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Epicurean Fantasy Weekend in NYC

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Michelin Food & Travel, a collaboration of Michelin and Roadtrips, create mouthwatering trips that are the stuff food lover’s dreams are made of: customizable itineraries that include private visits to olive oil producers, small-batch chocolatiers, winemakers, truffle experts, and behind-the-scene experiences at Michelin-starred restaurants throughout France and Italy.

In a departure from their more flexible European itineraries, Michelin Food & Travel has announced what they’re calling an ‘event’: a long, calorie-laden weekend in New York (April 7-10) with exclusive and impressive access to chefs, restaurants, and shops. Here's what's on the menu:

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The T+L 500 iPad Edition Launches Today!


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Want an in-depth look at the top 500 hotels around the world, as chosen by you, T+L readers? Then look no further than the App store now. Download the FREE T+L 500 digital edition for your iPad today!

Pinpoint where to stay around the globe, find insider tips, rooms to book, exclusive videos, and much more! It’s your favorite places plus T+L’s hotel expertise.

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Affordable Travel Photography

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Looking to travel, but don’t have any vacation time left after taking the holidays off? Check out the Mammoth Collection, an online art gallery that sells prints from as little as $20. Its strong collection of photographs will tame your wanderlust with a visual tour of the world.

The series includes high-quality, yet affordable prints from Nicholas McElroy, a photographer who spends his summers on a muskox domestication project in Alaska, to Wang Yuanling, a photojournalist based in Chongqing, China.

Most prints are available in a variation of sizes and prices, including 8" x 10" ($20), 11" x 14" ($50), 16" x 20" ($200), and 24" x 30" ($800). The company makes their prints in-house with archival pigment inks on heavyweight 100% cotton fibre archival paper.

Here are a few of my favorites below. Click on them to snag a copy. What are your favorites?

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A Delicious Find in Tel Aviv

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Today, my family and I experienced an unbelievable culinary adventure in the heart of Tel Aviv's financial district. Six of us went to the award-winning Chloélys restaurant, where we were overwhelmed by the sophistication and quality of the menu and the food. We had heard it was good, but we were unprepared for this level of a culinary experience.

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Vacationist: NYC, Caribbean, and Ireland!

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Vacationist: New York City, the Caribbean, Ireland

City, beach, and countryside—this week, Vacationist has it all. From a room in a Midtown Manhattan skyscraper for $165 a night (what a steal!) to 48% off rates at LaSource in Grenada, and even a week at an Irish estate for more than half off, we’ve got your “travel more” New Year’s resolution covered. Coming up soon: Hotel deals in Northern California, London, Miami Beach, and more.

Not a member? Click here now.

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Delta, American Airlines Pull Fares Off Some Travel Sites

USA Today |  Travelers wanting to book a flight online will find fewer options now that two of the nation's biggest airlines have stripped their fares from some travel sites.

Those looking to fly on American can no longer book trips on Orbitz as of Dec. 21, while Delta stopped allowing three websites — CheapOAir.com, OneTravel.com, and BookIt.com — to list its flights after Dec. 17.

It's a move that more airlines may follow in an effort to cut costs, promote their brand and increase their ability to sell aspects of the travel experience that bolster the bottom line, some travel experts say. But some industry observers worry that the winnowing of booking outlets could ultimately make it harder for consumers to find the best deal.

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No Ghosts, but Plenty of Charm: Hitting the Haunts in Old Savannah

Savannah, GA

They say Savannah is the most haunted city in America, and that may be true. But no matter how plentiful they are, those Southern ghosts sure are shy. Or, maybe bars weren't the best places to be looking for them.

I took my wife to Georgia's coolest city for her birthday. It was a short weekend trip, but the mild weather, laidback vibe, and friendly folks were exactly what we—angry, anxious New Yorkers—needed to forestall winter's icy lockdown. If you've never been to Savannah, I can't recommend it highly enough.

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The Train in Spain: Brand New Service Zips from Madrid to Valencia in Just 95 Minutes

Renfe-Operadora

In a city like Madrid, where the passion for food and drink is met by a vast number of bars and restaurants that serve any regional specialty you care to sink your teeth into, it may seem slightly odd to say that the best place to go for a truly genuine paella Valenciana could be...the train station?

