Travel + Food

JA RESORTS, 360 MAGAZINE, TRAVEL

JA Manafaru Resort Team Cleans Up Nearby Island

in Support of Parley Maldives Initiative

JA Manafaru Resort in the Maldives collaborated with local partners, guests and the community to undertake a plastic removal and sustainability initiative on a neighboring island

JA Manafaru Maldives recently collaborated with a local school and their ocean activity partner, Best Dives Private Limited, to collect more than 23 jumbo bags of waste from a neighboring island and Marine Protected Area; Gallandhoo for recycling through Parley Maldives. 

Parley Maldives is the Maldives branch of Parley for the Oceans, a global collaboration network with a new approach to environmentalism. The mission of Parley is to end today’s major ocean threats through creativity, collaboration and eco-innovation. The private island resort of JA Manafaru itself is spectacularly beautiful and unspoilt, sitting in the crystal-clear waters of the most northern point of the Haa Alifu Atoll. Although the ocean and beach areas surrounding the award-winning resort are pristine examples awe-inspiring nature, other islands in the Maldives have issues with waste, particularly non- biodegradable materials like plastic.  

Best Dives Maldives, a local diving, excursion and ocean activity company partnered with the JA Manafaru Resort and a local school – Hoarafushi School, to undertake a monumental task in cleaning up the western coastline of Marine Protected Area (MPA), Gallandhoo. The JA Manafaru Environmental & Sustainability team planned the clean-up with Best Dives, informed guests and arranged resort boats to collect volunteers heading to the island to clean the area. Together more than 50 staff, guests, students and parents filled over 23 jumbo bags of waste in one hour. Marine biologists asserted that Gallandhoo Island looked strikingly different after the team efforts and considerable potential damage to marine life was averted. All the plastic waste collected will be sent to Parley.

To address the fast-growing threat of marine plastic pollution, Parley have devised a strategy that can be scaled across private households, schools, businesses and governments: Parley AIR — Avoid, Intercept, Redesign. Guided by these pillars, they advocate avoiding the use of single-use plastics and promoting responsible disposal of single-use plastics. The goal in the Maldives is to boost the protection of the marine ecosystem through collective change. In collaboration with plastic interception partners, Parley has now exported 48 containers of plastic waste from the Maldives, preventing over 800 tons of plastics from entering the oceans. These plastics are recycled and upcycled to help create a new economy of eco-innovation and collaboration, beginning with reducing the use of raw virgin plastics in production processes.

School students and guests were presented with certificates of appreciation for their participation in the JA Manafaru event, and when asked why there was such an issue with plastic waste on Gallandhoo, the students explained there are low levels of understanding for many people regarding the disposal of plastic waste and of the environmental damage it causes. New General Manager, Karen Merrick commented;

JA Manafaru in collaboration with our ocean activity partner Best Dives is committed to improving upon and reducing our environmental footprint here in Haa Alifu, one of the most uninhabited atolls in Maldives. We are honored and humbled to live and work as custodians of this beautiful part of the world and assist with such initiatives whenever/wherever we can.  Every day we continue our internal mission to ensure education and awareness play a part of life here at JA Manafaru’.

In order to preserve the coral reef, beautiful beaches and sea life, the JA Manafaru team has an ongoing commitment to environmental awareness and sustainability. The hotel no longer uses plastic bottles for drinking water and instead have their own glass bottling plant, which results in a huge reduction in plastic waste. The JA Manafaru ‘House Reef Cleaning’ also invites guests to give back in a fun snorkelling and underwater reef-cleaning exercise, which certified divers can join. All items collected are logged so that any notable pollution can be immediately addressed. Other initiatives in planning at JA Manafaru include upgrading the water desalination plant for residual water to be used for landscaping, solar panel installation and a campaign for associates that raises awareness about reducing energy consumption.

