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Where the Experts Go to Eat Like a Local

For our recent Eat Like a Local Twitter chat, we discussed everything from food trends to where to find the best plate of pasta. Here are some highlights in case you missed it, otherwise, be sure to follow @TravlandLeisure and #TL_Chat on Twitter every Tuesday at 2pm ET for our weekly chats.

Name a dish that totally encapsulates its destination.

Guess Where? Mountain Lake

banff-national-parkjpg

Do you know what national park this is? Hint: It's not in the U.S.

Leave your guesses on our Facebook page. Check back on Monday for the answer.

Lyndsey Matthews is an assistant digital editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter @matthewslyndsey

Photo Courtesy of T+L Photo Contest

Book It! How to Get the Best Hotel Rate

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

Planning a trip soon? Keep these tips handy. Travel + Leisure’s Mark Orwoll shares the best tools to get you the best deals on your next hotel stay.

Two Tokyo Restaurants Worth Your Time

Tokyo restaurant

Rokurinsha

Cult ramen haunt in Tokyo Station.

The Queue: 120 minutes
Duration: 2 hours 15 min.
Orders Taken: 01h30
Eating Time: 12 minutes
Payoff: We’d endure the epic line all over again for another slurp of that umami-rich tsukemen ramen. $$

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Cruise News: Quantum of the Seas

Royal Caribbean is taking an (ahem) quantum leap with its culinary offerings, as revealed at their glittery event in New York last night. When 4,180-guest Quantum of the Seas launches this fall, you’ll notice some sweeping changes onboard. For starters? They’re doing away with the main dining room, replacing it with a collection of complimentary full-service restaurants, from American Icon Grill (creamy New England clam chowder; sugar-dusted New Orleans beignets) to The Grande, a “nod to a bygone era” where you’ll find lobster on the menu every single night.

To kick their specialty restaurants up a notch, Royal Caribbean is bringing the work of star chefs to the table: Jamie Oliver and James Beard Award-winner Michael Schwartz, both of whom have restaurants on board. As Schwartz said: “The secret to good food is good food. Right?” Right. And one of the secrets to a good cruise is good food, too.

Daily Transporter: Scotland

NAME

The John Muir Way, 134 miles of trail stretching from the naturalist’s birthplace in Dunbar on Scotland's east coast across to Helensburgh on the west coast, officially opens in April in time for the centenary of Muir’s death. The first-ever John Muir Festival kicks off Scotland’s Year of Homecoming.

See the John Muir Way in 25 Selfies You Have to Take This Year

Editor’s Picks: Scotland
See Scotland in 25 Secret European Villages
And Best Instagram Photos of 2013
And World’s Coolest Staircases

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Photo courtesy of T+L Photo Contest

A Tea Ceremony in Queens, New York

tea ceremony in Queens

Walking the crowded streets of Flushing, Queens can make even the most patient person weep in frustration. My suggestion is to take the 7 train to Main Street make your way through the throngs of people and head to Fang Gourmet Tea on Roosevelt Avenue. The unassuming store specializes in rare and expensive teas. You can choose from a menu of dozens of teas to sample, each costing $5 or $10 dollars. The tea samples are prepared using traditional Chinese methods. The whole process from brewing to drinking takes 20 minutes. The calm and serene environment is just as important as the teas themselves since so much of the experience at Fang Gourmet is about relaxing and savoring the flavor of what you are drinking.

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52 Ways to Win a Trip to Australia

Australia

Someday, is today. Rather than always saying that one day you’ll make it to Australia, Delta, Virgin Australia, and Tourism Australia have teamed up to give travelers the chance to take it off their bucket list with its new "52 Somedays" program. 

From a “Grape Escape” to spending a week snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef or riding a camel across ivory white sands, there are 52 experiences to choose from, and enter into here.

The beautiful visual experience of signing up is enticing enough to want to enter your name in for all of the experiences (which you can!). Place a “pin” on the map of Australia at the location and enter for a chance to win that “Someday” trip.

Australia is a must-visit destination on many Americans bucket lists to visit someday. If anything, this campaign not only encourages travelers to pack their bags—but gives them a free excuse to do so faster.

