Portugal’s Tourism Boom Has Caused a Hotel Labor Shortage

Portugal’s Tourism Boom Has Caused a Hotel Labor Shortage

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For Chitra Stern, Portugal’s economic recovery is bringing an unforeseen twist.

When she and her husband opened their first hotel in a small fishing village on the southwestern tip of Portugal in 2010, they had no trouble finding workers to help run it in spite of its remote location. They visited a few hotel management schools, placed ads and were soon interviewing candidates for their Martinhal Sagres Beach Family Resort Hotel. With Portugal on its knees at the time and dozens of hotels on the verge of bankruptcy as the country sank into recession, finding high-skilled, affordable workers was a breeze.

Now, the 47 year old, who owns four hotels in the country with her husband Roman, says she just can’t find enough Portuguese workers.

“With the tourism boom, we now face a shortage of workers, not jobs,” Stern said.

As Portugal starts preparing for what might be a bumper tourist season this summer, people in the industry are beginning to worry about being able to cope with the influx of visitors. Already last year, Portugal’s hotels got a record 20.6 million visitors, about twice the country’s population. Helped by the tourist boom, the economy expanded 2.7 percent, the fastest pace since 2000. Unemployment fell to 8.1 percent in the fourth quarter of last year from a record 17.5 percent in 2013.

Basic Jobs

While the recovery in the job market has been good news for Portuguese workers, it has left some hotel owners frustrated in their search for staff. The crunch risks weighing on an industry that accounts for almost 17 percent of the country’s gross domestic product and one in five jobs, according to data compiled by the World Travel & Tourism Council.

“We can get directors but it’s people to fill the most basic jobs that we have trouble finding,” said Raul Martins, head of Portugal’s Hotel Association, which represents about 600 hotel companies.

Martins, who is also the chairman of the Altis hotel chain, estimates there’s a shortfall of about 40,000 workers for hotels. Low wages may be part of the problem—Portugal is western Europe’s cheapest country after Malta in terms of hourly labor costs, according to data compiled by Eurostat.

While hotel revenue and visitor numbers are at record highs, the average net salary for workers in hotels, restaurants and similar professions increased just 7.7 percent in the 2011-2017 period to 632 euros per month, according to Portugal’s national statistics institute. The minimum wage is 580 euros per month. Hotel employees on average make 1,035 euros a month, said Martins, citing a study by Portugal’s Hotel Association.

Hotel Openings

The hunt for hotel workers may worsen as dozens of new lodgings are expected to emerge in coming years.

Pestana Hotel Group, Portugal’s biggest hotel operator, said in January it plans to invest 200 million euros ($248 million) in twenty new hotels through 2020, with half of that investment to be done in its home market. The number of new hotels in Portugal increased 37 percent in the 2011-2017 period to 1,945 units, according to Deloitte’s Portuguese Hospitality Atlas.

Sun, sand and golf have always made Portugal attractive for tourists. The current tourism boom began in 2011 when political upheaval in other sunny destinations like Tunisia and Egypt prompted many foreigners to turn to the southwestern European nation instead.

Fueling the rush are budget carriers like EasyJet Plc and Ryanair Holdings Plc, which began setting up hubs in Portugal in 2012. ANA-Aeroportos de Portugal SA, which operates the country’s airports, said passenger traffic rose to a record in 2017.

“The low-cost airlines are responsible for all the growth in tourism in Portugal,” Michael O’Leary, chief executive officer of Ryanair, said at a press conference in Lisbon on Feb. 21. “We’ve created an entirely new market.”

Foreign Workers

Portugal wants more. The government is running an online campaign abroad to attract more visitors during both the high and low seasons. Eurico Brilhante Dias, the secretary of state for internationalization, says his administration is training unemployed workers to fill demand in the tourism sector.

Yet, in a country with no population growth, an increasing number of workers will have to come from abroad, said Stern, the owner of the Martinhal hotels. In February, Stern and her staff carried out presentations to dozens of hotel management students who were visiting Portugal from the U.S.

“The labor market is a big part of the economy that can’t just be switched on and switched off,” Stern said. “Portugal has done very well in terms of raising awareness but if we fail to deliver in terms of service we are destroying a lot of the good work that has been done.”

