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Beyond the Buffet: New Cruise Food

Cruise Food

Shipboard cuisine is going beyond the buffet.

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.

Related Links:
T+L's Cruise Finder
Best Tacos in America
Best Mexican Restaurants in the U.S.

Photo courtesy of Crystal Cruises

Neighborhood Buzz: Nashville's 12 South District

12 South: Imogene & Willie

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.

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Mesmerizing Map Makes it Easy To Follow Whales

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It may be the tail end of whale watching-season in Hawaii, but with the new interactive map that tracks their migration, you can follow your favorites all year long.

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For more than 20 years, Cascadia Research has been compiling whale data that has, unfortunately, remained inaccessible to the public. Thanks to Scot McQueen at the startup Earth Science-software development team, Smartmine, this rich mine of information can now be tapped. 

“What you see right now,” McQueen says of the interactive map—a hypnotic swirl of ocean and wind currents undulating across the Pacific and speckled with pods of migrating whales—“is just the tip of the iceberg.”

Soon, McQueen and his team of developers hope to incorporate all of Cascadia’s data, giving the map a global spread and providing users new ways to identify with the data.

Instead of an abstract pin, the Smartmine Whale Tracking Map will provide visitors with the actual photographs of each individual whale. “It’s the idea that this is a unique animal—not just data—and you can have a deeper connection with it.”

In addition to Hawaii’s hallmark humpback whales, you can track the migrations of pigmy killer whales around Oahu, sperm whales, beaked whales, and false killer whales as they converge at the tip of Kapaau.

When asked about the potential threat this data could cause to the whales’ safety (noting the recent reports of poachers tracking endangered rhinos with geotagged safari photos in South Africa) McQueen assured us that the Whale Tracker has the animals’ best interests at heart.

“There’s absolutely no live data,” McQueen said. While whale enthusiasts can’t rely on the map for an accurate sighting, the delay in transmission keeps the whales from being harassed.

Ultimately, McQueen and his team are driven by the desire to bridge the enormous gap between the scientific and general communities, and to cultivate the shared desire to explore our planet. 

Melanie Lieberman is an editorial intern and a member of the Trip Doctor News Team. You can follow her on twitter at @LittleWordBites. 

Photo courtesy of GeoEngineers

 

15 New Airlines to Launch in China

201405-hd-china-airlinesjpgAccording to a report from CAPA-Centre for Aviation, 15 new airlines in China have launched or are scheduled to launch by the end of 2014—a 50% increase in the country’s passenger airlines. This sudden growth began late last year, when China began loosening restrictions on new LLCs and start-up companies. (Though according to the report, the reform initiatives “remain subject to interpretation and implementation.”)

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Cruise Travel Twitter Chat on Tuesday, May 27

Whether you're a cruise novice or expert, join our Cruise Travel Twitter chat this Tuesday, May 27th from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EST. We'll be asking experts about emerging cruise destinations, ship trends, and even industry misconceptions. Join along and ask them for their insider advice!

The Host:

T+L Senior Editor, Jacqueline Gifford, @jacquigiff

The Panelists:

Cruise Critic, @CruiseCritic

Celebrity Cruise, @CelebrityCruise

The Avid Cruiser, @avidcruiser

Stewart Chiron, @CruiseGuy

Belmond, @belmond

Viking Cruises, @VikingRiver

Uniworld Cruises, @UniworldCruises 

Seabourn Cruise, @SeabournCruise 

CLIA, @CruiseFacts

Princess Cruises, @PrincessCruises

Porthole Magazine, @PortholeCruise

Silversea, @Silversea

Royal Caribbean, @RoyalCaribbean

Cruise Maven, @CruiseMaven

Chris Owen, @OrlandoChris

How does it work?

1. Log in to Twitter before the chat starts at 2pm ET and be sure to follow @TravlandLeisure.

2. Head over to http://twitter.com. Enter the hashtag #TL_Chat into the search bar and select the "All" search option to follow the chat in real time.

3. Remember to always add the hashtag #TL_Chat to your tweets.

4. We'll pulse out some questions for our expert panel to answer, but feel free to post your own responses. Or ask questions of your own! 

All tweets are subject to our social media terms and conditions and may be used in any and all media including editorial. See full social media terms and conditions.

Gabrielle Blitz is Associate Social Media Editor at Travel + Leisure.

Modern Germans Reclaim Heimat

Heimat

Berlin resident Gisela Williams explores the proud new zeitgeist taking hold in her adopted homeland.

