New Zealand’s Hottest Destination Is One You’ve Likely Never Heard Of

Even in a country renowned across the globe for its ineffable natural beauty, New Zealand’s Nelson Tasman region particularly astounds. Encompassing the most northwesterly part of the South Island—including the city of Nelson, its oldest settlement—and considered the nation’s sunniest place (with 30% more rays than the national average), it’s home to a literal slew of earthly wonders, including Lake Rotomairewhenua—officially named “the clearest lake in the world”—and Farewell Spit, one of the largest sand spits on the planet, as well as scads of exquisite beaches, cerulean bays, extraordinary rockscapes, soaring alpine peaks, and towering ancient forests.

But the area’s spectacular array of staggering landscapes is just one notable element of its exceptional and varied allure. These days, Nelson Tasman offers a bona fide bonanza of first-rate activities and destinations for nature-lovers, oenophiles, gourmets, and aesthetes alike.

Gardens of Plenty

It’s worth planning your trip well in advance to score a coveted reservation at Edenhouse, Nelson Tasman’s most sought-after luxury lodge. Nestled in the seemingly boundless verdure of the Orinoco Valley, a secluded pastoral area studded with farms and orchards and just 45 minutes from Nelson Airport, it’s an unrivaled base from which to explore the myriad riches of the region—though no one will blame you for never wanting to leave the idyllic grounds.

The gardens at Edenhouse Luxury Lodge.

A stay at Edenhouse feels like a sublime reunion with old friends—in this case, owners Peter and Bobbie Martin—who also happen to be front-runners for the title of World’s Most Gifted Hosts. Upon returning to Bobbie’s native New Zealand in 2002 following many years living abroad, they envisioned the then-bare 50-acre property as the perfect canvas on which to create their particular version of paradise. A former interior designer in London and graduate of The English Gardening School, Bobbie designed the now-luxuriant gardens that so rightly justify the lodge’s name, and the Martins opened their doors to guests in 2006.

With just three sumptuously furnished suites—each measuring over 1,200 feet and outfitted with two bathrooms and a sitting room—and sprawling grounds replete with tucked-away spots ideal for a quiet breakfast or a glass of wine, the property feels like an impeccably furnished, impossibly welcoming private home, because, well, that’s exactly what it is.

A Garden Cottage bedroom at Edenhouse.

Artful abundance defines the Edenhouse experience, from the cut-crystal vases teeming with roses, tulips, and magnolia blossoms that grace virtually every room, to the kitchen table practically groaning beneath bowls piled high with locally grown apples, kiwis, and pears.

Dinners at Edenhouse bring its peerless quality and hospitality to life, commencing with cocktails and elegant canapés served fireside in the beautifully appointed sitting room, where Chilli, the Martins’ irresistible black Labrador, helps shoulder hosting duties with winning aplomb. Guests then move to the candlelit dining room for truly memorable meals that celebrate Nelson’s considerable culinary bounty.

The Edenhouse gardens

Acclaimed nationwide for its produce—including some of the world’s best apples and berries—and plentiful, startlingly fresh seafood from its twin marine playgrounds of Tasman and Golden bays, the region also boasts a vast array of artisan producers specializing in everything from oils and specialty breads to preserves and spices (including local saffron). Starters like tagliolini with sage butter and local white truffle precede mains such as panfried grouper served with platters of fresh garden vegetables, while desserts including pavlova with passion-fruit curd and local cheeses like sheep’s milk Camembert conclude the nightly epicurean extravaganza.

Breakfast at Edenhouse.

Heaven on Earth

Edenhouse’s delectable cuisine pairs flawlessly with the deliciously complex vintages of Himmelsfeld Vineyard, whose wines the lodge serves exclusively. Established in 1991 in the nearby village of Upper Moutere, it’s a singular example of Nelson Tasman’s top-tier wine producers, which remain relatively unsung on the global stage compared with the industrial-scale winemakers of Marlborough, its world-renowned neighbor to the southeast.

Here, owner Beth Eggers—whose forebears arrived from Germany in 1859 to farm in the area—produces Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon on just three acres. The distinct Moutere terroir—abundant sunshine and warm summers, cool autumn nights, and the region’s unforgiving clay soils—helps create Himmelsfeld’s world-class wines using traditional vine cultivation methods with minimal intervention.

