North America

Best of North American Travel
Holland America Line
Journey Alaska by land and sea with Holland America Line
Holland America Line’s Land+Sea Journeys let you extend your Alaska adventure into the wild interior of Alaska and the Yukon. And who better to show you the Great Land? Holland America Line’s experiences are carefully crafted to reflect the best of Alaska, and even allow you to choose your own path. A Land+Sea Journey may take you to the foot of mighty Denali or venture further to the unspoiled reaches of the Yukon (an experience offered by no other cruise company). The Land+Sea Journeys program allows Holland America Line to focus on this majestic destination and experience while offering guests its renowned combination of elegance and adventure in Alaska and the Yukon. [caption id="attachment_45283" align="alignnone" width="600"] Big brown bear (Ursus arctos) in the mountain[/caption] Need to know Holland America Line is the only cruise company that takes guests to the unspoiled reaches of the Yukon. For the ultimate Great Land getaway, combine an Alaska cruise with Denali National Park and the wild frontier of the Yukon Territory. Ride on the McKinley Explorer glass-domed railcars, pan for gold, or even cruise the Yukon River on a sternwheeler. Located at the very gates of Denali National Park at the magnificent 24-hectare McKinley Chalet Resort, Denali Square serves as both hub and retreat for guests exploring the park, and features cosy fire pits, perfect for gathering around on cool Alaskan evenings as well as outdoor seating to enjoy the scenery in summer. You’ll also find shops offering local goods, and an artist-in-residence cabin where Alaskan native and local artists display and discuss their works. Walking paths in and around Denali Square show off the property’s mountainous landscapes and beautiful setting just across the Nenana River from Denali National Park. [caption id="attachment_45284" align="alignnone" width="600"] Mountains of Denali[/caption] Klondike Spirit Yukon River cruise Step aboard the Klondike Spirit and embark on a cruise to a bygone era on the only operating paddlewheeler in the Yukon Territory (at an additional cost). As you make your way through breathtaking landscapes along the Yukon River, the third-longest river in America, keep an eye out for abundant wildlife, including moose, bears and bald eagles. Tundra landing via helicopter Explore the hills just outside of Denali National Park on this short ride (at an additional cost). Keep your eyes on the horizon to see Denali, North America’s tallest peak, or Mount Deborah, her impressive sister. Just moments after take-off, you will be deeply immersed in Alaskan back country. Your pilot will set down on the soft, alpine tundra, giving you the amazing opportunity to step out into this scenic landscape.   Experience the authentic Alaska you’ve always dreamed of with the cruise line that is the undisputed leader in Alaska Cruises and Land+Sea Journeys. For more information call 1300 987 322, contact your travel professional or visit www.hollandamerica.com/alaska
Eat up!
Hawai‘i Foodie Guide: 7 Hawaiian dishes to try (and where to try them)
From Lau Lau to shaved ice. This is the essential list of Hawaiian dishes you need to try! Fried shrimp Ultra-fresh shrimp (prawns to us Aussies) show up on menus across the Hawaiian Islands, but arguably the favourite crustacean-based dish is fried shrimp. The true quality of a plate of fried shrimp comes from the amount of buttery garlic sauce that comes with it; the more the better.   Try it at: Fumi’s Kahuku Shrimp Truck on the North Shore of O‘ahu. Malasadas Introduced by the Portuguese when they came to Hawai‘i in the 19th century, this doughnut without a hole is golden brown on the outside, fluffy on the inside, and coated with sugar.   Try it at: Leonard’s Bakery in Honolulu, O‘ahu, which has been making these sweet doughy balls since 1953 leonardshawaii.com Lomi Lomi This salad is a traditional side dish, made from cured salted salmon chunks, fresh tomato and sweet Maui onions that are combined, or massaged (lomi lomi means massage in Hawaiian), to meld the flavours. [caption id="attachment_45874" align="alignnone" width="600"] A incredibly mouthwatering, fresh dish you HAVE to try[/caption] Try it at: Umekes in Kona, Island of Hawai‘i. umekesrestaurants.com Plate lunch Mix and match it however you like; the Hawaiian plate lunch is two scoops of white rice, macaroni salad and entrée – usually kalua pig, chicken lau lau (wrapped in taro leaves) or lomi lomi salmon. Can’t choose? Get a mixed plate and sample everything! [caption id="attachment_45876" align="alignnone" width="600"] A little something for everyone...