We had to do it…you’ll have to wait until NEXT YEAR (Wednesday) to get your fix, trust us, it’s worth the wait!
Offering delicious brisket, fall off the bone ribs and delicious sauce is the hallmark of this BBQ. The Facebook users gave a 5 star rating for The Rusty Buckle BBQ Company and it’s currently a 4.8 on Yelp (one of the highest rated establishments in all of New Caney), so it may certainly satisfy your needs in terms of food and service. We love RBBBQ and we think you will too!
Erin M. (from YELP)
Tried it for the first time today, was definitely the best bbq we’ve had! And we’ve had A LOT of bbq! The brisket just melts in your mouth and the ribs fall off the bone. The green beans are something special, I could have eaten the whole side by myself! We also enjoyed the potato salad, dirty mac n cheese, and the redneck sushi roll. They have indoor and outdoor seating as well as to go orders. Most of the drinks are bottled, including the water which was a little annoying but can be overlooked because the food was so good. Can’t wait to go back and try the sweet potato casserole and the fresh desserts!
|Wed||11:00 am – 6:00 pm|
|Thu||11:00 am – 6:00 pm|
|Fri||11:00 am – 6:00 pm|
|Sat||11:00 am – 6:00 pm|
Сredit cards accepted
No delivery (for now)
Outdoor seating available
Saturday Travel Blog Presents a New Years Eve in New York
The shining gem of the New York scene in the 1940s, Sony Hall reopens its doors 62 years later beneath the luxurious Paramount hotel for a special New Year’s celebration. The opulent historic venue which was the home to the decadent theater piece, Queen of the Night.
Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Decadance at an immersive nightlife experience in Times Square called METROPOLIS. Step into this glamorous NY gem that has been described as a cross between a church, an opera house, and a bordello. Let our DJ’s build up to the energy of ringing in 2019 with a bang.
On this night, you will feel the electrifying energy pulsating through the air in modern day Metropolis, New York City, as guests enter the City of Tomorrow’s New Year’s Eve 2019 experience. An experience blending nightlife and a world of fantasy at Sony Hall featuring international DJs & live performances throughout the evening bringing Metropolis, the City of Tomorrow, to life.
All inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
♛ Full Five (5) Hours Premium Open Bar (9PM-2AM)
♛ International DJ Performances
♛ Themed Theatrics & Live Performances
Suggested Dress Code: Dress To Impress / Dress To Theme
Event Times: 9:00PM – 4:00AM
Learn More Here: www.MetropolisNYE.com
Disclaimer: New Year’s Eve ticket prices often go up significantly (100% +) the closer you get to New Year’s Eve. Also note that many NYE Events will sell out well in advance of New Year’s Eve. About your Tickets: (1) Show up early and help reduce the wait time, (2) Make sure to have your physical ticket on hand because you will need to show it to NYPD and security upon request, (3) You accept the risks and agree to adhere to the NYPD rules and regulations for the evening, (4) Please have a valid 21+ government ID for admittance. Large crowds should be expected (5) All Sales are final & no refunds will be issued
Additional Information: Doors Open at the Diamond Horseshoe at 9PM for regular ticket holders. Access in and around Times Square controlled by NYPD. Please enter events between 8:00PM-11:30PM and 12:15AM-2:00AM (as regulated by NYPD.) Admittance restrictions may be in place during the ball drop (11:30PM – 12:15AM.) Regardless of admittance time to your party, we recommend you and your guests enter the Times Square area by 9PM. Must be 21 & older to enter. All tickets are non-refundable. If you can not make the event, then you may resell your ticket or transfer your ticket to a friend.
3 Champagnes at 3 Different Price Points
Under $50 – Larmandier Bernier Latitude Blanc de Blancs ($45)
This biodynamically farmed cuvée Champagne would most appropriately be placed in the “Le Charm-Bomb” style of French sparklers. It’s incredibly festive, very versatile, and has a sort of wittiness to it. (Please don’t ask me how it is that wine can have or not have a sense of humor, but trust me, it’s a thing, and frankly not everything that comes out of Champagne has the ability to laugh out loud.) It’s a Chardonnay, and its main expression is grapefruit and crushed stone, but there’s a healthy ration of orchard fruit notes too, including aromatic quince. Dry but faintly honeyed, with a beautiful bead and a skin-tight finish. Focused but don’t expect it to take itself overly seriously. You can get that from plenty of Champagnes. Come to this one for a break from all that. Finesse for days, non-snooty. Gnocchi would enjoy a night out with this.
