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Abiquiu Inn serves tasty dishes (and serene casitas)

Abiquiu Inn serves tasty dishes (and serene casitas)

There aren't a whole lot of reasons to visit Abiquiu, New Mexico, 56 miles northwest of Santa Fe. Most of us come for Georgia O'Keeffe, who lived in this high-country village from 1949 until shortly before her death in 1986. O'Keeffe fans stream here to see her home and studio, visit her isolated studio at Ghost Ranch, and drink in the luminous, surreal landscapes. If they come to do all three, they likely stay overnight at the Abiquiu Inn (21120 U.S. 84, Abiquiu, N.M.; 505-685-4378; abiquiuinn.com). We did—and we were delighted. The rooms are essentially casitas. Several casitas back up on a shared courtyard, but we almost always had it to ourselves—unless you count the hummingbirds sipping nectar from the trumpet vine blossoms or having...Read More
Cafe Pasqual’s in Santa Fe also feeds the spirit

Cafe Pasqual’s in Santa Fe also feeds the spirit

There's a tradition in the pantheon of Catholic saints to consider San Pasqual as the patron saint of cooks and kitchens. Paschal Baylón was a late 16th century Spanish lay Franciscan brother who was known for adding vegetables, meat, and pieces of bread to the thin broth given to the poor. Cafe Pasqual's (121 Don Gaspar Ave., 505-983-9340, pasquals.com) has been dishing out three meals a day since 1979. Founder and executive chef Katharine Kagel, originally from Berkeley, California, has kept up the charitable heritage. She helped create Santa Fe's food bank and co-chairs the capital campaign for Kitchen Angels, the group that provides free hot meals delivered to Santa Fe's homebound. In 1999, just the second year of awarding America's Classics awards, the James...Read More
Fundraiser gala fare channels Shaker spirit

Fundraiser gala fare channels Shaker spirit

In early August, we had the pleasure of attending the annual fundraising Gala at Hancock Shaker Village (hancockshakervillage.org). One of the more prosperous of Shaker communities in the Northeast, “The City of Peace,” as its inhabitant called it, reached its height in the 1830s. More than 300 Shakers worked 3,000 acres of land just west of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, in the heart of the Berkshires. Since 1959, the community has been a history museum with 20 original buildings, a working farm, a wealth of Shaker artifacts, and many excellent interpretive programs. The village's signature building is the Round Stone Barn, pictured at the top of the post. It's a landmark structure in America vernacular architecture. We ate dinner at tables in the hayloft level. Shaker beliefs...Read More
An American shortcut to Spanish tortilla

An American shortcut to Spanish tortilla

Wherever we go, the local cuisine always seems to have a go-to item—something easily ordered, quick to prepare, widely available, and nearly foolproof. In much of the U.S., that's often a hamburger. In France, a slice of quiche and a salad. In Spain, it's the potato omelet, or tortilla española. You never know where you'll get a great tortilla. The lowliest dive bar serves tortilla and bars attached to fancy restaurants offer it. You can even get a decent one in the refrigerator cases in many supermarkets. The tortilla can be the model of simplicity—a magical amalgam of eggs, potato, onion, and olive oil. That's the first image on the right, shown with tomato-rubbed bread in La Gardunya at the back of La Boqueria market...Read More
Crème de la crème ignites apple crisp

Crème de la crème ignites apple crisp

On my first visit to London many years ago, I ordered a bowl of apple crumble for dessert in a casual eatery catering to students. It was so good that I went back the next night for another serving. I wanted to figure out why the dish seemed so much better than the very similar apple crisp that I enjoyed every autumn at home in New England. I finally decided that the difference wasn't the apple variety or the recipe. It was the custard that topped each serving. Thick, silky, and redolent of vanilla, the delicious custard just seemed so much more elegant than my usual scoop of vanilla ice cream. Even the custard's more formal name—crème anglaise—lent a certain sophistication to a homey dessert....Read More
Backhouse realizes Niagara’s great potential

Backhouse realizes Niagara’s great potential

Too bad the great French gourmand Christian Millau didn't live long enough to visit Ryan and Bev Campbell's Backhouse in Niagara-on-the-Lake (242 Mary St.; 289-272-1242; backhouse.xyz). In 1968, Millau revolutionized the way the French (and, given the era, the world) regarded haute cuisine when he announced that he had discovered “the best restaurant in the world” in the provincial town of Roanne. He might have said something similar had he discovered this grill-centric, hyper-locavore restaurant in a shopping strip at the edge of this Lake Ontario resort village. “Best restaurant in the world” is hyperbole, of course. But the comparison to Les Frères Troisgros is more than fair. Backhouse serves brilliant food far from the metropolitan restaurant scene. Asador Etxebarri in the small village of...Read More

Chef Slade Rushing puts zing back in Brennan’s

If you favor a light breakfast, you will have to adjust your thinking in New Orleans. Every meal, it seems, is an excuse for excess. French Quarter stalwart Brennan's (417 Royal Street, 504-525-9711, www.brennansneworleans.com) epitomizes the local penchant of beginning the day with a celebratory breakfast. The meal might start with a glass of sparkling wine mixed with pear and cinnamon purée and proceed through a couple of courses—and then dessert. After all, Brennan's is credited with introducing Bananas Foster. In 1946, family patriarch Owen Brennan opened the restaurant that launched a dining dynasty. Brennan's has been housed in an instantly recognizable bright pink building since the 1950s. It had fallen on hard times before Ralph Brennan and partner Terry White purchased it in 2013....Read More

Toronto fills its larder at St. Lawrence Market

Toronto is like the grandmother who always wants to feed you. In fact, banners hanging from Old Town light poles actually exhort visitors to bring their appetites. After a whirlwind visit to Canada's biggest city just before Canadian Thanksgiving, we have to conclude that Toronto is a good place to “come on an empty stomach.” Torontonians have cultivated a sophisticated contemporary gastronomic scene that draws on foodways from all over Europe and Asia. Great little ethnic restaurants dot the streets of the neighborhoods. At the same time, many of the best restaurants feature market-driven contemporary cuisine that showcases the best products from Canadian farms and orchards. Historic market continues to thrive Toronto has had a permanent central food market since 1830—four years before the town...Read More

Provisions provides pitch-perfect Boston bistro

We wondered if the opening of State Street Provisions (255 State St., Boston; 617-863-8363; statestreetprovisions.com) during December's holiday blur was like Hollywood releasing its most promising films just before Christmas to make them eligible for award consideration. In that case, Provisions wins Best Boston Bistro of 2015. But that hardly makes the place out of date for 2016. Readers of HungryTravelers know we rarely write about our home turf, but Provisions seems so representative of dining trends we're seeing in Europe and the U.S. alike that we couldn't resist. Also, we expect a lot of visitors to Boston this year, and we're happy to send them to this waterfront bistro/gastropub where they'll get good value (and great food and drink) for their money. Executive chef...Read More

Real meat and potatoes in Córdoba

Because La Mezquita—the 10th century mosque partially inhabited by a 16th century cathedral—is the biggest attraction in Córdoba, many travelers think they should be eating a North African diet long on eggplant and fried fish. But Córdoba is also in the heart of one of Spain's chief beef-raising regions, and the venerable Restaurante El Churrasco (Calle Romero 16, Córdoba; tel: 957-290-819; elchurrasco.es) serves some utterly delicious steaks grilled over oak charcoal. We made an overnight stop in the ancient city so we could visit the mosque in the pre-tourist silent hour before the morning Mass (trust us—it's much more spiritual without the tour groups), and we enjoyed a typically extended Spanish Sunday afternoon feast at El Churrasco. Before we got down to business with the...Read More