[/caption] Try it at: Aloha Mixed Plate in Lahaina on Maui, which serves up incredible ocean views with its traditional plate lunches alohamixedplate.com Lau Lau This dish is considered to be soul food in Hawai‘i, so beloved it is. Meaning ‘leaf, leaf’ in Hawaiian, the name refers to the traditional process of wrapping meat (usually pork or salted fish) in taro leaves (luau) and then steaming it (wrapped in a ti leaf, which can withstand high cooking temperatures). It is now used to refer to the dish itself, which is usually served with a side of rice. [caption id="attachment_45877" align="alignnone" width="1024"] You'll never be hungry![/caption] Try it at: Highway Inn, O‘ahu, has been serving up Hawaiian food since 1947  myhighwayinn.com Kalua pig The main attraction at any luau and a component of the plate lunch, kalua pig is cooked in an imu (underground oven) for several hours resulting in smoky, succulent meat.   Try it at: Poi By The Pound on Maui poibythepound.com Shave Ice This frozen confection differs from a snow cone, which is made of crushed ice; shave ice soaks up the syrup better creating a fluffier texture. It was brought to the Hawaiian Islands by Japanese sugar plantation workers in the mid 19th century, and it is a huge hit all over the state.   Try it at: Wailua Shave Ice on Kaua‘i wailuashaveice.com    
Poke Bowl.
Hawai‘i foodie guide: culinary experiences in the Aloha State
Think Hawai'i is all about surfing and beaches?  Think again, Hawai'i is the capital of food cool with cocktails plenty and quality local produce. In high spirits With a tropical climate that lends itself to a sundowner or two, these distilleries are brewing up something great.   It was the Polynesians who initially brought sugar cane to Hawai‘i, and the first sugar mill was established in Lāna‘i in the early 1800s; commercial cane fields were established at the town of Koloa on Kaua‘i in 1835. Since then the crop has been used to make everyone’s favourite island tipple, rum.   Even if you’re not a rum-lover, a visit to the Koloa Rum Tasting Room and Company Store at the historic Kilohana Plantation in Lihue will set you on the path to appreciation. Koloa’s rums are premium, single-batch, made using the kind of sustainable practices that are fast becoming the standard for businesses across all of the Islands of Hawai‘i. [caption id="attachment_45869" align="alignnone" width="320"] You won't want to miss a tasting session at the popular Koloa Rum Tasting Room[/caption] Meanwhile, on the island of O‘ahu, Manulele Distillers at Kunia has a farm-to-bottle philosophy when it comes to producing its celebrated Kō Hana Agricole Rum.   The heirloom varieties of sugar cane (kō in Hawaiian) used to produce its small batch, single variety white, barrel-aged and cask strength rums are all hand-harvested before being pressed for juice and distilled with care. The resulting spirits, considered to be some of the best pure cane rums in the world (many mass-produced rums are made with molasses, a by-product of sugar production), are presented in sleek cube bottles with glass stoppers and hand-numbered on site.   Hawai‘i’s abundant sugar cane is not just utilised to produce rum; on the island of Maui, sustainable, select harvested organic sugar cane is combined with deep ocean mineral water, sourced some 900 metres below the Kona Coast off the Island of Hawai‘i, to produce a uniquely Hawaiian vodka, Ocean Vodka. The water used is purified and desalinated through a natural filtration method that ensures it retains its rich mineral content, while no GMOs or pesticides are used. The bottles resemble antique glass fishing floats.   From paddock to plate With a growing focus on utilising sustainable farming practices, as well as its abundant natural resources, Hawai‘i has earnt a reputation as a destination creating quality food and drinks from its deliciously fresh produce. [caption id="attachment_45870" align="alignnone" width="600"] Hawai'i's famous Farmer's Markets.