Monthly Archives: December 2013

NYE Times Square: Joe’s Adventure & Survival Guide

Hello fellow Travelers!

I thought I should offer a few hints, a few do’s, a few don’ts for making a trip to Times Square for the big party an enjoyable one.

First let me say…. EVERYONE walking upright in this big beautiful world of ours should spend at least one New Year’s Eve in Times Square. I mean, really….  can you legitimately go to meet your maker having not checked this one off your bucket list?  I almost think that angel at the gate just doesn’t let you pass until………

World Traveling Joe’s Time Square NEW YEARS EVE Adventure and Survival Guide.

In general I am not a guy that stays up really late unless in Barcelona. I am the kind of guy that likes to plan things out to get the most of every experience. This is a story of a GREAT PLAN going BAD fast.  Hopefully you can learn and will be RICHLY rewarded with a WONDERFUL Times Square experience.

Dinner at Tao at 6PM:  This was a GREAT DECISION. Food was incredible and the people watching SUPERB. Lots of celebs LOVE this $70 million revenue restaurant.

Broadway Play: OK, I was thinking, go to a play keep awake until things start heating up in Times Square. Probably time for dessert and after dinner drinks before heading into the zoo (oops meant Times Square). This initially was a GREAT decision, that is until walking out after the play. A cabbie informed us that all the streets had already been closed off and no reason for a cab. We started walking just the few blocks to Times Square but found that those streets were closed to pedestrian traffic too, even to people dressed in REALLY NICE in theatre clothes. We arrived WAY below times square after a 2 hour jigsaw puzzle of walking about 2.5 miles. The wifey was clearly not excited about my grandiose plan for the evening when she just walked over 2 miles in high heels! GOOD PLAN GONE REALLY BAD.

Ball Drop:  A policeman was nice enough to move a few feet so that we could squeeze by and get a rocking back and forth view of the ball drop. It was extraordinary in all its’ splendor.  VERY GOOD DECISION even though we were SUPER tired of walking.

HEADING TO THE HOTEL: This proved to be one of the worst experiences of my life. I am claustrophobic (don’t like to be in tight places). We started toward our hotel and the crowd PUSHED us almost two blocks away with absolutely no choice on our part. You see, when 2-3 million people want to go one way and you want to go the other it really doesn’t matter, you are “going with the flow” or getting trampled. I am thankful I am tall so I could hold my above others or not sure what I would have done. It is the only time I have actually had thoughts of fearing for my life. We finally got behind a large column and just stayed there until the majority of the crowd dissipated (high heels off in 28 degree weather at that point). We finally arrived at our hotel at approximately 3AM.

Hint’s:   (Oh heck these are MANDATORY!)

The streets will start closing at noon. Plan your evening and route accordingly. Plan your return route. If you are taking a cab into the city – get there before 3PM to save the first stage of walking. Wear denim and COMFORTABLE shoes. Dress warm and bring pocket warmers. Bring a raincoat or other liquid resistant outwear. If it doesn’t rain you will CERTAINLY be doused by all sorts of beverages and that is 100% guaranteed. Bring snacks. Nearby restaurants will start closing by 3PM. Mentally get psyched for NO BATHROOM. I don’t have a good tip for this but I think there are 2 million people trying to get into 2 porta potties – ain’t happening. Find a spot to stand that has some vertical cover in case of a crowd rush, preferably far enough away to have at least 1ft x 1ft of standing space. Do not have loose items:  Example if you drop your cell phone there is some risk of not being able to pick it up. As it grows closer to midnight the crowd starts pushing harder and harder toward the ball drop. EXPECT super crowded conditions.

WOW! I hope I didn’t scare you. You do have to experience it yourself. Just be prepared. Just Like Gilligan thought he was out for a 3 hour tour! And see what happened to him!

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Joe’s pick for NYE ! Party at The Gansevoort Park Ave Roof Top !

