LandLopers http://landlopers.com Fri, 19 Dec 2014 04:55:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Touring The White House Christmas Tree and Holiday Decorationshttp://landlopers.com/2014/12/18/white-house-christmas-tree/ http://landlopers.com/2014/12/18/white-house-christmas-tree/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 04:55:23 +0000 http://landlopers.com/?p=28924 It wasn’t my first time walking into the White House, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t feel that familiar flutter of anticipation as I crossed the threshold. My hometown of … Read More

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It wasn’t my first time walking into the White House, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t feel that familiar flutter of anticipation as I crossed the threshold. My hometown of Washington, DC never fails to amaze me and that’s exactly how I felt as I toured the famous White House Christmas tree and holiday decorations.

I was at the White House as part of a special summit involving members of the Administration, media and travel bloggers to find cooperative ways to increase interest in study abroad opportunities for students. Part of that very special day included a tour of the East Wing of the White House where an amazing 26 Christmas trees have been brought in along with seemingly countless numbers of ornaments, flowers, bows and ribbons. It wasn’t an exclusive opportunity; every year the White House opens its doors and welcomes the public in to share in the beauty of the holidays. There is a process of course, but it’s well worth the effort to get a glimpse of The People’s Holiday Decorations.

The East Wing is the normal visitor’s entrance and is also where the First Lady and her staff have their offices. An older part of the executive mansion, the history that has left its marks on the columns and walls have shaped not only a country, but the world. As a patriotic American, it’s always a singular joy to be in the White House, but this was my first time visiting during the holidays and while I expected something grand, I wasn’t quite prepared for the level of beauty that the artists and stylists have managed to create.

The 2014 decoration theme is ‘A Children’s Winter Wonderland’ and is meant to evoke the pureness that the holidays bring, as seen through the eyes of children. I certainly felt like a kid as I walked through rooms lavishly, but not garishly, decorated. I paused a moment in front of the tree dedicated to our Armed Forces and their families and reflected on the sacrifices they give every day and not just during the holidays. Walking through each room, losing track of their numbers but following the ribbons and flowers, I felt proud. I’m always proud to be an American, but walking through what is arguably the most famous house in the world and seeing it so nicely decorated for the holidays, it brought forth an emotional warmth, a pure joy that is almost beyond words.

White House Christmas Tree

Christmas at the White House isn’t a new phenomenon, First Families of course have been celebrating the holidays since Washington, but it wasn’t until 1929 when First Lady Lou Henry Hoover introduced the custom of an official White House Christmas Tree. Since then each new President and First Lady have left their own additions to these traditions, and naturally the displays have grown and become more impressive with each passing year. At its heart though isn’t a need to impress, but to make visitors stop and reflect. In 2010, First Lady Michelle Obama announced the 2010 White House Christmas theme of “Simple Gifts” and she explained, “The greatest blessings of all are the ones that don’t cost a thing: the time that we spend with our loved ones, the freedoms we enjoy as Americans and the joy we feel from reaching out to those in need.”

I don’t think it could be explained any better than that.

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Festive Lights: Some Of My Favorite Christmas Marketshttp://landlopers.com/2014/12/18/festive-lights-favorite-christmas/ http://landlopers.com/2014/12/18/festive-lights-favorite-christmas/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 04:50:56 +0000 http://landlopers.com/?p=29049 The post Festive Lights: Some Of My Favorite Christmas Markets appeared first on LandLopers.

