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The Latest Lightweight Running Gear to Beat the Heat

Running in the heat is not for the faint of heart. Already a physically demanding sport, adding in humidity and towering temperatures only cranks up the challenge level. For those days when it’s exceptionally hot, having quality gear is crucial to help keep your body temperature in check and your training on track. Here, we’ve rounded up our favorite lightweight gear to help you stay cool when the weather is anything but.

patagonia T-shirt running

Patagonia Capilene Cool Lightweight Shirt
Made from recycled polyester, the Capilene Cool is Patagonia’s lightest-weight performance knit that wicks moisture and dries quickly. Additionally, the tech tee features a crewneck design, set-in sleeves for ultimate flexibility, a drop-tail hem to prevent riding up, and built-in odor control for particularly sweaty days. [$45; patagonia.com]

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Salomon shorts

Salomon Agile Shorts
Available in four different colors, the Agile shorts are made from 100 percent polyester and are ultra lightweight and breathable. The shorts feature a 5-inch inseam, an elastic waistband, a drawstring, a convenient zipper pocket, an inner brief, and Advanced Skin technology that works to keep your skin dry and protected. [$45; salomon.com]

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Sawtooth Range Idaho New Trail Running Gear Test Arcteryx Cochrane

Brooks running hat

Brooks PR Lightweight Hat
For days when the sun is high and bright, having a hat is essential to keep your eyes shielded and your face protected. The PR Lightweight Hat features lightweight, stretch-knit and mesh fabric to ensure breathability and a perforated brim to cut down on weight. An interior wicking sweatband keeps you dry, and an adjustable back band allows for the perfect fit. [$28; brooksrunning.com]

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Osprey

Osprey Duro 6
When it comes to running, nothing is more critical than proper hydration. For longer days on the trail, a hydration pack is a must—the Osprey Duro 6 features a 1.5 L reservoir, stabilizing/expansion compression straps, a trekking pole attachment, plus plenty of pockets to stash food and other necessities. The snug vest-pack fit ensures it’s extra comfortable and stable, so you’ll barely even notice it’s there. [$110; osprey.com]

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Independent running brands trail running

Oakley glasses

Oakley Half Jacket 2.0
When you’re running under the sun, it’s important to protect your eyes. Oakley’s Half Jacket glasses are ultra-light, form fitting, and feature their High Definition Optics technology, which eliminates distortion for clearer and sharper vision. Unobtainium earsocks and nosepads allow for maximum comfort and performance and the interchangeable lens system makes it easy to have the ideal lens for any conditions. [$136; oakley.com]

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TNF Futurelight shoes

The North Face Ultra Traction Futurelight
Having the proper shoes is essential for staying injury-free and maximizing performance. Standout features of the Ultra Traction Futurelight shoes are a breathable, waterproof membrane, an eco-friendly OrthoLite Hybrid footbed, an outsole traction system, and a no-sew, vacuum-formed TPU rand and heel counter for maximum support. Additionally, the trail shoes feature The North Face’s most advanced breathable-waterproof technology to date—the nano-fiber structure allows air to pass through for enhanced venting while still remaining durable and waterproof. [$155; thenorthface.com]

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Garmin Forerunner 945

Garmin Forerunner 945
When it’s hot out, it’s tempting to ditch your training plan and opt for a shorter run. A good watch can help combat that urge. The Garmin Forerunner 945 has everything you could want in a watch and more—GPS, onboard maps, safety and tracking features, Garmin Pay contactless payment system, coaching/training plans, VO2 max indicator, wrist-based heart rate monitor, and it can store up to 1,000 songs. Another standout feature of the watch is that it’s waterproof, allowing you to easily transition from the trail to the pool. [$599; garmin.com]

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Roackaway Agile

Rockay Agile Socks
Socks are such a simple yet essential piece of gear. Made from 100 percent recycled materials, Rockay’s Agile socks feature breathable mesh toes, arch support, anti-odor coating, anti-blister construction, not mention crazy light weight. Additionally, Rockay removes 125 grams of plastic from the ocean for each pair of socks purchased, so you can feel good about what’s on your feet. [$20; rockay.com]

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Trail Running shoes

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The Do-It-All Multimedia Monitor That’ll Upgrade Any Home Office

If you’ve been working from home recently, it doesn’t take long to realize the screen on your laptop is lacking. Hooking up to an external monitor is an easy way to boost productivity, giving you enough space to switch between apps, Google Suite docs, IMs, and browsers. We’ve been using the BenQ EW3280U and, it turns out, getting some more space is just the start of its benefits. — Sal Vaglica, contributor

What is the BenQ EW3280U:

The BenQ EW3280U is a 32-inch monitor that will handle all your daily computing tasks, most of your photo work, gaming, and all of your streaming video content. At 32 inches, there is plenty of room to have two apps running at nearly full size. Even better, we found we didn’t need our laptop hanging around off to the side as a supplemental screen.

There are plenty of acronyms slapped on the BenQ’s box. The UHD means 4K quality, which is certainly an uptick from most laptop screens. The HDRi is BenQ’s mix of both software and hardware, like the sensors mounted on the bottom edge of the screen, that track ambient light and adjust the screen’s brightness throughout the day. That’s going to relieve some serious eye strain. Then there’s the soundbar, which is an afterthought on most flatscreen TVs, never mind monitors, so the fact this one actually thumps is a nice upgrade.


