‘Godrej Nature’s Basket is transforming existing and new stores’

‘Godrej Nature’s Basket is transforming existing and new stores’

‘Godrej Nature’s Basket is transforming existing and new stores’ By January 30, 2019 21
New Delhi, January 31, 2019: Avani Davda , MD, Godrej Nature’s Basket , speaks to Progressive Grocer about shifting consumer preferences towards fresh and locally sourced foods and healthier alternatives, the importance of being Omnichannel for retail outlets, the brand’s farm to table approach as a way to offer the freshest and finest food experience to the consumers and about her company’s vision of expanding its presence across markets by supporting healthier living.
What is the customer proposition and marketing positioning of Godrej Nature’s Basket?
According to reports published in indiaretailing.com We aim to redefine India’s freshest and finest food experience and be the go-to place for our customer’s ‘Daily Food Delights’. With a selection of the freshest fruits and vegetables, finest meats and seafood, a wide array of cheese, irresistible bakery products and the finest collection of wines, we are the neighborhood store providing great food experience to our consumers.
What is your location strategy? Which locations do you prefer and what part do they play in your store sales?
We are present in three key markets: Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru. With the recent asset-light strategy, we plan to expand our reach to new markets while strengthening our presence in the existing markets. Our partnership with Magsons is one of the first steps towards increasing our presence in key markets.
Of the gourmet and international product range at your chain, which products are recording maximum growth?
Gourmet products are an important part of our product basket as are domestic produces. Indian consumers have evolved in the last few years. They have experienced global cuisines but at the same time are finding their way back to the roots. Thus, we have seen a tremendous increase in the adoption of premium domestic products across categories. In response, we have reduced our share of product imports as most of it is available in India, and moreover, we wanted to make sure that we keep products which would be available on the shelf throughout the year and there is no waiting period for it.
Global diet trends including gluten-free, vegan, keto, paleo, etc. have seen an uptake. Consequently, consumers prefer products that can help them lead a healthier lifestyle regardless of their territorial origin. Similarly, studies have shown that consumers today want to have at least one freshly prepared meal every day. Therefore, the propensity and preference to consumer ‘fresh’ have gained traction in the market. Indulgence categories, too, are witnessing a wave of Indianisation. Premium chocolates and bakery products by Indian brands have witnessed a high growth and acceptance with the consumers.
In your view, which new food products at your stores will likely gain sales traction in the coming days?
Food and vegetables, dairy and staples are fast-growing segments. Two trends stand out: premiumisation and healthy alternatives. In response, we have grown our basket of L’Exclusif and Healthy Alternatives products. Our new range of high-quality staples (Natures) has received a fantastic response from the market. Earlier, only 25 percent of the average consumer’s monthly bill was from fresh categories; today, it is about 45 percent, and in some categories, it is as high as 55 percent.
Which are the new and emerging categories in your store?
I often state that our owned label, Healthy Alternatives, represents the changing consumption pattern in the country. The number of SKUs under the brand has multiplied in the last few years. This resonates with the evolving lifestyle preferences of the millennials. Consumers today want to eat and live a healthier life, and they are willing to learn, adopt and practice new consumption patterns.
What, in your opinion, are the big pull factors for gourmet and International/ Imported foods in India? Could high prices be a major inhibiting factor to the wider acceptance and growth of gourmet and International foods?
Imported food constitutes about only 15-20 percent of the total organized retail space. For us, imported produce forms less than 40 percent of our SKUs. More than the price, the changing preference of consumers are playing a key role in the transformation of the market.
Earlier, consumers believed important global food brands which were important should be made available in the market, and they were willing to pay a premium price for the same. Gradually, we have seen a change in consumer consumption pattern. People are now proud to consume what is locally grown and sourced. There is a conscious consumption of ‘good-for-you’ food; people want to eat a lot more ‘fresh food’ than packaged ones.
Today, consumers are aware of domestic brands that can offer the freshest and finest food experience. There is a plethora of premium, high-quality products that also offer consumers the opportunity to support domestic farmers and brands. Changing lifestyles, expanding urbanization, increasing health awareness and the boom in organized retailing have resulted in increasing the demand for such alternatives according to indiaretailing.com
Our consumer study has revealed that people prefer to eat a home-cooked healthy meal at least twice a day. This is supported by the rising share of healthy food in the monthly basket of Indian households. As mentioned, 55 percent of our home delivery and online orders are for the ‘fresh’ produce. We have always promoted healthy living through our products and communications alike. Healthy living is one of the core pillars of our customer engagement initiatives. Earlier, this month, we launched our live healthy campaign wherein we inform and educate consumers about various products and steps one can take to lead a healthier life.
Please describe, citing specific instances, how you are using technology to enhance customer experience and improve operational excellence?
Technology is at the core of a seamless Omnichannel experience. Godrej Nature’s Basket is a brand that has earned a reputation of providing excellent consumer experiences. Our commitment to providing the freshest and finest products to our consumers require the right backend solutions that monitor each stage of the operations and guaranteeing high standards of safety and hygiene. The acquisition of online grocery store ekstop.com has helped to strengthen our online presence and operations. Data and technology today helps in predicting consumer demand for thousands of SKUs and ensuring continuous store-level availability at all times. Reaching out to the right consumer, at the right time, on the right platform is critical today. Thus, we use data analytics and technology to curate personalised offers based on each consumer’s consumption pattern. This improves the overall engagement and conversion rate.
Tell us how much of your private labels/ house brands account for the share of food and grocery sales? Which are your top-selling PLs in food? What are your plans to augment and expand your PLs?
We have three private labels: Healthy Alternatives, L’exclusif, and Natures. Our private labels are a response to the demands of the consumers. As mentioned previously, consumers today are looking at two broad trends of premiumization and healthy lifestyle. Resultantly, our private labels today have exhibited a growth rate of 15-20 percent. We are expecting this to grow to 25 percent in the coming years. As part of our new growth strategy, our thrust will be to grow these three labels in correspondence with the changing consumption pattern.
How would you assess your progress and achievements so far?
From our genesis as a world gourmet food store, we have evolved according to the changing preferences of the consumer. In the following years, we found the retail landscape was transforming at a fast pace. We realized that in India there is definitely a market for neighborhood stores. Our customer engagement revealed there is a growing market for fresh categories such as food, vegetables, bakery, eggs, and meats. Despite the rise of e-commerce model, consumer continue to prefer ‘touch and feel’ of products in these categories. They also want a store that is in close proximity to their neighborhood, which is capable of delivering fresh produce on a day to day basis. Today, we are proud to be a neighborhood store that offers daily food delights. We have also made the brand more contemporary and approachable. Consumers love brands that listen to their needs, and this is evident from the growth we have experienced over time. We are delighted that we are being reckoned as a neighborhood store offering the freshest and finest produce. Our vision is to support healthier living by expanding our presence across markets according to indiaretailing.com
What is your roadmap for the future and how do you look at the future potential of your store format?
Based on our asset-light strategy, we plan to expand our reach to a key market. By the end of financial year 2022, we would have around 60-70 operational stores at key locations. Our target is to be a Rs 1,000 crore and profit after tax (PAT) positive brand by 2022. TAGS

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Curry Up Now Will Open First Sacramento Location in Summer 2019

Curry Up Now has secured its first Sacramento storefront at 1610 R Street in the Ice Blocks retail center. The area is part of Midtown Sacramento’s largest cluster of boutiques, cafes, and restaurants, to which Curry Up Now will add its unique and innovative Indian eats. The Ice Blocks location is the first of five stores planned for Sacramento County by franchisee and local native, David Leuterio, who has sights set on opening doors in summer 2019.
“Ever since I first tried Curry Up Now, I knew I needed to bring it to the Sacramento area. I’ve lived here most of my life and watched the food scene evolve over the years, and I know it’s craving a concept like Curry Up Now,” says Leuterio. “I’ve always been a fan of Indian food, but I’ve had a difficult time getting my friends who weren’t accustomed to the cuisine to try it. With items like Tikka Masala Burritos and Sexy Fries, Curry Up Now makes it easier than ever to bring the cuisine to both experienced and first time diners.”
“Sacramento is one of our most requested cities to open a location,” says Akash Kapoor, founder and owner of Curry Up Now. “Over the years, we’ve looked at expanding here with corporate stores, but when I met the Leuterios, I was convinced. Their passion for our brand and their experience and success in the food business make them the perfect partners to help us grow in the Sacramento area.”
Curry Up Now was founded in 2009 by husband and wife duo, Akash and Rana Kapoor, and ably supported by co-founder and Senior VP of Operations, Amir Hosseini. Curry Up Now began as a food truck and quickly started opening fast casual restaurants around the San Francisco Bay Area. Today, Curry Up Now currently operates three food trucks and six corporate brick-and-mortar locations, two of which also house the brand’s craft cocktail bar concept, Mortar & Pestle. From the beginning, the brand has been known for taking traditional Indian flavors and presenting them in friendly, recognizable formats. Their menu fan-favorites include their iconic burritos, quesadillas dubbed ‘Quesadillix,’ Deconstructed Samosa, Sexy Fries, and Naughty Naan, as well as a Street Snacks menu and traditional Indian Street Food menu. Ingredients are clean and sourced from local vendors whenever possible, and the menu is designed to support alternative diets, in an effort to accommodate all guests no matter their dietary preferences.
In 2018, Curry Up Now solidified multi-unit franchise deals in nearly every major region in the country, including the West Coast, Northeast, South, and the Mountain States. The brand has around 50 franchised and corporate stores in development nationwide and pending franchise deals in over 13 states. They anticipate another 100 units in development by year’s end, with an additional 200 in 2020. The new locations currently under development are expected to open in spring 2019 in San Ramon, California; Irvine, California; and Atlanta, Georgia. News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by QSR , Food News Media, or Journalistic, Inc. Read More

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I doubt we will see those new good quality chains in India because as you said, desi restaurants are coming up with quality stuff in a wider selection of cuisines.
I was chatting with the executive sous-chef of a 5 star hotel near my place recently, he said that the Indian clientele not only in 5 star restaurants but in other places as well is starting to embrace food diversity and is far more eager to try new things than even 5-6 years ago.
He said that the show Masterchef Australia probably has something to do with it, which I suspect is true too 🙂

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62 Amazing Free Things to do In Las Vegas – Cheap Fun (2019 Update)

