Villa Tereze

Villa Tereze

Marche, Italy

“The only true voyage of discovery would be not to visit strange lands but to possess other eyes.” (Marcel Proust). Beyond hills that lean on one another at the horizon, sleepy national roads, harmonic rows of vines and iridescent olive trees, home vegetable-gardens and fallow fields. Beyond woods bordering between the slopes, where nature got the better of it, beyond friendly squares in tiny villages, and millenarian strongholds hanging on the highest rises, Renate often waits under the pergola for a Japanese musician, a Polish chef, or a London family to arrive

Patisserie Burrow

Patisserie Burrow

New York, USA

After Manhattan’s wonderful noise and eccentricity, you look for Burrow’s composure and silence. You will admire the symmetric sweets display with puff-pastry elephant ears, toasted-green-tea biscuits, nostalgic cherry granola, and almond croissants. Here, everything is reduced on a perfection scale and enjoyed in a tiny aesthetic peace. The owner and chef Ayako Kurokawa goes in and out the kitchen in her indigo linen apron, refilling trays with sweet and savoury morsels. She was born in Hokkaido, and she cannot tell how long she has been cooking these French, Breton, or simply Japanese delicacies in New York City. In the small lobby of the offices at 68 Jay Street, Dumbo, Williamsburg, NYC.

Woodspoon

Woodspoon

Los Angeles, USA

Downtown LA is our wonderful compromise to be halfway between the Arts District and Silver Lake – that is, where we like to wander in Los Angeles. What is brilliant about it is that every time we come back, we find a bunch of new places we can walk to and have dinner in, after a warm shower, when driving somewhere else is the last thing on our mind. It kind of feels like being a young neighbourhood couple. Our friend Carl suggested Woodspoon when one of our favourite restaurants in Little Tokyo closed.

Manuela

Manuela

Los Angeles, USA

Maybe LA’s Arts District exists as a neighbourhood since Hauser & Wirth, a sophisticated contemporary art gallery as large as a couple of museums, opened at 901, East 3rd Street. Manuela opened one year later as the perfect rendezvous. ‘Whitsell’s rural sensibilities settling into one of the most urban spaces on the West Coast’ (Jonathan Gold, Los Angeles Times). Chef Wes Whitsell comes from the South, from Texas, his bag full of verbs that suit perfectly a small future meal: in-house smoking, fermenting, preserving, pickling. There are a chicken house where twelve rare-breed chickens live, and a planting garden where home vegetables grow. All this inside the walls of an ambitious art space. There is a work by Paul McCarthy behind our table. ‘You Ain’t Done Yet’ is the title of the dessert menu. We will end up in the garden, plunging our big brass spoons into honey and roasted-strawberry ice creams, sitting at a table for two on broad mid-century chairs with wooden armrests and light dusty-pink velvet cushions. Just as in the wisest projects, one thing leads to another – the restaurant invites you to spend some time over the art book and in the exposition, and vice versa.

Bread Lounge

Bread Lounge

Los Angeles, USA

It is Downtown Arts District’s bakery. You could miss it the first time, since it hides in the busiest crossing on South Santa Fe Avenue. Let’s say you will have to go there on purpose. For the Balkan Borek, puff pastry triangles with sesame, rightly scorched, very crumbly, and filled with feta cheese, spinach and onion. For Challah, the Jewish Friday plait bread, and for the big breadsticks with Kalamata olives and za’atar, a mixture of herbs, marjoram, oregano and thymus. Homemade middle-eastern delicacies and perfect baguettes, worth a Saturday morning line, among young people from the neighbourhood studios.

La Rustita

La Rustita

Marche, Italy

Empty beaches, closed chalets, deserted promenade. In autumn, the Adriatic Sea is tepid and good-natured, vaguely sad, and only belongs to a few. Above all, to those who live there and can enjoy the last days of sun sitting in the courtyard of a port trattoria at lunch. In Fano, young people love to meet at La Rustita, and so do we. We eat seafood salad, grilled squids, fried fish, mixed salad and white wine of the house between white wood and salty breeze.

Taverna della Rocca

Taverna della Rocca

Marche, Italy

La Taverna della Rocca has the fragrance of my childhood Sundays: long tables and meals that resembled a ritual; the smell of dense meat sauce – cooked slowly – and of hand-rolled egg pasta that characterised the holiday; the smell of grilled meat. The only ‘eccentricity’ here are the piade sfogliate grilled and served with wild herbs and local toma cheese (the house women are quite proud of them). An ode to dedication and simplicity.

