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The latest sizzle in Miami? Food halls

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The Miami food scene is exploding with food halls, collections of vendors and restaurant stalls in one space, usually vast. In 2017, there were none; now there are four and counting, offering alternatives to more formal restaurants as well as to casual street food. And you will discover these food halls in the sleek precincts of Brickell, among luxury boutiques in the Design District, and camouflaged by graffiti in Wynwood, an arts district just north of downtown Miami. Miami Beach is poised to be home to a couple more in the next few months.

“Miami has matured from fast food and fried to quality-driven. It is no coincidence that food halls are popping up in every major neighbourhood,” said Jessica Goldman Srebnick, chief executive of Goldman Properties, a pioneering Miami developer, and Goldman Global Arts.

Taiyaki, an ice cream stand at 1-800-Lucky.
Taiyaki, an ice cream stand at 1-800-Lucky.  (Saul Martinez / The New York Times)

What all the food halls accomplish is generally well-prepared fare at reasonable prices attracting families, shoppers, tourists and business people, especially at lunch.

The burgeoning highrise Brickell City Center development downtown has not one but two food halls, both Italian and both somewhat along the lines of the global Eataly chain offering an array of departments and restaurants mostly under single ownership rather than a collection of independent vendors.

1. La Centrale

La Centrale, a multistory affair with 14 stations for shopping and eating, includes an elaborate Venchi store for Italian chocolates and shares the second floor with full-service restaurants featuring seafood (Pesce), meat (Carne) and seasonal vegetable menus (Stagionale). On the ground floor, where the action is, you can buy a sandwich layered on fresh ciabatta, a plate-size pizza, an assortment of cheeses, Italian condiments like high-end preserved oranges, a pound of prosciutto sliced to order, some wine, gelato and more to take home or eat at rows of tables and counters indoors and out.

2. Casa Tua Cucina

About a block away in Brickell, open from the street and through the Saks Fifth Avenue store and actually occupying some of its ground floor real estate, is a satellite of Casa Tua, an exclusive five-suite boutique hotel and restaurant in South Beach. Casa Tua Cucina, the food hall, is a joint venture with the store.

Here the scene is bright and bustling with 10 food counters, each focused on a different category like pizza, dolci for desserts, pane selling breads, and gastronomia with prepared foods and, for cooks shopping, raw ingredients. Some 300 seats are clustered in several areas. Order that copious, well-made bowl of cacio e pepe at the pasta counter, grab a chair, post your numbered flag on the table and within minutes the waiter will find you. There is also a central wine bar with counter stools where you can order from any of the stations.

3. 1-800-Lucky

In the trendy Wynwood district splashed with curated graffiti covering former warehouses, more exotic tastes will be happy at 1-800-Lucky, a funky Asian collection of independent stands with groups of communal tables indoors and out. The team behind the nearby Coyo Taco, restaurateurs Sven Vogtland and Alan Drummond, gathered under one roof an assortment of vendors that includes Lotus + Cleaver with Chinese barbecue and Peking duck under a carnival-lit display, Banh Mi for seared Vietnamese sandwiches, Hayato Miami dishing ramen, Myumi for sushi, Poke OG filling poke bowls, Yip dispensing savory and sweet dim sum from a steamer the size of a kiddie pool, and Taiyaki for Japanese fish-shaped ice cream cones.

4. St. Roch Market

Not far away, among the international labels of the high-end Design District, is the St. Roch Market. Situated on an upper level just steps from Bulgari, Dior and Valentino and done in chic black-and-white, it is a branch of a bigger, historic food hall in New Orleans. And despite its uniformly high-fashion surroundings, it offers the most eclectic mix of food choices yet to be had under one roof in Miami. The offerings include vegan savories and desserts, homestyle Southern, Mexican tacos and ceviche, delicate Italian pasta, an oyster bar, Israeli-Mediterranean fare, a station called Itame for Peruvian-style sushi, Vietnamese noodles, smoothies and a coffee counter. Seating is indoors and out.