One of Himmelsfeld Vineyard’s resident flock of Romney sheep.
Beth Eggers

Himmelsfeld’s inimitable atmosphere rivals its acclaimed wines, owing largely to its resident flock of Romney sheep. Numbering around 100, they’re enchanting ambassadors, lolling beside the long driveway under an apple-tree canopy to greet visitors, and moonlighting as natural weed whackers by grazing the grounds of the organic vineyard. Every one of these long-wooled charmers is descended from Grace, Eggers’s first ewe, whom she acquired 25 years ago. Having driven some 600 miles to her friend’s sheep farm at the southern end of the South Island, she returned home with Grace in the footwell of the passenger seat. At one point during the journey, the lamb jumped up on the steering wheel, startling a policeman who’d just pulled up beside Eggers’s car. (“He was in the right-hand turn lane, thank goodness,” she recalls. “I took off in a hurry!”)

Aptly, considering the winery’s name—German for “heaven’s field”—Himmelsfeld is also home to a tiny, wood-paneled chapel, flanked by vines on one side and an apple orchard on the other. Built in 2005, it’s modeled on the chapel of a farmhouse in the Siedelbach Valley of Germany’s Black Forest, a stop on a European cycling trip Eggers took in 1979, during which she vowed to have a small vineyard one day. Whether or not you’re an oenophile, there may be no better way to meditate on the pristine splendor of this far-flung corner of the world than to wander among the gentle sheep and daffodils at Himmelsfeld, gazing out over the verdant Moutere Hills to the sole sound of the surrounding apple blossoms rustling softly in the breeze.

Every one of Himmelsfeld’s sheep is descended from Grace, Beth Eggers’s first ewe, whom the owner acquired 25 years ago.
Beth Eggers

Coastal Splendor

When it’s time to fully embrace the region’s extraordinary environmental bounty, Abel Tasman National Park makes an unbeatable starting point. The smallest of New Zealand’s 13 national parks at just over 90 square miles, it’s also its most visited, thanks in large part to its golden, bush-fringed beaches, calm turquoise seas, and the easily manageable walking track that hugs its 30 miles of unspoiled coastline.

Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand
Wine, Art & Wilderness

The park bears the name of the Dutchman who was the first European explorer to lay eyes on New Zealand, sailing into its Wainui Inlet in Golden Bay in 1642 and promptly clashing with the local Maori, whose ancestors had lived along the coast beginning some eight centuries ago. Four members of Tasman’s crew were killed in the ensuing conflict, which compelled him to coin the waters “Murderers Bay” and hastily change course for the North Island before ever coming ashore.

Thankfully, skirmishes between visitors and locals have settled down considerably since then; these days, exploring the park by sea offers a unique and peaceful perspective on its astonishing beauty. For an inspiring introduction to its many charms, book a scenic day cruise with Abel Tasman Charters. You’ll meander along the coastline aboard a modern catamaran, past the famous Split Apple Rock and other local landmarks, and learn about the park’s storied history. Along the way you can kayak its network of coves, snorkel in crystalline bays, and observe fur seals basking in the sun at the Tonga Island Marine Reserve.

Wharariki Beach, New Zealand
Wine, Art & Wilderness

At day’s end you’ll have a true appreciation for New Zealanders’ deep love for the place—one that attracted the world’s attention in 2016, when 40,000 Kiwis crowdfunded the purchase of Awaroa Inlet, a 17-acre beach on the Abel Tasman coastline, to keep it out of private hands and ensure its incorporation into the park.

Aesthetes’ Paradise

Besides its countless other draws, Nelson Tasman has long been a bastion for artists of all kinds, likely owing to its laid-back lifestyle, awe-inspiring landscapes, and the liberal attitudes of its residents. The birthplace of New Zealand’s pottery and ceramic arts scene in the 1950s, the region remains home to some of the country’s most prominent ceramic artists, as well as a passionate community of creative trailblazers in mediums including jewelry, glass, and painting.

A defining attribute of Nelson’s thriving arts scene is the artists’ collective willingness to invite visitors into their studios for a gander at their work and a friendly chat about their creative process. Case in point: sculptor Michael MacMillan, whose bold, kinetic pieces take pride of place in several prominent locations in Nelson and in numerous private and public collections. He and his wife, Jackie, welcome passersby into his lovely, light-filled studio-cum-gallery in the Upper Moutere countryside, where those seeking a more portable example of his vision can shop his gorgeous range of bowls, cheeseboards, platters, and other homeware, all meticulously crafted from aged French oak barriques.

“Underling,” designed by Gillian Saunders, with a Cord 812 Westchester sedan from 1937 at World of WearableArt Museum, in Nelson.
Tim Cuff

No art aficionado’s visit would be complete without a stop at Nelson’s World of WearableArt & Classic Cars Museum (or WOW Museum, as the locals call it), which showcases the most mind-bogglingly spectacular creations from Wellington’s annual World of WearableArt Competition, a thoroughly unique, worldwide creative endeavor whose astonishing entries must be seen to be believed.