CubiCubi Computer Desk

Why we like it:

If you’re porting into a newer MacBook via the USBC connection, this monitor is simple to set up. One USBC cable connects the two and it will charge your laptop while the monitor is plugged into the wall outlet by pumping out 60 watts. The color rendering is crisp and bright, and more than capable of knocking out any generic computer work you’re doing. But at this price tag, it’s also a suitable monitor for entertainment too.

The screen’s 138 pixels per inch made our Google Stadia gaming enjoyable without needing to be in front of our flatscreen. And the same for any Netflix or YouTube videos we were binge watching. That’s part of the appeal here: if the BenQ sits in a larger office, where you might have a chill-out chair or sofa, or if it’s in an open room and you could use a TV to stream content, you could do a lot worse if you’re catching up on The Office.

The monitor comes with a remote so you could make changes to volume and color from across the room. The joystick mounted on the rear is easy to use and keeps the front looking very clean. But maybe the most useful control is the wheel that adjusts the volume. It’s one of the only bugs we found here: the current IOs won’t allow keyboard strokes to adjust volume, but the wheel makes it easy to dial in the right level for those audio-only Zoom calls or if you’re streaming a playlist while you work.

The HDRi built-in means that during a normal workday we never had to fuss with brightness settings, and it’s easy to override it if you want to boost brightness for gaming. Unlike a lot of monitors that go with a black or faux Apple-like space gray finish, the BenQ has a dark coppery bronze finish that looks great.

Nitpick:

The stand tilts up and down, but that’s about it. We’d love to see it be able to move up and down.

[From: $799; benq.com]

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Seal of Approval: Brothers Osborne on Their Favorite Albums, Go-To Whiskey, & More

One of Nashville’s best duos, Brothers Osborne—who recently released their new album, Skeletons—on the music you should be listening to, the wonders of bird watching, and a bottle of whiskey that, if you see, you buy.

MUSIC

Skyline Motel After Dark
Courtesy image

Skyline Motel just released an EP called After Dark. You should listen. It’s really chill music. It kind of reminds me of what it would’ve been like when Fleetwood Mac put out Rumours. When you listen to it, it’s like perfection. It just sounds…man, it’s such a mood. You’ll love it. —T.J.


trevor noah

GADGET

Lutron Caséta
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I installed like 40 Lutron Caséta automatic light dimmers in my house because you can control it all by your phone. Not only is it easy to install, it’s so easy to use and it speaks to your phone perfectly. It comes with an app and, literally, you can control your whole house from your phone. —John


Brian Tyree Henry at Comic Con International in 2019

GO-TO SONG

Dua Lipa
Courtesy image

Dua Lipa has a song called “Pretty Please,” and it’s so sick—the way she sings it. Every time I listen to it, it just puts me in a good mood. I’ve been listening to that song a lot on repeat. It gets me going. —T.J.


lakeith stanfield interview

KITCHEN GEAR

Le Creuset Dutch ovens
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I got one of Le Creuset’s Dutch ovens and one of their iron skillets, and I’ve been trying to make just a really consistently good steak. I’ve never really tackled that before because I’ve never wanted to fuck up a $20 piece of meat. But now I’m to the point where I’m like, “Why was I afraid of this the whole time?” It’s actually really easy and it cooks really quick. —T.J.

Brothers Osborne
Brothers Osborne’s new album ‘Skeletons’ is available now JOHN PEETS

WHISKEY

W.L. Weller Special Reserve
Courtesy image

W.L. Weller Special Reserve—It’s not even expensive, but it’s just hard to find. And when you find it, by the way, if you’re ever in a store and you see it, buy that shit. —T.J.

GAMES

Words With Friends
Courtesy image

I started playing Words With Friends again and I’m obsessed. I remember when it first came out, I played it so much I got sick of it. Now it’s a great way for me to actually connect with my mom and also connect with my family and my relatives. —John

NEW HOBBIES

Seal of Approval
Courtesy image

There’s something very therapeutic about bird watching. I always thought it was just a boring old-man retiree thing to do. But I don’t know, call me an old retired man, I guess. —T.J.


Alexander Ovechkin

John’s Top 5 Favorite Albums:

Darrell Scott, Theatre of the Unheard
Willie Nelson, Willie Nelson Sings Kristofferson
B.B. King, Live At The Regal
Patty Loveless, The Trouble With the Truth
Eric Clapton, Unplugged

T.J.’s Top 5 Favorite Albums:

Darrell Scott, Theatre of the Unheard
Bonnie Raitt, Luck of the Draw
Allman Brothers, At Fillmore East
Eric Clapton, Unplugged
Alan Jackson, The Greatest Hits Collection

Brothers Osborne released their new album Skeletons on October 9. You can buy it here.

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Keeping Pandemic Precautions in Mind During Group Outdoor Adventures

“This is the crux move, keep me tight,” Crista barked from 60 feet above us, as she prepared for the biggest risk of the route. Lead climbing (without the safety of a rope secured to an anchor above her), the next few moves—a slabby foothold and a crimpy handhold by her fingertips—would dictate a clean send or a big whip down of nearly 25 feet. These quick words were a request to Travis to pay close attention, so that a potential fall would be caught quickly.

lead rock climbing idaho city of rocks
Andy Cochrane

On our third day of climbing at City of Rocks in the center of southern Idaho, the two had already spent 20-odd hours tied to a rope together on this trip alone, trusting each other’s diligence and skills. A mistake by one of them would be covered by the other, assuming they were communicating well. Fortunately, neither took a major fall during the trip, managing to ascend dozens of routes without a costly mistake. Unfortunately, big falls weren’t our biggest safety concern.

