It’s safe to say most of us love eating and dream of getting paid to travel around the world and try new foods. But, if we haven’t pursued the fiery passion enough to make it happen yet, then our only hope is to vicariously read about the adventures of others who have. But they haven’t forgotten about us, either – so in our honor and in honor of all things delicious, Food & Leisure compiled their list of the best overall meals around the world in 2019 to date.
Black Axe Mangal, London
“Black Axe Mangal, chef Lee Tiernan’s offal-centric, Turkish-inspired restaurant with a heavy metal soundtrack in London’s Highbury, is … the most crazy-delicious meal I’ve had this year. Case in point: the opening salvo is a pickle back—shot, beet and horseradish juice chaser, smoked eel and pickled walnut ‘bite’. Tiernan’s food wallops you in the face unapologetically with giant fists of flavor, from smoked pork cheek with pickled watermelon, to grilled octopus with salty ham hock and spicy som tum, to his riff on St. John’s classic roast bone marrow dish, topped with oxtail and anchovy gremolata. I could eat here again and again until the end of days.” – Melanie Hansche, Food & Leisure deputy editor
Maison Yaki, Brooklyn, New York City
“When I look back at 2019, I ate a bunch of truly amazing things at Maison Yaki that I dream about regularly. Chiefly: the crispy, fluffy cauliflower okonomiyaki with hazelnuts, the beef tongue sando drizzled with just the right amount of gribiche, the creamy salmon mimosa tartare which comes with these delightful seeded crackers. Oh, and if I had to choose one skewer to order forever, it would have to be the duck a l’orange.” – Oset Babur, Food & Leisure associate restaurant editor
“I wanted to have a super hip answer for this, but my most memorable meal wasn’t at one of the many famously cool, accolade-accumulating restaurants I visited for my job, but rather at an arty Maldives resort called Joali — in the middle of the Indian Ocean, on a stilted over-water villa, at the end of a bucket list vacation and pretty difficult year. Wearing a bathing suit and hotel slippies, I made an uncharacteristic splurge on room service and ordered one dish: half of a spiny, sustainably caught Maldivian lobster. Intricately speckled and smaller than I’d expected, it was unlike any shellfish I’d ever tasted, seasoned simply with lemon, salt, and pepper. I washed it down with my favorite depressed-on-vacation beverage: minibar Diet Coke. For dessert, I floated in my infinity pool, at peace with the fact that I’d peaked.” – Maria Yagoda, Food + Leisure digital restaurant editor
NOMA, Los Angeles
“René Redzepi’s one-night-only Noma dinner in Los Angeles made most of my dinners from 2019 seem like a handful of M&M’s in comparison. The steamed and smoked king crab was served with a sonicated horseradish sauce that worked its way through your body and landed with a tingle at your undercarriage. I looked around the table and asked people if the horseradish was hitting them you-know-where, or if it was just me, and they all nodded with a smile. There was black garlic leather tempered with ant paste, sloe berries, and black currants and shaped like a leaf. There was pheasant broth gel topped with caviar and whipped cream. The caramelized milk skin was a little alien freak. The first course was a plate of padrón peppers. Most of them were mild except for the atomic one that I took, so my very first bite of the night caused me so much pain that I started to laugh-cry like I was having a psychotic break. By the time we finished the cardamom mousse dessert, I was convinced I’d actually lost it.” – Ryan Grim, Food & Leisure digital executive editor
Antichi Sapori, Montegrosso, Italy
“My family traveled to Puglia over the summer, and the most memorable meal from that trip was at Antichi Sapori in Montegrosso. I knew that Antichi Sapori, run by chef Pietro Zito, was going to be on Food & Wine’s World’s Best Restaurants list, so naturally I made my family drive two hours each way just to dine there. From a miniature eggplant parmigiana to a bowl of spicy rigatoni, from all iterations of caciocavallo cheese to a dessert course that covered our table in tiramisu, candied almonds, and fresh fruit, the long ride to this special trattoria was worth it.” – Nina Friend, Food & Leisure assistant editor
“Thanks to the wise counsel of my colleagues Ray Isle and Melanie Hansche, I made a point of sniffing out Bubbledogs during a whirlwind trip to London. I’ve thought about that meal at least once a week ever since. The concept is simple and joyous: elaborately topped hot dogs (‘spicy garlic mayo, pickled vegetables, peanut powder, and coriander’ on one and ‘hot giardiniera mix, caramelized onions, jalapeños, and cheese sauce’ on another) served alongside carefully chosen grower Champagnes that aren’t usually available by the glass, and an array of tater tots. If that hadn’t been enough to lift my spirits, all I’d have to do would be to look around the room at the ridiculously charming illustrations of a happy little dog in the midst of endeavors like being a vampire, clutching a flying Champagne cork, nestling between bun halves. The cherry on top came in the form of ‘ketchup’ (the ‘mustard’ was banana) in a teensy little bottle to squeeze atop a chocolate dog tucked into a brioche bun. Yes, there’s also a two-Michelin-starred restaurant, Kitchen Table, hidden away behind a discreet entrance at the back of the bar and I’ll get there someday. But for now, I feel … awfully lucky.” – Kat Kinsman, Food & Leisure senior editor
