The North Fork of Long Island in New York is rising in the rank,s gaining worldwide credibility in the wine community as being an up-and-coming wine region. In honor of celebrating 40 years of winemaking in Long Island wine country, Wine Enthusiast Magazine is hosting Harvest East End 2013 on Saturday, Aug. 24.
The event will be held at the McCall Vineyard & Ranch, which is home to merlot and pinot grapes. Winemakers from 42 vineyards in the region will be pouring their wines and local chefs from restaurants including Grana Trattoria Antica, Jedediah Hawkins Inn, Kitchen A Bistro, Madison & Main, Main Restaurant & Oyster Bar, Mali B Sweets, Mirabelle, Noah’s, and North Fork Table & Inn, among others, will be showcasing their best dishes.
Writer, sommelier, and Best Cellars founder Joshua Wesson will emcee the event, bringing awareness to the high-quality wines being produced in the region. "As a lifelong visitor to the East End, I've had the deeply personal pleasure of charting, tasting, reveling in, and now celebrating, the magnificence of Long Island's many fine wines," Wesson told The Daily Meal. "Tracing the four decades from the Hargrave's visionary vineyard to this year's harvest from over 60 producers, I'm overawed by all the deliciousness lying under that grape-stained arc."
Donnell Stires, executive director of Merliance and associate of the Long Island Wine Council, believes it’s the North Fork’s land, people, and environment that makes it so unique. "The region has come a long way since Louisa and Alex Hargrave planted their first grapevines and John Ross opened Ross’ North Fork Restaurant in 1973," she noted. "We’re honoring both John and Louisa at Harvest this year for pioneering the wine and food culture that has developed on Long Island’s East End, and that is so elemental to the area’s emergence as a culinary destination."
The event, organized by the Long Island Wine Council with support from Merliance, will benefit East End Hospice, Group for the East End and the Peconic Land Trust as well as new beneficiary, The Long Island Farm Bureau Promotion & Education Foundation.
Stars of travel: the people who help take us places
Travel isn’t just about places it’s as much about people. There are those who dream of building hotels, those who open up their own homes to others those who are so passionate about their hometowns that they can’t wait to share their favourites with everyone those whose passions and skills draw visitors galore those who just love travelling so much that they inspire the rest of us to as well. This issue pays special tribute to all those in the travel, tourism and hospitality industry. May we all make great memories together!
CEO & Co-Founder, Kama Ayurveda
Your best wellness holiday?
Vana, in the Himalayas. There’s nothing like it. It’s calm and beautiful, with amazing doctors, treatments, brilliant food and interesting people.
A place or journey that attracted you to the Ayurveda beauty regime?
The first time I went to Coimbatore and discovered the Arya Vaidya Pharmacy. I met the doctors and understood an alternative way to heal the body.
A favourite shop you discovered on your travels?
I love junk, thrift and antique shops. Even if I don’t buy anything, there’s tons of inspiration. (kamaayurveda.com)
Billa Majid Bakshi
Founder-Owner, Kashmir Heliski, Gulmarg
The only ingredient missing from the mix is peace, says Billa Majid Bakshi. After all, Kashmir’s Gulmarg region has everything else—some of the best virgin slopes on the Pir Panjal range, plenty of snowfall and relatively fewer tourists. “Now there is tourism infrastructure such as the Gulmarg Gondola and luxury resorts such as The Khyber Himalayan Resort & Spa that are bringing in quality tourism. But back when I started, no one believed high-end tourism and heliskiing would take root in a place like this.” The 37-year-old learnt the technical nuances of running a ski business in New Zealand before setting up Kashmir Heliski 10 years ago. The operation employs a world-class group of professionals— experienced heliski guides and Swiss pilots experienced in flying the two helicopters the business leases. (kashmirheliski.in)
Founder, Detours, Hyderabad
Photo by Timothy Dicey
Eleven years a corporate slave and three more in development, Jayanti “Jonty” Rajagopalan had had enough. Enter Detours. “The aim was to curate experiences that give a deeper understanding of Hyderabad’s history,culture and food,”shesays. After 12 years of guiding immersive experiences across the country, there’s no regret. “The artisans and common people we interact with have a sense of pride in sharing their day-to-day life with visitors,” she says. (detoursindia.com)
In an earlier time, Rupam Tirang headed a team of test drivers for a Japanese car-maker, pushing vehicles to the limit around the hills of Meghalaya. Now, he drives visitors around the Northeast in his immaculately maintained, spotlessly clean five-seater SUV. Tirang has been driving around the region for 35 years, long enough to know the land, its people and their cultures. He may try to warn you away from the haunted sacred forests (“Black magic, sir”). But he may also recommend some offbeat experiences—like Haflong in Assam, aka the “Bermuda Triangle for birds”. Not garrulous, but not laconic either, he is great company on trips where you will spend most of your waking hours inside the car. A father of two, Tirang is excellent with kids, as we found out first-hand, and if you’re nice enough, he may even pack you a bottle of his wife’s fish pickle. (6009780268 / 8729886276)
Founder, OnlyPaithani, Mumbai
Arati Baandal wanted a Paithani sari for her Maharashtrian wedding, but she couldn’t find one suited to modern, young tastes. So she decided to fix that. She started working with artisans who still follow traditional techniques and helped modernise the style. And that is how OnlyPaithani was born. A website came first, followed by two stores. (onlypaithani.com)
CEO, Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas
Which airline, lounge or train gives you a spring in your step?
Singapore Airlines is consistent when it comes to comfort, kindness and grace, with great recognition of its frequent flyers.
Your favourite place for a staycation?
I love New York for an American staycation. I tend to stay at The NoMad and recommend Pasquale Jones in Little Italy, walking the High Line and doing an art tour in Chelsea. For brunch, head to Cookshop and stop for coffee at Chelsea Market. I also love ABC Kitchen by Jean-Georges Vongerichten. (sixsenses.com)
Naturalist, Kipling Camp, Kanha National Park
If you ask Jeswin Kingsly what he loves most about Kanha, he’ll tell you: “The landscape here is very special. The sight of a tiger or a barasingha, standing in grassland, surrounded by fog—it’s magical.” The life of a head naturalist, though, isn’t a fairy tale. Days begin before the crack of dawn and end well past sundown. “But when a guest sees a tiger for the very first time, they get quite emotional, and that makes it all worth it.” Kingsly is an ambassador not just for the camp but also for tourism as a whole. “Not only can tourism act as the eyes and ears of the forest department, it provides daily bread to many villagers. That ensures the animals are protected.” (kiplingcamp.com)
VP – Commercial, India & South Asia, Accor
Photo by Aayush Goel
Favourite hotel-room view?
Novotel New York. The Times Square room’s view is amazing. Or Pullman Tour Eiffel. The view of the Eiffel Tower is incredible it’s so close, you feel like you can reach out and touch it.
Favourite place in the whole world?
Tahiti Islands—Sofitel Bora Bora is stunning. A place you fell in love in? Kirribilli in Sydney he’s now my husband. His kind personality, good looks, and harbour-view apartment nailed it.
Which of your amazing hotels is your favourite?
Raffles Singapore and SO/ Bangkok are on the top. (accor.com)
F&B Associate, ibis Pune Viman Nagar
Having a speech and hearing impairment may seem like a challenge when working in the hospitality industry but Pankaj Adhav is wonderful with people. He is hardworking, and his warm personality brings a smile to the faces of guests. (accor.com)
Historian, Author & Guide in Shimla
INTACH’s co-convenor for Himachal Pradesh, Raaja Bhasin is a local icon. His book Experience Himachal: On the Road won him the National Tourism Award in 2015 and was followed by Easy Trails Around Shimla. An eminent authority on Shimla with a master’s in history, Bhasin’s writing and TV engagements include working with the BBC. “Many of the events that shape our lives in the present day happened in Shimla,” he says. “The marking of the Durand Line, the Mcmahon Line, the Radcliffe Line… The notification creating the Indian Airforce came out of Shimla in 1932.” Bhasin began leading town walks over a decade ago on the request of a friend bringing tours from the UK, but he notes that today’s visitors are more diverse and invested. (raajabhasin.com)
Corporate Director – Communications & PR, Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels
One thing you’ve never told anyone about your travels?
I usually don’t talk about my personal travels until the last minute. I feel my plans get jinxed every time I share them with anyone!
Favourite shop you discovered on your travels?
Orbital Comics in London. I love to buy first editions! A person doing amazing things to make the world a better place? Priya Paul, my boss and my mentor. She does incredible work in hospitality and is always working towards bringing sustainable ideas to the industry, be it the first LEED certification, farm-to-fork concept or encouraging organic produce in hotels.
The trick to business trips?
Even if my business trips are short and quick, I always try at least one meal in a new restaurant or add something to a trip so that I discover something every time. Travelling is what I love the most, so experimenting is an essential part of the journey for me. (theparkhotels.com)
Owner, Neelambari, Thrissur
A techie, Sreeni TS left his Dubai job to return to his hometown Arattupuzha in Thrissur, Kerala’s cultural capital. He set up boutique resort Neelambari in 2017 with his wife (behind the tasty vegetarian cuisine). Sreeni’s love for arts and culture shows in his knowledgeable tips and the performances hosted at his property. “The traditional magnificence of a temple festival is much better appreciated in a rural than an urban setting,” Sreeni says, adding that the format of the iconic Thrissur Pooram originated right here. He suggests visiting Kerala during monsoon to best appreciate its tropical beauty. Sreeni’s favourite part of his workday is “sitting across the dinner table with people from different parts of the world and exchanging worldviews”. (neelambari.co.in)
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris – Getty Images
The New Craftsmen in London.
A person doing amazing things?
Luke Bailes, founder of Singita. His fabulous properties protect the environment and give back to the community.
Naveen Phular, Ankit Kala & Aniket Magar
Housekeeping, Conrad Pune
Naveen Phular, Ankit Kala and Aniket Magar, all members of the housekeeping team at Conrad Pune, truly exemplify what hospitality really means. When the hotel hosted a group of doctors that was taking care of COVID-19 patients, it needed volunteers to help look after their needs. This required those providing comfort and care to our frontline warriors to stay in isolation. Phular, Kala and Magar were the three champions who came forward for the task confidently, without a hint of doubt or fear. (hilton.com)
Francis Ford Coppola
Photo by George Rose – Getty Images
What is the one place you are most fixated on visiting next?
Each year, when a grandchild is nine years old, I take them alone with me on a journey of their choice or inclination. Gia went across with me on the QE 2, through what was then the new Chunnel and on the Orient Express to Venice, and we rejoined the family in Istanbul. Romy went with me to the south of France to a royal wedding, then to Bologna and then Venice for one week. Last year, Cosima at nine went with me to Paris, Bernalda for a night at our Palazzo Margherita and then to Cairo and Alexandria in Egypt. The next will be with nine-year-old Pascale, on our way to sleep in an ice hotel somewhere in the Sámi land of reindeer and the midnight sun and hopefully to view the Northern Lights together.
Maria Grazia Chiuri
Creative Director, Dior
Photo by Bikramjit Bose
Your favourite small and secret hotel in the whole world?
Il Convento di Santa Maria di Costantinopoli in Marittima, Puglia, Italy.
A great little place away from the crowds?
Pousada Maravilha in Fernando de Noronha in Brazil.
Three items you always have in your holiday wardrobe?
The Green Dior Camp bag that I designed when thinking of a bag for travelling, sneakers and the Dior Stellaire sunglasses.
Three must-haves in your travel washbag?
Avène’s SPF 50 sunscreen, Clarin’s Eau Dynamisante and Dior’s Prestige La Crème Texture Essentielle.
Your favourite shop?
I prefer markets to shops when I travel. My favourite places to shop are Oaxaca and San Miguel de Allende as well as the markets in Marrakech and Lisbon. (dior.com)
Cluster Marketing & Communication Manager, Sheraton Grand Pune Bund Garden Hotel
A native of Silchar in Assam, Sutapa Das returned to her hometown during the pandemic. But instead of just sitting it out, she brought the same zeal from her workplace to help out in this difficult time. Since the lockdown started, she, along with her parents, has been helping underprivileged families in their town, well aware of how inaccessible it is and how long it takes for relief to reach them. The Das family selected five families (those with just one breadwinner who is a daily wager) and provided them with basic food and daily essentials including face masks that they made themselves. These measures helped each of these families survive comfortably for a week. This initiative though small, is helping make a big difference to their lives. (marriott.com)
Housekeeping Associate, The Westin Pushkar Resort & Spa
Vishnu Kumar used his time away from the hotel to help in the fight against the pandemic. He voluntarily patrolled his hometown, Vajhera, to spread awareness about COVID-19. Paying heed to health experts, who had been worried about the infection reaching rural India in view of the cramped living conditions in those regions, he went around on a motorcycle telling people to follow social distancing as the best means of protection. (marriott.com)
Chef Gulab Singh Rawat
Banquet Chef, Grand Mercure Bangalore Gopalan
Chef Gulab Singh Rawat has shown exemplary dedication to his profession in this time of need. He helped reach out to stranded labourers by providing them nutritious meals and single-handedly cooked for more than a hundred people. (accor.com)
Regional Director, India, Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board
Favourite shop discovered on your travels?
Visit ROW DTLA, a 30-acre destination for curated, LA-born retail, dining, lifestyle and cultural experiences. Sonam and Rhea Kapoor visited several spots here including LCD, which focuses on emerging designers.
Top celebrity-spotting tip for anyone new to LA?
Stars are practically everywhere in LA, and while they are used to “being seen”, play it cool if you spot someone famous. Pro tips for seeing celebrities “in the wild” include hiking the famed Runyon Canyon, shopping at the uber-luxe Palisades Village, grabbing dinner at Italian hotspot Bestia or booking a room at Soho Warehouse in the Arts District.
One feast in one restaurant in the world right now?
Salazar, a Mexican joint with a festive, unpretentious vibe and gorgeous outdoor dining space, just a short walk from the LA River. (discoverlosangeles.com)
Assistant Manager – Sales, Courtyard by Marriott and Surat Marriott Hotel
Apart from his competent handling of his professional duties, Kamlesh Patel has always done his bit for society. He has been a member of the Happy Youth Charitable Trust in Surat since 2016. According to him, “If everyone does their bit, no problem will be too big to handle in India.” Since the lockdown, he has helped around 185 families through the foundation. These are mostly labourers with no means for daily earnings at the moment. Patel has tried to ease their situation by arranging for 20kg kits for these families with essentials including staples and other hygiene materials. (marriott.com)
Owner, Snow Leopard Lodge, Ulley
Tsewang Norbu’s ability to track snow leopards is what post-safari catch-ups are made of. “Living in a place like this, your eyes get accustomed to noticing subtle changes in the landscape,” he says. Norbu can best be described as an organic farmer who stumbled into hospitality and wildlife tourism. Despite having had little formal education, he can rattle off zoological names of the birds and animals sighted. Much of what he’s learnt is from his grandfather, who hunted snow leopards to prevent them from killing his livestock. Knowledge that Norbu has clearly put to better use. (snowleopardlodge.com)
Deepak Morudkar quit his tailoring job for the tourist car business. Today, if there is one thing that Morudkar’s service stands for, it is his punctuality and an ever-willingness to organise a cab ride anytime, anywhere. That’s no mean achievement in the land of susegad. (9545464585)
Commercial Head – South Asia, Lenzing
Favourite place to visit?
New York—it’s a great combination of modernity, heritage and nature. Being the fashion capital for the US makes it a crucial destination for business and leisure.
An interesting shop from your travels?
New York’s Fashion Avenue, which has all major brands. The world’s largest Macy’s store on 34th Street is also fun, and their focus on sustainability is impressive.
Favourite business hotel?
My focus is on good sleep and convenience for travel. I find business hotels in India to be much better. Properties of ITC Hotels and The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts ensure comfort and relaxation after a hectic workday.
A property that’s doing amazing things to make the world a better place?
ITC Hotels for the responsible luxury they have tried to inculcate in the way they run their properties. (lenzing.com)
Managing Director, Natural Diamond Council
A year prior to turning 40, I kept thinking about what I might have missed out on in life. I decided to quit my job and take 40 trips that year to celebrate the milestone. I drew up a list of cities that could be explored in short weeks as I couldn’t leave the kids behind for longer. The “Travel Year” had to start in Goa. There is something in the air there that makes me destress and recharge. Then a mini-break in Lisbon with my husband, followed by one in Vietnam with old friends and Malta. Next came Finland, Montenegro, San Francisco and Monterey Bay. I took my longest-ever vacation that year, a nine-week break with the kids across the UK and USA. Having worked in the beauty industry for 14 years, a highlight of my Seoul trip with my BFF was shopping in Myeong-dong. My girlfriends and I loved eating at Noir in Ho Chi Minh City and, in Mahé, at La Grande Maison and La Plage. Birthday week was in Finland with my brother, sleeping in an igloo under the stars at Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort. The final trip was to Amritsar to the Harmandir Sahib. The year I planned turned into 18 months. I couldn’t have done it without my Ma and my husband managing the kids. My friends and family gave me the time and love that I needed and I took my break: a year of travel, reflection, connections and conversations, filled with joy!. (naturaldiamonds.com)
CEO & Guardian of the Culture, Soneva
Photo by Julien Capmeil
Your favourite place for a staycation?