JA Manafaru Maldves Hosts Island Clean Up.jpg
Plastic debris in the protected area.jpg

About JA Manafaru

JA Manafaru is an idyllic 5-star luxury island resort fringed with exquisite powder beaches in pristine, lagoon-ringed Haa Alifu Atoll, at the northern tip of the Maldives. Accessed by private seaplane, the chic tropical hideaway features 84 luxurious beachfront and over-water villas and bungalows, each with their own private plunge pool. Seven scenic dining destinations provide a culinary journey with traditional Indian Ocean cuisine, international fare and seafood feasts. China’s most renowned chef, Da Dong, brings his Michelin acclaim to White Orchid Asian restaurant with a collaborative menu launched in 2019. World-class recreational facilities include Calm Spa, a fully equipped dive, water sports and excursion centre, plus a Marine Research Centre to conserve local ecology. Once-in-a-lifetime wedding and honeymoon celebrations are also a specialty at JA Manafaru, which has been recognised as the Indian Ocean’s Leading Honeymoon Resort (2019 World Luxury Hotel Awards). ‘Legend’ hotels by Preferred Hotels & Resorts are the ultimate collection of extraordinary properties in the world’s most remarkable destinations and JA Manafaru is the only property selected in the Maldives. Ranked among the World’s Ten Best Hotels (TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards 2019), JA Manafaru is a tropical paradise where unique experiences can become unforgettable memories.

For more information on JA Manafaru, please visit;

https://www.jaresortshotels.com/en/maldives/ja-manafaru

About JA Resorts & Hotels

A legacy UAE brand, JA Resorts & Hotels was born in 1981 and has a widely recognised reputation for excellence, in the management and operation of award-winning resorts and hotels. Taking its name from the original Jebel Ali (JA) Beach hotel, JA Resorts & Hotels portfolio now features 8 distinct properties across the UAE and Indian Ocean, each dedicated to curating unique experiences and creating unforgettable memories. Tropical escapes include JA Manafaru, the idyllic luxury island resort in pristine, lagoon ringed Haa Alifu Atoll, at the northern tip of the Maldives and JA Enchanted Island Resort, an ultra-luxurious hideaway of 10 exquisite villas on a private island, in the middle of the protected Saint Anne Marine Park. Within the UAE, guests can choose from the five-star JA Ocean View Hotel, as well as the deluxe hotel apartments of JA Oasis Beach Tower, both located along ‘The Walk’ in Jumeirah Beach Residence.  Other attractive options include the acclaimed JA The Resort – Dubai’s largest experience resort, with 1 million square metres of thrilling activities and 3 unique hotels offering 795 suites and rooms between them– JA Beach Hotel, the all-suite JA Palm Tree Court and JA Lakeview Hotel, a stunning new Golf Course adjacent property due to open in September 2019. The JA Hatta Fort Hotel completes the portfolio as Dubai’s only mountain resort, a secluded getaway amidst the stunning Hajar Mountains landscape. JA Resorts & Hotels is a member of the Global Hotel Alliance (GHA), the world’s largest alliance of independent hotel brands, bringing together more than 30 brands with over 550 hotels in 78 countries.

For more information on JA Resorts & Hotels, please visit;

www.jaresortshotels.com 

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jaresortshotels

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jaresorts

Instagram: https://instagram.com/jaresorts 

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/JAresorts

Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Nick Jonas, JBL FEST, 360 MAGAZINE, Las Vegas, Kevin Mazur, Travel

JBL Fest’s CLUB JBL

Last night, JBL Fest’s CLUB JBL Event brought together some of the hottest talent for live, VIP performances and appearances in Vegas. Priyanka Chopra Jonas took a break from promoting her latest movie to have some fun as the host of the night, showing up with her husband and surprise guest Nick Jonas. Additional appearances were made from the “Vanderpump Rules” cast alongside dynamic performances by Bebe Rexha and DJs Armin van Buuren and Tigerlily.

*Photo by Kevin Mazur.

Ashley Smith, informs pr, 360 MAGAZINE , pixabay

Revamped Crew Scheduling Model Cuts Airline Delays by as Much as 30%

INFORMS Journal Transportation Science New Study Key Takeaways:

  • Researchers introduce slack times distributed across a crew schedule to plan ahead of any delays or disruptions.
  • The approach can reduce extreme delays by as much as 20–30% on average.
  • The buffers in scheduling cost airlines less than 5%.

Delays and disruptions in airline operations annually result in billions of dollars of additional costs to airlines, passengers and the economy. Airlines strive to mitigate these costs by creating schedules that are less likely to get disrupted or schedules that are easy to repair when there are disruptions—new research in the INFORMS journal Transportation Science has found a solution using a mathematical optimization model.

The study, conducted by Vikrant Vaze of Dartmouth College and David Antunes and Antonio Pais Antunes, both of the University of Coimbra, looks at data from Virgin America airline from 2014, that is 94 daily flights connecting 14 continental U.S. airports.

