Best street food to eat in Phuket, Thailand

IT’S well known that Aussies just can’t get enough of Phuket.

For decades, the largest of Thailand’s islands has been a travellers’ go-to thanks to its tropical climate, blissful beaches and raucous bar scene.

But perhaps unknown to most is the island’s status as an international culinary heavy-hitter.

Placed within the lauded ranks of UNESCO’s World’s Leading Cities of Gastronomy in 2011, four years later Phuket was upgraded to City of Gastronomy status due to its unique food scene.

You see, long before backpackers and tourists descended on this holiday idyll, a melting pot of Malays, Chinese, Indians, Thais and “sea gypsies” created a fusion of flavours that colours the island’s culinary palette. To this day, many of Phuket’s quintessential dishes are made by the original families who brought them here. So next time you visit this beachside paradise, forgo western food and pad thai and tickle your tastebuds like a local with these seven Phuket foodie experiences.

Mural, Phuket and Peranakan Food Trail Tour. Picture: Phuket Food Tours

Mural, Phuket and Peranakan Food Trail Tour. Picture: Phuket Food ToursSource:Supplied

TASTE THE MELTING POT

Get the inside scoop on the cultural medley that makes Phuket’s food scene so original on the Phuket and Peranakan Food Trail Tour.

Walking around the old town where the rampant tourism industry has thankfully left the charm-infused houses, streets and traditional shops unscathed, this tour gives visitors a perfect overview of the eclectic dishes on offer. Focusing on Peranakan (descendants of Chinese immigrants, also known as “Baba”), alongside Indian and Malay, you’ll sample recipes that represent a blend of all cultures.

phuketfoodtours.com

Mural, Phuket and Peranakan Food Trail Tour. Picture: Phuket Food Tours

Mural, Phuket and Peranakan Food Trail Tour. Picture: Phuket Food ToursSource:Supplied

SLURP DOWN NOODLES

Given this mass migration, unsurprisingly you can find plenty of Chinese dishes here, in particular noodles – lots of noodles.

You could eat a different noodle dish every day for months and still not have worked through all the options. The favourite style on the island is Hokkien mee or mee Hokkien. Thanks to a healthy population of China’s Hoklo people, this lipsmacking dish of yellow egg noodles topped with everything from fish balls and shrimp wontons, to chicken and pork strips, is now everywhere. Phuket Town’s Mee Ton Poe is the oldest (and reputedly best).

Three generations of the same family have been dishing up bowls of the stuff since 1946.

Pork khao soi in Phuket.

Pork khao soi in Phuket.Source:istock

EAT YOUR BODY WEIGHT IN FRESH ROTI AND CURRY

Just as the Chinese have made their mark on Phuket’s shores, the Indian and Malay communities have too.

On the corner of Thalang and Thepkasattri roads, you’ll find two of Phuket Town’s oldest Muslim shophouse restaurants, Aroon and Abdul, side-by-side.

Run by the descendants of the original Indian families who opened them 70 or so years ago, cooks stand outside making fresh roti by hand.

And what better pairing with these freshly made, piping hot, flaky chewy flatbreads, than a chicken, mutton or beef spice-filled curry. Delicious.

Thai grilled pork satay called Moo Yang is a popular street food snack.

Thai grilled pork satay called Moo Yang is a popular street food snack.Source:istock

FIND THE BEST STREET EATS

Thailand and street food go hand-in-hand. Not only tasty, with a filling plate or bowl for well under 50 baht (less than $2) it’s a bargain too.

Satay, sticky rice and mango, spring rolls, sweet fish cakes, taro buns, fried insects, banana pancakes, deep-fried shrimp, spicy soups and Phuket’s own take on the French macaron – you can eat like a king for days here on a pauper’s salary.

The most authentic street food can be had in the lanes and streets of Phuket Town.

Many favourite stalls and hole-in-the-wall eateries have been run by the same families for generations.

To make it even easier, download the Phuket Street Food app (launched via the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs) which provides information on the most popular dishes and location of stalls for easy reference.

Sweet Thai crepe pancakes being made at a local market.

Sweet Thai crepe pancakes being made at a local market.Source:istock

STOCK UP AT THE MARKETS

Rise early to take advantage of the cooler morning temperatures and make like a local by heading to one of Phuket’s fresh produce markets.

They take place daily or weekly across the island, but one of the biggest is in Kathu, between Patong and Phuket Town. The bustling marketplace is filled with stalls selling vegetables, fresh fish, meat, exotic fruits and herbs, and piles of homemade chilli pastes. On weekends, the aptly named Weekend Market, or “Talad Naka” to locals due to its proximity to Naka Temple, is more touristy, but still definitely worth a visit. Situated just outside Phuket Town, the large covered market is less about fresh produce and more about atmosphere and ready-made snacks.

Open Saturday and Sunday from mid afternoon until about 11pm, the vibrant atmosphere makes for a great alternative to dinner. Rock up, try some food, grab a beer and nab a seat to indulge in some people watching.

Bird nest cave, Phuket, Thailand.

Bird nest cave, Phuket, Thailand.Source:istock

TRY BIRD’S NEST SOUP

If you’re going to sample this Asian delicacy, Phuket is the place to do it.

