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Surprising Number of Travel Innovations Announced Today

glass plane

Strange things are afoot in the travel world today. It seems like our inboxes have been flooded by announcements of weird and wonderful innovations. Here's a selection of the most interesting news of the day (that would be April 1, by the way).

Ever the publicity hound, Richard Branson announced that his engineering team has secretly developed the world's first glass-bottom airplane. (Picture above) The plane's underbelly will be completely see-through, allowing travelers the "opportunity to look down on the beautiful scenery of Great Britain as they fly." But rest assured: Cabin crew will be trained to calm the nerves of vertigo-prone fliers. (Amy Farley)

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The Doctor Recommends: Must Reads for the Week Ending March 29, 2013

The Department of Transportation delivered a sobering assessment of the safety record of recently shuttered Fung Wah Bus company, known for ferrying people cheaply between Boston and New York. Transportation Nation's Alex Goldmark reports. (Amy Farley)

Where’s Europe's dirty money? Gadling's Anna Brones reports that Oxford researchers tested currencies across the continent and found that the Danish krone has the highest bacteria count of them all. Hey, Denmark: Ever heard of money laundering? (A.F.)

A Norwegian economist is in the spotlight after proposing that airlines charge passengers according to their weight, a move that he claims “may provide significant benefits to airlines, passengers and society at large." CNN's James Durston has the scoop. (A.F.)

Cheeeeeeese! Slate presents a collection of vintage tourist shots by photographer Roger Minick, bringing back all sorts of memories of childhood family vacations. (Matt Haber)

Another slideshow, this time a beautiful side-by-side comparison of present-day Paris with photos from the turn of the century. (M.H.)

What happens to a man stuck in the 'It's a Small World' ride for 30 minutes?  (M.H.)

Do not try this: Russian tourists illegally scaled the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. Gawker's Max Read presents their admittedly pretty awesome (but so wrong!) photos. (M.H.)

The most terrifying hotel-based horror movie of all time now has a documentary dedicated to its most obsessive fans. Rodney Ascher's Room 237, which presents various interpretations of Stanley Kubrick's The Shining, is out in limited release and is being hotly debated. Back in July 2010, The Atlantic's James Parker checked into The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado to experience the place that inspired Stephen King's novel. (M.H.)

A Los Angeles restaurant has gotten some attention for tweeting about its no-show guests. (Peter Schlesinger)

A list of international airlines that'll keep WiFi junkies happy, via The Points Guy.(Jennifer Flowers)

How stunning is this new airport terminal that just opened in Amman, Jordan? Plus, it's super green. Inhabitat's Charley Cameron shows us the Queen Alia Airport. (Nikki Ekstein

Google maps steps it up again, with live transit updates in NYC, Washington DC, and Salt Lake City. TechCrunch's Drew Olanoff has the scoop (hat tip to Skift's Samantha Shankman). (N.E.)

Food Trends: What's Hot and Not

In-N-Out Burger

Overhyped:
• Cupcakes
• Tomato foam
• No-bookings policies
• Kobe beef
• Wooden benches
Portland, Oregon
• Scandinavian cuisine
• Kale

Just Right: In-N-Out Burger

Underrated:
• Callaloo
• Filipino cuisine
• Portland, Maine
• Chairs with backs
• Extreme-aged beef
• Accepting reservations
• Tomato sauce
• Paletas (ice pops)

Tells us what you think on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo courtesy of In-N-Out Burger

The Doctor Recommends: Must Reads for the Week Ending March 22, 2013

It's been a lonely six months for Lady Liberty, who's been all alone in the New York Harbor without any visitors since Hurricane Sandy forced away the crowds. But the National Parks Service has just announced that the Statue of Liberty will reopen on--guess what day?--July 4. (Nikki Ekstein)

In January, T+L included ride-sharing (bike, car, private plane) as one of 2013's most important travel trends. Now, Forbes' Micheline Maynard has a few thoughts on Jump Seat, the new Airbnb for, well, the air. (Maria Pedone)

Another entry for the What Took them So Long? files: American Airlines began quietly testing a new boarding process that allows fliers without carry-on bags to board before their wheelie-toting counterparts. Blogger Johnny Jet broke the story. (Amy Farley)

Photographer Jeffrey Milstein's hypnotic images of airports from above reveal the strange patterns and intricate geometries of these much-maligned hubs. John Metcalfe takes a look for the Atlantic Cities. (A.F)

Fans of Indiana Jones movies will not want to miss the real life swashbuckling tale of one man's journey in the jungles of the South Pacific to find a lost temple of Israel. Matthew Fishbane's 'Solomon's Island' is a collaboration between Tablet Magazine and The Atavist. For $2.99 you can read the entire 20,000-word story with maps and timelines. (Matt Haber)

The Rumpus presents a short comic from Liam Golden called In San Francisco, There Is A Street (M.H.)

Sick of hearing what the pundits and analysts are saying about the economic crisis in Cyprus? Why not read New York's brief interview with Antreas Achilleos, whom they describe as "a random guy from Cyprus." Sample question: "What should Cyprus be famous for, other than Russian money-laundering and economic turmoil?" The answer: really good cheese. (M.H.)

Coming soon to New York's subway system: Interactive touchscreen kiosks. Fast Company Co.Design's Mark Wilson has the download. (M.H.)

Slate presents a slideshow of hunters and their prey by photographer David Chancellor. Some of these images might be familiar to readers of The New York Times Magazine, which featured several last year, but they're still as surprising and engrossing the second tome around. (M.H.)

3 Great New Orleans Music Venues

New Orleans music

We asked Alison Fensterstock, a consultant for HBO’s Treme, for her top three venues in the Big Easy—winner for Best Music Scene in our America’s Favorite Cities survey.