Free Things 62 Amazing Free Things to do in Las Vegas
If “Free is me!” is a motto near and dear to your heart (and pocket), Vegas won’t disappoint! In fact, you’ll be surprised by the number of free things to do in Las Vegas in a town that’s famous for being all about excess, which usually translates to high bar tabs and other entertainment expenses .
From shows and concerts to nature walks and art exhibits, check out this list of 62 free things to do in Vegas in 2019!
Popular Vegas Discounts This Month
* Up to 35% Off All-You-Can-Eat Brunch or Dinner Buffet with Beer or Wine at Le Village Buffet Get deal . Save Time, Save Money, Enjoy More of Vegas Sign up and we will send you the best vegas deals and coupons to you. 1. Bellagio’s Symphony of Fountains Bellagio fountains by melfoody on flckr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/melfoody/8635394280/
Prepare to be mesmerized by this breathtaking water and light show! Choreographed to a concert of classical, opera, Broadway and pop music, this 15 minute aquatic jaw dropper can be viewed from many locations in the Bellagio, or right from the Strip sidewalk. For show times, check the Bellagio website. This is probably the most popular free things to do in Las Vegas. 2. See Exploding Fireballs from the Mirage Volcano Mirage Volcano, by Lee Bennett: https://www.flickr.com/photos/leebennett/8475415739
Feel your heart pound as this Vegas volcano begins to rumble, and escalating to explosions of fire spray and steam. Set to a soundtrack of The Grateful Dead’s Mickey Hart and Indian tabla star Zakir Hussain, Mirage’s Volcano erupts nightly at the entrance of the casino, Sunday-Thursday 8PM & 9PM, Friday-Sunday 8PM, 9PM, and 10PM. 3. Fun by Foot Through Connected Casinos
Stroll seamlessly from one casino to another via connecting sidewalk entrances found along the Strip—the best way to visit multiple must see casinos all in one day! Be sure to take advantage of pedestrian crosswalks and bridges for safe and fast crossing over large intersections.
Save on strip hotels in Vegas by booking with these vegas hotel deals . 4. Step Back In Time With A Vintage Vegas Sign Photo Op
The iconic Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas Sign with its historic Americana design is definitely worth a photo op! Located on the south end of Las Vegas Boulevard, stop there on your way into town and start making memories. (A small free lot available if it’s too busy to simply pull over.) 5. Visit Venice Right In Vegas Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian
The Grand Canal Shoppes at the Venetian have turned strolling and shopping into an exquisite tour through the Venice Canals. Cross the bridges, stop at a water front café, watch the Gondolas, eat gelato on the piazza, and enjoy the roaming opera singers and performance artists. Just know the same rule applies to the real Venice canals—don’t jump in! 6. Choo Choo! Tunnel Trail Hikes At Hoover Dam
Blasted through the hills to transport materials during the building of Hoover Dam, these massive railroad tunnels are a hikers paradise, as they wind through a series of long dark passages that open up to stunning views of Lake Mead, Boulder Basin, and Fortification Hill. 7. Beauty and Blooms at Bellagio Conservatory
This breathtaking 14,000 square foot garden is designed and themed throughout the year according to season and holiday. Located in the lobby of the Bellagio hotel, lose yourself in the peaceful atmosphere and wondrous beauty of this free botanical dreamscape . 8. “M” stands for “ ” at M&M World
M&M World is 4 story chocolate paradise! Located on the south end of the Strip, each floor offers sweet and wonderful themes and activities—from personalizing your own candy to browsing M&M World collectables and merchandise. If you’re a chocolate lover or Americana aficionado, don’t miss this scrumptious retail-entertainment attraction. 9. Countless Kisses at Hershey’s Chocolate World
Kiss me, you fool…with Hershey’s kisses, of course! Located next to New York New York Hotel & Casino, Hershey’s World is a delicious retail experience that offers over 800 types of Hershey’s chocolates and candies. If you have a sweet tooth and appreciation for historic American chocolatiers, this 2 story flagship store is a must see. 10. Escape to the Exotic at Flamingo’s Wildlife Habitat
Go wild in Vegas! The Wildlife Habitat at Flamingo is 15 acres of lush foliage, islands, streams and waterfalls and home to exotic birds, fish, and turtles. Open to the public daily, this wildlife oasis is a wonderful place to escape from the buzzing Strip and get up close and personal with what’s really wild in Vegas! 11. Hail Caesar! Atlantis Fountain Show at Forum Shops Fall of Atlantis at the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace
At the Forum Shops adjoining Caesars Palace, watch 9ft marble statues come to life and recount the legendary fall of Atlantis. Booming sound effects with water and fire elements, this animated fountain show is perfect for kids and adults alike. 12. Fremont Street Experience
Don’t miss the unique and fun off Strip Fremont Experience . Lined with street vendors, artists, musicians, and cuisine, stroll Fremont Street and “trip out” from its psychedelic electric sky music and light show. Definitely a night to remember! 13. Hike Your Rocks Off At Red Rock Canyon
Enjoy the natural beauty and wonder of Red Rock Canyon on one if its 19 marked trails with varying degrees of difficulty. If you love to hike, don’t miss out on the incredible desert colors and panoramic views unique to Southern Nevada and only a 1/2 hour from the Strip. 14. Big Elvis a Harrah’s Piano Bar
There are Elvis impersonators, and then there’s BIG ELVIS. This top notch Elvis entertainer is truly one of the best of all time. This act is the longest running Elvis tribute show in Las Vegas and still completely free. 15. Flair Up at Flair Bars Around Las Vegas
Flair Bartending, the art of flashy bartending, entertains patrons by juggling bottles and performing other theatrics while mixing delicious cocktails. There are numerous flair bars on and off the Strip and well worth getting a gander of all that flash! 16. Fishy and Fabulous Aquarium at the Silverton
This massive aquarium holds 117,000 gallons of water and is home to thousands of tropical fish. Don’t miss the beautiful live mermaids interacting with guests as you gaze at this wondrous water attraction …in the middle of the desert! You may also catch divers feeding the stingrays while a guide outside the tank can take questions. 17. High Flying Circus Acts at Circus Circus
Enjoy these amazing circus performers as they fly through the air with the greatest of ease! Be awed by these acts performed daily at the Carnival Midway Arcade. You can see the schedule of acts here . 18. Decadence in the Desert at Ethel M Chocolate Factory
Just outside Las Vegas, in Henderson Nevada, Ethel M Chocolate Factory and Cactus Garden is open to the public for free self guided tours of the making of their world class chocolates. Expand your knowledge and indulge your sweet tooth in the world of candy crafting. 19. Be a TV Critic at CBS Television City Research Center
Located inside the MGM Grand Hotel Casino, be a part of the CBS decision making process by viewing and rating pilots and shows needing input. View screenings in one of six private studios, then register your opinions! Just pick up your free tickets either in front of the research center or at the entrance to the parking garage. You can also peruse merchandise from your favorite TV shows and networks. 20. Sunset Stampede at Sam’s Town
Located inside the off strip hotel, Sam’s Town, take a walk through the deep woods of Mystic Falls Park. This enchanted atrium comes alive with animatronic animals and babbling brooks. Be sure to catch the free daily Sunset Stampede laser light and fountain show as you dream of days gone by. 21. Art Lover’s Paradise at the Cosmopolitan’s
Walk through The Cosmopolitan and experience a wide range of provocative and interactive artwork, all striving to bring accessibility and appreciation of the arts to all guests visiting the hotel. 22. Be A Pinball Wizard at Pinball Hall of Fame Pinball HOF by Dan Tentler: https://www.flickr.com/photos/vissago/3192849758/
On East Tropicana, just a few miles from the Strip, this pinball museum serves as a salute to vintage arcades and the nostalgia evoked by these classic machines. This non profit organization charges no cover, only a fee to play each machine, from .25- $1. The largest collection of pinball machines in the world, experience the bumpers, buzzers, flippers and lights, just be careful not to “tilt!” 23. Non Stop Fun at Harrah’s Piano Bar
Located next to the casino exit, check out this fun filled venue where you can choose from dueling pianos, interactive shows, and Karaoke. While there’s no cover charge, there is a two drink minimum, so liquid courage may instigate a trip up to the mic! 24. Drift Away at the Wynn’s Lake of Dreams Show
More than dreamy, Lake of Dreams, dazzles with lights, holographics and puppetry, accompanied by a transcending soundtrack, creating a truly divine show experience. Gaze at the lake’s 40 foot waterfall and pine topped mountain and enjoy these nightly spectacles from multiple locations around the hotel. 25. A Mighty Fine Time at CityCenter’s Fine Art Collection
Strewn throughout CityCenter are myriad works of art…from grand installations to sculptures and paintings. This abounding collection of art makes the CityCenter a must see for any art enthusiast. 26. Visit Popeye The Sailor Man sculpture At The Wynn Before He Sails Away!
This 2000lb sculpture of the beloved Popeye (only 3 like it in the world) is scheduled to find a new home in Wynn’s new resort opening in Everett, Mass late 2017. Under 24/7 security, this masterpiece stands tall in the Wynn shopping Esplanade, and has received an offer for purchase of $60 million, that Mr. Wynn rejected. 27. Make TV a Reality At The Gold and Silver Pawnshop from TV’s Pawn Stars
On the south end of the Strip, visit this legendary pawnshop and spend time enjoying in person everything you love about the Pawn Stars! The history, the personalities, the drama, maybe even pawn or buy a thing or too, check out this Las Vegas landmark and experience TV history in the making . 28. A Photo Worth a Million Bucks at Binion’s Binion’s photo by Luis Villa del Campo: https://www.flickr.com/photos/maguisso/6102110091/
You can dream of a million in cool cash, but seeing it stacked up in person is a reality you have to keep for the records. Take this free photo op at Vegas’s iconic Binion’s in Downtown Las Vegas. 29. Breathtaking Views of Hoover Dam and ByPass Bridge Hoover Dam photo by Merton Wilton: https://www.flickr.com/photos/97238650@N08/11037484014/
Hoover Dam, a Man Made Wonder of the World, and its accompanying By Pass Bridge (The Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge) are must sees during your Vegas trip! These breathtaking architectural marvels are free to visit and just a 1/2 hour from the Strip. Guided tours of the dam and powerplant do require ticket purchase. 30. Wine Lounge Thursday – Rock ‘N Roll Wine
Part wine tasting, part rock concert, at Wine Lounge Thursdays you can rock out while enjoying free wine tastings at rotating locations around Vegas. Check their schedule because venues change weekly rockandrollwine.com 31. The Wonderful Whiskey Experience at VomFASS
VomFASS’s Whiskey Experience in the Venetian Grand Canal Shoppes is an informal whiskey class where you sample these golden nectars while learning about the origins of whiskeys from America, Ireland, and Scotland. No need for reservations, just show up! Nightly classes at 7pm. 32. Carnaval Court at Harrah’s
