JUNE IS A magical month. Somewhere between spring and summer here in the northern hemisphere, it’s the promise of longer days, lighter layers, and dining outdoors. I, for one, am barreling ahead, swaddled in linen, spritz in hand. From personalized stationery to Swedish kids’ clothes, new reads to facial mists, spectacular city dining to remote getaways — here’s everything we fell for this month. — Sophie
A Taste of Tennessee
Southern sustenance gets a sumptuous makeover at Blackberry Farm’s new restaurant,...
A Lifetime of Flavor
To make renowned San Francisco restaurant Saison his own, Chef Paul Chung...
A new restaurant opened up a few months ago in Tribeca. Its name is l’abeille and it’s everything a special New York restaurant should be. The focus is a six-course tasting menu, led by Chef Mitsunobu Nagae, a graceful, soft-spoken man I had the honor of meeting at the end of my meal. As for the food: The Foie Gras Crème Brûlée was a buttery, nutty decadence. The Scallop Crudo sat in a pool of sauce dotted with bright spots of lime oil and topped with a lump of caviar. The tilefish had a skin so fine, so thin, so crisped, I would’ve eaten it stripped off in handfuls, like chips — the flesh below perfectly tender. The squab, broodingly roasted and served with a miso-bourbon sauce, presented a dark holy trinity of flavors: sweet, smoky, savory. The space itself is dignified and soothing: green velvet banquets, pretty little table lamps, and delicate ceramic dishware. The service has an old New York finesse and elegance to it, though earnestly unstuffy. To use the old phrase, l’abeille is a true class act. — Sophie
Balsamic Vinegar of Modena, known as “oro nero” (or “black gold”), was once so precious it was considered a royal gift. Carandini is one of the oldest producers of the vinegar (they’ve been using the same recipe for nearly 400 years) and I’ve been using their Emilio expression a lot lately. It’s a high-density vinegar that is sweet and sour — it’s robust and delicious in salad dressing, drizzled over roasted vegetables, or reduced and used as a glaze over fresh strawberries. — Nina
Russian food is my comfort food and I often cook it myself, but it’s gotten harder to find in the Bay Area. So I was particularly excited to hear about the opening of Birch & Rye, a new upscale Russian restaurant right in Noe Valley. Opened by Chef Anya El-Wattar, who was previously a cook at Greens restaurant, Birch & Rye serves creatively deconstructed and reimagined takes on Russian classics, from borscht to Olivier salad, as well as pelmeni, and, when I was there, a potato and black truffle pirajok — both made with heritage flours like spelt and rye. The beautifully decorated restaurant — the back roofed patio feels a lot like an outdoor restaurant in Russia in summer — offers a wide selection of house-infused vodkas in flavors like blackcurrant and horseradish (the king of all vodkas, if you ask me). Along with Dominique Crenn, Chef El-Wattar recently hosted Dine for Ukraine, a dinner to raise money for World Central Kitchen’s efforts to feed those affected by the war in Ukraine. They raised $108,000. — Nina
I have been fascinated and thrilled by the recent proliferation of nonalcoholic beverages. Genuinely appealing drinks — and not just NA beers and wine, but spirits too. Still, I believed there were some drinks, like a Negroni, that would be impossible to replicate in NA fashion. That is, until, blessedly, Brooklyn-based St. Agrestis proved me wrong. The natural spirits company’s Phony Negroni comes in a triangular bottle that looks very Italian and bears a beautiful label. And it’s fizzy, sweet, and bitter — like real Campari-style bitterness. Even without the bite of real alcohol, the drink somehow evokes gin. Its bright-red color makes it festive to boot. As with a real Negroni, the sweetness is a bit much for me, so I dilute these with a bit of club soda for a truly perfect warm-weather NA cocktail (actually, two!). The company makes other packaged (alcoholic) cocktails too, like a Boulevardier, as well as its own amaro and aperitivo. Also, the amaro-soaked cherries are criminally delicious and would make a brilliant hostess gift. — Nina
Chileno Bay Resort & Residences, Auberge Resorts Collection in Los Cabos, Mexico, is more than a stunning beach resort; it’s also known for its food. Under the leadership of Chef Yvan Mucharraz, Chileno Bay is debuting Taste of Auberge: Baja Lab Kitchen at Chileno Bay, welcoming a series of internationally acclaimed chefs this year. In May they welcomed Chef Virgilio Martínez Véliz of Central in Lima, Peru, which has been voted one of the 50 Best Restaurants in the world. The beloved Lima restaurant he runs with his wife, Chef Pía León, is dedicated to celebrating Peruvian cuisine and local biodiversity, but at Chileno Bay, Véliz devised a unique, one-night-only menu showcasing the bounty of Baja. The results were spectacular. And another visit is in order, as the resort just debuted its female-led Mediterranean and Latin American fusion restaurant, YAYA. The open-concept space features pottery, woven chairs, and light fixtures designed and crafted by female artists. — Nina