Using this data, researchers determined that introducing buffers or slack times that are distributed in an intelligent way across a crew schedule can reduce extreme delays by as much as 20–30% on average, with only a 2–3% increase in crew salary costs.

“Our model can lead to significant overall benefits, fewer flight delays, more importantly fewer worst-case delays, fewer crew infeasibilities, and lower passenger delays and disruptions,” said Vaze, a professor in the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth.

This research allows airlines and airline managers to seek the best trade-off between the goals of reducing delays and disruptions while not being overly conservative in buffer placement.

“If you err on one side, you will have large delays/disruptions. If you err too much on the other, you will have to pay the crew for sitting around doing nothing. Neither is quite a good situation to be in. So, we optimize the buffer placement in crew schedules,” continued Vaze. “Paying the crew a little extra ahead of time and then using that extra time as buffers strategically located throughout their work schedules can provide big gains in terms of delay reductions, if we use our optimization model.”

About INFORMS and Transportation Science

Transportation Science is a premier peer-reviewed scholarly journal focused on research about all modes of transportation, present and prospective, and looks at planning and design issues and the related economic, operational, and social concerns. It is published by INFORMS, the leading international association for operations research and analytics professionals. More information is available at www.informs.org or @informs.

Niall Horan, Capitol Records, Capitol Music Group, 360 MAGAZINE

Niall Horan

Today, Capitol Records recording artist Niall Horan shared “Nice To Meet Ya” – the first single from his forthcoming album – and the accompanying video. A sublime piece of piano-driven pop with a soulful groove and bright hand percussion, “Nice To Meet Ya” provides the perfect backdrop to Horan’s magnetic vocals and playful yet heartfelt lyrics. He co-wrote the song with his longtime collaborator Julian Bunetta (Maroon 5, Jessie Ware), who also produced, Tobias Jesso, Jr. (Florence + the Machine, Adele) and Ruth-Anne Cunningham (John Legend, Pentatonix).

Niall Horan says, “It’s been nearly two years since I released Flicker and I can’t wait to get going again. Writing ‘Nice To Meet Ya’ in particular, was a special one for me. It gave me a chance to experiment musically and I’m so excited to finally share it with everyone.”


The official video was directed by The Young Astronauts and shot in London. Download / stream “Nice To Meet Ya” HERE. View the video HERE.

Originally from Mullingar, Ireland, Horan has sold over 80 million records and toured the globe multiple times as part of the iconic One Direction. With his full-length solo debut Flicker (Capitol Records), he achieved massive global success and widespread critical acclaim. The album entered the Billboard 200 at No. 1 in October 2017 and soon earned Platinum certification or greater in 18 countries, including the U.S. In addition to surpassing three million in worldwide album sales and nearly 3.5 billion streams worldwide, it topped the iTunes Top Albums chart in 61 countries.


Flicker included the 2x Platinum single “This Town,” which has amassed over 800 million streams worldwide, and the 3x Platinum “Slow Hands,” which shot straight to No. 1 in 44 countries, reached the top spot on Billboard’s Mainstream Top 40 and surpassed 10 million in adjusted track sales globally with 1.5 billion streams worldwide. Horan’s Flicker World Tour included sold-out dates in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Europe, Singapore, Japan, Brazil and Australia.

Photo Credit: Dean Martindale

The Concord Hotel, 360 MAGAZINE, New Hampshire, four diamond, aaa

WINTER WHITEOUT

IT’S SNOWING WHITE TRUFFLES IN CARMEL VALLEY


LUCIA RESTAURANT & BAR KICKS OFF THE SEASON WITH A SALUTE TO THE DIAMOND OF ALBA


New Truffle-infused Menu & Cocktails for the Fungi Fanatic


Prized by kings and coveted by chefs, Italy’s famed Alba White Truffle hits its annual stride late fall when the nutty aromatic tuber debuts in auctions and A tables across the globe. Served raw, shaved by a specific slicer, the tuber magnatum pico from the Piedmont region is highly prized with pricing to match, ranging upward from $2,000 per pound. These aromatic subterranean spores, known for their pungent earthy and ethereal aroma, will be showcased in a variety of formats at Lucia Restaurant & Bar November 1 – December 15, 2019.