This outdoor party experience heats up while the sun’s still out! Enjoy the sights and sounds, complete with live entertainment and eccentric bartenders, Carnaval Court gives you the thrill of a street festival right off the Strip. 33. Experience The “STREETMOSPHERE” Of Grand Canal Shoppes At The Venetian
While browsing the Grand Canal Shoppes, you’ll be charmed and impressed by its unique and vibrant atmosphere. A rotating roster of classically trained singers, actors and musicians perform daily at St. Mark’s Square, embellishing your shopping experience while transporting you to the sights and sounds of medieval Venice. There are approximately 30 small performances daily, so you’re sure to enjoy the “Streetmosphere” of this incredible show. 34. There’s Gold In That Thar Casino!
The iconic Golden Nugget Casino is home to The Hand Of Faith , the largest gold nugget in existence! On public display in the casino, this impressive 60 pound chunk of gold gives visitors a veritable “gold rush,” just by looking at it. 35. Get Your Rock On At The Hard Rock Hotel Hard Rock Vegas photo by Thomas Hawk: https://www.flickr.com/photos/thomashawk/6119799057
Just four blocks from the Strip, the Hard Rock Hotel is jam packed with rock-and-roll art and memorabilia from pretty much every band and music artist imaginable! Air jam to the classics, browse the countless music vignettes and party like a rock star to the endless and awesome music streaming throughout the hotel—truly a music lover’s paradise. 36. Thank God It’s First Friday In The Arts District
Every first Friday of the month, enjoy the Downtown Art District block party featuring live music, visual and performing arts, street vendors, and a guaranteed festive time! 37. Wet And Wild At The Miracle Mile Shops Fountain And Harbor
Located in Planet Hollywood, water lovers will go wild over these wonderful water features. At the heart of Miracle Mile Shops, the fountain features a dramatic water and light show set to an original soundtrack and broadcast in surround sound. Want more water in the desert? Watch this amazing indoor rainstorm at the harbor, featuring thunder, lightning, fog and pouring rain. 38. International Sights and Sounds at Grand Bazaar Shops Grand Bazaar Shops via http://grandbazaarshops.com
At the corner of the Strip and Flamingo, Grand Bazaar Shops captures the essence of the world’s greatest open air markets. While browsing local and world renowned shops and dining options, enjoy the sparkling light and sound spectacle, showing nightly at 9PM and midnight. 39. Fun And Free Events At The District at Green Valley Ranch
This beautiful open air plaza of shops, grocery and dining venues, spa, athletic store, etc. also sets the stage for many fun shows and events. May is Outdoor Movie Night, so bring a blanket and enjoy this free film under the stars. Check their event calendar. 40. Hot, Hot, Hot At Hoover Dam Hot Springs
Not for the light hearted hiker, explore the multiple wondrous hot springs around the Hoover Dam area. These are bonafide hikes, and not permitted during the heat of the summer due to high risk of heat exhaustion. 41. Fly Through History At McCarran Airport’s Howard W. Cannon Aviation Museum
When you arrive at McCarran, or before your depart, take the time to immerse yourself in the history of commercial and general aviation of southern Nevada. Learn about the first flight in 1920 through the introduction of jets. The Museum’s main exhibits are located above baggage claim with additional exhibits in ticketing at gates A-D, as well as other terminals. 42. Get Schooled At Barrick Museum & Las Vegas Art Museum @ UNLV Campus
Just a few mile from the Strip, The Marjorie Barrick Museum and The Las Vegas Art Museum, in partnership with College of Fine Arts, have created a most impressive collection of art. With multiple galleries these museums offer exhibitions, collections, and dynamic programs. You can also stroll about and view art around campus. Check the UNLV master calendar for a list of exciting programs. Entry is free with a suggested donation. 43. Get Blown Away by Bonnie & Clyde’s Death Car Exhibit at Primm Valley Resort
40 miles south of Vegas, get up close and personal with one of history’s most notorious crime couples. See their death car and personal affects, riddled with bullets, and learn about the dastardly deeds that led to one of this nation’s largest manhunts. 44. Tour The Banger Brewery In Downtown Las Vegas
Attention brewmasters and beer lovers! Right on Fremont Street, learn and see how craft beers are brewed in this fine local brewery. Sign up ASAP for a free guided tour, tour groups are small and book up quickly. 45. See 100 Murals Celebrating Vegas’s 100 Year History
Do you love art? Then challenge yourself to see how many of the 100+ murals you can visit during your stay in Vegas. Peppering all of the Las Vegas area, these murals vary in medium, shape, size and texture. Many are themed to convey the town’s history and culture. For a general list of Vegas murals and graffiti art check out this article . 46. See The Artistic Beauty of the Human Form At Bellagio’s Cirque du Soleil Art Gallery
An impressive 50 plus bronze sculptures as well as original drawings, serigraphs and lithographs featuring performance artists are permanently on display and for sale in the “O” Theatre lobby at Bellagio. This lobby is a bona fide gallery that can be enjoyed by theatergoers and hotel visitors alike. 47. Kick Up Your Heels At Toby Keith’s Bar & Grill at Harrah’s
If down home southern cooking and country music put the bounce in your giddy up, then head on down to Toby Keith’s. Free, live country music played nightly starting at 9 p.m. and a free domestic tap beer after purchasing a “You’re my friend” cup in the Toby Keith’s retail store. 48. Colorful & Captivating Coral Reef Aquarium At Mirage
It’s hard to imagine the makings of a coral reef in the middle of the desert. Yet at the Mirage, behind the front desk, are all the makings of a thriving coral reef, there for your viewing pleasure. A 20,000 bgallon saltwater aquarium stocked with angelfish, pufferfish, tangs and several other exotic sea creatures, most notably three different types of sharks. 49. Look Up In Awe At The Venetian Venetian Vegas, Photo by Mario Antonio Pena Zapatería: https://www.flickr.com/photos/oneras/4655350253/
Between the registration lobby and casino, the arched ceiling in the Venetian, would make Michael Angelo blush with pride. Reminiscent of the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican, this hand painted masterpiece is something to behold! 50. MOO For More At Anderson Dairy
Enjoy hometown dairy in Las Vegas, since 1907! Tour this historic dairy producer, just minutes from the Strip. Ideal for kids, but interesting to all ages, Anderson Dairy has created an educational and interactive free guided tour. Go back through dairy time when Harry Anderson and his small heard of 10 cows produced milk for this tiny railroad town, to the now 37,000 square foot processing and bottling plant. Check their website for tour times or call for “by appointment.” 51. Get Your Garden On At Acacia Demonstration Gardens
In Henderson, Nevada (about 13 miles from Vegas), The Acacia Demonstration Gardens are living proof that water-conserving desert landscaping can be lush and wonderful! Nineteen specific gardens sprawl over 2.8 acres with informational displays and workshops available to visitors. Check their website for workshops schedules. 52. Get Fresh and Fabulous At These Farmer’s Markets
Bruce Trent Park Farmers Market (on North Rampart Boulevard) and Country Fresh Farmers Market in Henderson (13 miles from Vegas) are open air market that feature produce, foods and crafts that are locally grown, baked, and crafted. Friendly folks greet you as you browse their goods. A fun day for all! 53. Pro Tips At Bass Pro Shops At Silverton Hotel & Casino
Hunting, fishing, boating, questions? Bass Pro Shops has the answers! Check out one of their many “Outdoor World” seminars and demonstrations. Visit their website or Facebook page for schedule of events. Or just go and enjoy their fish filled river, aquarium and wildlife vignettes. It’s like stepping off the Strip into a whole different kind of wild! 54. Free Slot Pulls At Binion’s And Four Queens? Don’t Pull My Leg!
No one’s pulling your leg here! At these iconic casinos in Downtown Vegas, there are slot machines waiting for you to give them a free pull with a chance to win $2,500. Sure you may have to listen to a timeshare pitch, or something, but hey, a free pull? That’s no bull! 55. Check Out A Flame Throwing Praying Mantis At Container Park Downtown Container Park: http://downtowncontainerpark.com/
In Downtown Vegas, Container Park greets you with a giant fire breathing insect sculpture! A shopping center and park, as its name describes, the stores are s are created by adjoining and stack shipping containers turned building units! It’s really quite genius, eco-friendly, and a very cool place to visit. 56. Mermaid’s Gone Wild at the Silverton Hotel & Casino
Visit Mermaid Cove at the Silverton and enjoy dozens of dreamy mermaid paintings in this mini art gallery. A public viewing area near an impressive 117,000 gallon aquarium, Mermaid Cove artwork is for sale, just in case you get “hooked” in by one of those seductive sirens. 57. Appreciate the Neo-Classical Architecture of the Historic Las Vegas Post Office and Court House in Downtown
Hey history and architecture buffs…yeah I’m talking to you! This building may now be home to the National Museum of Organized Crime and Law Enforcement (a.k.a. Mob Museum ), but still serves as a stunning example of an original neo-classical building erected between 1931 and 1933. It is listed on the United States National Register of Historic Places. 58. Zoom Around The Shelby Museum & Showroom Photo via shelby.com
Car enthusiast and American auto buffs will flip their hardtops over this impressive and legendary collection of performance vehicles and memorabilia. The Heritage Center at Shelby America offers free guided tours Monday thru Saturday, no reservations required. 59. Feel The Heat Of A Hot Hand
You’ve seen it in movies when a player is on a winning streak and a crowd gathers to witness gambling greatness. When you’re on a casino floor and begin to here cheering, rush on over to watch a huge win first hand, “winning” hand, that is! 60. Beam Me Up The Luxor’s Sky Beam!
As if the Great Sphinx of Giza and a 111meter high pyramid on the Strip weren’t enough, the Luxor Sky Beam at 42.3 billion candela, is the strongest beam of light in the world! A must see…and hard to miss! Luxor Las Vegas via Curtis & Renee: https://www.flickr.com/photos/crdunn/11042701743 61. Walk Like and Egyptian At The Luxor Hotel & Casino
The pyramidal profile of the Luxor is a hell of a lot more than a Vegas “themed” hotel. Not only is the structure equal in size to two of the larger pyramids in Egypt, it’s modern interior design, high Green Key Eco rating, and 4000+ room capacity makes it one of the most unique and 8th largest hotel in the world. Go back in time to c. 2500 BC on the south end of the Strip! 62. See Paris In Vegas
The replica Eiffel Tower at Paris Hotel captures a certain je ne sais quoi, right on the Vegas Strip. Romance and intrigue await visitors that view this iconic landmark. While there is a fee to ascend this magnificent structure, gazing up at 50 stories of elegance and grace from street level is enchanting, especially at night when it’s lit from tip to footings. Free Things to do in Las Vegas – Final Thoughts
Now that you know all of the great and free things to do in Las Vegas , think about how you can spend that extra money you’ll be saving on free outings! Why not splurge on jewelry for your sweetheart, indulge at 5-star restaurant, or bet big on a mega slot pull? What ever you choose, make it a Vegas moment worth remembering!