If you’re looking for an expert to help you navigate Nelson Tasman’s vast array of attractions, Wine, Art & Wilderness, the region’s leading on-the-ground tour operator, offers a carefully curated collection of private, custom-tailored tours providing unparalleled access to its national parks and leading wineries, food producers, and artists in this fascinating corner of a beguiling country the Maori call Aotearoa, or “land of the long white cloud.”

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What Eating and Drinking at the World’s Biggest Motorcycle Rally Reveals About the State of Festival Food

As I exit my camper to the sound of motorcycles, ATVs, and camouflage-covered golf carts rumbling down dirt roads, I realize it’s taken a trip to see the 79th Annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally to really appreciate a homegrown American festival. Living in New York City has given me a jaded view of celebrations. After all, it’s hard to feel a sense of pride when a block full of gyro carts and folding tables laden with cheap jewelry qualifies as an authentic street festival experience here.

But this is not the big city. This is Sturgis Buffalo Chip, a South Dakota campground surrounded by the state’s famed Black Hills, and located about five miles from the town of Sturgis. For 10 days in August, this patch of land plays host to one of America’s biggest parties. So what compels an estimated 500,000 attendees to descend upon a town of just under 7,000 residents every year? As I discovered, from the region’s rugged history to the joys of riding on the open road, a festival in the middle of nowhere is actually the only place visitors really feel at home.

The stage at 2019’s Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
Courtesy of Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum

Welcome to Deadwood: It’s Actually Pretty Lively

Strolling the streets of Deadwood, S.D., I take comfort in knowing the town’s rebellious nature is alive and well, at least for the next week. Though Wild Bill Hickok and his assassin Jack McCall are long gone, the streets are still filled with characters that even HBO might not be able to conjure up.

“The Hamsters wear yellow,” advises a giant of a man who sits down next to me at the Historic Franklin Hotel. He’s giving me a rundown of the Hamsters Motorcycle Club, among other groups that make the annual pilgrimage to Sturgis. It’s a great conversation that I’m enjoying because I rarely get the chance to genuinely connect with strangers. Perhaps it’s the sight of rock star Dee Snider and actor Tom Berenger who are heading up the annual Legends Ride that has everyone feeling talkative.

More than likely, it’s the fact that for 79 years, bikers have been coming to race, ride, and feel a sense of community. And they’re happy to share their annual celebration with anyone who respects tradition.

Indian Fry Bread Tacos, Cheeseburger Burritos, and Gluten-Free Doughnuts

Letting loose with my diet is the one activity in which I’ve got a lot of experience. That’s why I’m on a mission to find out what people eat when they want to party for a week straight. After attending New York City food festivals such as Smorgasburg, I’ve grown accustomed to ordering anything I can dream up.

But Buffalo Chip is full of surprises too, and a sign that advertises Indian fry bread tacos captures my attention. Fry bread is one of the few foods I can’t find back home in a city that claims to offer everything. And when I devour the chewy dough covered in spicy jalapeños, salsa, and cheese, I feel confident knowing my stomach will be well protected for the rum and coke to come.

South Dakota’s Full Throttle Saloon claims to be the world’s biggest biker bar, serving over 300,000 guests during the rally each year.
Courtesy of Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum

The Sweeto Burrito truck is next on my bucket list as I head into town. According to South Dakota’s Department of Transportation, approximately 499,654 vehicles were recorded as having visited Sturgis this year, but this might be the one that attracts the most visitors.
For less than $10, I snag a burrito that’s stuffed with hamburger, bacon, fries, American cheese, and fry sauce, a ketchup and mayo mixture with some heat. The late lunch turns into an immediate nap back home, which makes me curious to see if slightly healthier options have made their way into the heartland.

I learn the following day while searching for lunch at Bonafide Foods that at least there are gluten-free doughnuts and a juice bar, but I wind up ordering a chicken burrito covered in queso. After all, there’s plenty of time to get my diet back on track once the party is over.

A Buffalo Chip motorcycle on display at the motorcycle rally in Sturgis, S.D.
Courtesy of Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum

Cold Drinks, Happy Bartenders, and Big Sales

“The fact that the entire 640 acres of the Buffalo Chip is a bar, which allows guests to wander with their beer or cocktail, is a big part of the festival,” notes Rod Woodruff, president of Sturgis Buffalo Chip.

Whether it’s the fresh air or the possibility that a bartender can make a killing over 10 days, the camaraderie among staff here is evident. A shirtless barback who can be seen smashing bags of ice throughout the night remarks what a great workout this is. He’s clearly making the most of the gig. “After two weeks of working long hours and camping together, you form friendships that last a lifetime,” notes Ashley Thomas, the West Coast brand ambassador for Sailor Jerry rum who previously bartended at Buffalo Chip.

Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
Courtesy of Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum

Though you might have pegged Fleet Week as Sailor Jerry’s Super Bowl, it’s actually Sturgis that represents the brand’s biggest event of the year. “By the end of the festival we are expecting 40,000 drinks sold and over 200 cases sold,” says Thomas. The rum maker has already sold 20,000 cocktails through the halfway point of the festival and took advantage of the massive turnout to introduce consumers to its latest product, a spiced rum called Savage Apple.

But at the end of the day, sales are only part of the story. The mixture of musical acts and heavy machinery are really what has carried this tradition over to the next generation of rally attendees. Woodruff asks, “Where else do bikers arrive early in the morning to park their bikes along the front of the stage so they can rev their engines in appreciation of performances?”

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How Portugal Became the Epicenter of Sustainability for the Wine Industry

While climate change is affecting every industry across the globe, the agricultural sector—wine in particular—is reeling from it. Wine growers constantly face new adversaries in the vineyard—such as hailstorms, heat waves, and disease pressure—that are unpredictable and destructive. Numerous regions are examining how they can mitigate these issues, but one country in particular is emerging as the leader of sustainability: Portugal.

An International Commitment

In 2018, Porto-based winemaker Taylor Fladgate hosted the inaugural Climate Change Leadership Summit. With a keynote speech given by former President Barack Obama, this high-profile event illustrated the seriousness of the issue.

“I didn’t want to sponsor yet another conference telling people what the problem was,” says Adrian Bridge, CEO of The Fladgate Partnership. “What we really needed to do now is to focus on solutions.”

From this initial conference, and the subsequent event in 2019 that featured Al Gore as a headline speaker, the Porto Protocol was born. At its core, the Protocol is a pact that a winery makes with itself to improve its methodology and commit to making changes in its practices in order to mitigate climate change. On a broader scale, it connects the wine industry through an online think tank, where information and case studies can be shared on a global scale. “I wanted to have something that was a legacy and would become this platform where ideas and solutions could be essentially exchanged,” Bridge says.

Vineyard workers at Taylor Fladgate’s Quinta de Vargellas estate.
The Fladgate Partnership

Though still in its infancy, the Protocol, Bridge hopes, will serve as a key resource for the industry in all aspects of production. “It’s important to state that the Protocol isn’t just looking at the carbon footprint [of producing wine],” he says. “Chemicals, water, issues like solar energy and energy recovery systems” are also part of the bigger picture.

Bridge thinks the wine industry is the ideal advocate for bringing about change. Not only is wine an agricultural product grown all over the world, but wineries tend to be family-run with the intention of creating a legacy brand. It’s the long-term view of these firms that makes understanding the future consequences of today’s actions so critical.

Adrian Bridge, CEO of The Fladgate Partnership.
The Fladgate Partnership

“More importantly, the wine industry talks directly to the consumer,” Bridge says. “I think many businesses kind of miss the fact that the consumer really cares, or they think they can’t do anything about it.”

Better Business Practices

Symington Family Estates, a fifth-generation-run wine company based in Porto, also comes to the table with ambitious plans to combat climate change. Last month, it became a Certified B Corporation, uniting it with other like-minded companies across different industries throughout the world. (A Certified B Corporation is a business that meets strict environmental and social standards, is transparent in its practices, and holds itself legally accountable for its actions. The certification is administered by the nonprofit organization B Lab, based in Berwyn, Pa., with branch offices in New York City, Denver, and Oakland.

Although there are 2,950 Certified B Corp businesses in total, only a handful are wineries; Symington Family is the first in Portugal. Rob Symington, associate director of communications and sustainability at the family estate, says the rigorous standards set by B Lab are what drew him to the certification.

The Quinta do Bomfim vineyards of Symington Family Estates.
Symington Family Estate

“It’s not just about the vineyard or your practices around viticulture,” Symington says. “It’s everything from people, suppliers, environment, and governance. And that was very appealing.” He sees the certification as an effective way to communicate Symington’s standards to consumers. “It provides us with credibility and a shorthand; someone’s in a store, and they’ve got six seconds to make a decision. B Corp is a way of communicating a lot just through that stamp of approval.”

