The 8 Best Restaurants in Berlin

For a nation not famed for its cuisine, Germany can now lay claim to some of the best dining in Europe.

In the last twenty years, Michelin inspectors have beaten a path to Berlin and dealt stars left, right and center. Head to the Mitte district for award-winning German, French or Asian fare or stray further afield for some of the best Turkish food outside Ankara.

1. HUGOS

French Mediterranean

Style / Ambiance: Michelin-starred chef Thomas Kammeier has put Hugos firmly on the map among Berlin’s gourmet restaurants.

Kammeier’s creations have been impressing diners since he took over the kitchen in the late nineties, with his seafood creations winning particular acclaim. The wine list will please even the most demanding buffs, and the views of the city are astounding. Located on the 14th floor of the Hotel InterContinental, Berlin vistas don’t come much better than this.

2. LUTTER & WEGNER

Bavarian

Style / Ambiance: A gastronomic institution, Lutter & Wegner has been serving traditional Bavarian fare on the Gendarmenmarkt since 1811, and a better schnitzel you will not find.

With a wealth of foreign foods in the city, Lutter & Wegner harks back to more Teutonic tastes and the princely wood-clad building throngs with locals and tourists alike. Highlights include the Wiener schnitzel and the sauerbraten (marinated roast beef), and as one of Berlin’s most revered wine merchants, Lutter & Wegner will find you the perfect tipple for your dish.

3. FIRST FLOOR

French

Style / Ambiance: Climb one flight of stairs at the imposing Hotel Palace Berlin, and you’ll find First Floor, a place of inspirational nouvelle cuisine.

First Floor consistently wins over the Michelin inspectors, who have awarded chef Matthias Diether a star every year since 1997. The spacious dining room seats 40 guests, and the same number of bottles can be found on the ‘water menu’. Indeed, mineral waters from 18 different countries await the more sensitive palates, from 12,000-year-old Canadian glacier water to Tasmanian rain water. For more traditional libation, First Floor keeps a heavenly wine cellar, and head sommelier Gunnar Tietz recently won Gault Millau’s Sommelier of the Year 2011.

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Source: Elite Traveler

NYC Hotels and Accommodations

New York City is filled with fun activities, historic buildings and statues, and of course the best hotels and restaurants. Whether one is into modern design or history, there is a perfect place to stay for everyone.

Historic Hotel

Historic hotels are those that were originally built centuries ago and are now named landmarks for the city or state. A popular historic hotel in New York City is Hotel Chelsea. Located at 222 West 23rd Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, Hotel Chelsea gained popularity mainly due to its notable residents. Many celebrities have stayed at the hotel, including musician Pink Floyd. Hotel Chelsea, part of Chelsea Hotels under CEO Ed Scheetz, is also a common place for artistic filming. Andy Warhol directed the movie Chelsea Girls at the hotel. If someone wants to stay at this historic and beautiful hotel in New York City, it is recommended to book the room fast. Visit www.chelseahotels.com. Availabilities fill up pretty quickly.

Modern Design Hotel

Historic accommodations are not for everyone. Some people like to have a modern feel to their rooms: newly designed bathrooms, urban lamps, fashionable pillows, and so forth. For those looking for a modern hotel to stay at in New York City, The Pearl Hotel is an excellent option. Located at 233 West 49th Street, The Pearl is in the heart of Broadway and the iconic theater district. All 94 rooms and suites are nonsmoking. Each room has a flat-screen television, large wooden desk and set of leather managerial chairs. In addition, your stay comes with complimentary WiFi and breakfast, as well as access to the fitness center.

Other Accommodations

Some other accommodation options are mom-and-pop bed and breakfast locations or rooms via AirBnB. Mom-and-pop bed and breakfast locations are usually in a house that the hosts own. Guests would stay in an actual bedroom and wakeup to homemade breakfast each morning. This is an attractive option for someone who likes to meet new people. The setting of these types of bed and breakfast places is intimate and it encourages social interaction. You can find mom-and-pop bed and breakfast homes in New York online. Just visit www.bedandbreakfast.com/manhattan-new-york.

AirBnB is another resource to find bed and breakfast locations. However, www.airbnb.com features a lot more accommodations than just bed and breakfast places. One can rent out a room in a house or apartment for a month. One can even rent out an entire apartment for just a week. With AirBnB, the customer has control over all aspects of the accommodation – for example: exactly what part of the city, how many other guest and the meal options available.

