Archive | May, 2012

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Where to Eat in Vegas Now (and Soon)

Posted on 31 May 2012 by admin

By Trish Friesen

Forget “Glitter Gulch” or “Sin City,” Vegas needs a new nickname—one that takes into account all the award-winning food lining the Strip (and we’re not talking about the buffets). It’s been a well-documented renaissance with everyone from Masa Takayama (of NYC’s astronomical Masa) to Jean Georges Vongerichten opening up in the city’s enormous, air-conditioned resorts. And there’s no end in sight to the desert’s foodie craze.

Where else in the world can you bite into chef Estiatoria Milos’ famed deep-fried and paper-thin zucchini, Mesa Grill’s lobster and octopus ceviche and Payard Patisserie’s macarons all within a short (albeit sweltering) walk? Add Gordon Ramsay’s just-opened steakhouse and Nobu Matsuhisa’s upcoming Nobu Restaurant Lounge, and you’ve got a foodie haven befitting a new handle. “Gourmet gateway?” (We’re working on it.)


Estiatoria Milos

Chef Costas Spiliadis, of Estiatoria Milos in New York, Montreal, and Athens has most recently added an outpost at The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas to his trio of chic Greek restaurants. The Greek Isles transplant brings a bit of the island life’s fish-to-table cuisine into the Nevada desert. Chef Spiliadis prides himself on simple cooking techniques and market-fresh products, following the ancient Greek saying “If you think bigger than the tomato (you’re cooking), you’ve sinned.”

Insider Tip: As a fish aficionado, Spiliadis recommends these steps for selecting the freshest fish to cook at home: look at the eyes for clarity, take a whiff to ensure its aroma isn’t fishy, and forge a close relationship with your fish vendor.



Both a sketch artist and a chef, Masa Takayama started in the family business as fish delivery boy and after a stint as dishwasher in Japan, took to the kitchen to combine his love for art and cuisine. Conquering and delighting foodies from LA to NYC, Chef Takayama’s cultured and multi-award-winning techniques are now display in BARMASA at the Aria Las Vegas. Lauded by Sin City food critic John Curtas as “drop-your-chopsticks delicious,” Chef Takayama is firmly planted in Vegas’s food revolution with his unique sushi artistry.

Insider Tip: Before you arrive, decide if you want a casual or intimate modern Japanese dining experience. Chef Takayama has crafted two separate spaces. BARMASA is open, airy, and a la carte, while Tetsu, the chef’s newest venture is a teppan Japanese grilling restaurant-within-a-restaurant, set to open in August.


Gordon Ramsay Steak

After two years of planning, Gordon Ramsay just introduced his first steakhouse in North America, self-titled Gordon Ramsay Steak, at the Paris Las Vegas. “I felt scrutinized for years because I didn’t have a restaurant in Vegas” said Chef Ramsay at the May 11th opening. Now the pressure’s on, and in his words “The deeper the pressure, the better the perfection”, which is a win-win for steak savants.

Sparing no expense, iPads replace menus, a steak trolley swings by every table to assist in selecting the perfect cut, and the entry mimics the Chunnel transporting you from Paris to London. And since we’re talking about Vegas, cocktail servers sport skin-tight black sequined dresses cinched with a thin red belt.

Insider Tip: Book in advance to carve into the restaurant’s beef, dry-aged for 28 days in a Himalayan salt room. Pair it with a red from the restaurant’s list of 400 wines, or order Gordon’s favorite beer, Innocent Gun, to whet your palate.


Payard Patisserie Bistro

What would a gastro-indulgent soiree be without a sweet ending? As long as your waistband has a little give, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas at Francois Payard’s decadent Patisserie Bistro at Caesars Palace. There’s always room left for a made-to-order crepe, or a joie raspberry mousse with champagne ganache, non? The wafting scent alone will send your senses into a French frenzy.

Insider Tip: Choose between the chocolate shop (note: Chef Payard has penned cookbooks entitled “Chocolate Epiphany”), pastry shop, and traditional dining room serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

And the New Nobu

Last but not least, Nobu Matsuhisa’s biggest project yet is a restaurant, lounge, and hotel in partnership with Caesars Palace. Set to open in the fall, it will be the Michelin-awarded chef’s first restaurant on the Strip (he has another just off the Strip in the Hard Rock Hotel)—a far cry from his inaugural restaurant in Alaska that burned down within 50 days of its opening.