And yet, the brand new high-speed train link between Madrid and Valencia might just make this statement true. Inaugurated on December 18, it's the latest addition to the AVE network, which radiates from the capital to key destinations on the peninsula such as Barcelona (3 hours) and Seville (2.5 hours). Now, with 16 daily departures travelling at speeds in excess of 200mph, this smooth ride can get you to the Mediterranean coast in little more than one and a half hours.

That's probably less time than you will spend at the table. And since Valencia—already known for excellent produce, fresh fish and world-famous rice—just chalked up its thirteenth Michelin-starred restaurant, the table is without a doubt a good place to be.

Tomas Martin is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure.

Photo by Renfe-Operadora.

Vacationist: Mexico and California for the New Year

El Tamarindo

What does Vacationist have in store for the holiday week? How about great hotel deals in Mexico, including 30% off a stay in an oceanfront villa 30 miles from Manzanillo, or discounts at an apartment-style property in Mexico City, near the Bosque de Chapultepec, the largest public park in South America? And because California is always appealing—yes, even in the rain—we’re offering deals at the 102-acre Terranea Resort, in Rancho Palos Verdes. Happy New Year from the Vacationist team.

Still not a Vacationist member? Click here to join.

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East Coast Snow Impacts Travel Nationwide

Here's hoping you got home before Sunday night, when the season's first blizzard blanketed the northeast under several feet of snow. AOL Travel has several stories of stranded passengers and snarled airports:

Some air passengers endured nightmare delays as a blizzard dropped up to 18 inches of snow on the Northeast and travelers tried to get home from the Christmas holiday break.

Airports shut down in Washington, Philadelphia and New York. But there were storm-caused delays and canceled flights elsewhere too as carriers moved planes around to avoid the storm.

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Pilot Posts Video Exposing Gaps in Airport Security

If you've ever wondered about the ground crew responsible for handling your baggage, refueling your plane, heck, even loading your meals onto the plane — you're not alone. An unidentified pilot recorded one airport's seemingly lax security on his cellphone, then posted it to YouTube. AOL Travel has the full story (and the video):

An anonymous 50-year-old airline pilot is in hot water with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) after posting on YouTube a behind-the-scenes tour of what he says are security flaws at San Francisco International Airport...

"Well, folks, I just wanted to give you an idea of what type of security for the ground personnel there is. This is their screening. As you can see, there's only a card slide and one door," the pilot says in the video. "And right here's a sign, 'Think security.' Well, I don't think there's much security here."

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Vacationist: New York, Vancouver, St. John, Sedona, and more

Blakely New York Hotel

Not all presents are found under the tree. Every week, Vacationist delivers swoon-worthy travel deals right to your inbox. What’s on sale now? Urban explorers will love New York and Vancouver for less than $200 a night, while beachgoers will gravitate toward private St. John cottages for up to 40% off. Plus, there’s Arizona’s Sedona Rouge Hotel & Spa, in case you’re looking for a relaxing spa getaway. Coming soon: Moorea and Mexico. Happy travels (and happy holidays!) from Vacationist.

Still not a Vacationist member? Click here to join.

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Locked and Loaded, the TSA Is Ready to Serve You This Weekend

Don't let the chaos in Europe get you down—it's god, not man, getting in the way of smooth travel. Stateside, the Transportation Security Administration is fully prepared for the holiday crush. At least that's what they told our friends at AOL:

"We have coordinated staffing and are committed to maintaining the flow of passenger traffic while properly screening travelers as they move through the security checkpoints," spokesman Nicholas Kimball tells AOL Travel News.

"As we always do during the holiday season, TSA will deploy additional risk-based security measures based on the latest intelligence and continue to work with our international, federal, state, local and private sector partners across the nation to protect the American people," he says.

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For Smart Travelers, New Year's Weekend Deals Await

New Year's Eve

No one wants to travel during the holidays. Even outside of Europe, getting from point A to B can quickly turn nightmarish. How about this: Stay home until the Christmas surge has safely passed, then head against the traffic for a New Year's weekend. While your patdown- and scanner-weary pals are coming home, you'll enjoy shorter lines getting out of town.

