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Buffalo’s Anchor Bar Lives Up To Its Reputation

It’s one of those things you have to do when you visit a major U.S. city — have their iconic local food. The list is endless — Philly cheese streak, New York cheesecake, Maine lobster roll, Nashville hot chicken, New Orleans muffaletta, Memphis barbecue, Denver omelette.

Obviously, for chicken wings, it’s Buffalo, New York. The epicenter is the Anchor Bar on Main Street. While many have claimed to have been inventor, their story sticks out the most.

“Fortunately, the actual moment that Buffalo chicken wings were invented has been described by Frank Bellissimo and his son, Dom, with the sort of rich detail that any historian would value; unfortunately, they use different details,” wrote Calvin Trillin for the New Yorker in 1980.

The original bar (it’s been franchised out to include locations in California) might be ground zero of the ultimate football watching food, but it also might be the origin of chains restaurants putting any old crap on the wall (ex. TGIFriday, Appleby’s). It’s old-timey bicycle wheels, license plates, coasters and Little League trophies — let’s glue it to the wall!

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Since they go through thousands of wings a day (or maybe an hour), you wonder why they even bother with a full-menu. I opted for a starter salad and 1o wings while others nearby me at the bar were pounding through 30 in a sitting. Buffalo isn’t know for being particularly health conscious.

I cannot claim to be a connoisseur of the Buffalo chicken wing. I much prefer the Korean fried chicken wing for it’s wonderful crunch, not too spicy bite and ease of disposal. I’m a bit of priss when it comes to messy food. When you need a shower after eating 10 wings, I’d rather deal without the hassle.

With that said, these were the best Buffalo wings I’ve ever had, even though I can’t pinpoint the previous winner. After 6th or 7th wing, your lips begin to tingle from the vinegar and cayenne in the hot sauce. By the end, you have a pile of bones and a four or five discarded paper towels around you. I recommend an IPA or a pinot to pair with your wings.

While there are other must-eat wing spots in the city, you best just to head to the headquarters and soak in the brick-a-brack nature of the joint.

The George Lucas Museum Will Be Built in Los Angeles

If you wanted a place where you can study the origins of Jar Jar Binks and Willow, then keep your eyes on Los Angeles.

After trying in Chicago and San Francisco, George Lucas will build his billion dollar Museum of Narrative Art on Vermont Avenue in Exposition Park. It’s south of Downtown L.A., the University of Southern California campus (where Lucas graduated) and off the 110.

While it will contain a priceless collection of Lucas’s Star Wars and LucasFilm memorabilia, the museum will showcase his personal art collection of Norman Rockwell, N.C. Wyeth and Alberto Vargas paintings. “Once you step inside the Museum, you’ll feel that you’ve been transported to another world filled with stories for exploration. Both futuristic and timeless, the Museum will feature experiences that enhance your visit, designed to be your guide on your journey through the collection,” the website says.

The building itself does look like a spaceship docking in Naboo, but it comes from the masterminds of MAD Architects. The Beijing-born Ma Yansong is the lead designer, who studied under the late Zaha Hadid.

The plan is to open the joint on Star Wars Day 2021 (May 4th).

The city has been making a concerted effort to attract more visitors with a new football stadium to house the Rams, and as of today, the relocated Chargers from San Diego. The ultimate goal is regaining the Summer Olympics for 2024.

 

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I Applied and Was Approved for the Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card, Let’s See How This Goes

The big news in the mega-nerdy world of frequent flier miles is that the Chase Sapphire Reserve is cutting bonus miles in half because the benefits worked too well.

— 100,000 miles if you spend $4000 in the first 4 months (worth $1500)
— 3x Points on travel and dining worldwide
— $300 credit towards travel
— 1:1 points points transfer
— Access to airport lounges
— 24/7 service

The big caveat is that it comes with a $450 annual fee that is somewhere off-set by the $300 travel credit. My Virgin and Barclay travel cards have $95 fees.

I was a little hesitant to sign-up because of that annual fee, but I might just cancel it after I get that sweet 100,000 miles. They loved my credit history so much that they gave me a credit limit of $18,000. Let’s go to Vegas, bitches!

Tomorrow is the last day to sign up. After that, you can sign up in person at a Chase branch and still get that 100K until March 12.

I’m loyal to my Virgin Atlantic card because of my frequent visits to London and I just adore their service. So, I feel like I’m cheeting on them. I could transfer my miles to Virgin, even though I have 190,000 miles racked up and ready to use.

I will report on my activity in the coming months.

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Tokyo’s Tsukiji Fish Market is Moving, Still Selling Six-Figure Fish

Tsukiji Fish Market, the largest and most famous fish market in the world, was suppose to be in its new digs at Tokyo Bay last November. Due to soil contamination and cost over-runs at the new site, the owners have yet to establish a new opening date.

In the meantime, a 466-pound blue fin tuna fetched $632,000. The joke would be if the Starkist Corporation bought it and just shoved it along with the other tuna for canning. Whomp whomp.

