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We’re funny (usually), controversial (sometimes) and insightful (always!). Our travel experts share their experiences below in hopes of hearing back from YOU. So read, comment and enjoy!

Posts in ‘Food, Pubs & Nightlife’

Weird Foods: More Than Just A Photo Op.

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I can’t say it enough, (and I do, often) food is one of the best and most informative ways to experience a new culture. However, after hearing about a friend’s recent (strange/gross/wild) cultural eating experience in Peru (exactly what that was, we’ll come back to in a moment) I’m starting to think that it’s not just the variety of authentic cuisines that helps to define a new place, but often the experience of stepping completely outside of your (culinary and otherwise) comfort-zone in the process.

Deep, I know. But think about it for a minute, if someone offered you fish eyeballs, pig hoofs or alligator at your local diner, would you even think twice about saying no? Probably not.

So what is it that gets us crazy travellers to embark on weird and wild culinary adventures? Perhaps it’s the desire to become a part of a new place, a new culture, a new experience. Because, as any traveller knows, food isn’t just about filling your belly with calories it’s about embarking on a cultural experience.

Here comes dinner? - Shazari

Here comes dinner? - Shazari

Take my friend’s trip to Peru for example. She’s southern California born and bred, vegetarian, and an organic food junkie. What could have possibly made a girl who diligently washes each grape before digging into the bunch try (gulp) guinea pig at the local Peruvian market? continue reading

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Spain dominates World’s Best Restaurants list

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Travellers taking tours of Barcelona and other Spanish destinations this year may be tempted to visit some of the destinations that feature on this year’s San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.

Spain dominated the 2009 survey, boasting four of the ten establishments that received the best reviews from more than 800 chefs, critics and industry experts around the world.

At the top of the list is El Bulli in Roses on the Costa Brava, which was named the world’s best restaurant for the fourth year in a row.

Mugaritz and Arzak, both of which are located in the town of San Sebastian on Spain’s north coast, were ranked fourth and eighth respectively, while El Celler de Can Roca in Girona, not far from Barcelona, was fifth.

France was also fairly well represented in the list, with Paris’ Pierre Gagnaire and Bras in Laguiole both appearing in the top ten.

Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck in Berkshire retained the second place that it achieved last year in the 2009 World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, while the United States was represented by New York’s Per Se in sixth place and Chicago’s Alinea in tenth.

Special Interest – Nightlife – From an extravagant meal to an eerie ghost walk – plenty of things to keep you entertained after the sun goes down.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19131259-ADNFCR

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The Dublin Report

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Guiness Factory Girls!

Guiness Factory Girls!

After a whirlwind of a weekend, we’re back! Exhausted, convinced of inability to ever arrive on time (nothing like a two mile sprint through the airport to get your blood pumping), and ready to keep travelling our quarter away! Dublin was beautiful, and for those of you thinking about a weekend trip, or just curious about mine (hi mom!) here is a list of my favorite parts of the Dublin experience. continue reading

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Open Road USA

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A road trip across America always sounds so idyllic; nothing but the open road, endless diners and Jack Kerouac in the back seat. Unfortunately, unless the world’s biggest ball of string is your cup of tea (yes it does exist in Branson Missouri) there isn’t much to do on that eternal roadway. The city stops along the way are the highlights, so plan with care.

continue reading

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They Aren’t Called French Fries? Trying Out the Local Cuisines

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I was more than a little nervous about giving up the fantastic variety of Californian cuisine for my move to London. Sure I’d be living in a fantastic neighbourhood (Kensington, ever heard of it?), taking fun classes (hi, field trips to Oxford, Parliament, the Globe), working a fun company, meeting tons of new people, and travelling like mad (read my Dublin post anyone?), but all I could think about as I jumped on that United jet was, what about burritos? Cheeseburgers? Pluto’s salads? As delightful as afternoon tea sounds, anyone who’s hopped on the “English cuisine” Wikipedia page can probably understand my hesitation. I’m sorry guys, but chip sandwiches? How does somebody even come up with that?