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20 best egg recipes: part 2 | Food

A filling curry from Asma Khan and Nigel Slater’s lemon mousse cake – part 2 of our favourite egg recipes. Fiona Strickland and Rose Carrarini’s curried cauliflower tarts You can vary the vegetables used in the filling for these tarts and replace the potatoes with roast pumpkin or even cooked okra (ladies’ fingers) or peas.
Makes 12 x 8-10cm individual tarts
For the pastry dough
plain flour 500g
salt 1 tsp
unsalted butter 250g
egg yolk 1
water 125-250ml
butter for greasing
plain flour for dusting
For the filling
curry powder 1 tbsp
single cream 1.5 litres
dijon mustard 2 tbsp
eggs 8
egg yolks 2
grated nutmeg a pinch
salt ½ tsp
ground black pepper
cheddar 250g, grated
cauliflower 2-3 heads, broken into small florets, blanched and drained
potatoes 500g, diced, boiled and drained
fresh coriander 1 bunch, coarsely chopped
To make the pastry dough, sift the flour and salt into a bowl, add the butter and rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fresh breadcrumbs. Make a well in the middle and add the egg yolk and 125ml water. Mix vigorously with a fork until almost all the flour is incorporated, then add a little more water and bring the dough together with your fingers, using as little water as possible. The dough should just come together naturally without force, and be soft but firm and not sticky. Shape into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Grease 12 x 8-10cm individual tart tins with butter. Roll out the dough to about 5mm thick on a lightly floured surface and cut 12 rounds to fit the prepared tart tins. Ease them into the tins and trim off any excess dough. Rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4. Line the pastry cases with foil or baking paper and fill with dried beans, baking beans or rice.
Bake blind for 30-35 minutes, till the base is light, golden and dry. Remove from the oven, take out the weights and lining and let cool.
Meanwhile, in a bowl, stir the curry powder into the cream, then beat in the mustard, eggs, egg yolks, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste.
Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4.
Divide the cheese among the pastry cases, then add the cauliflower, potatoes and most of the coriander. Cover with the egg mixture and top with the remaining coriander.
Bake for about 25 minutes, until firm and golden. Remove from the oven and serve immediately or let cool.
From How To Boil An Egg by Fiona Strickland and Rose Carrarini (Phaidon Press, £22.95)
Nathan Outlaw’s English salad
Nathan Outlaw’s English salad. Photograph: David Loftus
I call this “English salad” because as a kid this is the only salad I knew. It was always on the table at home and all the ingredients were either grown in the allotment or greenhouse, or bought from the local greengrocer. The dressing was salad cream – never vinaigrette or mayonnaise. This is my version.
Serves 4
raw beetroot 4
malt vinegar 100ml
eggs 4 large, at room temperature
cucumber 1
full-flavoured salad tomatoes 6
spring onions 1 bunch, trimmed and sliced
radishes 1 bunch (or 2 bunches if they are small), halved
button mushrooms 6, finely sliced
mustard and cress 1 punnet, freshly cut
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the salad cream
egg yolks 2
English mustard 2 tsp
caster sugar 2 tsp
lemon juice 2 tbsp
light olive oil 100ml
double cream 150ml
To make the salad cream, put the egg yolks, mustard, sugar and lemon juice into a bowl and whisk for 1 minute. Gradually add the olive oil, drop by drop to begin with and then in a steady stream until it is all incorporated. Slowly whisk in the cream and season with salt to taste. Cover and refrigerate until required.
To cook the beetroot, put them into a pan with the malt vinegar, cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 25-30 minutes until tender.
In the meantime, bring a pan of water to the boil. Gently lower in the eggs and cook for 6 minutes. Remove the eggs from the pan and refresh in ice-cold water. Leave until cold, then peel away the shells.
Once the beetroot are cooked, remove them from the pan and leave until cool enough to handle, then peel away the skin.
Peel and slice the cucumber and place in a large bowl. Cut out the stalk end from the tomatoes and slice each one into 8 wedges. Add to the bowl along with the spring onions, radishes and mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper and toss gently to mix.
Scatter the salad veg over a large serving platter. Cut the boiled eggs in half lengthways and arrange across the salad. Slice the beetroot and lay the slices on the salad. Add drizzles of salad cream and scatter over the mustard and cress. Serve the rest of the dressing separately for everyone to help themselves.
From Nathan Outlaw’s Home Kitchen by Nathan Outlaw (Quadrille, £20)
Fuchsia Dunlop’s purple seaweed and egg ‘flower’ soup
Fuchsia Dunlop’s purple seaweed and egg ‘flower’ soup. Photograph: Romas Foord/The Observer
While living in Changsha I was lucky enough to meet one of the really great chefs of the older generation, Shi Yinxiang, then in his late 80s and still overseeing a restaurant bearing his name in the centre of town. Master Shi was born in 1917, the third generation of chefs in his family. He told me he had begun cooking at home at the age of 10, and five years later had started his apprenticeship under a famous chef who had worked in the household of a government official before opening his own restaurant in Changsha. There he learned the subtle arts of Hunanese haute cuisine, and by the 1950s he was working for the government, and in charge of the catering for the visits of national leaders, including Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Liu Shaoqi and Jiang Zemin. Shi became known for his brilliant and innovative cooking, and in the 1980s he published a comprehensive Hunanese cookery book that brought together his more than 50 years’ experience. He is an enchanting man, with a kindly manner and a face that creases up frequently into a beatific smile. He is still riding on a crest of glory as the man who managed to delight Chairman Mao with his cooking, and the first Hunanese chef to be awarded “special first-grade” status.
The following recipe is a humble one, but it’s a soup that I ate at Master Shi’s restaurant as he told me about his life. The dried seaweed, which is sold in thin discs about 20cm in diameter, and looks black and frizzy before soaking, can be found in good Chinese supermarkets.
Serves 2 as Western style starter, 4 as part of Chinese meal
vegetarian stock 1 litre
dried purple laver seaweed 1 disc (nori in Japanese)
fresh ginger 20g, peeled and slivered
salt and white pepper
egg 1
spring onion 1, green part only, finely sliced
Heat the stock with the seaweed and ginger and simmer gently as the seaweed reconstitutes itself. Tease the tightly massed disc apart with a pair of chopsticks, so the seaweed drifts in strands in the liquid. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Beat the egg well. Turn the heat down to a minimum, drizzle in the egg into the soup in a thin spiralling stream across the surface. Then turn off the heat, cover the pan tightly and leave for a minute to allow the egg to set into little flakes or “flowers”.
Serve immediately with a sprinkling of spring onion.
From The Revolutionary Chinese Cookbook by Fuchsia Dunlop (Ebury Press, £30)
Asma Khan’s anda curry – hard-boiled eggs in gravy
Asma Khan’s anda curry – hard-boiled eggs in gravy. Photograph: Romas Foord/The Observer
Eggs are the fall-back ingredient in every Indian household. I associate egg curry with monsoons in Calcutta, when the bazaar was closed due to flooding. The local delivery man would bring eggs to our home, cycling through the flooded streets. The egg curry made at home usually included potatoes to make the dish more substantial, though I have omitted them here. You can use any type of egg for this dish, even quail eggs. In India we leave the eggs whole, but you can halve them before returning them to the pan. Just be careful not to lose their yolks in the gravy.
Serves 2
medium eggs 4
vegetable oil 6 tbsp
green cardamom pod 1
clove 1
Indian bay leaf 1
cumin seeds ½ tsp
onions 2 medium, finely chopped
garlic paste 1 tsp
fresh ginger paste 1 tbsp
ground turmeric ½ tsp
ground coriander 1 tbsp
chilli powder ½ tsp
natural (plain) yogurt 6 tbsp
salt 1 tsp
fresh herbs a handful, to garnish
If you keep your eggs in the refrigerator, take them out 30 minutes before cooking to bring them to room temperature. Fill a large pan with water and bring to a rolling boil over a high heat. Lower the heat to a simmer, then place the eggs in the water and cook for 12 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the eggs from the pan and place in cold running water to prevent further cooking. When they’re cool enough to handle, shell the eggs.
In a shallow saucepan, heat the oil over a medium-high heat. Add the hard-boiled eggs and cook until they are speckled all over with brown patches. Remove the eggs from the pan and set aside.
To the remaining oil, add the cardamom, clove and bay leaf. Add the cumin seeds and cook, stirring, for a few seconds until the seeds darken.
Add the chopped onions, garlic and ginger to the pan, cook for a further 5 minutes until the onion mixture has softened and coloured to a light brown. Continue to stir while cooking to prevent the onions from burning and sticking to the base of the pan. If the onion mixture does stick to the base of the pan, sprinkle over some water.
Add the ground turmeric, coriander and chilli powder. Cook, stirring, for 10-20 seconds or until the “raw” smell of the turmeric has disappeared, taking care not to let the ground spices burn. Pour over 200ml cold water and increase the heat to high.
Once any excess water has evaporated, lower the heat. To avoid any lumps in the sauce, stir the yogurt before adding it to the pan. Stir to mix evenly and then season with salt. Lastly, add the hard boiled eggs to the pan and allow to heat through. Before serving, scatter over plenty of fresh herbs.
From Asma’s Indian Kitchen by Asma Khan (Pavilion Books, £20)
Nigel Slater’s lemon cream-cheese mousse cake
Nigel Slater’s lemon cream-cheese mousse cake. Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin/The Observer
Toasted, flaked almonds add a welcome note of crispness to the base of a cheesecake and lighten the crust. My feeling is that the base should be delicate and barely there, so I avoid pressing the crumbs into the cake tin too firmly, as it tends to compact the mixture.
Serves 8
For the crust
flaked almonds 70g
plain biscuits 150g, such as Nice or Marie
butter 65g
For the mousse
eggs 4 medium
caster sugar 150g
lemons 2 large
gelatine 5 sheets (9g)
full-fat cream cheese 250g
double cream 250ml
rose petals a handful
You will need a round 20-22cm cake tin with a removable base, lined on the base with a disc of baking parchment.
In a dry, shallow pan, toast the flaked almonds until golden, then remove from the heat. Crush the biscuits to fine crumbs, either in a plastic freezer bag with a rolling pin, or using a food processor.
Melt the butter, then add the crumbs and flaked almonds, and mix thoroughly. Transfer the mixture to the lined cake tin, pressing it in a thin layer over the base. Chill for an hour.
Separate the eggs. Put the whites in a large mixing bowl. Beat the yolks and sugar together using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment until thick and pale. Grate the lemons finely, then add the zest to the yolk mix.
Juice the lemons – you will need 125ml. Soak the gelatine in a bowl of cool water. Warm the lemon juice in a small saucepan and remove from the heat. Lift the softened gelatine from the water (it should be a soft, quivery mass, only just solid enough to pick up) and drop it into the warm juice. Stir until it is dissolved.
Add the cream cheese to the yolk-and-sugar mixture, beating until completely smooth, then add the lemon juice and gelatine. Whip the cream until it’s thick enough to sit in soft waves (not quite thick enough to stand in stiff peaks), then fold gently into the mixture. Beat the egg whites until stiff, then fold them in carefully and thoroughly.
Pour the mixture into the chilled cake tin (it should come almost to the top), then cover tightly with clingfilm and chill overnight. (Make sure you don’t have anything garlicky in the fridge – mousse-type dishes will pick up the scent overnight.)
The next day, run a warm palette knife around the edge of the cake to release it from the edges, then remove it carefully from the tin. Decorate with the rose petals.
Note that the cake is wobbly and fragile, so keep it chilled until you intend to serve it, and use a cake slice to serve it.
Nigel Slater is the Observer’s food writer
OFM’s 20 best egg recipes part 3 launches tomorrow morning
Topics Eggs Observer Food Monthly’s 20 best recipes Indian food and drink British food and drink Middle Eastern food and drink Chinese food and drink Soup Salad recipes

