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Articles for ‘Food & drink’ Category

Beyond the beach: 5 free things to do in Florida

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

With approximately 800 miles of beaches, Florida offers plenty of free fun in the sun. But when you’ve gotten your fill of vitamins D and “sea,” consider these other amusements that don’t cost a dime.

SummerJazz on the Gulf via Pat Shapiro

SummerJazz on the Gulf via Pat Shapiro

Catch a free concert: Year-round warm weather means perennial outdoor concert season, so pack a picnic basket and a blanket. Options range from the Florida Orchestra’s Pops in the Park concerts in St. Petersburg and Tampa, to the SummerJazz on the Gulf series in Naples, to Springing the Blues in Jacksonville. In South Florida, free is chic, as with the New World Symphony Wallcast concerts projected onto a 7,000-square-foot wall in Miami Beach SoundScape. Sounds like music to our ears.

Southermost Point via nathanmac87 at Flickr Creative Commons

Southermost Point via nathanmac87 at Flickr Creative Commons

Get the picture: The best souvenirs also happen to be the cheapest: photographs. Florida is home to some prime photo ops, so grab that selfie stick and start making your Facebook friends jealous. Begin your shutterfest in St. Augustine, where you can catch the free ferry to Fort Matanzas National Monument in all its 16th-century glory. Then make your way down to Sarasota‘s Ringling Museum of Art on a Monday for free admission to its gorgeous estate. And finish up in Key West with a quintessential photo at the Southernmost Point buoy marking 90 miles to Cuba.

Loxahatchee Slough Natural Area stretch of the Florida Trail via Winnie Lo

Loxahatchee Slough Natural Area stretch of the Florida Trail via Winnie Lo

Take a hike: Keep that camera handy for a jaunt along the Florida National Scenic Trail. The 1,300-mile path stretches from the Everglades all the way up to historic Fort Pickens. Some parts of the trail are more developed than others, but plenty are suitable for hikers of all ages and fitness levels looking to get up close and personal with the Sunshine State’s flora and fauna.

Wynwood Walls via Phillip Pessar at Flickr Creative Commons

Wynwood Walls via Phillip Pessar at Flickr Creative Commons

State of the art: Warm weather is perfect for evening art walks, where you can gallery-hop and sometimes enjoy free wine and entertainment. If you’re in Miami, definitely head to Wynwood – a trendy neighborhood with a concentration of vibrant, larger-than-life murals. If you happen to be there on a Tuesday evening, stop by Wood Tavern for two free tacos — no catch.

Gulf of Mexico via Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater

Gulf of Mexico via Visit St. Petersburg/Clearwater

Celebrate the sun: Floridians take our sunsets quite seriously. Whether we’re sitting on a beach, out for an evening stroll or even just stuck in traffic, we take a moment to appreciate the ever-changing cotton candy skies. There are even formal events to mark the end of the day. Two of the best-known take place at Mallory Square in Key West and Pier 60 in Clearwater Beach. Both events feature live entertainment, vendors and a family-friendly atmosphere against the backdrop of the setting sun.

 

Story by Dalia Colon

March Madness: The cost of beer in tourney game cities

Friday, March 20th, 2015

There are a few good reasons to have a cold brewski in March. Once everyone has recovered from their St. Patrick’s Day bar hops, it’s the NCAA college basketball tournament that dominates television screens in sports bars across America. In a matter of weeks, 64 teams will be whittled down by 54 single-elimination games. It’s madness. We collected data from sports bars in the 14 cities where these mad matches take place in 2015 to compare the cost of beer. Here’s what we found:

06_MarchMadnessBeer_v03[1] copy500

Oregon may not be favored in the tourney, but when it comes to the cost of a cold one, Portland is #1 in all three beer categories. If you’re into local brews, Indianapolis and Jacksonville hold a close second. Cleveland, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, and Syracuse hold the next best price for imported beer, like Heineken and Stella. No surprise to any big city dwellers, L.A. had the most expensive beer in all three categories. If you’re heading to a tourney game, keep these stats in mind and choose your winning beer wisely.

