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Bites: Restaurant Report: Belcampo Meat Co. in Larkspur, Calif.

Written By wartini cantika on Senin, 31 Desember 2012 | 17.35

Joshua David Stein

Belcampo Meat Co., in Larkspur, Calif.

Though rich in dining options, San Francisco is not quite as besotted with all things meat as other major American cities. New York has the Spotted Pig and Swine; Los Angeles has Animal and Lazy Ox. But the Bay Area, perhaps still under the thrall of flower children grown gray, has yet to welcome a meat temple of its own. Belcampo Meat Co., a restaurant and butcher shop that opened in November in Larkspur, 30 minutes north of San Francisco, aims to change that.

One half of the large space contains a long, gleaming stainless-steel butcher counter, filled with hunks of bright red meat. The counter flows into a spacious informal restaurant that serves an extremely simple, extremely meaty and deeply satisfying menu.

All the meat in the shop and restaurant comes from Belcampo's 10,000-acre farm a few hours upstate, where the cows graze in the shadow of Mount Shasta, the chickens are slow-growing heritage animals, the pigs forage in wetland and skittish quail are left alone until, obviously, they aren't. They are then trucked 15 miles away to Belcampo's abattoir, a 20,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility designed according to the principles of the activist Temple Grandin, that, as kindly as possible, turns pigs into pork, cows into beef and so forth. "The restaurant is only 10 percent of what we do," said Anya Fernald, the company's chief executive.

As for the menu, the chef, Ross Wollen, focuses on the bounty of the meat locker, which is visible behind the counter. Beef appears, only minimally transformed, as extraordinarily juicy burgers accompanied by Cheddar cheese on a homemade brioche or, at brunch, braised beef hash with a poached egg. The goats, having had their fill of the views, are here, too, in a milk-braised goat shoulder, which feeds four (there's also a goat rack for two on the brunch menu).

Though Ms. Fernald shies away from prime cuts on the menu — "we can sell them easily in the butcher case," she explained — there is steak. During a recent visit, a massive rib-eye, aged 21 days, came with a pat of whipped pig lardo.

Some might find eating in sight of a window, in which a pig's head hangs dolefully, off-putting. But "transparency is a key part of what we do," Ms. Fernald said. "The meat locker is my statement to anyone coming in to eat."

Belcampo Meat Co.; 2405 Larkspur Landing Circle, Larkspur, Calif.; (415) 448-5810; belcampomeatco.com. An average meal for two, without drinks or tip, is about $45.


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Q&A: Catching the Sights, Not the Bugs

Friends and family so often asked Dr. Charles E. Davis, a specialist in microbiology and infectious disease, how to avoid getting sick when they travel abroad, he decided to put all of his advice in one place. The result is "The International Traveler's Guide to Avoiding Infections," released this year by Johns Hopkins University Press. Below are edited excerpts with Dr. Davis in a discussion about precautions international travelers should take before and after trips to far-flung destinations.

Q. What steps should you take before you depart?

A. If you're going to a developing country, visit a travel clinic four to eight weeks before you travel to get any immunizations you may need. You can find one on the Web sites of the International Society of Travel Medicine or the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Make an appointment with your primary care physician for a physical examination and for any routine immunizations like a D.P.T. update, hepatitis A and B and influenza; insurance companies generally do not cover travel-related immunizations, so if you get these done at travel clinics, you run the risk of paying out of pocket. Pregnant women, children and those with compromised immune systems should definitely consult their physicians; recommendations for immunizations and antibiotics vary for them. And check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Web site for travel notices about current disease outbreaks.

Q. What happens at the travel clinic?

A. You'll be asked your medical history and a number of questions about your trip's itinerary, duration and purpose, which lets the physician determine which immunizations you need. Going on a business trip to a large city in a developing country, you're at much less risk of contracting an infection than, say, doing a safari trip or aid work in a rural region.

Q. Is travelers' insurance worth getting?

A. Depends on your destination, your age, your health, what you're doing and whether or not you're a gambler. A good travel insurance policy, which can run from a hundred to several hundred dollars, provides you with medical treatment, assistance from a physician-supported, 24-hour emergency call center and, if necessary, emergency medical evacuation. Some good ones I recommend are FrontierMEDEX; International SOS; and CSA Travel Protection. You can comparison shop at TravelGuard.com or InsureMyTrip.com.

Q. What should you pack?

A. For any overseas trip, I recommend taking along self-treatment for traveler's diarrhea — loperamide, known by the brand name Imodium here, and an antibiotic, the most common being ciprofloxacin.

If you're going to a malarial area, the travel clinic should prescribe you malaria prophylaxis, the most common of which is Malarone, to take during your trip and seven days after it. That will kill off any parasites in your bloodstream, but two milder forms of malaria can continue to multiply in the liver. If you develop an unexplained fever six months, even a year, after your return, go to your doctor.

Other things to pack: Band-Aids and topical antibiotics to treat minor wounds; water purification tablets like Potable Aquaor Coghlan's or portable filters; sunscreen; and insect repellent with 30 to 50 percent DEET. Hikers should bring a full suture kit. If you're staying in accommodations that do not have good screens, I recommend getting mosquito nets and clothes impregnated with pyrethrum, a natural insect repellent.

Q. While you're visiting a country, what should you keep in mind?

A. Avoid tap water and ice in developing countries as well as salads and buffets, which bacteria just love. A good rule to follow: boil it, peel it or forget it.

Q. And once you return?

A. If you were away longer than three months in a developing country, had done aid work or were exposed to needles or fresh water, or had been ill or had sex, I'd recommend doing a screen for various infections at a travel clinic. If you were healthy during a short trip, there's no need.


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Destination: Wellness

Jim Wilson/The New York Times; Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

Clockwise from top left: Pacific views at the Esalen Institute, reflexology path at La Costa Resort and Spa, yoga and pool at Rancho La Puerta. More Photos »

SO I'm sitting in a hotel in upstate New York with my feet in a bucket of warm water charged with electricity when it suddenly hits me that maybe "getting well" wasn't going to be as much fun as I thought it was going to be.

The procedure I was receiving was an "ionic detox foot bath," one of dozens of allegedly medicinal services offered during a Health and Wellness Weekend held in November at the Edge Hotel, a woodsy establishment in Lyons Falls, N.Y. In this case, the bath involved placing my feet in a small bucket of salt water charged with a small current for half an hour — a process that was meant to draw out the "yucky stuff" in my body by osmosis according to its practitioner, a frizzy-haired former chain smoker named Brenda, who assured me the bath was perfectly safe.

"But," she added with a laugh, "I don't know anything about ampage."

Oh boy. At first glance, this mission had seemed like a breeze: a search for "wellness" — that seemingly unimpeachable state that has become as common a come-on in travel circles as "eco-friendly." There are wellness retreats, wellness diets, wellness beauty treatments, wellness classes, wellness resorts, wellness hotels, wellness weekends and, of course, wellness experts.

"Wellness is this feeling of confidence, this feeling of vitality, this feeling of "You got this,' " said Dr. Jim Nicolai, the medical director of the Andrew Weil integrative wellness program at Miraval Resort and Spa, in Tucson, Ariz. "Wellness is a verb just as much as an adjective."

And, often, a very lucrative verb, dressing up everything from alternative medicines to anti-aging products. A week at Miraval, for example, can set you back $475 a night. And it's not just for scenic spots either: the MGM Grand in Las Vegas has added special wellness rooms and suites; Canyon Ranch's SpaClub in Vegas also employs "wellness professionals." In October, the InterContinental Hotels Group, which owns Holiday Inn, announced plans for its Even Hotels — with an "intrinsic focus on wellness in terms of food, work, exercise and rest" — at dozens of locations across the country. So-called wellness tourism is estimated to be a $106 billion chunk of the trillion-dollar worldwide "wellness cluster," a market that includes travel as well as things like medical tourism, nutrition and fitness, according to a 2010 study prepared for the Global Spa and Wellness Summit by SRI International, an independent, nonprofit research firm.

But what exactly is wellness? I thought I'd find out. And so, saddled with a sore Achilles' tendon, an ever-present threat of heartburn and all manner of life stressors, I embarked on a cross-country search. I was left, on various occasions, body-weary, sleep-deprived and incredibly waterlogged. Along the way I meditated and hyperventilated, and was plyometric-ed, watsu-ed and ceremonially "crowned." I hiked and ran, floated and swam. I had my chakras read — my aura looks like a giant pistachio — and ate more quinoa than I can remember. And at the Esalen Institute, perched on the California coast and seemingly on the edge of the world, I got naked with a bunch of strangers and watched the sunset.

ACCORDING to SRI, the wellness movement is "a proactive and holistic approach" meant to address "the root causes of our personal and societal ills." The term wellness, though, has old roots and myriad modern meanings. Dr. Halbert Dunn, author of the 1961 book "High-Level Wellness," described it as something that included self-knowledge, creative expression and good health. Since then, that definition has evolved to the broader one we have today, which includes sleek, strictly regimented operations like the Ranch at Live Oak, a $5,600-a-week "endurance, wellness and nutrition program" in Malibu, Calif.

