As was reported on CBS News’ Sunday Morning program this past weekend, Katz’s Deli in New York City is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year.
The famed NYC kosher-style deli has been serving up thousands of pounds of pastrami, corned beef and salami to Manhattanites each week since 1888. Long a New York mainstay, the deli received international attention when Meg Ryan famously served up one faux orgasm to Billy Crystal at the deli in the 1989 movie ‘When Harry Met Sally’.
My co-worker Marianne and I were lucky enough to eat at Katz’s on a trip to New York a few years ago. The line-up was long, but the plates of pickles and green tomatoes, massive sandwiches and community atmosphere (one Manhattan couple was kind enough to let us occupy the two unused seats at their table on a very busy Saturday) made it oh-so-worth the wait.
See photos from our visit below.
Nicole Feenstra photo
Sign above the table “When Harry Met Sally” (Nicole Feenstra photo)
At the Winter Festival of Lights. (Nicole Feenstra/QMI Agency)
Just as cooler temperatures have little impact on the thundering waters flowing over the Horseshoe and American Falls, the stream of tourists and family-friendly events don’t stop when winter arrives in Niagara Falls.
From the colourful Winter Festival of Lights displays along the Niagara Parkway to the sweet lure of the Niagara Icewine Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the Ontario city comes alive with a festive glow during the holiday season.
Here are five musts for travellers visiting Niagara Falls over the holidays.
A VIEW LIKE NO OTHER
A view of the Falls, voted as Canada’s top tourist attraction in a fall 2012 Canoe.ca and Sun Media reader poll, is a must-have feature when choosing your accommodations in Niagara Falls.
We stayed at the Sheraton on the Falls during our chilly visit, a budget-friendly property within the massive Falls Avenue Resort complex. The hotel is located in the heart of the Clifton Hill tourist area and is located at the northern edge of the Winter Festival of Lights route (more on the festival in a moment), making it the ideal spot to kick off your walking tour.
We enjoyed stunning views of the American and Horseshoe Falls, illuminated by a multitude of colourful lights at night, while curled up in front of the fireplace in our cozy guest suite. The handy in-room bar fridge ensured that the bubbly Musque Spritz we picked up from Malivoire Wine Company on our way to Niagara Falls stayed perfectly chilled.
In addition to the Sheraton, Falls Avenue Resort hosts the Crowne Plaza Niagara Falls-Fallsview, Skyline Inn and Clifton Victoria Inn at the Falls for a total of 1,200 rooms. The three-acre indoor waterpark will be a favourite spot for kids, while adults can check out the always-open Casino Niagara or indulge while enjoying the view at the Christienne Fallsivew Spa. All are connected and accessible without setting a foot outside.
The free-to-visit Winter Festival of Lights illuminates Niagara Falls through Jan. 31. More than 120 animated lights displays and millions of bulbs light up a 5 km stretch of the Niagara Parkway each evening. Salt trucks were running on both the road and sidewalks when we visited, but the far-reaching mist from the Falls is hard to combat, covering everything from the ground to the trees in a thin layer of ice. Wear good winter boots for your walk as it will be slippery. The two-storey Zimmerman Fountain is a twinkling blue-and-white delight, while the world’s largest Canadian-American flag display and the ornate Tunnel of Wish Lanterns from the award-winning Jinju Namgang Yudeung Festival in South Korea are also stand-out displays. See wfol.com.
Make it a true blue Christmas with Niagara’s Butterfly Conservatory. More than 500 vibrant Blue Morpho butterflies have joined the 2,000 free-flying butterflies of all varieties inside this indoor rainforest as part of a special holiday exhibit. The conservatory is a spectacular place to escape the chilly weather and walk among these colourful creatures. The butterflies aren’t shy, so don’t be surprised if one lands on your shoulder while you’re visiting. The Blue Morphos can be seen until Jan. 5. See niagaraparks.com.
COUNTDOWN TO 2014
Join 50,000 revellers at the brink of the Falls on Dec. 31 for an unforgettable New Year’s Eve celebration filled with fireworks and music. ‘Entertainment Tonight Canada’ will broadcast live from Queen Victoria Park for yet another year, with hosts Cheryl Hickey and Rick Campanelli being joined by musical guests Demi Lovato, Serena Ryder and Sam Roberts for the countdown. Fireworks will explode high over the Falls at 9 p.m. and at midnight. See niagaraparks.com.
TASTE THE SEASON
Extend the winter wonder of Niagara Falls beyond the holiday season by making a return visit for the Niagara Icewine Festival in mid-January. Niagara is known for producing some of the world’s best icewine and for three wintery weekends, participating wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake and Twenty Valley uncork their best icewines and pair this sweet nectar with gourmet food samples. Some of this year’s pairings include lobster chili with a Riesling icewine, candied bacon sandwiches with basil mayo and Pinot Gris, and fluffy pancakes with Vidal icewine. Hungry yet? A Discovery Pass gets you eight food and wine pairings across the region for only $40. See niagarawinefestival.com.