To help your wintery scheme come to fruition, several hotels, resorts, and even entire islands have put together New Year's Eve packages. Below, a small sampling.

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Buenos Aires Is Hot for American-Style Frozen Yogurt

Top It Buenos Aires

As the sultry Buenos Aires summer kicks into high gear, porteños are dipping into a new frozen treat for the first time. Thanks to a pair of Penn grads who imported an American obsession to Argentina, low-calorie frozen yogurt is a hit with sweets-loving, image-obsessed Argentines who spill out the door of the soft-swirl shop in trendy Palermo Soho. The hipsters and fashionistas who sip Quilmes beer on restaurant patios and peruse the chic shops that pepper the treelined streets in this neighborhood have worked the frozen yogurt spot Top It into their daily routines. Owners Ilana Messing and Guillermo Marx see the same faces pop in all week.

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American Ballet Theatre Presents a New Nutcracker for New York

ABT Nutcracker at BAM

When American Ballet Theatre’s new production of The Nutcracker premieres at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on December 22, audiences will encounter a vision of the holiday classic like no other. The staging—with choreography by Alexei Ratmansky, spectacular sets and costumes by Richard Hudson (well-known for The Lion King and his designs for opera and dance), and Jennifer Tipton’s evocative lighting—follows the ballet’s traditional outline, based on the story by E.T. A. Hoffmann, The Mouse King and the Nutcracker Prince. But it also bursts with fresh dramatic theatricality. Ratmansky creates ballets that are emotionally rich, kinetically responsive to music (and what music: a Tchaikovsky masterwork), full of wit and imagination.

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Oops: TSA Screeners Missed Loaded Gun (but Probably Found Those Nailclippers)

If this story is any indication, the TSA's airport screeners should spend less time looking out for attractive women and more time watching the x-ray screens. AOL Travel has the story of a loaded gun that flew the friendly skies:

A Houston businessman has a cautionary tale for Transportation Security Administration (TSA) authorities just in time for the busy holiday travel season. Iranian-American Farid Seif says last year he boarded a Continental Airlines flight with a loaded handgun in his carry-on.

Seif says he passed through security at Houston's Bust Intercontinental Airport during last year's holiday season without realizing he had forgotten to unpack the gun – a loaded snub nose Glock pistol – in his empty computer bag.

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Last Chance to See Sargent's Impressionism at Adelson Galleries

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John Singer Sargent may have been the most cosmopolitan American artist of the nineteenth century (born in Florence, Italy, trained in France, travels in North Africa, commissions in the United States). One of his most famous paintings, Madame X (1883-84), caused a scandal when first exhibited in Paris because of the daring sensuality of his depiction of Amélie Gautreau. Today, the portrait hangs in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Half a block from the Met on a quiet Upper East Side street, the Adelson Galleries has organized the revelatory exhibition “Sargent and Impressionism,” on view until December 18.

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Vacationist: Europe, Caribbean, Asia and more

Kristiania Lech

Hotels are always on the brain for T+L editors, but that’s especially true this week as we launch the 2011 T+L 500 list of top properties around the globe. One benefit to being a T+L 500 editor? Learning more about where you, our trusted readers, are traveling now, and then finding out ways to get you there for less. Enter Vacationist.com, our go-to guide for hotel deals around the globe. Become a member, and then no matter where you’re headed—Austria, Bermuda, Indonesia, and more—Vacationist delivers rates of up to 52% off. Check out our slideshow, visit our sales, and then hit the road!

Still not a Vacationist member? Click here to join.

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Family Detour in Baltimore

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Taking that long drive down I-95 over the holidays?  If you have kids in the car and you’re passing Baltimore, consider a detour to the Walters Art Museum to see the Walter Wick: Games, Gizmos and Toys in the Attic show before it closes January 2.

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At Qingdao's Drunken House, Enjoy a Hangover-Free Stumble

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In my 32 years on earth, I’ve been tipsy on beer more times than I can, or can’t, remember. I’ve chugged Busch via beer bong and glugged Germany’s Franziskaner Hefe Weiss by the glass boot. I’ve done keg stands of Keystone Light and slowly sipped Goose Island’s complex, barrel-aged Bourbon County Stout. Despite their flavorful differences, these boozy paths all lead me to the same terminus: a bleary-eyed a.m., grasping for aspirin and cursing the bright, relentless sun. Paying the Piper is never a pleasure.

