New electronic device helps track lost luggage @ CES in Las Vegas
Written by Simone Zarmati Diament
Tuesday, 08 January 2013 00:07
Now showing at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) happening in Las Vegas.
Keeping in mind an increasing number of unhappy travelers whose trips are marred by lost luggage, GlobaTrac has created Trakdot Luggage a palm-sized plastic-covered device you can discreetly slip inside your suitcase or bag that will tell you which airport it is at, or, how far away it is. The updates work via Bluetooth, an app, SMS, email or the Trakdot website. .
The equipment is designed to comply with air travel regulations by switching itself off when in flight. Rather than rely on battery draining GPS, the Trakdot Luggage relies on a quad-band GSM chip and triangulation, which allows it to last up to two weeks on a fresh pair of AAs, included in the packaging. The Trakdot luggage will cost $49.95, in addition to a one time activation fee of $8.99 and an annual service fee of $12.99 to keep it functional.
A new museum outside Bologna charts the rise of gelato – Italian ice-cream – from its early incarnation as a chilled delicacy for Roman emperors to the sweet treat seen on every corner of Italy – and offers to make every visitor an artisan.
The €1.5m ice-cream museum opens its doors tomorrow at the headquarters of Carpigiani, a gelato machine maker founded in Bologna in 1946 which now sells its treats in more than 100 countries.
The free museum is located in a modern exhibition space seven miles outside of the city in the municipality of Anzola dell'Emilia.
"The Foundation has created the first museum in the world that describes the complete history, culture and knowledge of gelato," says Valentina Righi, vice president of the Bruto and Poerio Carpigiani Foundation, financier of the museum. By sending tourists home with an appreciation of the history, Righi hopes "to spread the gelato culture everywhere in the world".
A tour through the museum is an animated affair, with an English-speaking guide on hand to take visitors through the 11th-century Arab pomegranate sorbet recipe and on to the birth of gelato in Italy 500 years later. Here its roots are traced to the House of Medici; a family famed in Florence for its political grip and production of popes. Luciana Polliotti, the museum's historical curator, says gelato as we know it today was invented by Cosimo Ruggieri, alchemist and astrologer to Caterina de' Medici in the 16th century.
The simple pleasure was reserved for the well-to-do until the "democratisation" of gelato in the 20th century, the focus period of the museum.
Throughout there are screens showing video interviews with aged Italians discussing the rise of gelato during their lifetime. Luca Caviezel is one; an 86-year-old Sicilian expert who, describes how "the artisan gelato in the last 30 years has become a real science".
Other exhibits include a wall covered in an array of rainbow-coloured boxes, used to transport the cones to gelaterias in different Italian cities, and an original cone-making machine.
The hour-long tour concludes in the tasting area, where instructors from the university make modern versions of 19th-century recipes: strawberry and raspberry sorbet from 1822 and coffee sorbet first formulated in 1854. For €3 visitors can taste different types of gelato, including sorbets, fruit gelato, soft gelato and traditional creams.
You can even take a short lesson in the university's laboratory and make your own artisan gelato for €10. Or a more intensive four-hour, €50 experience involves a full theory lesson in gelato making, hands-on production and tasting. From there the gelaterias of Bologna await.
• Gelato Museum Carpigiani is open Monday to Saturday by appointment only and bookable online (gelatomuseum.org). It is a 25-minute journey from Bologna's central train station on the number 87 bus, or contact the museum (
, +39 051 6505306) to arrange group transport
A Day at the Mahane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem, Israel
Written by Simone Zarmati Diament
Tuesday, 18 December 2012 21:22
On any given day, except the Shabbat, the Mahane Yehuda market in the heart of Jerusalem, teems with people of all faiths, ages, languages and ethnicities. Israelis, Palestinians and tourists alike find what they need - and more, from comestibles to religious objects and cleaning products.
Stall after stall groan under the weight of fresh vegetables and exotic fruit, meat, fish, cheeses, freshly baked breads, sweets and spices, honey and pastries.
All Kosher. It's fun to hear customers haggle with the fishmonger or the butcher. The residents of this eclectic market are mostly large Orthodox families who go about their business in what seems to the outsider in an exotic dance amidst the tight security enforced by yellow coated police women and men to prevent suicide bombers and other terrorist attacks.
Characters are a dime a dozen at the market: the honey man, Abraham, a former professional, looks like his biblical namesake. The fishmonger gives away free advice to housewives who probably just ask to make conversation....
