August is an underrated time to visit Paris. In that month, it seems as though half the city has decamped to the beach. The streets are quiet, the blare of traffic having given way to a kind of Sunday-morning hush. And speaking of mornings, one...

 

The South Fork of Long Island is no mecca of avant-gardae cuisine. Like most summer resorts, classics and old time favorites trump innovation. And why shouldn’t they? At the end of a day at the beach, people want good-tasting wine and drink--not a meal that comes with operating instructions or a chef’s manifesto on a plate. Well, hold on to your sun hats! The Swiss-born chef Daniel Humm and Will Guidara, co-owners of New York City’s Eleven Madison Park, a restaurant with three Michelin stars, an eleven-course tasting menu, and legions of admirers, have opened a summer pop-up in East Hampton! Do not expect such signature dishes as celery root cooked in a pig’s bladder. The à la carte menu skews posh-casual with summer favorites such as a $75 per person fried chicken feast (fried chicken, potato salad, cole slaw, Parker House rolls, coleslaw, watermelon salad, and pie), fluke ceviche, and beef tartare with horseradish and cornichons, along with local seafood and pasta dishes. This being the Hamptons, the menu features the obligatory lobster boil, but what a lobster boil it is! At $125 per person (minimum six people, maximum twelve), the EMP Summer House version includes clams, shrimp. andouille sausage, just-picked sweet corn and other seasonal vegetables, tomato salad, and pie.

London’s restaurant scene has undergone many changes in the last decade, all of them to the better. But the real sea change came about in 2012, when the global financial crisis triggered an improbably wonderful shift in the city’s restaurant culture. Led by a loose-knit group of bold chefs, and following hard on the heels of the ‘bistronomie’ movement in Paris, the British restaurant revolution jettisoned the whole concept of ‘fine dining’ and the pretense that often goes with it. Which is not to say that old-school dining rooms with pomp and circumstance and bad-tempered chefs no longer exist. They do. But you’ll find the most exciting cooking at small no-tablecloth spots run by young chefs whose cooking is informed by both global influences and British produce. Here are five of the best of the new-ish breed of restaurants, all located in central London.

slide22 Not so long ago, Paris had a reputation as being a city in gastronomic decline, one whose hallowed culinary traditions have been overshadowed by new ones created by inventive upstarts in Barcelona and Denmark. But that’s not the case anymore. For every stodgy Paris restaurant that is coasting on past glory, you’ll find a fantastic one run by a talented young chef. Rejecting the formality of classic French restaurants, this new wave of chefproprietors is waking up the once hide-bound Parisian food scene. Many of its exponents trained under the masters, and often eschew luxury ingredients and fancy interiors. On the whole, they offer incredibly good value for exciting, sophisticated food that might best be described as multicultural--not ‘fusion’ but a happy marriage of French flavors and global influences. Here are some of the most interesting of the new wave restos. Some are recently opened and others have quickly become modern classics. All are worth a visit.

Luxury comes at a price, and nowhere is the old chestnut more true than in the rarified world of Paris boutique hotels. But between the weak euro and the strong dollar, the city‘s most delightful indulgences have suddenly become a lot more affordable. There hasn’t been a better time to visit the French capital in decades. Go now. Hôtel Providence. Black walls, subway-tiled bathrooms, velvet counterpanes, and vintage furniture set the tone. Housed in an 1854 townhouse, the interiors at this intimate hotel in the Tenth district are a design maven’s fantasy. Amenities in each of the hotel’s eighteen guest rooms include an i-Pad and a marble cocktail bar. The location is fashionable, too, ideally placed to the hip restaurants and superior boulangeries and bobo cafés of the Canal St. Martin. hotelprovidenceparis.com

slide7 We are fortunate that more and more popular summer restaurants are serving up their fare all year long. Here is a trio of new eateries that have kept their doors open this season. Fill ‘er Up I’m not one to miss the bygone Nichol’s, a pub-like eatery that anchored the spot now occupied by Service Station. But those who loved the comfort food and generous drinks served there will not be disappointed by the new boite, which by the way is named after the filling station that once graced the location. Bartender Alex Lehnen, who presides over the always-happening copper bar with its flickering big screen TVs, caters to both beer guzzlers and cocktail sippers. Born in Germany, the lumberjack lookalike who sports a thick beard and woolen cap, serves up an impressive array of rare imported beers on tap. The revolving selection includes many from his native land. On the night we visited he was pouring a golden libation from the world’s oldest brewery, Bavaria’s Weihenstephan, whose roots can be traced back nearly a thousand years.

I confess. I ate a packet of Dunkin’ Donuts Munchkins en route to my weekend getaway at Canyon Ranch. Not exactly a promising portent for visiting this almost three-decade old temple of wellness tucked into the Berkshires. But after a 16-wheeler blew its horn when I started to drift onto the LIE shoulder, I figured that a dose of sugar was in order. I had risen at dawn in order to arrive in time for lunch followed by a yoga class, an hour of tennis doubles and more. The schedule containing dozens of daily activities had arrived the day before and I was greedy to experience as many as possible in my two-night stay. But after my five-hour trip, the last hundred or so miles winding up the beautiful but serpentine Taconic Parkway, I had barely enough energy to eat lunch (arugula-goat cheese salad and a mini lobster roll), rest in my room and take a deeply unchallenging restorative yoga class. After which I seemed to be able to muster only enough get up and go to fall into a stupor in an infusion room where I was enveloped by eucalyptus-drenched steam.