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

This article was written by Henrique Almeida from Bloomberg and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

Photo Credit: A tourism photo from Évora, Portugal. The country is suffering a hotel worker shortage following strong growth in visitor numbers. Visit Portugal

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March 7, 2018 at 02:07PM

Gary Cohn’s Losing Trade: Working for Donald Trump

Gary Cohn’s Losing Trade: Working for Donald Trump

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Big Wall Street banks tend to be internally divided into two camps: the investment bankers, who cultivate the firm’s clients and advise them on raising cash and doing deals; and the traders, who lay bets and take risks, often with the firm’s money. At Goldman Sachs, where he spent twenty-six years and rose to the No. 2 job, Gary Cohn was on the traders’ side of the divide. Brash and shrewd, he was known as someone who could quickly assess the upside and downside of any trade, and who was eager to bet big once he had decided it made sense.

By joining the Trump Administration at the start of last year, Cohn made the biggest trade of his career. In return for the prestige of heading up the National Economic Council, Cohn agreed to work for Trump, a flimflam artist that many upper echelon Wall Street firms, including Goldman, stopped doing business with long ago. Despite the fact that Cohn was a registered Democrat, he lent his name to a Republican President who was seemingly intent on rolling back practically everything his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, had done.

Cohn’s trade didn’t work out well. On Tuesday, after months of speculation that he wasn’t long for the West Wing, he announced his intention to resign. Although he and Trump both issued make-nice statements about each other, there was no disguising the final rupture, which was prompted by Trump’s decision to impost hefty tariffs on all imports of aluminum and steel. The Times reported that Trump was “infuriated” by Cohn’s decision to leave and had denounced him to other people as a “globalist.”

As the former chief operating officer of a global bank, and a firm believer in expanding trade links, Cohn can hardly argue with that designation. Seemingly, he had spent months trying to head off the imposition of broad-based tariffs, at times arguing fiercely with two senior Administration officials who supported this option: Wilbur Ross, the Commerce Secretary, and Peter Navarro, a dissident economist who holds the title of director of trade and industrial policy at the White House. Although Cohn had a strong intellectual argument—What sense does it make to punish countries like Canada, when it is China that is dumping goods at artificially low prices in the U.S. market?—he lost the political battle. Last week, Trump, who was reportedly furious at a series of setbacks in other areas, cut Cohn out of the policy process and announced the tariffs before they had even been finalized.

Cohn was supposedly in the White House to prevent Trump from doing dumb things on the economic front, so Trump’s dumb Presidential edict on tariffs left him with little option but to resign. After Cohn announced his intention to do just that, stock traders, concerned that Trump might now be in a position to do even more damage, starting selling en masse. But what did Cohn expect? During the campaign, Trump hardly hid his intention to shift American trade policy in a protectionist direction. For months now, he has reportedly been asking: “Where are my tariffs?” If avoiding a trade war was a matter of principle for Cohn, why did he take the job in the first place? Perhaps he thought that Trump had been bluffing during the campaign, in which case he hadn’t done his due diligence: Trump has been a vocal protectionist since the nineteen-eighties. Perhaps Cohn believed that Trump wouldn’t overrule him. If that’s true, he was deluding himself. Although Trump sometimes defers to his “generals,” as he calls them, he rides roughshod over anybody else that works for him, however rich or experienced they are.

Another question, which will dog Cohn until the end of his days, is why he didn’t resign back in August, after Trump said there were some “very fine people” among the neo-Nazis and white nationalists who held demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia. Cohn, who is Jewish, reportedly drew up a letter of resignation after Trump’s comments, but in the end said that he felt “duty bound” to stay. “As a Jewish American, I will not allow neo-Nazis ranting ‘Jews will not replace us’ to cause this Jew to leave his job,” he told the Financial Times.

Cohn’s refusal to quit didn’t sit well with a lot of people. On Tuesday, after news of his resignation became public, some observers were quick to draw the contrast. “Gary Cohn is resigning today because while neo-Nazis and treason might have been bad, these darn tariffs just went too far!” Eugene Chu, a surgeon at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, tweeted. Also on Twitter, the Washington Post’s Matt O’Brien wrote, “I guess Cohn would have resigned a long time ago if the Charlottesville neo-Nazis had chanted something really offensive like ‘Imports will not replace our domestic steel industry.’ ”

Cohn’s defenders, and he does have some, such as Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director, and Lloyd Blankfein, Cohn’s former boss at Goldman, would probably point out that back in August Cohn still had important work to do. In their public statements on Tuesday, Cohn and Trump both mentioned the role he played in helping to bring about “historic” tax reform, which delivered modest tax cuts to middle-income families and huge tax cuts to big corporations like Goldman.

