Hot Spots

Places to Go

Restaurants
Hotels
Airlines
Things to Do
Shopping
Nightclubs
Theatre
Movies
People to Eat
Hunting Locations
To add your favorites to Hot Spots, email Everest and Kilimanjaro at hotspots@portnoy.org.

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Restaurants

Restaurants are a great place to meet and eat.  Each city that we have visited has several truly great restaurants, many with convenient coat rooms or alcoves perfect for a good evening stalk.  Atmosphere is everything.  No matter how great the food, if the lighting is wrong or the rooms too small, you'll find that you don't get to eat much of it.  Some of our favorites by city:
 

Boston

Jae's -- several locations including Inman Square, South End, Theatre District
The Theatre District location is our favorite, with each type of cuisine taking a different floor of the narrow building.  It is possible to eat an entire group of guests between the 1st floor entrance and the 3rd floor Korean Grill before the hostess even notices they are missing!  Nice fish tanks to watch while you wait for your food.

Montien -- Tremont St. in the Theatre District
Very good Thai food served quickly for the pre-theatre crowd.  A nearby alcove to the right of the restaurant allows prime pouncing position, although it's prohibitively cold in winter.  (Snow leopards may find this a good winter hunting spot due to cold winds and blowing snow.)

Cafe of India -- Harvard Square
Harvard Square in general is great hunting territory, as almost everyone travels by foot and there are many small streets with dark entryways.  There are many restaurants in the Square, often with long lines outside perfect for picking off a quick bite.  Cafe of India is a favorite of ours due to its slightly off-the-beaten track location and the scent of cardamom in the air.

Charleston, South Carolina

A. W. Shuck's -- Market Street
From the outside, it looks like a tourist trap, but on the inside you'll find the perfect place to spring a tourist trap of your own.  While distracted by good local shrimp and home-brewed root beer, tired and hot tourists can frequently be lured into taking "Exclusive Leopard-Guided Walking Tours".

The Wreck -- Shem Creek
Impossible to find for any but locals, this open-air restaurant offers great food and great hunting.  The shrimp boats dock just outside and the parking is both far from the door and dimly lit.  Beware leaving tracks in the soft sand.

82 Queen Street -- 82 Queen Street near King
The garden seating for this fine restaurant offers a homey environment for a late-night snack.  The lush greenery is both soft and concealing, while the discreetly placed tables allow for a subtle pounce-and-grab without overly troubling the excellent waitstaff.

New York

Nirvana -- 58th St. between 5th and 6th
Small and overcrowded, this restaurant is mostly known for offering a marvelous view of Central Park.  We find the elevator to be an ideal stalking location.  Do not bother with the restaurant itself, as the inefficient and gossipy waitstaff will likely only step on your tail as you attempt to hid behind a rug.

Gramercy Tavern -- near Union Square
Trendy eatery with a late-night business traveler crowd.  This is a particularly good place to look for food that won't be missed for a few days, or for a healthy dinner without all the pretension of a local nightspot.

San Francisco Bay Area

Fuki Sushi -- El Camino in Sunnyvale
Great raw meat, often very healthy and well-dressed.  Look for the sake drinkers, they tend to be unsteady and easily picked off in the poorly-lit parking lot.

Chevy's -- many locations
Chevy's can be fun for a buffet, as there are many appetizer-sized dishes running around pretty much all the time.  Some of them wear large balloon markers to make themselves easier to track in a crowded parking lot or bar area.  Beware bright lighting, and don't try to perch on the tortilla maker -- that thing gets really hot!

Jamba Juice -- many locations
The noise level in your average juice bar is high enough that the odd scream is rarely noticed.  Often the clientele is fairly stringy, but if you apply the juice as a basting of sorts it adds both tenderization and a citrus flavor.  Great in summer.

Amber India -- El Camino in Mountain View
A dimly lit and many-walled Indian restaurant that offers fine dining with ease, we find Amber India a must for every trip to the Bay Area.  Try the extensive bread selection for sopping up blood.
 

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Hotels

A good day's sleep is the key to a good night's hunt.  A noisy or insufficiently pampering hotel can deprive you of necessary rest and relaxation.   A well-designed hotel can make you so comfortable you make a list of things for your humans to add to your lair at home.  Some of our favorite places to stay by city:
 

Boston
Marriott Cambridge Center -- Kendall Square in Cambridge
Although the location is not the best, this hotel offers great access to public transportation for a fast getaway as well as a nearby college for cheap and easy eating.  A bit noisy on the lower floors, and the rooms are rather small.  Good fitness center, decent room service.  Maids on the chewy side.

Bostonian Hotel -- Faneuil Hall
Small rooms, dark hallways, expensive, poor service, but close to the most popular tourist location in the country!  Spend your nights in the hotel, but eat out.

Charleston, South Carolina

Orient Express Charleston Place -- Market Street and Meeting Street
A large and elegant hotel with large, quiet rooms, a decent fitness center, and good room service.  The internal shopping center is both quietly elegant and well air-conditioned, attracting droves of inattentive tourists all summer long.  The large chandelier in the lobby in tempting, but don't try it as a pouncing platform -- it's rather dusty.
 

New York

W Hotel -- Lexington Avenue between 49th and 50th
So trendy it almost doesn't acknowledge itself, the W Hotel attracts the young and hip from around the world.  The innovative lobby design allows several marvelous hiding spots, and the staff is far too busy looking beautiful to get their hands dirty fending off predators.

Regal UN Plaza -- 44th Street between 1st and 2nd
Although the location can't be beaten -- right next to the UN building, full of people far from home -- the mirrored lobby offers no reliable hiding spots.

