Yemeni Dish in Singapore

Yemeni Dish in Singapore

~ Mona Nomura
One of the best things about living in the Southeast Asia region is the ability to travel across the different countries, as most are a 2-3 hour plane ride away (if that). I’m currently based in Thailand (Bangkok) but have been traveling to Malaysia and Singapore a lot… and immensely enjoying the food.
More than enjoying the eating, I’ve been learning a lot, more than I did when I was living in San Francisco, New York, D.C., or LA. It seems so strange how some Asian countries are more diverse than the United States or even London (pre-Brexit).
Each region’s local food is mind-blowingly delicious — especially in Malaysia and Singapore. Malay and Singaporean foods are heavily influenced by Chinese and Indian and there are many dishes with roots from China and India but unique to the region. (More on that later… actually, there will be a piece up shortly on Eater about Malaysian food I wrote – yay!)
But what a lot of the more developed cities of the region (Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, are the top three) do well, are foods from various countries outside of China and India. For example, Bangkok — believe it or not — excels in Italian food. Pasta, antipasto, even mains such as osso buco are extremely delicious and a lot of establishments even import brick ovens from Italy for their pizza.
Singapore has a pretty decent Middle Eastern / Mediterranean communities and those whom know me, know I l ve Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines. From the spices: cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, cumin, paprika, saffron, sumac to the aromatics: mint, parsley, dill, oregano… I can keep going but I can’t get enough of the warm, deep, flirty flavors of Middle Eastern foods and the fresh, bright, acidity of Mediterranean foods.
The other day in Singapore, I had the tastiest lamb mandi, a Middle Eastern dish so I just have to share. Byblos Grill
Originating from Yemen, mandi is a one plate dish consisting of a protein (usually beef, chicken, goat, or lamb) with rice cooked with a special blend of spices. The menu description reads: roasted lamb marinated with saffron and Arabic spices served with mandi rice and homemade mint tomato sauce
In actuality, it was the most and tender leg of lamb cooked in this clay pan-like thing with this lovely fragrant rice. I couldn’t get the flavors out of my head, so I googled recipes and tried with chicken at home. It was good but not great – I’m blaming the cooking method (traditional mandi is cooked underground) but I’m hoping practice will make perfect 😉 Recipe is after the jump.
By the way, if you’re ever in Singapore, Byblos Cafe is highly recommended. Not pictured are the four other dishes my dining companion and I ordered… for lunch. There were only two of us and we ate enough for like five haha
Byblos Cafe 14 Bussorah Street Singapore 199435 11am – 12am

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Nine Great Vegan Lunches – Sarasota

Local restaurants where eating vegan is a treat. By Isaac Eger 2/4/2019 at 10:39am Published in the Health 2019 issue of Sarasota Magazine
Lila’s raw, vegan chocolate tart.
Image: Jenn Soos It’s tough to be vegan. You can’t eat any product that comes from an animal—not even honey, if you really want to be militant about it. And sometimes vegan ingredients and dishes seem purposefully inaccessible Maybe you don’t know how to pronounce quinoa (KEEN-wah), a nutty-tasting, whole-protein, gluten-free seed; or acai (AH-sigh-EE), berries from the acai palm tree. Other times, being vegan seems like one of those far out things that kooky celebrities do. Madonna, Ariana Grande, Natalie Portman and Woody Harrelson are all vegans. But there are good reasons to try it, for the health of the planet and our individual well-being. Did you know that, according to a Bloomberg report, 41 percent of all U.S. land in the contiguous 48 states revolves around livestock, mostly cows? Consuming animal products is a major contributor to climate change . For others, the decision to go vegan is religious or spiritual. If you need a more selfish reason to drop meat, eggs and dairy from your diet, the American Journal of Medical Nutrition reports that vegans are more likely to be thinner, have lower serum cholesterol and lower blood pressure. Many athletes are adopting vegan diets. Stars like Serena Williams, the Boston Celtics’ Kyrie Irving and the Patriots’ Tom Brady (though he eats lean meat in the winter months) are all trying veganism. Restaurants are trying to fill the bellies of those who want a meal without meat. Unfortunately, most offer the one requisite vegan option, which often costs as much or more as its fleshy counterpart. It will also invariably insult your taste buds, since a lot of these dishes try to mimic meat. Substitutes are never as good as the real thing. But there are places where eating vegan is a treat. Most of the restaurants named here serve food that is innately vegan. In other words, they don’t try to replace meat. And many give you more than one tasty option. Here are some of our favorite vegan dishes. Tofu and Mixed Vegetables in Veggie Broth and Spring Rolls Pho Cali Vietnamese Noodle House If a hint of the sniffles arises, Pho Cali’s veggie broth is ideal for staving off whatever ails you. Their broth recipe originated at Vietnamese Buddhist monasteries, where adherents left a surplus of fruit and vegetable offerings on the temple steps that were turned into a tasty soup. Pho Cali’s broth is made from stewing pineapple, jicama, cabbage, apple, onion and lots of different spices until it becomes a complex, satisfying base for fresh tofu and vegetables. The spring rolls are a healthy excuse to eat the sweet peanut sauce that you dip them in. 1578 Main St., Sarasota, (941) 955-2683, phocalisarasota.com Foul Mudamas Platter Sahara Café & Mediterranean Fava beans might forever be associated with a glass of Chianti and Hannibal Lecter, but try not to think of the cannibal criminal while you enjoy this Mediterranean delight. The beans are cooked and slightly mashed with oil, onions, garlic, fresh parsley, cumin and lemon juice to give the dish a tangy flavor. The platter comes with two sides; try the hummus and tabouleh. Just mix them up however you please. There is no bad combination. 1121 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, (941) 954-1423 Bhaigan Bharta Maharaja Indian Cuisine The cow is a revered animal in Hindu, Sikh and Jain religions, so that makes Indian cuisine a little less meaty and a smart place to find lots of veggie options. The vegetarian section of the menu at Maharaja takes up an entire page, but truly, there is only one choice—the bhaigan bharta, mashed eggplant seasoned with spices and cooked in a tandoori oven. It comes with rice, but goes well with chapatis or rotis, too. 6290 N. Lockwood Ridge Road, Sarasota, (941) 706-0793
A vegan trio at Blue Kouzina.

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Bournemouth’s Most useful German and Global Restaurants