Young Boy Speechless When He Realizes How Much His Painting Is Worth
In the days before technology was ubiquitous it was common for children to develop a wide variety of hobbies and interests. Some of them would prefer to spent their efforts on sports, others on art, and others yet on building up collections of various knick knacks. Baseball cards and postage stamps were all fair game, as were other items with more immediate worth like various foreign coins. It’s not that these collectors have ceased to exist, but certainly they have become less common, especially among children. These days, you are more likely to find a kid collecting video games or Pokemon cards before they’d touch old postage stamps. One of the more enduring collections among both youth and millennials these days is comic books.
One Man’s Trash
One young New Jersey boy has bucked the trend, despite the interests of his peers, as he dragged his parents along to auction houses and thrift shops in his local area. There, he would discover the vast trove of treasures that history had left to him, including a discarded watercolor painting.
Even at such a young age, this Antiques Roadshow guest had already become an avid trader in antiques, but he didn’t realize just how significant of a find he’d made.
Employing The Experts
For amateur antiques enthusiasts, it’s often necessary to seek an outside appraisal before deciding whether it might be worth selling your item.
When expensive items end up in thrift stores or unscrupulous antique shops, you may find many low priced items that have no indication of their true worth, just like the youngest guest ever did when he made his TV appearance on Antiques Roadshow. The boy had traveled all the way to Richmond, Virginia in order to discover the worth of his $2 painting.
An Aristocratic Tradition
Antiques Roadshow first began airing in the United Kingdom in 1979, after it was inspired by a documentary series following traveling appraisers and the antiques collectors who came to them.
The show proved to be so popular that it inspired offshoots in a number of different countries, including in the United States. When their youngest collector appeared on the show, he was lucky to have had the opportunity to be raised on their concept, possibly even inspiring his early love of antiques.
Dreams Of Glory
A large part of the show’s appeal lies in the promise that the item could be worth an extraordinary amount of money.
There have been a large number of guests in the past who have brought antiques for appraisal, only to discover that an item they thought was likely worthless, like many of the pieces were, could possibly be sold for hundreds of thousands, if not over a million dollars. The boy thought his painting might be special, but had low hopes for a high valuation.
Honing In On Mystery
The mystery inherent in the objects brought to the tables of Antiques Roadshow is one of the things that keeps people tuned in and has them standing in line for hours in order to be seen for even a minute.
For some, they want to confirm that their sentimental family heirlooms have value, but for others, they just want to see if their random junk purchases ever pay off financially, even when they barely shelled out for them to begin with.
Spinning The Yarn
All of the appraisers working on Antiques Roadshow, as well as those driving the newer shows in a similar vein that have been popping up in the last few years, know that one of the most important parts of doing their job for the camera is that the story of how objects came to be discovered is equally as important as the story of the objects themselves.
Coaxing the story out as well as discovering the history helps make a show that people want to watch.
As the cameras began rolling that day in 2013, one of the show’s star appraisers, David Weiss was about to conduct one of the most unique interviews he’d ever had on the show.
Weiss is the resident expert in drawings and paintings for the American edition of Antiques Roadshow, and has worked for a number of well regarded auction houses. The boy sitting across from him seemed relatively at ease, so with minor adjustments, Weiss was ready to proceed with business as usual.
Grasping On To History
David Weiss has been an esteemed professional in the field of European art for more than three decades. His specialty is 19th and 20th-century European drawings, paintings, and sculptures, though he also has a deep interest in Oriental rugs.
