Top Travel News from the Kitchens

Kitchens across the globe are dishing out some of the hottest news yet. If you are a traveling gourmet, we've got something you can really sink your teeth into.

Japan is bringing yet another taste to NYC with Japan Week, a series of events that celebrate Japanese culture, food and beverages. This year's Japan Week will run from March 4-18, and part of the fun includes Japanese Restaurant Week. Thirty-five participating restaurants will be dishing out the regional cuisines of Japan. Many of the restaurants will be serving "ekiben" bento boxes that include local Japanese dishes. Note: Ekiben are sold at railway train stations in Japan. Prices will range from $12 to $25. Bento boxes will also be available for purchase at Grand Central Terminal during Japan Week on March 19-21. Participating restaurants include Aburiya Kinnosuke, Aki on West 4th, Blue Ribbon Sushi, Cha-An, CURRY-YA, Donguri, Greenwich Grill, Go Go Curry, Hakata Tonton, Hakubai / Kitano Hotel, Hasaki, Hatsuhana, High-Collar, Kubo-chan Ramen, Kyotofu, Marumi, Megu Midtown, Misoya, Ootoya, Rai Rai Ken, Restaurant Nippon, Robataya, Ronin, Sakagura, Sake Bar Decibel, Shimizu, Soba Koh, Soba-ya, Sunrise Mart, Sushi Ann, Sushi Azabu, Sushiden Madison Ave., Sushiden 6th Ave., Tori Shin and Wasan.

Al fresco on the brain? We are itching to get back outdoors, and it seems Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas agrees. We hear the luxury hotel will open Press this spring, a new indoor/outdoor concept serving up a variety of food and drink. Press is slated to open in April. We are excited to see the play on indoor/outdoor, with oversized windows, glass doors and two large gas fire pits. There will also be sofa seating overlooking the hotel's private pool. An all-day establishment, Press will transition from social hub in the morning serving roasted coffees and fresh juices, to afternoon leisure center with market salads, paninis and frosty beers, to chic pre-dinner cocktail spot, with 16 wines by the glass, craft beer and speakeasy cocktails. A small plate menu will serve up seasonal foods while late night snacks include chocolate truffles, ice cream truck favorites and night caps. 

The capital is buzzing with the anticipation of the new Capella Washington DC, Georgetown Hotel, which is set to debut in the coming months. We hear the super exclusive hotel will unveil two new concepts: The Grill Room and The Rye Bar, to open in April 2013. Headed by Swedish Chef Jakob Esko, The Grill Room and The Rye Bar will have a canal-front patio, creative menus and a swank interior. What we love: The menu at The Grill Room will specialize in hand-cut, bone-in meats, seafood and tableside prep. The Rye Bar will mix up rare rye whiskeys, cocktails and a menu of bar fare. Be sure to try the American Wagyu served with pancetta and onion tart with truffle and fortified wine sauce. Fish fiends will love the Rockfish grilled and garnished with a slow-cooked ginger glaze and orange. Cool touch: The Grill Room seats just 70. Adjacent is The Rye Bar, with 26 seats and a specialty menu of top whiskeys and small bites. Try the Van Winkle Family Reserve 13 year or a Willett 5 year single barrel.

In the restaurant mecca of New York, Balthazar has been wildly popular since its debut in the spring of 1997. The legendary brasserie in Soho serves classic French dishes to the city’s movers and shakers. So imagine the hype in London—another famous foodie town—about the opening of Balthazar London in Covent Garden this month. In a recent article in Esquire Magazine, Keith McNally is described as one of the “most influential restaurateurs in the world." At long last, London-born McNally is opening an outpost in his home town, and it’s destined to be just as popular. The restaurant will be housed in the old Theatre Museum, in a building called “The Flower Cellars.” Expect the menu classics available for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, plus weekend brunch. Pressed to get your Balthazar fix in London town? The boulangerie is already open, serving artisan breads, homemade pastries, salads and sandwiches to take away. Balthazar is located on the corner of Russell Street and Wellington Street in Covent Garden. For more information, visit

Over in France, the stars are aligning at Hotel Le Bristol Paris…or should we say, the Michelin Stars. We hear that Le 114 Faubourg, the luxury brasserie at the hotel, has been awarded one star in the 2013 Michelin Guide. Following a third Michelin star awarded to Le Bristol's Epicure restaurant in 2009, the hotel is now in possession of four coveted stars. The achievement is attributed to Chef Eric Desbordes, mentored by Le Bristol's Chef des Cuisines Eric Frechon and Pastry Chef Laurent Jeannin.  Tip: When in Paris be sure to stop by to taste signature dishes such as the hard-boiled egg and king crab; ginger and lemon mayonnaise; the peppered artichoke soup with fry-pan foie gras; truffle emulsion; duck pate; vinegar-flavored vegetables; and the legendary Parisian cheeseburger with pickles and french fries.

Still in Paris, fans of Buddha Bar will be pleased to learn that Paris will soon have its very own Buddha-Bar Hotel in addition to the popular restaurant. George V Entertainment-- which commands an empire of 30 restaurants, spas, and hotels around the globe-- has announced an opening date of April 2013 for Buddha-Bar Hotel Paris. After Prague and Budapest, this will be the third hotel for the brand, and it’s aiming for a five-star rating. Located at 4 rue d’Anjou near the Place de la Madeleine in the 8th arrondissement, the hotel-- housed in a restored 18th century mansion--- will have 56 Asian-inspired guestrooms including 21 suites. True to the Buddha Bar concept, the hotel will have a happening restaurant and lounge where a DJ spins tracks til the wee hours of the morning. We hear there will also be a small spa with a hammam and fitness center, and if it’s anything like the Buddha Bar Spa in the Hilton Hotel in Evian-les-Bains, we’re getting in line now.

Celebrity chef Alain Ducasse may command an empire of Michelin-starred restaurants around the globe- indeed he was the first to have Michelin three-starred eateries in three different cities—but he’s never delved into the world of high-end chocolate. That’s about to change with the launch of Manufacture. Ducasse has teamed up with chocolatier Nicolas Berger to create a unique establishment in Paris: where the entire chocolate-making process is hand-crafted, starting with the roasting of carefully-selected cocoa beans on site. Visitors to the boutique can actually see the machines at work- behind a wall of glass. This has been a long-time dream of Ducasse, ever since he apprenticed under chocolatier Michel Chaudun at Gaston Lenôtre in 1975.

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