Visiting the market is an experience unlike anything else. You need to wake up at 4:30am to get there at 5am where the action is at full throttle. Forklifts are whizzing by carrying tons of fish. Pallets are being dragged around in a delicate ballet. Crazy auctions are happening all around similar to a stock exchange trading floor.

I was lucky that my hotel in Ginza was within walking distance so I could just roll out of bed and walk over. Once that fish smell hits you, that’s your wake-up call. With all that fish around you, you could take advantage of the chefs making sushi for breakfast. You can’t get much more fresh than that.

Here are pictures from the old location. Unfortunately, the new location will be a little out of the way.

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The Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh is a Boozy Paradise

If you’ve been following me on Instagram, you’ll notice I’ve been posting pictures of beautiful, glowing bottles of vintage scotch bottles. If you’re not following me, I suggests you do because it will make you thirsty. Even better, you won’t see shots of me because that’s boring.

The Scotch Whisky Experience is a must for any adult who appreciates the finer things. And it will be a better experience if you upscale for the Gold or Platinum experience which includes more tastings.

While the tour portion has a little bit of a Disney theme park ride, you will get a valuable education on the different styles of Scotch based on what region it comes from.

You’ll start on a moving car where you see a magical Scotchman introduce you to the brewing process. It’s a little goofy, but it good you don’t do that after you drink because you might be seeing more than ghosts.

Then you’re lead through a series of rooms that explains the history of scotch. It’s about this time when you could use a drink. Just when you start to think about that, you sit in a circular table for the tasting education. It’s serious stuff — the blended vs. single malt, the Lowlands vs. Islay.

At the end, you’re lead into the Diageo Claive Vidiz collection, which is what I’ve been posting. It’s one of the most impressive collections by one person I’ve ever seen.

As they explain, “In the 1970’s, Claive Vidiz, a whisky enthusiast in Sao Paulo, Brazil and founder member of the Brazilian Association of Whisky Collectors, started to seek out and purchase Scotch whisky of varying type, cost and rarity. He amassed almost 3,500 bottles over 35 years.”

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After you’re done glaring at all those beautiful bottles, the scrubs who only got the Silver ticket are done, while the pros who got the Gold experience get to drink more scotch. You’ll choose a flight of four, and you get to keep the glass. My glass survived in my luggage unbroken the whole rest of my two week trip. That’s fine Scottish craftsmanship there.

Finally, the gift shop is the greatest, and most painful, gift shop in Edinburgh. So much scotch, so little room. My advice is either get one of that hard-to-find bottle (the staff can point you to which ones are not exported) or just little sampler bottles which can be easily transported. You can always write down which ones and find it later in your country of origin.

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Articles About Where to Go in 2017 Are Pointless

The new year brings planning for where to go this year. Thus, the major news and travel sites have their expanding list of random places to visit that are either up-and-coming or trendy. The New York Times debuted their 2017 list this afternoon.

My opinion — go wherever you want to go. The hottest destination is the one you choose to go to. You’ll make it hip.

Don’t go to a place that has an new culinary scene because every destination as an inventive culinary scene. If a new attraction is open, it will be there next year. If there’s a once-in-a-lifetime event like an Olympics or World’s Fair, then by all means break the bank getting and staying there.

These lists are mostly based on the whim of the writers and editors. When you compile them together, they pretty much represent every major destination in the world. They tout new attractions, new airports, new hotels and upgraded public transportation.

In the Times list, their No. 1 place to go is Canada because it’s still a democracy. Well, it’s a darn big country so you have a lot of planning to do. Madrid, Budapest, Tijuana, Marrakesh, Detroit, South Bronx, Dubrovnik and Hamburg make the list.

Here are some other lists:

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The Vatican McDonald’s is Not Really In the Vatican

Making the rounds in the media cycle is that the Vatican will now house a McDonald’s. Here are some of the headlines that are somewhat mis-leading:

The Guardian — Holy Big Mac: Vatican’s first McDonald’s opens

FoxNews — Controversial McDonald’s opens in Vatican City amid cardinal protests

Chicago Tribune — McDonald’s heads to the Vatican, but not everyone’s lovin’ it

Now here’s the headline that’s a tad more accurate:

Newsweek — McDonald’s Near Vatican City Opens Amid Protests From Cardinals

It’s NEAR the Vatican. You’re not going to walk through St. Peter’s Square and see the golden arches next to the pope giving his Wednesday sermon.  On the other hand, if you turn around you might be able to catch the sign outside the square.

Here’s the approximate location of the McDonalds, on the corner of Borgo Pio and Via del Mascherino.

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It’s not within the walls of the Vatican, but the building itself is owned by the Holy See. Thus, I can see why some cardinals and locals are objecting to the franchise. I guess the souvenir shops selling fake pope hats and keychains are fine though.

If you walk down the Spanish Steps and look to your left, you’ll also see a McDonald’s — one of the largest one in Europe. I did go in once and was curious about the gelato. Nothing spectacular.