Chef Cal Stamenov’s month-long salute to the Diamond of Alba is no understatement. “Truffles are extremely fragile with a seven-day shelf life,” says Stamenov, who runs through 10 pounds per season, on average. Gracing Fallow Venison with cured duck liver, gnocchi and roasted persimmon or shaved atop a savory Warm Stuffed Ravioli plumped with soft quail egg and purple artichoke in a brown butter bath, this seasonal stunner is a classic complement to a variety of dishes. The wild underground fungi, harvested by special Lagotto Romagnolo dogs, lives in symbiosis with the roots of oaks, hazels and poplar trees taking on the color and essence defined by each species. “The flavor profile determines how we create each dish, and it changes by the harvest,” he adds.


As the season turns, diners will be offered an express lane into the culinary depths of this ancient wonder, with dishes such as a Classic Carnaroli Risotto with bone marrow, Parmigiano Reggiano and shaved white truffles and Nantucket Bay Scallops, paired with sunchokes and San Danielle Prosciutto, finished with a dusting of white love. Entrees include a Handcut Squid Ink Fettuccine, the ideal foil for truffles, served with Monterey Bay squid menuiere and shaved white Alba truffle. For game lovers, the red wine braised Guinea Hen Breast with braised leg stuffed agnolotti, paired with seasonal root vegetables and shaved truffle is a sure bet. Ensuring no opportunity is overlooked, Stamenov and team are also rolling out a sinful Heirloom Pear & White Truffle dessert as well, paired with caramel pot de crème, Meyer lemon madeleine and white truffle ice cream. Dishes are offered on a revolving monthly menu, market price.


TOAST OF THE COAST
Truffle-infused cocktails are also on tap this November, ensuring guests get their full fungi fix. Kick things off with The Hunt, featuring truffle infused WhistlePig Rye Whiskey, Punt e Mes and Bitter Truth chocolate bitters served in a classic coupe. The Garden Glass steps up with Belvedere vodka, Clear Creek pear liqueur, Meyer lemon, Bernardus honey and fresh shaved Alba truffle. Ideal for Carmel’s crisp fall nights the Nog Blanc combines Armagnac, truffle cream, fresh nutmeg and brown sugar syrup, shaken and served up. $25.


LUCIA RESTAURANT & BAR

Tucked 12 miles inland from the Pacific, the Forbes Four-Star Lucia Restaurant & Bar has long set the standard for dining along the California coast. Named after the majestic Santa Lucia Mountains which provide the dramatic backdrop to the 2,300 sq., ft., alfresco terrace, the contemporary 90-seat dining room is set in rich white Italian leather paired with rustic treatments crafted in marble, oxidized copper, teak and reclaimed wood. French wooden floors, chandeliers and stunning exterior fireplaces grace the mixed-use table layout with a focal point fireplace styled from Bagattini Oregon stone marking the main entrance. Paired with Stamenov’s light touch and artisanal integrity, the restaurant underscores the authentic relationship between food and terroir.


Classically trained with an eye to sustainability, Stamenov’s light touch and artisanal integrity are evident in every offering. Wielding an impressive resume working under the ardent eye of such culinary greats as Pierre Gagnaire, Michel Richard, Alain Ducasse, Eric Ripert and the legendary Masa Kobayashi, his California country cuisine plays off locally-sourced product with the essence of the dish taking center stage. Subtle reductions and thoughtful flavor marriages are his mantra, paired with a back pocket of local farmers and foragers keeping Lucia’s kitchen at a steady simmer.
Culling from the Lodge’s two-acre organic garden and a private two-acre cornucopia flush with 150+ fruit trees, heirloom vegetables, 180,000 Italian honeybees and a cache of Plymouth, Barred Rock, Rhode Island, Speckled Sussex and Ameraucana chickens, Stamenov’s seasonal spotlight menu is certain to please.

Winter Whiteout Menu
~
A Seasonal Celebration of Trifola d’Alba Madonna (Truffle of the White Mother)


November 1-December 15, 2019

Revolving Menu

Warm Stuffed Ravioli
Soft quail egg, purple artichoke, brown butter, shaved Alba white truffle


Nantucket Bay Scallops
Sunchokes, San Daniele Prosciutto, tuber magnatum pico
Roasted Guinea Hen Breast
Red wine braised leg, agnolotti, shaved Alba white truffle

Classic Carnaroli Risotto
Bone marrow, Parmigiano Reggiano, shaved Alba white truffle

Fallow Venison
Cured duck liver, chestnut, gnocchi, persimmon, shaved Alba white truffle
Handcut Squid Ink Fettuccini
Monterey Bay squid meuniere, shaved Alba white truffle, fresh Carmel Valley olive oil