I was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lymphoma in October 2018. After a lot of research, Eva and I decided to move to Istanbul so that I could be treated there. So, in the last two years, Istanbul has become our second home after the Maldives. We stay at the Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at the Bosphorus. The location could not be better, the service is outstanding. One eats really well in Istanbul. Our favourite fish restaurant is Kiyi in Tarabya. Another one that’s great for lunch on the weekend is Suna’nin Yeri on the Asian side in Kandilli. The best restaurant is Mikla in Pera, on the top of The Marmara hotel with fantastic views of the Horn. I always book the first serving at 6pm and a great way of approaching the restaurant is to leave the hotel at 4.30pm and take a boat to Kadikoy. One then takes the second-oldest railway line in the world up the hill, to the top near Pera. My favourite traditional restaurant is Yeni Lokanta, a stone’s throw from Mikla the focus is Anatolian cuisine. (soneva.com)
Specialist guide, Mumbai
When 75-year-old Rashida Anees meets with her guests at their hotel, she spends time chatting with them before creating a personalised itinerary, drawing from her three-decades-long experience as a South Mumbai expert. She insists that her guests accompany her in her Honda, helmed by her trusted chauffeur, and not in the hotel’s luxury limousines. This applies to all her clients, whether they are Hollywood actors, travel writers, or billionaires. She takes them places she herself loves—an early start at Sassoon Docks, a drive around Azad Maidan, hunting for antiques at Phillips Antiques with meals squeezed in between, usually at the Royal Willingdon Sports Club or Bombay Gymkhana or if you are really lucky, in Anees’s home. (9820228225)
Founder, Khaki Tours, Mumbai
The agency offers Mumbai’s only “urban safari”—a jeep tour through the city’s most intriguing neighbourhoods. It also holds sailing tours, food trails and photo walks. “There’s a market for taking history out of textbooks and making it come alive,” says Gothoskar, who quit his corporate job of 16 years to set up Khaki Tours. “Spend at least two days in Mumbai: explore the streets in the mornings and evenings, spend the afternoons inside museums and art galleries, taste the local cuisine. Behind the sheer diversity of people, architecture, food and nature, there is always a story. More than the sights, it’s the stories that make Mumbai so special.” (khakitours.com)
Photo by Adil Hasan
A great little place away from the crowds?
The Botanical Gardens in Shivpur, Kolkata. Or Salisbury outside London—it’s where I did my internship, in a barn! It’s so quaint and picturesque. If you’re lucky, you don’t meet people for days.
What are the three items that are always in your travelling wash bag?
Mysore Sandal Soap, Parachute coconut oil, and Givenchy Gentleman.
The Elgin Fairlawn, Kolkata—the best place to relive nostalgia for yesteryear’s Kolkata. I particularly like Sudder Street, where it is located and also where Dominique Lapierre’s City of Joy was shot extensively. As a young student, I used to sit for hours at Blue Sky Café, sipping apple juice and sketching all the hippies who came to the city in search of nirvana.
What’s your favourite shop discovered on your travels?
Guinevere Antiques on King’s Road, London, for French linen and old Chinese pottery. (sabyasachi.com)
Kalyani Saha Chawla
Founder, Rezon Silverware
What will luxury look like in an age of face masks and hazmat suits?
I would not go anywhere that I’d have to wear a hazmat suit! I want the outdoors now, whether the mountains or the beach with minimal people around. Those days of crazy partying in Mykonos seem rather random now.
What is your favourite classic hotel?
It’s a tug of war between the corner suite at The Oberoi, Mumbai, waking up to that view of the sea, and The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai that was home away from home for more than a decade, where I was spoiled silly and upgraded to amazing suites. The Bell Tower suite has seen much that can’t be printed.
Your favourite secret hotel?
The Royal Mansour Marrakech. @kalyanisaha
Photo by Claudio Lavenia – Getty Images
A favourite little place away from the crowds?
Lanserhof in Germany. I go here when I need a reset. Lots of fasting and amazing treatments and downtime. I return re-energised. @caradelevingne
Anthropologist & guide, Mcleodganj
Photo by Raj Aditya Chaudhuri
This 58-year-old McLeodganj local thinks of his life as one long education. A member of the Gaddi tribe, he grew up exploring the Himalayan mountain trails. But it was only when he started taking visitors trekking around the Kangra Valley, the Gaddi shepherd trails of Chamba, the Kullu Valley and further east into Spiti, that he had the chance to learn about the many tribes of Himachal Pradesh. “Between the Aryan migration, Mughal rule, the British Raj and the history of independent India, the story of the subcontinent’s original tribal inhabitants was lost,” he says. So Sagar started studying and earned a PhD in the subject. Today he operates a trekking company out of an office that doubles up as a specialist bookshop. (8580681984)
Associate Director-Sales, The Lodhi, New Delhi
Patrick John has been working with The Lodhi since 2011. He joined as a Front Office Supervisor and then moved to the reservations team, where he developed strong relationships with guests. As he has been around for almost a decade, including when the hotel transitioned from being ‘Aman’ to ‘The Lodhi’, he is the man that old-time Aman loyalists consider their point of contact, and he curates personalised experiences for them. In his current role, he uses his operations skills to create solutions for every need. (thelodhi.com)
Fitness Trainer, JW Marriott Kolkata
Arindam Acharya is not just a dedicated fitness trainer at JW Marriott Kolkata, he’s also emerged as one of the heroes of the pandemic who has gone out of his way to help those in need. He provided over 30 families of wage-earners with staples, hygiene supplies as well as drinking water. Acharya thoughtfully arranged for waterproof sheets to help them bide over the monsoon. He also helped provide stationery and supplies for their children to keep busy while their schools are closed. So even though the state ordered a shutdown of health clubs, Acharya chose to remain unfazed and dedicate his free time to a bigger cause. (marriott.com)
CEO & Creative Director, Pellicano Hotels
Your loveliest travel experience?
In an ideal world, Bellini Travel would organise an Italian trip for me. Hotels: Borgo Egnazia, Puglia Le Sirenuse, Positano Santa Caterina, Amalfi La Perla in Corvara, South Tyrol… And villas at Castello di Reschio, Umbria.
Your evergreen staycation spot?
My city, Rome. Walking to Piazza del Popolo, passing through the Pantheon. Coffee at Roscioli Caffè, lunch at Da Enzo and dinner at the magnificent Pierluigi.
Your favourite small and secret hotel?
Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn, California. There is no place quite like it. I love everything about it: the location, the bungalows, the shared bathrooms, the dining room with a gramophone and vinyl records. What sticks with me most is the sound of the creaking floors. It makes me dream of all the wonderful stories that have happened there.
Favourite classic hotel?
The Ritz Paris. I’m totally averse to hotel renovations as places always lose their soul, but the Ritz still has it after the mega renovation. (pellicanohotels.com)
Manvendra Singh Shekhawat
Managing Director, MRS Group
One thing you’ve never told anyone about your travels?
While travelling solo, I decide on my destinations, most times, after reaching airports, seldom book my return tickets and leave everything to intuition and serendipity. I enjoy the heightened sense of perception in unfamiliar environments and wilfully becoming more conscious of the subconscious. Discovering a place through chance connections and conversations brings out the nuances and undercurrents of its cultural milieu. It also allows me to engage on a deeper level with life itself.
Your favourite view that blows you away?
I love views that frame the rawness of nature, or the energy of cities. Amangiri, Utah and Aman Tokyo are two of my favourites.
Which of your amazing hotels is your favourite?
Suryagarh, Jaisalmer, for I am fascinated with the Thar desert, its endless stretch, extraordinary skies and energy. Also, it was my first hotel, and I feel there is so much more to be done. (suryagarh.com)
Karishma Manga Bedi
The airline that does the best amenity kit?
Emirates—decent-looking vanity case that you can actually use and repurpose. The miniature Bulgari products smell pleasant. So, if nothing else, you can pop them in your bag to use on the go.
The hotel with the best in-house brand of beauty products?
Most have collaborations: Forest Essentials x Oberoi Hotels, Dior Institut at Plaza Athénée, Paris, Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa at The Plaza, New York City, and Mandarin Oriental with Aromatherapy Associates.
Best products to help with jet lag?
Olivia von Halle Eye Mask, Forest Essentials Tranquil Sleep spray, Filorga Optim-Eyes cream, a rose quartz facial roller, Forest Essentials Sundari Deep Hydration Ayurvedic Sheet Mask and melatonin pills.
Favourite wellness destination?
Zaborin in Japan is an exceptional place to slow down, making it a time to heal not just the body with the volcanic onsen, but also the mind and soul. Also, SHA Wellness Clinic, Spain for their diverse, well-rounded and innovative approach to well-being, health and nutrition. (forestessentialsindia.com)
Hospitality, Glenburn Tea Estate, Darjeeling
Sabin Mukhia is a man of many interests. Birding is just one of the many things he excels at without any formal training. He is the third generation in his family to work at Glenburn. He enthusiastically accompanies guests on 6am bird walks. He has strong horticultural genes—his grandpa was once the head gardener— and Mukhia is often seen working with the other gardeners, He also has an interest in cooking and he obliges guests with specially typed-up recipes of his dishes. He is a true multitasker and rises to any challenge. (glenburnteaestate.com)
Editor-in-Chief, US Vogue, & Global Content Advisor Condé Nast
Photo by Edward Berthelot – Getty Images
The place you’re most fixated on visiting next?
Although I return to India again and again, I’ve never lost the sense of joy and anticipation I feel when I have the opportunity to return. I still have so much to discover there. I’m very keen to visit a tea plantation in the hills in Darjeeling and also to go to Hampi to explore the ruins and the thousands of temples.
Tour guide, Gulmarg
You’ll remember the stunning beauty of Gulmarg. You’ll remember the gondolas and skiing amid breathtaking views. There’s another something special in Gulmarg that will leave you with fond memories: Anwar Wain, a 38-year-old who has been a tour guide in the town for two decades. For him, pleasing his client is the ultimate goal. “Client ko mazaa aaya, toh mujhe mazaa aaya (if the client is happy, I’m happy),” he says. His enthusiasm grows as he talks about the lesser-explored areas of Gulmarg, like Nagin Valley (“it’s beautiful with fewer tourists”) and Leopard Valley. Wain loves taking travellers on the Outer Circle Walk and up Apharwat, the highest peak here “that offers the whole of Gulmarg on a plate. You get a view of everything. You cannot leave without trying the wazwan and kahwa,” he adds, recommending Bashir Dhaba and Sarojini Dhaba. (7889410924)
Area Director of Marketing, Marriott International, South Asia
One thing you’ve never told anyone about your travels?
As much as I love travelling, I still get pre-travel jitters when I am about to go to a new place. Especially when travelling with family, I tend to get overwhelmed.
Favourite small and secret hotel?
It was quite expansive but a well-kept secret in the vineyards of Saint-Émilion, France: Grand Barrail Château Hôtel & Spa.
One feast in one restaurant in the world right now?
I would love to fly to Paris and dine at Georges, overlooking the skyline. I wouldn’t mind sitting at Chelsea Market in New York either. (marriott.com)
Actor & film producer
Photo by Rahulnath
Where would you take someone to show the Hyderabad you love?
There are two sides: during Ramzan, when the food is phenomenal, and the older part of the city—where I grew up—that’s built around the film industry. @ranadaggubat
Mandip Singh Soin, Frgs
Founder & Managing Director, Ibex Expeditions
An adventure destination you would recommend?
Zanskar in Ladakh. One starts at Kargil and can raft through Zanskar Gorge and end in Leh, or continue to trek into Himachal Pradesh via Shingo-La and end at Manali. Overseas, Mongolia: look for dinosaur eggs in the Gobi Desert, ride Bactrian camels and trek, or horse-ride across the Mongolian Steppe.
A person doing amazing things?
Jose Dominic of CGH Earth. Recycling, conservation and community support form the guiding principles of their hotels. He is a founding member of our Responsible Tourism Society of India.
A great place away from the crowds?
EcoCamp Patagonia in Torres del Paine in Chilean Patagonia. (ibexexpeditions.com)
The year was 1983 and the magical ruins of Hampi were a secret known only to some. Here, archaeologist George Mitchell entered a corner shop and began chatting with the owner and his friend. Mitchell’s work would place Hampi on the tourist map and bring it World Heritage status. The friend, a local named Thippanna Gowda, would eventually train under Mitchell and be inspired to study history, and work as a guide. Tourism changed the economic landscape not only of Hampi, but also its neighbouring villages. “It became our livelihood at a time when agriculture was no longer profitable,” says Gowda. Today, he initiates stupefied visitors into Hampi’s rich heritage—the Virupaksha Temple, the musical pillars, and more. “But a little known secret,” he says, “is the megalithic site of Hirebenakal, 30km away.” (8088340994)
Founder, Pranam, NCR
Neena Rana rediscovered phulkari on a trip to Patiala and decided to trade her black lawyer’s robes for the brightly coloured outfits. “Rural women used to make phulkari, often when they had some free time when they were socialising. They sewed floral and geometric patterns, depicting rural life, by hand using untwisted silk thread on coarse khaddar cloth,” the 56-year-old explains. But the craft had been in a state of decline due to the proliferation of cheap, machine-made alternatives. This is why she got together a group of artisans and set up her eponymous brand and a boutique in her home in Gurugram, where buyers experience the difference in quality first-hand. She has played a role in breathing new life into the craft. (Neena Rana, A-48/24, DLF-1, Gurugram)
Vice President – Luxury Commercial & Key Accounts, Diageo India
One thing you’ve never told anyone about your travels?
Whenever I travel, immediately after I check-in to my hotel, I go for a walk around the property to familiarise myself with the place. I like making mental notes of coffee houses and interesting stores to check out later. The first time I went to Cannes, I skipped the shops along the promenade and discovered so many gems in the bylanes!
What’s the best cocktail you have ever had?
I’m big on classic cocktails and absolutely love Edinburgh for its small bars and dives. Plus, the best whisky in the world is nearby. I still get dreamy thinking about the exquisite Blood and Sand cocktail I had at The Devil’s Advocate, a lovely bar in the Old Town.
One fail-safe hangover cure you would recommend?
More than a hangover cure, it’s a hangover prevention—always alternate your drinks with a glass of water. It’s saved me from many hangovers! (diageo.com)
Founder, ABBF, Pune
Divyanshu Ganatra lost his eyesight to glaucoma at the age of 19. Today, he is a mountaineer, cyclist, paraglider, scuba diver, psychologist and an entrepreneur. Ganatra now runs Adventures Beyond Barriers Foundation to make outdoor activities accessible. (abbf.in)
Head of Housekeeping, Ahilya Fort, Maheshwar
If you’ve visited Maheshwar, near Indore, chances are you may not immediately recollect the exquisite chattris on the Narmada’s ghats or the clickety-clack of looms creating gossamer fabrics. You may not even remember the atmospheric sunset sail to the river goddess’s temple. But chances are you will remember the warm hospitality of Kuntabai Kesar. “Taking care of guests gives me a sense of purpose,” she says. As Head of Housekeeping, Kesar has spent close to two decades caring for visitors at Ahilya Fort. But has tourism returned the favour? “Personally, it’s made it possible for me to even educate my grandchildren,”she says.“In Fact,my granddaughter works at the ITC in Agra. Many locals have also profited: Maheshwar’s weavers, Narmadi Bai, the bangle-maker, Haji Baba, the kite-maker, Sen Bhabi, the masseuse… People have not had to leave the countryside to find work in cities.” A positive impact, indeed. (ahilyafort.com)
There are many local drivers in Landour who will claim to know the hills, and maybe they do. But few can get Ruskin Bond to sign a book for you. And fewer still can claim to share a wall with Landour’s most famous author. That apart, David Aurora is the man you want to ping for your travel around Dehradun- Mussoorie-Landour. Born and raised in these hills to Anglo Indian parents, he has enough stories to last you a trip. As you would expect, he’s also well-networked and knows everyone, from writers to bakers, on a first-name basis. And if you are planning to pack the tot away to a school in these parts of India, he has plenty of local intel—Aurora’s a Woodstock alumnus himself. (8755682224)
Abor Country Travels & Expeditions, Itanagar
Oken Tayeng is the brains behind Abor Country Travels & Expeditions. The agency was born in 2002 out of his strong fascination for the culture and heritage of the Siang Valley in Arunachal Pradesh. “You’re closest to nature here,” Tayeng says. “Set in the midst of a tropical forest, one can savour the freshest air, organic vegetables and distance from crowds.” What Tayeng enjoys is meeting an array of interesting people—a botanist, an ornithologist, a painter, geologist and musician—and the fact that his workplace is mostly outdoors. (aborcountrytravels.com)
Executive Assistant to the General Manager, The Ritz-Carlton Bengaluru
Meghana Chugh supports the Mathushree Manovikaa Kendra, a school of 35 children with special needs, by supplying them with essentials like food and diapers. She spends time with them, educates them about COVID-19 and ensures that safety measures are being taken to protect them. (ritzcarlton.com)
Founder & Chairman, SUJÁN Vice-President, Relais & Châteaux
One thing you’ve never told anyone about your travels?
During a polo tour to Kenya in the late ‘90s, I first rode through the Masai Mara on horseback with the legendary Tristan Voorspuy. Tristan rode us up to the Mara River and said, typically nonchalantly, that we would cross! The great wildebeest migration had just begun, the river was swollen, and as sod’s luck would have it, while crossing back, my horse decided to leap into the river, much like a wildebeest. While the horse swam for its life with me astride, doing whatever I could to aid it, I could see a couple of crocodiles slipping into the river not so far away. Luckily, I lived to tell the tale!
A person doing amazing things to make the world a better place?
In Africa, the Varty family that owns and runs Londolozi Private Game Reserve, The Jouberts of Great Plains, Luke Bailes of Singita and the Oppenheimers of Tswalu. They are all leaders in positive impact wildlife tourism. In South America, the Klabins of Caiman for jaguar conservation and Matías de Cristóbal of Awasi for pumas.
Which of your amazing hotels is your favourite?
