Brr ... Warm Winter Getaways + Great Food

Beautiful beaches and local beef are draws at the Four Seasons Costa Rica

After the holidays, I have no use for winter weather. All those travel ads teasing turquoise water and palm trees have me obsessively searching for airfare bargains to whisk me closer to the equator.

I was one lucky dog to get to spend a recent birthday milestone in Costa Rica at the fabulous Four Seasons. The resort and its stunning beaches were phenomenal, but the icing on the cake was the great food, an all-too-often elusive element when you enter tropical resort land.

Hotels once played it safe with food they thought American tastes required — Maine lobster in the Caribbean, anyone? — but the warm weather culinary landscape is changing, as resorts step up their game and the islands become the next frontier for celebrity chefs. Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Eric Ripert and Bobby Flay are just a few of the enterprising chefs who've thrown their names behind restaurants in the Caribbean.

The foodie shift for tropical destinations means there's a better chance of actually tasting that local lobster or freshly picked papaya. At the Four Seasons, I was excited to order local grass-fed Costa Rican beef off the menu at the property's steakhouse, Caracol.

I know you readers can be a wealth of information, so where have you found the delightful double dose of balmy weather and inspired cooking? Your favorite food island? Your favorite tropical resort for food? Let us all know so we can at the very least think warm thoughts through the single-digit wind chill.

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