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LUCKYRICE Festival Kicks Off in NYC—and Ups the Ante

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If you are trying to decide between a trip to New York City or a trip to Beijing—or Chiang Mai, or even Oahu for that matter—you may not have to choose. Next week in NYC marks the third annual LUCKYRICE Festival (May 1-5), a delirious celebration of Asian food and culture featuring top chefs, mixologists, and influencers. The list of names is a who’s who of Asian cuisine: Top Chef master Susur Lee, Michelin-starred curry guru David Thompson, Hawaiian regional cuisine pioneer Alan Wong, and more.

(For a backgrounder on the festival, see our video interview with founder, Danielle Chang.)

Not surprisingly events are quickly selling out as fast you can say kung pao. The super-popular Night Market street food extravaganza and Grand Feast are happening again this year, but there are some new events, like the Hawaiian sunset luau and Chinese wedding banquet-cum-cabaret, that take the fest’s experience to fun new cultural heights.

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Free Admission to all National Parks Starting Tomorrow

Attention nature lovers, the outdoor-obsessed, and fresh air freaks: This weekend marks the kick-off of National Park Week (Apr. 21-29), the one week a year (actually, it's nine days) when all of our nation's 397 parks open their gates to the public and admission is free. Yes, free! How will you explore 84 million pristine acres?

Gustav Klimt Turns 150, Vienna Celebrates

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“Forest Demon” (“Waldschrat”) was the nickname given to Gustav Klimt by the locals around the Attensee, the lakeside retreat near Vienna where the artist spent summer holidays, tramping through the woods loaded down with painting supplies, when he wasn’t relaxing with his companion Emilie Floge and her family. In glorious landscapes, such as "Farm Garden with Sunflowers" (pictured below), in the collection of Vienna’s Belvedere Museum, he transforms the hot-house sensuality of his better-known portraits and allegorical paintings into a vision of Nature’s mystery, cloaked in a brilliant dream of color and pattern.

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Vacationist Hotel Deals: Atlanta for the Food & Wine Festival

You won't want to miss this exclusive deal for members! Book a stay at the W Atlanta Downtown from May 10–13th on Vacationist, and you’ll get a three-day pass to the 2012 Atlanta Food & Wine Festival. Chat, eat, and drink with some of the country’s best chefs and food experts, including T+L contributing editors Matt Lee and Ted Lee. New this year: A focus on mixed drinks, which includes a special cocktail hour on Saturday evening.

Sale ends in 5 days!

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W Atlanta Downtown - up to 41% off - Atlanta, Georgia
The newest W Hotel in Atlanta is set in Allen Plaza, for easy access to the city's downtown sites. Book May 10–13th and get a three-day pass to the annual Atlanta Food & Wine Festival in Midtown!

For more deals, including Florida, Mexico, and Antigua, click here.

Vacationist.com is brought to you by Travel + Leisure and LuxuryLink.com.

Photo courtesy of W Atlanta Downtown.

Travel Tweet-Up: Europe Travel Tips

Booking a trip to Europe? Have a ton questions that need answering? Then join us tomorrow (April 11), from 3 p.m. until 4 p.m. ET, for a live “tweet-up” chat. Hosting the chat will be Travel + Leisure Senior Editor Clara Sedlak. Also joining in the conversation is a panel of travel experts, all eager to answer your burning travel questions. Our expert panelists include:

- Alexia Gobit-Abril, Manadarin Oriental, Paris: @MO_Paris
- Dan Askin + John Deiner, Cruise Critic: @CruiseCritic
- Ellen Lecompte, T+L A-List Travel Agent, with Brownell Travel: @BrownellTravel
- Geri Jacobs, Vice Chairman for the European Travel Commission: @VisitEurope

How does it work?