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Romantic Destinations in Asia

Romantic Destinations in Asia “The Perfect Honeymoon Destinations With Exotic Hotels”
Once again we have reached the most romantic time of the year and the cooling winter breeze might just be the signal for you to begin your romantic surprise. Whether you want to go out on a date a sweet honeymoon, we have some of the most romantic destinations to celebrate your intimacy. Asia isn’t just the biggest continent in the world, but it is home to myriad of the most beautiful destinations that cultivate colourful cultures, fascinating geography, and friendly locals. Pick a destination or two from our list, and it promises to be the most memorable trip for you and your love one. Sanya, China “Hawaii of China”
Sanya is the southern island paradise of Hainan province and the seaside destination for millions of Chinese travelers and international travelers who wish to get away from the freezing winter in November to February. With similar latitude as Hawaii, Sanya is comfortably warm at the average temperature of 26 oC and has plenty of beaches and lush rainforest to explore. The lively, yet romantic island paradise vibe, pristine white beaches, and a long list of 5-star accommodations on Sanya truly make it an excellent wedding and honeymoon destination. Things to do: A romantic stroll on a beach never gets old, especially in Yalong Bay, or the crescent moon Dadonghai Beach, but why not be more adventurous and fly over Sanya sky on a helicopter to see the spectacular views of the paradise. The helicopter tour will take you to see Sanya’s most popular attractions such as Sanya Bay coastline, East Island, Phoenix Island, Luhuitou, Wuzhizhou Island, Haitang Bay, and Nanshan Cultural Tourism Zone. Book your sky adventure at www.yltyhk.com. THINGS TO DO A romantic stroll on a beach never gets old, especially in Yalong Bay, or the crescent moon Dadonghai Beach, but why not be more adventurous and fly over Sanya sky on a helicopter to see the spectacular views of the paradise. The helicopter tour will take you to see Sanya’s most popular attractions such as Sanya Bay coastline, East Island, Phoenix Island, Luhuitou, Wuzhizhou Island, Haitang Bay, and Nanshan Cultural Tourism Zone. Book your sky adventure at www.yltyhk.com.
Where to Stay The Ritz-Carlton Sanya, Yalong Bay
An intimate retreat with your beloved one could be one you’ll always remember at The Ritz-Carlton Sanya, Yalong Bay. Unparalleled views of Yalong Bay get more charming when you share with someone you love, whether it’s a romantic candle-lit dinner or fun activities at the beach. Enjoy biking along Yalong Bay, water polo, kayaking, and fishing in warm weather all year long at Sanya, your perfect tropical getaway. Address: Yalong Bay National Resort Dist., Sanya, Hainan, China Tel: +86 898 8898 8888 Park Hyatt Sanya
Stay elegantly in style in the luxury Park Hyatt Sanya. The guestrooms command captivating panoramas of South China Sea with a private strip of pristine beach. Park Hyatt Sanya is also located in Baifu Bay which offers one of the best dive conditions in China with over 10 meters of visibility in the crystal-blue waters, as well as a host of coral reefs, tropical fish, and exotic shells. Besides unique Park Hyatt experience, the hotel also provides world-class facilities and services for unforgettable events, including romantic weddings, exciting corporate meetings, and private parties. Address: 5 Sunny Bay Rd., Sanya, Hainan, China, Tel: +86 898 8820 1234 Phu Quoc, Vietnam “Diverse Cultural Scenario”
Phu Quoc is dotted with hundreds of uninhabited islands, but recent eco-friendly developments have been opening up some of these rare untouched jewels to the world with private resorts and 5-star hotels. Unlike many famous and over-crowded beaches around the world, the well-preserved beach of Phu Quoc stretches 150 kilometers and peacefully caressed by champagne-like effervescent waves. Out of all the islands in Phu Quoc, HonXuong or The Robinson Crusoe Island is considered to be the most beautiful and can only be accessible by boat. It’s best to visit Phu Quoc from November to March when the average temperature is at a mild 30 oC. Things to do: Phu Quoc has a uniquely lively culture, especially its food. Visit rural areas of Phu Quoc, meet friendly locals, and try exotic dishes. Water activities are also the highlights of Phu Quoc. Head out to various snorkeling and diving sites and you’ll be able to spot a varieties of marine animals such as nudibranchs, cuttlefish, octopus, and scorpion fish, as well as various crustaceans and anemones. For an exclusively luxurious lifestyle, rent a yacht and plan your own excursion to the beautiful islands, including Anh Tay, Kim Quy, Fingernail, Rut and Dam Ngang. THINGS TO DO Phu Quoc has a uniquely lively culture, especially its food. Visit rural areas of Phu Quoc, meet friendly locals, and try exotic dishes. Water activities are also the highlights of Phu Quoc. Head out to various snorkeling and diving sites and you’ll be able to spot a varieties of marine animals such as nudibranchs, cuttlefish, octopus, and scorpion fish, as well as various crustaceans and anemones. For an exclusively luxurious lifestyle, rent a yacht and plan your own excursion to the beautiful islands, including Anh Tay, Kim Quy, Fingernail, Rut and Dam Ngang.
Where to Stay Nam Nghi Phu Quoc Island
Located in the untouched north western part of Phu Quoc, Nam Nghi is a small island oasis with stunning grounds that boast a combination of natural elements and tasteful, environmentally sustainable architecture, emphasizing both natural materials and contemporary Vietnamese design. The stunning design is equally matched by the magical ocean views from the windows of your private room. Address: Hamlet 4, Cua Can Commune, Phu Quoc Dist., Kien Giang, Vietnam Tel: +84 297 378 8889 JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa
Experience the wonderous vibe of Emerald Bay at JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa. The resort was designed by famed architect, Bill Bensley, as an abandoned 1890s French university, giving it intellectual and classy atmosphere, which is enhanced by European-style furnishings and Asian touches. JW Marriott Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort & Spa is completely “unique” in its own way and the only way to feel the complete experience is to stay here. Address: Bai Khem, Phu Quoc Dist., An Thoi Town, Vietnam Tel: +84 297 377 9999 Da Nang, Vietnam “Party on the mountain”
If Phu Quoc is a little isolated for your taste, Danang is more likely be the destination you look for. Find yourself surrounded by white sand beaches, lush rainforest, and diversity of cultural attractions, including temples and museums, but one of the most famous destination in Danang no one should miss is Bana Hill. Sitting on top of a mountain, Bana Hill once was the getaway resort for French colonialists, but now it transformed into Danang’s most popular eco-friendly resort. The resort resembles a medieval French village with a glorious church in the center, a hotel, restaurants, cafés, and souvenir shops surrounding the church. Beautiful fountains and gardens, as well as spectacular views of the whole city and the beaches also make Bana Hill a magical place for a pre-wedding photoshoot. Things to do: The journey up the mountain to Bana Hill itself is a must-do activity. Ride world-longest cable car above waterfalls and into the cloudy peak where the fascinating resort lies. Get your adrenalin pumping on the resort’s alpine coaster that sneak inside huge and treacherous twisting tubes. Explore the hidden gems of Danang, including D’Amour flower garden, old Debay wine cellar, and Linh Ung Pagoda, on Vietnam’s first funicular tour by Garaventa. THINGS TO DO The journey up the mountain to Bana Hill itself is a must-do activity. Ride world-longest cable car above waterfalls and into the cloudy peak where the fascinating resort lies. Get your adrenalin pumping on the resort’s alpine coaster that sneak inside huge and treacherous twisting tubes. Explore the hidden gems of Danang, including D’Amour flower garden, old Debay wine cellar, and Linh Ung Pagoda, on Vietnam’s first funicular tour by Garaventa.
Where to Stay InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort
Uniquely design by Bill Bensley with inspirations from ancient Vietnamese villages and temples, InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort is an outstanding resort in the heart of Son Tra Peninsula Nature Reserve in Danang City, and located just 45 minutes away from the world heritage city of Hoi An. The interior highlights luxurious furniture and décor with vivid white and red hues and can only be matched by the beauty of the ocean scenery at the front and majestic mountains at the back. The captivating sceneries also make the perfect backdrop for a sweet wedding; add that to InterContinental experienced staffs and world-class facilities, and it’ll be the dream wedding you’ve always long for. Address: Son Tra Peninsula, Danang, Vietnam Tel: +84 236 393 8888 Naman Retreat
Awake all your sense at Naman Retreat. The simple, yet bold and unique design of the private villa makes a great sanctuary for a perfect escape for the body and mind. Allow yourself to rest, do some Tai Chi or yoga in the morning, explore the surrounding on a hiking or biking trip in the afternoon, and find peace at the evening beach meditation. Every activity is designed to get you in touch with your own self and the nature, and you can also enjoy leisure activities such as traditional Vietnamese fishing, gardening, cooking/cocktail classes or basket boating. Address: Truong Sa Rd., Ngu Hanh Son Dist., Da Nang, Vietnam Tel: +84 236 395 9888 BALI, INDONESIA “LET YOUR LOVE BE AS HIGH AS THE SKY AND AS DEEP AS THE SEA”
It seems like every corner of the fascinating island of Bali is a destination on its own. Of course, the beautiful beaches and the sea are the main attractions of Bali, but the temples, the mountains, villages, waterfalls, and even the rice terraces also make other parts of the island so intriguing. Every tree, every rock, and every local way of life on Bali has its own unique attraction, and the charm was shown to the world by Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love” who told a story of a woman who searches for a missing piece of her life and finally found love in Ubud, Bali. THINGS TO DO Pray to the goddess of water at Pura Ulun Danu Bratan. Reflect on your past while taking a walk along Campuhan Ridge Walk. Visit Ubud and wake up in a private villa or suite high above the jungle in Zen Ubud. Learn local vocabularies like “Terima kasih” (thank you) and unwind at world-renowned party spots like the Gili Islands, Seminyak, and Canggu
Where to Stay VICEROY BALI
Viceroy Bali is the door to the lush highland town of Ubud, sitting amongst rice paddies and dramatic ravines with monkeys swinging from tree to tree. The resort seamlessly blends itself to the surrounding nature and softly reflect the extraordinary natural beauty of Bali highland. The suite features extra tall bamboo ceiling, elegant marble bathroom floor, and a private infinity pool for the most romantic stay you’d find in Ubud. Address: Jln. Lanyahan, Br Nagi, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia. Tel: +62 361 971 777 ALILA VILLAS ULUWATU
Uluwatu offers something for every taste, from pristine white sandy beaches to the majestic Uluwatu Temple. Alila Villas Uluwatu is a premier getaway resort in the enchanting area and the perfect answer for lovers looking for romance in an exotic setting. The resort is perched on a limestone cliffs 100 metres above the Indian Ocean, offering unparalleled panoramas of pristine white beach and unforgettable sunset. Lovers can also enjoy interesting activities like “anti-gravity yoga” or be pampered by ancient “Ayurvedic” treatments.
Address: Jl Belimbing Sari, Banjar Tambiyak, Desa Pecatu, Bali, Indonesia Tel: +62 361 848 2166 TOKYO, JAPAN “SAKURA PINK LOVE”
Japan is undoubtedly the destination for lovers around the world. The country has everything anyone could wish for, from intriguing ancient traditions, extraordinary natural and man-made attractions, impeccable hospitality, world-class cuisine and fantastic accommodation. The best time to experience the wonder of nature is in February when almost all cherry blossom simultaneously blooms and turn the parks and mountains lovingly pink. Be lost in the romantic atmosphere of Asakusa and stroll through Tokyo’s old town with your love one, and don’t forget to make a wish at Sensoji Temple. THINGS TO DO Take a romantic rowboat ride down Chidorigafuchi canal. Dress in traditional Japanese kimono and yukata as you walk down the street of Tokyo’s old town. Enjoy traditional Japanese tea ceremony, learn how to wear kimono properly, and get a hands-on experience on traditional Japanese cooking. The best thing about Japan, especially Tokyo is it’s easy to find delectable Michelin star restaurant no matter where you go.
Where to Stay PARK HYATT TOKYO
Surrounded by the colourful vibe of Shinjuku district, Park Hyatt Tokyo has been a luxurious hotel choice for international travelers for over 20 years and featured in the famous Hollywood film, “Lost in Translation”. The rooms and suites feel cozy and homely with traditional Japanese décor contrasting the bright neon lights of the busy district. Expect top class services and facilities, including the 65-foot swimming pool, which is surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows. Address: 3-7-1-2 Nishi-Shinjuku, Shinjuku-Ku, Tokyo, Japan Tel: +8103 5322 1234 THE RITZ-CARLTON, TOKYO
The Ritz-Carlton, Tokyo, prides itself as the tallest hotel in Tokyo, but that isn’t all the luxury contemporary hotel has to offer. The aesthetic design of the rooms and suites is inspired by a thoughtful East-Meet-West design with cream marble floors, lacquered sycamore, and luxurious silver-grey fabrics. Besides top amenities, the most outstanding part of the guestrooms is the views of the iconic “Fujisan” and “Tokyo Tower” right outside your windows. The hotel also offers tea and sake classes where you can learn traditional way of preparing and drinking the two famous Japanese beverages. Address: Tokyo Midtown 9-7-1 Akasaka Minato-ku Tokyo, Japan Tel: +81 33 423 8000

