Keeping Fido safe
The nonprofit Center for Pet Safety has been administering crash tests of pet crates and small carriers. The top-performing crate, for dogs up to 75 pounds, was the Gunner Kennels G1 Intermediate with 8-foot tie-down straps ($500). For more information and 2015 Crate Study Results, go to centerforpetsafety.org.
New MSP flights to D.C.
American Airlines is adding three-times-daily nonstop service between Minneapolis-St. Paul and Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., starting April 5. Delta and Sun Country also offer nonstop service to the D.C. airport.
where to eat now
In Newport Beach, Calif., seafood without fuss
In a mixed metaphor befitting a restaurant owner, Thos Carson likes to say that "seafood is our bread and butter." The owner of the Bear Flag Fish Co. in the Lido Village section of Newport Beach, Calif., originally opened his restaurant in a garage in 2008, but demand outgrew the space. Last year, he moved the restaurant a few blocks away, and it has been packed ever since. Bear Flag, which takes its name from the California state flag, is more of a joint than a restaurant. It doesn't take reservations, there's no table service and you may have to stand in line for a while to order your food. House specialties are clever Mexican-surfer food hybrids, like the poke burrito, assorted ceviches and seaweed salads, and a sushi roll called La Bamba (tuna, avocado, cilantro and spicy crab). Go early. Not just to avoid the line, but to make sure you get the pick of the menu (newport.bearflagfishco.com).
New York Times
Videos to launch vacation dreams
Log onto Facet-Video Travel Inspiration, and you can browse travel videos from around the world, grouped by curated collections. Themes include destinations and things to see and do, such as museums, beaches, urban life and epic views. It's available for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, iOS 8.1 or later. A handy feature is the app's connection to Airbnb. After watching a video, click on the info button to see a map of where the video was taken. Now look for the Airbnb logo. Click "Plan" and get a list of nearby Airbnb accommodations. The quick and easy way to connect inspiration and planning is an unexpected bonus.
Los Angeles Times
deal of the week
Third night free in the lap of luxury
The Dorchester Collection, a group of luxury hotels around the world, is offering a free third night at several properties in Europe and the United States, including London, Paris, Milan and Beverly Hills, Calif. For example, three nights in February at the Hotel Plaza Athenee in Paris — a five-star property with views of the Eiffel Tower — start at $2,100, including taxes. That represents a savings of about $1,140. At the Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles, pay from $1,652 for three nights, a savings of $493. To get this deal, book by Feb. 29 and travel now through April 3. For more information, call 1-800-650-1842 or go online to dorchestercollection.com.