Cochrane climbing city of rocks idaho
Andy Cochrane

After dozens of backcountry trips in the last few years, I’ve built quite a few habits on how to pack and plan for each type of adventure. They vary a bit by the location, season, duration, and the crew, but ultimately come down to keeping people safe and remembering that we’re doing it all for fun. However, 2020 threw out the playbook, adding a new set of unknowns, and corollary precautions necessary for backcountry trips during COVID.

“What do you think, pancakes for our second morning?” asked Trav, as we walked down Aisle 4 of Safeway. I was excited for a second—I love breakfasts, especially those that involve syrup—but soon remembered the worldwide pandemic. Muffled under my mask, I suggested we each prepare and cook our own food to mitigate risks. “How about oatmeal packets instead?” I replied, trying to hype up Quaker Peaches and Cream as best I could.


bearded bicycle bivy christmas bikepacking

After an hour of shopping—maybe twice as long as it normally takes—we arrived at the register with a cart carrying food for four days of climbing. However, it was a bit different: no group pizza dinner, or shared snacks, or trading pulls of whiskey. To recreate responsibly, we opted to tackle things differently, like sharing food, sharing vehicles and tents, and, everyone on the trip getting tested for COVID-19 beforehand.

While every group, especially one of rock climbers, has its own calibrations of risk, when it came to pandemic precautions, before we assembled, everyone agreed on this pre-trip level-setter to keep our collective health in mind. There are a few other factors that outdoor adventurers should consider in an effort to respect your community and get through this health crisis without further restrictions. One first truth to recognize is that a trip like this is not essential travel; driving five hours from home to play outside is an inherently selfish endeavor. We’re not creating good for others or positively impacting the world, we’re just trying to take a little break from the daily stress in our lives. There’s nothing wrong with that, as most can relate to this desire as the stresses of 2020 continue to compound. So our small group recognized this trip was a privilege; not everyone has the time, gear, and skills to go on a climbing trip. But being grateful for any play-time in the pandemic is a good baseline—especially when the trip doesn’t go as planned.


shutterstock_1078459163-Dezajny copy

When it came to group size, the five of us drove from Wyoming in a three-car caravan, sticking to groups that we already lived with at home. While we all probably could have fit into one of the trucks, we deemed this the safer way to go. The same went for tents: We considered a large dome tent for the full group, but opted to split up, believing that this was the safer and more respectful thing to do. This principle applied on the climbs as well, like who we were sharing a rope with.

Andy Cochrane climbing city of rocks idaho
Andy Cochrane

Yet, once everyone subscribed to these often subtle and small changes, the trip felt almost normal. We climbed, biked, ran, drank beers and laughed a ton. We watched sunsets and told bad stories. We got lost and talked about times we were lost in past relationships. We left our phones on airplane mode and stayed present. Wanting to give space to other climbing groups, we went further into the City and explored lesser-visited rock formations and new routes. Sure, we washed our hands a bit more than normal, but that was probably a good thing for all of us anyway.

Idaho City of rocks
Andy Cochrane

Sitting on top of a tower at sunset on our last night, Trav asked me “you ready to go back to the chaos?” After thinking it over for a second, I realized that our trip offered a nice simplification for how to live in so-called real life. There’s a lot we can’t control, which I try not to overthink. For instance, I can’t tell other people what to do, but I can set a good example for them. However, there are a lot of small things we all can do to make the world a better place, and often, they don’t take a ton of time or effort, just diligence.

Wearing masks, skipping communal meals, and giving people space didn’t negatively dictate our trip, and doing so allowed us to do what we love, safely. The tradeoffs were clear: small sacrifices for the greater good, not to mention our own health. Those lessons followed my back home, whereby following some simple boundaries and showing respect for those around you, we all can still live a mostly normal life. Here’s to hoping that everyone can buy into that mindset as we continue the large-group adventure through 2020.


Driving Park Loop Road along the rocky shoreline of Maine’s Acadia National Park.


IMG_6198_Savannah Cummins

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Chris Burkard on the First Bike Traverse of Iceland’s Interior

On August 23, 2020, after cycling 250 miles into the geographical heart of Iceland, Chris Burkard faced the possibility of his first major obstacle in his traverse across one of the most remote stretches of land on Earth.

If he and his four fellow riders stuck to their original route around the north side of Hofsjökull glacier—the third largest glacier and the largest active volcano in the country—they’d have to cross a deep glacial river that was impassable just a week earlier. They could play it safe and use a workaround, but that would add over 60 miles to a ride that was already mapped out to cover around 560 miles in eight days.


bearded bicycle bivy christmas bikepacking

Burkard decided to take the risk. “Risk is crucial to everything,” he explains. “Risk is what creates uncertainty; uncertainty is what creates growth. I don’t need something to be super dangerous, but I do need it to have some potential for failure so that I can grow as a person.”

Chris Burkard carrying his bike and gear across a river.
Chris Burkard carrying his bike and gear across a river. Courtesy Image

Finding a New Way to Connect to Iceland

Burkard is no stranger to these kinds of scenarios. As a renowned outdoor, surf, and travel photographer, he’s ridden waves in Iwanai, Japan; scaled Yosemite’s famed Hardman Offwidth Circuit; and scuba dived off the coast of Mallorca—and that’s barely skimming the surface of his adventures. This trip was his 43rd to Iceland, and one he decided to make while competing the previous year in an 850-mile race that circumnavigated the island (he actually holds the fastest known time for cycling the 844-mile ring road: 52 hours, 36 minutes, and 19 seconds).