Bournemouth’s Most useful German and Global Restaurants
That encouraging restaurant features a variety of delicious recipes, all spiked with a clearly German flavour. Typically the most popular entrees are manty weeds with spiced couscous and rillette of pork. Just overlooking Christchurch Road, that cafe features a Mediterranean sense and functions interiors with brilliant colors and mock columns mounting the elegant dining area. Lunch is offered from Tuesdays to Fridays from midday to 2:30 p.m. while dinner is offered from Tuesdays to Saturdays from 6:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Welcome to the most popular and prestigious Indian restaurant in Bournemouth, the Tandoori. Here, you will discover all the real meals of curry in addition to delicious Bangladeshi and Balti cuisine. Bournemouth Tandoori is also well-known for its non-vegetarian thali, which its chef very recommends and provides with curry dishes such as lamb, chicken and vegetables. The area is nicely decorated and is start day-to-day, including weekdays and weekends. Meal is served from noon to 2:30 p.m. while dinner is offered from 6 p.m. to midnight.
This French brassiere has a modern placing and acts special mixtures of German and British cuisine. Practically every thing on the menu has that tasty continental flavor, whether its beef, poultry, fish or seafood dishes. Brassiere Saint Michael’s serves both lunch and dinner every single day of the week, including weekends. All through warm times, the brassiere opens up their terrace dining region to diners. They likewise have a particular membership which gives reductions to businessmen and different regulars. Meal is offered from noon to 2 p.m. while dinner is served from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Restaurant Rouge is based only west of the Bournemouth Centre, near Poole path, and serves great standard German cuisine. The place has a casual and relaxed placing, rendering it great for getting to know that special someone better. It can be a chosen venue for company meetings and for much-needed breaks after looking at the Westbourne area. The cafe presents breakfast meal and meal everyday, including weekends. The foodstuff is somewhat inexpensive. An a manhattan project carte selection can also be available. Cafe Rouge is start from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. from Mondays to Saturdays and from 10 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Sundays.
Situated atop the Square, the Coriander is a addition in Bournemouth’s food scene, helping traditional Mexican food for over two decades. The two storey restaurant conjures up photos of Old Mexico, using its Southwestern design interiors, decor, hardwood floors, up to the photographs of numerous cacti lining the walls. The Coriander has recognized a well-deserved reputation for providing exemplary Mexican and Latin American food. The favorite lion prawn fajitas, specifically, generally gets rave reviews. A favorite mixture could be the cold Corona and Tecate with the warm, warm salsa. The usual audience contains locals, students and tourists. Reservations are recommended. That cafe is start all through weekdays and vacations, from noon to 10:30 p.m.
Vintage is purported to be the best devote Bournemouth to obtain Lebanese cuisine. Found on Charminster Road, this restaurant’s green and blue-chequered entrance is hard to miss. Inside, you’ll find an dynamic and pleasant team waiting to help you such chicken recipes as shish taouk and farruji meshwi or grilled lamb cutlets. For lunch, Vintage presents up some of the most distinctive sandwiches around like lahem (lamb) meshwi or grilled Halloumi cheese offered with cucumber slices. “Fish of the Time” and collection selection specials also are accessible daily.
Place: 194-198 Previous Christchurch Rd, Bournemouth, UK – Britain BH1 1PD (01202-290-681) Several Bournemouth residents contemplate Mandarin the most effective Chinese cafe in the city. All the standard Cantonese, Peking, and Szechwan selection objects are here, and the staff is pleasant and willing to make menu suggestions. Unique set selections for several folks are available. The “Seafood Feast,” like, characteristics Dover sole smothered in special and wrong sauce and served with periodic greens. Additionally, if you’ll need a bowl that is maybe not shown on the selection, they’ll make it specifically Bournemouth Vouchers .
This family-owned cafe is run by Mr. and Mrs. Antoniou and offers the best comb with reliable Greek cuisine in the Bournemouth area. The service is helpful, the atmosphere is cosy, and most importantly, the home-cooked Greek recipes are superb. Main courses which range from steak to meze are available. Romanzo is positioned on Poole Street in Westbourne, just moments from Bournemouth Square.
Site: 304 Holdenhurst Rd, Bournemouth, UK – Britain BH8 8AY (01202-304-305) Sukho Thai is a popular Bournemouth cafe because its doors opened. This just furnished restaurant delivers one of the very most aromatic eating parts in town, which is a results of the chefs’using fresh substances and herbs in all their dishes. Thai egg custard is a great variety down their treat menu. Meal and set menus are also available. Recent Posts

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Brunch without Champagne is just a sad breakfast : BO-TAI

Get your Sunday Drunch with BO-TAI every Sunday with the Beauty of Qutub Minar, Taste your favorite savory and sweet brunch bites, sip champagne and dance the afternoon away. Perfect for Sunday afternoon with a group of friends ,
Relax and Unwind in the sun while sipping on your choice of drink and you can also prefer to sit inside have your meal peacefully without the hot sun bothering you.
Bo-tai has a vast interior illuminated by natural light which is such a bright and happy feeling to take in. The Sunday Brunch here is not just Brunch, but a feast.
BO-TAI Combines outstanding modern Thai cuisine and a exquisite modern decor with a warm welcoming ambience. They have consistently set standards for quality and service through creative and careful attention to detail.
Their extensive menu designed to incorporate current trends and presents a balanced representation of authentic Thai dishes enhanced with the traditional flavours and tastes of delicate ingredients and the freshest herbs. We started our brunch with fresh Avocado salad – sweet mango with creamy avocado is a great start , Along with that we had Thai dimsums which were purple and tempting beautiful bite-sized dishes and so soft and flavourful .
then came along some interesting cocktail Called the Full Moon its a gin cocktail, garnished with edible flowers and served in a way that you will fall in love with it…
In the mains we enjoyed ‘ Massaman Curry’ with steamed rice. A sumptuous comforting stew with vegetables and spices, it’s full of flavour and a hearty meal in itself
and in desserts I Simply loved ‘Kobocha Custard’ — once again visually appealing. and delicious . Bo- Tai continues to set the standard for timeless elegance and unrivaled hospitality , the staff on their toes even you flutter your eyes and they will understand your needs .
To the wine list that celebrates both local and international tastes that constantly evolving with new, exciting selections that is carefully chosen to perfectly balance their creation. Bo-tai will endeavour to please you
We urge you to sign up for the Premium Champagne brunch and enjoy glasses upon glasses with delicious food , They’ve also got brunch deals with cocktails and sparkling wine.
This all day dining restaurant certainly has very a pleasing interior with super cosy seating and elite decor. I’ve always loved the ambience of this place with an incredible view of the lush green outdoor with a fabulous view of Qutub. Plan your next Sunday Drunch with BO-TAI along with shopping spree with the best Indian designers of the world .
” Brunch without champagne is a sad breakfast “
28.526029 77.184148

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‘VIBGYOR-2019’ begins today at BFGI

Bathinda, February 1
In its bid to provide international-level exposure to students of the region, Baba Farid Group of Institutions (BFGI) is all set to organise the seventh edition of International Fest Vibgyor-19 from February 2 to 3 on its campus.
While informing regarding the preparations of ‘VIBGYOR-2019’, Gurmeet Dhaliwal, chairman of BFGI, said, “The purpose of the fest is not only to provide world-level information about technology, but also to make people aware of the culture of India as well as other countries. This international fest is organised every year as the annual day of the BFGI.” Dr Dhaliwal said, “In the fest, students from various IITs, IIMs, other universities, engineering and management colleges from all across the country will participate in various technical and non-technical competitions.”
In the fest, there will be competitions among students of schools and colleges for the title of Mr and Miss VIBGYOR, Vibgyor idol and Vibgyor dancing star. In ‘TECHNO WORLD’, there will be technical competitions such as robo race, sumo warrior, line follower, project mania, robo soccer, robo golf, cyclomania, aero modelling, quad copter and boat racing. In ‘MAGNET’, there will be non-technical competitions like college roadies, biz quiz, biz-craft, face painting, fashionista (corporate fashion show), shoot IT (photography) and T-shirt painting. In ‘SPECTRA’, poster-making, rangoli, turban tying, nail art, food without fire, best out of waste, science mania and treasure hunt would be organised. In skill competitions, under skill development policy of the Government of India, there will be competitions like website development, CAD CON (Mechanical Engineering design), circuit designing, CAD ATHENA (civil engineering design), blind coding, brick laying and fab guru.
Besides, amazing bike stunts, international performances, heritage exhibition and gatka performances will be the main attractions of the fest. Under the defence exhibition, performances by the Indian Air Force would be the cherry on the cake for youngsters. To provide unlimited enjoyment, there is an amusement park with merry-go-round and lots of other swings. There will be a food court where various south Indian, Chinese and Punjabi cuisines will be served.
Famous Punjabi singers Babbu Maan, Kamal Heer, Nimrat Khaira and Harf Cheema will mesmerise the audience.
The function will be inaugurated by Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Minister, Punjab, Bharat Bhushan Ashu.