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Brussels Christmas

Brussels

Budapest Hungary

Budapest

Paris Christmas

Paris

milan christmas market

Milan

Vienna Austria

Vienna

Bruges Belgium Christmas

Bruges, Belgium

Venice

Brussels Christmas

Brussels

Bologna

Macarons in Paris

Paris

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Walking Through The Beautiful City of Rimini Italy – Away From The Beachhttp://landlopers.com/2014/12/17/rimini-italy/ http://landlopers.com/2014/12/17/rimini-italy/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 04:55:14 +0000 http://landlopers.com/?p=28895 Most Americans don’t consider Italy to be a great beach destination, but parts of it absolutely are. But most Americans don’t travel to Europe for beaches, we have those at … Read More

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Rimini Italy

Most Americans don’t consider Italy to be a great beach destination, but parts of it absolutely are. But most Americans don’t travel to Europe for beaches, we have those at home. No, we want history and culture, great food and warm people when we visit the Old World. That’s what I sought out to find in the beach town of Rimini, famous for that beautiful coastline but a gorgeous city in its own right, away from the shore.

Like so many Italian towns, Rimini naturally has a history that tends to boggle the minds of most non-Italians. Important during and even before Roman times, walking through the old part of town is full of great little surprises. It’s also a busy area, people darting in and out of shops, getting their daily shopping done. In between grocery stores and boutiques though are beautiful churches and squares, remnants of important moments all but lost to time. Without an agenda or even schedule, I spent my morning doing nothing at all, just watching, sipping on some coffee and getting to know Rimini the only way you can, just by living it, if only briefly.

One of the most impressive aspects of Rimini that hasn’t been lost to time is the Bridge of Tiberius; a 2,000 year old bridge that has somehow escaped destruction throughout the centuries. It’s a point of pride for residents of the city and major redevelopment plans for the riverfront area are already underway to highlight the bridge. Walking across it, while nimbly avoiding cars and bicycles, I couldn’t help but feel awed by the history this mighty bridge has seen. From an American point of view, the age of the bridge is an amazing concept to try to wrap my brain around and one that I still don’t think I even fully comprehend.

Sure, Rimini has great museums, things to see and do and naturally amazing food to devour. But what I enjoyed more than anything else was a lazy morning, exploring in my own way and discovering the city in a very personal way. That’s why I think I love this part of Italy so very much. The towns and cities lend themselves to easy exploration and the rewards they hide just below the surface make the time spent there so very worthwhile.

Have you been to Rimini? What did you think?

 

This post was brought to you as a result of the #Blogville campaign, created and managed by iambassador in partnership with Lombardy Tourism and Emilia Romagna Tourism. LandLopers retains all editorial control of what is published and as you know, I never shy away from honest commentary.

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Village of Durnstein On The Danube Riverhttp://landlopers.com/2014/12/17/photo-durnstein-austria/ http://landlopers.com/2014/12/17/photo-durnstein-austria/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 04:50:01 +0000 http://landlopers.com/?p=29045 The post Village of Durnstein On The Danube River appeared first on LandLopers.

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Durnstein Austria

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Smoke and Mirrors: The Problem With Some Online Travel Articleshttp://landlopers.com/2014/12/16/problems-online-travel/ http://landlopers.com/2014/12/16/problems-online-travel/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 04:55:40 +0000 http://landlopers.com/?p=28941 A few months ago I had planned to pen a piece called “Lies Travel Writers Tell” or something to that effect. The goal was to highlight some common techniques travel … Read More

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New Orleans

A few months ago I had planned to pen a piece called “Lies Travel Writers Tell” or something to that effect. The goal was to highlight some common techniques travel writers and bloggers use in order to get an article together on time or to create the perfect link bait post. Although the post itself wasn’t going to be all that negative, I decided that the overall tone was and so I scrapped it. Then last week I noticed an odd headline that begged me to click on it: “Queens crowned America’s No. 1 travel destination.” Absolutely no offense to Queens, but I honestly thought it was an Onion parody of Top Ten lists when I first saw it. But no, it wasn’t, instead it was the lede for a new Best of 2015 list offered up by one of the biggest names in travel, Lonely Planet. I have significant problems with the list and the inclusions, which I want to talk about now but the issues at hand are about so much more than the cities named on the list, it’s about the current state of online travel writing and how bad some of it is. (Note: I have MANY friends who write for several prestigious outlets online. This is not an indictment against ALL writers and most likely certainly no one I know.)