As close to the source as you can get, the surrounding islands and their craggy, sea-splashed caves have the highest concentration of sea swallow nesting sites in the country and enterprising locals have built a business around the huge demand for their saliva-constructed nests.

Highly coveted by the Chinese, who believe them to be rich in nutrients and health-giving properties such as improving skin appearance and, of course, raising libido, the global industry is worth a whopping $5 billion annually.

Kanom jeen Thai rice noodles serves with fish curry and Phuket fish ball.

Kanom jeen Thai rice noodles serves with fish curry and Phuket fish ball.Source:istock

BREAKFAST LIKE A LOCAL

Skip the morning hotel buffet and instead do as a local and rise early for some quintessential breakfast dim sum (siew boi) or a bowl of kanom jeen. Best eaten 6-8am at the island’s abundant dim sum eateries, but for the most authentic try Juanhiang on Chana Charoen Rd, which claims to have been serving the delicious bite-size morsels for a century-plus.

Kanom jeen – a laksa-like dish of cold fermented rice noodles in a rich and creamy coconut-based curry sauce – is the other brekkie alternative. Whatever you opt for, make sure to get your caffeine fix afterwards with a glass of thick, sweet local coffee, or kopi.

Trafalgar’s Gavin Tollman on the brand’s new vision and the two things he never travels without

TRAVEL brand Trafalgar is in the business of creating “pinch me” moments for travellers — those moments that are so incredible, you think you must be dreaming — and its chief executive Gavin Tollman has had plenty of those.

He’s been (almost) everywhere in the world, many times over — which is no surprise when you run one of the world’s biggest travel operators — but there are a few moments of total wonderment that always take his breath away.

“I don’t know how many times I’ve been to Venice but I do not remember a single time I didn’t feel this way: when you’re on the water taxi and you come around and you see St Mark’s Square for the first time from the water,” Mr Tollman told news.com.au.

“Every single time I see that skyline I just go, wow.

“I had a similar moment recently going to Ashford Castle in Cong, in Ireland, when I came around and saw the castle in the distance. I had that same moment when you just feel you are at one of the single most beautiful places in the world.

“It is one of the reasons I love to travel, when as soon as you arrive and see something for the first time you get that heartbeat going faster.”

These “pinch me” moments are a big part of Trafalgar’s new campaign, The Good Life, which is about letting guests experience the “real” people, places and cultural experiences of the destination they’re in — without having to worry about the logistics of their holiday.

And at a time when it’s becoming easier for travellers to plan and carry out their own trips, it’s still one of Trafalgar’s major advantages.

St Mark’s Square in Venice, Italy, is a favourite location for Trafalgar boss Gavin Tollman.

St Mark’s Square in Venice, Italy, is a favourite location for Trafalgar boss Gavin Tollman.Source:istock

“This is a campaign designed to show how we can make travel so much easier for guests, so they can get so much more out of [their trip],” Mr Tollman said.

“What we go out of our way to do, from the time somebody arrives with us until the time they leave, is make sure they simply do not have to worry about a single thing.

“It’s that ease, that effortlessness of travelling with us — there’s no worrying about checking in, there’s no logistics — it’s just getting to understand the places.”

Sustainability is another big focus for Trafalgar, Mr Tollman said. Not just in terms of environmental sustainability — and coach tours are one of the most sustainable ways to travel — but also in terms of what responsible tourism can offer destinations.

“The biggest type of tourism we have to eradicate is coming in with preconceived notions of what is right and what is wrong and trying to apply them to the destinations we visit,” he said.

“That is the change we are trying to bring, one of greater understanding. And that is the positive impact tourism can have, because it is a truly sustaining force to the local economy. It’s not just about coming in to see something superficially and then leaving.”

Trafalgar has organised for its guests to visit the Vatican Museum after hours, when it’s a lot less busy.

Trafalgar has organised for its guests to visit the Vatican Museum after hours, when it’s a lot less busy.Source:Supplied

Trafalgar has just launched its Europe and Britain 2018 offering and Mr Tollman said Europe remained a massive focus for most Australian holiday-makers.

“In terms of where Australians are travelling to, Scandinavia is off the charts,” he said.

“It’s become the go-to destination. Number two in Europe is Spain. And number three is Britain. Britain has become cheaper, but whatever the reason might be, we’re seeing huge increases.

“Elsewhere in the world, Australians are going to places like Japan and Canada, which is incurring huge, double-digit growth.

“Exotic destinations are always of interest, but in terms of where the largest numbers of people are going, they’re going to these iconic areas of the world and what Trafalgar makes sure they do is have a great time without a worry in the world.”

Mr Tollman, from South Africa, has spent a lot of his life travelling — he hails from travel royalty.

His family owns Travel Corporation group (Trafalgar’s parent company), which employs many generations of the Tollman family. Travel is the family business and he is, in his own words, “perpetually on the move”.

Is there anything this seasoned traveller never travels without?

“This is a very quirky thing, but I always travel with a light yoga mat,” he said.

“If possible at my hotel, there is nothing better than waking up early and doing yoga at sunrise and greeting the morning sun. It always sets up your day.

