Saturday afternoon, Therese and I attended the Travel & Leisure Global Bazaar for the first time. Hosted in the cavernous Lexington Armory, it was a fun combination of travel vendors and food and drink. For example, there were Blue Hawaiians at the Hilton booth and Mofongo and Arroz con Pollo served up at the See Puerto Rico booth.
Patron Tequila also had a couple of stations, one where you could make your own mojito and get a free stainless steel muddler engraved with your name and another, a “Wall of Patron” that offered a selection of mixed drinks like an intriguing English Basil Gimlet. For the record, the Gimlet was really good, maybe my favorite drink all afternoon, sweet but also tangy and sour.
While travel giants Delta Airlines and Hilton Hotels dominated the area just inside the entrance, there were a number of smaller vendors present as well. Seabourn Cruises and Taj Hotel tours, for example, were there, as well as Park Hyatt hotels, drawing attention to their “Masters of Food and Wine” program with a food station. The pulled pork and bean puree on toast they served up was quite tasty, and I’m glad they were willing to make a couple of portions without parmesan cheese sprinkled over the top for me!
We were happy to talk to people at Seabourn and Taj Hotels, since we are still trying to figure out where our next lengthy trip is going to be, either China and Vietnam or India, and a cruise or a tour might be just the way to do it affordably and to our maximum enjoyment (and minimum stress). We also enjoyed speaking to someone from Visit Jordan – they had a sand sculpture in progress that drew our attention, and we are seriously considering adding a trip to Petra and other Jordanian destinations to our vacations list.
So with all that we saw (and ate and drank), what were some of my favorites? Well, blowing a conch shell at the Hilton station was definitely a highlight! I actually got a pretty good sound out of it (I think…)!
Near the end of the afternoon, there were two guys dressed up as a Chinese dog cavorting their way around the Bazaar with a percussion band that was pretty hilarious.
We really loved the booth of delicacies and goods from Morocco. It was like a small building, with stations for tasting Moroccan wines, Harissa, and spices. And it was decorated with furniture and rugs and lamps from Imports from Marrakech. I was ready to buy a Moroccan tea kettle, but were told they were just for display, not for sale. We could’ve stayed there smelling cumin and turmeric for hours!
The afternoon session was unfortunately over at 5pm. But we had our fill of it. The one criticism I would have is that there could’ve been more food. There was certainly more than enough alcohol! I understand the evening session is more food-heavy, with celebrity chefs putting on a big show. Perhaps next year we will have to attend the evening session!
As we were still a little hungry, we were happy to see food trucks parked near the entrance to the Bazaar as we left. We munched on a couple empanadas from Nuchas Empanadas. Many of the meat empanadas were dairy free, and they also had a vegan Shiitake Curry empanada on their menu that tasted wonderful – full of succulent vegetables and some nice spices, surrounded by a delicately baked pastry shell spiced with turmeric.
Our first time at the Travel & Leisure Global Bazaar definitely won’t be our last. We are already pencilling it in for next year – the evening session, as I said. I will be sure to practice my conch-shell blowing, so that I can put on a real show next time…