Like the other members of Trump’s economic team, Cohn’s reputation will ultimately rest on how the G.O.P. tax bill affects the economy. If it delivers the surge in G.D.P., productivity, and wages that he predicted, he will get better reviews from historians than he has received from media commentaries. If, as seems more likely, the tax reform merely raises the national debt and accentuates the country’s already alarming levels of inequality, he will go down as a clueless bigwig banker who gave up his reputation for a certificate from Trump University and some handouts for his pals on Wall Street.

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March 7, 2018 at 02:06PM

Today Is My Birthday, and I’m Giving Away 500,000 Points

Today Is My Birthday, and I’m Giving Away 500,000 Points

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Link to enter to win 500,000 points — $10 minimum donation.

Today marks my 35th birthday. And this year, instead of asking for gifts, I’m asking for you to donate to help give the gift of life to someone who’s in danger of being killed just for being who they are. Just by donating, there’s something in it for you, too. For every donation of at least $10, you’ll be entered to win 500,000 points — a mixture of Chase Ultimate Rewards and American Express Membership Rewards — to use however you want.

Rainbow Railroad is an organization that TPG has been working with for more than a year, and one that has saved hundreds of lives during that time. For those not familiar, Rainbow Railroad works to help LGBT people around the world seek asylum because they are in danger of being persecuted for being who they are. Sadly, there are still places around the world that sentence LGBT people to death or imprisonment for being themselves. It’s devastating to hear, but unfortunately, it’s still very much a reality.

As you can imagine, one of Rainbow Railroad’s biggest expenses is the travel needed to get people out of harm’s way. In 2017, TPG readers and myself helped the Rainbow Railroad cause by donating nearly $30,000 and more than two million miles. TD Bank joined in the effort by donating six million Aeroplan miles. Between the outpouring of support from TPG readers and raising awareness for the cause with our float in the Washington, DC pride parade, we together helped to save more than 21 LGBT lives. But our job is not done.

Rainbow Railroad still needs our help. I’m thrilled to launch a Prizeo campaign, with all donations going straight to the organization and its efforts to save those lives in danger. Not only will you be doing good by your donation, but you’ll also be able to win some pretty cool prizes — the grand prize being 500,000 of my own points. Check out the video below for full details:

All it takes is a $10 donation to Rainbow Railroad to be entered to win. If you donate more, you’ll earn more chances to win, plus some incredible exclusive experiences — from a puppy playdate with The Points Pups to tickets to our exclusive Pan Am Experience party or a Zero-G anti-gravity flight with me. Oh, and there’s the 500,000-point grand prize. Check out the TPG Prizeo campaign for complete details on all the exciting prizes you could win just for donating to an amazing cause.

I’ll meet up with the lucky winner to help plan your dream vacation and just how you plan to use the 500,000 points (250,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points + 250,000 American Express Membership Rewards). I mean, think of all the possibilities…

  • A premium trip to Europe for two:
    • 2 one-way tickets to Europe in Lufthansa first class (220,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points transferred to United each)
    • 1 night at a Hyatt Category 7 property (30,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points transferred to Hyatt)
    • 2 one-way tickets back to the US from Europe in Singapore business class (160,000 Amex Membership Rewards points transferred to Singapore)
    • 3 nights at an upper-tier Hilton property (30,000 Hilton points per night)
Ultimate Rewards saved the day, letting me book a last-minute flight home in Lufthansa first class through United.
I love Lufthansa’s first-class product.
  • More travel for more people:
    • 33 one-way economy flights of up to 1,151 miles with Oneworld partners (7,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards points transferred to British Airways each; 247,500 total)
    • 1 one-way Southwest flight for less than 2,500 points (2,500 Chase Ultimate Rewards points transferred to Southwest)
    • 10 round-trip tickets from the West Coast to Hawaii on American or Alaska (12,500 British Airways Avios transferred from Amex Membership Rewards each way)
  • An extended trip:
    • 20 nights in a Category 3 Hyatt property (12,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points transferred to Hyatt)
    • 10,000 leftover Chase Ultimate Rewards points to be transferred for Southwest flights
    • 2 round-trip tickets from the US to Japan in ANA business class (75,000 Amex Membership Rewards points transferred to ANA each; 150,000 total)
    • 1 one-way ticket from the West Coast to Australia (excluding Perth, Darwin and New Zealand) in economy with Singapore Airlines (100,000 Amex Membership Rewards transferred to Singapore)

… The possibilities are endless.

This year, I’m thrilled to pledge my birthday to help Rainbow Railroad do incredible work in saving lives around the world. As a TPG community, I’m excited to see what we can do to help Rainbow Railroad make a lasting change. Donate today!

