Author Archives: Destination & Tourism Headlines

10 Hole-in-the-Wall NYC Restaurants

Everyone knows that a restaurant doesn’t have to be expensive and fancy to be delicious! Think about the mom and pop shops, the family-ran eateries and those tiny off-the-beaten-path spots that always have people lined up, waiting for the chance to dig in.Though your typical hole-in-the-wall restaurant doesn’t look like much from the front, and honestly may look even less impressive once inside, what matters is one thing: taste. We’ve rounded up ten of our favorite inconspicuous, small and unassuming, yet absolutely tasty, hole-in-the-wall restaurants for you to try out next time you’re in the Big Apple! Baohaus (New York, New York) Chairman Bao: braised pork belly, crushed peanut, cilantro, relish, red sugar. From Baohaus, New York (Photo via T.Tseng / flickr) If you’ve ever watched ABC’s Fresh Off The Boat, you know about Eddie Huang and should certainly know about his tiny, cool spot in the Lower East Side, Baohaus. It’s known for its savory Taiwanese steamed buns called “gua baos,” with one of its most popular items being Chairman Bao with pork belly, relish, peanuts, Taiwanese red sugar and cilantro. Baohaus fits around 10 people comfortably on stools between two exposed brick walls covered in stickers and graffiti, plays continuous hip-hop and offers an ambiance best described as gritty, yet welcoming.Prince Street Pizza (New York, New York) Sicilian pizza at Prince Street Pizza (Photo via chrisjtse / flickr) Known for their “SoHo Squares,” Prince Street Pizza is generally packed with a line out the door. But thanks to their incredibly delicious thick-cut squares of goodness, it’s worth the wait. The pepperoni slice, in particular, is out of this world, with its generous amount of thick-cut, bite-sized pepperoni that covers the cheesy face of the slice. The dough is almost spongy with a crispy crust underneath and each slice itself is quite hefty (as well as oily, in the best way possible). Do yourself a favor and start with one!Burger Joint (New York, New York) Burger Joint NYC (Photo via techmsg / flickr) This secret-not-so-secret burger place is tucked away in a “hidden” corner of the fancy Le Parker Meridian Hotel lobby in Midtown Manhattan. Separated by a floor-to-ceiling red lobby curtain, Burger Joint’s walls are covered in graffiti, memorabilia, old posters and random scribblings giving it speakeasy-meets-dive bar grungy vibes. Tourists and New Yorkers alike line up for their famous, no-frills burgers that offer quality, well-seasoned meat with your standard burger accompaniments.MORE Destination & Tourism Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles (New York, New York)While you can’t expect good service or any sense of ambiance, you can expect the taste of authentic hand-pulled noodles for cheap. Whether your preference is thin, hand-pulled noodles or thick and chewy knife pulled noodles made by cutting strands straight from a dough log over boiling water, this joint has you covered with a variety of dishes like roasted pork noodles or duck pan-fried noodles. Quick, easy and comforting, this spot in the heart of Chinatown delivers exactly what it intends on: Tasty Hand-Pulled Noodles.Caracas Arepa Bar (New York, New York)For an authentic taste of Venezuela, Caracas Arepa Bar in Manhattan is where you go. Though dim, tiny, limited in seating options and generally crowded with a wait outside the door, they offer generously stuffed griddled corn-based arepas filled with meats, cheeses and fillings that are worth the wait. Try the tasty classic pabellon with shredded beef, black beans, cotija cheese and fried sweet plantains. Since this original location opened in 2003, they’ve opened several other locations in Brooklyn, Roneria and Rockaway.Charles' Country Pan Fried Chicken (New York, New York) Charles' Country Pan Fried Chicken (Photo via Paul Lowry / flickr) Situated between a cell phone store and a far inferior chicken shop is the famed Charles’ Country Pan Fried Chicken, a place with fried chicken so delicious it’s been profiled in numerous places, including the NY Times. This no-frills, nothing fancy eatery seats around 15 people in a long, narrow room lit by fluorescent lighting and walls decorated with Chef’s personal photos. What it lacks in ambiance it makes up in taste—Charles’ chicken, which he learned to fry from his mother while growing up in rural North Carolina, is juicy, crispy and seasoned to perfection.Uncle Boons Sister (New York, New York)Uncle Boons Sister, the sister restaurant of the popular Uncle Boon’s Thai restaurant, features a selection of traditional Thai dishes such as larb with sticky rice; phat Thai chicken; mataba and khao num ghai. This small restaurant is meant more for takeout, as it has its guests ordering at the counter, along with grabbing their own water and utensils. Though informal, the taste and creativity of the cuisine keeps people coming back time and time again. It’s perfect for a quick lunch or dinner and most things are under $15. Eisenberg’s (New York, New York)This humble sandwich shop is located in the bustling Flatiron district surrounded by high-end shopping on Fifth Avenue. Despite its ritzy location, Eisenberg’s hasn’t changed much since it opened in 1929. The kitchenette offers your classic staples including burgers, melts and hot open sandwiches, along with Jewish specialties like your Reuben and chopped liver, in a low-key, casual setting.Joe’s Pizza (New York, New York)Located on Carmine street is Joe’s Pizza, an iconic New York City landmark known for its piping hot, fresh cheesy slices of ‘za. This little storefront has just one counter with sparse standing room but has been pleasing both tourists and locals all the same since 1975. At 75 years of age, Joe Pozzuoli still owns and operates the restaurant just as he did when it first opened.Mamoun’s Falafel (New York, New York)Opened in 1971, family-ran and owned Mamoun’s Falafel is New York’s first falafel shop and one of the first Middle Eastern establishments in the country. This narrow little spot often has a line that goes past the door but has quick service, isn’t going to break the bank and is truly an authentic Middle Eastern joint. Crispy and crunchy on the outside, soft and savory on the inside, these falafel balls are top-notch. They also offer a full menu that includes shwarma, hummus and kebobs, in addition to pastries. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Tourists Find $600k Worth of Cocaine on South Carolina Beach

