Thursday, July 21 05:34 PM
Cultural appropriation goes both ways, it seems. While Angelenos are busy installing East Asian meditation gardens and yoga studios up in the Hills, popular Hollywood Thai restaurant Soi 56 was reincarnated last Friday as District 13, a gourmet SoCal version of a hofbrauhaus.
The restaurant features an industrial urban design, with graffiti murals and TVs tuned to sports and Speed networks. Former Soi 56 chef Aoi Ratanamanee's menu is similarly no-nonsense, with an emphasis on beer and brats and other tried-and-true brew foods like mini pizzas, fish 'n' chips, and peanut butter pie for dessert. Pick from 18 different kinds of wieners (including beef, lamb, duck foie gras, alligator, and vegan chipotle), eight dipping sauces for your fries (wasabi mayo, tzatziki yogurt), and more than 19 draft beers from the Golden State. If you're still craving that Thai heat, top your meat with some red rooster sriracha chile sauce. Did you know it's actually made in California? Fancy that.
Photo: Courtesy of LM&A
Thursday, July 21 07:00 AM
Port used to rank alongside boxed wine on the oenophile scale of hipness. But the cool kids have rediscovered the complex little sipper and the Portuguese city that gave it its name. And now, the vintage-lovers heading to Porto to drink at the source have a wine-centric spot to lay their heads, the new InterContinental Porto Palacio das Cardosas.
Housed in a 200-year-old palace on the main city square, the hotel makes an ideal base for exploring the region's wineries. Or you can taste your way through the dedicated port wine cellar in the clubby hotel bar. The 105 guest rooms create a sense of occasion, with grand upholstered sleigh beds, handsome inlaid floors, Art Deco-style chests, and entire walls of antiqued mirrors. Because this is the kind of vintage worth reflecting on.
Photo: Courtesy of InterContinental
Wednesday, July 20 07:00 AM
Wrangling your tech gear, reading material, snacks, earplugs, and assorted other ephemera onto a plane can make you feel a bit like a bag lady. But this smart new canvas bag from Travelteq ($740) can turn your carry-on into a lean, mean (and organized) flying machine.
Two easy-to-reach outer pockets are perfectly configured for holding your passport, iPhone, and wallet. The interior has a shock-resistant laptop sleeve, a section to keep magazines and newspapers crease-free, and a third area to zip away other flotsam and jetsam (hence the bag's name). So, you've got controlled chaos on the inside and a classic canvas-and-leather look on the outside. Everything in its place.
Photo: Courtesy of Travelteq
Tuesday, July 19 07:00 AM
It's an amazing experience to watch the dramatic landscape slide past your stateroom window on a cruise to Antarctica. But AdventureSmith Explorations' new Antarctic Peninsula Basecamp Cruise goes one step further. For the first time ever, cruisers can get off the ship and camp on the frozen tundra.
It might not be as comfortable as your cabin, but you'll be provided with mattresses, polar sleeping bags, and all the other cozy gear required to protect you from the elements. Sailing time is kept to a minimum in order to maximize opportunities for hiking, kayaking, snowshoeing, and glacier walking. While on board the 110-passenger Plancius, you'll be schooled by photography experts on how to capture the icy surroundings and amazing wildlife. If you've ever dismissed a cruise as a sedentary vacation, this is the trip that will change your mind.
Antarctic Peninsula Basecamp Cruise, 2012 departures: February 27-March 9, November 22-December 3; 2013 departures: February 25-March 9. Doubles from $8,350 (2012) and $8,790 (2013) per person; 877-620-2875.
Photo: Courtesy of AdventureSmith Explorations