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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

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One of our favorite local businesses, Oxford Pennant recently launched their first ever pop up shop for the holidays called The Victory Gardens. Partnering with many of the brands which Oxford Pennant has worked with in the past, their small retail space is perfectly curated with an impressively wide selection of goods which fit perfectly into Oxford’s in-house motto of “A Cabin In The Woods”, or more specifically “something you would want for your cabin in the woods.” Full of outdoor, vintage-inspired goods like blankets, custom painted paddles (and hockey stocks!!!), travel mugs, bags, bottle openers, candles, cologne, patches, t-shirts, sweaters, an incredible blanket-lined denim jacket, Oxford Pin-ants, and of course their entire Pennant catalog, this pop up is a must-stop-shop for Buffalonians looking for unique quality gifts.

The shop is open Monday-Saturday from 12-8 at their 43 W Tupper St headquarters in downtown Buffalo. You won’t be disappointed.

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One of my favorite #menswear blogs Parisian Gentleman recently published an article reinforcing a firm belief of mine that one should be well-dressed while traveling on a plane. Not to say you need to be in a three-piece suit while taking your family on a trip to Disney World, but at the very least make an effort and don’t travel in pajama pants.

As Hugo points out,“Being elegantly dressed triggers a set of reactions with people you meet during your voyage – from ground agents, to the security team, to the border police, the cabin crew and the passengers, with these encounters accompanied by reactions which are consistently the same – smiles, kindness, respect and politeness — to the degree which camouflage cargo shorts with hiking sandals could never hope to replicate.”

[via Parisian Gentleman]

OF THE PLEASURE OF TRAVELING ELEGANTLY

Traveling has been part of the DNA of Parisian Gentleman since we began this project seven years ago.

Sonya, Greg and I have been roaming the world tirelessly for the needs of our editorial work as well as for a number of side activities related to Parisian Gentleman – ranging from university conferences to private receptions, various “sartorial” events, PG events, and book signings, to visiting a staggering amount of workshops and manufactures for my books (as well as attending international trade salons, movie sets, interviews for the press—traditional and digital). As a matter of reality, we’ve been on the road more days then we can count.

Last year, for the research work for my upcoming “The Italian Gentleman” book and for the various signing events for “The Parisian Gentleman”, we traveled for a solid 9 months without setting foot back home. We trekked all over Italy of course, but also we spent significant time in Spain, the UK, the US, Asia, South America, Canada, and in Eastern Europe.

Of course, “on the road” is a figure of speech here. We mostly took the plane. And by mostly, I mean an obscene amount of time over the past twelve months.

Yet we never compromised with one of our internal rules – that of always traveling well-dressed. Be it with a full suit or sports jacket, a tie, a pocket square, or at the very least, a pair of well-shined shoes and a nice, freshly ironed shirt. This rule we wouldn’t cheat on, no matter the destination or the duration of the trip.

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It’s a rule which might seem ludicrous to many – as it seems understood that the priority when traveling, in particular on a long-haul flight, would be to put comfort over style, for obvious reasons and benefits.

Still, having traveled a solid couple hundred times fully suited-up (with tie) over the past couple of years – and not only in business class (not by a long stretch) – I can attest that it is perfectly possible to travel while dressed elegantly. Not only that, but chances are, traveling in style will improve, almost constantly, the quality of your travel experience.

And why ? Being elegantly dressed triggers a set of reactions with people you meet during your voyage – from ground agents, to the security team, to the border police, the cabin crew and the passengers, with these encounters accompanied by reactions which are consistently the same – smiles, kindness, respect and politeness — to the degree which camouflage cargo shorts with hiking sandals could never hope to replicate.

Mad Men Flight

Believe me when I say : being dressed, and behaving elegantly for a long trip will almost always bring its fair share of perks and good surprises : last-minute upgrades for your seat arrangements, fast-pass for the check-in line, ease of access to many frequent flyer salons, and fast-tracks even without the right ticket, second servings of red wine and crackers, and a wealth of other similar tidbits that will make your trip more enjoyable. Dressing well, especially when sharp clothes are paired with elegant behavior, will earn you a lot of sympathy – especially when you act well in the gravity of a difficult situation without irritation or annoyance, and keep that smile alive.