But there are still places where you can go to experience something more along the lines of what Dr. Dunn was talking about. Though Esalen does not drape itself in wellness terminology, the 50-year-old institute is still advertising its goal of "pioneering deep change in self and society," and thus seemed like a pretty good place to explore the roots of what wellness might be. For me, Esalen long had a reputation as a mystical hideaway on the California coast, but unexpected guests have not traditionally simply dropped in. Most are there to attend one of the institute's hundreds of workshops, which can range from tantric sex to Gestalt theory. (Not at the same time, of course.)

Over the years, Esalen started allowing for so-called "personal retreats," which you can book after donating at least $50 to the Institute. I did exactly that, and booked a $650-a-night "point house" in mid-November.

Mind you, just getting to Esalen had involved flying across the country and then driving three hours south from San Francisco, a long day that had left me with an empty belly and soft brain.

But when I finally arrived, my first impression was simple: wow.

Situated on a nugget of land thrust into the Pacific, Esalen has commanding views of the California coastline, with its cliffs tapering into the ocean, and a campus that is both rustic and seemingly in harmony with Mother Nature. Vines creep along cobwebbed and rust-flecked fences that line the edge of a central glade where groups do HoopYogini, which combines yoga with a hula hoop. Monarch butterflies and green hummingbirds flit about the institute's central garden — organic, naturally — while a stream burbles down a canyon to the surf below. At one point I looked down during a walk and saw the words "Thank you" and "Love" in small stone and twigs arranged on the ground.

Well, I thought, that was easy. I feel better already.

JESSE McKINLEY is a features reporter at The New York Times.


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Inside Disney’s New Fantasyland

Edward Linsmier for The New York Times

A new light show paints Cinderella's Castle at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. Nearby, New Fantasyland doubles the Fantasyland area. More Photos »

"YOU have a great gig," I said to the mermaid as I sat down beside her in the giant clamshell. "You don't have to schlep around."

We pressed our heads together and smiled for a photograph as she replied, "But I wish I had legs."

So goes small talk in Fantasyland. Correction: New Fantasyland, where old-guard princesses like Snow White and Cinderella are suddenly neighbors with the next generation of Disney box office royalty: Ariel of "The Little Mermaid" and Belle of "Beauty and the Beast." The kingdom, you see, has undergone some changes.

It was Dec. 5, the night before the grand opening of New Fantasyland — the largest expansion in the 41-year history of the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla. — and the birth date of its founder. I was there to suss out the new additions, including Ariel's Grotto (where, like me, visitors can have their picture taken with the Little Mermaid); Bonjour! Village Gifts where aspiring princesses can snap up $64.95 Belle costumes; and the Be Our Guest Restaurant where, in defiance of Florida weather, soft, romantic snow perpetually falls outside the windows.

Having been to this park more than two dozen times, beginning with family vacations when I was 3, I figured I was qualified to review an expansion. I remember gingerly wrapping my arms around Pluto. I remember walking into the Haunted Mansion, fear rising in me like the ghosts that would soon materialize. I remember being surprised, as I peeked over the edge of my boat in It's a Small World, to spy hundreds of pennies shimmering in the water. I wondered how many of those wishes would come true.

So of course, I longed to see how Fantasyland had changed. At the same time, I was apprehensive. Might the old magic be eclipsed by slick, new attractions? Would Disney be able to strike a delicate balance between nostalgia and innovation?

I came to find out.

Fantasyland is the most popular land in the most popular Disney park in the world (the company has 11 theme parks in the United States, Europe and Asia). Still, Disney had a problem. It had successfully minted a new generation of princesses in movie theaters— but it had nowhere to put them in the park. Millions of little girls and boys grew up in the 1990s with "The Little Mermaid" and "Beauty and the Beast." Yet Ariel and Belle had neither ride nor realm in the Magic Kingdom.

If Disney were the White Rabbit, it might have been muttering to itself, "I'm late! I'm late! I'm late!" It was time to catch up. And so about five years ago the company's Imagineers — who have expertise in 140 different disciplines like electrical engineering, landscape architecture and graphic design — began dreaming up ways to literally put visitors into their favorite new fairy tales, from eating croque monsieur in the Beast's castle upon a hill, to riding through the Little Mermaid's grotto under the sea. They devised methods to make meeting the characters from those tales more intimate (perhaps a bit too intimate in the case of the Little Mermaid, who poses with fans in a bandeau top) and more orderly than the street encounters that I grew up with, which could be chaotic. And while they were at it, they looked for ways to make waiting in line entertaining.

To make all this fantasy a reality, Disney more than doubled the size of Fantasyland, to 21 acres from 10 acres. Along the way, there were casualties, like Snow White's Scary Adventures, a ride that had been in the park since it opened in 1971. Purists grumble when a classic ride like that is shuttered. Yet evolution is as much a part of Disney's DNA as mouse ears. The parks are always changing. Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park didn't exist when I was little. Another year, I arrived to find beaches in a spot where I didn't recall so much as a grain of sand. A few weeks ago, I zoomed along on the newly re-engineered Test Track Presented by Chevrolet at Epcot. As new Magic Kingdom attractions pop up, old favorites disappear, be it Mr. Toad's Wild Ride or 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

STEPHANIE ROSENBLOOM writes the Getaway column for the Travel section.


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36 Hours in El Paso, Tex.

Written By wartini cantika on Minggu, 30 Desember 2012 | 17.35

Mark Holm for The New York Times

Clockwise from top left: Taking in the view from Scenic Drive, boots on El Paso Street, Lotus dance club, the Plaza Theater, the Hoppy Monk and Ardovino's Desert Crossing. More Photos »

SITUATED at the intersection of Texas, Mexico and New Mexico, El Paso is a city with a distinct flavor. It juxtaposes authentic Mexican culture with a growing hipster scene, and though it's one of the largest cities in Texas, it still often ends up as a mere pit stop on I-10. Once the storied heart of the Old West (and playground of Billy the Kid), El Paso has recently gained much of the big-city feel of its neighbor across the border, Ciudad Juárez. It has come into its own with new theaters, restaurants and nightclubs, many of them transplants from its sister city, the epicenter of the Mexican drug war.

Friday

4 p.m.
1. WINE COUNTRY

Though El Paso's summers, with days that often reach into the 100s, may seem an unforgiving setting for grape-growing, it turns out that zinfandels take quite nicely to the sun. Stop by Zin Valle Vineyards (7315 Canutillo La Union Road; 915-877-4544; zinvalle.com) or the neighboring La Viña Winery (4201 South Highway 28; 575-882-7632; lavinawinery.com) for generous wine tastings (free at Zin Valle or $5 at La Viña). Both sit along the historic Don Juan de Oñate Trail, a section of El Camino Real, which marks the route that Oñate, the explorer and conquistador, forged in 1598 to settle north of the Rio Grande. A drive down this road reveals majestic pecan groves and vast fields of cotton, chile peppers and corn.

7 p.m.
2. EAT LOCAL

With Juárez right across the highway, it's a no-brainer that El Paso has always been a prime spot for Mexican food. And though enchiladas and tortas still prevail, the past few years have begun to see a locavore, foodie culture spread through the city. And why not? With plenty of undeveloped land still surrounding El Paso, there's room to cultivate nearly everything. Tom's Folk Cafe (204 Boston Avenue; 915-500-5573; tomsfolkcafe.com) epitomizes the new El Paso dining scene, and the tiny restaurant would feel at home in Brooklyn with its local meat, veggies and breads, wine-bottle candlesticks and nouveau Southern food. After an order of hush puppies stuffed with pulled pork ($14), try an oversized burger with Brie, bacon and blueberry jam ($10.50) or pan-seared snapper with crawfish ragout ($20).

9 p.m.
3. INDIE SCENE

New music venues are part of El Paso's night-life scene, and with the Coachella music festival to the west and Austin City Limits festival to the east, El Paso could be on its way to becoming a hot spot on indie bands' tours. The Lowbrow Palace (111 Robinson Avenue; thelowbrowpalace.com) caters to the college crowd and regularly features local bands as well as touring acts. Tricky Falls (209 South El Paso Street; 915-351-9938; trickyfalls.com) is a brand-new music space in a gorgeous historic building; right above it is Bowie Feathers (209 South El Paso Street; 915-351-9909), a bar and hipster haven with black leather booths and funky wall art that also hosts musicians.

11:30 p.m.
4. BAR-HOPPING

Since Mexico's drug war pushed night life over the border from Juárez to El Paso, new bars are packed with thirsty customers. Choose among drink specials at Hope and Anchor (4012 North Mesa Street; 915-533-8010; hopeandanchorelpaso.com) on the large back patio strung with lights and paper lanterns, or if beer is your thing, go down the street to the Hoppy Monk (4141 North Mesa Street; 915-307-3263; thehoppymonk.com) and try one of the 70 or so craft brews on tap.

Saturday

9 a.m.
5. FARMERS' MORNING

Drive into the desert for brunch at Ardovino's Desert Crossing (1 Ardovino Drive; 575-589-0653; ardovinos.com) — and if it's warm enough (which it often is, even in winter), hang out on the patio beneath the big, blue sky. A recent brunch included a prickly pear mimosa ($5.50), caramelized grapefruit ($2.50) and Jackpot Waffle topped with chicken, bacon and sautéed apples ($12). Leave room for red-wine-infused ice cream with chocolate cake ($9) and watch the train rumble by at the foot of Mount Cristo Rey. If you're here between May and October, check out the adjacent Farmers' Market, which features local produce and artisan crafts with local flair. Pick up ocotillo-flower soap ($4.50), a jar of raspberry chipotle jam ($8), or some edible desert delicacies, like cactus fruit or yucca.