D.B.A. has a great mix of local rock, soul, and brass in an intimate setting.”

“The corner of St. Claude and Elysian Fields is a burgeoning music district. Drop into Hi Ho Lounge for acoustic bluegrass.”

Saturn Bar, a dive in Bywater with a thrift-store feel, hosts casual sets from neighborhood musicians.”

Photo by Cheryl Gerber

Crowdsourcing: What to Do When You're in Key West


View Key West, Florida in a larger map

We asked true travel pros what to do near Key West, Florida. Want to share your expertise? Join our community on Facebook at facebook.com/travelandleisure and at Twitter @TravlandLeisure.

“Take the free boat ride to Sunset Key for breakfast right on the beach at Latitudes (boat docks on mainland at 245 Front St.).” —Karin Kruger, via Facebook

“Have dinner at dusk at Sunset Pier, in Ocean Key Resort & Spa. The guava pork empanadas—and views—are incredible.” —@snp105

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7 Essential New York Eats

Eat Like a Local: Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria

Seven perfect bites of the Big Apple.

Roast Chicken at Calliope: Try the East Village’s Calliope for some of the city’s best roast chicken: a pan-seared breast served in chicken stock with cabbage stuffed with confit leg and vegetables. $$$

Oysters at Maison Premiere: Craving oysters in New York? Williamsburg’s Maison Premiere has excellent Caraquet oysters on the half shell. $$$

Soup Dumplings at Café China: Head to Midtown for Shanghainese xiao long bao with soy-vinegar-ginger sauce. $$

Bagel Sandwich at Russ & Daughters: Try a classic bagel sandwich that comes with Scottish smoked salmon, cream cheese, and red onion on a poppy-seed bagel at this Lower East Side institution. $$

Sushi at Sushi Yasuda: There are many sushi restaurants in New York, but try Midtown’s Sushi Yasuda for Arctic char, ebi (shrimp), uni (sea urchin), and ikura (salmon roe). $$$$

Pizza at Paulie Gee’s: For some of New York’s best pizza, head to Greenpoint, Brooklyn for the Regina pizza that comes topped with fior di latte, Italian tomatoes, Pecorino Romano, olive oil, and fresh basil. $$

Pasta at Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria (pictured): If you’re looking for good pasta, skip Little Italy and try NoHo for Il Buco’s carbonara (pasta tossed with house-cured pancetta, eggs, Parmesan, and black pepper). $$$

Restaurant Pricing Key
$ Less than $25
$$ $25 to $75
$$$ $75 to $150
$$$$ More than $150

See more Best Places to Eat Like a Local

Photo by Evan Sung

Danny Meyer’s Favorite Burger in St. Louis

Danny Meyer's Favorite Burger: O'Connell's Pub

O’Connell’s Pub, St. Louis: No less an authority than Shake Shack’s Danny Meyer gives this his vote for “one of the juiciest, most satisfying cheeseburgers you’ll ever have.” Bonus points for the Cardinals game blaring above the bar. 314/773-6600. $

See more Best Places to Eat Like a Local

Photo by Kevin J. Miyazaki

4 Cool Supper Clubs

Supper Clubs: Settimio

Da Ping Huo, Hong Kong: The under-the-radar private restaurant has a 12-course set menu featuring Sichuan classics such as fiery pork ma po dofu and chile-laced braised beef. At the end of the evening, co-owner Ms. Wang, a classically trained soprano, sings a charming Chinese folk song. $$$

Chez Wong, Lima, Peru: Culinary superstars like Eric Ripert seek out this diminutive dining room—tucked inside a residential building in working-class Santa Catalina—for the city’s finest ceviche, sliced and seasoned by chef Javier Wong. It’s only open for lunch; reserve a spot well in advance. $$$

El Pozole de Moctezuma, Mexico City: On a gritty block near Metro Garibaldi, this closed-door restaurant has no sign—just a buzzer that reads pozole. Order the spicy, fortifying hominy stew, which tastes best with tostadas slathered in Mexican crema. 52-55/5526-7448. $

Settimio, Rome (pictured): Come without a reservation and you’re rolling the dice—the quirky owners will decide with a glance whether you deserve a seat at their trattoria. If you do make the cut, you’ll find quintessential Roman classics like house-made fettuccine. 39-06/6880-1978. $$$

Restaurant Pricing Key
$ Less than $25
$$ $25 to $75
$$$ $75 to $150
$$$$ More than $150

See more Best Places to Eat Like a Local

Photo by Todd Porter & Diane Cu

3 All-American Enclaves for Ethnic Food

Eat Like a Local: Papo Llega y Pon

Thiên Thanh, Houston: Catering to one of the nation’s largest Vietnamese communities, Bellaire Boulevard is lined with countless pho and bánh xèo joints—but everyone comes here for bánh cuón: dainty, ravioli-like crêpes filled with ground shrimp or barbecued pork and drizzled with a pungent nuoc cham sauce. 281/564-0419. $

Attari Sandwiches, Los Angeles: The city nicknamed “Tehrangeles” is home to hundreds of thousands of Iranian Americans, many of whom live or work in Westwood. On Fridays they flock to Attari’s courtyard for the special abgoosht, a nourishing lamb-and-bean stew that’s mashed into a paste and served with lamb broth and piquant torshi (pickles). $$

Papo Llega y Pon, Miami (pictured): Roast pig was never as glorious as at this bare-bones pit stop in Allapattah, a historically Cuban enclave west of the city’s Design District. At lunchtime, line up with the cops for a superlative pan con lechón (chopped-pork sandwich) served on warm Cuban bread. 305/635-0137. $

Restaurant Pricing Key
$ Less than $25
$$ $25 to $75
$$$ $75 to $150
$$$$ More than $150

See more Best Places to Eat Like a Local

Photo courtesy of Papo Llega y Pon

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