Climbing in a place for a long-haul travel in a bespoke suit with a well-tied tie and a nice pair of shoes is a surprisingly positive experience – both for your own benefit and that of the crew, who seems to appreciate nicely dressed and well-behaved passengers. More often than not, the cabin crew will be particularly considerate to “that guy with the suit and the long hair” and his partner “that girl in the suit with a tie and suspenders, in seats 14 E and F”. Over the years, some crew members even approached us to say how nice it was for them to serve passengers that set themselves apart from the usual fare, in a positive way.

I like to travel while wearing a tie, if only to set myself apart from the crowd.

Another reason I prefer to wear a tie during travel is because this small gesture lends an “ambiance from the past” to the travel experience — as if crossing the Atlantic in an airplane was still an event in itself, a special occasion worth dressing well for in advance.

If you’re wearing a shirt from a quality source and if your tie is light and the knot is sturdy, you’ll be able to travel an entire eight-hours-plus trip without looking worse for wear, although you may need to loosen the tie a bit and open up your shirt collar a button or two for a nap…

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Of course these days, traveling well-dressed does not necessarily require wearing a tie. Indeed, a nice travel jacket with a well-fitted button-down shirt and a good pair of cotton trousers will do the trick as well.

Traveling elegantly dressed is important, as far as I’m concerned — if only because it turns a deeply boring and frankly tiring experience in a truly pleasant human experience.

Try it for yourself, and see the difference…

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[Photos by Mark Mulville/Buffalo News]
Sharing some amazing photos by The Buffalo News which feature one of my favorite buildings in downtown Buffalo: The M&T Gold Dome Bank.

[via The Buffalo News]
The M&T Gold Dome Bank opened in 1901 with white marble walls and floors, a soaring ceiling and windows that start several feet off the ground. “The bankers were trying to create a place that liked like your money would be safe,” said Robert W. VonLangen, M&T Bank property manager. 

I’ve always enjoyed visiting this bank even though we don’t belong to it on the off chance I happen to witness someone singing the bank song from Mary Poppins inside.

While I certainly would never want the bank to close, when I visited The Federal Bar in Long Beach last year, all I could think of is how awesome the Gold Dome building would be as a bar.

Check out the full gallery here and some of my favorites below. Also, if you happen to be downtown, do yourself a favor and check out this incredible building for yourself.

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Once again this year we would like all of you lovers of the open water to check out the Discover Buffalo Sailing Program kicking off at the end of April. Discover Buffalo Sailing is your introduction to the world of sailing. Taking place the first 4 weeks of the sailing season, the program will expose you to basic sailing skills through a structured program of onshore chalk-talks and on the water, hands-on experience. Club boat owners are volunteering their equipment to give you the best possible experiences. Mentors and seasoned crew members will coach you as you learn how the wind and the sails move the vessel through the water. The program will include basic boat handling, safety, and mock race starts.

The 2016 season will kick off on Thursday April 21st  from 6:30-8:30pm with an orientation session that will outline the program expectations, recommended equipment and boat assignments. It will also be a “meet the skipper” night as all participants and fellow crew members, including your club mentors, will be introduced . This meeting will be held at Obersheimer Sailor Supply – 1884 Niagara St. Buffalo, NY 14207 on the second floor sail loft.

Sessions will run on four consecutive Saturdays with the first session running from 8:30am -1:00pm on May 21st. The remaining sessions will start at 8:45am. Each session will consist of a 45 minute dockside chalk-talk and 1-1/2 hour sail, weather permitting. Sessions will not be rescheduled if poor weather prevails. In the case of poor weather, a dockside lesson will be substituted. Each boat will have a mentor and a minimum of two seasoned crew members. Participants will be actively involved in sailing during each session.

