Easy Day Trips / Austin Travel / SXSW / Texas Travel / Food Travel / Lockhart Travel / Barbecue Capital of Texas / → All Tags
Barbecue is the cornerstone of Austin cuisine, especially for people in town for South by Southwest looking for a local experience. There are a number of great places to try within the city limits to get your fix of ribs and brisket, such as Black's, Rudy's, and Franklin. But if you're looking to escape the crowds for a couple hours, you might consider a lunch trip to Lockhart, the "barbecue capital of the Texas" just 40 minutes south.
The title of being the barbecue capital of Texas was first given to Lockhart by the 76th Texas Legislature and House Resolution #1024 in 1999, which officially named Lockhart the "Barbecue Capital of Texas." The title was again reaffirmed by the Senate in the Fall of 2003. Hearing that, we expected to find endless options in Lockhart, but amazingly there are only four barbecue restaurants in the entire town.
Cruise Travel / Cruises / Celebrity Cruises / Royal Caribbean / Ships / Bars / Caribbean Travel / → All Tags
Most bars on cruise ships are pretty decent – you tend to have your champagne bar, martini bar, the big lounge with the live performers, and the nightclub, which is usually pretty empty but at least you can get some dance music every once in a while thrown in amongst the 60s nights.
But Celebrity Cruises has definitely upped the cool factor with a couple of bars that can be found on all Solstice class ships: yes, there’s the Martini Bar, but this one has an actual ice-top bar with ice-blue mood lighting, and there’s the Molecular Bar specializing in fancy foams and complex cocktails by award-winning mixologist Junior Merino. And then, unique to Celebrity Reflection, is the au courant pop-up nightclub concept.
Alexander Yepremian, the Reflection’s Cruise Director, had the brainiac idea to start a nightclub that would dock in a different bar each night at 10:30 p.m., with killer names like “Liquid” and “Indulgence.” On one particular night, this writer was having a glass of Pinot Noir at the club chair-rich Cellar Masters wine bar when crew started to move in carrying lights, sound equipment and cages large enough for cage dancers to shake their booty in. By the time I left, about an hour-and-a-half later, the DJ was throwing out some sweet sounds, the crowd was swaying and imbibing, and people were lined up outside on the red carpet waiting to get in.
Airplane Crashes / Tragedies / Emergencies / Germanwings / Lufthansa / A320 / → All Tags
A flight operated by Lufthansa's Germanwings budget airlines crashed into a remote area of the French Alps at 10:53am this morning, killing all 144 passengers including several schoolchildren and 6 crew members.
The Airbus 320 (A320) was flying from Barcelona to Dusseldorf when it suddenly dropped out of the sky. So far, there have been no reports of bad weather nor mechanical issues. However, there is some conflict over a distress call with Germanwings not sure if one had been made but France's aviation regulator said the plane lost radio contact and descended for eight minutes without explanation, thus prompting the controller to issue its own distress call.
Right now recovery efforts are underway in a fairly unmanageable section of the Alps. Making the process harder is that bad weather is expected for the area with rain and snow.
For now, Germanwings has changed their logo on social media from its usual happy orange and red to a somber black and gray.
They've also posted this statement on its site about the crash:
To say that some are obsessed with the departing carpet over at Portland International Airport in Oregon might just be an understatement, as some have even gone as far to make their devotion for airport design permanent.
Now that the carpet is on its way out it is time to begin your airport carpet collection, as a few companies now have the rights—and the goods—to start recycling the former fabric into some snazzy new stuff.
Seattle Travel / Wine and Food Festivals / Eating / Drinking / Pacific Northwest Travel / → All Tags
If you find yourself in Emerald City this weekend – and thirsty – hightail it to Taste Washington, the nation’s largest single-region wine and food event. There are a handful of fancy schmancy events, but the main attraction is The Grand Tasting, which takes place Saturday, March 28 and Sunday, March 29.
The sip and bite extravaganza goes down at CenturyLink Field Event Center and features more than 200 wineries and 70 restaurants. Be sure to bring your A-game palate and wear your finest stretchy pants. Grand Tasting tickets range from $90-205, and include all food and wine samples. (Yay for no tickets or tokens!)
So, what are we most excited to check out? Walla Walla’s àMaurice Cellars, Yakima Valley’s Gilbert Cellars (we swoon for their rosé of Mourvedre, hello spring!) and Rotie Cellars’ Rhone varietals.
For foodstuffs, we’re looking forward to Jemil’s Big Easy, Purple Café and Wine Bar and Tulio from Hotel Vintage.
Sure, there are lots of fantastic small wine tasting rooms within the (206) city limits. But you won’t find this kind of variety unless you schlep two hours to Yakima or four hours to Walla Walla. And we can pinky swear promise, you won’t find these kind of food pairings if you make the trip. Gah.