[/caption] This kind of attention to detail and respect for the environment is encapsulated in places like O’o Farm, located at 1066 metres on the slopes of Haleakala in the upcountry farming community of Kula on Maui. The passion project of surfing buddies Louis Coulombe and Stephan Bel-Robert, who purchased the land here in 2000 with a citrus and stone fruit orchard and a few coffee trees attached, O’o Farms is now a thriving ‘no-till’ farm growing Hawaiian coffee, fruit trees, garden vegetables and greenhouse tomatoes, flowers and herbs. [caption id="attachment_45872" align="alignnone" width="600"] Hawai'i is earning a growing reputation for its quality produce[/caption] Given the cornerstone of Hawai‘i’s unique cuisine is island-fresh local produce and ingredients, it should come as no surprise that there is also no shortage of farmers’ markets to visit. Some of the best on offer include Hilo Farmers Market on the Island of Hawai‘i (Wednesday and Saturdays, 6am – 4pm); KCC Farmers Market across from Diamond Head in Waikiki (Saturdays 7.30am – 11am) or Hale‘iwa Farmers Market on the North Shore (Thursdays, 2pm – 6pm); Kaua‘i Culinary Market at Poipu on Kaua‘i (Wednesday, 3.30pm – 6pm); and Maui’s Upcountry Farmers Market in Pukalani (Saturdays, 7am – 11am).   The best way to see (and taste) the traditions and practices of farming on Hawai‘i first-hand is on one of the many farm tours available across the Hawaiian Islands at places like the Surfing Goat Dairy in lower Kula on Maui, which supplies its award-winning cheeses to restaurants across the island, and Big Island Bees on the Island of Hawai‘i, where you can take a beekeeping tour and join in on opening a bee hive. And for the sweet toothed, Garden Island Chocolate on Kaua‘i produces organic dark chocolate (85 per cent cacao) which you can sample on its guided chocolate tour.   Another way to experience Hawai‘i’s paddock to plate ethos is on a rambling culinary home tour, which gives an irresistible taste of the island lifestyle. Home Tours Hawai‘i on the Island of Hawai‘i offers its guests the chance to enjoy a progressive 3-course ‘farm to fork’ brunch using fresh ingredients and prepared in private homes. What is poke? [caption id="attachment_45871" align="alignnone" width="600"] The famous poke bowl - A crowd favourite and a must-try when you're in Hawai'i[/caption] One of the most delicious culinary exports from Hawai‘i food exports is poke (‘to slice’ in Hawaiian), which originated when local fishermen seasoned off-cuts and ate them as a snack. Traditionally served as an appetiser or main dish (the cubed fish is seasoned with salt, soy and sesame oil and mixed with Maui onion, ground candlenut and algae), it has evolved into a popular salad served with accompaniments ranging from avocado to coleslaw to rice. Caffeine culture Hawai‘i has a reputation for growing great coffee beans. Coffee arrived in Hawai‘i in 1817 and after a few years of patchy success at growing, plants were successfully introduced onto the Island of Hawai‘i in 1828, with the first commercial operation starting up in Koloa on Kaua‘i in 1836.   As sugar cane became less profitable many farmers started growing coffee beans instead; now more of Hawai‘is farmers grow coffee than any other crop across Kaua‘i, Maui, Moloka‘i and Island of Hawai‘i. So it’s not surprising that there are some serious brews to be had; here a few coffee spots to hit up for a heart starter on your next visit. The essential go-to's Little Fish Coffee Poipu and Hanapepe, Kaua‘i Order hand-brewed coffee using organic Hawaiian beans and feast on dishes constructed of locally grown produce. littlefishcoffee.com   Akamai Coffee Co. Maui Housed in a light, airy space in Kihei, the coffee here follows a seed-to-cup process, serving up 100 per cent locally roasted Maui beans. akamaicoffee.com Island Vintage Coffee - Waikiki and the North Shore, O‘ahu With three cafes on O‘ahu, this consistently good coffee, made with Kona beans, is a must. islandvintagecoffee.com   Kaya’s at Kona Island of Hawai‘i The best organic Kona beans are used in its brews, including the coffee ice cubes in the iced version. kona123.com/kayas.html
Chilled out in Hawai'i
Hawai’i Foodie Guide: Flavours of the Hawaiian Islands