11 a.m.
6. DESERT TRAILS

El Paso's beauty stems from the inescapable mountains that surround the city. Head to the Franklin Mountains State Park ($5; on McKelligon Canyon Road; 915-566-6441; tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/franklin-mountains) to hike desert mountain trails replete with cactuses, agaves and lizards. Explore McKelligon Canyon if you enter the park on the east side of the city, or begin a trail from the Transmountain Road entrance on the west.

1 p.m.
7. ARTS AND CULTURE

A serious push over the last few years to revitalize the downtown is finally bearing fruit. Renovated historic buildings are getting their due, and a spate of fresh establishments is breathing new life into classic El Paso haunts. Visit the free El Paso Museum of Art (1 Arts Festival Plaza; 915-532-1707; elpasoartmuseum.org) for its collection of Southwestern and local artwork, right next to the Plaza Theater (125 Pioneer Plaza; 915-534-0600; theplazatheatre.org). The pride of El Paso when it opened in 1930, the Plaza experienced a decline in the '50s and a near-demolition in the '80s, but the theater has recently made a triumphant return as a beautiful, colorful setting for Broadway shows and the El Paso Symphony Orchestra. For a taste of (more lowbrow) local flavor, wander down El Paso Street, which is lined with pawn shops and Mexican stores full of cheap clothes, cowboy boots and oddities. Pancho Villa's dismembered trigger finger has a going rate of $9,500.

5 p.m.
8. COCKTAIL HOUR

Historic El Paso lurks in its old, classy bars. Have a mojito beneath the rotunda of vintage Tiffany glass at the Camino Real Hotel's Dome Bar (101 South El Paso Street; 915-534-3000; caminorealelpaso.com/dining), or settle in with a top-shelf drink or cigar at the luxurious, nearly 100-year-old Café Central (109 North Oregon Street; 915-545-2233; cafecentral.com).

8 p.m.
9. SHARING TAPAS

Across the street from an old locomotive on display in the downtown entertainment district is a cobbled block of dimly lighted restaurants. Tabla (115 Durango Street; 915-533-8935; tabla-ep.com) leaves little to be desired with its modern décor, a rotation of custom-infused liquors and an extensive menu of tapas. Its mantra is "share," and after sharing pork confit with goat cheese polenta ($12), grilled asparagus with Serrano ham and salsa verde ($8), and huge pieces of bruschetta loaded with smoked salmon ($10), you'll also be sharing exclamations of delight.

11 p.m.
10. DANCE, DANCE, DANCE

Locals used to flock across the border on weekends to fill upscale Mexican nightclubs, but the clubbing scene has lately shifted to downtown El Paso. The brand-new Lotus (201 North Stanton Street; 915-503-2335; lotusep.com) is a sleek and ultramodern club with three floors, two separate D.J.'s and a huge Buddha sculpture presiding over the dance floor. The nearby Garden (511 Western Street; 915-544-4400; thegardenep.com) has a daytime dining patio that is transformed into an outdoor club on weekends.

Sunday

10:30 a.m.
11. BORDER-TOWN BRUNCH

Pile green chiles, chorizo, avocado and chipotle onto eggs and serve with a side of black beans, and you have a true Southwestern breakfast. A surprisingly chic spot in a nondescript strip mall, Ripe Eatery (910 East Redd Road; 915-584-7473; ripeeatery.com) stands out for its Southwest Scramble ($9) and Brisket Ranchero Eggs Benedict ($11). Wash it down with a cold Chelada (beer, Bloody Mary mix and lime, $4.75) and then stop by Valentine's Bakery (6415 North Mesa Street; 915-585-8720) for an assortment of delicious Mexican pastries — and at 80 cents apiece, you might as well try all of them.

1 p.m.
12. 2 COUNTRIES, 3 STATES

Take a ride along Scenic Drive, which winds through the mountains with views of the city and deposits you near the Wyler Aerial Tramway (1700 McKinley Avenue; 915-566-6622; tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/wyler-aerial-tramway). This is one of the only public trams in Texas, and the four-minute ride to the peak of the mountain ($7) ends in panoramic views of the convergence of two countries and three states (Texas, New Mexico and Chihuahua, Mexico).

IF YOU GO

Built 100 years ago as the ultimate in luxury, the Camino Real Hotel (101 South El Paso Street; 915-534-3000; caminorealelpaso.com), with rooms from $69, still preserves much of its prestige and history in the original, vintage lobby bedecked with chandeliers and ornate golden molding. During the Mexican Revolution, guests would gather on the hotel's rooftop to watch battles play out below.

The DoubleTree Hotel (600 North El Paso Street; 915-532-8733; doubletreeelpasohotel.com) with rates starting at $84, is a new addition to El Paso's downtown skyline, and its rooms and public terrace provide wonderful views of the city.


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Bites: Restaurant Report: Belcampo Meat Co. in Larkspur, Calif.

Joshua David Stein

Belcampo Meat Co., in Larkspur, Calif.

Though rich in dining options, San Francisco is not quite as besotted with all things meat as other major American cities. New York has the Spotted Pig and Swine; Los Angeles has Animal and Lazy Ox. But the Bay Area, perhaps still under the thrall of flower children grown gray, has yet to welcome a meat temple of its own. Belcampo Meat Co., a restaurant and butcher shop that opened in November in Larkspur, 30 minutes north of San Francisco, aims to change that.

One half of the large space contains a long, gleaming stainless-steel butcher counter, filled with hunks of bright red meat. The counter flows into a spacious informal restaurant that serves an extremely simple, extremely meaty and deeply satisfying menu.

All the meat in the shop and restaurant comes from Belcampo's 10,000-acre farm a few hours upstate, where the cows graze in the shadow of Mount Shasta, the chickens are slow-growing heritage animals, the pigs forage in wetland and skittish quail are left alone until, obviously, they aren't. They are then trucked 15 miles away to Belcampo's abattoir, a 20,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility designed according to the principles of the activist Temple Grandin, that, as kindly as possible, turns pigs into pork, cows into beef and so forth. "The restaurant is only 10 percent of what we do," said Anya Fernald, the company's chief executive.

As for the menu, the chef, Ross Wollen, focuses on the bounty of the meat locker, which is visible behind the counter. Beef appears, only minimally transformed, as extraordinarily juicy burgers accompanied by Cheddar cheese on a homemade brioche or, at brunch, braised beef hash with a poached egg. The goats, having had their fill of the views, are here, too, in a milk-braised goat shoulder, which feeds four (there's also a goat rack for two on the brunch menu).

Though Ms. Fernald shies away from prime cuts on the menu — "we can sell them easily in the butcher case," she explained — there is steak. During a recent visit, a massive rib-eye, aged 21 days, came with a pat of whipped pig lardo.

Some might find eating in sight of a window, in which a pig's head hangs dolefully, off-putting. But "transparency is a key part of what we do," Ms. Fernald said. "The meat locker is my statement to anyone coming in to eat."

Belcampo Meat Co.; 2405 Larkspur Landing Circle, Larkspur, Calif.; (415) 448-5810; belcampomeatco.com. An average meal for two, without drinks or tip, is about $45.


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Q&A: Catching the Sights, Not the Bugs

Friends and family so often asked Dr. Charles E. Davis, a specialist in microbiology and infectious disease, how to avoid getting sick when they travel abroad, he decided to put all of his advice in one place. The result is "The International Traveler's Guide to Avoiding Infections," released this year by Johns Hopkins University Press. Below are edited excerpts with Dr. Davis in a discussion about precautions international travelers should take before and after trips to far-flung destinations.

Q. What steps should you take before you depart?

A. If you're going to a developing country, visit a travel clinic four to eight weeks before you travel to get any immunizations you may need. You can find one on the Web sites of the International Society of Travel Medicine or the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Make an appointment with your primary care physician for a physical examination and for any routine immunizations like a D.P.T. update, hepatitis A and B and influenza; insurance companies generally do not cover travel-related immunizations, so if you get these done at travel clinics, you run the risk of paying out of pocket. Pregnant women, children and those with compromised immune systems should definitely consult their physicians; recommendations for immunizations and antibiotics vary for them. And check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Web site for travel notices about current disease outbreaks.

Q. What happens at the travel clinic?

A. You'll be asked your medical history and a number of questions about your trip's itinerary, duration and purpose, which lets the physician determine which immunizations you need. Going on a business trip to a large city in a developing country, you're at much less risk of contracting an infection than, say, doing a safari trip or aid work in a rural region.

Q. Is travelers' insurance worth getting?

A. Depends on your destination, your age, your health, what you're doing and whether or not you're a gambler. A good travel insurance policy, which can run from a hundred to several hundred dollars, provides you with medical treatment, assistance from a physician-supported, 24-hour emergency call center and, if necessary, emergency medical evacuation. Some good ones I recommend are FrontierMEDEX; International SOS; and CSA Travel Protection. You can comparison shop at TravelGuard.com or InsureMyTrip.com.

Q. What should you pack?

A. For any overseas trip, I recommend taking along self-treatment for traveler's diarrhea — loperamide, known by the brand name Imodium here, and an antibiotic, the most common being ciprofloxacin.

If you're going to a malarial area, the travel clinic should prescribe you malaria prophylaxis, the most common of which is Malarone, to take during your trip and seven days after it. That will kill off any parasites in your bloodstream, but two milder forms of malaria can continue to multiply in the liver. If you develop an unexplained fever six months, even a year, after your return, go to your doctor.