With a plate full of almost 30 restaurants worldwide, the 327-seat Nobu Restaurant at Caesars will be a staggering 11,200 square feet complete with teppan-yaki tables, a sushi bar, private dining area, and lounge-bar. Not one to let his age or early misfortunes stop him, at 63 years old, Nobu is showing no sign of slowing, with an empire that posts year-over-year growth spurts.

Insider Tip: Nobu Restaurant Lounge is expected to open in October, and his first hotel one month later in November, 2012.

If Gordon Ramsay remarks that the restaurant competition in Vegas is “fierce,” then its official, Vegas’s insane culinary scene just got foodier. Dig in to the “gourmet gateway” and enjoy the show. (It kind of works, right?)

Thinking of a trip to Las Vegas?

For up-to-the-minute hotel and restaurant recommendations, plus the best planning advice, check out our Las Vegas Travel Guide.

Photo credits: Estiatoria Milos courtesy of The Cosmopolitan; BARMASA courtesy of ARIA Las Vegas Resort Casino; Gordon Ramsay Steak courtesy of Paris Las Vegas; Payard Patisserie courtesy of Caesars Palace.

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Two Museum-Hotel Combo Packages for Summer

Posted on 31 May 2012 by admin


Calling all fashionistas and music-lovers—these two-in-one packages combine premium hotel stays with museum tickets to two popular summer exhibits in New York and Philly.

70 Park Avenue + the Met’s Costume Institute Exhibit

The Deal: The newly renovated 70 Park Avenue in Murray Hill boasts 205 refreshed guest rooms, done up in girly hues of purple and silver. To celebrate the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Spring 2012 Costume Institute exhibition “Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations” —and showoff the hotel’s haute new styleâ€�70 Park is offering the From Vintage to Vogue package with includes an overnight in a redesigned room, two Italian-inspired welcome cocktails in Silverleaf Tavern, two tickets to the Met exhibit, morning coffee/tea service and evening wine reception, and 24-hour access to the new fitness center.

The Details: Package rates start from $309/night and are available now through August 31.

Book It: Call 877-707/2752 or visit and reference rate code PVOGUE. 

Loews Philly + Bruce Springsteen Exhibit

The Deal: Fans of “The Boss” will dig this groovy package that includes an overnight at the Loews Philadelphia, a cool, contemporary hotel in an architecturally significant 1930s skyscraper (the first built in the country in the ultramodern style), and two tickets to the National Constitution Center’s exhibit “From Asbury Park to the Promised Land: The Life and Music of Bruce Springsteen,” an artifact-driven display of Springsteen’s musical legacy.

The Details: Package rates start from $179/night and are valid through September 3.

Book It: Call 888/575-6397 or visit

Photo credit: 70 Park courtesy of Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants

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16 Reasons to Go to Atlantic City this Summer

Posted on 31 May 2012 by admin

By Marie Elena Martinez

For those who live along the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, Atlantic City is an easy getaway, and the recent opening of the much-hyped Revel gives visitors a new swank resort to put down roots while they hit the beach, spin the roulette wheel, munch on top chef eats, or catch some live music at one of the many venues within this coastal Jersey town. In preparation for summer, here’s a list of highlights and happenings this season by the boardwalk.


Hotel Renovations and Upgrades

Revel isn’t the only hotel with news. Opened in April, The Golden Nugget Atlantic City (the former Trump Marina) underwent a $150 million renovation, including new restaurants like The Chart House, a renovated showroom, new nightclub, and gaming areas, and spa.

The Borgata Hotel Casino Spa is currently undergoing a $50 million room redesign, refreshing guestrooms with 46″ flat-screen televisions, iPod charger/players, and multimedia phone units, and Wi-Fi connectivity.

And opened in񎥪, Atlantic City’s Steel Pier, home to the adrenaline-fueled The Rocket, gets a $102 million, renovation including a museum, 2,000-seat ballroom, new rides, restaurants, and nightclubs.


Culinary Calendar

June 21

The 9th annual Chefs at the Shore benefit at the Atlantic City Aquarium features live demos from area restaurants. Proceeds benefit the Aquarium and the Professional Chefs Association.

July 26-29

The 4th annual Atlantic City Food and Wine Festival features events, tastings and celebrity chef appearances including Andrew Zimmern, Anne Burrell, Tyler Florence, and Robert Irvine.