Like so many German words, Heimat is impossible to translate. Some describe it as a “homeland” or sense of belonging—your roots, so to speak. The French might liken it to terroir. But after the Nazis hijacked it, Heimat became a loaded term—all but erased from the German lexicon. Until a few years ago, I’d barely heard it uttered. Today, however, the concept is making a comeback, thanks to a cadre of artists, chefs, and thinkers who are trying to rescue Heimat from its nationalistic undertones and bring it up-to-date.

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Hottest New Restaurants in the U.S.

New Restaurants: Pizza Domenica

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 hummusiya Dizengoff ($).

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Club Med Introduced City Stopovers

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The next time I want a stress-free family vacation, I'm going all inclusive. We all know the perks—kids clubs, babysitters, easy access to restaurants, powdery beaches within walking distance. But culture?  Not so much. Now Club Med is attempting to change that by reinventing the city stopover. Launching this summer, its City Stops program is perfect for families seeking an urban adventure, along with downtime at a resort. So far, the company has rolled out to 9 cities (Hong Kong, Bangkok, New York, Miami, Dubai, to name a few), partnering with top hotels such as Mandarin Oriental, Shangri-La and Tribeca Grand. Guests have everything taken care of, from hotel bookings to transfers and flights, and can customize the length of their stay to either before or after their beach visit.

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Top photo by Christina Conrado; bottom photo courtesy of Club Med.

Gabrielle Hamilton Explores Uruguayan Food

Uruguayan Food

What happens when an East Village chef heads to the legendary beachside haunt of Parador La Huella to cook Uruguayan food? Gabrielle Hamilton, chef of New York City’s Prune restaurant, finds out.

I am working in front of a queen-size bed of hot coals. My sweat is trickling—and, at times streaming—down the backs of my kneecaps into my clogs. A winged column of eucalyptus logs—in an iron-barred grate bound to the back wall—burns lively in front of me, dropping red coal like gargantuan, mythic bird scat. Andres Viñales, the pit maestro, rakes these coals expertly with a long iron hook into a shallow bed before me, at waist level, but the heat rises and stings under my chin. I have doubled up my aprons, one on top of the other, to make a better barrier. This kind of fire can melt the plastic buttons on my chef uniform and leave coin-shaped red bites—cruelly, neatly—down my torso. But I learned that—the hard way—a decade ago. I am cool, now, comparatively. “Puedes make this a little mas fuerte, por favor?” I ask Andres. It’s not hot enough.

T+L Insider Video: Foodie Getaways


I’ve been invited here to the remote beachside town of José Ignacio, on the coast of Uruguay, to cook a guest-chef dinner at La Huella. Legendary among chefs I know and flocked to by vacationing South American cognoscenti, the restaurant is a kind of sprawling, open-air beach shack that was opened over 10 years ago. The giant cooking hearth, the very cool DJ, and a sand-in-your-hair vibe are at the center of what makes it so persuasive. I’ve harbored both a fondness for and an envy of La Huella for years, so when I received an invitation to come and cook Uruguayan food, my heart jumped. I’ve built my whole menu around this live fire—an opportunity I just don’t get enough of in my East Village, New York City, restaurant that offers nothing “open-air” but grimy sidewalks and parked cars.

So here I am smoking and charring 40 pounds of eggplant over real wood coals. Yesterday I carefully seasoned and rubbed and strung 21 legs of young Uruguayan lamb through the tendons in the shank, which will hang here—slowly spinning and roasting à la ficelle all afternoon. Uncharacteristically, I brought with me a veritable entourage: my two sons, the babysitter, and my assistant, but I don’t even know where they are now—probably napping on the beach or spread out around one of the front lounge tables ringing up a healthy tab of mojitos, fried fish, and dulce de leche “volcanoes,” the restaurant’s most popular items. I am sure it’s paradise out there, but I’m in my own utter heaven, here in this hell. I live for this kind of cooking.

We arrived a few days ago, flying all through the night from New York to Montevideo. In the morning, we met up with Gastón Yelicich—my friend, my host, my personal Uruguayan food ambassador, and the chef of Cuatro Mares, in nearby Punta del Este—and drove a couple of hours along the coast to José Ignacio. The buildings and junkyards and repair shops and grocery stores we passed have that uncanny, frozen-in-time characteristic of embargoed Cuba; 50’s-era cars and trucks, ingeniously and repeatedly repaired, still dominate the roads.

But beyond the gritty outskirts of Montevideo, the landscape becomes one of vineyards, grazing sheep, horses, cowboys in full garb galloping along the edge of the road. It is flat but undulating, and has that Montana way of making you unclear where your own body ends and the sky begins.

José Ignacio is just a gas station, a small butcher shop with provisions, a wine store, and a few small shops with well-made, carefully curated, and not-inexpensive things to buy—textiles, jewelry, clothing. Everything you see featured in tasteful shelter magazines is in the architecture. Walls of glass pegged together with eucalyptus timbers. Steel. Poured concrete. Reclaimed wood.

