Tag Archives: Restaurant

The Week in Travel (8/17/12)

The world of travel moves fast!   Let’s keep up–together.   On Fridays,  Traveling IQ curates the highlights from the past week:

Rio de Janeiro

*Ryan Lochte is peeing in a new pool; Posh, Sporty, Ginger, Scary and Baby are now a little less spicy; and Londoners are minding the gap in media coverage.  What happens next in post-Olympic London? (via Travel Agent Central)

*And as the focus shifts, Rio prepares for 2016. (via BBC)

*Knutstorp chairs, Nordli beds and lingonberry breakfast jam may be staples of your next vacation, as Ikea develops a line of “budget design” hotels, offering a boutique experience at an affordable price.  (via The Telegraph)

*Road trips are getting fancy with these stylish, new travel trailers.  (via NY Times)

*You can leave your hat on (and your shoes, and your belt) when traveling through America’s Northeast.  Air travel frustrations are boosting Amtrak bookings between Boston, New York and Washington D.C.  (via NY Times)

*San Francisco is the top, but Brooklyn is doubly tasty in claiming “America’s Best New Restaurants.”  (via Bon Appétit)

What did I miss?  Share your favorite travel news in the comments below or by posting on the Traveling IQ Facebook page.

(Photo via Rio 2016)

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The Week in Travel (6/29/12)

The world of travel moves fast!   Let’s keep up–together.   On Fridays,  Traveling IQ curates the highlights from the past week:

Ca’D’oro in Istanbul (via CN Traveler)

*Traveling will make you thirsty.  Quench it stylishly at one of the best new bars in cities including Berlin, Beijing, Buenos Aires, and other non-B beginning destinations.  (via Conde Nast Traveler)

*Eating out(doors) in London.  With a gazillion (exact figure) visitors descending on London this summer, you may need some fresh air and much to drink.  Here’s an area-by-area guide to the best outdoor cafes, bars and restaurants. (via Time Out London)

*London to Sydney in 4 hours!  Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Gulfstream – with the help of NASA – are working toward creating the “Son of Concorde,”  the first supersonic commercial passenger airliner.  (via news.com.au)

*Air travel these days means longer and longer time in airports.  Don’t fret, now you can play golf, visit a museum, or watch a concert, all en-route to your gate.  (via CNN)

*Hmmmm… Fourteen women–all in their 80’s and 90’s–who lived through the horrors of World War II competed to be crowned Israel’s first “Miss Holocaust Survivor” (via MSNBC)

What did I miss?  Share your favorite travel news in the comments below or by posting on the Traveling IQ Facebook page.

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The Week in Travel (5/18/12)

The world of travel moves fast!  Let’s keep up–together.  On Fridays, Traveling IQ curates the highlights from the past week:

Room Service Fitness

*Hilton Hotels are working it out.    Guests at the Hilton McLean Tysons Corner and the Hilton San Francisco Union Square will now have the option of staying in a Yoga Room or Cardio Room, each with a king bed and all the equipment needed for your workout routine.  (via USA Today)

*Enjoy the silence because flying is about to get louder.  By the end of the year, Virgin Atlantic will start offering mobile phone access in the air. (via Wired)

*High Dining, Adored!  This summer, New Yorkers will find more intimate dining settings on rooftops and upstairs decks throughout the city. (via New York Times)

*Gay Marriage in the Caribbean?  The government in Trinidad and Tobago is considering whether or not it wants to approve gay and lesbian marriage and will soon announce its decision. (via Passport Magazine)

*The Southwestern United States will see the sun’s annulus.  This Sunday afternoon, an annular solar eclipse will block most of the sun’s disc.  A few National Parks will be offering spectacular views.   (via ABC News)

What did I miss?  Share your favorite travel news in the comments below or by posting on the Traveling IQ Facebook page.

(Photo courtesy of My Bizarre World)

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Dutch Attitude at a Caribbean Latitude

The Dutch island of Curaçao invites you to experience European sophistication with Caribbean warmth.

Offering an enticing combination of Dutch Attitude at a Caribbean Latitude, Curaçao is emerging as one of the Caribbean’s most popular gay destinations.  A rare island where tourists and locals effortlessly coexist, Curaçao imbues your tropical vacation with cultural authenticity.