5. And more to come

Planned in coming months is a massive 60,000-square-foot food hall called the Citadel in Little River, also known as Little Haiti, a Caribbean-accented quarter just north of the Design District. In downtown Miami, sandwiched between Brickell and Wynwood, Central Fare, in a new development alongside the Brightline Miami railway station, is to open soon with 20 food vendors and three restaurants.

Across the bay in Miami Beach, The Lincoln Eatery just off Lincoln Road is scheduled to open by December with a collection of food stalls. And by early next year and just steps from the Lincoln Road shopping and dining artery will be the highly-anticipated Time Out Market, a branch of a group that started in Lisbon, Portugal, and is soon to open an outpost in New York. (It is owned by Time Out, the 50-year-old London-based publisher of magazines and guides.)

There, some well-known local chefs, including Jeremy Ford of Stubborn Seed in South Beach and Michael Beltran of Ariete in Coconut Grove will be dishing up specialties from 17 various chefs’ kitchens installed around the perimeter of the 17,500-square-foot space filled with rows of communal tables.

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Travel & Escape

Why your hotel mattress feels like heaven (and how to bring that feeling home)

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(NC) Choosing the right mattress is a long-term investment in your health and well-being. To make a good choice for your home, take a cue from luxury hotel-room beds, which are designed to support the sound sleep of tens of thousands of guests, 365 nights a year.

“When we’re shopping for a mattress, we do lab testing, identify the best materials, bring in multiple mattress samples and have our associates test them,” explains David Rizzo, who works for Marriott International. “We ask for ratings on comfort level, firmness, body support and movement disruption. It takes 12 to 18 months just to research and select materials.”

Here, he shares his tips to pick the perfect mattress for your best sleep:

Understand your needs. People have different food and exercise preferences, as well as different sleep cycles. So, it’s no surprise that everyone has unique mattress preferences. Not sure whether a firm or a soft mattress is better? Rizzo says the best gauge is to ask yourself, “Do I wake up with aches and pains?” If the answer is no, you’re golden.

Foam versus spring. All mattresses have a core that is made up foam or innersprings or a combination of the two. Today’s foam-core mattresses contain memory foam — a material engineered by NASA to keep astronauts comfortable in their seats. It’s special because it retains or “remembers” its shape, yielding to pressure from the sleeper’s body, then bouncing back once the pressure is removed.

An innerspring mattress has an encased array of springs with individual coils that are connected by a single helical wire. This wire creates continuous movement across the coil that minimizes disruption if the mattress is disturbed, such as by a restless sleeper. According to Rizzo, the innerspring is “bouncier.”

Temperature preference. Consider how warm or cool you like to sleep, and factor in the construction of the mattress to find one with a temperature that suits you. The air space engineered into an innerspring mattress promotes ventilation, which some people find keeps them pleasantly cool. To accomplish the same purpose with a foam mattress (or the foam layer of an innerspring) it may be infused with metal, usually silver or copper, to help dissipate heat and humidity.

Need to test out the right mattress for your needs? Find the right fit during your next trip by booking your stay at marriott.com.

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Travel & Escape

How to make the most of summer travel

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(NC) One of the best parts of our short Canadian summers is the opportunity to enjoy them a little bit extra on long weekends. If you need ideas, check out these creative things to do whether you decide to stay in town or go away.

Do a dinner crawl. Pub crawls are fun for couples, friends and also families with older kids. For an exciting twist that stretches your dollars and lets you taste food from several spots before you get too full, try a dinner crawl. Eat apps at one restaurant, mains at another and dessert at another.

Go on a mini getaway. You don’t need to go very far to enjoy a vacation – exploring a Canadian city over a summer weekend is great way to treat yourself to a holiday. Whether it’s checking out the museums in Toronto or the parks in Vancouver, there’s something for everyone. For upgraded benefits, special experiences and the best rates guaranteed, join Marriott Bonvoy and book direct on Marriott.com.