On Fridays, the market is invaded by a hip crowd of young people who come in to meet friends over a delicious and cheap plate of hummus...
Watch the images below with music by The Klezmatics accompanied by Itzhak Perlman.
A visit to the new Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden’s Butterfly Conservatory
Written by Simone Zarmati Diament
Monday, 03 December 2012 01:43
Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden’s state-of-the-art DiMare Science Village, covers more than 25,000 square feet with the brand new Clinton Family Conservatory’s splendid butterfly exhibit, the Glasshouse Café, Windows to the Tropics Conservatory, and the Whitman Tropical Fruit Pavilion.
Puerto Rico: Sun, Sea, Sand and great Food: The Avant Garde Chefs
Written by Carole Kotkin
Monday, 26 November 2012 23:04
Like all Caribbean islands, Puerto Rico is blessed with sun, sand and sea, but it is the unique and world-class quality of their emerging gastronomic scene that enables Puerto Rico to provide unparalleled culinary travel experiences for even the most discerning palates.
As a territory of the United States, visiting Puerto Rico is easy without the hassle of a passport, the need to exchange currency or learn a new language. San Juan boasts a vibrant and eclectic culinary scene with local and international chefs serving good food from candlelit gourmet spots to fish shacks by the side of the road.
Traditional French cuisine is widely available throughout the island but young chefs are beginning to define a creative cuisine unique to Puerto Rico using local Caribbean ingredients. Many chefs are experimenting with small farms in an attempt to decrease dependence on foreign ingredients. But what really sets Puerto Rico apart is its Creole flair. A sublime blend of African, Indian, European and Caribbean flavors, Puerto Rico's Creole culinary concepts keep visitors coming back.
Considered by many to be San Juan's best restaurant, Pikayo in Condado, is the creation of celebrity chef Wilo Benet. Cookbook author and television personality, Benet takes traditional peasant Puerto Rican cooking and marries it to more sophisticated tastes and techniques he learned from the mainland while studying at The Culinary Institute of America and working at Le Bernardin and The Water Club in Manhattan. You may have seen him on Season One of TV's Top Chef Masters. Chef Wilo has his own wine label, DOBLEÚ, which was recognized by Robert Parker as a "Best Buy" in the 2009 edition of Wine Advocate.
In the Santurce neighborhood of San Juan, not far from the farmers' market at La Placita, Chef José Santaella has opened Santaella in a former hardware store. Santaella is one of the new guard representing the resurgence of national cuisine after years of mimicking European characteristics. Santaella trained in Barcelona, New York and San Francisco, with master chefs Ferrán Adriá (El Bulli), Eric Ripert (Le Bernardin), and Gary Danko (The Dining Room).
Chef Maria GermaniaDiaz, born in the Dominican Republic, heads the kitchen at the Conrad San Juan Condado Plaza where she flavors her food with the ingredients and techniques learned from her mother and grandmother. She fuses ingredients like soy sauce, basil, and rosewater into traditional Puerto Rican dishes.
Jeremie Cruz, executive chef of Eclipse Restaurant at the Villa Montana Beach Resort in Isabela, was born in New York City and moved to Puerto Rico as a teenager. He became a prep cook at the Conquistador Resort and won a culinary scholarship to the Culinary Institute of America. Cruz was a member of the National Culinary Team of Puerto Rico and was named Caribbean chef of the year in 1998. He trained in France with Paul Bocuse, Gerald Boyer, and Phillipe Legande. Cruz represented Puerto Rico at the Rising Star Chefs awards at the James Beard Foundation in 2000. His menus at the Villa Montana Beach Resort are based on local seafood and agriculture. Listen to an interview with chef Jeremie Cruz on FOOD & WINE TALK WSFG
Southwest Airlines begins Nonstop Flights to Key West
Written by Simone Zarmati Diament
Wednesday, 07 November 2012 19:22
Key West International Airport is now the southernmost stop on Southwest Airlines continental U.S. route with daily nonstop flights between Orlando International Airport and Key West, and Tampa Bay International Airport and the island city.