Rise to the top this New Year’s Eve and celebrate the biggest night of the year at Manhattan’s reigning A- list nightlife destination that will surely be the talk and the toast of the town. Bright lights, big city, fabulous penthouse locale and you’ll be able to revel in it all perched 20 stories high above NoMad’s Park Avenue. Gansevoort Park Avenue’s Rooftop Bar & Lounge is a smart, sexy and sophisticated New York City nightlife oasis, housed on the tri-level penthouse floors of the stylishly hip and uber-chic Gansevoort Park Avenue Hotel.

Here is why you need to be there:

**Premium Open Bar for 5 hours   **A-List for celeb sight seeing  **   ** 6 lounges  **  ** Breathtaking Views   ** Fireplaces

BE SURE to Check out the  Poolside Penthouse and Red Room!

It’s $185 but WELL WORTH IT.  It’s not just a night, it’s a LIFE EXPERIENCE.  DO IT RIGHT!

Watch for me…. WORLD TRAVELING JOE

PS:  Joe doesn’t get a dime from these people…. he genuinely thinks this is the place to be.

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NYE Tokyo Style!

TOKYO

Happy new year: ‘Akemashite omedetou!’

Japan celebrates New Year in a similar way that we do Christmas in the US, by staying at home with family.  In the run-up to December 31, many Tokyo residents leave the capital to return to their traditional family homes. Tradition dictates that they spend the evening watching NHK’s Kohaku, a marathon TV show in which J-pop stars reprise the year’s most nauseating hit singles. If you’re wanting to do NYE like the westerners, there’s still plenty to do, and it’s the one day of the year when the public transport keeps running all night long. The best place to be for the countdown itself is probably at Shibuya crossing, which turns draws thousands of people at midnight. Afterwards, many people head to a local club to finish the revlry (try the Womb or Sound Museum Vision). Others partake in the first shrine visit of the year (hatsumode) paying homage to the forefathers. you could head to a local club like Womb or Sound Museum Vision, or else go and join the first shrine visit of the year (hatsumode). Then of course take in breakfast via sushi tree! Then just nap the day away!

     The Womb Night Club

  The Womb Night Club
   A typical Breakfast Brunch Sushi tree!
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GLAMPING: Is that a word? Or just a REAL HOUSEWIFE word?

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I grew up CAMPING. I mean canvas tents, Coleman stoves and lanterns. Spending the evening around a camp fire that we actually built from sticks and limbs and logs we found that was started with a piece of rich pine (Ask me what that is)…. joyously listening to the crickets, frogs, and other wildlife while enjoying a gooey S’more (you better know what that is). This was REAL camping. It was even sort of real when we added a Keg (yes-that’s beer) to our list of supplies. COLLEGE days did sneak in there, so it seemed appropriate.

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Now enter the world of GLAMPING. Pardon me city slickers, but what the hell is that? Now understand, I live in the city now, with fresh cut grass, a nice wine cellar and a real pool in the backyard but GLAMPING. Give me a break!  Just a question girls….  did this term come from THE REAL HOUSEWIVES?  (in some parts REAL housewives can clean the fish and mow the yard – a topic for another blog!)   I am not sure where GLAMPING came from but WORLD TRAVELING JOE WANTS TO EXPLORE IT!

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If you are in need of an ENTIRELY different vacation experience or just a budget holiday you might try it, or if you want to slightly brush the outdoors then, maybe it’s time you booked yourself a few nights in one of the many luxury camping tents and cabins that qualify you as a GLAMPER.  Now… don’t try this if your natural manly instincts to brave the great outdoors, make your own fire and cook foil wrapped potatoes is what you really want to do but this could be a good transition if you are a beginner camper or even just want to try it once.

So what is glamping and what are the advantages?