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

Photo by Tourism Australia

Westin's New Wellness Program Gets You a Little More Headspace

Columbus Circle

Travelling is one of the best ways to clear your mind—or at least that’s what Westin is hoping to prove. Starting next month, the Starwood brand will be offering seven meditation-themed video modules curated by London-based company Headspace, who has also created in-flight mediation sessions for Virgin Atlantic. They’ll help travelers zen out at the most stressful moments of their trips (say, at the airport or before a business meeting) or offer calming exercises to practice before bed. Sound a little new age? I tried a session with Headspace founder Andy Puddicombe—a once-Buddhist monk and former circus artist (yes, you read that right)—and was pleasantly surprised. Rather than feeling like a scene from hippie-ville, the 10-minute experience was as relaxing as a full yoga class. And with an emphasis on mindfulness rather than total mental silence, it seemed like a great way to reawaken your senses to the different stimuli of a new place. Find the videos on Westin’s website starting next month.

ne_headshotjpgNikki Ekstein is an Assistant Editor at Travel + Leisure and part of the Trip Doctor news team. Find her on Twitter at @nikkiekstein.


Photo courtesy of Westin Hotels & Resorts

American Express and Boingo Join to Offer Free, Unlimited Wi-Fi to Card Members

Boingo American Express Wifi

A few months ago, Delta eliminated free Delta Sky Club guest passes for American Express Platinum, Centurion, and Delta Reserve cardholders. But credit card company seems to be making up for the loss in it’s new partnership with Boingo: free, unlimited Wi-Fi. Starting this June, Platinum, Centurion, and Corporate Gold card members will have access to more than a million hotspots in airports, hotels, and retail locations around the world on up to four devices. We know what you’re thinking, and unfortunately, the answer is no—this does not include inflight Wi-Fi.

Brooke Porter
Brooke Porter Katz is an Associate Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter at @brookeporter1.


Photo courtesy of American Express and Boingo

TBT: Badrutt's Palace Hotel, St. Moritz 1930

It's Throwback Thursday, and with freezing temperatures still gripping much of the country, it seems only fitting to look back at one of the world's top winter destinations—St. Moritz, Switzerland. This 1930 video from the iconic Badrutt's Palace Hotel has us ready to hit the slopes in style.

Who can blame a woman for doing yoga in heels (see 0:37) when she's staying at the classiest hotel in the Alps? Badrutt's Palace has just the kind of atmosphere that makes morning back bends an excuse to feel fancy.

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Daily Transporter: Bangkok

monk outside bangkok

Heading to Bangkok now that the Thai government has given the all-clear? Find a cool way to escape the city heat: -5 Ice Bar, tucked inside the Jameson’s Pub, is so bracingly cold you may just need to wear one of the bar’s loaner parkas.

Editor’s Picks: Bangkok
See Bangkok in Buildings Shaped Like Animals
and World’s Coolest Bazaars  
and World's Most Beautiful City Parks

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Photo courtesy of T+L Photo Contest

11 Delicious Maps Made From Iconic Local Foods

201403-hd-maps-made-from-iconic-national-foodsjpg

A love of food is universal. As is, unfortunately, the need to photograph it. But these food maps of your favorite countries (created by stylist Caitlin Levin and photographer Henry Hargreaves) are designed using iconic national ingredients, so they're, like, art. And nothing like the blurry ramen burger pics you should stop posting on Instagram. Get ready to be hungry.

SEE MORE AT THRILLIST.COM

Photo Courtesy of Henry Hargreaves + Caitlin Levin

Lafayette 148: A New York Shopping Experience Like No Other

Lafayette 148

Devotees to the clothing brand Lafayette 148 can now have a shopping experience fit for a princess. Walk into their New York City concept store at the brand's namesake address, 148 Lafayette Street, and a sales associate will take your coat so you can shop unencumbered. Ask them for extra sizes or have your size brought in from their warehouse in Brooklyn.

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E-Book Subscription Service Scribd Announces Partnership with Lonely Planet

Scribd

Scribd is like Netflix for books: a monthly fee of $8.99 gets you unlimited access to more than 300,000 e-books from 900 publishers, the largest of which is Harper Collins. Today, the company is launching a new travel category through a partnership with Lonely Planet—which means for less than the cost of one title, you can browse hundreds of guidebooks. (The category also includes non-fiction titles, such as 1,000 Places to See Before You Die.)

Scribd is especially useful for travelers: not only is it compatible with iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, and any web browser, but you can also download books to read off line—ideal when on the road without Internet access. (And you can keep any books you download indefinitely, as long as you remain a member.)

