I'm the Expert: The Daily Meal Gift Guide

The Daily Meal Gift Guide

Quoth the editors of The Daily Meal: "To help you tackle your epic Christmas list this year, we sought the help of some of the top editors and planners in the entertaining world who know a thing or two about choosing the best gifts." Hey, that's me! Yes, this happened way back in 2013, but I'm just circling back to it now. I was approached to give my best gift suggestion for seven different types of recipients: the hostthe beer/wine drinker, the coffee/tea drinkerthe cook, the bakerthe wannabe food critic, and the traveler. Luckily, none of my picks are too tied to the holiday season—feel free to use them for birthdays, hostess gifts, and gifts you just give to yourself. 

Pictured: Fred & Friends Ninja Bread Men cookie cutters, available at Amazon.com.





Time Out New York: Winter Activities in the New York Area

What a perfect day to post this...

Outdoor Adventures in New York

Tackle the snow with an inner tube, cross-country skis or an ice ax (yes, really) on these intrepid outdoor adventures this winter

Snow tubing

Hunter Mountain

2½ hours by car or bus

This downhill sport has all the screaming momentum you crave sans the need for skill or coordination: Just settle in and let gravity do the work. Hunter Mountain recently gave its tubing park a major makeover—it now boasts 24 shoots, each 1,000 feet long, and a new carpet lift to take you back to the top when you’re ready for another go. 7740 Main St, Hunter, NY (800-486-8376, huntermtn.com). Two-hour session $20. 

Where to stay: For a dose of kitsch, try Kate’s Lazy Meadow (5191 Rte 28, Mount Tremper, NY; 845-688-7200, lazymeadow.com; from $175/night)—founded by B-52’s singer Kate Pierson—whose suites are done up in “atomic” midcentury style.

Read the rest either by downloading the above PDF, or by clicking through to read the full list at Time Out New York.

The Daily Traveler: Free NYC

Even if you spend every last dime traveling to the New York area for the Super Bowl, you can still enjoy a multitude of activities in the city free-of-charge.

Laugh at Your Future Favorite Comedians

The Upright Citizens Brigade Theater—UCB for those in the know—is a training ground for some of the best comedians out there: Amy Poehler, Ed Helms, Aziz Ansari, Aubrey Plaza, and a bunch of the Saturday Night Live performers are all alums. The theater hosts comedy shows every night of the week, and most of them cost $10 or less—and a few will cost you nothing. At the UCB's Chelsea location, you can find free shows on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday nights, but the theater's signature free show, ASSSSCAT 3000, happens every Sunday at 9:30 pm. There, on a small stage surrounded by seats on three sides, some of the best improvisers in the area perform an unscripted show, and some big names often drop by to join in. (In the past, Lena Dunham, Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, and even Mike Meyers have been spotted here.) Warning: You might not need to spend your cash, but you will need to invest your time; the line starts forming in the late-afternoon, early-evening for an 8:15pm ticket distribution. If you can't stand the idea of entertaining yourself in line, you can always buy a ticket in advance for the 7:30pm ASSSSCAT—but it'll cost you $10. 307 W 26th St (212-366-9176; ucbtheatre.com).

Click through to read the full article at the Condé Nast Traveler.

Photo: Pete Titmuss/Alamy


The Daily Traveler: The Scariest Drives in the World

Extreme Drives: The 10 Scariest Highways for White-Knuckle Road Trips

Buckle up for a tour of highways with hairpin turns, steep cliffs, narrow lanes, extreme weather, and dizzying heights.

North Yungas Road
Bolivia

Risk Factor: This route's nickname really says it all — sometimes, it's simply called "Death Road." And, with no guardrails along the 12-foot-wide roadway protecting drivers from a 2,000-foot plunge off a cliff, it's easy to see why. (To make matters more confusing, drivers drive on the left to better see the cliff's edge.) "Death Road" isn't just a nickname, either: It's estimated that the highway is a site of 200 to 300 deaths per year.

Why you might be tempted to drive it anyway:
No one says you have to do it in a car. Cyclists have found it easier to manage the narrow lanes and steep curves, and the road often hosts tours of adventurous bike enthusiasts.

Click through to see the full slideshow at the Condé Nast Traveler.