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March 7, 2018 at 01:01PM

Startup pitch: Springlr brings buddy element to the event planning landscape

Startup pitch: Springlr brings buddy element to the event planning landscape

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Eventbrite, the dominant events app, may have spritely competition from a new start-up: Springlr.

While Springlr offers similar event planning and promotions features, it adds a “dating” feature to the mix by helping people find someone to go to on adventures with them.

Here’s a clip:

What problem does your business solve?

We are trying to solve two pain points people normally face:

1. A platform which provides them all the events such as trips, sports activities, marathons, concerts, meetups, conferences happening around. If they are interested in any of them, how would they attend it? Where they can get the tickets, how many people are attending it, what all activities or arrangements provided by the organizers.

2. Imagine planning a trip, but no-one is there to accompany you. How about planning with some random stranger for a new kind of experience. How about hosting an event of your own and letting others to be part of it. How about selling tickets online?

Names of founders, their management roles, and a number of full-time paid staff?

Founding team consists of Kamlesh Meghwal and Divya Meghwal.

Kamlesh is a CTO/Co-founder and takes care of technical part while Divya is a Co-Founder and takes care of operations and social media management.

Bhaben takes care of digital head while Tia takes care of content writing for blogs. We have a few interns who are working on app development.

Funding arrangements?

Springlr is bootstrapped right now with initial fundings from Kamlesh which is sufficient enough to grow the company in the initial phase.

We are open to investments.

Revenue model?

Springlr charges fixed charge of 1% of the ticket price for each booking. We have other revenue model lined up and are in process of validating them.

Why do you think the pain point you’re solving is painful enough that customers are willing to pay for your solution?

Obviously, if an organizer is hosting an event, he/she expects it to have large user engagement. Our platform will provide them with that user engagement and in turn, if we charge 1%, then that will not affect their business compared to the ROI that we are giving them. Any event in the world needs users to be successful and we will provide them with that user base. Apart from paid events, we also provide them with an option to have free events which increase our organizers trust in us.

External validation?

We just released our beta version which allows people to host a free event on the platform and we started getting a lot of traction. We are doing a pilot run on a lot of users and are getting a positive response from everywhere.

We start getting noticed by some of the biggies without any marketing and are willing to tie up with us, which makes it a unique on its own. Kamlesh has more than five years of experience working with early stage startups which is a huge plus for the company. He brings in lot of expertise and skills to the team. Divya has a marketing background which will help in expanding.

tnooz view:

Eventbrite is so dominant in this space that it’s going to be difficult for Springlr to find a gap in its coils. If they play up the “event buddy” aspect or find a better way to boost the signal of paying event organizers they may have a shot.  

Or, perhaps Springlr could take a shot at being a regional events platform and capture and cater for one territory really well.

The price point will be attractive for some although others may question whether Springlr, as a newbie, can drive high user engagement, with that revenue model.

We wish it luck and will be watching for updates.

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March 7, 2018 at 12:47PM

The Season’s Hottest New Podcasts

The Season’s Hottest New Podcasts

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All of us here at the SoundsGood Audio Podcast Network are thrilled to
announce our exciting new lineup of shows. Get amped for . . . 

“Downton Crabbey”: Dave Grohl hosts this, for some reason! Every
week, he and a guest break down an episode of “Downton Abbey,” from
beginning to end, but the twist is that the hosts are all in super-bad
moods.

“The Murder of Pinky Shaw”: This is just something that we have the
copyright for, in case someone named Pinky Shaw is ever murdered,
because we think it has a really mysterious ring to it.

“Bro-Yo”: The co-hosts Brock, Chet, and Thad have always had mad-crazy conversations, and one day it occurred to them, Why don’t we start
a podcast?! So that’s exactly what they did, but they were confused
about how recording works, so the show is Brock saying, “Here we go,
fellas,” followed by thirty-two minutes of silence.

“Moby Shtick”: Just the electronica musician (and bald-guy icon)
Moby reading out loud from “Moby-Dick.”

“Wait Time”: You know that thing on kids’ shows, like “Dora the
Explorer,” where Dora will say something like “Can you find the banana?”
and then stare at you in silence, giving you time to answer, and then
say something like “Yes, the banana is in the backpack!” This is like
that but for grownups who need to feel that they’re accomplishing
something . . . anything.