All I had ever read about this small and sleepy place described it as a kind of unimaginably remote impossibility, an unfathomable oasis at the end of the earth. I suspect, though, that anybody who has ever driven out to the Hamptons—to Montauk, with its discreet wealth—will find it not only imaginable, but familiar. The crowd here is all green eyes, good teeth, and heather-gray cashmere.

We pull up to La Huella in the early afternoon, in time for a late, leisurely lunch, and are greeted, professionally but maybe suspiciously, by Guzmán Artagaveytia—one of the three visionary founders of La Huella. He is barefoot. The logo of the restaurant involves a bare footprint in the sand. Huella means “footprint” in Spanish, or “trace.” I don’t need to be told twice; I take off my shoes. We settle around a big wooden table on the veranda, order mojitos, and eat little local fried fish called pejerreyes, octopus with potato, baby squid, and empanadas. When the server raises the question of another round, Gastón explains, reasonably, that we are obliged to have two: “Just one, and you walk lopsided.”

For the next three days, we prep. It’s a hunt the whole time—for the right spoon, the right pot, the space on the counter to work and the space in the walk-in to put our work. For the words in Spanish to describe what I’m looking for. Thank God for Gastón, who was a cook in this kitchen for many years, and who knows everyone here and where everything might be located. Gastón and I meet each morning and go over the long prep lists I have written on big white sheets in jumbo black Sharpie. Gastón always has a few stray short pencils in his pockets—from the golf course—and he pulls one out each day to parcel out the day’s work into his little notebook, in small, gentle handwriting. Every morning he arrives and retrieves me from my cottage, and we come into this bustling prep kitchen and peel tomatoes and pick parsley and sliver garlic and knead bread dough until the work is done.

All day long, complete strangers in fresh clean aprons and warm smiles pause at my cutting board to give me a kiss on the cheek in greeting as they arrive to commence work. Everybody kisses everybody here, and with a daily staff of 40, I joke that they should probably punch in a half-hour early just to say hello properly. On the second day, Marco, my nine-year-old, unexpectedly presents himself in the kitchen, begging me to let him cook. I am dubious. For eight and a half of his nine years, it’s been a tedious dinner hour: buttered pasta with cheese and french fries. And a nightly futility to get him to even clear his own plate. But he pulls his Jim Morrison hair back in an elastic, puts on an apron, washes his hands unbidden, and actually lights up at the 40 pounds of zucchini we place in front of him. For the next silent hour, tucked in the corner, Marco meticulously scrubs down every piece. I put him next in the pastry kitchen to cut tempered chocolate, while the ladies around him serve out hundreds of tempting sundaes and volcanoes. He remains focused, intent on using the knife properly and careful not to transfer the heat of his hands to the fragile chocolate. I am moved to hot tears.

At the end of that long day, the incredibly generous owners of La Huella—Guzmán, Martín Pittaluga, and Gustavo Barbero—arrange a local guide and horses, and they are lined up in the sand with their reins loosely tied to the wooden post outside the restaurant. Almost too tired to accept the kindness, we nonetheless all climb on and giddily ride off into the sunset.

Sort of.

Marco gets dragged right into the tree his horse wants to nibble at, and then raked to the ground by its branches. But my seven-year-old, Leone, roars with daredevil laughter at the feeling of having no control and there are a few brilliant moments when we are all firm in our saddles, at the ocean’s edge, swerving to dodge the foamy surf. The beach is littered with beautiful, small, clear hollow eggs that we cannot fathom; our guide cannot translate. “Caracol?” he shrugs. My kids’ exhilarated shrieks ricochet across the chalky blue sunset, and we come back more alive than when we set out.

Guzmán solves the mystery of the caracol by wiggling his two index fingers up from his head and hunching forward. “He carries his house on his back?” We fall apart in giggles to see Guzmán—graying, etched, restaurant-worn—making such a silly sight. The entourage, all girls, melts at the glimpse of the poorly concealed secret: Guzmán is a big oozy sweetheart under the hard shell. Sea snail.

We are lucky enough to celebrate our last day of prep with a late-afternoon excursion into the countryside for dinner at the five-room hotel and restaurant, El Garzón, owned by Argentine chef Francis Mallmann. Here, finally, there is some tooth to the repeated description of an almost incomprehensible oasis in the middle of nowhere. Only 200 people live in this village. I take an unhurried stroll before dinner. In just a matter of steps, I am at the outskirts, the end, facing nothing but sheep and far-reaching pasture and that vast, holy sky. As Francis had described in an e-mail to me, “It’s on the hills, at the edge of uncertainty. Might you come?”