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The home comforts

I do love the experience of traditional camping but I have to admit it is a nice change to be able to enjoy a few of the comforts of home too. Cold beer and wine in the fridge, a sink to wash up and a gas stove make things easy. The showers and toilets are much cleaner than generally available in campsites, although there is just no experience like bathing is a crisp and clear mountain stream. Also having tables indoors to play cards and board as well as somewhere to plug in the lap top  is another nice luxury – not like using an old fashioned picnic table but a nice luxury.

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The Kids

Kids LOVE camping and GLAMPING gives them the opportunity to experience the great outdoors without losing all of the amenities of a hotel. Typical GLAMPSITES (sorry – but I hate that word) have between 12 and 24 tents or cabins surrounding common areas. Most are situated near natural landmarks such as lakes, rivers, mountains and many offer lots of things to do like hiking, boating, kayaking and many other things. Some offer organized outdoors tours and natural education. All good for children and keeping yourself busy. The area is usually totally secure so you will feel really comfortable sitting outside your cabin sipping a nice cocktail or glass of wine watching the kids play, or if you’re anything like me then you can feel free to jump in and have a bit of fun too.

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The cost 

A great thing about glamping is the cost. You can expect to pay somewhere between $15 and $50 per night depending on the level of amenities that you desire. Of course if you go REAL HOUSEWIFE STYLE then that might be as expensive as the Ritz Carlton…. but of course you would get an Italian cabin Boy named Eduardo and an unending supply of wine!  I suggest going lower end with just the amenities you think you MUST have so that you can indeed experience the great outdoors. Comparatively you will pay half or less of the cost of a usual hotel room.

GLAMPING:  It’s not camping in the true sense of the word but guess what… I LIKE IT! Maybe I am tired of being Daniel Boone or Davy Crockett (OK – dated myself a little then!) and am ready for a little work to be done for me. AND if you are not a regular camper with all the gear clean and ready to go, it can be a painful experience to get ready. Think… more time getting ready than actually camping = NO FUN.  GLAMPING is great middle ground.

With any vacation travel it is all about the people you are with and the experiences you have.

LET’S GO GLAMPING!

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Great Inexpensive Red Wine for Holiday Parties!

Going to a Holiday Party? Do you want to WOW the guests and the Host and not have to go to the savings account? World Traveling Joe gives you three GREAT RED WINES to pair with those holiday hors d oeuvres, all for around $20!

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Great Inexpensve White wines for a Holiday Party

Going to a Holiday Party? Do you want to WOW the guests and the Host and not have to go to the savings account? World Traveling Joe gives you three GREAT wines to pair with those holiday hors d oeuvres, all for under $15!

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Joseph Phelps Insignia. Still my favorite!

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Joseph Phelps Insignia, 2006.

I had a wonderful bottle of wine last evening and thought you might like to enjoy the tasting notes. I have included  video with comments from Robert Parker that offers some Joseph Phelps history and the history of their flagship wine: Insignia. Insignia is enjoying it’s 40th vintage!

If I tried to use one word about this wine, I would say FINESSE. The tannins are there but very soft allowing the fruit to elegantly flow forward. A floral note of LILAC rises from the glass without swirl – I always want to get the nose of the wine BEFORE a swirl. A nice swirl yields a spicy cherry aroma, one you might get when grandma is cooking a cherry pie.This is followed by light oak, licorice and heavy black fruit on the palate. This wine just simply flows evenly on the palate. Buy for about $200 and drink now. Pair it with pork or beef with middle range taste profiles (meaning nothing super bold or super light).

GREAT VIDEO: 39 VINTAGE TASTING WITH ROBERT PARKER.

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World Traveling Joe!

World Traveling Joe!

http://www.worldtravelingjoe.com
Passionate about food, wine, travel!

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Swimming Pools with a SERIOUS WOW FACTOR!