Lonely Planet’s Best in the US 2015

About this time every year, everyone feels the need to come up with a series of articles chronicling either the best of 2014 or what they think the best of 2015 should be. I can’t criticize it too much, I do it and plan on writing one along these same lines, but from my own personal point of view. So, this isn’t a rant against list posts or roundups; I like them and I think that they have their place. From an online readership point of view, they’re also quick and easy to digest, which is also important. No, when it comes to the Lonely Planet list the problem is the list itself. The top inclusions for the destinations they think everyone should visit in 2015 include:

  1. Queens, New York
  2. Western South Dakota
  3. New Orleans
  4. Colorado River region
  5. North Conway, New Hampshire
  6. Indianapolis
  7. Greenville, South Carolina
  8. Oakland, California
  9. Duluth, Minnesota
  10. Mount Shasta region

Of this list only New Orleans and maybe, MAYBE the Colorado River region should actually be on it. The rest? No way in hell. So why are they on there? Well, that would involve a lot of guesswork. More and more people are moving to Queens and like Brooklyn a few years ago, are in the process of changing the look and feel of the Borough. Perhaps some of the staffers live there and feel the need to highlight it; perhaps Lonely Planet wanted to be sure to grab some free publicity for their 2015 list from New York based media or perhaps they just want to be different from all of the other lists? Whatever the reason, placing Queens anywhere on this list, much less at the top does a disservice to the traveler who WILL use this as a checklist of places to go and things to see and do. Is Queens a pleasant place to live? Yes. Is it the top attraction in the United States? Um, no. Do they honestly want people to plan their one big trip of the year around this list? No, it’s a hipster-y way to try to look cool in the travel world and/or to give the industry the middle finger.

And you see that desire to stand out from the pack throughout the rest of the list: Duluth and North Conway? Really? I’m sure they’re pleasant places to visit, but in no way should they be prioritized above all other cities and towns around this great country. No, Lonely Planet chose them and came up with reasons to like them because the choices are different, they’re unusual and that in itself makes headlines. Mission accomplished.

I realize by writing this post, I’m giving Lonely Planet exactly what they were looking for in the first place, attention. Like a cranky toddler, they are standing on top of the table, throwing crayons and yelling, hoping that someone will notice. I should ignore them, but I can’t. Maybe if I had the patience of a parent I’d be able to, but alas I do not and so yes, I give them the attention they crave so dearly, but in doing so I hope some lessons may be learned.

Llafranc, Costa Brava Spain

Take Away Lessons

First, this is not an indictment against list posts as I said from the outset. Even some major outlets have done Best Of pieces that I think are worth their salt. Frommer’s for example did a fantastic one highlighting locations people should visit in 2015 that are both well known (London) and not so well known (Chaco Culture National Historic Park). They wrote the article as it should be written. These Best Of lists should be the opportunity for those of us who live, breathe and eat travel to reflect on current and emerging travel trends and then to translate that into a practical article for readers. The article should be useful, interesting and thought provoking. Frommer’s accomplished that and Lonely Planet did not.

This gets back to that post I didn’t write a few months ago. Consumers and readers need to be careful when digesting travel related information. Instead of accepting what they read as gospel, they should always be somewhat skeptical. All the time I see web sites highlight destinations based on dubious sources; opinions that aren’t necessarily always based on personal experiences. I don’t usually have a problem with these practices, but the average reader certainly doesn’t know about them. The major outlets don’t do anything wrong per se, but it begs the need for a healthy level of skepticism by readers. The fact remains though, the pressures and timelines of online writing are such that many major outlets don’t always take the time to put together thoughtful, well researched online posts.