Based on a preliminary examination of the painting the young boy brought along with him, Weiss was certainly the man who would know best as to whether or not it was a piece with any sort of value.
Supplementing His Day Job
Like the other appraisers who work with Antiques Roadshow, David Weiss did so on a volunteer basis, which supplemented his main work with the Freeman Auction house.
Weiss is the Senior Vice President of the auction house, a position he came to hold after extensive experience in a similar position for an auction house that was local to Washington D.C. Weiss doesn’t just spend his time appraising art, he also teaches about the business side of things at Drexel University.
Fueling His Passion
Weiss explains in his bio on the Freeman’s Auction House website that he particularly loved the thrill of making those unexpected finds when it came to working auctions.
He wrote, “For me, the most rewarding experiences as an auction house appraiser are the happy, unexpected ‘discoveries’ that originate from private collectors and estates. The best, most memorable of these ‘finds’ have resulted in massively successful prices realized.” To that end, he was going to have a particularly exciting day in store.
A Personal History
As with every guest who brings an item to be appraised on the show, Weiss began asking the boy what he knew about the painting he wanted appraised. Weiss opened the interview by telling the boy, “You must be the youngest collector that I’ve seen.”
With a smile plastered on his face, the boy responded, “I think so.” Weiss was impressed with the young boy’s poise and articulation, on top of his very mature interest in collecting antiques.
Making His Preparations
When the young antiques fan heard about the show filming in Richmond, Virginia, he begged his parents to take him there, thinking maybe he could get $100 or so for the painting he’d recently bought.
After much cajoling, his parents finally gave in, agreeing to the several hours long drive from their home in South Jersey. When the day of the show came, the boy’s parents helped him carefully choose a bright red t-shirt that he would wear on camera.
The Inquiry Begins
The boy was excited that his unusual hobby allowed him what was very likely to be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Weiss was impressed to learn that this was not a one off purchase of the boy’s.
In fact, he had been collecting for longer than Weiss could have imagined. Pressing on with the interview, he asked what the boy’s favorite items to collect were. His reply to Weiss was, “I like glass, sterling silver and art.”
Distinguishing A Favorite
Weiss wanted to know what other pieces the boy found that had really inspired him. It quickly became clear from his enthusiastic answers that this was more than a passing interest.
Moreover, as the boy continued to answer Weiss’s line of questioning, he showed a surprising knowledge of his subject matter. Upon prompting, he informed Weiss that his favorite antique discovery to date was a large silver serving platter. That surprising answer certainly piqued Weiss’s interest in the child.
Weiss had to find out more about how this boy became interested in antique goods. “Where do you find this stuff?” Weiss asked the boy. As it turned out, there is what he deems “a junky auction” that is located in his hometown in South Jersey.
The interview continued to be full of surprises for Weiss. He figured a young boy with an antique hobby surely must love holding on to his many finds, but the answer he got was something different entirely.
A Collector’s Choice
As Weiss continued to learn more about just how mature this boy’s hobby was, he asked him if he likes to keep the stuff he finds. The question is a natural one for older antique lovers, as dealing is often the flip side of building a collection.
Most kids might have said that they preferred to keep their finds. After all, kids have been known to hold onto much more mundane items that they assigned sentimental value.
The boy’s revelation was not what Weiss nor the producers expected to hear. “I like to sell them online,” he said matter of factly. Weiss was incredulous, “You like to sell them?” he repeated.
Weiss could hardly believe that such a youngster had an instinct for the purchase and sale of antiques. Though he had an inkling this guest might be one of their most memorable ones, he knew it was important to take his time to get to know him before studying the painting.
The Business Of Planning
Weiss became ever more curious about the boy sitting in front of him. He decided to find out if the boy was choosy about which items he sold and which he decided to hold onto.
He chose carefully from the items the boy said he liked to find. “Have you made a lot of money selling silver, you’d say?” Not one for being predictable, the remarkable child shared that he was waiting until September to sell. But why?
Silver’s Going Up and Down
The reason that the kid had been holding until September to check the value of the painting was because of the market’s tendency to fluctuate during this time of the year.
“So you kind of keep up with when silver is up and when silver’s down,” Weiss said to him, to which the boy confirmed this was the case. The appraiser was becoming increasingly impressed with how this boy went about things.