Other things to pack: Band-Aids and topical antibiotics to treat minor wounds; water purification tablets like Potable Aquaor Coghlan's or portable filters; sunscreen; and insect repellent with 30 to 50 percent DEET. Hikers should bring a full suture kit. If you're staying in accommodations that do not have good screens, I recommend getting mosquito nets and clothes impregnated with pyrethrum, a natural insect repellent.

Q. While you're visiting a country, what should you keep in mind?

A. Avoid tap water and ice in developing countries as well as salads and buffets, which bacteria just love. A good rule to follow: boil it, peel it or forget it.

Q. And once you return?

A. If you were away longer than three months in a developing country, had done aid work or were exposed to needles or fresh water, or had been ill or had sex, I'd recommend doing a screen for various infections at a travel clinic. If you were healthy during a short trip, there's no need.


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Destination: Wellness

Jim Wilson/The New York Times; Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

Clockwise from top left: Pacific views at the Esalen Institute, reflexology path at La Costa Resort and Spa, yoga and pool at Rancho La Puerta. More Photos »

SO I'm sitting in a hotel in upstate New York with my feet in a bucket of warm water charged with electricity when it suddenly hits me that maybe "getting well" wasn't going to be as much fun as I thought it was going to be.

The procedure I was receiving was an "ionic detox foot bath," one of dozens of allegedly medicinal services offered during a Health and Wellness Weekend held in November at the Edge Hotel, a woodsy establishment in Lyons Falls, N.Y. In this case, the bath involved placing my feet in a small bucket of salt water charged with a small current for half an hour — a process that was meant to draw out the "yucky stuff" in my body by osmosis according to its practitioner, a frizzy-haired former chain smoker named Brenda, who assured me the bath was perfectly safe.

"But," she added with a laugh, "I don't know anything about ampage."

Oh boy. At first glance, this mission had seemed like a breeze: a search for "wellness" — that seemingly unimpeachable state that has become as common a come-on in travel circles as "eco-friendly." There are wellness retreats, wellness diets, wellness beauty treatments, wellness classes, wellness resorts, wellness hotels, wellness weekends and, of course, wellness experts.

"Wellness is this feeling of confidence, this feeling of vitality, this feeling of "You got this,' " said Dr. Jim Nicolai, the medical director of the Andrew Weil integrative wellness program at Miraval Resort and Spa, in Tucson, Ariz. "Wellness is a verb just as much as an adjective."

And, often, a very lucrative verb, dressing up everything from alternative medicines to anti-aging products. A week at Miraval, for example, can set you back $475 a night. And it's not just for scenic spots either: the MGM Grand in Las Vegas has added special wellness rooms and suites; Canyon Ranch's SpaClub in Vegas also employs "wellness professionals." In October, the InterContinental Hotels Group, which owns Holiday Inn, announced plans for its Even Hotels — with an "intrinsic focus on wellness in terms of food, work, exercise and rest" — at dozens of locations across the country. So-called wellness tourism is estimated to be a $106 billion chunk of the trillion-dollar worldwide "wellness cluster," a market that includes travel as well as things like medical tourism, nutrition and fitness, according to a 2010 study prepared for the Global Spa and Wellness Summit by SRI International, an independent, nonprofit research firm.

But what exactly is wellness? I thought I'd find out. And so, saddled with a sore Achilles' tendon, an ever-present threat of heartburn and all manner of life stressors, I embarked on a cross-country search. I was left, on various occasions, body-weary, sleep-deprived and incredibly waterlogged. Along the way I meditated and hyperventilated, and was plyometric-ed, watsu-ed and ceremonially "crowned." I hiked and ran, floated and swam. I had my chakras read — my aura looks like a giant pistachio — and ate more quinoa than I can remember. And at the Esalen Institute, perched on the California coast and seemingly on the edge of the world, I got naked with a bunch of strangers and watched the sunset.

ACCORDING to SRI, the wellness movement is "a proactive and holistic approach" meant to address "the root causes of our personal and societal ills." The term wellness, though, has old roots and myriad modern meanings. Dr. Halbert Dunn, author of the 1961 book "High-Level Wellness," described it as something that included self-knowledge, creative expression and good health. Since then, that definition has evolved to the broader one we have today, which includes sleek, strictly regimented operations like the Ranch at Live Oak, a $5,600-a-week "endurance, wellness and nutrition program" in Malibu, Calif.

But there are still places where you can go to experience something more along the lines of what Dr. Dunn was talking about. Though Esalen does not drape itself in wellness terminology, the 50-year-old institute is still advertising its goal of "pioneering deep change in self and society," and thus seemed like a pretty good place to explore the roots of what wellness might be. For me, Esalen long had a reputation as a mystical hideaway on the California coast, but unexpected guests have not traditionally simply dropped in. Most are there to attend one of the institute's hundreds of workshops, which can range from tantric sex to Gestalt theory. (Not at the same time, of course.)

Over the years, Esalen started allowing for so-called "personal retreats," which you can book after donating at least $50 to the Institute. I did exactly that, and booked a $650-a-night "point house" in mid-November.

Mind you, just getting to Esalen had involved flying across the country and then driving three hours south from San Francisco, a long day that had left me with an empty belly and soft brain.

But when I finally arrived, my first impression was simple: wow.

Situated on a nugget of land thrust into the Pacific, Esalen has commanding views of the California coastline, with its cliffs tapering into the ocean, and a campus that is both rustic and seemingly in harmony with Mother Nature. Vines creep along cobwebbed and rust-flecked fences that line the edge of a central glade where groups do HoopYogini, which combines yoga with a hula hoop. Monarch butterflies and green hummingbirds flit about the institute's central garden — organic, naturally — while a stream burbles down a canyon to the surf below. At one point I looked down during a walk and saw the words "Thank you" and "Love" in small stone and twigs arranged on the ground.

Well, I thought, that was easy. I feel better already.

JESSE McKINLEY is a features reporter at The New York Times.


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The Getaway: When Going Solo Is Not the Goal

Written By wartini cantika on Sabtu, 29 Desember 2012 | 17.35

A NEWSPAPER. Gum. A bottle of water.

These aren't the only things travelers are picking up at the airport nowadays.

"Share a drink with an attractive stranger in the totally safe environment of a public airport," reads the home page of the new Web site Meetattheairport.com. While it resembles mainstream dating sites like Match.com and OkCupid — members create profiles with their photos, age, body type — Meet at the Airport also asks users to include the name of their local airport, the time they'll be there or the location and time that they'll be at any other terminal in the world.

It's among a rash of new apps and sites designed to connect travelers with one another (or with locals) for friendship, love or something in between. Whether you're looking for a tour guide, a travel buddy or a frequent-flying soul mate, here's how to find a site that's right for you.

If You're Looking for Love

Members of Meetattheairport.com — which enables travelers to find and message one another if they are passing through an airport at the same time — describe themselves in one of several ways: "looking for something serious," "looking for something casual," "open to possibilities" (whatever that means), "looking for friends only," "just looking to talk and pass the time" or "looking for a travel friend." There are a number of options, though it seems most users want more than a friend. There are many single travelers (they note this in the "relationship status" section) seeking dates. There are also some married travelers for whom that detail does not appear to preclude seeking dates. At least they're honest. Consider it a reminder to read the fine print. Speaking of which, like most dating sites and social networks, Meet at the Airport states in its fine print (seriously, I needed a magnifying glass) that "it does not take responsibility in checking the truth or accuracy of any information posted to the website" and that it does not "screen the content of any information provided to it."

Bottom line: Airport dating is an amusing idea, but if you do arrange a rendezvous don't share your flight information or itinerary with your date — you don't want a stranger trailing you in a strange city. And be sure to tell friends or family where, when and with whom you're meeting (Panda Express, Terminal 4, 3 o'clock!). Also promise that afterward you will call them (not text because, hey, a text can be sent by anyone).

If You're a Woman Going Solo

Women who are traveling alone but don't necessarily want to eat alone can scour Inviteforabite.com for public invitations from other female travelers. Why only women? Safety. In some neighborhoods visiting a bar at night by yourself is unwise and, as the site contends, "meeting unknown men for dinner far from home is risky." A recent search on Invite for a Bite brought up invitations for dinner in Rome, coffee in Hamburg and brunch in Singapore. You can also post your own invitation.

Bottom line: A smart concept, though so far there is not a critical mass of users so there are not as many invitations as one might hope.

If You Want to Make Friends at Hostels

Youth hostels are, in general, very social places, but the iPhone app WeHostels aims to make them even more so by enabling travelers to meet one another before they even check in. To use the app, select a city, enter your travel dates and then browse its top five hostels as well as the profiles of people who plan to stay there.

Bottom line: A particularly appealing idea for solo travelers hoping to meet fellow tourists, though you have to book a hostel through the site (which offers only five hostels in certain areas) in order to communicate with other people staying there.

If You Want to Hang Out With the Locals

Triptrotting.com connects travelers with locals for advice and activities like bike riding in Beijing or a photo tour of New York landmarks. And while it's not a dating site, the algorithm it uses to match travelers — based on qualities like interests, personality and profession — was created by a former chief scientist at the dating site eHarmony.com.

Bottom line: Like other such sites, this is an easy way to find like-minded adventurers. But because it's new, it has fewer members than more established sites like Couchsurfing.org.