Trafalgar offers the chance to stay at the stunning Ashford Castle in Ireland. Picture: John Menard

Trafalgar offers the chance to stay at the stunning Ashford Castle in Ireland. Picture: John MenardSource:Flickr

“And I love music, and one of the greatest changes for me has been the whole way of how transportable music is. When I’m in a hotel I don’t like listening to music on earphones so I have this incredibly small but very powerful bluetooth speaker, Ultimate Ears, and I travel with it everywhere.”

And he also has some tips for travelling parents, which he learned from many long-haul flights when his now-grown children were very young.

“Number one is, and it’s so obvious: before travelling, never ever [let them eat] sugar,” he said.

“I became the biggest advocate for on-board entertainment and back in those days. I’m showing my age, but you used to be able to get portable DVD players and I used to have two of them, one for each child. I was a huge advocate of never going with an expectation that the entertainment on the aircraft would be enough.

“Bring your own food that is good for your children and never rely on airline food. And take them to the bathroom while everyone else is eating.

“And the most important one, and I learnt this once at JFK airport, when the plane is on the descent, never ever believe your children when they say they don’t need to go to the bathroom.”

Mr Tollman started working with Trafalgar 20 years ago and today, the company offers 230 itineraries across six continents.

But is there anywhere in the world Mr Tollman has never been? Yes, he said — one of those places is Vietnam.

“My son just finished a gap year and his greatest excitement before he went to university was that he’d been to destinations I’d never been before,” he laughed.

Bombardier unveils its new $93 million jet that’s already sold out for years

THIS is the world’s biggest private jet, which costs a whopping $93 million and comes with a double bed, big screen TV and ensuite bathroom.

Bombardier’s new Global 7000 is the first jet to have four living sections — including dining and entertaining spaces, as well as a kitchen and suite for the plane’s crew, The Sun reports.

The 6.7 metre long aircraft, which has extra large windows and “aviation’s fastest in-flight internet”, has the capacity for 19 passengers to fly in the utmost luxury.

The Global 7000 is the latest in luxury flying, with four separate living compartments. Picture: Bombardier

The Global 7000 is the latest in luxury flying, with four separate living compartments. Picture: BombardierSource:Supplied

But even if you have a spare $93 million, you’ll have to wait as the stylish aircraft is sold out until 2021.

Aboard the top-of-the-range plane, six people can dine in comfort served from the “industry’s largest and most well-appointed galley”, while the master bedroom features a luxurious double bed and ensuite shower room.

The fancy bathroom. Picture: Bombardier

The fancy bathroom. Picture: BombardierSource:Supplied

The plane has a range of 13,700 nautical kilometres, meaning it can travel from New York to Mumbai or Sydney to San Francisco without having to stop.

It is also the largest business jet able to land at London’s central City Airport.

The Global 7000 is currently on show at the National Business Aviation Association conference and expo in Henderson, Nevada.

The bedroom on the plane is better than in most people’s homes. Picture: Bombardier

The bedroom on the plane is better than in most people’s homes. Picture: BombardierSource:Supplied

The dining space. Picture: Bombardier

The dining space. Picture: BombardierSource:Supplied

The sleek interior. Picture: Bombardier

The sleek interior. Picture: BombardierSource:Supplied

Living the luxury life. Picture: Bombardier

Living the luxury life. Picture: BombardierSource:Supplied

Bombardier's new Global 7000 jet. Picture: Bombardier

AirAsia flight forced to turn back to Perth after terrifying midair emergency

PASSENGERS on board an AirAsia flight from Perth to Bali feared for the lives after the aircraft plunged 20,000 feet in a midair emergency.

Flight QZ535 was forced to turn back to Perth Airport on Sunday morning, just 25 minutes into its flight, after a technical issue caused the cabin to lose pressure.

Oxygen masks dropped from above the seats and passengers were told to get into a brace position as the plane plunged from 32,000 feet to 10,000 feet.

Oxygen masks dropped from above the seats. Picture: Nine News

Oxygen masks dropped from above the seats. Picture: Nine NewsSource:Supplied

AirAsia passengers feared for their lives. Picture: Nine News

AirAsia passengers feared for their lives. Picture: Nine NewsSource:Supplied

Clare Askew, among the 145 passengers on board, said the reaction of the airline’s crew made the ordeal more terrifying.

“The panic was escalated because of the behaviour of staff who were screaming, looked tearful and shocked,” she told Perth Now.

“Now, I get it, but we looked to them for reassurance and we didn’t get any, we were more worried because of how panicked they were.”

A passenger named Leah told Nine News: “I actually picked up my phone and sent a text message to my family, just hoping that they would get it. We were all pretty much saying goodbye to each other. It was really upsetting.”

AirAsia passengers were told to get into a brace position. Picture: Nine News

AirAsia passengers were told to get into a brace position. Picture: Nine NewsSource:Supplied

The Perth woman said cabin crew were panicking, but left passengers in the dark.

“One of the stewardesses started running down the aisle and we thought, ‘why is she running?’ And then the masks fell down and everybody started panicking. Nobody told us what was going on,” she said.

Tracy, who was travelling with son Jayden, said: “My son said he didn’t want to get on another flight but I’ve assured him it can’t happen twice in a row. It’s really put me off flying. I fly every year on AirAsia.”

The plane landed safely in Perth, with passengers rescheduled for later journeys.

