Posts Tagged ‘New York’

Featured Traveler | Colleen Curtis : The Business Travelista

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

Meet Colleen Curtis. Colleen is a Michigan native who moved from Chicago to Brooklyn. Although she travels often for work, she tries to explore each city to find hidden gems. Read more to learn about her favorite trips and how she plans on visiting all 50 United States!

Name: Colleen Curtis

Tell us a little about yourself:

I am a nearly-29-year-old recent transplant (from Chicago) to Brooklyn, NY. I am the East Coast Marketing lead for, a website that connects people (and travelers!) with great local businesses. I travel a lot for my job where I get to collaborate locally with Yelp Community Managers in the Northeast, and they get to show off the awesome local gems in their cities! I have a 9 year old melancholic pitbull mix named Tillie who’s dream is to be featured on hipsterpuppies especially since we’ve relocated to BK. I’ve been to *almost every country in Europe (missed Greece!), Australia and have traveled extensively in Mexico and the United States (I will hit all 50 someday! This summer I crossed off Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New Jersey and Rhode Island). I know that seems silly to say, but there are a lot of places right in our American backyard that can certainly scratch the travel itch, on multiple budgets.

Favorite city you’ve been to:

I know this may sound insane to the seasoned world travelers, but I really found Pittsburgh, PA extremely…attractive. Robust. Proud. Interesting. Diverse. The finest the Rustbelt has to offer, even. Off the beaten path, but better for it! The locals know what I am talking about! Perhaps my expectations were low (forgive me, Pixburgh!), but I found the city to be extremely charming with wonderful food options (highly recommend Square Cafe for breakfast), great local neighborhoods and I stayed at the unique boutique Priory Hotel, a converted church near the Warhol Museum. There’s depth and strong communities, a beautiful scenic overlook with a view of the entire downtown (Dahntahn?) and rivers at night, truly…remarkable. Plus, one can go to Primanti Bros and eat a sandwich with french fries and cole slaw IN IT. Totally healthy! I’m grateful for the opportunity to travel domestically with a local Yelp CM to guide me to the best spots. Speaking of the Rustbelt, I also think Cleveland and Detroit have some of the most passionate communities of people and local businesses I’ve ever witnessed, and I look forward to hiring and launching Yelp in Buffalo, NY later this year! Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it. There is beauty in all things.

Favorite restaurant:

Well…I checked, and I’ve written 648 restaurant reviews on Yelp to date (42 percent of my total, I promise I do other things too!)….so, this really is a tough one. I certainly am no expert, but I do go out to eat a lot! If I have to pick just one currently I will go with Davanti Enoteca (Little Italy, Chicago). A toasty/cozy Italian restaurant in a far-enough-away-from-downtown ‘hood that also serves as a wine shop…be still my heart. Excellent food, and popping over to Beviamo for a nightcap might just be the perfect date night ever. You heard it here, folks.

Best place to relax:

My hometown…Traverse City, Michigan. Cherry Capital of the World, rising food scene, local farms, wineries, breweries, film fests, etc. But really, you can’t beat the Bay or the Dunes (named by GMA as the most beautiful place in America!) on a summer day or the color season in the fall for kicking back. From the day I was born until my most recent trip in August, I haven’t found anything that quite comes close to Northern Michigan in the summer/fall. Someone told me the other day it is the “Hamptons of the Midwest,” which made me spit out my “pop” (soda). Let’s hope it keeps some of its…err…grounded charm with its rise to “fame!”

Best place to have fun:

Well, I live in New York City…if one cannot have fun here, there may be little hope. The city that never sleeps, truly never sleeps. Brooklyn might take a few naps once in a while, but the frenetic energy and sheer number of people/options/things/places to do/see/touch/eat/dance/create is somewhat incomprehensible. Second to that, Chicago. I’ve lived in both…and really, why wouldn’t one want to live in the cities they found to be the most fun!? If you aren’t, you should probably move.

Best trip you’ve ever taken:

Well, clearly my 6 month vacation from American life at 20 years old was by far the best…and the longest. Living in Rome, traveling every weekend to European destinations (favorites: Warsaw, Budapest, Ireland) by train and crazy low-budget airlines…and no work! Capped off with a 3 week stint in Australia (impulsive) because I “wasn’t ready to go home yet,” and yep, that likely sums up the best trip I’ve been on. Oh, the freedom…how its wasted on the young! I may have just paid off the credit cards from that trip recently. Eek. Worth it? Yes. If 9 years later its still the best…well, there you have it.

What one piece of advice do you have for travelers?

Fly consistently. Rest your head creatively.

