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Mouthing Off

By the Editors of Food & Wine Magazine

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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.

Cocktails

A Community-Supported Restaurant in Vermont

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gazpacho

© Chelsea Morse
Gazpacho at Claire's Restaurant & Bar

Food & Wine’s food-obsessed features intern, Chelsea Morse, admits that she is is occasionally guilty of thinking that Manhattan is the only place where interesting food trends take off. “It's a dangerous trap,” she says. A recent trip to Vermont has her reconsidering.

Here's her big discovery:

Claire's Restaurant & Bar in Hardwick is a CSR (community-supported restaurant). More than 100 individual donors provided all of its start-up funds and eighty cents of every dollar that is spent on food stays within 15 miles of the restaurant—year-round. (Translation: incredible tomato gazpacho all summer, but no green salads in January). The restaurant is even moving its bar program toward local ingredients as much as possible. Vermont chefs and bartenders manage to sneak maple products into everything, and Claire's Dark & Stormy (their version of my go-to summer cocktail) features a dash of a local maple liqueur. Heaven. I can't wait for my next trip north.
 

Wine

Food, Wine & Rock Stars

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outside lands

© Outside Lands
Wine Lands at San Francisco's Outside Lands Festival.



Chefs and winemakers are truly having their rock-star moments this summer as some of the country’s biggest music festivals have added stellar food, wine and beer lineups to complement the concerts’ real rock-star performers.

Earlier this year, winemaker Karl Wente of Wente Vineyards was cruising the shows at Austin’s South by Southwest festival in his Discover the Wine Discover the Music bus, pairing wines with emerging artists playing at the festival.

In June at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee, not only was there a craft beer tent with 20 different microbreweries like Magic Hat, Asheville, Blue Grass and Ommegang, but beer sommelier Samuel Merritt of Civilization of Beer was running classes like beer history.

Chicago’s music-obsessed chef Graham Elliot has taken on the roll of culinary director for this weekend’s Lollapalooza concert. Here's a list of the killer local restaurants he’s gotten onboard to create food for the festival.

And the most ambitious of all might just be the upcoming Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco, which will have an entire wine tent, dubbed Wine Lands. The festival’s wine director, Peter Eastlake of Vintage Berkeley, has lined up some of Napa and Sonoma’s best wineries, including Robert Sinskey, Bonny Doon and Long Meadow Ranch. The food lineup, which will include dishes from Bay Area favorites like Maverick (they will be serving their barbecue pulled pork sandwich), was announced even before the music lineup. Are the musicians worried the chefs and winemakers are going to steal the show? I posed the question to Nathan Followill, drummer of the festival’s headlining band, the Kings of Leon. Check back tomorrow to see his response.

For now, check out some of F&W's favorite playlists:

For a small dinner party
For a birthday party
For a cocktail party
For a summer grilling party
 

Travel

Waikiki for Cooks

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The new Trump International Hotel Waikiki Beach Walk is the first luxury beachfront hotel to open in Waikiki in 20 years. But what makes me want to stay there isn't its location but its amenities for cooks. The kitchen puts my Brooklyn one to shame: a Wolf range, Bosch appliances, a Sub-Zero wine chiller, and a Sub-Zero fridge that their concierge will fill with all of our Hawaiian favorites, like pog and poke, before you arrive. For guests who want to barbecue, there are barbecues on the beach. The hotel staff will set up the meat and vegetables of your choice. When finished, just give them a ring and they'll clean it up, too.

Restaurants

Jersey Shore Cheat Sheet

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bungalow

© New World Group
The Jersey Shore's hip new Bungalow hotel.

I sheepishly admit that I call the Jersey Shore my home. I grew up in the tiny beach town of Pt. Pleasant and yes, from the months of June through August, some parts do resemble the MTV reality show, which I stubbornly boycott. But for the most part, many Shore towns are Snooki  and JWoww-free, particularly post-Labor Day. I travel all around the world and still consider it one of my favorite quick city escapes. Here, a hit list of insider’s tips on the real Jersey Shore.

*I had to laugh when I saw the Shrimp Box, a family-run, waterfront restaurant where I spent my summers waiting tables, reviewed in today's Wall Street Journal. Its new patio is where locals head for summer drinks. For food, I prefer Red’s Lobster Pot, a super-casual, BYOB restaurant set on the water just next door.