“A Good Man Is Hard to Crime”: Twenty years ago, a terrible murder
took place, but the police never solved it, and the killer went free.
But that killer didn’t count on our crack team of reporters! Or we
assume he didn’t, because we haven’t been able to figure out who he is,
and I don’t know why you thought we would have been able to—our only
previous radio experience was working as production assistants on “The
Splendid Table.”

“Brokelahoma”: This was supposed to be a financial-advice podcast
about bootstrapping your way to huge financial gains, but it’s on
temporary hiatus, because Bryce’s dad is being a total dick and isn’t
letting Bryce use his studio until Bryce stops hosting a segment called
“I Literally Bought This Jacuzzi” from inside his dad’s Jacuzzi.

“S.E.O. Show”: What is a podcast how to download podcast best true
crime podcasts armie hammer dancing gif top ten podcasts.

“A Crime a Dozen”: In each episode, one of our twelve seasoned
investigative journalists screams, “BUT ARE YOU SURE?” into a box of old
case files.

“Old Bro Medicine Bro”: Keith and Keith’s brother—two brothers who
just happen to be the world’s biggest Old Crow Medicine Show fans—bring
you a week-by-week analysis of the band’s hit “Wagon Wheel,” dedicating
an entire episode to each word of the lyrics, including twenty-eight
episodes called “Rock.” You DON’T want to miss Episode 14 (“Into”), but
you DO want to miss almost every “Rock” episode. They are bad!

“Beyond a Reasonable Trout”: We’re talkin’ all our favorite
fish-related crimes. Everyone, chant our catchphrase with me: “There!
Are! Three!”

“Cereal”: In the summer of 1999, someone ate all the marshmallows
from the Lucky Charms box, leaving behind only the flavorless toasted
oats. This show’s host is someone named Tara, and everyone agrees that she
sounds an awful lot like Sarah Koenig plugging her nose and doing a bad
Irish accent.

“Bronado Alley”: This soothing podcast is for anyone who drank too
much and has the spins. In each episode, a reassuring voice will murmur
things like “Remember, lying down makes it worse—you gotta get up, bud.”

“Doggie Barko”: This is a fan podcast that does a deep dive into the
cult film “Donnie Darko,” but the twist is that you can always hear the
host’s dog barking in the background, and it’s kind of distracting.

“Bro v. Wade”: Unapologetic male feminists give us their hot takes
on women’s issues. Don’t miss Episode 11—“The Silent Episode”—in which
the hosts, Chad and Wade, open the show by explaining that they’re going
to take a step back and just listen, for once, and be completely silent
for an hour. They make it five minutes.

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March 7, 2018 at 12:20PM

United Airlines on the future of mobile and tracking performance

United Airlines on the future of mobile and tracking performance

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Matt Lincoln, manager – Digital Insights and Optimization at United Airlines believes that having a strong mobile app and a strong digital strategy and user experience is critical to customer service and company performance. He tells us the airline is focused on staying at the lead in this area.

“Our goal is to make every United experience a positive and seamless one from the beginning of the journey to the end, including streamlined booking and boarding and on-time departures and arrivals,” Lincoln says.

“As more and more people use mobile devices in their daily lives, we need to make sure we are on the cutting-edge of the latest technology for a better experience for our customers. In order to do that we need to focus on mobile technology and continue to provide an industry-leading mobile app experience.”

The airline uses App Annie to better understand how its customers use the app and how it performs compared to competitors. United monitors app reviews and tracks a series of experience metrics including active users, market penetration, duration and frequency of use; as well as the effectiveness of notifications. Lincoln’s team also looks at United customers’ cross-app user patterns to inform marketing efforts and evaluate partnerships.

Lincoln tells us:

“These insights, among others, gauge the value customers place on specific features, while identifying features that need to be more user friendly and engaging, and keep track of feature launches competitively to understand what is working and what needs improvement.”

“For example, United recently launched mobile bag tracking within the app, and through listening to feedback and monitoring the launch of the feature, we have been able to provide our customers with a satisfying experience and learn from past launches from across similar applications.”

“While we lead across the travel industry in downloads, we need to continue to push ourselves and the experience further to improve the travel experience for our customers. We were the first major airline to launch voice capabilities through Alexa and Google home. Additionally, we were the first to launch mobile boarding passes through our app for partner airline flights. By focusing on learning and listening to our customers we hope to push ourselves forward to create the optimal app and experience our customers deserve, while continuing to stay ahead of what is a fast evolving and always changing landscape.”

Lincoln describes the principles guiding United’s digital strategy by saying:

“In the digital world, no one can afford to let their experience stagnate. We must always be analyzing, evolving, and improving our approach to keep pace with the times. This is especially important as it relates to our app and new technologies our customers are using. By utilizing a test and learn mindset, being our own biggest critic, and listening to our customers we will meet the changing landscape head-on.”

