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A Local’s Guide to Los Angeles

locals in Los Angeles

Jonathan Kidder, puppeteer
“I love L.A. The people who call it shallow have probably never been to my neighborhood, Silver Lake. Stop by Berlin Currywurst (3827 W. Sunset Blvd.; 323/663-1989) for the best sausage ever, served with wide Fritten, or fries.”

Malia Grace Mau, jewelry designer; Jeffrey Vincent Parise, actor and painter (pictured)
Mau: “We’re regulars at Cru (1521 Griffith Park Blvd.; 323/667-1551), a BYOB vegan restaurant in Silver Lake where we had our first date.” Parise: “Waiters in this town are very plugged-in; be sure to ask yours for local entertainment tips.”

Keri Pegram, physical therapist
“The Abbot Kinney area used to be equal amounts hippie and yuppie, but now it’s very chic. Grab a cup of salted-caramel gelato at N’ice Cream (1410 Abbot Kinney Blvd.; 310/396-7161) and hit Venice Beach.”

Spencer Aaronson, “professional enigma”; Mijo, pit bull
“It’s no small feat driving to East L.A., but any distance is worth it for Teresitas Restaurant (3826 E. First St.; 323/266-6045), a Mexican spot near Boyle Heights. Get the costillas de puerco en chile negro (only available on Wednesdays).”

Photo by Jessica Sample

And the Happiest Country on Earth is....

Huffington Post  |  Denmark has taken the top spot on the United Nation's first ever World Happiness Report, followed by Finland, Norway and the Netherlands.

The 158-page report, published by Columbia University's Earth Institute, was commissioned for the United Nations Conference on Happiness on Monday in order to "review the state of happiness in the world today and show how the new science of happiness explains personal and national variations in happiness."

The rankings in the report were based on a number called the "life evaluation score," a measurement which takes into account a variety of factors including people's health, family and job security as well as social factors like political freedom and government corruption....

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Shopping Moscow's Market

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Rinok. Just saying the word brings a sense of calm to my disjointed Russian life in Moscow. All at once, the sprawl of doorways open as if they are choreographed. I pass stalls where ducks and coffee and wild honey are being sold. You can get your keys copied, or a box of chocolates, maybe a fuzzy pair of house slippers. When they are in season, truckloads of watermelons are sold by the hour.

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Editor Report: 

Going Home to Hyderabad

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I’ll be honest—when I first heard Travel+Leisure was doing a feature story on Hyderabad, I was somewhat…perplexed. The sixth largest city in India is where my parents are originally from, and though my history-buff father has regaled me with its legends for years, I’ve never thought of it as a major tourist hub—but then, T+L is always ahead when it comes to mining hot off-the-radar destinations. Working on “Jewel of India” for March made me view the city through a new lens. And in a serendipitous twist, I was scheduled to take a long-delayed trip to Hyderabad right after we closed the issue.

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NYC Wants Its Rude Rep Back

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David vs. Goliath.

Cain vs. Abel.

Tyson vs. Holyfield.

Sure, those fights were pretty epic, but they pale in comparison to one battle that has been going on since the dawn of time…or, y’know, for a few decades. Or something. I’m talking about the duel between NYC and Los Angeles.

Residents from the bicoastal cities historically have been actively engaged in an extreme competition to be the best of the best. But a new blog, based in of one of those cities (New York), is beginning a campaign to win a different, seemingly unexpected title: rudest.

Yep. Rudest.

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Giveaway: The Keys to NYC

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What do the Dalai Lama, A-Rod, Nelson Mandela, Placido Domingo, and countless tourists have in common? They all have keys to New York City. Well, kind of.

From now through June 27th, anyone can get a “Key to the City” in Times Square as part of Paul Ramirez Jonas’ public arts project. The free keys, handed out at a kiosk between 43rd and 44th streets, open 25 gates, doors, and cabinets throughout the five boroughs.

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What to Do When You Can’t Get Into Noma? (and You Won’t)

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When Noma, the shrine to New Scandinavian cuisine in Copenhagen, was named the world’s “Best Restaurant” in April—beating El Bulli of Spain—its reservations site was flooded with more than 100,000 requests. Would-be diners managed to book every slot through May, June and July. When reservations opened for August, every table was gone within an hour.

So I knew that dining at Noma on a recent trip to Copenhagen was going to be a challenge. Not just Herculean, it turns out, but Sisyphean. After an ordeal of emails, hours of dialing to a perpetually busy phone line, and a humbling encounter with a boorish maitre d’ when I decided to show up and try to get on the waiting list, I failed. But in failure found the next best thing—a gem of a restaurant called Godt, located downtown near King's Garden.

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The Lee Brothers' Austin-Style Brunch

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One of Austin’s culinary icons is migas, a fry-up of eggs, onions, fresh chilies and tortilla chips, typically sluiced with a tomato salsa that’s served without fanfare at countless diners, family restaurants, and greasy spoons. Migas means “crumbs” in Spanish, and the roots of the dish can be traced to the Old World, specifically to Portugal and Spain. Popular legend has it that the migas we know and love was introduced to the United States by Mexican immigrants to Texas, who needed to make use of stale corn tortillas they couldn’t bare to discard.

However the dish came about, migas is a dynamite hangover-remedy and brunch dish. On our last trip to Austin, we were chagrined to find that our favorite spot for migas, Las Manitas Avenue Café, owned and operated by sisters Cynthia and Lidia Perez for 25 years, was gone. The building that housed the restaurant had been demolished to make room for a 1,000-room convention-center and hotel. Consider this recipe a tribute to the Perez sisters. There’s talk in town that a new Las Manitas may rise again in a different location, and we certainly hope one does. Perhaps it’s time to replace the “Keep Austin Weird” bumper stickers with a new one: “Keep Austin Delicious.”

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Just Back: Vail and Beaver Creek, Colorado

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With my snowboarding skills firmly intact, I decided this season I would head west again (after three years) for some real-deal riding. Here are my highlights from my January jaunt to Vail and Beaver Creek.

Favorite runs:
Avanti and Pickeroon, Vail (lift ticket $97 a day)—often-groomed, excellent mix of intermediate and advanced slope.
Larkspur Bowl and Golden Bear, Beaver Creek (lift ticket $97 a day)—the bowl was next to empty and made me shout, WOOHOO, multiple times; I renamed Golden Bear “Honey Bear” because it was such a sweet ride.

Favorite après-ski spots:
Garfinkel’s, Lionshead (drinks for two $15)—lots of picnic tables outside, making it easy to spot your friends; I accidentally stayed après après.
Los Amigos, at Vail Village (drinks for two $15)—watch tired experts and out-of-their-league beginners make their last run down the black-diamond Pepi’s Face, and be thankful you’ve already loosened your boots.

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Italy Lovers Say 'Ciao' to the Bronx

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After much prodding by a Bronx-born friend, this past weekend I finally checked out the borough’s Belmont section—a.k.a. Arthur Avenue, named for its main drag—and finally understood the hype. Teeming with pizzerias, pastry shops, and seafood merchants, this former immigrant neighborhood is a slice of old Italy. Whether you’re a New Yorker or a tourist, Arthur Ave. an authentic, distinctive, and tasty NYC outing. Plus, I’d wager a few thousand lire that it’s one heck of a Valentine’s Day destination (hint, hint).

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As we grazed on fresh olives and cheese at the charmingly old-school Arthur Avenue Retail Market, my friend and I stocked up on imported Italian ingredients, everything from dried bresaola to hand-rolled fettuccini. I dream nightly about the creamy, caramel-y fromaggio Prima Donna that the affable Mike’s Deli guys urged me to sample.

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