Comfort Food Comes to Napa…

Meat loaf in Napa? Well, Yes. Celebrity chef Thomas Keller opened his American classics restaurant Ad Hoc in Napa last year knowing full well that it was only a limited-run engagement. Apparently Keller underestimated the local appetite for fried chicken and meat loaf. When word got out that Ad Hoc would close this spring, a crush of diners set upon Napa for a taste of the $45 prix-fixe family-style menu before it disappeared. Last week, Keller, never one to look a gift horse in the mouth, decided that Ad Hoc is to remain open. 6476 Washington St. (707/944-2487).

Drink:Yanks crazy for pisco
It’s no secret to Peruvians that pisco is deliciousness in a glass. They’ve been drinking it for centuries. But who’d have thought it’d be all the rage in the U.S? Indeed, the pomace brandy (liquor distilled from pomace — the crushed grapes, skins and seeds left over from winemaking) is now appearing on cocktail menus in libations like the Pisco Punch at the Kobe Club in NYC and the Galapagos at San Francisco’s Absinthe.

Shop: Sole of Barcelona
Fishermen and fashionistas alike have been buying espadrilles at La Manual Alpargatera in Barcelona since the shop opened for business in the 1940s. You can’t miss the place. Shop walls are lined floor-to-ceiling with the beautiful handmade canvas and rope shoes that put Alpargatera on the map. The amazing thing is the shoes are actually affordable (prices start at less than €10), and travelers love them because they fold up nice and flat for packing.

See: D.C. gets modern
Modernism: Designing a New World 1914-1939, a stunning touring exhibit organized by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, makes its single U.S. stop at Washington DC’s amazing Corcoran Gallery March 17-July 29. Billed as a definitive statement on modernism, the show encompasses some 390 works and 50 film clips that reveal the movement’s impact on everything from fashion to graphic arts to kitchenware. There’s a good reason to see the show Stateside: Corcoran curators have added items from the permanent collection, including works by Picasso, Kandinsky and Frank Lloyd Wright.

Stay: Sassy in Dublin
The South Side of Dublin just got a touch of London glamour with the January opening of the Dylan Hotel, formerly the Hibernian Hotel. Each of the 44 rooms is unique, but all have custom furniture, Belleek pottery, heated bathrooms, memory foam Seventh Heaven beds dressed in Frette linens, a pillow menu, plasma screen TVs, iPods, and more. The Dylan’s brand of elegance is decidedly grown-up: mini-bars are stocked with racy amenities like his/her bath menus, a pink “blindfold,” and a “Kama Sutra intimacy kit” with sensual products. Good thing there’s room service.

Made-to-Order: Beverage bravado in London
Belly up to the bar at your favorite watering hole and ask for an Aberdeen Angus and you’ll most likely get a blank stare. Or be thrown out. Off-the-menu drinks are usually reserved for regulars. Not so at the American Bar at the Stafford Hotel in London. Ben Provost, head barman for 13 years, revels in custom-cocktail challenges, whether it’s a run-of-the-mill martini or the demode Vanderbilt sour. Take a seat, tell him your favorite concoction, and he’ll mix it on the spot.

Jennifer Leuzzi

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