“Me riding bikes is just trying to get closer to the landscapes I really enjoy,” he explains. “It’s an exercise in feeling small and connected to a place. The whole time I was competing in that race, I kept thinking, I know there’s another route out there that takes you through the heart of this country.”


Jeff Denholm portrait by Fred Pompermayer_

When he returned home to California, he reached out to a cartographer who could help map a route from the eastern-most point of Iceland, in Dalatangi, to the Bjargtangar, the western-most part of the country. “In my mind, this is the most diverse geological landscape you could ever experience,” says Burkard. “You move from fjords to temperate rainforests to desert-like massive lava flows to sand to rock—every type of surface you could imagine.”

It would be a first ascent, of sorts; the first time anyone bikepacked across Iceland’s interior. “What made this route so terrifying is that it’s never been done on bike,” says Burkard. “There was so much unknown, so much that could change day to day.”

Chris Burkard, Emily Batty, Adam Morka, and Eric Batty biking with glaciers in the background.
Chris Burkard, Emily Batty, Adam Morka, and Eric Batty biking with glaciers in the background. Courtesy Image

What It Takes to Ride Into the Heart of Europe’s Last Great Wilderness

In addition to the challenge of riding where no one has ridden before, Burkard was commited to completing the entire route unsupported. “My thought was, how can we really be subjected to this environment? How can we experience everything?” he says. While Iceland is a mecca for adventurers, most activities merely dip their toes into the interior, relying on four-wheel drive vehicles to bring them to and from the coast.

Burkard; Eric Batty, a Canadian cyclist with expedition experience; his sister Emily, a two-time Olympic cross-country mountain biker; and Emily’s husband Adam, an experienced mountain biker, carried all of the gear and food they needed to complete the trip without any external support. (A videographer and expedition photographer did meet up with the crew from time to time to document the experience, but they didn’t carry or replenish any of their supplies).

“Iceland is one of Europe’s last great wildernesses, and moving through this landscape in a way that’s human-powered shows you what’s really important,” says Burkard.


A technical, or Toyota with machine gun affixed, providing extra cover across rough territory.

The quartet opted for mountain bikes, which—while heavy—could handle carrying all the gear they needed for more than a week in the wilderness. “These bikes were 80 to 90 pounds, and you’re not just riding them, you’re carrying them across rivers, you’re hiking up rocks with them, you’re pushing them across deep sections of sand,” says Burkard.

And they were loaded down with everything they might need: two chamois, three pairs of socks, one riding jacket, booties, gloves, lightweight sleeping bags, camping pads, and some essential camp clothing to change into each day. “There were a lot of things we didn’t use,” says Burkard. “But if I were going back, I would still bring all of it. Just in case.”

The team also had swiftwater rescue training to navigate the dangerous currents in the glacial rivers, especially around Hofsjökull glacier, with its large, sloping shape that creates hundreds of rivers of meltwaters. “It was just a really complicated scenario; every river was like a chess game,” says Burkard.

Fortunately, on August 23, the river Burkard feared might end their trip was indeed passable. And so the quartet was able to hoist their 80-pound bikes onto their back and wade through the frigid waters in their bike shoes. “Our feet were wet by 6 a.m., and wet for seven hours straight after that,” he says.

As much as Burkard craves risk, this kind of self-supported expedition takes knowledge and preparation. “There’s a matter of luck that goes into it, too,” says Burkard. “You obviously can’t control every element, especially in a landscape like Iceland, so you have to let go of that control a little bit but still be prepared for every kind of scenario you might face.”

Chris Burkard and crew resting for the night before continuing on their traverse of Iceland.
Chris Burkard and crew resting for the night before continuing on their traverse of Iceland. Courtesy Image

Staying Connected While Off the Grid

While everything went according to plan on this trip, there’s one major drawback to even his most successful expeditions: It’s the nature of his job that Burkhard is often out of touch and unreachable to those he loves most.

Burkard is a father of two, yet his job constantly puts him in scenarios that are at best remote and at worst downright dangerous. That doesn’t make him any less of an involved parent, though. In fact, the more his appetite for risk has increased, the more cognizant he is of the fact that his decisions affect more than just his life.

“There are absolutely things I’ve said no to or things that I’ve thought twice about because of the potential risk involved,” he says. “I love what I do, but it becomes about giving the people you love most the opportunity to be your first priority.”

So a huge part of Burkard’s life is trying to balance risk with being a responsible parent. “I hate that word, though: balance. It’s impossible. You’re never going to achieve it,” he says. “It’s better to consider finding rhythm. Life has rhythm. Sometimes that rhythm undulates naturally, and sometimes you have to work harder to find it.”


Felicity Aston

It’s a topic he’s started exploring in his work. Burkard recently released a documentary film, Unnur, about an Icelandic photographer, surfer, and former kayaker who reignited his passior for the outdoors by sharing it with his daughter. He’s also published a children’s book called The Boy Who Spoke To The Earth, about a young boy who asks the Earth where he can find happiness.

Those projects are proof that even while he’s traveling to the farthest corners of the world, his family isn’t far from mind. “They may not be physically with you, but they can be with you in thought,” he says. “I’m looking for things constantly that my kids are going to be stoked on, and so that becomes a part of who I am. I’m riding my bike, yes, but I’m also looking for a cool stone or a rock or a photograph of an animal because my kid loves that stuff. And when I text them, when I do have service, I’m not just like, ‘Hey, how are you?’ I’m like, ‘Hey, I saw this and I was thinking about you.’ And that really allows them to feel connected to what you’re doing.”

