Sunday, November 29, 2015

Party a la Rolling Stones at the Tour Plane Experience at JFK Airport




From now through December 30, you can actually get what you need, and a little satisfaction, too, if your travels take you through John F. Kennedy International airport.  Make a point of stopping in the retail area of Concourse A at Terminal 4 to visit the pop-up Jose Cuervo Rolling Stones exhibit.  Air Hollywood, a firm from California noted for creating airplane replicas and sets for the film industry (think, Kristen Wiig on that wonderful airplane scene to Las Vegas in Bridesmaids or the planes used in Wolf of Wall Street and Money Ball) has created a replica of the tour plane used by the Stones on their 1972 “party plane” North American Tour, set in an area covering 1500 square feet at the airport. At that time, it was Mick Jagger who reportedly asked for a tequila shot but was served a tequila sunrise instead. Mick was enamored of the orange juice, grenadine and Jose Cuervo creation and it became the drink of the tour, later dubbed the Tequila Sunrise Tour. And thus the drink’s fame began. 

At this replica plane, you can try a sample of Jose Cuervo Especial between 2:30pm and 8pm, and sit around a bar that looks remarkably like the one on the Stones’ plane. There are also exhibits, Guitar Hero, and the leather seats that the Stones and their music crew sat in on their memorable 1972 tour. The seats also have the immediately recognizable lips logo. You can tune out the noise of the airport, as well, as Stones songs are playing non-stop. You might actually be happy that you have a layover.  #CuervoSunriseTour

All photos: Ben Hider


Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving Celebrations at Hotels around the World

If you're like me, traveling anywhere for any holiday is my preferred place to be. So that you don't ignore Thanksgiving, you might want to consider some of these places where celebrations happen, but not in the traditional turkey sense.

The New York Hilton Midtown, located directly on the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade route, is creating an all-chocolate suite featuring delicacies like truffles, beignets and macarons by the hotel’s pastry chef as well as master chocolatier, Jacques Torres. The hotel is also offering packages with premier vantage points of the world-famous floats, classic holiday movie screenings in the ballroom and a photo booth complete with holiday themed props. this is still a Thanksgiving celebration, but it definitely surpasses having dinner at home with the 'rents.

How about a boat trip?  Another way to see the sites of New York City and hold onto holiday traditions, the Spirit of New York has lunch and dinner cruises with live entertainment and a buffet of holiday favorites. Guests can indulge afloat with views of the Statue of Liberty. For a more European-inspired holiday on the water, Bateaux New York cruises offers an all-glass enclosed ship and allows diners to view New York’s skyline while enjoying creative takes on traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas classics.

In Beverly Hills, New York City and Washington, DC, AKA hotels have launched in-suite Thanksgiving meals for that “home away from home” feeling. AKA’s dedicated Resident Services team will arrange "bespoke" meals for guests, such as dishes from iconic food hall Chelsea Market for New York City guests, from the International Cookbook Library at AKA White House for recipes with a global flair, and from Wolfgang Puck’s acclaimed Spago for travelers to Los Angeles.

Casa Marina, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, in Key West is hosting the International Sand Art Competition during Thanksgiving weekend where six of the world’s best sand sculptors will create in larger-than-life masterpieces. Guests will enjoy a Tito’s hosted bar and a treasure dig where they'll search for a certified silver coin from the 1966 wreck of the Spanish galleon near Key West, valued at $1000.

Vacationers looking to ditch the dining room table and give thanks Caribbean style can book a stay at the new Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort for a Thanksgiving picnic at one of the island’s many iconic locations. Guests can feast on turkey sandwiches, rich cheese spreads, stuffed croissants, fresh fruit cocktails, and more at their preferred destination – choosing from mangrove-filled beaches, a historic lighthouse, old Dutch windmills, natural pools or glittering lagoons.

Seafood lovers who don't want to cook their own meal can take advantage of Los Suenos Marriott Ocean & Golf Resort in Costa Rica’s “You Hook It, We Cook It” program in lieu of a traditional turkey meal. A top destination for sport fishing, the resort is located on Costa Rica’s fishing capital, Herradura Beach, and will cook up any catch of the day. The culinary team then prepares a spread with a variety of local flavors and side dishes to accompany it.

You Can Still Book Dinner in NYC for Thanksgiving: Check out These Great Restaurants

Have you procrastinated about Thanksgiving dinner?  If you’d prefer a “Friendsgiving” or just another way to avoid the family stress that usually surrounds this November family get-together, there are many ways to re-locate your dinner to a more neutral and possibly more delightful location.Here are some of my favorite restaurants in New York City that are offering fantastic turkey dinners:

The Dutch

Andrew Carmellini’s popular SoHo restaurant is offering a prix fixe dinner for $95 per person ($50 for kids 12 and under).  Served family-style, the main course selection includes a typical spread of Thanksgiving treats. Roasted turkey with chestnuts and oyster mushrooms; mashed potatoes and gravy; Brussels sprouts with bacon, horseradish, and pickled mustard seeds; spoon-bread stuffing with andouille sausage and green peppers; spaghetti squash; and cranberry-orange sauce will make sure you don’t miss mom’s cooking. A choice of appetizers ranges from oysters to salads, steak tartare, soup, and pasta.  Nostalgic about keeping tradition?  Have the apple pie or pecan pie for dessert.  Or venture into more exotic turf with a pumpkin donut or devil’s food cake. Tax and gratuity, not included. 212-677-6200, 131 Sullivan Street, Manhattan. www.thedutchnyc.com