On Globetrooper.com, users can post a trip they're planning and invite strangers to join. People using the site can see the trip details. If they're interested in participating, they "follow" the trip by clicking a button, which in turn enables them to post comments and ask questions about it to see whether it is indeed something they want to do. If they decide that it is, they confirm their participation and agree on a starting point.


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36 Hours in El Paso, Tex.

Mark Holm for The New York Times

Clockwise from top left: Taking in the view from Scenic Drive, boots on El Paso Street, Lotus dance club, the Plaza Theater, the Hoppy Monk and Ardovino's Desert Crossing. More Photos »

SITUATED at the intersection of Texas, Mexico and New Mexico, El Paso is a city with a distinct flavor. It juxtaposes authentic Mexican culture with a growing hipster scene, and though it's one of the largest cities in Texas, it still often ends up as a mere pit stop on I-10. Once the storied heart of the Old West (and playground of Billy the Kid), El Paso has recently gained much of the big-city feel of its neighbor across the border, Ciudad Juárez. It has come into its own with new theaters, restaurants and nightclubs, many of them transplants from its sister city, the epicenter of the Mexican drug war.

Friday

4 p.m.
1. WINE COUNTRY

Though El Paso's summers, with days that often reach into the 100s, may seem an unforgiving setting for grape-growing, it turns out that zinfandels take quite nicely to the sun. Stop by Zin Valle Vineyards (7315 Canutillo La Union Road; 915-877-4544; zinvalle.com) or the neighboring La Viña Winery (4201 South Highway 28; 575-882-7632; lavinawinery.com) for generous wine tastings (free at Zin Valle or $5 at La Viña). Both sit along the historic Don Juan de Oñate Trail, a section of El Camino Real, which marks the route that Oñate, the explorer and conquistador, forged in 1598 to settle north of the Rio Grande. A drive down this road reveals majestic pecan groves and vast fields of cotton, chile peppers and corn.

7 p.m.
2. EAT LOCAL

With Juárez right across the highway, it's a no-brainer that El Paso has always been a prime spot for Mexican food. And though enchiladas and tortas still prevail, the past few years have begun to see a locavore, foodie culture spread through the city. And why not? With plenty of undeveloped land still surrounding El Paso, there's room to cultivate nearly everything. Tom's Folk Cafe (204 Boston Avenue; 915-500-5573; tomsfolkcafe.com) epitomizes the new El Paso dining scene, and the tiny restaurant would feel at home in Brooklyn with its local meat, veggies and breads, wine-bottle candlesticks and nouveau Southern food. After an order of hush puppies stuffed with pulled pork ($14), try an oversized burger with Brie, bacon and blueberry jam ($10.50) or pan-seared snapper with crawfish ragout ($20).

9 p.m.
3. INDIE SCENE

New music venues are part of El Paso's night-life scene, and with the Coachella music festival to the west and Austin City Limits festival to the east, El Paso could be on its way to becoming a hot spot on indie bands' tours. The Lowbrow Palace (111 Robinson Avenue; thelowbrowpalace.com) caters to the college crowd and regularly features local bands as well as touring acts. Tricky Falls (209 South El Paso Street; 915-351-9938; trickyfalls.com) is a brand-new music space in a gorgeous historic building; right above it is Bowie Feathers (209 South El Paso Street; 915-351-9909), a bar and hipster haven with black leather booths and funky wall art that also hosts musicians.

11:30 p.m.
4. BAR-HOPPING

Since Mexico's drug war pushed night life over the border from Juárez to El Paso, new bars are packed with thirsty customers. Choose among drink specials at Hope and Anchor (4012 North Mesa Street; 915-533-8010; hopeandanchorelpaso.com) on the large back patio strung with lights and paper lanterns, or if beer is your thing, go down the street to the Hoppy Monk (4141 North Mesa Street; 915-307-3263; thehoppymonk.com) and try one of the 70 or so craft brews on tap.

Saturday

9 a.m.
5. FARMERS' MORNING

Drive into the desert for brunch at Ardovino's Desert Crossing (1 Ardovino Drive; 575-589-0653; ardovinos.com) — and if it's warm enough (which it often is, even in winter), hang out on the patio beneath the big, blue sky. A recent brunch included a prickly pear mimosa ($5.50), caramelized grapefruit ($2.50) and Jackpot Waffle topped with chicken, bacon and sautéed apples ($12). Leave room for red-wine-infused ice cream with chocolate cake ($9) and watch the train rumble by at the foot of Mount Cristo Rey. If you're here between May and October, check out the adjacent Farmers' Market, which features local produce and artisan crafts with local flair. Pick up ocotillo-flower soap ($4.50), a jar of raspberry chipotle jam ($8), or some edible desert delicacies, like cactus fruit or yucca.

11 a.m.
6. DESERT TRAILS

El Paso's beauty stems from the inescapable mountains that surround the city. Head to the Franklin Mountains State Park ($5; on McKelligon Canyon Road; 915-566-6441; tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/franklin-mountains) to hike desert mountain trails replete with cactuses, agaves and lizards. Explore McKelligon Canyon if you enter the park on the east side of the city, or begin a trail from the Transmountain Road entrance on the west.

1 p.m.
7. ARTS AND CULTURE

A serious push over the last few years to revitalize the downtown is finally bearing fruit. Renovated historic buildings are getting their due, and a spate of fresh establishments is breathing new life into classic El Paso haunts. Visit the free El Paso Museum of Art (1 Arts Festival Plaza; 915-532-1707; elpasoartmuseum.org) for its collection of Southwestern and local artwork, right next to the Plaza Theater (125 Pioneer Plaza; 915-534-0600; theplazatheatre.org). The pride of El Paso when it opened in 1930, the Plaza experienced a decline in the '50s and a near-demolition in the '80s, but the theater has recently made a triumphant return as a beautiful, colorful setting for Broadway shows and the El Paso Symphony Orchestra. For a taste of (more lowbrow) local flavor, wander down El Paso Street, which is lined with pawn shops and Mexican stores full of cheap clothes, cowboy boots and oddities. Pancho Villa's dismembered trigger finger has a going rate of $9,500.

5 p.m.
8. COCKTAIL HOUR

Historic El Paso lurks in its old, classy bars. Have a mojito beneath the rotunda of vintage Tiffany glass at the Camino Real Hotel's Dome Bar (101 South El Paso Street; 915-534-3000; caminorealelpaso.com/dining), or settle in with a top-shelf drink or cigar at the luxurious, nearly 100-year-old Café Central (109 North Oregon Street; 915-545-2233; cafecentral.com).

8 p.m.
9. SHARING TAPAS

Across the street from an old locomotive on display in the downtown entertainment district is a cobbled block of dimly lighted restaurants. Tabla (115 Durango Street; 915-533-8935; tabla-ep.com) leaves little to be desired with its modern décor, a rotation of custom-infused liquors and an extensive menu of tapas. Its mantra is "share," and after sharing pork confit with goat cheese polenta ($12), grilled asparagus with Serrano ham and salsa verde ($8), and huge pieces of bruschetta loaded with smoked salmon ($10), you'll also be sharing exclamations of delight.

11 p.m.
10. DANCE, DANCE, DANCE

Locals used to flock across the border on weekends to fill upscale Mexican nightclubs, but the clubbing scene has lately shifted to downtown El Paso. The brand-new Lotus (201 North Stanton Street; 915-503-2335; lotusep.com) is a sleek and ultramodern club with three floors, two separate D.J.'s and a huge Buddha sculpture presiding over the dance floor. The nearby Garden (511 Western Street; 915-544-4400; thegardenep.com) has a daytime dining patio that is transformed into an outdoor club on weekends.

Sunday

10:30 a.m.
11. BORDER-TOWN BRUNCH

Pile green chiles, chorizo, avocado and chipotle onto eggs and serve with a side of black beans, and you have a true Southwestern breakfast. A surprisingly chic spot in a nondescript strip mall, Ripe Eatery (910 East Redd Road; 915-584-7473; ripeeatery.com) stands out for its Southwest Scramble ($9) and Brisket Ranchero Eggs Benedict ($11). Wash it down with a cold Chelada (beer, Bloody Mary mix and lime, $4.75) and then stop by Valentine's Bakery (6415 North Mesa Street; 915-585-8720) for an assortment of delicious Mexican pastries — and at 80 cents apiece, you might as well try all of them.

1 p.m.
12. 2 COUNTRIES, 3 STATES

Take a ride along Scenic Drive, which winds through the mountains with views of the city and deposits you near the Wyler Aerial Tramway (1700 McKinley Avenue; 915-566-6622; tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/wyler-aerial-tramway). This is one of the only public trams in Texas, and the four-minute ride to the peak of the mountain ($7) ends in panoramic views of the convergence of two countries and three states (Texas, New Mexico and Chihuahua, Mexico).

IF YOU GO

Built 100 years ago as the ultimate in luxury, the Camino Real Hotel (101 South El Paso Street; 915-534-3000; caminorealelpaso.com), with rooms from $69, still preserves much of its prestige and history in the original, vintage lobby bedecked with chandeliers and ornate golden molding. During the Mexican Revolution, guests would gather on the hotel's rooftop to watch battles play out below.