Saving A Work Of Art
How the boy came to be in possession of the painting was even more fascinating. Weiss continued to probe him for information, expecting like many people that perhaps the boy scoured garage sales for items he considered might have some worth.
Instead, the boy had dragged his father on a hot summer’s day to the junky auction house in town, begging him to wait until he had a chance to bid on the piece of art.
Taking The Heat
During that hot summer’s day, all the boy’s dad wanted to do was get home and drink some ice-cold water. But the boy had other plans and made sure that his pops stuck around for what was about to happen.
The boy explained, “This piece was found at an auction down the South Jersey. It was so hot there, my dad didn’t want to stay to get it, but I wanted to.”
He Paid 2 Bucks for It?
The next piece of information certainly took Weiss by surprise. For only $2, the boy had become the owner of a painting he suspected might have some history behind it.
It was hard for him to tell just where it could have come from, which is what prompted him to go to Antiques Roadshow in the first place. Weiss was lost for words as to how easy this kid was able to purchase the painting in question.
A Snapshot Of Home
The painting itself didn’t seem so out of the ordinary, even to Weiss. However, he knew better than the young boy which signs were important to assess in order to determine its worth.
On first look at the painting, the canvas was filled with mundane earth tones. This in itself was enough to indicate to Weiss that this painting had come from an important point in history. But that was only scratching the surface of its importance.
A Mother and Her Child
It wasn’t just the way that the painting had been constructed. It was also about what was actually in the painting – what it represented, that was special. The subjects of the piece itself was a mother sitting in a chair, reaching towards a child.
The child was also sitting in a chair, intent on her mother. This beautiful dynamic was one that made both Weiss and the kid very emotional. However, there was one glaring clue the boy missed.
Weiss continued to test the boy, wondering how much he really knew about art. He was already impressed with the boy’s composure, believing that he brought something that was unlike what most children would have picked out.
The boy informed him that he inspected the painting after its purchase, and determined that it was likely a watercolor. However, he continued to explain that it was hard for him to tell because it was encased in glass. It was time for Weiss to step in.
Assessing His Expertise
The boy’s suspicions had been correct. The painting was indeed a watercolor. Someone who is sharp enough to pay attention to the prices of silver at such an age clearly had a good instinct when it came to building a collection.
His inexperience, however, was about to trip him up. Weiss wanted to give him a chance to assess the worth of the painting on his own, just to see just how developed the child’s art appraisal skills were.
Finding The Missing Link
When the boy had first met Weiss on the initial quick appraisal, he had pointed out a signature towards the bottom of the piece. However, he could only make out part of the name. More often than not, an appraiser can tell a lot about painting if they are able to decipher the signature.
Thankfully, Weiss had the answer to what had been up until this point, a mystery. As he wanted to help coax the boy’s appraisal skills, rather than simply spelling it out from the start, he asked the boy to repeat what he’d said before.
Who Is Albert?
The boy could tell that the first part of the signature was the name Albert. Truth be told though, he didn’t really know any artists by the name of Albert. For Weiss, he knew immediately what the second half of the signature said, having recognized it nearly instantly.
After a few moments had passed though, he finally decided to break down the second part of that signature and explain to the boy who exactly had painted this absolute masterpiece.
What History Made
Before getting to the actual appraisal, Weiss wanted to walk the boy through the painting, in part to explain what he was seeing, but also to share some of the painting’s historical value to him.
The youngster’s love of art was clear, and in Weiss’s mind, he even had the potential to grow into a similar occupation. The boy had impressively identified part of the painting’s signature, but could only make out the first name. Weiss, provided the surname, confirming it was an Albert Neuhuys painting.
Why Was He So Important?
You might be thinking to yourself, what difference does it make who made the painting? Surely the painting should speak for itself, right? However, the simple answer is that works by the likes of Picasso and Dali are going to sell for a lot more money than a random artist.
Make no mistake about it though, Albert Neuhuys was no random artist. His influence is unmistakable and the undeniably iconic style he possessed can be seen in the boy’s painting.
Dissecting The Work
Neuhuys had been a painter from the Netherlands during the latter half of the 19th century. Weiss explained that Neuhuys and other painters from his era often depicted scenes of life at home, with a particular interest in mothers and children in their paintings.
