Conde Nast Traveler

In-Flight Foodie Fix

by Citizen Sigmund

Oddly, I've always found in-flight mealtimes a welcome distraction--even a little fun. Maybe it's the element of surprise (chicken or fish?), or all the little individually wrapped items to pick apart and sample. But inevitably, once you get past the novelty of opening everything, the taste is highly disappointing. Luckily, I have a new solution.

While poking through all the travel-friendly goodies at Flight 001, I came across the Organic Mobile Foodie Kit, an assortment of spices to give an otherwise bland meal some flavor. The kit has everything from curry to cinnamon to a mini bottle of Tabasco. There are 18 options to turn your meal around, all tucked into a slim case smaller than a magazine. The handy key makes sure you don't accidentally add, say, wasabi powder to your spaghetti when you were really going for basil.

Aside from the "foodie's ray-of-hope kit," as I have come to think of it, Flight 001 is full of useful products to keep you feeling refreshed during your flight, as well as practical items such as toothbrush caps and stylish luggage tags. I highly recommend the Laundrymat Pak for those prone to getting messy with the Tabasco.


Burt's Bees Res-Q Lip Balm

Burt's Bees

by Mollie Chen

This past weekend, despite the sweltering weather, my friend Rob and I went on a 22-mile bike tour of Brooklyn. (Those of you who know me will be impressed that I survived this adventure without injuring myself or anyone around me. And yes, I wore a helmet.) While this in and of itself is amazing, what's more useful to you is my new discovery: Burt's Bees Res-Q Lip Balm.

I'm pretty good about wearing sunscreen but I always forget that lips (and the tops of your ears, as I learned the hard way) can burn, too. I'm obsessed with the all-natural brand's latest balm, which is the first to have SPF 15. The heavy-duty formula stays put, moisturizes with beeswax, and, best of all, doesn't taste like sunscreen. Bring on the outdoor adventures.


Introducing FabMaps: Kiss Folding Good-Bye

by Anna Martinez

The design team at Rand McNally--hearing our desperate road trip woes--have created a collection of durable cloth city plans called fabMaps. Covering most major U.S. cities, these tear-proof, waterproof maps are car- and beach-friendly (the microfiber material can even be used to clean your sunglasses). Featuring some fun, specialized versions such as the Midtown Manhattan Theater District and the San Antonio River Walk, fabMaps provide a pocket-sized guide with no folding necessary: Thank you!


Wine in a Can, Part 2

Boisset's driving the wine
bottle-recycling bandwagon.

AP Photo

by Julia Bainbridge

Well, more like wine in a bottle--a plastic one. Boisset Family Estates, known for producing premium wines in eco-friendly (and travel-friendly) aluminum cans, has come up with a sequel. New to the U.S. market this summer are Yellow Jersey (Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir varietals from Limoux and Minervous) and Bonus Passus (a Rhone blend), both packaged in PET (polyethylene terephthalate). Supposedly this lightweight, neutral material is 100 percent recyclable and reduces waste significantly (conserves fuel, reduces greenhouse gases).

What does it become after it's cleaned, flaked, and melted down? Recycled PET (R-PET) fiber, the demand for which currently exceeds supply, can be spun into everything from clothing to carpet, and it can also be used for produce trays, industrial strapping (replacing steel), automotive upholstery, and those waxy cartons used for shipping chicken parts. And, of course, R-PET can go back into bottles.

What's more, the Boisset camp tells us not to worry about taste. PET bottles are made with a substance called MonOxbar, which protects the wine's flavor and color from oxidation and UV rays. Keep in mind, though, that these bottles are most suitable for drinking within a year or so of filling. You don't want that 2004 Money Road Ranch Merlot gaining complexity in your cellar to be packaged in PET.

After the great comments we received about Boisset's aluminum-clad Beaujolais, the Daily Traveler is hoping you'll weigh in on this one. PET: The next big (green) thing in the wine world?

