The Purple Passport
Summer's Last Blast
August at The Purple Passport

From the Pen
of Emily and Jenn


The Purple Passport 

I'm fighting the heat here in the oh-so-hot United Arab Emirates, and this summer has been my longest stretch without a trip back home to the US in quite some time. In order to "travel" just a little bit (I never can quite shake that bug), I've spent some evenings in Dubai, which is just an hour or so up the road from where I live in Abu Dhabi.


Part of this time has been spent seeking out little tastes of home. In a surreal display of globalization meets innovation, New York City burger favorite Shake Shack can be found right next to Dubai's famous indoor ski slope in the expansive Mall of the Emirates. And down the road at the Dubai Mall, I can satisfy my sweet tooth at New York's Magnolia Bakery (the cupcakes taste just like home, but sadly cult favorite banana pudding is missing from their offerings), which is located right inside...Bloomingdale's!


Next, I like to head upstairs in the Dubai Mall in search of some of my other favorite spots from around the globe. Boutiques by top British designers such as Stella McCartney and Matthew Williamson put London's Bruton Street right at my fingertips. And with just a quick walk down the hall, I can see what's new at Parisian favorites Herm�s, Christian Louboutin, or Chanel. And if I have room for just one last snack, I always make a stop at Ladur�e, macaron heaven.


With all of this eating and shopping under my belt, the next worthy stop is the Burj Khalifa, an imposing tower which is currently the tallest building in the world with 160+ floors. The visitor center is easily accessible from the Dubai Mall. (If you plan on going up, be sure to purchase tickets online well in advance because they really do sell out. Last-minute tickets, which can be purchased at the door, will run you over USD 100, while advance tickets cost about USD 27.)

Standing on the observation deck on the 124th floor of the tower, looking down at the city below, I can't help but think: it really is a small world after all.


-- Jenn


Quick Links...


Welcome to the August 2011 edition of The Purple Passport Newsletter! Read on to find out more about how you can Put Your Stamp on The World this month.

A Little Bit Country in Los Angeles

Farmers MarketWe can't help but feel some sadness as the languid days of summer come to a close on Labor Day (bye bye sundresses, hello corduroy!). But as the summer winds down, Los Angeles is a city that's just heating up. For one thing, LA often has an "Indian summer" that extends the hot, dry weather into early autumn. And for another, you can still enjoy the spoils of summer at the LA County Fair, which opens Labor Day weekend and runs until October 2. Though LA is undoubtedly a city of urbane glamour, chomping on ears of grilled corn and slices of watermelon at the fair reminds us that LA----with its agricultural past----is a little bit country at heart. 


Lark Cake ShopIn fact, lots of our favorite places in LA have a touch of down-home Americana. If we're in the mood for vintage cowboy jeans, we head to American Rag Cie (Levi's 501s are well represented). Though it's chockfull of high-end designer boutiques (not lumber), the rustic setting at the Malibu Lumber Yard/Country Mart transports us far from the Hollywood glitz. The softball-sized cupcakes at the Lumber Yard outpost of Crumbs Bake Shop could definitely win a blue ribbon at the fair. Across town at Lark Cake Shop in Silver Lake, we dig the retro sweets like the old-fashioned ice box cake. For something heartier, we love the stick-to-your-rib fare at Roscoe's House of Chicken and Waffles. Also on the Southern tip, the fried green tomatoes and mint juleps (not to mention photos of Elvis) at South are delightful too. And what could be more all-American than a burger at Apple Pan? For a food extravaganza to rival the county fair all year round, hit the Farmers Market. But if you just want to breathe a little "country" air, hop on a horse trail at Griffith Park----you'll forget completely that you're smack in the middle of Tinseltown.


Photo of Farmers Market courtesy of pocheco on Flickr Creative Commons; Photo of Lark Cake Shop courtesy of spun.awake on Flickr

Fave Feature - Helpful Hints   


Beijing Helpful HintsWhen we're planning a trip, we often get so excited about all the venues in our Passport (the plum hotel, the Michelin-starred restaurant, the divine spa...) that we completely forget about practicalities. Like, what's the best way in from the airport? What will the weather be like? And do we really need to rent a car? That's why we put together the super-informative Helpful Hints section of each of our City Guides (click here for an example). It's packed with useful details to make your trip run smoothly, from transport to tipping and safety to seasonal highlights. Whether you want to employ a Town Car or helicopter, coordinate your trip with a marathon or music festival, or dodge gray London skies or Beijing sandstorms, we've got you covered!


Photo of Beijing courtesy of poeloq on Flickr Creative Commons 

More Purple! - Flickr Photostream


Grand Palace BangkokWe admit it: our staff at The Purple Passport is a group of camera-happy shutterbugs. When we stumble upon moments of beauty, deliciousness, and wonder in our travels, we can't pass up the chance to snap a shot and share. We post the best of the best on our Flickr page for your perusing pleasure. Follow our photostream to feast your eyes on our trove of exotic images like over-water bungalows in Maldives, camel milk cappuccino (yes, camel milk!) in Abu Dhabi, and gilded palaces in Bangkok. Check back often, because chances are we'll have added new pics there before you can say, "Cheese!"


Photo of Grand Palace Bangkok

Venue of the Month - SLS Beverly Hills

SLS Beverly Hills
The turn of seasons has no doubt set your mind to fall fashion, and just because they'll be wearing shorts in Los Angeles practically through Thanksgiving doesn't mean that Angelenos aren't thinking about the coolest apparel of the season. Case in point: coming up in early September, Fashion's Night Out events will take place throughout the city, and the SLS Beverly Hills is one of the chicest places in town to catch some of the action. On September 6, the hotel will be hosting "Taste Fashion," a 3.1 Phillip Lim fashion show combined with a five-course dinner inspired by Lim's designs. The chef is none other than Spanish wunderkind Jos� Andr�s of the onsite restaurant, The Bazaar. But even if you can't coordinate your visit with the stylish event, you'll still find the SLS to be a bastion of design and fashion. Philippe Starck has worked his eccentric magic in the lobby (teacup chairs, anyone?) and in the glowing white Ciel Spa at SLS (try the Spun Glass Facial). The hot pool deck crawling with hipsters is like a runway for resort couture. And if you're really a hardcore fashionista, they've got a shopping chauffeur to whisk you to nearby Rodeo Drive. We knew "SLS" rhymed with "well dressed" for a reason!
Photo of SLS Beverly Hills courtesy of Expedia
About The Purple Passport
The Purple Passport was born out of a passion for travel, a love of the world's great cities, and a desire to spread the word. Our founders, best friends Emily and Jenn, have been traveling internationally together for over a decade----with purple-colored passport covers in tow. Now they've created this one-stop-shop, web-based city guide for all your urban travel needs, from researching a trip start to finish to creating an itinerary shared with your own favorite travel companions.

In keeping with our founding spirit, The Purple Passport personally visits every single spot that we review. And we always pay our own way, never taking compensation for covering a venue on the site or in our newsletter, which means you'll get the most honest, unbiased travel information for the world's most exciting cities. It's a portal to a world well-traveled, and we invite you to PUT YOUR STAMP ON THE WORLD!