Beach ....... Local ........ Cheap ......
Tuck a napkin into your shirt for countryside deliciousness in the Berkshires town of Great Barrington. The sushi that Bizen chef Michael Marcus serves comes from the same supplier as Nobu, and just-opened Allium serves locally raised rib eye ($32). The Sunday brunch at Xicoh stars slow-cooked pork with guacamole, grilled scallions, and cactus leaf ($15). Push your limits with a scoop of Dirty Chocolate ice cream ($4) at Soco Creamery before a nightcap of port at the pricey but worth it Wheatleigh Hotel (from $650; wheatleigh.com or 413-637-0610).
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To experience what a New York delicatessen was like in its heyday (its fare plentiful, cheap, and cured in-store), head to Montreal’s temples of meat—Schwartz’s, Lesters, Abie’s, and Snowdon. With small menus, Montreal’s delis focus on one thing with religious zeal: smoked meat, the smoky, pepper-flecked love child of pastrami and corned beef. Order medium-fat smoked-meat sandwiches, double-fried fries, a Cott’s black-cherry soda, and a mustard-soaked stick of karnatzel (thin salami). Then pick up a dozen hand-twisted bagels from St-Viateur Bagel Bakery. Take Rolaids at the Ritz (from $175 per night; 514-842-4212 or ritzmontreal.com).
The town’s budget-minded students and surfeit of profs require high-achieving southern food. The two camps converge on Franklin Street, where $8 crab-and-corn cheese pies from Crook’s Corner (crookscorner.com) and $6 duck congee with cracklings from Lantern (lanternrestaurant.com) are supplied by organic farmers and Slow Food purveyors in the surrounding Piedmonts. Start your morning with a country breakfast at Fickle Creek Farm (rooms from $100; 919-969-8846 or home.mebtel.net/~ficklecreek).
Order oyster omelettes from a vendor in the circuslike Huashi Street Snake Alley Night Market and you’ll get a fresh-shucked crustacean encased in sticky potato and topped with chile egg. Also delicious: crab vermicelli, stewed beef noodles, and crispy salt-and-pepper tripe. Snacks cost $1 to $2. Extreme eaters can try freshly killed cobra. Stay at the Grand Hyatt Taipei (from $209; 886-22-720-1234 or taipei.grand.hyatt.com).
South Australia’s 100-mile-long Kangaroo Island, circled with dozens of pristine beaches, churns out deliciously light honey from what is claimed to be the world’s purest strain of Ligurian bees, rare Australian marrons (giant freshwater crayfish), tangy sheep’s-milk yogurt, and remarkably delicious free-range chickens. Early next year, base yourself at the new glassy, modern Southern Ocean Lodge overlooking Hanson Bay ($900, all-inclusive; opens March 2008; 800-441-6880 or southernoceanlodge.com.au) and nibble your way across the island.
With its high proportion of starred Michelin chefs, Lyon—not Paris—is France’s capital of fine dining. Just witness Parisians swooping into the outdoor markets—more than 40 in all—to stock up on fishy quenelles and porky boudins aux noisettes. Graze the traditional small restaurants called bouchons, and book a midweek table at one of the restaurants of Paul Bocuse’s quartet, L’Ouest, Le Nord, Le Sud, and l’Est (each representing a different region of modern French cuisine), or stalk the star himself during his regular Sunday rounds at Les Halles de Lyon. Stay at the value-priced Bellecour sur Cour (rooms from $100; 33-06-159-4546 or bellecoursurcour.com), and save your splurging for edibles.
Make reservations a day in advance, and follow the haze of tobacco smoke into Pod Lipite (359-2-866-5053), a tavern where animal skins, musical instruments, and farm equipment dangle from the rafters. Gather at one of the long wooden tables to devour braised lamb’s head ($5) and stewed boar ($6). Wash it down with Mavrud wine ($8 a bottle), a spicy red from the Thracian Valley, and sleep it off in the bright Sunflower Room at the new Hotel Les Fleurs (from $156 per night; 359-2-810-0800 or lesfleurshotel.com).