The town square is a Gabriel García Márquez town square. A plain whitewashed church with a wooden door, and a wooden cross pegged to its façade. A social club with a few chairs outside at the corner. In the park in the center, there is a spigot where a few children stop to drink from their cupped hands. Stray dogs trot around and through.

Inside El Garzón, a fire burns. The exterior is kind of Wild-West-frontier, with its wraparound wooden veranda and thin timbers holding up a rain roof. But the inner courtyard welcomes you with a decidedly Continental silver bowl of chilling champagne. We are invited to sit at a large wooden table in the center of the courtyard and for the next couple of hours, as the sky slowly descends through its blue-green bruise of dusk, we are lavished with the simplest meal, cooked over wood coals, of octopus and beefsteak and zucchini with blistered edges, and spoiled with exceptional Uruguayan wines. As we are finishing the dulce de leche ice cream, the sky turns electric with sharp veins of white lightning and a high wind kicks up. Just as the rain begins to splash down, we make it inside to the salon, where there are daybeds and wide sofas and bookshelves crammed with old volumes of poetry. One more bottle of wine before we head back to José Ignacio.

Starting at midday, the lamb legs spin slowly on their little nooses, the fire crackles behind them. We expect our first reservations around nine o’clock and it’s immediately packed: lively, loud, palpably festive. We have courses of this meal going out from three different kitchens, while the restaurant does its crushing regular dinner service at the same time; it’s insane.

Harry Humpierrez, whom I meet for the first time just as our first ticket is coming in, runs our station—formidably. He speaks as much English as I speak Spanish but the kitchen drill is universal. The tickets roll in. Harry calls them out: “Two lamb, Miss.” “Four more, Madam.” “Seven more lamb, Miss.” I can count in Spanish, but he’s firing the tickets to me in English and I love him for it.

Between one big push and the next, I slip out into the dining room to quickly check on my boys. Leone gushes to me his excitement about his own performance. “Mamma! I ate cow tongue! Mamma! I ate lamb! Mamma! Is this the chocolate Marco made?! I ate it!” I do see, just here and there, some bad Botox and some sequined harem pants among the crowd. But let’s be clear: for all of its barefoot gestalt, La Huella now has valet parking.

The rest of the night, I am rotating the legs, slicing meat, honing my knife. To Harry’s right is Andres, the king of the fire, who earlier in the day devised our system for hanging the lambs, who found the right hooks and the right twine, and staggered their heights and proximity to the fire. Andres expertly shovels our roasted onions and seeded flatbreads into the hot, coal-fired ovens. Together we come to the plates in front of us in the fraternally understood wordless choreography of a busy night on the line. Fourteen tickets deep, I cut into two consecutive legs to find them near-raw at the center. Unthinkingly, I drop a few f-bombs, but Harry is delighted and teaches me the local way to vent. By the time I’ve found two perfectly cooked legs, I’ve learned to call the Virgin Mary a whore in Spanish.

At the end of the night, I take off my apron, wash my face, and thank everyone who helped me—as many handshakes and graciases on the way out as there were kisses on the way in. We have well exceeded our 100 expected covers; Guzmán takes the time to bark, in his gruff way, “Hamilton! Very nice.”

My boys are out—asleep on chairs pushed together to make a bench. It’s almost three in the morning when I ready myself to haul them out of the restaurant. There are a few late revelers out on the porch and the staff is finishing its cleanup; pot smoke wafts out of the staff changing area; a small team of teenagers—heartbreakingly beautiful in their awkward new muscles and khaki shorts—polish glasses back at the dish pit.

The lights glow from the empty, tidy pastry station, the empty grill station, the plates stacked in neat clean readiness for tomorrow. The fire is just warm ash. With smoke and sweat dried into a pleasantly familiar film on my skin, I scoop up a snoozer in my arms and start to the car.

T+L Guide to Uruguayan Food

Getting There

American Airlines connects through Miami to Montevideo. From there, it’s a two-hour drive to José Ignacio. High season is from December through February.

Stay

Playa Vik Modernist seaside retreat with contemporary-art-filled casitas. José Ignacio. $$$$

Posada del Faro 15-room hotel with private terraces overlooking the beach. José Ignacio. $$$

Eat

Cuatro Mares Capitán Miranda y 2 de Febrero, Punta del Este; 598/4244-8916. $$$

Hotel Garzón Garzón; rooms $$$$, meals $$$$.