The only requirement for participation is basic club membership which is currently $50, a $10 materials fee, and signature of a liability waiver. Participants need to be agile enough to easily move around a boat in motion. For more specific information regarding requirements prior to orientation, please contact Patrick Weisansal II, Program Coordinator at PWeisansal@gmail.com

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CoolHand

Cool Hand Clothing, a new menswear shop located on the outskirts of the Elmwood Village near Bidwell Park, recently opened their doors and offers casual clothing for the fashion conscious man. The perfect clothes for “drinking beer on a Saturday afternoon”, the store features iconic male actors throughout the store who serve as their style inspiration. Paul Newman, Steve McQueen, Jack Nicholson… men who no matter what they wore, always seemed to look good. Cool Hand Clothing is looking to offer that same effortless style with a fine collection of casual button downs, chunky knit sweaters, henley’s, fleece zip ups, military inspired outerwear, classic sneakers, diving watches, aviator sunglasses, soaps and cologne, many of which are made in the USA.

The store also features a wide selection of vintage inspired, Buffalo-themed garments like hoodies, hats and tees. A few favorite pieces of mine where the Peace Bridge Crewneck, Buffalo Bisons Hockey Club Hoodie and American Needle Baseball Cap. The store also features Surfside Supply Co, a favorite brand of ours which is also offered by Blue Collar. The store makes it pretty easy to replenish your entire wardrobe while keeping everything affordably priced.

Another favorite item in the store where the solid cologne tins from Men Don’t Stink. These all natural fragrances come in a metal tin and are comprised of waxes and oils perfect for men with sensitive skin who want a more subtle, but still great smelling, scent. Perfect for keeping at your desk and reapplying throughout the day as needed, at only $20 these are sure to be on a lot of Christmas lists this year.

Check out some photos from the store below, and be sure to stop into the store today and get a jump on your Winter wardrobe.

Cool Hand Clothing
1068 Elmwood Ave
Buffalo, New York

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If you’re looking for the perfect weekender bag, this recent collaboration from Roots and Pendleton just might be the one! Combining the intricate patterns of Pendleton’s iconic designs with the warmth and beauty of American made Horween Leather, the Small Banff Bag by Roots is perfect for a weekend getaway. The bags were only made in limited quantities and are currently getting plenty of press on the interwebs, so if you’re contemplating getting one, I suggest you jump on it now.

$648

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2015JohnnyOnionRide

Always a highly anticipated event is the annual Johnny Onion Ride by the BLRC. Last years ride was a huge success with gorgeous weather and by the looks of things, we’re going to have more of the same this year. As per usual, if you’re looking for French-inspired clothing like striped shirts, berets and neckerchiefs, Uncle Sam’s Army Navy Outfitters has everything you’ll need. Just don’t forget the onions! Salut!

[via Facebook]
Summer is making way for Autumn. That means it’s once again time for the darling of BLRC runs. The Buffalo Lazy Randonneur Club hosts our fourth annual and the world’s only Johnny Onion Ride. On this day we pay homage to AR JOHNNIGED BRO ROSKO, the pedaling peddlers of Breton’s famous Roscoff onions. Under their adopted moniker of Onion Johnny, these intrepid farmers have peddled their onions throughout Great Britain on bicycles. After crossing the channel by ferry, the Onion Johnny strings his bicycle with a hundred pounds of prized onions to sell to homes and restaurants. We will not ask so much of you. 
We do ask that you outfit yourself in [stereo]typical french maritime or farmer style. Stripes, Berets, Neckerchiefs, etc. Also string a few onions to your own bike and we will add them to a cauldron of french onion soup made at the end of the ride. We gather at noon on the first Sunday of autumn at out waterfront park, a port of Buffalo’s own ferry. From there we lazily ride along bike paths to the rose garden pergola at Delaware Park, our nod to the english rose. Feel free to bring any other refreshments or picnic fare you like. 

As always we request that you remain responsible for your own safety and equipment. Whenever you ride, follow all laws and safety precautions. 

This is a RAIN OR SHINE event. Sailors and farmers dress like they do for a reason.

