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The Ultimate Culture & Adventure Guide to Sedona Arizona

May 27, 2015 by  

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Sedona Arizona isn’t an unknown destination for Americans who are seeking a combination of luxury, wellness and spirituality — in fact, despite the fact that it’s become more commercialized over the years, it remains a romantic and spiritual-seeking getaway for people who love the outdoors. My most recent trip in February certainly wasn’t my first, but each and every time I’ve taken the time to relax in Sedona over the years, I’ve had a positive experience. Could it be the magical red rocks that surround the entire town? Could it be the quirky things you can do there in nature, like hikes on trails that are known to have vortexes, exploring the mystical red rocks in a pink jeep, the outstanding spas and healing centers, the fabulous restaurants or the outrageous views? Anthony had never been to Sedona before, and so I tried to prepare him for what to expect, not just when we arrived, but the views you suddenly get out of nowhere as you make your way south on the Flagstaff road. The road winds its way around passes and if you’re driving you might just miss the steep rocks that spike straight up from the…

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Exploring Japan’s Top 30 Restaurants

May 25, 2015 by  

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Heading to Japan anytime soon or have been wanting to but don’t know where to start on the food front? Opinionated About Dining, a source of global restaurant rankings, has pronounced the top 30 restaurants in the Land of the Rising Sun. Selected by the survey’s membership, the list is comprised of establishments throughout 13 wards in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto and Hokkaido. Destinations led by master chefs of sushi, kaiseki and French cuisine dominate the top five ranked restaurants in Japan including Sushi Saito (Tokyo), Matsukawa (Tokyo), Michael Bras Toya (Hokkaido), Sushi Sawada(Tokyo), and Jimbocho Den (Tokyo). These are their selections:
  • Sushi Saito, Roppongi, Minato-Ku, Tokyo
  • Matsukawa, Roppongi, Minato-Ku, Tokyo
  • Michel Bras Toya, Toya, Hokkaido
  • Sushi Sawada, Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo
  • Jimbocho Den, Kanda, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo
  • Hajime, Nishi Ward, Osaka
  • Hyotei. Sakyo Ward, Kyoto
  • Sukiyabashi Jiro Roppongi.
  • Roppongi, Minato-Ku, Tokyo
  • Ryugin, Roppongi, Minato-Ku, Tokyo
  • Ishikawa. Kagurazaka, Shinjuku, Tokyo
  • Sushi Mizutani. Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo
  • Harutaka. Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo
  • L’Osier, Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo
  • Kitcho, Ukyo Ward, Kyoto
  • Quintessence, Gotenyama Shinagawa, Tokyo
  • L’Effervescence, Nishiazabu, Minato, Tokyo
  • Cuisine[s] Michel Troisgros, Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku, Tokyo,
  • Ukai-tei Ginza, Ginza, Chuo, Tokyo
  • Sushiso Masa, Nishiazabu, Minato, Tokyo
  • Chateau Restaurant Joel Robuchon, Minato, Tokyo
  • Mikawa


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Welcome to the Culinary World of Air Berlin

May 25, 2015 by  

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Let’s be honest, traveling on coach is no longer fun. In fact, it can be painful especially on long hauls. See my write up on Airline Woes for the traveler and how airline fees and acceptance of mediocre service has gotten out of control. Over the last couple of years, I’ve had an opportunity to fly on a few airlines Business and First Class, both domestically and internationally and it’s astonishing how that upgrade makes you feel like a normal human being, rather than a cattle row being shipped in and shipped out of a plane. I’m old enough to remember finer dining in coach where they used silver cutlery, served hot meals, gave out pens and cards and didn’t charge you for drinks, to watch a movie or for the headphones. Today, you need to fly Business or First Class to have that seamless experience. On my most recent trip to Berlin with Air Berlin, traveling in Business Class was a godsend given the fact that I was coming from America’s west coast. They offer 3 direct flights, from NYC, Chicago and most recently, Miami which was added this month. And so, I was off to Chicago with Air…

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All Things Farm-to-Table in Canada’s Prince Edward Island

May 22, 2015 by  

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cooking class pei An island surrounded by the abundant fruits of the sea and a landscape of rolling hills and little patchwork farms make up the culture of Prince Edwards Island. This combination of fishermen, farmers, and small town feel make PEI the perfect destination for culinary adventures. They call PEI “The Gentle Island” but after a few days of exploring the island I thought it should be renamed the “Culinary Island”. Filled with restaurants and seafood shacks that source everything locally, not because it’s the ‘in’ thing to do, but because that’s what you do when you live on an island. It really is the ‘perfect storm’ of PEI food all coming together on a small island; a foodie’s dream destination. As you drive around the island you see little vegetable stands placed at the end of driveways, sometimes manned by the farmer or kids, and sometimes it’s just self serve and a little money box is left for you to place your money. In addition to vegetable stands, you also see hundreds of churches on the island. Each little community has multiple churches; white wooden buildings that remind you of small town life. In…