Conveniently located outside the Hurricane Belt, Curaçao enjoys year-round 80-degree days with minimal rain, perfect for both beach and city escapes.  To best experience the island’s diversity, the sister properties of Kura Hulanda (kurahulanda.com) offer the “Best of Both Worlds” Package.  Spend two nights admiring the Dutch Colonial architecture of the island’s capital, while staying at the UNESCO World Heritage designated Hotel Kura Hulanda (Langestraat 8-Willemstad).  This luxury boutique resort boasts glorious courtyards, multiple pools, restaurants, a spa and casino.  Then, spend three nights perched on rugged cliffs overlooking the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean, at the secluded Lodge Kura Hulanda & Beach Club (Playa Kalki-Westpunt) on the island’s western tip.  The Lodge’s onsite dive shop, Ocean Encounters West (oceanencounterswest.com), will complete your beach vacation by arranging snorkeling, diving, and boating excursions.

Planning your honeymoon?  Both resorts are members of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association and are eager to celebrate New York’s recent Marriage Equality victory.  Until December 22, they are offering newlyweds who present a valid New York marriage license a free upgrade and dinner for two.

All right, time to get a little sweaty and explore the island’s natural beauty.  Hardcore hikers should head to Christoffel National Park (christoffelpark.org) where you can climb 1,240 feet to the top of Mt. Christoffel, the island’s highest point.  On a clear day you can see the coasts of Venezuela and Bonaire.  If you prefer a rough ride, then fasten your seatbelt because it’s going to be a bumpy one.  Eric’s ATV Adventures (curacao-atv.com) will take you through the wildest and most beautiful parts of Curaçao, including cliffs, dunes, caves and beyond.

Next, explore the tasty variety of Curaçao’s cuisine.  Located about a mile from the Lodge Kura Hulanda, Landhuis Misjé (landhuismisje.com) serves up Caribbean comfort food with a sophisticated flair. Clearly stating her “100% gay friendly” policy on the restaurant website, Chef Graciela Real will make you feel right at home serving a unique fusion of the island’s Latin, Dutch and Caribbean influences in the lantern-lit yard of this restored plantation home.   Want to recreate the island’s flavor back home? Learn the necessary skills at Angelica’s Kitchen (Hoogstraat 49-Willemstad, angelicas-kitchen.com) Caribbean cooking class.  The ladies of the Kitchen will teach you how to make delicious “no fuss food” in a relaxed, festive setting.  Drink, cook, eat and bond with a group of old friends or favorite new acquaintances.   For a tasty Mojito or Caipirinha, head to the Latin-inspired café and bar Mundo Bizarro (Nieuwestraat 12-Pietermaai, mundobizarrocuracao.com).  Part restaurant, part live music venue, Mundo is a perfect spot to socialize with the locals.

Want to make a splash? Curaçao will be dripping with cocktail, beach, and boat parties from September 30-October 2, when it kicks off the 7th annual Get Wet gay party weekend.    Year round, Madame Jeanette “aims to make being Lesbian, Gay, Transgendered, Bisexual or just confused a perfectly normal thing to be, one Party at a time!”  The island’s hostess with the mostest throws her extravagant theme parties on the second Saturday of every month at TuTu Tango (Kaya Jombi Mensing 18-Willemstad, tutu-tango.com).  For information on all upcoming events and parties, visit GayCuracao.com.

Less than a three-hour flight from the U.S., Curaçao provides a taste of Northern Europe in the Southern Caribbean.  Trade your wooden shoes for a pair of sandals and enjoy the island’s “Live and Let Live” progressive attitude—with a tan!

(This article originally appeared in Next Magazine)

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Aruba Marriott: “One Happy Island”

Aruba Marriott Resort

If variety is the spice of life, Aruba is hot, hot, hot! This self-proclaimed “One Happy Island” is a blend of Caribbean ease, European sophistication and American comfort.  Though best known for the pristine beaches along its west coast, Aruba also has a rugged eastern coast and a colonial town center.  It is the rare island where a cactus, palm tree and native Divi-divi tree can all peacefully cohabitate.

Reflecting the diversity that makes this island unique, the Aruba Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino, combines the offerings of a large resort with the exclusivity of a boutique hotel.  Bon bini:  Welcome…

Read the full article published in Travel Squire by clicking on the picture below:

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Cologne, Germany: Religion & Revelry

Cologne is a city of contrasts.  Germany’s most catholic city is also one of its most progressive.  Founded along the Rhine River as a Roman settlement in 38 BC, Cologne has managed to stay relevant through more than 2,000 years of history, culture, and artistry.  Germany’s fourth largest city celebrates its distinct “Kölsch” culture by marching to the beat of its own drummer:  drinking its particular beer, speaking its unique dialect, and living its free-spirited lifestyle.  While honoring its rich past, Cologne is a city living in the present and looking toward the future.

