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3 Great Bars in Mumbai

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Mumbai
presents an almost implausible contrast, between skeletal dogs in the streets and people living on top of each other in slums, to flaunting its new face of modern luxury and creative ambition.  You will absolutely need breaks and time to relax and reflect on the disparity. I raised my glass to the dizzying hub of India in three chic bars, all in vastly different neighborhoods:

Aurus: In Juhu, a wealthy beachfront neighborhood in South Mumbai, is Bollywood central! At Aurus, situated right on the beach (pictured, top), you're almost guaranteed to spot a star that lives nearby.  An outdoor drink at Aurus might even help break the humidity of a Mumbai night. Nichani Kutir, Ground Floor, Juhu Tara Road; 011-91-22-6710-6666.

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Sweets for Your Sweetie in San Francisco

In today’s V-Day installment from GloboMaestro, Antonio Barrios, concierge at the St. Regis San Francisco takes us to Hayes Valley in San Franciso in search of exquisite chocolates, old-school cakes, and all manner of sugary treats for your sweetheart—or yourself!

For more ideas on where to find great candy, chocolates, and more, check out our new feature "Best New Sweet Shops."

Love on the Rocks: Romance at NYC’s First-Ever “Pulqueria”

It’s not your average aphrodisiac. Pulque—the frothy, vitamin-rich, rough-around-the-edges beverage made from fermented Maguey sap—has been the drink of gods and mortals in Mexico for over 1,000 years. This less sophisticated cousin to tequila is also a “must imbibe” concoction for those wanting to conceive.

Today, as part of our special love-inspired V-Day video series with GloboMaestro, we’re featuring a sexy subterranean watering hole that pours pulque by the pitcher. And, it’s in the unlikeliest of places—New York City’s Chinatown. This romantic spot also turns out some really authentic food, too. Don’t miss sharing a bowl of the sikil pak, a Mayan pumpkin seed dip served with housemade tortilla chips.

Pulqueria NYC
11 Doyers Street (Bowery & Doyers)
212-227-3099
www.pulquerianyc.com

Be Mine, Miami: The Delano’s “Bianca” Opens, Salsa, More!

We’re not sure what’s in the air, but the city of Miami is on editors’ minds these days. Many of us are plotting sunny getaways there, surprising our significant others with romantic weekends, and generally daydreaming about Florida’s hottest city. And, Miami news is pouring in: Last week, we covered the re-opening of the landmark Shelborne South Beach hotel; and this week we’re craving Chef Brian Massie's Italian dishes at the newly opened—and ridiculously chic—Bianca restaurant at the Delano Hotel. (The very idea of his simply grilled langoustines and homemade pasta with shaved truffles makes us swoon.)

And on the heels of yesterday’s love-inspired post, we have another fun video from GloboMaestro. Here's an excuse to get physical in Miami on Valentine’s Day—or any day! Take your first class, or show off your moves, with other passionate dancers at Miami's Salsa Mia. The Mandarin Oriental, Miami’s concierge, Giselle Mueller, shows you the way.

Finding Top Restaurant Deals with Bitehunter

Bitehunter inventor Gil Harel

Innovator Gil Harel

Who He Is: Though he got his start working in the marketing department of Israel’s Isrotel hotel chain and at Expedia, the 39-year-old Cornell MBA now focuses on the restaurant and bar industry with his new website, Bitehunter.

His Big Idea: The Bitehunter site and its iPhone app scour more than 500 online sources including Gilt City, OpenTable, restaurant.com, and even Twitter to locate the best deals in any given area. It’s a Kayak-style approach for dining deals, which Harel acknowledges as inspiration for his food-focused search engine: “Historically, airlines adopt cutting-edge technology first, followed by hotels, then restaurants.” And as foodie deal services such as Groupon and BlackboardEats continue to proliferate, his simple aggregator is a welcome resource.

Photo courtesy of Hila Harel

Locals Share Their Favorite Spots in Istanbul

Gulgun Ozek in Istanbul

Gülgün Özek, Photo Editor (pictured)
Location: Sofyali Sokak, Asmalimescit
“My neighborhood is historic yet cosmopolitan. Inside the Neoclassical buildings you’ll find bars, theaters, and one of the best contemporary art galleries—Arter (211 Istiklal Cad.; 90-212/243-3767).”

Seren Yüce, Filmmaker
Location: Kadiköy Harbor
“I love the view of the Bosporus from the lighthouse. I just had lunch at Çiya Sofrasi (lunch for two $50)—a traditional Anatolian restaurant nearby.”