With the addition of non-stop flights between Key West and Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport starting March 9, 2013, Key West will become a one-stop service for national flights. The airline is operating Boeing 737-700 aircraft on its Key West routes which can accommodate 143 passengers. www.southwest.com
New non-stop international flights at MIA with Aeroflot Russian Airlines
Written by press release
Monday, 05 November 2012 19:32
On October 30, Miami International Airport welcomed the inaugural flight from Moscow to Miami by Aeroflot Russian Airlines, Russia's largest passenger air carrier. The carrier will now provide three weekly non-stop flights between Moscow and MIA using Airbus A330-200 aircraft. The airport celebrated the inaugural flight with a water cannon salute by Miami-Dade Fire Rescue. Aeroflot joins existing Russian carrier Transaero at MIA. Together, they offer five weekly flights to Moscow’s two international airports, Sheremetyevo and Domodedovo. The two carriers serve a growing Russian resident and visitor population in greater Miami, with passenger traffic between Russia and the U.S. growing by 24 percent in 2011.
MIA will also add three new international routes this winter. On November 16, American Airlines will begin non-stop service four times per week from Asuncion, Paraguay to MIA, making American the first U.S. carrier to ever offer direct service between the U.S. and Paraguay. On November 17, American will begin non-stop weekly service between Miami and Roatán, Honduras, with flights operating every Saturday using Boeing 737 aircraft. Roatán becomes the 10 destination in Central America served by American. Third, SmartWings Airlines, another new carrier at MIA, will begin twice-weekly service from Prague, Czech Republic to Miami on December 19, launching MIA’s first direct service to Prague.
On November 15, American will also convert their one-stop service between Miami and Recife to non-stop service, giving American a total of seven destinations in Brazil with non-stop service from Miami. MIA is currently the top U.S. airport for direct service from the growing Brazilian market.
The new flights at MIA this winter will add to MIA’s growth in 2012, which is up 4.37 percent through September. Domestic passengers rose by three percent, while international passenger traffic climbed 5.8 percent compared to 2011, for a total passenger count of 29.8 million through September.
After matching an all-time record of two million tons in 2011, MIA’s freight traffic is also up 4.6 percent through September.
Written by William Sitwell, Food writer and critic.
Friday, 02 November 2012 21:49
Michelin Stars: The Madness of Perfection William Sitwell, Food writer and critic. Howe relevant is Michelin? where does the path to perfection does actually lead? when it comes to cooking Michelin is a good arbiter, but when it comes to going to a restaurant people like, they don't have a clue
At the edge of Montreal's Saint-Michel neighborhood, a zone known for the diversity of its immigrant populations and street gangs, a relatively unremarkable office park perches on the edge of a landfill. The glassy facades of the three buildings are pleasantly unremarkable in the way that most office park buildings occupied by accountants, insurance agents and software developers are pleasantly unremarkable. The parking lots are filled with average cars.
This is all to say that a passerby hustling along Boulevard Saint-Michel hoping not to get mugged would probably never guess that this place is devoted to pushing the physical limits of the human body, making the impossible achievable through practice.
The buildings are the Ecole National De Cirque, the TOHU Cite Des Arts Du Cirque and the International Headquarters of Cirque du Soleil. They house, on any given day, what may well be the highest concentration of traditional circus skill in the world. Inside, men and women bend themselves into unlikely shapes, hoist each other high into the air and ride very, very, very small bicycles.
Wandering the halls of the Ecole National De Cirque -- unfortunately off limits to the general public -- is like walking the halls of that mutant prep school from the X-Men comic books. In one room, a group of 13-year-olds diligently read and answer questions. In the next room, two women roll around in metal wheels, spinning like quarters about to go heads up only to return to their rims again. Through one door, a clown does a silent, mesmerizing dance while laughing to himself.
It should be said that not all the rooms here are the same size. Some are classrooms, others are basically airplane hangers carpeted with pads and foam shape filled pools so aerialists can practice their most dangerous tricks on wires, corde lisse and aerial hoops.
The graduates of this academy of the unbelievable frequently go to work for their neighbors, Cirque Du Soleil. The Cirque building is a no more than 100 yards away and the demand for their particular skills is amplified by their obvious scarcity.
The place where travelers are most like to meet this community of performers is the TOHU center, which hosts regular performances and serves as a sort of liaison to the Saint-Michel Neighborhood, employing locals in entry-level jobs and handing out free tickets to its elaborate shows to local organizations.
During the day, TOHU is a quiet place. Performers chat in the dark, circular theater where they will perform come evening. This is not Barnum and Bailey's so their are no animals or goofs. Levity is injected during the gasps after performers attempt something truly terrifying. In the service of these attempts, everybody seems to be stretching pretty much all the time.