Explore the unique cuisine that reflects a rich cultural history and idyllic tropical lifestyle.  Experience the flavours of the Hawaiian Islands with our Hawai'i Foodie Guide... Using only the stars to navigate, Polynesians arrived on the Hawaiian Islands in their outriggers some 1500 years ago. And while the islands were lush and mountainous with cool, fresh water, these voyagers found little more than fish, seaweed, berries, for food. As they settled the islands, they planted sugar cane, fruits and vegetables such as coconuts, sweet potato and banana, and raised pigs and chickens. With these staple ingredients, early Hawaiian cooking comprised of dishes such as poi (a thick paste made from taro root); poke (raw fish seasoned with Hawaiian sea salt and seaweed); haupia (sweet coconut milk and Polynesian arrowroot); and lau lau (pork wrapped in taro leaves) cooked in an imu (underground oven).   When Westerners arrived in the 18th century, they brought with them other foods such as pineapple, coffee and cattle; and when sugar cultivation hit its peak the following century, workers flooded in from China, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, Puerto Rico and Portugal, introducing their flavours to the region. So, the Hawai‘i’s cuisine that we know today was born from a medley of cultural influences. Unique dishes such as Saimin (a Chinese noodle soup), Spam Musubi (essentially Spam sushi, with sticky rice and seaweed), and Malasadas (Portuguese doughnut) became local favourites.   In 1991, 12 chefs established ‘Hawai‘i Regional Cuisine’, a culinary movement where they partnered with local farmers to showcase and utilise the best of Hawai‘i’s produce and created a contemporary cuisine that blended fresh Hawaiian ingredients with flavours from around the world. Today, this philosophy continues as the Hawai‘i’s food scene thrives, with many restaurants touting menus focused on Hawaiian flavours. [caption id="attachment_45867" align="alignnone" width="600"] Giovanni's paved the way for the thriving food truck scene on O'ahu's North Shore[/caption] Street food is growing in popularity with roadside stalls and food trucks serving local delicacies made fresh to order. The laid-back town of Hale‘iwa on O‘ahu’s North Shore is ground zero for food truck cuisine, where trailblazer Giovanni’s, which started serving fried shrimp out of a converted 1953 bread truck in 1993, has been joined by trucks serving up everything from Hawai‘i’s comfort food to burgers to acai bowls. Cafes are making really good coffee that Australians will enjoy, and there’s a burgeoning brewery and distillery scene. [caption id="attachment_45866" align="alignnone" width="600"] Cruising the food trucks of O'ahu's laid-back North Shore is a culinary treat![/caption] An ever increasing number of Hawai‘i-based chefs are serving up noteworthy food using locally sourced produce in worth-going-out-of-your-way-for restaurants. One such chef is Hilo native Mark Pomaski at Moon and Turtle, where the constantly changing menu (sometimes daily) inventively makes the most of local seasonal produce and ingredients including ocean-to-plate (or sea-to-service) seafood.   Food festivals Kapalua Wine and Food Festival Maui – June Located at the beachfront Kapalua Resort on Maui, partake in cooking classes, wine and food pairings, winemaker dinners, and evening galas hosted by winemakers and prominent chefs from Hawai‘i and across the globe. kapaluawineandfoodfestival.com The Hawai‘i Food & Wine Festival The Island of Hawai‘i, Maui and O‘ahu – October More than 150 international masterchefs, culinary experts, winemakers and mixologists converge over three islands for three weeks of events, including wine tastings, pool parties, cooking classes for kids, and food and wine pairings. The event raises money for sustainability, culinary programs and agriculture, so while you’re indulging, you’re also doing good. hawaiifoodandwinefestival.com Kaua‘i Chocolate & Coffee Festival Kaua‘i – October The historic town of Hanapepe comes to life with farm tours, workshops and Q&As with growers and experts, live entertainment and the best part, sampling glorious chocolate and coffee. Kaua‘ichocolateandcoffeefestival.com   Kona Coffee Cultural Festival Island of Hawai‘i – November Celebrating and preserving Kona’s 200-year-old coffee heritage, this festival includes farm experiences and coffee picking, barista training, beer, wine and coffee pairing, latte art competitions, as well as art exhibits, concerts and parades. konacoffeefest.com
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. ***Hawai'i Foodie Guide created by International Traveller in partnership with Hawai'i Tourism Oceania*** 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 of Hawai'i's signature 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.