Seashells. Coins. Keys. Crabs. The occasional cell phone.You’ll find a bevy of items on virtually every beach. What you likely won’t find is more than a half-million dollars in, uh, merchandise. MORE Destination & Tourism But that’s what happened to a family of tourists on vacation in South Carolina earlier this month when they found what was described as a “large, dark object” in the water at Fripp Island.After loading the 44-pound package on a golf cart and taking it back to their vacation house, the family got the shock of their lives—cocaine, with an estimated street value of $600,000.Suspecting the worst after cutting open the package and finding a white powdery substance, Justus Holland and his family immediately called the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office.Police confirmed it was cocaine."This is a very infrequent occurrence," Major Bob Bromage of the Sheriff’s Office said. "This happened maybe a handful of times in the past decade.”Bromage guessed that the package washed up as a result of Hurricane Dorian last month, though he is uncertain of its origin.“The Beaufort County Sheriff's Office and the DEA are investigating and attempting to establish the cocaine's origin and intended destination," Bromage said.Bromage added that “we encourage people who find packages like this to call us first and let us investigate. There could have been any number of things in that bag that could have been dangerous." Let's block ads! (Why?)

10 Reasons to Visit Cinque Terre

Perched atop one of the most dramatic coastlines on the planet with its terraced-vineyards, panoramic pathways and glistening waters, Italy’s colorful Cinque Terre is a must-visit. You can trek between these five pastel fishing villages via a scenic seaside trail, mountain train or boat—whichever you choose, Cinque Terre is waiting for you!  Let's block ads! (Why?)