La Olada A husband-and-wife operation serving rustic, Italian-influenced fare. José Ignacio; 598/9933-7908. $$

Parador La Huella José Ignacio. $$$

Hotels
$ Less than $200
$$ $200 to $350
$$$ $350 to $500
$$$$ $500 to $1,000
$$$$$ More than $1,000

Restaurants
$ Less than $25
$$ $25 to $75
$$$ $75 to $150
$$$$ More than $150

Appeared as “Big Night in Uruguay” in T+L Magazine

Related Links:
Uruguay: South America's Latest Hot Spot
Undiscovered Uruguay
Famous Chefs' Favorite Local Eats

Photo by Melanie Dunea

Airbnb's Agreement with New York Attorney General

201405-hd-airbnbjpgAirbnb announced this week that it reached an agreement with the New York Attorney General, after the state office issued a second subpoena demanding data on thousands of Airbnb hosts.

In this latest update to the long saga of New York State vs. Airbnb, the short-term apartment rental website will hand over anonymized data of its hosts, giving the Attorney General's Office one year to review the information.

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Where to Go in the Hamptons This Summer

201405-hd-gurneysjpgManhattanites, rejoice! After a seemingly endless winter, Hamptons season is officially upon us again as Memorial Day Weekend approaches. For 2014, there’s plenty of new places to try on Long Island’s famed stretch of beachy vacation towns, whether you’re seeking fine dining or luxurious accommodations from Southampton to Montauk. Of course there’s also classic favorites we can’t miss, like getting our last ever lobster roll from Duryea’s and sipping cocktails at Surf Lodge while watching live sunset concerts. Pour the rosé and let the good times roll.

STAY

What’s old is new again at Gurney’s Montauk Resort and Seawater Spa. First opened in 1926, the iconic hotel has added 38 brand new luxury guestrooms with private verandas and floor to ceiling windows for fantastic ocean views. They’re also redone the restaurant and spa, adding the only seawater swimming pool in North America. At the Crow’s Nest overlooking Lake Montauk, hotelier Sean MacPherson has added the David Pharaoh Cottages in addition to the 14 king rooms. The cottages come with kitchenettes and are available in sizes from studios to three bedrooms.

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Best Hidden Beaches, National Parks, and Kid-Friendly Destinations

Watch T+L's Sarah Spagnolo share her favorite hidden beaches, national parks, and kid-friendly vacation spots on Katie.

Steve Nash Heads to the World Cup with Bespoke Travel Company Beck & Score

steve_nashjpgThe new bespoke travel company Beck & Score—which counts NBA all-star Steve Nash as a partner—is making it possible to travel to this summer’s World Cup in class. Created with the well-heeled sports lover in mind, it offers VIP packages to Brazil that start at $8,000 per person, including tickets to games, stays at stylish properties such as Hotel Fasano, transportation, dinner reservations, and even face time with Nash and pro surfer Garrett McNamara.

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Film "Tracks" Follows One Woman Across Western Australia

Follow a woman’s incredible 1,700 mile, solo journey through the Australian outback in the upcoming film, Tracks.

In 1977, Robyn Davidson made a 1,700-mile trek across the deserts of Western Australian with her dog and four camels. Davidson had no intention of documenting her adventures until she eventually agreed to write about her trip in National Geographic magazine.

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Berkshire Hathaway Launches Affordable, Fixed-Rate Travel Insurance

201405-hd-berkshire-hathaway-aircare-logojpgBerkshire Hathaway is shaking up the travel insurance industry with the launch of AirCare, which offers an inexpensive, fixed-rate plan covering delays, tarmac waits, missed connections, and lost or delayed luggage. But more than its $25 price, the latest from Warren Buffett’s corporation stands out because it streamlines the biggest insurance headache of all: filing claims.

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For the Love of Pasta

Italian pasta

Spaghetti, tortellini, gnochetti, fusilli—they tell the story of Italy.

I learned my pasta basics decades ago from an old woman named Filomena. Learned them reluctantly. Witchlike Filomena with her chin whiskers and shrill cackle was my landlady in Assisi where, as a young piano student, I took summer master classes. “Sei ritornata?You’re back?—she’d screech when I tiptoed in after a date. She’d then perch on my bed, waving a crucifix, and berate me about my morals. Going out became such a drag that I would spend evenings at home watching her cook.

Filomena didn’t make fancy pasta with black Umbrian truffles. Mostly we ate that elemental linguine with garlic and oil and a weekend ragù fortified with some pork bones. But she cooked with such spare elegance that I still retain the indelible image of her scrupulously removing garlic cloves from the sizzling oil—lest it turn bitter—and her conviction that an extra speck of pepperoncino was grounds to call the carabinieri. Years before discovering Marcella Hazan, I learned to simmer the sugo di pomodoro exactly until the oil separates. Learned that basil should be torn, never offended with the blade of the knife. That the sugo should veil each strand of pasta just so...and that a splash of the cooking water from pasta alchemically binds sauce and starch.

