Will Fly for Food
A gastro-tour of NYC, Paris, and L.A.
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Charcuterie from Bierbeisl, Los Angeles
Perhaps the greatest thing about being on vacation is having an excuse to eat out at every meal. That means the days are filled with moments of delicious anticipation, exciting new flavors, the joy of observing local color, not having to cook, and savoring the fact that calories don’t count (we assume that what happens elsewhere stays elsewhere… ). Sandwiched between airplane meal and airplane meal are several opportunities—three a day—to try, taste, and tipple. Admittedly, some cities afford finer, more diverse culinary experiences, three of which are presented here, each with its own character and zest. Bon voyage and bon appétit.
Good news: You can still enjoy foi gras in the city of love. And don't forget the champers.
For the meal of your life
Inside the Shangri-La Hotel, executive chef Philippe Labbé runs the show at L’Abeille, where his modern twists on French classics have won him two Michelin stars. Open since March 2011, the 40-seat gourmet restaurant specializes in such knee-weakening creations as sea scallops from Quiberon sautéed with cauliflower, prawn tartare, and white chocolate sauce. Other favorites are “blue lobster prepared two ways” and “foie gras marbled with nougat.” Try the bread just so you can taste the butter-to-end-all-butters, and après dinner, a server will roll over a cart with various cheeses, each topped by a bell jar to avoid mixing the respective fragrances. Sample the one that’s aged 24 months. It’s older than the restaurant. 10 avenue d’Iéna, shangri-la.com/paris
For the classically local specialty
When in Paris… eat a macaroon—or macaron, as the French say. Ladurée’s signature “Incroyables” cookies are worth waiting in line for, and the shop is decorated like a dollhouse. This maison has been cranking out the sweets since 1862, but they just recently opened their first U.S. store, on Madison Avenue in NYC. (Still, we think they taste better while strolling the Champs Elysées.) 75 avenue des Champs Elysées, other locations, laduree.fr
For the drinks that make you forget jet lag
With three Philippe Starck-designed spaces to drink $14 martinis—a restaurant, a rooftop terrace, and a lounge with foosball tables and live music—Mama’s Shelter is the perfect start to a beautiful night. It’s also a hotel, so the crowd is usually full of travelers, except Friday and Saturday nights when the locals come out to see famous DJs and R&B artists who fly in for appearances. 109 rue de Bagnolet, mamashelter.com
For chic Paris threads
Paris is the fashion capital of the world, so take advantage, shoppers. The city’s largest clothing store dedicated exclusively to women, Franck et Fils (80 rue de Passy, frankcetfils.fr), is like a French Barneys—they carry Mulberry, Lanvin, and Phillip Lim, but look for French up-and-comers Anne Valérie Hash and Maxime Simoens, plus a beautiful jewelry section with dozens of small French designers. For high-end vintage, there’s Thanx God I’m a VIP (12 rue de Lancry, thankxgod.com) and Didier Ludot (24 Galerie Montpensier, Jardin du Palais Royal, didierludot.fr). Réciproque is the largest consignment shop in Paris—good for a Miu Miu skirt or antique brooch (95 rue Pompe, reciproque.fr).
For a beyond-luxe stay
The upscale 16th arrondissement has the highest concentration of museums in Europe, yet it’s less touristy than other Paris districts. In the 16th, just a five-minute walk from the Eiffel Tower, you’ll find the newly opened Shangri-La Hotel, Paris. The oh-so-regal hotel is in fact the restored home of Roland Bonaparte, Napoleon’s grandnephew. Originally purchased in 1896 and built as a private mansion, the property gives you the sense of being in someone’s (très grand) home. Some 200 windows boast views of the Seine and Eiffel Tower, and the walls are adorned with bees, Bonaparte’s imperial insignia. Shangri-La is France’s only luxury hotel with two Michelin-starred restaurants. The 2012 Michelin Guide gave two stars to L’Abeille (“the bee”) and one to Shang Palace (French and Chinese food, respectively). 10 avenue d’Iéna, shangri-la.com/paris
The Shangri-La Hotel, Paris
PARIS HOT PLATES
// Erin Meanley