Further reading:
* Yellow Jersey Wines
* With lots to see outdoors in New York this summer, this bottle's perfect for a picnic stop
* Canadians have been on the PET wagon for a while now
* What about green inside the bottle? Food & Wine magazine's wine editor Lettie Teague has some thoughts on "the 'greenwashing' of the wine industry"


Matt Harding, Dancing King

The Daily Travelers are a bit obsessed with fellow world-hopper Matt Harding's "Dancing" video. We know we're a little late to the party--versions of the film have been circulating for a few years now--but we also know we're not the only ones. Heck, the New York Times only caught on this morning. Check out the story here and then join the 5 million people who have watched Harding's latest video below.

Matt, you've been to Rwanda, Brisbane, Montreal, Hanoi--come to 4 Times Square, we'll dance with you!


How to French Kiss, Cheekside

Faire la bise
Chirac: The presidential bise
Photo: Aujourd'hui la Chine

by Julia Bainbridge

The Daily Travelers are concerned with etiquette this summer as we travel abroad, and it looks like others are, too. An article in Conde Nast Traveler's June issue shows us how not to embarrass ourselves in Italy, Turkey, Greece and Croatia, but what about France? What about those awkward kiss-kisses--and sometimes kiss-kiss-kisses? Just how many smooches should we plant on our French hosts' cheeks? This story on Gadling maps it out, literally, and gives us the basic rules for making those greetings a little less awkward.

Something the site doesn't mention that's important to remember, though: French kissing is something very different altogether. So don't do this.

Further reading:
* Etiquette 101: France
* Etiquette 101: The Mediterranean


Budget-friendly Road Tripping

Route 66
Gas prices got you down?
Photo: CNT Dream Trip Contest

by Mollie Chen

I love road trips (the cooler full of snacks, the singing loudly with the windows open, the offbeat stuff you see along the way) and this month's Saveur got me craving an adventure more than ever. Their special Road Trip issue seems a bit ill-timed (gas prices don't seem to have a ceiling) but even so, it's a must-read--and, for me, the closest I'll get to the open road this summer. (One thing you get very good at when working at a travel magazine: living vicariously.) The issue is chock-full: New York Times Frugal Traveler Matt Gross on the problem with religiously Chowhounding your pit stops (I've been known to spend hours Blackberry-ing the best ice cream in Cape Cod); tricked out Airstreams; the best regional road snacks (including San Francisco's famed It's-It ice cream sandwiches); and Todd Coleman and James Oseland's epic Duncan Hines-themed journey from Chicago to New York. Just when I'd finished salivating over the pictures of Kentucky chess pie and Hollyhock Hill's fried chicken, I picked up the June Bon Appetit and found yet another envy-inducing piece: Liz Welch's odyssey through Mississippi with the Ya-Ya-esque duo of Martha Foose and Lynda Posey. I was sold even before I got to the line, "The doughnut shop is closed, alas, and I am distraught." (Haven't we all been there?) And one final way to virtual road trip: Alton Brown's "Feasting on Asphalt," in which the goofy food expert takes a motorcycle from Savannah to California to explore the history and traditions of road food.


Ice Cream On a Plane

Blue Marble Girls
Blue Marble proprietresses
Alexis Miesen and Jennie Dundas,
my partners in experimentation


by Julia Bainbridge

I underwent an experiment last week. Or, rather, two pints of Blue Marble strawberry ice cream underwent an experiment last week. They traveled from New York City to Houston, Texas on Continental Airlines flight 133. And why this merits an "amazing": They arrived--very stylishly, I might add, in their stainless steel Timolino insulated jar--still frozen in Houston's 90-degree airport and then traveled another 20 minutes (after already keeping their cool for five hours--my flight was delayed, of course) to the nearest freezer virtually undisturbed. A tiny bit of pinky soup skimmed the thermos' surface, but all in all, that was some solid strawberry goodness. (And a relief, too, since it was my gift for the hostess of a dinner party I would attend the next night.)

"Why go to all the trouble?" you might ask. I admit: packing and unpacking the stuff made for a sticky mess (combined with sticky Houston weather, it wasn't pretty), and I could have otherwise made it out of the airport sans checked baggage. Chocolate or really good coffee beans would have been easier choices. But I'll also say this: Blue Marble ice cream is that good. Yes, Texans are quite proud of Blue Bell (as well as a host of other sugared, fried or smoked goods, which I'll tell you about later in the week)--and it's pretty good stuff--but Blue Marble is better. Creamy, flavorful, "pure" tasting, if that makes sense--just better. One could even call it amazing. So much so, in fact, that it might have to take a flight to my next destination dinner party.