AirAsia said its engineers at Perth Airport were investigating the aircraft.

“The safety of our guests is our utmost priority,” the airline said in a statement. “AirAsia Indonesia apologises for any inconvenience caused.”

In June, passengers spoke of how an AirAsia flight captain told them to start prayingafter the aircraft started “shaking like a washing machine”.

The Airbus A330 was flying from Perth to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, when it was also forced to turn back because of difficulties.

10 things you shouldn’t miss at the Henry Ford Museum

This October 9th marks 109 years since the Ford Motor Company introduced the Model T to America. And you can celebrate that pioneering spirit at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, where the legend of Henry Ford’s innovation lives on.

A must-see for any car lover, the museum in Dearborn, Mich. (about 10 miles from Detroit), goes beyond the automotive and is heavy on history, America and clever inventions. From the rocking chair that Abraham Lincoln was sitting in when he was shot to the first car Ford ever built, here are 10 sights and activities that museum visitors, both young and old, won’t want to miss.

Dymaxion House

The outside of the Dymaxion House gives a peek inside, too — Photo courtesy of Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation

Architect Buckminster Fuller thought this round house was the wave of the future, but that wasn’t the case. Now the only prototype can be found at the Henry Ford Museum. Visitors can go inside the shiny structure and see the revolving closets, vintage furniture, and small kitchen and imagine what life was like inside in the 1940s.

A real family even lived in this house until the 1970s, though it was attached to a more conventional-looking house for added space.

John F. Kennedy limousine

John F. Kennedy was riding in this car when he was shot in 1963 — Photo courtesy of Gary Malerbra via Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation

The limousine John F. Kennedy was riding in when he was assassinated on November 22, 1963 is one of many pieces of history with a sad backstory. Even with its history, the car, a 1961 Lincoln Continental Presidential Limousine, was repaired and put back into presidential use until 1977.

The limo is part of the museum’s Presidential Vehicles exhibit, which also features cars used by presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan.

Rosa Parks bus

Bus number 2857 was made famous by Rosa Parks’ refusal to move to the back — Photo courtesy of Gary Malerbra via Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation

Rosa Parks is well-known for her actions that helped lead to America’s Civil Rights movement. She defied segregation laws in 1955 by not giving up her seat on the bus to a white man and moving to the back. After an extensive renovation by the museum, visitors can see the bus where history happened – and even hop aboard and sit in the seats.

Other Civil Rights movement-era artifacts are nearby in the Liberty and Justice for Allexhibit, including a “whites only” drinking fountain from 1954.

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George Washington’s camp bed

George Washington’s camp bed is one of many presidential pieces on display — Photo courtesy of Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation

America’s first president lived a long time ago, so claims of him sleeping in various beds are hard to substantiate now. However, this camp bed in the museum’s collection was definitely used by George Washington during the Revolutionary War. A camp chest from 1783 is also on display.

Ride in a Model T

A Model T in Greenfield Village — Photo courtesy of Gary Malerbra via Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation

In Greenfield Village, next to the museum, visitors can purchase a ride pass and travel back into the past to see what transportation was like in Henry Ford’s time. The pass allows visitors unlimited rides on a restored Model T, horse-drawn vehicles, the carousel and a Model AA Bus. The Model T seats five.

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Lincoln’s rocker

The chair Abraham Lincoln was sitting in when he was shot at Ford’s Theatre — Photo courtesy of Shannon McGee

The rocking chair Abraham Lincoln was sitting in when he was shot in 1865 holds a prominent place in the museum’s With Liberty and Justice for All exhibit. Blood-stained and showing signs of wear, the historic artifact is stored in a clear case and has been at the museum since the 1980s.

1896 Quadricycle

An 1896 Quadricycle, the first car Henry Ford made — Photo courtesy of Gary Malerbra via Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation

There are quite a few vehicles in the museum that car enthusiasts will be, well, enthused about! This is one of them. Although the Model T is better known, the Quadricycle was actually the first vehicle Ford ever built. It was originally sold for $200, but Ford bought it back for $65 after he became successful.

Help build a Model T

Museum visitors help build a Model T — Photo courtesy of KMS Photography via Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation

The museum has several daily events to help visitors learn more about history and innovation. For instance, kids and adults alike can enjoy being hands-on as part of a Model T assembly line in the Made in America: Manufacturing exhibit.

Museum employees are available to assist, and visitors can spend as much or as little time as they want participating. This activity is included in the price of admission.

Replica of Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park lab

A look inside the recreation of Thomas Edison’s lab — Photo courtesy of KMS Photography via Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation

Although he was born in Ohio and spent much of his childhood in Michigan, Thomas Edison’s greatest inventions happened in Menlo Park, N.J. Henry Ford himself recreated Edison’s Menlo Park lab in Greenfield Village, and today visitors can see how the space looked when Edison invented the phonograph, the light bulb and other marvels there.

An Edison lookalike is also on hand at certain times of day to meet and greet visitors.

Taste what’s new at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

Orlando’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, now in its 22nd year, is something like a benevolent Blob from an alternate universe. It grows exponentially – 2017’s is the longest ever at 75 days – and draws inspiration from new nations, ingredients and styles – every year. Only it’s the guests who are moving through the park’s many marketplaces, devouring everything in sight.