SUJÁN JAWAI in Rajasthan. (thesujanlife.com)
The youngest in a line of master printers, he’s currently switched from developing designs for houses like Good Earth and Nila House to double-sided, natural-dyed face masks. The switch responds to market demand and he says it’s the one way he can keep the seven artisan families dependent on him gainfully employed. “Eighty percent of my business depends on tourism,” he says. “Not just me. Almost everyone employed in Rajasthan’s arts and crafts industry has survived and grown only because of tourism.” A graduate of Jaipur’s Indian Institute of Crafts and Design, he credits travel as having helped open his mind to new possibilities. “You learn about the different tastes of people what kind of product may work for which market… It’s certainly helped me in design development.” @dheeraj_chhipa_bagru
Assistant Housekeeping Manager, Conrad Bengaluru
Vignesh Raj has been adapting to the new normal brought about by the pandemic and taking up the various challenges. The 25-year-old interspersed his daily tasks with team- building exercises and continued them even through the time his father suffered a heart attack in the midst of a lockdown and despite the stress it entailed. (hilton.com)
Founder, Children of Tribe, Mumbai
A gaggle of children spots a termite hill the ensuing squeals echo in the verdant countryside that skirts Mumbai. A trail from their farmstay leads the group past a waterfall where they watch a farmer separate rice from husk. For the leader of the trail, Nitisha Agrawal, nature is a third parent. “I just tell the kids to ‘be’. They can run wild, get muddy, eat local meals,” she says. The idea of Children of Tribe took seed while travelling with her daughter it grew with her desire to inculcate sustainable travel in the young. These outdoor learning experiences run through riverside farms, fields and trekking trails. Children often come away having learned to pitch tents and harvest veggies. (facebook.com/childrenoftribe)
Author of ‘Queeristan’ & Head of Godrej India Culture Lab
Photo by Aradhana Seth – Merchant of Images
What are your essential tips on LGBTQI+-friendly travel in India?
There is such a thing as the pink rupee, so my first tip is to support queer-run, or queer-friendly travel businesses. Chains like The Lalit are completely out and proud with queer-friendly policies and more than 100 queer employees. There are smaller initiatives like The Unhotel Co., a queer-friendly travel advisory service, or Out and About, which does queer-friendly treks. Aamra Odbhut Café in Kolkata, Chez Jerome – Q Café in Delhi and Café Guftagu in Mumbai are very proudly queer-friendly. The second tip is that queer community organisations exist not just in big cities. Imphal has Ya-all and Ahmedabad has QueerAbad, to name just two. If you can catch a queer event while you are visiting a new place, nothing like it, na? (parmesh.net)
Valet, Sheraton Grand Brigade Gateway Bangalore
Sudha has broken a lot of gender stereotypes to become a female valet. The opportunity accorded to her and lack of gender bias makes her take her duties very seriously. Her customer service is impeccable and every conversation with a guest is always bookended by a smile and “Is there anything else I can help you with today?” She has been the backbone of the hotel’s rooms division and is an inspiration to all. (marriott.com)
Block printer, Ahmedabad
It’s mesmerising to watch karigars as they work meticulously, transforming textiles into art. While block printing itself is a dying craft, Gamthiwala Textiles—now run by Salman Gamthiwala—has kept the practice alive in Ahmedabad. “I’ve been here for 20 years. It was founded by my grandfather in 1958. My father, uncle and brother are also involved now,” Salman says. No trip to the city is complete without a shopping stop here. The 38-year-old credits travellers for making Gamthiwala Textiles “world famous”. (facebook.com/gamthiwalatextiles)
Area Director – West India & General Manager, Taj Lands End, Mumbai
The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai, with a stellar legacy of 116 years. Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur— its beauty is absolutely incredible. I love the hospitality at the Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris. I have great memories of my holiday at Royal Mansour Marrakech, Morocco. And a huge sense of pride in seeing the Indian flag flying high at the entrance of the legendary The Pierre, A Taj Hotel, New York.
Favourite food and drink in London?
The Araki: drinks are the hero and the dishes are exceptionally curated. Sexy Fish: I love their fish and meat cooked on a robata grill. Pollen Street Social: I love the seasonal menus at this Michelin-starred eatery. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal: stop by for lunch and try the Meat Fruit. Flor, Borough Market is a must- visit. American Bar at The Savoy has a great Savoy Songbook cocktail menu. Also Kwant at Mayfair, where I get the Green Pony. (tajhotels.com)
GM – Cruising, Assam Bengal Navigation
Kunal, who oversees operations across the entire fleet of boutique cruises on the Ganges and Brahmaputra, does a stellar job of building genuine relationships. His compassion and support have made ABN welcome in these rural areas. (assambengalnavigation.com)
Chef-Owner, Fat Plate Café, Manali
As a schoolkid, Anubhav Gurung and his friends would often trek up Manali’s Hampta Pass with a stove and pots and make Maggi. The mountain picnics have become more elaborate, particularly after Gurung returned from the Institute of Hospitality Management, Aurangabad. In 2012, he set up Fat Plate Café, frequented by travellers and Bollywood stars. Whether it’s meltingly soft jungli maas or succulent pork ribs, the restaurant’s emphasis is on fresh local produce. He also offers outdoor cookouts and gourmet picnic baskets for travellers. A mountain man, Gurung is familiar with the trails, myths, and sights worth seeing in the region and has excellent recommendations from secluded hot springs to cheese. “You travel 15km in the Himalayas, and the whole atmosphere changes. Here, life is an adventure” says Gurung, (facebook.com/FatPlateCafe)
For over three decades, Jennifer Nandi’s been crisscrossing the country, leading birding and safari trips for companies like Steppes Travel and tailor-made experiences for her clients. From luxury cruises in the Sundarbans to tiger-tripping at the less-frequented reserves, she’s done it all. “I still jump at any opportunity to travel into the wilderness,” she says. “Nature grants us the privilege to experience the alien worlds out there.” The one under-rated destination she recommends is the Sunderbans. “One-third of its total area is permanently covered by water. Twice a day, the character of the water changes from being fresh water to salty and back. Forty percent of the world’s mangrove species are found here. As are a healthy population of tigers and Irrawady dolphins.” @quantumgrandma
Photo by Arjun Menon
“Spiti’s climate and culture are special, ” says Takpa Tanzin. Just across the border from Tibet, the region’s sublime landscape is dotted with monasteries, grazing yaks and barley fields. Tourism is the main source of income for Spiti’s inhabitants. Its charming homestays give visitors a peek into local life as they share steaming momos or learn organic farming with host families. “We owe our sustainability and self-reliance to tourism,” says Takpa, who never went to school but has set up a library in his village, Chicham, with the help of NGO Ecosphere. “I was a donkey handler,” he adds. He soon learnt on the job, took mountaineering courses, and became a guide. In winter, he leads snow leopard expeditions. (9418215768)
Team Leader – Security, THE Park Hyderabad
Joy Ramchiary has been handling hotel security at THE Park Hyderabad since 2016. Ever since the pandemic broke out, he and his team have stepped up, taking on the additional responsibility of monitoring the hotel’s food delivery business to make sure all hygiene measures are up to the mark. “We’ve also been feeding refugees and people sheltered at government camps, and providing them with essentials. It is great to see a sense of pride in my family’s eyes when I tell them about my work,” he says. Beyond his professional duties, he has helped deliver medicines to elderly people, and for him, the smile on their faces is all the recognition he needs. (theparkhotels.com)
Loss & Prevention Manager, ITC Grand Central, Mumbai
If guests at Mumbai’s ITC Grand Central feel safe, it’s thanks to Nirmala Bhanu. Born in a remote village near Manali, Bhanu joined ITC Hotels 10 years ago. “My mother inculcated the sentiment of ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ in me. I follow this simple teaching at work.” Bhanu is proud of leading an all-man team as “security is always considered a man’s job”. She says, “ITC trusted and empowered me to head such a team.” And rightfully so. Recently, two foreign guests staying at the hotel lost their iPad. Using her rapport with local authorities, she traced the gadget within five hours. Over the last decade, she has successfully handled the safety and security of IPL teams, heads of states, high-level politicians and celebrities visiting the hotel. What’s more, Bhanu also happens to be trained in krav maga. She is an expert martial artist and a recipient of the Indira Gandhi Priyadarshini Award. (itchotels.in)
Customer Service team, Luxury Escapes India
“Priyo”, is one of the most senior and beloved members of the customer service division. His energy, zest for the job and wit keeps everyone’s spirits flying high. Customers are fond of him and frequently ask for him to resolve their travel queries. (luxuryescapes.com)
Deputy Director & Marketing Head – India, Switzerland Tourism
Favourite view in Switzerland?
Views of the Matterhorn from Zermatt. Although it is only the 10th-highest peak in Switzerland, its extraordinary shape makes it so dramatic and beautiful. You can take cable cars or the cogwheel train up, or you can hike to see the mountain perfectly reflected in Lake Riffelsee.
A place that’s doing amazing things?
Romantik Hotel Muottas Muragl in Engadin St. Moritz. It produces more energy than it needs. It’s the first energy-plus hotel in the Alps.
One feast in one restaurant in the world right now?
Grotto Teresa on Lake Lugano. The views are amazing and the specialties are fish and risotto and polenta and beef stew, local wines and grappa.
Which amazing hotel is your favourite?
That would be Bürgenstock Resort and Alpine Spa, perched above Lake Lucerne. I take the high-speed catamaran from Lucerne to Kehrsiten, then the funicular to the resort. (myswitzerland.com)
Sustainable luxury travel expert, author & Founder, BOUTECO
Your favourite small and secret hotel?
Alavya in the cobbled hilltop village of Alacati on Turkey’s Aegean coast. Just 25 suites in flower- filled gardens off a postcard-perfect lane. I loved Gal Oya Lodge in Sri Lanka and staying in a thatched cabin in the jungle and meeting the chief of the Vedda tribe. The UK’s Batty Langley’s, a lovingly restored dinky 29-room hotel that’s hidden in a Georgian townhouse on Folgate Street in Shoreditch. (julietkinsman.com)
In-house sports star, Spice Village, Thekkady
Francis eased into the world of sport when he shadowed his father at the Vandiperiyar Club in Kerala and later took up the position of ball boy at the tennis court. He joined the estate as a caretaker but retained his interest in the game. He became part of the Spice Village family in 2003 and was given the responsibility of managing the Wood House Bar. Once again, his personality won guests over. He is now well into his 60s but still young at heart. He’s in charge of all the games and sports activities at Spice Village and ever ready for a match. His knowledge of the district translates into great stories as well. (cghearth.com)
Founder Partner, RARE India
Is a sustainable hotel more or less expensive than one that isn’t?
The perception is that sustainable hotels and operations are basic and hence should be inexpensive. On the contrary, going off the grid, harvesting rainwater, recycling grey water, curtailing waste, building with local materials, creating local and sustainable supply chains, drawing on local communities to build skilled teams for hospitality and creating support for local craft initiatives require time, money, skills and intent. It is spearheaded by talented and influential people who are fabulous hosts. Besides, your tourism rupee also contributes to conserve nature and preserve heritage. Add to this the luxury of space, the joy of farm-to-table cooking and immersive explorations.
How do smaller hotels hold the blueprint for post-Covid-19 tourism?
These hotels are conceptualised on everything that post-Covid-19 tourism suggests as safe and trustworthy. From locational advantage to generous land-to-key ratios, small teams from nearby areas, dextrous operations, strict monitoring and people-centric goals.
Favourite classic hotel?
In the boutique space, Malabar Escapes. An all-time classic will be The Oberoi, New Delhi. (rareindia.com)
Founder, Upasana Design Studio, Auroville
She turned her love for craft and textiles into a tool of change. Her efforts to revive the Benarasi weave and work with the cotton farmers of Madurai helped spread the message of sustainability. Travel for her is learning all about textile techniques. (upasana.in)
When in Old Goa, climb up to the Chapel of the Lady of the Mount. If its sun-kissed, whitewashed façade doesn’t dazzle you, the stunning aerial view beyond will. Many a traveller has experienced this and other gems with Deborah (Debbie) Dias, a tourist guide of 26 years. “I love meeting people, and I love my land,” she says. This is what lured her to the profession. While the Chapel of the Lady of the Mount is her favourite monument, Debbie believes that Goa’s charm lies in its villages and people. “You haven’t seen Goa if you haven’t experienced its village life – the coconut pluckers up the trees, women cracking cashewnuts the traditional way, fishermen with their fresh catch,” she says. “Everywhere you look, Goa is breathtaking. I think of her as a beautiful woman draped in a green sari.” (9822137882)
Duty Manager, Hotel Pullman New Delhi Aerocity and Novotel New Delhi Aerocity Hotel
The pandemic has been tough on everyone, but Uzair Khan has gone far beyond his duty of handling guests and employees alike. He has taken on responsibilities related to operations and has also been making critical decisions. As a manager on duty, all questions are directed to him—on whether to allow guests to enter the premises, on food and room changes and much more. He helped manage all embassy guests waiting for rescue flights and handled their payments even without the involvement of the finance team. He was in touch with guests personally to ensure their safety and comfort and following all necessary protocols. His exceptional hospitality has earned him great feedback. (pullmandelhiaerocity.com)
Nutritionist & Dietician, Dharana at Hilton Shillim
Pranathi is a friendly, guest-centric person with amazing energy to turn each experience into a memorable one. With a strong and cohesive blend of conventional and traditional nutritional science, she builds user-friendly programmes to suit each individual guest, helping them achieve their wellness goals. While she is accommodative, she is also firm, and subtly sets expectations for guests to stick to their diet programmes. Guests appreciate Pranathi’s role in their journey to changing their lifestyle and have left amazing feedback, for she goes beyond her role and provides much more than technical support. Her empathy, mental support and follow-ups are what make her such a star. (hilton.com)
President, Lexus India
Favourite driving holiday?
Australia’s Great Ocean Drive that starts at Melbourne, offering a variety of landscapes like lush forests, cliffs and beaches including stops at historic sites.
What does your road-trip playlist look like?
Ilaiyaraaja’s melodious tunes are the perfect accompaniment to a leisurely drive. When his songs are heard through a Mark Levinson audio system, it transports your senses to a spiritual experience. Aligned with Lexus’s sustainability standards, Mark Levinson speakers are crafted with GreenEdge technology.
A great little place away from the crowds?
A calm hill station—Yercaud in Salem would be next on my destination list. (lexusindia.co.in)
Guide, Exsul Travel, Palampur
Photo by Himanshu Lakhwani
For over two decades, he guided flocks of sheep and goats from his village, just outside the town of Palampur in Himachal Pradesh, to greener pastures in the higher reaches of the Dhauladhar mountain range. Then, about eight years ago, Raj Mal, who belongs to a community of nomadic herders or Gaddis, switched to guiding visitors instead. “I love these mountains so much, that even when I had the opportunity to live in a city, I chose them,” he says, with much pride. “So when I take tourists hiking on our shepherding routes, it’s an opportunity to show them my home.” And showcase the region, he does. For instance, he’ll tell you which flowers and wild herbs locals forage and turn into chutneys and pesto. He’ll show you the streams, products of snow melt, you can drink straight out of. And, if you go high enough, where and how the shepherds stay on their long jaunts in the mountains. “I’ve learnt a lot from the visitors, too,” he says. “I’ve learnt about the culture and customs of people, not just from other parts of India but from around the world. You can’t learn that in a school.” Indeed. (exsultravel.com)
HR Associate, Le Méridien Gurgaon
Ayushi Jain has been adapting to these challenging times by juggling her responsibilities at the hotel with humanitarian work. She has also been associated with an NGO for years now and has great zeal to help those in need. In the last few months, she has been working with her friends and family, stitching and distributing masks along with food supplies to kids in a shelter along the Gurugram highway. So far, they have handed out nearly 300 masks. Her inspiration came from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech on 24 March, so she decided to jump in and help. (marriott.com)
Chef-Owner, DIVA group of restaurants
Photo by Tom Parker
One feast in one restaurant in the world right now?
I would rather be in Ballarò, a food market in Palermo, Sicily. I would start with arancini filled with ragù, move on to panelle (chickpea fritters) with brioche, then Sicilian pizza and end with a big glass of lemon granita!
A person doing amazing things to make the world a better place?
José Andrés and his nonprofit World Central Kitchen are paying restaurants across the United States to feed the poor. Chef Vikas Khanna is doing some brilliant work feeding people, as well.
A place you fell in love in?
The fish market of Canacona in Goa. Not the most romantic place, but buying fish and crab with the woman I was slowly falling in love with was really intimate. (divarestaurants.com)
Shantanu And Nikhil
Tell us about your new journey in your 20th year?
S&N by Shantanu and Nikhil advocates inclusivity. Our debut collection “The March” takes you to a place “where the mind is without fear and the head is held high.”
What’s your favourite partying destination? How would you describe your perfect night out there?
SM: Mykonos in Greece, with its quaint, small streets full of hip restaurants and bars. I normally spend the night pub-hopping by the sea. NM: Ibiza in Spain is the place for a perfect night and partying, with great locations and good food and music. (shantanunikhil.com)
Neerav Singh Yadav
Founder, EcoQuest Journeys, Udaipur
The founder of EcoQuest Journeys (formerly Scaly Trails) has been involved with wildlife education, ecotourism and cross- cultural exchange for over a decade, leading experiential tours across India. Sustainability and going local remain his focus. @ ecoquest_journeys
Director, Prestige Group
Where would you build your dream holiday home?
Italy’s Lake Como captured my heart from the moment I laid eyes on it. Set against the Swiss Alps, the area is breathtaking. with a lake that’s often described as the most beautiful in the world.
Which is your top destination for architecture?
Prague or Vienna. Unlike most European capitals, Prague has never been rebuilt and thus retains its Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque structures. Vienna’s finest landmarks are the Baroque palaces such as the Harrach, Kinský and Winter Palace of Prince Eugene of Savoy.
Which airline, lounge or train gives you a spring in your step?
Etihad Airways’ First-Class Apartment. Their private suites, in-flight chefs and upper-deck lobbies make me feel like my vacation has begun before I’ve even arrived at my destination. (prestigeconstructions.com)
Author, wellness expert & beauty guru
A wellness ritual you find comfort in during the lockdown?