Though I’ve been fortunate enough to stay in many beautiful hotels over the years, a recent foray to the Capella Bangkok was a powerful reminder that all hotels (even luxury ones) are not created equal. Situated on the bank of the Chao Phraya River, this five-star property boasts 101 suites and villas, multiple dining options (Chef Mauro Colagreco’s CÔTE is a standout), a stunning bar, Stella, and one of the most sublime spas I’ve ever experienced. Despite the hotel’s grand, stately architecture, the property feels more like a boutique hotel than its size would imply, offering both grandeur and a surprisingly intimate experience. My suite included a huge soaking tub and a private jacuzzi plunge pool, as well as all the amenities one might expect. But the most surprising thing about Capella Bangkok is the overwhelming sense of calm. Despite being tucked within one of the most bustling, frenetic cities in the world, the hotel offers up its own soothing interior world that feels like a true, fantastical escape. — Cole
The only thing not to like about traveling to Europe is the red-eye flight. During the years I lived in Paris, as well as the many years following my return to the States, I did the trip regularly. No matter how exciting the destination, no matter how beautiful the place you’ve landed, it’s nearly impossible not to lose a day to the bleary-eyed stumble of a disrupted night of sleep.
But I propose an antidote. Take a flight to Rome during early April. Do it before spring has sprung in New York, but after the wisteria and redbud trees have bloomed in the kinder Mediterranean climates. Take a taxi into the center of the city, just below the Villa Borghese, and tumble out onto the doorstep of the Hotel Eden. Despite having traveled fairly extensively, I can say with some authority that their staff is some of the best in the world. The level of service provided is so wildly good, you may even forget how tired you are. After being shown to your room, which is so plush that you won’t hear your own footsteps, throw open the doors to the balcony to let in the sounds of the city. Or better yet, drag your jet-lagged body to the rooftop restaurant overlooking the entirety of Rome. Order the cacio e pepe and drink something cool as you watch the swallows swoop by overhead. You can thank me later. — Skye
A few months ago I spent a downright spiritual weekend at the Retreat at the Blue Lagoon. The property resembles a villain’s lair in a James Bond film — dark dramatic stone, and soaring windows looking over a landscape of black volcanic rock covered in chartreuse moss. The retreat is built into a private section of the lagoon, a mineral-rich body of geothermal water, one of the 25 Wonders of the World. The color of milky aquamarine, the hot water contains mystical healing properties for bathers. Standout moments were the little crackling fireplaces throughout the hotel in the evenings; Float Therapy — a form of meditation in which a therapist assists your body in a float session, aided by gentle stretches and total sensory deprivation; and a phenomenal meal at their restaurant, Moss, where a slab of lamb came out on a smoking rock. Even if you don’t find yourself in Iceland anytime soon, you can still experience the lagoon through their stunning skin-care line (developed by the state-of-the-art lab next door). My favorites are the Bath Salt and Hydrating Cream. — Sophie
I recently had the good fortune of visiting the newly refreshed and reopened Ritz-Carlton in the Cayman Islands after its pandemic pause. It’s a grand resort to be sure, featuring the elegant sea-green Silver Palm Lounge and several stylish restaurants, including Taikun Sushi and Eric Ripert’s famed Blue. The Ritz-Carlton boasts an extensive collection of artwork from Cayman artists, including the longest-standing gallery dedicated to local painters. A highlight of my stay was the boat trip out to Stingray City sandbar. A group of us (including Chef Eric) swam with a fever of semi-domesticated stingrays (that’s what you call a group of stingrays, by the way). Local custom has you hold and kiss them for good luck. I managed to pet one, so I hope that counts. I plan to visit again and have my twins enroll in the Ambassadors of the Environment kids club, developed by the legendary Jean-Michel Cousteau. They can snorkel and learn about mangroves while I relax poolside. Dreamy. — Alexandra
I recently spent the morning with Francis Mallmann, the mythic chef most famous for his live-fire cuisine. His new cookbook was recently released — with a twist. Known for his legacy of meat grilling — the very soul of his Argentinian food heritage — “Green Fire” contains exclusively plant-based recipes. Within its pages lie a compendium of ways to prepare fruit and vegetables, from caramelizing to charring to smoking. He shared his favorite recipe with me: “Rescoldo Eggplant With Parsley, Chili, and Aioli.” Flipping to its page in the cookbook, the description reads, “Ember-cooked eggplant are as creamy as a carefully stirred custard, and they drink deeply of the flavors in this simple recipe.” — Sophie
I first met Sloane Crosley at a very embarrassing fashion shoot that involved us both modeling Hermès scarves (images of which still exist if you dig deeply enough through Google). At the time, I had a magazine and she was a book publicist, though not long afterwards she was, suddenly, a writer. And not just any writer — she quickly became that very rare thing, an essayist, with a voice so specific and so completely New York that even nonwriters swoon at her name. In the years since, as we’ve had the chance to work together a few times (including on her ongoing book column for Departures), I’ve come to understand the space she occupies: people who read her love her. She is the kind of writer whose name causes all sorts of sighs and exclamations.
