In the midst of a winter that has been spent largely at home, we’re still trying to scratch that itch for a sense of adventure—in the form of trek-worthy meals in our own cities, day trips, hikes, and long winter drives.
In parts of the country where it’s cold, it can be all too easy to get stuck inside (after all, there are plenty of travel films and foreign language television shows to keep you busy). When getting creative with pandemic-era weekend activities feels tough, we’ve got you covered. Every other week, we’re sharing our editors’ best weekend finds, from our home bases throughout the U.S, so you can either follow in our footsteps, or use these ideas as inspiration for a jaunt of your own.
Here’s what we found this month—keep checking back for more weekend activities to be added, or take a look at what we were up to last year and in January.
This article was originally published on February 1, 2021. It has been updated with new information.
Fantastic Korean BBQ in New York
I’d been hearing the buzz on Yoon Haeundae Galbi, a Korean BBQ joint, for a while—regular dispatches in my social media feeds had me salivating—but experiencing it in person brought a whole new level of appreciation to the table. Owner Bobby Yoon is carrying on his grandfather’s legacy straight from Busan’s Haeundae district, where two generations of his family have operated their restaurant Haeundae Sommunan Amso Galbijip (해운대암소갈비집) since 1964. At Yoon Haeundae Galbi, don’t miss the short rib, cooked tableside and served with generous banchan—along with a family recipe for yukgaejang (육개장), a spicy beef stew. There are also cocktails like the signature highball, made with Damsol soju, elderflower liqueur, cucumber, and perilla leaf. It’s easy to over-order, but everything’s shareable, so don’t skip the spicy fried chicken or the stir-fried seafood rice cakes (tteokbokki). The restaurant offers indoor and outdoor dining, as well as delivery, takeout, and special meal kits. —Corina Quinn, city guides director
A visit to the Dalí Museum in Florida
The Dalí Museum, home to more than 2,400 of Salvador Dali’s paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, and photos, has long been on my list of things to do back home in South Florida. But its location, about three and a half hours north of Fort Lauderdale, where I’m from, meant it was hard to fit into short visits. During a recent stint in Florida, I decided to make a day trip of it with my family—and it was absolutely worth the hours we spent in the car. The museum’s app does an excellent guided tour, walking you through many of Dali’s most notable pieces, and explaining more than I could ever glean from reading the placards alone. Another bonus? The immersive Van Gogh Alive exhibit is on display through April 11, featuring floor-to-ceiling screens that display Van Gogh’s paintings, rotating through Starry Night, Sunflowers, and lesser-known works, along with quotes from the artist, many of which are pulled from letters he sent to his brother. The museum is operating at limited capacity, so timed tickets must be reserved, and face masks worn inside. Out back, there’s a great garden to check out, too: Leave your wristbands on the Wishing Tree installation and be sure to snap a picture in front of the giant mustache. —Madison Flager, commerce editor
An Icelandic boutique in upstate New York
I visited the little town of Margaretville, up in the Catskills, for the first time a few months ago. I was charmed by pretty much everything it had to offer—vintage shops loaded with trinkets, a warehouse stacked to the ceiling with winter boots, even a tattoo parlor. But one of the places I fell for hardest was Kria, a bright boutique embedded in the town’s historic Galli-Curci Theatre. (The marquee is still there.) Designer and Reykjavik native Jóhanna Methúsalemsdóttir opened the store in 2019; among the many riches, you’ll spot her jewelry, which she crafts by hand from reclaimed precious metals, along with fragrant bars of soap from local natural skincare outfit Hudson Made and traditional Icelandic rag socks made by Varma. (I bought a pair for my future sister-in-law; Methúsalemsdóttir told me to wash them with conditioner to soften them up.) No doubt you’ll leave with your arms full—but don’t forget to stop by neighbor Cafe Marguerite for one of the deeply delicious halva toasted-sesame donuts. —Betsy Blumenthal, associate editor
Homemade sourdough in Dallas
Early in the pandemic, a friend sent me an Instagram post from Dallas’s Kuluntu Bakery. In it, cottage baker Stephanie Leichtle-Chalklen—who is licensed to cook in her own home—and her South African husband Warren Chalklen were lowering a basket of sourdough loaves from their second-story balcony in what was a quite literal weekly baked goods drop. When I came back to Texas for a few months over the winter holidays, I knew I had to try Kuluntu for myself, ordering one of Leichtle-Chalklen’s South African holiday boxes stacked with her rusks, Mrs. Balls–inspired chutney, chocolate Romany Creams cookies, peppermint crisp tart fudge, and a decorative protea as a gift for my mom, who once lived in Johannesburg. Its contents were gone within 72 hours.