*Lines for the house-made ice cream at Hoffman’s in Pt. Pleasant spill out the door, but the Coconut Joy and cookie-loaded Coffee Oreo are worth the wait.

*In the Lily Pulitzer-loving town of Bay Head, the restaurant Dorcas is set in an old Victorian house with green-and-white striped awnings. Sit at the old-fashioned soda fountain and watch the counter girls make floats and egg creams. They also serve a quirky “curly” hot dog on a hamburger bun and thick, crispy onion rings with a side of Ranch dressing (a brilliant pairing).

*In the August issue, I wrote about America’s best new hotels by the sea. Among them, Long Branch’s super hip Bungalow hotel from SIXX Design. Just a few doors down is Avenue, a chic restaurant with the Shore’s best raw bar, a 200-plus wine list and a sceney rooftop club.

*In Asbury Park, Bruce Spingsteen’s stomping grounds, Bistro Olé is my favorite spot for insanely good Spanish and Portuguese food like paella and ropa vieja. An added bonus: It’s BYOB and there’s usually live music. Late-night, I head to the legendary rock club where the Boss is known to make the occasional surprise appearance.

 

Cocktails

Adult Slushies at DC’s new Estadio

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F&W's awesome DC stringer Amanda McClements

F&W’s outstanding Washington, DC, correspondent, Amanda McClements, is way ahead of me when it comes to an ingenious plan to stay hydrated during this hideous heat wave. Here’s her early look at DC’s brand new Estadio, featuring a menu of very cool (no pun intended) “slushitos”:

I’ve picked my poison for the dog days of summer, and it comes from a slushy machine. Adult frozen drinks, a.k.a. slushitos, have hit Washington, DC, at Estadio, Mark Kuller’s new Spanish tapas joint that opened on 14th Street last week. Among bar manager Adam Bernbach’s knockout flavors: the Spanish-inspired quince with lemon, paprika, Scotch and sherry. “I was playing around with membrillo, and something about it reminded me of Scotch,” Bernbach says. “I thought it would be really fun.” Also churning in the slushy machine: fresh strawberries with lime, basil, Campari and gin. Bernbach plans to offer new slushito flavors each month.

© Amanda McClements
Estadio's adult slushies

Estadio’s chef is Haidar Karoum, who also heads the kitchen at Kuller’s wine-centric restaurant Proof. Karoum’s menu includes excellent pintxos and tapas like jamón croquetas, a blood-sausage bocadillo with Cabrales cheese, and grilled octopus with potato-and-caper salad. Also moonlighting from Proof is wine director Sebastian Zutant, whose list at Estadio is almost exclusively Spanish. He’s mixing some of the wines into cocktails; I love the Txakoli with lemon soda and orange bitters (will I see it soon as a slushito??). They're served out of spout-shaped glass porrons (wine pitcher) that you tip directly into your mouth—or sometimes, if you’re not careful, onto your shirt.

Travel

London’s Most Fashionable Hotel

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DVF

© Claridge's
One of the glam new DVF rooms at Claridge's in London.



Diane von Furstenberg is one of the Claridge’s most loyal guests. The prolific fashion designer has been staying at the glamorous Art Deco London hotel for more than 30 years (Claridge’s was even the muse for her first cruise collection in 2008). She recently put her stamp on the property by helping design its fabulous new rooms and suites, with inspiration taken from her travels. The in-room cocktail bars resemble jewelry boxes she loved while in the Middle East—even the photos on the walls were taken during her trips. The wall coverings and upholstery will feature her textile collection, which will launch in September.

Farms

The Newest Hotel Amenity: A Farmers’ Market

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The just-opened Andaz Fifth Avenue in NYC may be getting all of the attention with its incredible artwork (it’s worth a trip just to see the eight-foot-high Nick Hornby sculpture) and its ground-level shop selling Blue Bottle Coffee and Mast Bros. Chocolate. But its older sister property, the Andaz Wall Street, is about to one-up it. This Saturday, Andaz Wall Street debuts its very own farmers’ market. All of the participating purveyors (Migliorelli Farm, Beth’s Farm Kitchen, Eckerton Hill Farm) supply the hotel’s restaurant Wall & Water. There will also be live music, plus monthly cooking classes conducted by Wall & Water’s chef Maximo Lopez May. The market will be held every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. through November.

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