That connection is so important to him, because—like any parent—he hopes to instill the love of taking risks in his kids. “It’s not about forcing your kids to think about things the same way you do, or even to fall in love with surfing or cycling or the outdoors,” he explains. “I know we all have these dreams that we are going to go backcountry skiing or whatever with our kids. I think that what we hope for is to desensitize them to the fear of these places. So that going outside is not fearful and not scary. Granted, they might not work up the courage to ride the double black diamond, but as long as they don’t have that feeling that the world is a scary place, I think that fosters a sense of curiosity that can be carried into so many aspects of their life.”

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The Case for Korean Barbecue—And for a Little New York Restaurant That Could

Front-line medical workers and grocery store check-out people have borne the greatest brunt of the COVID-19 crisis. Restaurateur have always been a little more heart than head. After all, running a restaurant is an uphill climb in good times, what with slim margins, high rents, expensive moving parts, lots of employees, and all the other moving parts. If there’s one person with the stick-to-itiveness to see this through it, it’s Simon Kim. The 38-year-old is used to bustling around Cote, a modern Korean barbecue restaurant in New York City. Kim navigates the bustling restaurant and standing-room-only bar like a rush hour commuter at Grand Central Station. There he is, sidling up to a table and picking up the meat tongs to flip thinly sliced beef on the tabletop grill, spying an empty wine bottle that needs replacing or a martini glass ready for another round. Minus the martini, Cote is a healthy way to eat. The meats are paced out and interspersed with vegetables and fermented foods, like probiotic-rich kimchi, which are hallmarks of Korean fare. Compare that against American steakhouses, where sitting down to a 24-ounce steak, plus creamed spinach, baked potato, and an iceberg lettuce salad is the norm.


Robbie Felice

Kim’s gotten creative and Cote is surviving, while also helping the community. And after sitting down for a Q&A with Men’s Journal, we learned it’s because the whole thing is built on a solid foundation.

For those of us who didn’t grow up with Korean barbecue, what is it like?

Korean barbecue is all about fun and fire. They’re much more convivial than fine-dining establishments; there’s fire at your table and people become livelier. People drink and get rowdy. It’s unpretentious and full of celebration—full of life.

Why did you choose to fashion Cote in that style?

My mantra has always been providing quality paired alongside a sense of excellence. I’ve had the great fortune of working for some of the most respected chefs of the world. I started out studying Hotel Management at University of Nevada-Las Vegas and, from there, managed within a few of the most notable hospitality groups: MGM Grand, BR Guest, Thomas Keller Restaurant Group & Jean-Georges Restaurants. I grew to love the sophistication and excellence, but I wanted to marry the fire along with it. I like to have fun. Korean barbecue is just that—it’s the best of both worlds. My heritage is as well. I am Korean, but I am also American. Growing up, I had an identity crisis, but later, after having worked for these great chefs and building up my career, I realized this blend is what makes me unique. Cote is a direct reflection of that—I married my two identities. It has roots in Korean barbecue, but I also wanted to incorporate the concept of an American chophouse, something masculine but also modern.

Simon King, owner of Korean BBQ restaurant Cote
Simon Kim, owner of Korean BBQ restaurant Cote Charles Roussel

I think we first have to address the elephant in the room: your restaurant, Cote, is in what once was America’s COVID-19 epicenter. How are you getting by?

Like soldiers given marching orders, we switched into survival mode. We’d never done delivery. People said, don’t do that, it’s off-brand. As a Michelin star who obsesses over every detail of branding, we had to figure out how to elevate the notion of delivery. Practically overnight, we designed packaging and reconstructed the menu to be limited, but still excellent, nourishing and joyful. Our vendors reduced their prices, so we could then reduce our prices. We signed with Goldbelly, a nationwide delivery service. Suddenly we were sending steaks to Hawaii. As soon as the city gave the greenlight, we sold walk-up ice cream and cocktails. We figured out how to make (delicious) fried chicken. No stone went unturned. We did anything to keep the ship afloat. Anything to keep the wolves at bay.

Our workers were taking increasingly apocalyptic subways and risking their lives by coming to work. With so much suffering, we increased our charitable efforts to our community. No matter what, we are New Yorkers. When tragedy strikes, we don’t wait for the government, we step up, we protect our own. For us, that meant giving 3 percent of sales (of $25,000) to City Harvest who, in turn, feed our most vulnerable neighbors. Linking up with Frontline Foods, we gave $10,000 and 1,000 meals so far, dropping them off at hospitals for healthcare workers. As a team, this was a real turning point for us emotionally. Never was it more obvious that we weren’t showing up for the dollars and the cents. Caring for people around us gave us a sense of purpose.


Timon Balloo

Then the protests started. Right away, we boarded up our windows. In solidarity with Black Lives Matter, we donated money and food bowls to the Brooklyn Community Bail Fund, Vocal-NY and Equal Justice Initiative. Feisty and still in the fight, we worked our 10 outdoor tables like our lives depended on it, and prepared for the Phase 3 reopening we were promised. At a huge financial burden, we did everything asked of us.

We are in a positive standing now and are really thinking ahead of the chaos. We shifted gears to to think ahead as opposed to thinking back on the events that had devastated the industry. We are taking one of the worst crises to happen to the F&B industry—the country and the world—as a great opportunity for us to refocus and restart.