Walking. It’s simple, effortless and meditative. I enjoy going for daily walks with my dog because it allows me to get out of the house and be close to nature.
What’s the one place you are most fixated on visiting next?
Naku in Ecuador! It’s a no-frills wellness retreat in the Amazon, where you can get healed by the ancient remedies of the endangered Sapara tribe. It is a not- for-profit healing centre that preserves their knowledge and gives people a chance to experience it. My other favourite wellness retreat is along the same lines, the Shoganji Zen Retreat in southern Japan. You get a tatami mat and your own room, but everything else is shared.
What’s your skincare routine on a long flight?
Hydrating mist + hydration serum + thick face cream + face oil. Basically sealing moisture into my skin in several layers so that I walk off the plane looking fresh. @vasudha.rai
Assistant Manager – F&B, Hyatt Regency Delhi
Hailing from Manipur, Shatsang Ngathingwon moved to Delhi at the age of 18. Since then, her hard work and dedication towards her work have made her very popular among guests. She has been a pillar of the food and beverage department for the last six years. Ngathingwon is currently Regency Club manager and guests love her for her warmth and genuine care. She is among the most popular names in positive reviews of Hyatt Regency Delhi on travel platforms as she always goes out of her way to ensure that guests have a wonderful time and feel at home. (hyatt.com)
Vijay Prabhat Kamalakara
Founder, Storytrails, Chennai
To Kamalakara, checking off popular monuments from a list means missing out on all the small stories that bind neighbourhoods, towns and cities together. This is why he set up Storytrails almost 13 years ago. The company today offers tours in five cities around the country—Chennai, Madurai, Pondicherry, Trivandrum and Mumbai—as well as self-guided audio tours at locations around India as well as in Singapore. “I have come to realise that every sight has more than one fascinating story. Especially here in India, if you ask 10 of us about a custom, you’ll hear 11 different stories. And they are all right in their own way. I am more accepting now of different interpretations of history, when seen from different perspectives,” he says. The Storytrails team has been using this downtime to create new content delivered through their YouTube channel. (storytrails.in)
Executive Director, ITC Limited
10 ways people can be more responsible when travelling?
1. Say no to single-use plastic products.
2. Explore domestic destinations, which will enable regional employment.
3. Reduce carbon footprint by choosing seasonal, local food options. This will also help the farming community and strengthen your immune system.
4. Respect local practices. Before your trip, research the customs of a region or community to avoid hurting sentiments.
5. Check for LEED/green certifications at hotels and hostels. Also look for accommodation with a commitment to sustainability initiatives. These may include incorporating solar power, energy-efficient lighting, recycling, wind energy and using local produce, among other practices.
6. Collective conservation: state bodies have initiatives that promote sustainability in their region. Consciously extend support to such environmental programmes.
7. Share the benefits of ayurveda and yoga with international visitors.
8. Identify opportunities where you can volunteer for local projects that are organised by NGOs and community tourism organisations.
9. Pick gifts made by local artisans. Restaurants and cafés owned by locals are another way to connect with regional communities who enjoy sharing stories of their traditional food and culture.
10. Travel light luggage adds to the carbon emissions so plan mindfully! (itchotels.in)
Executive Chef, The Lalit New Delhi
Chef Bharti is dedicated to the work that she does. She has adapted to the pandemic by making sure her team adheres to best hygiene standards especially since they are looking after a team of doctors at the hotel. She has also crafted a special menu with immunity- boosting ingredients. (thelalit.com)
Naturalist, Windermere Estate, Munnar
Ancel Correya was born in Munnar. He grew up around tea plantations and learnt to love the rolling hills and streams that made up the land. Correya graduated and looked for jobs in cities, but that life never caught his fancy. A volunteering stint with Nehru Yuva Kendra Sanghatan gave him the opportunity to visit India’s rural areas and take part in adventure tourism activities. Correya’s learnings brought him back home to Munnar, where he began to curate treks and plantation tours in the region along with a “group of like- minded nature enthusiasts”. Most of these were at the Windermere Estate. “It’s been 14 years of being a guide. I don’t see this as just a means of livelihood. Showcasing my region to guests is all I envision doing.” (windermeremunnar.com)
Co-Founder, Motherland Joint Ventures
One tip for tourism boards trying to woo travellers back?
We need to build experiences for tourists and the local public. The Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Jaipur Literature Festival, Jodhpur Urban Regeneration Project and Serendipity Arts Festival in Goa are some examples. The centre and state governments and private sector have to work much more closely to deliver a focused message. Air India needs to present a more contemporary face of India. Most importantly, we need to keep our country clean, and that’s not just the government’s responsibility.
The most underrated destination outside of India?
Hobart, Tasmania. It has one of the best museums I have ever visited, the Museum of Old and New Art. The collection is unbelievable and it’s one of the few privately owned museums around the world. The compound has a well-appointed boutique hotel, MONA Pavilions. They have their own winery (and the tour and tasting sessions are really fun and not uptight), they brew beer year-round and serve some of the region’s best organic food at The Museum Cafe and The Source Restaurant. Two hours’ drive from Hobart is the absolutely quiet, almost people-less town of Dover, where we stayed at the most magical Cape House, surrounded by 250 acres of rolling hills and forests. Tasmania also has some of the best wines and the most stunning small-batch whisky, Sullivans Cove. (motherlandjv.com)
Captain Vikram Dayal
Chief of Pilot Training, Vistara
Captain Vikram Dayal has been working with Vistara for six years. Since then, he has taken up key roles in Flight Operations Management and contributed greatly to Vistara’s growth. For two years, he has helmed the A320 fleet and recently became Chief of Pilot Training for the airline. (airvistara.com)
Executive Director, Reefwatch Marine Conservation, Andamans
Photo by Sumer Verma
Nayantara Jain is a scuba diving instructor and marine conservationist as well as the Executive Director of Reefwatch Marine Conservation, a non profit organisation based in the Andamans. “I have been to loads of other coastal places, but there was something about the Andamans that kept me here,” the 33-year old says. Jain’s passion for the ocean is infectious. “One of my favourite things about my job is that I get to introduce people to the ocean for the first time… The beauty of the Andamans lies in its nature. There’s something so primordial about the islands. It feels like I’m still in the Stone Age. Everything is still wild: the ocean, the forest.” @taraoceanista
Yoga Master, Marari Beach Resort, Alleppey
A former school principal, Krishna Kurup has been a yoga practitioner for more than six decades. For the past 20 years, he has helped Marari Beach Resort make the experience more authentic for guests. He holds daily sessions at the onsite yoga centre and watching him perform difficult postures with such ease is enough to inspire anyone. He shares his knowledge of wellness through yoga and visitors keep returning to Marari Beach to train with him. (cghearth.com)
Owner, WelcomHeritage Gurkha Houseboats, Srinagar
Saboor Wangnoo is the fifth generation in the houseboat business and most of his 57 years have been spent around Nigeen Lake. Their boats were branded WelcomHeritage stays in the 1980s. Apart from a 10-year break during the political instability of the 1990s, the Wangnoo family has always entertained travellers in their boats. Now Saboor or his brother are always around so guests feel the warmth of their Kashmiri hospitality. (welcomheritagehotels.in)
Photo by Neville Sukhia
A perfect day at a place you love?
I formed a relationship with Paris because of my gallery, Yvon Lambert, and then my husband and I got used to stopping over. A perfect day is walking in the Marais, the buzzing art and design arrondissement. On Rue Vieille du Temple, we spend time with our son in a small garden. We stop by at Rue des Rosiers, pick a falafel, walk by the Seine River across to Saint Germain, another distinctive neighbourhood full of art, cafés and stories. The evening would be at the Pompidou, and then catching up with friends at a restaurant nearby. (shilpagupta.com)
Akshita Bhanj Deo
Director, Belgadia Palace, Mayurbhanj
No one knows Odisha’s Mayurbhanj region’s many legends and secrets quite like this 27-year-old. Her family, the erstwhile rulers of this region, opened up their beautifully restored ancestral palace to guests in 2018. You can expect myths about Samibrukhya, a hillock associated with the Pandava brothers, or learn the history of Haripur, the former seat of power of the Bhanja dynasty and the place where the then sultan of Bengal, sought shelter from Mughal emperor Akbar’s onslaught. For the culturally inclined, Bhanj Deo can organise performances of Mayurbhanj chhau, a dance form that has martial roots and is practised by many of the region’s 20 tribes. (thebelgadiapalace.com)
Restaurateur & chef
Photo by Athul Prasad
One feast in one restaurant in the world right now?
Casa Maria Luigia, the 18th-century villa that my wife Lara and I bought, renovated and opened to the public. Especially for a late breakfast, waking up to the smell of the outdoor wood-fired oven baking focaccia, frittata and cotechino sausage.
Front Office Manager, The Leela Goa
Sandhya Anil’s job involves handling all situations with a smile. But they are outside the realm of regular duties at times. The Murrays had come to Goa from the UK for their 50th anniversary. The gentleman developed a lung infection and required medical care. As their family couldn’t travel due to pandemic-related restrictions, Anil jumped in to assist. She accompanied them to the hospital and helped with all requirements, but he passed away despite their best efforts. Anil supported Mrs Murray through the funeral proceedings. Her actions earned her the gratitude of the family and highlighted her kind nature. (theleela.com)
Owner, Silk Route Escapes & Kayal Island Retreat, Kochi
Photo by Himanshu Lakhwani
About a decade ago, Maneesha Panicker quit her New York job to open Silk Route Escapes, an experiential travel company offering tours in Kerala and across India. Panicker goes out of her way to understand a traveller’s needs and add local flavour to an itinerary. She also guides tours like an art walk during the Kochi-Muziris Biennale—which is a good time to visit the boutique property Kayal Island Retreat near Kochi she set up five years ago. “I love discovering new places, and learning about its people, rituals, and art,” says Panicker. Her tips: “Kerala has great healthcare so when holidaying here, just walk over to an Ayurveda clinic, chat with the doctor and walk out with some immunity-boosting tips. Kerala has stunning backwaters, too find a remote stretch, order a banana-leaf sadya, and stare at the drifting tides all day long.” (silkrouteescapes. com kayalislandretreat.com)
Jigmet Dadul & Nawang Gyaltson
Co-Founders, Snow Leopard Quest, Ladakh
For Jigmet Dadul, fondly called ‘Shan’ (Ladakhi for snow leopard), a regular workday begins at 6.30am with a cup of tea and a hike in sub-zero temperatures. “You can tell from the blue sheep and magpies if there is a leopard nearby,” says the pioneering snow leopard spotter. In Ladakh, the grey ghost is the region’s most elusive draw. A recipient of the Carl Zeiss Award for Nature Conservation, Jigmet was a trekking guide when he met Rinchen Wangchuk, founder of the Snow Leopard Conservancy India Trust (SLCIT) he was soon actively involved in its work. Today, Jigmet and his son Nawang Gyaltson are key figures in promoting sustainable tourism their company Snow Leopard Quest also provides employment to their village, Takmachik. (snowleopardquest.in)
Founder, Make it Happen, Goa
A management accountant, Maria Victor set up a travel club in Bengaluru in 2011 to curate tours such as learning how to embroider and make medicinal preparations with the Toda and Kurumba tribes of the Nilgiris. “It was my weekend escape from the daily grind,” she recalls, “While curating experiences in Goa, I realised its image as a travel destination was restricted to its coastal belt. The ‘sun, sand and beer’ narrative had to change and travellers had to learn about Goa’s rich cultural history and colourful communities from the locals themselves.” She set up experiential travel company Make It Happen with a focus on responsible tourism in 2015. “This line of work offers opportunities to learn about sustainable living, alternate lifestyles, arts, conservation and building of a circular economy for local communities.” she says. Victor’s Goa tips are as eclectic as her tours: “Have bread fresh out of the oven from a traditional bakery as they are dwindling. Pedal through the villages to enjoy their quaint beauty. Catch the sunset at a fishing hamlet. Visit vintage taverns to taste the various expressions of feni. Goa is a perfect example of how harmony can prevail in spite of a turbulent history.” (makeithappen.co.in)
Concierge Head, Rambagh Palace, Jaipur
Over the last 14 years, Vikas Chouhan has excelled at his job and his quality of service has been impeccable. He’s now the Concierge Head and part of the rooms division of Rambagh Palace. Thanks to his professionalism, compassion and great feedback from guests, Chouhan has bagged the best employee award at the hotel twice. He also knows Jaipur very well and loves to promote the city and its culture through personalised itineraries for guests. (tajhotels.com)
Founder, The InHeritage Project & Art Walks Mumbai
Photo by Mahesh Dilip
Chances are you’d miss most signposts to Mumbai’s layered past without an incredible guide. Alisha Sadikot first led a tour in 2004, and has guided walks for CNT’s readers, too. “Mumbai is dense with history,” she says, “It’s also a city that hides its histories. With every walk, my aim is to situate history in a particular place, on a particular street and also to locate it in the present.” During the lockdown, she has held virtual tours via her 2017 venture Art Walks Mumbai and The InHeritage Project that she set up in 2015. Sadikot’s expertise is backed by a master’s in art history from London’s SOAS, a postgrad degree in heritage and museum education and three years as Curator, Education & Outreach at Dr Bhau Daji Lad Mumbai City Museum. Sadikot’s pro-tip: “Leave your car, and the main roads, and walk.” Her favourite view is from Kamla Nehru Park, on a clear day: “The path that skirts the edge of the hill has lots of viewing points, with a small viewing gallery close to the Old Shoe.” (theinheritageproject.wordpress.com)
Co-Founder & Director, CGH Earth
One feast in one restaurant in the world right now?
The Seafood Restaurant at Casino Hotel, Kochi. The catch of the sea, fresh and simply cooked. The place is glorious when it rains.
The biggest problem in travel waiting to be solved?
The pursuit of luxury as defined as built ostentation. Redefine luxury as experiencing nature without intruding on it, then everything changes. Earth will be preserved, the local community is included and your holiday becomes outstanding.
Which of your amazing hotels is your favourite?
My spontaneous answer is Bangaram Island Resort in the Lakshwadeep. Close to nature, without intruding. Minimal to the core. It had a certain rawness that is now rare. In tune with the local islander community. It does not exist anymore so with hand on heart, if I was forced to answer, it will be Spice Village, Thekkady, the closest we have got to Bangaram. (cghearth.com)
Trekking guide, Mumbai
“Explore the Sahyadris in the monsoon when it’s lush green. It looks like an oil painting,” says Kunal Sanklecha. His pursuit of adventure took him on a climate action project to Antarctica, a course in mountaineering in the Himalayas and volunteer work, before he found his calling in leading treks. His trips take the routes less travelled and involve cleanliness drives, chasing fireflies, local meals, and stargazing. (9870585495)
Mohammed Ayub Sheikh
Taxi service, Srinagar
For one to get a complete sense of a destination while travelling, it’s best to be shown around by a local. When in Srinagar, Mohammed Ayub Shekh is just the person you need. The 30-year-old has been running a taxi service in Srinagar for a decade now and has more than 30 drivers in his network. “It gives us great pleasure to show people what Kashmir is really like,” he says, as he rues the negative image that surrounds the place. “People are scared to come to Kashmir, but after travelling with us, they see what the ground reality is and leave the place with happy memories and a changed mentality.” For Sheikh, it’s the people that make the place special. “It’s the whole of Kashmir. We’re soft-spoken, welcoming and cooperative people.” And what can’t you miss while you’re here? “You must try the wazwan at Ahdoos bakery-cum-restaurant at Lal Chowk,” he recommends. “You should check out local homes in Old City where pashmina shawls are made, see their karigari and admire their work.” (9622600370)
Co-Founder, Frozen Himalayas, Leh
In the last four decades, Ladakh has been marketed as an adventure tourism destination. But Gulzar Hussain believes his home has more to offer. Attempting to create a parallel narrative around Ladakh, he is helping promote its rich natural and cultural heritage. He does this by working with nomads of the Changthang region to preserve the original pashmina tradition. He’s also promoting sustainable tourism expeditions across Ladakh to spot snow leopards, Himalayan brown bears, Himalayan wolves and many other species of wild animals that thrive in the mountains. (frozenhimalayas.com)
Homestay owner in Kewzing village, Sikkim
Photo by Pankaj Anand
If you wish to experience Sikkim, Ugen Tashi suggests visiting Kewzing. There are five homestays here that can host around 20 guests at a time. “It’s unlike living in hotels,” he says. “We organise get-togethers for our guests… and there are mountain views from every window. We get to show travellers what the real Sikkim is.” (9733172712)
Owner, Muziris Heritage Day Tours, Kochi
Muziris was the great port of the Chera dynasty—which lent its name to Kerala—it drew Romans, Arabs, Phoenicians, Persians, Egyptians and Greeks for trade in black pepper from the 1st century BC, until it vanished in the great Periyar flood of 1341 AD. Lijo Jose, whose tour company is named after the Greek term for the legendary port, is a great guide to explore its present-day avatar, Kodangallur. This was the gateway to Judaism, Christianity and Islam in India, and Jose can effortlessly walk you through the stories, art forms and sights of the holy places of different faiths, all located within a 10km radius. Jose has run tours since 2010, mostly of Muziris and Fort Cochin, as well as a Jewish heritage tour of Kochi. His company also does shore excursions for cruise ships docking in Kochi, Mumbai, Goa and Mangaluru, and handles the overland trip to the Taj Mahal. “Kerala is sure to enchant any nature lover with its hills, backwaters, beaches, waterfalls and wildlife located within a short road trip,” he says, adding that the discovery is mutual, “I meet new people everyday, get different perspectives on life and friendship from all over the world.” (tourwithlijo.com)
Founder, Vana Retreat & Vana Foundation
Favourite small and secret hotel?
Flushing Meadows in Munich for its quirkiness. Suryauday Haveli on the Ganga in Varanasi.
Best shop discovered on your travels?