Photo: LOOK Die Bildagentur der Fotografen GmbH / Alamy


The Daily Traveler New York: NYC's Flatiron Building Becomes a Monument to Math

The Museum of Mathematics in New York City got New Yorkers armed with glowsticks to prove that the Flatiron building is really a right triangle.

NYC's Flatiron Building Becomes a Monument to Math

..."We wanted to show that math is all around us, even in places we wouldn't expect," says Cindy Lawrence, MoMath's co-executive director. It was also a chance for math fans—yes, they're out there—to show off their stripes. Approximately 2,000 people attended, sporting right-triangle-themed T-shirts, hats, face paint, and even tattoos. "There's a social barrier out there that tells people it's not okay to like math," says co-executive director Glen Whitney. "We want to get over that barrier."

Click through to see the full story on the website of the Condé Nast Traveler.

The Daily Traveler: The Queens Museum



Is This New York's Most Underrated Museum?

For years, the Queens Museum has been one of New York City's most underrated institutions. But thanks to a huge renovation that showcases its fascinating history, it's about to get noticed. Brush up on its secrets before all the tourists rush the place.

You can buy a (mini) piece of New York City real estate here.

And it's affordable, too. The Queens Museum is known for its Panorama of the City of New York, a 9,935-square-foot architectural model that recreates the city in a scale of 1:1200. (Tiny, two-inch airplanes even take off and land at the mini LaGuardia.) But did you know that, through the Adopt-a-Building program, which started in 2009, you can actually own one of the buildings in the panorama? You even get the deed. Buildings can be purchased for as little as $50—and you can't say that's true anywhere else in the city.

It's lit by a 70,000-pound "lantern."

There's one heck of a skylight in the entryway. The "lantern," the centerpiece of the new addition, is made up of 264 individual sheets of frosted glass anchored into a 50,000-pound steel beam that keeps it from swaying. But it's not just there as an adornment: The glass filters natural light into the new wing, decreasing the need for artificial illumination, and keeps sunlight from hitting the artwork directly, preventing sun damage.

Click through to read the full article at the Condé Nast Traveler.

Photo: Collection of the Queens Museum.





The Daily Traveler: Botanical Garden Holiday Displays

From synchronized light displays to intricate botanical sculptures, these gardens are decked for the holidays

ATLANTA BOTANICAL GARDEN
Garden Lights
November 16 to January 4
The Atlanta Botanical Garden brings in 1.5 million energy-efficient LEDs to create its illuminated holiday display. Many of the lights are used to transform the Garden's most famous landmarks into holiday-appropriate characters; Earth Goddess, a giant topiary sculpture in the shape of a woman, is given strands of wintry blue hair, turning her into Ice Goddess, and a pair of 15-foot-tall snakes are don red and white stripes to make them the Candy Cane Cobras. Powering the 52 miles of light strings is Georgia Power, which uses green energy produced from renewable resources like solar power and biomass.

Photograph by Chris Kozarich

The Daily Traveler: The World's Smallest Attractions



Tiny Tourism: 10 of the World's Smallest Attractions

Bigger isn't always better. These record-holding tiny tourist attractions prove that small things shouldn't be overlooked.

Mill Ends Park, Portland, Oregon

Size: 2 feet in diameter

If there were a park smaller than Portland's Mill Ends Park, it'd have to be a single blade of grass. The park is the creation of Oregon Journal reporter Dick Fagan, who decided to plant flowers in a hole that was originally intended for a light pole that never arrived. He dedicated the park on St. Patrick's Day in 1948, and claimed it was home to "only leprechaun colony west of Ireland."

Not everyone is in agreement about Mill Ends' title, though. Earlier this year, event organizers of "the shortest fun run" in the UK called it a "glorified flower pot" and said the site of their event—Prince's Park in Burntwood—should claim the record instead. At 34 square meters, it's at least big enough for three trees (named Faith, Hope, and Charity) and a bench, making it a little more park-like. Portlanders needn't worry too much: According to John Smith, Greens & Open Spaces Strategic Manager of the Lichfield District Council, "The council has no ambition to challenge the title of the World’s Smallest Park and is pleased to be the record holder of Britain’s Smallest Park."

Click through to see the full slideshow on the website of the Condé Nast Traveler.

Photo of Mill Ends Park courtesy of Portland Parks & Recreation, Portland, OR