Not Much On Looks

It isn't pretty, but the new Honda Element has its charms. For starters, there's the $16,560 base price. And the "suicide doors" (they swing open from the center with no pillar between them) make it easy to load gear like bikes, kayaks and surfboards.

Road Test | Bmw Z4

BMW's Z4 is the coolest car on the road. There, I said it. On a test run through the winding, rural back roads of South Carolina, I was simply blown away by its outstanding handling.

Olive Oils

In the next few months hundreds of premium California olive oils will hit store shelves. Here are our favorites--unfiltered, rich and fruity:Long Meadow Ranch Its Napa Valley Select has a light straw color and mellow, nutty taste.

Homey For The Holidays

Can't be home for Christmas? These homey hotels are the next best thing. And try getting pampered like this in your house. After some room-service champagne, visions of sugarplums are virtually guaranteed.THE POINT in Saranac Lake, N.Y.

Hotels | Dig In

All hotels have spas now, but farms? Along the California coast, hoteliers are taking advantage of the year-round good weather, planting their own fruit, vegetable and herb gardens--all organic, of course.

Beware The Hair Soup

Never mind the Zagat guide. In the town that invented "doing lunch," gourmands can spot a hot restaurant simply by looking at the front door. No, Angelenos don't have more discriminating palates than other foodies--more of them line up for Pink's Famous Chili Dogs on La Brea than wait for a table at Patina.

Road Test | Porsche Boxster

There I was, alone in the redesigned 2003 Porsche Boxster, leaning into a few tight turns at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., completely unable to wipe the huge smile from my mug.

Food: The Trouble With Truffles

Shave a few paper-thin slices of white truffle onto a plate of scrambled eggs. Now stand back and admire your handiwork. It may not look like much, but you've just created a dish some chefs list among the most sensual in the world.

Pumpkin Projects

Your kids may get to wear the cool costumes and scarf the candy corn, but you can still get in on the fun. Here are some treats for the whole family--and most of these activities are sugar-free.1.

Newsmakers

EGGERS GOES IT ALONEDave Eggers's debut memoir, "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius," sat on the best-seller list for 14 weeks and made him a celebrity.

Restaurants: Frugal Gourmet

There's still no such thing as a free lunch. But thanks to the soft economy and the hard line many companies are taking on expense accounts, fancy restaurants nationwide are offering (very) early-bird specials.

Living The High-Roller Life

The rich are different from you and me. For one thing, they can afford to blow scads of money in Vegas on such a regular basis that the casinos often put them up free in one of their over-the-top luxury suites.

Hotels: Living The High-Roller Life

The rich are different from you and me. For one thing, they can afford to blow scads of money in Vegas on such a regular basis that the casinos often put them up free in one of their over-the-top luxury suites.

Road Test | Game Mp

I'm not the greatest tennis player. OK, I'm kind of lousy. And racquet companies love people like me, because we're convinced the newest technology will improve our game.

Road Test: Z Car

I knew the car was hot when the Porsche Boxster S pulled up alongside me at an L.A. light. "Whoa," said the driver, raising his Gucci sunglasses. "Is that the new Z?" Absolutely.

Risky Business

Talk about a tough opening weekend. Hollywood & Highland, Tinseltown's much-anticipated $615 million shopping and entertainment complex, debuts Friday. On the surface, the gigantic megamall appears to have everything going for it.

Alice's Wonderland

Over the past 30 years, Alice Waters, creator and proprietor of Chez Panisse in Berkeley, Calif., has revolutionized the way Americans think about food. In an attempt to recreate the memorable dining experiences she had as a college student in France, the New Jersey-born Waters hit upon a simple formula: eat organically grown produce that's in season, and meats and fish that haven't been shot full of hormones and preservatives.

Put The Pedal To The Metal

If you're a speed freak (the lead-footed, not the pill-popping kind) looking for a fix, head on over to the Jim Russell Racing Drivers School in Sonoma, California.

Attack Of The Wine Bugs

Vineyard manager Dave Pirio scans the perimeter of the 53-acre PlumpJack Winery in Napa Valley, Calif., looking for the enemy. Kneeling low to the ground, he flips over big, shiny grape leaves one by one, hunting for the dreaded glassy-winged sharpshooter.

Champagne, Anyone?

You can drive just outside Paris and lay down some serious francs to visit Sleeping Beauty's ersatz Euro Disney castle. Or you can drive for a little over an hour northeast of Paris and pay about the same money to spend the night in an honest-to-goodness, 300-year-old chateau formerly visited by Louis XIV and Napoleon.

Invasion Of The Vintners

When French winemaker Alexandra Marnier-Lapostolle began buying up vineyards in Chile's Rapel Valley in the mid-1990s, the vines were bursting with grapes.

G'bye Truffles, Hello Ribs

Poor Alain Ducasse. After a stumbling start at his eponymous New York showcase, the world's most honored French chef last week won the three stars (out of four) from The New York Times that are the minimum you'd expect for a $145 prix fixe.

But Can You Sniff The Twist Cap?

So you think you know wine? Let's see if you can tell apart these two wines, which both went on sale in October. One is a $135 bottle of 1997 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, an ultralimited bottling of just 120 cases from PlumpJack Winery, part of a luxury lifestyle conglomerate (wines, restaurants and posh resorts) whose owners include the fabulously wealthy art collector Gordon Getty.

Take The Money And Run

Leonardo Dicaprio used to hang out at Dana Giacchetto's loft. Courteney Cox took him on vacation. Everyone--Ben Affleck, Cameron Diaz, Alanis Morissette--gave the hip investment adviser money.

Life In The Fastest Lane

Even as a kid growing up in Los Angeles, I liked cars. In first grade, when my friend Jana brought over her new black and pink patent-leather Barbie wardrobe, stuffed full of evening gowns and handbags, I asked her which kind of car she thought Barbie drove.

Mansions Off The Rack

Your first surprise when you visit the new development of Oceanfront, 23 miles south of Santa Monica, Calif., is that it's actually on the ocean; in real-estate parlance, a name like that may just mean it's in a state with a coastline.

Performance Cuisine

You can't buy a souvenir leather jacket with a hand-painted "Guernica" on the back, but even so, Picasso, the flagship restaurant in the superluxe Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, is the world's fanciest theme restaurant.

Venice, Vegas, Vici?

It's only a week until showtime, and Sheldon Adelson, Las Vegas's newest hotel magnate, is sweating the details. Some 3,500 construction workers--which works out to about one per room--labor around the clock to finish the Strip's latest megaresort, the Venetian.

Pluto? Try 'Trans-Neptunian Object.'

STOCKS GET THROWN off the S&P 500 and socialites get knocked off the A list, but never in the history of the solar system has there been a demotion like this: astronomers are taking steps to delete Pluto from the list of planets.

Harpooning A Comet--And Other New Space Probes

Over the next 25 years or so, NASA hopes to launch between 30 and 40 small probes to explore planets and other celestial bodies. Scientists used to send up one gigantic, astronomically expensive craft every 10 years or so.

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