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March 2015

Suit Up, Mr. President

As sometimes happens over long weekends I get into delete and clean-up mode, which leads to finding of lost things, like this story, which never ran (was commissioned as a response to President Obama's tan suit scandal), which means it's unedited, but entertaining enough for me to bring forth, especially since the White House recently recalled the event.

courtesy of Saks Fifth Avenue (Abla suit)

In a profession swarming with men in black it’s simple to spot the stylish. And the President has been leading the sartorial charge since he took office, at least when it comes to suits (casually speaking he leans more Blockbuster employee; think back).

Obama’s isn’t the first White House closet full of made-to-measure garments, of course. Four score and forever ago ‘bespoke’ wasn’t merely a buzzword (our forefathers weren’t shopping off the rack), and, as the recent Ken Burns “The Roosevelts” reminds us, TR employed Brooks Brothers to outfit him, for war. Yet we’re trained to expect the frumpy when it comes to politics. So when the President steps out in a seasonally-appropriate tan suit we’re aghast. Or measurably aware.

Continue reading "Suit Up, Mr. President" »

Buenos Aires: Steak in Translation

image from “carne” in Buenos Aires and everyone will hear “beef”. The significance of steak in Argentina is so paramount that poultry and pork barely register as “meat”. And that’s just the start of the language of “bife”. We’re not saying skip the cordero (lamb) but here’s a guide to ordering the cut you want.


Read complete story at A Meat Lover’s Guide to Buenos Aires


Other Vocabulary Basics:

Parilla: a grate over direct heat (aka: a grill); a restaurant specializing in food cooked on a parilla

Parrillada: a combination grill platter that may include the likes of chinchulines (intestine) and criadillas (testicles). Go for it at least once – the time you don’t want a straight up steak - and share.

Chimichurri: an herby (usually parsley), garlicy, peppery, vinegary condiment that’s tasty with, well, everything.

La cuenta: the bill

Phone Free in Tokyo

image from was once usual, and before that unavoidable, smart-phone-free travel is now counterintuitive to the prevailing conventions of travel. But even in a city like Tokyo, famous for its illogical street map, can be navigated by noggin alone. This isn’t a challenge (you’re already reading guides and contemplating locale in preparation anyway; remember districts; take notes). This is a call to look around instead of down, to connect with the locals, and actually minimize frustration.


Read complete story (and other mini city guides) in Afar's March/April 2015 issue, or at Our Favorite City to Wander without a Phone


One more tip: Make Use of Your Manners

You don’t need a full bow to get someone’s attention or assistance - a nod of the head will do, following a sumimasen (excuse me), and after every encounter - but employing local manners will be reciprocated multifold.