Under $100 – Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé ($80-$100)
This might not be your desert island wine, but it is mine (assuming my desert island has refrigeration). Is it empirically the best Champagne there is? There is no such thing as empirical or best where wine is concerned: We love what we love, and we tend to have certain emotional responses to certain flavors or smells. This one happens to go to my heart as well as my head. Never-ending, beautiful effervescence, pale coral color with a hint of gold, nuanced nose (alpine strawberry and pear play the leads). Crisp and ethereal, with hints of black cherry, chalk, rose petals and damson plum. Creamy yet light on the finish, focused and direct with a pleasant astringency and pretty much perfect balance. There’s something ineffable about this stuff—it’s fresh and brisk and airy but at the same time substantial. If you could bottle happiness it would probably taste a lot like this.
Over $100 – Charles Heidsieck 2006 Rose ($150)
If you like your Champagne on the intense side with a slightly less intense pricetag, this is your guy. There’s an immediacy and power to this stuff. Apricot tone in the glass, beautiful bubbles, massively aromatic nose reminiscent of strawberry jam, baking spices and honey. Creamy mouthfeel, and a highly nuanced and rather eccentric palate—plums, piecrust, blackberries—I even get some rather unexpected spice notes; Is that cumin? Fennel? Before you figure it out it reveals a deeper layer that expresses tea, figs, and pink peppercorns. If that list of aromatics sounds odd or intimidating, don’t sweat it—it’s amazingly seamless and, with all due respect to La France, the stringent regulations on what you can call Champagne result in consistent greatness but also … predictability. There is a certain limited range of flavors. Heidsieck has managed a very surprising one here. So … if you’re planning to surprise someone special, this might be the moment to pop the cork on a bottle of this nectar.
Photos by Mooid Art/Shutterstock
When the Aventador came out, it was fast and loud, but not a track monster. Now the final variant holds a Nurburgring record. What a world.
The best barbecue is cooked slowly, over a low fire, where the meat changes just, incrementally over time. Most people don’t cook their brisket long enough; conventional wisdom says beef is finished cooking at around 135 degrees, and chicken finishes up in the 160’s. But brisket is a different kind of meat. When it gets to around 165, it stays there, for what seems like forever, and folks will call that done and remove it.
But this phase of the cooking is actually called “the stall” and you have to push through that, keep cooking slowly, for a few more hours, and the temperature will rise to the finished 205 degrees, for a perfect brisket. If you don’t make it through the stall, expect an underdeveloped end product. Low and slow, with lots of patience, and the forethought to push through the stall – that’s how legends like Aaron Franklin do it. Same goes for supercar manufacturers, who, despite the flash of selling six-figure machinery, operate on tight budgets and frequently serve up half-baked product for a few years before getting it right.
The Lamborghini Aventador is on its eighth year now, and for most of those years, it was served undercooked. While the aggressive styling is unquestionably Lambo, and was utterly stunning on arrival, the dynamics left a lot to be desired. I recall remarking, while driving the original in the canyons, how it had to be driven like a front-wheel drive car, with heavy trail braking, summoning all your “anti-understeer” techniques. The SV version, in 2015, was better, a bit livelier, a bit lighter and tighter, but honestly, not by much.
The Aventador S, in 2016, brought with it a rear-wheel-steering system, which, though not a true substitute for svelte proportions, certainly was a large improvement in the handling department, especially in low-to-medium speed corners, where the car’s massive stagger and rear-biased weight proportions fought corner entry tooth-and-nail. Rear steer also helped to improve the Aventador’s maneuverability in urban driving and parking, as a nice bonus. Still, after five days with that product, I saw it was closer, but not all the way there–if it were a brisket, we could take the Aventador S’s temperature around 190.
Now, we find ourselves at the legendary Estoril Circuit in Portugal with the latest, and presumably, final iteration of the Aventador, the SVJ. The ‘J’ if you know your Lamborghini history, stands for “Jota,” the most extreme version of any Lamborghini model. In the past, privateers, under authorization from the factory to take the cars beyond their production limits, have built the “J” spec cars.