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Kayak's Package Search: A New Way to Find the Best Deal

Kayak

True or false: booking a hotel and airfare package is cheaper than booking each component separately. If you guessed true, you’re right—most of the time, anyway. But there are exceptions. Helping you navigate those murky waters is Kayak, which has just launched a tool to aggregate package pricing and help you find the best options.

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Have Your Fantasy Mermaid Marriage at Sheraton Fort Lauderdale

Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel

For the couple that doesn't want any-old destination wedding, they can now take their nuptials to new depths with Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort's Mermaid Wedding Package.

And yes, the tail is included. 

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Daily Transporter: This is Not a Toy

this is not a toy exhibit at toronto’s design exchange

Multidiscipline whiz kid Pharrell Williams has added Curator to his impressive list of occupations. A 700-piece exhibit of artist-designed toys, This is Not a Toy, runs through May 19 at the Toronto Design Exchange. Williams guest-curated the show and many of the toys come from his personal collection.

Editor’s Picks: Toronto
See Toronto in World’s Coolest New Tourist Attractions
and World’s Strangest Buildings
and World’s Most Beautiful Museums

Ann Shields is a senior digital editor at Travel + Leisure. Get the Daily Transporter newsletter in your in-box.

Photo courtesy of Toronto Design Exchange.

Five Ways to Get a Better Hotel Room Rate

better hotel room rate

Looking to score a deal on a great hotel? These digital tips and tricks from T+L will ensure you get the best price in the house.

Know the Market

Timing is key. The Web-based price predictor feature on TheSuitest forecasts how room prices are expected to fluctuate for the next month—use it to find the right time to buy in any market. Then cross-check with DealAngel and Bing's Hotel Rate Indicator—both compare quoted rates with a hotel’s average cost, telling you which deals are really worthwhile.

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8 Great London Restaurants to Try Now

Clove Club

Eight singular neighborhoods, eight great “New British” haunts.

Islington: Smokehouse is a modern-day boozer that happens to serve charred leeks with duck eggs and a pork rib eye with pancetta and lardo—and blimey, what treasures on tap! $$$

Shoreditch: Inside the Shoreditch town hall, the Clove Club (pictured; from rising star Isaac McHale) goes Noma-esque with small bites of locavore esoterica, such as gull’s eggs with lovage. $$$$

Fitzrovia: At his urban-rustic Newman Street Tavern, Peter Weeden dry-ages Galloway beef, butchers whole Scottish Blackface sheep, and bakes super-voluptuous onion tarts $$$

Video: London’s Can’t-Miss Sights


Soho: Watch street life from a window seat at Damson & Co., a homey deli-café devoted to strictly-British deliciousness: farmhouse cheeses, goose salami, and daily “soused fish” (ceviche to you). $$

Bermondsey: Tom Sellers’s Restaurant Story snagged a Michelin star just months after opening. Prepare yourself for candles that melt into beef drippings and smoked eel sandwiched within squid-ink “Storeo” cookies. $$$$

Notting Hill: With only 14 seats, tiny Marianne packs outsize flavors into Anglo-Mediterranean dishes such as sweet Cornish scallops with artichoke and dusky jamón. $$$$

Brixton: The three-course lunch at Salon—a minimalist gem in the happening Brixton market—is London’s best bargain at the moment, at just $26. $$$

Hackney: Affordable, soulful, and quietly inventive (anyone for duck with pickled carrot and hazelnut purée?), the blond-wood-paneled Mayfields has quickly become a neighborhood favorite. $$$

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

Appeared as “95 Places to Eat Like a Local: Insider’s London” in T+L Magazine

Related Links:
Best Places to Eat Like a Local
London's Coolest New Attractions
London’s Best Restaurants

Photo by Carol Sachs

Travel Bucket List Experiences for Auction

Gavel&Grand

Gavel&Grand, sister site of online auction house Paddle8, offers auctions of curated experiences and luxury items in support of philanthropic organizations. Most recently, they’re launching an auction featuring travel bucket list experiences found online here, that are available to bid on now through March 26th.

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Chef’s Tour: L.A. County with David Lefevre

David Lefevre

David Lefevre is making waves with Fishing with Dynamite, his seafood restaurant in Manhattan Beach, California. He’s even been shortlisted for this year’s James Beard Awards—the “Oscars of the food world”—in the category of Best Chef: West. We caught up with him last week when he cooked at New York City’s esteemed James Beard House, where he shared with T+L his perfect day of L.A. eating.

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InstaMeet Around the World

Instagram is able to bring people together in an instantaneous and unique way—now, it’s even happening in person, with what’s being called “InstaMeets."