Read the full article, published in Travel Squire, by clicking on the photo below:

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Puerto Vallarta Gets Tastier

If variety is the spice of life, gay Vallarta just got tastier.   Casa Cupula (http://www.casacupula.com), the decidedly upscale, boutique gay hotel in Puerto Vallarta, has opened its new restaurant Taste to the public. Perched on a secluded hillside, overlooking the Bay of Banderas, Taste is all about options. Choose to dine in the newly redesigned intimate dining room or under the sunshine/moonlight on the adjoining terrace.

What are you hungry for? Taste is prepared to satisfy all your culinary cravings— serving a sampling of Mexican, American, Asian and South American cuisine, available in both entrée and tapas (or “taste”) sized portions. With options including Shrimp Stuffed Ancho Peppers, Lamb Lollipops, Chicken Curry Samosas and Traditional Peruvian Ceviche, “you can Taste your way around the world in one meal, perfect for people on vacation who can’t return frequently,” says restaurant manager Erick Martinez.

Also, for the first time, the Sunday Mimosa Brunch previously enjoyed exclusively by hotel guests, is now open to everyone. The casa will keep the bubbles flowing, while you chat with old friends or make new ones at the community dining table. Afterwards, you are invited to work on your tan poolside while Casa Cupula hosts its weekly Sunday Pool Party for the boys (and girls) of Puerto Vallarta.

*This  article was originally published in Out Traveler:

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London: Savoring the Heart of Soho

Traveling IQ is published in TravelSquire.com

Soho Square, London

“Soho is a bit like the Times Square of London.  Everyone passes through here at some point,” remarked our cabbie Frank, his jolly, ruddy face a welcoming beacon after a long day of travel. “But there’s much more to it than most tourists ever see.  Soho’s real charm is in her heart.”

Walking around one of London’s most popular neighborhoods, Frank’s words become very clear.  Hemmed in by Oxford Street, Charing Cross Road, Shaftesbury Avenue and Regent Street, Soho’s touristy edges are packed with beautiful architecture, souvenir shops and people—lots and lots of people.  Though touring this periphery is a must for any new visitor, it is essential to go beyond these crowded borders to truly experience the area’s charm. Take the cobblestone paths inward and savor the heart of Soho.

Throughout its history, London’s Soho has been home to hunters, hookers, homos and highbrows—not always exclusive of each other.  The name “Soho” is actually derived from a 17th century hunting call when the area was known for its fox and hare game.  From hunting foxes to foxy hunting, Soho developed a popularity with prostitutes, writers and intellectuals in subsequent centuries.  Today, it covers roughly one square mile and is not only the hub for London’s film industry, publishing houses, and gayborhood; but also steps from the tourist-favored Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and West End theatres.

Good morning, Soho!  Skip the Starbucks and start your day with a phenomenal cappuccino from Bar Italia.  This no-frills, bustling Italian café serves pastries, sandwiches and the aforementioned delicious coffee 24 hours a day.  Stop in at different times and notice the ambience shift.  In the morning, the sidewalk tables are great for a low-key glimpse into Soho’s rising.  Late at night, it is a perfect spot to watch the neighborhood’s colorful citizenry congregate, chat and clunk the cobblestones.

Now that you are properly caffeinated, it is time for a stroll.  Put down the map. In Soho getting lost means finding new stores, cafés and picturesque alleyways.  If you need an initial direction, roam toward the shops of Carnaby Street.  The birthplace of fashion during London’s Swinging Sixties, Carnaby combines established brands with one-of-a-kind independent boutiques.  Containing the very hip Newburgh Quarter and the three-story shopping complex Kingly Court, Carnaby is home to recognizable labels such as Levi’s, Ben Sherman and Fred Perry as well as trendy boutiques like actress Sienna Miller’s Twenty8Twelve and Fur Coat No Knickers, a favorite for vintage accessories.

Shopping can be exhausting; it is time for a break in Soho Square.  Sit on a bench or lounge on the lawn and rest those weary feet.  On a beautiful day you can find sun worshippers and lunching businessmen enjoying a green retreat from the city streets.  Look just beyond the gardens to marvel at the magnificent architecture of St. Patrick’s Church, one of the first Catholic churches built after the Reformation, and the French Protestant Church, the only remaining Huguenot church in London.