Eslite in Taipei for anything and everything of quality and interest. And Scent Bar in Los Angeles—I spent hours and more money than I could afford on amazing fragrances from DS & Durga and incense paper.
A view that blows you away?
The sun or moon rising above water. My most memorable were from my days as a farm worker in Mallorca, Spain.
Top trip or destination?
A trek in Annapurna and a visit to the sacred spots in Kathmandu Valley. An unexpected but fantastic experience was attending the Wuzhen Theatre Festival in China: breathtaking town, and the festival is a masterpiece. (vana.co.in)
Owner, Kandath Tharavad, Palakkad
Photo by Himanshu Lakhwani
At Bhagwaldas’s beautiful 18th-century ancestral home surrounded by paddy fields, a sign in the dining area reads: “Let not the silence disturb you.” A generous and well-connected host, he can keep even restive guests engaged in this pastoral corner of Kerala. Perhaps a shadow puppetry show, or a walk through the state’s first heritage village. It has been two decades since he opened his home to travellers. “I make it a point to be with them as a host wherever they go this has been my success in running my homestay.” (tharavad.info)
CEO, Tamara Leisure Experiences Pvt Ltd
Favourite small and secret hotel?
My husband and I spent some quality time travelling after we got married. Ecuador was one of the most unique and surprising countries we visited. We spent our first anniversary at a small, family- run establishment called Hacienda Rumiloma in Quito, where llamas and beautiful peacocks roam freely.
One hot tip about Coorg you can share?
Many people avoid travelling during the rains, but I would highly recommend visiting Coorg during the monsoon. Waterfalls flow steadily and everything looks lush. There are few moments in my life better than those I have spent getting cozy with a good book and a piping-hot cup of coffee as I listen to the rain come down in The Tamara Coorg. (thetamara.com)
Local history expert, Bhopal
There was a time when Sikander Malik thought he’d be a doctor. Inspired by Kajol in DDLJ, in which she convinces her father to let her go on a trip to Europe, Malik talked his dad into letting him explore his passion—to deep dive into history and do more for the city he loved. Today, he’s the resident historian of Jehan Numa Palace in Bhopal and is known for his heritage walks. “Anything that belongs to Bhopal is mine,” he says. He passes on his love for the city to everyone he meets through his storytelling. Malik doesn’t own visiting cards—his popularity is all through word of mouth. And he’s equally grateful to travellers. “They widen my horizons. I meet a lot of resourceful people.” (9039280480)
Housekeeping, Taj City Centre Gurugram
Vibha Singh has been associated with the Taj hotel since its opening and is very popular among the regular guests, especially women. She makes it a point to leave their favourite flowers in the room and set up the dressing area with thoughtful touches like makeup essentials. Over time, she has set new benchmarks for creativity and is known to personalise guest experiences. Her caring attitude, gentle demeanour and strong personality stay with the guests and hers is a name they remember when they leave the hotel. (tajhotels.com)
Shankar Lal Kumhar
Head Gardener, The Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur
As head gardener, Shankar Lal Kumhar is expected to have a green thumb, but he is almost genetically wired to love nature. He grew up in a farmer’s community in the village of Chawandiya surrounded by the cycles of growing and harvesting. The segue from his farm life to gardening was seamless and he joined Rajvilas at the age of 23. In the last seven years, he has honed his knowledge to ensure a flourishing garden. He also works closely with the chef on Rajvilas’s onsite kitchen garden and provides organic ingredients for the menu. Kumhar shows guests around his gardens and organises sapling planting for those who are interested. Today, birds sing in the trees that he has planted and the gardens change with the season. (oberoihotels.com)
Demi Chef de Partie, W Goa
Outside of his role as a chef, Gurudas Mandrekar runs an orphanage that has been taking care of some 30 children for four years. He also helped get a sponsor to support over 200 people in his village with food and supplies. His own story motivates his actions: Chef Gurudas was orphaned early in his life and has always made it his mission to help the less privileged by either taking care of children or by lending a helping hand to those in need. (marriott.com)
Guest Service Associate, Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi Airport
Saroj often goes out of his way to help guests. Recently, an elderly couple had stayed at the hotel. The gentleman had undergone a surgery and was unable to move much. When Saroj noticed that the woman was having trouble taking her husband to the bathroom. He quietly offered his help and continued doing so over their two-week stay. When the couple returned to the hotel again, they specifically asked for Saroj to thank him. (radissonhotels.com)
Managing Director & CEO, Mercedes-Benz, India
Top driving holiday?
Road trips in South Africa, with camping in national parks or beautiful small campsites. The music playing: French rock or modern South African music (think Freshlyground or Goldfish).
A great little place away from the crowds?
Travel to Limpopo National Park (just drive through Kruger in South Africa into Mozambique). Stay at the rustic Campismo Aguia Pesqueira—it will be a unique experience. (mercedes-benz.co.in)
Chairman & Founder, Minor International
Photo by Peter Charlesworth/LightRocket – Getty Images
GoingPlacesNearAndFar's BlogRomantic gazebos placed along the lake’s edge are extremely popular for popping the question at Mohonk Mountain House, a Victorian jewel in New York’s Hudson Valley (c) Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
WASHINGTON, D.C. –“Every day is Valentine’s Day at Historic Hotels of America,” said Lawrence Horwitz, Executive Vice President, Historic Hotels of America and Historic Hotels Worldwide. “Historic hotels are the perfect place for celebrating special occasions that create lifelong memories and are the ideal location for a romantic proposal.”
These special milestones celebrated at historic hotels include romantic getaways, the ideal place to propose, the destination for the perfect wedding, the getaway for a memorable honeymoon, and the location to celebrate a special anniversary.
“The most romantic hotels are historic hotels. These romantic historic hotels range from intimate to grand and opulent. Proposing at a historic hotel is a wonderful opportunity to create an ever-lasting memory and increases the chance that the answer will be ‘yes.’ From historic destination resorts with romantic gardens to city-center legendary historic hotels, each provides the setting, the backdrop, and the ambiance for making and hearing yes to the perfect proposal.”
Each year, the hotel membership organization of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, publishes its Top 25 Historic Hotels of America for a Romantic Proposal: Here’s the 2021 Top 25:
The Buccaneer (1653) Christiansted, U.S. Virgin Islands
The Buccaneer Resort has a history from centuries ago. The Danes purchased St Croix in 1733, and installed Governor Von Prock, who lived in the original hilltop Great House. He turned the property into a sugar factory, including a large sugar mill, still intact. This structure provides a most romantic and unique location for proposals. With sweeping Caribbean views and gentle breezes, this setting has been a favorite for romance seekers for generations. The Sugar Mill is located on the hilltop overlooking the resort and Caribbean Sea, which combine to make it the perfect proposal location. For those looking for an evening proposal, just before sunset is ideal as the special moment can be followed by a private dinner in the Sugar Mill. Or pair this location with The Buccaneer’s Pop the Question package to enhance the experience. The package includes an upgraded room category, welcome basket, private beachside cabana rental for one day, and prosecco at the site on the day of the proposal.
The Omni Homestead Resort has beautiful, breathtaking views everywhere guests turn. From the gorgeous mountain scenery to the grand and glamorous interior settings, there are numerous places for romantic proposals. The associates at the hotel can accommodate unique proposals on-site. One proposal took place during an archery lesson with a message “Will you marry me” inserted into a balloon on the target. The bride-to-be popped the balloon as the groom-to-be popped the question. While there are a lot of romantic settings for the proposal, the Dining Room is one of the most popular. Part of The Omni Homestead experience for more than a century, the elegant Dining Room features custom chandeliers, an incredible domed ceiling, and large windows. Each night there’s music for dancing, a time-honored tradition at the resort. With a little advance notice, The Homestead team can arrange for the band to play the couple’s favorite song while a photographer captures the special moment.
Inn at Perry Cabin (1816) St. Michaels, Maryland
The gazebo on The Pointe at Inn at Perry Cabin is the most romantic spot to pop the question. On the shores of the Miles River, the gazebo overlooks a beautiful wide stretch of water often filled with boats of all sizes for a true sense of the place on the Chesapeake Bay. The Inn at Perry Cabin crew will help guests pull off the plan and once they say yes, will help the couple celebrate with a private dinner from an award-winning Chef inside the gazebo before the newly engaged retire to one of their luxurious waterfront guestrooms for the evening.
The Willard InterContinental (1818) Washington DC
Throughout the year, The Willard InterContinental is the location for a great number of proposals. Yet the most popular place and time throughout the year to pop the big question, is around The Willard’s iconic Christmas tree in the lobby. Couples enjoy this most festive atmosphere for a proposal, as the hotel shines bright in all its holiday decor. Recently, a groom-to-be worked with the Guest Relations Manager to strategically place a Marry Me ornament on The Willard Christmas tree that the bride-to-be would spot as they came by to view the holiday decorations and have a drink, a holiday tradition they have done each year since moving to Washington DC. In another proposal, the groom-to-be placed a present under the Christmas tree as the couple was viewing the tree, they spotted the wrapped gift with the name of the finance-to-be that contained the ring that he needed for the proposal. Coordinating proposals on-site is often a team effort and typically coordinated by The Willard Guest Relations team who will work with the individual proposing in advance to ensure they have the support needed to carry out the proposal and any items required such as rose petals, champagne, chocolates, balloons, and more.
Omni Royal Orleans (1843) New Orleans, Louisiana
At the highest point of the hotel is the famous Observation Deck which has a panoramic view of the city with a backdrop of the mighty Mississippi, riverboats, and a view of the infamous Jackson Square. It truly captures the essence of what makes New Orleans, New Orleans. It is easy to lure the unsuspecting fiancé up to that area with an invitation from a family member or friend to join them for a cocktail at La Riviera, the Rooftop Pool Bar. Then a suggestion of “come see the view of the city” brings the intended up the stairs of the Observation Deck. Sometimes family members are hiding up there and others have a few friends. Shortly after the intended gets up the stairs, the proposer comes following behind and dropping to their knee to ask the big question. The hotel’s ensures for a memorable event that the area be temporarily closed to the public and provide Champagne with flutes for a congratulations toast. Others have enhanced their experience by having dinner for two afterwards in a private dining room in the award-winning Rib Room.
Grand Hotel Golf Resort & Spa (1847) Point Clear, Alabama
As the sun starts to set into Mobile Bay, the romantic couple sits in one of the swings under giant oak trees and pops the question. Named the best large historic hotel in 2019 by Historic Hotels of America, couples have been getting engaged at the Grand Hotel since 1847. After a massive transformation, the resort has even more places for proposals. Private beach and pool cabanas offer a quiet setting for proposals. A very memorable setting is to get down on a knee at Julip Point and make the proposal as the sunsets and majestic pelicans fly above to salute the lovebirds. Once they say yes, it is time to stroll over to Southern Roots for a delicious meal. A full team of wedding and event experts is available to help in proposal planning and all wedding aspects thereafter.
Mohonk Mountain House, a Victorian castle perched over a private lake, is among the Top 25 most romantic Historic Hotels of America members for proposing (c) Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Mohonk Mountain House (1869) New Paltz, New York
Mohonk Mountain House is a Victorian Castle perched at the top of a mountain with a private lake. The hotel has 120 “summerhouses” which are rustic gazebos designed for two people to share special moments together taking in stunning views during or after a hike on 85 miles of trails- all of which provide the perfect romantic backdrop for someone to get down on bended knee. The Sky Top Tower is a hiking destination with panoramic views of the Shawangunk Cliffs and Catskill Mountains and a very popular engagement site, along with the boat dock, which provides amazing views of serene Lake Mohonk.
Grand Hotel (1887) Mackinac Island, Michigan
For 135 years, Grand Hotel provides the charm and beauty of a variety of romantic settings for a grand gesture. The World’s Longest Front Porch, overlooking the Straits of Mackinac and the Mackinac Bridge, provides an enchanting backdrop. At the very top of Grand Hotel, the Cupola Bar offers breathtaking panoramic island views, ideal for that special moment. The picturesque Main Dining Room is an elegant setting with the instrumental background of the Grand Hotel Orchestra. Grand Hotel’s lush gardens provide an intimate opportunity that some couples prefer. Woods Restaurant, an opulent Tudor mansion with Bavarian charm, offers private candlelit dining experiences and is just a short, romantic horse-drawn carriage ride into the wooded interior of Mackinac Island. Request the Grand Proposal Package and assistance with behind-the-scenes reservations and arrangements. The Grand Proposal Package includes a select location for the proposal, one-hour private carriage tour, 30 minutes of professional photography, VIP dinner reservations with a bouquet of fresh flowers, and a bottle of Grand Hotel Sparkling Wine on the table upon arrival.
Jekyll Island Club Hotel, Georgia exudes Southern charm and has various settings for a romantic proposal (c) Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Jekyll Island Club Hotel (1887) Jekyll Island, Georgia
Built in the Queen Ann style, the Jekyll Island Club Resort is like a castle surrounded by Southern charm. With sweeping Spanish moss and hundred years old live oaks, Jekyll Island is one of the most romantic spots in the South. From the top of the turret to quiet moments in Crane Garden, its little slice of Heaven is perfect for any romantic proposal. The three top romantic spots include The Turret, Crane Garden, and The Grand Dining Room. The Turret of the Clubhouse is the second tallest structure on Jekyll Island and the tallest structure in the Jekyll Island Historic District with a panoramic view of the Historic District and Jekyll River, most romantic at sunset. The manicured grounds of Crane Cottage, especially Crane Garden, offers couples the perfect romantic garden to sneak away to on property. The sunken garden features a lush lawn, sweeping ivy covered trellis, a running fountain, and an abundance of flowers. The sunken garden allows for a private moment between the blooming flowers with the Italian Renaissance style Crane Cottage framing the background. The historic Grand Dining Room offers the timeless charm of years long ago. A private candlelit dinner experience can be arranged in advance. Special delivery of the ring can be arranged with the Catering team. From a special toast to an extra sweet dessert moment, team members are ready to help enhance this special moment.
The historic, iconic Hotel Del Coronado, San Diego, California (c) Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
Hotel del Coronado (1888) Coronado, California
Hotel del Coronado is lucky to be the “go-to” proposal spot for San Diego. Its enchanting Victorian architecture and beachfront location lend an air of romance to any proposal. While many have popped the question at the holiday ice skating rink and even surprised their intended with a flash mob on the oceanfront Windsor Lawn, the two most popular proposals ideas are both on the sparkling beach. What could be more romantic the dropping down on one knee on the beach at sunset next to a roaring private beach bonfire? The hotel team is happy to assist with reserving the private beach bonfire experience and can also provide a full menu of fireside treats and cocktails to lead up to the big moment. Some proposers even go the extra mile and arrange for family and friends to join them at a neighboring bonfire after the big moment. Another romantic proposal idea is to end a romantic beach stroll with a proposal in front of a custom sandcastle. One of the highlights of the Hotel del Coronado beach resort is the sandcastle man, a talented local artist who builds custom sandcastles daily. Potential proposers can contact him directly, or through the help of hotel team, and he will create a custom sandcastle for the magical moment. With the help of a local photographer, the sandcastle proposal will be a memory that the couple can cherish for years to come.
Ledges Hotel (1890) Hawley, Pennsylvania
Ledges Hotel was created from a repurposed 1890s era glass factory. Thoughtful, modern design and a commitment to historic preservation offer a unique atmosphere. Every aspect of the hotel was designed to be in harmony with nature. Gathering spaces and guestrooms boast adaptive reuse furnishings, environmentally friendly amenities, and stunning views of the river gorge waterfall. The historic Bluestone building situated atop Paupack High Falls provides a dramatic backdrop for proposals. The tiered decks overlooking the natural waterfall and river gorge are one of the most romantic spots to pop the question at Ledges Hotel. It is a popular destination for engagements no matter the season. During winter, the frozen falls offer a stunning backdrop. Budding trees and rushing waters are a hallmark of spring. Summer by the waterfall is lush and cool while fall foliage creates a vibrant landscape in autumn. Seasonal specials afford special romantic touches such as a couple’s massage, in-room wine and cheese, a private yoga class, chocolate covered strawberries and split of prosecco.
Moana Surfrider, A Westin Resort & Spa (1901) (Waikiki Beach) Honolulu, Hawaii
The First Lady of Waikiki, overlooking the beautiful Pacific Ocean, offers either a beachfront table at the hotel’s bar, or on the sand very near the bar. It all depends on how much privacy the couple would like during the proposal. Along the beach or at the bar under the famous Banyan Tree, especially during sunset is the busiest time. If a couple does not mind an audience, something can be pre-arranged with the hotel’s food and beverage department and the nightly entertainer –such as making an announcement to direct attention to the proposal. The Beach Bar located beneath the famed Banyan Tree at the Banyan Courtyard is the most romantic location. If a couple prefers to be engaged in private, a tower room facing the ocean at sunset would be ideal.
Southern Hotel (1907) Covington, Louisiana
The Southern Hotel has many romantic spots. Its restaurant, Ox Lot 9, offers a farm-to-table Southern cuisine experience, sourcing from local producers and suppliers to create inventive, seasonal menus. Its ballroom is perfect for a fairytale dance, and its courtyard is the perfect place to share a cup of coffee at sunrise. The most favorite romantic spot is its garden path. Tucked away beyond the hedge of the courtyard, this quaint little path leads to the pool. Moss covered bricks meander under a trellis—a small, verdant universe. The splashing of the trickling fountain is majestic and musical. Each season brings with it a host of new blooms. Camellias blossom and welcome guests in winter and sleep in summer when the hydrangeas’ vibrant colors illuminate. In spring this garden path truly comes alive when the imperial jasmine blooms and gently perfumes the air. The hotel team can make the moment more special by lighting a few candles, coordinating with a photographer, or picking out just the perfect spot, including finding the right time and spot at sunset for the perfect moment to hear yes.