Golf Events

May 28-June 3

Taking place at the Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club’s Bay Course for the second consecutive year, The LPGA Golf Classic brings together 150 top female golfers competing for a $1.5 million cash prize.

June 10-13

Golfers in the Atlantic City World Amateur Open can complete as an individual or as a two-player team in tournaments on a variety of courses. Open to golfers of any age, $450 per player.


Can’t-Miss Performances

A bevy of musical acts pass through Atlantic City each summer and this year sees the likes of Sting, Maroon 5, Ringo Starr, James Taylor, Sarah McLachlan, Keith Urban, and The Black Keys.

Concert series including the International Night Series at Kennedy Plaza and Chicken Bone Beach Historical Foundation Summer Jazz Concert Series offer visitors free options, while anyone looking for a laugh, can catch Bill Maher, Wanda Sykes, Bob Saget, Jay Leno, and Kathy Griffin doing their schtick. For a full schedule, visit, but here are our highlights.

June 15ᆥ

Phish will perform three consecutive shows at Atlantic City’s 142-acre Bader Field. Three-day tickets are available for $150, single-day tickets are $60, and children under six are free.

June 23-24

Metallica will host the inaugural Orion Music + More Festival with Arctic Monkeys, Modest Mouse, and The Gaslight Anthem rounding out the ticket. Two-day passes are $150, VIP passes are $750.

September 15

Madonna will perform at historic venue Boardwalk Hall in early fall. Ticket prices start at $80.


Arts Culture

Presenting the 3rd Annual Tribeca Film Festival Cinema Series every Friday and Saturday in July are Caesars Atlantic City and New York’s acclaimed Tribeca Film Festival. They offer guests free peeks at some of the year’s most anticipated films in a beachfront setting.

July 14

Stroll the docks and parks of Art at the Basin, a one-day event where visitors can view works from top regional artists in Gardner’s Basin.


Land, Air, and Sea

July 23-31

The whole family can visit New Jersey’s official Tall Ship, the schooner A.J. Meerwald, as it takes up residence at Gardner’s Basin, offering public sails through summer. 

August 15 – 17

In conjunction with the 10th annual Atlantic City Airshow, the largest on the East Coast, the 2nd America’s Armed Forces Parade will begin at 6 p.m. at New Jersey Avenue and the Boardwalk.

Operating in three locations this season—Raleigh Avenue, New Jersey Avenue, and Revel Beach—The AC Surf School offers programs for every level of surfer.

Thinking of a trip to Atlantic City?

For up-to-the-minute hotel and restaurant recommendations, as well as the best planning advice, check out our Atlantic City Travel Guide.

Photo Credits: Hotel Renovations: Golden Nugget Hotel Casino; Culinary Events: Revel Entertainment; Golf Events: Man swinging golf club via; Performance Events: Courtesy of Orion Music and More Arts Events: Anthony Smedile/ The Press of Atlantic City; Air Events: Atlantic City Airshow by Jackie
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Nikkei posts biggest monthly fall in 2 years

Posted on 31 May 2012 by admin

The Nikkei fell 90.46 points to 8,542.73, cutting
earlier losses amid talk from traders that the Bank of Japan was
buying exchange-traded funds in the afternoon to support the

Still, the benchmark hit a 4-1/2-month closing low and was
down 10.3 percent in May, its biggest one-month fall since May
2010, when it lost 11.7 percent.

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Anthony Bourdain Leaves Travel Channel for CNN

Posted on 31 May 2012 by admin


Chef, author, and world traveler Anthony Bourdain will be leaving the Travel Channel and his long-standing show Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations (as well as his newer show The Layover) and is moving to CNN, where he will host a similarly themed show. Set to launch in early 2013, Bourdain’s show on CNN will feature the opinionated host’s travels across the world as he explores various destinations via their travel and eating customs.

In a statement on CNN’s website, Worldwide Executive Vice President and Managing Editor Mark Whitaker commented on how Bourdain’s experience will bring a new angle to CNN’s coverage of the world: “Examining the world through the prism of Tony’s unique expertise and passions continues CNN’s long-standing commitment to international reporting and to promoting global understanding.”

Bourdain will also provide insight and commentary on food and health issues other CNN programs. His show will air Sunday nights with repeats on Saturdays.

Photo credit:ANTHONY BOURDAIN by Lwp Kommunikacio
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Japan industrial output gains slow, stirring recovery doubts

Posted on 31 May 2012 by admin

The data may keep the Bank of Japan under pressure to
maintain its ultra-easy monetary policy to keep the economy on a
recovery path after it returned to growth in the first quarter
from a year-end lull.