The DoubleTree Hotel (600 North El Paso Street; 915-532-8733; doubletreeelpasohotel.com) with rates starting at $84, is a new addition to El Paso's downtown skyline, and its rooms and public terrace provide wonderful views of the city.


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Bites: Restaurant Report: Belcampo Meat Co. in Larkspur, Calif.

Joshua David Stein

Belcampo Meat Co., in Larkspur, Calif.

Though rich in dining options, San Francisco is not quite as besotted with all things meat as other major American cities. New York has the Spotted Pig and Swine; Los Angeles has Animal and Lazy Ox. But the Bay Area, perhaps still under the thrall of flower children grown gray, has yet to welcome a meat temple of its own. Belcampo Meat Co., a restaurant and butcher shop that opened in November in Larkspur, 30 minutes north of San Francisco, aims to change that.

One half of the large space contains a long, gleaming stainless-steel butcher counter, filled with hunks of bright red meat. The counter flows into a spacious informal restaurant that serves an extremely simple, extremely meaty and deeply satisfying menu.

All the meat in the shop and restaurant comes from Belcampo's 10,000-acre farm a few hours upstate, where the cows graze in the shadow of Mount Shasta, the chickens are slow-growing heritage animals, the pigs forage in wetland and skittish quail are left alone until, obviously, they aren't. They are then trucked 15 miles away to Belcampo's abattoir, a 20,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility designed according to the principles of the activist Temple Grandin, that, as kindly as possible, turns pigs into pork, cows into beef and so forth. "The restaurant is only 10 percent of what we do," said Anya Fernald, the company's chief executive.

As for the menu, the chef, Ross Wollen, focuses on the bounty of the meat locker, which is visible behind the counter. Beef appears, only minimally transformed, as extraordinarily juicy burgers accompanied by Cheddar cheese on a homemade brioche or, at brunch, braised beef hash with a poached egg. The goats, having had their fill of the views, are here, too, in a milk-braised goat shoulder, which feeds four (there's also a goat rack for two on the brunch menu).

Though Ms. Fernald shies away from prime cuts on the menu — "we can sell them easily in the butcher case," she explained — there is steak. During a recent visit, a massive rib-eye, aged 21 days, came with a pat of whipped pig lardo.

Some might find eating in sight of a window, in which a pig's head hangs dolefully, off-putting. But "transparency is a key part of what we do," Ms. Fernald said. "The meat locker is my statement to anyone coming in to eat."

Belcampo Meat Co.; 2405 Larkspur Landing Circle, Larkspur, Calif.; (415) 448-5810; belcampomeatco.com. An average meal for two, without drinks or tip, is about $45.


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Q&A: Catching the Sights, Not the Bugs

Friends and family so often asked Dr. Charles E. Davis, a specialist in microbiology and infectious disease, how to avoid getting sick when they travel abroad, he decided to put all of his advice in one place. The result is "The International Traveler's Guide to Avoiding Infections," released this year by Johns Hopkins University Press. Below are edited excerpts with Dr. Davis in a discussion about precautions international travelers should take before and after trips to far-flung destinations.

Q. What steps should you take before you depart?

A. If you're going to a developing country, visit a travel clinic four to eight weeks before you travel to get any immunizations you may need. You can find one on the Web sites of the International Society of Travel Medicine or the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Make an appointment with your primary care physician for a physical examination and for any routine immunizations like a D.P.T. update, hepatitis A and B and influenza; insurance companies generally do not cover travel-related immunizations, so if you get these done at travel clinics, you run the risk of paying out of pocket. Pregnant women, children and those with compromised immune systems should definitely consult their physicians; recommendations for immunizations and antibiotics vary for them. And check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Web site for travel notices about current disease outbreaks.

Q. What happens at the travel clinic?

A. You'll be asked your medical history and a number of questions about your trip's itinerary, duration and purpose, which lets the physician determine which immunizations you need. Going on a business trip to a large city in a developing country, you're at much less risk of contracting an infection than, say, doing a safari trip or aid work in a rural region.

Q. Is travelers' insurance worth getting?

A. Depends on your destination, your age, your health, what you're doing and whether or not you're a gambler. A good travel insurance policy, which can run from a hundred to several hundred dollars, provides you with medical treatment, assistance from a physician-supported, 24-hour emergency call center and, if necessary, emergency medical evacuation. Some good ones I recommend are FrontierMEDEX; International SOS; and CSA Travel Protection. You can comparison shop at TravelGuard.com or InsureMyTrip.com.

Q. What should you pack?

A. For any overseas trip, I recommend taking along self-treatment for traveler's diarrhea — loperamide, known by the brand name Imodium here, and an antibiotic, the most common being ciprofloxacin.

If you're going to a malarial area, the travel clinic should prescribe you malaria prophylaxis, the most common of which is Malarone, to take during your trip and seven days after it. That will kill off any parasites in your bloodstream, but two milder forms of malaria can continue to multiply in the liver. If you develop an unexplained fever six months, even a year, after your return, go to your doctor.

Other things to pack: Band-Aids and topical antibiotics to treat minor wounds; water purification tablets like Potable Aquaor Coghlan's or portable filters; sunscreen; and insect repellent with 30 to 50 percent DEET. Hikers should bring a full suture kit. If you're staying in accommodations that do not have good screens, I recommend getting mosquito nets and clothes impregnated with pyrethrum, a natural insect repellent.

Q. While you're visiting a country, what should you keep in mind?

A. Avoid tap water and ice in developing countries as well as salads and buffets, which bacteria just love. A good rule to follow: boil it, peel it or forget it.

Q. And once you return?

A. If you were away longer than three months in a developing country, had done aid work or were exposed to needles or fresh water, or had been ill or had sex, I'd recommend doing a screen for various infections at a travel clinic. If you were healthy during a short trip, there's no need.


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In Transit Blog: Where's That Picasso? An App Can Help

Written By wartini cantika on Jumat, 28 Desember 2012 | 17.35

For every interest, there is an app to help you find out where to enjoy it. Like cigars? Cigar Boss will tell you where to buy habaneros. Do you ski? There are too many guides to resorts to count. But art is a little harder to locate with your smartphone. It is this gap that the makers of the popular app Art Authority seek to fill. They have added a more location-focused app called Art Alert to steer you to famous works.

"We wanted to bring museums of the world to people, but we also wanted to bring people to museums of the world," said Alan Oppenheimer, president of Open Door Networks, which created the apps.

The app shows you a map with an icon indicating your location and pins indicating nearby institutions. Clicking on one will provide the museum's phone number, Web page and an option that lets you browse works. If you have the Art Authority app, too, once you land at, say, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and are taking in an El Greco, you can read a biography of the artist and find information about similar works.


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36 Hours in El Paso, Tex.

Mark Holm for The New York Times

Clockwise from top left: Taking in the view from Scenic Drive, boots on El Paso Street, Lotus dance club, the Plaza Theater, the Hoppy Monk and Ardovino's Desert Crossing. More Photos »

SITUATED at the intersection of Texas, Mexico and New Mexico, El Paso is a city with a distinct flavor. It juxtaposes authentic Mexican culture with a growing hipster scene, and though it's one of the largest cities in Texas, it still often ends up as a mere pit stop on I-10. Once the storied heart of the Old West (and playground of Billy the Kid), El Paso has recently gained much of the big-city feel of its neighbor across the border, Ciudad Juárez. It has come into its own with new theaters, restaurants and nightclubs, many of them transplants from its sister city, the epicenter of the Mexican drug war.

Friday

4 p.m.
1. WINE COUNTRY

Though El Paso's summers, with days that often reach into the 100s, may seem an unforgiving setting for grape-growing, it turns out that zinfandels take quite nicely to the sun. Stop by Zin Valle Vineyards (7315 Canutillo La Union Road; 915-877-4544; zinvalle.com) or the neighboring La Viña Winery (4201 South Highway 28; 575-882-7632; lavinawinery.com) for generous wine tastings (free at Zin Valle or $5 at La Viña). Both sit along the historic Don Juan de Oñate Trail, a section of El Camino Real, which marks the route that Oñate, the explorer and conquistador, forged in 1598 to settle north of the Rio Grande. A drive down this road reveals majestic pecan groves and vast fields of cotton, chile peppers and corn.

7 p.m.
2. EAT LOCAL

With Juárez right across the highway, it's a no-brainer that El Paso has always been a prime spot for Mexican food. And though enchiladas and tortas still prevail, the past few years have begun to see a locavore, foodie culture spread through the city. And why not? With plenty of undeveloped land still surrounding El Paso, there's room to cultivate nearly everything. Tom's Folk Cafe (204 Boston Avenue; 915-500-5573; tomsfolkcafe.com) epitomizes the new El Paso dining scene, and the tiny restaurant would feel at home in Brooklyn with its local meat, veggies and breads, wine-bottle candlesticks and nouveau Southern food. After an order of hush puppies stuffed with pulled pork ($14), try an oversized burger with Brie, bacon and blueberry jam ($10.50) or pan-seared snapper with crawfish ragout ($20).

9 p.m.
3. INDIE SCENE

New music venues are part of El Paso's night-life scene, and with the Coachella music festival to the west and Austin City Limits festival to the east, El Paso could be on its way to becoming a hot spot on indie bands' tours. The Lowbrow Palace (111 Robinson Avenue; thelowbrowpalace.com) caters to the college crowd and regularly features local bands as well as touring acts. Tricky Falls (209 South El Paso Street; 915-351-9938; trickyfalls.com) is a brand-new music space in a gorgeous historic building; right above it is Bowie Feathers (209 South El Paso Street; 915-351-9909), a bar and hipster haven with black leather booths and funky wall art that also hosts musicians.

