I recently stayed at the Ace Hotel in New York City. It’s an über-hip hotel whose first location was in Portland,OR, and its most distinguishing characteristics are bunk beds in some rooms and a lobby that’s a major gathering place for millennials who seem to like to socialize and work on their laptops or tablets in semi-darkness as rock music throbs in the background.
But it’s worth visiting the Ace Hotel in Manhattan if only to eat in one of the two restaurants off that crowded, happening lobby. Both are under the auspices of celebrity chef April Bloomfield. You may know her first book, A Girl and Her Pig.
There’s the seafood restaurant, John Dory Oyster House, and there’s The Breslin Bar & Dining Room featuring nose-to-tail cooking and fresh, local ingredients. It’s open until midnight, though if you’re a guest, there’s 24-room service. I’d take the top bunk.
If you’d like to replicate Bloomfield’s cooking, she has a new book titled A Girl & Her Greens that celebrates spring’s flavors from nature with recipes for dishes including roasted carrots with Burrata cheese.
Oh, and don’t miss Stumphouse coffee just off the lobby, too. It must be what fuels all that energy there.
The controversy flared up a couple of years ago with the release of a documentary titled “Blackfish.” It was a scathing look at the treatment of Orca whales held in captivity and used for entertainment at places such as SeaWorld. The question is: Should you patronize those shows?
The documentary noted the killing of a SeaWorld trainer by an orca named Tilikum. It challenged SeaWorld’s assertion that orcas lived as long in captivity as they do in open waters. SeaWorld only recently began a public relations effort to blunt the impact of the documentary that the company admitted had hurt its business.
Now comes a book by one of the participants in “Blackfish.” John Hargrove is a former SeaWorld trainer, and his book is titled Beneath the Surface: Killer Whales, SeaWorld & the Truth Beyond Blackfish.
Hargove claims despite SeaWorld’s assertions that it spends millions to support research of whales and rescues, rehabilitates, and returns to the wild hundreds of wild animals every year, the parks still separate mothers from their calves, keep orcas in pens, and keep them hungry so they’ll perform for the reward of fish during shows.
Should you visit? I’ll put a link to the book and SeaWorld’s rebuttal to critics in the transcript of today’s “Travel Minute” at rudymaxa.com.
“Blackfish,” the documentary
SeaWorld’s response to “Blackfish,” the documentary.
Have you ever thought about touring the world—and I mean the world—on a motorcycle? Not many of us can, but photographer and writer Allan Karl managed it. And he’s condensed his experiences into a lavish book that will set you dreaming and also look great on your coffee table.
The book is called Forks, and it has a couple of meanings. There’s the fork of a motorcycle that connects the vehicle’s front wheel and axel to its frame. And then there’s the forks you dine with.
This book deals with both. Allan Karl rode 62,000 miles in three years through 35 countries on five continents. He talked to people and took pictures. He ate local dishes and collected recipes.
The result is an oversized book filled with beautiful photos and personal stories we’d all like to collect if we had the luxury of time and our own big motorcycle.
Forks is a book made for leisurely browsing. It’s an invitation to join Allan Karl on the road. You can find it on Amazon or the website that bears his name: Allan Karl.
“Stonehenge?” I hear you ask. Sure—some think that circle of big stones was built by aliens.
Then there’s Area 51, the Air Force Base in southern Nevada where some think the military is keeping captured aliens in big freezers. Or something like that. In the nearby little town of Rachel, spend the night in a hokey, alien-themed motel and trailer park called Little A’Le’Inn.
I owe thanks for to the folks at CheapFlights.com for cherry picking these sites, most of which are more serious such as the H.R. MacMillan Space Center in Vancouver, a planetarium where you can also spend the night and look at the heavens through a major telescope.
There’s the space shuttle at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, of course, but if you can spare about $35 million, you can join a Russian space flight to the International Space Station. Really. Seven citizens already have, and singer Sarah Brightman is reportedly training for a flight later this year.
Ever been on an airline flight during which the stranger in the seat next to you clips his or her toenails? Or stuffs a dirty diaper in the seatback in front of them? If not, you’re lucky. But if you want to know how bad it can get, there’s a place to find out.
A former flight attendant named Shawn-Kathleen has a web site called Rants Of A Sassy Stew in which she says things many working flight attendants would like to say For example, I didn’t know one of the more irritating questions a passenger can ask a flight attendant is, “Do you fly this route regularly?”
But it gets worse. Or better, depending on your point of view. Shawn-Kathleen decided to open this subject to the public and let all of us vent and also post photos of especially egregious example of bad or gross behavior. It’s on Facebook, and it’s called “Passenger Shaming.”
You won’t believe what you’ll find there: Airline lavatory sinks some passenger used as a toilet; bare feet stuck through the space between seats into the next row; a guy eating baked beans out of a big cooking pot he brought aboard with him.
Take a look for fun. If you can stomach it.