ABOUT BERNARDUS LODGE & SPA
Perennially recognized by discerning readers of Travel + Leisure’s “World’s Best Resorts” and Conde Nast Traveler’s “Top Resorts” and as well as a Wine Spectator award recipient (2001-2019), this Forbes Travel Guide Four Star property has long set the gold standard for wine country vacationing. Reopened after a full resort renovation in 2015, Bernardus Lodge & Spa is set on 28 pristine Carmel Valley acres awash with vineyards and lavender and boasts 73 luxurious guestrooms, suites & villas, the signature Spa at Bernardus, award-winning Lucia Restaurant & Bar, a junior Olympic size swimming pool, a hilltop adults-only infinity Jacuzzi, an alfresco croquet and bocce court, two tennis courts and 4,300 sq. ft. of meeting space. Woodside Hotel Group, an operator of a portfolio of distinguished independent luxury properties throughout Northern California, is the management company for the property, which is located on the Monterey Peninsula, 120 mi./193 km, south of San Francisco and 330 mi./531 km., north of Los Angeles. For information, contact Bernardus Lodge & Spa at 831-658-3400 or visit their site.

Nick DiGiovanni, MasterChef, 360 MAGAZINE

Nick DiGiovanni

Nick DiGiovanni is a 23-year-old recent grad of Harvard, who was the youngest contestant to ever compete in the finale of MasterChef. He started cooking when he was only eight years old, and started working in restaurants in high school, including an internship at Benu, a Michelin three-star restaurant in San Francisco. He ultimately decided to forego culinary school for Harvard, before deciding to leave for a semester to compete on MasterChef and ultimately make it to the finale.

During his time at Harvard, Nick created the first-ever food concentration called Food & Climate, to figure out ways to address the environmental crisis through food. That then led to the start of a new business venture called Voodles that would help revolutionize the way kids eat vegetables. The veggie based pasta is organic certified, kosher, gluten free, vegan & non-GMO and will be available online by 2020. 

Morro Bay, 360 MAGAZINE, California

5 Ways to Enjoy Morro Bay

The crowds are gone, the sunsets are as breathtaking as ever, and the weather in this seaside town of Morro Bay is extraordinary – which is why locals call October and November Morro Bay “Secret Season”. In the fall the coast is clear, sunny, and warm, and this years Secret Season is infused with new ways to enjoy Morro Bay. The opening of Port House, a new waterfront restaurant, the new Fire Pits at Morro Rock, and the new Estero Adventures are bringing smiles to everyone’s faces this fall. On top of miles of beaches and the unavoidably beautiful 576-foot tall volcanic rock sitting at the front of a bustling harbor filled with sailboats, kayakers, pelicans, sea lions and otters, here are 5 new and fun ways to enjoy Morro Bay this fall.

1) Dinner with a Sunset View at the NEW Port House Restaurant

Soak up the amazing sunsets while you drink hand crafted cocktails and dine on California coastal cuisine with an Italian flairߞand really great steaksߞat the new Port House Restaurant. That’s how executive chef Joe White describes the menu at this new eatery that recently opened on Morro Bay’s Embarcadero at 885 Embarcadero, the former site of Otter Rock Cafe. The location has been completely renovated with a nautical theme throughout, expanded waterfront seating, overstuffed couches and a beautiful bar, this restaurant is a new addition to the fine dining establishments in the middle of the Embarcadero. Don’t miss out on the Port House’s weekend brunches or rent out the entire location for your holiday party! Specialty drinks recipes like this one called the Port House will make any occasion special. Port House Cocktail, basil Hayden’s bourbon, 20 yr port, bitters, luxardo cherry, straight up. Delish!

As well as renovating the entire building, there’s also a NEW marina waterside at the Port House. The marina consists of five new docks, and a newly installed kayak and standup paddleboard launch area. Tiki bar tours, whale watching excursions, a charter boat company offering deep sea fishing excursions, and boat rentals are located only steps away from your delicious Port House. There’s even space for transient boaters, so you can cruise over for excellent food and a table by the window.

2) Enjoy the NEW Morro Rock Fire Pits

An excellent way to witness the stunning sunset is to take your surfboard at dusk and surf Morro Rock’s epic waves. Afterwards, enjoy an evening bonfire at the city’s new Morro Rock Fire Pits that overlook the beach or the bay, where you can stargaze to the sound of the waves cashing on the shore or enjoy watching the sea otter families in the harbor as they dive and dine on local shell fish. Sprawling from the base of Morro Rock to the north, Morro Beach is perfect for playing, beach combing or taking a cruise on a beach cruiser from Beachfront Kites and Surreys. Morro Bay’s Harbor Department also offers beach wheelchairs for people who are mobility challenged. Call the harbor department at (805) 772-6254, let them know when you’ll arrive and they will bring the equipment to you at the Morro Rock parking lot.

