After much prodding by a Bronx-born friend, this past weekend I finally checked out the borough’s Belmont section—a.k.a. Arthur Avenue, named for its main drag—and finally understood the hype. Teeming with pizzerias, pastry shops, and seafood merchants, this former immigrant neighborhood is a slice of old Italy. Whether you’re a New Yorker or a tourist, Arthur Ave. an authentic, distinctive, and tasty NYC outing. Plus, I’d wager a few thousand lire that it’s one heck of a Valentine’s Day destination (hint, hint).
As we grazed on fresh olives and cheese at the charmingly old-school Arthur Avenue Retail Market, my friend and I stocked up on imported Italian ingredients, everything from dried bresaola to hand-rolled fettuccini. I dream nightly about the creamy, caramel-y fromaggio Prima Donna that the affable Mike’s Deli guys urged me to sample.
Most people probably couldn’t locate it on a map, but the tiny, verdant, indomitably friendly Oriental Republic of Uruguay is one of the world’s underrated places. I like to consider its long virgin shorelines, burgeoning wine industry, and charming European coffeshops my little secret.
But that may soon change.
In early December a beautiful, dome-like new terminal designed by Uruguay-born, New York-based architect Rafael Viñoly opened, replaced the aging Carrasco International Airport and vastly increasing flight capacity. Here’s to hoping some U.S. airlines will finally begin to offer direct routes to Montevideo (currently passengers must first stop in Buenos Aires). Yes, I’m talking to you, Delta.
2010 is shaping up to be a great year for Americans to travel to the Argentine capital, which celebrates its bicentennial next year with a wave of new hotels, a grand theater reopening, and one of the best exchange rates of the decade.
Spain-based NH Hoteles is celebrating its 10th anniversary in the country by inaugurating not one but two new Buenos Aires properties: the nominally green, 116-room NH Tango (whose décor, appropriately enough, is themed after that quintessentially Argentine dance); and the sleek, 176-suite NH 9 de Julio, so named for its position on the mammoth 10-lane boulevard traversing the city. Both hotels are located downtown, near such tourist attractions as the Obelisque and the Teatro Colon. Another addition to the city: the luxury 91-room Blue Tree Buenos Aires Ker, in tony Recoleta.
In the past decade, ambitious high-speed rail projects have condensed Europe, reducing travel times–often by more than half–on principal routes like Madrid-Barcelona (was: 9 hours; now: 3) and London-Brussels (travel speed: 208 mph).
This December, a shiny new bullet train will begin plying the tracks between Moscow and St. Petersburg. The red-and-silver Sapsan–which emerged from years of halting talks between the Russian government and Germany-based Siemens company–will traverse the 400 miles between the cities in just three hours and 45 minutes, beating airline timetables by more than an hour. The name means "peregrine falcon."
I received an email invitation to this event a few days ago, got exceedingly excited, and will literally remain excited until the big day: the Chocolate Show, a worldwide celebration of All Things Cacao, is starting its world tour.
Over 65 exhibits include chefs using the miracle ingredient in unusual culinary creations, a Chocolate Beauty Pavilion (with mini-massages!), and—obviously—copious opportunities to taste. $28 to feel like a kid in a candy store again? Count me in.
If you’ve ever traveled to Mexico, you know that—contrary to popular belief—the cervezamás fina south of the border is not Corona, that ubiquitous and admittedly tasty siren of beer. Nor is it Dos Equis (meh), or Tecate (God forbid). No, the country’s best beer is Negra Modelo—a German-style, exceedingly palatable, complex amber lager.
Now you don’t have to go to Acapulco—or even to your best-stocked corner store—to find your favorite Mexican beer. Just grab a pint at your local bar.
It only launched in testing stages on June 25th, but Google’s new “City Tours” application—in which your Google Map offers multi-day itineraries in destinations around the globe—has the potential to become something great. But right now it’s mostly useless.
When I went to Budapest last week—that unduly beautiful capital on the Danube—I spent an afternoon checking-out some boutiques recommended in a June 7 New York Times article about the city’s budding design scene (just yesterday it also ran this piece). All the shops are located in Pest—the newer, commercial side of the river—in a triangle near the Hungarian National Museum (14-16 Múzeum korut, District IX); and the bar and restaurant strip of Raday utca. Let’s call the area, which is really just a small piece of District IX, Karolyi Kert, after the leafy park in the heart of the ‘hood.
Charlottesville, Virginia is known for Jeffersonian architecture, an eclectic dining scene, and—especially in recent years—the burgeoning wineries in it lush countryside. Now the city is promoting another local industry: its breweries.
The "Brew Ridge Trail"--a collection of six local micro-breweries with tasting rooms open to the public, all located in the Charlottesville area--will officially kick-off its first season with a concert on August 22nd.