Rotisserie Georgette
While you may be tired of turkey, this is the place to have it as Georgette Farkas’s rotisserie preparations are the standouts.  It’s also truffle season, so many of the dishes have optional truffle supplements. The three-course menu is prix fixe at $84 per person (kids are $40 per person) and includes a choice of chestnut soup, pate, or two salads to start; your entrée (roasted turkey with all the fixins, chicken for two with black truffle stuffing and black truffle pureed potatoes for a $45 per person supplement, prime rib, branzino, or farro for the vegetarians).  Desserts are variations on the traditional like a pumpkin mousseline torte with gingersnap crust, or a non-traditional chocolate pot de crème.  Sides like sweet potatoes with spiced marshmallow crumb crust, or turkey sausage with black truffle stuffing are extra as are tax and gratuity. 212-390-8060, 14 East 60th Street, Manhattan. www.rotisserieg.com




The Polo Bar 
Thanksgiving might be the time to score a reservation at this not-quite-a-club, impossible-to-get-into restaurant.  The hotspot from Ralph Lauren is strong on Lauren’s holiday favorites including butternut squash soup, roasted turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing with pork sauce.  Drinks are included, from a Champagne toast to cider, with nuts and olives on the side. Dress your equestrian best and enjoy the setting.  It’s yours on Thanksgiving for $150 per person, tax and gratuity extra. 212-207-8562, 1 East 55th Street, Manhattan. www.polobarralphlauren.com.




Kefi
How about a Greek Thanksgiving?  Two prix fixe offerings from $35 to $95 include appetizer, entrée and dessert.  To maintain the Thanksgiving spirit, Michael Psilakis starts you with something turkey, here a turkey abgolemono soup that’s a riff on Greek egg lemon soup. Follow that with roasted turkey, done pretty traditionally with mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables and gravy, and finished with a choice of two traditional Greek desserts, walnut cake with walnut ice cream, or yogurt with nuts and fruit.  212-873-0200, 505 Columbus Ave, Manhattan. Taxes, gratuity extra. www.kefirestaurant.com
If an Italian celebration is more to your liking, Il Buco’s sibling restaurant offers a cozy setting for Thanksgiving dinner. Sit at one of the rustic communal tables and enjoy a multi-course dinner for $85 per person.  A selection of salumi or cheeses is served family-style to start.  Also served family-style are the sides -- sweet potatoes , kale and quinoa, and buckwheat stuffing with figs and sage -- and desserts, chocolate tarte, roasted pears with rosemary caramel, and persimmon soufflé cake. You pick your own starter – black bass crudo, vegetable soup, or chestnut angolotti – and your own main, baccala in a spicy tomato ragout with clams, rotisserie-roasted heritage pork, or Hudson Valley turkey with caramelized endive and apple. Tax and gratuity are additional. 212-837-2622, 53 Great Jones Street, Manhattan, www.ibucovineria.com

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Family Entertainment: Broadway Shows (throughout the US) on Sale and a Giant Paper Fight

Wondering how to entertain the kids before the real holidays start?  Two innovative programs invite children to immerse themselves in theatrical artistry, designed to educate and amuse all ages.

One of my favorites, Mimirichi is a pantomime troupe that has achieved international acclaim. They bill themselves as specialists in the art of “paper fights.”  You’ll have to see them to understand what this means, but trust me that it’s a combination of comedy, pantomime, slapstick and good old-fashioned silliness. Their newest show, Paper World, promises an interactive element as well. Not surprisingly inducted into the World Clown Academy, the three Ukrainians who comprise Mimirichi recall Marcel Marceau, Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton and other clown geniuses. The show takes place from November 10 – 29 at Theater for New City, 155 First Avenue, Manhattan (between 9th and 10th Streets). Tickets start at $45.  The show is appropriate for ages 4 and above. Information, 800-718-1444, or http://www.mimirichi.com/events/.


Starting immediately, tickets are on sale for Kids’ Night on Broadway, February 9, 2016, brought to you by the Broadway League.  Now entering its 20th year, the program offers a free ticket to kids ages 18 and under when accompanied by a full-paying adult. The 23 productions included in this special promotion in New York City include both musicals and plays with such alluring shows as Fun Home, Jersey Boys, Kinky Boots, The King and I, Something Rotten, Wicked, Aladdin, Fiddler on the Roof, Finding Neverland, Noises Off, On Your Feet, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, The Lion King, Matilda The Musical, School of Rock The Musical, Phantom of the Opera, and Les Misérables.  For the full list of shows and links to tickets, visit http://www.kidsnightonbroadway.com/shows. Discounts at area restaurants are also available.


Not in New York City for these events?  Not to worry. Kids’ Night on Broadway events are scheduled throughout the year in other North American cities. Check http://www.kidsnightonbroadway.com/across-the-us for participating shows and venues throughout the year. Some of the upcoming ones include Matilda the Musical in Syracuse, New York on December 1, 2015; and Rogers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella in Hershey, Pennsylvania on January 27, 2016 and Appleton, Wisconsin on March 8, 2016.  

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