Host a potluck. Perfect whether you’re staying at home or going to your cottage, gather friends and family together for some food and fun. A potluck is an easy and affordable way to host a big get-together and lets everyone try something new and swap recipes. Make the festivities extra special with a fireworks potluck, too – ask everyone to bring some fireworks or sparklers and put on a light show. Just be sure to follow local regulations for consumer fireworks.

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Travel & Escape

Lottoland: Here’s why Canadians love it!

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Lotteries have been in existence for many centuries now and it’s an open secret that most people enjoy playing a good lottery.

Asides from gauging your own luck, the thrill of playing, the anticipation of the results and the big wins every now and then is something most people look forward to. Since 1982, the lottery has been in Canada, but now there is a way to play both the Lotto and other international lotteries from Canada, all from the comfort of your home.

With Lottoland, all you need to do is register and get access to numerous international lotteries right from their website. The easy-to-use interface has all the information you need, and great amount of care has been taken to ensure that the online experience is similar—and even better—than if players were to visit each location personally.

The Powerball and Mega Millions lotteries are hitting record highs with their prize money, in what the organizers claim to be the largest jackpot in the history of the world. However, the U.S. has gambling laws that are state controlled and buying your ticket through an online broker can be considered gambling.

“No one except the lottery or their licensed retailers can sell a lottery ticket. No one. Not even us. No one. No, not even that website. Or that one,” Powerball’s website says.

Therefore, to stand a chance to win the $1.5 billion-dollar lottery jackpot it means you have to purchase your lottery tickets directly from a licensed retailer such as Lottoland.

Since 2013, Lottoland has been operating in Canada, rapidly growing in popularity amongst Canadians. Due to its easy of use and instant access to lotteries that were previously considered inaccessible—as Canadians had to travel all the way to the U.S. to purchase tickets in the past—Lottoland has attracted lots of visitors.

Currently, there about 8-million players on Lottoland, a figure that points to the reliability of the website.

One of the core values of Lottoland is transparency and that’s why a quick search on the website would show you a list of all of their winners. Recently, a Lottoland customer was awarded a world-record fee of $137 million CND.

Also, due to the incredibly slim chances of winning the grand prize not everyone would take home mega-dollar winnings, but there are substantial winnings every day.

Securing your information online is usually one important factor when registering on any platform and as the site explains, “Lottoland works very hard to verify your information.”

The site has a multi-verification process that will ensure that you confirm your identity and age before giving you a pay-out. However, in the rare case that a player has immediate luck and wins a lottery before completing the verification process, Lottoland will hold on to the winnings until they complete your verification.

While this might seem like a tedious process, it is very important as these safety features would ensure that your information wasn’t stolen and ultimately your winning routed to another account.

Lottoland is licensed with the National Supervisory Bodies For Lotteries in several countries such as the United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden, Ireland and Australia—where it is called a wagering license. Typically, most gaming companies don’t establish insurance companies as it entails that their activities have to be transparent and the must be highly reputable in the industry.

Nonetheless, Lottoland has no issues meeting up to these standards as they have established themselves as the only gaming sector company who has its own insurance company—an added advantage for new and existing users.

Lotteries aren’t the only games Canadians enjoy playing and Lottoland recognizes this by providing players with other types of gaming. As an industry leader, video designers of online games often make them their first choice when it comes to publishing their works.

Online games such as slots, blackjack, video poker, baccarat, keno, scratchoffs, roulette and many others are always on offer at the Lottoland Casino. There’s also the option of playing with a live dealer and a total of over 100 games.

Lottoland has received numerous rave reviews from its growing list of satisfied customer and their responsive customer service agents are always available to answer any questions users may have, along with solving challenges they may have encountered.

More and more Canadians are trooping to Lottoland in droves due to the unique experience of going to a casino without having to leave the comfort of their homes.

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