This year, Epcot celebrates its 35th anniversary and as such, favorites from festivals past are hot on the must-taste list of annual pilgrims and noobs should mark their event passports, as well. These include Thailand, Spain and India Marketplaces, each of which are offering brand-new dishes to savor.

Teriyaki-glazed SPAM hash, new in the Hawai’i Marketplace; Culinary Director Gregg Hannon says SPAM’s been on their to-do list for a number of years — Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

Many guests choose to wing it, others study the dishes and map out strategies, but unless your competitive eating skills rival the world’s top contenders, you’re going to tap out before you can taste everything.

“Some of my friends and regulars who come here are telling me it’s taking three or four visits to make it to everything,” says Gregg Hannon, Culinary Director, Epcot Food and Beverage, “so if you’re a visitor who has that kind of time, attack it by spending one day in each section of the park.”

Important to remember come this time of year: Epcot has rides, too!

Hannon laughs. “Definitely take breaks between bites,” he says. “We’ve got Soarin’ and Test Track and you can take in one of the Eat to the Beat concerts we’re having all festival long. During this time of year there’s a great vibe in the park, everyone is really enjoying the culture and the food, but we’re still an amusement park!”

If you’re a veteran festival-goer, or a curious first-timer mapping out a strategy, here are some items that are new to this year’s menu – which you’ll want to add to your must-taste list – as well as new marketplaces.

On the menu

Braised beef “stroganoff”

Braised beef “stroganoff” — Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

The braised beef “stroganoff,” with tiny egg noodles, wild mushroom and Boursin Garlic and Fine Herbs Cheese sauce can be found at The Cheese Studio in Future World West.

Seafood salad

Spain’s seafood salad – everything tastes better in a martini glass — Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

Spain is a returning marketplace this year.  The above ceviche-like dish is among its new offerings.

Charcuterie in a Cone 

Noshy handheld: Charcuterie in a Cone — Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

The Charcuterie in a Cone is among Chef Hannon’s festival favorites. “The imported meats and cheeses and olives are flavored with an herb vinaigrette and it’s great for walking around and nibbling on.”

Crispy chicken with griddled cornbread and red eye gravy

Down-home comfort: crispy chicken from Farm Fresh — Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

Dig soul food a la Disney? Sample the crispy chicken with griddled cornbread and red eye gravy at the Farm Fresh Marketplace. There are three craft cider options with which to pair it, plus Florida Orange Groves Mango Mamma wine, made local in St. Petersburg.

Zesty cheeseburger and cheddar cheese macaroni handwich 

Zesty cheeseburger and cheddar cheese macaroni handwich — Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

Its “cheeseburger”-inclusive name might be confusing, but the beefy mac blend that fills this bread cone has been a hit with guests. Disney staffers tout it as “comfort in a cup.”

Spicy Ethiopian red lentil stew

The author’s favorite so far: spicy Ethiopian red lentil stew — Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

You don’t have to be a vegan to enjoy the Africa Marketplace’s spicy Ethiopian red lentil stew with vegan yogurt and quinoa, but it is among the dishes at this year’s festival that vegans can enjoy with abandon. It’s also one of Hannon’s top picks.

Pistachio cardamom bundt cake

Pistachio cardamom bundt cake — Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

The pistachio cardamom bundt cake, available at the India Marketplace, features chocolate-coconut mousse at its center.

Seared shrimp and scallop cake

Seared shrimp and scallop cake with cold noodle salad — Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

Many people come to Epcot to “Thai one on.” At the Thailand Marketplace, you can pair the seared shrimp and scallop cake with a Singha lager or Helfrich Gewurztraminer.

Sweet pancake with spicy chipotle-chicken sausage

Sugar & spice: the sweet pancake — Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

Spice lovers will feel the heat at the new Flavors from Fire Marketplace. This is the sweet pancake with spicy chipotle-chicken sausage, onion jam and maple butter syrup. If that sweetness tempers the spice too much, save room for the dark chocolate mousse with cayenne pepper, chili powder and raspberry dust.

Ribeye taco

Tex & Mex? The Ribeye taco — Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

This Mexico Marketplace delight will appease carnivores. It features marinated ribeye, roasted chipotle sauce and grilled scallions on a corn tortilla.

Seared scallops with corn and succotash

Seared scallop from Coastal Eats — Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

Scallops are notoriously easy to overcook. Hannon says that lots of training ensures they’re seared to order on-site, even in a Festival Marketplace. Coastal Eats is where you’ll find the seared scallops with roasted corn and butterbean succotash and chili-chipotle butter sauce.

Swine & Brine cocktail

Cutest name contender: the Swine & Brine — Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

Bourbon lovers on the lookout for a less booze-forward cocktail, hit up Flavors from Fire for the Swine & Brine. This autumnal beverage features Evan Williams Bourbon and comes garnished with a hunk of pork.

Grilled tuna tataki

Grilled tuna tataki — Photo courtesy of A.D. Thompson

From Hawai’i, the grilled tuna tataki with seaweed salad, pickled cucumbers and wasabi cream is a light bite that pairs well not only with the popular Florida Orange Groves Sparkling Pineapple wine, but also the Florida heat!

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New marketplaces

Food & Wine veterans may be most interested in the five brand-new marketplaces they’re featuring this year.