Hotel Boulderado (1909) Boulder, Colorado
For more than one hundred years, Hotel Boulderado has been a beloved place for proposals and weddings in Colorado. One of the most romantic locations at the luxury property is the charming balcony landing of the original grand cantilevered cherrywood staircase in the historic lobby. Couples who say “I Do” on the landing are surrounded by their loved ones lining the cherrywood railing of the mezzanine with the beautiful stained-glass ceiling above. The historic property is the perfect backdrop for memorable wedding ceremonies, rehearsal dinners, and receptions of up to 240 guests.
Hermitage Hotel, Nashville, Tennessee, is the epitome of elegance, storied history and southern hospitality (c) Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
The Hermitage Hotel (1910) Nashville, Tennessee
The Hermitage Hotel provides the epitome of undisputed elegance, storied history, southern hospitality all while offering the quintessential backdrop for a romantic proposal. As Tennessee’s only Five Star hotel and designated as a National Historical Landmark, The Hermitage’s legendary grand lobby offers lovers a special place to hear the answer “Yes” to one of life sweetest questions. This stunning space is adorned with soaring columns of original Italian marble, ornate chandeliers, and light filters into the sundrenched space through a magnificent painted glass skylight, which, since the building’s erection, remains the crown jewel of the lobby. To ensure memories from this special day never fade, The Hermitage offers an engagement photoshoot package to capture the life-changing moment.
Bear Mountain Inn (1915) Bear Mountain, New York
Built in 1915, the historic Bear Mountain Inn is located within the beautiful Bear Mountain State Park that spans 5,025 acres located on the West Bank of the Hudson River (in Rockland and Orange Counties, New York). Many proposals have been made on these beautiful grounds, from the top of Perkins Memorial Tower, by Hessian Lake, along the Hudson River by the Bear Mountain Boat Dock, to the grand fireplace of Restaurant 1915. And countless other nooks in this luscious park and within the walls of this great historic building to ask the question Many couples who have said “Yes!” to a lifetime of love on the grounds of the Bear Mountain State Park, return to the Bear Mountain Inn to celebrate their wedding with their family and friends. Because it is in a state park and open to the public, many couples return year after year to celebrate their anniversary with a stroll through the zoo, a hike, or a romantic dinner at Restaurant 1915 by the roaring fire.
La Fonda on the Plaza (1922) Santa Fe, New Mexico
There is no more romantic place to propose than Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the city’s historic La Fonda on the Plaza Hotel sets the perfect scene with its “Blingarita” proposal package. The engagement experience, orchestrated by the hotel’s expert concierge staff, starts with luxury accommodations in the historic hotel’s exclusive Fireworks Suite. The deluxe suite has a romantic fireplace and for the popping of the question, its private wrap-around balcony will be festooned with farolitos – the traditional small candles that cast a romantic glow on the adobe. At the appointed time, a server will arrive at the suite with a pair of La Fonda’s exclusive, ultra-premium “Blingaritas,” one of them bedazzled with an engagement ring provided by the proposer and slipped secretly to staff upon arrival. Arguably the priciest margarita in town and certainly the prettiest, the Blingarita is crafted with Don Julio 1942 tequila, Cointreau, fresh lime juice, Grand Marnier, and a 24-karat gold flake rim. The drinks are served in exquisite keepsake glasses by Southwestern designer Jan Barboglio that the couple will take home to kickstart their barware collection. Following the proposal, a sumptuous Southwestern dinner for two will be served in the Fireworks Suite.
Francis Marion Hotel (1924) Charleston, South Carolina
Located in historic downtown Charleston, South Carolina, the Francis Marion Hotel is in one the South’s most romantic cities. It offers so many romantic opportunities to pop the question from a horse drawn carriage ride to a romantic walk under moss-covered oak trees. The hotel is home to historic charm, romantic details and years of love being celebrated within its walls. Offering a beautiful backdrop in the lobby or even overlooking the view in one of the penthouse suites, a proposal at the Francis Marion is sure to be met with a yes. Including the historic and grand lobby, a few popular places in the hotel that couples have gotten engaged include the penthouse suites overlooking the city of Charleston or in one of the classic and elegant ballrooms. Its concierge can help coordinate details to in-suite amenities like champagne to celebrate saying ‘yes!’
The Terrace Hotel (1924) Lakeland, Florida
The most popular romantic spot, the Terrace Grille, offers fine dining in a historic setting. The romantic couple can have a candlelight dinner with white linen, fine-dining service. The restaurant features a beautiful cypress ceiling with antique chandeliers, massive arched windows throughout, and a view of downtown even featuring Lake Morton. Nearby special spots for the question include an area steeped in history, the Lake Mirror Promenade where the happy couple can enjoy sweeping views of the lake and the historic buildings. Another perfect spot is Allen Kryger Overlook Park, a half-acre commemorative park that is beautiful in design and features dramatic columns in an open, flowing space.
InterContinental Mark Hopkins (1926) San Francisco, California
The Top of the Mark sky-lounge has become a popular venue for romantic proposals and other celebratory occasions, including weddings and anniversaries. Located on the 19th floor of the InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco, the world-renowned sky-lounge affords a near 360-degree visit of San Francisco with views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Marin Headlands, as well as Alcatraz and Fisherman’s Wharf.
Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa (1927) Sonoma, California
Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa is the only comprehensive luxury destination resort in Sonoma Wine Country, boasting championship golf, geo-thermal pools, world-class spa, and fine dining. Every guest receives a complimentary bottle of wine as well as champagne upon arrival ensuring that the stage is set for romance. Mission Suites at Fairmont Sonoma feature a four-poster king bed, wood-burning fireplace, and oversized Jacuzzi tub. All suites have a balcony or patio. Or lovebirds may prefer a private cabana poolside at the world-famous geo-thermal Willow Stream Spa at the Wine Country resort. The destination expert concierge team at Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn can assist in creating the ultimate lavish proposal which may include hot air balloon adventures, bespoke wine blending sessions, private dining options, or decadent couples massage options.
The famed Don Cesar of St. Pete Beach, Florida, was built as a wedding present to rsemble a Mediterranean-style castle (c) Karen Rubin/goingplacesfarandnear.com
The Don CeSar (1928) St. Pete Beach, Florida
Built as a wedding present in 1928 to resemble a Mediterranean-style castle, The Don CeSar was once the playground for distinguished celebrities, such as Clarence Darrow and F. Scott Fitzgerald. The Don CeSar continues to charm and impress guests today with service preserved from the Great Gatsby era of pampering. Blending European grandeur, seaside elegance, and sweet sunsets with the enchantment of yesteryear, the romantic legend exemplifies the grandness of America’s traditional beach resorts. Favorite spots to propose are on the beach, in the gardens, or on a boat with the picturesque Don CeSar in the background.
The Hotel Hershey® (1933) Hershey, Pennsylvania
Known for its refined elegance, signature services and abundant amenities, The Hotel Hershey is the perfect destination for a romantic getaway with beautiful locations to get down on one knee. The Formal Gardens behind the hotel are a popular spot for proposals. There, guests can find a quiet, romantic, picturesque area with beautiful flower beds, pergolas, fountains and reflecting pools. Inside the Hotel, the Fountain Lobby is another picturesque location worthy of popping the question. It was designed to look like a Spanish-style courtyard with palm trees, a beautiful fountain, and a painted sky on the ceiling.
Royal Palms Resort & Spa (1948) Phoenix, Arizona
With lush greenery, vibrant florals, and rustic accents throughout, there are several locations at the Royal Palms Resort for the perfect, romantic setting to propose. The resort grounds have a few favorite locations that are tucked away off the main pathways for a romantic setting, including Camelback Mountain Vista and Cervantes Patio. They are framed with landscape to accent the focal points, allowing for a romantic dinner for two, or a cozy setting to share a glass of wine and focus on one another. Sunset and evenings are the most ideal time to set the mood, with candles and patio lights. The Via Cappello dining experience is the perfect opportunity for a proposal.
Mauna Kea Beach Hotel (1965) Kohala Coast, Hawaii
As a long sought-after romantic destination on the big island of Hawaii, Mauna Kea Beach Hotel provides special touches. There are three standout locations at the hotel that have been favorites for more than 50 years. The first is the grand staircase fronting the enormous, ancient 12th century Buddha. The original historic third tee at Mauna Kea’s golf course, perched above the ocean’s edge, secluded and dramatic, particularly at sunset. And lastly, the Vista Decks. For an over-the-top proposal, sunset from the hotel’s Vista Deck overlooking the soft white sands of Kauna’oa Bay, with views to the ocean’s far horizon, is a popular romantic spot. Offering privacy, views of the white sands of Kauna’oa Bay, and the ocean’s horizon beyond, the Vista Deck can be staged for a romantic torchlit dinner for two or an intimate gathering of cocktails and pupus (appetizers) with family and friends. Mauna Kea Beach Hotel’s professional team of romance specialists will help arrange for a photographer (who have been known to hide in the bushes until the moment is right), florals, champagne and more to make certain all goes without a hitch and the couple’s future launches spectacularly. The shores of Kauna‘oa Bay provide the perfect backdrop to pop the question. Another option, the stunning venue above the ocean’s edge on Mauna Kea Resort’s golf course, is one of the most popular wedding locales! The rolling blue surf of the Pacific Ocean and vibrant hues of a setting sun complete this dramatic setting. From the sand beneath their toes to the sounds of the waves rolling onto the shore, Kauna’oa Bay sets the scene for every romantic proposal.
RED BEANS + RICE + A RECIPE
In the grey lull between the end of the holiday season and the first signs of spring, we retreat indoors to soak up as much warmth as we can—spending more time in our favorite reading chairs, piled on the couches, and gathered in the kitchens. Alabama Chanin friend and photographer Pableaux Johnson visited during this time last year, and we’re reminiscing about his famous Red Beans + Rice recipe (and eager to get him back to The Factory). Pableaux and his Red Beans Roadshow cure those winter blues.
During his 2018 Red Beans Roadshow Dinner at The Factory Café, Pableaux also exhibited his vibrant photographs of New Orleans’ Mardi Gras Indians. Pableaux was kind enough to share his recipe below:
PABLEAUX JOHNSON’S RED BEANS + RICE
1 lb Kidney Beans, soaked (Pableaux uses nothing but Camellia Brand Red)
1 lb good smoked sausage, preferably andouille, sliced into coins
3 tablespoons oil
2 medium onions, chopped
1 rib celery, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
6 to 8 cloves garlic, minced
Tony Cachere’s Creole Seasoning
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon dried basil
Pinch rubbed sage
3 bay leaves
Crystal Hot Sauce
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, minced
Cooked rice for serving
Heat oil in a large heavy pot. Brown the sausage, stirring frequently, to render as much fat as possible. When well browned, remove sausage from the pot and drain on paper towels. Add onions to pot and season with lots of Tony’s, salt and pepper.
Cook onions over medium heat, stirring frequently, until well browned. Add garlic and cook 5 to 10 minutes add celery and bell pepper and cook until translucent.
Drain water off the soaked red beans and add the beans to the pot. Cover with fresh water. Rub the basil between the palms of your hands as you add it to the pot. Add sage and bay leaves. Add sausage back to the pot and stir well.
Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until beans are tender, about 1 to 1-1/2 hours. When beans are tender, mash some with a potato masher until the mixture looks creamy.
Stir in the chopped green onions and most of the parsley, reserving some parsley for diners to add at the table. Season well with Crystal Hot Sauce.
Serve hot with cooked white rice, extra parsley, and more hot sauce.
The Farewell With Flowers Is a Bartender’s Ode to Her Late Grandmother
It’s inspired by a Manhattan, but made with baijiu and aged Osmanthus wine.
Made with tea-infused baijiu, it’s a delicate sip with a beautiful story. Photo by the author.
My paternal grandparents lived on the campus of the university lauded as the “Columbia University of the East” in Shanghai, China. I spent countless days of my adolescence running up and down the alleys around the retired professors’ building, where Osmanthus trees emitted the sweet fragrance of their delicate yellow flowers. This past September, I was struck by nostalgia as I approached the building for the last time, inhaling the scent.
The author’s grandmother circa 1953.
This August, my grandmother, Sun Xueqing, passed away after a years-long battle with lung cancer. My sister and I called her simply “Nai Nai,” the Chinese honorific for father’s mother. She was a biochemistry professor, known by her students as a patient teacher to all. Having descended from scientists, sometimes I wonder how a bartender like me can pay homage to a woman who affected the lives of many. This recipe is dedicated to my Nai Nai, who cared for her students, community and family deeply.
Baijiu (literal translation: white [clear] alcohol) is the beloved national spirit of China. Owing to China’s massive population, it is the biggest-selling spirit in the world. Most Westerners have never heard of it and upon first impression find the smell “weird.” As someone who grew up with Western friends who said everything in my parents’ cabinets was “weird,” I’m inclined to believe this reaction is in part influenced by internalized xenophobia.
To those who are familiar with baijiu, the aroma is sweetly earthy and smoky, with notes of pear. The spirit is distilled from sorghum and other grains, yielding a whopping 52 percent alcohol content (the ABV of vodka is 40 percent). One would be hard-pressed to find a special occasion in China without baijiu, and most would struggle to keep up with the tradition of countless “Ganbei” (used similarly to “cheers,” but its actual meaning is closer to “bottoms up”).
The spirits, photographed in front of Hu’s grandmother’s plants. Photo by the author.
Kuei Hua Chen Chiew, a.k.a. “Cassia Wine” or Osmanthus wine, is a sweet liquor distilled from weak baijiu with Osmanthus flowers. Its ABV is typically less than 20 percent. Osmanthus wine carries a great deal of cultural significance it’s often gifted as a birthday present, served during the Mooncake Festival and used as a medicinal wine in traditional Chinese medicine. My cocktail uses Osmanthus wine as a mixing agent, similar to the function of sweet vermouth in a classic Manhattan. The following cocktail is inspired by that classic cocktail, made with ingredients that are significant to Chinese culture. The liquors are photographed in front of my grandmothers’ houseplants, which she tended to dearly.
“Farewell With Flowers”
2 oz of daisy-tea-infused baijiu* (pictured is Beijing Capital Baijiu)
3/4 oz aged Osmanthus wine
3–4 dashes of cardamom bitters
Chill a coupe with ice water. Combine above ingredients in a tall mixing glass. Stir mixture for at least 30 revolutions. With a tea strainer, fine strain mixture into chilled coupe. Garnish with a few osmanthus blossoms.
*Infuse two cups of plain baijiu with two tablespoons of dried daisy leaves. Strain after 4 hours.
Adam Ruins Listing Tropes:
- Absurdly Spacious Sewer: Adam takes Hayley on a tour of one of these in "Adam Ruins Hygiene".
- Adaptational Attractiveness: The real Linus Pauling, who infamously promoted fake ideas about vitamins, was hardly the Casanova that the show portrays him to be.
- Adaptational Nice Guy: In contrast to the lonelyJerk with a Heart of Gold that Adam portrays in the TV series, his persona in the original CollegeHumor shorts was a foul-mouthedJerkass who took perverse pleasure in ruining people's enjoyment of things.
- Adjacent to This Complete Breakfast: Adam debunks the alleged nutritional value of milk, orange juice, and especially breakfast cereal.
- Adult Fear: Several of the episodes cover things that can be described as this.
- In "Adam Ruins Death," Emily is confronted with the prospect of dying young in an accident. Worse yet she spends what are potentially her last moments being told that her fiance will end up bankrupting himself with funerary costs, that he has no idea whether or not she would want to be on life support if in a permanent coma, and that even if he did pick her wish he'd spend the rest of his life wondering if she would want it or not. And even that could be worse it is mentioned that when families do not know their dying loved ones' wishes, they argue, and those arguments often split the family apart .
- In "Adam Ruins Football," Murph's parents are told that football in its current form is causing brain damage to both the children in little leagues and the adults in the real games. The very next scene is a slow-motion of their local kid football team about to collide with each other during practice.
- In "Adam Ruins Nutrition," Dr. Todd Bodd is informed that his efforts to teach proper health to people has actually been spreading misinformation and making them worse.
- "Adam Ruins Prisons" gets pretty dark. From Emily's short but severe mental breakdown in solitary to the story of the young boy who killed himself after being thrust into society after years of solitary and couldn't take it, to Kendra's harsh backstory.
- In "Adam Ruins Sex", Emily talks about the hymen, and how in some parts of the world, women are subjected to "virginity testing," to see if their hymens are intact. If they don't pass the "test," they can be denied jobs, expelled from school, ostracized from their communities, disowned, jailed, barred from making rape accusations, or even killed.
- In the same episode, he discusses the social stigma surrounding herpes, a disease that (combining oral and genital herpes) practically every person on Earth has. (Most people don't show symptoms or have only very mild symptoms. And unless you are immunosuppressed, or in the late stages of pregnancy, it's not serious.) In surveys, the only STD that had a higher rate of shame and stigma than herpes was HIV.
- In the same episode, Adam and a lawyer discuss what happens when too many vacation rentals appear in the same city or apartment building. Landlords take out multiple leases in the same buildings, or even evict current tenants from them, just so they can use them as short-term vacation rentals. (Why? Because vacation rentals generate more income than long-term tenants do.) This takes those apartments out of the market, which drives up rent costs, leaving people who can no longer afford the rent costs with nowhere to go.
- In "Adam Ruins the Wild West", guns were outlawed in many frontier towns, a significant number of "cowboys" were Mexican and black, and women - particularly members of The Oldest Profession - played a significant role in taming the Wild West.
- In "Adam Ruins Drugs", opiates were prescribed 100 years ago for anything because an ad reassured that they were not addictive.
- Patti (Emily's mother-in-law) explains to her that up until the invention of baby formula in 1865, women who couldn't breastfeed (and couldn't afford to hire a wet nurse, or who came from cultures where wet-nursing was not practiced) had no choice but to feed their babies breadcrumbs soaked in water. and that many of those babies died from malnutrition. Complete with "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer.