This one is a full factory effort, one that the Italians seem incredibly proud to show off, and which has already rewarded Lamborghini with a Nurburgring production car record, an astonishing 6 minutes, 44 seconds–three seconds quicker than Porsche’s GT2 RS. The Aventador has always had the power to put up impressive numbers in a straight line, running in the high-160’s in the standing half mile, but to anyone who drove the original Aventador in 2011, the idea that this platform could, in seven years, be a ‘Ring record holder, is truly impressive. I would have told you the agility not only wasn’t there, but also that it never could be. I now stand corrected.
To build an Aventador SVJ, almost everything in the car has been massaged, starting with the V12 Engine. In Lambo’s opinion, a naturally aspirated V12 is the perfect engine for a super sports car, and while this author can’t deny the effectiveness of, say McLaren’s 3.8L twin-turbo V8, I have to agree, on sound alone. We’ll get to that. To extract more power out of the already potent 6.5L naturally-aspirated engine, Lambo went old school: lighter flywheel and clutch assembly for more revs, titanium valve springs and new cam profiles, longer intake runners, and a shorter, louder, lighter exhaust. The result is 770 horsepower and 531 lb/ft of torque. While the peak torque occurs higher than in the previous engine, that doesn’t tell the whole story–there is more torque all over the entire power band, not just at the peak. The new engine makes more power everywhere.
The sound is, frankly, without peer. Listening to a pair of SVJ’s running nose to tail down Estoril’s front straight is more like sitting front row at LeMans than at your average California track day. It’s a piercing howl, one that no amount of turbocharged horsepower could possibly reproduce. While Lamborghini is clearly trying to build the highest performing car they can, equally, if not more important, is the theater of it, and the sheer volume and pitch of the SVJ screams exotica.
Lambo’s chassis engineers have gone all the way in order to cut weight from the SVJ, and it seems they have done so from, basically, everywhere. From the extensive use of carbon fiber in the body and interior, to lightweight, center-locking wheels, lightened suspension and exhaust components, and an engine bonnet without struts or a power latch, (meaning lift-off), they have touched it all, and done weight reduction in such a way that the car’s center of mass is exactly the same as before, but with rear steer and the ALA active aero system added in.
Speaking of ALA, Lamborghini’s Active Aerodynamics system on the SVJ is advanced and yet, charmingly simple. Unlike Pagani, McLaren, or Ford, with hydraulically operated wings and air brakes, Lamborghini’s system is comprised of a flat undertray, additional nostrils in the snout, and just a couple simple flaps to direct key bits of air to key places. In the front, a notable splitter has two small flaps, and in the rear, an air intake at the base of the large wing’s center stanchion has two small flaps, both electronically, not hydraulically, activated.
The rear flaps send air either around or inside the wing. Yes, inside the wing. When opened, the air flows through the center stanchion, and out of a small slot on the underside of the wing. In ‘strada’ driving modes, the flaps are closed, and the wing is maximally effective across the entire surface. In corsa mode, the flaps selectively open, allowing air into the wing, which trickles out the back just such so that it stalls the aero effect, for maximum slipperiness and minimum drag on straightaways. It’s incredibly trick, but that’s just half of it. The other half is to remember that there are two flaps, left and right, on both front and rear. In high-G cornering, the SVJ can stall just one half of the wing, by opening or closing just one side, to add downforce or stall as needed for a particular corner. Given that the wing itself doesn’t move, like the ‘Aeromotions’ aftermarket units or previously mentioned hydraulic wings do, you approach the car with some level of skepticism–these flaps, and the “out” slits are quite small–could it really work that well?
Short answer: yes; much better than you’d think. You see, the entire car has been engineered to optimize ALA. The magnetic shock settings, the spec-compound Pirelli Corsa (or optional Trofeo R tires), the gearbox tune, power curve, and front & rear steering settings all work in conjunction with ALA to make the SVJ dance. And that’s good, because of what we were told in the morning briefing.
“So, there’s a bit of an issue,” Maurizio Reggiani, head of Lamborghini R&D says, as we get to the track. “We came here a month ago to figure out tire pressures for the track day, and it was perfect. And then we got here, and something was different. Turns out, they repaved the entire surface two weeks ago. And it is, uh, very slippery. No rubber on the track at all, and lots of fresh oils from the asphalt.”
He wasn’t kidding. Though I don’t have a “before” lap of Estoril to compare it to, I know slick when I feel it, and this track was slick, especially with the morning chill. In my first of three four-lap sessions, I left the SVJ in ‘Sport’ while I got my bearings, and found that on the less-than-ideal surface, it moved around a lot. While the Lambo folks were apologetic about the track conditions, I actually found it interesting to note that “moved around a lot” didn’t mean “terminal understeer,” older Aventador models’ prevailing handling characteristic.