Story by Ally Marotti

Graphic by Ramiro Olmos

Eating cheap (and good!) in San Francisco

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

Affordable rent is hard to find in San Francisco. But cheap eats? No prob. With just a couple bucks, you can taste city classics (including clam chowder at Fisherman’s Wharf) and off-the-beaten-path discoveries (think Chinese fusion in The Mission). This is an indie city with character, so forget fast food and head to these deliciously healthy, budget-friendly and wholly original eateries.

SF street car shutterstock_93864763

 

For breakfast: Honey Honey Cafe & Crepery
Sweet or savory, you can’t beat the from-scratch crepes at this comfy, Union Square fave — especially at $6.25 a crack. Line up at the counter to place your order (banana, strawberry, apple, etc.) and the batter pourers will get to work. A little sizzling and a few flips later, your wafer-thin masterpieces arrive at your table. No long waits. No complicated menu. Just a classic breakfast à la francais. In addition to the $6.25 crepes, there are gourmet varieties like Miami Heat (cheddar, avocado, chicken, scallions, hot sauce) and Half Moon Bay (cheddar, tomato, mushroom, crab cake), if the ordinary just won’t do.

Photo courtesy of Honey Honey

Photo courtesy of Honey Honey Cafe & Crepery

 

For Lunch: The Crab Station at Fisherman’s Wharf

You have to try San Francisco clam chowder at least once in your life, and this bargain option won’t disappoint. One of Fisherman’s Wharf’s original seafood stands serves its clam chowder in a hot sourdough bread bowl for $6. This is true grab-and-walk food, best enjoyed on the docks where you can watch boats drift in and out. There are also benches on the Pier 43 Promenade, if you prefer to sit and slurp.

Bread Bowl _ shutterstock_89011093

 

For a Snack: Garaje

A list of must-eat tacos in SF could run as long as Market Street, but we whittled down the best to this ultra-affordable option. Garaje is a SoMa neighborhood taqueria-meets-burger joint with casual counter service (booths are abundant) and excellent food. Street-style tacos are just $3 each, but we recommend splurging (for a modest $5) on the Como Se Llama taco that has both hard and soft shells and is filled with refritos, pico, guacamole and chicken or steak. With old road signs and license plates as decor, you’ll be fooled into thinking this spot is a Route 66 pit stop.

Grilled fish and guac taco. Photo courtesy of Yelp

Grilled fish and guac taco. Photo courtesy of Yelp

 

For Dinner: Mission Chinese Food
If it weren’t for the lines that snake outside its door, this unmarked Mission neighborhood spot would likely go unnoticed (the awning actually reads “Lung Shan Restaurant”). A mash-up from both corners of the world, the excellent “Americanized Chinese food” is all $20 or less. Start with beer-brined Sichuan pickles ($5), move on to Kung Pao Pastrami ($14) or Salt Cod Fried Rice ($13) and go home with leftovers (portions are indeed that big). It’s a crowded, no-frills spot where the sound of heavy metal music drowns out conversation. No matter: You’ll be enjoying the food too much to care.

Kung Pao Pastrami. Photo courtesy of Yelp

Kung Pao Pastrami. Photo courtesy of Yelp.

 

Story by Kelly Aiglon

Cheap City, USA: Miami

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

Cheap City, USA is a CheapTickets blog series where we show you that any city can be enjoyed on a budget if you know where to look. In this breakdown of Cheap City, USA, we take a look at Miami.

Key Biscane

Key Biscane

Miamis most prized possession: the beach

Sun-worshipers flock to Miami’s picture-perfect white sand beaches and tranquil aquamarine waters. Not only is the beach one of Miami’s most famous attractions, it’s free — you only have to pay for parking.