- In "Adam Ruins Sex," Adam explains the real reason that many infant boys in the US are circumcised (for non-medical and non-religious reasons). The practice goes back to the Victorian era, where it was popularized by doctors and non-doctors (including Harvey Kellogg, the guy who invented cornflakes) as a way to curb the sex drive and urge to masturbate by instilling a Primal Fear in baby boys. He also mentions that it wasn't just done to boys either: Kellogg thought the way to keep girls from masturbating was to apply carbolic acid to their clitorises or to lop off the visible part of the organ entirely. Thankfully, this ideology has mostly died out, although the practice of paring away boys' foreskins (for non-medical and non-religious reasons) remains in effect for largely cosmetic reasons.
- Call-Back in "Adam Ruins Malls": "Advertising? Racism? Little bugs?"
- "Adam Ruins The Wild West" explains how the image many have of The Wild West with cowboys protecting people from "savage Indians" stems from a circus act staged across the country by Buffalo Bill.
- In "Adam Ruins Justice" Adam explains how everything that is commonly known about the infamous McDonald's Hot Coffee civil suit is wrong. It was actually a terrible incident that nearly cost a woman her life after she received third-degree burns from coffee that had been near-boiling temperatures. She was also one of 700 people this had happened to. Pretty much everything that is known commonly about the incident was a smear campaign by corporations to discourage people from suing about unsafe practices.
- "Adam Ruins Drugs" is one long screed on how the War on Drugs is this.
- This PSA against littering is probably the most famous in history, but in actuality was produced by companies trying to push guilt over littering onto the consumer so they could continue making cheap one-use products.
- According to "Adam Ruins. What We Learned in School" the narrative that Christopher Columbus was the hero that discovered America was created by Washington Irving, author of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow when he wrote the first English biography of Columbus, and omitted the massacre and enslavement of the Native Americans. This story was further spread by Italian immigrants who wanted to fit in better by showing that their culture was connected in the creation of America. Plus Irving is responsible for the intractable myth that Europeans at the time believed the Earth to be flat (they did not).
- According to "Adam Ruins Halloween", the popular story of how Orson Welles' infamous radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds supposedly triggered mass panic among people. In fact, very few people at the time even heard it, because it was airing at the same time as a popular ventriloquist comedy show. Even though the night of the broadcast was as calm as any night and there were no reports of anyone being killed or seriously injured as a result of it, newspapers at the time exaggerated some anecdotal stories of people panicking, giving the general public the impression that people had mistaken it for a real news broadcast and rioted.
- In Give me Facts or Give me Death, Adam dispels the idea that the Continental Army was mainly composed of patriots who were motivated by ideas of freedom from the British Empire. Although there were some who did join out of patriotic fervor, the vast majority of recruits were petty criminals who were sentenced to a stint on the frontlines, drunks that were swindled into enlisting while intoxicated, immigrants who didn't understand English that were tricked into joining, and land owners who believed that independence might lead to lower taxes, and those who were wealthy enough hired poor men to go into the army in their place, and when that wasn't enough, a draft was instituted. To fight the war, Washington and other leaders used what money they had to buy supplies and munitions, and the reasons why the Continental Army didn't mutiny and disband from a lack of pay was the promise to give soldiers back wages after the war was won, and because Washington was a believer in harsh discipline.
- In The First Factsgiving, Adam explains that the first Thanksgiving was less, "the Pilgrims and the Indians coming together to celebrate a bountiful harvest" and more like "the Wampanoag and the Pilgrims got together for a celebratory feast once they massacred the enemies of the Wampanoag."
- As a subtle Take That!, in the same episode, they mention that the story of Pocahontas is way different, and messed up than the cartoon. John Smith and his men met Pocahontas when she was about 10 years old, and they took advantage of the generosity of her tribe. After John Smith went back to England years later, she married a warrior named Kocoum, and some time after that, John Rolfe kidnapped her, forced her to marry him and took her on tour in England, where she died of disease. The reason why, according to the episode, we know about Pocahontas was because of the lurid stories that [[John Smith wrote about Indian women throwing themselves at him, which was adapted into a G-rated animated movie.
- Adam spends a whole episode explaining how American democracy is ridiculouslycorrupt, only to conclude that it's important to vote because voting will change things. eventually. It's just an uphill battle, not a hopeless one.
- His 2016 election special had an example that was (probably) unintentional. He tells people it's important to find common ground with your ideological opponents. after using various politicians as his punching bags for much of the episode.
- The episode on immigration starts out presenting the issues from the perspective of a family of legal Hispanic immigrants, but by the end there is a monologue that presents them as if they were illegal immigrants, which makes the overall message rather confusing. Not to mention that the episode never mentions many of the issues brought up regarding illegal immigration, such as crime, instead making it out to be mainly a racial or cultural issue. Of course, Adam may have just run out of time to point out that neighborhoods with immigrants have significantly less crime than average.
- In general, Murph. Adam's obsession with facts and corrections have ruined his proposal, wedding, sex life and even added more stress during a pregnancy scare, and unlike other frequent victims Emily and Rhea, Murph never gets to correct Adam on anything. note Murph does appear in "Emily Ruins Adam", but his correction actually wasn't a factual mistake on Adam's part, just misunderstood information
- In Episode 6 ("Adam Ruins Hygiene"), Emily says she's going to watch a UFC fight before accidentally locking Adam and Hayley in the bathroom. In Episode 12 ("Adam Ruins Death") , she reveals that she's a huge fan of Ronda Rousey, which becomes a plot point.
- In "Adam Ruins Voting", Donna lamely defends her self-proclaimed fun-ness by claiming she has two pet turtles. In "Adam Ruins Malls", Adam reveals he also has pet turtles.
- In "Adam Ruins Work", as Adam tells the boss that 40-hour workweeks were making his employees dumber, the man in the background who had his tie caught in the paper shredder loudly asks, "He AM?!" Then, in "Adam Ruins Summer Fun", Jake is told that summer vacation was making him dumber. He loudly replies, "It AM?!"
- In "Adam Ruins Sex", Adam gets hit in the side with a basketball thrown from out of frame and makes a wimpy "Owww. " sound (twice). Then, in a video Adam made for the US Department of Education for the FAFSA application for student aid, the woman he's talking to protests that she won't get help because her "basketball skills are sub-par" she's then hit in the side with a basketball thrown from off-camera and says "Ow!".
- The guy from the episode about work who says "What?! That's crazy!" reappears in the mall episode.
- In the opening of "Adam Ruins Housing", the muppet Adam from "Adam Ruins Summer Fun" and the "Ruiner" chair from "Adam Ruins Hollywood" appears as the viewers find Adam flushing golf balls down his toilet while thinking of Hallie.
- In "Adam Ruins Security", the government agent in Adam's Imagine Spot mentions that orange Tic-Tacs are his favorite. In "Adam Ruins Drugs", the D.A.R.E officer mentions that he loves orange Tic-Tacs after finding one in his drugs briefcase.
- In the forensic science episode, Adam mentions that someone found two identical snowflakes before getting back to the topic of fingerprints, saving it for the Christmas Episode. In "Adam Ruins Christmas'" the "Ever Wonder Why?" segment states that snowflakes are identical in the higher levels of the atmosphere, and change as they fall to the ground, and there may be identical snowflakes out there, just not in the same spot.
- The Cajun speaking guy has appeared in "Adam Ruins": "Immigration," "Justice" and "the Environment."
- The two other movies on the cinema marquee at the end of "Adam Ruins Dating" are The Sad British Man and Room 2: Back in the Room, which were mentioned as nominees for the Awardy Awards in "Adam Ruins Hollywood".
- The actor who portrayed the Horatio CaineExpy returned to play a 1980s' detective in the satanic cult segment of Adam Ruins. Conspiracy Theories.
- In "Adam Ruins. the Wild West," when debunking the Cowboys vs Indians myth, he tells the gunslinger that they could devote an entire episode dispelling known fallacies about Native Americans, but quickly moves on. Later, in "Animated History," there's an episode titled "the First Facts-giving" which is about recent discoveries made about Native Americans, and how they really lived before the Europeans arrived.
- Although the funeral at the end is held in a church and a woman who appears to be a minister is seen giving a sermon about leaving to be with God before Adam's outburst.
- In the Adam Ruins Everything podcast episode, he interviews Caitlin Doughty and they do discuss religion a little more, but the episode is more focused on an agnostic/atheist perspective.
- In "Adam Ruins Malls," Emily is willing to spend a day with Adam at a mall. She realizes how useful Adam's lectures are after he exposes nutritional supplements as snake oil. Adam himself starts to realize how lecturing people is not a good way to relate to people.
- It's subtle, but in season two, Adam seems more willing to accept insight and opinions from people as he lectures others, and is more accepting and introspective when people turn the tables on him.
- After being chewed out by his girlfriend in "Adam Ruins his Vacation" he agrees that he needs to learn how to take a break from ruining things, and actually does manage to stop himself and relax in the end.
- Tumbleweed rolling across an empty studio in an Imagine Spot at the end of "Adam Ruins Nutrition."
- The sound effects guy in the radio studio invokes this by recreating the sound on a cricket-shaped instrument when Adam explains how the "reports of mass chaos" created by Orson Welles' famous The War of the Worlds broadcast was a hoax.
- There is one in the audience at "Adam Ruins Nutrition," to illustrate his comparison of vitamins to cats - too many of either is generally a bad idea.
- In "Adam Ruins Animals", Adam claims that cat lovers are a reason why cats have become so widespread and led to the extinction of numerous small birds.
- In the Election Special, Adam shows his "campaign ad" while making the point that the Electoral College makes politicians focus on states with narrow margins. It is on a CRT TV from The '90s, but the quality is HD.
- In "Adam Ruins Sex", the ruinee shows a VHS tape he made in The '90s about how herpes is horrible to have, but the quality is HD note HD VHS tapes exist. From 1998-2004, there was a format called D-Theatre which used digital Super VHS tapes to record 1080i content before Blu-Ray. However, these were uncommon, as the DVR took over TV recording while DVD took over home video. Plus, the VCR in the show looks like a normal VCR, not a D-Theatre VCR . Adam promptly inserts himself into the tape and informs them that unless you're immunocompromised, herpes is no big deal.
- Unlike most episodes, for the majority of the episode Adam is more than happy to agree with Emily about mistakes that are made. He's very up front about how they're just a 22-minute info-comedy show, and because of that the information they have could well be out of date by the time the episode airs and that the information they have has to be pretty compacted and simplified for the show and production. When Emily starts in how trying to prove to people they're incorrect just magnifies how much they'll insist it's actually true, however, he starts to get worn down like everyone else until the positive ending takeaway.
- "Emily Ruins Adam" does this to the show itself. As Emily calls Adam out on how he invades people's lives, with many of them feeling like they're being attacked, as everything they know is called into question.
- In "Adam Ruins Work," Richard Nixon and Henry Ford are portrayed as advocates for antisemitism, as well as shorter working hours.
- In "Adam Ruins Weddings"
- Happens to Adam himself at the end of "Adam Ruins Death." Hayley dies of a bad fall, after which Adam is inconsolable, to the point that he doesn't even feel like ruining anything.
- When a member of Dr. Todd's audience reunites with her former doctor, his request for a checkup plays out like a classic romantic reunion.
- "Adam Ruins Christmas" reveals that she's not far off: Rhea did hurt Adam a little when she spilled the beans about the Santa myth, but cheered him up and sparked a lifelong curiosity when she told him how fun it can be to learn the real story.
- In "Adam Ruins Hollywood," Adam briefly sits in a chair labeled "Ruiner," and his companion sits in a chair labeled "Ruinee."
- During the "Emily Ruins Glasses" bit, Adam makes a "Get out of here Ray! You're banned!" pun joke about Ray-Ban sunglasses - prompting the man in the background to huff and walk out of the store.
- Gamer Chick: Discussed in "Adam Ruins Summer Fun". Adam's argument is that games actually started as gender-neutral, and women even contributed to the industry. However, a side effect of the The Great Video Game Crash of 1983 was that video games started getting marketed to boys because toy sections in stores were (and still are) split between boys and girls, and games were places in the boy sections (really, could've easily been the other way around), hence why it's seen as masculine. Girls statistically enjoy video games just as much as boys, they just feel excluded from the culture. Adam also admonishes the boy for looking down on the "stupid phone games" that many women play. As far as Adam is concerned, "games are games".
- Geeky Turn-On: At the end of "Adam Ruins Restaurants," Adam spots a "shooting star" that passes above them as they're eating ice cream. Hayley corrects him by pointing out that it's actually a satellite, not a shooting star. Adam is immediately smitten with her and pulls Emily aside to ask her if Hayley is single, to which Emily responds with a "No. Just. No" Reaction.
- Get Out!: Rhea delivers a cross between this and a Rapid-Fire "No!" while shoving the KKK incarnation of Santa Claus out the door.
- It is a consistent running joke of the series to substitute swearing with Bird species names. However, later seasons have seemed to loosen the restriction on uncensored swearing.
- "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Truth" tells the story of James Armistead, a slave who was motivated solely by the idea of freedom to spy for George Washington on the British. Once the war was over, in huge part thanks to his spying, Armistead was rewarded by being resold into slavery. He only gained his freedom because Lafayette vouched in a court of law that he had earned his freedom by contributing so much to the revolution.
- "The First Factsgiving" tells the real story of Pocahontas (see Based on a Great Big Lie above).
- "Mutually Assured Ruination" tells the story of Margaret Chase Smith who stood up to McCarthy and was instrumental in his downfall.
- "An Ancient History of Violence" tells the story of Queen Boudica, who united the rival Celtic tribes of Britannia by leading a years-long rebellion against the oppressive Roman rule, and though her army was defeated and died, she was instrumental in changing Rome's treatment of the natives.
- "The Copernican Ruin-aissance" tells the story of the anatomist Vesalius, who revolutionized the study of anatomy by stealing bodies and dissecting them, and proving that the beliefs on human anatomy held since the days of the Ancient Greeks were totally wrong.
- "100 Years Ago Today " tells the story of Harvey Washington Wiley and his "poison squad". Under Wiley's supervision, the "poison squad" ate a steady diet of commercially available preserved foods to prove that they were prepared using dangerous chemicals and that the companies selling such products were knowingly selling them to the public.
- In the Animated History segment centered on Boudica, Adam tells an account about how she rallied the Celts in Britannia, and lead them in revolt against the Roman Empire. The way its presented implies that the Romans were eventually fully expelled from Britannia, when she was actually defeated by the Roman general Suetonius, which incidentally broke the back of the Celtic resistance, and the Romans maintained control of the region until the Empire's collapse. The show also does not include mention of the three cities Boudica razed during her campaign.
- Adam's TV host powers come from knowing more than his audience. When someone knows something he doesn't, they can literally steal the show and teach Adam something he doesn't want to know.
- Any time there is a Show Within a Show, even a homemade sex-ed video by a public school teacher, Adam can and will hijack it if it spreads misinformation or perpetuates misinformed trends.
- Subverted in "Adam Ruins Restaurants." In the episode, Adam reveals that a lot of fish at grocery stores and restaurants aren't actually made from the specific kinds of fish those grocery stores and restaurants claim they are. When one of his guests tentatively asks what they're really made of, Adam reassures her that they just use other kinds of fish, such as escolar (most often substituted for tuna). However, he then points out that escolar contains a lot of waxy deposits that are, ahem, hard to digest.
- Also in "Adam Ruins Nutrition," when Dr. Todd Bodd keeps trying to drink milk or orange juice, Adam points out that it's hardly natural and full of sugar (and Dr. Bodd really hates sugar).
- In "Adam Ruins Malls," Adam shows Emily that supplements are so unregulated that there is no possible way to know what's actually in them, and some studies have found that what the label says on the bottle isn't actually what's in them.
- In "Adam Ruins Work," Adam convinces the office manager to talk to his superiors about hiring the interns and providing them a livable wage, providing an equal salary for all employees of similar working experience, and cutting the workweek from five days to four. The senior executives respond by offering to replace the missing Nerf darts, the manager accepts, and Adam walks away in disgust.
- In "Adam Ruins Doing Good," when the owner a large corporation pledges that his company will be an example of actual corporate responsibility, instead of doing more half-hearted actions that are nothing more than tax write-offs, his inheritors pull the plug before he can modify his will and leave them penniless, implying that they will do more of the same.
- On the other hand, Adam is saying that the average human's obsession with living longer and not discussing death with their friends and loved ones drastically decreases the quality of life for terminal patients. This is very sensible, but he never mentions how more people are reaching their 80s than ever before in history - and the bulk of that lifespan increase started in the nineties. There's no reason for that trend to end, which means people could start living a lot longer any time now!
- The takeaway was that even if lifespans are increasing, and even if you are young and healthy and have a long life ahead of you, something could still happen. (i.e. getting hit by the Little Bugs truck, or slipping and falling and breaking your neck, or getting sick, or what have you) So it's never too early to make your end-of-life wishes known to your loved ones, so that if God forbid something like that does happen, your loved ones aren't in the predicament Murph was in of not knowing what to do, or the one that Adam's hypothetical future kids were involved in, not being able to agree on the best course of action and having those disagreements cause a rift in the family.
- Other characters might react with horror when Adam appears, but he's usually providing important information that can prevent you from being played for a sucker, enable you to do more good, or provide vital context on some of the most important things you do, e.g. voting.
- The Founding Fathers in "Adam Ruins Voting." While their attitude that most of the population is too dumb to be trusted to vote is incredibly condescending, it's also true (or at least could be seen as true in a time period before widespread education).
- The show itself is this when compared to its much edgier and more vulgar counterpart, Penn and Teller: Bullshit!.