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Best of 2018: Where to Find Our Best Restaurants

EXPAND Barbecue at Rhema Soul Cuisine includes tender, melt-in-your-mouth ribs and collard greens. Jacob Tyler Dunn Best of Phoenix 2018: These Are Metro Phoenix’s Best Restaurants Elizabeth January 5, 2019 | 1:49pm Editor’s note: This list was originally published on October 22.
The Phoenix area is fast becoming a foodie’s paradise. There are so many choices, we figured you’d need a little help deciding where to spend your valuable dining dollars. Read on to find out where’s the best steak, the best patio dining, the best Italian food, the best place to take kids, the best seafood, the best food truck and even the best restaurant restroom. We guarantee by the time you get to the end of this list you’ll be hungry, so make those reservations as quickly as possible. These places fill up fast.
Related Stories 3 New Spots for Mexican Food in Metro Phoenix That You Should Try Welcome Back: Antique Diner May Be Gone, but the Vibe Lives On The Wondrous Wagyu Wizard of Arcadia Continue Reading Chef Kevin Binkley stirs the pot. David Zickl Best Chef: Kevin Binkley
2320 East Osborn Road
When James Beard Award-nominated chef Kevin Binkley announced he was closing two restaurants and migrating his flagship New American fine-dining outpost to midtown Phoenix, the local food cognoscenti was skeptical, to put it lightly. Fortunately, the reimagined Binkley’s Restaurant feels like a worthy risk. Binkley works closely with his small culinary team to prepare elaborate, 20-plus-course dinners, which are crafted using optimal ingredients and served in a highly intimate setting. The chef pulls out all the stops, offering diners a direct view into the kitchen and mingling with guests throughout the three- to four-hour dinner service.
EXPAND Beef cheeks and burgundy from Restaurant Progress. Jackie Mercandetti Best Place to Take a Foodie: Restaurant Progress
702 West Montecito Avenue
Restaurant Progress is the indie darling of the Phoenix culinary scene, and the perfect place to take any diehard foodie friend. The 37-seat neighborhood restaurant feels at once sophisticated and intimate, and the open kitchen means you can catch a glimpse of chef-owner TJ Culp and his kitchen crew manning the ovens throughout your meal. Culp and company deliver seasonally driven, modern American fare, with a menu that changes about every four to six weeks. You can order à la carte, but the best way to experience Culp’s playfully refined cooking is with the five-course chef’s-choice tasting menu.
Best New Restaurant: Pa’La
2107 North 24th Street
You won’t come to Pa’La for complicated, showstopping dishes, or white tablecloth ambiance. You’ll come because Pa’La is a temple of simple and elegant wood-fired cooking, highlighting impeccably sourced ingredients. The casual counter-service restaurant, a collaboration between veteran chef Claudio Urciuoli and Tortas Paquime’s Omar Alvarez, delivers a menu that is relatively modest in scope: just Spanish tapas, wood-fired Italian schiacciata flatbread, salads, and Urciuoli’s signature Navarro bowl, made with heirloom grains and topped with responsibly sourced, ultra-fresh seafood.
EXPAND Tamara Stanger of Cotton & Copper. Melissa Fossom Best Visionary: Tamara Stanger
1006 East Warner Road, #113, Tempe
A lot of what you see when walking your dog or on a hike — the berries, and fruit, and flowers — you may see but not really see. You may dismiss them as regular parts of our vast and strange Sonoran landscape. Tamara Stanger of Cotton & Copper sees this central Arizona bounty in ways that virtually nobody else does. She has started to build a formidable reputation for using these hyperlocal lifeforms to push and elevate her artful food. With dishes like dumplings with corn ash, cactus fruit semifreddo, and tacos built from heirloom Pima wheat tortillas, Stanger trailblazes toward a new Arizona cuisine.
EXPAND The Maine Lobster Lady’s long lines are worth it. Melissa Fossum Best Food Truck: The Maine Lobster Lady
They say absence makes the heart grow fonder. Well, we’re very fond of The Maine Lobster Lady, a seasonal food truck that graces the Valley with its presence November through May. In those other months, when proprietor Diana Santospago is at her home in, well, Maine, all we can do is remember fondly the times when we’ve been greeted warmly at the cheerful blue truck and think about all the dishes we can’t wait to revisit upon her return — the fat lobster rolls, the rich lobster bisque, the juicy fried seafood rolls (your choice of scallops or whole-belly clam), the Maine whoopie pies, and much more. Is it November yet?
Best Glow Up: Welcome Diner
929 East Pierce Street
Welcome Diner is dead; long live Welcome Diner. In May, after more than a decade at 10th and Roosevelt streets, the original location of Welcome Diner closed and a brand-spanking-new location opened just a few blocks south. We love the slick retro vibe of the new Welcome Diner, and we’re psyched that it’s now open every day of the week (and until 2 a.m., no less) for riffs on Southern classics like pulled pork and grits, cornbread panzanella, and the famous Big Jim fried chicken biscuit sandwich.
EXPAND Already picturing this patio packed for brunch. Jacob Tyler Dunn Best Hangout: Super Chunk Sweets & Treats and New Wave Market
7120 East Sixth Avenue, Scottsdale
Super Chunk in Old Town Scottsdale was always a place we loved to stop at for goodies and gifts of various types. Then, last year, owners Sergio and Country Velador expanded into the space next door to create New Wave Market. Now, the combined concepts are a place we’re content to linger. There’s no need to rush through your meal at New Wave; the vibe is relaxed and cheerful, the perfect place to stay awhile with a book or a friend, and if you delay your departure long enough, you may find you have room for something from the Super Chunk side: a rich canele, perhaps, or one of the famous mesquite chocolate chip cookies.
Best Dining Corner: Northeast Corner of Rural and Warner Roads, Tempe
The vastness of metro Phoenix means that there are restaurant gems to be discovered all over the Valley. But you can save yourself some gas and hit up three hot new eateries with one stop to the northeast corner of Rural and Warner roads in Tempe. Aaron Chamberlin’s Tempe Public Market Café, a casual all-day spot, was the first to open, in January. July brought us Cotton & Copper, an Arizona-centric eatery created by Sean Traynor and helmed by chef Tamara Stanger. Finally, Ghost Ranch, another Chamberlin eatery debuted in August. All of a sudden, one unassuming corner is a must-visit dining destination.
Best Restroom: Durant’s
2611 North Central Avenue
With its old-fashioned pay phone, rose-covered wallpaper, and basket full of peppermints, the women’s restroom at Durant’s is a hyper-feminine antidote to the rest of the steakhouse’s 1950s mob-boss vibe. But the best part of the restroom, besides its vintage charm, is the millennial-pink vinyl couch. When you’ve had enough of men for the night, or you just want to gossip in private, grab your martini and settle in. The only downside? Durant’s predates the age of catering to digital influencers, and the restroom’s tight corners and strange lighting mean that we’ve never been able to get the perfect Instagram.
EXPAND The Piña Colada Redux at The Breadfruit & Rum Bar with rum whipped cream. Lauren Cusimano Best Tropical Vibe: The Breadfruit & Rum Bar
108 East Pierce Street
Come for the Jamaican fare and the enormous menu of creative rum drinks; stay for the cozy enclosed outdoor lounge where you can eavesdrop on the cigar-smoking crowd. At this downtown restaurant, you can leave responsibilities behind and pretend you’re on a tropical island vacation. As the name suggests, The Breadfruit & Rum Bar has a huge number of rums on offer. The kitchen also serves up sustainably sourced seafood, earning the restaurant a Smart Catch label from the James Beard Foundation.
Bone up on beef at the T-Bone. Timur Guseynov Best Western Dining Inside the City Limits: T-Bone Steak House
10037 South 19th Avenue
The T-Bone Steak House has been serving Western grub and spectacular views of the sunset for more than 40 years. And it’s only about seven miles from downtown, located among the saguaro cactuses in the foothills of South Mountain, a mile and a half south of Baseline Road. Huge mesquite-grilled steaks with a side of cowboy beans are the main feature, of course, at the T-Bone. When we ordered a porterhouse during a recent visit, the waitress asked, “Do you want the small one or the big one, honey?” We went small, a mere 24 ounces. The big one is 40.
EXPAND “Pee-Posh Garden,” a dish at Kai featuring seed “soil,” chile foam, and indigenous vegetables that vary by season. Chris Malloy Best Authentic Arizona Restaurant: Kai Restaurant
5594 West Wild Horse Pass Boulevard, Chandler
As a AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five Star restaurant, Kai at the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass Resort is one of the most highly praised restaurants in Arizona. What really makes Kai uniquely Arizonan, though, is its singular menu of Native American-influenced fare. Chef de cuisine Ryan Swanson’s menu weaves elements of Pima and Maricopa culture and tradition into an uncommon menu that you won’t find anywhere else in the country. Don’t miss staples like the grilled tenderloin of buffalo, a gorgeously cooked, lean steak paired with a saguaro blossom syrup.
Best Farm-to-Table Restaurant: FnB
7125 East Fifth Avenue, Scottsdale
If you get up early and hit a farmer’s market, you just might see Charleen Badman, chef at Old Town Scottsdale’s FnB, eyeing Sphinx dates or Romanesco cauliflower and considering how she can elevate that night’s dishes. Badman is uncannily attuned to what is happening on the Valley’s farms, dairies, and ranches. She understands and harnesses the delicate spirit of each local ingredient she uses, plating dishes that exceed their parts and delight with rigorous composition, intellectual charm, and inspiring flavors.
EXPAND Candied bacon sliders from PNPK. Allison Trebacz Best Happy Hour: PNPK
23335 North Scottsdale Road, Suite D105, Scottsdale
PNPK in north Scottsdale is a relative newcomer to the metro Phoenix food scene, but we’re already taken with its happy hour for a few reasons. First, the food: PNPK has a wide range of specials at fantastic prices; the bruschetta (we love the smoked salmon with goat cheese, red onion, and capers), deviled eggs, signature craft sliders (try the Crispy Hot Fried Chicken), and other shareables are discounted. Second, the drinks — think super-affordable wine, sparkling wine, and craft beer flights in addition to other specials.
Best Breakfast: Butters Pancakes & Cafe
8300 North Hayden Road, Scottsdale
Don’t be put off by the wait that you’ll inevitably find at Butters Pancakes & Cafe on a weekend morning. Think of it as more time to study the comprehensive menu. You could go for the restaurant’s namesake: soft, fluffy pancakes that come in varieties like Wildberry Bliss, Oreo cookie s’mores, cinnamon roll, and banana cream. Or if you’re feeling more savory than sweet, there are plenty of omelets and scramblers along with specialties like the Eggs Verde, which features two eggs on a corn tortilla with black beans, cheese, and green New Mexico chile sauce.