3) Cruise the Bay or the Boardwalk with the NEW Estero Adventures

Estero Adventures is a one stop for active adventurers offering a large selection of outdoor activities including electric pontoon boats, kayaks, standup paddleboards, and fat-tire beach bike rentals. Perfect for making memories and going on adventures, Estero Adventures is conveniently located along the Embarcadero inside the Estero Inn. The dock is located right in front of the Inn, close to the sand spit with an easy launch area perfect for all skill levels.

4Romantic Engagements abound in Morro Bay

We must mention that in Morro Bay, being home to two oyster farms that deliver local oysters to restaurants throughout town, romance and getting paramours in the mood for love is kind of our thing. Romance reaches new heights at the iconic Morro Rock, especially if you or your future someone is expecting a “big rock” for their engagement ring and want the perfect Insta location. The blufftop of Black Hill is a memorable location to pop the question, and with panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and Morro Rock Éc;Yes!Éd; will definitely be the answer. Or, take the engagement to the water on a tour of the bay while cruising the harbor with Chablis Cruises, a 50-foot, two-story riverboat serving up elegant brunches and beautiful views, perfect for dropping that ring in a glass of champagne. Want something more traditional? Windows on the Water or the Galley offer beautiful waterfront settings for any engagement, offering floor to ceiling views of the bay from their restaurants, patios and lounges. For those who’d like to say “I do” at any of Morro Bay’s amazing venues, Toes-In-the-Sand Weddings will help take care of everything.

5) FUN Outdoor Patios Great for Dining and Sunsets

Morro Bays restaurants serve up a bounty of produce and award-wining California wines grown in nearby farms and vineyards from Paso Robles to Edna Valley, not to mention the abundance of fresh local seafood caught by Morro Bay’s multi-generational fishing families. Find a plethora of great places to eat and drink featuring outdoor patios like Bayside Cafe, a hidden gem located next to the Marina in Morro Bay’s own California State Park, or Dorn’s Original Breakers Cafe, a Morro Bay favorite since 1942. Downtown, Pizza Port has an amazing yard for family games and outdoor dining and Shine Cafe, offers vegan and vegetarian street side patio dining under the city lit trees that line Morro Bay Boulevard. Blue Sky Bistro sits right on the water’s edge above the Morro Bay Marina and, offer al fresco dinning. And, let’s not forget Morro Bay’s local seafood markets that double as fantastic seafood restaurants: Tognazzini’s Dockside, Too and Giovanni’s Fish Market & Galley. They offer fantastic menus and patio seating with views of wildlife, kayakers, and fishing boats coming in from a long day at sea. Additional waterfront locations with patios that offer a wide variety of cuisine include Thai Bounty & MIlanes Cuban Cuisine, Lil Hut, Hofbrau and Beach Burger, so donߣt wait any longer if you are hungry for great patio dining, Morro Bay is the spot!

For more information about visiting the seaside town during the secret season, check out www.morrobay.org !

MIYAGI, Japan, 360 MAGAZINE, Geoffrey Weill

JAPAN’S MIYAGI PREFECTURE

The “Land of Contrasts” Is the Gateway to the Lesser-Known Tohoku Region


Dubbed the “Land of Contrasts,” Japan’s Miyagi Prefecture is characterized by its bustling capital city of Sendai, the picturesque islands of Matsushima Bay, the coastal landscape and world-class seafood of Sanriku, the rice fields and vibrant wetlands of northern Miyagi, and the iconic crater lake, “snow monsters” and Fox Village at Mount Zao.


Known as the gateway to the lesser-known northern Japanese region of Tohoku, Miyagi is easily accessible via 90-minute bullet train ride from Tokyo, and by regular direct flights from all major Japanese cities, as well as from Seoul, Shanghai and Taipei. The highlights of this largely undiscovered corner of Japan include:


MATSUSHIMA BAY


A quick day trip from Sendai, the Matsushima Bay area is renowned for its legendary temples, coastal landscapes and islands, and delicious local seafood. At the very heart of the region is the 400-year-old Zuiganji Temple, which was built as the family temple of the founder of Sendai and has been designated a National Treasure. From there, travelers can explore the traditional Japanese gardens at Entsuin Temple, visit sake breweries and sample matcha at a local tea house. And of course, the main draw of Matsushima Bay are the 260 pine tree-topped islands, accessible by foot or boat, that dot the bay. And to top it all off, travelers can taste their way around the Shiogama Fish Market, just a short car ride away from Matsushima Bay (where they can even make their own sushi bowl or grill their own seafood).