Mehmet Öktem, Bar Owner
Location: Galata Bridge
“I come here often, just to soak in the city. This bridge connects Beyoğlu—the city’s modern, European heart—and the old peninsula, where I shop at the Spice Bazaar. It’s next to the New Mosque, which is almost three hundred and fifty years old.”

Yasemin Arpaç, Interior Designer
Location: Serdar Ekrem Sokak, Galata
“A lot of artists are moving into the area—it’s very trendy these days. At one end of the street there’s the Galata Tower; at the other is my favorite jewelry boutique, Aida Pekin (44A Serdar Ekrem Sk.; 90-212/243-1211). The designer creates pendants inspired by local landmarks.”

Interviewed by Christine Ajudua

Photo by Kerem Uzel

Greenbrier Chef Wins Bocuse D’Or USA

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It’s often described as the Olympics of the Food World. Entering its 26th edition in 2013, the Bocuse D’Or—a biennial competition started by one of the fathers of French cooking, Paul Bocuse, that brings together the best chefs in a country, and then the world—is one of the great culinary honors.

This year, the top toque award at the U.S.A. competition went to Chef Richard Rosendale The Greenbrier resort in West Virginia. On Sunday, at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY, Rosendale—who’s one of only 66 Master Chefs in the country—dazzled the judges’ taste buds with a version of D'Artagnan Winter Chicken Preparations. It's hard not get hungry reading Chef Rosendale's description:

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Danny Meyer's Favorite Hotel Restaurants

Danny Meyer, restaurateur

With three dining spots—Shake Shack, Blue Smoke, and North End Grill—anchoring the new Conrad Hotel (102 North End Ave.; 212/945-0100; doubles from $369), Danny Meyer is making his mark on New York’s Battery Park City. (His company Union Square Events also has an exclusive food and beverage partnership with the Conrad.) Here, he reveals his top hotel-restaurant picks.

Louisville, Kentucky
“The winsome art collection, happening bar, and Michael Paley’s gutsy cooking make Proof on Main at 21c Museum Hotel a restaurant you don’t want to miss. Try the charcuterie plate, and anything Chef Paley does with pork is outstanding.” Dinner for two $75.

New York
“Choose a window table with a view of the whole room at Adour Alain Ducasse in the St. Regis, and tuck in to some of New York’s most refined cooking, such as a tiny, roseate pork chop along with a lovely Aloxe-Corton—a surprisingly good value on the list.” 2 E. 55th St.; 212/710-2277; dinner for two $300.

Paris
“The formerly bohemian Hôtel Pont Royal is now a swank setting. The menu at L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon changes frequently, but I once savored langoustines and thyme-roasted lamb chops with a glass of Château de Fonsalette.” 5 Rue de Montalembert, Seventh Arr.; 33-1/42-22-56-56; dinner for two $270.

London
“David Linley’s Dining Room at the Goring is stunningly lit by Swarovski chandeliers at night. The menu is a winning cross between modern and classic British. The lobster omelette alone is worth the trip.” 15 Beeston Place; 44-20/7396-9000; dinner for two $160.

Photo by Ellen Silverman

Just Back: Killington, Vermont

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As a professed snow snob I scoffed when a group of friends recently proposed a ski weekend in Killington, Vermont. It’s hard to get excited about mountains that look more like the hills I used to sled down as a kid in Salt Lake City than the exhilarating, death-defying declines that tattoo the Rocky Mountains. When you grow up within an hour of seven world-class ski resorts you tend to develop a cavalier attitude about the prospects of cleaving down a worn, icy tilt and paying good money for it. So I opted to head for this quaint northeastern burg sans my snowboard. Half the fun of a ski vacation anyway is exploring the town, enjoying the fresh air, eating at great restaurants, and plunging into the après ski scene.

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News from Asia: Score One for the Sharks

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Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts announced yesterday that it was placing an immediate ban on shark fin and phasing out Chilean sea bass and blue-fin tuna within the year. According to Shangri-La spokeswoman Maria Kuhn, the new policy, which affects all 72 properties, has been a long time coming. “In December 2010, we took shark’s fin off our menus as a first step towards completely phasing it out,” says Kuhn, who is based in Hong Kong, where the company’s headquarters are.

Shangri-La joins Peninsula hotels, which announced a ban on shark fin in November. For both properties, it’s a bold, gutsy move. Both have a serious presence in China, where shark fin, long considered a delicacy, has become de rigueur at banquets. In fact, Shangri-La, which already runs 35 hotels in Hong Kong and mainland China, has 23 properties under development in China. It also has hotels in Taiwan and Singapore.

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