We were all about creation this week. Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert created a dark-chocolate bar, the Bank of England released a new £5 note (though not everyone is pleased with it) and Houston’s Chris Shepherd is opening five new restaurants in the next half decade. Our friends at The Mind of a Chef also premiered a brand-new holiday special with some of our favorite chefs at a music-forward potluck. We headed up to Canada to check out the dining scene beyond Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. We delved into the logistics of day and night drinking while learning about the cocktail microtrend that is charcoal. All that and more on this week’s Hot Topics.

  1. The Great White North is full of food-obsessed cities. Some of them are in Alberta. Check them out.
  2. English vegans and vegetarians are up in arms about the new £5 note. Here’s why.
  3. Notes on what to drink and when to drink it. Our contributing cocktail editor lays down the law.
  4. Chefs and friends Anthony Bourdain and Eric Ripert made a chocolate bar. You can only get it here.
  5. Houston chef-restauranteur Chris Shepherd is opening a new restaurant every year for the next five years. Sort of.
  6. This is how you make fried plantains, a staple in Cuba.
  7. Danny Bowien and Anthony Bourdain threw an amazing party with great food and music. Check it out in this special Mind of a Chef episode.
  8. Calorie counts aren’t working on fast food menus.
  9. Burgers don’t travel well. This is how you combat that.
  10. Activated charcoal is a cocktail microtrend. Find out why.