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Three New Ways to Cruise the Mediterranean

Mediterranean Cruise

Three buzz-worthy new cruises from Oceania, Celebrity, and Princess are plying the Mediterranean. But which one is right for you? Read on for the breakdown.

Ancient cliff-side villages, artisanal food, history at every turn...there’s more than one reason almost 20 percent of global cruise itineraries sail the Med. Though all three of these ships distill the best of the region in their ports of call, each brings its own offerings to the table—including restaurants and art to rival what you’ll find on land.

Oceania Riviera

Number of Passengers: 1,250.

Great For: Food and culture cognoscenti.

Interiors: With its marble lobby and grand staircase inset with Lalique crystal medallions, Riviera feels like a luxury condo. In the staterooms, you’ll find 1,000-thread-count bedding and bathrooms equipped with that all-too-rare cruise amenity: a full-size tub. (It’s not your average bubble bath, either. The pink bath crystals are made from 250 million-year-old Himalayan salt.)

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Beijing Fast Forwards to the Future

Beijing

The headlong rush of Beijing’s booming scene, as seen by T+L—old-school restaurants, futuristic architecture, Internet entrepreneurs, and over-the-top nightclubs.

In Beijing, the past trembles before the future. Nowhere on earth is the fast-forward button pressed with such might and frequency. Nowhere else do the centuries disappear into the night, handed over to starchitect Zaha Hadid’s Galaxy Soho, a building that looks like four UFO’s have landed around a traditional Chinese courtyard, or to shopping malls called the Place or the Village, or to ring roads that encircle the Forbidden City carrying millions of cars, each barely inching forward through the haze of pollution that the government euphemistically likes to call “bad weather.” And yet even as you slide past the ghost buildings that line the impossibly wide boulevards, broken up only by flashing billboards of Western beauties hawking Dior, you start to think: This is where it’s at. Beijing, China’s political capital, is where the future will be partly decided and packaged and presented to large swaths of the globe. Even a few of the foreign denizens of the financial capital, Shanghai, tell me they’d rather move to Beijing, if only to better grease the palms of those who actually wield power, the functionaries of China’s Communist Party. I’ve met many Europeans who proudly announce that they’ve never in their entire lives visited New York. To participate in the 21st century and not know Beijing will require similar pride. Or foolishness. In fact, the saddest flight in the world is from America’s decrepit Newark Liberty International Airport, essentially a giant bathroom with airplanes, to the gleaming and sinuous Norman Foster–designed Beijing Capital International Airport.

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Plan a Last-Minute Memorial Day Getaway

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

More than 36 million Americans will hit the road Memorial Day weekend, according to AAA. There's still time for you to join them, thanks to these holiday weekend deals. 

Washington—The Mayflower Renaissance Hotel

No one does a national holiday quite like D.C. This summer marks not only the 150th anniversary of Arlington Cemetery but also the 200th anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner, and D.C. is kicking off the season with events including the National Memorial Day Parade (Monday, May 26) and Rolling Thunder Motorcycle Rally from the Pentagon to Lincoln Memorial (Sunday, May 25). If you want to be near the action, book at room at The Mayflower Renaissance Hotel. First opened in 1925, the historic property is an easy five-block walk to the White House, and just a mile away from the National Mall (from $179/night). marriott.com


Kennebunkport, Maine
—Cape Arundel Inn & Resort

Memorial Day Weekend is a great time to visit the coast of Maine—before the crowds of the busy summer season arrive. This oceanfront property offers activities for the whole family from scotch and wine tastings to painting lessons and bocce ball courts. Just steps away, Old Fort Estate is surrounded by 15-acres of lawn and woodland, and the newly renovated on-site Club House features luxe leather sofas, a grand fireplace, and a vintage pool table (from $199/night, 3-night minimum stay). capearundelinn.com


New Hampshire
—Mill Falls at the Lake  - rates from $160/night

Much like the coast of Maine, Lake Winnipesaukee is popular tourist destination in the summer. Get a jump-start on the season by heading there this weekend. Go for a canoe ride and try your hand at paddle boarding at the hotel’s Lake Activity Center or get your om on at the Sacred Waters Yoga Studio (from $160/night). millfalls.com


Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
—Landmark Inn

Calling all history buffs! With its 62 antique-filled rooms and a notable guest list that includes the likes of Amelia Earhart and Louis Armstrong, the Landmark Inn offers visitors a getaway that’s steeped in American history. This weekend, celebrate Memorial Day in the property’s own English-style pub or visit one of Marquette's three microbreweries (The Vierling, Black Rock, and Oredock). And if hiking’s more your style, take the 10-minute drive to Sugar Loaf Mountain for a spectacular view of the city and Lake Superior (from $139/night). thelandmarkinn.com


