It’s the most wonderful – or should we say wunderbar? – time of the year, and nowhere is the Christmas spirit more alive and kicking than in Berlin, mein Liebling. The Weihnachtszauber am Gendarmenmarkt seasonal market is where holiday cheer crescendoes, echoing off the magnificent facades of surrounding Deutsche Dom, Konzerthaus and Franzozische Friedrichstadtkirche. With its towering, twinkling tree, endless artisan foods and product vendors, musical and theatrical performers, and of course the booming fireworks, Weihnachtszauber keeps the Grinch at bay and makes bah-humbugging nigh on impossible. Unlike most other markets in town, here there’s an entry fee of 1€, but it’s rather a small price to pay for the guaranteed warm and fuzzy feelings – vat are you vaiting for?
11am-10pm daily until Dec 31. Leipziger Strasse 65, Mitte, Berlin. W: gendarmenmarktberlin.de
Almost a year to the day since London’s iconic former Cafe Royal reopened its heavy wooden Art Nouveau doors as a hotel (it was formerly a fine-dining haunt frequented by the likes of Oscar Wilde, Liz Taylor, and Princess Diana), acclaimed architect David Chipperfield prepares to unveil the finishing touch to its sleek revamp – the Akasha Holistic Wellbeing Centre. Talk about an ultra opulent, 1,200 sq m pamper palace… Read more…
Leave it to Los Angeles to forever put to bed the notion that vegan food is for dread-locked, Birkenstock-clad hippies – instead, white tablecloths and a ritzy Melrose Avenue address set the scene for Crossroads restaurant, with nary a typical tofu dish in sight. From chef Tal Ronnen, famously hailed by Oprah as the ‘best vegan chef in America’, Crossroads serves up seasonal, ‘plant-based’ cuisine that perfectly fits the Angeleno MO of feel-good, waistline-friendly fare: take the playful ‘artichoke oysters’ with artichoke puree and crispy ‘oyster’ mushroom, or the ‘crab cakes’ with hearts of palm, apples, beets and horseradish cream. Seasoned carnivores, take note! Going vegan could be, like, soooo the next big thing in LA.
8284 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles. T: +1 323 782 9245. W: crossroadskitchen.com
You watched Avatar and Bio-Dome and liked what you saw. The kiddies are on school holidays. You want to escape Singapore‘s steamy ‘winter’. You’re a fan of pretty flowers and the like. If you’re in the Lion City and ticked ‘yes’ to any of the above, there’s really no good excuse not to check out Singapore’s huge, verdant, horticultural attraction Gardens by the Bay. Bush babes, this way…
Picture the scene: the snow is falling, the hot choccy is brewing, and the faraway sound of skiers and boarders whooshing down the piste is crescendoing to an all but deafening level for those stuck in the office behind a mound of papers. The good news? The season is just kicking off so there’s still plenty of time to plan an escape to wintry powder paradise. And to make it even easier for you, we’ve counted off our top 5 ski spots this year… just don’t forget your mink muff, Margot!
As the mercury continues to plummet in the northern hemisphere, there’s no better time to fly the coop and head Down Under – and have we the perfectly-feathered eco-nest for you! Stunning Saffire Hotel on Tasmania’s Freycinet Peninsula is not only an icon of modern design, but also famed for its incorporation of elemental materials and natural colours, making it a seamless and luxurious extension of its natural surrounds. More on this serene, summery sejour this way…
Once a full service auto body repair shop, Sydney’s Riley St Garage now rolls down its doors for a completely different kind of service: food and bev, of course! The spot is actually a protected heritage site thanks to its rich architectural history (think textured cement and brick construction, 30s steel roof trusses, and ornate awnings), so while many of the original structural features remain untouched, the lofted interior has been revamped to include a glossy island bar and tiled open kitchen, plus walnut leather booths for more formal sit-down dinners.
Standing out from Shanghai’s hip hordes has never been easier or breezier with the arrival of high-end concept store OOAK (One Of A Kind), a restored narrow Taiyuan Lu townhouse showcasing only the most au fait finds that buying trips to Europe can afford. The glass case-lined foyer plays host to mostly London-based indie jewellery designers (nature-inspired pendants by Alex Monroe and gold and silver cuttlebone casts from Ros Millar), while a tight edit of covetable womenswear from the likes of House of Holland, Antipodium and Liz Black is housed on the second floor. Or totter on up to the attic for a peek at their natty little art collection and a rejuvenating java jolt – a one-of-a-kind one stop shop!
124 Taiyuan Lu, Xuhui, Shanghai. T: +86 21 5424 8929. W: theooak.com
Originally dubbed the ‘poor boy’ after striking streetcar workers in 1929 New Orleans ate them for free from Benny and Clovis Martin’s restaurant, the Po-Boy sandwich has come rather a long way from its humble beginnings. Today the sandwich is globally-renowned and replicated, with variations of the shrimp, oyster, catfish, crab, meat, cheese and sauce-stuffed baguettes ascending to such lofty comfort cuisine heights that since 2007 The Big Easy has been honouring its beloved homegrown sub with its very own annual festival. Over 6 years, the Oak Street Po-Boy Festival has grown to cover 7 city blocks, attract roughly 50,000 hungry fans, and involve more than 30 vendors, plus musical performers and kids’ activities. The 2013 outing takes place this coming Sunday, November 24th, from 10am-7pm, so don your best elastic-waist slacks and go Po!
Oak St (between Carrollton & Leake Aves), New Orleans, USA. W: poboyfest.com
Fancy a cuppa? Well, that’s hardly a tall order in Tokyo, a city famed for its cha, but for something a little more unusual why not pop by the Aoyama Flower Market Tea House? What from the outside appears to be your typical flower shop bursting with shiny leaves and luxuriant blooms, reveals inside an idyllic little tea shop seemingly modelled on the overgrown greenhouse at the bottom of your granny’s garden – dripping with creepers, hanging plants, and vibrant blossoms. Read more…