First Timers Guide to Visiting Waimea Canyon

Waimea Canyon is a geological gem of the most unexpected kind on the otherwise lush, green “Garden Island” of Kauai. It's tall, red, and orange canyon walls are a remarkable contrast to Kauai’s other crown jewel, the Na Pali Coast, and every trip to the island should include a journey to its rim. Below, we provide everything you need to know for a visit.The Drive From the town of Waimea, there are two ways to access Waimea Canyon—Waimea Canyon Drive or Kokee Road. Both wind their way from sea level up to the canyon, which on average sits at about 3,600 feet. The two roads meet before you reach the canyon, so it doesn’t matter which one you choose. Both offer similar views of the coastline and neither is significantly faster or more scenic. Try one on the way up and the other on the way down.MORE Destination & Tourism The LookoutsThere are several lookouts on the rim of the canyon that provide different views:Waimea Canyon Lookout (mile marker 10): This is the main viewing area for the canyon, not only because it’s the first one you get to with the most parking, but because of its wonderful panoramic views that look out over the rim of the canyon.Puu Hinahina Lookout (mile marker 13): While the Waimea Canyon Lookout peers perpendicular over the rim of the canyon, the Puu Hinahina offers another perspective, looking down into the canyon parallel to its rims. From here, you can get a sense of how the river winds its way through the canyon down towards the sea.Kalalau Lookout (mile marker 18): The infamous Kalalau Valley, reached by many on foot (via the 11-mile Kalalau Trail that begins at Kee Beach), can be looked down upon here. The view showcases the tall cliffs of the Na Pali Coast, as well as the deep blue sea that stretches on beyond.Puu o Kila (mile marker 19): For those that want a deeper interaction with the Kalalau Valley, continue on to Puu o Kila, where you can hike down a small ridge for more vantage points.The Geology Waimea Canyon is a mile wide, more than 3,600-feet deep and 14 miles long. Although small in comparison to the Grand Canyon in Arizona, which is 277 miles long and 6,000 feet deep, Waimea Canyon is one of the most unique geological finds in Hawaii. Carved by the Waimea River over millions of years, the deep gorge’s name translates to “Reddish Waters,” which describes the color of the river’s water as it collects and erodes the canyon’s red, volcanic walls. PHOTO: Waterfall and river finding its way through red rocks, Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii. (Photo via Getty Images Plus / iStock / The World Traveller) HikesWhen it comes to recreating in this area, hiking is by far the most bountiful activity, as there are endless hiking trails in Waimea Canyon and Kokee State Park. Here are a few of our favorites to get you started:Awaawapuhi Trail: This moderate-level trail takes you three miles downhill through a green, lush rainforest to a series of steep valleys that capture the essence of the Na Pali Coast. From the rim of the Awaawapuhi Valley at 2,500 feet, you can look down the coast at the different valleys, the ocean and the sharp, jagged, green vistas that rise up above the Pacific. It is from here, looking at the combination of forest and rocky cliffs, that you will begin to understand why so much of Kauai’s terrain—about 90 percent—is inaccessible by car.Pihea Trail: Beginning at Puu o Kila, the Pihea Trail is a good introduction to the Alakai Swamp—and most of it is covered with boardwalk, making it an easy walk. Keep an eye out for native birds and soak in the views of Kalalau Valley.Cliff Canyon and Black Pipe Trail: This one is great for families because it combines the expansive views of Waimea Canyon with a refreshing dip in Waipoo Falls. Walk along the trail and notice the many shades of brown and red, the steep, knee-buckling drop-off of the ridge and the crumbling, erosive nature of the canyon walls. When you reach the falls, continue past it upstream where you will find a small pool that’s nice for a swim before starting your return. PHOTO: Top of Waipoo Falls, Kauai, Hawaii. (Photo via Getty Images Plus / iStock / PictureLake) Other Attractions and Services Kokee State Park: Though just a short drive from Waimea Canyon, the terrain is a world away, transitioning from a dry canyon to a rainforest. There are more than 45 miles of hiking trails in Kokee State Park in addition to a lodge and restaurant (see below). Some hikes enter Waimea Canyon; others take you to the Na Pali Coast.Kokee Natural History Museum: Make a quick stop at this small museum to get an overview of the history and settlement of Waimea Canyon, its geological features and nearby areas.Kokee Lodge Cabins and Campground: Set in a grove of redwood trees, the charming cabins are heated with a wood-burning stove, allowing you to experience a side of Hawaii far removed from beaches and bikinis. Be sure to take a walk at night for incredible stargazing, and plan an early-morning hike, where you can beat the crowds on even the most popular trails. Aside from small vendors at the lookouts, the Kokee Lodge is the only restaurant in the area. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Tulum is Trying to Become Quintana Roo's First Truly Disability-Friendly City