At night, the center fills as locals and plenty of paying customers arrive to view a presentation of ID, a West Side Story-inspired performance with a hip hop flavor. The first performers on stage dance, quite simply and quite well until one hoists the other above his head on one head and she decides to do a one-handed handstand on his extended palm. The trick is far from complicated because it isn't really a trick, it's just something humans can do. The audience claps enthusiastically because they didn't know that.
In many ways the whole performance is about educating the audience about what they could do if they put there mind to it. Here are a few things they could do: Stack chairs on top of one until they are twenty five feet up and standing on their hands, jump rope inside of an already swinging jump rope, bounce on a bike up a staircase then between somebody's legs, do sideways pull ups on a vertical pole, juggle seven bouncing balls against a glass wall to a rhythm, tap a shoulder with a foot curled over the back.
Of course the audience will never do any of these things because the audience doesn't work in this unremarkable office park on the edge of Montreal's worst neighborhood. To do something this extraordinary, you have to be willing to devote your life to practice. You have to go to work every day like everyone else.
Impossible isn't an amazing thing, its the same thing, again and again.
Ask just about anyone: What do people eat in Japan? and their answer will almost certainly be sushi. Sushi -- a term that actually refers to the specially prepared rice, not the fish itself -- is definitely an important and iconic part of Japanese cuisine. But it's only the tip of the iceberg.
Surprise: none of them are ramen, tempura, udon, soba, or involve raw fish.
Curry Rice: All hail curry rice: Japan's national dish! Curry isn't a traditional Japanese recipe -- it was brought over by Indian traders during the Meiji Era (1868-1912) -- but in the intervening decades, it's been adapted to Japanese tastes and has become Japan's quintessential comfort food. Fragrant and much sweeter than its Indian counterparts, Japanese curry rice is prepared with every imaginable combination of Japanese vegetable, meat, or seafood; its spiciness customized per the customer's wishes.
Yakitori: The izakaya--a Japanese-style gastropub--is a staple of social life in Japan; a meeting place for friends, a haven for tired businessmen. The most common type of food served at an izakaya is yakitori -- meat skewers slathered in tangy barbecue sauce and grilled to perfection. Sample all manner of protein, from pork to beef liver to chicken heart. Horumon (offal) is a major yakitori ingredient. Those with more conservative tastes can try skewers of negima, chicken meat and spring onions, or gyuu rosu, chunks of beef loin.
Yakiniku: Yakiniku, Korean-style barbecue adapted to Japanese tastes, is an extremely popular food in Japan (yakiniku literally means "grilled meat" in Japanese). Part of yakiniku's appeal is the campfire-like atmosphere: each diner cooks his or her own meat on a griddle built into the table. Grill vegetables, pork, beef, chicken, and shellfish, or, as in the izakaya, horumon delicacies like beef tongue, chicken heart, tripe, or liver. Any way you grill it, yakiniku is perfection on a plate.
Onigiri: Forget sandwiches; onigiri are the ultimate portable food. Onigiri are rice balls, often stuffed with ingredients like pickled plum, tuna or salmon salad, salmon eggs, or bonito fish flakes prior to being wrapped in seaweed. At an izakaya, you can get them grilled, with a crunchy soy sauce-flavored crust. Onigiri are perfect in a bento lunch box or when you're on the go; convenience stores sell them in an ingenious cellophane wrapping designed to separate the rice from the seaweed so each component stays fresh.
Nabe: Most Japanese restaurants outside of Japan serve miso soup, a simple soybean, seaweed, and tofu broth that's enjoyed as a side dish. But when you want to really drown your sorrows in soupy goodness, hearty nabe is the ticket. Nabe is the ultimate communal wintertime meal. Fire up the giant soup pot and add the ingredients -- meat, vegetables, seafood -- and let them simmer until they're cooked, then ladle out individual servings. As the meat and vegetables get eaten, drop in the noodles and slurp up the remnants of the broth.
Nagashi Soumen: One of the tastiest ways to stay cool during brutal Japanese summers is by eating soumen -- cold soba noodles. By far, the "coolest" way to enjoy them is to partake in the ritual of nagashi soumen, in which soumen noodles are piped through halved bamboo logs by the force of cold flowing water. Stand by the log with a bowl of sweet and sour tsuyu sauce with your chopsticks in hand, ready to catch the noodles as they float by and dip them into sauce. More fun than noodles have a right to be.
