French chefs at the Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota are celebrating the legendary Julia Child, and marking the opening of the film Julie & Julia, with a three-course menu of French food. Under the direction of chef Frederic Chartier, offerings will include truffle quiche Lorraine, bavette steak frite, shallot Bordelaise and a selection of pots de creme. The three-course menu is $49 and will be offered through Sept. 7. Dinner at Vernona in the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota, 1111 Ritz-Carlton Drive, is served from 6 to 9 p.m. For reservations, call (941) 309-2008.
Nearly naked flight attendants
Air New Zealand has gone nude — unless you count body paint as adequate coverup. Crew members sport paint designed to look like uniforms in the airline's in-flight safety video, dubbed "Bare Essentials of Safety." Marketing general manager Steve Bayliss called the campaign an "opportunity to stand out in a crowd." With more than 4 million hits on YouTube, we'd say the airline has succeeded.
Take a hike in NYC
New York City has opened a few new public spaces where you can take a break from museums, shows and shopping. Best of all, these attractions are free. On the West Side of Manhattan, check out the High Line, an elevated steel railway built in the 1930s. It has been transformed into a park offering views of the city from 30 feet above the street. See a map at thehighline.org. Pedestrians also get the right of way along Broadway between 42nd and 47th streets at Times Square and at Herald Square, near Macy's, where Sixth Avenue, 34th Street and Broadway meet. Two new urban beaches offer plenty of sand (though no swimming). Governors Island in New York Harbor is accessible from Manhattan on the free Governors Island Ferry (find details at govisland.com) and also has biking and concerts. Manhattan's South Street Seaport has a great view of the Brooklyn Bridge, minigolf and more. If you head to the city before Sept. 13, check out nycgo.com/realdeal for family-friendly accommodations and discounts.
Feel the love, Tampa
With a low percentage of flight delays, Tampa International ranks among the country's best airports for on-time performance, according to the August issue of Travel + Leisure. The magazine studied Bureau of Transportation statistics on flights April 1, 2008, to March 31. Tampa, with only 17 percent of flights delayed, moved up to No. 5 in the rankings, from No. 7 a year ago. Find the complete list at travelandleisure.com. The No. 1 place to avoid? Newark, where 30 percent of flights are delayed. As for other Florida cities, Orlando (18 percent) is a newcomer to the 10 best list; Miami (26 percent) is No. 3 among the worst.
A new mark of luxury
Never mind WiFi or iPod docking stations. The latest digital accessory offered by hotels is an e-reader. The Algonquin Hotel in Manhattan hands out Kindles that feature titles penned by members of the Round Table, a literary group that lunched at the hotel in the mid 20th century, along with other topical selections. At the Gansevoort hotels in New York and Turks & Caicos, the e-readers come loaded with a selection of classics and bestsellers, and at EPIC, a luxury hotel in Miami, Sony Readers are available to guests on its club level (the top two floors) and to those using the pool deck.
Reserve for Epcot food events
Foodies, prepare to dial: Reservation lines for the 14th annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival open at 7 a.m. Tuesday. Call (407) 939-3378 to hold your place for Epcot wine schools, tequila tastings, French regional lunches, cheese seminars and other programs. Among the celebrity chefs expected to attend are Cat Cora, Warren Brown, Jamie and Bobby Deen, Alan Wong, Art Smith, Robert Irvine, Keegan Gerhard, Jacques Torres and Andrew Zimmern. The festival runs for six weeks beginning Sept. 25. Entrance to the general festival is included with regular Epcot admission; reservation-only events can cost an additional $35 to $375 (plus tax) per person. For dates, more details, go to disneyworld.com/foodandwine.
Compiled from Times wires