Last weekend, I went back to Kuluntu, which has since moved to a peachy one-story house in Oak Cliff, for a loaf of sourdough with a perfect crust and decadent chocolate babka knots. My only regret is not ordering more from that week’s drop, like the orange blossom and olive oil challah. The cottage bakery offers pre-orders for cakes, loaves, pastries and more each Monday with pickup on their front porch on Thursdays. If you’re not based in North Texas, you can experience Kuluntu for yourself through Leichtle-Chalklen’s monthly virtual courses, like February’s sourdough pizza party and March’s tart baking class. —Meredith Carey, associate editor
Celebrating winter in Minnesota
We attended the kickoff of Minnesota’s Great Northern Festival, an annual celebration of all things art and winter (with the broader goal of raising awareness about climate change). The festivities run through Super Bowl Sunday and this year’s lineup features an ambitious mix of virtual and socially distanced in-person events. On opening night, chef Yia Vang of Union Hmong Kitchen was doing what he does best (making meat sizzle over an open fire), while “Innerworld Prism,” a digital art piece by artist Marlena Myles, was projected onto a nearby tower. The six-minute loop, which was inspired by the St. Paul artist’s Dakota heritage, will be popping up at surprise locations throughout the Twin Cities during the course of the festival. Other programming highlights have included a discussion with world-renowned marine biologist Ayana Elizabeth Johnson; the world premiere of a collaboration between photographer Alec Soth and The Bad Plus drummer Dave King; and a special podcast about Northern foraging with The Sioux Chef’s Sean Sherman and VILD MAD’s Mikkel-Lau Mikkelsen, now available for streaming through February 7. —Ashlea Halpern, contributing editor
A long walk through Brooklyn for birria
After reading about Nene’s Deli Taqueria last week, I decided to center my Saturday around a walk to Bushwick to try the place for myself. Reader, it did not disappoint. Currently operating out of a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it bodega near Maria Hernandez Park, the taqueria is known primarily for its birria—beef or goat meat (usually the latter) marinated in adobo and then cooked slowly as a stew. Among the menu options: birria heaped over cheese-coated, chili-stained tortillas, sprinkled with a healthy helping of chopped red onion and cilantro; cheese-laden tortas stuffed with birria and all the fixings; thick sopes hidden under a mountain of more birria and more fixings. Another draw? A Tapatío Ramen cup filled with noodles and covered in that rich birria stew. We walked our haul of dishes over to the park and scarfed everything down with a couple of Modelos—an ideal antidote to the frigid temps. —Lale Arikoglu, senior lifestyle editor
A weekend stay at River House at Odette’s
My fiancé and I arrived at the River House at Odette’s, in New Hope, Pennsylvania, on a Saturday afternoon, just before sunset—and I doubt we could’ve timed it more perfectly. The 36-room hotel, which opened in late September last year, sits right on the Delaware River; and as we made our way onto the balcony of our suite, the shoreline across the river in Lambertville, New Jersey, began to glow wildly with the day’s last light. It was just the sort of change of scenery we’d been craving after long days holed up in our apartment.
The next morning, we meandered out of our cozy hotel room for a snowy walk along the riverbank (with a detour to town, with stops at curio shops like the quirky Celt-Iberia Traders and Fred Eisen Leather). We returned with just enough time to cozy up by the fireplace before heading to Roof, the hotel’s guests-only bar and restaurant, for a swanky dinner: a shellfish platter—mussels dressed in a light, mustardy sauce, plump shrimp, and cherry-red lobster tail—followed by an impressive plate of lamb chops on a bed of creamy spinach. We left the hotel (or waddled out, really) the next day, our appetites—and our desperate need for a bright new view, however fleeting—totally sated. —B.B.
This past holiday season, it seemed like everybody was talking about panettone. Whether it was amateurs baking their own sweet Italian Christmas bread out of stuck-at-home boredom or bakers stocking their shelves, it was hard to miss the explosion of the chocolate- and fruit-studded dessert. I missed the holiday ordering season, so I turned to From Roy, which ships panettone nationwide year-round. Cult-favorite baker Roy Shvartzapel has developed a huge following: The flavors rotate seasonally, but the classic chocolate panettone is always available. His panettone are not cheap—at $68 each, it might be the most I’ve ever spent on a baked good. But they’re massive, with 10 to 12 servings, and shelf stable for a month, so I figured we could really make it last in our household of two. There’s a roughly two-week wait for shipping (order now and you can still get it in time for Valentine’s Day), and it absolutely lived up to the hype. I was surprised by how heavy it was when it arrived, but we cut it open to discover a light, airy inside filled with chocolate bits and yeast bubbles. The brioche-like dough has a nice orange flavor, and there’s no dried fruit (the part of panettone I tend to dislike), and the whole thing is topped with pearl sugar sprinkles. It works great for dessert, but I could easily see it working with coffee during breakfast or as a 4 p.m. snack. It convinced me that panettone needs to become a year-round treat. —Stephanie Wu, articles director
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