V2V Vacations
The luxurious Canadian cruise you’ve always dreamed of
Passengers can frequently spot wildlife such as orcas, bald eagles or sea lions along the coastline of British Columbia. The waters of south-western British Columbia in Canada, are some of the most spectacular in the world, and the uniquely beautiful, comfortable and convenient journey aboard the V2V Empress between downtown Vancouver and downtown Victoria aims to showcase this stunning corner of the world with unparalleled commitment to service, comfort and luxury.   Whether you are looking for an exciting add-on to your Alaska cruise or your Rocky Mountaineer train journey, or you simply wish to discover Victoria for a day, cruising to Vancouver Island on this stylish 242-passenger high-speed catamaran is an opportunity to spend the voyage learning about the rich culture in the region.   Sailing directly from downtown Vancouver past Stanley Park, across the Salish Sea and meandering through the stunning British Columbia Gulf Islands into Victoria’s Inner Harbour on Vancouver Island, passengers can frequently spot wildlife such as orcas, bald eagles or sea lions. Throughout the 3.5-hour journey, guests also have the opportunity to taste local flavours through the on-board menu, which features foods and non-alcoholic as well as alcoholic beverages exclusively sourced from the region.   All seating is reserved, so when you go up to the sundeck to enjoy the incredible 360-degree views, you can be rest assured that your seat won’t be occupied by someone else once you come back inside. [caption id="attachment_44989" align="alignnone" width="600"] Cruising - but with all the comforts of a luxury hotel[/caption] Need to know In Vancouver, the V2V terminal is located downtown by the convention centre, within short walking distance of the Vancouver Cruise Terminal, a variety of luxury accommodation options as well as boutique properties. In Victoria, the ship arrives and departs directly from the Inner Harbour across from the British Columbia Provincial Legislature, within an easy four-minute walk from all pick-up points for the best Victoria and Butchart Gardens sightseeing tours and activities. See Victoria If you cruise to Victoria for the day, you will have enough time to wander the quaint, historic downtown with its British colonial architecture, visit the stunning Butchart Gardens, or linger over afternoon high tea. [caption id="attachment_44990" align="alignnone" width="600"] You'll be amazed at all the wildlife spotting you can do![/caption] Go Royal Class The V2V Empress cruises past some spectacular British Columbian wilderness; the views from Royal Class seats are unbeatable. V2V’s two classes, Premium and Royal, both feature comfy ergonomic leather seats equipped with international power outlets (and free wi-fi throughout the ship), but Royal class is tailored to those who appreciate more personalised service. Up on the upper deck, Royal guests enjoy the best views, with food and drinks served directly to their seat. A welcome drink and a three-course light meal in both directions is included, as well as unlimited non-alcoholic drinks.   For more information visit V2Vvacations.com
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.