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The Annual Summer San Francisco Street Food Festival

May 20, 2015 by  

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It’s never too early to put La Cocina’s seventh annual ~SAN FRANCISCO STREET FOOD FESTIVAL~ on your calendar. This year, the festival is happening at Pier 70, where it’s moving after six years in the Mission. This year, La Cocina has partnered with Noise Pop and The Midway to bring the festival to Dogpatch.
sfsff_2015_poster.jpg Since they’ve got more space, the festival will be even bigger this year (in 2014 more than 80 vendors participated and there were more than 50,000 attendees) and will last for two days, Saturday August 15th and Sunday August 16th. While they haven’t released the final vendor list yet, look for lots of La Cocina businesses like Bini’s Kitchen and Zella’s Soulful Kitchen, along with local chefs and restaurants like 4505 Meats. There will also be live music and other entertainment, as well as plenty of beer, wine, and cocktails. We’ll keep you updated as more details emerge! Pier 70, 20th St. at Illinois.


Gloucestershire England’s Cheese Rolling Event

May 20, 2015 by  

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  england_glouster_cheese-rollEvidently the next best thing to eating Dutch cheese is running after it as it rolls down a hillside in England. Yes, that’s the premise of Cheese-Rolling At Cooper’s Hill In Gloucestershire, set for May 25, 2015. The cheese of choice is Gouda, chosen not only for its round shape but because Gouda, Netherlands, is twinned with Gloucester, England (that’s the English term for Sister Cities). The cheese is rolled — and contestants chase the cheese round (for practical reasons, it’s likely to be Double Gloucester rather than actual Gouda) down the almost 45-degree slope. There are other contests, some uphill, some down. Some all men, some all women, some for kids. But the prize is always cheese. Last year, the final cheese rolled was a Gouda brought from the Netherlands by a team of Orangemen — and it was shared with the crowd after the event. For reasons best known to bureaucrats, the event is controversial (it’s considered dangerous to both participants and spectators), and it’s true that there have been some sprains, broken bones and other injuries. Yet, the event thrives (more than 5000 spectators line both sides of…

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Cafe Culture: Where to go in Sydney for Incredible Coffee

May 17, 2015 by  

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cafes in sydney Photo courtesy of FOOKPHOTO.COM via Shutterstock. Over the past few years, the cities of Australia have been experiencing a coffee boom. Great cafes are cropping up across the country, even in the smallest of towns, such as the sleepy Tasmanian city of Launceston. But one of the finest coffee hot spots in Australia is Sydney. With no offense intended towards Canberra, I’m never surprised when non-Australians assume Sydney is our capital city. Big, bustling and beautiful, Sydney is overflowing with picturesque sights to see and iconic places to visit. While as a native Melbournian I am bound to take sides and argue my home town’s case as coffee capital of Australia, I’m the first to admit that Sydney has an excellent cafe culture.

Head to these top cafes in Sydney to indulge in that Australian coffee staple, the flat white:

cafes in sydney Photo courtesy of Baker Bros.

Baker Bros.

Right in the heart of the CBD, on bustling York Street, Baker Bros. is sleek, cool and well versed in the art of the espresso. Run by two Italian Sydney boys, this little cafe also…

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Iceland Experiential Travel: From Seafood to Lava Fields & Geysers

May 17, 2015 by  

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Situated high up in the North Atlantic and cut off from its neighbors by icy waters, Iceland offers a truly unique vacation experience. Many people travel to the country to see its lava fields, geysers, ice-topped volcanoes and glaciers, but it’s not only in terms of its scenery that Iceland excels. Iceland boasts a welcoming culture complete with lots of live music and an interesting, if a little unusual, cuisine. This brief guide talks you through some of the features that you won’t want to miss while on a trip to this part of the world. mackerel Delicious salted mackerel and red onion. Photo courtesy of Shulevskyy Volodymyr via Shutterstock.

Fun But Curious Foods

Thanks to its relative lack of industry, Iceland boasts some of the healthiest fish, seafood and meat available and, thanks to farmers’ use of hothouses, it also benefits from a surprisingly good selection of vegetables. Lamb is especially popular on the island, with sheep outnumbering people by four to one. Often, the meat is served grilled or in rich stews. Preserved foods played a major role in the nation’s food history, and Icelanders haven’t lost their love of these long-life…

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