Though, without government support, we can’t be the great booster to rebuilding the American Restaurant industry. The RESTAURANTS Act is sitting on the House of Representative floor. We need support and we need action now.

How do you cope with the stress of this moment? Are you a person who finds a forest to hike through, or a quiet corner to meditate in?

On top of operating a restaurant during a pandemic and opening another in Miami this winter, I have a beautiful 2.5-year-old daughter and year-and-a-half-old son. They keep me busy, but seeing them happy is a great stress reliever for me.

Being outdoors and connecting with nature is also important to me. I really believe humans are a positive charge and nature is a negative charge, relatively speaking of course. Nature is a source of energy and its energy revives me. I also like to go upstate to a friend’s place near the Adirondack Mountains and get lost in nature forest bathing. That’s where I truly unwind.

The silver lining of the pandemic is that Central Park has become a real, local park. There aren’t any tourists, so it became a tranquil and family-oriented place perfect for cycling or taking long walks. When I am not cycling or taking a family walk, I practice breathing and meditation exercises. Just 15 minutes a day to only focus on my breathing is all that I need to ensure I maintain a sustainably healthy lifestyle.


Eric Adjepong

I guess no one gets into restaurants thinking it’ll be relaxing anyway. How did you find your way into them?

When I moved to Long Island, NY, when I was 13 in 1995. I didn’t speak a word of English, and was often picked on and bullied in school. Restaurants were my form of an escape. I used to save up my allowance for months as a high schooler just so I could take my friends to Peter Luger [steakhouse in Brooklyn]. That’s how much I loved steak and the American steakhouse concept.

Meanwhile, my parents invested in a restaurant. They were supposed to be financial investors, but my mother became the chef and ran the restaurant. I worked as a busboy there.

My father is a huge gastronome and that was his main interest. When I was growing up, instead of asking me about my day or school, we spoke about food. His passion and criticism also helped my mom become the greatest chef I know. I like to think of him as a Michelin inspector and her the starred chef.

Korean BBQ at Cote restaurant in New York City
Korean BBQ at Cote restaurant in New York City Charles Roussel

You carried their sensibilities to Cote. Can you talk about the ingredients you use?

We have a really simple approach. We’re a steakhouse, so we want to procure the best beef money can buy. If it’s exciting beef, we have it here. We source USDA prime beef from many places, including the Midwest. USDA Prime is special because it’s only the top 5 percent selection of beef. But we also have American wagyu, which is a cross between Japanese wagyu and black angus, that comes from a farm based in Omaha, NE, called Imperial Wagyu. We also source Japanese A5 from the most specialized areas in Japan like Kagoshima and Miyazaki prefecture.

We have an in-house red light dry-aging room. There, we dry-age beef for 45 days, compared to 28 days (like most other places). While we talk about NYC being its own ecosystem, our dry-aging room is actually a micro-ecosystem of its own. This room allows for bacteria to grow and break down enzymes, resulting in this funky, flavorful meat. It’s definitely an experience.


Chef Paola Velez

Opening a restaurant in New York has so many obstacles—and now you’re facing an even steeper one? How have you gritted it out?

At Cote, we have a great team. I call them the ‘Dragon Slayers.’ Throughout the pandemic, I realized how crucial they were. I had always known their greatness, but the last six months has made it even more clear to me. I lean on all of them: the Directors, my assistant, my mentors and my family. Together, within these different support systems, they are a fusion of energy. This system is a battery that will never run out. When challenges come up, if you have a strong team, you’re more likely to successfully overcome any obstacles.

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Go for Gold: Best Festbier Lagers to Try This October

Oktoberfest will look mighty different this fall. Germany’s annual beer-and-sausage blowout is canceled, and large American gatherings will likely remain limited—but don’t see the glass half-empty. Instead, fill it to the top with festbier, the golden lager that’s designed for celebrations.

Americans mostly associate Oktoberfest beers with the richly malted Märzen (meaning March), a copper-toned lager historically brewed in early spring and lagered, or cold-conditioned, throughout summer. However, the robust brew has long had an Achilles’ heel: They’re a little on the heavy side. That’s why Germany’s go-to Oktoberfest lager is now festbier, lighter in color, loaded with flavor, and suitable for a liter or four on an autumn afternoon.

“It’s full-bodied but very, very easy-drinking,” says Steve Hauser, CEO of Paulaner USA.

With imported-beer aisles now brimming with freshly brewed German takes, stateside breweries have also embraced the more assertively hopped festbier. It’s time to go for gold.

“It’s full-bodied but very, very easy-drinking.”

WEIHENSTEPHANER FESTBIER
Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan
Freising, Germany • 5.8% ABV
This German brewery—reportedly the world’s oldest, dating to the 11th century—makes its richly golden festbier with several varieties of Hallertauer hops. They lend the hearty lager a oral, spicy profile that IPA fans will appreciate.

COMMERZIENRAT RIEGELE PRIVAT
Brauhaus Riegele
Augsburg, Germany • 5.2% ABV
Established in 1386, this family-run Bavarian brewery makes its year-round festbier with Germany’s heirloom Stef barley and its own unique yeast strain. Riegele cold-ferments Privat for more than 60 days, creating a clean and snappy lager with a fragrance of blooming flowers.