Orlando

Polynesian Resort -- DisneyWorld
A Disney resort is generally not a good hunting ground, despite the presence of so many key ingredients -- appetizers running free, distracted parents, heat, humidity, large crowds, out-of-town visitors, lots of trees, and lots of noise.  The Disney employees are trained in leopard detection, making hunting here a dangerous proposition.  Get caught, and it's straight into the Lion King stage show for you, complete with embarrassing grass skirt and a goofy hat.  The Polynesian has just as many vigilant employees, but the Pacific Island theme enables the cagey leopard to use the theme against them.
 

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Airlines

Choosing an airline can be tricky for the traveling cat.  Some international carriers are very accommodating, but smaller domestic airlines can have strange policies about leopard passengers.  Imagine showing up with a first-class ticket and being told that you have to ride in a crate in the baggage hold!  It's happened to us all once or twice, but with a little planning you can avoid this embarrassing situation.
 

American Airlines
Despite the name, this carrier is anything but democratic when it comes to cross-species seating.  Unless your human has Platinum status, forget riding anywhere but in the hold.  Even with status, you'll wind up in the first-class baggage closet, where there is nothing to eat and it's dark.  Ick.

US Airways
New name, same attitude -- anything goes on this East-coast heavy carrier.  As long as you want to go to Pittsburgh, Charlotte or Washington DC, you can go there in comfort, with no risk of discovery.  The Shuttle flights are particularly easy to use, and the back stairs used in LaGuardia make for an easy getaway if you've snacked mid-flight.

TWA
Many leopards recommend this domestic carrier for ease of entry, but we've found that the ancient equipment is too scary to make frequent travel worthwhile.  The flight attendants are stringy, and the constant stopping in St. Louis can be dangerous.  Several security guards at Lambert are on the lookout for passengers going missing while they wait for a delayed flight.  Not worth it unless you're stuck.

Singapore Airlines
Human frequent flyers rate this the best airline in the world consistently, and it's easy to see why.  The food is marvelous, the cabins clean and modern, even the baggage hold is comfortable!  If you must fly to Asia in a crate, fly Singapore.  If you can manage to sneak on board in one of those rollaboards, you will fly in luxury.  Do not try to sneak on unless you can ride in a piece of hand luggage --  they check for tails.

Iceland Air
Always the best way to Europe.  Populated almost entirely by poor students carrying peanut butter sandwiches and huge backpacks, this airline is like a big flying buffet.  Be sure to eat well going to Europe, as usually the flights coming back to the States are carefully monitored by roommates and parents.


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Shopping

There's very little that even the most pampered leopard needs -- perhaps a fur brush, or a nice ribbon for the ladies.  Some like tail ornaments, although they seem to be going out of style since the naturalist movement.  While the preponderance of leopard-spotted items in human stores has been tempting, you will find that few of them are useful for actual leopards.  Specialty stores catering to the large cat population can be found in almost any city, but other than that, we have no recommendations.
 

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Nightclubs

See Hunting Locations.
 

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Theatre

While touring companies can bring the most popular plays and shows to Minneapolis 5 years after they opened, we recommend making a trip to the source every year or so.  London is in the midst of a theatrical explosion, with innovative revivals and heavily anticipated world premieres every season.  New York is not quite as dynamic, but plays are flourishing, often with well-known casts.  Some of our favorites:
 

Cats, New York and London
We know, we know, it sounds good.  Don't bother.  It's all about HOUSE cats.  You can, however, catch some slow-moving meat outside the Winter Garden Theatre after the Tuesday matinee.

The Lion King, New York
You may have heard about a cat boycott due to Equity's refusal to promote species-specific casting, but just as Miss Saigon should not be punished for Mackintosh's insistence on bringing Jonathan Price over from London, neither should The Lion King be penalized for this obviously biased policy.  If you wish to contribute to the fight against Disney (a habitual offender in this area), please contact your local Free the Cats office.  Then go see this marvelous show!


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Movies

There are few movies catering to the urban leopard, and television has yet to recognize this key demographic.  Perhaps some new network will offer unique programming to this group, but until that time leopards can only be seen, and even then only rarely, on the big screen.  The must-sees include:
 

Bringing Up Baby
The first and best leopard-centric movie.  Often seen on AMC, this 30s screwball comedy stars Kira, a stunning 4-year-old female with gorgeous orange fur and a roar that will have you panting for more.  Her littermate Misha is also featured in several scenes.  Kira's career was regrettably short, Hollywood's preference for younger actresses being in force even then, but this is by far the best of her few movies.  Watch it with someone you love.

Hatari!
A lesser-known film from the 60s, this safari adventure features cameos from all the famous animal actors of the decade.  Standing out from the crowd is newcomer Sonja, a young but comedically talented performer more familiar to audiences for her role in The Greatest Show on Earth.  Catch her here in a small but pivotal role.

The Lion King
Disney, usually not a friend to predators, created a masterpiece in this tale of loss and redemption on the savannah.  While the focus is unfortunately on lions, the story is relevant to all large cats searching for their roles in this modern world.  The prey is gorgeous, although the film is noticeably reticent about hunting.  Perfect for cubs of all ages.
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Hunting Locations

There are so many places to grab a bite when you're out on the town -- it's hard to choose our favorites.  Subway platforms are warm and secluded, but restaurant awnings provide the perfect sidewalk pounce.  Bookstores are filled with preoccupied people looking down, but grocery stores often have easily lured appetizers all over the place.  Shopping malls are more complex, due to limited escape routes, but they are reliable and comfortable year-round.  (Except for Christmas.  The crowds are so dense your tail is never safe, and the appetizers just aren't worth it.)  We just can't choose.  Feel free to send us your favorites, and we'll keep the list up-to-date.
 

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