Photo Of The Day: A Plus Cathedral

Today is March 14, also known as Pi Day (in case it’s been awhile since you took math, pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, 3.14), a day to celebrate mathematics, or just eat some pie. If you are in Cambridge, Massachusetts, today and can remember a good portion of the many digits of pi, you might get to eat some free pie. Today’s Photo of the Day by Flickr user autisticglobetrotting2010 is a bit math-inspired: the cross at the ceiling of Rio de Janeiro‘s San Sebastian Cathedral hints at a plus sign. The modernist cone-shaped church is highlighted by four enormous stained glass windows that form at the top with a cross. Designed to echo the Mayan pyramids, the distinctive structure is hard to miss in the Rio skyline.

Share your travel photos in the Gadling Flickr pool for a future Photo of the Day, and happy pie-eating!

[Photo credit: Flickr user autisticglobetrotting2010]

Weekend travel media top five: July 17-18, 2010

This weekend’s most interesting travel stories include a take on apartment rental listings services, an overview of the delightfully uncrowded White Mountains of Crete, an exploration of boutique caravan rentals in Cornwall, a search for pies in southern Alberta, and a list of NYC hotel rooftop bars.

1. In the New York Times, Benji Lanyado explores new developments in the orbit of inexpensive apartment rentals. Lanyado’s article got a lot of attention this past weekend, all of it deserved. His is essential ammunition for the budget-friendly fight against gratuitously expensive hotels.

2. In the Financial Times, Henry Shukman walks all over Crete’s White Mountains. The article ends with a quick guide to four additional European island hideaways.

3. In the Guardian, Gemma Bowes explores the new wave of boutique caravans (or trailers, as we know them stateside.)

4. In the Globe and Mail, Cinda Chavich embarks on a road trip across southern Alberta’s Cowboy Trail, sampling pie in towns with names like Black Diamond, Twin Butte, and Okotoks.

5. In the Los Angeles Times, Sherri Eisenberg provides a primer to Manhattan’s hotel rooftop bars.

(Image of Crete’s White Mountains: Flickr/bazylek100).

Find a cupcake in New York

Leave it to New Yorkers to be picky and demanding. Whether it’s upscale meals or obscure vodka brands, we want what we want, and if you don’t carry it, you’re somehow “lesser.” Cupcakes are no different. From my window, I can see the Upper West Side‘s Magnolia Bakery (one of three in the city), and there are many others.

In The Atlantic Monthly, a close look is taken at cupcakes, particularly in New York. The balance between cake and frosting is considered crucial, and (thankfully) Corby Kummer gives you a sense of who’s who in the large and growing world of Manhattan cupcake bakeries.

Well, starting with my neighborhood, poor Magnolia is said not to have any flavor in the cake (which I think is a bit harsh). Buttercup’s icing is better, but the cake isn’t. Sugar Sweet Sunshine – which, like Buttercup, comes from former Magnolia talent – is better than both.

Sadly, Kummer missed the latest entry into the Manhattan cupcake market: The Little Pie Company. Known for the most amazing cakes and pies in the city, sex and cupcake blogger Rachel Kramer Bussell tried in vain to get one on Christmas Eve last year. Later, she did succeed, and the cupcake was everything she’d hoped it would be.

[Via The Atlantic Monthly]

[Photo: cupcake from The Little Pie Company, Cupcakes Take the Cake]

Can Holiday Pie Be Considered a Dangerous Liquid?

Before reading further keep in mind that no question is a dumb question. Now having stumbled on this piece originally found in the Consumerist where a man questions TSA as to if his pie is considered a dangerous liquid I think to myself, what a silly question to ask. But wait, no, no… It isn’t as silly as it seems. In these days where even a smile in its most contagious form comes across as a terrorist act, you really do have to ask before making any sudden moves or bringing your pie on board the plane. The writer of the piece featured had been standing by when he heard the question tossed out into the open. In his recount he notes TSA doesn’t consider pie a liquid, but now he ponders if cherry pie filling is considered a gel? Things that make you go hmm, right?

Well in the end our pie-carrying character gets to take his crusted filled sweet potato dessert with him with no fuss, although the TSA employee was looking to confiscate it for her own personal reasons.

via Boing Boing

Hotels to Smell Like Pie

I once stayed in a rather grungy hotel in a small town in Colorado that had an awful smell. I’m still not sure what the odor was, some mixture of rotten eggs and Lysol. A sour-sewage reek whose malodorous molecules still haunt my olfactory cortex to this day. Obviously, I will never go back to this hotel.

But what if you went to a hotel where everything smelled very pleasant? The delicious fragrance of hot apple pie wafting through the halls, the sweet whiff of begonias in your room. (Question: in Vegas, will they have pheromone-scented hallways).

Well, the folks over at adjab have posted about a new campaign by Sheraton Hotels for their Four Points chain that will intentionally introduce satisfying odors into the lobby and other points in the hotel. For example, White Tea scent will be sniffed in the Westin chain (which might mean nothing to those of us who have no idea what white tea smells like). No matter. This is all very clever, and those who orchestrated this campaign are obviously aware that they are dealing in primitive grey matter, that it is our olfactory cortex that is the oldest and in some ways most powerful sense. Freud would be proud.