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Three Tasty Food Trucks in Chicago and Where to Find Them

June 26, 2015 at 1:30 PM | by | Comments (0)

Street food season is finally upon us here in Chicago, where most food trucks hibernated during the arctic winter. We roamed the city scouring for treats from sweet to salty, and here are three favorites we found:

Cupcake Gangsters: No need for a stick-up to make you love these decadent treats. Flavors like salty caramel, caramel coconut and pineapple upside down are pure bliss. Find them via Twitter @ccakegangsters.

Bruges Brothers: Pomme frites cooked to crispy perfection in beef and duck fat are the specialty here. There's no need rely on boring ketchup for dipping: Sauces include spicy tiger, fondue and Indian curry, among many others. Find them via Twitter @brugesbrothers.

The Fat Shallot: This much-touted truck offers some of the best sandwiches in Chicago. Standouts include Buffalo fried chicken strips on an egg bun with blue cheese sauce and a celery salad, and the smoked turkey breast on a pretzel bun with avocado, cucumber, arugula and basil aioli. Find them via Twitter @thefatshallot.

[Photos via Cupcake Gangsters, Bruges Brothers, and the Fat Shallot on Facebook]

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Share Your Travel Dreams With New BUCKiTLIST App

June 26, 2015 at 10:50 AM | by | Comments (0)

Bucket lists are annoying. As much as I love making to-do lists, I’m more of an instant gratification kind of gal. Dream it, plan it, do it. Get. It. Done. Still, I can see the appeal in 'em for some people.

A brand new app, BUCKiTDREAM, allows folks to create, publish and share their “dreams” (aka bucket list) with either the app's community or a specific social network. Whether you want to see penguins in Antarctica or hike Machu Picchu, put it out there, set a budget and target date, and work toward making the goal happen. You can also poach other people’s dreams and add them to your list. I suppose there's something to be said for cyber moral support and accountability in achieving one's big life dreams. And frankly, I don't care how you make your dreams come true — just get out there and do it.

BUCKiTDREAM is currently available for free on the App Store. An Android version is coming soon.

What’s on your travel bucket list? Tell us in the comments.

[Photo: itunes.apple.com]

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Here's Why Your Next Rental Car Will Probably Be a Chevy Cruze

June 26, 2015 at 9:37 AM | by | Comments (0)

One of our favorite parts of the travel experience is snagging a rental car. Maybe it’s because our 2001 is kind of a clunker at this point, but we do really enjoy a brief interlude of new car smell and air conditioning that actually works. Anyway, The Wall Street Journal has some interesting insight regarding rental cars — and the current odds of what type of ride you'll get.

Based on the odds, you're most likely to score a Chevy Cruze as your rental. Why? While SUV sales are still strong, sedans aren't moving as fast as they used to. According to the WSJ, about 21% of the compact cars and 20% of the midsize cars sold during the first three months of the year actually ended up at rental car firms rather than in, say, your neighbor’s driveway: "The Chevy Cruze had the highest volume of cars going to rental car fleets during the quarter, amounting to about 45% of the compact’s total sales, followed by the Nissan Altima, Toyota Camry and Chrysler 200."

These options are all fine and dandy, but we’ll still keep holding out hope for that one time — just one time! — that we’ll be upgraded to a Mercedes. Or—we could just use SilverCar to get our German car fix.

[Photo: Håkan Dahlström]

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A Throne of One's Own: Your Guide to Scenic Bathrooms Around the World

June 25, 2015 at 2:35 PM | by | Comments (0)

Most public restrooms look the same, feel the same, and have exactly the same accoutrement: a door, toilet paper (hopefully), sinks. Though we hardly remember the "good" restrooms, we never, ever forget the dirty ones — you know, that overflowed McDonald's in Kentucky, that gross gas station squat, that outhouse filled with bees. But we'll never forget the truly stunning bathrooms, either. That's probably why the Trump SoHo places tubs against wall-size windows eyeing Manhattan’s skyline, and why Big Sur's Post Ranch Inn ensures their bathrooms overlook the coastline and Saint Lucia peaks. So — where can you enjoy a panoramic poo without reservations?

