Los Angeles Hollywood Sign
13 of the best film locations you can visit in Los Angeles
Immerse yourself in the glitz and glamour of Hollywood by visiting the bars, hotels, restaurants and precincts featured in 2019's most talked about films and television shows. Los Angeles is the undisputed entertainment capital of the world. It has served as the backdrop to countless award-winning films and television shows since Hollywood first became the central hub of the emerging U.S film industry in the early 1900s. This makes L.A. the perfect destination for film and television buffs looking to experience the locations featured in the most talked about films and shows of 2019. [caption id="attachment_46929" align="alignnone" width="600"] The Virgil features in A Star Is Born, starring Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper.[/caption] A Star Is Born Could there be a more perfect location for a film about a love story between a rock star and aspiring singer than the city where dreams are made? Locals and visitors to Los Angeles can find the locations of some of their favourite scenes in the movie. [caption id="attachment_46930" align="alignnone" width="600"] The Virgil is the set for first time Jackson watches Alley sing.[/caption] The Virgil – The popular East Hollywood bar is the location where Jackson first watches Ally perform La Vie en Rose at the drag show.   Address: 4519 Santa Monica Boulevard, Los Angeles [caption id="attachment_46931" align="alignnone" width="600"] Ally perform La Vie en Rose at the drag show at Los Angeles' Virgil bar.[/caption] Greek Theatre – Jack attempts to convince Ally to come with her to his next concert at none other than the Greek Theatre in Griffith Park. Ally decides to take a risk, quits her job and flies to the Greek where Jack convinces her to sing Shallow on stage.   Address: 2700 North Vermont Avenue, Los Angeles [caption id="attachment_46932" align="alignnone" width="600"] A cosier side to The Virgil that we didn't see as much of in the film.[/caption] Chateau Marmont – Ally and Jackson share a moment in their hotel room, filmed at the Chateau Marmont, just before the launch of her album while looking out at her billboard on Sunset Boulevard.   Address: 8221 Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles [caption id="attachment_46933" align="alignnone" width="600"] The Chateau Marmont is the setting for the scent in A Star Is Born when Ally and Jackson look out over her billboard just before her album launch.[/caption] This Is Us The award-winning television show may be set in Pittsburgh and the New York tri-state area but it is filmed in the City of Angels. You can find the locations of the show's most heartwarming and tear-jerking scenes throughout Los Angeles. [caption id="attachment_46935" align="alignnone" width="600"] Nickel Diner in Downtown Los Angeles serves up some mouthwatering sweets.[/caption] Godmother's Saloon – 'Froggy's' may be the name of Rebecca and Jack's local Pittsburgh hangout in the show, but Godmother's Saloon, located in San Pedro, is the actual filming location.   Address: 302 West 7th, San Pedro [caption id="attachment_46936" align="alignnone" width="600"] Nickel Diner also happens to be the very diner that Kevin and Sophie share their first kiss in This Is Us.[/caption] Nickel Diner –Downtown Los Angeles's Nickel Diner is the place where Sophie and Kevin had their first kiss and where Kevin attempts to win Sophie back in season one of the show. Customers will be transported back to the 1940s in this vintage-style restaurant.   Address: 524S Main Street, Los Angeles  [caption id="attachment_46937" align="alignnone" width="600"] Nickel Diner is also the same diner Kevin tries to win Sophie back in season one of This Is Us.[/caption] Hotel Café –It is the location of Rebecca's Valentine's Day show in season one and the venue is a Los Angeles musical landmark in Hollywood. Some of the Hotel Café's most notable performers include Coldplay's Chris Martin, Katy Perry, Ed Sheeran and John Mayer.   Address: 1623 ½ North Cahuenga Boulevard, Los Angeles  [caption id="attachment_46938" align="alignnone" width="600"] The Hotel Café is the location of Rebecca's Valentine's Day show.[/caption] Insecure [caption id="attachment_46941" align="alignnone" width="600"] Openaire is located on the LINE Hotel's rooftop in Koreatown.[/caption] The HBO hit series has received countless accolades for depicting a more positive side to life in South Los Angeles than what viewers generally see in mainstream television shows or films. The majority of scenes are filmed in the South L.A. neighbourhood but there are a few hangouts for Issa and friends sprinkled throughout the city. [caption id="attachment_46940" align="alignnone" width="600"] The restaurant was the location of Molly and Issa's brunch in season two of Insecure.[/caption] Mavericks Flat –The location of where Issa runs into Daniel in the very first episode of Insecure. Artists such as the Temptations and Marvin Gaye performed at this Leimert Park landmark, and it was once known as the 'Apollo of the West' during the '60s and '70s when it was one of the foremost jazz, soul and R&B venues in the city.   Address: 4225 Crenshaw Boulevard, Los Angeles  [caption id="attachment_46942" align="alignnone" width="600"] Openaire is Josiah Citrin's new restaurant (formerly known as The Commissary).[/caption] Merkato Ethiopian Restaurant – The city's oldest Ethiopian restaurant plays host to Issa's birthday party in another episode, starring in a scene between Molly and Issa. Located in Los Angeles's Little Ethiopia district, this intimate establishment is the perfect place to enjoy a delicious meal.   Address: 1036 ½ Fairfax Avenue, Los Angeles   Openaire – Josiah Citrin's new restaurant (formerly known as The Commissary) is located on the LINE Hotel's rooftop in Koreatown. The restaurant's distinctive greenhouse decor makes it instantly recognisable as the location of Molly and Issa's brunch in season two.   Address: 3515 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles   GLOW Netflix's original comedy pays homage to the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling variety show of the 1980s that was originally set in Las Vegas. Netflix decided to move the show's location to Los Angeles and as a result it gives us a look into the city's colourful history.   The Pink Motel – To prepare for the show the ladies of GLOW are sent to live at the Dusty Spur, which is actually the Pink Motel in Sun Valley. The retro hotel has also appeared on shows such as Dexter and Drive, and while it is closed for business you can still get an outside look at the location before popping in next door to Cadillac Jack’s Cafe, another popular filming location for GLOW.   Address: 9457 San Fernando Road, Sun Valley [caption id="attachment_46947" align="alignnone" width="600"] Ruth and Sam stopped in at the Mayan in Downtown L.A. in GLOW, but you'll also recognise it from scenes in The Bodyguard and A Night at the Roxbury.[/caption] The Mayan – When scouting for locations to shoot GLOW, Ruth and Sam stopped in at the Mayan in Downtown L.A. The historic theatre is intricately designed with Aztec features and has also appeared in The Bodyguard and A Night at the Roxbury. It now operates as a nightclub.   Address: 1038 South Hill Street, Los Angeles [caption id="attachment_46948" align="alignnone" width="600"] The Hollywood Palladium's interior is used as the fictional Hayworth Hotel in GLOW.[/caption] Hollywood Palladium – The women of GLOW decide to film the first episode at the fictional Hayworth Hotel, which uses the interior of the Hollywood Palladium. The exterior of the Palladium was also used in a different episode of the show as a movie theatre screening Back to the Future.   Address: 6215 Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood [caption id="attachment_46949" align="alignnone" width="600"] The exterior of the Palladium was also used in a different episode of the show as a movie theatre screening Back to the Future.[/caption] Bird Box Sandra Bullock stars in the chilling Netflix movie Bird Box. The 2019 film has taken over Australia’s screens (and memes!) and travellers will be pleased to learn they can visit the Monrovia home from the film, which is located in Los Angeles County. Monrovia House – Monrovia is located 32 kilometres north of Los Angeles, and this seven-bedroom property is the home of Sandra Bullock and her children in Bird Box. The suburb is also the location of numerous other iconic films, including Legally Blonde, American Pie and Never Been Kissed.   Address: 304 North Canyon Boulevard, Monrovia Travelling to Los Angeles? Here is how you can spend a perfect 48 hours solo in the City of Angels.
