February 2010

Bliss 49 spa at the W New York hotel in Manhattan

Bliss 49 spa at the W New York hotel in Manhattan

Whether your feet are calloused from hiking up and down seemingly endless subways stairs, or feeling flaky from heated indoor air, you can get baby-soft soles with the Foot Patrol Pedicure at Bliss 49. Located inside the still-trendy W New York hotel (there’s a cozy fireplace in the lounge area) it’s also within walking distance from The Waldorf Astoria, Marriott East Side, The Benjamin and Intercontintental The Barclay. Read More »

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Merlot braised beef shortrib at Talula restaurant in Miami, FL

Merlot braised beef shortrib at Talula restaurant in Miami, FL

If, like me, you waited far too long to make reservations or were simply put off by the high prices of this weekend’s specialty dinners in celebration of the Food TV Network’s South Beach Wine and Food Festival, there’s still hope — provided you’re not put off by offal (animal guts). While most folks are drawn to the tender center cut of beef or the chaste chicken breast, many gourmets groove to the trendy ears-to-tails movement that’s bringing the sinewy cheap cuts to the tables of fine dining restaurants. Read More »

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Breakdancer at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco

Breakdancer at Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco

The attention span and focus of their audience is minimal. Most passersby are simply looking for lunch or the next ferry to Alcatraz. Street performers, or “buskers,” must relish the act of performing enough to ignore being ignored. Exposing a bit of heart in hopes of an answering smile, a bit of applause and hopefully, a dollar bill or two…  This is not for the faint of heart or those desiring a steady income. Read More »

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Rustic veggie plate at Seasons 52 restaurant in Orlando, FL

Rustic veggie plate at Seasons 52 restaurant in Orlando, FL

With over 5,000 restaurants in Orlando, it’s pretty easy to escape the fast food frenzy and avoid overpriced theme park food.  It’s even possible to find affordable world-class restaurants, catering to a health conscious society. Two restaurants serving up low calorie feasts without compromising taste are mentioned below.

Seasons 52 (7700 Sand Lake Road): Orlando is the birthplace of a relatively new restaurant concept — seasonally-inspired healthy dining that changes with the products available during particular seasons. Season’s 52 caters to both the taste and calorie conscious with all menu items under 475 calories, including caramelized sea scallops, garlic chicken flatbread, roasted crab-stuffed shrimp, ripe plum tomato flatbread, and the char-crust filet mignon. Read More »

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Cheeseburger & fries at Buttermilk Channel restaurant in Brooklyn, NY

Cheeseburger & fries at Buttermilk Channel restaurant in Brooklyn, NY

Manhattan may still be the best bet for fancy five-star meals, but now a foodie trip to NYC can’t be complete without a trip across the river for what’s being called “new Brooklyn cuisine”—farm-to-table fare featuring adventurous ingredient combinations, and served in a laid-back, barnyard-chic setting. These three newbies do it best.

Buttermilk Channel (524 Court Street): Every bite is a surprise at this somewhat-out-of-the-way Carroll Gardens restaurant. Complimentary popovers are dotted with sea salt and honey; house-made pickles bring a tangy, spicy kick; and roasted almonds are doused in maple and bacon. Read More »

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European history in Miami?

by Paul Rubio on February 26, 2010

Vizcaya Museum & Gardens in Miami, Florida

Vizcaya Museum & Gardens in Miami, Florida

Sometimes a city is so young it has to import its history and commemorated architecture. In the case of Miami, several buildings were constructed in the early 1900s to resemble old European styles; in other instances, historical establishments were taken apart and shipped to the U.S. Two of Miami’s most spectacular historical sights are explained below. Read More »

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The charming, French B&B-style Hotel Elysee was home to Marlon Brando and writer Tennessee Williams (who died in the Sunset Suite), among others.

The charming, French B&B-style Hotel Elysee was home to Marlon Brando and writer Tennessee Williams (who died in the Sunset suite), among other movie stars, authors, and musicians.

For those of us who grew up reading the adventures of Eloise, the mischievous little girl who grew up at The Plaza, living in a hotel – with daily maid service and pampering – represents the ultimate fantasy. But it’s been a reality for many notables over the years, from the starving, not-yet-famous artists who stayed at flophouse dives to bona fide stars like Marilyn Monroe, who shacked up at one of Beverly Hills’ nicest hotels. Read on to find out which celebrities lived where, and what it might cost in 21st century dollars to live for a year in their hotels of choice.
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Haena Beach on Kauai, Hawaii

Haena Beach on Kauai, Hawaii

To better understand the geography of Kauai‘s north shore, it helps to first know a bit of Hawaii’s history. The traditional Hawaiian division of land is called an Ahupua’a, an area that extended from high in the mountains, along the waterways as they descended through valleys and onto the coastal plains, and out to the protective reefs (valuable fishing areas). The boundaries were marked by Ahu (stone cairns) upon which the Maka’ainana (people living on the land) would place a Pua’a (pig or other form of tribute) for the local Chief or Konohiki (administrators). This system ensured a shared use of the land and its natural resources, as well as the necessary Kapu (restrictions) to ensure the environment’s sustainability. Read More »

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The Ivy restaurant on Robertson Avenue

The Ivy restaurant on Robertson Avenue in L.A.

Robertson Boulevard in Los Angeles is only a 5-minute walk from end to end, and yet it has become almost as famous as the celebrities who shop there. If you see paparazzi outside, it’s a good sign that someone recognizable is inside (though the paparazzi do camp out at the Ivy, one of the most famous restaurants in L.A.). Located on the border of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood, it’s both upscale and edgy — a side of L.A. you won’t find elsewhere — and its boutiques cater to the youthful, fashionable, and daring. Bargains can be found, however! You just need to know where to look. Read More »

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Believe it or not, we took this shot from inside a guest room at the Jade Mountain Resort in Saint Lucia (most rooms have a private infinity pool).

Believe it or not, we took this shot from inside a guest room at the Jade Mountain Resort in Saint Lucia. (Most rooms have a private infinity pool.)

On March 1, the series finale of ABC’s The Bachelor will take place on the Celestial Terrace of the iconic Jade Mountain Resort on the idyllic Caribbean island of St. Lucia. Over the past few weeks, fans of the show — as well as anyone who’s watched anything on ABC without the help of Tivo — will have heard “St. Lucia really is the most romantic place on earth” or “There is no better place to fall in love than St. Lucia” about as many times as they’ve heard the expression “Take home the gold.”

Which begs the question: What’s so great about St. Lucia? A remote, lush, mountainous beachfront terrain is stunning, no doubt, but this can be found elsewhere in the Caribbean — Frenchman’s Cove in Port Antonio, Jamaica is just one example — as well as around the globe in places like the north shore of Kauai in Hawaii or Ko Chang in Thailand. So what about this particular locale makes all the staged romance feel so spectacular? The answer is simple: Jade Mountain.

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