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Books expand Instant Pot repertoire

NEW YORK TIMES
From left: multicookers made by Breville, Fagor and Instant Pot, in New York in 2017. Multicookers can cook food either quickly or slowly, and it does both consistently, evenly and automatically. No other single gadget makes weeknight cooking easier.
ADVERTISING If you received an Instant Pot or other multicooker as a Christmas gift, about now you may be wondering what to make other than the recipes that came with it.
Luckily, cookbooks abound — books for specific cuisines (Indian, Mexican, Southern) and those geared toward vegetarians or healthy cooking. Diet-wise, you can find keto- and paleo-inspired Instant Pot cookbooks. Others feature holiday dishes, six-ingredient-or-less recipes, fast-and-easy dishes, and, of course, recipes authorized by the makers of Instant Pot.
In the last several months more than a dozen Instant Pot and multicooker cookbooks have landed on my desk. Here’s a peek into three:
“COMFORT IN AN INSTANT”
By Melissa Clark (Clarkson Potter, 2018, $22)
>> Quick take: This is the second Instant Pot cookbook for Melissa Clark, a New York Times food columnist. Clark provides classic recipes in the breakfast, soup, side dish, main dish and dessert categories. Nearly all are ready in an hour. If applicable, most recipes have a conversion to a slow-cooker.
>> Best aspect: Most recipes are held to one page and are approachable. Clark admits up front that determining cooking time isn’t an exact science and notes that you have to allow time for the pot to come up to pressure. She advises using suggested cooking times as just a guideline.
“THE ULTIMATE INSTANT POT COOKBOOK”
By Coco Morante (Ten Speed Press, 2018, $29.99)
>> Quick take: Coco Morante’s first cookbook was “The Essential Instant Pot Cookbook.” She also runs the Instant Pot Recipes Facebook page and has her own blog, leftyspoon.com. Her chapters cover everything from vegetarian fare to seafood to pantry staples such as broths, sauces, jams and jellies. The recipes range from quick weekday recipes to classics like stew and mashed potatoes.
>> Best aspect: The explanation of how to use the Instant Pot is very comprehensive. From beef pho to tortellini and spinach soup to lamb shanks with tomato sauce, the recipes are easy to follow and inviting.
“INSTANT POT FAST & EASY”
By Urvashi Pitre (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019, $21.99)
>> Quick take: In this book, her third for the multicooker, Urvashi Pitre provides well-tested recipes from around the world. Pitre is the founder of the blog twosleevers.com and runs a global consulting firm. Recipes are organized by chapters based on the main ingredients: chicken, seafood, beef, pork, lamb, rice, lentils and beans, etc. Pitre’s knowledge of Instant Pot terms and her answers to frequently asked questions are invaluable.
>> Best aspect: The global flavors are splendid, and so are the instructions. Each recipe is topped with active cooking time, the function to use, how pressure is released and the total cooking time (including how long it takes for the pot to come to pressure), which helps with planning.
GINGER SESAME-GLAZED SPARERIBS
From “Comfort in An Instant” by Melissa Clark
5 pounds pork spareribs, cut into 2 or 3 pieces Lime wedges, for serving >> Sauce:
5 large cloves garlic 2 tablespoons chopped candied ginger 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger 2 tablespoons light brown sugar 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil 1 tablespoon sake, white wine or dry vermouth 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds, plus more for garnish 2 teaspoons gochugaru (Korean chili flakes) or crushed red pepper flakes 1-1/2 teaspoons black pepper 1/2 cup shoyu Puree sauce ingredients except shoyu, whisking in shoyu at end.
Toss ribs with sauce, then arrange them standing up along the wall of the pressure cooker pot, with meaty sides facing out. Place remaining ribs in concentric circles. Pour any remaining sauce over ribs. Lock lid into place and cook on high pressure 34 minutes. Let pressure release naturally.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Arrange ribs, meat side down, on sheet. Using saute function, reduce sauce in pressure cooker to a thick glaze, 8 to 15 minutes.
Brush glaze on ribs and broil 2 to 3 minutes. Carefully flip ribs and brush again with glaze, then broil until evenly charred, 2 to 4 minutes more.
Brush with glaze again and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Serve hot with lime wedges. Serves 4.
Nutritional information unavailable.

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Decoding the politics of food cooked up over the years in India