B Corp also encourages evolution through its third-party business reassessment every three years. “It’s a process of transformation inside a company,” Symington says. “I love the fact that B Corp actually makes it harder and harder to get your score. If you just stay put, you will eventually fall off, and no company wants to go out and say, ‘We lost our B Corp status. We backed ourselves into a corner.’ ”

The fourth and fifth generations of Symington Family Estates (from left): Charles, Dominic, Rupert, Vicky, Hugh, Harry, Rob, Charlotte, Anthony, and Johnny.
Symington Family Estates

A Focus on Natural Resources

In addition to the efforts of these two wine companies, cork producers—a wine-adjacent business—have been investing in technology to produce higher-quality stoppers over the past decade while zero-waste initiatives were simultaneously developed. Forests themselves—99% of which are privately owned—are dry-farmed, eliminating the need for irrigation and encouraging biodiversity. Because cork is cultivated by removing the bark of the tree, rather than cutting down the tree itself, trees survive for centuries.

Cork producers are also changing business practices to support the environment. Amorim, one of the world’s largest cork manufacturers, earned certification from the Forest Stewardship Council in 2005, which enables full traceability of the cork source and ensures the material came from a sustainably managed forest. Within the factory, no element of cork goes to waste. Material that is unfit for bottle stoppers—or any of the other products produced by Amorim—gets ground down into dust, which is then converted to an energy source, fueling 70% of the factory’s energy needs.

Cockburn’s Quinta dos Canais vineyards in Portugal’s Upper Douro Valley during the 2016 harvest.
Symington Family Estates

“The problem with climate change is it doesn’t really respect your boundaries or borders,” Bridge says.

Going hand-in-hand with the new certified B Corp status is the self-imposed Mission 2025, an internal directive with numerous action points that Symington views as a public declaration—and road map—of the company’s intentions. “Our approach to climate change has three pillars,” Symington explains.

The first is adaptation, meaning what can be done to continue to produce the firm’s style of wine. Second is mitigation, which Symington views as “systematically reducing our own contribution to climate change through buying renewable energy, solar panels on our roofs, working with our suppliers to reduce the emissions in our glass bottles in the transportation, a ton of stuff.” He’s most motivated by the third: a call to action. Symington notes it’s hard for wine brands to “talk like activists.” But he believes it’s these very voices, these new opinions, that will help create a broader dialogue about what can be done to fight climate change.

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Vancouver Is a Haven for Cheap but Delicious Tasting Menus

Basking in the shimmering shadows of snowcapped mountains and sparkling waterways, Vancouver, Canada, beckons to visitors—and their wallets. But while hotel costs reach toward the sky-high peaks, visitors can find bargain-basement prices on some of the best meals in a town full of world-class cuisine.

Perched on the western edge of the continent and closely tied to the flora and fauna of British Columbia, the city could easily rest on its restaurant laurels, charging high prices for fancy meals. But despite its expensive housing, billion-dollar scenery, and food-forward reputation, Vancouver is awash in affordable tasting menu options.

The tasting menu—multiple courses dictated by the kitchen, rather than chosen by the diner—turns a meal into an event, fusing the dinner and entertainment parts of the evening. And, more often than not, this prix fixe option is priced higher than both. But Vancouver’s trend of mid-level tasting menus at its best restaurants has taken over, and for $45 to $60 (USD), diners can enjoy a half-dozen or more courses and take an evening-long journey through the mind and menu of a chef.

Picking fresh vegetables from Ugly Dumpling’s garden.
Courtesy of Leila Kwok

The Ugly Dumpling, a corner spot on Commercial Drive, brought together two veterans of the Vancouver restaurant scene—chef Darren Gee and sommelier Van Doren Chan—to create a menu that’s casual but precise. Gee weaves French, Japanese, and Korean techniques and dishes with local ingredients, resulting in selections like oil-poached halibut with black bean sauce or dry-aged beef tartare with chili oil and pickled mustard. Meanwhile, Chan’s wine list—designed more like a coloring book—is full of fascinating, in-depth descriptions and adorable illustrations. But there’s barely reason to look at it, as the tasting menu—$38 for seven courses or $45 for nine—has drink-pairing options: three for $23 or four for $30. Chan draws upon sake, cocktails, and wine to match everything from the oysters with fig vinaigrette and horseradish to the red bean mochi cake for dessert.

Pidgin’s happy hour offers katsu sando, charcoal-grilled beef skewers, chicharróns, and tempura.
Courtesy of Juno Kim

Similarly, Pidgin restaurant marries Asian and French traditions with local ingredients, but in a fancier space and trendier neighborhood. While some of the menu prices might rise with the more upscale fixings, the tasting menu barely does: $50 will buy you eight courses, and for another $40 to $50, a choice of wine or sake pairings or a combination of both. Here, the vegetables stand out in dishes like sautéed mushrooms—functioning almost like noodles—atop squash puree with yuzu brown butter and ramen-style egg, and a corned beet (yes, beet) salad with ricotta cheese. And should you skip the pairings, the cocktail bar matches the zeal and innovation of the kitchen with drinks like the Roppongi Hills, with Nikka Coffey grain whiskey, shochu, bitters, and vermouth.