Key Biscayne: This secluded island paradise is just a few miles from downtown, yet worlds apart. Check out Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park with its historic lighthouse — it’s the oldest standing structure in Miami-Dade County. The vistas from above are simply breathtaking.

Sunny Isles Beach: With it’s laid-back casual vibe, Sunny Isles Beach is a great spot for families. Visit the Newport Fishing Pier for great fishing and spectacular water views.

Sunny Isles

Sunny Isles Beach

South Beach: Take a stroll along Ocean Drive and you’ll find Art Deco buildings with alfresco cafés on one side and the Atlantic Ocean on the other. Stretching from 1 Washington Avenue to around 21st Street, this is the party beach with the funky multi-colored lifeguard stands that you’ve seen on TV.

South Beach

South Beach

 

Go for a walk on the wild side

There’s so much to do in the 1.5 million acre Everglades National Park. Made up of warm mangrove waters and sawgrass prairies, this giant river (yes, it’s a slow-moving river not a swamp) is home to a rare community of tropical plants and animals. You might even see manatees, dolphins, sea turtles and more than 350 species of birds.

Everglades-Kara-Franker

The combination of fresh, salt and brackish waters makes Florida Bay the only place on earth where alligators and crocodiles (in this case, the rare American crocodile) live together.

Take a self-guided or ranger-led tours at the Visitor Center at the park’s southeastern entrance, or journey deeper into the Everglades for a more extensive experience in the Florida wilderness. To the north, the Shark Valley entrance to the park offers one of the best places to observe wildlife in a natural habitat. A 65-foot observation tower provides a spectacular bird’s eye view.

Everglades-Alligator-Kara-Franker

 

Local art scene

From eclectic street art to upscale contemporary art galleries, there are a number of free art walks hosted across the city.

Wynwood: Famous for it’s vibrant graffiti art painted by internationally renowned street artists, Wynwood is truly one of Miami’s most unique and artistic neighborhoods. Art walks happen every second Saturday of the month between 6 and 10 p.m.

Wynwood. Image by Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau

Wynwood. Image by Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau

Little Havana: Experience Miami’s rich Cuban heritage at Viernes Culturales (Cultural Fridays) in Little Havana. Enjoy live music, dancing under the stars, cigar rolling and domino games on bustling Calle Ocho. And make sure you stop by Café Versaille for Cuban coladas and pastelitos. The event is held on the last Friday of every month from 7 to 11 p.m.

Cafe Versailles. Photo by Jeremy Franker

Cafe Versailles. Photo by Jeremy Franker

Coral Gables: Head to picturesque Coral Gables with it’s tree-lined streets and elegant boutiques. Dubbed “The Great Gables Gallery Stroll,” wander through a myriad of local art galleries on the first Friday of every month from 6 to 10 p.m.

 

Free concerts and Miami’s museums

In Miami Beach is the New World Symphony Center, where the New World Symphony broadcasts free, live concerts on a soaring 7,000-square-foot “Wallcast.” Additionally, the City of Miami Beach Arts in the Parks program shows free movies on the wall on select Wednesdays at 8 p.m.

New World Symphony

New World Symphony

The Museum of Contemporary Art in North Miami (MOCA) offers free live jazz concerts on the last Friday of every month at 8 p.m.

A number of museums in Miami offer a number of free days throughout each month:

  • Peréz Art Museum Miami — free on the first Thursday and second Saturday of the month
  • Bass Museum of Art — free on the last Sunday of the month
  • Gold Coast Railroad Museum — free on the first Saturday of the month (except in March)
  • HistoryMiami — free on the second Saturday of the month
  • Jewish Museum of Florida — free every Saturday
  • Lowe Art Museum — free the first Tuesday of the month
  • Miami Children’s Museum — free the first Friday of the month
  • Museum of Contemporary Art North Miami (MOCA) — free the first Sunday of the month
  • Miami Science Museum — free the first Friday of the month
  • Wolfsonian-FIU Art Museum — free every Friday night
  • The MDC Museum and Galleries of Art & Design — always free
  • The Patricia & Phillip Frost Art Museum — always free
  • Bay of Pigs Museum — always free
Perez Art Museum. Photo by Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau

Perez Art Museum. Photo by Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau

 

People-watch on SoBes two best Catwalks

People-watching is hands down one of the best free activities in sun-drenched Miami. The most important thing you need is a camera. Watch people strut the catwalk known as Ocean Drive, where you’ll find bikini-clad beach bunnies, iron-pumping hunks and everyone in between.