While, yes, it would push if you mashed the throttle with the wheel turned, a sharp lift off the throttle wouldn’t just tuck the nose, it would actually induce mild oversteer and require a correction, first with the steering, then back on the throttle to straighten. This, this rotation, is new. But with 770 horsepower on tap, the first session required real focus, which, considering the intentional sensory overload of the SVJ, is a challenge.
“Kinda hairy, huh?” I remarked to two other journalists on the launch. They agreed, following up with a head-nodding “…at least this one rotates!”
A quick chat with Ugo, Lamborghini’s aero genius, revealed that by leaving the car in ‘Sport’ mode, rather than ‘Corsa,’ I wasn’t fully utilizing the active aero, and I should be sure to put the car in Corsa next time out.
I was glad for my initial mistake, because he was right: I could feel the added stability on the first lap back out, especially in Estoril’s turns 8 and 12, the fastest bends on the track. Granted, familiarity with the circuit and heat in the Corsa tires played a part as well, but still, there was a noticeable difference with the ALA working full kick. Same goes for the front straight, where I saw, repeatedly, top speeds between 275 and 285 KPH (170 & 174 mph) with extremely conservative braking points (Turn 1 is a 50 mph bend). Even on the short, bent, middle straight, I saw nearly 220 KPH.
The monstrous ceramic brakes did eventually fade, but only after dozens of track sessions with different drivers, and even then, they came back after cooling off. One of my very few criticisms about the inputs of the SVJ covers the brake pedal tip-in. I would prefer a firmer initial pedal. But Mr. Reggiani reminds me that the target customer isn’t exactly a racing driver; the target customer prefers a softer pedal for less jerkiness, as they are more likely to be lapping Knightsbridge than Silverstone.
It probably doesn’t need to be articulated again, a 6:44 Nordschliefe time says a lot, but the SVJ is crazy, crazy fast. I haven’t had a go in McLaren’s multimillion-dollar Senna, but lots of folks on the SVJ launch did, and reported an extra 10 mph on the front straight with the SVJ. (Though in fairness, those same folks reported how much later you can brake in the Senna). Lamborghini’s opinion that a naturally-aspirated V12 is the perfect engine for a supersports car would be hard to argue here, as there are very few cars on the road that offer this level of speed, with this level of theater, at any price. No turbocharged engine on the planet sounds as wild as the SVJ’s combination of a big-bore twelve and a short exhaust, not only inside, not only trackside, but also the far side.
I received a message from a fan that he could hear the SVJs lapping Estoril from his home, more than a kilometer away from the track. To say it sounds like a Formula One car would be underselling it; today’s F1 cars sound like garbage. Because of the displacement, it actually sounds better than F1, with a shrieking wail on the boil, and a cacophony of pops and bangs on the overrun.
The Aventador’s ‘ISR’ 7-speed, single-clutch gearbox carries over, albeit with new tuning, and aside from the comically ancient Audi-MMI system (circa 2010), it’s the only part of the car that feels old. Upshifts are long, and downshifts are dramatic. Lamborghini’s commitment to having the paddles fixed on the column rather than the wheel, if you listen to their pitch, is so that no matter where your hands are, you know where the paddles will be. I think they are on the column because this is one of the last cars on the road with gear changes so violent, you actually don’t want to perform them until the wheel is pretty much straight. Let’s hope they move on to a strong dual-clutch for the Aventador’s replacement, if one exists.
At $515,000 base price (more like $600,000 out the door with options), believe it or not, the SVJ feels like a value. Though Estoril’s slippery surface prevented us from seeing what this car can do in optimal conditions, it did demonstrate that this is the first and only V12 Lambo in the company’s entire history that can really, really dance. It’s the fastest, most powerful Lamborghini ever made, but also, one of the most agile, even compared to its excellent Performante little brother. And perhaps most shocking is that all the aggression, all the wings and scoops, the carbon fiber and the active aero, hasn’t ruined the ride, the comfort, or the usability of the car in any way. (Note: The carbon bucket seats sit about 1.5 inches higher than the “comfort” seats. It makes a big difference at the six-foot mark).It’s remarkable, really, how good the Aventador SVJ is to drive, knowing where it started back in 2011. And like any good barbecue chef will tell you, the secret to the perfect hunk of meat is doing it low and slow, making very small adjustments, then waiting to see what happens; working through the stall, and knowing when the right moment is to serve up a perfectly cooked cut. For Lamborghini, that time is 2018, because the balance of performance, (reasonable) streetability, theater, and tech has broken down the toughness and created the perfect piece of Italian murderous meat.
