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You’re headed to Paris, gastro capital of the universe. You loved Hemingway’s A  Movable Feast, belong to your local wine society and routinely julienne with visions of Julia Childs hacking legumes flitting through your head. You become anxious. How can you capture the culinary essence of Paris in a few short days? Bon chance! A cross section of excellent walking foodie tours offer burgeoning francophiles the perfect cultural experience. NAME: Context Travel: Baguette to Bistro: Culinary...

Yes, there have been multiple terror attacks in France. And strikes. And financial malaise. Which, of course, does not make such an appetizing tourist scenario. And, can almost make you forget the abundant charms of France: the cheese, the wine, the pastry, the way golden light bathes the architecture at sunset, the joie de vivre derived from meandering through Paris, Provence and so many other villages that exude a unique sense of place. Terror is, unfortunately the...

It was a slight bitch to get there, an early morning flight, connection, customs. But, when I arrived at the southernmost tip of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula,  84 degree temps and a welcome margarita put the kabosh on irritation. At first glance, I was in love. The property hugs the coastline of Cabo and has an open air format (no large buildings to enter or exit) that rewards guests with constant friction with sun, sea...

David Burke’s Primehouse at The James Hotel is known for massive steaks and classic, gut expanding sides. But, for summer, the restaurant veers from its meat and potato repertoire with a super cool ice cream program, a Friday afternoon Pop Up ice cream shop located within the hotel’s smack-in-the-middle-of-everything Rush Street lobby. To keep things interesting, flavors are rotated weekly and announced on Wednesdays via Primehouse social media platforms. What’s new? This summer Executive Pastry...

Now that the weather has changed, it’s all about enjoying the great outdoors. Here are five excellent activities to take advantage of this June! AL FRESCO DINNER Expat 118 N Green St. Element Collective’s groovy al fresco pop-up restaurant on a sidewalk on Green Street features fresh, local flavors, boozy sno-cones and an extensive rosé list. Parson’s Chicken and Fish 2952 W Armitage Ave. If you want to avoid overpriced cocktails, head west to this hipster patio in Logan Square for...

  As an expert for Travel + Leisure, I get to do a lot of very cool test drives: chocolate tastings in London, cooking classes in Paris, spontaneous hotel reviews and more. But, writing this story about Chicago’s best rooftops was one of my favorite projects. Not only did I get to taste delightful cocktails, I also got to sit down and drink in the city’s incredible views. Walking around Chicago is one thing. But, sitting...

  Her father may be fashion royalty. But, Dylan Lauren’s singular achievements in the sweets sector have cemented her status as America’s Confectionary Queen. With her just-opened Dylan’s Candy on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, Ms. Lauren has gobstopper sized plans for the Midwest. Not only is it her largest store to date, the airy space (a converted museum in the iconic Tribune Tower) will serve as a sun drenched backdrop for some new initiatives. To wit: a candy...

My morning coffee in Provence was not a minor detail of the day. It was a highlight. Why? A Provencal petit dejeuner is epic. Presentation is everything. Details as minute as the placement of a teaspoon (it is leaning upon a mini pot of local honey) requires serious consideration. Great care is taken to transform a breakfast table into a multi-sensory tableau that beckons with the promise of excellence. Wicker tables are dressed to impress...

Beyonce’s youthifying skin serum. Clooney’s shades. J-Law’s fave cold pressed juice. Star sanctioned products offer big time buzz to a brand. But, in the UK, there is an imperial nod of approval that puts an entertainers’ endorsement to shame. It’s called the Royal Warrant. And, it’s a big f-ing deal. Since the 15th century, the Crown has bestowed a mark of distinction upon top drawer “tradespeople.” Favored suppliers of goods and services to the royal families (Queen,...

Why Chicago Needs Another Steakhouse   You wont find a caesar salad in Jose Garces’ new Argentine steakhouse. Or, creamed spinach. Not even that sacred of sacred sides, the blue cheese coated tomato wedge. Broiled T Bone? Nope. No way. No how. The Iron Chef is not dissing these classic chophouse offerings. A born and bred Chicagoan,  marbled beef and hash browns practically gallop through his veins. Rural Society is just a different sort of spot. It’s a...