To wrap up, New York City offers a wide range of hotels and accommodations. The city has a lot to offer in terms of historic landmarks, theatre, museums and restaurants as well. Guests may find themselves only sleeping at the hotel and their days filled with day trips to different tourist spots in New York City. The hotels and accommodations are as diverse as all the activities one can participate in New York.

Hakkasan Unveils Sizzling Summer Special

Celebrate summer with a delectable season-long tasting menu at Fontainebleau Miami Beach’s AAA Four Diamond award winning restaurant, Hakkasan. The modern Chinese establishment will be offering a sumptuous four-course, prix fixe menu through Aug. 31.

Diners will delight in the restaurant’s Summer Tasting menu offered at $128 per person, (excluding tax and service charge). Jeffrey Soffer, owner of Turnberry Associates and the Fontainebleau, believes this special will give Hakkasan fans an enticing reason to visit the restaurant this summer.

Based on a two guest per table minimum, guests will indulge in the family style menu with various starters, a shared appetizer, a diverse selection of entrées and dessert. A complementary wine pairing skillfully selected by head sommelier Brian Grandison will also be available for a supplemental $68 per guest.

Created by Hakkasan’s Chef de Cuisine Jian Heng Loo, guests will enjoy a variety of family-style small eats such as steamed vegetable dumplings with black truffle and mushroom; crispy lobster with green tea sauce; and steamed soup dumpling with sea urchin and salmon roe.

Guests can then feast upon a sharable appetizer of succulent, traditional-roasted half Peking duck. Featured shareable entrées will include wok-baked tiger prawn with orange sauce; baked Chilean sea bass with Chinese honey and champagne sauce; stir-fried Wagyu beef with black pepper sauce; and seafood fried rice with XO sauce.

Hakkasan is located at 4441 Collins Avenue in Fontainebleau Miami Beach and is open daily for dinner beginning at 6 PM.

Tour the world of Wolfgang Puck

Arguably America’s most famous chef, Wolfgang Puck has long been wowing diners all over the world, and last year his empire expanded beyond our borders. Puck debuted at LA’s Ma Maison (where he was chef and became a part owner), then introduced his flagship, Spago, in 1982 in West Hollywood. There he earned three James Beard Awards: Outstanding Chef of the Year in 1991 and 1998 and Restaurant of the Year in 1994. Spago, since relocated to Beverly Hills, has earned two Michelin stars, and his steakhouse CUT was awarded one in 2008 and 2009.

“I’m most proud of Spago, as it was the first flagship restaurant I opened,” says chef Puck. “I try and always dine at the Beverly Hills location with my family and friends.”

He opened close to 50 restaurants over the following three decades, spanning two dozen cities and six airports. Puck’s second concept, Chinois, combined inspiration from LA’s Chinatown,Koreatown and Thaitown and is credited with kicking off Asian fusion in the U.S.

“I also love Chinois, because I think it laid the groundwork for fusion cooking in America,” says Puck.

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Originally published on usatoday.com

There’s Nothing Quite like a Vacation Souvenir

Souvenirs are something that will never go out of style. Maybe the idea of what a souvenir is has developed over the years, but I think a souvenir means something different to everyone.

My grandparents always take their hotel slippers home with them and consider those a souvenir from all of the different places that they have traveled in the world. In airports, people will buy shot glasses or t-shirts from the gift store and bring that home from their vacation as a souvenir. I typically treat myself to a souvenir from a boutique in the place that I am visiting, which is what happened to me in Grand Cayman.

The gifts in Grand Cayman were some of my family’s favorites that I have ever brought home for them. Maybe it was because I put a lot of thought into them or maybe because they were genuinely quality gifts! A day of shopping at Camana Bay definitely led me to major brownie points with my family!

My mother loves anything that has to do with home décor, which led Bedside Manor to be the perfect store for her. I brought her home a candle, hand cream and hand soap, which were all in the same fragrance. It was a brand that I had never heard of before called Mistral, but everything smelled divine. I bought my husband a shirt at NKY Menswear, which was Robert Graham. It was a nice button down that he could wear at either work during the day or out to dinner at night with jeans! I got my daughter a dress at The Cabana, which is a Lilly Pulitzer Via Shop. The Cabana is the first Lilly Pulitzer’s international store, which means that it definitely had a great collection. The colors of my daughter’s new dress were light blue and light green, which I think will look adorable in the summer.

For myself, I splurged and treated myself to a Lilly Pulitzer bikini from The Cabana, a linen dress at Island Company, which I will definitely live in, and some treats to eat on the airplane from Bay Market.