5 secret bars in London and how to find them
Hidden in London’s rabbit warren of streets – between the old pubs and office buildings, trendy cafes and quirky shops – are some stellar secret cocktail bars to get acquainted with. The Blind Pig Hidden above Michelin-star restaurant Social Eating House in Soho is the American underworld-themed bar The Blind Pig. Named after American slang for a drinking den during the Prohibition, this has strong whiskey and cigar vibes reminiscent of 1920s New York.   All dim lighting and mahogany trim, this establishment is decked out with vintage fittings, an antique mirrored ceiling, reclaimed wooden chairs and a copper-topped bar. Boasting cosy leather bar stools and booths, and a drinks menu of strong spirits, quality cocktails and craft beer, this is the perfect London hideout.   Cocktails are also named after your favourite childhood tales: think The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s 5 a Day (Patron Silver tequila, lime cordial, apple, pears, plums, strawberries and oranges); Harry Potter’s Best Bottle Butter Bitter (Scotch whisky, beer, butterscotch, bitters, thyme and citrus); and Jemima Puddle-Duck’s Fowl Play (Aylesbury Duck Vodka, blood orange, honey, herbs and spices). The menu is an artwork in itself, with each cocktail description paired with a gorgeous illustration to feast your eyes on.   Finding this gem of a bar, from street level, is a challenge. Look for the vintage, neon red and white ‘Optician’ sign, and below you will find a brass, blindfolded pig doorknocker. Once you find this, you’re in. Just don’t tell anyone.   Address: 58 Poland Street, London W1F 7NR Discount Suit Company Named after the tailor’s shop that was based at this spot, and whose sign is still (mostly) mounted on the brick corner of the old building, the Discount Suit Company is an underground bar with the best of everything: in the heart of London, very intimate and home to the best exotic and classic cocktails. [caption id="attachment_46741" align="alignleft" width="600"] With the original sign (somewhat) in tact, the Discount Suit Company holds plenty of history[/caption] With exposed brick interior walls, wood furnishings and ambient lighting, this bar blends romance with a touch of grunge. The dressmaker’s mannequin in the corner of the bar is a true tribute to the bar’s former life, but I am very sure the space is happy with this new breath of life.   Nibble on artisanal cheeses from London’s own Neal’s Yard Dairy as you sip your Wooly Back (pisco, white Port, coconut, jasmine, citrus and vitamin C) or your classic Piña Fumada (mezcal, Velvet Falernum, pineapple, lemon, honey and club soda).   Locating the entrance is tricky, and once you do, watch your head on the steep descent into the basement (and be even more careful on your way out, half intoxicated).   Address: 29a Wentworth Street, London E1 7TB Experimental Cocktail Club Found in the depths of bustling Chinatown behind an old door with peeling paint, the ECC is an easy one to walk past on first go, but a hard to resist once you’ve found it.   Spread over three storeys, the establishment’s industrial bones – pressed-metal ceilings and exposed bricks – are offset by minimalist interior design, mirrored walls and blackout curtains to atmospheric effect. It’s the perfect combination of lively and intimate, but make sure you book in advance – this is a popular spot. [caption id="attachment_46742" align="alignleft" width="600"] Brooding interiors at The Experimental Cocktail Club[/caption] Experimental cocktails include the Stockholm Syndrome (Ketel 1 vodka infused with cumin and dill, Linie Aquavit, lemon juice, syrup, pink Himalayan rock salt and bitters) and the Grandaddy (Buffalo Trace bourbon, Cynar, lemon and grapefruit juice and rosemary-infused honey). Classics are also on the menu, with a choice of 50s, 60s or 70s gin in your vintage martini.   Address: 13a Gerrard Street, London W1D 5PS Milk & Honey A member’s bar with a yearly fee, this is an upper-class club with a lot of sass. Serving a bunch of house rules with their amazing cocktails, you are expected to dress a certain way and act a certain way as a condition of entry.   As a non-member, you can still frequent the bar if you book a table in advance, preferably earlier in the week. There are non-member specific spots in the three-storey establishment, housing chesterfield couches, low lighting (aided by candles scattered through the bar), and pressed-metal ceilings. Just stepping in this exclusive bar makes you feel like a politician, a movie star or a someone who plays golf on a weekday.   The Bumblebee cocktail is divine, with dark rum, honey, lemon and angostura, and Satin Sheets tastes like it sounds, with a combination of tequila, falernum and lime. Of course, this bar also serves a range of fancy Champagne and wines, and a grazing menu worthy of kings. Try the homemade tuna samosas, the buttermilk-fried chicken bun or the cured meat board.   With no signs, the big metal door is the only signifier that Milk & Honey really exists. Check left and right, make sure no one is looking, and then enter. Voilà, you’re in!   Address: 61 Poland Street, London W1F 7NR King’s Head Members Club Positioned in the hip East End suburb of Hoxton, this bar is hidden behind the facade of a rundown British pub – but don’t be fooled: inside is another story. Its opulent and eclectic interiors are characterised by a startling collection of exotic taxidermied animals, including a cheetah standing atop an antique cabinet.   Thousands of butterflies line the dining room and peacocks are scattered around the bar; an assortment of antique furniture, much of it lined with red velvet, create a luxurious ambience. [caption id="attachment_46743" align="alignleft" width="600"] Unexpected interiors at The Kings Head[/caption] The King’s Head is another private member club and non-members need to score a spot on the guest list to gain entry – whether that’s to the bar or one of the club’s many events, from life drawing to burlesque shows. Emailing in advance to scope out what’s on is your best bet for getting in.   The club is home to some knock-out cocktails including the Goose Lemonade (Grey Goose Vodka, Chambord black raspberry liqueur, fresh raspberries topped with lemonade) and Aviation (Bombay Sapphire Gin, Maraschino liqueur, crème de violette and lemon juice).   Great drinks, an eccentric theme and unique events make for a marvellous time at this exclusive and secret London bar.   Address: 257 Kingsland Road, London E2 8AS
People dancing with drummers
The other side of Washington, DC you need to know about
