In the jade roller–colored realm of wellness, where you can pick up $80 crystal water bottles, adorably packaged ceremonial-grade matcha, and reishi-infused wellness shots, there’s nothing like mānuka honey.
Made from the nectar of New Zealand’s mānuka tree, mānuka honey is prized for its antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties. New Zealand’s Māori people have used the mānuka plant for medicinal purposes for centuries, but mānuka honey didn’t gain global popularity until the late 1980s after New Zealand biochemist Peter Molan’s discovery of methylglyoxal (MGO), an antimicrobial and antibacterial compound found in high concentration in mānuka honey. (Some honeys have it in trace amounts, but not nearly as high as in mānuka honey.) Today mānuka honey can be seen across Instagram slathered on skin to fight acne and recommended by holistic health practitioners for its ability to fight throat infections and help heal wounds.
A small jar of high-grade mānuka honey can run upward of $180, making it one of the world’s most expensive honeys. It’s also reportedly one of the world’s most fraudulently labeled ingredients.
As traveling for wellness becomes more and more popular, hotels are finding more diverse ways for their guests to explore health and wellness while on vacation. In Bali, the increase in wellness focused travel has many hotels incorporating traditional Balinese healing elements in their spa and wellness programs, some even bringing on Balinese healers and priests for shamanic energy work, therapy and traditional healing sessions. Translation: there’s never been a better time to visit a healer in Bali.
But while anyone who’s given “Eat, Pray, Love” a watch might be familiar with what a Balinese healer is, what it’s actually like to go to one (off the silver screen) is a different story. To learn for myself, I headed to the Mandapa Reserve, home to one of the most immersive, curated selections of Balinese healing experiences in the region.
Bali is Indonesia’s spiritual center. With a population that’s nearly 90 percent Hindu and religion deeply rooted at the heart of daily life — you’re bound to find offerings of fruit and flowers at the feet of nearly every street corner statue — Bali is one of the world’s most vivid centers for spirituality and self-discovery. But even still, finding the right healer in Bali can be tricky.
Originally appeared on EATER
Travel / January 27, 2019
Santiago is experiencing a culinary renaissance like it’s never seen before, says food and travel writer Hillary Eaton. Chile’s capital city, famous for its stunning setting amid the Andes as well as its mix of modern and Spanish colonial architecture, has long been on tourists’ radars.
“In the past decade, Santiago’s dining scene has undergone a massive transformation,” says Eaton. “Thanks to a mixture of seasoned Chilean chefs returning to their culinary roots, young chefs returning home with flavors and ideas inspired from overseas, and better access to fresh and native ingredients, Chile’s culinary epicenter is more diverse, self-reflective and internationally noteworthy than it’s ever been.”
Some of Chile’s best up-and-coming chefs are behind a vibrant middle class of restaurants, and are tackling the whole idea of what it means to cook Chilean cuisine. From a carefully curated tasting experience of native Chilean flavors at Boragó to traditional plates reinvented at La Salvación to cocktails that have left their mark on the world’s bar scene at Seite Negronis, there’s no better time to experience the old alongside the new in Santiago.
“The fascinating thing about our history is that it’s very dark,” Brian Dunsmoor tells me, hunched over hand-scrawled menu notes for Fuss & Feathers, the supper club out of his Southern-American inflected restaurant, Hatchet Hall, that takes a deep dive into what we mean historically when we talk about American food. It also happens to be one of the most exciting tasting menus in Los Angeles.
“In almost every direction you look, it’s very dark. If you look at George Washington or Thomas Jefferson or anyone that was of influence at that time [of America’s origins] you can’t find a clean slate. That’s why we’re so fascinated with American food. And why so few people know or talk about it. I think because it’s all tied to some really horrible things. Our history is carnage. It’s carnage. A lot of that can be seen in the food. It’s food as carnage.”
“I was always really surprised that people would come to a complete stranger’s house from the internet for food,” says Burt Bakman.
The real estate agent / barbecue aficionado behind Trudy’s Underground Barbecue is known for slinging Texas-style brisket from his San Fernando Valley backyard. But he said the above while seated in the dining room of his soon-to-open barbecue restaurant Slab in West Hollywood, contemplating the unconventional route he took to get here. He’s staring closely at the fat lining a thick slice of glistening brisket hanging from his fork, as he mercilessly inspects a sheet pan of half chicken, spareribs, pulled pork and brisket that will be Slab’s signature combo when the restaurant opens later this month.