But while Ugly Dumpling and Pidgin take a modern approach to Vancouver’s influences, two of the city’s longstanding big-name restaurateurs also have similar options on their menus. Hawksworth Restaurant, often considered one of the top spots for fine dining in the city and where entrées alone tend to run upwards of $30, delivers a standard tasting menu for $85 ($140 with drinks). But for the budget-minded, the restaurant offers early birds (5 p.m. to 6 p.m.) a three-course menu for $37 ($55 with drink pairings). The low-priced chance to experience the grandeur of the Hawksworth space and the storied chef’s way with local ingredients comes with options like an octopus ceviche with guajillo aioli, radish, and rice cracker, or marinated heirloom tomatoes with miso aioli and cashew cheese to start.

An evening meal at Burdock & Co.
Courtesy of Allison Kuhl

At Maenam, Vancouver’s decade-old, still-much-acclaimed Thai standout, Chef Angus An has taught a master class in appreciating the nuances of Thai cuisine. For those new to the restaurant’s forward-facing twists on tradition and playful incorporations of local ingredients, the easiest way to get the full experience is through An’s tasting menu. Six or seven savory dishes come out family-style in a few different courses for just $44 per person ($40 for a vegetarian version). And for $19, diners can add a trio of three-ounce wine pours, or five-ounce glasses for $26. Dungeness crab sits atop miang kham, little betel leaf wraps; braised pork cheek comes dusted with truffle powder; and prawn cakes get a hit of flavor from local morel mushrooms.

Just blocks away at AnnaLena, Top Chef Canada competitor Michael Robbins brings his own interpretation of Vancouver cuisine to the table. For $57 (plus $41 for wine pairings), the tasting menu leads diners from oysters with foie gras and jalapeño, to halibut with hazelnut miso and fermented green garlic, to a grass-fed rib eye with red wine jus. Of Vancouver’s many offerings, it makes the best fit for those seeking a classic tasting menu format at a reasonable price.

Lobster cavatelli, risotto with scallops, congee with sea urchin, and garlic smoked potatoes at Burdock & Co.
Courtesy of Allison Kuhl

But two of the city’s top farm-to-table restaurants also offer family-style tasting menus that provide a complete picture of Canadian Pacific Northwest cuisine in a way that is worth forgoing individual service. Royal Dinette’s $50 menu ($34 or $50 for wine pairings, but worth skipping for the strong cocktail menu) begins with bright, complex salads of in-season vegetables and big-flavored cheese, followed by house-made pastas conveying duck sugo or braised rabbit with mustard seeds, and segueing into desserts like an Earl Grey pavlova with burnt sourdough ice cream. For the same price at Burdock & Co., dive into family-style dishes such as chicken-liver pâté with sea asparagus pickle, elk bavette with chanterelle mushrooms, or blue cheese cheesecake with apricots and walnuts.

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Co-Exist With Robots: How to Compete With Technology in the Age of Automation

As technology, including robots, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and other forces change the nature of work, employees will need new skills to adapt to shifting roles. Research firm Gartner predicts that employees who regularly update their skill sets and invest in new training will be more valued than those with experience or tenure. But it’s not going to be easy.

The World Economic Forum’s “Future of Jobs 2018” report estimates that, by 2022, more than half (54%) of employees will require significant skills updating or retraining. More than one-third (35%) will need about six months to get up to speed, while nearly one in five will require a year or more of additional training.

And employers might not be much help. A 2019 global survey of employers by consulting firm Deloitte found that 86% of respondents rated the need to improve learning and development (L&D) as “important” or “very important.” But just 10% felt ready to “very ready” to address that need. As digital transformation affects so many businesses, a 2018 Gartner report found that just 20% of employees have the skills they need for their jobs now and in the future.

For workers who are concerned about remaining marketable, this raises a number of questions about where they should invest their efforts.

“In almost every job, you need a different set of skills than you did five years ago, and there’s no reason to believe that number’s going to get smaller,” says Brian Kropp, the Arlington, Virginia-based chief of human resources research at Gartner. Employees who are serious about remaining marketable must take it upon themselves to remain in demand in the marketplace.

Finding the focus

Identifying skills with emerging demand can begin with simply keeping abreast of job ads, says career expert Susan P. Joyce, publisher of, a Marlborough, Mass.-based website for job seekers. As certain tools and technologies become more widely adopted in a given field, the skills required to use them are going to be listed as requirements for certain positions, she says. “If something’s required now that wasn’t a year ago, that’s a sign,” she says.

