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Chef's Tour: The Ardeche, France

Chef's Tour

It’s not every day that one of France’s most respected chefs—we’re talking the three-Michelin-star, Bocuse d’ Or-winning ilk—would travel to Manhattan and cook for an entire weekend. In fact, it’s been more than 20 years since Régis Marcon of Hôtel et Restaurant Régis et Jacques Marcon has cooked in New York City.

Marcon brought his talented sons Jacques and Paul with him last weekend, teaming up with longtime friend Daniel Boulud to create a series of exquisite meals out of Boulud’s equally Michelin-star-studded Restaurant Daniel. After dropping by the kitchen to chat with Chef Marcon during the city’s annual Citymeals-on-Wheels benefit (Boulud is co-president this year—check out his awesome new Chefs Deliver initiative), I’m dying to dine at his restaurant in France’s south-central Ardèche region. Read on, and then fight me for the last available aisle seat to France tomorrow.

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A Bollywood Spectacular Comes to New Jersey

As the synchronized jingle of a dozen anklets claimed center stage at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center last Saturday, I watched with giddy anticipation. There was something exhilarating about listening to the Bollywood tunes of my childhood—songs that often served as the overplayed soundtracks to family roadtrips and dinner parties—captivate an audience of nearly 2,300.

I was here to witness “Mystic India: The World Tour,” a series of high-octane dance performances that combined regional folk dancing, exuberant tributes to Hindu gods and lively renditions of Bollywood classics.

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Brokeback Mountain Opera Premieres at Madrid's Teatro Real

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One of the most anticipated new operas of 2014 has premiered at Madrid’s Teatro Real: Brokeback Mountain, with a libretto by Annie Proulx, based on her short story, and a score by American composer Charles Wuorinen. Brokeback Mountainis, of course, widely known because of the acclaimed 2005 film by Ang Lee that starred Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, as Wyoming sheep-herders, who fall in love in a landscape and a time inhospitable to their passion.

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Find Local Events Wherever You Travel With Eventseeker App

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If you’re searching for an activity more interesting than the average tourist attraction while traveling, skip the guidebook and log onto eventseeker. The event recommendation engine—available to all Android users as of last week—uses your social profile and music applications to create a hyper-local, personalized list of suggested activities. It even shows you which friends may be attending. 

Since it launched last year, eventseeker has been steadily expanding its global reach. Aside from its ubiquity across all smartphone platforms and social networks, the app now has a presence in more than 2,000 cities worldwide. Partnerships with 150 ticketing agencies have provided access to an unprecedented database of events, ranging from nearby festivals to rock concerts or educational programs.

The next time you're touring a new town, or simply looking to expand your neighborhood knowledge of affairs, let eventseeker do the searching for you. 

Melanie Lieberman is an editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.

Photo Courtesy of Eventseeker 

Top Facebook Check-Ins During Mardi Gras in New Orleans

Fat Tuesday marks the end of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, but we’re still reminiscing about the flaky slices of King Cake and over-the-top parades. These numbers, officially crunched by Facebook, show the most popular bars, hotels, and neighborhoods in NOLA from 2013, based on the volume of and increase in Facebook check-ins during the week leading up to Mardi Gras. Only check-ins within a 15-mile radius of the city center made the cut, so vicarious revelers couldn’t skew the stats. Read on to see how many of your 2014 party spots racked up against last year’s.

Places to Hang Out and Watch the Parades

1. St. Charles Avenue

2. Lee Circle

3. Uptown

4. New Orleans City Park

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Affordable Oscar-Themed Getaways In the U.S.

If, like me, you’ve been rushing around before Sunday’s star-studded event to see this year’s batch of Academy Award-nominated films, then perhaps you’re craving a vacation. These five trips—all affordable and in the U.S.—are inspired by films nominated for Best Picture this year.

