Were Vikings the first humans to settle the Faroe Islands on their voyage across the Atlantic to North America? Archaeologists recently found evidence that unidentified settlers were cutting peat and cooking with non-indigenous grains on here 400 to 500 years before the Vikings arrived.
A total eclipse of the moon—the fourth lunar eclipse in a row with no intervening partial eclipses—begins at 1:20 a.m. EDT tonight. The event is being referred to as a blood moon, which sounds dramatic but is a phrase used to describe any total eclipse. (EarthSky.org explains why the moon turns coppery red during these celestial events.)
You could spend an entire month doing nothing but comparing hotel loyalty programs and still not be sure you know which is best—but that’s why it never hurts to turn to the pros. And while we make the topic a professional obsession around here, there are a few specialists out there that even we revere. Among them: Scott Mackenzie of Hack My Trip, who just recently released these incredible tables that break down all that hotel loyalty programs have to offer. It’s one of the most comprehensive, thoughtfully analyzed resources we’ve seen to date, so take it from us: this one is worth bookmarking.
Nikki Ekstein is an Assistant Editor at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.
A new ad for Las Vegas targets gay couples...almost.
The clip, released this week and scheduled to air nationally, portrays a straight couple checking in to their Sin City hotel. The woman leaves to freshen up just as another man shows up to the front desk, at which point a receptionist asks whether the two gentlemen are ready to check in. A quick, knowing glance at each other and both men nod yes, queueing the iconic slogan, "What happens here, stays here."
Yesterday we found out that Google has brought Room 77 into its portfolio of travel tools—and we think it’s big news. While the deal may not be the largest of the company’s partnerships or acquisitions to date, it’s a sign of what’s to come: As far as we can see it, Google is positioning itself to disrupt the travel sphere. Simply consider the acquisitions already in its portfolio, including travel search tool ITA—a $676 million buyout four years ago—Zagat, and Frommers (though the latter no longer belongs to Google, its content was integrated back in 2012). What it all adds up to is a growing arsenal of travel tools ready to be unleashed—the only question is when.
Nikki Ekstein is an Assistant Editor at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.
Virgin America 82.08 JetBlue Airways 74.18 Hawaiian Airlines 71.59
The demise of free meal service in economy class has meant the rise of better buy-on-board options. To wit: Virgin America earns raves for its on-demand dining via seatback touch screen and snacks from home-grown artisanal brands, such as San Francisco’s Humphry Slocombe ice cream. JetBlue is a favorite for its Terra chips and boxed meals (try the roast beef sandwich); starting in June, Mint seat fliers can sample a small-plates menu by New York’s Saxon & Parole. Hawaiian Airlines bucked the cost-cutting trend: it’s the only U.S. airline to still serve complimentary meals on domestic flights in coach. The onboard snack bar keeps it local, selling everything from Spam musubi to macadamia nuts.
Airport/Terminal: Istanbul Atatürk, Departures (pictured) How to Get In: Star Alliance first or business international ticket, or Gold status. The Space: Ottoman chic, with dramatic arched entryways. The Food: 35 stations with meze (tabbouleh; zucchini salad), flatbreads, house-made pastries, and wine. Great Dish: Spicy menemen (Turkish scrambled eggs).
These days, in-flight magazines have to work harder and harder to get a traveler’s attention—and Delta’s redesigned Sky is doing just that, with a cleaner layout that emphasizes white space, refined typefaces, and eye-catching photography.
Gone are the days of rushing through security and jumping straight onto your flight—you can thank the TSA for that. “Travelers are spending more time in airports than ever,” says Frank Sickelsmith, vice president of restaurant development for HMS Host, one of two major firms that turn airports into epicurean hangouts. The upside? “Now they can have a full sit-down meal instead of grabbing and going.” And that’s where innovators like Sickelsmith come in.
Looking to book a Shanghai street-food tour or a Provençal cooking class? Let these new food apps and sites take care of the legwork.
Best For Tailored Recommendations: Peek
Like an OpenTable for guided activities and food crawls, Peek(free; iOS) provides direct booking service straight from the app or website. Its real strength lies in its carefully curated content—all outings are vetted by Peek staff or trusted tastemakers. Take a quick personality quiz for customized suggestions.