My partner frequently comes home and asks, “Did you read that post on PopularWebSite.com about the best cafes in Europe? We should go to them!” And in the back of my head all I can think of is that I know for a fact that writer just pulled those names out of thin air to put together a small bit of link bait. Was it a well researched list based on personal experience? No, it was the result of a few Google searches or queries of friends. Some outlets do a great job of producing strong online content, but so many are devolving into the BuzzFeed model and it makes me sad.

This is quickly turning into a blogger versus mainstream post and that is NOT where I want it to go. Bloggers are guilty of irresponsible writing practices too, it’s just a fact. But those of us who write and publish online have a responsibility, we owe it to our readers to always publish the best and most useful content regardless of how clickable or not the title is. Financial pressures for the big outlets are very real, I get that, but ultimately quality will always trump quantity, or at least it will in my little universe.

Let’s cautiously open this up for comments. What do you takeaway from the Lonely Planet list that started my diatribe?

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Festive Vienna Christmas Markethttp://landlopers.com/2014/12/16/photo-vienna-christmas-market/ http://landlopers.com/2014/12/16/photo-vienna-christmas-market/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 04:50:02 +0000 http://landlopers.com/?p=29037 The post Festive Vienna Christmas Market appeared first on LandLopers.

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Vienna Austria

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My Favorite Travel Experiences of 2014http://landlopers.com/2014/12/15/favorite-travel-experiences-2014/ http://landlopers.com/2014/12/15/favorite-travel-experiences-2014/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 04:55:10 +0000 http://landlopers.com/?p=28900 There are a lot of great reasons to travel, but at the end of the day it’s all about the experiences. Travel has never been more exciting and it seems … Read More

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Kangaroo Island Australia

There are a lot of great reasons to travel, but at the end of the day it’s all about the experiences. Travel has never been more exciting and it seems that new options to interact with local communities has hit its stride as a travel style. So I decided to look back at the last year and highlight just a few of my favorite experiences both close to and far away from home in 2014.

Kangaroo Island, Australia

It’s really hard to isolate a single experience from a trip to Australia; the entire country is just so remarkable. But in thinking back on my trip in January, there were two days that were better than all the others and I realized that I just had to highlight the experience. Australia’s third largest island, Kangaroo Island is located off the coast of South Australia it’s as close to a natural zoo as you’ll find almost anywhere in the world. Some of the animals you will see on a visit include kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, penguins, echidnas and more. I’m a wildlife guy and I have to admit that the promise of wildlife viewings really is what drew me there in the first place. We didn’t have much time so we used the expert services of Exceptional Kangaroo Island, the best touring company on the island and definitely the most luxurious. Led by affable Craig Wickham, a lot is packed into a short period of time and we did everything from walking next to kangaroos in an open field to enjoying a white linen lunch with a view to die for. Those two days were exceptional, not just for the amazing wildlife I saw in person but for the warm hospitality extended to me.

coasteering wales

Coasteering, Wales

At first the adventure sport of coasteering seems like the bad result of a drunken wager gone wild. But it’s not and even more surprising, it’s insanely popular and a lot of fun. Coasteering is defined as “a physical activity that includes movement along the intertidal zone of a rocky coastline on foot or by swimming, without the aid of boats, surf boards or other craft. It can include swimming, climbing, scrambling, jumping and diving.” It sounds great in the middle of a hot summer, but I was there in March when the water temperatures were anything but encouraging. Located along the Irish Sea, the beauty of Anglesey can’t be denied though and I soon found myself lost in the beauty of the craggy landscapes surrounding me. The extreme experience was just as advertised and not even my two wet suits could fully keep the freezing waters at bay. In spite of the conditions though it was fun, a lot of fun and diving along the coast, swimming across the white-capped waves and pushing myself in ways I didn’t know I could was as personally gratifying as anything I have ever done. Ultimately, that’s the real thrill of adventure travel; pushing one’s comfort zones in ways you didn’t know possible.