Or visit pedestrian-friendly Lincoln Road, lined with alfresco cafés and trendy boutiques. This lively magnet for entertainment and shopping is another great place to people watch, especially if you want to mingle with the locals.

Ocean Drive. Photo by Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau

Ocean Drive. Photo by Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau

 

Story by Kara FrankerA purveyor of the coastal life and a self-admitted beach addict, Kara is a travel writer based in Miami. Follow her on Twitter @KaraFranker.

20 travel resolutions you can actually achieve this year

Wednesday, January 7th, 2015

Sure you could make a resolution to stop falling asleep while streaming Netflix shows, but let’s dream bigger. Here are 20 cheap-inspired New Year’s resolutions to make you a better-traveled person.

CTIX travel resolutions 1.7.14

Story and graphic by Kelsie Ozamiz

Beignets to churros: The best bites at Disneyland

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Top dogs: Get your hand-dipped, golden-brown corn dogs at several stands around Disneyland.

By Amanda Ficili

Snacking your way around the Disneyland Resort is an attraction all its own, and with so many deliciously tasty opportunities, it’s easy to see why. Sure, the spot is home to a multitude of fabulous restaurants and eateries, but sometimes you just need a little pick me up in between, especially after a few hours of adventurous park hopping at the Disneyland Resort. (more…)

For the frugal foodie: Restaurant Week in NYC

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

Bar Boulud is just one of the 300-plus restaurants participating in NYC's Restaurant Week. Credit: ZagatBuzz.

By Erin Behan

January is a great time of year to visit New York–if you don’t mind the cold, that is. Hotel rooms are generally discounted, Broadway plays often have open seats and—of course—the post holiday sales are in full force. There’s one more reason to visit New York in January, and it has to do with a famous New York City pastime: eating out. The city’s twice-annual Restaurant Week runs Monday through Friday from Jan. 16 through Feb. 10, and 2012 is the 20-year celebration of the event that gives discounted prix fixe meals for lunch ($24.07) and dinner ($35) at more than 300 of the city’s top restaurants. (more…)

Free local flair and cheap eats at Wailuku’s First Fridays

Thursday, December 29th, 2011

Local restaurants cook up specials for Wailuku's monthly street party.

By Erin Behan

There’s nothing wrong with feeling like a tourist in Hawaii, but every once in a while it’s nice experience something like a kama’aina or local, and Wailuku First Friday fits the bill with plenty of local flair. (more…)

Beignets, bars and barbecue: New Orleans on a dime

Thursday, November 17th, 2011

The line snakes out the door of Cafe Du Monde for the signature beignets, a mere $5. Credit: brad.coy.

By Nancy Buczkiewicz

Looking for a getaway that’s easy on your wallet but big on the scene?  Head south to the lively, history-laden streets of New Orleans.  There’s nothing quite like perusing the antique shops on Royal Street or enjoying French cuisine to feed your soul. (more…)

Pastoral and perfect: Family vacations in Northern California

Thursday, October 27th, 2011

Minutes from Monterey, the Carmel Valley Ranch plays host to all ages with pools, golf, hiking trails & more.

By David Escobar

When it comes to family vacations, Northern California’s wine country may not be the first place you consider. But when I planned a trip to Monterey/Carmel with two of the toughest travel critics I know – my children, ages 8 and 11 – we wound up discovering a family favorite. From a castle in Calistoga to burgers and shakes in Napa Valley, consider these family-friendly spots on your California vacation. (more…)