Now they have even more to exclaim over. Sloane’s newest novel, “Cult Classic,” recently arrived in my mailbox with an enviable title and an even better cover. It’s billed as a comic mystery, and promises suspense, romance, and explorations of mind control. I was hoping to read it before I wrote this but alas, I am a parent to young children. I can tell you, though, that it has taken the top position on the book pile next to my bed, and will be coming with me on my next flight. I can’t wait. — Skye
When shopping for my children, I often have the experience of wishing the clothes I am buying for them came in my size. Mini Rodini, a brand out of Sweden, is a top offender in that space for me. Founded by Swedish illustrator Cassandra Rhodin, each collection’s prints are unique and wonderfully weird. The brand also partners with a charity each season; their current collection benefits the Kwenia Vulture Sanctuary in Kenya, an organization that rehabilitates and protects the wild birds, whose populations have plummeted due to human interference. My favorite print from the collection features vultures, obviously. — Skye
As someone who has spent a lifetime hoarding stationery and fancy ink pens, I was beside myself earlier this year when someone gifted me a box of personalized correspondence cards from Smythson. These beautiful little cards not only look and feel official (they are printed by hand in Wiltshire, England), but also have a remarkable catch-all usefulness (perfect for a thank-you, thinking of you, and even a suitable happy birthday if you are in a pinch). They convey to the world that you are a person who absolutely has stationery just as beautiful as your name. — Cole
After three years of mostly staying at home, one thing I didn’t bargain for this year — after suddenly finding myself spending many hours on airplanes — was how haggard and dehydrated I’d feel after a series of long-haul flights. I picked up a bottle of L’Occitane’s Immortelle Precious Face Essential Mist at an airport in an effort to keep myself refreshed on a 19-hour jaunt, but now I always keep a bottle on my desk at home. Spritzing this divine-smelling elixir directly onto my face not only makes me feel hydrated again, but also reminds me of how much I enjoy traveling. — Cole
Seeking more personally vetted picks?
Skye Parrott is the executive editor of Departures. A magazine editor, photographer, writer, and creative consultant, she was previously a founder of the arts and culture journal Dossier, and editor in chief for the relaunch of Playgirl as a modern, feminist publication.
T. Cole Rachel Writer
T. Cole Rachel is the deputy editor of Departures. A Brooklyn-based writer, editor, and teacher with over 20 years of experience working in print and digital media, his writing has appeared in the New York Times Magazine, Interview, and the Creative Independent.
Nina Renata Aron Writer
Nina Renata Aron is a writer and editor based in Oakland, California. She is the author of “Good Morning, Destroyer of Men's Souls.” Her work has appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Guardian, the New Republic, Elle, Eater, and Jezebel.
Sophie Mancini Writer
Sophie Mancini is an editor at Departures. Born and raised in New York City, she holds a degree in creative writing from Johns Hopkins University and has a background as a writer in brand and editorial.
Alexandra Brodsky Photographer
Alex Brodsky is a photographer and filmmaker whose films have screened at venues such as New Directors/New Films, the Los Angeles Film Festival, and the Nantucket Film Festival, among others. Her film "Bittersweet Place" premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, garnering a special jury commendation. She is a founding partner, along with Mary Stuart Masterson and Cassandra Del Viscio, of Quality Pictures, a production company dedicated to social impact, located in the Hudson Valley.
Jess Rotter Illustrator
Jess Rotter is a Los Angeles–based illustrator and artist. Rotter’s work has frequently featured in the Washington Post. Her clients range from Natalie Portman to Questlove.