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For more information check out our City Love page!
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Our latest Featured Traveler is Lisa Lubin. Lisa’s story of globetrotting will surely give you a bad case of wanderlust. After three years of traveling, Lisa is focusing on her very own video consulting business, LLmedia. Find out more about Lisa’s travel experiences and her favorite Mexican restaurants in this Featured Traveler profile.
Name: Lisa Lubin
Tell us a little about yourself:
I am a three-time Emmy® Award winning television writer/producer/photographer. After more than a decade in broadcast television I decided to chuck it all and take a sabbatical of sorts which turned into nearly 3 years traveling and working my way around the world. I document my (mis)adventures on my blog, LLworldtour.com, with photographs and articles from the road/train/rickshaw/camel. I recently launched LLmedia, a video consulting business along with an eBook called Video 101: Tips & Tricks for Awesome Visual Storytelling.
For three years, I took Spanish and surfing lessons in Costa Rica, rode through the narrow fjords and icy glaciers of the Chilean Patagonia, hiked up and biked down a snowy volcano in Ecuador, swam with dolphins off the coast of New Zealand, climbed high atop the Harbour Bridge in Sydney, sand-boarded the dunes of Dubai, kayaked between pristine islands of Belize, climbed like Moses to the top of Mt. Sinai, and successfully accomplished a two-week bicycle tour through the rice fields Vietnam. I have also found work in many places—I served up coffee and sandwiches in a café in Melbourne, taught private business English lessons in Istanbul, performed proofreading work for a Turkish media conglomerate, worked as a research assistant at the University of Cologne, was a pet sitter and an ‘extra’ in Los Angeles, did public relations for a company in Madrid and did some English voice recording for a publishing company in Berlin. At present, I’ve been to 6 continents and more than 45 countries.
Favorite city you’ve been to:
Besides Chicago, where I live and love it….ah, so hard to pick a fav…one of my favorites would be Stockholm. It’s a gorgeous city set on a myriad of Islands. It’s very modern, clean, and there is this great general ‘look’ to everything - that well thought out Scandinavian design and aesthetic. Plus there are tons of great cafes where you can go for a Fika (coffee break)!
A big part of my job at ABC (before I quit to travel), was doing TV segments on Chicago’s restaurant scene. It’s the reason I am a bit of a foodie today. There is so much good food in this town…I have a favorite in each category! I now crave Mexican a lot more than I used to, as it’s not very common to find good Mexican outside of the Americas. Right now I am loving the tortas at XOCO (Bayless is known for all his fresh ingredients and you can taste it) and also the tacos at Big Star - super tasty and cheap!
Best place to relax:
Nowadays, with all the traveling and working I am doing…it’s actually just on my boyfriend’s couch.
Best place to have fun:
Well besides also on my boyfriend’s couch (hee hee), that would be usually trying new foods with friends in Chicago or when I am traveling. To me, food = fun!
Best trip you’ve ever taken:
Besides my entire 15-month ‘round the world trip, I can say a weeklong boat tour through the Galapagos Islands. This was one of those once-in-a-liftime trips. It wasn’t even total luxury, but at the time was a splurge while I traveled the world on a budget. It was fun to be on a boat with a small group of great travelers, eating fresh food, snorkeling, and being up close and personal with beautiful animals everyday.
What one piece of advice do you have for travelers?
Travel slow. Don’t worry about seeing it all - stay for a week, a month. Get an apartment. Build a community.
Get local. The best part of travel for me is meeting people. I try to do this everywhere I go - through social media (Tweet: who’s in London??), through the readers of my blog, through the amazing couchsurfing.org, and through friends of friends. I found that now that I am back in Chicago, I am still reaching out to people and meeting new folks every week in my own town. Life is good!
Where else can we find you on the web?
My Travel Blog: LLworldtour
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Costa Cruises is offering a 30% off discount future cruises to survivors of the fatal cruise ship accident. However, all survivors won’t receive the discount.
“The company is not only going to refund everybody, but they will offer a 30% discount on future cruises if they want to stay loyal to the company,” said a spokesman for Costa Cruises to the NY Daily News.
Would you try the cruise line again? Would you accept the discount?
Source: New York Daily News
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According to TSA, many travelers leave loose change at airport security checkpoints everyday. Although TSA wishes to return the money to the rightful owners, it’s nearly impossible, so the money is used to fund different operations.
In 2010, the loose change left at security checkpoints amounted to $409,085.56. That’s $376,480.39 in US currency plus foreign currency worth $32,605.17 reports USA Today.
Which airports collected the most chump change?
1. John F. Kennedy International in New York - $46,918.06
2. Los Angeles International - $19,110.83
3. Hartsfield Atlanta International - $16,523.83
4. San Francisco International - $15,908.02
5. Miami International - $15,844.83
That’s a lot of money! Be sure to check your bins before you leave the security area!
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Do you have a favorite airline? What do you think about this 2011 Airline Scorecard? Would you change the rankings?
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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!
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