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Chatting Up T+L Features Director at the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen

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T+L Features Director and Food Editor, Nilou Motamed, talks (with GenConnect) about the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen, and the upcoming Travel + Leisure Global Bazaar (Sept. 16–18, NYC).

Oink! The Ultimate Summer Bacon Festival

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Just how popular is bacon? Google the word and you’ll get 144 million results (and how many of those are really about Francis Bacon?). There’s practically a tweet every minute under #bacon. There’s bacon ice cream, bacon cocktails, and, of course, burgers piled high with bacon in cities across the U.S. What gives?

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Who cares! This salty meat treat has become a dietary staple—it’s practically an honorary member of the food pyramid (or plate, or whatever it is now). So go join a grease feast: the Des Moines-based Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival is taking its show on the road, to Keystone, Colorado for the Blue Ribbon Bacon Tour from June 24-26. It’ll be an all-bacon, all-the-time weekend, with bacon tastings, bacon lectures (?!), and bands made up, one would assume, of non-vegetarians.

We’d go if we were closer—it’s only $30 for stuff-yourself-silly (i.e. unlimited) bacon tastings—but we’ll have to satisfy ourselves with New York–style bacon: with an egg, on a roll. And, hey, that’s not so bad.

Photos courtesy of the Blue Ribbon Bacon Tour

Earthquake Media: Japan's Hand-Written Newspapers in D.C.

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The latest addition to the Washington D.C.-based Newseum’s permanent collection is far from newfangled or tech-savvy. In fact, it’s a rotating display of seven original hand-written newspapers, scribed by a resilient cluster of staffers at a daily in the earthquake and tsunami ravaged city of Ishinomaki, Japan. Armed with flashlights, editors at the Ishinomaki Hibi Shimbun fueled their community’s need for up-to-date information by relying on the powers of felt-tip pens and poster paper, displaying their creations at relief centers and convenience stores throughout the city.

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Atlanta’s Top Food & Wine Festival Restaurants

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With the debut of the very first Atlanta Food & Wine Festival last month, T+L takes a tour of the city’s Westside—a meatpacking district turned culinary and cultural hot spot.

The fried chicken is so popular at JCT. Kitchen & Bar—named for the railroad junction that once transported livestock to the area—that it regularly sells out. The daily catch, served with local cauliflower, is just as delicious. 1198 Howell Mill Rd., Ste. 18; 404/355-2252; dinner for two $72.

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T+L Spotlight: Postcards From America

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What do a thirsty pair of hopeful immigrants in Juarez, a mime in Bisbee, and a man hanging out on the steps of a motel in Tuscon all have in common? Don't stress, this isn't a joke or trick question. . .

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Just Back: Pebble Beach Food & Wine

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I just returned from an amazing weekend at the fourth-annual Pebble Beach Food & Wine, a four-day festival in one of the most beautiful settings—Monterey, California. I was there on business, but it’s times like these that I realize how fortunate I am to do what I do.

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From my arrival at the Monterey airport—complete with an unbelievable aerial view of the Inn at Spanish Bay and Peninsula—I knew I was in for a good time. What’s not to love about great food and drink, and golf at the wildly scenic Pebble Beach Golf Links? (Here I am (on the left) with Cody Plott, president and chief operating officer of Pebble Beach.)

But as I discovered, too much natural beauty can be a distraction. I hate to admit it… it wasn't one of my better performances. When you play this legendary course without a cloud in the sky, it’s not about the golf, it’s all about the setting. And there was an interruption at every hole—whales, Cypress trees, fabulous homes. My golf game wasn’t top of mind. Can you blame me?

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Ooh La La! Philly Arts Festival Channels France

Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, has long shared a bond with the City of Light (statesmen, inventor, composer, and proud Philadelphian Benjamin Franklin served as ambassador to France). The period of especially fervent artistic creativity that characterized Paris between 1910 to 1920 is the inspiration for the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts, taking place through this weekend, April 29-May 1, and which offers 30 commissioned, new works of music, drama, art, and flash mob dancing!

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Ralph Lauren Exhibits Car Collection in Paris

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Growing up, Ralph Lauren recalls, his family did not really have the means to buy a car. But that was a world, a lifetime and a storied empire ago.

This week, the crème de la crème of the designer’s car collection—roughly a third of the total—bows in the Louvre’s Musée des Arts Décoratifs, a final highlight in a year marked by the opening of the designer’s flagship and restaurant on the boulevard Saint Germain and his reception of the Legion d’Honneur from President Sarkozy.

The Art of the Automobile: Masterpieces from the Ralph Lauren Collection is a variation on the successful Boston car event five years ago. A showcase of 17 exceptional cars that marked the history of auto-making for their design and technical prowess, it opens with the mysterious and stunning 1938 Bugatti Atlantic, one of only a handful ever created. There follows the massive 1929 Bentley Blower painted with the Union Jack; a separate enclave to the right houses the most modern icon in the exhibit, an orange 1996 McLaren F1 LM  supercar.

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LUCKYRICE: Get Your Asian Food On in NYC!

201104-b-luckyricelogojpgWhen I was growing up in the white-bread hinterlands of Maine, a pu-pu platter at the Golden Fan (a Chinese restaurant) at our local Holiday Inn was as exotic as food got. But, it gave me taste for something more than bologna sandwiches.

Today, my world is a much bigger—and tastier—place, one filled with bánh mì, congee, unagi maki, and bibimbap. I now keep a bottle of Sriracha sauce in my desk drawer, and am pretty sure Momofuku’s Berkshire pork buns are the secret to happiness.

I know I am not alone in this ever-expanding obsession/love/appreciation of Asian cuisines. In the words of Danielle Chang, the savvy founder of the LUCKYRICE Festival: “Asian food is having a moment. But when isn’t it?!”

201104-b-luckyricemktjpgIn its second year, the ultra-popular Asian food festival, LUCKYRICE, runs from May 2-8 in NYC, and includes another exciting tongue-tickling line-up of culinary events—from an Omakase Dinner with Iron Chef Morimoto to a buzzy Night Market in Brooklyn featuring over 50 restaurants serving Asia's best street food. Will I be there? Pho-getaboutit.

You can purchase tickets here. (They’re going fast, but there's still availability for the Grand Feast at the Mandarin Oriental; Opening Cocktails hosted by Opening Ceremony; and the Talk + Taste events with cooking demos.)

And check out my video Q&A with LUCKYRICE Festival visionary Danielle Chang:

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Biltmore Estate’s Festival of Flowers

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Ring in spring at the historic 1885 Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. From April 2 through May 26, the property will host its 26th Annual Festival of Flowers. Come tiptoe through over 100,000 tulips planted across 8,000 acres of the Olmstead-designed land.

Events throughout the six-week celebration include live music, gardening Q+A sessions, flower-arranging and cooking demos, and a grape stomp at the on-site winery. Families are invited to join Peter Rabbit, children’s musicians, and face-painters for an Easter Egg hunt on April 24th.

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