Canalside Buffalo
44 Prime Street, Buffalo NY 14202
Sunday, 12:00 pm-ish

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This past Sunday, our good friends at KC You There invited us to sample the new Sunday Brunch menu at Templeton Landing. We’ve reported in the past on Templeton Landing’s incredible location which, during the warmer months is highly deserving of their hashtag #BestSpotInBuff. We’ve returned several times for dinner and good old fashioned day drinking, but never actually been there for brunch. Being that it was the wife’s birthday weekend and the weather was perfect, we jumped at the chance to attend.

The temperature was a balmy 83 degrees outside, but being right on the water, we hardly noticed as we sipped our bottomless mimosas. Up next was one of the real treats of our visit: Templeton Landing’s Colossal Blood Mary’s! As the cart rolled up, we chose between regular or spicy flavor and proceeded to add additional ingredients of our choosing. Being a Bloody Mary novice, I deferred to their best judgment and opted for the standard celery stick, a piece of shrimp, some peppers for color, a stick of savory bacon before finally topping it off with a slider. That’s right. There was a full-on hamburger in my drink and it was fantastic! Hands down of the best Bloody Mary’s we’ve ever had.

Understandably, the Bloody Mary was a tough act to follow. We opted for some of the crowd favorites of Belgian Waffles (which for some reason are called “Belgium” waffles on the menu which the wife pointed out) with strawberries, a side of bacon and Eggs Benedict for the Mrs. The food was good, however the bacon was our favorite part and it’s difficult to make something for brunch really spectacular (especially, like I said before with having to follow up the Bloody Mary’s), but the incredible view from Templeton Landing is so great you hardly mind. Lastly, we ordered some desert mainly because it was the wife’s birthday and she loves key lime pie where as I’m indifferent about it. She thought it was delicious and we enjoyed our view a little while longer before heading home for some lounging by the pool and digesting our delicious brunch.

Thanks again to KC You There and to Templeton Landing for having us. If you’re looking for a stellar brunch spot while the weather is nice, we cannot recommend Templeton Landing enough. Come see for yourself why it’s the #BestSpotInBuff.

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The Federal Bar

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During my recent trip to Long Beach, I had the good fortune of checking out some incredible shops and restaurants during my stay. We’ve featured quite a few remarkable places here on the site, but few have truly taken my breath away like The Federal Bar.

Originally opened as a bank at the turn of the last century, The Federal Bar has been immaculately and meticulously restored so it looks as if it was just built. When you walk in, you are immediately greeted by one of two breathtaking crystal chandeliers hanging from the three floor-high ceiling. As you follow the cherry pillars up towards the ceiling, you see the original hand painted beams running the entire length of the building. The beautiful damask curtains are nestled between the windows which flood the floor with natural light from outside. The bar on the right as you walk in is so well integrated into the look of the interior, you almost don’t even notice that it’s there. At first I was skeptical of their rather limited looking whiskey selection, but as I traveled towards one of their several private siting areas, my fears were laid to rest. At the rear end of the restaurant sits a beautiful floor to ceiling mural, beside which rests one of the more impressive whiskey bars I’ve ever seen. As incredible as all this was, I had only just begun my exploration of The Federal Bar.

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It turns out, there was not only a basement bar which had private VIP areas nestled inside one of the banks original vaults, there was also a legitimate Speak Easy used during Prohibition which was converted to yet another bar within a bar, within a bar. As we entered the dimly lit basement, it definitely felt more like a nightclub. Nothing too fancy, just some velvet red curtains, some sitting areas but still a very weathered, vintage looking bar which kept with the overall aesthetic of The Federal Bar. It had a little more underground, grungy feel to it, but that’s what was cool about it. Plus the vault. My God, the vault. The door was so intimidating I was almost afraid to go in it. Lastly we were led into the speak easy. The lights were out because it wasn’t open yet, however we were lucky enough to be told the password to get it once it opened: “Johnny sent me”.