Bodie, California: In 1880, Bodie was a Gold Rush epicenter. The town’s population skyrocketed to among California’s largest, and it produced $34 million in gold. Today, it’s a ghost town, complete with a doorless outhouse. But who needs a door with that view? [Image via Flickr]

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Uber is on Fire in Paris — and Not in a Good Way

June 25, 2015 at 1:34 PM | by | Comment (1)

The strike du jour in Paris is being put on by the city's taxi drivers who are infuriated by the presence of Uber, especially the service UberPOP — which is akin to America's UberX function.

But taxi drivers didn't just not show up for work today: they were actively protesting by blocking roads to airports and train stations in the city. And a few of them got violent, as evidenced by this photo on WSJ.com. According to Gawker, even Courtney Love was caught up in the protests at the airport. The hot mess rock star tweeted that she needed to pay men on motorcycles to sneak her out of the airport after her car and driver were attacked.

Incidentally, we used Uber in Paris this morning completely unaware that the taxi strike was even about Uber. Oui, américain stupide.

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Lincoln Road in South Beach to Get The High Line Treatment

June 25, 2015 at 11:55 AM | by | Comments (0)

The High Line is bringing its talents to Miami. Okay, well, the landscape architect firm who created it is.

Lincoln Road on South Beach has seen a lot of changes lately, with glossy new retail stores pushing out local eateries. (RIP Van Dyke Cafe and Pasha's.) The tourists who come to shop up a storm are no doubt happy, but locals have long lamented the loss of Lincoln Road's character. Perhaps the revitalization plans, as reported by Racked Miami and The Next Miami, will lift their spirits.

The most striking feature in the master plan proposed by James Corner Field Operations (they of The High Line) is the stretch of green running from one side of the South Beach island to the other. With temperatures in the 90s and little shade, Lincoln Road is a sunburn death trap in the middle of the day and this plan should make it a much more pleasant place to stroll. And isn't that the point of Lincoln Road in the first place?

As Racked reports, the proposal calls for more easy access to the cool MiMo water features that already exist in the middle of the Lincoln Road strip, as well as more stylish seating, an outdoor art and sculpture gallery and an outdoor market.

With much cooler spaces like Wynwood and the Perez Art Museum Miami around town, it sounds like South Beach has put itself on notice. Fingers crossed this plan gets approved and goes ahead.

[Image: Master plan rendering via The Next Miami]

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Four Seasons Seattle Sparkles With New Goldfinch Tavern

Where: 99 Union Street [map], Seattle, WA, United States, 98101
June 25, 2015 at 10:35 AM | by | Comments (0)

Last weekend, we got a look at Chef Ethan Stowell’s new restaurant at Four Seasons Seattle, Goldfinch Tavern, and it’s a stone cold fox. Seriously, the space is a stunner.

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This Is the World's First Airport to Use Apple Watch Behind the Scenes

June 25, 2015 at 1:00 AM | by | Comments (0)

Once the Apple Watch made its debut on the wrists of travelers, it was inevitable that things like gate information, flight updates, and other flight-related frills would all make an appearance via one airline app or another. But now it’s an airport that is going all-in with Apple's latest tech toy.

Per Airport World, this month Québec City Jean Lesage International Airport (YQB) became the first airport in the world to start using the Apple Watch behind the scenes. The airport has connected the watch to its existing operations and information system, so now the watch can immediately offer duty managers real-time updates . Push notifications and alerts to staff are designed to keep everything on schedule and running according to plan: whether it comes to flight delays or airplanes fighting over a gate, every need-to-know issue will be delivered to a wrist so that it can be dealt with. Hopefully this will keep decision-makers in the know — and benefit all travelers as a result.

SITA, the airport management system that pushes these updates through an app it developed specially for YQB, is also in use at 150 airports in almost 50 countries. So it might not be long before other staffers in other airports are using Apple Watch like walkie-talkies. The next time you see an airport worker bee busily checking his or her wrist, know that they might be sending instructions — not emojis.

[Photo: Apple]

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The World's First Underwater Nightclub Just Got A Makeover — and a Menu

June 24, 2015 at 3:43 PM | by | Comments (0)

What is this nautical bewitchment?!

Welcome to the Maldives, one of the most selfie-friendly places on earth (#paradise #vacation #tropical #beachflow). It’s a nation in the Indian Ocean made up of hundreds of different islands. There are expansive beaches, vibrant coral reefs all around, and blue lagoons that are even prettier than Christopher Atkins circa 1980.