11:30 p.m.
4. BAR-HOPPING

Since Mexico's drug war pushed night life over the border from Juárez to El Paso, new bars are packed with thirsty customers. Choose among drink specials at Hope and Anchor (4012 North Mesa Street; 915-533-8010; hopeandanchorelpaso.com) on the large back patio strung with lights and paper lanterns, or if beer is your thing, go down the street to the Hoppy Monk (4141 North Mesa Street; 915-307-3263; thehoppymonk.com) and try one of the 70 or so craft brews on tap.

Saturday

9 a.m.
5. FARMERS' MORNING

Drive into the desert for brunch at Ardovino's Desert Crossing (1 Ardovino Drive; 575-589-0653; ardovinos.com) — and if it's warm enough (which it often is, even in winter), hang out on the patio beneath the big, blue sky. A recent brunch included a prickly pear mimosa ($5.50), caramelized grapefruit ($2.50) and Jackpot Waffle topped with chicken, bacon and sautéed apples ($12). Leave room for red-wine-infused ice cream with chocolate cake ($9) and watch the train rumble by at the foot of Mount Cristo Rey. If you're here between May and October, check out the adjacent Farmers' Market, which features local produce and artisan crafts with local flair. Pick up ocotillo-flower soap ($4.50), a jar of raspberry chipotle jam ($8), or some edible desert delicacies, like cactus fruit or yucca.

11 a.m.
6. DESERT TRAILS

El Paso's beauty stems from the inescapable mountains that surround the city. Head to the Franklin Mountains State Park ($5; on McKelligon Canyon Road; 915-566-6441; tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/franklin-mountains) to hike desert mountain trails replete with cactuses, agaves and lizards. Explore McKelligon Canyon if you enter the park on the east side of the city, or begin a trail from the Transmountain Road entrance on the west.

1 p.m.
7. ARTS AND CULTURE

A serious push over the last few years to revitalize the downtown is finally bearing fruit. Renovated historic buildings are getting their due, and a spate of fresh establishments is breathing new life into classic El Paso haunts. Visit the free El Paso Museum of Art (1 Arts Festival Plaza; 915-532-1707; elpasoartmuseum.org) for its collection of Southwestern and local artwork, right next to the Plaza Theater (125 Pioneer Plaza; 915-534-0600; theplazatheatre.org). The pride of El Paso when it opened in 1930, the Plaza experienced a decline in the '50s and a near-demolition in the '80s, but the theater has recently made a triumphant return as a beautiful, colorful setting for Broadway shows and the El Paso Symphony Orchestra. For a taste of (more lowbrow) local flavor, wander down El Paso Street, which is lined with pawn shops and Mexican stores full of cheap clothes, cowboy boots and oddities. Pancho Villa's dismembered trigger finger has a going rate of $9,500.

5 p.m.
8. COCKTAIL HOUR

Historic El Paso lurks in its old, classy bars. Have a mojito beneath the rotunda of vintage Tiffany glass at the Camino Real Hotel's Dome Bar (101 South El Paso Street; 915-534-3000; caminorealelpaso.com/dining), or settle in with a top-shelf drink or cigar at the luxurious, nearly 100-year-old Café Central (109 North Oregon Street; 915-545-2233; cafecentral.com).

8 p.m.
9. SHARING TAPAS

Across the street from an old locomotive on display in the downtown entertainment district is a cobbled block of dimly lighted restaurants. Tabla (115 Durango Street; 915-533-8935; tabla-ep.com) leaves little to be desired with its modern décor, a rotation of custom-infused liquors and an extensive menu of tapas. Its mantra is "share," and after sharing pork confit with goat cheese polenta ($12), grilled asparagus with Serrano ham and salsa verde ($8), and huge pieces of bruschetta loaded with smoked salmon ($10), you'll also be sharing exclamations of delight.

11 p.m.
10. DANCE, DANCE, DANCE

Locals used to flock across the border on weekends to fill upscale Mexican nightclubs, but the clubbing scene has lately shifted to downtown El Paso. The brand-new Lotus (201 North Stanton Street; 915-503-2335; lotusep.com) is a sleek and ultramodern club with three floors, two separate D.J.'s and a huge Buddha sculpture presiding over the dance floor. The nearby Garden (511 Western Street; 915-544-4400; thegardenep.com) has a daytime dining patio that is transformed into an outdoor club on weekends.

Sunday

10:30 a.m.
11. BORDER-TOWN BRUNCH

Pile green chiles, chorizo, avocado and chipotle onto eggs and serve with a side of black beans, and you have a true Southwestern breakfast. A surprisingly chic spot in a nondescript strip mall, Ripe Eatery (910 East Redd Road; 915-584-7473; ripeeatery.com) stands out for its Southwest Scramble ($9) and Brisket Ranchero Eggs Benedict ($11). Wash it down with a cold Chelada (beer, Bloody Mary mix and lime, $4.75) and then stop by Valentine's Bakery (6415 North Mesa Street; 915-585-8720) for an assortment of delicious Mexican pastries — and at 80 cents apiece, you might as well try all of them.

1 p.m.
12. 2 COUNTRIES, 3 STATES

Take a ride along Scenic Drive, which winds through the mountains with views of the city and deposits you near the Wyler Aerial Tramway (1700 McKinley Avenue; 915-566-6622; tpwd.state.tx.us/state-parks/wyler-aerial-tramway). This is one of the only public trams in Texas, and the four-minute ride to the peak of the mountain ($7) ends in panoramic views of the convergence of two countries and three states (Texas, New Mexico and Chihuahua, Mexico).

IF YOU GO

Built 100 years ago as the ultimate in luxury, the Camino Real Hotel (101 South El Paso Street; 915-534-3000; caminorealelpaso.com), with rooms from $69, still preserves much of its prestige and history in the original, vintage lobby bedecked with chandeliers and ornate golden molding. During the Mexican Revolution, guests would gather on the hotel's rooftop to watch battles play out below.

The DoubleTree Hotel (600 North El Paso Street; 915-532-8733; doubletreeelpasohotel.com) with rates starting at $84, is a new addition to El Paso's downtown skyline, and its rooms and public terrace provide wonderful views of the city.


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Cats and Coffee in Seoul

Long hours at the office, tiny apartments and high stress levels are so characteristic of life in Seoul that the city's motto might as well be "Abandon sleep, all ye who enter here." So it's not surprising that Seoul residents keep thousands of coffee shops in business. The cafes allow tired masses to meet in a space that's neither home nor work, taking time out from busy schedules to see friends and relax. While faceless chains are plentiful, a number of quirky theme cafes have sprung up, satisfying both the need for caffeine and the Korean passion for anything trendy, cute or both. Charming, whimsical and sometimes downright bizarre, these places embody a peculiarly Korean sensibility.

— NELL McSHANE WULFHART

Pictured: Hello Kitty cafe.


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Q&A: Catching the Sights, Not the Bugs

Written By wartini cantika on Kamis, 27 Desember 2012 | 17.35

Friends and family so often asked Dr. Charles E. Davis, a specialist in microbiology and infectious disease, how to avoid getting sick when they travel abroad, he decided to put all of his advice in one place. The result is "The International Traveler's Guide to Avoiding Infections," released this year by Johns Hopkins University Press. Below are edited excerpts with Dr. Davis in a discussion about precautions international travelers should take before and after trips to far-flung destinations.

Q. What steps should you take before you depart?

A. If you're going to a developing country, visit a travel clinic four to eight weeks before you travel to get any immunizations you may need. You can find one on the Web sites of the International Society of Travel Medicine or the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Make an appointment with your primary care physician for a physical examination and for any routine immunizations like a D.P.T. update, hepatitis A and B and influenza; insurance companies generally do not cover travel-related immunizations, so if you get these done at travel clinics, you run the risk of paying out of pocket. Pregnant women, children and those with compromised immune systems should definitely consult their physicians; recommendations for immunizations and antibiotics vary for them. And check out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Web site for travel notices about current disease outbreaks.

Q. What happens at the travel clinic?

A. You'll be asked your medical history and a number of questions about your trip's itinerary, duration and purpose, which lets the physician determine which immunizations you need. Going on a business trip to a large city in a developing country, you're at much less risk of contracting an infection than, say, doing a safari trip or aid work in a rural region.

Q. Is travelers' insurance worth getting?

A. Depends on your destination, your age, your health, what you're doing and whether or not you're a gambler. A good travel insurance policy, which can run from a hundred to several hundred dollars, provides you with medical treatment, assistance from a physician-supported, 24-hour emergency call center and, if necessary, emergency medical evacuation. Some good ones I recommend are FrontierMEDEX; International SOS; and CSA Travel Protection. You can comparison shop at TravelGuard.com or InsureMyTrip.com.

Q. What should you pack?

A. For any overseas trip, I recommend taking along self-treatment for traveler's diarrhea — loperamide, known by the brand name Imodium here, and an antibiotic, the most common being ciprofloxacin.

If you're going to a malarial area, the travel clinic should prescribe you malaria prophylaxis, the most common of which is Malarone, to take during your trip and seven days after it. That will kill off any parasites in your bloodstream, but two milder forms of malaria can continue to multiply in the liver. If you develop an unexplained fever six months, even a year, after your return, go to your doctor.