Why Foodies Love It: Unique offerings—a dinner cruise on the Thames in London; a coffee plantation visit in Maui—are the rule, not the exception.
This month the country’s famed wine region hosts Napa Valley Arts in April, complete with pop-up exhibits, special tastings, and exclusive events at area wineries—many of which have permanent world-class art collections. A few highlights: A free tour of Silverado Vineyards’ collection of Belle Epoche posters and plein air paintings (April 10, 17); the Yountville Art, Sip, & Stroll, with works from 50 regional artists (April 12); and “Celebrating Woodstock,” a special exhibit of photos celebrating the 45th anniversary of the iconic music event, on view at Markham Vineyards (opens April 19). Click here for a complete line-up.
Brooke Porter Katz is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.
As a general rule, yes, as long as you keep your items in the sealed plastic bag from Duty Free. Some countries (South Africa and Argentina included) will confiscate liquids over 3.4 ounces in secondary, at-gate security checks; duty-free items, however, should be exempt. Until recently, if you had a connecting flight in the European Union or the U.S., you would have to either stow your purchases in your checked bag as you switched planes or toss them. But the introduction of new liquid scanners in the EU and the relaxing of such rules in the States (thank you, TSA) mean that you can now carry these items on board.
Most good restaurants in the United States expect to turn over a table two to three times each night—that means they anticipate a party of two will stay for about an hour and 45 minutes (four-tops are usually allotted two hours). So once you’ve paid your bill, try not to spend the next hour nursing your final sip of wine. Internationally, diners enjoy a more leisurely pace. In Italy, for instance, experts say it’s virtually impossible to overstay your welcome. In countries from Australia and China to Argentina, meals typically run a full two to three hours. If you don’t know the protocol, look to the waitstaff for cues. They’ll let you know when your time’s up.
Q: Are there any foods that will help me fight jet lag? —George Frank, Brooklyn, N.Y.
A: Even more than foreign-transaction fees and data-roaming charges, jet lag is the bane of international travelers. Resetting your internal clock to a new time zone can be a days-long process. Fortunately, there are ways to ease yourself onto a new schedule—and what you eat and drink can play a key role.
New York City: Burrata with lox; buffalo skate wings: Amanda Freitag takes greasy-spoon food to new heights at Empire Diner($$), a reboot of the Chelsea landmark. The 65-seat Brooklyn Fare Manhattan($$$$) has finally opened, bringing the outer borough’s most coveted reservation to Hell’s Kitchen.
Philadelphia: Expect two spots in May from the increasingly prolific Michael Solomonov and Steve Cook (Zahav): Abe Fisher ($$$), inspired by Jewish cuisine from Europe, the U.S., and Canada, and the casual Israeli-style hummusiyaDizengoff ($).
The tealike beverage is a favorite Argentinean tradition (even Pope Francis loves it), but it comes with a set of unwritten rules. Juan Carlos Cremona, owner of La Martina de Areco (54-23/2645-5011), a café in San Antonio de Areco, outside Buenos Aires, explains the ritual.
1. In groups, a cebador (leader) is chosen to serve everyone. He or she heats water to just below the boiling point, then pours it into a flask.
2. The gourd—a dried squash or a wood-lined metal goblet—holds the ground yerba maté leaves. Purists use a sieve to remove twigs.
3. The cebadormoistens the grounds to release the flavor, inserts a bombilla (straw), adds more water, and passes the gourd to the first drinker.
4. On your turn, sip with gusto. Some add sugar or honey, but real gauchos take it amargo—bitter. When done, say “gracias” and pass it along.
5. Hungry? Locals often enjoy their maté with galletas dulces (sweet pastries).
In Melbourne, the latest wave of buzzy restaurants and bars share a common menu item: virtue.
One more reason to love Australia’s second city: a string of new establishments that are on a mission to pay it forward—without force-feeding the matter. Boho-chic hangout Shebeen serves up a globe-trotting menu of craft beers and cocktails, then hands 100 percent of its profits to charities in developing countries. Order a Sri Lanka–made Sinha Stout, for example, to support Room to Read, which helps develop children’s literacy skills throughout Asia and Africa.
Three reasons we’d rather be in Florence right now: flaky cornetti, bracingly strong espresso, and that inimitable Italian sensibility. Here, how to fit in—plus a few places to get your fix.