But if you dig (swim?) a little deeper behind all this rapture, you’ll find yet another utopia hidden below the ocean’s surface. We’re talking about Subsix.

First, a video. Behold.

Impressive, right? Located at the Per Aquum Niyama resort, the nightclub Subsix opened in October 2012 with a special guest performance by rapper Tinie Tempah, followed quickly by another celebrity party hosted by DJ Poet of the Black Eyed Peas just a few days later. After such an explosive debut, we were surprised to see the venue go a bit quiet on us — but we just figured they were playing hard to get. After all, an underwater club in the Maldives probably doesn’t have issues attracting business.

But now, Subsix is resurfacing. (Not literally resurfacing, just like, making news again… it’s an expression…) No longer merely a club, it has received renovations that turn this unique space into a multi-purpose playground.

Guests can now wine and dine at Subsix. The lunch menu is nothing to take lightly at $165 per person, but the dishes look downright divine. While you gawk at the aquatic life all around you, you’ll be dining on some of their friends: including a crab dish with crab cake custard, a lobster medallion with blackberry balsamic “essence,” sea bass filets, Jaffna prawns and more.

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Montreal Like a Local: Where to Rent Bikes

Where: Montreal, QC, Canada
June 24, 2015 at 2:05 PM | by | Comments (0)

If you want to get around Montreal like a local, all you'll need is a bicycle. It's surprising to find such a thriving bike culture in a city that averages more than 80 inches of snow per year, but Montreal caters to its cyclists with 400 miles of bike lanes, many of which are closed to vehicular traffic, and bike racks outside most businesses.

For visitors, the easiest way to join in on Montreal's bike craze is to rent one of the 5000 Bixi Bikes around the city. Like NYC's Citi Bikes, many are centrally located near tourist spots and can be rented for as little as $5 a day.

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Like a Virgin Voyage: C.S. Air Debuts Direct Flights Between Southern China and America's East Coast

June 24, 2015 at 11:00 AM | by | Comments (0)

Usually, if someone hands you a flower unsolicited in the middle of a city square, you can rest assured that either a) a document of religious literature will soon follow, or b) somebody else is grabbing your iPhone out of your back pocket.

On Thursday, feel free to disregard this otherwise infallible rule of thumb.

Because on June 25 at 3 PM, expect to see reps from China Southern Airlines (C.S. Air) hanging out in NYC's Herald Square, handing out hundreds of Red Silk Cotton Tree flowers to passerby. Why? Because that's the official flower of Guangzhou, and Asia's largest airline announced this week the launch of daily direct flights to that South China city from JFK.

It's true! Yesterday was the kick-off to the new nonstop flights, offered 10 times weekly through September 11. Every day flights leave JFK's Terminal 4 at 11:15 AM, arriving in Guangzhou at 3 PM the following day; in addition, Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays have second flights that leave JFK at 1:45 AM and arrive in Guangzhou at 5:45 the next day. Do the math: That's 10 per week.

And it's ground (air?) breaking service, too. These are the first ever daily flights from Southern China to America's east cost.

We're glad to hear that this has bloomed. OHHH! THANKS, HERE ALL WEEK!

[Photo: ZK-NGJ/Flickr]

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Around the World in 9 Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

June 24, 2015 at 10:00 AM | by | Comments (2)

The gooey, creamy sandwich that all kids grew up with (and most of us continued to eat religiously into adulthood) has a scrumptious legacy all over the world.

Grilled cheese is one of the simplest, yet most universally delicious dishes in existence. But the days of making grilled cheese sandwiches with cautiously white, airy bread and neon-orange processed cheese of questionable origin is a thing of the past. At least, we think it should be in your past — because there are so many other options.

Put down the Kraft singles and join us for a trip around the world to see how this iconic, lovable sandwich manifests in other parts of the globe.

We take full responsibility for your looming hunger.

AUSTRALIA

Down Unda, grilled cheese often comes in the form of a jaffle, which is a traditional toasted sandwich made in an enclosed metal skillet (often called a jaffle iron). After inserting the sandwich into the jaffle iron, it becomes sealed around all edges; the excess crust is cut away once the iron is sealed. The result is sort of like an Aussie hot pocket. If you’re in Melbourne, pay close attention to Jafflechutes; they basically send you grilled cheese/jaffles via parachutes magically dropped from the sky. No really, that's what they do. [Photo via Flickr]

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