Thirsty yet?  Few things are more English than a pub, and Soho is a perfect spot for a pint.  Let yourself off the leash at the Dog and Duck.  This century-old corner pub was a frequent hangout of George Orwell in the 1940’s; now the upstairs dining room bears his name.  Enjoy fish and chips, steak and ale pie, and other traditional pub grub, while wondering if the Dog and Duck were inspirations for his Animal Farm.

If you like your traditional English fare a bit more upscale, head to the Dining Room at Dean Street Townhouse.  This new addition to the Soho culinary scene, serves a weekly changing menu of seasonal British food, sourced locally from producers within the U.K. and Ireland.  Survey the diverse collection of contemporary British art adorning the walls from your vintage armchair, while sipping Pimm’s and Lemonade and savoring a traditional Sunday roast.

All right lads and lassies, time to spice up your holiday.  Eat, drink and dance the night away at Soho’s premier supper club:  Floridita.  This popular hotspot combines a Latin restaurant, cocktail bar, cigar lounge and dance hall into a deliciously sabroso evening.  As you descend the spiral staircase you quickly realize if “Sex and the City” were set in London, Carrie Bradshaw and Co. would be sipping a Mojito and scoping the singles scene downstairs.  With sister outposts in Havana, Dublin and Madrid, Floridita London imports Salsa bands from all over the world.  Live music starts around 9pm, with the dressed-to-impress crowd swiveling to sexy rhythms late into the night.

You must be exhausted.  Though countless hotel options line Soho’s busy borders, three distinctive properties standout within her heart. For civilized English hospitality, spend your nights at Hazlitt’s.  Named after the English essayist, William Hazlitt, who died here in 1830, Hazlitt’s now occupies three historic houses, each restored to its original Georgian glory.  Just off Soho Square, Hazlitt’s has painstakingly furnished and decorated each room with antique furniture and artwork to create a classic, intimate feel.  Of course, all the historic charm comes with modern conveniences: free Wi-Fi, telephones and satellite televisions, all unobtrusively installed in every room.   To honor its heritage, Hazlitt’s literary guests leave signed copies of their books to be included in the hotel’s prestigious library.  Read up on favorite autographed works from Susan Sontag, Ted Hughes and Bill Bryson, while enjoying a drink from the “honesty bar” (make a drink, jot it down, pay at checkout).

If chic is more your style, check in to The Soho Hotel.  Billed as “Soho’s first full service luxury hotel,” upon its opening in 2004, The Soho Hotel comprises 85 rooms and 6 apartments, Refuel Bar and Restaurant, fully-equipped gym (with on-site trainer) and two screening rooms.  Soho’s magnet for Hollywood and British celebrities, The Soho Hotel is fabulously trendy while retaining a whimsical warmth.  Upon entering the lobby you will be greeted by a spectacular 10-foot bronze Botero cat sculpture.  Flawlessly designed by Kit Kemp in a “contemporary London style,” every room has its own distinct personality.  Want to party like a rockstar?  Choose one of the penthouses with wrap-around tree-lined terraces.

For a charming combination of classic and contemporary, Dean Street Townhouse is the newest addition to the neighborhood.  Since opening in November 2009, this 39-bedroom hotel draws from its heritage while incorporating 21st century luxury.  Part of the Soho House family, the private members’ club with branches in London, New York, West Hollywood, Miami and Berlin, Dean Street Townhouse provides four categories of rooms: tiny, small, medium and bigger.  However, there is nothing teeny about the tiny, as each room has a King-size bed and its own rainforest shower.  Immaculately designed with Georgian wallpaper and upholstered vintage sofas, Dean Street Townhouse updates elegant English style with subdued modern sophistication.

Soho has undergone many shifts and changes throughout history, but has always maintained a palpable relevance in London culture.  From a hunting past to a cosmopolitan present, this “Times Square of London” (as christened by Frank) has its borders explored by many tourists but its interior savored by few.   Of course, there is much to see throughout this sprawling capital of England, but the alluring restaurants, shops and hotels of Soho are enough to seduce any sophisticated traveler to wander deep into its heart.