Tulum’s mayor, Víctor Más Tah, told Riviera Maya News that the city has implemented specific measures to make its sites and streets more accessible to those with disabilities, including a fully-inclusive beach, and special traffic lights for the blind and visually impaired. He said that the city has already installed four acoustic traffic lights to facilitate crossings for the visually impaired and that additional assistive devices, such as tactile guides have been installed on Tulum Avenue, as well as in special facilities at Playa Maya beach.Más Tah credits the developments to the efforts of Quintana Roo’s governor, Carlos Joaquín González, in cooperation with the Ministry of Public Works and the State DIF (The National System for Integral Family Development). He pointed to the governor’s ongoing pledge to invest in aids for the disabled alongside Tulum’s city council, both to better living conditions for citizens and improve accessibility for tourists.Secretary of Public Works, William Conrado Alarcón, stated that the joint investment from the state and city council will amount to around 3.7 million pesos (about $191,600 USD).He enthused, “Now this city, which is known internationally, will be on par in terms of inclusion with any modern city in the world, and will be for people with disabilities to enjoy and live in safe conditions.” Let's block ads! (Why?)

18 Things to See and Do in Florence

Florence, the birthplace of the Renaissance, is full of romantic and legendary treasures around every corner. With artistic museums, luxurious shopping and famed gelato, the capital of Tuscany will entice all types of travelers. Spend the day retracing the steps of Leonardo Da Vinci, learn the history of the famed Medici Family, purchase some Tuscan leather or sample some Michelin cuisine. Regardless of your desires, the historical city is always enchanting.  Let's block ads! (Why?)

Party Under the Big Top at Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida

In the movie "Midnight in Paris," Owen Wilson's character finds a portal back through time while wandering the streets of Paris at midnight. He finds himself partying in the 1920s with F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. He also crosses paths with Salvador Dali.The Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida doesn't have a time machine, but it does have a "Surreal Circus" and that's as close as you'll come to partying with the master of Surrealism. “Through the 1940s when Dalí sought refuge in the United States during World War II, he began mingling with the Marx Brothers, Alfred Hitchcock and Walt Disney, which led to parties with Hollywood’s elite,” Dalí Museum Marketing Director Beth Bell said. “It was during this time that he hosted the most memorable, and bizarre, costume party of the decade.” PHOTO: Dali Museum guests enjoying a previous Surreal Circus. (Photo via Dali Museum) Dali’s “Surrealistic Night in an Enchanted Forest” at the posh Hotel Del Monte in Monterey, California featured a guest list including Bob Hope and a young Gloria Vanderbilt. Live animals were brought in from a zoo.That’s the feel the Dalí Museum aspires to with its "Suenos de Dalí" (Dreams of Dali) Surreal Circus October 26.“As one would expect at a night under the big top, the evening’s entertainment will include live music, fire dancers and breathers, stilt walkers and an array of other circus entertainment to delight and surprise,” Bell said. “Guests will be showered with a cascade of surprise, glamor, whimsy and a hint of decadence with themed bars, tempting tastes, live entertainment and performance art—all to benefit The Dalí Museum’s mission as a nonprofit organization, to serve as a cultural resource in the community.” Surreal Circus guests in costume at the Dali Museum. (Photo via Dali Museum) Costumes are encouraged.“Dalí’s surreal art and life brings out the creative and fantastical in our guests—you can see this on display in the amazing costumes they conceive for the party,” Bell said.What is St. Petersburg’s connection to Dalí which provides for the largest collection of his work in the world to be housed here?MORE Destination & Tourism Nothing.In the mid-1970s when A. Reynolds and Eleanor Morse began looking to donate their entire collection of Dalí artwork amassed over four decades, few existing institutions were willing to accept the Morse’s requirement that their enormous collection be kept intact. A St. Petersburg businessman read about the predicament in 1980 in the Wall Street Journal and convinced a group of local advocates to pitch the Morse’s on the idea of bringing the collection to Florida. They were sold.The Dalí Museum originally opened in 1982 in a remodeled marine warehouse. In 2011, a new museum building with a breathtaking design was opened at a cost of $36 million. Situated on Tampa Bay, the Dalí collection now includes over 2,400 works from every moment and in every medium of his artistic activity, including oil paintings, many original drawings, book illustrations, artists’ books, prints, sculpture, photos, manuscripts and an extensive archive of documents.The Dalí Museum joins the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, the recently-opened James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art, the (Dale) Chihuly Collection and Morean Arts Center, along with a growing gallery scene to create a surprisingly robust and distinguished downtown arts district. PHOTO: Set up for Dali Museum's Surreal Circus fundraiser. (Photo via Dali Museum) For Dalí, over time, the art and the artist became one; his parties contributed to that melding.“Dalí worked hard to generate new ideas constantly and part of that drive created a life that became as interesting as his paintings,” Bell said. “Dalí wanted to sustain the dreamlike world of his paintings in daily life, and in his autobiography, The Secret Life, he recounts a life that feels as fantastic as his art.”For one night, you can taste that fantasy. PHOTO: Dali Museum guests in costume at a previous Surreal Circus. (Photo via Dali Museum) As an example, "Suenos de Dalí" features a themed craft cocktail menu. The Ringmaster, Old St Pete Whiskey and Milo’s Famous Tea whipped with raw Florida honey and an orange wheel promises to put a Surrealist painting in your mouth.If you can’t make it to St. Pete for this year’s “Surreal Circus,” you can host a DIY Dalí party. The artist wrote one of the most unusual cookbooks ever, published in 1973, encouraging and preparing readers to host appropriately surreal dinner parties. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Empire State Building Unveils New $165 Million Observatory