Active Eats features some returning favorites from festivals past (loaded mac n’ cheese with Nueske’s pepper bacon, cheddar cheese, peppers and green onions) and focuses on super foods – avocado and quinoa among them.

Coastal Eats is pretty self-explanatory. This is where you’ll find this year’s version of something I’ve touted in the past: the miraculously well-seared Disney festival scallop!

Flavors from Fire is another that needs no explanation; the spice-infused selections run the gamut from app to dessert!

The Almond Orchard – hosted by Blue Diamond Almond Breeze – features this nutrition-packed snack in its offerings, as well as a host of the event’s bubbly champagnes.

Which theme park is the most terrifying at Halloween?

Image result for Which theme park is the most terrifying at Halloween?

Thrill-seekers beware! There’s a reason Fright Fest at Six Flags Magic Mountain in Valencia, Calif. has won the USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Award for Best Theme Park Halloween Event twice in a row.

Every night from now until Halloween, over 500 zombies and other ghoulish creatures will take over Six Flags Magic Mountain, and they have one mission: to frighten all who dare to enter the park after dark.

After hosting Fright Fest for 25 years, Six Flags Magic Mountain has mastered the art of the scare. In addition to rides and roller coasters, there are several scare zones and 13 mazes throughout the park. New this year is “Dead End,” a maze where the corridors are pitch black, and guests have only flickering flashlights to help find their way.

The “Damned ‘N Disguise” masquerade ball offers guests a frightful show, and Club 6-Feet Under is a scary but fun pop-up party where you can grab food and drinks. And because Six Flags Magic Mountain is home to DC Comics’ Justice League, the Suicide Squad will be making an appearance for their second year.

Whether you startle easily or are hard to scare, there will certainly be enough bumps in the night to make you jump!

Do your business in these 10 work-friendly bathrooms

Texting, typing and technology in the lavatory – will wonders never cease? With bathrooms equipped for such things, the idea isn’t as odd as you might think.  From outdoor shower outposts to tech-friendly toilet stalls, these hotel bathrooms are a working traveler’s dream come true.

Scattered across the Southwest, here are 10 hotels (and the respective rooms/suites) with bathrooms fit for both working and washing.

Garden of the Gods Collection | Colorado Springs

The spacious Pinon Suite bathroom — Photo courtesy of Garden of the Gods Club

Choice bathroom: The Piñon Suite at Garden of the Gods boasts a bathroom featuring four separate spaces.  Not only is there is a dual sink vanity, but another vanity loaded with outlets is just a few short feet away.

An isolated toilet stall allows for some much-needed privacy in case someone else needs to shower, and a separate dressing closet offers enough storage for a dozen people.  The list of amenities goes on and on from there, and we haven’t even stepped foot outside of the bathroom yet!

Log hours: My goodness, this could be one of the largest hotel bathrooms in the Western United States. Between a morning cup of coffee at the makeup bar, super fast Wi-Fi and enough electrical outlets for a Christmas festival, this three-room bathroom suite is better equipped and more luxurious than most any office you’re likely to come across.

Gateway Canyons Resort | Gateway, Colo.

Outdoor shower in the Casita bathroom, apt for early morning or evening hours — Photo courtesy of Gateway Canyons Resort

Choice bathroom: A Casita room at Gateway Canyons on the first level offers an outdoor shower and indoor bathroom complete with marble floors, granite countertops, opulent vanity mirrors, a step-in spacious shower, a water closet and enough space for a small gathering.

Log hours: This bathroom is perfect for conference calls in the wee hours of the morning as you can easily escape to the outdoor garden shower with cascading vines along the stone, accompanied by unobstructed views of constellations or a spectacular sunrise.

The bathroom itself is lavish, with a claw foot tub, water closet and step-in stone shower.  However, the pièce de résistance is the exterior space, particularly that moment when your bare feet enter a haven of happiness and isolation. Type a story, have a glass of wine and shower among the stars in one of the nation’s most impressive indoor/outdoor bathrooms.

The Little Nell | Aspen, Colo.

A spiritual sanctuary of one of Aspen’s most famous hotels — Photo courtesy of The Little Nell

Choice bathroom: The Little Nell Junior Suite boasts a steam shower, Jacuzzi soaking tub, dual stone vanities, June Jacobs spa amenities (new men’s line coming this winter), a separate water closet with phone line and 700-thread-count, plush cotton bath sheets, hand towels and washcloths.  Not to mention, the marble flooring and walls are heated (think warm tushie while working).

Log hours: This is Aspen, folks; it’s going to be borderline impossible to find a single place in town where you don’t want to log hours. However, for the parent of a napping child or for the man or woman who needs to get some serious work done, this is one Aspen retreat that you’ll be dreaming of for years to come.

When the little ones start to stir and you still need to get some mileage added to that assignment, simply use kids’ bath amenities such as the bath mitten, animal towel and bath robes to let your tykes snuggle with in bed for a few more minutes while you continue to work. You might as well order a glass of wine from your porcelain palace as a post-work celebration.