A growing, albeit still relatively small, number of luxury watchmakers have embraced the challenges of using sapphire as a material not only for the crystals covering their watches’ dials, but for entire cases as well, but it is Hublot that is clearly (you should pardon the pun) leading the charge. At Baselworld 2018, the Swiss brand known for its bold forays into unconventional materials and envelope-pushing technology took the still-exclusive category to a new level with the introduction of the Big Bang Sapphire Tourbillon, which boasts not only a crystal-clear case but a see-through skeletonized movement as well.
In addition to the transparent sapphire case and crystal, the resin dial, and the matching translucent strap made of structured lined rubber, the Big Bang Sapphire Tourbillon also boasts a painstakingly skeletonized version of Hublot’s in-house HUB6016 manual-winding tourbillon movement — yes, the same five-day-power-reserve caliber we’ve seen in previous Hublot tourbillon models like the Big Bang Tourbillon Power Reserve 5 Days Titanium, but here with one big difference: the components, except for a few metal gears, are also see-through, constructed of high-tech polycarbonate materials. At center stage is the bridge supporting the tourbillon cage, which, like the majority of the exterior parts, is made from a strip of nigh-indestructible sapphire. The effect is somewhat mesmerizing, with the clear mechanical parts seemingly floating inside the case while the tourbillon performs its balletic motions.
Like its predecessor from 2016, the Big Bang Unico Sapphire, this watch’s 45-mm case is milled from blocks of solid sapphire, a material nearly as hard and as scratch-resistant as diamond and, consequently, extremely difficult to machine. The few non-sapphire elements in the case include the six H-shaped titanium screws that hold fast the bezel to the case body, the metal crown, and elements of the lugs and buckle, which is also titanium. The hands on the dial are rhodium-plated brass, and both they and the large Arabic hour numerals have been treated with Super-LumiNova.
As one would expect, the case is thick — 14.26 mm — and offers only modest water resistance, at 30 meters. The movement has been stripped down to a relatively sparse 175 components, including 25 jewels, and beats at 21,600 vph. The movement’s touted five-day power reserve (actually 115 hours, which translates to 4.79 days, but really, who’s counting at this point?) is displayed on the dial as well; again, transparency in all areas is the watchword here.
The Hublot Big Bang Sapphire Tourbillon is limited to 99 pieces and priced at $148,000.
When it comes to the hyper-elegant one-of-a-kind MANSORY J.S. 1 Edition based on the Lamborghini Aventador 750-4 Superveloce, it’s not just about the look. It’s really about the feeling. The exclusive carbon-clad street-hugger enthuses every car devotee. Among them is London art dealer and multi-billionaire James Stunt: the J.S.1 Edition designed just as he wanted it and stamped with his initials is the ultimate fulfillment of his automotive dreams.
Ultra-light, high strength and top-class – carbon is ideal for the automotive work of art that we call the J.S.1 Edition by MANSORY. The refined and enhanced-performance Lamborghini Aventador 750-4 Superveloce is a daunting road-cruising projectile built like a stealth bomber: black, wide, flat, angular and breathtakingly fast. Its owner, London multi-billionaire James Stunt, is always surrounded by bodyguards and a crowd of paparazzi – when, for instance, he parks one of his numerous automotive gems from MANSORY out front of Harrods, the world-famous luxury department store. Someone like Stunt is constantly on the lookout for something special owned by no one but him. And that’s why he comes to the high-class German customiser, MANSORY.Even before the first glimpse of the newest streak of genius from MANSORY besots James Stunt and anyone else who gazes upon it, the numbers alone stagger the comprehension: the standard 750 HP of the Italian super sportscar has been upped by MANSORY to 830 horsepower. The maximum thrust rises from an imposing 690 to a prodigious 750 nm. And the savvy engine tuner can still add a twist to the top speed: 355 km/h. The J.S.1 Edition now catapults from a standing start to 100 km/h in an incredible 2.7 s. To get to 200 km/h takes just 8.4 s, and in the sprint from 0 to 300 the MANSORY Lambo shaves the half-eternity of six tenths of a second off its Italian counterpart of the series: after only 23.4 s, the speedometer hits the magic three with two zeros.
