Photo of the Day: Smoked Turkish cheese

photo of the day
It used to be a common expression to say that someone “smoked like a Turk,” and I can confirm after living in Istanbul for nearly two years, Turks still love their smoking. Even after the indoor smoking ban of 2009, cigarettes and nargile (water pipes) are very common here. This portrait by Flickr user MichaelAV captures two of the Turks’ other loves: çay (see the tiny tea glass on the left) and cheese. So beloved is Turkish cheese that I’ve heard of Turks packing their suitcases full of it when traveling abroad. Be sure to try some with your Turkish breakfast or along with a glass of rakı at cocktail hour if you visit Turkey.

Take any portraits of locals with their favorite things? Add them to the Gadling Flickr pool and you may see it as a future Photo of the Day.

Photo of the day – Lunch in Serbia

Photo of the day
One of the best parts of traveling is indulging in a few vices. The “hey, I’m on vacation!” attitude enables you to order dessert, have a glass of wine with lunch, and not worry about the calories you’re taking in, especially as you figure you’ll burn them off walking around museums or hiking the countryside. This photo by Flickr user eolone in Serbia shows some of the best travel food groups: the sausage group, the fried group, even the “hey, I’m in Europe!” tobacco group. Just switch out the water for a beer and you’d have the perfect guilt-free (for now) vacation meal.

Enjoy any food vices on your last trip? Take a photo for our Gadling Flickr group and it could be our next Photo of the Day!

Global Exec Aviation and Blu Cigs partner to keep smokers satisfied

Global Exec Aviation would like to thank you for smoking. Sorta.

The charter airline is sympathetic to the feelings of smokers, a rarity in today’s world. Spend a few hours on a plane, if you’re in the habit of puffing, and the result is a nic fit with an intensity determined by the length of your flight. Cross the Atlantic, and that first opportunity to light up is impossible to describe.

No, Global Exec Aviation isn’t going to let you fire up in flight, but it will give you the next best thing. The airline is partnering with Blu Cigs, which makes electronic cigarettes. The devices emit a mist rather than smoke, and the vapor contains the nicotine that makes a long flight easier to bear. So, if you fly Global Exec, there will be Blu Cigs on hand for you.

According to USA Today:

“Definitely it’s the first step,” Jason Healy, president of Blu Cigs, says of the partnership with Global Exec Aviation of Long Beach. “It’s largely to gather feedback … and just highlight the fact it’s an option.”

Smoking has been prohibited on all commercial flights to, from and within the United States since 2000, USA Today reports, but charter flights can choose to allow smoking as long as they provide a non-smoking section.

For those hoping the Blue Cigs will be provided on commercial flights … don’t hold your breath. Southwest spokesman Brad Hawkins told USA Today, “We have no plans to offer e-cigarettes, and we currently do not allow their use in-flight.” A spokesman for American Airlines says the same.

Jason Holi, one of the operations managers at Global Exec thinks that perspective might be a bit hasty:

“We’re in a customer-service industry,” Holi says. “If I have a passenger who’s a white-knuckle flier but a heavy chain smoker, I want to make it as accommodating as possible for him.”
Keeping your customers happy – what a novel concept!

[photo by Vanessa Pike-Russell via Flickr]

Five places to puff in Manhattan: Tips for Smokers

Yes, I know. Every time I write something for the smokers out there, the comments always fill up with an argument over smoking itself. For now, I’m just going to assume that there are some people out there who happen to smoke and travel. I have this sneaking suspicion that I’m not the only one. So, for those of you who enjoy a puff on the road, here are five places where you can smoke in Manhattan. At least one of them will surprise you.

1. Tobacco shops
Rather than single out one, I’d like to call your attention to several cigar shops in the city. Rules vary: some allow cigars only, while others also welcome pipe and cigarette smoker. Regardless of what you choose, do have the courtesy to buy something in the establishment before lighting up. In Midtown, you’ll find De La Concha on Sixth Ave at W. 56th Street and Davidoff stores at Columbus Circle and on Madison Ave (at E. 54th Street). There’s a Nat Sherman on 42nd and Fifth and a Barclay Rex across the street from Grand Central Station. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.2. Cigar bars
If you want to light a heater and enjoy a cocktail at the same time, there are a handful of establishments open to the public. On the Upper East Side you can hit Lexington Bar and Books or Club Macanudo. In Midtown, you’ll find the Carnegie Club. Be prepared to pay. Drinks and sticks are a bit pricey, and if you bring your own, you’ll be charged a cutting fee.

3. Private clubs
The best-known is the Grand Havana Room, which sits atop 666 Fifth Ave. It’s a beautiful space and has a fantastic restaurant. The only way you’ll get in, aside from becoming a member, is to convince one to invite you up.

4. Inter-block alleys
Yeah, this is the “when all else fails” alternative. There are alleys that cut through the middle of some blocks in Manhattan, and Midtown has more than a handful. My favorite goes from 5nd to 53rd and is between Sixth Ave and Seventh Ave. It’s covered. In the summer, Moda (the restaurant in Flatotel) runs a bar in there, so you’ll lose some space. This alley is covered, making it great for rainy day.

5. Jury duty
Okay, this one’s really for locals. If you get called for federal jury duty, here’s a good reason not to avoid it: there’s a smoking room just off the big room where the jury pool waits in the courthouse on 500 Pearl Street. Since you can’t leave the building (except for lunch) when you have federal jury duty, this room, I guess, is intended to make your experience more pleasant. The room is dark, sports old furniture and has no windows – it’s hardly a luxury space. After spending several hours waiting to be tapped for that product liability trial, however, it’s hard to complain about the digs.

Like to smoke? Rethink that holiday in Finland

Finland is attempting to become a smoke-free country. A new law will ban the display of tobacco products in shops by spring and ban smoking in cars if you have a minor in your vehicle.

The Finnish government has made it plain that these are only the first steps to get rid of tobacco “once and for all,” according to State Secretary Ilkka Oksala.

Oksala says “we are not afraid” of the tobacco industry, and considering that there really isn’t a tobacco industry in Finland (it’s not exactly the best place to grow it) they might be able to win this fight.

But will they really be able to phase out tobacco entirely? I bet other highly addictive substances that are already illegal in Finland, such as heroin and cocaine, can still be found.

Europe has been shifting towards an anti-smoking culture for some time now, driven by the need to reduce costs to national health care systems. The UK already has a smoking ban in public buildings such as restaurants and pubs, and Spain will follow suit this year. Even Amsterdam’s coffee shops have separate spaces if you want to mix tobacco with your hash. Finland’s total ban is only the most extreme example of a continental trend.%Gallery-13474%

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