Wine In a Can

Vin a la aluminum.

by Julia Bainbridge

Nothing says summer like kicking back with a can of wine. Well, not quite, but one vintner is selling aluminum-clad wine starting this season. Already a pioneer of biodynamic farming practices and alternative packaging, Boisset Family Estates just launched a new eco-friendly option: Its Mommessin Beaujolais Grande Reserve now comes in 750-ml aluminum bottles. We recently got the low-down on the new packaging from Patrick Egan, Boisset's Innovation Brand Manager.

Egan says the energy needed to produce an aluminum bottle is similar to that needed to produce a glass bottle, but that's where similarities end on the sustainability front.

An average glass bottle weighs nearly twice the amount of an average aluminum bottle (a case of wine bottled in aluminum is 22 pounds, while a case of wine bottled in glass weighs 40 to 50 pounds); "extrapolate even further over the whole transportation cycle of a wine and these differences really add up." More fuel is required to haul and ship heavier packages, for example. What's more, nearly twice as many aluminum cases can fit onto a pallet as glass cases (90 cases of aluminum to 56 cases of glass)--size matters when talking about environmental shipping costs.

Once every last drop of that Beaujolais has been consumed (and I hope it is), the benefits of aluminum packaging continue. For one thing, aluminum is more durable--imagine chucking your water-filled glass wine bottle at the foot of the track before a run (eesh). Egan says aluminum recycles at twice the rate of glass in this country. And even when glass is recycled, the life of the material is much shorter than that of aluminum. (Ninety-nine percent of an aluminum container is retained and reused, as opposed to glass's 50 percent.) "So while the energy costs may start out similar for glass and aluminum, they quickly diverge as you follow the life cycle of the container."

Another cool factor about Boisset's Beaujolais: A small dot on the label changes color to let you know when your wine has chilled to the perfect serving temperature. Amazing.


Travel-Sized Nut Butters

Is that a nut butter in your pocket?

by Mollie Chen

When I was a kid, the most coveted lunch box item was the single-serving Nutella pouch, which was shaped like a mini Nutella jar and came with its own tiny plastic spoon. Now that I'm a big kid, I have moved on to more grown-up foods. Like peanut butter. And almond butter. And really any nut in spreadable form. PB and banana sandwiches are a staple of my diet, as well as my go-to plane snack. Recently, while wandering through Whole Foods (my version of therapy), I ran across Justin's Nut Butters. Thinking outside the jar, the company sells "squeeze packs," tidily packaged two-tablespoon packets of its most popular flavors, including honey peanut and maple almond. They also just launched 100-calorie sizes--but honestly, I don't think that would be enough to tide me over. For my next trip, I'm going to pack a couple of flavors along with a bag of sliced apples and some fresh bread from Amy's. Or maybe I'll just eat it straight, like in the good ol' Nutella days.


Hot Sweaty Mess, No More

Beachgoers can clean up nice.
Photo: Giovanni Cosmetics

Amazing. Our outlet to highlight things that make our lives and our travels more stylish, more relaxing, more delicious, or more interesting. You know, things that make you go, "A-mazing!"

by Mollie Chen

I was sweaty, sunblock-y, and sandy. Pitying the poor person who would have to sit next to me on the puddle-jumper flight from Maui to Oahu, I picked up a bag of Giovanni Organic Biodegradable Towelettes at an impressively well-stocked Mana Foods in Pa'ia, Maui (more on that soon). One swipe and I was sweet-smelling and fresh-faced. Amazing. They're now a staple in my carry-on. Each rice paper pouch comes with 20 individually wrapped wipes that are scented with grapefruit, peppermint, or lavender (I'm a fan of the grapefruit; the peppermint has the same tingly zing as Dr. Bronner's Magic Soap, if you're into that sort of thing).


About this blog
The editors at Conde Nast Traveler answer questions and share travel secrets, tips, and dispatches

Twitter: CNTraveler
Email: Daily updates



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Prices and other information were accurate at press time, but are subject to change. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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