Known for being the capital of the states and a cultural centre; there are few cities in the States where history, diverse cultures and eclectic neighbourhoods intersect the way they do here. Forget politics – here’s the real buzz you need to know about in Washington, DC. Neighbourhoods: the lay of the land There are a couple of dozen neighbourhoods patchworking together the map of DC, each with a very distinct feel. Once you’ve walked the chic streets of Downtown, get your shop on in the endless boutiques of cobblestoned Georgetown, spurred on by its exquisite landscape of historic houses, fine art galleries and waterfront. [caption id="attachment_46572" align="alignnone" width="600"] Relax with a sunset kayak on the lake.[/caption] Get funky (and foodie) in left-of-centre Shaw, stay up late on U Street, and of course, get your walking shoes to tour infamous massive monuments, such as the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol, on the National Mall. And don’t miss nightly free shows at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, set amongst the green space of university area Foggy Bottom. People & culture: get immersed Washington, DC’s mere 700,000-odd residents enjoy neighbourhood after neighbourhood of cosmopolitan facilities and a depth of culture born of thriving artistic communities and multicultural traditions. One must-see, in the eclectic, once-industrial NoMa district, is the mid-century food hall-turned-hip centre Union Market; stroll amongst the street art, craft distilleries and vintage clothing stalls and fall in love. [caption id="attachment_46570" align="alignnone" width="600"] Wander through the markets and discover local artists.[/caption] Then head over the Penn Quarter and Chinatown and catch a basketball game – the Washington Wizards and Mystics teams both call Capital One Arena home, with the surrounding streets filled with sophisticated eats and a neverending neighbourhood buzz. Insider’s secret Scope out historical and mural-lined Blagden alley for bars and restaurants beloved of locals. Culinary experiences: the must-eat list Things can get a bit spicy in a town like DC, sure, and that includes the food. Run, don’t walk, to Ben’s Chili Bowl on U Street, take a leaf from the book of Barack Obama himself and order a half-smoke; it’s DC’s signature sausage, smoked then grilled, and served up hot-dog style with onions, cheese and chili sauce. [caption id="attachment_46574" align="alignnone" width="600"] Don't miss the trendy Maydan eatery and bar.[/caption] At the more rarefied end of the scale, there are no less than 16 DC eateries sporting Michelin stars; for the full three-star experience, hand over your wallet and your heart at the impeccable The Inn at Little Washington in Virginia.   To experience your own Washington, DC, call Qantas Holidays on 1300 443 485 or visit qantasholidays.com.au/destination-dc
Botswana Butchery Queenstown
A foodie’s guide to Queenstown
There’s more to New Zealand’s adventure capital than just adrenaline. Surrounded by striking mountains on one side and a serene deep, blue lake on the other, Queenstown has got to be one of New Zealand’s most beautiful cities. And while most tourists visit to raise their heart rate on the slopes, with around 150 bars and cafes in the Queenstown region, there’s a pretty impressive foodie scene to be explored as well. Breakfast Bites The Bathhouse What better way to start the day than with a hot, locally brewed coffee at The Bathhouse (38 Marine Parade). This cute wooden building overlooks the beach with spectacular views of the lake and lots of deck chairs outside, and it serves up a mean breakfast as well. The Bathouse Special Breakfast is recommended. If you like it, come back at lunch and try its famous seafood chowder with a local beer. Ivy & Lola’s Kitchen and Bar [caption id="attachment_46277" align="alignnone" width="600"] For breakfast or lunch with a view, you can't go past Ivy & Lola Kitchen and Bar.[/caption] Ivy & Lola’s Kitchen and Bar (88 Beach Street) on the Queenstown Pier is a little more formal, but still offers uninterrupted views of the lake. Although the menu does change, and is a little eclectic, dishes like the Southern fried chicken 'n' waffles with jalapeño chutney, bacon and maple syrup keeps regulars coming back for more. VuDu Cafe & Larder [caption id="attachment_46282" align="alignnone" width="600"] Stop for a coffee and a sweet treat at VuDu Cafe & Larder.[/caption] If you’re about to hop on a ferry or head up to the snow, the busy VuDu Cafe & Larder (16 Rees Street) in the centre of town serves up great coffee and pastries. It also does a fantastic eggs benedict and if you want to break the breakfast rules, the carrot cake is ridiculously tasty. Lunch munches Fergburger You may have heard of the famous Fergburger (42 Shotover Street) – make sure you try its namesake burger – but did you know the team behind it also offers golden baked pies and crispy pastries at Fergbaker and the delicious gelato at Mrs Ferg as well? You’ll find both of them next door to Fergburger, just follow the smells (and the lines). Winnie’s Pizza For a quick bite between bungee jumps, Winnie’s Pizza (7–9 The Mall) is right in the centre of town. Choose a table outside so you can people watch and make sure you order the cheesy garlic bread to start. It’s addictive. The thin and crispy wood-fired pizzas that are served up here come dripping with toppings and they make for a filling lunch. Not a pizza person? Try their ribs or spaghetti bolognaise. Akarua Wines & Kitchen by Artisan [caption id="attachment_46275" align="alignnone" width="600"] Have a relaxing cellar door lunch at Akarua Wines and Kitchen by Artisan just outside of Queenstown.[/caption] If you’re looking for a more rustic lunch with views, Akarua Wines & Kitchen by Artisan (265 Arrowtown-Lake Hayes Road) is a relaxing cellar door just outside of Queenstown. Featuring its Central Otago wines and local produce, the cafe is set in a garden courtyard sheltered from the summer sun. It’s a short drive away from the busy Queenstown streets and can offer a little relief from the crowds. Dinner Dates The Lodge Bar [caption id="attachment_46281" align="alignnone" width="600"] The Lodge is the place to go for seafood, cocktails and beer.[/caption] Start the evening with a cocktail or crisp beer at The Lodge Bar (2 Rees Street). A good choice is the Sage Advice cocktails – sage-infused tequila, blackberry purée and lime juice – drunk at the bar, on a booth or near the big, inviting double windows. If you get peckish, order the oysters, clams or prawns and enjoy fresh seafood over looking the lake. Rātā [caption id="attachment_46278" align="alignnone" width="600"] You can't leave Queenstown before you enjoy a meal at Rātā.[/caption] One of Queenstown’s most impressive restaurants is the elegant Rātā (43 Ballarat Street), opened by Michelin-starred chef Josh Emett and local restaurateur Fleur Caulton. With rich slow-cooked dishes, such as beef rib with parmesan gnocchi and buttered leek, to suit Queenstown’s cooler climate, there’s a reason this intimate venue is so popular. Enjoy your meal at the bar, in the formal restaurant or outside in the sunny courtyard. [caption id="attachment_46279" align="alignnone" width="600"] Warm up with any of hearty, slow-cooked meals on the menu at Rātā.[/caption] Botswana Butchery [caption id="attachment_46276" align="alignnone" width="600"] Enjoy an exquisite meal beside a roaring log fire at Botswana Butchery.[/caption] To celebrate a special night, book a table at the Botswana Butchery (17 Marine Parade), in the pretty little historic Archer’s Cottage. Despite the name, under Hong Kong-born head chef Vicky Wong you’ll find dishes such as Singapore soft shell crab and Botswana Peking Duck. It’s not cheap but the quality of the food is worth the coin. The Bunker [caption id="attachment_46280" align="alignnone" width="600"] A night in at The Bunker is well worth the effort it takes to find it.[/caption] For a post-dinner nightcap, head to the hard-to-find speakeasy, The Bunker (14 Cow Lane). Although it also serves dinner with paired wines in its restaurant, this hidden bar is the place to be for a late-night pinot noir or single malt. Don’t be fooled by the uneventful laneway you’ll find it in, this little Queenstown gem is atmospheric, welcoming and cosy on cool, New Zealand nights.   Planning a trip to Queenstown? Read our New Zealand guide to find out everything the country has to offer before you go.
