Tag Archives: United States

I Heart My City (in the Spring)

29 Mar

Hanami cherry blossoms outside the Tokyo National Museum. (Photograph by Rob Towell, Flickr)

There’s still a chill in the air here in Washington, D.C., but the days are getting longer, the cherry blossoms are starting to pop, and residents are beginning to shed those cumbersome winter coats. Spring is upon us (at least for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere), and we’re embracing it with open arms by highlighting seasonal must-dos from our amazing I Heart My City community.

From ice cream to air shows, palaces to train rides, here are 20 ways to make the most of the next few months in 20 cities around the globe:

Shelly’s Oxford (United Kingdom): Head to nearby Wytham Woods to see the bluebells at their finest.

The Hyangwonjeong Pavilion, on the grounds of Gyeongbokgung Palace. (Photograph by Ncburton, Flickr)

The Hyangwonjeong Pavilion, on the grounds of Gyeongbokgung Palace. (Photograph by Ncburton, Flickr)

Megan Natalie’s Seoul (South Korea): Visit Gyeongbokgung Palace’s gardens to experience a piece of paradise you’d swear couldn’t exist in Seoul (make sure to watch the changing of the guards).

Ewelina’s Krakow (Poland): Take a walk to Krakus Mound at Podgórze; a nice, green hill where you can take a blanket and relax.

Annie Fitzsimmon’s NYC (United States): Celebrate the bounty of post-winter produce and eat anything with ramps on it because they’re only in season for a few weeks! Motorino has a great ramp pizza, and ABC Kitchen never fails with its in-season menu.

Keith Bellow’s Montreal (Canada): Hang around near McGill and Prince Arthur, soaking up the sun and the street life.

Anya’s Istanbul (Turkey): Visit Topkapi Palace. The flowers are in bloom and it’s positively stunning.

Katherine’s Athens (Greece): Take a bus to Cape Sounion, the ancient ruins of Poseidon’s temple. On the short bus ride from Athens, you’ll wind along the coast and enjoy some of my favorite views.

The Boxi-Platz flea market in Berlin. (Photograph by La Citta Vita, Flickr)

Berlin’s Boxhagener Platz flea market is open on Sundays. (Photograph by La Citta Vita, Flickr)

Madeleine’s Annapolis (U.S.): Check out the Blue Angels air show at the United States Naval Academy commencement.

Maja’s Belgrade (Serbia): Go to Zemun in Old Town and have lunch at one of the fish restaurants on the Danube.

Colleen’s Beijing (China): Fly kites by Houhai Lake.

Zain’s Amman (Jordan): Pack a picnic and visit the Hellenistic site known as Iraq Al Amir.

Shannon Switzer’s San Diego (U.S.): Check out the wildflowers in Anza Borrego Desert State Park.

Yvonne’s Berlin (Germany): Explore Berlin’s many flea markets to find great vintage clothes, furniture, books, and local art.

Sylvia’s Tokyo (Japan): Go for hanami (cherry-blossom-viewing parties) in a park with a big group of Japanese friends, some beer, and some sushi.

Jessica’s Barcelona (Spain): Experience a traditional Catalan calçotada which consists of getting together and eating large quantities of local green onions known as calçots along with romenesco sauce, regional wine, and good company.

Vienna's MuseumsQuartier. (Photograph by Photongatherer, Flickr)

Hang out outside Vienna’s MuseumsQuartier. (Photograph by Photongatherer, Flickr)

Jennifer’s Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates): See Abu Dhabi from the water. Hire a dhow (traditional wooden boat) for a tour, charter a speedboat to take you to one of the 200 islands off the main island, or kayak amongst the mangroves.

Karen’s St. John’s, Newfoundland (Canada): Watch the last ice depart from the Atlantic from atop Signal Hill National Historic Site. Check out the on-site gift shop where local music, books, and culinary delights make excellent gifts.

Isabel Eva’s Madrid (Spain): Take a trip on the Tren de la Fresa to Aranjuez. During the 50-minute ride, you will be served fresh strawberries. Once in Aranjuez, you can take a tour of the Museo del Ferrocarril (the railway museum) and the Palacio Real (the royal palace).

Lea’s Vienna (Austria): Do as the locals do and head to the MuseumsQuartier to hang out on one of the over-sized flexible furniture elements called Enzis.

Nat Geo’s Washington, D.C. (U.S.): Check out the National Arboretum and Kenilworth Park and Aquatic Gardens, two of D.C.’s hidden gems.