Mardan Palace, Turkey

Source: mardanpalace.com.tr

24 Amazing Pools You Need To Jump In Before You Die

San Alfonso del Mar, Chile

Image by Stewart Cook/Rex USA

24 Amazing Pools You Need To Jump In Before You Die

Springs Resort & Spa, Costa Rica

Source: thespringscostarica.com

24 Amazing Pools You Need To Jump In Before You Die

The Cambrian Hotel, Switzerland

Source: thecambrianadelboden.com

24 Amazing Pools You Need To Jump In Before You Die

Hotel Hacienda Na Xamena, Spain

Source: hotelhacienda-ibiza.com

24 Amazing Pools You Need To Jump In Before You Die

The Grand Mauritian Resort & Spa, Mauritius

Source: thegrandmauritian.com

24 Amazing Pools You Need To Jump In Before You Die

Ubud Hanging Gardens, Indonesia

Source: ubudhanginggardens.com

24 Amazing Pools You Need To Jump In Before You Die

Hotel Caruso, Italy

Source: hotelcaruso.com

24 Amazing Pools You Need To Jump In Before You Die

Golden Triangle Resort, Thailand

Source: Robert Stokes/Creative Commons  /  via: stokes

24 Amazing Pools You Need To Jump In Before You Die

Jade Mountain Resort, St. Lucia

Source: jademountain.com

24 Amazing Pools You Need To Jump In Before You Die

Crocosaurus Cove, Australia

Source: crocosauruscove.com

24 Amazing Pools You Need To Jump In Before You Die

Huvafen Fushi, Maldives

Source: slh.com

24 Amazing Pools You Need To Jump In Before You Die

Marina Bay Sands Resort, Singapore

Image by VIVEK PRAKASH / Reuters

24 Amazing Pools You Need To Jump In Before You Die

The Sarojin, Thailand

Source: sarojin.com

24 Amazing Pools You Need To Jump In Before You Die

Elounda Gulf Villas and Suites, Greece

Source: eloundavillas.com

24 Amazing Pools You Need To Jump In Before You Die

Capella Pedregal Resort, Mexico

Source: capellahotels.com

24 Amazing Pools You Need To Jump In Before You Die

Devil’s Pool, Victoria Falls

Source: Charles Haynes/Creative Commons  /  via: haynes

24 Amazing Pools You Need To Jump In Before You Die

Glenwood Hot Springs, Colorado

Source: hotspringspool.com

24 Amazing Pools You Need To Jump In Before You Die

Golden Nugget, Las Vegas

Source: goldennugget.com

24 Amazing Pools You Need To Jump In Before You Die
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What to do with Thanksgiving leftovers?

Thanksgiving Leftover Macaroni & Cheese

Prep Time: 20min

Cooking Time: 40min

Total Time: 1hr 10min

Servings: 8

This is definitely the cheesiest way to enjoy all of your Thanksgiving holiday leftovers.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound Cooked elbow macaroni
  • 1 pound Shredded turkey meat
  • 1 cup Leftover stuffing (optional)
  • 3 Medium size sweet potatoes, cut into small dices, cooked in salted water till tender
  • 1 cup Cooked peas
  • ½ Onion, chopped
  • 5 Sage leafs, minced
  • 2 Garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ cup Leftover cranberry relish (optional)
  • 1½ quarts Milk
  • ¼ cup Butter
  • ¼ cup Flour
  • 4 cups Grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup Mascarpone cheese
  • 1 cup Grated Fontina cheese

Preparation

Step 1

In a large pot add butter, onion, sage and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes.

Step 2

Add flour, whisk and cook for another 5 minutes.

Step 3

Add milk and continue to whisk till mixture comes to a boil and thickens.

Step 4

After milk has thickened, whisk in the mascarpone, fontina and one cup of the cheddar cheese.

Step 5

Once cheese melts and sauce becomes smooth, fold in the turkey meat, sweet potatoes, peas and pasta. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Step 6

Place pasta mixture in a 3-inch baking dish, cover with remaining cheddar cheese and bake at 350 for 20 minutes till golden brown.

Step 7

Serve with a tablespoon of cranberry relish.

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