If you find yourself in festive New York City over the holidays, duck into the Fireplace Nook off Sheraton New York Times Square‘s Lobby Lounge for an extra special Christmas cocktail.
Available throughout the winter season, the three new martinis at this cozy 53rd and Seventh bar – the pumpkin, oatmeal cookie and vanilla chai – will fend off the chills from outdoor temperatures and may even transport you back to Christmas with mom’s baking.
If you can’t make it to the Big Apple over the holidays, you can still enjoy one of these merry cocktails at home. Find the recipes below.
Ho, ho, ho – safe holidays!
Pumpkin Martini 1.5 oz. Stoli Vanila, .5 oz. White Crème de Cacao, 1.5 oz. Pumpkin Syrup Preparation: Shake all ingredients over ice, strain, serve up in chilled martini glass. Garnish: Cinnamon stick.
Oatmeal Cookie Martini 1 oz. Goldschlager, 1 oz. Frangelico, 1.5 oz. Bailey’s Irish Cream Preparation: Shake the ingredients vigorously over ice, strain and serve in chilled martini glass. So yummy that no garnish is necessary.
Vanilla Chai Martini 1 oz. Sweet Tea Vodka, 1 oz. White Chocolate, 1 oz. Chai Syrup, .5 oz. Cream Preparation: Shake all of the ingredients over ice, strain, serve in a chilled martini glass. Garnish: Cinnamon powder.
Air travel can be stressful no matter what time of year you’re flying. Factor in large crowds, weather delays and heavy suitcases full of presents, and it’s no wonder flying during the holidays can be an especially daunting task.
Their latest animated video on flying during the holidays includes tips like packing only the essentials and arriving early at the airport, and also offers some very sarcastic ideas for things you can do if you want to make the flight as terrible as possible for those around you: think taking up all the space in the overhead luggage compartment, talking loudly during the flight and hogging the airplane bathroom. You probably shouldn’t throw babies down the emergency evacuation slide, either, no matter how hard they’re crying.
Watch the video below. Warning: Some of the animation gets pretty gory, especially when one guy’s lap is cut off by a reclining airplane seat.
Have your own secrets for stress-free holiday travel? Share them in our reader #SUNtraveltips of the month feature below. Just click comment now to submit yours.
Travelling over the holidays — with those long lines at airports, busy roads, ever-changing weather conditions and numerous family get-togethers — can be a lot to handle, without the added stress of travelling together as a couple for the first time or, for the 80% of Transat Holidays‘ Travel Index respondents who prefer to travel with their partner, yet another year.
Travelling together can be a good gauge of your compatibility as a pair and by following a few tips from Transat Holidays‘ relationship expert Kimberly Moffit, your holiday trip as a twosome will be as smooth as a sleigh ride over freshly fallen snow.
Find Kimberly’s tips below, as well as an infographic showing more of what Canadians like and don’t like when travelling from the Transat Holidays’ 2013 Travel Index.
Tips for travelling as a couple – from Kimberly Moffit, Transat Holidays relationship expert
Q: Is there an ideal timing for a couples’ vacation?
Kimberly Moffit: It’s not really about length of time (i.e.: 3 months, 6 months, etc) but more about your level of certainty about the relationship. If you’re sure you’d like it to continue, and want to take things to the next level, a vacation is ideal. It’s very similar to meeting the parents – it can be amazing yet stressful, and is only worth the risk if you’re invested in the relationship. There’s definitely a risk for going too soon. Even if it’s ‘the one’ you’re going on vacation with, if things are too early it could eliminate some of the early, blissful experiences that you have in the early stages of getting to know each other.
Q: What is the good, bad and the ugly of travelling in a pair?
KM: Travel with a partner is extremely revealing. It gives us new information about their habits, travel preferences and we get cozy and intimate with them in a happy, relaxed environment. It can be blissful and exciting, but it can also be awkward, exhausting, and horrifying if we uncover a side of our partner that we’ve never seen before. Going on vacation presents challenges in new ways. How does your partner act when their luggage gets lost – do they tough it out, or complain so much that it ruins their entire vacation (and yours!)?
Q: What are the destination choices for a vacation with your partner?
KM: Sunny destinations that are also adventure-packed. Keep in mind each person might have a different experiences they want out of the trip. Maybe one person is a beach bum and the other wants adventure? Transat Holidays offers Duo packages which include two destinations in one to accommodate the needs of everyone.
Q: What are the top items to pack on a vacation with your partner?
KM: Pack what you’d usually pack on a vacation. A camera to make all kinds of new memories, suntan lotion for when you trek outdoors – and be sure to spice it up with some lingerie and some sexy outfits.
Q: What are the top items not to pack?
KM: Try not to bring too much work on vacation (romance-killer), good books or magazines are great but will prevent you from getting to know each other and an iPod is an instant communication blocker.