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I was so enamored with The Federal Bar that I had to go back during dinner. Their beer selection is quite good, as was the food, however, the service was a bit lack luster during dinner time. We had to wait over an hour for our food, which was unfortunate, and we were sat so far away from the bar that it also took forever for our drinks to show up. Thankfully our waitress (who was decked out in fully 20’s flapper garb which I thought was a nice touch) was aware of the problem and was gracious enough to give us a nice discount on our meal which made up for any unpleasant feelings which were had during our meal. After speaking with some locals about our experience, it turns out that since The Federal Bar has opened service has been a bit dodgy. People tend not to mind because the interior is so awe inspiring, but if you’re going to invest so much money in restoring a building like that, one would think service and getting food out on time is something that wouldn’t be overlooked.

Still, if you happen to find yourself in Long Beach, or are in LA and feel like taking a short drive, I cannot recommend enough stopping into the Federal Bar for lunch or dinner. All that’s missing is George Banks from Mary Poppins walking up to you singing about tuppence (whatever those are). It’s a wonderful time warp of a restaurant that I’m sure you’ll enjoy.

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We have had the incredible good fortune of staying at some stellar hotels lately, and last weekend was no exception as the wife and I along with some of our good friends made the short trip up to Toronto for some celebratory birthday shenanigans. One of the highlights of the trip was our stay at The Drake Hotel.

The Drake Hotel is a cultural, entertainment and hospitality landmark in Toronto. Known for providing one of Canada’s most unique and sought after hotel and culinary experiences, the building, which dates back to 1890, proudly redefines the Toronto boutique hotel experience by being forward thinking while nostalgically influenced. The Drake creates a version of a downtown urban retreat where travelers, culture seekers and neighbours all happily intersect to enjoy the thoughtful contradictions of high and low, new and old.

Relatively unassuming from the outside, once you enter the hotel you are greated by their friendly staff and beautiful grand staircase. While waiting for the rest of our party to show up, the wife and I were led upstairs to their patio bar which was the perfect spot for some sunny day drinking. While we loved being outside, I couldn’t help but wander down to the first floor bar which features some jaw dropping book cases housing vintage radios, stereo equipment and various novels. Once everyone showed up we enjoyed a few more cocktails before heading up to our rooms which were reminiscent of some of the small but beautifully designed NYC hotels I’ve stayed at in the past. While space was at a miminum, by no means were the rooms cramped feeling as everything was laid out perfectly in the room to fully maximize the space.

If there is one thing that The Drake prides itself on it’s design. It’s clear to see that every design decision made for The Drake was intentional, and everything has a cohesively modern look to it, while still staying fun and quirky. The hotel is a designers dream come true as seen by it’s extras laid out in the room, to the hilariously simple “mini bar”. Everything you see in the room is available for purchase, from the french terri hoodie-inspired robes, plush monster dolls, neon colored toilet paper (which is scented by the way) and even, upon some late night, alcohol induced exploration, a full catalog of various sex toys. Yet despite all it’s tongue and cheekiness, we were assured that The Drake is family friendly, welcoming kids of all ages and making their stay just enjoyable as the adults.

The one thing we weren’t quite prepared for after returning to the hotel a little after midnight was the incredible line to get into the bars after dark. Luckily, we were able to walk right in by flashing our room keys, much to the chagrin of the many people waiting in line. At that point our party had little interest in dancing the night away in the clubs as they were far to packed for our taste., so we retired to our rooms and had a small room party with the help our complimentary champagne and various bottles of beer we previously acquired from Bellwoods Brewery earlier that day.

The only word of caution we would give while staying there on a weekend is to request a room far away from the entrance. The wife and I were on the third floor so we slept like babies, but friends of ours who’s room was located right above the main entrance were kept up basically all night as the club goers partied the night away on the floor below. As we stumbled into the lobby the next morning only mildly hungover, you would never guess the place was packed with people the night before, but the look on our friends sleepless faces told us otherwise.

That unpleasantness aside, we had a wonderful time staying at The Drake. We loved the rooms, the bars, and especially their custom gift shop which is located next store from the hotel and we highly recommend checking out here. The hotel is located in a trendy neighborhood on Queen Street West, which is a part of Toronto we had never seen before but will definitely be returning to. If you are looking for a fun weekend getaway in Toronto, The Drake should be on the top of your list for places to stay.

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