In the fastidious eyes of James Stunt, the MANSORY sports car specialists from Brand in the Fichtelgebirge are the ideal partner when it comes to the proper refinement of an already elite-class jumping-off point such as the Aventador Superveloce. The best evidence of that: the prominent Londoner already has 20 MANSORY remakes parked in his garage – luxury vehicles from Range Rover, Bentley, Rolls Royce and Lamborghini that have been refined even further by MANSORY. One of the inspirations behind the sophisticated collector’s ideas and desires for the J.S.1 Edition was the Lamborghini Veneno, the brilliant anniversary model marking 50 years of Lamborghini.Now, with the brand-new J.S.1 Edition the London car connoisseur is aiming first and foremost not at maximum power, but at a deliberate increase in the impressive baseline data and a harmonious performance package. To get this, MANSORY has reached deep into the aerodynamic bag of tricks to make sure the enormous power of the Italian stealth bomber always stays under control. The entire carbon aerodynamic design has been carried out by MANSORY with the greatest of care and forethought. “Prepreg-autoclave” is the magic phrase here for the method that distinguishes such exclusive carbon from similar materials, leaving it absolutely flawless in surface quality and precision. The J.S.1 Edition by MANSORY is thus covered by a tailor-made carbon fibre shell that meets the highest demands on looks and aerodynamics – and meets in full the strict demands of James Stunt.The carbon fabric in the stealth look is a MANSORY exclusive in vehicle construction. The redesigned front of the Aventador of the J.S.1 Edition by MANSORY is also crafted from the same material, which is as top-class as it is functional: a distinctive front bumper with optimised air intakes that guarantee better ventilation of the engine’s radiator. Together with a new spoiler lip on the front, these aerodynamic parts provide additional downforce, which brings huge benefits at the extremely high speeds the refined Superveloce hits.Both the front hood and the front fenders have been replaced with high-quality carbon parts from MANSORYs autoclave. New side skirts not only look bewitching, but shunt additional air to the engine and the high-performance brakes. At the same time, they smooth the airflow sweeping between the front and rear axles. A diffuser and an enlarged and more powerful spoiler at the back bring yet more aerodynamic advantages. These and many other full-carbon fibre elements in and on the J.S.1 Edition by MANSORY reduce the overall weight in comparison to the Lamborghini Aventador Superveloce by a total of 50 kg – apart from the design and the aerodynamics, a further advantage of the adept customisation by the company from the Fichtelgebirge.The significant extra power of the MANSORY one-off was gained by the engine tuner with the help of a power-box, as well as a complete new exhaust system including manifold, muffler and tailpipes. Aside from that, a sport air filter helps ensure that this refined and unique super sportscar has gained a significant boost in performance, torque, acceleration, and top speed. And the price? In the wealthiest London circles one doesn’t talk about money. The true gentleman merely enjoys, and is silent. And even if James Stunt would betray a secret: the J.S.1 Edition is unmistakably one of a kind, which is given away by the inscription on the front fender: “J.S.1 Edition 1/1 by MANSORY”
|Lamborghini Aventador 750-4SV:||J.S.1 Edition by MANSORY|
|750 BHP at 8,400 rpm||830 PS at 8,600 rpm|
|690 NM at 5,500 rpm||750 NM at 5,750 RPM|
|Top speed 350 km/h||355 km/h|
|0-100 = 2.8 s||0-100 = 2.7 s|
|0-200 = 8.6 s||0-200 = 8.4 s|
|0-300 = 24.0 s||0-300 = 23.4 s|
Do you have the world’s shortest layover in London- but cling to big travel dreams?
Have you ever dreamed of being transported to another country for even just a few hours? How amazing would it be to wake up to breakfast in Paris or close the day with a nightcap in Rio? I love long trips, but there’s also an intoxicating allure to the whirlwind visit, getting just a tantalizing taste of what a city has to offer. And lately, I’ve been thinking about the flavors of London. Specifically an ultra-short London layover.
I have a good friend who we’ll refer to as Graeme (because that is in fact his name!) who recently did just that. He had the briefest of layovers in London while on route to another European city. A layover so short that we even pondered if it was worth his time to leave the airport at all! In general, I rarely recommend layovers where you have less than 4 hours of leisure time but such sensible practicalities are lost on a wild soul like Graeme, who was determined to see London for the very first time.