The ultimate 90-day USA-to-Canada road trip
Looking to get away for the ultimate road-trip over a couple of months? More and more, travellers are less interested in quick trips abroad to check out a handful of destinations.   Instead, they want to immerse themselves in as many varied cultures and communities as possible, and there’s no better way to do that than by road-tripping through a country you want to get to know.   The USA and Canada are two of the most sought after travel destinations for Australians, thanks to the rich landscapes, varied provinces and mammoth list of things to do. So go on, do what you've always dreamed you'd do and take the full three months, start planning, and buckle in to what’s sure to be the biggest adventure of your life.   The below itinerary is is designed to start in New York City, touch the bottom of the USA, climb up the west coast before hitting Canada, from there you head straight cross country until you hit Quebec, where you can hang up your road-trip boots, or continue the eight-hour drive back to where you started: The Big Apple.   In between stops, we encourage you to create your own path based on what you love, and what's on your must-see list. We've highlighted our favourite bits. It's time for you to find yours.   Our top 3 road trip classics to add to your playlist: “Mustang Sally” by Wilson Pickett “Life Is a Highway” by Tom Cochrane “I’ve Been Everywhere” by Johnny Cash   How To: [caption id="attachment_44059" align="alignnone" width="1000"] Do Canada and USA your way with your own motorhome[/caption] To fulfil your own Great American (or Canadian) Road Trip fantasies, consider getting the hard bits done for you so you just need to bring yourself, your driving gloves and a dog-eared copy of On The Road. America Canada Motorhome Tours takes on the work so you don’t have to, having been busy organising driving tours through Canada, Alaska and the lower 48s of the USA for the past 15 years. Choose from one of their six itineraries then you can travel in your own motorhome, at your own pace, with your family and friends, yet knowing you have the support of a tour leader who will give you guidance and assistance.   On a motorhome tour, you’ll see more as you are free to stop at will, and you get so much more access to local culture as you are introduced to communities along the way. Then there is the added social life around the trip’s many campfires and, to make things better, you only unpack once.   Most itineraries are combined with hotel stays, day tours and even a seven-day cruise, and include Chicago to Anchorage, Seattle to Anchorage, Anchorage to Seattle, Route 66, Nashville to the Caribbean and Eastern Canada. It’s the ideal way to get the freedom of the road with the support of a local team.   MUST STOP: Fuel up in New York City Starting off in New York City, before you head off on your months-long adventure, it pays to get yourself a hearty meal somewhere delicious, so you're not itching to turn off the road at places you don't necessarily need to stop. We suggest stopping in at Soho's Jack's Wife Freda for a serving of the Rosewater Waffles with a serving of their famous house cured duck bacon. You certainly won't regret it.   Stop and explore Washington DC on your way through, or detour through the country music capital of the world, Nashville   MUST STOP: Sample the chargrilled oysters in New Orleans As you head down Bourbon Street, swept up in the music, making your way through the slew of dancing and the colourful beads, take a right to Acme Oyster House in the French Quarter. These babies come out sizzling in the shell, saturated in herby butter and – in true American fashion – topped with cheese. It’s a bit of a weird sensation, guzzling piping hot oysters, but what you’ll find is that this crustacean is just as delicious grilled as they are raw drizzled with lemon. To really get into the New Orleans spirit, follow up with some Jambalaya; a New Orleans speciality, the seasoned rice comes with smoked sausage and chicken – and really hits the spot.   MUST STOP: Cool down in Austin For a chilled back day in Austin that will make you feel like a local, head to Barton Springs Pool within the city’s green oasis of Zilker Park. This 1.2-hectare pool, flanked by grassy banks, is fed by underground springs and maintains an average temperature of between 15–21 degrees °C, making it swimmable year-round. Pack a towel and a book and when you’re hungry, amble down the road to Barton Spring Road’s food trailer park the Picnic to experience what Austin is most famous for (besides music). From fresh fruit ice blocks to Texan barbecue and tacos, sample local fare from some of the best food trucks in town.   Where to stay: Hotel Sain Cecilia, created in honour of the patron saint of music and poetry, the Saint Cecilia takes inspiration from the great era of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s when a revolution of rock and roll and beat poetry overran the hallowed halls of established convention. They pay tribute to the great creative legacy of our revolutionary idols and to the spirit of the artist that lies within us all.   Duration: 7 hours Don’t forget to stock up on marshmallows, crackers and chocolate bars for s’mores around the campfire.   