- The episode "Adam Ruins. America" is all about this trope. Adam tells Uncle Sam that the American dream is impossible for the majority of Americans due to income inequality. The constitution is notoriously hard to change because legislators insist on interpreting it as it was written hundreds of years ago, rather than changing it to be more contemporary, and since it made slavery perfectly legal, Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation was unconstitutional, and it took a Civil War, and new amendments to rectify that. After the Civil War former slaves were able progress during the Reconstruction, but it was undone thanks to the K.K.K. and other white supremacists, who terrorized former slaves from becoming politically active. Shortly after the federal troops dismantled the K.K.K., they were withdrawn, allowing former Klansmen and other white supremacists, to enact Jim Crow laws, and the Civil Rights Movement wasn't so much as pressuring the federal government to make new laws to protect everyone, so much as it was to pressure the federal government to enforce laws that had been enacted almost a hundred years ago.
- Naked on Arrival:
- Adam's naked entrance in "Adam Ruins Voting."
- Happens again in "Adam Ruins Art" where he is posing as a nude model.
- Happens a lot on the show, such as the Paula Deen Expy in "Adam Ruins Weight Loss" and the Theresa Caputo (AKA the Long Island Medium) Expy in "Adam Ruins Halloween".
- Sources backing the facts and studies brought up in the show are cited on screen for the audience, along with a tie-in website for anyone curious.
- The show also sometimes invokes this when telling something particularly outrageous from history. Examples include:
- In "Adam Ruins Voting", the revelation that an elector in Minnesota voted for a candidate for vice president in the presidential election (and misspelled his name, to boot).
- In "Adam Ruins Immigration", the fact that the name of a project for mass deporting Mexican immigrants was called "Operation Wetback".
- In "Adam Ruins Malls", a quote from the CEO of Luxottica, the Mega-Corp that not only produces most of the prescription eyewear in the world but also employs most of the optometrists:
- Defied in "Adam Ruins Voting," with Adam explaining how misogyny, racism, and corruption have been part of the electoral process from its beginnings in the 1790s (and are still a problem, even though things have gotten somewhat better). The woman he lectures is shocked to see how racist the Founding Fathers were.
- Played straight in "Adam Ruins Having a Baby" when an expert debunks the "having a baby after 35" myth by stating that number came from a census taken in 1600s France. A number of peasants came into Emily and Murph's comprising of a mix of white, black and Asian people.
- Defied in general, for the most part. Adam spends much of the show discussing how things most people think of as normal were actually the result of racism and/or sexism.
- An "Ever Wonder Why?" segment from "Adam Ruins Christmas" talks about how It's a Wonderful Life went from box office failure to holiday classic because of being in the public domain.
- Adam spends a whole episode educating people hoping to be friends but fails to register that the strangers he educates aren't going to care for him as a human being. Although as certain characters begin to recur, the show is leaning in the direction that Adam is beginning to be seen by them as a sometimes annoying but ultimately harmless friend.
- Despite his lectures, the problems Adam breaks down aren't going to be solved by the end of the episode. For example, the aforementioned Pointy-Haired Boss decides to improve working conditions. but isn't able to convince the company board members to change long-held policies.
- One of the main themes of the show are common misconceptions and how if you start to think about them, you realize how incorrect they really are. Such as how banks wouldn't go through the trouble of verifying every credit card signature. Or how tamper-resistance seals wouldn't be enough to stop serial killers as there are plenty of other ways for them to hurt people.
- In "Adam Ruins Nutrition" Dr. Todd Bodd wonders why security hasn't escorted Adam off the set. Adam points out he locked the doors.
- In "Adam Ruins Forensic Science" he fakes a murder in order to make a point about how faulty forensic science is. which is still a crime, and thus is promptly arrested.
- Also, in the teaser, one of the detectives discovering the murder makes a lot of puns about the case, and his partner points out that it's kind of an inappropriate reaction after they've just found a dead body.
- The people Adam talks to frequently voice concern about coming into contact with "little bugs":
- In "Adam Ruins Security," a man worries that Tylenol bottles are full of little bugs.
- In "Adam Ruins Restaurants," Veronica asks if her tuna is actually made of little bugs.
- In "Adam Ruins Voting," One of the founding fathers, implied to be James Madison, reasons that without the Electoral College, the people could elect "the king of England, or a demagogue, or, like, little bugs or something" as President.
- In "Adam Ruins Summer Fun," one of the items on Jake's to-do list is "Catch Little Bugs."
- In "Adam Ruins Death," the truck that runs over Emily has "Little Bugs, Inc." written on the side.
- In "Adam Ruins Malls," Emily tries to pre-emptively guess the problem with malls before Adam can ruin them. Her guesses are advertising, racism, and little bugs.
- For "Adam Ruins Animals," the show set up a website called http://www.savethelittlebugs.org/ in support of conservation efforts for the American Burying Beetle.
- This came to a head when he dedicated an entire episode to it, appropriately titled "Adam Ruins Little Bugs".
- Called back in "Adam Ruins Summer Fun," when Jake realizes he's wearing a suit and remarks that he looks like a car salesman.
- Adam takes a frequently-changing companion on a voyage of discovery through time and space. note In a strange coincidence, this show debuted during the tenure of the Twelfth Doctor &mdash the most abrasive, socially awkward, and brutally honest incarnation in decades.
- "Adam Ruins Forensic Science" opens with a similar title sequence to CSI: Miami. (Not to mention one of the detectives frequently dons his sunglasses after making bad wordplay. )
- "Adam Ruins Restaurants" has a background character that bears a strong resemblance (and dislike of tipping waitresses) to Mr. Pink.
- Towards the end of "Adam Ruins Voting," Adam returns to the present daycrouched down. and naked.
- In "Adam Ruins Nutrition," Sylvester Graham says that sugar and spice inspire thoughts of "sex and the devil. a sexy devil, like Elvira!"
- In "Adam Ruins Animals", a toy dog claims to be a freak on a leash.
- In "Adam Ruins Animals", to explain why outdoor cats have a rough life, and a negative impact on the local wildlife, Adam anthropomorphizes a group of feral cats living in an alley.
- In the video Adam made for the US Department of Education for the FAFSA application for student aid, a math-genius "janitor from humble origins, in need of a second chance" calculates how much grant money the woman Adam's talking to could receive. Lampshaded when the woman looks at Adam like she doesn't understand Adam explains, "it's a reference from a movie that came out when you were, like, two."
- In "Adam Ruins the Internet" The Matrix is heavily referenced with Adam taking the roles of Morpheus and the Architect, and Facebook and Google taking the role of Agent Smith. Its dated nature is lampshaded.
- In "Adam Ruins Hollywood", one of the "Adam Insults" considered is "You look like a Pidgeotto went to Grad School".
- In "Adam Ruins Christmas," Adam animates his sister and himself to demonstrate Christmas' long complex history. In that same segment, where it is explained that Christmas in Medieval England consisted of poor people getting drunk, and threatening violence on the rich, one character proclaims "It's purge time baby!"
- In "Adam Ruins the Environment," after being told that pretty much everything he believes in is not going to stop climate change, the dad tells his daughter that he will prepare her for the future, and dresses her like Immortan Joe.
- "Adam Ruins Voting" contains a blue (voting) booth used as a Time Machine, and a companion named Donna.
- All of "Adam Ruins What We Learned in School" takes place in a parody of The Magic School Bus called "The Magic Van" and also references several other educational cartoons, like Adam taking on appearances that resemble Dora the Explorer("Ruiner, no Ruining!") and Mr. Peabody from Rocky and Bullwinkle.
- "Adam Ruins College" mentions Overwatch by name. And Adam proudly proclaims that he's a Hanzo Main.
- "Adam Ruins the Future" features tiny versions of Uncle Sam and one of the executives for Hulk-O Food Products in the cabinets.
- To demonstrate why mice make terrible test subjects, he turns them into lab mice and share this dialogue:
- "Doc Talk With Dr. Todd Bodd" in "Adam Ruins Nutrition".
- Fatty Melt in "Adam Ruins Weight Loss".
- One of Each, the sitcom in "Adam Ruins a Sitcom".
- "Adam Ruins Work" has Oscar Nunez (Oscar Martinez from The Office (US)) as Benny.
- "Adam Ruins Hollywood" has Rachel Bloom showing up as herself.
- "Adam Ruins the Wild West" features Peri Gilpin (Roz Doyle from Frasier) as a brothel madam.
- "Adam Ruins Christmas" has Adam Savage as the narrator.
- "Adam Ruins The Suburbs" has Regan Burns (Bennet James from Dog with a Blog) as Ron.
- "Adam Ruins Sleep" has Lance Bass as himself.
- "Adam Ruins Games" has "Weird Al" Yankovic as Satan. (Yes, you read that right.)
- "Adam Ruins Death" has Caitlin Doughty (from the web series "Ask a Mortician") as herself.
- Adam's sister gives him one after she takes over in the Justice episode. Calling him out on how he goes around criticizing stuff, without first-hand experience, or actually doing anything to try and fix it himself.
- In "Adam Ruins Forensic Science," Adam points out that the "no two fingerprints are alike" theory was proposed in 1892 by Sir Francis Galton. Charles Darwin's crank cousin, best-known for theorizing eugenics.
- In "Adam Ruins Nutrition," Adam admits that nutrition theory was developed by Linus Pauling, who was pretty much a Real LifeTV Genius - a chemist, biochemist, peace activist, author, and educator who won the Nobel Peace Prize - twice. Unfortunately, near the end of his life the cheese kind of slid off his cracker, and he became obsessed with alternative medicine - particularly, he advocated megadoses of vitamin C to extend lifespan and cure cancer. Coincidentally, he died of cancer. At age 93.
Giving And Getting
Now is the time for holiday parties. Chances are you are invited to, or are yourself hosting, a gathering of family, friends and/or coworkers in the near future. Even in today’s gloomy economic climate holiday traditions must be observed. Disowning your relatives or ignoring your friends is not a good solution, no matter how tempting the prospect may be. No, what you need is a good old fashioned get together, a meet n’ greet, a turn up the music and dance your troubles away house party to get you in the holiday mood. So maybe you eat a little too much and drink a more than you should. And maybe you talk a bit too loud and say a few things you ought not to say. The point right now is catharsis, a letting go of all that has transpired over the past year and an embracing of a (hopefully) bright future to come.
If the mere suggestion of holiday entertaining makes you start patting your pockets and pleading poverty, rest assured that I am not suggesting a no holds barred festival of extravagance. No, that perspective would be way too 20 th century for this time, place and season. Here and now we need to celebrate in a modest fashion with those we hold dear. Sharing a meal, along with some good wine of course, is a perfect expression of holiday conviviality. If the spirit of the moment leads you to dance and sing with wild abandon, so be it. At least you didn’t pay a fortune to have a good time.
Here are some of the latest additions to the wine selection at The Spanish Table. Combine these wines with any of the delicious and traditional holiday foods now filling our shelves (turrónes, mantecados, polvorones, cardos, bacalao and so many other tasty treats) and you have the makings of a great party or a thoughtful gift. Come visit us in Berkeley for even more holiday entertaining ideas.
Adamado 2007 One of my favorite Portuguese Vinho Verde wines just came in with a big price drop (how often do you here that these days?). Adamado is a vintage Vinho Verde from the Ponte do Lima sub-zone where the wines a re fuller and richer than the typical non-vintage Vinho Verde. Slight effervescence, low alcohol (10.5%) and ripe Viognier-like fruit character paired with flinty minerality makes this an excellent cocktail wine for holiday entertaining. $7.99 (was $10.99)
Cavas Hill Reserva Artesanía The new wine from Cavas Hill is fresh and lively with abundant frothy bubbles and tart green apple fruit character. This well priced blend of traditional cava grapes (Macabeo, Parellada, Xarel-lo) will liven up your next tapas party. The attractive packaging makes this a good choice for gift giving as well. $10.99
Condesa Eylo 2007 This racy new white wine from the Rueda region is made of 97% Verdejo & 3% Sauvignon Blanc. Aromas of fresh grass and granny smith apple along with intense flavors of lemon peel and honeydew melon are weighty on the palate while the finish is light, lingering and dry. $14.99
CARM 2006 Casa Agricola Roboredo Madeira (CARM) is a small family-run business in the Douro valley of Portugal, dedicated to the production of wine and olive oil. We have carried the excellent olive oil but never the wines, until now. The red CARM 2006 is a bold and assertive blend of several organically farmed traditional Portuguese grape varieties including Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz and Touriga Franca. This barrel aged red is dark and earthy with rich fruit character and finely tuned tannins. $15.99
Lustau East India Solera After a long hiatus, this well loved sweet Oloroso Sherry is back in stock just in time for the holiday season when many customers pour it as a traditional after dinner drink. Sweet raisin and fig fruit character encounters abundant toasted almond and burnt toffee aroma. This wine is dark, dense and sweet yet possesses bright acidity that lifts the flavors and enlivens the texture, creating a complex and nuanced drink. $29.99
Primitivo Quiles Fondillón Reserva 1948 This unique wine is back for the holidays. Historically, Fondillón was called Vino Noble de Alicante not only because it was enjoyed by royalty (Louis XIV is said to have enjoyed the wine) but also as an indication of a winemaking style that achieves 16% alcohol by volume without resorting to fortification of the wine with spirits as is done in Jerez. Late harvest Monastrell is picked at ultimate ripeness and the sugars in the grape convert to alcohol at a higher rate than normally. After many years in the solera the wine looses its red color and turns a ruddy shade of amber. Nutty sherry-like aroma and flavor balance gentle but not cloying sweetness. $67.00
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Rock Out With These Bottles
Horsepower 2013 The Tribe Vineyard Syrah (Walla Walla Valley) $120, 96 points. This wine is aromatically brooding but precise, with notes of umami, black olive, smoked ham, crushed violets, funk and peat. The flavors are hefty and concentrated—with notes of fire pit and wet stone—while showing earth-shaking depth and intensity. The finish stretches out as long as you care to count. This is a complete knee buckler.
Cayuse 2013 Cailloux Vineyard Syrah (Walla Walla Valley) $80, 95 points. The aromas are perfumed and expressive, with notes of crushed flowers, brown stems, black olive, sea salt, smoked meat and funk. The flavors are dense and intense, but still with a silky feel. It’s a classic example of this producer, with a finish that just won’t quit. Editors’ Choice.
Delmas 2014 SJR Vineyard Syrah (Walla Walla Valley) $65, 94 points. Viognier makes up just over 8% of this wine and it shows itself with perfumed aromas of flowers and orange peel, along with brown stems, freshly ground herb, black olive, mineral and whiffs of smoked meat. The palate is all about texture and layers, while never losing its exquisite sense of balance, gliding on the extended finish. Superb stuff, with an emphasis on elegance.
K Vintners 2013 Rock Garden Syrah (Walla Walla Valley) $60, 94 points. Coming off The Rocks District, this wine displays high-toned aromas of brown stems, crushed violets and black pepper along with a light meat and olive streak. The flavors are poised and layered, showing a mixture of red and black fruits with abundant savory accents. The crazy-long finish flat out impresses.
No Girls 2013 La Paciencia Vineyard Grenache (Walla Walla Valley) $75, 94 points. The aromas pop with notes of fresh flowers, smoked meat, stems, mineral, smoke, white pepper and an earthy funk. The flavors dance on the palate, with mouthwatering fruit and savory notes that lead to an outrageously long finish. It’s equal parts elegance and intensity.
Saviah 2013 The Funk Estate Syrah (Walla Walla Valley) $60, 94 points. The aromas of this wine pop, with notes of fresh flowers, green herbs, olive brine, coffee, grilled asparagus, gravel and a touch of smoked meat lurking in the background. The fruit and savory flavors are plush and palate-coating in feel, with floral and smoked meat notes persisting on the finish. It’s a very pretty interpretation of the area, with a compelling sense of balance. Editors’ Choice.
La Rata 2013 Red (Walla Walla Valley) $70, 93 points. Grenache takes the lead, making up 60% of this wine, which was co-fermented with Cabernet. Generous aromas of earth, white pepper, herbs, flowers, funk, smoked salt and crushed strawberry lead to a palate chock-full of smoked meat and savory flavors. It shows a beautiful sense of elegance and grace that belies the richness and length of the fruit and savory flavors. Editors’ Choice.
Dusted Valley 2014 Tall Tales Stoney Vine Vineyard Syrah (Walla Walla Valley) $60, 92 points. Coming from the winery’s estate vineyard in The Rocks District, this aromatic brooder shows notes of crushed flowers, wet stone, orange peel, brown stems and dark fruit, along with light smoked meat accents. The palate boasts generous fruit and savory flavors that linger on the finish.
Proper 2014 Estate Syrah (Walla Walla Valley) $48, 92 points. The aromas jump up, with mesmerizing notes of fresh herbs, green olive, violets, orange peel, smoked meat and huckleberry. The palate shows a light but pillowy texture alongside flavors that carry on the finish. It’s all about subtlety.
Reynvaan 2013 In the Rocks Vineyard Estate Syrah (Walla Walla Valley) $70, 92 points. The aromas pop with notes of wet gravel, mineral, funk, olive tapenade and high-toned flowers. The flavors are palate coating yet light and restrained, with generous savory and umami flavors that draw out on the finish. It has a very pretty sense of texture and precision—all about elegance.
Sleight of Hand 2014 The Psychedelic Stoney Vine Vineyard Estate Syrah (Walla Walla Valley) $60, 92 points. Coming off The Rocks District, this wine displays somewhat reserved notes of ember, smoked meat, green olive, wet stone and smoke, leaning hard into the savory. The charcuterie, smoke and licorice flavors coat the palate, stretching out on the finish.
Buty 2013 Rediviva of the Stones Rockgarden Estate Red (Walla Walla Valley) $60, 91 points. A blend of Syrah (80%), Cabernet Sauvignon (14%) and Mourvèdre, this opens with aromas of wet gravel, herb, smoke, funk, nori and black olive that are followed by plentiful, soft, generous savory flavors that bring a lot of intensity and appeal. The finish lingers.
Watch the video: East End Pubs Now u0026 Then (December 2021).