Scottsdale, Arizona
—Fairmont Scottsdale Princess

The Copper State has warm weather with plenty of sun, and now’s the time to visit before temperatures rise in the peak of summer. With two 18-hole golf courses, five swimming pools, and seven tennis courts, The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess truly has something for everyone. Through May 26, check out Arizona Spring Restaurant Week with prix fixe dining at top restaurants throughout the state (from $149/night, 3-night minimum stay). fairmont.com/scottsdale

Los Angeles—The Grafton on Sunset

This holiday weekend, why not go where you’re almost guaranteed sunshine? Located right on the Sunset Strip, with fun, funky rooms (think zebra bedspreads and Hollywood themed suites), The Grafton on Sunset offers guests close proximity to L.A.’s great shopping, restaurants, and attractions like the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Chinese Theatre, and The Viper Room (from $199/night). graftononsunset.com

A Road Trip Through Chile's San Antonio Valley

Chile Road Trip

The best way to explore Chile? On a road trip from Santiago to the port city of Valpraiso. Here are the essential stops.

Santiago

Bocanáriz: With more than 300 wines (35 by the glass), the brick-walled bar—whose name means “mouth-nose”—has the country’s largest selection of Chilean varietals. Bilingual sommeliers will walk you through the list, and the food menu is divided into sections such as land and sea. 276 José Victorino Lastarria. $$

Centro Cultural Gabriela Mistral: The former headquarters of Pinochet’s military dictatorship has become Chile’s biggest cultural center, hosting theater and dance performances. Political photos by native son Claudio Pérez are now on view inside the sprawling copper fortress. 227 Avda. Libertador Bernardo O’Higgins.

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Neighborhood Guide to Istanbul

Istanbul

Where to go now—neighborhood by neighborhood in Istanbul.

On my first visit to Istanbul, in the mid 1980’s, donkey carts still trundled across the iron Galata Bridge between the historic Old City and the Europeanized Beyoğlu quarter. And right away I was hooked...on faded Byzantine frescoes and smoky kebabs and tulip-shaped glasses of tea. I’m even more smitten today, as I gaze over the Bosporus boat traffic from the window of a little apartment I bought in the leafy Cihangir quarter. Istanbul is a global megalopolis now, a place where grit and gloss, East and West, secularism and Islam all collide with a jolt—or just as often cohabit gracefully. This is my Istanbul.

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The World’s Tallest Water Slide Opens May 23

201404-hd-verrukt-waterslidejpg 

If you’re afraid of heights, you might want to skip your next visit to the Schlitterbarn Water Park in Kansas City, where the world’s tallest waterslide is set to open Memorial Day weekend.

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SBE Group to Launch New Brand, SLS Lux

201405-hd-new-sls-lux-brickelljpgFamous for its design-focused properties, the SBE hotel group has been expanding quickly, with the recent launch of The Redbury South Beach (a T+L 2014 It List winner) and the debut of the 1,600-room SLS Las Vegas this August.

Part of the Sin City project’s allure? SLS Lux, an all-suite hotel experience—and separate brand—set in one of three towers. The other two will house SLS Story, with lower prices and more playful rooms (to wit: beds that sit in the center, doubling as a couch/entertainment piece), and SLS World, geared toward the business traveler.

Guests of SLS Lux will have a private entrance and access to a dedicated concierge, who could, for example, get you a last-minute seating at the chef’s table at Katsuya. On the horizon: SLS Brickell, a Philippe Starck-designed hotel and residential project in Miami’s fast-developing business district, along with the 85-suite SLS Lux Brickell, the vision of Yabu Pushelberg.

Jacqueline Gifford is a senior editor at Travel + Leisure.

Photo courtesy of SBE

Exposing Hidden Airfare Fees

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Another victory for passenger rights is in the works. The DOT is planning to strengthen its regulations regarding how airlines—and, for the first time, online search engines, such as Google—display the ancillary fees that count for an increasing portion of your overall ticket cost. 

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Catalonia Dreaming

Catalonia

Medieval villages, cliff-side beaches, freshly caught fish, and rich flavors—T+L gets lost in Catalonia’s rugged countryside along Spain's northeastern coast.

“Don’t look!” said my husband, Chip. It had been my idea to revisit Cadaqués, the tiny, remote Catalan fishing town that Salvador Dalí once called the most beautiful place in the world. But in the twenty-odd years since my last trip to Catalonia I had forgotten the wild hairpin drive up the rocky crags of Spain’s northern Mediterranean coast and the dizzying drop to the postage-stamp village below.

