2000s Archive

Hotels + Inns


At Cityzen, chef Eric Ziebold knows every one of his farmers, ranchers, and gardeners.


Cielo at Ventana Inn & Spa

Clinging to a chaparral-covered mountainside below Big Sur’s Ventana Wilderness, the terrace of Cielo suspends diners between sky, salt mist, and sea with a view that seems to stretch clear to Asia. It’s not easy to trump such a setting, and time was, Big Sur kitchens barely tried. But chef Anthony Calamari, who has a flair for fresh and robust flavors, knows how to get your attention. One of his secrets? An on-site, three-season vegetable garden where he unearths beets to roast for a goat cheese salad, harvests squashes, spinach, and peppers for a summery vegetable tian, and picks field greens until the winter storms begin. 48123 Hwy. 1, Big Sur, CA (831-667-4242)


Chef Eric Ziebold doesn’t cut corners. He cures his own lardo and wraps it around fish to achieve unparalleled juiciness, and takes pride in baking miniature Parker House rolls unashamedly saturated with butter. Dr. Seuss readers aren’t the only ones who’ll adore Ziebold’s “green eggs and ham” (shoat-leg salad with quail egg and leek purée), and he’s a one-man society for the preservation of shad—offering the fish pickled or lightly browned, the roe as a porridge. Ziebold knows every one of his farmers, ranchers, and gardeners. Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 1330 Maryland Ave. S.W., Washington, D.C. (202-787-6006)

The Inn at Dos Brisas

Kitchen gardens, precise cuisine, a mesmerizing ranch landscape: all conspire to make this small luxury resort, tucked in rolling farmland between Houston and Austin, an unexpected joy. Chef Jason Robinson, who cooked at Tru, in Chicago, draws on the inn’s organic vegetable plots, herb maze, berry patch, and just-planted fruit orchard for his sumptuous tasting menus. Costly? Yes. But such inspirations as a salad of whisper-thin, just-picked cucumbers, accompanied by a white-peppery cucumber water of breathtaking purity, make the tariff worthwhile. The stirring wine list created by sommelier Christopher Bates makes it even more fun. 9400 Champion Dr./F.M. 1155, Brenham, TX (979-277-7750)

The Inn at Shelburne Farms

The setting alone is enough. Housed in a sprawling redbrick Queen Anne mansion built in the 1880s as a lakeside retreat, The Inn at Shelburne Farms affords sunset views across Lake Champlain to the Adirondacks. The 1,400 acres of woodlots, pastures, and formal gardens that surround it were codesigned by Frederick Law Olmsted of Central Park fame. But chef Rick Gencarelli (formerly of Todd English’s Olives, in Boston and New York) manages to draw your attention to what’s on the plate, not outside the window. He professes a fondness for buying whole animal carcasses, breaking them down himself, and using every part, saying it makes him a better cook. Diners are rewarded with crisp lamb’s-tongue salad with shaved beets and horseradish crème fraîche; slow-roasted pork belly with smoked maple vinegar and Hakuri turnips; roast chicken with foraged mushrooms, bacon, and chicken liver toast; and Vermont lamb with ewe’s-milk feta. No robber baron ever had it this good. Open May through October; 1611 Harbor Rd., Shelburne, VT (802-985-8498)

North Fork Table and Inn

Almost all of the produce at this restaurant on the North Fork of Long Island (100 miles east of Manhattan) comes from purveyors so nearby they’re within biking distance. The fruit stand just down the road, which has been in the same family for generations, often provides the fresh berries for Claudia Fleming’s amazing desserts, as well as the trimmings for husband Gerry Hayden’s free-range chicken with apricots and sugar snap peas. Beautiful Asian greens and heirloom tomatoes are also close at hand. And a totally biodynamic farm, with tasty greens on beautiful rows of raised beds, is practically next door. 57225 Main Rd., Southold, NY (631-765-0177)

Rustic Canyon

At this plugged-in bistro, owner Josh Loeb and Iranian-born chef Samir Mohajer serve up a rustic blend of California and Mediterranean fare to a boho Santa Monica crowd. Think white-corn soup with chive oil, pizzetta of squash blossoms and feta, and a vibrant Moroccan salad plate with homemade harissa. Pan-roasted chicken is escorted by couscous and garbanzos; a flavorful flatiron steak id accompanied by crunchy horseradish slaw. Polish off your meal with Rocky Road bread pudding topped with a soft marshmallow cream or a glass of Felsina Vin Santo. 1119 Wilshire Blvd., Santa Monica (310-393-7050)

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