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Crowdsourcing: What to Do When You're Near the Hagia Sophia, in Istanbul


View Hagia Sophia in a larger map

The sixth-century Hagia Sophia (a basilica turned mosque turned museum) retains its jaw-dropping 180-foot dome. We asked true travel pros what to do nearby. Want to share your expertise? Join our community on Facebook at facebook.com/travelandleisure and at Twitter @TravlandLeisure.

“The most authentic Ottoman cuisine can be found at Matbah (6 Caferiye Sk.; $$), where you can eat on a terrace and look out to Topkapi Palace.” —Mine Demiroren, via Facebook

“Have a rooftop drink at Seven Hills Hotel ($$) for views of boats in the Bosporus and close-ups of Hagia Sophia.” —@mrbaileynyc

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Now Boarding: Robot Bartenders Take Flight

While this robot is no Rosie, airlines are taking tips from the Jetsons with the SkyMax Skytender, an on-board robot bartender.

The Skytender trolley is similar to current airplane trolleys, but works as a mobile drink dispenser. The innovation can prepare up to 15 different drinks, from steaming mugs of coffee to iced tea, and even cocktails. Airlines can choose from over 100 different beverages and flavors, so plan to be surprised.

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Just Back: San Francisco and Wine Country

201210-b-san-francisco-breakfastjpg

Earlier this year, I took a weeklong anniversary trip to San Francisco, Napa, and Sonoma with my husband, Lee, an academic who gets hives at the thought of anything luxurious. Keeping him comfortable meant mixing extraordinary meals with unexpected finds and cheap local favorites. Here’s the best of our high-low itinerary that kept both of us satisfied.

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Eat Like a Local: Abu Dhabi Seafood, Straight from the Pier

Eat Like a Local: Abu Dhabi

Ever wanted an authentic meal abroad, but you can barely speak the language, let alone dare to stray off the map? That’s why Travel + Leisure and CNN teamed up for our series 100 Places to Eat Like a Local. For the next few months, we are gathering tips from chefs, editors, and iReports from you to pinpoint the best local food around the world.

This week we are highlighting a fish market in Abu Dhabi, brought to us by iReporter Sean Blake. Sean knew no one when he moved to the Untied Arab Emirates in 2011, and so set out to photograph 30 kitchens in 30 days, familiarizing himself with the people, culture, and, of course, food.

Sean’s freshest find came from the Al Mina Fish Market. “They take the fish right out of the water and you can buy minutes old,” he said. “They will have it prepared and cooked right there.” Talk about sea-to-table! Not only can you watch your food get cooked, you actually get to choose which swimming fish to eat. In addition, many of the market’s fish cleaners have been working there for over 25 years. It is as if you are going over a friend’s house for dinner, as long as your friend is an amazing cook who lives down by the pier.

Have your own favorite local joint? Share your own iReport for a chance to be featured on our blog!

Maria Pedone is a digital editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.

Jackson Hole Gets Big Snow (and Direct Flights)

Jackson Hole

The mountain is open at Jackson Hole and eager skiers who’ve been watching the Wyoming weather (to summarize: snow and snow and more powdery snow) will be happy to hear that getting to the Tetons is easier this winter. United is flying directly from Newark and San Francisco and Delta has added direct flights from Minneapolis, bringing the number of cities with direct service to the valley up to nine.

Intermediate skiers (me!) get a little love from the notoriously Black Diamond-heavy resort, too. A recently completed detachable quad lift opened last week to sweep Blue Trail skiers (me!) up to mid-mountain in just three and a half minutes. The Casper trail network has been expanded and buffed and more than half the blue trails are open, even this early in the season, because of the benevolent snow gods have dumped over 130” so far—more than at any other Rockies resort.

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Whiskey a No-Go: Trump and Glenfiddich on the Rocks

The Donald

It’s been a bad year for Donald Trump when it comes to elections.

His latest voter-based imbroglio, however, has less to do with Washington, and more to do with hotel bars, golf and feisty farmers.

The real estate and resort mogul recently banned Glenfiddich whisky at all of his properties, reportedly after taking offense at some implied opposition to his new Trump International Golf Links in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. (The resort has no hotel yet: one obstacle is Trump’s dispute with a neighboring wind farm project, but that’s a whole other drama.)

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Q+A: Graydon Carter Re-Opens Beatrice Inn

Graydon Carter Q+A

Graydon Carter, the Vanity Fair editor-in-chief who moonlights as a restaurateur, has a Midas touch when it comes to reviving classic New York spots. He brought the Waverly Inn back to life in 2006, and Monkey Bar shortly thereafter. His latest transformation, with partners Emil Varda and Brett Rasinski: the West Village’s Beatrice Inn (285 W. 12th St.; $$$$), a 1950’s-era Italian restaurant turned nightclub turned chophouse. Here, Carter dishes on what it takes to succeed, the perfect sound track for eating steak, and more.