Kayamandi Township Stellenbosch

Kayamandi Township, South Africa

Located near Stellenbosch, South Africa, Kayamandi isn’t necessarily all that different from other townships found around the country, but for me it was an especially poignant experience. Townships are holdovers from apartheid, when non-whites were forced to live in large communities, such as townships. In Stellenbosch, the Kayamandi Township was at first home to mostly black laborers, there to work the nearby farms. All townships around South Africa evolved over time, many of them turning into small cities. Unlike a real city though, townships lack key aspects of infrastructure, like sewage, universal running water, and well-organized electrical grids. Townships still exist today, but they’re evolving and many, like Soweto, have distinct sections home to middle-class individuals as well as the very poor. There is most definitely poverty in a township, but that poverty doesn’t define the experience. That was brought home to be when I met Mama Lily, who invites tourists like me into her home in the township to teach us about Xhosa cooking and to share stories from her very remarkable life. It was a beautiful moment in a place that has many more similar moments for anyone who takes the time to look.

Cambodia

Exploring Ancient Temples in Cambodia

I traveled halfway around the world to Siem Reap for one reason – to finally see the unusual Khmer ruins of Angkor Wat in person. I love history and archeology and had long tried to visited this legendary site, so that when the chance finally arose I couldn’t say no. I was surprised though; I thought that the main building of Angkor Wat would impress me the most, but that wasn’t the case. Instead it was another nearby temple, Angkor Thom that really wowed me. The feeling is undeniably eerie as you walk amongst the many stone towers of Bayon, the massive faces staring straight through you. They’re said to be of the god-king Jayavarman VII, the monarch responsible for the massive temple. It was a special experience for me, a beautiful one that I know I will never forget.

Dubrovnik Croatia kayak

Kayaking Around Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dubrovnik is one of my favorite cities in the world, its golden buildings and massive walls seem like something out of a fantasy novel. I visited the city for the second time this year, but it was my first experience seeing it in an entirely different way. Starting from the small harbor near Place Gate, several companies take adventure travelers out for a kayak excursion around the city walls of Dubrovnik. From the other side of the wall the beauty of the architecture is seen without impediments, a lasting tribute to the souls who worked on its construction. Small details, like carvings and statues that can only be seen from the water came into view. After two trips to Dubrovnik I can honestly say that this kayak adventure was one of the best things I’ve done in the city. So if you’re curious and active like I am, be sure to plan your own adventures kayaking around Dubrovnik the next time you visit.

Alberta Canada Cowboy

Playing Cowboy in Alberta, Canada

The main reason I drove along the Cowboy Trail in Alberta, Canada was to spend a couple of days at the beautiful Sierra West Ranch. Owned by Randy and Ginny Donahue, it’s a true Alberta ranch in every sense of the word. Horses, cows and wide-open terrain are the stuff of movies. But they’re not your typical ranchers. A few years ago they decided to open their home to tourists who wanted to live the cowboy life as a getaway from the modern world. Since then they’ve built a series of cabins and even a small old west town for their guests, who descend on the ranch from all around the world. As a guest I learned how to ride and take care of a horse and even went out with Randy and Ginny to manage their herd of cows. More than the horsemanship and the hospitality of my hosts, sitting out there watching as the sun set over the beautiful plains was a very special moment for me. I felt like I was as far away from everything as a person could be enjoying a private spectacle all to myself. It’s a special place and one I hope to visit again one day.