Confiteria Bristol

Confiteria Bristol

Buenos Aires, Argentina

A boy and a girl walk on via Esmeralda. At the end of February, though the summer is about to end, the air in Buenos Aires is still torrid. They have just arrived and today they have no destination. The small Confitería Bristol is the address they are not looking for. The girl orders two vegetarian empanadas, and the boy three with meat, with no hesitations. In front of the convex windows of the confectioner’s that since 1952 lives on the domestic rituals of the local upper middle class, they speak with the man at the counter – a Peruvian who learnt the trade as a boy – and with a distinguished woman whom the confectioner introduces promptly as a regular customer and granddaughter of President Avellaneda. These delicious turnovers of crumbly wavy pastry – the girl will learn to mould them with greater and greater skill – are the main course of an improvised picnic on a bench in the small park in front of the Palacio de Relaciones Internacionales. She bites them slowly, while he wolfs them and smiles with eyes wide open, as he did when he was caught doing some prank as a child. Buenos Aires was his world back then; now it is the city where he goes back and takes his new love.

La Bamba de Areco

La Bamba de Areco

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Only the pampas’ prairie beyond Buenos Aires’ north-western suburbs can silence the enthusiasm that Big Sur glaciers stirred in us. We have just left them. It is a summer Sunday; the wind pampers the trees’ foliage with deep hypnotic caresses. At the end of a dirt road, a young gaucho awaits us near the gate, as sculpturesque and fierce as the horse he controls with minimal moves. We follow him up to the entrance of a purple residence edged in white, along an intimate procession that cuts in half the neat land at sunset. Everything in this maternal rural landscape seems to be cautiously dancing with ancestral moves. The grass is greener, and the sky is airier and higher. This Land has become, also for us, a promise of happiness…

Hub Porteño

Hub Porteño

Buenos Aires, Argentina

‘All happy mornings resemble one another’ – Here I am, Jonathan Safran Foer. We woke up at Hub Porteño with a discreet and innocent jolliness, which even the passing rain drumming on the veranda could not disperse. The wall garden at our back, we sat on the striped sofa and sipped coffee in decorated china, while waiting for our daily medialunas to come out of the oven, stately and fragrant. The historical neighbourhood families resumed their classic routine while the sun dried the smaller puddles. In our spare time, we exercised our idea of luxury: we idled on the roof terrace, a private Eden among building tops, lingered in the big marble bathtub and, when snack time came, treated ourselves to a portion of homemade cake and a mate, while resuming that book about enchanted estancias.

Oviedo

Oviedo

Buenos Aires, Argentina

It is summer in Buenos Aires; lunch regulars start sitting down in Oviedo’s radiant dining room and greet with familiarity the waiters, busy with the last preparations. We get quickly used to ceremonious gestures, faint pleasantries, courtesy, and whispered conversations over spotless tablecloths. A classic world with no imperfections, where a small dose of peculiarity is allowed on the big canvases hanging on the walls, and on the dishes. The chefs’ knowledge and inspiration get to the tables as polished compositions, sometimes geometrical, sometimes more fluid. Every course is a variety of unusual, clear flavours, whose balance surprises you at every bite. A character that takes shape between sober creativity and tradition, between eternal and unconventional.

Big Sur

Big Sur

Buenos Aires, Argentina

“The question I will try to answer is, ‘Why do men wander rather than sit still?’” – wrote Bruce Chatwin to Tom Maschler once. I travel looking for what I know and for what I still don’t. I am certainly looking for my first Paris, the prows where I hid as a child, the luxury palmchat nests and the Sardinian clouds, Hudson River when it leaves behind the last New York City blocks of flats, and the Caribbean after Cape Town…

Proper

Proper

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Some inclinations are already evident when you are young. Like Heinrich Harrer’s (Hüttenberg, 6 July 1912 – Friesach, 7 January 2006), who as a boy won the World Student Championship in downhill skiing and as a grownup, on the other side of the world, after perilous adventures and misfortunes, became master and staunch friend of the fourteenth Dalai Lama, as per his bestseller ‘Seven years in Tibet’.

Masseria Tagliente

Masseria Tagliente

Puglia, Italy

If I had a masseria, I think I’d want it like this one: a luxury family residence with a big, spotless white, Spanish-style façade and five balconies on the piano nobile to see if the black wild horses are back from the woods, if the goats have gone into the shed, and if Brindisi and the Ionian Sea are glittering in the evening. The corner kitchen tiled with majolica ends in a big roof terrace, near St. Martin’s statue…

Masseria Schiuma

Masseria Schiuma

Puglia, Italy

‘Schiuma’ (foam) is a splendid word. It quickly calls to mind high waves’ foam, soft soap bubbles and their rainbows, soft milk, shaving foam that smells like pungent cologne, the lightness of childhood, an adolescence-like goliardic spirit, and an ephemeral consistency that leads you to play at any age. There is a street named Schiuma that from national road S90 – Monopoli to Savelletri – going south, takes you away from the sea and into an unexpected countryside. Masseria Schiuma’s name comes from it. In my opinion, its owners – a sincere Danish couple, graceful and beautiful, Pernille and Lars – love simplicity so much that they did not want to add any more frills or meanings to this place, a temple of private and shared spaces. Every movement of hosts and guests is free and mature…

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