MUST STOP: Appreciate art in Prada Marfa The flat, dusty plains of western Texas gained an unlikely tourist attraction in 2005 when artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset installed an uncanny sculpture on the side of the highway. To the road tripper, Prada Marfa is the surrealist of sights: a luxury shop, stocked with shoes and handbags, transplanted to the middle of the desert. But it's fake, and there are no functioning doors, which only adds to the intrigue. It all makes sense when you reach the small city of Marfa, a half hour's drive away.   A quintessential one-horse town, Marfa was put on the contemporary art map when minimalist sculptor Donald Judd moved here from New York in the 1970s and is now home to a range of boutique accommodation options, arts and music festivals, design stores and restaurants. With a little help from Beyoncé, the town – and its namesake installation – has since become a mecca for artists, fashion lovers and Instagrammers alike.   Where to stay: El Cosmico - Sleep amongst the stars with your choice of luxury yurts, tepees and safari tents at this 21 acre nomadic hotel and campground in Marfa, Texas where they keep within the belief that life should be a balance of adventure and do-nothingness   MUST STOP: Visit Santa Fe's Ghost Ranch For anyone who has ever admired a Georgia O’Keeffe painting, a visit to Ghost Ranch – a one-hour drive north-east of Santa Fe – is a must. It’s where she painted her memorable modernist landscapes of flat-topped mesas and sagebrush, and the joy of following in her footsteps is realising that she didn’t need to exaggerate her colours in this corner of northern New Mexico: they really are as vibrant and hyperreal as she painted them. Today this 8500-hectare retreat, owned by the Presbyterian Church, hosts tours, workshops and spiritual retreats, but when O’Keeffe first encountered it in 1929, it was a dude ranch.   Take a guided horse trail over the land – in the shadows and see the house where the artist lived; cared for today by the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe, but not open to the public. =   MUST STOP: Make sure you see Utah [caption id="attachment_43740" align="alignnone" width="600"] Exploring incredible Utah by car.[/caption] The Great American Road trip is a favourite pastime in the States, particularly in the American West. Utah is remarkable for the tremendous diversity of natural grandeur on display, as well as for its cultural uniqueness in amongst its neighbouring states. Stunningly scenic Utah manages to contain 27 of the country’s designated scenic byways, and either partially or entirely, it’s these that make up many of Utah’s must-do road trip itineraries. Each journey is a photographer’s paradise, a hiker’s nirvana, a Western historian’s feast, and a geologist’s ultimate dream – particularly along what locals call the Road to Mighty. There is also plenty of stunning natural beauty to be found on Utah's backroads, locally known as the scenic backways. For something different, try it on two wheels; many of these roads are also fantastic road cycling or motorcycle routes.   MUST STOP: Explore the wonder of each hotel in Las Vegas Often Las Vegas gets a bad wrap, depicted as ‘Disneyland for adults’, but with a heavy dose of negative connotation. I say, treat it like Disneyland and take in the sheer heights each hotel goes to bring visitors a sense of wonder. Paris the hotel has a wonderfully French feel once you’re inside. In fact, the baguettes in the window and the smell of cheese and coffee will make you forget you’re actually in the USA altogether! New York New York has a roller coasting literally running through the hotel and is set out just like the West Village on the casino floor. You can’t leave without sampling a caramel-dipped apple – that would be a sin in Sin City.   Take a detour to LA across the iconic Route 66 to stop for your quintessential jumping in the air, arms up, faded signage on the ground photo.   Then head straight to take your place at the back of the line at Pinks Hotdogs in Los Angeles to grab yourself a Martha Stewart Dog covered in relish, onions, bacon, chopped tomatoes, sauerkraut and sour cream.   Make sure you stop by Napa Valley on your way to get a quick lesson in wine and show off to your friends back home.   We are about to cross the border. Don’t forget Australians need an ESTA to enter Canada and an ESTA to enter the USA if you cross over to Alaska, plus a land-crossing authorisation (going into the US, which costs USD$6 cash at the border).   MUST STOP: Sail from Vancouver to Victoria for a few glorious days [caption id="attachment_43741" align="alignnone" width="600"] Sail from Vancouver and spend a glorious day in Victoria.[/caption] Connecting perhaps British Columbia’s best-known city, Vancouver, with its capital on Vancouver Island, Victoria, is as simple as V2V, as it turns out. V2V Vacations is a premium cruise service connecting downtown Vancouver and downtown Victoria, creating memorable experiences through an inspiring connection of people, places and moments along the way.   