Photo of the Day: Olives, olives, and more olives

Honestly, have you ever seen olives look so appetizing? This epicurean Photo of the Day was snapped at the Mercado San Miguel in Madrid, a traditional Beaux-Arts food market recently restored and reopened in 2009. Flickr user LadyExpat used a Nikon D90 to capture the details in the delicacies: the vibrant colors, the fillings contained in the olives, the reflection of light in the juice. We’re sure they were delicious.

Does your photo belong here? Upload your favorite travel shots to the Gadling Group Pool and your image could be selected as our Photo of the Day.

Galley Gossip: Attention All Nippon Airway passengers, please empty your bladders now!

Ya know, I’ve seen a lot of strange things working as a flight attendant in the last fourteen years, I really have, and just when I think I’ve seen it all a passenger will surprise me. Recently an elderly woman asked if I’d be willing to help her get her bra back on right after she yelled at me for talking too much in the aisle. And then there was the time I sat down on my jumpseat in the back of the airplane and another passenger cracked the lavatory door open and asked if I had a magazine she – not he could borrow. I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried.

Most of the time it’s a passenger making a strange request, but this time it’s an airline and that airline is implementing one wacky new policy. It wants you to pee before you fly. As of October 1, 2009, All Nippon Airways (ANA), a Japanese Airline, is asking its passengers to empty their bladders before boarding a flight, and they’re doing so in the guise of going green. Now I’m all for being green, I even carry my own eco friendly refillable water bottle along with me on trips, but setting up signs at the airport and hiring “loo-attendants” to remind people to use the bathroom is kind of crazy, don’t ya think? ANA believes a lighter aircraft will result in lower fuel use which in return will create a reduction in carbon emissions.

Perhaps All Nippon is on to something. It’s been rumored that American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 when they removed one olive – ONE OLIVE! – from each salad in first class. Can you imagine how much money will be saved if every single passenger on board a full flight uses the loo before take-off? According to the, the average human bladder capacity is 15oz, which means if 150 passengers relieved themselves that would total to 63.7kg of waste. That’s 140 pounds, people! That doesn’t even count the amount of money the airline stands to save on toilet paper. Now does anyone know how much an olive weighs?

Of course it’s the All Nippon staff who is in charge of asking passengers to use the restroom one last time before they board. How embarrassing is that going to be – for everyone involved! I can’t help but wonder who, exactly, is going to do this, and how, exactly, this will be done, and what, exactly, is going to be said. I’m dying to know. Will frequent fliers receive special treatment by being allowed to go first? Will flight attendants be able to flash their badge and cut the line like we do at security? Will the airline take a delay for passengers who have difficulty going on cue. Next thing you know ANA will start limiting the amount of beverages allowed to be consumed on board after take-off! And here I thought charging for checked bags was bad!

While the airline is only in an experimental phase with it’s carbon emission reduction plan which will take place over one month and forty two flights, it may actually extend the program if it is well received by passengers and gets positive results.


Photo courtesy of Tango-Sierra

Undiscovered New York: Is the “Real” Little Italy in the Bronx?

Welcome back to this week’s installation of Undiscovered New York. New York has a longstanding love affair with all things Italian. From the Feast of San Gennaro to some of the world’s best pizza outside Italy, to our town’s infatuation with the Cosa Nostra, it’s hard to deny that Italian culture has strongly influenced New York culture. In fact, many visitors come to New York specifically to check out Little Italy, a well-known strip of Italian restaurants and shops around the intersection of Mulberry and Grand Street in downtown Manhattan.

For those who came to check out Little Italy, have a cannoli and grab some calamari at Umberto’s, it’s certainly a fun time. Seems like a good dose of Italian culture, right? What if I were to tell you there’s another, some would even say better, Little Italy in New York? Well that’s just what I’m trying to tell you paisano, and it’s in the Bronx.

Curious? Why not click that link below and find out the story behind Arthur Avenue, New York’s other Little Italy.
What is it exactly?
When discussing the Bronx’s very own Little Italy, we’re generally talking about the intersections of 187th Street and Arthur Avenue also known as Belmont by locals. The area surrounding this intersection is a virtual feast of Italian American and immigrant culture in New York, offering a huge array of authentic Italian food markets, butcher shops, bakeries, old school red sauce joints and plenty of Italian gift shops.

Enough with the chit-chat, what can I eat?
If you like Italian food, welcome to paradise. Ground zero is probably the Arthur Avenue Retail Market, a one-stop Italian bazaar full of all kinds of hand-made Italian foodstuffs like sausages, olives and freshly made pasta. Once you’ve worked up an appetite (probably immediately) stop by Mike’s Deli for one their amazing sandwiches stuffed with Italian meats like prosciutto. Don’t forget to hit some of the other area favorites, including Teitel Brothers for Italian specialties like olives and anchovy paste, Terranova Bakery for some hearty Italian-style loaves, Calandra’s Cheese for some mozzarella, and Madonia Bros. for some superb cannoli filled on the spot.

What else should I check out?
The best part about Arthur Avenue is that you can make a day out of your visit. Not only is Arthur Avenue home to Italian culture – lately it has become home to a large populations of residents from Mexico, Kosovo, Montenegro and Albania. The Bronx Zoo and Bronx Botanic Gardens are also both within easy walking distance of Arthur Avenue. Both sites are as good a spot as any to take a leisurely stroll or nap and perhaps sleep off that sausage and peppers you had for lunch. And if it’s baseball season, you’re no more than a 10 minute subway ride from a Yankees game.

How do I get there?
Perhaps the closest subway stop to Arthur Avenue is the Fordham Road stop on the B and D lines. From there, you can jump on the Bx-12 or just walk your way a few minutes east. Another alternative is the Metro North Fordham Road Station, which stops nearby.

A very special “Thank You!” to Steph Goralnick, for all the awesome photos in this story.