AMERICAN HUSTLE

The T+L Trip: Suburban Massachusetts and Boston

The real life ABSCAM sting operation took place in New York and New Jersey, but much of David O. Russell’s crime drama was actually filmed in suburban Massachusetts. That dry cleaning branch? It’s Reliable Cleaners, between Natick and Framingham; Irving Rosenfeld’s modest house that he shares with wife Rosalyn is in tiny Medford. Boston’s Fairmont Copley Plaza makes a cameo (it’s where Irving and Lady Edith Greensly celebrate their newly launched London Associates partnership), and to mark the Academy Awards, the hotel is offering the Oscar Party Package. Rates from $759 include a stay in a one bedroom suite, popcorn snack, in-room champagne, and Red Carpet Bingo—or just pop into the hotel for a drink and a self-guided tour

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Carnival Celebrations Around the Globe

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Carnival—the final soiree before Lent when people fast, avoid indulgences, and refrain from partying—culminates over the next week with vibrant costumes, wild dancing, and self-expression, found worldwide this year until March 4th. For many, Carnival is a fun way to let go, whether you're family road-tripping to Louisiana or a couple jet-setting to Italy. In case you don't have a chance to join in the revelry, here are a few colorful Carnival-inspired experience that caught our eye:

Venice

Just steps from St. Mark’s Square, the historic Luna Hotel Baglioni (above and below) will be prepping its guests for festive balls with private costume fittings—including embellished masks and cloaks—by Atelier Flavia. Traditional gowns will grace the ballroom floor during the hotel’s Grand Baglioni Party this Friday, February 28, and the Gran Carnivale Party on Saturday, March 1, where guests can sit back and enjoy the “Dance & Opera Show,” or join in on the display themselves. Housed in a Venetian palace, the hotel's stately ties to the past reach from its proximity to Piazza San Marco—where celebrations first began during the Middle Ages in 1162—to inside the Marco Polo Ballroom, where original fresco paintings of the XVIII Century of the School of Tiepolo adorn the walls.

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New Crowd-Sourced Exhibition Explores Boston's Love Affair with Impressionism

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The Museum of Fine Arts in Boston today is opening a new exhibition, “Boston Loves Impressionism,” showcasing 30 masterpieces carefully curated by…the public.

To choose the artworks for display, the MFA held an online contest that saw a staggering 41,497 votes cast over three weeks in January. And with one of the world’s largest Impressionist collections at their disposal, voters had quite the challenge. Who were the winners?

Among the top 30 scorers are perennial favorites by Cassatt, Cézanne, and Pisarro, with first-place going to Van Gogh’s Houses at Auvers. Water Lilies from Monet and Degas’s charming Little Fourteen-Year-Old Dancer—the only sculpture in the running—round out the top three.

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The Armory Show Celebrates 100 Years at the New York Historical Society

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The exhibition, “The Armory Show at 100: Modern Art and Revolution,” at the New York Historical Society, is a don’t-miss, by any standard. The original show was organized in 1913 by the Association of American Painters and Sculptors and represented the first large-scale exhibition of modern art in the United States. So large scale, in fact, that the 1,300 paintings, works on paper, sculpture, and decorative arts had to be displayed in an unconventional space: New York City’s 69th Regiment Armory (located on Lexington Avenue, between 25th and 26th Streets). The exhibition introduced the American public to European modernity and a clutch of stylistic “-isms,” including Fauvism, Cubism, and Futurism. It shocked and provoked. It also marked a turning point in the country’s cultural life.

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London's Street Food Heads Indoors at Hawker House Market

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Street food culture continues to reign supreme in London, but what's a girl to do to get her foodie fix during the long, wet winter months that plague The Big Smoke? Why, move the street festival indoors, of course! And that's exactly what the guys behind Street Feast have done by setting up camp in an old factory in East London. Modelled on the traditional hawker markets of Singapore, Hawker House (38-50 Pritchard’s Road, London) will provide music, booze and fantastic food every Friday and Saturday night through March 22nd. Traders hail from the who’s who roster of the city’s street food legends and will be feeding the crowds dishes like crispy wood oven pizza, pork belly steamed buns, fish tacos, octopus curry, and authentic BBQ. And it gets better! While nibbling on your taco you can boogie across the space to pick your poison at one of four bars. So why not get out of the rain and join in one of the great foodie parties London offers?

Entry to Hawker House is free before 7pm, and £3 at the door after 7pm. Find out more here.

Sally Hurst is a chef and food writer based in London. You can follow her on Twitter at @chefsallyjane

Photo courtesy of The Gaztronome

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