In late February, 12 Instagrammers from Malayasia and Indonesia, met for a four-day #InstaMeetJiran on East Java’s active volcano, Mount Bromo.

Read More

Complain for Change at the Power of Design Panel

Power of Design

Complaints and their potential to effect change for the better is at the heart of Power of Design 2014, an exhibition and series of talks and panel discussions hosted by the Wolfsonian-Florida International University last weekend in Miami Beach.

Read More

Mendoza's Grape Harvest Festival

grapes

Mendoza, Argentina hosted its 78th annual grape harvest festival known as "La Fiesta Nacional de la Vendimia," a ten-day cultural celebration that attracts hundreds of thousands of revelers from near and afar.

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Eat Like a Local Twitter Chat on Tuesday, March 25

In conjunction with our annual Eat Like a Local magazine issue, we're discussing food trends, global cuisines on the rise, and beloved insider spots this Tuesday, March 25th from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. EST. Whether you have questions on touristy restaurants that are actually worth the hype or foodies to follow, ask the experts for their advice!

The Hosts:

Food and Hotels Editor, Jennifer Flowers, @JennFlowers

Senior Editor, Jacqueline Gifford, @jacquigiff

Associate Editor, Brooke Porter, @brookeporter1

The Panelists:

Kate Krader, Food & Wine Restaurant Editor, @kkrader

Jennifer V. Cole, Southern Living Magazine, @Southern_Living

AskMen, @AskMen

Tasting Table, @TastingTable

Chef Katie Chin, @chefkatiechin

Sarah Copeland, Food Director at Real Simple, @edibleliving 

John Curtas, @eatinglasvegas

James Beard Foundation, @beardfoundation

Natalie Zfat, @NatalieZfat

Daniel Krieger, New York Food Photographer, @smoothdude

How does it work?

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Naked Tourists and New Restrictions at Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Some silly news from Machu Picchu—on the growing trend of foreign visitors stripping down for photo-ops—led us to more important news regarding the ancient Incan citadel: To combat overcrowding (of clothed and unclothed tourists) the Peruvian government has announced new regulations for the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

What's in store for travelers to the ancient citadel? According to a policy draft obtained by local newspaper Peruvian Times, here are some of the major changes:

• Everyone must visit the site with a guide
• Guides must follow three official circuits through the ruins
• Visitors can spend no more than three to five minutes at key points, including the temples of the Sun and Condor
• (And, yes, nudity is still strictly prohibited)

The T+L Take? New regulations are certainly needed to cope with the ridiculous overcrowding—for the benefit of travelers and of the fragile site itself. It's hard to contemplate the sacredness of Machu Picchu when sharing the peak with 4,000 other tourists. That said, these and other recent regulations harm the visitor experience by all but eliminating the possibility for self-reflection. If seeing one of the New Wonders of the World is on your to-do list, by all means venture to Machu Picchu. If contemplating Incan ingenuity and the meaning of life is what you're after, opt for the less-visited but no-less inspiring sites Llactapata and Choquequirao.

Peter Schlesinger is a research assistant at Travel + Leisure and a member of the Trip Doctor news team.

Photo by iStockphoto

Appetite for Andalusia

Andalusia

T+L travels to Andalusia, in southern Spain, to discover just-caught seafood, plump chorizo, charming inns, whitewashed towns, and plate after plate of prized jamón ibérico.

Every afternoon at Trasierra, a whitewashed Spanish estate about an hour’s drive north of Seville, a bounteous lunch spread arrives on the breezy pool terrace—tortilla, slow-cooked eggs and potatoes flipped out of a skillet and cut into thick wedges; ajoblanco, a cold soup made with almonds and garlic; cheese; blistered peppers; and prized jamón ibérico sourced by the proprietor’s son at El Capellán, a farm just a couple of towns away.

Read More

Classical Music Comes to Cincinnati

Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

Cincinnati is rightly admired for its rich cultural life—art museums, theaters, summer opera as well as the annual May Festival, devoted to choral music.  It also has one of the country’s leading symphony orchestras and in one of the biggest gets in the classical music world appointed Louis Langrée as its new music director. 

Read More

Amtrak Writers Residency Launches This Week

Amtrak

This week, Amtrak began selecting applicants for its newly launched Writers Residency.  The national rail service will grant as many as 24 lucky writers with a passion for writing on trains a round-trip, long-distance journey.

Read More

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