[Photo: Taste Washington/Facebook]
TSA Rants / TSA / PreCheck / Bad Ideas / Politics Travel / Travel Politics / Airport Security / Airline Security / → All Tags
Either the TSA is actively trolling the American people, or these guys actually are so incompetent they could screw up a one car parade.
You guys obviously know about PreCheck and PreCheck lines, and you've probably heard about how some airports send passengers randomly into the PreCheck line to speed things up. The idea is that if you randomly send every 10th or every 20th passenger through expedited screening, what are the odds that the person you randomly selected is actually a terrorist? Want to guess how this turns out?
A new report, published last week by Homeland Security, revealed that the system sent a notorious felon and terrorist through a PreCheck line. This guy was so famous that he was recognized by sight by the officers in the PreCheck line. They alerted their supervisor, who of course ordered the officer to let the terrorist continue on his way. Stellar work from start to finish from America's exquisitely staffed airport security agency.
The TSA's response, by the by, is that it "takes its responsibility for protecting the traveling public very seriously." Feel better?
There are hundreds of shows and parties happening each night at South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, and figuring out how to get into them is half the battle. Popping in and out of venues hosting open parties is a strategy many festival-goers take up in order to remain fluid and avoid waiting in the long lines that can haunt many shows.
But many of the free events still require that you sign up in advance to get on the list, meaning that some planning is required.
Keeping track of all your options can become a challenge, especially if you are with a big group and eyeing a variety of different shows. One nice solution we found was a website/service called RSVPster, which, for $30, automatically RSVPs you for all the free events, parties, and shows that require registration. It then sends those registration details (aka a bar code/ticket) to an Eventbrite app on your mobile phone.
Welcome to Chile. Want to star in an “Indiana Jones” movie? You’re in luck.
Dust off your felt fedora and practice your bullwhip crack, because the Montaña Mágica Lodge looks like something straight out of a Harrison Ford flick. In fact, the only way to access this luxury hotel, which is nestled within a 300,000-acre biological reserve in the southern Andes, is by traversing a swinging rope bridge of wooden planks.
To really up the adventure ante, request that staff hide behind thickets and assail you with poison-tipped blowgun darts! (Just kidding, they don’t do that. Well, maybe if you ask nicely.)
There’s plenty of blue, white, and red, as we learn from some fashionable French folks that the seatbelt will do more than just protect us from bumps and turbulence—it will also elegantly highlight our waistline.
The jokes are subtle and stylish along with the whole video, and we’re thinking that Air France has a hit on their hands with this one. They even remind us what is chic (not smoking) and what is trendy (turning your electronic devices to airplane mode).
Airline News / American Airlines / Delta / Duty-Free / Shopping Travel / In-Flight Amenities / Travel News / → All Tags
In-flight duty-free is nearly dunzo.
At some point last week, American Airlines unceremoniously ended in-flight sales of duty-free items, removing the sticky catalogs from seatback pockets, shutting down the duty-free website, and canceling that time when, in the calm middle of the flight, flight attendants ask if you'd like to spend $75 on a run-of-the-mill bottle of scotch.
While the reason for the cancellation isn't clearfrequent flyers around the internet have rumored that it's a contractual disagreementwe do know that American isn't the first to put the products back on the shelf. In August of last year, Delta did the exact same thing, quietly calling it quits on their in-flight duty-free.
We've gotten over the shock after the Delta news, and realize it's not such a huge issue since airports and other international airlines aren't giving up their own duty-free.
This may be where you'll see Paris Hilton hanging out at LAX before she heads out to Dubai.
Open to Emirates' First and Business class passengers as well as Skywards Platinum and Gold members, the lounge has an array of luxury amenities and services that you'd expect from Emirates. Below are some shots of the lounge, but keep reading to find out what's inside:
Airline Miles / Charity Travel / Dream Foundation / Airlines Doing Good / Frequent Flyer Miles / → All Tags
We know all too well how hard it is to part with those precious airline miles, but donating miles is actually a great way to do good, without spending a fortune.
Dream Foundation is one of the many charitable organizations that accepts miles from a number of airlines, including Southwest and Alaska Airlines, the latter which donates 50 round trip flight vouchers to the charity every year.
The organization also uses donated miles from frequent fliers to fulfill the dreams for adults with life-threatening illnesses all across the country. As the only dream granting charity for adults, Dream Foundation helps those suffering pay medical bills, create family memories or meet their personal heroes.
The dreams are as diverse as the people they serve, so the foundation requires as much help as they can get to make each one come true.
To share your miles with the Dream Foundation, visit www.dreamfoundation.org/donate.