Fàme Caffe’s croque madame is tres belle . Jackie Mercandetti Best Brunch: Fàme Caffe
4700 North Central Avenue
Ah, brunch — the most important meal of the weekend. When we’re in the mood for not-quite-breakfast, not-quite-lunch, we stop by Fàme Caffe in central Phoenix. It’s usually busy, but the line to order moves quickly, so don’t delay in choosing what to eat. We love the veggie scramble — eggs, goat cheese, mushrooms, cauliflower, and broccoli — with house potatoes, or if we’re more in the mood for something sweet, the French toast crafted from sturdy country bread is also a wise choice.
EXPAND The Dressing Room’s tako yaki hushpuppy. Melissa Fossum Best Downtown Lunch: The Dressing Room
220 East Roosevelt Street
You won’t find run-of-the-mill sandwiches or lackluster salads at this Roosevelt Row micro-restaurant, which specializes in playful, globally inspired street food with a gourmet twist. On the menu, you’ll see everything from Korean-inspired yakitori, salads, burgers, and tacos. Skipped breakfast? Try the kitchen’s All Day Burrito, which bulges with cheesy scrambled eggs, pico de gallo, bacon, hash browns, and avocado. Service is quick and friendly, and there’s a daily happy hour that runs from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. — the perfect excuse to indulge in a lunch-hour cocktail.
The interior of Bri on Seventh is an old house turned restaurant. Jacob Tyler Dunn Best Small Plates: Bri
2221 North Seventh Street
Duck roasted high over a wood fire. Pickled cabbage flecked with chile. Pork ribs in black bean sauce. Pan-fried cheese. These are some of the small plates at Bri, the new Seventh Street restaurant captained by chef Vince Mellody (once an executive chef at Otro Café). At Bri, Mellody cooks whatever he wants, looping together flavors from Europe, Asia, and beyond. At this spot, even the tiny radishes with house-made butter seem to have way more flavor than they should.
EXPAND Tratto, Chris Bianco’s most atmospherically polished restaurant. Chris Malloy Best Place to Eat at the Bar: Tratto
4743 North 20th Street
Chris Bianco’s Italian-Arizonan trattoria evolves with the Sonoran micro-seasons. Roasted eggplant with olive oil might be in one day, out the next. How do you know what’s best to order? You sit at the bar and catch the ear of Blaise Faber, one of the Valley’s most congenial and skilled bartenders, as he froths egg whites and measures house-made apricot liqueur. The bar at Tratto is an escape. You feel almost like you’re sitting in a formal restaurant in Florence.
EXPAND Bring the kiddos to Luci’s at The Orchard. Jacob Tyler Dunn Best Romantic Restaurant: House of Tricks
114 East Seventh Street, Tempe
Romantic meals have something in common with real estate: It’s all about location, location, location. That’s why we keep coming back to House of Tricks, which is situated in a 1920s cottage just off Mill Avenue. It’s an oasis of charm and refinement amid the hustle and bustle of Arizona State University’s Tempe campus, an intimate space whether you’re nestled in the dining room or eating on the tree-canopied patio. And, oh yeah, the food is outstanding.
EXPAND Treat man’s best friend to the patio at SanTan Brewing. SanTan Brewing Company Best Restaurant for Kids: Luci’s at the Orchard
7100 North 12th Street
We love kids, but they’re not always the easiest dining companions. When eating with little ones, the choice of restaurant is crucial, which is why we love Luci’s. Part of the Orchard complex in north central Phoenix, Luci’s has a simple but tasty kids’ menu of perennial favorites — including chicken strips, a cheeseburger, Funky Monkey French toast, and a cheese crisp. But as good as the food is, it’s what comes after that makes this the ideal spot for families. The Orchard is home to a splash pad and a shaded lawn surrounded by chairs, as well as Splurge Ice Cream & Candy Shop, a dessert spot that will delight kids of all ages.
Best Place to Eat on the Patio: Ocotillo
3243 North Third Street
When patio season hits, there’s nowhere we’d rather eat al fresco than Ocotillo. The central Phoenix eatery has been a favorite of ours since its inception, and the outdoor atmosphere is a big part of the reason. There’s the covered area that contains long, picnic-style tables and its own bar; there’s also a cozy area with couches for groups that’s near a good-size lawn perfect for children to play on. Or, you could sit on the wraparound patio that looks out at Third Street. And Ocotillo’s rotating seasonal menus have nothing but good options, including plenty of vegetable dishes and the famous mesquite-grilled Ocotillo chicken with citrus, chiles, and local honey.
EXPAND The Tantanmen at SoSoBa is epic. Allison Young Best Dog-Friendly Patio: SanTan Brewing Company
8 South San Marcos, Chandler
One of Historic Downtown Chandler’s staples is SanTan Brewing Company, which has served craft food and numerous varieties of craft beer since opening in its corner spot at Arizona Avenue and Chandler Boulevard in 2007. And if that’s not everything you need already, the dog-friendly patio should cap you off nicely. SanTan has a roomy patio, fresh water, and attentive guests for your doggies to bask in. There are also Otto’s Brew Bones — peanut-butter-flavored dog treats made with SanTan spent beer grain that are made and packaged in-house, and feature Otto, the cartoon dog that graces the label of SanTan’s Oktoberfest German Style Lager.
EXPAND Where’s the beef? Try J&G Steakhouse. J&G Steakhouse Best Late-Night Dining: SoSoBa
214 West Roosevelt Street
Craving a Vietnamese-style salad with rice noodles, veggies, and seaweed salad? How about blistered shishito peppers, pork belly or fried chicken bao buns, or a savory bowl of katsu ramen at midnight? SoSoBa has you covered. Everything on the restaurant’s Asian-fusion menu is available until 2 a.m., making it the perfect spot to sober up after a night of drinking. If you’re not ready to call it a night just yet, you can also pair your meal with one of the inventive cocktails, like the Honey and Knives, which combines tequila, grapefruit juice, ginger syrup, and serrano pepper.
EXPAND Barbecue at Rhema Soul Cuisine includes tender, melt-in-your-mouth ribs and collard greens. Jacob Tyler Dunn Best Steakhouse: J&G Steakhouse
6000 East Camelback Road, Scottsdale
The Valley dining scene is increasingly diverse, with restaurants representing countless regional and national cuisines available for the sampling. But sometimes, we just want a really good steak. J&G Steakhouse at The Phoenician resort recently celebrated its 10th anniversary by undergoing a redesign that included a desert-inspired color scheme and improvements to the patio area. Fortunately, the stunning views, outstanding food, and impeccable service haven’t changed.
Best Casino Buffet: Wandering Horse Buffet
9800 East Indian Bend Road, Scottsdale
One of our favorite parts of the Las Vegas experience is the buffets: For a moderate fee, we get to gorge like we’re living in the last days of the Roman Empire. We get the same thrill when we visit the Wandering Horse Buffet at Talking Stick Resort & Casino. Variety is the keyword here. There’s a full salad bar. There are sections for Mexican, Italian, and Asian food. Antipasto, sushi, carving stations, desserts including a gelato bar (the blood orange gelato is our favorite) — it’s all here.
Best Diner: Art’s All American Cafe
1724 West Van Buren Street
This shoebox-size, family-run diner serves up classic, mouth-watering greasy spoon eats. Open six days a week for breakfast and lunch, Art’s specializes in unpretentious and delicious homestyle comfort food. For breakfast, don’t miss the scratch-made biscuits and gravy, served with your choice of home fries or hash browns (both are exceptional). For lunch, the ABC (avocado, bacon, and cheese) burger is terrific, as is the French dip sandwich. Squeeze into the tiny dining room and make yourself at home — the service is as friendly as the food is delicious.
Modern Mexican cuisine gets the white-linen treatment at Barrio Café Gran Reserva. Evie Carpenter Best Soul Food: Rhema Soul Cuisine
1153 East Jefferson Street, #1
Rhema Soul Cuisine isn’t your average neighborhood soul-food restaurant. True, you’ll find familiar dishes on the menu, including chicken and waffles. But at Rhema, this staple dish is prepared with a playful twist — the fluffy, oversize waffle is prepared with a red velvet batter, drizzled with sugary icing, and served with juicy boneless chicken. The friendly Childs clan, who own and operate Rhema, have fashioned a one-of-a-kind menu that creatively draws culinary inspiration from Southern and Caribbean cooking, with the occasional nod to Southwestern cuisine.
Best Throwback Restaurant: Avanti
2728 East Thomas Road
Avanti has been doing it for more than four decades now, and we’re glad. Its dependable service, delicious entrees, and sincere retro vibe are part of the Phoenix experience. Founded by Benito Mellino of Sorrento, and Tuscan restaurateur Angelo Livi, Avanti (Italian for “forward”) began tempting us with perfect pasta and superb sauces in 1974, and its black-and-white and chrome decor has barely budged since. Blood-red walls and zebra-stripe fabrics add a little something extra to tasty entrees like linguine carbonara, rich with spaghetti, eggs, and cheese, and a hearty lasagna like Mama might make.
A spread of CRUjiente’s progressive tacos. Chris Malloy Best Upscale Mexican Restaurant: Barrio Café Gran Reserva
1301 Grand Avenue
The Valley is home to a handful of upscale Mexican restaurants, but few are as singular as chef Silvana Salcido Esparza’s Barrio Café Gran Reserva. The small eatery is artful and elegant, with tables draped in white linen and original mural art gracing the flatiron-shaped dining room. This is one of the only Mexican restaurants in the city offering a multicourse menu de degustación (tasting menu), which acts as a showcase for Esparza’s latest experiments in modern Mexican cooking.
Belly up to soulful cuisine at Roland’s. Chris Malloy Best Mexican Restaurant to Take a Scenester: CRUjiente Tacos
3961 East Camelback Road
If you want to impress your taco-loving hipster friends, take a spin out to Arcadia for a taste of chef Richard Hinojosa’s terrific gourmet tacos. Don’t miss the duck taco, which is slicked with a nice, bittersweet mole sauce and paired with salsa verde. Other highlights include a Texas wagyu steak taco paired with soy-pickled mushrooms; a pork belly taco served with house-made kimchi and Sriracha aioli; and a decadent vegetarian tempura avocado taco.
Barrio Cafe. Jacob Tyler Dunn Best New Mexican Restaurant: Roland’s Cafe Market Bar
1505 East Van Buren Street
This all-day restaurant/cafe — a collaboration between Nadia Holguín and Armando Hernandez of Tacos Chiwas and James Beard Award-winning pizza icon Chris Bianco — is an understated gem. Roland’s offers a small menu that is rooted in the norteño culinary traditions of Holguín and Hernandez’s native Chihuahua. Dishes like chile colorado and entomatadas (corn tortillas stuffed with asadero cheese and smothered in a vibrant red chile sauce) demonstrate an underlying reverence and respect for homestyle Mexican fare.
Beat your meat addiction at Pomegranate Cafe. Jackie Mercandetti