The Locations: Take in the scene at Chiaroscuro, home to 30-minute coffee-tasting classes; the wood-paneled Caffè Cibrèo, where Isidoro Vodola has been perfecting his drinks for 25 years; and Caffè Florian, which recently added an airy art gallery.
The Look: Leather handbag by Salvatore Ferragamo. Cashmere-and-silk scarf, Loro Piana. Leather iPad case, Etro. Cat-eye sunglasses, Persol. Calfskin wallet, Bulgari. Lipstick in Scarlett, Dolce & Gabbana. Nine-karat rose-gold ring, Pomellato.
Music City’s once-gritty 12 South district is on the rise, with 1920’s bungalows reimagined as locavore restaurants and stylish shops. T+L walks the line.
Go full Willy Wonka at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream, an Ohio import where the wackadoodle flavors include Riesling-poached pear and goat cheese with red cherries. Worth two scoops: “biscuits & peach jam,” inspired by the classic dish at nearby Loveless Café. 2312 12th Ave. S.
Five culinary adventures that put a new spin on the traditional food tour.
Ho Chi Minh City: See (and taste) Saigon from the back of a vintage scooter with Vietnam Vespa Adventures. Kicking off at sundown, the four-hour drive digs into the city’s finest street food, from chili-rubbed crab to sizzling banh xeo pancakes.
Paris: Unravel the mysteries of Paris à la Inspector Clouseau in a chauffeured Citroën 2CV. Your retro ride, courtesy of Experience Paris, will whisk you away on a tour of iconic patisseries to sample pains au chocolat and brioches au sucre.
Crystal Serenity—fresh from a $17 million makeover—is bringing foods of the world (Alsatian tarte; lamb dumplings from North Africa) to its Tastes restaurant. The “living walls” planted in the alfresco Trident Grill provide the herbs.
Befitting its home port of Miami, the new Norwegian Getaway has cooked up the Tropicana Room, a retro dinner club with a decidedly Latino vibe. To order: ceviche and churrasco steak.
New guest lecturers aboard Holland America Line ships include New York Times food columnist Mark Bittman and Jehangir Mehta, a former protégé of Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
Oceania’s Riviera and Marina are now offering food-themed excursions and courses, such as a tour of the Mercado Central in Valencia, Spain, followed by an onboard paella class.
Well, we called it - René Redzepi's Noma reclaimed first place this year at the prestigious World's Best Restaurants awards. Noma first received the honor in 2010 and held steady through 2012, but came in second last year to Spain's El Celler de Can Roca, which retreated to second place in this year's rankings. T+L's Adam Sachs recently caught up with the revered chef in New York City.
A pocket-size mutt stares intently up at René Redzepi through the window of Tacos Morelos, a four-table taqueria in New York’s East Village. We’ve over-ordered—tongue tacos and fish tacos and house-made tortillas folded around a stewy, soft thing called suadero. This might seem an unlikely place to lunch with the charming forager, chef of Copenhagen’s Noma, chief progenitor of the New Nordic style, and accidental ringleader for a generation of international chef dudes. But René Redzepi is really into tacos. Enough so that his next venture will be helping Noma’s sous-chef, Rosio Sanchez, open a new taco shop in Copenhagen called Hija de Sanchez. (Yes, there are Mexican restaurants in Copenhagen. No, they’re not any good. “You’ve got Danish students in sombreros serving you,” Redzepi says, sadly. “You want to punch them.”)
Coachella, the 15-year-old music festival that runs this weekend and next, has inspired a 30-day diet and workout regimen to help you endure the rigors of the desert as well as the revealing clothing necessary for concert-going. Can't find the perfect skimpy/glam/gypsy get-up for this year's event? Catch the live stream of the proceedings from your non-judgmental sofa instead.
We’ve already introduced you to Baha Mar, the massive-scale resort that’s set to reinvigorate the Bahamian Riviera later this year. But if the $3.5-billion, five-brand hotel and casino has you thinking Vegas, think again: despite being the biggest destination project in the western hemisphere, Baha Mar is surprisingly tapped in to the island’s cultural and natural assets. Here, a by the numbers look:
• 34: the number of football fields it would take to hold all the sand that’s been brought in to re-nourish the beach at Baha Mar.