June 4th, 2014
06:00 PM ET
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World-renowned chef, author and Emmy-winning television personality Anthony Bourdain visits Bahia, Brazil, in the season finale of "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown," airing Sunday, June 8, at 9 p.m. ET. Follow the show on Twitter and Facebook.

Residents of Bahia, Brazil, may be getting ready to play host to many of the 2014 FIFA World Cup matches, but their lively Afro-Brazilian culture is proudly on display in the streets and on the beaches year-round.

Amid the state's intoxicating samba rhythms, colorful art scene and vibrant lifestyle is an equally intoxicating cocktail of lime, sugar and cachaça - the caipirinha, which just happens to be Brazil's national drink.

"What’s magical about this cocktail is the first taste, it’s like, 'I don’t know man. It’s a little too something.' And then that second sip, it’s like, 'aw, that’s kinda good.' Then the third sip, it’s 'where are my pants?'" host Anthony Bourdain says as he guzzles one in the streets of the capital city of Salvador.

For the season finale of "Parts Unknown," muddle up this refreshing drink at home and let your cares slip away to the beat of the drums.

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May 29th, 2014
12:30 AM ET
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(Travel + Leisure) No detail is too trivial for New York’s Empellón Taqueria, which stocks more than five types of salt just for its margaritas. One specialty salt is spiked with chiles and ground-up maguey; another, infused with ginger, tops off the spiced pear margarita.

America’s best margaritas, recommended by tequila experts and some of the country’s top mixologists, range from spicy to sweet, shaken to frozen. We wanted to toast the classics as well as quirky variations on the standard recipe of tequila, triple sec, and lime juice. What all these margaritas share with Empellón’s is a thoughtful commitment to quality—and complementary—ingredients.  

The esteemed margarita at Tommy’s Mexican, a San Francisco institution, substitutes agave nectar (honey water) for triple sec with such success that it’s been replicated by bars across America. 

Houston’s Pastry War supplies a bubble tea straw to suck up the whole pomegranate seeds in its frozen margaritas. In New Orleans, Tivoli & Lee draws on local inspiration, adding native hibiscus to its margarita. These versions don’t require limes, an advantage at a time when a lime shortage has been making headlines and raising prices nationwide.

Whether you’re celebrating Cinco de Mayo or just the end of the workweek, fill your glass with one of the finest margaritas north of the border.
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Filed under: 100 Places to Eat • Bars • Restaurants • Sip • Spirits • Travel


May 28th, 2014
04:00 PM ET
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World-renowned chef, author and Emmy-winning television personality Anthony Bourdain visits Thailand in the next episode of "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown," airing Sunday, June 1, at 9 p.m. ET. Follow the show on Twitter and Facebook.

In Thailand, a person might greet a friend with the phrase "kin khao reu yang?" to simply ask how things are going.

The more literal translation, however, is: "Have you eaten rice yet?"

"In this part of the world you live and die by the harvest," Anthony Bourdain says of Chiang Mai province's fertile fields and sticky-rice-filled tables.

In this week's episode of "Parts Unknown," Bourdain travels to the northern Thai city of Chiang Mai to eat, drink and sweat his way through every night market, roadside restaurant and karaoke bar he can handle in the country's second largest city.

"It was like discovering a color I never knew existed before," Bourdain recalls of his first trip to Thailand more than a decade ago.

The region's multi-dimensional flavor profile (simultaneously sweet, salty, spicy, bitter and herbaceous) is hard to replicate outside Northern Thailand due to the availability and hyper-locality of some ingredients, but one chef, Andy Ricker, has made it his mission to recreate the food stateside. He specializes in "the good stuff," Bourdain says - like the region's ubiquitous dish of khao soi, a coconut milk and curry paste noodle soup topped with a nest of fried noodles, lime wedges and cilantro.

Ricker is the chef and owner of the acclaimed Pok Pok family of restaurants in Portland, Oregon, and New York City. The name of the restaurant is an onomatopoeic ode to the sound the pestle makes when it pounds ingredients into pastes in a mortar.

Test out your own mortar and pestle skills with a variation of the chile paste naam phrik, preferably the Chiang Mai way, with motorbikes whizzing by and a ice-filled glass of beer close at hand.
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S'no secret why NOLA snoballs are so good
May 21st, 2014
04:15 PM ET
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New Orleans is famous for its delicacies: Po-boys, jambalaya, gumbo, beignets. But here's one you might not have heard of: Snoballs. From March to September, hundreds of shops in the city have lines of customers waiting to get their hands on this New Orleans tradition.

The snoball (also spelled snowball or sno-ball depending on the stand) is a cup of finely shaved ice topped with fruit syrup. If you think this sounds exactly like a snow cone, don't you dare say that in New Orleans.
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Filed under: New Orleans • New Orleans


May 21st, 2014
02:30 PM ET
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(Travel + Leisure) You’re not going to say exactly what happened last night, but a few drinks may have been consumed. This morning, all you can think about is waffles and eggs Benedict and king crab legs…ooh and maybe a make-your-own-sundae bar. They’re waiting for you at the all-you-can-eat buffet—that great smorgasbord pioneered, naturally, in Sin City.

The western-themed El Rancho Vegas introduced a gastronomic free-for-all in 1941, rolling out a $1 chuckwagon designed to keep high rollers full and gambling into the wee hours of the morning. Almost 75 years later, the indulgence has spread across America. And why not? Gluttony is at its best at brunch, when you and your fellow travelers can while away the day recapping your exploits over a steady procession of mouthwatering dishes.

The restaurants we’re spotlighting prove that buffet no longer has to mean sacrificing quality for quantity. For example, Orchids Halekulani plays to Hawaii’s strengths with suckling pig and lomi-lomi salmon at a buffet that also includes universal favorites like made-to-order omelettes.

So grab a tray: we’ve got the meal to match your craving, whether it’s Cuban-style suckling pig and taco bars poolside in Miami, nouveau tapas whimsy in L.A., or jazz-fueled Creole in New Orleans.
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