1. Log in to Twitter any time from 3-4 p.m. ET and be sure to follow the chat hosts: @TravlandLeisure and @csedlak1
2. Use the hashtag #TL_Chat to follow and participate in the Getting Great Service Tweet-Up.
3. To keep up with the chat in real time, head over to http://tweetchat.com/room/tl_chat
4. We'll pulse out some questions for our expert panel to answer, but feel free to post your own answers to our questions! Or ask your own questions! Take advantage of this special access to this fab panel and get some expert travel advice.

We hope to "see" you there!

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Joshua Pramis is the social media editor and resident tech aficionado at Travel + Leisure. Follow him on Twitter: @joshuapramis

Medical Emergency Diverts Titanic Memorial Cruise

CNN.com  |  A medical emergency Tuesday diverted the cruise ship retracing the path of the ill-fated Titanic 100 years after its sinking.

"The ship is turning around and heading approximately 20 nautical miles east to bring it nearer to the coast and within reach of a helicopter," cruise line rep Fred Olsen said in a statement.

The crew of the MS Balmoral, which is hosting the memorial cruise, is working with the Irish coast guard to assist a passenger who became ill.

iReporter Tom Byron, who is on board the Balmoral, told CNN the ship made an hours-long "huge U-turn in the ocean" to get closer to shore for the airlift….

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Annual Varli Food Festival Celebrates Indian Cuisine in NYC

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Calling all Indian cuisine aficionados: if you believe in heaven, then the Varli Food Festival just might be it. Tomorrow, April 5, the second annual food and wine extravaganza descends upon New York City's Metropolitan Pavilion, bringing with it tastings and demos from more than 60 celebrated restaurants from all over the world. The epicurean event features a culinary constellation of New York's Indian celebrity chefs—Vikas Khanna of the Michelin-starred Junoon, Suvir Saran of Devi, and Jehangir Mehta of Graffiti and Mehtaphor—as well as some global superstars like Vancouver's Vikram Vij, Kunal Kapur of New Delhi, and Ajay Chopra, formerly of Mint Leaf in London. Not enough gourmet wattage for you? The festival is hosted by Top Chef's Padma Lakshmi and Indian TV chef Sanjeev Kapoor.

Tickets won't be available at the door, so get yours ASAP online.

[Insert your own horrible "Curry up before it's too late!" joke here]

2010-hs-sarah-khan3jpg Sarah Khan is a copy editor at Travel + Leisure. You can follow her on Twitter @BySarahKhan.

Photos courtesy of Varli Magazine

Trend Alert: Spain's "Walking Gallery"

Spain's Walking Gallery: grandma

It’s an idyllic summer day along the Mediterranean Sea. You’ve nestled in your slice of earthly heaven, a small, sunny patch of sand, when a giant portrait of a cranky-looking grandma rises from the water and lurches toward you.

Is this a flash mob? An international episode of the U.S. hidden camera series: What Would You Do? What in the hell is going on?

It’s Spain’s Walking Gallery, where artists march around a city for several hours with their creations strapped to their bodies or hanging from handlebars.

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On Our Radar: Savannah Music Festival

Savannah music Savannah is one of those mysterious places that I imagined coming to life in the dusty pages of antiquarian books. Other than what I saw in Clint Eastwood’s colorful depiction of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil and some Civil War trivia, I didn’t know much about it. So when the opportunity arose to check out a new music festival, Savannah Stopover, I jumped at the chance to experience the Southern legend firsthand.

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Happy 250 Years to the Sandwich!

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I can’t think of a food that is as wholly satisfactory as a sandwich. I could start my day with an egg and biscuit combo, followed by a tomato and mozzarella panini for lunch, and curried chicken salad on baguette for dinner. The sandwich can be as comforting and easy as a peanut butter and jelly or as globally inspired as a báhn mì or cubano.

This year, 250 years of that delicious nosh is celebrated where it all began, in the town of Sandwich, Kent, England. Though he was not the first person to put food between bread, the Fourth Earl of Sandwich gave the snack its name. Legend goes that he was a gambler and demanded meat between two slices of bread so he wouldn’t have to get up from his games.

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