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8 Australian Islands You Probably Haven’t Heard of But Need to Visit

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Though Australia is itself an island, its coasts are fringed by a number of smaller isles that are too often overlooked. You might have heard about Rottnest Island near Perth for quokka selfies and Phillip Island outside Melbourne (which is famous for its nightly penguin parade). But those are just two of Australia’s better known islands.
There are plenty more, like Queensland’s Fraser Island, which is the largest sand island in the world; Satellite Island, which is a private retreat off Tasmania; and Bigge Island off Western Australia’s Kimberley Coast, which has some of the oldest rock art in the world hidden in its dramatic gorges and cliffs.
Interested? Here are eight other Australian islands you might not have heard of yet … but we’re willing to bet are about to land at the top of your travel to-do list. Lady Elliot Island , Queensland
Lady Elliot Island is among the southernmost islands of the Great Barrier Reef and is home to more than 1,200 species of marine life and myriad types of seabirds. But this vibrant coral cay wasn’t always a watery wonderland. Back in the 19th century, the island was strip-mined for guano (yes, bird poop) for use as agricultural fertilizer and an ingredient in gunpowder. The process denuded the island of its soil and trees, and it was left barren for over a century.
In the past few decades — and most notably once the current leaseholders took over 14 years ago — conservation efforts and replanting have once again made the island bloom, reinvigorated the coral reefs that surround it and attracted back much of the wildlife that once called this place home.
Today, Lady Elliot Island offers 45 dive sites for snorkelers and scuba enthusiasts , and is considered one of the top sites on Earth to dive with manta rays. Because it’s at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef, the waters remain cooler than farther north, which means the coral has not experienced bleaching to the same extent as other parts of the reef. An aerial view of Lady Elliot Island. (Photo via Shutterstock)
Getting There: Spending at least two nights on the island is recommended. However, because of its proximity to the Queensland coast, you can even head out here for a day trip on a sea plane from Redcliffe Airport (RCL) near Brisbane, from the Gold Coast, Bundaberg or Hervey Bay/Fraser Coast. Prices are around $899 AUD ($633) per person and include airport transfers, round-trip scenic flights, snorkel equipment and a guided tour, as well as a buffet lunch, towels, sunscreen and use of the guest facilities.
Where to Stay: The island is only home to the Lady Elliot Island Eco Resort , a beachy bushcamp. It’s not fancy — rooms are fan-cooled and don’t have TVs or telephones — but it’s comfortable and, what’s more, the camp is on target to be powered by 100% renewable energy in 2020 and produces about 30,000 liters of its own fresh water each day. Lord Howe Island , New South Wales
This secluded piece of paradise is located about halfway between Australia and New Zealand in the middle of the Tasman Sea. The island was formed from the remains of an ancient volcanic crater, and it is instantly recognizable by the dramatic crags that anchor its southern edge.
Apart from the spectacular scenery, the waters around the UNESCO World Heritage-listed island are home to hundreds of species of fish, 90 different types of coral and a thriving population of hawksbill and green sea turtles. You can even snorkel right alongside these amazing creatures just off shore, or during a multi-hour excursion with outfitters such as Islander Cruises or Marine Adventures .
Back on land, you can hike the island’s steep slopes, cycle along its gentle curves or just hang out at one of the many uncrowded beaches as you barbecue your lunch. Only 400 visitors are allowed at any given time, so you won’t have to fight the crowds for a spot on the sand. The best months to see turtles are from November to April, but the island’s climate is temperate year-round. Lord Howe Island. (Photo via Shutterstock)
Getting There: Unless you have your own yacht, you’ll have to fly. QantasLink offers up to two daily nonstops from Sydney (SYD) and nonstop flights from Brisbane (BNE) to Lord Howe Island (LDH) on weekends. The flight lasts about two hours, but ticket prices are steep and range from $900 to $1,400 round-trip. Sadly, award availability seems to be nil if you want to use American AAdvantage miles or British Airways Avios to book a ticket on Qantas at the moment.
Where to Stay: As you might expect, the accommodations are limited, but there are still some beautiful resorts. Capella Lodge is one of Australia’s most sophisticated luxury lodges and has some of the island’s best views, while the more casual Arajilla Retreat has a Balinese-inspired jungle vibe. Kangaroo Island , South Australia
OK, so you may be familiar with this stunning island just eight miles off the coast of South Australia. After all, it’s relatively large, at 96 miles long by 35 across at its widest point, and named after everyone’s favorite marsupial.
Over one third of the island is covered by national park land and other conservation areas, providing for up-close wildlife encounters (think: strolling through colonies of giant sea lions basking on the beach at Seal Bay; watching koalas feed at dusk at the Hanson Bay wildlife sanctuary; and picnicking alongside the island’s namesake kangaroos and jumpy wallabies). The western side of Kangaroo Island boasts stunning scenery, including the so-called Remarkable Rocks and Admirals Arch rock formations.
Kangaroo Island has also become a popular destination for foodies, thanks to the prevalence of locally produced culinary treats, including honey made by Ligurian bees, freshwater marron (a type of crayfish with particularly sweet meat) and fresh-caught seafood including oysters and abalone. There are also artisanal beers, wines and spirits to be sampled at outlets such as Kangaroo Island Brewery and Bay of Shoals Wines . An outfitter like Exceptional Kangaroo Island can create a tailored itinerary that combines nature, wildlife and gourmet experiences. The famous Admirals Arch at Flingers Chase National Park on Kangaroo Island. (Photo via Shutterstock)
Getting There: For those with extra time on their hands, the Kangaroo Island Sealink ferry operates a daily service from Cape Jervis on the mainland, about a 90-minute drive south of Adelaide, to the island port town of Penneshaw. The ride takes 45 minutes. Otherwise, you can catch a 30-minute flight from Adelaide’s airport (ADL) to Kingscote (KGC) on Regional Express. Fares start around $300 AUD ($212) round-trip.
Where to Stay: Kangaroo Island is home to one of Australia’s most iconic luxury lodges, Southern Ocean Lodge , which overlooks the ocean from a dramatic bluff. The lodge offers a variety of nature experiences, bespoke menus featuring some of the best local produce and wines and, of course, a beautiful spa with treatments that incorporate Australian-made Li’Tya products. For something more casual (and self-catered), Kangaroo Beach Lodges is a good alternative. Christmas Island , Western Australia
Easter Island is in the Pacific, but Christmas Island is in the middle of the Indian Ocean, a good 1,600 miles northwest of Perth and closer to Asia than Australia. This tiny, rocky outcrop is known as the “Galápagos of the Indian Ocean” thanks to the incredible variety and vibrancy of the wildlife to be found here, and nearly two thirds of it is considered national park land.
It is perhaps best known for the massive annual red crab migration that overtakes the island on full moons during the months of October, November or December (it varies year to year). The red crabs are one of 14 species of land crabs to be found on the island, and it is estimated that up to 50 million of them live there.
Apart from crustaceans, visitors can also marvel at Christmas Island’s stunning coral-reef formations, migrating whale sharks (between November and May), a multitude of seabird species including golden bosuns and red-footed boobies, primordial rainforest and the dramatic underwater drop-offs of the Java Trench. In short, it’s heaven for nature lovers. Crabs taking over at Ethel Beach on Christmas Island. (Photo by Raphael Bick via Unsplash)