Wherever you are, what’s your favorite thing about your city in the springtime? Tell us about it in the comment section below.

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The 10 Best BBQ Joints in America

9 Feb

The rib plate at Virgil's. (Photograph courtesy Virgil's Real Barbecue)

In the land of the free and the home of the brave, nothing tickles the taste buds quite like barbecue. BBQ capitals like Kansas City and Memphis are well represented on our list, but America’s love affair with smoked meat is quite clearly a national preoccupation.

From sea to shining sea, here are the best barbecue joints in the U.S. of A.:

1. Corky’s (Memphis, Tennessee)

This no-frills restaurant is a barbecue landmark in Memphis (which also happens to be one of Traveler‘s “Best Trips of 2013” destinations). Slow-cooked to perfection in open and closed pits and served with tangy sauces, the hickory-smoked meats are so tender they fall off the bone. Try the hand-pulled pork shoulder – it’s cooked for more than 22 hours! Corky’s has five additional locations around the state, plus franchises in Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Mississippi, and New Jersey.

The Skylight Inn’s signature sandwich: whole hog chopped pork cooked over wood coals and topped with coleslaw. (Photograph courtesy Skylight Inn)

2. Skylight Inn (Ayden, North Carolina)

At Skylight Inn you can order only two things: a pulled pork sandwich topped with coleslaw or a pulled pork dish with corn bread and coleslaw. Whole pigs are slow-roasted over oak fires in open-air pits. Despite the short menu, Skylight doesn’t want for customers.

3. Virgil’s Real Barbecue (New York, New York)

A massive roadhouse in New York City! Buttermilk onion rings with blue-cheese dip. Hush puppies with honey butter, rack of pork ribs, Texas hot links, pulled pork, New Orleans-style barbecued shrimp – everything tasty. There is also a good list of top beers.

4. Jim Neely’s Interstate Barbecue (Memphis, Tennessee)

The sauce recipe might be a secret, but the word is out about Jim Neely’s. Each day brings new and repeat customers to this family-owned business that dishes up some of the country’s best barbecue. Slow-cooked in closed pits, the meat is incredibly moist and unbelievably good. It’s so popular that Jim installed a drive-thru window!

Inside Virgil’s Real Barbecue. (Photograph courtesy Virgil’s Real Barbecue)

5. Arthur Bryant’s (Kansas City, Missouri)

Bryant’s has been touted as the “business that gave Kansas City its renown as a barbecue capital.” Simple on décor but high on taste, Bryant’s has been serving up delectable hickory-and-oak-smoked barbecue since the 1920s, counting presidents and celebrities as devotees. Its two sauces – Original and Rich & Spicy – justly deserve the accolades heaped upon them.

6. Tennessee Red’s (Portland, Oregon)

Laid-back Tennessee Red’s serves up some of the tastiest barbecue outside of the South. Generous side dishes and no less than five sauces accompany each entrée. The corn bread melts in your mouth.

7. Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ & Catering (Kansas City, Kansas)

A five-star joint situated in the back of a gas station, with top reviews for Carolina pulled pork, homemade fries, and burnt ends. Low on atmosphere but high on taste. Zagat has rated Oklahoma Joe’s as Kansas City’s best barbecue.

The open pit at the Salt Lick, (Photograph by Kenny Braun)

8. Pierce’s Pitt Bar-B-Que (Williamsburg, Virginia)

Operating in the same location since 1971, Pierce’s Pitt Bar-B-Que keeps it simple and doesn’t change (case in point: the sign-maker’s misspelling of “Pit” stuck). Their sauce’s secret family recipe goes back some 80 years. A classic joint serving up pulled chicken and pork, ribs, hush puppies, collards, corn bread, onion rings, and all your favorite sides.

9. Firefly’s (Marlborough, Massachusetts)

This award-winning barbecue joint dishes up ribs, brisket, and pulled chicken. Devotees rave about Firefly’s Memphis BBQ sauce that has hints of brown sugar, molasses, and chocolate. Wash it all down with a glass of sweet tea straight out of the South.

10. The Salt Lick (Driftwood, Texas)

Featuring an indoor open pit where you can see your meal being cooked, the Salt Lick is a warm and friendly establishment that excels at barbecue. Customers sit at picnic tables and dig into mouthwatering platters of ribs, brisket, sausages, and plentiful side dishes.

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