Other things to pack: Band-Aids and topical antibiotics to treat minor wounds; water purification tablets like Potable Aquaor Coghlan's or portable filters; sunscreen; and insect repellent with 30 to 50 percent DEET. Hikers should bring a full suture kit. If you're staying in accommodations that do not have good screens, I recommend getting mosquito nets and clothes impregnated with pyrethrum, a natural insect repellent.

Q. While you're visiting a country, what should you keep in mind?

A. Avoid tap water and ice in developing countries as well as salads and buffets, which bacteria just love. A good rule to follow: boil it, peel it or forget it.

Q. And once you return?

A. If you were away longer than three months in a developing country, had done aid work or were exposed to needles or fresh water, or had been ill or had sex, I'd recommend doing a screen for various infections at a travel clinic. If you were healthy during a short trip, there's no need.


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In Transit Blog: Business Travelers in Haiti Will Have a New Marriott

Digicel, the telecommunications giant, and Marriott International recently broke ground on a $45 million hotel in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, that is to open in early 2015.

The 175-room hotel is a milestone for both companies: it is Marriott's first in Haiti and Digicel's first foray into tourism. Since the 2010 earthquake, Digicel, the country's largest employer, has spearheaded efforts to attract foreign investors. After realizing that there was a shortage of suitable accommodations for them, the company reached out to Marriott to build a business travelers' hotel with conference rooms and a ballroom that can seat 380 people.

"We are always encouraging people to look at the opportunity that Haiti presents from an investment point of view," said Colm Delves, Digicel's chief executive. "Not only will this be a solution to the accommodation issues in the city, it will also create jobs."

Mr. Delves added that the hotel would also have a swimming pool, restaurant and bar, to appeal to leisure visitors, too.


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Heads Up: In Toronto, a Locavore’s Life Made Easy

Laura Berman

Baking pizza in the outdoor brick bread oven at snow-covered Dufferin Grove Park in Toronto in early March.

FOR some, the term locavore has gone from revolutionary to groan-worthy, conjuring images of holier-than-thou elites with the means to worry about not just where, but by whom, their cheese is made. And yet, as easy as it might be to dismiss eating from harvests no more than 100 miles from home as a lark of the privileged, the movement is still gaining converts.

Toronto has embraced the trend with particular fervor. In a city where winters begin early and end late, every day of the week a new, or nearly new, ultra-local organic farmers' market can be found in neighborhood parks; each one named for its barrio in an effort by neighborhood associations to bring local to the locals. The markets, many of them year-round, also offer travelers a glimpse of daily life here.

"Up until a few years ago we had hardly any markets in the city, but it has really exploded," said John RichLeMonde, the director of Sorauren Park Farmers' Market (Monday 3 to 7 p.m.; corner of Sorauren Street and Wabash Avenue; westendfood.coop), a year-round operation that opened four years ago. During a visit this spring, dozens of children toddled about the market, dancing to the tunes of Jan Kudelka, a folk singer. Janet Dimond, owner of the stand Augie's Gourmet Ice Pops (augiesicepops.com) briskly sold fresh icy confections (watermelon infused with cucumber and ginger, strawberry mingled with rhubarb) for $2.75 and bowls of asparagus, lemon and chickpea soup for $3. "On a day like this," Ms. Dimond said, indicating the brilliant sunshine, "this is where everyone comes." Alli Millar, who lives down the block, sold loaves of spring onion and wild wheat bread, and sticky buns for $3. Two women sold vegetarian spring rolls, freshly rolled, under a banner labeled Earth and City (earthandcity.ca), and Bizjak Farms sold its cider and apples, picked just a few miles away in Niagara, Ontario (bizjakfarms.com).

Mr. RichLeMonde credits one market with inspiring others to open in Toronto, Dufferin Grove Market (Thursday, 3 to 7 p.m.; just south of the intersection of Dufferin and Bloor Streets; dufferinpark.ca). It is in a park that was once a postage stamp of green in a rough neighborhood that has vastly improved, some say because of the market's success since its arrival a decade ago. Dufferin Grove is a tremendous draw: on Friday nights, large communal dinners are cooked on site. The park has two giant outdoor wood-fired ovens where bread is baked and sold. It is also the site of a free ice skating rink.

Not all the markets are based in parks. "There are about 12 neighborhood markets in the Toronto Farmers' Market Network but over 30 markets in the city, some in civic centers, some in parking lots," said Anne Freeman, market manager at Dufferin Grove Market and a coordinator for the 90 markets in the green belt that hugs Toronto.

One of them is the Stop's Farmers' Market (Wychwood Barns, 601 Christie Street; thestop.org), which is held on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon in a former streetcar barn. Now the barns are used for artists' studios and the market.

The oldest market in the city, the St. Lawrence Farmers' Market (93 Front Street), is also held on Saturdays across a small plaza from the storied food stalls of the same name (the main hall is filled with permanent food vendors and restaurants). There, farmers line one side, peddling piles of asparagus for $1, and bakers sell pretzels, pies and breads. The Torontonian Andy Rattray's "Sabores Latinos" offers antibiotic- and hormone-free beef empanadas and black bean spicy quesadillas ($3.50 each). At the next stall, Moyer Rowe Family farms (rowefarms.ca) lets visitors taste freshly milled red fife wheat pasta and sauce, harvested and milled just outside of Toronto.

"People are interested in buying more locally, and that's starting to become mainstream," said Mr. RichLeMonde of the Sorauren Park market. "There's a sense that we are building the future economy."

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: December 26, 2012

An earlier version of this article misspelled the surname of the owner of Augie's Gourmet Ice Pops. She is Janet Dimond, not Diamond.


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Inside Disney’s New Fantasyland

Edward Linsmier for The New York Times

A new light show paints Cinderella's Castle at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla. Nearby, New Fantasyland doubles the Fantasyland area. More Photos »

"YOU have a great gig," I said to the mermaid as I sat down beside her in the giant clamshell. "You don't have to schlep around."

We pressed our heads together and smiled for a photograph as she replied, "But I wish I had legs."

So goes small talk in Fantasyland. Correction: New Fantasyland, where old-guard princesses like Snow White and Cinderella are suddenly neighbors with the next generation of Disney box office royalty: Ariel of "The Little Mermaid" and Belle of "Beauty and the Beast." The kingdom, you see, has undergone some changes.

It was Dec. 5, the night before the grand opening of New Fantasyland — the largest expansion in the 41-year history of the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla. — and the birth date of its founder. I was there to suss out the new additions, including Ariel's Grotto (where, like me, visitors can have their picture taken with the Little Mermaid); Bonjour! Village Gifts where aspiring princesses can snap up $64.95 Belle costumes; and the Be Our Guest Restaurant where, in defiance of Florida weather, soft, romantic snow perpetually falls outside the windows.

Having been to this park more than two dozen times, beginning with family vacations when I was 3, I figured I was qualified to review an expansion. I remember gingerly wrapping my arms around Pluto. I remember walking into the Haunted Mansion, fear rising in me like the ghosts that would soon materialize. I remember being surprised, as I peeked over the edge of my boat in It's a Small World, to spy hundreds of pennies shimmering in the water. I wondered how many of those wishes would come true.

So of course, I longed to see how Fantasyland had changed. At the same time, I was apprehensive. Might the old magic be eclipsed by slick, new attractions? Would Disney be able to strike a delicate balance between nostalgia and innovation?

I came to find out.

Fantasyland is the most popular land in the most popular Disney park in the world (the company has 11 theme parks in the United States, Europe and Asia). Still, Disney had a problem. It had successfully minted a new generation of princesses in movie theaters— but it had nowhere to put them in the park. Millions of little girls and boys grew up in the 1990s with "The Little Mermaid" and "Beauty and the Beast." Yet Ariel and Belle had neither ride nor realm in the Magic Kingdom.

If Disney were the White Rabbit, it might have been muttering to itself, "I'm late! I'm late! I'm late!" It was time to catch up. And so about five years ago the company's Imagineers — who have expertise in 140 different disciplines like electrical engineering, landscape architecture and graphic design — began dreaming up ways to literally put visitors into their favorite new fairy tales, from eating croque monsieur in the Beast's castle upon a hill, to riding through the Little Mermaid's grotto under the sea. They devised methods to make meeting the characters from those tales more intimate (perhaps a bit too intimate in the case of the Little Mermaid, who poses with fans in a bandeau top) and more orderly than the street encounters that I grew up with, which could be chaotic. And while they were at it, they looked for ways to make waiting in line entertaining.

To make all this fantasy a reality, Disney more than doubled the size of Fantasyland, to 21 acres from 10 acres. Along the way, there were casualties, like Snow White's Scary Adventures, a ride that had been in the park since it opened in 1971. Purists grumble when a classic ride like that is shuttered. Yet evolution is as much a part of Disney's DNA as mouse ears. The parks are always changing. Disney's Animal Kingdom Theme Park didn't exist when I was little. Another year, I arrived to find beaches in a spot where I didn't recall so much as a grain of sand. A few weeks ago, I zoomed along on the newly re-engineered Test Track Presented by Chevrolet at Epcot. As new Magic Kingdom attractions pop up, old favorites disappear, be it Mr. Toad's Wild Ride or 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

STEPHANIE ROSENBLOOM writes the Getaway column for the Travel section.


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