Getting There: There’s not much choice here. Virgin Australia offers flights from Perth (PER) — just one nonstop per week to Christmas Island Airport (XCH), and one weekly flight via Cocos (Keeling) Islands Airport (CCK). Fares are high, starting around $400 AUD ($282) each way, but the good news is, you can actually find award availability using Delta SkyMiles for 22,500 miles and $31 in taxes and fees each way.
Where to Stay: The most upscale option on the island is Swell Lodge , which is a solar-powered eco-retreat nestled inside the jungle of a national park overlooking a reef and the Indian Ocean. The staff will create personalized itineraries and arrange the use of a complimentary 4×4 vehicle for your stay. But it’ll cost you: $690 AUD ($486) per person per night based on double occupancy. If that’s not in your budget, the Captain’s Last Resort is a more moderate option at just $190 AUD ($134) per night. Bruny Island , Tasmania
If you make it all the way to Tasmania, you should absolutely include a visit to Bruny Island to your itinerary. This rugged piece of land lies just off the coast near Hobart, and is becoming a haven for foodies and wildlife lovers alike. There are tons of hiking trails, including one to Truganini Lookout for 360-degree views of the island and its slender isthmus, the Neck. Another on the Labillardiere Peninsula requires a full day out in South Bruny National Park. Pennicott Wilderness Journeys offers wildlife cruises to spot dolphins, migrating whales, penguins and Australian fur seals, while back on land, you might see spiky echidnas, burrowing wombats and red-necked wallabies.
For the food-focused, Bruny Island is home to one of Australia’s most famous artisanal gourmet producers, Bruny Island Cheese Co . While there, you can stop by the dairy to sample their various cheeses and other products. Visitors can also pop into Australia’s southernmost winery, Bruny Island Premium Wines; pick berries at Bruny Island Berry Farm ; tarry for a tipple at the Bruny Island House of Whisky; or join a day-long gourmet tour with Bruny Island Traveller .
Tasmanian Walking Co. offers a three-day “Bruny Island Long Weekend” walking tour that takes in some of the island’s most iconic landscapes along with visits to local producers. The Isthmus connecting the North and South Bruny Islands, Tasmania. (Photo via Shutterstock)
Getting There: There is regular vehicular ferry service from the town of Kettering, which is a 40-minute drive south of Hobart. The crossing takes 20 minutes and costs $32 AUD (about $23) for a driver and vehicle.
Where to Stay: If you want to stay out on the island for a few nights, the Hundred Acre Hideaway is a mini eco-resort with two self-catering cabins in a rainforest overlooking Cloudy Bay. Prices start at $250 AUD ($176) per night. Discover Bruny Island Holiday Accommodation is another good option for a home base, situated, as it is, in the island’s main township of Alonnah. Rates there start at $239 AUD ($169) per night. Tiwi Islands , Northern Territory
Just 60 miles north of Darwin, where the Timor and Arafura Seas meet, the Tiwi Islands are a small archipelago of 11 islets. The two main ones are Bathurst Island and Melville Island, which is Australia’s second-largest island after Tasmania.
What makes the Tiwi Islands so special is that almost the entire population is of indigenous descent and travelers can partake in a variety of activities including cultural and wildlife tours with them. Among the arts and crafts that distinguish this singular place are colorful batik cloth painting, woodcarving, shell jewelry and various forms of ceramic and glass sculpture.
Outdoor enthusiasts also flock here for the phenomenal fishing, including for barramundi around Melville Island, crabbing and even tracking crocodiles along the untamed islands’ shores. A beach on the Tiwi Islands, Northern Territory. (Photo via Shutterstock)
Getting There: Visitors can either fly from Darwin (DRW) to Bathurst Island (BRT) on a 30-minute seaplane flight or take the thrice-weekly SeaLink ferry from Darwin to Bathurst Island, which takes just under three hours. To get between Bathurst and Melville, where you’re most likely staying, there’s a ferry service on weekdays between the two. The Tiwi Islands Regional Council inter-islands car ferry between Wurrumiyanga on Bathurst Island and Paru on Melville Island operates Monday to Friday from 8am to 4pm, and tickets are available at the Council office or can be ordered on the phone.
Where to Stay: Your two best bets are both on Melville Island: the Melville Island Lodge and the Clearwater Island Lodge . Both cater specifically to folks out for some sportfishing, though they can also arrange other outings, including visits to local arts centers, bush walks to see the endemic wildlife, croc spotting, bird watching and cultural tours that may have guests foraging for traditional foods such as mangrove worms and mud crabs. Daydream Island , Queensland
For folks who want the quintessential Great Barrier Reef experience without having to contend with crowded charters or tourist-clogged hotels, Daydream Island is the perfect alternative.
It’s situated in Queensland’s idyllic Whitsundays archipelago and is home to a soon-to-reopen resort. What sets Daydream Island apart is that, though it’s close to Airlie Beach on the mainland and the popular jumping-off point of Hamilton Island, it feels completely secluded. While some of the corals around the island were badly damaged by recent cyclones, those along its southern edge remain healthy. And if you don’t take my word for it, just check out the Instagram profile of the resort’s marine biologist, Johnny Gaskell, for some inspiration. A beach on Daydream Island in Queensland. (Photo via Shutterstock)
Getting There: Visitors have the choice of either flying to Hamilton Island (HTI) on Qantas (on which you can use American AAdvantage miles or British Airways Avios), or Virgin Australia (a Delta SkyMiles partner). Both fly nonstop from Brisbane (BNE), Sydney (SYD) and Melbourne (MEL). You can also fly to Proserpine (PPP) on the mainland from Brisbane on Virgin Australia and Jetstar, or from Sydney (SYD) on Jetstar and Tigerair. From either, you can catch the ferry service offered by Cruise Whitsundays .
Where to Stay: The island’s 277-room resort is currently undergoing an $86 million AUD ($60.6 million) renovation after being damaged by a cyclone last year and is expected to reopen in April. It will have a redeveloped pool area and various new restaurants, including one serving seasonal Australian fare and another focused on Asian-fusion cuisine. The most interesting attraction, however, is the newly expanded Living Reef outdoor aquarium that extends over 200 meters around the main building and holds more than 100 marine species, including rays, crabs, fish and corals. Cocos (Keeling) Islands , Western Australia
Like Christmas Island, the Cocos (Keeling) Islands are far from the mainland in the more remote stretches of the Indian Ocean. They include 27 coral islands forming two atolls, and shelter a lively reef system that teems with sea creatures including rare hawksbill turtles, dolphins and sharks. Visitors can dive and snorkel, of course, but also angle for bonefish, kite surf, explore the islands on a canoe safari, laze around on the palm-lined white sands of Cossies Beach, or hike around the various islands.
The islands are also interesting from a cultural perspective since much of the local population has Malay roots, and that heritage is obvious in the beautiful arts and crafts still practiced on the island. A Cocos Keeling Island atoll. (Photo via Shutterstock)
Getting There: Virgin Australia operates a circuit route with flights from Perth (PER) to Cocos (Keeling) Islands Airport (CCK) either nonstop or via Christmas Island (XCH) twice a week (the flight stops at the other destination on the way back to Perth). While tickets cost around $1,292 AUD ($909) round-trip, the good news is, you can actually find award availability using Delta SkyMiles for 22,500 miles each way plus about $31 in taxes and fees.
Where to Stay: Options are limited, but interesting. Oceania House is a hotel in a colonial-era heritage-listed house on Home Island with nightly rates starting around $225 AUD ($158). Cocos Cottages on West Island (where the airport is) comprises just three self-contained two-bedroom houses overlooking the golf course and lagoon. Rates start at $250 AUD ($176) per night.
Featured image of Lady Elliot Island via Shutterstock. Share this: Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express
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Bourbon, beer, wine and chili: 25 food, drink events not to miss around Phoenix in February

