Archive for January, 2013

Tonight at 11|10c is the season finale of Dangerous Grounds. Todd takes his coffee hunt to Colombia, the source of the best coffee in the world before violence took over. Todd and his cameraman also have a close call on a treacherous South American mountain road, which Todd recounted here for us during filming.

Last week, we asked you to share on Instagram where you were drinking your coffee. As it turns out, you’re enjoying coffee of so many different varieties all over the world! Here are some of our favorite photos:

Left to right, first row:
1. @eversonmarsh – Cognoscenti Coffee in Culver City, CA
2. @carriedelamer – “Rise and shine! Proud of this one ;) @lacolombetorrefaction”
3. @thefalife – Coffee In Copenhagen
Left to right, second row:
4. @carovb76 – Juan Valdez coffee near El Batan, Ecuador
5.  @chadbrewbeard  - A La Colombe blend with beans from Brazil, Ethiopia, Mexico and Tanzania.
6.  @semisweetmegan – Espresso at Artisan Cheese Company in Sarasota, FL
Left to right, third row:
7. @kovacsae1 – “Craving an Americano from @lacolombecoffee #dangerousgrounds #coffee #edpresso #NYC”
8. @amybrock – “Love from The Coffee Fox… Cheers to a chill Friday evening! #savannah #visitsavannah #coffee #coffeefox”
9. @brianripps – Kookaburra Coffee in Rockville Centre, NY

Don’t miss Todd’s recipes for these delicious coffee drinks: Pure Black Velvet Float, Hot Buttered Coffee and Mexican Hot Coffee-Chocolate. If you’re not in the mood for a hot cup of Joe now, then you’ll never be!

“You’ll only gain 1 pound, rather than 20.” Those were my final words when I appeared on NBC Miami as the resident travel expert last month with InterContinental Miami’s Toro Toro executive chef Rodolfo Cuadros. Together, we introduced a dish that we created specifically for Intercontinental’s Kitchen Cookbook iPad app, an interactive app created in 2011 by the executive chefs of InterContinental Hotels & Resorts and filled with delicious recipes from around the world.

To create fresh content for the app, the hotel chain appointed 4 travel personalities to accompany 4 top chefs in select InterContinental hotels in the US (Miami, Atlanta-Buckhead, San Francisco and Boston). The individual “tastemakers” spent time with the chefs in their kitchen to create and cook these new recipes that paid tribute to their respective destinations. I was honored to be chosen and truly overjoyed to spend a few days in sunny Miami.

As soon as I arrived, I partnered up with chef Rodolfo Cuadros to create turkey pastelon, a new spin on the traditional Puerto Rico entree. Instead of ground beef, we used a leaner turkey. We also dropped the pasta layers and replaced it with sweet plantains. Thousands of viewers watched on NBC as we explained the innovative dish that will appear exclusively on InterContinental’s Kitchen Cookbook iPad app. And if I – even though I haven’t cooked in 10 years — can make the dishes, you can too!

But that’s not all that I whipped up in the kitchen. I had the privilege to prepare other innovative dishes with Rodolfo, including Pork Belly Skewers Al Pastor, served as an appetizer, and Churros con Dulce de Leche, a Latin dessert representing the holiday season (and one of my personal favorite desserts!). I was surprised to learn it was a super easy dish to make, and you can watch us prepare it in this short clip on InterContinental’s YouTube page. As per my request, I also had the opportunity to team up with head bartender of Toro Toro to create a Red Sangria cocktail, using Malbec, Cava, Beefeater Gin and Cointreau, as well as cinnamon, spices and a colorful assortment of fruits. Needless to say, I indulged.

But indulging is an understatement regarding the entire experience. My hosts exceeded expectations and checked me into the 2-story, 3,300-square-foot Royal Palm Presidential Suite, recently redesigned by tennis icon Venus Williams. I had breathtaking views of Biscayne Bay, not to mention a stand-alone soaking tub, private dining area and a bevy of turndown amenities that included everything from fresh-fruit sangria to chocolates.

InterContinental Miami wanted to make sure my stay wasn’t just all about the hotel (even though I was perfectly fine never leaving!). They set me up on an “Insider Experience” with Chef Concierge Eduardo Rosello to explore Miami through the eyes of a local. Rosello, who’s served as concierge at the hotel for 20 years, knows the city like the back of his hand and, quite frankly, knows everyone you need to know. He introduced me to institutions like Joe’s Stone Crab, La Gloria Cubana Cigar Company (where I learned how to roll a cigar) and even a private tour of the wine cellar at the high-brow restaurant, The Forge. This turned out to be my favorite, considering the hearty dishes and Enomatic wine dispenser.

But nothing topped the inventive dishes I created at Toro Toro with Chef Rodolfo. I even learned—as a virgin to the kitchen—that cooking isn’t an impossible feat. Who knows? You may see me again wearing an apron, making my own version of Chef Rodolfo’s version of turkey pastelon.