Dana Biosphere Reserve Jordan

A Walk Through The Desert in Jordan

During my most recent visit to Jordan, my first experience was perhaps the most unusual, but one that quickly became my favorite. It started off with a 16-kilometer hike through the Dana Biosphere Reserve. This special natural retreat is one of the world’s most unusual and while daunting and not for everyone, the hike takes visitors through beautiful valleys, along dry streambeds and even through an oasis or two. Anyone can do that though, what catapults this into experiential luxury is where you end up; at the Feynan Ecolodge. Named one of the top 25 in the world, Feynan lives and breathes green travel. I arrived just as the sun had set and yet I almost didn’t see the lodge. That’s because there’s no electricity, well not much anyway. Situated in a desert valley, Feynan is completely off the grid depending on solar energy for the small amounts of power it does consume. The hallways and rooms are lit with candles, candles made in a community outreach project with local Bedouins. Everything about this place screams sustainability but in a way that is entirely comfortable. The rooms are well designed and imminently comfortable and the activities on offer allow guests to get closer not only to nature, but the locals who call this inhospitable desert home. The experience is unlike any other in the region and presents the concept of sustainable travel in a way that is comforting and relatable.

Live Jazz in New Orleans

While on a recent trip to New Orleans, the group I was with went out after dinner to a small club to hear an unusual band. Well, it was unusual for me but for New Orleans it was just an average Sunday night. No other city has done more for modern music than The Crescent City and this fierce love of jamming can still be found everyday, throughout the city. The bar was a small one and about thirty minutes late we were led into an even smaller back room. No windows or much decoration, just a place to listen to great live music. The band that night was an all brass band, pumping out some of the most incredible experimental music I’ve ever hear. As I stood there with the small crowd, I thought to myself just how special that moment was. There I was, in the middle of New Orleans enjoying new music coming alive for the first time. I realized just how lucky I am to be allowed these special experiences and it was all brought home to me that night.

What are some special travel experiences you’ve had this year?

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Close Up Of The Famous Hungarian Parliament Buildinghttp://landlopers.com/2014/12/15/close-up-hungarian-parliament/ http://landlopers.com/2014/12/15/close-up-hungarian-parliament/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 04:50:07 +0000 http://landlopers.com/?p=28965 The post Close Up Of The Famous Hungarian Parliament Building appeared first on LandLopers.

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Budapest, Hungary

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The Holidays On A Plate: Traditional New Orleans Reveillonhttp://landlopers.com/2014/12/14/new-orleans-reveillon/ http://landlopers.com/2014/12/14/new-orleans-reveillon/#comments Sun, 14 Dec 2014 16:35:06 +0000 http://landlopers.com/?p=28915 “Would you like some shaved truffle on your stuffed quail?” Chef de Cuisine Drake Leonards asked as he walked around the table at the popular but cozy Lüke Restaurant by … Read More

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“Would you like some shaved truffle on your stuffed quail?” Chef de Cuisine Drake Leonards asked as he walked around the table at the popular but cozy Lüke Restaurant by John Besh. The quail was just one of four courses that evening, but easily the star of the show. The meal was about much more than just the game bird and certainly the truffles, as a diner I was the latest in a long line of people to enjoy a traditional New Orleans reveillon holiday dinner.

From the French word for ‘awakening,’ reveillon originally was a meal served after midnight mass on Christmas Eve. Typically a Creole tradition, early meals looked a lot like breakfast but also included local delicacies like turtle soup, oysters and of course plenty of wine. By the 1940s the tradition had nearly died out and more common American customs replaced this traditional meal. In the 1990s though, local New Orleans restaurants decided to reintroduce this once important custom as a way to encourage more patrons during the slow season.

Today dinners are 4 or 5 courses and are prix fix, but at a discounted rate. Restaurants want to encourage locals and visitors alike to visit and sample their own unique twist on reveillon and so they make it affordable for many. While in New Orleans I had the great opportunity to try a couple different reveillon menus, and now I don’t know how I survived for so long without this holiday tradition in my own personal life.

Shrimp Remoulade

Turtle Soup

Stuffed Quail

Apple and Pear Tart

Chef John Besh’s Lüke Restaurant is an homage to the great Franco-German brasseries that once filled New Orleans. While their normal menu looks amazing, I was there for their yearly specialty reveillon feast. One doesn’t normally call a 4-course dinner a feast, but as I learned in New Orleans there’s always more food than you expect. Starting out with oysters and homemade pates, the meal followed a succession of tasty morsels including a classically prepared turtle soup, shrimp remoulade, the stuffed quail and a beautiful and not too sweet apple and pear tart. I imagine it’s close to what those reveillon dinners of the 19th century must have looked like and I was thrilled to be able to connect with a different era of New Orleans through my taste buds.