Azamara Pursuit Cruise Ship
7 reasons to take a trip aboard the Azamara Pursuit
Not your average mode of transportation between Ol’ Blighty and marvellous France, but as I learnt, climbing aboard the Azamara Pursuit is absolutely the best way to do it, and there are a few reasons why… It should be made clear before you read another word, that I, Olivia Mackinnon love cruising.   It’s in my DNA, you see. My parents actually met while working on board what they called, ‘The Love Boat’, but I suspect it was just a regular boat, with no links to TV cruising royalty whatsoever.   So for as long as I can remember, I have been wooed by the incredible grandness of cruise ships, and up until recently, I’d never been lucky enough to board one in the Azamara fleet.   The brand new Azamara Pursuit was setting off for her maiden voyage, and I had been invited on the two-night journey to experience all she had to offer… Grand is an understatement [caption id="attachment_46070" align="alignnone" width="600"] The Azamara Pursuit is grand in scale[/caption] Landing in London and then travelling to Southampton, UK, I was instantly desperate to climb aboard Azamara’s newest ship, Pursuit as soon as I clapped eyes on her. One of my favourite things to do aboard a ship is familiarise myself with the facilities: ‘Where is the restaurant, how far is my cabin from the pool, where is the spa?!’ I’m simply not satisfied until these questions are answered. However, aboard Pursuit I was enamoured with the luxury feel of the ship. The detail in every hand rail and piece of art. As a small-time cruiser, I simply didn’t feel worthy.   The common areas were furnished with incredible plush chairs, decorated with velvet trimmings and chic finishes, while the restaurant took the whole ‘white tablecloth’ dining experience to a new level with a sense of European style I haven’t ever seen on board a ship before. [caption id="attachment_46073" align="alignnone" width="600"] Spending time in the common areas was a joy thanks to this stunning and comfortable arrangement[/caption] The cabin The feeling of luxury was extended down the hall of the starboard side – as I’m sure it was on port side – and all the way inside my cabin. The bathrooms had more sink space than I was accustomed to. There was an established seating area, a roomy balcony and a beyond-comfortable bed. In fact, with the deluxe sheets combined with the gentle sway of Southampton’s River Itchen, I don’t know if I’ve ever slept so soundly.   I was particularly fond of the colour palette used in the cabins, a mix of moody greys, deep woods and a touch of blush. The marble finishes added a chic cherry to an already delectable cake.   Also, the shower pressure was near-normal – maybe even on par with what you’d get at home. Anyone who has ever cruised before will understand what a big deal that is. A Titanic experience, minus the tragedy What excited me about this trip was that I was going to get the chance to arrive in an entirely different country by the time I woke up in the morning. Yep, we were en route to Cherbourg, a port city in France where you could delight in both French naval history and quality croissants for the day. I also learned that this was the place the Titanic made its final stop on its fateful journey to America – but I tried not to focus on that as I disembarked. [caption id="attachment_46074" align="alignnone" width="600"] The furnishings were elegant, comfortable and luxurious[/caption] If that sounds appealing to you, visitors to Cherbourg are encouraged to visit Cité de la Mer, one of the port’s main tourist attractions, where you can find out more about the infamous ship’s final visit. The on (and off) board delicacies The Pursuit frequents many European ports during its varied itineraries, which means the food always complements your destinations. During my day in Cherbourg I was treated to fresh crepes, soft cheese, macarons and sparkling wine. I pretty much had to roll back to the ship. [caption id="attachment_46071" align="alignnone" width="600"] There are many sights to take in and they aren't all experienced from the ship's deck[/caption] Back on board, passengers celebrated the ship’s maiden voyage with a decadent oyster and Champagne buffet dinner. Chefs were ready and waiting at a personalised pasta station, ready to combine fettuccine with pesto, or spaghetti with carbonara sauce if your heart so desired. It’s differences like these that showcase the level of care – and luxury – you can expect to experience on board an Azamara ship – and from what I hear, the Pursuit’s elegance is certainly no exception to its sister ships: Azamara Quest and Azamara Journey. The pool Despite being August, the weather was a little cooler during our short cruise, and I’m almost certain that I was the only guest to brave the ship’s water amenities. I swam not only in the pool’s accompanying spa on the main deck, but also in the larger spa provided to guests before their scheduled treatment, as an indulgent precursor to what is already guaranteed to be a ‘cloud nine’ level of pampering.   Due to the lack of company in the spas, I felt there was more than ample room – my only gripe would be that they could be made a little warmer – however on a standard August day in Europe I imagine the cooler temperature would ordinarily be ideal. Destination Immersion experiences [caption id="attachment_46072" align="alignnone" width="600"] Just because you're on a cruise ship doesn't mean you don't get to experience the culture of the ports you travel to and from[/caption] The thing that makes the Azamara fleet different to regular luxury cruises is its desire to get passengers off the ship at port and truly immerse them in the activities and culture of that destination. This is what they call their ‘Destination Immersion’ programming.   For example, during my time in Cherbourg on the Pursuit’s maiden voyage, in addition to being treated to iconic French delicacies, we were also wowed by a side-splitting performance by a French dance ensemble. The short itinerary meant that while a full-day of exploration wasn’t an option, Azamara brought a taste of Cherbourg’s culture to us at port – and we loved every second of it.   Sailings with longer itineraries can expect even more incredible immersive experiences. From a three-day/two-night stargazing experience in Chile’s Atacama Desert, to exploring the inside of a volcano in Iceland, they somehow manage to make it about guaranteeing you have as great of a time off the ship as you will on board. They get around, a lot As of 2019, Azamara’s very first Melbourne departure will take place – and the list of destinations worked into their itineraries is longer than ever. This year, the ships will visit a record 250 ports across 69 countries with 94 overnight stays and 145 late-night stays – meaning you get the most out of the places you want to visit. Plus, this year marks the first visit to Alaska – yippee!
Milan Piazza Duomo
How to live la dolce vita in Milan
Discover the unforgettable treasures and simple pleasures of Italy’s cultural capital. While Rome is the historical heart of Italy and Florence is home to its artistic soul, Milan is the cultural capital where all the good things meet; fashion, food and the arts. Its treasures aren’t as obvious as those of other Italian cities, you have to dig a little deeper to discover them – but that makes them all the more satisfying. Shop like you mean it [caption id="attachment_46052" align="alignnone" width="600"] For the best of Milan's high street shopping you'll want to head to Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II[/caption] If you fancy a designer bag or three, Via Montenapoleone is where it’s at. This narrow street houses all the luxury brands in one handy location. Visit for the window shopping and people watching alone.   Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II is also a designer haven and the main street, Corso Vittorio Emanuele II is where to find all the high street brands. [caption id="attachment_46051" align="alignnone" width="600"] Inside the famous Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II[/caption] La Rinascente is a luxe department store stretching over 10 floors while 10 Corso Como offers a tightly edited mix of designer fashion and art. Think Milan’s version of Paris’ famed, now closed, Colette boutique.   For a designer bargain, the top of Via Manzoni towards Archi di Porta Nuova is where you’ll find designer outlet stores such as DMag. Wander the Navigli [caption id="attachment_46050" align="alignnone" width="600"] Explore the canals of Naviglio Grande.[/caption] Venice isn’t the only Italian city with canals. A 10-minute metro ride from the centre of Milan to Porta Genova will take you to the Navigli, a set of intersecting canals which were once the city’s main trading routes with Europe.   These canals were fed by two different lakes, Maggiore and Como, so the water levels weren't even. Enter Leonardo da Vinci who designed chiusuras, or dams, so the boats could travel along them.   You can take boat rides along the canals or simply spend the day strolling beside them and soak up the charm of the area’s boutiques and bars. At night, it’s a buzzing hub of people taking aperitivo by the water. Discover Brera The boho artists that called Brera home have made their stamp on this little corner of the city and it’s still an art hub. As well as cool independent galleries you’ll find the impressive Brera Art Gallery or the Pinacoteca di Brera, which displays one of the most comprehensive collections of Italian art.   There are also chic boutiques, upscale restaurants and picture-perfect cobblestone pedestrian streets such as via Fiori Chiari. Peruse the work of Leonardo da Vinci [caption id="attachment_46049" align="alignnone" width="600"] Leonardo da Vinci's Last Supper is on display within the Convent of Santa Maria della Grazie[/caption] His most famous artwork, The Last Supper, is a mural in the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Seeing it in a book doesn’t do it justice. Stand up close and let the details slowly reveal themselves to you; the folds in the tablecloth, the veins on the hands of the apostles, the use of light to tell the story of good and evil.   Book ahead. Numbers are limited to protect the priceless piece and if you turn up on the day, you might miss out.   The Pinacoteca Ambrosiana also pays homage to Da Vinci. It’s the caretaker of the Atlantic Codex, over 1000 pages of his notes and sketches. The display, which changes every three months, showcases about 10 pages at a time and can cover anything from his theories on soundwaves and music to the optic nerve and how sight works.   His notes are hard to decipher, until you learn that he was a lefty who wrote from right to left in mirror script. It’s an intimate insight into the great man’s mind. Visit La Scala The sumptuous red velvet and gilded gold interiors of this iconic opera house are enough to make you swoon, even if you’re not a fan of the theatre. But if you are, it’s worth splurging for a ticket to the opera or ballet. Then there’s the more-affordable behind-the-scenes tours. [caption id="attachment_46048" align="alignnone" width="600"] Experience one of the opera at Milan's iconic La Scala.[/caption] Composer Giuseppe Verdi’s operas Otello and Falstaff premiered here and the stage has hosted performances by the greatest opera singers such as Maria Callas and ballet stars including Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn. Fondazione Prada Miuccia Prada is considered the most intellectual woman in fashion and this sprawling contemporary art museum may be a bigger legacy than decades of shaping how we dress. Housed in a former gin distillery, the privately-funded collection is open to the public and is more a cultural compound than regular museum.   