What to expect at the Beatrice Inn: This is downtown, so we don’t serve traditional huge steaks. Brian Nasworthy, a former Per Se sous-chef, runs the kitchen. There are a lot of salads—my wife demanded that.

Favorite New York chophouse: Keens Steakhouse (72 W. 36th St.; $$$). It was the hot place in the late 1800's, and it is still packed. The food is wonderful, and the drinks are hearty. I have the roast beef twice a year.

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Eat Like a Local: Handmade Noodles in Philadelphia

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Prefer off-the-radar eateries to flashy, five-star affairs? That’s why Travel + Leisure and CNN teamed up for our series 100 Places to Eat Like a Local. For the next few months, we are combining iReports from you with chef and editor finds to give you tips on the best local food around.

Ever wonder where to get amazing Chinese food in Philadelphia? Chinatown might be a good guess, but how do you choose from the countless noodle houses lining the streets? Thankfully, we discovered Nan Zhou Noodle House (brought to our attention by cathybranch). Nan Zhou’s noodles are hand drawn and made to order, meaning you get to choose how you want them- broad or narrow, thick or thin. You can also pick from an array of proteins- from clam or shrimp to ox tail or lamb- to customize your dish.

Our iReporter suggests spicy pig ears to start while your noodles are being prepared. A few more insider tips- Nan Zhou Noodle House only accepts cash, so make sure to stop by an ATM on your way there. This joint is also BYOB, so while they do not sell wine or beer, you are welcome to bring your own to enjoy. Happy slurping!

Have your own suggestion for eating like a local? Share your iReport today!

Maria Pedone is a digital editorial intern at Travel + Leisure.

World's First Underwater Club Debuts

Niyama resort

An ocean-side cocktail is one of the numerous hallmarks of a quintessential beach escape. Now, the Niyama Resort on the Maldives’ far-flung Dhaalu Atoll is taking that concept to a new level, inviting guests to tope drinks and party the night away—wait for it—beneath the Indian Ocean. More than 500 yards offshore and a 40-minute seaplane jaunt from Malé, Subsix is the world’s first sunken club. When the full moon sets the ocean aglow, revelers can dance to international deejays and take in aquarium-like views of sea turtles wading in the surf and tropical fish interspersed on the reef.

In such a sensitive ecosystem, it’s encouraging to hear careful measures were taken to minimalize the environmental impact. Subsix was constructed above ground and placed delicately on a swath of empty seafloor. The resort also enlisted a marine biologist and launched a coral restoration program in which pieces of defunct reef are rehabilitated and returned to their natural habitats. 

The only thing missing in this human fishbowl is the scuba diver figurine.

Nate Storey is an editorial assistant at Travel + Leisure.

Photo courtesy of Niyama Resort

Travel + Leisure Tweet-Up Tomorrow: Dishing on Food and Travel

Adam Sachs

As travelers, we love to discover new places, new people, and especially new food! Satisfying your appetite in a new locale can make for some delectable memories, whether you're craving an epicurean feast or hoping to eat like a local. So where to eat next? We’ve assembled a top-notch panel of celebrity chefs and culinary experts to dish on their favorite restaurants, the industry’s hottest trends, and what they’re craving now.

The tweet-up will take place Wednesday, December 5, from 2–3 p.m. ET.

The Host
Adam Sachs (pictured), Travel + Leisure contributing editor (@sachsmo)

The Panel
Mario Batali, chef, TV personality, cookbook author (@Mariobatali)

Andrew Carmellini, chef and co-owner of Locanda Verde and The Dutch, NYC (@andrecarmellini)

Mitchell Davis, cookbook author, radio host, executive VP of the James Beard Foundation (@kitchensense)

Kat Kinsman, managing editor for CNN's food blog, Eatocracy (@kittenwithawhip)

Debi Mazar, actress, and her husband, Gabriele Corcos, stars of the Cooking Channel's "Extra Virgin" (@debimazar; @TheTuscanGun)

Nilou Motamed, Travel + Leisure features director and senior correspondent (@niloumotamed)

Daniel Patterson, chef, Coi, San Francisco (@dcpatterson)

Marcus Samuelsson, chef and co-owner at Red Rooster, author of Yes, Chef (@MarcusCooks)

How does it work?
1. Log in to Twitter any time from 2–3 p.m. EDT and be sure to follow the chat host: @TravlandLeisure
2. Use the hashtag #TL_Chat to follow.
3. To keep up with the chat in real time, head over to 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 food and travel advice.

Photo by Peter Jon Lindberg

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