Nikujyaga: Nikujyaga is Japan's classic home-style protein and carbohydrate stew. Beef strips are stewed with potatoes, carrots, fish stock, mirin, and sake, and then served over rice. It's a typical family dinner, or a common bento lunchbox dish; wonderful hot or cold.
Okonomiyaki: No top 10 list of Japanese foods would be complete without a nod to Osaka cuisine. Osaka, nicknamed tenka no daidokoro ("nation's kitchen"), is famous for being a gourmand's paradise. Okonomiyaki means "grilled any way you like," in Japanese, which might be partly responsible for its appeal. Okonomiyaki is between an omelette and a savory pancake; its egg batter prepared with cabbage, flour, and any kind of protein or vegetable you'd like, from kim chi to pork to squid. After being grilled right at your table, okonomiyaki is usually topped with barbecue sauce, seaweed, bonito fish flakes, and squiggles of mayonnaise.
Takoyaki: Another Osaka treat, takoyaki is the city's most revered street food. Takoyaki are ball-shaped fritters -- crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside, and anchored by the firm bite of octopus. Toppings include seaweed, bonito fish flakes, barbecue sauce, scallions, and mayonnaise. Spear them with a toothpick and eat with caution: your takoyaki will be extremely hot.
Tonkatsu: Few things are more amazing than pork... unless it's Japanese-style fried pork cutlets. Tonkatsu cutlets are fried in panko crumbs until juicy before being sliced and served over white rice, often alongside crunchy Japanese pickles, grated radish, and a savory plum sauce. Tonkatsu is also very popular topping for curry rice, bringing an already fabulous dish to a whole new level. Nothing could be more satisfying, or more Japanese.
As part of Paris' grand project of revitalizing the docks of the Seine, La Cité de la Mode et du Design, an incredible new space entirely devoted to fashion and design, opened April 13.
As part of Paris' grand project of revitalizing the docks of the Seine, La Cité de la Mode et du Design, a new space devoted to fashion, culture and design, opened April 13, 2012.
Aiming to promote global creativity, the contemporary space houses restaurants, cafés, designer boutiques, event space for cultural events, a concert venue, nightclub, and the Institut Français de la Mode — fashion and management school.
Situated directly on the banks of the Seine between the Gare d'Austerlitz and BNF, this former warehouse space has undergone a bold architectural transformation by French and New Zealand architects Dominique Jakob and Brendan Macfarlane, responsible for the trendy Georges restaurant at the Centre Pompidou. New foodie destinations in the grand cultural space include Le Baron, the first rooftop nightclub in Paris, Cafe Praline, an Italian tea salon where coffee and hot chocolate are made with antique machines, and Moon Roof, a rooftop space that acts as a modern bistro, lounge, and venue for stand-up shows and live music.
Running through October 2012 is an exhibition showcasing famous designer Cristóbal Balenciaga’s heritage, life story and fashion, called “Cristóbal Balenciaga, Collectionneur de Modes”. The exhibit, hosted by the Musée Galliera, which is currently closed for construction, showcases over 70 costumes and clothing items, plus 40 coats and dresses, all created between 1937 and 1968. Photographs, accessories and sketches by the designer are also on display.
An upcoming hotspot in the Cité de la Mode et du Design is Wanderlust cultural space, by Savoir Faire Group, who are behind the popular clubs Social Club and David Lynch’s exclusive Silencio. This space houses an 80-seat open-air cinema, a nightclub, an outdoor bar, terrace (the largest in Paris), an indoor and outdoor restaurant run by Benjamin Darnaud, performances and exhibitions.
The space aims to combine art and fashion with entertainment, music, cinema and cuisine. Set to be open in the summer from Wednesday to Sunday from 12pm to 6am, this new destination will host weekly electronic concerts, weekend yoga classes followed by brunch, flea markets and more.
A gorgeous landscape of plains and rolling hills dotted with small towns and medieval villages, rich with vineyards and farms producing high quality wines and handcrafted products. And when the sky is blue against white billowing clouds you feel you’re traveling through a Renaissance painting.
Say Pisa, and what comes to mind is The Leaning Tower. “The tower, the Piazza del Duomo with the Cathedral, the Baptistry and perhaps the Museo dell' Opera del Duomo (Museum of the Artworks of the Cathedral) is all that people want to see,” mused Fabrizio Quochi of the Pisa Tourist Board about the millions of tourists who come to Pisa for a brief glimpse of the monuments with nary a thought for the treasures that lays beyond.