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Bagels from Montreal's St-Viateur, made by hand and finished in a wood-burning oven, are worth the mail costs. Photograph by Matthew Worden.

Sorry, New Yorkers—the best bagels in the world are in Montreal. And now, thanks to a change in shipping laws, the legendary Montreal bakery St-Viateur Bagel (stviateurbagel.com) is again shipping its bagels to the States.

Smaller and lighter than their New York cousins and with a larger hole in the center, the bagels are artisanally handcrafted—no machine stamping—and baked in a wood-burning oven. Handmade bagels mostly vanished here in the 1960s, victims of the new bagel machines.

The St-Viateur bagels lose a little something in the three days it takes them to arrive by mail, but popping them into the toaster for a few minutes brings them back almost to their original, glorious state.

You can find cheaper bagels—including shipping, a minimum order of six dozen costs around $60—but not better bagels.

Posted at 08:35 AM/ET, 07/03/2007 | Permalink | Comments ()
The Inn at Little Washington is this tiny Rappahannock town's main attraction, but there's more to see and do. By sara levine

Relaxing at the Linden Vineyard.
Rappahannock County’s biggest claim-to-fame is the illustrious Inn at Little Washington--the ultra-luxurious restaurant and inn that anchors the tiny town of Washington, Virginia (population 160). But there's been plenty written about that. On a recent weekend trip to this idyllic setting just 65 miles from “big” Washington, I discovered some other great spots nearby for food, wine, and fun.

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Posted at 12:37 PM/ET, 05/07/2007 | Permalink | Comments ()
Celeb restaurateur Keith McNally gives Balthazar and Schiller's an Italian sibling. By sara levine

New York foodies are buzzing about Morandi, the new Italian place in the West Village and latest addition to restaurateur Keith McNally’s mini-empire (Balthazar, Pastis, Schiller’s). Not without some begging, a friend managed to score us a 6:30 reservation last weekend. After many memorable brunches at Balthazar, Soho’s perennially-packed French brasserie, we were intrigued to see McNally go Italian. Indeed, he evokes Italy with the same finesse that transports diners to Paris at Balthazar. There’s a blackboard listing several house wines served in wicker-based carafes, rustic wooden tables that are just a little too small (somehow it makes things cozy, not annoying), and even servers with seemingly-authentic Italian accents.

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Posted at 01:02 PM/ET, 04/12/2007 | Permalink | Comments ()
The chat is on hiatus this week, as Todd travels to New York City, but it will return next Tuesday at 11:00 am. By Todd Kliman

Good morning, chatters!

Just wanted to let you know that the chat is on hiatus this week, as I head up to New York City on this raw, blustery morning to do some food scouting.

Of course, I couldn't in good faith leave you without the prospect of something mouth-watering for the next hour or so, so I've put together some highlights of my last trip north, a couple of weeks ago.

From time to time, I hope to share more of these eating adventures with you - and welcome your feedback.

See you back here next week. Same time, same bat channel.

Until then, feast on this first installment of:

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Posted at 08:26 AM/ET, 02/07/2007 | Permalink | Comments ()
All hail In-N-Out Burger and Gary Danko. By sara levine

The Slanted Door
San Francisco is constantly touted as one of the nation’s leading food cities. So needless to say I was thrilled to be invited on a trip to the Golden Gate with my boyfriend’s food-loving family (they’re from New Orleans, after all). Although pretty much every bite of the trip was memorable, these were the major culinary highlights.

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Posted at 07:46 AM/ET, 01/09/2007 | Permalink | Comments ()