Similarly, watching new developments from technology providers in your sector can also help keep you ahead of the curve, she says. For example, if you work in human resources, keeping an eye on how performance management platforms or applicant tracking systems are evolving may help you spot where you need to upskill.

Many of those skills will be in the digital arena, says Tracey Malcolm, global leader, Future of Work, at Willis Towers Watson, an insurance and advisory company based in London. So, in addition to being comfortable with technology, you’ll likely need to become comfortable working with technology, she says.

The World Economic Forum report says that technology design and programming are increasingly in demand. But, not everyone has to be a data scientist or coder, Malcolm says. You may have A.I.-powered tools operating within your existing software or cloud-based platforms to help you identify productivity improvements or automation opportunities. You need to be adept at using and interacting with those tools, and then reading, understanding and applying the data they provide, she says.

“As we look to have our performance augmented with different forms of technology, that is going to require us to actually think in very forward-looking ways,” she says.

Getting comfortable with data isn’t just about looking at dashboards or spreadsheets. You need to be conversant enough in the data that relates to your job that you can think about hypotheses and scenario planning, Malcolm adds. For example, when you see that productivity has slowed or that you’re not meeting other metrics, you need to be able to think about the sources of the data and circumstances that may have affected the outcome, then think about how various changes could improve results.

Soft skills matter, too

In addition to technology, digital, and data acumen, soft skills are also going to be increasingly in demand. As workplace environments experience fast-paced change and computers add a more straightforward, just-the-facts element to work, the ability to communicate, collaborate, and effectively work with others will be essential, says labor ethnographer Karla Erickson, a professor of sociology at Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa.

“Being a team member, being able to anticipate, moving smoothly through complexity when the unexpected arises, those are the kinds of tools that I think people should be working on,” Erickson says.

In addition to technology-based “co-workers,” employees are also going to need to be flexible to accommodate workplaces that include more contractors and contingent workers.

The World Economic Forum report predicts great demand by 2022 for “’human’ skills such as creativity, originality and initiative, critical thinking, persuasion and negotiation.” Emotional intelligence, complex-problem-solving, and flexibility are also important. Workshops, training, mentorship, and other forms of skills development shouldn’t overlook these areas.

Get ready to grow

Kropp and his team estimate that, by 2024, 64% of typical managerial tasks—filling out expense reports, monitoring dashboards, etc.—will be automated. Successful employees will use that newfound free time to focus on high-value activities. After all, this is technology fulfilling its great promise and untethering workers from rote tasks. But workers must use that time wisely, Kropp says.

“So, you want to be looking at what you do within your job that actually generates insight, generates ideas, new approaches, new solutions, things that are tried for the first time, and you need to ask yourself the question, what are things I can do within myself, in terms of developing skills, capabilities, knowledge, that helps me focus on those things that are more insights, rather than tasks?” he says. When you can answer that, you will have found the areas least likely to be eliminated because of technology.

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Only One Republican Supported That Divisive Election Security Bill. Here’s Why He Voted in Favor—Cyber Saturday

Last week we discussed election security. Let’s dig a little deeper into divisions provoked by one of the major pieces of proposed legislation, the Securing America’s Federal Elections Act. The bill has lately become a political flashpoint, blocked by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who ostensibly fears further federalizing elections more than he fears the subversion of American democracy through hacking, foreign interference, or other hi-jinx.

The bill primarily aims to require states to use voting machines that are up-to-date, not Internet-connected, made in America, and produce paper-based, voter-verifiable ballots. These are all sensible criteria, and it’s hard to argue against their adoption. In addition, the bill would earmark federal funds to help states get the new gear in place by 2020—a more contentious component. (See also this Wall Street Journal editorial which lays out other gripes.)

While the Democratic House passed the bill with 225 votes in June, only one Republican voted in favor: Representative Brain Mast of Florida. It’s worth noting that Mast is not Republican in name only, as an analysis by the data junkie blog FiveThirtyEight makes clear. As of the end of last year, Mast had voted in line with President Donald Trump’s policy initiatives 92.7% of the time.

I thought it might be instructive to hear what Mast had to say about his decision to support the legislation. Here is a video of the congressman justifying his vote, published on Facebook and transcribed and excerpted below.

In the previous election cycle there was attempts by Russians to go out there and actually hack into our elections systems. This is something that we all deserve—confidence in our election systems. This is something that we’ve been working on here in Washington to make sure can be provided. We’re doing that on a number of different fronts. Number one is making sure that all the states across the country have the resources that they need to go out there and ensure that their systems are safe and are not going to be hacked, that they do have the cybersecurity in place that’s needed to make sure that Russian interference can’t go in there and alter people’s votes, alter registrations, alter things that can have a drastic effect on our elections process and diminish people’s confidence in that election process.

