Top Picks For You

This week: Bahamas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Montréal, New York City…

The Bahamas’ Powell Pointe Resort at Cape Eleuthera offers seclusion and top-flight service…

Seasonal Cuisine in New York Cityirving%20mill_nycF.jpg

Irving Mill. This seasonal American spot run by former Gramercy Tavern chef John Schaefer is proving to be one of the city’s hottest restaurants. The large dining room has a homey feel with its beige accents and traditional wood walls, and the waitstaff is eager to please. The menu isn’t huge, but the choices incorporate the freshest produce and meat, allowing the ingredients to shine. The winter selection includes celery root chowder and baby beet salad as starters and braised rabbit and roasted Arctic char as the main meal. If you can’t snag a reservation in the main dining room, try the Front Tap Room, which accepts walk-ins. 116 East 16th St., between Union Square East and Irving Place. Gramercy. 212/254-1600. AE, D, DC, MC, V. Median entrée price: $26.

Las Vegas’ Sweet Spot
Payard Patisserie & Bistro. Dessert reigns supreme at the Las Vegas outpost of this New York-based restaurant from celebrated chef Francois Payard. The bright and airy eatery is tucked inside Caesars Palace, where tourists and business travelers queue in the counter-service chocolate/pastry shop for made-to-order crêpes and treats, including a warm banana phyllo tart and devil’s food cake with cardamom pot de crème. Behind the counter, a separate full-service, 46-seat dining room offers the city’s only all-dessert tasting menu as well as a lengthy wine list and savory items such as classic croque monsieur (grilled ham and cheese sandwich) and a seared salmon salad. Perhaps the best deal comes at breakfast, where the continental buffet offers unlimited lox and whitefish. 3570 Las Vegas Blvd., Caesars Palace. 702/731-7292. Reservations not accepted. AE, D, DC, MC, V. Median entrée price: $20. Median dessert price: $10.

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In Los Angeles, Come to Comme Ça
Comme Ça. After the sweet success of patisserie Boule and seasonally-inspired Sona, Angeleno restaurateur David Myers have scored a culinary hat trick with their latest bustling restaurant. This French brasserie, with hand-crafted vintage cocktails, polished service, and a menu that has something for everyone, is styled for those craving comfort and a decidedly French “joie de vivre.” Simple butcher-paper covered tables offset elegant antique mirrors, while a long chalkboard doubles as a wall. The restaurant can’t help but encourage an affair with food and wine. Savor specialtiés du jour, including perfectly roasted chicken for two and whole roasted fish, alongside Rhône and Grenache-centric wine selections. Prime people watching takes place in the front dining room. Walk-ins can dine at the raw bar without making reservations. 8479 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood. 323/782-1104. AE, MC, V. Median entrée price: $25.

In Romania, Stay in Sibiu
Hotel Continental Forum. Sibiu’s newest hotel occupies the building of one of the city’s oldest hotels — the Hotel Bulevard. After a complete renovation, the former Hotel Bulevard reopened in October 2007 as the Hotel Continental Forum, owned and operated by the Continental group, Romania’s biggest independent hotel chain. The new property goes a long way toward addressing Sibiu’s chronic shortage of quality hotel rooms. The rooms have been thoroughly updated with modern conveniences and feature big double beds with thick mattresses, plasma TVs, and Internet access (for a fee). The hallways and public areas feel cramped, but are clean and well lit. The clunky 1970s-style lobby won’t be to everyone’s liking, but the two in-lobby Internet terminals and adjoining coffee bar are a plus. The in-house restaurant specializes in Balkan cooking. Pros: excellent central location; clean, inviting rooms; free parking. Cons: small baths; expensive Internet (35 RON//24 hours). Piata Unirii 10, Sibiu, Romania. 037/269–2692 (ph.). 037/269–2693 (fax). 135 rooms. In-room: refrigerator, Ethernet (fee). In-hotel: restaurant, room service, bar, gym, laundry service, public Wi-Fi (fee), airport shuttle, parking (no fee), some pets allowed (fee), no-smoking rooms. AE, DC, MC, V. Rooms start at: 420 RON (approximately $174)

Montréal’s Modern Stay
ALT Hotel Quartier Dix30. The lobby of this environmentally friendly and tech-savvy hotel features a glass staircase, a DJ station, a small bar, and original graphic art. Loft-like rooms have 10-foot ceilings, over-sized windows, and concrete slabs on the walls, as well as a port where you can plug in your laptop, iPod, or digital camera and use the 32-inch flat-screen TV to view photos, listen to music, or work on your computer. Geothermal heating and cooling throughout the hotel is expected to reduce carbon emissions usually associated with this kind of building by 430 tons per year. Rooms have recycling bins and water-saving toilets that let you choose a mini-flush or a full-flush. Every room is the same price and same basic layout but corner rooms have more windows. Pros: a lot of cool for the cash; free underground parking; free in-room bottled water. Cons: 10 miles from Downtown Montréal; weak wireless signal; no restaurant. 6500 boulevard de Rome, Brossard. 877/343-1030 (ph). 159 rooms. In-room: Wi-Fi. In-hotel: bar, laundry service, public Wi-Fi, some pets allowed (fee), no-smoking rooms. AE, DC, MC, V. Rooms start at: CAD $129 (approximately $127)

A Bahamas Getaway
Powell Pointe Resort at Cape Eleuthera. For the ultimate secluded getaway, take a one-hour boat ride from Nassau and head to Powell Pointe Resort at Cape Eleuthera. Nestled between the aquamarine and emerald waters of Rock and Exuma Sounds are the resort’s gigantic town homes featuring two brightly-decorated bedrooms with full baths and a stainless-steel kitchen. Watch breathtaking sunsets from your second-floor balcony, or from the Starbucks-inspired coffee shop’s veranda, which turns into a wine bar at night. During the day, explore the resort’s 18-mile shoreline, including the 20-plus beaches. For a unique experience, have the staff take you by boat to one of the five nearby, footprint-free islands for the day. Pack a picnic and your seashell bucket, and get ready for complete solitude. Pros: beautiful resort right on the water; professional yet friendly staff; onsite gear rental for water and land sports and excursions (some with fee). Cons: two-story town homes are inconvenient for travelers with heavy suitcases or disabilities (request the one ground floor unit). Cape Eleuthera, Eleuthera Island. 242/422-9977 (ph.). 19 town homes. In-room: kitchen, refrigerator, DVD, Wi-Fi. In-hotel: 2 restaurants, diving, water sports, bicycles, children’s programs, laundry facilities, laundry service, public Wi-Fi, parking (no fee), no-smoking rooms. AE, MC, V. Town homes start at $600 (can sleep 6-plus people).

Contributors: Mark Baker, Karen Catchpole, Molly Moker, Charyn Pfeuffer, Matt Villano, Shivani Vora

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