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10 Hottest Hotel Showers for Two

Anniversary Inn | Salt Lake City

Taking a journey through time is a simple as logging a few hours in this Egyptian empire — Photo courtesy of Anniversary Inn

Choice bathroom: Mysteries of Egypt at Salt Lake City’s Anniversary Inn is an entire suite dedicated to the 3,000-year-old legends. Relax like a Pharaoh in this wall-to-wall stone bathroom, which comes complete with a jetted tub fit for two (also good for spreading out documents should you be working) and a shower with hot water gushing out of a snake’s mouth. You might even find a secret passageway…

Log hours: Head directly for the tub. Don’t even fill it! Indulge in some chocolate and caramel-dipped pretzels or choose from a list of complimentary DVDs and order a movie snack pack. The Pharaoh themes are humorous, uplifting, spiritual and, at times, make you feel like you’re in a real pyramid.

You’ll take in the Egyptian charm as you apply modern-day tools to your craft such as Wi-Fi, television and a DVD player. Plus, when you’re done, reward yourself with an incredible soak in the tub or take a shower, but be sure to watch out for the snake!

Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Organic Farm | Albuquerque

Soak in the luxury and the smells of this lavender farm while the cool desert breezes warm your soul — Photo courtesy of Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Organic Farm

Choice room: You can’t go wrong with the Deluxe Patio Farm Suite. This incredible oasisin the middle of Albuquerque’s arid landscape is surrounded by 40 acres of lavender.  And the suites are housed in their own 1930’s dairy-style buildings with tin roofs and white-stuccoed walls.

The Farm Suites offer wood burning fireplaces, original artwork, hardwood floors and gorgeous views of the gardens, acequias and the lotus pond.

Log hours: You’re here for one reason: to be inspired by the aromas of the farm. I spent close to three hours one mid-summer afternoon – during a two-child nap – working away on my laptop in the contemporary, white, sleek bathroom while soaking my feet in the bathtub filled with the resort’s lavender products.

As the flowers’ powers unleashed their relaxation, I happily typed while constantly gazing out the window above the bathtub to the vegetation blowing in the breeze.

L’Auberge de Sedona | Sedona, Ariz.

An outdoor shower with natural elements wakes up the senses and synapses — Photo courtesy of L’Auberge de Sedona

Choice bathroom: Cottage Suite at L’Auberge in Sedona. The marble bathroom has an oversized Jacuzzi tub, steam shower and an oversized window that looks out toward the red rock mountain horizon. The best part is the outdoor, open-roof cedar shower located on the suite’s private balcony.

Log hours: There’s something about an outdoor shower; it gives you the flexibility of holding an open-air meeting while others might sleep, or to catch a shooting star while adding last-minute notes to an agenda. The stars and sunrises are spectacular, and the smell of the cedar always soothing.

Due to hot desert temps, working in the early morning and late evening are a special treat to catch a cool breeze often lacking during the day. Warm up when you’re done with a hot shower!

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Best Luxury Hotel Brand (10Best Readers’ Choice Awards 2017)

Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain | Paradise Valley, Ariz.

Indoor and outdoor spaces blend in this large-scale, airy bathroom — Photo courtesy of Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain

Choice bathroom: The Camelback Casita bathrooms have the Midas touch – polished, floor-to-ceiling tiles reflect the sun and change colors depending on the sun’s (and your room’s) position. Nonetheless, for this writer, it’s that natural, outside element, that brings magic.

The Spa Suite has an outdoor bath so you can enjoy bubbles under the stars in complete privacy.

Log hours: If you must work during the day, and from the bathroom, while say a child is napping from the glorious hours of 1 pm to 4 pm, why can’t you partake in some of the sun’s magic as well?

Plop on the floor, plug in and, as you type, watch the solar power change your surroundings. It’s something extremely unique and spiritual. Of course, the outside soaking tub has much potential as a workspace, reading nook and even Snapchat backdrop.

Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North | Scottsdale, Ariz.

Soak in the spacious bathtub, or spread out your work and soak in the solitude of the simple lines — Photo courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North

Choice bathroom: Set on the property’s highest point, the three-bedroom Pinnacle Suite offers three full bathrooms, two outdoor garden showers and a guest powder room with shower. The full bathroom in the main suite bedroom offers hand-painted sinks from Mexico, a deep soaking tub and private outdoor garden shower, framed in latilla.

Log hours: Enjoy Scottsdale’s 330 days of sunshine by basking in a relaxing sunrise shower or glimpse the stars with an evening soak in the tub. Plenty of natural light soaks in through the floor-to-ceiling shower windows, which frame the tub.

Waldorf Astoria | Park City, Utah

The whirlpool suite perfectly captures the essence of work and relaxation — Photo courtesy of Waldorf Astoria Park City

Choice bathroom: The one-bedroom whirlpool suite bathroom at Waldorf Astoria is a must in the outdoor adventure mecca of Park City. It features Salvatore Ferragamo bathroom amenities and a jetted garden tub fit for two.

There’s also an European shower featuring two showerheads, two sinks with a lower vanity in between and a private water closet. Best perk: the bathrooms also feature a flat screen.

Log hours: With one of the few televisions in the toilet, this bathroom offers an enormous amount of work time opportunity while catching up on the news and headlines. The Waldorf Astoria brand is known for its remarkably luxurious accommodations and perks worldwide, so this Southwest bathroom abode won’t disappoint.

