The holy month of Ramadan began Aug. 22, and over 1 billion Muslims around the globe will be observing it by fasting from sunrise to sunset for 30 days. They’ll be waking up early for a hearty suhoor meal before dawn and an iftar dinner after sunset. Sound hard? Well, it is, but different cultures have found unique ways to celebrate this sacred time.
-The first day of Ramadan is greeted with fireworks and celebrations in the streets of Dhaka, Bangladesh.
-In Dubai, a loud canon booms when it’s time to stop eating in the morning and to break fast at sunset.
Muslims in Cairo keep things festive at night, reveling by staying up late after evening prayers to eat and smoke sheesha till the early hours of the morning.
Our photographers are so terrific. They often give us great ideas, because they are inveterate travelers themselves. Recently we sent a new contributor, Peter Frank Edwards, to Dallas to shoot a story for us. His partner, Sandy Lang, accompanied him. Not only did they produce a beautiful shoot, they also gave me a great tip on a cool affordable motel they found:
This summer, I've been on the lookout for exotic and far-flung experiences within the U.S. And I have another find for you, dear reader: the casual new Los Angeles restaurant Street, where chef Susan Feniger serves up dishes inspired by the food at casual stalls and markets around the globe. (You may know her cooking from LA restaurants Ciudad and Border Grill, but this is her first solo venture.)
In 2006, retired chemistry professor Dr. Dogan Sumengen and his wife opened up Hotel Ada in the heart of Sultanahmet, Istanbul’s old city. My fiancé Josh and I stayed there on our most recent trip. Even in June, the peak of the high season, room rates were very affordable (starting at $83 a night), and the hotel couldn’t have had a better location—a five minute walk to the Blue Mosque and Aya Sofia, and a ten minute walk to Topkapi Palace.
While most don’t want to think about the end of summer, the Finns are celebrating with crayfish and schnapps. From now through October, hotels, tour groups, and restaurants are celebrating huge hauls of crayfish in this singular Finnish tradition. (Finland's crayfish celebrations began in the early 1900's, when monied Swedish and Russian jetsetters took to feasting on the succulant shelfish while visitng Finnish seaside resorts.)
It's notoriously hard to find within the continental U.S., but this summer, shave ice has officially arrived on the east and west coasts. If you’ve ever been to Oahu’s North Shore, you’ve probably been to Matsumoto’s, a veritable mecca for the stuff. If not, let me explain: they do not crush their ice; as its name implies, it’s shaved (but drop the final d, thank you very much) off a big block. The result? Ultra-light, even powdery flakes that hold onto flavor much better than your standard snow cone and make converts of the most enthusiastic slushy slurpers.
My mission was simple: for my husband and me to get some desperately needed time out of New York City among trees, fresh air and wildlife, and open space for our active toddler boy to run, climb and explore. Also important: finding a reasonably priced place to stay for the weekend near Woodstock, NY, where our friends were getting married.
After much research into different inns and B&Bs (many of which do not allow children), we decided to stay at The Retreat at TreeGap, an eco- and family-friendly B&B about a mile outside town with a focus on organic food (and big breakfasts!) and sustainable living.
I just returned from my third trip to Monte Argentario, a dramatic peninsula two hours north of Rome on the Tuscan coast. My sister married a Roman who grew up going to a place called Cala Moresca (or the Moorish Cove), and he's since introduced us to the area, which is better known to Italians than to Americans. (It's a place locals save for themselves.) Here are some of our favorite stops, plus a couple new discoveries:
OK, it’s embarrassing to admit it, but I love a blue cocktail. I love the way it looks with a straw and little umbrella stuck in it. Maybe a maraschino cherry dropped on top. I think it’s the perfect accompaniment to coconut shrimp and a Caribbean sunset.
Already a well-kept secret among Americans traveling to Paris for his off-the-tourist-path city excursions, tour guide and former caterer and pastry chef Richard Nahem has recently paired with chef Charlotte Puckette to design French cooking classes for English-speaking travelers. (Nahem is from New York, and although Puckette has been in Paris for over 20 years, she still calls Charleston, S.C., home.)