In addition to the 13,000 square metres of exhibition space, there are cinemas, bars and a new restaurant Torre, which opened in 2018 and has sweeping views over Milan. Indulge in aperitivo The Italian tradition of pre-dinner drinks and snacks originated in Milan thanks to the popularity of the bitter liqueur Campari, which was distilled nearby. The idea being that it whets the tastebuds and gets the digestive juices flowing.   From about 5pm till 8pm you’ll see people sitting outside enjoying a spritz or negroni with a few nibbles before they head off to dinner.   Order a negroni at Officina 12, a hip gin bar in Navigli, head to the top floor of the Rinascente department store and enjoy an aperitivo while overlooking the spires of the Duomo or hang with the locals at Morgan’s, a dive bar in the historic centre just off Via Lanzone. Eat up [caption id="attachment_46047" align="alignnone" width="600"] Rovello 18 serves up their own inspired version of risotto Milanese al salto.[/caption] The city’s most famous dish is the saffron-hued risotto Milanese, served on its own as a primo or with ossobuco as a secondo. For something a little different, try risotto Milanese al salto, where the risotto is cooked then fried so the outer edges of the rice cake crisp up. At Rovello 18, it’s served in little patties while Antica Trattoria della Pesa does a giant disk as big as the plate.   You’ll find fabulous seafood at El Brellin and Langosteria if budget permits, or the more accessible Langosteria Café.   For a taste of luxury, Italian celebrity chef Carlo Cracco opened Ristorante Cracco inside the historic Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II earlier this year.   For something truly dolce, the original Marchesi Pasticceria has been satisfying sweet tooths since 1824. Sleep with the stars Fancy staying in the same room as composer Giuseppe Verdi, singer Maria Callas or author Ernest Hemingway? They were all famous guests at the five-star Grand Hotel et de Milan and the suites they called home all have a personal touch: from the desk Verdi wrote at to a copy of Hemingway’s visa framed on the wall. [caption id="attachment_46046" align="alignnone" width="600"] Follow in the footsteps of some of history's biggest names and spend a night at the Grand Hotel et de Milan[/caption] This family-owned property is part of the Leading Hotels of the World Group and has an unbeatable location just a block from La Scala and a stone’s throw from the start of the shopping mecca, Via Montenapoleone. More information Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Piazza del Duomo, 20123 Milano   La Rinascente, Piazza del Duomo, 20121 Milano Phone: +39 02 88521 La Rinascente   10 Corso Como, Corso Como 10, 20124 Milano www.10corsocomo.com   DMag Outlet, Via Alessandro Manzoni, 44, 20121 Milano Phone: +39 02 3651 4365   Pinacoteca di Brera, Via Brera, 28, 20121 Milano Pinacoteca di Brera   Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, Piazza di Santa Maria delle Grazie, 20123 Milano www.legraziemilano.it   Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, Piazza Pio XI, 2, 20123 Milano Phone: +39 02 806921 www.ambrosiana.it/en/   Teatro alla Scala, Via Filodrammatici, 2, 20121 Milano www.teatroallascala.org/en/   Fondazione Prada, Largo Isarco, 2, 20139 Milano Phone: +39 02 5666 2611 www.fondazioneprada.org   Officina 12, Alzaia Naviglio Grande, 12, 20144 Milano Phone: +39 02 8942 2261 www.officina12.it   Morgan's Milano, Via Novati 02, 20123 Milano Phone: +39 02 867694 www.facebook.com/Morgans-Milano   Rovello 18, Via Tivoli, 2, 20121 Milano Phone: +39 02 7209 3709 www.rovello18.it/en/home-en/   Antica Trattoria della Pesa, Viale Pasubio, 10, 20154 Milano Phone: +39 02 655 5741 www.anticatrattoriadellapesa.com   El Brellin, Vicolo dei Lavandai, Alzaia Naviglio Grande, 14, 20144 Milano Phone: +39 02 5810 1351 www.brellin.com   Langosteria, Via Savona, 10, 20144 Milano Phone: +39 02 5811 1649 www.langosteria.com   Cracco, Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, 20121 Milano MI Phone: +39 02 876774 www.ristorantecracco.it/en/   Marchesi Pasticceri, Via Santa Maria alla Porta, 11/a, 20123 Milano www.pasticceriamarchesi.com/en/   Grand Hotel et de Milan, Via Alessandro Manzoni, 29, 20121 Milano Phone: +39 02 723141 www.grandhoteletdemilan.it/en/
Raw Egg on Rice with Natto
7+ unusual foods you should try in Japan
A brief guide to all of the weird and wonderful dishes you can try during a visit to Japan. Japan is undoubtedly a country that has a plethora of delicious foods to suit any taste.   Each prefecture boasts its own variety of rich local ramen and curry. Nationally, yakitori bars waft heady cedar-filled smoke down laneways and you can find the freshest sushi and sashimi everywhere, even on top of a mountain.   Japan is also infamous for its unusual food options. Foods that make a lot of westerners cringe or downright feel ill at the thought of.   Since variety is the spice of life, here are some of the ‘weirder’ foods you can tickle your taste buds with while travelling Japan.   Disclaimer: To reduce food-related health risks we recommend seeking out trusted restaurants and establishments that are serviced by qualified professionals. Avoid eating street food that has been sitting unattended or from a vendor with little trade. Ordering raw meat from restaurants that do not specialise in the cuisine is not recommended.   1. Torisashi (chicken sashimi) [caption id="attachment_45986" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Have you been served raw chicken in Japan? That would be Torisashi (chicken sashimi).[/caption] A dish that is guaranteed to evoke shock and horror from friends and family at home is chicken sashimi. With cries of “what about salmonella?” ringing in your ears, it can be a confronting first bite. Fresh chicken sashimi shouldn’t have an odour or strong taste about it at all. Where and when can I get it? A traditional dish of the Kagoshima prefecture, torisashi can be found in almost any izakaya in the region. However, it is gaining popularity in cities such as Osaka and Tokyo and can also be easily found in the Kyushu and Okayama regions. No matter where you get it due to the preparation required in serving non-fish sashimi (i.e. getting it fresh), it’s worthwhile to track down a restaurant that specialises in it rather than leaving it to chance. Pro tip It’s not just chicken breast that is available to eat raw. A restaurant with a chicken sashimi menu will also likely serve the organs as such. If you’re game. 2. Natto The easiest to find, and possibly the most divisive ‘unusual food’. Natto is a stringy, sticky and slimy fermented soybean dish that is most commonly eaten for breakfast. The odour is pungent (think stinky socks) and the flavour lands somewhere between off cottage cheese and salty rotten beans. [caption id="attachment_45972" align="alignleft" width="5184"] Natto is usually eaten for breakfast in Japan.[/caption] Where and when can I get it? Natto can be found year-round in most convenience stores (often in a hand roll or tub), in buffet breakfasts and many cafes all over Japan. Pro tip Natto on rice for breakfast, with a dash of soy, mustard and pickles, is a popular way to eat it. 3. Yakitori entrails [caption id="attachment_45989" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Swap your standard chicken breast skewer for a Yakitori intestine or liver.[/caption] The Japanese rarely waste any part of the animal and readily consume flavourful cuts of offal over the fillets that western cultures prefer. Yakitori liver, tongue, hearts, knee joints and intestine are offered alongside belly and breast and are grilled to perfection. Where and when can I get it? Yakitori bars are popular nationwide. It’s worthwhile trying them everywhere as variety and cuts differ from location and season. Pro tip Horumon (horumonyaki) made exclusively from beef or pork offal is available in dedicated restaurants and is considered good for stamina and energy in the bedroom. Wink wink. 4. Fugu (pufferfish) Fugu is a delicacy, and only available during the winter months. It is eaten for its delightfully unusual taste, high level of collagen and is considered great for anti-ageing. So long as the poisonous parts (mainly organs) aren’t consumed as they contain the deadly toxin ‘tetrodotoxin’, to which there is no known antidote. [caption id="attachment_47361" align="alignleft" width="600"] Wakasa blowfish or fugu thin fillet[/caption] Since 1958 chefs have been required to undergo a rigorous apprenticeship to obtain a license to prepare and sell fugu to the public. These days, cases of Fugu poisoning are rare (but not unheard of) with most occurring through amateur preparation. Where and when can I get it? Winter (end of December to March). Fugu is widely available however there are many restaurants in Kyoto that specialise in the dish. Pro tip There are many strange fishes available only in the winter months in Japan. Try to track down ‘Anko’ also known as Anglerfish in Tokyo and the seaside prefectures, it’s the deep sea fish with the light on its head to attract prey. 5. Batta or inago (grasshopper) The fact that grasshoppers symbolise good luck doesn’t stop them being fried and eaten. Considered pests that eat rice crops, they are a popular cooked in soy and eaten as an afternoon snack, where the crunchy texture pairs beautifully with an iced tea or beer. Where and when can I get it? The Nagano prefecture is considered mecca for finding edible insects however, rice grasshoppers are available widely at bars and restaurants. Pro tip Other popular insects to try are zazamushi (stonefly larvae), hachinoko (bee larvae) and inago no tsukudani (boiled locusts), mainly in Nagano. 6. Basashi (raw horse meat) High in vitamins and low in fat content, raw horse meat is usually served cold along with soy sauce, garlic, and wasabi or nigiri sushi style. It is considered a health food and has been eaten for more than 400 years. Where and when can I get it? Horsemeat is available both raw and cooked in barbecue, wagyu and sushi restaurants across the country – I stumbled across horse meat nigiri in a Tokyo sushi train. However, the regions of Nagano, Oita and Kumamoto are famed for their ‘basashi’ (raw sushi style); Kumamoto boasting a ‘cherry blossom’ basashi, named for its intense red colouring and flavour. Pro tip Such lean meat requires fine preparation so as not to become tough or chewy. Paper thin slices of sashimi delicately fall apart on the tongue and are the recommended dish to order. 7. Mystery Snacks [caption id="attachment_46010" align="alignnone" width="600"] Pick up a hot soup or coffee in the many vending machines around Japan.[/caption] With a store on almost every corner, it’s worth exploring the aisles or perusing vending machines for snacks to test your bravery. Along with chips, ice-creams and soft drinks you can find dried crabs, wasabi cheese and a lucky dip of mystery meats.   It’s hard to walk past the array of hot soups and energy coffees in vending machines without getting curious as to the (often surprising) taste. Where and when can I get it? Vending machines and convenience stores are everywhere. Even on the ski fields. You’re never far from a snack adventure.   Pro tip Don’t try to translate what’s on the packet. It’s far more fun to sip it and see if you can work out what you’re eating by taste!   It would be an extremely long list indeed to include all of the weird and wonderful foods available across Japan. These are a great starting point for extending your bravery and palate into the unusual.   If you're planning a trip to Japan make sure you check out our Japan travel guide, so you can read up on the very best the country has to offer!