OKTOBERFEST BIER
Paulaner Brewery
Munich, Germany • 6% ABV
To recreate Oktoberfest at home, hoist a hefty glass mug of Paulaner’s trophy-gold Oktoberfest Bier. It’s the same lager they serve at the festival, and balances a bready base with a grassy, herbaceous scent—a bratwurst’s best friend.

HOFBRÄU OKTOBERFESTBIER
Staatliches Hofbräuhaus München
Munich, Germany • 6.3% ABV
Roast chicken shines with the excellent Hofbräu Oktoberfestbier, a festival lager as strong and warming as late-summer sun. Despite its heft, the lager drinks soft and easy, with a slight lip-smacking sweetness that’s balanced by a bit of bitterness from a quartet of German hops.

FESTBIER
Three Weavers Brewing Company
Inglewood, CA • 5% ABV
Brewmaster Alexandra Nowell looked to the blonde German lagers of Oktoberfest for her moderate-strength festbier, which she says is “brewed to be incredibly drinkable and refreshing.” Expect crystalline clarity, notes of biscuit and light toast, and a oral fragrance that’s as appealingly mellow as a Sunday afternoon.

OKTOBERFEST
Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
Chico, CA; Mills River, NC • 6% ABV
Sierra Nevada makes America’s most widely available festbier, keeping things fresh by annually tweaking the recipe. A mix of four grains gives the latest lager a toasty profile that’s twinned to a fruity, oral fragrance supplied by several German hops. It’s a great grilling companion.

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Testing Old Town’s Latest Pedal-Powered Kayak for Coastal Anglers

What It Is:

The Salty PDL 120 is a pedal-powered fishing kayak released by Old Town in the spring 2020 as part of its Sportsman line of fishing kayaks. The Sportsman series includes 11 boats, each built to be powered either by electric motor, pedal drive, or traditional paddling. The Salty PDL is one of four models in the series rigged as a pedal-powered kayak, and geared toward the idea of the coastal angler. If your autumn hinges around chasing striped bass migrating from New England to the Mid-Atlantic, or spending the winter stalking redfish across shallow mudflats in the southern U.S., the Salty PDL 120 is what Old Town has in mind.

For the Salty, Old Town didn’t need to reinvent the wheel. It took the proven and popular design template of a sister brand, the Malibu PDL from Ocean Kayak, and made some tweaks to set the boat up as a maritime do-it-all fishing rig.

“The Salty became part of the line because we wanted a craft that would be speedy, relatively compact, and could handle some waves,” says Sharon Scott, the senior director of brand management and product development at Johnson Outdoors’ watercraft division. “The Malibu Pedal’s instant hands-free forward and reverse makes it a great platform at a very attractive price point, so we re-imagined it for the angler.”

Salty PDL 120

As Scott notes, the Salty has been outfitted with just about any feature you would expect to find on a modern fishing kayak. It is a sit-on-top style, open-deck kayak, with an elevated seat to assist in casting, vision, and keeping you high-and-dry. Storage wells open in the bow and stern for stowing gear and tackle. A universal transducer mount is ready to install a fishfinder. From there: built-in rod holders, plus multiple accessory tracks for your GoPro and GPS, or fish-finder screen.

At 12 feet long, over 34 inches wide, and weighing 105 pounds assembled (a wieldable 85 pounds without the pedal system installed), the Salty PDL retails at $1,900.


front_3Q_3- copy

Why We Like It:

As a paddler, my first impression looking at the profile of the Salty was, “this is going to be fun.”

The boat has rocker, especially as it curves up through the substantial, wedged bow. The top of the nose sits nearly 18 inches from the ground. What does this mean on the water? The Salty can ride out some swell, and keep water out of the cockpit. The rocker in the bow not only means you can bust through some waves, but also turn downhill and catch a few rides.

Salty PDL 120
Johnson Outdoors

While narrower than the other pedal boats in the Sportsman line, the slender width provides a little extra speed, without sacrificing much stability. Also thanks to the pontoon-style tri-hull, standing casts felt stable, where waves rolled right under the boat while adrift. I’ve tested the Salty in busy inlets with erratic boat wake, as well as letting it sit broadside to short-period wind-swell, and never felt the need to make a reactionary grab at my paddle for bracing strokes.

The open deck of the Salty is laid out in a simple and usable fashion. The bucketed storage well in the stern is roomy, with a 27-inch by 22.5-inch footprint shaped to easily seat a cooler the size of a Yeti Tundra 35. The bow storage well is smaller but still has a capacity for a good-size drybag. There’s also a small dry-storage compartment built in the top of the pedal drive that lies between your feet within the cockpit area—great for keeping items dry and easy to access like a cell phone, snacks, first aid kit, or spare batteries. If you max that out, there’s also a dry hatch located under the seat, which also provides access to mechanical components inside the hull.

TopWater PDL Old Town Fishing Kayak console
Handy dry storage in the pedal console. Joe Potoczak

Field_Fisk

There are three built-in rod holders (one forward-facing and two rear-facing), making space for multiple fishing rigs ready to fly. The two pre-installed accessory mounts and paddle lock are nice out-of-the-box components that mean you don’t have to go drilling holes in your new boat to complete your setup. The mesh seat provides an elevated casting position, better visibility, keeps you high and dry, and most importantly, is comfortable. Simple buckles adjust the pitch of the backrest. The seat slides forward and back with a peg system within easy reach to move yourself to the appropriate distance from the pedals.