The Joule | Dallas

Puns aside, this bathroom truly is a jewel of travel, work and pleasure — Photo courtesy of The Joule

Choice bathroom: Designed by Adam Tihany, each penthouse bathroom in this Dallashotel varies in layout and design with features that include floor-to-ceiling windows offering exquisite views and natural light, an oversized freestanding tub, rainfall shower, heated Toto toilet and an array of products from The Spa at The Joule.

Log hours: Take a soak in the freestanding tub or set up shop in the shower. There are plenty of views and uplifting light from the enormous windows.

Disneyland is selling mini corn dog nachos for one month only

A Disneyland restaurant is serving corn dog nachos for one month only

Disneyland has become somewhat of a culinary destination, dishing out the most Instagrammable and outrageous looking dishes — and this latest instance is no exception.

The resort’s new treat is a unique twist on nachos, but instead of tortilla chips, it’s served with tiny corn dogs. On the menu at White Water Snacks at the Grand Californian Hotel, these corn dog nachos appear to come topped with nacho cheese, tomatoes, olives, green onions, jalapeños and guacamole.

If you’re interested in trying this surprising dish, you better head to Anaheim ASAP because they’re only available through the end of September as part of the snack bar’s rotating Hot Dog of the Month menu.

Previous month’s hot dogs specials included a mac and cheese-topped dog with bacon, and a chili cheese dog with fritos.

The First World War invention that turns vertigo sufferers into mountain climbers

“Some people call it climbing for dummies,” said Mark Morrison with a grin, putting a hand over his eyes to stare up hundreds of feet of rock into a sky of flat, hot, Southern Hemisphere blue. “That’s OK by me. I want to make climbing more accessible.”

For the past three years, Mark and his wife Laurel have been setting up a via ferrata – a climbing route of steel staples, cables and bridges, first used by the military in the Italian Dolomites during the First World War. It ascends the Twin Falls, which twists and bounces down 1,000 feet of granite near Wanaka in New Zealand’s South Island.

Last weekend they opened the final section which will, they claim, make Twin Falls the highest waterfall via ferrata in the world. The full mega-route is called Lord of the Rungs; a cheeky nod to the Otago region’s role as a Middle Earth location in the blockbuster film series.

Twin Falls bounces down 1,000 feet of granite near Wanaka in New Zealand’s South Island
Twin Falls bounces down 1,000 feet of granite near Wanaka in New Zealand’s South Island CREDIT:CAMILLA RUTHERFORD FOR WILDWIRE WANAKA

If ever there was evidence that the idea works, it’s me: I genuinely thought I’d signed up for a waterfall walk, not a climb, and only realised when Laurel gave me a form with a box saying “Are you scared of heights?” – which I ticked. I’m OK with steep slopes, but vertical drops are not my thing. We agreed that I’d try the first section and take the path down if necessary.

“Here’s the key rule,” she said, trussing me and the two other rookies into tough webbing harnesses, clinking with steel carabiners. “You must always have two clips attached to the wire. Always.” Ah, this rang a bell. It was just like the Go Ape! in my local park. But bigger.

We took turns to scale a practice boulder several times, clipping and unclipping, grabbing handholds, looking for foot staples, holding onto the steel cable. Then we climbed a 1,000-foot waterfall. This was the intermediate option: with the walk down again it took around five hours and included plank bridges, precipitous wire crossings and a shedload of cables.

"It was just like the Go Ape! in my local park. But bigger"
“It was just like the Go Ape! in my local park. But bigger” CREDIT: CAMILLA RUTHERFORD FOR WILDWIRE WANAKA

I will never understand how that simple act of clipping onto a wire switches off the fear in the brain. After all, you’re still hundreds of feet up in the air: you could fall off a bridge to swing like a baby in the void, or have a heart attack out of reach of the emergency services. Or that’s how you think if you’re me.

Instead we clipped and reached and swung and climbed, shuffling carefully along the cable bridges, stabilised by two guide wires at arm height. Below us the ground dropped away, and dropped away, until down between our feet was a heavenly view of lakes and mountains and toy cars and thousands of tiny red deer grazing the lush grasslands below.

“This is amazing!” said Dinesh, an ultra-fit, youthful retiree from America, happily swinging off walls to take photographs of his wife, competently scaling one rock face after another.

It was even more amazing when we reached the top of the intermediate climb and leapt into a freezing pool under the waterfall, where the pounding water had created a hollow.

"Below us the ground dropped away, and dropped away, until down between our feet was a heavenly view of lakes and mountains"
“Below us the ground dropped away, and dropped away, until down between our feet was a heavenly view of lakes and mountains” CREDIT: CAMILLA RUTHERFORD FOR WILDWIRE WANAKA

That’s where we met Mark and his more experienced climbers, halfway up their route to the very top. That’s the section they’ve just cabled. Next time I’ll be able to do that too.

“We asked the local landowner when we first had the idea,” said Mark. “He wondered who the hell would want to do it – but he was fine with it. As long as we don’t interfere with the fawning in October.” Climbing mates helped them plot the route, make the holes with a hammer drill on a rope, glue in staples and eyelets, thread through hundreds of feet of cable and build the bridges. A helicopter pilot friend dropped off the hardware and equipment.