arvo-cafe-oahu
Hawai‘i Foodie Guide: Kaka‘ako, O‘ahu
Nestled in between Ala Moana and Downtown Honolulu, Kaka‘ako is O‘ahu’s coolest neighbourhood with a buzzing food scene. Here is a snapshot of some of the best places to sate your appetite. Bevy Inspired by the speakeasies of the prohibition era, Bevy is a brooding little bar with a vintage industrial interior. The curated menu of crafted cocktails is the hero (created by award-winning mixologist Christian Self), with a European-style farm-to-table menu. See bevyhawaii.com Piggy Smalls From the team behind Chinatown’s The Pig and The Lady, this playful spin-off located in Ward Village serves a menu inspired by Southeast Asian cuisine. The unique desserts are a must-try, such as the Hanoi-style egg coffee and seasonal slushies. See thepigandthelady.com [caption id="attachment_45821" align="alignnone" width="600"] Piggy Smalls has got the Southeast Asian cuisine covered, you'll definitely be coming back for more![/caption] Butterfly Ice cream Be sure to stop by for a scoop of this artisanal small-batch ice-cream made using natural and seasonal ingredients. You can’t go past the Hawaiian flavours such as Kona coffee, Lehua honey and Poi banana bread. See butterflycreamery.com [caption id="attachment_45820" align="alignnone" width="600"] Get your ice-cream fix and try some signature Hawaiian flavours[/caption] Village Bottle Shop & Tasting Room Beer geeks and novices alike will get their kicks at Village, which stocks more than 500 craft beers from Hawai‘i and across the globe. It has 16 rotating taps for sampling on-site and oenophiles have a pick of eight wines on draft, too. See villagebeerhawaii.com Arvo With a name like Arvo and a menu including flat whites and Vegemite toast, Aussies will feel right at home in this beautiful cafe. The interiors are bright and colourful (it shares its space with Paiko, a gorgeous botanicals and décor store) and takeaways are available at the little hole in the wall. See arvocafe.com [caption id="attachment_45823" align="alignnone" width="600"] Needing your caffeine fix and American-style just won't do? Arvo serves up a range of Aussie coffees and flavours to keep you satisfied[/caption] Pow Wow Enough food? Be sure to hit the pavement and explore the cool and colourful artistic side to this urban hub. Thanks to artistic network Pow Wow, the streets of Kaka‘ako are adorned with some 50 vibrant murals, making it an Instagrammers’ playground. See powwowhawaii.com [caption id="attachment_45822" align="alignnone" width="600"] When you need a walk after devouring your lunch, hit the streets of Kaka‘ako and check out some of the many vibrant murals[/caption] Eat the Street You’ll be spoilt for choice at this food truck event where more than 40 vendors cook up the likes of burgers, shrimp and tacos, as well as island-inspired cuisine such as plate lunch, shave ice and loco moco. This event takes place at Kaka‘ako Waterfront Park on the last Friday of every month, 4pm–9pm.
Queenstown Skyline Gondola and Restaurant, Queenstown, New Zealand.
These are the world’s 10 most-booked food experiences
If you’re looking to get your gourmand on, it’s well worth checking out this list, because we know what the most-book food experiences of 2018 were… in the entire world. If you’re a food enthusiast and a wine fan, no doubt you make a decent amount of your travel decisions with food and wine in mind, then there’s a whopping great chance you’ll be interested to know which food experiences were the most-booked around the globe through TripAdvisor Experiences in 2018.   Am I right?   From Portugese lunches on a river cruise, to robot cabaret shows in Tokyo, it seems travellers are as equally after the delicious as they are the dazzling. The great news is, no matter where your travels take you, you’re probably not too far away from one of these experiences – the advice would just be to book in sooner rather than later – or it seems like you could just miss out.   Here they are… 10. Savannah Culinary and Cultural Walking Tour, Savannah, USA [caption id="attachment_45102" align="alignnone" width="600"] Experience Southern delights with a Savannah Culinary and Cultural Walking Tour, Savannah, USA.[/caption]   Join a group of 13 fellow travellers as you eat your way through Savannah on a tour that’s equal part history and culinary. Okay, slightly more food-focused. You’ll visit several restaurants and food stores specialising in authentic Southern classics and sampling them as you go. After the tour, the map of your food route will allow you to go back and re-visit the spots you found the most delicious.   Find more info and book here. 9. Queenstown Skyline Gondola and Restaurant, Queenstown, New Zealand Hop aboard the Queenstown gondola and head straight for the skyline restaurant where you’ll enjoy either a lunch of evening meal, while taking in the views of Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables range. Settle in to Bob’s Peakat Skyline for four amazing courses made up of local specialities.   Find more info and book here. 8. Madrid Tapas and Wine Tasting Tour, Madrid, Spain Ola! This tour will take you on a journey through Madrid’s culture with delicious tapas and wine. Our personal favourite way to tour. Limited to an intimate group of 12, you’ll explore Spanish specialties like chickpea stew, salted cod and other obscure local ingredients. The best bit? Unlike other tapas tours, the food and wine are included!   Find more info and book here. 7. Sydney Tower Restaurant Buffet, Sydney, Australia Woo hoo! One of our own made the list – how fabulous! Well how could it not? With 360-degree views of the city, Sydney Tower’s revolving restaurant’s delicious buffet lunch and dinner is a bucket list experience. We personally love how the view outside your window has changed by the time you get to dessert.   Find more info and book here. 6. Rome Food Tour by Sunset around Prati District, Rome, Italy [caption id="attachment_45101" align="alignnone" width="600"] Take part in a Rome Food Tour by Sunset around Prati District, Rome, Italy.[/caption] This tour will take you off the main streets and guide you to the eateries favoured by Roman locals. The food-and-walking tour will take you through the Prati neighbourhood, where you’ll sample up to 20 local delicacies at sunset. A group of just 13 people calls for a supremely intimate experience.   Find more info and book here. 5. New Orleans Food Walking Tour of the French Quarter, New Orleans, USA Taste and sip your way through the Big Easy on a food tour of ‘New Awlin’s’ French Quarter. During the tour you’ll stop in to sample some of the city’s most distinctive foods and explore with a local guide, who’ll gift you with a behind-the-scenes look into local kitchens. You’ll also get tips on where to eat, drink and sightsee – just make sure you bring an appetite for everything from beignets to mouth-watering brisket.   Find more info and book here. 4. Tokyo Robot Evening Cabaret Show, Tokyo, Japan [caption id="attachment_45103" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Enjoy an evening with a dazzling difference at Tokyo Robot Evening Cabaret Show, Tokyo, Japan.[/caption] Wacky is an understatement. If you like your dinner with a difference, then a cabaret show at Robot Restaurant will certainly do it for you. The restaurant is one of Tokyo’s most popular performance venues, often selling out weeks in advance. It features real robots, kaleidoscopic costumes and high-octane dancing. Hold on to your hat for this one.   Find more info and book here. 3. Pizza and Gelato Cooking Class in a Tuscan Farmhouse from Florence, Florence, Italy [caption id="attachment_45100" align="alignnone" width="550"] Enjoy a culinary cooking class in a Tuscan Farmhouse from Florence, Florence, Italy[/caption] If it’s as much about how to make the food as it is about eating it, then this is the foodie experience for you. During, you’ll delve deep into Florence’s culinary scene with a remote Tuscan Farmhouse as your setting. You’ll master the basics of Italian pizza and gelato, but the highlight without a doubt is eating the fruit of your labours – quite literally – if you’re talking about the gelato.   Find more info and book here. 2. Montserrat Tour from Barcelona, including lunch and wine tasting in Oller des Mas, Barcelona, Spain Take a day trip from Barcelona to experience a Catalan lunch and wine and cheese tasting session at Oller del Mas; a 10th-century castle set in a 1,000-acre estate. Enjoy a combination of tours and free time at the monastery and basilica of Montserrat before taking to the vineyard’s cellars for a tipple or two.   Find more info and book here. 1. Douro Valley Small-Group Tour with Wine Tasting, Portugese Lunch and Optional River Cruise, Porto, Portugal The UNESCO-listed Douro Valley is famous for its port wine, but due to the sheer number of wineries in the region, exploring without a guide well versed in vino can be more than a little overwhelming. This tour ensures you’ll experience the very best the Douro Valley has to offer, dining on local cuisine at a celebrated villa and tasting award-winning wine at two estates. To see it all from the water, there’s the option to upgrade to a cruise by traditional Rabelo boat.   Find more info and book here.