Bourbon, beer, wine and chili: 25 food, drink events not to miss around Phoenix in February Posted: 7:00 AM, Feb 01, 2019 Updated: 2019-02-01 14:00:50Z By: Josh Frigerio Corks and Cactus/Desert Botanical Garden/Handout
PHOENIX — Forget those chalky, Valentine’s Day candy hearts because there are a lot of tasty opportunities happening around town in February.
From chili samples to barbecue and poutine; and bourbon, beer and sweets, there are at least 25 food-and-drink festivals that you’re probably going to want to check out.
We’ve gathered some of the top foodie events happening around the Valley in February. Did I miss one? Send me an email: .
Related: Upcoming festivals in March, April and May
Feb. 2 – The Great Canadian Picnic: A free community festival at the South Mountain that celebrates Canadian heritage with poutine, rock climbing, classic cars, live music, a snow slide, and petting zoo. More information .
Feb. 2-3 – Arizona Vegetarian Food Festival: Explore and learn about vegan-friendly and plant-based foods and products at this two-festival. There will be guest speakers, chef demonstrations, and live entertainment. More information .
Feb. 7-16 – Arizona Beer Week: For ten days, breweries, taprooms and restaurants will host special beer pairings, tap takeovers, specialty brews, and collaborations. Events happen throughout the state so you will want to check the website for an updated list of events. All of it leads up to the Arizona Strong Beer Festival, Feb. 9. More information .
Feb. 8-10 – Wickenburg’s Gold Rush Days: Experience a bit of the Old West and learn about Wickenburg’s history at this three-day celebration. The event includes a carnival, rodeo, parade, a theater show, classic car show and artisan fair. More information .
Feb. 8 – 10 – Chinese Culture and Cuisine Festival: A three-day food and culture festival with martial arts demonstrations, dragon dances, lion dances, music, tea garden and food vendors. More information .
Feb. 9 – Arizona Strong Beer Festival: This festival is all about beer. Whether you like ales, IPAs, stouts, or everything in between, there will be hundreds of beers to taste at the Arizona Strong Beer Festival. More information .
Feb. 9 – CulturePOP Block Party: A community culture and food festival with live entertainment, street performers, kids activites, and food and wine from around the world. More information .
Feb. 9 – D-backs Fan Fest: Get to know the Arizona Diamondbacks before the start of Spring Training and the 2019 season at Salt River Fields. There will be chances to meet D-backs players, get autographs and take photos. There will also be inflatables, batting cages and other baseball-themed activities. More information .
Feb. 9-Mar. 31 – Arizona Renaissance Festival: Hear ye! Hear ye! Step back in time to the Renaissance with live jousting, jesters, oversized turkey legs, fried foods, wooden rides, and an artisan marketplace. More information .
Feb. 9-10 – Glendale Chocolate Affaire: Love chocolate? You’ll want to know about this event. Nearly 40 chocolate makers will be part of Glendale’s Chocolate Affaire. The annual chocolate event is presented by the Cerreta Candy Co., a local business that makes its own candy and offers tours of its factory. More information .
Feb. 9-10: Buckeye Air Fair: A free two-day airshow at Buckeye Municipal Airport. There will also be vintage aircrafts on display, demonstrations, AZSciTech exhibitions, and entertainment. More information.
Feb. 9-10 – Corks and Cactus: Sip on wine and walk around the Desert Botanical Garden. There will be 40 wineries on each day. Gertrude’s, the garden’s restaurant, will have cooking demonstrations. Feb. 9 is sold out, according to the website. More information .
Feb. 9-10 – Arizona Indian Festival: Learn about Arizona’s Native American tribes, culture, food and music at this two-day festival. It will take place at Scottsdale Civic Center mall in Scottsdale. More information .
Feb. 16 – Queen Creek S’more Sweets Festival: Whether you like chocolate fountains or candy-themed cocktails, candy is the name of this relatively new festival to the Valley. More than a dozen businesses will be there selling different candies, treats and confections. There will also be games and kids activities. More information .
Feb. 16 – Laveen BBQ Festival: You can taste different barbecue creations from restaurants and pitmasters at this community festival at Cesar Chavez Park. There will also be local music, craft beer and inflatables. More information .
Feb. 16 – Chili Bourbon Festival: The second Chili Bourbon Festival moves to downtown Chandler in 2019 where restaurants and chefs will showcase traditional, spicy and regional chili recipes. There will also be more than a dozen bourbons to sample, along with eating contests, country music and lawn games. More information .
Feb. 16-17 – Street Eats Food Truck Festival: Sample menu items from more than 60 food trucks at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick. Each truck will have a $2 sample item as well as their regular menu items. Guests can expect live music and lawn games, eating contests, cooking classes, a marketplace, and a kids zone. More information .
Feb. 16-18 – Arizona Cocktail Weekend: A weekend of cocktail-themed events and tastings, including The Cocktail Jam; Top Bars, and Last Slinger Standing, a bartending competition. More information .
Feb. 17-24 – Devour Week: A week of premium culinary events and competitions, including the Devour Culinary Classic, Seven Chefs Dinner, Devour The World, and the Devour Bartending Competition. Devour Culinary Classic is a two-day food and drink event with unlimited samples from the Valley’s top restaurants, hotels and chefs. More information .
Feb. 21 – Mar. 26 – Cactus League Spring Training: Baseball is back! Grab a mitt and some friends and head to one of Arizona’s 10 spring training stadiums to watch a game. Fifteen teams come to Arizona for spring training: Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Red, Cleveland Indians, Colorado Rockies, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers. More information .
Feb. 21-24 – Lost Dutchman Days : An annual celebration in Apache Junction that consists of a bratwurst and beer party, parade, carnival, royal court, arts and crafts fair and rodeo. The events and times vary over the span of four days. More information .
Feb. 22-24 – The Great Fair of Fine Arts & Crafts: A three-day outdoor art fair in Fountain Hills featuring artworks from nearly 500 artists and artisans from around the world. There is also food vendors and a beer garden. More information .
Feb. 23-24 – Matsuri Festival of Japan: Learn about Japanese culture, cuisine, art and music at this free three-day festival, which celebrates its 35th anniversary in 2019. This year’s theme is “Japan Old and New.” More information .
Feb. 23-24 – Italian Festival of Arizona: Experience Italian food, music and culture at this two-day festival in Scottsdale. This year’s music lineup has not been announced yet. More information .
Feb. 23-24 – PHX Vegan Food Festival: Learn what it means to be vegan, how to make vegan-friendly food and connect with vegan-friendly restaurants and businesses at this two-day festival. This will also be live music and cooking demonstrations. More information . Copyright 2019 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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1.29 mn Indians travelled to the USA in 2017: Here are the best places to visit according to experts

