May 15th, 2008
San Diego is in the midst of a renaissance. The southern California metropolis is as hot as the scorching sun that bleaches its beaches.
A neo-gothic gem, The Sophia was built in the roaring ’20s and was the city’s first hotel with en suite bathrooms. Nestled between Little Italy and the Gaslamp Quarter, it retains its flapper vibe, but with a $16 million reno it now has luxe modern amenities today’s flappers have come to expect. 150 West Broadway, 1-800-826-0009, www.thesofiahotel.com
Forget postcards. Scent is a proven trigger of memories. Claus Porto’s 12 months of soap box set ($99)—August’s red poppy, May’s mimosa—will do the trick. Available at Little Italy’s Mixture, a 1940s warehouse converted into a treasure trove. 2210 Kettner Blvd, 619-239-4793, www.mixturehome.com
No need to head to Tijuana, just wander to the Gaslamp Quarter. La Fiesta’s mole pablano ($16), chile rellenos ($13) and camarones al chipotle ($24) will have you shaking your maracas. 628 Fifth Ave, 619-232-4242, www.lafiestasandiego.com
Get your motor running and head out on the highway. Downtown San Diego Harley-Davidson will hook you up with a rental hog for a self-guided tour up the Pacific Coast. What better way to experience the pine-tree dotted mountains that give way to causeways and ocean air? Maybe the one time that leather chaps are socially acceptable. 2400 Kettner Blvd., 619-233-6677, www.downtownsandiegoharley.com
January 17th, 2008
Spend a decadent long-weekend in lower Manhattan without ever venturing northward. Petula Clark was right: things really are better downtown.
The Meatpacking District’s Hotel Gansevoort is 187-rooms of urban-minimalist chic. We love the custom-designed stainless steel sinks and nine-foot ceilings. Be sure to ask for a river-view corner suite with balcony so you can watch the nightlife unfold below. Rooms from US$395. Hotel Gansevoort, 18 Ninth Ave., New York, 212-206-6700, www.hotelgansevoort.com
sip, swim & spa
Swim a lap or two in the Gansevoort’s heated rooftop pool followed by a skyline massage in your own private cabana with a 360-degree view (US$180-$250). Then, head downstairs for a Fiji Water Pedicure (US$65) at the hotel spa-by-day, lounge-bar-by-night.
G Spa & Lounge, 212-660-6733.
Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter’s hotspot The Waverly Inn harks back to the days of speakeasies and secret knocks. Tuck into an organic meal by the fireplace and pretend not to notice Sean Lennon and Uma Thurman sitting at the next table. The Waverly doesn't have a phone so you’ll have to show up in person and hope you pass inspection.
The Waverly Inn & Garden, 16 Bank St., New York
Jeffrey New York is died-and-gone-to-fashionista heaven. This chic mini-department store carries clothes, shoes and accessories from the likes of Alexander McQueen, Prada and Helmut Lang. We spotted Famke Janssen perusing the sale rack.
Jeffrey New York, 449 W. 14th St., New York, 212-206-1272, www.jeffreynewyork.com
Find out where Julianne Moore, Jimmy Fallon and Robert De Niro spend their New York minutes. Nycvisit.com offers local dining, walking and shopping tips from your favorite New Yorkers.
December 2nd, 2007joie to the world
the wine is come
the Noble Blend is here
let every glass
prepare it room
repeat the sounding joie
repeat the sounding joie
repeat, repeat, the sounding joie
Joie The Noble Blend is $59.99 per magnum (a Christmas dinner must) at The Liquor Barn and select Liberty Wine Merchants in limited supply.
To read more, visit www.joie.ca
November 18th, 2007
Put down the remote! If the dreary weather has you crawling under your comforter, it’s time to put on your best boots and head to gastro-crazed Gastown.
With a neuvo Latin style, the cozy and kitsch-free Cobre makes the most of its heritage space with exposed brick walls, copper tones and wood floors. Slip into a bottle of Argentina’s Firesteed Pinot Noir ($50) and choose tapas-style plates to share, like the tasty roast garlic eggplant chevre empanada ($11) and the must-have skirt steak with cinnamon-flavoured chorizo hash ($15).
For dessert, the decadent chocolate Ibarra soufflé ($7) is worth the 25-minute wait. Just be sure to use your time wisely by enjoying another bottle of wine.
Cobre, 52 Powell St., Vancouver, 604-669-2396, www.cobrerestaurant.com
November 8th, 2007
Amsterdam isn’t just red lights and smoking, it’s a gorgeous little city full of style, sass and comely canals.
Eat & Drink
Order a koffie verkeerd (café au lait) among the locals at the Café de Jaren. This big, bright space has a full menu, free newspapers and overlooks the Amstel River.
Café de Jaren, Nieuwe Doelenstraat 20-22, Amsterdam, +31 (0)20-62 55 771, www.diningcity.nl//cafedejaren/en/index.html
The city is a European design capital. Hop on a speedy tram to visit the shops, restos, clubs and hotels featured in the Amsterdam Design 2007 guide. www.amsterdamdesign.info
Head to fashion-forward De Negen Straatjes (aka the 9 Streets). LockStock & Barrel carries original finds by Scandinavian designers like FilippaK and Baum und Pferdgarten. Or pick up some vintage silk blouses at Zipper.