SENDAI


The capital of Miyagi Prefecture and the largest city in the entire Tohoku region, Sendai is a major transit hub for the region, accessible by air, ferry, train and bus. The “City of Trees,” as it is known, is thus the starting point for most journeys throughout Miyagi and the Tohoku region at large. Though a busy metropolis, Sendai is known as much for its access to nature and its hiking, camping and skiing as it is for its world-class restaurants, shopping and nightlife. And two of the area’s most historic hot springs (or onsen) are just on the city’s outskirts, at Akiu and Sakunami.


MOUNT ZAO


One of Japan’s most magnificent natural areas, the Zao region of southern Miyagi Prefecture is most famous for its iconic Mount Zao, featuring a colorful crater lake at its summit and, in wintertime, the mysterious “snow monsters” (the strange phenomenon created when freezing cold fronts from Siberia transform the mountain’s massive fir trees into snow- and ice- covered creatures). But beyond the famed deep-powder slopes of the mountain, the Zao area offers a wealth of excursions in other seasons, including immersion in samurai culture at Shiroishi Castle, the unique experience of communing with furry creatures at Fox Village, viewing thousands of cherry trees along the Shiroishi River at Hitome Senbon Zakura in springtime, and hiking and mountain biking through the fiery fall foliage in the autumn months.


SANRIKU COAST


Characterized by dramatic cliffs, hidden coves and abundant marine life, the Sanriku Coast has become a sought-after destination for seafood lovers and adventure travelers. Particular areas of interest include the utterly unique Cat Island Tashirojima and the holy island of Kinkasan, home to the Koganeyama Shrine, where wild deer roam freely and are regarded as messengers of the gods by Shinto priests. The Sanriku Coast is also considered a symbol of recovery, as the area suffered heavy damage in the 2011 tsunami. Each town along the coast has established memorials and museums to commemorate the disaster – one of the most affecting of which is the former Onagawa Police Station, an overturned ruin of a building that was torn from its foundation and dragged onto a nearby boat pier, where it still stands as a memorial.


NORTHERN MIYAGI


A vibrantly colored and naturally diverse destination year-round, the area of northern Miyagi is known for its natural wetlands, which fill with thousands of migratory geese and swans during wintertime and then dry up and are carpeted by fields of wild lotus flowers in summertime. And at Mount Kurikoma in the western part of the region, avid hikers are drawn to its fields of alpine wildflowers, dramatic autumn foliage and unkai (sea of clouds).


To know more about Miyagi Prefecture, go to: https://visitmiyagi.com.

Stephen Friedman, 360 MAGAZINE, Ovation TV

STEPHEN FRIEDMAN

Was born in South Africa, with his European heritage coming from France and Latvia. He started surfing at the age of 11 and by 16 he turned pro and started traveling the globe and competing on the world surf tour. After 5 years competing full time, injury halted his career, but it wasn’t long before he was scouted by some of the world’s top modelling agencies and was on the road travelling full time again appearing in numerous campaigns and commercials worldwide.

Establishing his name in the South African media, they labeled Stephen as ‘the next big thing’ that will come out of South Africa. To all the media Stephen has appeared in all over the world, Cosmopolitan Magazine voted Stephen as one of the 101 hottest men alive of the world in their annual poll. But he really made his mark in the television and film industry by creating, producing and selling his first title – (“The Blueprint”) – to Fox Networks at the age of 23.  A subsequent move to London resulted in the founding of his company Save Your Day Films, as he slowly started to make his mark in the TV and film industry as an exciting Producer to look out for. He Just Wrapped up filming season 2 of his successful series Chasing The Sun that he once again appeared in front of the camera as the host and as the Executive producer alongside Ovation TV and Journy backing his series.

Now days he is based between LA and London. He is currently busy with several other TV series that are in production named Model Kitchen, World Unknown, Here I Come, as well as 2 kids TV series Found Home Farms and an animation series named Jaye the Psychologist Dog. With even more titles he has lined from factual, scripted, kids and even a feature film, the next few years are going to be an exciting time for him and his production company Save Your Day Films. To sum up Stephen, he gets to push his own swing in life.