Did you know the Mughals only drank Ganga jal? That the Dalai Lama eats meat? That the heroes of Hindu epics were often non-vegetarians? Food is more complex than politicians make out
As you probably know, one of the triggers for the great revolt of 1857 (or the First War of Independence or the Mutiny, depending on your perspective) was a story that spread across India. According to those who claimed to be in the know, the British army had coated cartridges with animal fat. Soldiers had to bite off the covering of the cartridges to use them. This meant that they ended up eating bits of the animal fat.
But, or so went the story, the fat came from cows and pigs. So soldiers were now required to consume beef fat and pork fat. This offended both Hindus and Muslims and led to revolts in army units.
Indian cuisine is too great for its history to be twisted to suit the needs of today’s political debates(iStock)
The British said that no pig or cow fat was used and that the story was just a rumour. But when it comes to the politicisation of food, facts often count for less than perceptions. (And it is entirely possible that the Brits were lying, anyway!) Much of today’s so-called food history tends to be only about perception. Truth seems to matter less and less.
In fact, I am beginning to believe that, at no point since 1857, has food been as politicised as it is today. The renewed furore about beef eating is mostly political. The battle between khichri and biryani is really not about rice dishes at all. It is about so-called Hindu foods and Muslim foods. And the debate is prolonged only for political reasons.
In the popular imagination, a certain caricature of Indian food habits persists. According to this version, good Hindus were always vegetarians. Meat eating was a great sin. Beef eating was an even greater sin. Then, along came the Mughals. They promoted meat eating. They took their biryanis all over India and contaminated the pure vegetarian Indian tradition.
By prosecuting those who eat beef and by honouring vegetarianism, we are told, our country is going back to ancient Indian traditions. We are restoring this great Hindu nation to a time when gods walked the earth and peace ruled the land.
Khichri became popular not because of our devotion to vegetarian cuisine, but because it was cheap and easy to cook (Shutterstock)
India was never a vegetarian country. The view that ancient Hindus were all vegetarians is nothing but a myth
The problem with this caricature is that almost every single fact in it is wrong.
First of all, India was never a vegetarian country. Whether you went North or South in ancient India, the kings usually ate meat. (So did the gods in our epics.) Ancient Indian rulers did not just eat meat or chicken. They ate tortoises, deer, peacocks and other birds and animals.
Even during the Indus Valley Civilisation, one of the world’s oldest urban civilisations dating back to 3,000 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, animals were raised and slaughtered for food. During the Vedic period, non-vegetarianism was common. Even Ayurveda, which we regard now as a purely Hindu vegetarian phenomenon, advocated remedies based on meat.
Indians are often shocked to find out that the Dalai Lama eats meat (Shutterstock)
The popularity of vegetarianism came from the Jain, rather than Hindu, tradition. Even the Buddha (who came after Mahavir and the founding of Jainism) did not insist on vegetarianism. (Indians are always shocked to discover that the Dalai Lama eats meat; he ate beef till his doctors told him to go easy on red meat.) Ancient texts such as The Arthashastra contain many references to meat eating.
So, the view that ancient Hindus were all vegetarians is a myth.
What about the Mughals, the subject of much demonisation these days? Well, almost everything that you will read on many popular Internet sites about the Mughals is wrong.
First of all, they did not call themselves the Mughals. That name was given to them centuries later by British historians on the grounds that Babur’s mother may have descended from Genghis Khan. Babur himself would have been horrified to have been called a Mongol or a Mughal.
Keeping in mind Hindu sensitivities about the cow, Emperor Akbar banned its slaughter
Secondly, the Mughals did not arrive in India, defeat valiant Hindu kings and then establish a beef-eating, tyrannical dynasty. There had been Muslim rulers in India for centuries. Babur defeated the Delhi Sultanate, a Muslim kingdom and not some perfect embodiment of Ram Rajya.
Thirdly, the Mughals did not turn a peace-loving, grass-grazing, meat-abjuring populace into non-vegetarians. Not only were the Muslim kings before the arrival of the Mughals non-vegetarians, but so were many Hindus.
If anything, the Mughals were actually less keen on meat than many Hindu kings had been. Many Mughal Kings and nobles would give up meat before battles. And the Emperor Akbar developed such a distaste for meat that he became virtually vegetarian in later life. Keeping in mind medieval (but not necessarily ancient) Hindu sensitivities about the cow, he actually banned cow slaughter. He drank only Ganga jal.
Opinions vary on when the biryani was invented, but there is no doubt that it is an entirely Indian dish (iStock) Many of these practices were continued by his son Jahangir and his grandson Shah Jahan, both of whom were vegetarian on certain days of the week and continued to impose Akbar’s ban on cow slaughter. (They also drank Ganga jal.)
So yes, the Mughals were non-vegetarians. But then so were many Hindus. And the so-called Mughlai cuisine served in restaurants today does the Mughals a great injustice. Most of the recipes and many of the dishes have nothing to do with the Mughal court.
Which brings us to the whole khichri versus biryani debate. In today’s crude popular parlance, khichri is truly Hindu whereas biryani is some Middle-Eastern dish brought to India by the Mughals.
This is nonsense.
Khichri is Indian but it is not, and never was, purely Hindu. Indians of all religions ate it (Buddhists, Jains and even Muslims). Nor was there only one type of khichri.
In medieval India, any dish that combined grain and lentils came to be called khichri. So there were hundreds of variations.
Shah Jahan was vegetarian on some days of the week Let’s take the example of one variation that delighted the Emperor Humayun and the Shah of Persia. One of Persia’s great claims to fame is that it says it invented an early version of the pulao and sent it around the world. It became pilaf in Turkey, paella in Spain and risotto in Italy. But even the Persians will concede that they borrowed one great rice dish from India.
When Humayun lost his throne, he spent 15 years in exile. He spent much of that period in Persia seeking the help of the Shah. During this period, his cooks taught the Shah’s local cooks how to make khichri. This variation used peas and delighted the Shah.
When Humayun reclaimed his throne, this North Indian variation of khichri became a staple of the Mughal court until Jahangir (Humayun’s grandson) found a new kind of khichri while travelling through Gujarat. This khichri was made from millets not rice and it soon became the Emperor’s favourite dish (though the court cooks used more ghee than the Gujarati original). And it was cooked in the palace kitchen nearly every day.
Mughlai dishes served today have nothing to do with the Mughal court Why was khichri so popular all over India? Not because of our devotion to vegetarian cuisine. It was a one pot meal that used dal (one of the defining characteristics of Indian cuisine through the ages) and any local grain that was available (not just rice). People ate it mainly because it was cheap and easy to cook. During wars, when soldiers would cook their own food, there would often be hundreds of fires lit before a battle as each solider made his own khichri.
Most khichris were vegetarian because even non-vegetarian Indians found meat too expensive. (This was as true of the rest of the world, even England under say, Henry VIII, where the nobles consumed all kinds of animals while the peasantry could not afford much meat.)
Which takes us to biryani. Did it descend from the pulao? Probably, but it had to be wetter, more heavily spiced, was usually ‘assembled’ (the meat and rice were first cooked separately in most biryanis, whereas everything was cooked together in a pulao) and it was a main dish, whereas a pulao was a side dish.
Ancient texts such as The Arthashastra contain many references to meat eating
Opinions vary on when it was invented (one popular version gives the credit to Akbar’s cooks; others say it was created a century before) but there is no doubt that it is an entirely Indian dish.
So don’t believe all the currently popular lies about pure vegetarians and evil beef-eating invaders. There is no all-Hindu khichri nor any invader biryani. The history of Indian food is too complex for simple stereotypes. And our cuisine is too great for its history to be twisted to suit the needs of today’s political debates.
Politicians will come and go. But India’s many wonderful cuisines will outlast them all.
(Source: HT )

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Curry Up Now Announces the Securement of Its First Sacramento Outpost at Ice Blocks

Curry Up Now Announces the Securement of Its First Sacramento Outpost at Ice Blocks Indian fast casual concept Curry Up Now has secured its first Sacramento, Calif. location at 1610 R Street in the Ice Blocks retail center. Franchisee and local native David Leuterio plans to open doors in Summer 2019.
The Innovative Indian Fast Casual Anticipates Opening In California’s Capital City in Summer 2019
Curry Up Now, the largest and fastest growing Indian fast casual in the country, has secured its first Sacramento storefront at 1610 R Street in the Ice Blocks retail center. The area is part of Midtown Sacramento’s largest cluster of boutiques, cafes, and restaurants, to which Curry Up Now will add its unique and innovative Indian eats. The Ice Blocks location is the first of five stores planned for Sacramento County by franchisee and local native, David Leuterio, who has sights set on opening doors in Summer 2019.
“Ever since I first tried Curry Up Now, I knew I needed to bring it to the Sacramento area. I’ve lived here most of my life and watched the food scene evolve over the years, and I know it’s craving a concept like Curry Up Now,” said Leuterio. “I’ve always been a fan of Indian food, but I’ve had a difficult time getting my friends who weren’t accustomed to the cuisine to try it. With items like Tikka Masala Burritos and Sexy Fries, Curry Up Now makes it easier than ever to bring the cuisine to both experienced and first time diners.”
“Sacramento is one of our most requested cities to open a location,” said Akash Kapoor, founder and owner of Curry Up Now. “Over the years, we’ve looked at expanding here with corporate stores, but when I met the Leuterios, I was convinced. Their passion for our brand and their experience and success in the food business make them the perfect partners to help us grow in the Sacramento area.”
Curry Up Now was founded in 2009 by husband and wife duo, Akash and Rana Kapoor, and ably supported by co-founder and Senior VP of Operations, Amir Hosseini. Curry Up Now began as a food truck and quickly started opening fast casual restaurants around the San Francisco Bay Area. Today, Curry Up Now currently operates three food trucks and six corporate brick-and-mortar locations, two of which also house the brand’s craft cocktail bar concept, Mortar & Pestle. From the beginning, the brand has been known for taking traditional Indian flavors and presenting them in friendly, recognizable formats. Their menu fan-favorites include their iconic burritos, quesadillas dubbed ‘Quesadillix,’ Deconstructed Samosa, Sexy Fries, and Naughty Naan, as well as a Street Snacks menu and traditional Indian Street Food menu. Ingredients are clean and sourced from local vendors whenever possible, and the menu is designed to support alternative diets, in an effort to accomodate all guests no matter their dietary preferences.
Experts in the hospitality industry project that Indian food will continue to be the fastest growing ethnic food segment in the U.S., making room for Curry Up Now to solidify its position as a front runner in the sector. Within the last year, Curry Up Now has been recognized by the restaurant industry’s top publications for its innovative approach to Indian cuisine and huge potential for growth. The concept was featured in QSR’s 40 Under 40, Nation’s Restaurant News’ 2018 Breakout Brands, listed as #38 in Fast Casual’s Top 100 Movers & Shakers, and named a Hot Food & Beverage Chain by the International Council of Shopping Centers.
In 2018, Curry Up Now solidified multi-unit franchise deals in nearly every major region in the country, including the West Coast, Northeast, South, and the Mountain States. The brand has around 50 franchised and corporate stores in development nationwide and pending franchise deals in over 13 states. They anticipate another 100 units in development by year’s end, with an additional 200 in 2020. The new locations currently under development are expected to open in Spring 2019 in San Ramon, CA; Irvine, CA; and Atlanta, GA. For more information on the growing Indian fast casual, follow @CurryUpNow on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter or visit www.curryupnow.com .
Curry Up Now is partnered with Fransmart, the industry-leading franchise development company behind the explosive growth of brands like Five Guys Burgers and Fries, The Halal Guys, and Qdoba Mexican Grill, as their exclusive franchise development partner to grow the brand. The concept is currently looking for experienced multi-unit foodservice operators to develop franchise territories in top 40 major media markets across the U.S. To learn more about franchising opportunities with Curry Up Now, visit http://go.fransmart.com/CurryUpNowApply .
Curry Up Now was established in 2009 by Akash Kapoor and his wife Rana, and ably supported by co-founder and now Senior VP of Operations, Amir Hosseini. The concept, which is known for its innovative spin on traditional Indian cuisine, has been recognized in publications such as Zagat: ‘5 Hottest Fast-Casual Chains,’ EATER SF: ‘SF’s Best Indian Restaurants,’ 7×7: ‘100 Things To Eat Before You Die,’ QSR: ‘40 Under 40,’ Fast Casual: ‘Top 100’ Movers & Shakers, Nation’s Restaurant News: ‘2018 Breakout Brand,’ and International Council of Shopping Centers: ‘Hot Food & Beverage Chain.’ Curry Up Now currently operates six brick-and-mortars and three food trucks in California’s Bay Area, and has both corporate and franchised units in development across California, New Jersey, Colorado, Utah, and Atlanta, GA. For more information about Curry Up Now, visit www.curryupnow.com .
Fransmart is the global leader in franchise development, turning emerging restaurant concepts into national and global brands for over 10 years. Company founder Dan Rowe identified and grew brands like Five Guys Burgers & Fries and Qdoba Mexican Grill from 1-5 unit businesses to the powerhouse chains they are today. Fransmart’s current and past franchise development portfolio brands have opened more than 3,000 restaurants in 45 states and 35 countries. Fransmart and their partner brands are committed to franchise development growth—as of 2015, over 1,000 new restaurants are in development across their current portfolio.