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Forget that Big Tree; How about a Lifesize Gingerbread House?

Ritz-Carlton Charlotte Gingerbread House

While the tree at New York City’s Rockefeller Center typically gets top billing when it comes to conspicuous displays of holiday cheer, the lobby at the Ritz-Carlton Charlotte, North Carolina has something else entirely: a 1500-pound, 140 square-foot gingerbread house, complete with flickering lights (and real moss!). Baked in-house by executive chef Jon Farace and the staff at the BLT Steak restaurant, the 100% organic display hopes to bring some warmth and attention to this LEED-certified luxury hotel—the first of the Ritz-Carlton brand.

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E-reader Showdown: Kindle vs. Nook vs. iPad

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Smart travel is all about consolidation. One of the best ways book-lugging adventurers can streamline is to invest in an e-reader that can store thousands of books—and other reading material—in a single lightweight device. But with so many e-readers on the market, choosing the right one can be maddening. Here's your rope out of the consumer quicksand.

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'Stomach-Churning' Sanitary Conditions at Top Australian Hotels

A secret forensic survey revealed some five-star hotels in Melbourne, Australia have a serious hygiene problem.

Armed with swab tests and a black light, former police forensic investigator Peter Guerin scrutinized seven of Melbourne's top hotels. What he found was nauseating: mold in bathrooms, urine stained toilets, human body matter in beds, and even strains of dangerous bacteria such as E coli.

None of the hotels passed inspection. In every hotel tested, Guerin found an "unacceptable level" of potentially health-threatening microbes.

READ MORE (AND WATCH THE VIDEO)...

Cruise Line Defends Captain's Actions in Mediterranean Incident

Royal Caribbean International made a smart move yesterday by posting a Youtube video from Captain William S. Wright, the cruise line's senior vice president of marine operations. The post follows the "serious incident" on Sunday involving the line's Brilliance of the Seas, which was rocked by 70-knot winds and "very, very large" waves in the Mediterranean en route to Alexandria, Egypt. Some 60 passengers were hurt; injuries were mostly minor, according to Wright.

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Bergdorf’s Christmas Windows Go Postmodern (and a Little Steampunk)

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Forget Santa and his workshop, for the holidays Bergdorf Goodman’s windows will take you on a fantastical journey. To where I don’t exactly know, but it is sometime in the past before body scanners and weighing your carry-on became mandatory.

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Experience an Old-Time NYC Commute on a Vintage Subway Train

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There's nothing I love more than authentic experiences, whether I’m on the road or just exploring my own backyard. So naturally I was excited to learn that, once a year, NYC celebrates the holidays by celebrating its history. The MTA pulls still-working, retired subway trains out of hibernation and puts them back into service.

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Have You Seen T+L's Best Travel Gifts for 2010?

Still not sure what to buy for those travelers on your gift list? Whether they’re nature-lovers, new parents, or nose-in-the-air fashionistas, the Travel + Leisure “Best Travel Gifts” for 2010 is here to help. Find the complete list here. Or, enjoy this a sneak peek—which just happens to feature my recommendations.

Keep Calm and Travel On

“Keep Calm and Travel On”
Inspired by the WW2-era posters that urged Brits to "keep calm and carry on," this modern update couldn't come at a better time. Worried about a TSA patdown? Keep calm, friend. And, yes, travel on. Available in several colors. Unframed: $15.95; buy 3, get 1 free; etsy.com.

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The Buff: Serving Boulder's Best Breakfast

The Buff Boulder Two-Step Breakfast

On a recent trip to Boulder, a local friend asked that all-important brunch question: Was I was looking for local, light dishes—or a more traditional hearty breakfast? I chose the latter and ended up having a delicious (if indulgent) meal.

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Cardboard Czech Cops Cause Crashes

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Those nutty Czechs are at it again. First it was the Velvet Revolution in the 80s. Then it was Prague as hipster-expat HQ in the 90s. And now it's cardboard cops in miniskirts.

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