I’m very budget conscious for both work and personal travel. Here’s what I’ve learned: for flying, figure out your home airport (base) and what airline has the most direct flights in/out of that airport. Then, fly it consistently for every trip. Get the rewards credit card for that airline (often comes with perks like free baggage, early check-in, bonus miles at sign-up, access to lounge, etc). To me, all airlines are pretty…errr….2 stars. However if you can pick and stick, the rewards run thick and you’ll be on your way somewhere fun (for free-ish!) before you know it.

Now, I do not hold the same philosophy for hotels. I MUCH prefer to find quirky/offbeat hotels. I don’t find the rewards ever add up to much (though if you travel to the same place over and over for work, definitely stick with it and rack it up!) at the big chains, and most destinations I am hitting might not have the same chains. I like variety. Truly, I search Yelp for cool local recommendations (boutique hotels, etc) and really dig to find unique lodging and people in various cities to stay with. I’ve stayed in a beautiful apartment in Chelsea, NYC while relocating and a classic sunken retreat near the White House in DC for a weekend. Planning a trip to Paris, and we’ll definitely be doing it airbnb style! Much better than hotel prices…and come with local guides! (sometimes)

Where else can we find you on the web?

Guest Post | The Hungry Girl Chronicles: My Top 10 Restaurants

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

Tausha Cowan of The Hungry Girl Chronicles was nice enough to share her favorite restaurants from all over the world with us! You’re in for a treat, enjoy!

There is something about a good meal that makes me insanely happy. I don’t question it; I just go with it, and then I blog about it. As founder of the food blog The Hungry Girl Chronicles, I get to regularly share my love of good meals and traveling by featuring amazing restaurants from all over the world. And now, I am revealing my top 10 restaurants EVER, or at least that I can remember. Let’s start with No. 10, shall we?

No. 10: Wahaca – London, United Kingdom
I have to admit, I was a tad skeptical upon moving to London after hearing some shaky thingsabout the food scene. In actuality, London has amazing restaurants, one of which is Wahaca,a Mexican market restaurant with four locations and a food truck scattered around the city.Wahaca serves more traditional items such as steak and chicken burritos but also fun and inventive tapas-style dishes like shrimp and scallop ceviche tostadas and broad bean and feta quesadillas. The interesting combinations are what I love most about Wahaca, pairing ingredients I would not normally think of, such as their taquitos with potatoes, lettuce, feta cheese and habenero salsa. This combo is amazing and I am forever grateful to Wahaca for introducing me to it.

No. 9: Rubino – Valletta, Malta
A few friends and I discovered Rubino after searching for a nice restaurant in Valletta that serves rabbit. It turns out Rubino not only serves deliciously well-flavored rabbit but also wonderful Italian and Maltese dishes that stick with you months after you walk out of the restaurant, possibly even years. The pasta (I had the ricotta gnocchi in a sage and butter sauce and spaghetti with tomatoes and sea urchin) is divine, as is one of Rubino’s most popular desserts, Cassata Siciliana. Beyond the food, the atmosphere is intimate yet welcoming to all.

No. 8: Efxaris – Athens, Greece

This restaurant is one of the more recent additions to the list and, to be frank, unexpected. I walked in with doubts and left surprised at how appetizing the food turned out to be. Located in a fairly touristy area near the Acropolis, I thought it would taste just okay due to my ownhang-ups about restaurants in touristy areas. Turns out the food was incredibly well seasoned and packed with flavor, particularly their spinach pie, Greek salad and moussaka. Even the bread tasted great, served toasted with green olive tapenade. If you have me at the breadbasket, that must be a good sign.


No. 7: Le Chéri Bibi – Paris, France
I recently visited this restaurant after a Parisian friend recommended I stop by for dinner.Located on a quiet street in Montmarte near the Sacré-Cœur, Chéri Bibi is a hip restaurant with a slightly bohemian feel and delicious food. With a menu that changes often, the restaurant offers a pretty good prix-fixe deal for an appetizer and entrée or entrée and dessert, or an appetizer, entrée and dessert. I went with the former, enjoying a risotto with poached egg and black pepper followed by roasted lamb and potatoes. All of it was amazing, leaving me slightly regretful I had not indulged in a dessert. There will most certainly be a next time, though. I highly recommend this restaurant for those looking for great food and a young Parisian crowd in one of Paris’s coolest neighborhoods.

No. 6: Taverna Kyclades – Astoria, New York
The first of several New York restaurants on the list, this is the Greek seafood go-to for those who cannot make it to Greece. Taverna Kyclades serves everything from grilled octopus, to stuffed shrimp, to fried baby shark, all of which taste great. They even have pork chops and Greek style hamburgers for those not in the mood for seafood, and perhaps most importantly, everyone is served a complimentary dessert at the end of their meal. Amazing, right? Due to the popularity of this place, expect to wait somewhere in the neighborhood of one hour before being seated (reservations not taken), but I promise you, it’s worth the wait.

