The perfect holiday gift is beautiful, unique and filled with wonder. Gastro Obscura: A Food Adventurer's Guide is all of these things and more: a travel-lover’s delight with enough offbeat facts about food to spark countless conversations at the next cocktail party or event. The lavishly illustrated, newly published book from Atlas Obscura, the popular website that’s a crowd-sourced database of weird and wonderful places across the globe, is a journey through fascinating and often farfetched history, culture, places and traditions, told through the lens of food.

Gastro Obscura is rich with “did you know” gems. Did you know, for example, that The Citrus Collection at the University of California, Riverside, is the largest in America, containing more than 1,000 different citrus varieties across 22 acres? Or, that Beacon Food Forest in Seattle is the country’s largest public edible garden, teeming with 350 species of peans and vegetables and that anyone is allowed to forage here? Or, that Brooklyn Grange operates the largest rooftop soil farm in the world, producing over 100,000 pounds of organic produce every year (its Sunday farmer’s market are free and open to the public). And, you might not know that the country’s last known surviving  horse-drawn lunch wagon is the Owl Night Lunch Wagon, which dates back to the 1890s and is on display at the Henry Ford Museum in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn.

Cecily Wong and Dylan Thuras, the book’s authors, have been traveling  on their ambitious literary tour with what they call the “World’s Most Unusual Vending Machine.” The customized vending machine dispenses items like canned bread, a berry that makes lemons taste sweet, and a Rwandan spice that’s so tongue-scorching it’s dispensed by eyedropper. Sounds to us like a great interactive experience for a corporate gathering. To order the book or learn about upcoming tour dates, visit books.atlasobscura.com

 

Temperatures in Palm Springs and other desert cities are breaking records this summer, topping out at more than 120 degrees. But Chad Gardner, one of the area’s top event planners and caterers, isn’t breaking a sweat. His companies Chad Gardner Presents, and Dash and a Handful produce corporate events and charity galas for a long list of clients, including Pandora, Calvin Klein, Toyota, Nike, Twitter, VH-1, the Human Rights Campaign and the Annenberg Center at Sunnylands.

 

Networking has changed a lot over the decades. With the integration of multiple social media platforms, there has been a lot more opportunities created. However, with those opportunities, comes the question of how to achieve the right balance of online and personal connections? Networking is an essential skill needed for growth within any industry. After all, "It's not what you know, but who you know.” Here are a few tips on how to turn strangers into helpful professional contacts. Happy Networking!

 

Texas lends itself well to year-round outdoor events. Other than the dead heat of summer, there are very few times of the year when a successful golf scramble can’t be pulled off. Enter the experts of Texas golf: club directors and tournament directors from across the state who put together some of the largest golfing events each year. Texas is great for golf, which is probably why it’s arguably home to more pro golfers than any other state.