LockStock & Barrel, Hartenstraat 26, Amsterdam, +31 (0)20-4123348
Zipper, Huidenstraat 7, Amsterdam, +31(0)20-6237302
Give peace a chance in the John & Yoko Suite at the Hilton Amsterdam. The couple held a bed-in here in 1969 and the lady herself designed the room (in peaceful white, of course). Order the perfect head rest from the hotel’s pillow menu (we like the Warm & Soft filled with kapok) or borrow a bike to explore the chic shops in the Zud neighborhood.Rooms start at 215 Euros. Hilton Amsterdam, Apollolaan 138, Amsterdam, +31 (0)20-710 60 00, www.hilton.com
November 4th, 2007
Believe us: we didn’t expect to be recommending a chain restaurant either, but when we saw the design of the refurbished Yaletown Milestones, we were somehow drawn in.
Floating fireplaces, a glassed-in private room that appears to be surrounded by abstract silver trees, and Steven Sprouse-inspired graffiti upholstery are just some of the touches we loved.
Even the once-taboo Navaho print looks fresh as wallpaper and snakeskin banquettes and driftwood décor add to the quirky-cool factor.
We suggest drinks at the communal table in the bar area to celebrate your latest milestone. Does making it to Friday count?
1109 Hamilton St., 604-684-9111, www.milestonesrestaurants.com
October 29th, 2007
You take your Vitamin V every morning—of course.
But the rest of your vitamins? Whoops.
That’s why we fell for the new Infinite Health Water. Not only do you get the hydrating benefits of water, it contains anti-aging and antioxidant ingredients like Vitamins B, C, E plus calcium and soy extracts.
We loved the all-natural and refreshing Orange/Cranberry and Blueberry/Pomegranate flavoured waters (almost as much as we loved not having to remember to take our vitamins).
Infinite Health Water is $1.99 at IGA, Whole Foods and London Drugs. http://www.infinitehealthwater.com/
October 18th, 2007
Herewith our guide to a naughty fall getaway with your beau du jour in Seattle:eat
Nothing says holiday more than a leisurely mid-afternoon wine-laden lunch. So we were thrilled to find that the Seattle Art Museum has a brand spanking new restaurant `å la MOMA. We loved the Alsatian flatbread pizza with carmelized onions, local fromage blanc and bacon ($19) paired with a glass (or half litre!) of Chinook Semillon from the Yakima Valley. It's the perfect precursor to your "afternoon delight." TASTE Restaurant, 1300 First Ave., Seattle, 206-903-5291, www.tastesam.com
If you can let go of your guy, grab on to an evening bag or carry-all tote at handbag hot spot Clutch located at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel. We coveted the Kim White 70s-inspired envelope clutches in metallic hues ($270) and barely left the shop without an Foley + Corinna tote in this season's must-have grey. Clutch, 1212 Fourth Ave., Seattle, 206-624-2362, www.clutchseattle.com
Tempt your tastebuds and save a few bucks by snapping up some delish Washington pinot noir at The Pike and Western Wine Shop located at Pike Place Market. The staff are incredibly helpful and knowledgeable so stock up!
Fairmont Olympic Hotel
Celebrate good times with the Fairmont Olympic Hotel's Celebration package (from US$359) complete with chocolate-covered strawberries and champagne upon your arrival, free valet parking, one night's accommodation in a deluxe room and breakfast in bed! We loved the in-room movie selection of romantic foreign films like Once.
October 4th, 2007
Whether you’re snapping up spices at the souk or sipping mint tea in the medina, Marrakech is a sensory delight.
Perched on the edge of a Berber village, Caravan Serai is the perfect place to escape medina madness. Rooms are Moorish in decor and most have their own terrace. Watch the sunrise in the magical gardens followed by a hammam and hearty breakfast by the pool. www.hotel-caravanserai.com
In a city where you can easily spend an hour bartering over a bag of baubles, we suggest hiring a personal shopper to do it for you. A fashion insider with plenty of contacts and savoir fair, Laetitia Trouillet will beeline you to the best babouche, caftans, and tea glasses Marrakech has to offer. Apprx. $330 for the day (includes transportation and lunch). www.lalla.fr
Rise early for petite dejeuner at the Marjorelle Gardens. Named after its creator artist Jacques Majorelle and later bought by Yves Saint Laurent, this bourgainvillia-scented Eden features more than 350 varieties of exotic plants. www.jardinmajorelle.com
drink, dine, boogie
Sip sunset cocktails on the roof terrace of Yacout before sampling the Franco-Arabic menu at Le Foundouk. Carry on with more cocktails and bellydancing at hip nightspot Le Comptoir.
September 13th, 2007
Head into B.C.’s desert country this fall for a fresh new take on the wine-tasting weekend.
Less than a year old, Spirit Ridge Vineyard Resort & Spa in Osoyoos boasts big views of the hills with a pool overlooking the adjoining Nk’Mip vineyard. A marina, golf course, spa, and horseback riding through the desert is just some of non-liquid fun. 1200 Rancher Creek Rd., Osoyoos, 1-877-313- WINE, www.spiritridge.ca
In nearby Okanagan Falls, climb up to Blasted Church vineyard for their excellent whites like the unique Chardonay Musqué ($18, blended with a touch of French Muscat) with illustrated labels depicting local legends. Get in on the famous “Midnight Service.” 378 Parsons Rd., Okanagan Falls, BC, 1-8-SPELLBOUND, www.blastedchurch.com
Whistler’s acclaimed Chef Bernard Cassavant has recently taken over the Sonora Room at Burrowing Owl Estate Winery where the vineyard views are unparalleled. Taste library wines paired with easy-going yet perfectly executed lunches like heirloom tomato salad and shrimp croissant. 100 Burrowing Owl Place, Oliver BC, 1-877-498-0620, www.bovwine.ca