And now Graeme isn’t the only traveler I know who’s embracing a lickety-split layover in London – my friend Valerie is considering it too! So if Graeme and Val sounds just like you and you have a devil-may-care approach to layovers – or if you simply have extremely limited free time to see the city on a business trip – here’s what you can do in London when you have just three hours, plus a few options to extend your day if you have five to six hours.
Is it really a good idea to try to see London on a super short layover? Can anyone see London in just three hours? Can you even see anything at all? YES! There are many overrated tourist sights in the world but the classics of London aren’t among them. And, happily, they are all within easy walking distance of one another, allowing you to see a lot in a short amount of time. I’ve never heard of anyone who hasn’t been thrilled with their first visit to London, no matter how short the layover is. We can make this work – here’s how.
(This itinerary assumes you’ll be traveling to and from London Heathrow airport. We’re talking 3 or more hours of leisure time, not just 3 hours between flights. You have to take into account your time getting to and from the airport, clearing customs, checking back in, and so on. Before diving into any layover make sure you have your logistical ducks in a row. Research your transportation options, double check your flight times, and come up with a solid plan for your luggage.
Take the subway (the “Tube”) from Heathrow airport directly to Green Park station. If you’re lucky and the timing works out, you might just be able to see the Changing of the Guard at nearby Buckingham Palace. The music begins at 11:15 and the event itself at 11:30.
If you’re going to miss it, take heart. This is still a great place to start a quick London layover tour. You’ll get a much better look at the palace when the Changing of the Guard is not taking place. Take some time to look around and take photos of the palace and the surrounding area.
(Got tons of time? Grab a hotel. One of our favourite places to stay is the The Rubens At The Palace, just steps from Buckingham Palace. It is very posh, very English, and the perfect place to splurge on a proper high tea or a full English breakfast. We loved staying here. If your budget is very limited, not all that far away is an “EasyHotel”, run by the same folks as the EasyJet discount airlines.
Walk to Trafalgar Square via Whitehall and Downing Street.
From Westminster and Big Ben, walk up Whitehall towards Trafalgar Square. On your left, you’ll see Downing Street (home to the British Prime Minister) and the Household Calvary Museum, as well as the grounds for the Horse Guard Parade and the Changing of the Queen’s Life Guard.
In short, the Horse Guard Parade and the Changing of the Queen’s Life Guard have all the spectacular pageantry of Buckingham Palace’s Changing of the Guard, but with a fraction of the crowds. So take heart if you missed the fanfare at Buckingham Place! You can see this activity weekdays at 11:00, Sundays at 10:00 (learn more here).(A shout out to my battered copy of Lonely Planet London for this smart tip).
(Got lots of time – and politics isn’t your thing? Take this alternative route instead. Walk along the River Thames on Victoria Embankment and take a glimpse at the river’s traffic and the Whitehall Gardens. Turn left at the Embankment tube station, walk through the station’s foyer and out the other side, and take Villiers Street up to Charing Cross Station (peeking into the Victoria Embankment Gardens as you do) and emerge at Trafalgar Square – our next London Layover stop.)
Bill Wathen and Dick Dore have been making wine together since 1985, when they founded Foxen at the historic Rancho Tinaquaic in northern Santa Barbara County. Their first Pinot Noir came in 1989. They create very small production, vineyard-designate wines and have become quite famous since the winery was featured in the movie ‘Sideways.’ A number of varieties are produced, but the three Pinot Noirs come from Bien Nacido Vineyard, Sea Smoke Vineyard, and Julia’s Vineyard. The wines are full-throttle, rich Pinot Noirs. The tasting room on Foxen Canyon Road is open daily.