Still, the central bank is expected to avoid taking further
easing measures for now unless market jitters over the euro
zone’s woes trigger a spike in the safe-haven yen.

The 0.2 percent increase in production was much slower than
a 1.3 percent rise in March and less than the median estimate
for a 0.5 percent gain, trade ministry data showed on Thursday,
as some manufacturers curbed production due to an increase in

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Japan reactor restart countdown: Approaching zero?

Posted on 31 May 2012 by admin

How long will Japan remain nukeless? It’s looking increasingly likely that the atomic juice will start flowing again in a few weeks.
After an uncertain couple of weeks, more and more signs are now suggesting that Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda will give a formal order to restart two nuclear reactors at the Oi plant in western Japan next week. It would then take two or three weeks to get each one up and running.

A key turning point came Thursday morning, when Toru Hashimoto – mayor of Osaka and Japan’s most popular politician – effectively backed down from his previous position of opposing the Oi restarts, and gave his “approval” to bringing the reactors back on line – albeit, he said, just “temporarily.”

JRT has been predicting this outcome, though we thought it would take a bit longer. One important shift appears to have come on Wednesday, at a meeting of leaders from western Japan, at which nobody raised fiery objections to Oi restarts. Prime Minister Noda Wednesday night said he read that result as getting “a certain amount of support” for his plan to put the reactors back online in time for the summer power crunch.

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Taiwan 7th in world competitiveness rankings

Posted on 31 May 2012 by admin

Taiwan was ranked seventh in the 2012 global competitiveness rankings by the Switzerland-based International Institute for Management and Development (IMD), falling one notch from 2011 mainly due to the country’s lackluster economic performance.

The Lausanne-based business school released The IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2ǡ2 yesterday.
The position was Taiwan’s second-best performance since it first appeared in the IMD rankings 18 years ago.

Hong Kong again ranked at the top, with the US at No. 2, followed by Switzerland, Singapore, Sweden, Canada and Taiwan.

Norway, Germany and Qatar rounded out the top 10.

Taiwan came in at No. 3 in Asia, next only to Hong Kong and Singapore. By comparison, South Korea’s spot remained unchanged at No. 22, Japan declined one notch to 27th, and mainland China fell to 23rd from 19th.

Among major economies with a population of over 20 million, Taiwan has surged ahead of Australia, behind only the US and Canada.

Of the four major indicators, the Taiwan government’s efficiency ranked 5th among the 59 economies listed by the yearbook, up sharply from 10th place in 2011.

The advancement was mainly the result of significant improvements in public finance and business legislation, with the former advancing to 16th place from 20th last year and the latter jumping to 18th from 28th.

In terms of economic performance, Taiwan saw its ranking fall to 13th place in 2012 from No. 8 in 2011, mainly due to the lackluster performances of the domestic economy, foreign trade, international investment and employment.

The country’s domestic economy ranking plunged to 18th in 2012 from 5th a year ago, and the foreign trade ranking also dropped sharply to 15th from 5th.

Taiwan also lagged behind other Asian countries in some economic performance subcategories; foreign investment in the stock market totaled only US$63.4 billion in 2011, ranking 45th among the 59 economies surveyed, far behind the corresponding figures of $578.8 billion for mainland China (9th), and $127 billion for South Korea (31st).

As for business efficiency, Taiwan’s ranking fell one notch to 4th place due to weak performances in the labor market, productivity, and attitudes and values. But management practices surged two spots to No. 1.

Better performances in health and the environment, education, and scientific development pushed Taiwan to 12th from 16th in 2011 in terms of infrastructure.

In addition, the yearbook warned the country faces such challenges in 2012 as cultivating first-class talent and strengthening innovative RD, ensuring comfortable living standards and maintaining a sustainable environment, further promoting normalization of cross-strait economic and trade relations, strengthening corporate governance, and continuing financial and fiscal reforms.

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Founder fearful about Bangladesh Nobel-winning microlender’s future

Posted on 31 May 2012 by admin

Prof Muhammad Yunus, founder of Bangladesh’s Nobel-winning microcredit organisation — Grameen Bank (GB) — yesterday urged stakeholders and government of the country not to take any step to change the legal structure of the GB.

