bali: F&W’s Gail Simmons recently returned from a stay at the Alila Villas Uluwatu, a new superluxe small resort on the southern tip of the island. The young Dutch chef who heads up its restaurant, Warung, reinvents traditional Indonesian food with modern techniques and local ingredients.

Italy: F&W’s executive wine editor Ray Isle just returned from his own epic eating and drinking adventure in and around Rome. You can read about it in the October issue. For now, avoid the city's Eat Pray Love crowds and escape to Tuscany’s stunning new Il Salviatino resort. The restored palazzo is tucked away in the hills of Fiesole. The chef at its restaurant, La Terazza, worked with local grandmothers to develop dishes like ricotta-and-spinach gnudi and pici with bread crumbs.

India:
Earlier this year, I was in India and found my perfect paradise at a dreamy place called Elsewhere on the beach in northern Goa. The scattering of houses and tents are part of Indian fashion photographer Denzil Sequeira’s family property. The location is so remote that it won’t show up on GPS. Highlights included learning how to prepare a Goan feast with Elsewhere’s cooks, riding an elephant at a nearby spice farm and practicing daily yoga on the beach.

Farms

Rio de Janeiro's Markets

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Ipanema's Fishmonger

© Ross Todd

I was in Brazil earlier this week and fell hard for Rio de Janeiro and its feiras, or markets. I spent plenty of time wandering the aisles of Zona Sul, the local supermarket chain, picking up cachaça and cheese-filled pastries, but the best part was the farmers’ markets in Ipanema. The fishmonger's catch was incredibly fresh-smelling and beautifully displayed, with tiger-striped fish and pale pink eels. The fruit was also spilling over counters, the more exotic the better: papayas, coconuts and my new favorite, custard apples, which look like artichokes but are filled with large black seeds and a white, creamy flesh. We took one home and ate it in the morning with granola and yogurt for the perfect tropical treat. Does anyone know of any way to get them stateside?

Restaurants

Eat, Pray, Love Inspirations

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eat, pray, love

© Fresh
Fresh's Eat, Pray, Love fragrance collection



Writer Elizabeth Gilbert’s best-selling memoir, Eat, Pray, Love opens in theaters this Friday and travel agents are betting that it will inspire and empower single women across the country to book a flight to India, Bali, Italy or perhaps all three. The movie even partnered with Lonely Planet, which has created a website recommending sights and hotels following Gilbert’s life-changing journey.

Gilbert loyalists have apparently already begun to descend upon the Roman gelateria that appears in both the book and film.

Anyone looking for a taste of Eat, Pray, Love closer to home should check out some of these inspirations:

Florida’s Little Palm Island Resort is offering an “Eat Pray Little Palm Island” package: five nights in a luxury thatched-roof bungalow suite with daily yoga, guided meditation and dinner and cooking classes with the resort’s chef.
 
The entire city of San Antonio is billing itself as an Eat, Pray, Love destination this summer with nearly a dozen travel packages themed around the film.

The Ellis Hotel in Atlanta has created an Eat, Pray, Love package that includes dinner (eat), a copy of the book, The Prophet (pray), and a one-night deluxe room accommodation (love), plus a copy of Gilbert’s book.

And for those who won’t be leaving home, Fresh has created a trio of fragrances inspired by Eat, Pray, Love. Eat has notes of Italian lemon, basil and bergamot; Pray has notes of incense, peony and patchouli and musk; and Love has hints of mango blossom, jasmine and velvet amber.

The more adventurous can check back tomorrow for my Eat, Pray, Love restaurant and hotel picks in India, Italy and Bali.

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