Salty PDL 120 pdeal Old Town Fishing Kayak motor
Joe Potoczak

The 12-inch span of the rotating propeller on Old Town’s trademark PDL Drive provided plenty of gas. In a strong headwind, the Salty easily trolled along at around 1.5 to 2 mph, and was able to accelerate into a sprint of around 5 mph when needed. I found the power of the PDL Drive to provide a confident amount of horsepower to handle any wind and tidal currents I faced. The bicycle-style pedaling system is intuitive. With the ability to also kick the PDL Drive in reverse, it makes me wonder how I ever fished with a paddle in hand. When entering a shallow stretch or making a landing, the drive can quickly be rotated up from under the hull, and locked in a disengaged position, pictured above. The rudder on the Salty makes for impressive steering. At around 16 inches in length and bellying out just over 4 inches, the usable surface area provides a tight turning radius, and can hold a line in tough conditions. The hand-controlled steering for the rudder system is low key, responsive, and conveniently placed on the left side of the boat where your hand wants to rest. A hand knob on the steering dial tightens down to lock the rudder angle, making for a straightforward and helpful autopilot-like function.

Nitpick:

If there is a place for improvement on the Salty, it is in its mechanical components. The hand control for example. Considering how heavily the steering dial mentioned is used, the materials and design seem light duty. My impression based on the feel of the current materials and build, is if something will be first to fail on this boat, it will be this hand control.

Salty PDL 120 steering handle on the TopWater PDL Old Town Fishing Kayak
Joe Potoczak

Similarly, the pre-installed paddle lock is currently in an odd position. If a paddle is latched, it provides some interference with the reels of a rod in both the forward- and rear-facing rod holders on the left side of the boat. If I were to make a quick grab for my paddle, I could see accidentally sending a rod in the drink. Slightly moving the position of the paddle latch seems it could easily alleviate this.


Bobby Gonzalez Kayak Fishing on Falcon Lake, Texas.


Opportunities for fortune and fish abound as prize purses and events only expand in 2019 with the ad…

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5 Lower Body Workouts That’ll Torch Your Legs

You’ve heard this before, but it bears repeating: Powerful legs are the key to true fitness. Mirror muscles may look great in selfies, but if that bulky upper body is supported by a couple of toothpicks––your athletic functionality is severely compromised. To help you build a well-rounded physique, we’ve put together five lower body workouts from top fitness enthusiasts, trainers, and influencers on Instagram.


Skater jump

Featuring a diverse mix of lower body workouts and moves that target different muscles, you’re sure to find a routine that works for you.

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This Fall, Anxo Cidre Blanc Will Make You Love Dry Cider

According to my calendar, it’s time for us to consider the apple. For much of the last decade, it’s been my annual fall tradition to write about hard cider, a fermented fruit that’s had a hard time breaking into mainstream imbibing.

On the surface, hard cider is a marketer’s dream beverage. The ferment is free of gluten and filled with history as America’s original inebriant, predating rum and beer. Hard cider can be as multifaceted and terroir-driven as fine wine, apples plucked from pastoral orchards bathed in slanted fall sun.


The 27 Best Beers You Can Actually Buy at Your Local Grocery Store

Five years ago, hard cider seemed poised to again become America’s sweetheart, a love affair rekindled after too much time apart. Hard seltzer ruined the renewed romance. Low-sugar, gluten-free Truly and White Claw bubbled across America, leaving cider in their naturally flavored wakes.

Trust me, I understand the appeal. All those 100-calorie hard seltzers are truly easy to consume. They’re the refreshing inverse to heavy and caloric hazy IPAs, salads instead of cheeseburgers with bacon. Hard seltzers make it easy to watch your waist when you’re getting wasted.

Amid all the seltzer madness, my eyes have never strayed too far from hard cider. And I’m here to tell you it’s a golden moment to consume fermented apples. My favorite widely available hard cideries, including Shacksbury and Graft, nimbly thread the line uniting natural wines and wild ales. The result is juice that’s feral and refined, agriculture reduced to its boozy core.

This fall, I’ve been getting after the ferments from Anxo Cider, in Washington, D.C. The company, which began as a Basque-inspired restaurant and cider bar, focuses on tart and fizzy dry ciders that are primarily made from regionally sourced fruit, letting native yeasts cast their funkily unpredictable spell. In a beverage world brimming with candy stouts and hard seltzers infused with lab-born flavors, Anxo’s ciders celebrate simplicity. The fruits sing in their own voice, no Auto-Tune required.

Anxo Cidre Blanc
Courtesy image

One notable everyday go-to is the Cidre Blanc that’s made with a seasonally shifting blend of Virginia- and Pennsylvania-grown GoldRush apples, a relatively newer cultivar introduced commercially in 1993. It’s related to the Golden Delicious apple, though much tarter and featuring a spry and zippy acidity. You can eat and bake with GoldRush apples, but I want to drink them.

Anxo ferments the apples in stainless steel tanks with Sauvignon Blanc wine yeast, the cider drier than August in a desert. Sometimes bone-dry ciders can be overly tannic and squeegee moisture from your tongue. Not here. The lightly hazy and sparkling Blanc drinks with the 100-watt fluorescence and bold fruitiness of its namesake wine. Green apples and lemons mingle with snappy white grapes, before concluding with a cleansing acidity.

Anxo Cidre Blanc
Courtesy image

Cidre Blanc would be a superb pairing with a fall harvest meal—roasted vegetables and turkey are right around the corner—as well as a swell lunchtime liquid. It’s more thrilling than filling, the apple of your eyes and stomach, too.

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