2007 Foxen Julia’s Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir
15.2% alc., $45. Unfined, unfiltered. · Deep color. Oak char and ash dominate the aromas. Impenetrable prodigious black fruits with a vein of citrus in the background and flamboyant dry tannins on the finish. This wine will need another 2 to 3 years at least to emerge, but will always be a big wine. Reviewed September 5, 2009 ARTICLE »
2007 Foxen Sea Smoke Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
15.5% alc., 475 cases, $63. · Unfined, unfiltered. Darkly colored. Enticing perfume of crushed sweet berries with an oak accent. A voluptuous wine of copious dark berry fruit framed by firm tannins that demands your attention. Veers toward Syrah and over time in the glass becomes jammy and bit tiring. This wine makes a statement and will have fans of its Parkeresque style but its over the top for me. POP 91, WS 94. Reviewed January 22, 2010 ARTICLE »
2006 Foxen Winery Block 8 Bien Nacido Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir
14.6% alc., 480 cases, $54. Primarily Wädenswil with some Dijon 115 and Pommard. 100% whole berry de-stemmed, 4-5 day cold soak, 10-14 day active fermentation with punch down twice daily, partial lots undergo extended maceration for 30 days. Aged 16 months in 60% new French oak barrels. Bottled without fining or filtration. · The flavors trump the nose at this time. Rather subdued aromas of dark fruits, tobacco and fresh veggies. Intense and ripe dark raspberry flavor. Very smooth in the mouth with supple tannins and a mildly tart citric finish. This wine almost seems like a Pinot Noir in Rhone clothing. I like it for its individuality. The wine improved from the opened bottle later in the day indicating a long life ahead. Reviewed January 1, 2009 ARTICLE »
2006 Foxen Winery Julia’s Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir
14.6% alc., 450 cases, $54. Pommard clone. 100% whole berry de-stemmed. 5 day cold soak, 10 day fermentation with punchdowns twice daily. Aged 16 months in 65% new French oak barrels. · Vigorous with flavor and character featuring herbinfused dark stone fruit with char and cola highlights. Packed and stacked with flavor but smooth and polished. The deep berry flavors leave a memorable impression on the lengthy finish. A delicious wine. Reviewed January 1, 2009 ARTICLE »
2003 Foxen Bien Nacido Vineyards Block Eight Pinot Noir
14.6% alc., 425 cases, $48. This block was planted in 1996 with clones 2A, Sanford & Benedict (Mt. Eden), 113, 115, and Pommard. · A very darkly-colored wine of great intensity. Plenty of sweet, fresh, vivid fruit with power to thrill. A bit of heat peaks out on the finish. Reviewed August 24, 2007 ARTICLE »
Mercedes’ AMG GT 2-Door models get a number of performance and aesthetic improvements.
The delightfully devilish Mercedes-AMG GT coupe and roadster are getting a number of updates as we head into 2019, most of which bring the two-door models in line with the recently released. The changes are mostly limited to some restyled interior and exterior bits, as well as a couple of performance enhancements. But the big news is the addition of a limited-edition AMG GT R Pro model, which debuts alongside the updated GT range at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week.
You’ll recognize the GT R Pro thanks to its redesigned front fascia that improves overall aerodynamics. A good number of the exterior body panels are made from carbon fiber, including the roof, and the Pro wears a unique wrap design with racing stripes that run over the hood, roof and down the hatch. (And yes, you can forego the wrap if you want.)
Other Pro-specific tweaks include a revised AMG coilover suspension, where drivers can adjust not only the springs, but the compression and rebound of the dampers. Front and rear torsion bars are also adjustable, and the front unit is made of carbon fiber. The dynamic engine and transmission mounts have been retuned, and other minor tweaks were made throughout the car’s chassis. Carbon ceramic composite brakes come standard, as do lightweight AMG Performance wheels.
The Pro uses the same 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V8 as every other AMG GT model, and doesn’t offer any power increase over the GT R on which its based. Of course, with 577 horsepower, 516 pound-feet of torque and a 3.5-second 0-to-60 mile-per-hour time, you shouldn’t have any reason to complain.
In lesser GT and GT C specs (the GT S is discontinued), the 4.0-liter V8 makes 469 and 550 horsepower, respectively, as well as 465 and 502 pound-feet of torque. Those figures apply to both hardtop and convertible models.
The GT gets Mercedes’ AMG Dynamic Select system, with Slippery, Comfort, Sport, Sport Plus, Race and Individual driving modes. Additionally, the GT gets the AMG Dynamics stability control system, with Basic, Advanced, Pro and Master modes. That’s a lot to manage, and if the end result is anything like, it might feel like drive-mode overkill.
Outside, all AMG GTs get redesigned headlights with a new LED light signature, as well as a slightly tweaked rear diffuser. Inside, the changes are more evident, where GT models get a fully digital instrument cluster, as well as a redesigned steering wheel with more prominent side controls — similar to what you’ll find in the AMG C63. Finally, a revised center console adapts the color-display control buttons seen in the four-door AMG GT.
Pricing hasn’t been announced just yet, but that should become available in the near future. Look for the updated AMG GT family to hit dealerships in the coming months.