The voyage aboard the 242-passenger high-speed catamaran V2V Empress takes less than 3.5 hours, and gives travellers a premium, highly personalised journey focused on comfort and convenience. Guests can choose from two stylish seating classes and taste local flavours via the onboard menu, featuring food and both non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks from the region.   The V2V Empress is wheelchair accessible, offers free wi-fi throughout (just as well, considering the spectacularly shareable journey) and is equipped with ergonomic leather seating with the convenience of individual USB ports and international power outlets for every seat.   From March through to October, the service departs daily from downtown Vancouver at 8am and directly from the Inner Harbour in Victoria at 4pm, allowing daytrippers the perfect access to Victoria.   What to eat: Any day, any time, you could eat your way around Canada trying a different poutine in every place.   The Arctic Circle side-trip If you’ve time and an adventurous spirit, branch off the classic loop up and back down Dempster Highway (unsealed) to the Arctic Circle, and beyond to Inuvik (Northwest Territories). This is Ice Road Trucker territory in winter, but in summer its highlights are infinite (Read: The Arctic Circle road trip). Other more laid-back add-ons include the Southern Lakes loop (Carcross, Tagish, Marsh Lake) and The Silver Trail side-trip to Keno and Mayo.)   MUST STOP: The Yukon, who's campgrounds are postcard awesome Parks Canada provide some of the most stunning campground settings in the free world. The best is Fox Lake (north of Whitehorse) for its sheer reflective-lake prettiness. The secluded, well-maintained sites offer only basic facilities (clean long-drop loos, free firewood etc.) for well under twenty bucks a night. (Tip: it’s first-come, first-served so turn up before 11am when other RVers tend to move on.)   MUST STOP: Choose your own adventure in British Columbia [caption id="attachment_43739" align="alignnone" width="600"] Driving through the mountains of British Columbia.[/caption] Take the road less travelled in British Columbia, Canada’s famously scenic Pacific province. Taste the urban treats of Vancouver and Victoria and then choose a route into the heartland. Head east for wine country, desert landscapes, natural hot springs and Rocky Mountain snow peaks, or set your sights north for the multi-hued canyons and untouched forests of the remote Chilcotin Plateau and the Great Bear Rainforest – two of North America’s last, and largest, wilderness areas.   Farm-gate wineries, roadside diners, day hikes, waterfalls, and friendly little arts towns encourage lingering; historic lodges, cosy bed and breakfasts, and alpine resorts offer memorable overnights. You won’t see much traffic on some of BC’s backroads, but there’s plenty of wildlife – think bighorn sheep, moose, eagles and bears – to keep you company. And when the highway ends? No worries. BC Ferries cruise the coastal straits and fjords.   MUST STOP: Take a float along Lake Louise If sailing across the water with the stunning peaks of BANFF National Park as your backdrop sounds appealing to you, then you can't miss a stop at Lake Louise, if only for the Instagram shot. In winter the water freezes and exhilarating games of  ice skating and ice hockey ensue, but in summer it's almost too tempting to be on or in the water.   MUST STOP: Grin and bear it - Roadtripping Manitoba [caption id="attachment_43911" align="alignnone" width="1000"] See them in their natural habitat[/caption] Experience the spectacular wildlife of Manitoba with an adventure by road, from the dense forests of Riding Mountain National Park to the colourful tundra of Churchill. Frontiers North’s Big Five Safari is a one-of-a-kind salute to the incredible array of megafauna that populates the forests, prairies, tundra and waters of this heartrendingly beautiful and biodiverse province.   Your journey begins in Winnipeg, the geographic centre of North America. Travel overland to Riding Mountain National Park, where the lofty heights and deep gorges of the Manitoba Escarpment are home to such impressive residents as black bears, moose and a captive bison herd. Flying north to Churchill, the boreal forest gives way to rugged tundra and the northern waterways. Set out by boat and Zodiac amongst inquisitive beluga whales, and explore the Churchill Wildlife Management Area by Tundra Buggy in search of the majestic polar bear.   MUST STOP: Finish with a taste of Europe in Québec City Stepping into Québec City, you'd be forgiven for thinking you'd stumbled into a European city. Not at all like any other place in Canada, Québec offers a romantic ambience that makes for a truly unique end to what should definitely be the trip of your life. In the festive season, the streets are transformed into a winter wonderland reminiscent of the famed German Christmas markets. So if the timing is right for you, it's certainly worth soaking in. Otherwise, sampling the French cuisine in one of Québec's best eateries, such as as Paillard, which makes Québec's best croissants and macarons is reason enough! Only 8.5 hour drive to New York City, where you can finish your trip with the legendary pastrami sandwich at Katz!

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