The Kitchen Cookbook iPad app has been a culinary hit, and it can be downloaded for free on iTunes. Check it out to experience some amazing dishes, and watch Chef Redolfo and me in the NBC Miami clip here.

- Jimmy Im

Jimmy Im is NYC-based travel writer, TV host and instructor, as well as the cofounder of OutEscapes.com

Photography by Thinkstock

You won’t find any striped-shirted, singing gondolieri in Colmar’s Little Venice. Instead, riverboats — many bearing vegetables headed to market — navigate the elaborate canal system that gives the old town its nickname. More »

Photo Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Lodge

Like it or not, V-Day is right around the corner (just a month away, to be exact). So, if you really want to impress your sweetie, it would be a good idea to start planning now.  But if you’re still in the dark about what to get that special someone, there’s a good chance they only want to spend some quality time with you.

Sex and the City Zoo 4: Sexy Beast
Say what? Stay with us for a second. The Los Angeles Zoo is holding an “adults-only affair” on Feb. 9  with an enlightening talk by actress and interpretive naturalist of zoology Joleen Lutz. a reception featuring desserts and wines, “animal walk-abouts,” (including chats with keepers and the chance to observe small animals up close) and an optional 4-course dinner at Reggie’s Bistro inside the Zoo.

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Have you downloaded Travel Channel’s Layover App yet? If not, what are you waiting for? The app is now free, and was recently chosen by Apple as one of the App Store’s Best of 2012 in the “Hidden Gems” category. Plus, new cities are being added each week!

Tonight at 9|8c, watch as Anthony Bourdain makes the most of a layover in Atlanta — he browses a farmer’s market with Top Chef’s Richard Blais, and visits a famous strip club with Food Network’s Alton Brown (yes … you read that right … see the pictures here). Then, use the Layover App to replicate his trip (perhaps minus the strip club?) — learn his do’s and don’ts, watch exclusive video and use the app’s practical tools to map out the places you want to visit. Want to learn more? Check out our Layover App video, and download the app for free today!

Photography by Getty Images

Scientists predict that conditions in 2013 are ripe for sightings of the otherworldly northern lights. More »

Photography by Katja Kreder / JWL / Aurora Photos

Will you take a quick dip in the salty Indian Ocean or dive in with the Technicolor fish and coral of the Maldives? More »

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With the Oscar nominations announced this week and the Golden Globes airing on Sunday, we’ve chosen our own awards … for the most travel-inspiring films of the year.

And just in time. Set-jetting, the global phenomenon of film (and TV) fans flocking to movie locations around the globe, is one of forecasted travel trends for 2013. Travelers are now, more than ever, reliving their favorite films all over the world.

Here are some of our favorite wanderlust-stirring flicks from 2012:

Anna Karenina

While this film version shows very little of Russia or its famous landmarks (much of the action takes place on a theatre stage), it still inspires opulent travel of the old world sort. The scenes of Anna Karenina traveling in a lavish train car through the snow-covered open landscapes of Russia leave us dreaming of a similar trip: a luxury train ride on the Trans-Siberian Railroad, touring historic St. Petersburg and dynamic Moscow.

The Hobbit

This latest installment of filmmaker Peter Jackson’s epic fantasy created a huge surge of tourism in New Zealand, where bout 150 locations were used for Lord of the Rings’ scenes. The mecca of all Hobbit tourism is Hobbiton, private-farmland-turned-movie-set. You can tour the 44 hobbit holes set in the picturesque rolling hills of Matamata’s countryside to see how the furry-footed creatures live.

Lincoln

History buffs and the Academy Awards alike can’t get enough of this film about our 16th president. Capturing the renewed interest in Lincoln destinations, this year tours are popping up in key cities such as Washington, DC, and Richmond, VA, retracing Lincoln’s steps and revealing history-rich locations.

Life of Pi

Praised as the next Avatar due its stunning cinematography and special effects, this film adaptation of Yann Martel’s fantasy-adventure novel has sparked renewed interest in Taiwan. With mesmerizing scenes filmed at Kenting White Banyan Garden, Kenting National Park and Taipei Zoo, Taiwan is likely to be on many lists for top destinations in 2013.

For more travel-inspiring films, check out our full list of movies that moved us in 2012.

And take a look back at what films made us want to pack our packs in 2011.

 

Photography by Getty Images

Call it the original home where the antelope roam. Grand Teton National Park comprises most of Jackson Hole valley, a sagebrush- and pine tree-mottled swath of land. More »

 

On an all-new episode of Ghost Adventures, Zak, Nick and Aaron jump in an RV and head out to the Wyoming Frontier Prison in Rawlins, WY. There they discover that Wyoming’s first state penitentiary has a brutal history, leading Zak to wonder whether the ghosts that continue to haunt the premises are choosing an eternity in prison over an eternity in hell.

Check out these behind-the-scenes photos for a sneak peek, and tune in tonight at 9|8c to see what the guys encounter at this notorious “death house.”

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