Pastrami on Rye from Katz's Deli, New York City.
New York’s 7 most iconic snacks: We tried (and ranked) them all
Want to try all the famous snacks in New York City but just don’t have the time/tummy space? We had both, so we did the legwork for you. Here are New York’s most celebrated snacks, ranked. 7. Cereal milk soft serve at Momofuku Milk Bar [caption id="attachment_44956" align="alignnone" width="600"] Cereal milk soft serve at Momofuku Milk Bar. Image via Freya Herring.[/caption] When cereal milk hit shelves all those years ago, the crowds went wild. (For the uninitiated, chef Christina Tosi invented ‘cereal milk’, which is essentially milk infused with cornflakes and then strained, to taste like the milk leftover when you’re eating cereal.) You can buy it in cartons, or try the Instagram-famous cereal milk soft serve.   It’s super fun, easy to find (there are Milk Bars everywhere in NYC) and inexpensive. It comes with crispy cornflakes on top and is a true taste of nostalgia, but it isn’t as strongly flavoured as we expected. But no ice-cream is bad ice-cream, amirite? Score: 2/5 6. Cupcake at Magnolia Bakery [caption id="attachment_44957" align="alignnone" width="600"] Cupcake at Magnolia Bakery, New York City. A Carrie Bradshaw favourite. Image via Freya Herring.[/caption] You’ve seen Carrie eat one of these cupcakes in SATC and so now, of course, it has become a NY institution. And, actually, this is a darn good cupcake. The sponge is feathery light and the buttercream generous and bracingly sweet. It’s not going to change your life – it is just a cupcake after all – but it is a fun way to get that sugary hit.   Plus, unlike in Carrie’s day, there are now Magnolias all over New York, so you don’t even need to head downtown to get your mitts on one. Score: 3/5 5. Cheesecake at Junior’s [caption id="attachment_44958" align="alignnone" width="600"] Strawberry Cheesecake from Junior's. Image via Freya Herring.[/caption] Is this the most famous cheesecake in the world? Probably. There are tonnes of types to choose from. The most famous is the strawberry cheesecake – regular cheesecake with a topping of fresh strawberries set amongst thick, sweet strawberry sauce and a Graham cracker crust.   But we prefer the Original NY Plain Cheesecake. It’s just a simple thing done well. Thin, sponge-cake crust; creamy, not-too-sweet cream cheese filling, baked to thick silkiness. Sometimes simple is best. Score: 3/5 4. Smoked salmon bagel at Russ & Daughters [caption id="attachment_44959" align="alignnone" width="600"] Smoked salmon bagel at Russ & Daughters, New York City. Image via Freya Herring.[/caption] You’re going to have to wait for a bagel at famed Jewish deli, Russ & Daughters. That’s just the rules. But it’s a wait that has its perks. Go to the shop instead of the cafe – it’s over a century old, and walking in feels like walking back in time to a New York relic.   Grab a ticket and wait until your number is called (we waited an hour at 3pm on a Sunday). It’s all about soaking up the atmosphere, everyone milling about, crowded into this beautiful space. There are tonnes of sandwiches on offer, but we say go the ‘Classic’, which is essentially a smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel. We opt for a poppy seed bagel, with Nova salmon (“It’s the best”, a local tells us), scallion cream cheese, and pay extra for onions and capers.   The bagel is crisper that you might expect, but it’s perfect fodder for that silky salmon and piquant cream cheese. This just might be the ultimate New York experience, so make the time and go here once; you won’t regret it. Score: 4/5 3. Cronut at Dominique Ansel Bakery [caption id="attachment_44960" align="alignnone" width="600"] Cronut at Dominique Ansel Bakery. Image via Freya Herring.[/caption] Don’t go for imitations. There really is only one Cronut, and that’s Dominique Ansel’s. Unlike all those that followed, Ansel’s is a perfect balance between soft, crisp, sweet, sour and buttery. The flavours change every month, but we tried the classic croissant dough stuffed with cranberry jam and pistachio ganache and topped with sweet, pink icing.   We know that deep-fried croissants don’t sound all that delicious – and they wouldn’t be, in normal cases – but at Ansel’s this is a thing of beauty. Just eat one already. Score: 5/5 2. Pork buns at Momofuku Noodle Bar [caption id="attachment_44961" align="alignnone" width="600"] Pork buns at Momofuku Noodle Bar. Image via Freya Herring.[/caption] Momofuku’s pork buns are everything you’ve heard they are, and just as wonderful. Thick slabs of salty, almost-ham-like pork belly are stuck inside fluffy white bao buns. The buns are slicked with hoisin and there is cured cucumber for crunch and spring onion for that extra punch of umami.   The pork is so tender and deliciously fatty it starts melting as soon as it hits your tongue. Go here late at night (we go at 10pm on a Sunday, and wait under five minutes for a table, even though the place is rammed) or get in the queue at 5pm for its 5.30pm opening if you can’t do late dinners. Score: 5/5 1. Pastrami on rye at Katz’s Delicatessen [caption id="attachment_44962" align="alignnone" width="600"] Pastrami on rye: a famous order at Katz's Deli, New York City. Image via Freya Herring.[/caption] Even New Yorkers love the pastrami at Katz’s, and will wait in the queue that has now gained infamy worldwide. No matter what time you go, there always seems to be a line, but avoiding weekends and peak eating hours is a good idea.   Regardless of how you do it, you’ll ultimately find yourself in the buzzy, neon-signed surrounds of Katz’s interior, nabbing a ticket from the man at the door and making your way slowly up to one of the counters to order your sandwich (you can do table service if you prefer, but you’ll probably wait longer). Once you get to the counter, make your order. Most people order the pastrami on rye (it’s what they’re eating when Meg Ryan fakes an orgasm, right here in Katz’s, in When Harry Met Sally).   The chef will pop a few slices of still-hot pastrami on a plate so you can taste, then, as long as you approve, he’ll make up your sandwich, alongside a plate of pickles. Once you’ve got your tray, hand him your ticket and he’ll mark on it what you had (keep your ticket, you’ll need it later). Grab a table, eat this big, beautiful beast of a sandwich then go back to the door, hand over your ticket to the cashier and pay. It’s hectic and fun and feels like the New York you see in the movies, and the pastrami is the best we’ve ever had – and we’d go back, even with those queues. Score: 5/5   Need somewhere to lay your head after eating all these delicious snacks? We stayed at the excellent, brand-new CitizenM New York Bowery Hotel on the Lower East Side. Situated in the buzzy Bowery neighbourhood, the hotel sees playfully decorated bedrooms with room-width windows overlooking the skyline – it’s a pretty amazing view to wake up to. Plus the onsite cafe/lobby is a fun, efficiently designed and super stylish place to catch up on work, or even grab a pre-dinner cocktail.