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Valentine’s Day Experiences in London 2019: Top 5 | About Time

London / Culture / Film / 15 of the Best: Valentine’s Day Experiences in London & Beyond 15 of the Best: Valentine’s Day Experiences in London & Beyond By Angelica Malin Pin 0 Shares
Looking for something beyond the classic Valentine’s Day luxury meal in London ? Then look no further than our guide to the best Valentine’s Day experiences in London 2019 (and, if in doubt, say it with chocolate ). From blow drys to film experiences, here’s 12 interesting ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day in London this year: Valentine’s Day Experiences in London: For Cocktail Lovers
1. Treat Yourself: Fentimans Rose Lemonade x Duck & Dry
What: This year Fentimans is turning tradition on its head and suggesting that instead of giving all our love away, we save a bit for ourselves. As part of their Love Yourself campaign, Fentimans Rose Lemonade will be partnering with London’s finest blow dry salon, Duck & Dry and the beautiful letter box flower company Bloom & Wild.
The Lowdown: Exclusively for Valentine’s Day, Fentimans will be hosting the ‘Love Yourself’ drinks menus at Duck & Dry’s four salons across the capital. Merlin Griffiths will be behind the bar at the Oxford Circus Duck & Dry from 12pm-2pm where he will be whipping up Rose Lemonade cocktails from the ‘Love Yourself’ menu. Drinks will include simply served Rose Lemonade, Rose & Bloom Gin and Rose Spritz. All of the Duck & Dry venues will be dressed for the occasion with exquisite floral decoration designed by Bloom & Wild, and there will also be bespoke pink, handmade Crosstown Doughnuts to enjoy while having a blow dry.
2. Experience a Negroni Trolley Service: 45 Park Lane What: This Valentine’s Day, guests can cheers in style at Dorchester Collection’s contemporary Mayfair hotel, 45 Park Lane with its newly launched complimentary Negroni Trolley service. One of the Valentine’s Day experiences in London right now, we think. The Lowdown: To mark 100 years of the classic cocktail, guests staying at the hotel can enjoy a specially created Negroni, served in the comfort of their room from the trolley service. Using one of three variations of the popular drink: The Classic Negroni, The Vintage Negroni and The Aged Negroni guests can cheers to Valentine’s Day. We’re into it.
Where: Find out more here
3. Drink Special Cocktails: COYA Mayfair What: Celebrated Latin American restaurant, COYA Mayfair, will be launching a new cocktail, the Tu y Yo, especially for Valentine’s Day. The Lowdown: Translating from Spanish to mean, “you and me”, the Tu y Yo will be served in a unique vessel designed to be shared by a couple and consists of two different drinks in one. The corked glass bottle is served with a delicate orchid flower as a garnish. The orchid is native to Peru and the national flower of Latin America, traditionally gifted on Valentine’s Day. Where: Find out more here Valentine’s Day Experiences in London: For Hotel Breaks
4. Experience a Valentine’s Day Package: The Landmark London What: The Landmark London is one of London’s most romantic destinations for Valentine’s Day. A charming grand dame hotel based in the heart of Marylebone, The Landmark London’s warm yet glamorous ambiance is reminiscent of the enchanting era of train travel. One of the Valentine’s Day experiences in London, without a doubt. The Lowdown: With one of the capital’s most iconic backdrops in the form of the Winter Garden restaurant, a tranquil oasis under the lush green of elegant palms, it is a captivating setting for an evening of romance. The hotel is offering the ultimate Valentine’s package, ‘Love at The Landmark’. With a complimentary bottle of Champagne, spa gift set, and a romantic turndown setup included, to name a few highlights, the hotel team will ensure there’s no place better to celebrate with a loved one this year.
Where: Find out more here
5. Escape the City: Rudding Park, Harrogate What: Rudding Park in Harrogate is offering a host of romantic activities this Valentine’s Day, including ‘Starbathing’ and romantic film screenings in Rudding Park’s very own cinema. The Lowdown : Couples can bathe under the stars in the warming waters of the outdoor Hydrotherapy Pool with ‘Starbathing’ or upgrade their spa package to the VIP Couples Room, complete with candlelit bathing in a copper bath scattered with rose petals, accompanied with handmade chocolates and relaxing bath oils. Additionally, lovebirds looking for a date night with a difference can enjoy a film screening of either Breakfast at Tiffany’s or The Notebook at Rudding Park’s own cinema perfected with complimentary popcorn. Where: Find out more here
6. Take a Romantic Break: Cotswold House Hotel & Spa, Cotswolds What: Award-winning luxury hotel and spa in the heart of Chipping Campden , Gloucestershire launches a Romantic Break package, especially for Valentine’s day. The Lowdown: Experience the chocolate-box charm of the Cotswolds with Cotswold House Hotel & Spa’s Romantic Break package, from £129 per person, including dinner, bed and breakfast in an upgraded room, plus a bottle of Champagne and a box of chocolates. The hotel’s hot tub cottage and suites are perfect for a romantic break, each offering their own private garden and hot tub to enjoy, while guests can relax in the boutique spa, housed at the end of the beautiful English garden.
Where: Find out more here
7. Take a Valentine’s Day Break: Thyme, Cotswolds What: English Country Destination, Thyme, has put together a romantic Cotswold escape package for a Valentine’s Day. The Lowdown: An overnight stay in one of their stunning Lodge rooms or Farmhouse rooms, a celebratory dinner at the recently launched Ox Barn, which serves Modern British fare, along with a bottle of Castle Brook English sparkling wine to pop open upon arrival. To make your stay extra special, treat your loved one to a tailored spa treatment at their botanical Meadow Spa and make use of the heated spring water swimming pool!
Where : Find out more here
8. Take a Rural Break: Tudor Farmhouse, Gloucestershire What: Boutique hotel Tudor Farmhouse in the small village of Clearwell in Gloucestershire’s Forest of Dean is perfect for those after a romantic UK countryside break to celebrate Valentine’s Day. The Lowdown: The hotel is offering one and two night breaks between 09th-16th February, combining a comfortable night’s sleep and time to explore the hotel’s 14 acres with a special 6 course Valentine’s Tasting Menu, prepared by head chef Rob Cox who was recently crowned the South West Chef of the Year Where: a 1x night Valentine’s Package (between 09-16 February 2018) is available from £260 based on 2x sharing a double room including breakfast and a 6 course Valentine’s Tasting Menu. Valentine’s Day Experiences in London: For Culture Vultures
9. Attend a Festival of Erotic Events: The London EDITION
Image credit: Sarah Baker, Courtesy of Baron & Baroness
What: Fitzrovia’s landmark boutique hotel, The London EDITION celebrates Valentine’s Day with a series of arousing & erotic experiences from 11th-14th February
The Lowdown: In a celebration of romance, sex and sexuality, The London EDITION has collaborated with erotic journal, Baron & Baroness, offering a cheeky Valentine card making workshop, Sense and Sensuality Perfume & Cocktail workshop and a special screening of Destricted- a series of seven short films on the subject of art and pornography. Offering an arousing alternative to traditional Valentines celebrations, the events will take place on 11th, 13th and 14th February.
Where: Find out more here
10. Watch a Film at the National History Museum: The Luna Cinema
Photo credit: The Luna Cinema
What: The Luna Cinema , the UK’s leading producer of open air film screenings, is partnering with the Natural History Museum, to bring pop-up cinema to one of the most unique indoor locations in London this Valentine’s Day. One of the Valentine’s Day experiences in London, we say.
The Lowdown: On the evenings of 14th, 15th and 16th of February, there will be screenings for everyone; from romantic classics to Anti-Valentines empowerment, all screening in the majestic Hintze Hall, home to the iconic 25-metre skeleton of ‘Hope’ the blue whale suspended in the air.
Where: To book tickets and for more information visit here
11. Go to a Galentine’s Day Screening: The Everyman Cinemas
What : Everyman Cinemas is celebrating female friendships this Galentine’s Day with screenings of Legally Blonde and Mean Girls.
The Lowdown : Drawing inspiration from Ariana Grande’s iconic ‘Thank U, Next’, Everyman Cinemas is screening Legally Blonde and Mean Girls, the girl power movies she references in her iconic music video. Tickets are £12 and each comes with a free cocktail, so put a crew together of your favourite girls and head down to Everyman and watch Reese Witherspoon crush stereotypes at law school or Lindsay Lohan navigate high school’s social minefield.
Where: Find out more info here Valentine’s Day Experiences in London: For Foodies
12. Experience Follies Afternoon Tea: National Theatre What: From 12th February until 11th May, guests will be able to enjoy a Follies inspired afternoon tea at the National Theatre’s House restaurant. Perfect for Valentine’s Day, we say. The Lowdown: To celebrate the award-winning production’s return to the Olivier Theatre, the National Theatre is launching a Follies Afternoon Tea. The tasty treats will include New York pastrami sandwiches, pretzel served with beer mustard and Broadway blackcurrant mousse. Customers can also opt for the ‘Tea and Tour’ package to combine the afternoon tea with an exciting backstage tour. Where: Find out more here .
13. Enjoy a Special Menu: The Montagu Kitchen Restaurant What: This Valentine’s Day, treat a friend or loved one to the perfect dining experience for two at The Montagu Kitchen Restaurant in the Hyatt Regency – The Churchill hotel. Situated in the heart of Marylebone, the Chartwell house inspired restaurant will be welcoming guests with a valentines cocktail and a specially designed three course set menu. The Lowdown: Guests can indulge in a set menu that is sure to set heart’s racing, from a Trio of Maldon Oysters to a Honey Glazed Suffolk Pork Loin and desserts including a Lychee Rose Trifle, the Montagu Kitchen is the perfect setting to enjoy the most romantic day of the year. Price: The set menu is priced at £49 for three courses and includes a welcome cocktail.
14. Try Out a New Restaurant: Angelina What: Looking for an intimate hideaway to woo your date this Valentine’s? A place where debauchery and night-time naughtiness is actively encouraged? Look no further than Angelina Restaurant. The Lowdown: A surreal exploration of Japanese and Italian cuisines, cultures and influences. The restaurant’s hidden drinking den Golden Gai, is inspired by Tokyo’s famous Shinjuku district, and seats just six people, making it one of London’s smallest bars. Cocktails and shots flow in this low-lit hideaway where guests are asked to leave phones at the door. Angelina Restaurant open its doors for the first time this Valentine’s Day with a pre-opening soft launch from 14th-17th February 2019, offering loved up diners 50% off their food bill.
15. Get a Delicious Delivery: Kennington Tandoori
What : Unsure whether to go our or stay in this Valentine’s Day? Not to worry, Kennington Tandoori have you covered with their dine in menu OR eat at home with a Valentine’s dinner for two delivered straight to the doorstep.
The Lowdown : The popular South London restaurant are going the extra mile this Valentine’s Day. For only £40 per person the KT will be offering a mega feast of Indian delights with dishes such as a KT Platter, Lucknow Free Range Chicken Korma, Coconut & Tamarind Fish Curry, Rose Kulfi (and much more) the menu accompanied by a glass of champagne or a pink gin cocktail. For those staying in with their loved ones Kennington Tandoori are offering an indulgent delivery package to share and devour together. Made for two and for just £70, the bumper feast will include 7 courses such as onion bhajis & samosas, Kashmiri Kentish Lamb Rogan Josh, stir fried garden greens with cumin & Tarka Dal and a bottle of champagne.

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