The dinner at Lüke is certainly more traditional than some and really brings out the flavors of old New Orleans with the turtle soup, seafood and game. But other restaurants decide to take a more modern twist, but one that still pays homage to the tradition. They have to because the term ‘reveillon’ is actually trademarked by French Quarter Festivals and they have to approve menus and the use of the word. So if you eat one of these beautiful reveillon meals in New Orleans, you can rest assured that it’s following culinary rules established long ago. I found one of these modern renditions at another famous New Orleans establishment, the Palace Café on Canal Street.

Part of the famous Brennan family restaurants, the Palace Café is a massive restaurant that somehow manages to retain excellent service and delicious food. My dinner there was the best during my brief stay in New Orleans and I still can’t stop thinking about some of the dishes I enjoyed; the mark of a truly great meal.

The Palace Café reveillon starts with what in all honesty is the single best plate I have had in a very long time; years probably. Named the D.B.L.T.E, this appetizer includes duck bacon, arugula, farm tomatoes, fried duck egg, toasted brioche and a jalapeño-Satsuma marmalade. The way the yolk of the egg spreads out across the duck and the sweet marmalade is just a perfect combination of flavors. I hope they consider adding this one to their permanent menu; it’s just that good.

D.B.L.T.E

Duck entrée

New Orleans Bananas Foster

Bananas Foster Preparation

The reveillon progresses along a decidedly aquatic theme: duck pâté en croûte, followed by an entree of either duck pancetta and seared scallops or honey glazed duck and finished off with a very unique foie gras ice cream. The ice cream definitely intrigued me, it includes a bayou spiced rum poached apple, peanut butter salted caramel and chocolate covered duck cracklin’. I ultimately didn’t order it, but I did have some of a friend’s and it was a little unusual, but tasty none the less. If you’re at the Palace Café though it’s hard to pass up their famous white chocolate bread pudding or the Bananas Foster – two of their most famous desserts.

It’s not just all about massive amounts of food though, reveillon is of course about spending time with friends and family and what better way than to start off a meal with a special libation? I mean, it is New Orleans, after all. There is no shortage of places to grab a pre-dinner cocktail in New Orleans, but for a great experience and a special reveillon drinks menu, then Galatoire’s 33 is the place to visit. Located adjacent to the world-famous Galatoire’s Restaurant, 33 is a more laid back bar and steak house and their master mixologists have put together cocktails perfect for chilly winter evenings, all of which make for a perfect start to a reveillon experience.

Twists on classics like the Santa’s Old Fashioned and the Spiced Rum Hot Toddy are popular, but the star of the cocktail show is the Brandy Milk Punch, which the bartender shakes a little nutmeg on for that holiday feel.

No matter which restaurant in New Orleans you choose for your reveillon celebration, you owe it to yourself – local or not – to enjoy this tradition. New Orleans surprised me in a lot of ways but especially at how festive it is during the holidays. December isn’t remotely cold, not by my standards at least, and the concerts, activities and foods like the reveillon dinner make it a fun place to explore this time of year.

Have you ever had a reveillon dinner? What did it include?

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Colorful Szechenyi Thermal Spa in Budapesthttp://landlopers.com/2014/12/14/photo-szechenyi-budapest/ http://landlopers.com/2014/12/14/photo-szechenyi-budapest/#comments Sun, 14 Dec 2014 16:35:02 +0000 http://landlopers.com/?p=28962 The post Colorful Szechenyi Thermal Spa in Budapest appeared first on LandLopers.

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Budapest, Hungary

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