I spent all of the last week on the road, so this week's post is all about life away from home. . . .
I am on planes a lot and always devour all the airline mags. The problem is that I am always tearing pages out of them and have never found a back-of-pocket air-zine worth taking off the plane or subscribing to—until now. I am sure you will all accuse me of drinking the company Kool-Aid because MSP Communications publishes it, but the new Delta Sky magazine is AMAZING. It is loaded with the kind of info that everyone who travels, eats, reads, or shops needs to know. Congrats to everyone, especially Jayne Haugen Olson who runs the show at the new monthly. Look for it next time you are airborne.
Elissa Altman e-mailed me this little gem, which reminds me: Happy Passover, everyone! Speaking of Elissa, one of my fave food writers, check out this nice piece on Poor Man's Feast .
Anyway, speaking of Passover, next Tuesday is the season premiere of the last round of Bizarre Foods , enjoy 'em while they’re on. The new season is really spectacular, especially the Texas, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, and Tanzania shows . . . ah, what the heck, they’re all good, and I am for sure drinking the Kool-Aid.
Next September, the new series Bizarre Worlds begins, and we are making them right now. You will freak when you see them. The bar has been raised, my friends, and this new show is bigger and badder than BF . But right now, it is upfront season, the time of year that I love most because I get to travel around the country and promote our network to our advertisers. I get to do it with all my teammates from the Travel Channel and also with many of my colleagues from the other Discovery networks. Some highlights include:
Spending time with my buddies, such as Sam Brown, is always fun. Sam celebrated ten years with the network this season, which is a huge deal. Her new Asia series will rock, BTW. I have seen bits and pieces, and it's beautifully shot. Plus, she is charming as always.
I also hung out with Dhani Jones, arguably the hippest dude on the planet. He is a world-class human being and NFL-superstar-turned-travel-show host. Check out this website to see what else he is up to. Dhani is a good pal to have around some days. Last week in Chicago (dinner at Blackbird, fyi, which is still SUPERB), he introduced Adam Richman and me to Dwayne Wade of the Miami Heat. I think he did it just to stop us from drooling and embarrassing him in the lobby of our hotel.
Speaking of Adam, I loved the way his new show’s Minneapolis episode turned out. Did anyone else see it? Adam is a funny and kind man, and he and I have developed a great friendship, sitting in the back row of meetings and kibbutzing all the time.
Bridget Marquardt is amazingly sweet, and her new show, Bridget's Sexiest Beaches , debuted a few weeks ago. I sat next to her during the NYC upfront presentation, and she was enjoying being a super fan more than being one of the centers of attention. That’s the cool part of the upfronts . . . getting to hang and chat at length with all the talent, such as Animal Planet's Dave Salmoni; TLC’s Jon and Kate Gosselin, who looked relieved that their eight kids were at home and not with them on the road; all the Discovery folks, such as the Deadliest Catch captains, the MythBusters duo, and on and on and on. Oprah and Gayle King even joined us at some of the presentations. Oprah’s OWN network debuts in 2010, and she travels with more security than the Pope and President Obama combined. Fetch Me a Beer , the new Animal Planet dog-training show, looks awesome, as does the next season of Deadliest Catch (worst weather ever, according to the boys).
Anyway, it was a blast, and we all had dinner at Tony Bourdain’s Les Halles bistro after the afterparty. NYC and Chicago are reporting dismal restaurant numbers overall, but at several of the places I went to (Blackbird, Avec, Primehouse, Les Halles, Union Square Café, Babbo, and Woo Lae Oak), you never would have guessed it. These places were packed. I think it's more about customers still willing to pay for excellence, despite the higher price points of some of these joints.
The big news around the office is that we launched our new mobile website. (Check it out yourself at m.travelchannel.com.) Any user that visits travelchannel.com on their mobile browser will go directly to our new mobile site, BTW. The digi media folks will be adding lots of new content and features throughout the coming months. Please surf the site, and let me know what you like, what you’d like to see added, and, of course, please share this site with others.