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March 7, 2018 at 12:01PM

Shiny new travel tech ‘absolutely does work’, says GCH Hotels

Shiny new travel tech ‘absolutely does work’, says GCH Hotels

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Daniel Wishnia, a digital marketing consultant at GCH Hotels, is a strong believer in investing in new technologies. In fact, his day starts with news from multiple sources that focus on the latest trends in tech.

“At GCH Hotel Group we always try to be one step ahead,” says Wishnia, who is confident that technology, which both assists the traveller and leads to operational efficiencies for hotels, will succeed in becoming part of the ‘tool box’.

“There is no doubt about it, from our perspective it absolutely works,” he says.

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March 7, 2018 at 11:08AM

Heads Up: Los Angeles, Once Gluten’s Heart of Darkness, Emerges as Bread Paradise

Heads Up: Los Angeles, Once Gluten’s Heart of Darkness, Emerges as Bread Paradise

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heads up

Los Angeles, Once Gluten’s Heart of Darkness, Emerges as Bread Paradise

Long synonymous with carbo-phobia and anti-gluten mania, greater Los
Angeles has become an unlikely bakery and bread haven.

Image
Fruit-Nut bread at Friends & Family, one of several bakeries helping the Los Angeles area emerge as a bread haven.CreditBeth Coller for The New York Times

The Los Angeles area, for all of its culinary diversity, has not historically been thought of as a haven for bread lovers. While it’s true that Nancy Silverton’s pioneering La Brea Bakery has produced artisan loaves since 1989, the area, rightly or wrongly, has a deeply entrenched reputation as a place where gluten fears to tread.

“I can remember a time when L.A. was the heart of darkness, the no-carb central,” said Zack Hall, the owner of Clark Street Bread. “But we’re also a city that has great pride in food and restaurants and really cares about high-quality ingredients.”

Clark Street, which Mr. Hall founded in 2014 and operates out of a stall in downtown’s Grand Central Market, is one of several bakeries that have helped greater Los Angeles emerge over the past few years as an unlikely bread paradise. In kitchens from Venice to Pasadena, bakers are milling their own flour, experimenting with wild yeasts, fermentation, and ancient grains, and turning out loaves that rival those in New York or San Francisco. And outsiders have taken note: this summer, San Francisco’s vaunted Tartine Manufactory will open an Arts District outpost.

Image
Superba Food + Bread is an industrial chic bakery-restaurant that opened in 2014.CreditBeth Coller for The New York Times

“There’s definitely a generation of people who went through really good training and then trained each other,” said Roxana Jullapat. She and her husband, Daniel Mattern, are the baker and chef, respectively, behind Friends & Family, an airy Thai Town spot that opened in 2016. Ms. Jullapat’s sprouted-wheat sandwich bread is one of the menu’s highlights; another is her rye chocolate cookie. The availability of different grains, a relatively new development in the growing heirloom grain movement, “has totally changed the game” for Los Angeles bakers, Ms. Jullapat said.

Last spring and fall, over the course of two crawls through the new crop of bakeries in the Los Angeles area, I encountered loaves as distinct as the bakers that produce them. In Venice, I found Anton Steiner’s excellent sourdough toast and Nutella croissants at Superba Food + Bread, an industrial chic bakery-restaurant that opened in 2014. About a mile away, I inhaled hemp-nori whole wheat bread at Gjusta, the sprawling four-year-old bakery-deli-cafe co-owned by the local chef Travis Lett, and then walked three blocks to Rose Cafe, a Venice institution that was revamped in 2015 with a menu by Jason Neroni (formerly of Superba); the lavender-hued polenta loaf was a high point of my trip.

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Rose Cafe is a Venice institution that was revamped in 2015.CreditBeth Coller for The New York Times

Heading east, I stopped at Culver City’s Lodge Bread, a three-year-old establishment whose owners, Alexander Phaneuf and Or Amsalam, leaven their whole grain breads with a slowly fermenting sourdough starter (as opposed to commercial active yeast). Four smallish slices of their muscular seeded rye, served with gravlax and whitefish salad, kept me full for hours.

The gospel of whole grains and long fermentation (which, among other things, breaks down gluten) has been effective in converting many gluten-phobic customers, said Andy Kadin, the baker behind Bub & Grandma’s: “Without jumping down their throat, we say, ‘maybe it’s not a problem — maybe it’s white flour or bread from the supermarket, which isn’t bread at all.’”