C/o Stephen on Ovation TV.

Lokal Eatery & Bar, Vaughn Lowery, Jersey City, New Jersey, 360 MAGAZINE, Abraham John ARCHITECTS, Mona Panjwani, Walter Donadio

Lokal Eatery & Bar

By Vaughn Lowery

Jersey City officially opened up one of the swankiest restaurants on their waterfront with magnificent views of Manhattan. Mona Panjwani is the proprietor and visionary of this establishment. After 12 days of having their doors opened, they have built a team of individuals who are personable, approachable and possess a strong sense of ownership. Literally a recipe for prosperity.

With sufficient space, Lokal Eatery & Bar can comfortably sit up to 200 customers and is the perfect destination for a rehearsal dinner, trunk show, celebratory engagement and/or corporate gathering. Towards the rear, there’s a semi-private area with its own seating, lounge and sound system to drown out the clutter of what’s taken place in the main arena. “Lokal” murals, perfect for social engagement, are sprinkled throughout the spot which were constructed by a local commissioned artist. Adding an element of youth and elegance similar to its milieu. Overall the architecture and intent of this eclectic eatery have an industrial yet modern feel. Iron gates frame the bar and above the 30-foot island hangs a custom lighting installation.

Nestled in the heart of a rising luxury neighborhood within JC, this venue is destined to become one of the area’s most popular draws. Executive Chef, Walter Donadio, has managed to fabricate a tantalizing menu of appetizers, small plates and entrees which are certain to keep you coming back. Some of his best infused tapas and items include succulent scallops, rock shrimp, sauteed mushroom bowls as well as a vegan surf and turf packed with savory lentils. Most of their components are locally sourced and fresh from the Garden State – right down to the blueberries featured in some of their signature drinks.

Often times, you inflict a new place and the waitstaff is uncertain on what to recommend. That’s not the case for Lokal. Many of their squad members were well-informed on what they offer and even had ample recommendations for their handcrafted cocktails. Our favorites were their Elliott Stubb (reminiscent of an old fashioned) and Jerry Thomas – cucumber water iced cubes make this drink refreshing.

The future is bright for Lokal Eatery & Bar. And, with a strong location, menu and bar, it’s set to be one of the most prestigious brunch/dinner spots for global foodies, making it a firm contender for three Michelin stars and a James Beard Award. Subsequently, it’s extremely apparent that Mona and her crew are meticulous and pay close attention to details.

ABOUT TEAM LOKAL:

CHEF: Walter Donadio will serve as Lokal’s Executive Chef.

Donadio is a Michelin star kitchen trained chef with over 17 years of versatile culinary professional experience managing the provisions of fine dining for hotels, restaurants and country clubs. His experience spans the globe from various chef positions at Richy’s DMCC and Café Habana in Dubai to The Smith, Nobu Fifty Seven, Le Circ and Brasserie in New York, along with supervising kitchens at Hilton and Marriott in New Jersey. Passionate about food since growing up in his grandmother’s own restaurant, he loves combinations of flavors from different cuisines and is always searching for the perfect balance. He is a graduate from the French Culinary Institute (now International Culinary Center).

OWNER: Mona Panjwani

Panjwani opens Lokal as an events industry vet in the Northern New Jersey region. She launched an events production company in 2014 and came across the idea to create Lokal more recently while seeking a venue for her own company. The gorgeous waterfront eatery in Jersey City – which will primarily serve as a full service restaurant and bar is also complete with event and private dining spaces – combines all of Panjwani’s skills, passion, experience and goals into one. Panjwani is a member of the Hudson County Chamber of Commerce, Hudson County Women Rising and LadyDrinks South Asian Women Entrepreneurs Networking Professionals. She has been a Jersey City resident for a decade.

ARCHITECT: Abraham John ARCHITECTS

A multidisciplinary architecture, interior design, landscaping and urban planning firm founded in 1967. Abraham John & Alan Abraham are the Joint Principal Architects of Abraham John Architects. Abraham John Architects’ design approach is to re-connect architecture with nature, make optimum use of space, natural materials, lighting & landscape to reinvent and transform living environments and urban spaces. The firm works at multiple scales and with various organizations right from private clients to corporates & NGOs allowing itself to experiment and diversify its work.