In an open letter to the borrower owners of Grameen Bank, Yunus, who along with the Grameen Bank won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for his work making small loans to poor entrepreneurs, expressed his fear that steps were afoot to alter the management system of the bank.

The Bangladesh government on May 16 constituted a four-member commission to probe Grameen Bank and its 54 associated organisations, and make recommendations on how to run the organisations in future.

“I can see clearly that the future of Grameen Bank will be at stake if the government increases its role in the bank’s management by amending the legal structure,â€� Yunus said in the 24-page letter.

The terms of reference, given to the commission, raise fears that Grameen Bank will never be the same again, according to Prof Yunus.

The commission has been assigned to identify Grameen Bank’s institutional strengths, weaknesses and constraints over the 27 years from its inception in 1983 to 2010.

Yunus said the poor women were the real owners of the bank and they had the supreme authority to make decisions on the bank.

�œTo take away the decision-making power from the poor women and their ownership would derail Grameen Bank from its mission,� said the founder of the bank.

Any step to change the current structure of the bank will turn it into another government run or directed bank which will destroy the unique nature and character of Grameen Bank, said Yunus.

The Nobel laureate stressed the need for keeping up the current law, management structure and work policy through which Grameen Bank had become one of the renowned organisations around the world.

“Grameen Bank is a disciplined bank. If it becomes a government organisation, different conflicts and vested interests, including politicisation and bureaucratisation, may infiltrate the bank,� Yunus said.

He questioned how it would be possible for the commission to complete its huge task with its inadequate manpower in just three months.

“If the commission gives wrong advice due to time constraints and lack of experience in the field of micro-credit, the consequences might be terrible for poor Bangladeshi women, who own 97 percent of the bank,� he said.

“This type of task is usually given to the best researchers of the best research organisations as a long-term project. To prepare the inquiry report, it is necessary to confer with people who have set up and managed such organisations. It is also necessary to talk to such organisations and those who are familiar with its operations.”

About the other organisations, Yunus said, Grameen Bank did not establish any organisation itself as the law does not permit the bank to do so.

Yunus said he had created many organisations on his own initiative to address problems surrounding education, agriculture, communication, electricity and health.

“There are reasons behind the creation of these organisations. When we go to work with poor people we have to face many problems besides loans,� said Yunus.

“When I faced problems, I created a company as a way of solving them. I got such a mechanism in place so that they could operate from their own earnings and without counting on others. In that way, if any company fails, it will not take others down with it,� he said.

These companies have not been created for anyone to earn profit from them. There is no scope for making personal profit from these organisations, he said.

“I have no share or ownership in Grameen or any of these companies. I also have no share in Grameen Bank. So there was no scope for me to get profits from these companies, neither before nor now.”

Yunus said there should be a national consensus about Grameen Bank as it is an organisation of national pride.

“Regardless of your political affiliation or profession or age or any other circumstance you may find yourself in, we can make an effort together as citizens of Bangladesh to convince the government that changing the legal structure of Grameen Bank will most definitely be a wrong decision,� he said.

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Top Pentagon official returning to lead talks with Pakistan

Posted on 31 May 2012 by admin

US Assistant Defence Secretary Peter Levoy is returning to Islamabad next week to lead the American team which is negotiating a resolution to the Nato routes dispute with Pakistan, diplomatic sources told Dawn.

Levoy, who looks after Asia and Pacific security affairs at the Pentagon, led the US contingent at an April 26 meeting with Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar in Islamabad as well.

The US media reported later that Levoy and his team left the meeting abruptly because of certain remarks made by the foreign minister.

The remarks, according to the media reports, were linked to Pakistan’s demand for an apology from the United States over the November 26 air raid that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers and prodded Islamabad to close Nato supply routes to Afghanistan.

Since then Pakistan has stopped insisting on an apology as a precondition for reopening the routes. The concession enabled President Asif Ali Zardari to attend the May 20-ǵ Nato summit in Chicago but his inability to resolve the route dispute further complicated already tense relations between the two countries.

The two sides resumed their contacts after Zardari returned home and because of the bitterness created by the April 26 incident at the Pakistan Foreign Office, this time Islamabad allowed its embassy in Washington to play a lead role in the talks.

The two sides are now working on a compromise formula to resolve the supply routes dispute which will require the United States to rebuild the highways damaged by Nato convoys.

In return, Pakistan will drastically reduce its demand for an increase in charges for overland deliveries of US military supplies to Afghanistan.

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