Mr. Kadin, a former advertising copywriter and creative director, began baking bread out of his home in 2014; most of his impeccable loaves are naturally leavened, and his whole-grain flours come from Grist & Toll, a Pasadena flour mill. Mr. Kadin moved into a wholesale bakery in Silver Lake in February; you can find his breads at the Hollywood Farmers Market and restaurants throughout town.

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Whole wheat sourdough with labneh, pickled radish, cucumber, capers, and lox at Gjusta.CreditBeth Coller for The New York Times

For a time, Mr. Kadin baked out of Mr. Hall’s Clark Street Bread space. Like Mr. Kadin, Mr. Hall — a former musician — uses natural leavening and locally sourced and milled grains; his country loaf is the stuff that failed Paleo diets are made of. And like Mr. Kadin, Mr. Hall is expanding: this spring, he’ll open an Echo Park bakery and cafe.

In Pasadena, you can see how grains are milled at Grist & Toll, which in 2013 became the first urban flour mill to open in greater Los Angeles in a century. At its retail shop, the owner Nan Kohler spends much of her time explaining to customers the importance of regional grains and fresh flour; education, she said, is necessary “to disrupt a huge commercial industry.”

If you’re in Pasadena, stop by Seed Bakery, where Joseph Abrakjian mills his own flour and ferments his dough for as long as 24 hours. As I enjoyed Seed’s grilled eggplant sandwich on rustic country bread, I thought of what Ran Zimon, the owner of the six-year-old Arts District bakery Bread Lounge, had told me. “When I opened, I was worried,” he said. “There was always some kind of diet running around and I thought maybe people just don’t want to eat bread in L.A. But I realized they do. People like to eat what tastes good.”

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page TR4 of the New York edition with the headline: ‘No-Carb Central’? Go Ahead, Grab a Loaf. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

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March 7, 2018 at 10:48AM

Q & A: Secret to a Great Trip: Ditch the Devices

Q & A: Secret to a Great Trip: Ditch the Devices

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Q & A

Secret to a Great Trip: Ditch the Devices

The author Sara Clemence is an advocate of mindful travel, which means slowing down and really connecting to your destination.

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An illustration from “Away & Aware: A Field Guide to Mindful Travel.”CreditChris Santone/Dovetail Press

As the former travel editor for The Wall Street Journal and a past news director at Travel + Leisure, Sara Clemence knew about making the most of her time in the field, cramming in as much as possible while traveling. In 2016, burnout hit and she began thinking about information overload and fractured attention spans, her own included. “Fifteen years ago, travelers would be looking around and reflecting and absorbing,” she said. “Now they’re looking for the best place to take a selfie.”

Her answer to what she identifies as “digital saturation in travel” is slowing down and easing up on electronic use, the topic of her new book “Away & Aware: A Field Guide to Mindful Travel” (Dovetail Press). Full of Zen-channeling ideas for enriching trips, the illustrated book advocates living in the moment and embracing circumstances, including jet lag, a lesson she learned on a trip to China at age 10.

Sleepless before dawn, she heard Shanghai gradually awaken beginning with a distant bicycle bell and growing to a full crescendo of cycling commuters. “I would never have had that memory if I had had some magical remedy to jet lag,” she said. The following are excerpts from a conversation with Ms. Clemence.

What is mindful travel?

Mindful travel is about tuning into your destination. It’s about disconnecting from your devices and connecting to your surroundings, being aware of and attentive to the people and food and culture and scenery around you. It’s something that’s gotten a little lost in this hyper-connected age. Many people are too absorbed by the convenience and distraction of their phones to pay close attention to their surroundings.

In the age of “1,000 Things to Do Before You Die,” what are the benefits of under-scheduling?

If you’re looking for meaningful experiences, chances are you’re not going to get them by hustling around checking things off your list. You need time to discover, to reflect, to have a conversation with a stranger. In my experience, that’s when something really special can happen. Also, under-scheduling gives our minds a break from the regular grind. Slowing down can be really restorative and that’s one of the many reasons that we travel.

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Sara Clemence.CreditBritney Young

What are your tips for meeting people while traveling?

Starting a conversation with a total stranger is challenging whether you’re traveling or not. It really helps to ask a question. One of my favorite ways to start an actual conversation with somebody is to ask about food because so many people really like to give their opinions about food. So, ask them where they like to eat. There’s a fine distinction between asking, where should I eat — I being the tourist — and where do you like to eat. Sometimes people will give a tourist-friendly place. But if you ask where they like to eat, it’s more likely to yield a local, interesting restaurant or food stall or market.

