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William Mulholland, (1855-1935) Hydraulic engineer created the water system for Los Angeles

The Californian Century

This terrific and inventive new podcast from BBC Radio imagines California as a sweeping screenplay. Narrated by Stanley Tucci, who plays a screenwriter, each episode focuses on a pivotal individual in the Golden State’s story, from Ice-T to William Mulholland (above), to Leon Lewis, who hunted Nazis in 1930s L.A., to Kathleen Cleaver, a key player in the Black Panther Party. ( —M.H.


The Stranger

Harlan Coben is a New Jersey writer whose thrillers translate particularly well into French film noir: Tell No One, adapted into the 2006 movie Ne le Dis à Personne, was a mix of high suspense and bon chic, bon genre. The same was true of Just One Look, which became the French series Juste un Regard, about secrets that upend the marriage of an attractive man and wife. The Stranger, on Netflix, is set in Britain, so the suburban couples are not quite as stylish (some neighbors wear tracksuits), but here, too, deeply buried lies rise up to disrupt serene domesticity. It turns out that the milieu doesn’t matter: like so many other Harlan Coben stories, The Stranger has too many twists and too many turns to turn off. ( —Alessandra Stanley



Lukas Volger—author of the new cookbook Start Simple—is all about home cooking, keeping it unfussy yet delicious. And when dining out, he prefers homey hospitality, a “spirit of welcomeness” that is, Volger says, strongest in Montreal, particularly at Mon Lapin, a natural-wine bar and restaurant. “It’s a small and buzzing space,” and so you might have to wait for a table, “but the staff makes guests feel that they’re exactly where they belong, serving bites and a glass of wine until seating.” A tasting menu awaits, each course perfectly paired with wine—these are Volger’s second-favorite part of the menu. But for him, the pièce de résistance of a meal is the ending: “It’s a masterpiece. Thin layers of a 100 percent buckwheat sponge, a honey caramel that’s studded with buckwheat groats. It’s then ‘frosted’ and layered with a mix of mascarpone and crème fraîche, and shingled all over with broken, ragged-edged tuile wafers. It’s a thrill of textures, a perfect close.” ( —Clementine Ford


Venice Private Island

It’s not too early to line up your summer rental. Or—if you’ve got the cash—why not just buy something? Like your own private island retreat in the Venetian Lagoon. On March 3, it comes up for auction, with a reserve price of $2.3 million. Once a military base for the French during Napoleon’s occupation, it features a main house, vineyard, and outhouses and is only a five-minute vaporetto ride from St. Mark’s Square. ( —Michael Hainey


Ferrari 250

The first car I loved was a Ferrari Lusso. I was nine years old and wandering around a car show in Pennsylvania that I’d been dragged to. Parked on the lawn among slicker sports cars, the little Italian vehicle, in a candy-apple red, appealed to my girlish sense of romance. Its delicately sloped body and wooden steering wheel reminded me of the movies, of Cary Grant driving along winding coastal roads with a bottle blonde in the passenger seat. I declared it my favorite car, and it remains my favorite today. The Lusso, formally called the 250 GT/L Berlinetta, enamors serious buyers—adults—too. Steve McQueen had one, and with a modest production of just 350 spanning two years, it’s prized among collectors. Up for auction March 6, a 1963 model in navy—elegant but not too suave—that has had just a single previous owner and is in well-maintained condition, making it especially rare. (Estimate starts at $1.3 million; —C.F.

Issue No. 33
February 29, 2020
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Issue No. 33
February 29, 2020