Every morning, locals in Bronte, a beachside suburb of Sydney, can be seen queuing in front of Iggy’s spartan shopfront, tel: (61-2) 9369 1650. An Australian offshoot of a famous Cambridge, Mass., bakery of the same name, it employs an elaborate 24-hour fermentation process to make sourdough baguettes, bagels, focaccias and loaves rated in these parts as the best thing since, well, sliced bread. “The response we’ve had is amazing,” says owner Igor Ivanovic. But be warned: with only 300 items baked daily, stock usually runs out before noon—and though Ivanovic opened a second (and larger) Bronte outlet in 2011, bread disappears there as fast as it does at the original store.
—Ian Lloyd Neubauer
Cha Ca La Vong
never mind the garish walls and rickety floors. Vietnamese foodies are prepared to endure both—and the notoriously curt staff—at Cha Ca La Vong, tel (84-4) 3825 3929, in order to savor the Hanoi restaurant’s legendary La Vong grilled fish. It’s the only dish on offer. The exact recipe remains a mystery, but this much is clear: for around $8, waiters cook fish spiced with turmeric and pepper over charcoal on customers’ tables. They then add a healthy dose of dill and green onions, which guests pour over small bowls of vermicelli rice noodles, before topping it off with toasted peanuts, mint, fresh basil and fish sauce. Despite the regimented script—sit, eat and don’t think about lingering—management does give diners a degree of autonomy: they get to choose their beer.
—William Lee Adams
(PHOTOS: Australia’s Hidden Islands)
when you tire of the pushy, pulsing thoroughfares of Ghana’s beachfront capital, Accra, make for this shady retreat. Buka serves giant helpings of the best West African cuisine on a spacious second-floor terrace that gives you the feeling of sitting in a treehouse. Order an ice-cold Star beer, the preferred local brew, and peruse the menu. You’ll see all of Accra come out to share local favorites like tilapia, goat soup and hearty bean stew served with a choice of accompaniments from fufu (a kind of chewy dough) to roasted plantains. Ghanaians like to dispense with cutlery, so don’t be afraid to roll your sleeves up and dig in—and don’t miss the great view of the sun as it sets over the city. See thebukarestaurant.com.
Good Morning Nanyang Café
In food-mad Singapore, finding the best breakfast of kaya (coconut jam), toast and eggs is a matter of passionate debate. The visitor will usually be directed to one of the venerable, postwar coffee shops that have traded on their reputations for decades, but connoisseurs argue in favor of the eight-year-old chain of Good Morning Nanyang cafés.
Founder Byron Shoh departs from tradition by pairing his kaya with Western bread like orange-peel ciabatta. The pièce de résistance however is the kaya itself, more textured and less sweet than the norm, with pronounced flavors of egg and pandan. Enjoy it with perfectly soft-boiled eggs (“Medium-size, room-temperature eggs, four minutes in hot-water bath,” explains Shoh) and Indonesian coffee. Start your day right at the Telok Ayer Hong Lim Green Community Centre branch, 20 Upper Pickering Street, open from 7:30 a.m. on weekdays and 8:30 a.m. on Saturdays.
thanks to the revival of classic British biker brand Belstaff, ’70s-era motorcycle fashions are back in vogue. But for truly cutting-edge chopper styles, Toronto’s tiny boutique Town Moto is where the aesthetic finds its purest form. Opened last May by a pair of local biker fans in the city’s grungy-glam Ossington district, Town Moto specializes in biker gear with a decidedly downtown edge.
“We are only interested in carrying select lines, brands you don’t find in other dealerships,” says co-owner Andrew McCracken. That means goodies from Biltwell helmets and deerskin gloves by Lee Parks Design to outerwear from Winnipeg-based Tough Duck, loved by arctic oil-industry workers. There are also leather jackets and T-shirts from Triumph (one of only two North American boutiques with the line). Want an excuse to parade in your biker finery? Town Moto sponsors regular events that lure plenty of stylish hog-riding fans. Details at townmoto.com.
Le Chapeau Melon
ask french food writers where you should eat in Paris, and they’ll provide a litany of enticing, fashionable addresses. But ask where they eat, and they might well say Le Chapeau Melon, tel: (33-1) 4202 6860—the cave à manger opened by Olivier Camus in 2002.
These days there are many caves à manger—wine shops that moonlight as informal restaurants, where self-taught sommelier-cooks let their imaginations run free. But Camus was at it before all of them. By day, Le Chapeau Melon is a specialty shop for natural wines. By night Camus becomes your bon viveur uncle who opens his atelier to a small group of friends for wine, conversation and delicious fare (everything from sardine tart with tomato confit and dill to slow-roasted Pyrenees lamb with Paimpol coco beans). Expect cult wines at bargain prices. And the four-course no-choice tasting menu, at around $45, is easily among the best deals in Paris.
—Jeffrey T. Iverson
Grimanesa’s Anticucho Stall
for nearly 40 years, the legendary Doña Grimanesa Vargas has cooked her anticuchos—the Peruvian take on kebabs—to perfection. Most of that time was spent on the same street corner in Lima’s Miraflores district, but as her fame grew, so did the queues. Eventually the crowds around her grill-on-wheels became so large that she was forced to move into her own brick-and-mortar restaurant at the end of 2011. At her smoky, cramped establishment, there’s just one long table and one thing on the menu. Chunks of beef heart are marinated in vinegar and spices, then skewered and grilled over charcoal. The skewers are served with potatoes and you can add a side order of choclo (giant Peruvian corn). The meat is tender, the marinade is delicious and it’s well worth the wait for a seat. See grimanesavargasanticuchos.com.
East Jerusalem eating doesn’t get more authentic than Abu Shukri, tel: (972-2) 627 1538, 63 Al Wad Road. One of the Old City’s longtime top spots for traditional Palestinian cuisine, it’s located deep in the Muslim section, just beyond the Fifth Station of the Cross. Within its spare and fuss-free confines, it trades in superb Levantine staples such as falafel, tahini, foul and chopped salads, prepared fresh each morning and served family style until the day’s portions run out.
The restaurant’s main draw has to be its hummus: warm, dense platefuls swimming in earthy olive oil are sprinkled with spicy green za’atar and then paired with leaves of pillow-soft pita bread. It’s all overseen by Fadi Taha, Abu Shukri’s third-generation owner, who tests and tastes every batch of the chickpea concoction. Even heartier than the food is the interfaith, polyglot clientele. Abu Shukri is a rare bastion of coexistence in one of the world’s most conflict-ridden locations.