Bakman draws fans from as far as the Bay Area for his Texas-style barbecue, the carnivorous spoils of his signature copper-green smoker, and an 18-plus-hour exercise in patience and temperature control. The meat is covered in a rich yet rudimentary dark bark of salt, pepper and mustard, which encases deep pink to pale taupe flesh that weeps warm, clear fat with each slice of the blade or poke of the finger.
A work trip to Austin for a real estate conference solidified Bakman’s obsession with perfecting Texas-style barbecue. He ended up skipping the conference entirely in favor of bouncing around the city to try as much barbecue as he possibly could. Bakman learned by trial and error, making brisket and giving it away to friends, honing his craft and reaching out to another self-taught pit master, Texas’ Leonard Botello of Truth Barbecue — No. 10 on Texas Monthly’s Top 50 Barbecue Joints list — for guidance and insight. “He’s my smoker brother No. 1!” Bakman says now.
To make the umami oil used in the Naked Maja cocktail at the new Duello bar in downtown L.A., heaps of sun-dried tomatoes are macerated and poured into avocado oil before being vacuum-packed and left to meld and leech for five days. All that work for just five drops on top of the cocktail, necessary for what bar director Iain McPherson calls “mouthfeel.”
McPherson, known best for opening the award-winning Panda & Sons cocktail bar in Edinburgh, Scotland, is on a mission to make Duello, the bar inside chef Jessica Largey’s new Simone restaurant in the Arts District downtown, more than just a waiting area for your dinner table. And to do so, he looked to the Arts District’s rich history and perpetual reinvention.
“I easily spent over 100 hours researching the history of the area,” said McPherson, referring to the area, which in another era, was home to hundreds of acres of leafy French Cabernet and Sauvignon Blanc vines. . “For a new world country, what I found is that the Arts District had a very concentrated history over a very small space of time.”
Originally appeared on Food & Wine
Eat / July 9, 2018
While Eleven Madison Park has long been considered one of the pinnacles of fine dining (and the best restaurant in the world), this new pop-up might actually offer Daniel Humm’s most unique food experience yet.
Restaurant 1683 is a three-night-long, invite-only pop-up coming to L.A. on May 21. In partnership with the luxury appliance brand Gaggenau, 1683 takes its name from the year that Gaggenau was founded, featuring a menu that spans the brand’s three centuries of existence.
Originally launched in New York in 2016 as an interactive dining experience complete with tableside cooking, models dressed in Black Forest folk clothes performing live interpretations of a cuckoo clock’s automata and even blacksmiths forging nails, this award winning pop-up transports diners to the mountainous southwest region of Germany.
“For the last 10 years of my career, I’ve been asked, ‘What is it like to be a female chef?’” said chef Clare Smyth while accepting the award for best female chef at last week’s the World’s 50 Best Restaurants ceremony in Bilbao, Spain. “To which I reply: ‘I’m not sure what you mean, because I’ve never been a male chef.’”
Smyth is the chef at Core restaurant in London, the first kitchen run by a woman to earn three Michelin stars. Although she used her acceptance speech to address the need for chefs of all backgrounds to experience equality and opportunity in the kitchen, her opening remarks highlight the issue of the best female chef award’s very existence.
Originally appeared on TimeOut
Travel / July 9, 2018
If you think a trip to Maui is all mornings at the beach and afternoons by the hotel pool (which, don’t get us wrong, is definitely some of it) think again. The second most visited of Hawaii’s islands is ripe with distinctive culture, top-notch restaurants, and some seriously otherworldly nature to make for a vacation you’ll never forget. From exploring the delicious local grindz (Hawiian slang for food) like a loco moco or shave ice to getting behind the wheel and making the epically gorgeous journey along the road to Hana or harvesting your own pristine pearl directly from the oyster, Maui’s unique offerings will seriously surprise and entice you at every turn. Pineapple wine, anyone?
Originally appeared on Food & Wine
Eat / July 9, 2018
In the restaurant world, there are very few awards dedicated solely to the art of pastry, making that recognition all the more coveted for the chefs who’ve chosen sugar as their medium. The most coveted award, perhaps, is the Best Pastry Chef from the World’s 50 Best, a title snagged yesterday by French pastry mastermind, Cédric Grolet.
From an edible Rubik’s cubes to lifelike fruits sculpted with paper thin chocolate, Grolet’s creations prove his singular vision. We caught up with the pastry chef (and Instagram legend) following his big win at The World’s 50 Best ceremony in Bilbao to get some insight into the next big trends in pastry and his buzzing new pâtisserie, Le Meurice Cédric Grolet.
(For background on the longstanding gender inbalances in the pastry world, please read this piece on the marginalization of female pastry chefs, and this piece on the World’s 50 Best’s problems with inclusion.)