I first discovered Cadaqués with Parisian friends, in my twenties. We had stopped at the Dalí Theater-Museum in Figueres, with its surrealist, egg-topped cornice, before heading east to the wild coast to linger over glasses of local Muscat in the Bar Marítim on the beach and to soak up the town’s bohemian charms. We had heard stories of Marcel Duchamp playing chess with John Cage and Jean Cocteau at the Bar Melitón in the 1960’s, when the best way to arrive was by boat. The many artists who had come here since the 1930’s—including Picasso, Max Ernst, André Breton, Man Ray, and Joan Miró—played chess there or paid a visit to Dalí at his house up the road in Portlligat.

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Painting from Donna Tartt's "Goldfinch" Returns to the Hague

Goldfinch painting

Fresh from touring exhibitions in Japan, the United States, and Italy—and a starring role in Donna Tartt’s best-selling novel—Carel Fabritius’s Goldfinch returns to the Hague on June 27. That’s when the Royal Picture Gallery Mauritshuis reopens after a major renovation and expansion, doubling the exquisite museum’s floor space. Keeping the iconic bird company: Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring and View of Delft as well as a peerless trove of other Dutch Golden Age paintings.

Related Links:
Best Museums for Families
World’s Most Beautiful Museums
Europe’'s Most-Visited Tourist Attractions

Photo by Michael Bodycomb/Courtesy of the Frick Collection

National 9/11 Memorial Museum Opens Today

201405-hd-9-11-memorial-museum-steeljpgThe National 9/11 Memorial Museum, located in lower Manhattan, on the site of the World Trade Center, opens to the public today, Wednesday, May 21.

Except for the handsome entry pavilion designed by the Norwegian architects Snøhetta, the greater part of the vast 10,000 square feet of exhibition space is 70 feet below ground level, at the foundations of the original twin towers.  Visitors are drawn into the chasm through a series of ramps, escalators, and viewing platforms that lead to the Manhattan core, its bedrock, where the museum—the thoughtful design the work of Davis Brody Bond, a New York City firm—divides into two, large square aluminum structures with a luminous sheen. 

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How Many People Will Travel for Memorial Day?

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Watch T+L's own Mark Orwoll quiz Today Show fans fans on the the number of people who will travel for Memorial Day weekend.

 

Glyndebourne Festival Celebrates its 80th Anniversary

Glyndebourne Festival

Back in the 1930’s, John Christie—a wealthy English music lover—married a Canadian soprano, built a small theater in the gardens of his 16th-century country house in the Sussex Downs, and founded the Glyndebourne Festival, an annual summer season of opera. Today, Christie’s grandson Gus (himself married to a soprano, the scintillating American diva Danielle de Niese) heads the prestigious festival, which celebrates its 80th anniversary this year. From May through August, Glyndebourne presents six operas, meticulously produced, and staged by a host of directors, from traditionalists (Franco Zeffirelli) to gleeful iconoclasts (Peter Sellars). Above all, the festival is famous for engaging great singers early in their careers, among them Joan Sutherland, Luciano Pavarotti, and Renée Fleming. Yet not all the magic occurs onstage. Performances, which begin in the afternoon, include a leisurely dinner intermission—long enough for a picnic on the lawn. This season’s new productions include Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata and Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier, led by Robin Ticciati, the company’s dashing new music director.

Related Links:
The Best of Cornwall, England
Road Trip Through England's Countryside
The New Generation of European Inns

Photo by Sam Stephemson/Courtesy of Glyndebourne Festival

Harlem Eat Up! Festival to launch in NYC May 2015

marcus_harlem_eat_upjpgWith all the notable restaurants opening in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood—Red Rooster and the Cecil, to name just two—it’s fast becoming a local foodie mecca. That’s why today’s announcement came as no surprise to many: Harlem Eat Up!, the area’s first-ever food festival in partnership with sponsors like EY (Ernst & Young) and non-profit groups such as Citymeals-on-Wheels (the main beneficiary), will launch this time next year.

On a balmy Wednesday afternoon, celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson gathered at his Red Rooster restaurant alongside supporters including New York City mayor Bill DeBlasio and former president Bill Clinton to make the announcement (check out the video above to hear president Clinton on the festival). Come May 15, 2015, we’re excited to eat ourselves silly, but we’re also way impressed with chef Samuelsson, who continues to do amazing things to boost this historic—but long-neglected—uptown neighborhood.

Jennifer FlowersJennifer Flowers is the Food and Hotels Editor at Travel + Leisure. Find her on Twitter at @JennFlowers.

 

Photos by Jennifer Flowers

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