Kerala features in CNN Travel’s 19 places to visit in 2019 Home / America / 1.29 mn Indians travelled to the USA in 2017: Here are the best places to visit according to experts 1.29 mn Indians travelled to the USA in 2017: Here are the best places to visit according to experts America
Brand USA, the destination marketing organisation for the United States, concluded its seventh annual India Travel Mission that took place Sept. 23-28. This year’s mission was the largest to date with 64 delegates from 42 U.S. tourism organisations participating.
The delegation included representatives from tourism boards, hotels, receptive operators, tourist attractions, and other services. Delegates visited Bengaluru, Mumbai, and New Delhi, and received an overwhelming response from the Indian travel trade with more than 830 people in attendance.
Christopher L Thompson, President and CEO, Brand USA“With 1.29 million visitors in 2017, India was the 11th highest ranked country by arrival numbers and ranked sixth in terms of visitor spends to the US. Looking ahead, we are confident in continuing the momentum of welcoming more Indian visitors to the USA.”
USA Arrival numbers showed a growth figure from 1,147,693 in 2015 to 1,206,771 in 2016 to 1,285,466 in 2017.
(Sources: U.S. Department of Commerce, ITA, IA, National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) I-94 Program, Statistics Canada, and Banco de Mexico/Secretaria de Turismo (Mexico).
Anette Kaiser- Rott, Director of Europe India Marketing, Visit California “There is so much that California has to offer to Indian travellers. Don’t take just the beaten path, go beyond and explore camping, romance on an iconic rail system, eat out and go fine dining, attend annual fests for music , arts, and adventure sports.”
Antonette Eckert, Director, San Francisco Travel “Take to the sights of Golden Gate Bridge and scenic beauty of memorable road trips (to Skyline Boulevard or Sonoma County), catch the vibe at fabulous events with world-class food, say hello to warm and friendly people and check out the diversity and rich history of San Francisco, this is what makes it perfect for adventure. Michael Vanderhurst Director of International, Mammoth Lakes Tourism India visitors must visit Yosemite National Park . Mammoth Lakes is the perfect location to spend 3 nights to visit this UNESCO heritage site, as well as Bodie, the official ghost town of California , and Mono Lake, a million year old salt water lake.
Brian Said, Vice President of Global Development, Choose Chicago Chicago is a year-round destination with worldrenowned architecture, arts and culture, nightlife, cuisine, shopping and museums . India is Chicago’s third largest overseas market, with daily non-stop flights from New Delhi. From other major cities, a connection is easy via the Middle East, Europe or Asia .
Kelly Sawyer, International Market Manager, International Sales, Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority
Las Vegas is the Entertainment Capital of the World with outstanding nightlife avenues. If you seek attractive goodlife then Las Vegas is the place to be. Many young Indian couples come here for a wedding that is thematic and instant. There’s so much fun around.
Jim De Philippo, Sales Manager, Philadelphia Convention Visitors Bureau Welcome to Philly. Check out America ’s oldest farmers’ market called Reading Terminal Market. Visit Independence National Historical Park (INHP). Relax at the 3,500-acre Valley Forge National Historical Park to enjoy trails and picnic areas.
Petra Hackworth, VP, Global Sales, Travel Oregon
Crater Lake National Park , Oregon.Explore miles of pristine coastline, visit the deepest lake in the USA at Crater Lake National Park , ride dune buggies across sand dunes in Florence and discover serene wineries in the Willamette Valley. Visitors come from all over the world to experience Oregon.
Brian Wright, Director of Business Development, Santa Monica Travel Tourism Santa Monica combines the energy of Los Angeles with the comfort of a classic California beach town. Santa Monica is more than a place – it’s a feeling and a sensation that connects you to this special corner of the world. Google News: Tourism America site-economictimes.indiatimes.com

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Very nice restaurant

I had dinner with a friend of mine at the main restaurant of this wonderful hotel. We had a buffet dinner that was really nice and and so delicious with a wide range of food : Indian Veg & non Veg) & Western cuisine. The staff is very dedicated and give you a great experience. There’s also a chef explaining everything about the dishes available. Great experience!

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