The country code for the United Kingdom is 44

WHERE TO SLEEP:

Hazlitt’s:  Just off Soho Square, three Georgian homes have been restored to create this charming 30-room, traditional English hotel. 6 Frith Street, London W1D 3JA, 020 7434 1771www.hazlittshotel.com

The Soho Hotel: Impeccably designed luxury hotel catering to Soho’s most fabulous clientele, complete with restaurant, bar, gym and screening rooms. 4 Richmond Mews, London W1D 3D, 020 7559 3000www.sohohotel.com

Dean Street Townhouse:  The new kid on the block, this stylish hotel combines classic Georgian design with contemporary sophistication in the heart of Soho. 69-71 Dean Street, London W1D 3SE, 020 7434 1775www.deanstreettownhouse.com

WHERE TO EAT:

Bar Italia:  This bustling Italian Café serves some of Soho’s best coffee 24 hours a day.  A perfect spot for people watching day or night. 22 Frith St
London W1D 4RP, 020 7437 4520www.baritaliasoho.co.uk

Dog and Duck:  A traditional English pub with a wide selection of beers and spirits, and upstairs dining room.  Don’t forget to order the fish and chips. 18 Bateman Street, London W1D 3AJ, 020 7494 0697

Dining Room at Dean Street Townhouse: Upscale English fare served at Dean Street Townhouse’s very stylish new restaurant. 69-71 Dean Street, London W1D 3SE, 020 7434 1775www.deanstreettownhouse.com

Floridita: This popular Latin hotspot is a place “to be seen” eating, drinking and dancing late into the night. 100 Wardour Street, London W1F 0TN, 020 7314 4000www.floriditalondon.com

WHAT TO SEE AND DO:

Carnaby is the shopping area containing Carnaby Street, Newburgh Quarter and Kingly Court.   Established brands and independent boutiques line these pedestrian friendly streets.www.carnaby.co.uk

Click on the photo below to see the full article, published in the online magazine, Travel Squire

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NYC: Sweet Treats on Wheels

New Yorkers are constantly on the go. Why should our food be any different? Food trucks of all varieties continue to expand their customer base by parking their mobile restaurants on the different streets of New York City. From tacos to pizza to dumplings, if you can imagine it, there is probably a truck serving it down the block. But times are tough and IQ likes his sugar, so let’s sweeten our summer with some of the city’s most unique desserts on wheels.

Liege with Ice Cream

First stop, Belgium. Wafels & Dinges brings the Belgian Waffle to our Yankee curbs. Choose the light ‘n crispy Brussels Wafel, or the soft ‘n chewy Liege Wafel, and dress it up with your favorite Dinges (toppings). Go fruity (strawberries, bananas), sugary (dulce de leche, chocolate fudge, maple syrup) or creamy (butter, whipped cream, ice cream). Truck locations are posted on the site, on Twitter @waffletruck or by calling 866.429.7329.

Next, pull up to the bumper for the baby-sized deliciousness of New York’s first mobile, gourmet cupcake shop. When Lev Ekster graduated from law school last year, the job market was…well, pretty sour.  But when life gives you lemons…you make a lemon meringue cupcake. Lev assembled a team of bakers, created recipes, and revved the engine of Cupcake Stop, a traveling store of fresh-baked, hand-made cupcakes. Follow the tweets to your sweet treat @cupcakestop.

Gobbler

Our final parker is the brainchild of a classically trained bassoonist with a little soft-serve and a lot of flair. The Big Gay Ice Cream Truck was created by Douglas Quint, a graduate of The Manhattan School of Music and The Juiliard School (and presumably a homosexual). The menu combines traditional soft-serve ice cream with imaginative toppings and funky names. Cool your lips with a Salty Pimp (vanilla ice cream dipped in chocolate with dulce de leche and sea salt) or be thankful for the Gobbler  (vanilla ice cream with pumpkin butter, crushed graham crackers, whipped cream and craisins). Follow the truck’s location on its site or on Twitter @biggayicecream and top yourself off with some sweet rainbow sprinkles this summer.

(All pictures provided by the vendors)

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NYC Restaurant Week

Hey New Yorkers, are you hungry?
NYC Restaurant Week allows you to sample three-course, prix-fixe meals at some of the city’s most amazing restaurants for $24.07 at lunchtime and $35 at dinner.  From now until September 6, pull up a chair at more than 275  New York City restaurants.  Go classy (Le Cirque, Cipriani) or sassy (Nobu, Megu), but don’t forget to make a reservation, as the most popular places fill up fast.  For a complete list of this summer’s restaurants, click here.

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