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The Best Craft Vodkas

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Since the 8th century, flavorless, ethanol-esque vodka has been a means to an end (see serfs, Russian), and rightfully so—the stuff just isn’t that good. But a new band of global distillers is shaking up (ahem) the scorned booze with inventive ingredients and high-quality methods, transforming it from soda-with-lime afterthought to a sip-worthy nightcap. Here, in honor of National Vodka Day, seven craft bottles worth putting on your shelf.     

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Lufthansa Partners with Grocer to Deliver In-Flight Meals Home

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I may be in the minority on this, but I absolutely love in-flight dinners. They’re usually the first meal of a trip, and, to someone who remembers vacations by their foods, that matters a lot. I feel a certain energy bubble up in me as I twist open my mini wine bottle and take the tin-foil cover off my reheated “gourmet” cuisine.

Now I’m hoping that a new service from Germany’s Lufthansa takes off stateside. The airline—still dealing with striking pilots—has partnered with online grocer Allyouneed.com to launch Air Food One, delivering airplane food to households once a week.

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30 Things You Didn't Know About Oktoberfest

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Because almost everything you know about Oktoberfest you learned from the Wolfhouse brothers, here are 30 fun facts from a real-life German about the world’s most magical annual beer festival.

1. The name is misleading.
Because Oktoberfest is in September, for the most part.

2. It’s 204 years old

Yup, the festival started its illustrious career in 1810, the same year the US annexed the Republic of West Florida, if that helps give you an idea of how far back it goes. Wait, it doesn't? Didn't know there was a Republic of West Florida? Yea, we looked that up.

3. In the beginning, there was no beer
Oktoberfest started as a wedding actually, and a dry one at that. It was essentially a way to let the poor people celebrate the nuptials of Ludwig von Bayern, the King of Bavaria, and princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. Also, it kicked off with a royal horse race.

SEE MORE AT THRILLIST

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

New Restaurant Brings Israeli Flavors to London's Chinatown

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While politics in the Middle East have been boiling over these past few months, the food of this region has stormed the tastebuds and hearts of Londoners, whisking them off to sunnier climes.  While places like Arabica in Borough Market and Wormwood in Notting Hill are toying with the food of the Levant and North Africa, it is Palomar, which has brought a taste of modern Jerusalem to Chinatown, which most gloriously showcases this latest trend.

Chef Tomer Amedi believes London has so eagerly embraced Palomar because his flavors are to the point yet elegantly layered, evoking strong emotions and a family heritage. This is food from the heart and beguilingly delicious.  The Jerusalem soft polenta laden with truffle oil, shards of Parmesan, and mushroom ragout is the stuff of foodie dreams. Raw oysters with a dab of harissa were creamy and spicy and briney.

Sitting in the lively dining room, plate after plate of aromatic goodness placed in front of you, you can almost imagine you’ll go outside to be greeted by palm trees and a warm breeze, not the dreary London cityscape. It’s magical.

Sally Hurst is a London-based chef and contributor to travelandleisure.com

Photo courtesy of Sally Hurst

New London Hot Spot: Hixter Bankside

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London culinary institution, Chef Mark Hix, has opened his first restaurant south of the Thames River, just a stones throw from the Tate Modern and Borough Market. At Hixter Bankside he’s once again working with the formula that proved so popular at his East London restaurant Tramshed, focusing on succulent whole roast chickens and Flinstones-sized beef cuts to share.

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Istanbul Restaurant Helps Revive Forgotten Neighborhood

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The Istanbul neighborhood of Karaköy used to be a bustling port; home to one of the busiest harbors in Europe. But with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the area fell into disrepair. For decades Karaköy, with its gaping naval warehouses, was a gloomy and forgotten dockland. The only people you’d find hanging out there were fishermen, junkies, and prostitutes. 

But all that began to change with the arrival of Didem Şenol. A chef, formerly of New York City’s Le Cirque and Eleven Madison Park, Şenol took a chance on Karaköy when she opened her first restaurant there in 2010.

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London's Hottest Tables

Edwins

Our guide to where and what to eat now.

Edwins: This quintessentially English pub—Tudor windows, draped curtains, and large wooden tables—became an instant hit when it opened in the spring. On the menu: elevated British classics such as lamb “chump” chops with eggplant and zucchini, and for dessert, gooseberry trifle. $$$

Rabot 1745: Nearly every dish at Rabot 1745, the brainchild of Angus Thirlwell and Peter Harris of Hotel Chocolat, is laced with chocolate, from the carpaccio Rabot, doused in a 100 percent cacao–liquor dressing, to the guinea fowl and cocoa-infused yogurt. $$$$

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Vegan Food Truck Wins Tenth Annual NYC Vendy Awards

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We love food trucks here at T+L, so this year's NYC Vendy Awards had our attention. Food truck vendors traveled to Governors Island, New York, Saturday for a cook-off at the tenth annual Vendy Awards. This year, twenty-five finalists were nominated online and competed in one of five categories at the event. 

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Mendoza's Authentic Wine Scene

Vines Resort & Spa, Uco Valley

Bruce Schoenfeld finds a wave of authenticity in Argentina’s best-loved wine region.

The swirl-and-sip set are flocking to Mendoza. They gather in hotel lobbies wearing sandals and gaucho hats, bound for Catena Zapata’s Mayan pyramid of a winery or a polo match at Cheval des Andes. Nearly a dozen wine-tourism companies are operating excursions to the large, important producers. There’s even a continental dining scene striving for global recognition.

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The Best of London's Borough Market

Borough Market

Our top picks in the South Bank’s foodie epicenter.

Wright Brothers Oyster & Porter House: The fresh oysters at this rustic-chic restaurant are prepared in various ways, from deep-​fried to Japanese-style with wasabi, ginger, and soy. Get a sidewalk table for great people-watching. $$$

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