James Thompson Food Feels
The best non-travel Instagram accounts to inspire you to see the world
There are countless travel accounts on Instagram. But there are other ways to see the world through Instagram’s lens. Here, six accounts that will take you on a visual world tour of a different kind.   How do you while away the hours on Instagram? For me, it’s a haphazardly curated feed of beautiful destinations, coveted fashion, mouth-watering food and Betoota Advocate LOLs. I want to go there, wear this, eat that. Sure, I’m envious, but I try to keep the green-eyed monster at bay by striking a content balance. Exotic locations, oui. Nothing but exotic locations, non. To that end, here are six accounts that will nourish your wanderlust while injecting some less traditional imagery into your feed. Best for people-watching in New York City: @humansofny   View this post on Instagram   “I wasn’t planning on dressing up as a clown. I’d been drinking all night in Poughkeepsie and I somehow ended up at the train station, so I decided to take the 4 AM train into the city. I had $200 in my pocket from some gutter cleaning work. I immediately spent the first $60 on brunch and Bloody Marys. Then I walked by Party City and I had the idea to get a clown wig. But then I noticed the suspenders, and the top, and the bow tie, and some balloons. I bought a red nose too but I’m not sure what happened to it. I left the store with about $100, which was enough to get some shoes and a half pint of Seagram’s. I ended the day with $10 but that got lost when I passed out in Times Square. Now I'm trying to figure out how to get home. I need to stop drinking.” A post shared by Humans of New York (@humansofny) on Aug 9, 2018 at 10:52am PDT Humans of New York has over eight million followers. I mean, you’re probably one of them. This is a hugely popular account. @humansofny started life as Brandon Stanton’s photography project in 2010 and, although it has evolved since, it remains true to its original mission: to provide a glimpse into the lives of everyday New Yorkers.   While the account still predominantly features locals – it would be weird otherwise, right? – it now goes on tour, too, giving followers an insight into lives around the globe.  Best for global floor appreciation: @ihavethisthingforfloors   View this post on Instagram   #ihavethisthingforfloors #ihavethisthingwithfloors #fromwhereistand #tiles #floors #floored #ceramics #shoes #beauty #bnw #love #awesome #tassles #canvas #slippers #hawanas #blue #love #feet #feetmefloor #stencil #painted#paint #art #fortheloveof #paints @cimkedi #pattern #like4like #follow A post shared by I have this thing for floors. (@ihavethisthingforfloors) on Aug 8, 2017 at 4:55am PDT More than four million Instagram posts have been tagged #lookup, a nod to the notion that we should pull our eyes away from our phone and enjoy what’s around us. (Hashtag irony.) But, as this account proves, we should be doing more looking down as well. @ihavethisthingwithfloors is the result of three friends realising they all, err, had this thing with floors.   They curate the account from Amsterdam, but share ‘selfeets’ (selfie meets feet, geddit?) from all over the world. Each features an Instagram-worthy floor – think beautifully patterned tiles, confetti covered dance floors, colourful carpets – underneath a pair of feet. Bonus points for cute shoes. Best for perving on the world's best caffeine containers: @coffeecupsoftheworld   View this post on Instagram   Magnolia coffee house, Prairie Grove, Arkansas. @magnoliacoffeehouse Submission @deidremays #coffeecupsoftheworld A post shared by Coffee Cups of the World (@coffeecupsoftheworld) on May 21, 2018 at 5:05am PDT If you’ve never posted a photo of your cool takeaway coffee cup, are you even on Instagram? Kiwi photographer Henry Hargreaves has taken the trend a step further, curating an account dedicated to, as the handle would suggest, @coffeecupsoftheworld.   The account started with Hargreaves’ personal assortment of cups collected during his travels, but has since added submissions into the mix. The result is a striking visual ode to cafes that have turned a ubiquitous item into a work of art. Best 'non-street-style' street style account: @aks   View this post on Instagram   10 PHOTOS shot during @parisfashionweek SS19 in Paris, France 🇫🇷 for @wmag + @lofficielparis • SEE MORE on AdamKatzSinding.com • #PFW #SS19 #Paris #AKS #AdamKatzSinding #NoFreePhotos A post shared by Adam Katz Sinding (@aks) on Oct 5, 2018 at 10:59am PDT The first thing you should probably know is @AKS “is not a f**king street style blog.” Adam Katz Sinding is a fashion week documentarian. The American born, Copenhagen-based photojournalist travels 300-plus days of the year, capturing the world’s biggest fashion events from both backstage and the street.   The disclaimer is his. He says street style is a lie he wants no part of. In contrast, Katz Sinding’s images are an honest snapshot of style in some of the world’s most fashionable cities, and a touristy #ASKforeheadselfie series for good measure. Best coverage of doorways around the world: @thedoorproject   View this post on Instagram   Barcelona, Spain A post shared by Doors Worldwide (@thedoorproject) on Jun 2, 2015 at 9:56am PDT “Behind every door is a story,” says Caryn Cullinan, the woman behind The Door Project. That might be true, but @thedoorproject is more about the door itself with colourful, ornate and quirky examples from around the world captured via the Instagram account. The project has its roots in a 2015 Kickstarter campaign, which aimed to raise enough money for Cullinan to publish a book. She did that, but hasn’t stopped the door hunt, which she documents on Instagram.   While her captions include little more than each door’s location, the absence of the aforementioned ‘story’ does allow you to imagine your own. Best account to simultaneously make you drool and want to book flights to wherever that pizza is: @food_feels   View this post on Instagram   I’ll have all of the above ✔️ No trip to Macao is complete without a stop to Lord Stow - I had so many recommendations to try their famous egg tarts - similar to Pastel de natas but instead using English custard. I’d recommend visiting their original store in in Coloane where they’ve been baking these since 1989.. @macaouk - #Macao #Ad A post shared by Food Feels (@food_feels) on Sep 24, 2018 at 4:53am PDT Ahh, there’s a small pizza, I mean, problem. Sorry. I have been scrolling through James Thompson’s @food_feels account to get some pizza, I mean, inspiration (sorry!) for this pizza, oh God, I mean, piece. And now, as you might have guessed, I am a little pizza. ARGH! I’m distracted. I am a little DIS.TRAC.TED.   Thompson, an Aussie based in London, is (at time of writing) in Italy. Prior to Italy, he was in France. Before France, he was in Denmark. Previous to Denmark, he was in Portugal. Thompson’s accompanying #foodie photos are delicious. Let him whisk you away on a culinary adventure.
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