The artist belonged to the Laren School, which was a Dutch artist colony, along with painters like Jozef Israels. Neuhuys was moved by the country lifestyle in an increasingly industrial country, which he began to paint with enthusiasm.
Leaving The Hague
Typical of other Dutch painters who came to The Hague during his time period, his style went from precise to loose as the years went on. It was Jozef Israëls, in fact, who introduced him to the Laren area, which the pair preferred to The Hague.
While other Laren artists painted landscapes, Neuhuys stood out by painting farm life. He was a contemporary of Vincent Van Gogh who, although better-known today, didn’t enjoy nearly as much success as Neuhuys did.
Tranquility Of Rural Life
Even in Neuhuys’s lifetime, his tranquil paintings garnered a popular following, which he was frequently able to sell for profit. His subjects varied between the interior scene the boy brought to Antiques Roadshow, in which a mother sewing while her child looks on, and other domestic tasks necessary to country life, such as spinning or depictions of local farmers working the land.
Many of Neuhuys’s pieces are included in the collections of well renowned art museums, but one happened to be in the boy’s possession.
Guessing At Age
Weiss had more information for the boy, which would prove important to his ultimate appraisal. He explained the history of Neuhuys and his work before continuing, “Neuhuys was one of the Dutch painters.
He was born in 1844, and he died in 1914. I think your watercolor was probably done in the last quarter of the 19th century.” Prior to Weiss’s revelation, the boy handed wondered exactly how old the painting was, but it seemed clear to the expert that the boy was absorbing his every word.
Give Out Your Guesstimate
The antique experts on Antiques Roadshow like to give their guests a chance to see if they have any ballpark as to how much their items can be worth.
It shouldn’t come as a shock that often guests will overestimate an item’s worth, which is why they’ve traveled to Roadshow in the first place. That doesn’t mean there are never surprises in store, however. After Weiss provided the boy with the painting’s background, he gave him a chance to make a more educated guess.
Cards On The Table
“How much do you think is worth?” Weiss asked the young boy. It was the moment he’d been waiting for since discovering the painting.
Everything that had led up to this moment, from the hour-long wait in the hot sun to win the painting, to the extended car ride from New Jersey to Virginia, was worth it for this. With the new information presented to him in mind, the boy stated his best guess, “Hundred and fifty bucks.”
Worth of a Master
Before getting forward, what do you think it’s worth? The boy showed a lot of skill in identifying the fact that the painting was a watercolor, but it wasn’t likely that he knew who Neuhuys was or why he would be a sought-after painter.
A hundred and fifty bucks is a decent amount for an old painting from the 19th century, and he was right in that it was worth many times more than he bought it for, but he would be shocked when he found out how much it would fetch at auction…
Selling Himself Short
While Weiss respected the thought that the boy put into guessing the value of the painting, he had a funny response for him. “Hundred and fifty bucks?” repeated Weiss. “I think it’s worth a hundred and fifty.
I think it’s worth more than one hundred and fifty.” The eagerness in the boy’s expression hadn’t waned. He let Weiss continue his estimate, hanging onto every word with bated breath.
Weiss was so excited to reveal the actual value of the painting to the boy. While he had given an educated guess, he was way off the mark and was about to hear something way beyond his wildest dreams.
“Today, if your Albert Neuhuys watercolor came to an auction, it would probably sell for about $1000 to $1500.” As the word, “thousand” slipped out of Weiss’s mouth, the boy’s eyes widened in shock.
Blown Out Of The Watercolor
The only word the boy could muster in response was, “Woah”. He gestured that Weiss had absolutely blown his mind. It was clear the boy had a natural instinct for the art trade, even if he had a lot to learn in order to better appraise work himself.
Weiss articulated the boy’s thoughts by stating outright, “That’s a lot of money!” For anyone, paying $2 for a painting worth that much is practically a steal. But Weiss had a bit more wisdom for the boy.
Crafting His Talent
The boy was already pleased with himself when Weiss told him, “So I think you’ve got a great career going as an art dealer. You should keep at it.” It was the cherry on top for the delighted dealer in training. “I know,” the boy informed Weiss.
“I think I’m going to be rich!” he effused. Weiss agreed, letting him know that if his instinct was so fine tuned at such a young age, he had a good chance at making his dreams come true.