For visitors to New York City, if the Empire State Building wasn't already on their list of must-see attractions, it certainly is now.The iconic skyscraper recently completed a four-year, $165 million remodeling of its observatory, installing floor-to-ceiling windows on the 102nd floor that now offer visitors 360-degree views from 1,250 feet above the city. The renovated observatory opens to the public on Saturday, October 12. The $58 cost of admission has not changed but the visitor experience is expected to as guests are being promised shorter lines.Anthony Malkin, chairman and CEO of the Empire State Realty Trust, which financed the project, told CNN: "People share the same words—iconic, authentic, historic, dreams, inspiration—we wanted to make that part of the visitor experience.""Every single person will be able to stand facing a window and not touch anybody else," he added. "The entire rest of the building had been upgraded, and we were still offering the same experience we offered Queen Elizabeth back in the 1950s."Empire State Building shows off new $165 million observatory— WDRB News (@WDRBNews) October 10, 2019Sneak peek: Inside the Empire State Building's renovated 102nd floor observatory.— azcentral (@azcentral) October 11, 2019The building's open-air observatory on the 86th floor has also been renovated. Crews opened up walls between the interior space and the open-air terrace so that visitors will be met with gorgeous views the second they step off of the elevator. The open-air observatory requires a $38 ticket.Visitors can also look forward to an additional 10,000 square feet of exhibits, including a replica of King Kong's hand from the 1933 film, portraits of celebrities and much more.The Empire State Building attracts more than 4 million tourists each year, more than half of which travel from abroad to experience the famous building. Let's block ads! (Why?)

Venice Sets Date for New Tourism Tax Implementation

Travelers concerned about paying the new taxes for visiting Venice should be aware of the new rules and regulations going into effect on July 1, 2020.According to The Associated Press, officials in Venice announced Wednesday the tax on day-trippers would range from $3.30 to $11 per person, per day, with the exact totals being determined closer to the implementation date. Trending Now The original plan was for the new tourist tax to be put into effect shortly after it was announced nearly a year ago, but authorities in Venice had to figure out how the money would be collected and the legislation enforced.While the new regulations provide exemptions for people visiting the canal city for work, study or family reasons, other travelers arriving in Venice will have to pay the tax via pre-payments over the internet, in neighboring provinces or another yet-to-be-determined manner.Visitors staying overnight in Venice already pay a tax as part of their accommodation charge.The Italian city isn’t the only tourism hotspot charging travelers. Barcelona is working on legislation to allow the government to increase the current tax rates by four Euros. The city hopes to have the increase in place as soon as 2020.In addition, Amsterdam announced it was adding another $3 per person, per night fee on travelers staying overnight in hotels, which is in addition to the seven-percent tax on room rates that it already charges. The new fee gives the Dutch city the highest overnight tax in Europe, on average. Let's block ads! (Why?)