There’s good and bad on both sides of it. I’ve heard people on one side of it say, Listen, if you go out there and you ask that there be a paper ballot system as well, that could slow down the process. If you slow down the process, you may be making longer lines, which may be discouraging some people from voting. That’s some of the argument on the other side of it. But in the end, I think it’s more important that we go out there and be able to have the faith and confidence in our election cycle that we all feel like we deserve. To know that our vote counts. That there’s not cheating in the voting system. That there’s not people voting that aren’t supposed to be voting.This is a way to go out there and address the fact that we don’t want any cyber intrusion into our voting systems.

Mast speaks common sense. While there are legitimate objections to some of the bill’s provisions, the legislation is, overall, a prudent step forward. Elections are too important to play dice with. McConnell ought to take heed.

Robert Hackett | @rhhackett |

For Holiday Shoppers Buying Tech, the Best Time to Dodge Tariffs May Be Now… or Never?

Earlier this week, the Trump administration delayed implementing a planned 10% tariff on certain goods made in China. So far, companies haven’t communicated how they’ll respond to the tariffs, including whether they’ll pass on the additional costs on to consumers. And as consumers head into back-to-school shopping—followed by the holiday shopping season—the trade war maneuvering has created a degree of uncertainty so high that not even experts can agree on what will happen next.

But two things are certain: Starting on Sept. 1, products like wireless networking devices, lithium-ion batteries, and Mac computers will be hit with the tariff. Then on Dec. 15, other Chinese-imported goods, including smartphones and wired headphones, will follow suit. As for what gets surcharged when, the lists are dizzying and seemingly random but worth reviewing, especially if you’re planning on making a tech purchase in the coming months.

So the question is, when should shoppers make their next big tech buys? After all, conventional wisdom would suggest a 10% corporate cost hike would increase prices by the same amount—though that might not be the case in every situation.

Tim Bajarin, an analyst with Creative Strategies, says that most companies could try to reduce the impact on shoppers as much as possible to save face and maintain consumer loyalty. But he warns that even a small price hike on some products seems likely.

“At the moment, we don’t know exactly how they will price their products if impacted by the tariffs,” Bajarin says.

Bajarin’s uncertainty is echoed by 556 Ventures analyst William Ho, who cautions that trying to handicap pricing in light of the tariffs is a fool’s errand.

“This is a moving target of which there is a lot of moving parts that are unknown in the supply chain,” he tells Fortune.

It’s also important to note that the tariffs will apply to goods shipped from China to the U.S. on or after Sept. 1 in the first tranche and Dec. 15 in the second. Shipments that land before those deadlines (including inventory already on the shelves) won’t be subject to the tariffs. As a result, looking ahead to the holiday shopping season, certain products may see no price hikes, whatsoever.

“Some [products] have shipped and others, like shoes [and] clothes for the holiday, are most likely on boats now,” Bajarin says. But he cautions that computers, game consoles, and other popular electronics that will be on sale this holiday season won’t make their way to the U.S. until September or October, making them subject to the tariffs.

But there is one guaranteed way to beat the tariffs: Buy your goods now.

“We believe pre-Labor Day would be the time to get ahead of the Sept. 1 deadline,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives says. “[Consumers who are] holiday shopping should try to get done before Dec. 15th.”

Ives predicts prices will soon rise on products, including wireless routers and smart home devices like the Amazon Echo, that are subject to the September tariffs. Those impacted in December, including smartphones and Roku boxes, will probably remain at their current prices until later in 2019.

Still, making holiday purchases in late August or early September might be a tough sell for shoppers. One reason is that a lot of 2019’s must-have holiday products aren’t yet for sale. (This is why you should wait until September to buy an iPhone, for example.)

Ho thinks the trade war’s impact on consumers will be “educational and psychological,” suggesting they will first need to understand how they’ll be affected by the tariffs, before they actually do anything to save money.

“If the price hikes aren’t well communicated, the bulk of the mainstream buyer may not care,” he says. “Or worse—(they may) put that purchase off until the following year.”

Ho says the buying psychology that’s been drilled into the American consumer is to wait for Black Friday deals and Christmas sales. As a result, this idea of shopping sooner to beat the tariffs is hard to fathom.

And not only that, it may also be jarring for consumers. “It’s like being on a rollercoaster at an amusement park, with Washington, D.C. and Beijing at the controls,” Ives says. “The only difference is, no one is smiling.”

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