Overall, the shopping in Camana Bay, a fabulous town center in Grand Cayman, was great and really catered to everyone in my family! I figured I might as well bring them home a nice souvenir since I was the one on a fabulous vacation all week!

New Options Unveiled at Lapis Spa in Miami

Lapis, the luxurious retreat at Fontainebleau Miami Beach, is enhancing its spa menu with new, Ayurveda treatments, inspired by unique Indian traditions.

According to Turnberry Associates Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Soffer, owner of the Fontainebleau, the Mediterranean-style spa will enrich guests’ well-being and reduce physical discomfort through these services that help rid the body of toxins and transport it back into balance.

Merging the comforts of western sophistication with the practice and ritual of eastern treatments, the Ayurvedic Rituals menu will feature four new treatments which all complement one another: the Abhyanga Massage, Arundhati Five Star Treatment, Shirodahra Zekhara Ritual, and Avar Na Body Wrap.

Ayurveda, meaning life and knowledge in Sanskrit, is one of the world’s oldest, natural sciences and whole body healing systems that is practiced by millions as a way of life in India. The new treatments follow these unique traditions that are based on a belief that wellness and health are a delicate balance between the mind, spirit and body. The treatments are largely centered on special essential oils and extracts.

With each spa reservation, guests can also enjoy Lapis Spa’s signature Water Journeys and the entire Fontainebleau poolscape, which turns a single tranquil treatment into a full day of reflection, rejuvenation, serenity and pampering.

How to Plan for a Safe Trip Abroad

 

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When traveling within your own country, there are things that we take for granted. You probably do not have to worry about carrying a passport, what sort of clothing you wear, and learning about local culture. If you are going to be visiting a different country on a vacation or business trip, then there are certain tips that you should follow to help ensure you have a safe visit. Here, we will look at some suggestions for helping you plan for a safe trip abroad.

Ensure You Have All Necessary Documents

Sarita-travels-collageFirstly, you will need a passport for almost all international travel. It is always a good idea to start planning your trip as early as possible, including getting a passport or renewing a passport. Everyone going on the trip should have a valid passport that is not expired. In some countries, your passport may even need an expiration date that is at least six months past your date of travel.

Also, it can take up to 2 months to receive a brand new passport, depending on the time of year and which state you live in. The Miami passport agency is one of the busiest in the country. Plan in advance and ensure you have a passport.

If you are going to be driving in a foreign country then you may need to obtain an International Driving Permit. There are many countries where a standard U.S. driver’s license will be not be recognized as a valid license. This will not be an issue unless you plan on renting a car or driving yourself.

Check for Travel Alerts and Warnings

gceo4bpgiNext you should check for travel alerts and warnings issued from the Department of State before traveling. These alerts are constantly updated and provided up-to-date information about the safety concerns in a specific country. Travel warnings are typically used when the Department of State advises against travel to a specific region. This is often due to civil unrest, terrorist activity, or for countries where the U.S. has no diplomatic relations. Travel alerts are used for short-term recommendations due to current situations. In addition to checking for travel warning or alerts about the country you are visiting, you should also ensure you have the contact information for the U.S. consulate or embassy in the area you will be visiting.

Pack Smart

summer-travelCreate a checklist of everything you intend to bring. Ensure you bring extra clothing, your normal amenities, and pack light. Several days before your trip, pack your bags to make sure that everything easily fits into your luggage. Also, try to use as few bags or luggage as possible. The less stuff you have to carry through a crowded airport the better off you will be. Do not pack your travel documents, such as your passport, in a suitcase or luggage that you will not have on you at all times.

You should also consider how you are going to handle money on your trip. Avoid carrying cash and opt for traveler’s checks instead. You may also carry credit cards, but make sure they are accepted in the areas you are visiting. Also take a moment to learn about the exchange rate of the country that you are going to so that you understand the costs of things while you are away.

Do Your Research

Finally, do some research on the country that you are traveling to. Learn a little about their culture and the current state of the country. Research the local laws and customs so that you can avoid any misunderstandings. You need to be on your best behavior in foreign countries, as you are expected to follow their laws and customs.

If you follow these tips, you should be able to have a fun vacation or business trip with minimal worries. It may also be a good idea to visit a travel agent if you are planning a trip overseas. They can provide recommendations and help you go over all your plans. They will have updated information about laws, customs, and regulations. Your travel agent can also recommend places to stay and setup airline tickets, book hotels, and create an entire itinerary.

Thanks for reading, if you have a question or comment, feel free to leave a message below.