Chip Butty - Annie Mole

Chip Butty - Annie Mole

Which isn’t to say a chip butty isn’t one of the first things I tried when I got here (add a little ketchup and it’s not bad!), but I certainly wasn’t prepared for the richness of the culinary culture here. continue reading

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Dublin, Ireland, We’re Doing it Tourist Style…

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Dublin Green at Trinity College - lynq8831

Dublin Green at Trinity College - lynq8831

Well, I’ve officially been in the UK for a week, and it’s already time to go on a holiday. Dublin, Ireland, here I (and a collection of five other American twenty-something’s) come! As if we haven’t had enough tourism our first week in England, its time to give Dublin’s tourist market a try. I might be missing Spring Break in Cancun this year, but who needs the sun and sand when you can spend your holiday weekends travelling around Europe?

We’ll be there for three days, and are already looking forward to a jam-packed schedule of the most fantastically touristy sites possible. continue reading

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New hotels, restaurants opening all over Italy

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Holidaymakers planning Rome tours and other travel pursuits in Italy this summer will be able to make use of a number of new hotels, restaurants and other establishments opening across the country.

The national tourist board announced details of a host of new developments, including the four-star Hotel Homs in Rome, which was recently renovated to provide new facilities including the Vuda champagne bar.

Another recent addition to the capital’s offering to tourists is the Il Cuoco Nero restaurant in the Salario quarter, which was opened by respected Italian chef Maurizio Santin.

Further north, the Chianti area of Tuscany will this summer host the opening of Castel Monastero, a new country house resort with facilities including a restaurant bearing the name of Gordon Ramsay.

Milan’s culinary scene will be improved with the opening of the new Home Delicate restaurant, while in Perugia holidaymakers will be able to visit the Alla Posta dei Donini spa.

The Art Newspaper recently released an annual ranking of the world’s cultural institutions which named the Vatican Museums in Rome as the sixth most popular museum last year with more than 4.4 million visitors.

Rome – Visit some of the ancient landmarks such as the Colosseum or tour the opulent Vatican.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19107084-ADNFCR

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Copenhagen restaurants achieve record Michelin rating

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Food lovers on Copenhagen tours can now choose from 13 Michelin-starred restaurants for their evening meals in the city following the publication of the Michelin Guide for 2009.

A record 14 Michelin stars were awarded to establishments in the Danish capital this year, placing it ahead of other European cities including Rome, Berlin, Vienna and Madrid.

Restaurant Kokkeriet in the Nyboder district was among the new additions to the list of Michelin-starred eateries in Copenhagen this year, along with Restaurant Herman at the Hotel NIMB in Tivoli Gardens.

In a unique achievement for a theme park, Tivoli Gardens now boast two restaurants that have been recognised in the Michelin Guide.

Noma, which specialises in creating new interpretations of traditional Nordic cuisine, was the only restaurant in Copenhagen to receive two stars in this year’s guide.

Following a meal at a gourmet restaurant, a night out in Copenhagen offers the opportunity to visit cultural venues including the Opera House and the new Konserthuset music hall.

Special Interest – Nightlife – From an extravagant meal to an eerie ghost walk – plenty of things to keep you entertained after the sun goes down.ADNFCR-1652-ID-19077664-ADNFCR

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Best Places to Celebrate St Patrick’s Day- Boston, Dublin and London

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Beannachtai na Feile Padraig! Happy St Patrick’s Day!

Like millions of people all over the world, you too can be Irish for the day on March 17 – St Patrick’s Day. Sport a huge green hat, paint a shamrock on your face, dress up as a leprechaun, and down a few pints of Guinness. It’s all part of the fun wherever folks claim Irish ancestry.

So where are the best places for St Patrick’s Day celebrations? There are plenty to choose from, but three of the best are Boston, Dublin and London. continue reading

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Romantic Valentine’s Day Adventures: Vienna

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OK folks, this is it. I’ve guided you through Romantic Valentine’s Day Excursion itineraries in Paris and Florence.  Still haven’t found the perfect trip idea?

Perhaps you’ve already been to these cities, or perhaps you are looking for a destination that is less of a Valentine’s Day cliché.

I thus present to you, in my final post of this series, the charming, music-filled city of VIENNA.

Smaller and more manageable than Paris, yet with a cosmopolitan edge that sets it apart from Florence, Vienna is the perfect weekend destination for the young, culture-loving couple! continue reading

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