No. 5: Heritage Indian Restaurant – Accra, Ghana
This might be a bold addition considering I have not been to this restaurant in five years,but it must say something if I still think about it (constantly). I happen to LOVE Indian food.Cannot get enough of it, and to this day, some of the best Indian food I have ever tasted was at Heritage Indian Restaurant in Accra, Ghana. Yes, Accra as in West Africa. In addition to great décor, the food is, simply put, amazing. From the naan and roti to the saag and vindaloo, there was not a bad item on the table. Or at least there was not five years ago. I like to think Heritage is just as good today.

No. 4: Kappacasein – London, United Kingdom
This might be cheating since Kappacasein is technically not a restaurant but I had to include it anyway. Why, you may be wondering? Because it is home to the best cheese sandwich you will ever taste. Yes, the best! Once a popular staple at Borough Market, I now make the trek toKappacasein’s new location in Bermondsey to buy the toasted cheese sandwich, a delectable concoction of Montgomery cheddar, onions, leeks and garlic on sourdough bread. It is truly a must for anyone who is visiting London but make sure to verify the opening hours because it would be a shame to miss out on this treat.

No. 3: Chez Palmyre – Nice, France
I love French food, especially when eaten in unassuming, cute French bistros. Chez Palmyre is just that, located on a small street in the Old Town of Nice. Reservations are highly recommended, as this place gets packed for both lunch and dinner. For lunch, I enjoyed an affordable € 14 prix-fixe, which included classic dishes served in not-so-classic ways. One example is the Club Niçoise, an appetizer featuring a niçoise salad in the form of a sandwich.Different presentation, same great taste. It is what I love most about Chez Palmyre.

No. 2: Casellula Cheese & Wine Café – New York, New York
Specializing in two of my favorite things, Casellula indulges the cheese and wine lover in multiple ways, all of which are equally amazing. Whether it’s a cheese flight or a glass of German Riesling, this café never disappoints. In addition to their extensive cheese and wine list, Casellula also has mouth-watering dishes, including chistorras in a blanket with radish pico de gringo and goose breast reuben with fontina and horseradish aioli. Not to mention it’s quite possibly the coziest cheese and wine café ever with a staff that creates the most delicious dishes without a real kitchen! All of this and more makes Casellula my second favorite restaurant.

No. 1: Vesta – Astoria, New York
Despite having visited myriad countries and restaurants over the years, Vesta in Astoria,Queens remains my favorite. My love for this trattoria and wine bar is never-ending. From my very first visit to my last, I have yet to walk out of Vesta disappointed. In fact, I am usually giddy because I just had an amazing meal at a restaurant that prides itself on using fresh ingredients in unique ways. With a menu that is, for the most part, constantly changing, Vesta has become beloved amongst Astoria residents and with good reason. The food is always delicious and the atmosphere is one of warmth and friendliness. They also have an unbelievable dessert known as the Baby Jesus Cake, which is worth the indulgence and then some.

So there you have it: my top 10 restaurants from around the world, at least for now. Who knows when the next amazing meal will come my way but I look forward to finding it.

For more restaurants and Tausha’s food musings, head over to The Hungry Girl Chronicles!

Find the cheapest way to travel

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

We all know the scenario, you’re thinking about taking a trip to a certain destination that is not super close but it’s not out of driving distance. How do you decide which choice of transportation to take? How much will it cost? Before you had to use multiple sites to find this information. Well now, a new website helps do all of the work for you.

Introducing Get Set App,, a website that helps you find the cheapest way to get to your desired destination. Just choose the departure and arrival cities (right now the website only supports the major US cities) and click ‘Go’. You’ll see the cost of your different travel options whether bus, plane or driving.

For example, we chose to see how much it would cost to go from New York City to Boston.

Our results for travel cost from New York, NY - LGA to Boston, MA (all prices round trip)
by plane:
LGA to BOS $128 Oct 27 - 27 on US Airways found 2 days ago
Find more flights on
by car:
$30.36 in gas cost
Search for rental cars on
by bus:
Sorry, nothing available at this time.
09/24/2010 to 09/30/2010
Via Greyhound

Although the bus information is incomplete, we do get a good sense of what the flight cost is and the cost of gas. Now if only this website could account for the value of your time…

So where are you going next? Share your travel plans on gtrot!
Do you plan on using this tool? Let us know!  Share your thoughts on twitter and on our facebook page.

Travel Deals Just For New Yorkers

Saturday, July 10th, 2010

Hey New Yorkers,

Are you tired of getting all of those travel deal emails promising $50 Roundtrip flights to London only to learn that deal is only for flights out of Detroit? Well Jauntsetter helps make your travel dreams come true by only sending you travel deals that originate from New York.

Want to know what’s on special this week? Read Jauntsetter’s Top Travel Deals of the Week, Picked Especially for New Yorkers.

Happy Travels,

Travel Addict