You advise leaving the camera at home to focus on the experience. Is there some way to shoot and be mindful?

It can really help to be more thoughtful about how you use your camera. Say you’re only going to take three photos a day or only photograph certain kinds of things. Photographers say everybody needs to be taking fewer better photographs. It has a dual effect. One, it makes you more thoughtful about what photographs you’re taking and it also removes the temptation to photograph everything.

How can families practice mindfulness while traveling?

Letting your kids help plan your travels is a big one, because then it becomes a team effort. They’re invested in what you’re doing. It’s important to set limits on devices just as you set limits on yourself. When your kids start getting bored, it can be really hard not to rush to fill their time with some sort of activity. It’s perfectly healthy for children to be bored. When we were traveling for six months last year, my 5-year-old son started making toys out of whatever materials we had at hand. He would make a house out of tissue box, or he’d make a bottle into an airplane. It made me feel we were accidentally enhancing his resourcefulness.

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page TR2 of the New York edition with the headline: SARA CLEMENCE on traveling with fewer distractions.. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

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Trending: Four Wildlife Tours in the United States Worth Taking

Trending: Four Wildlife Tours in the United States Worth Taking

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Trending

Four Wildlife Tours in the United States Worth Taking

Travelers often think they have to travel far abroad to take in majestic wildlife, but there’s an abundance of natural beauty right here in the U.S. worth checking out.

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An elk in Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, one of the places where wildlife tours are proliferating around the United States.CreditDogwood Canyon Nature Park

Think you need to travel to the African savanna or South American rain forest to see fantastic wildlife? Think again. According to Martha Kauffman, a managing director and scientist at the World Wildlife Fund, the United States has an abundance of opportunities for memorable wildlife encounters. “The U.S. is home to thousands of species of wildlife, and it’s possible to see lots of these animals up close in their natural habitats,” she said.

Wildlife tours are springing up around the country. Here are four options for this winter and spring.

Sandhill Cranes in Nebraska

Ms. Kauffman said that one of the most spectacular wildlife viewing experiences she’s ever had was in March in Nebraska’s Platte River valley, when more than 80 percent of the world’s sandhill cranes, more than 550,000 in all, congregate in the area. They roost in the river by night and forage in the surrounding fields by day, and it’s a sight to behold. The birds are on their way to Canada and Alaska, and come from Mexico, Texas and New Mexico.

One way to see the cranes is on the overnight photography tour from the Crane Trust. Visitors spend the night in a photo-video blind: a 20 foot by 8 foot plywood structure that can accommodate two people. The blind is stationed near the roosting birds on the river, and it’s possible to photograph them in both the morning and evening. Prices start at $250 a blind, and tours run from March 4 to 31. Reserve by emailing the Trust directly, at info@cranetrust.org.

Eagle Spotting and Bison Watching in the Ozarks

In winter, several species of animals make their home in the 10,000-acre Dogwood Canyon Nature Park, in Missouri’s Ozark Mountains. The park is home to eagles, bison, elk and otters. Visitors can encounter these animals through a private two-hour wildlife viewing tour with a park ranger (prices start at $200 for up to three people) or go on a self-guided biking or walking wildlife viewing tour using the brochure available at the park’s visiting center. Visit the park’s website for more information, and to book a tour.

Sleigh Rides in Idaho

Through the winter, the Shore Lodge, in McCall, Idaho, offers both guests and visitors who haven’t booked a room the chance to go on an hourlong sleigh ride along the Gold Fork River to see and feed Rocky Mountain elk. Riders will also likely see white-tailed deer and foxes on the trip. Tickets are $20 per adult, and nightly rates at the Lodge start at $260. Visit shorelodge.com to book.

Child-Friendly Petting Tours in Pennsylvania

Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, in Farmington, PA, is situated among 2,000 acres of forest in the Laurel Highlands. The wildlife in the vicinity includes pygmy goats, Iranian sheep, and black bears. Both guests and passers-by can see these animals by signing up for a two-hour tour, offered daily throughout the year. The tours are run by a wildlife expert who takes guests on an open-air cart through the woodlands. During portions of the trip, participants can get-off the vehicle to feed some of the wildlife they encounter, including the sheep. Tickets are $90 a person, and resort rates start at $159 per night. Book by calling the resort directly, at 1-866-399-6957.

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page TR2 of the New York edition with the headline: The Call of the Wild. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

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March 7, 2018 at 10:48AM