Archive for the ‘Restaurants’ Category

Cozy with a Cocktail

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Not many stand-alone bars can match the swank and sophistication or just the sheer comfort of a hotel bar. From the décor to the signature selection of drinks, don’t forget to check out the coolest hotel bars on your next trip out of town.

colorful cocktails with olive and cherryNew York City: Rose Bar at the Gramercy Park Hotel
Rose Bar is an intimate hideway inside the trendy Gramercy Park Hotel. This is likely the reason that it’s also a celebrity favorite with visitors such as Janet Jackson, Sting and Chace Crawford. Complete with wood-beams, a walnut bar and a big limestone fireplace, this bar is a hotspot for the city’s most fashionable events.

New York: Soda Bar at NYLO Southside
On a warm night, the rooftop Soda Bar is a fun spot to hang with friends. Park yourself in a cabana next to the pool and take in the sweeping city skyline.

Aspen, CO: 39 Degrees Lounge at the Sky Hotel
A famous après-ski spot, Aspen’s best burger and wicked cocktails from Denis Cote make 39 Degrees a lively local favorite. Hang out by the pool, refuel after a day shopping or on the slopes and discover for yourself why 39 Degrees is a Celebrity Spotting hideaway.

Boston: Simple Truth Lobby Lounge at the Hotel Veritas
Located near the hallowed halls of Harvard Yard, the Hotel Veritas wreaks of higher education. And yet inside its lobby is the simply stated Simple Truth Lounge that is a welcome distraction or perhaps think tank for nearby academia types.

Snowmass, CO: The Lobby Bar at the Viceroy Snowmass
Well it is ski season… this uber chic bar keeps you feeling cool even when the lobby fireplace is roaring hot.

Los Angeles: Bar Marmont at the Chateau Marmont
If you want to see people having conversations that make things happen then spend an afternoon or evening at Bar Marmont. The dim lighting and exclusive feel make it a haven for celebs meeting up for networking or a little fun.

New Orleans: Carousel Bar & Lounge, The Hotel Monteleone
The drinks aren’t all that will make your head spin at this revolving bar inside on of New Orleans most historic and famous hotels.

Dallas: Dragonfly at Hotel ZaZa
Dragonfly oozes sophistication and sexiness. It feels offensive to merely call this a bar. Signature drinks and the occasional star sighting makes this “bar” located in the trend Hotel ZaZa the place to see and be seen.

Atlanta: Rooftop 866 at Renaissance Atlanta Midtown Hotel
Rooftop 866 offers the best rooftop views in Atlanta with a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. While the bar can get crowded on the weekends, the great mix of cocktails and small plates make it worth waiting to find a spot. My favorite? The double dog dare!

 
 

 

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Top-Notch Hotel Nosh

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Eating at a hotel is no longer limited to marginal room service from an institutional supplier.  On the contrary, as hotels continue to find ways to differentiate themselves from the rest, some are adding signature restaurants with star chefs at the stoves and designer spaces.

Here are a few hotels serving up standout culinary experiences from the comfort of a hotel lobby.

0_1672R-54307Las Vegas: é by José Andrés at the Cosmopolitan

We expect culinary greatness from Vegas hotel restaurants. At the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, a new super exclusive restaurant has taken top billing as the ultimate culinary experience on the Strip. é is the eight-seat bar offering just two seatings a night for a 15-course avant-garde Spanish tasting menu. Plan ahead for a visit to é.

Louisville: Proof on Main at the 21c Museum Hotel

Located in one of the most creative hotels around, Proof on Main is as original of a restaurant as the art that flanks its walls.  The menu is eclectic and elegant and is ranked #3 best hotel bar according to USA Today. 21c Museum hotel is a former warehouse turned eclectic boutique hotel featuring a contemporary art museum that is free and open to the public all year long. The art spills over into the 90 rooms of the hotel and into the award-winning, Proof on Main restaurant.

Austin: The Driskill Grill at the Driskill Hotel

Nestled in the historic Driskill Hotel, The Driskill Grill has been charming guests since 1886 and it never gets old. Try the tasting menu, it’s as unique as a stay at this landmark hotel, which by the way, is said to be haunted. With well-trained staff and an ever-changing menu, The Driskill Grill has earned each of its four diamonds.

New York City: Gemma at the Bowery Hotel

On NY’s Lower East Side, you don’t have to stay at the Bowery Hotel (but you’ll want to) to enjoy the impressive Italian fare and cozy setting. The Italian trattoria is a great spot to see and be seen. During the summer, sitting outside is really something special and so is the pizza at Gemma. Try the weekend brunch to feel trendy with all of the Lower East Side hipsters.

Portsmouth, NH: SALT Kitchen and Bar at Wentworth by the Sea

Newly opened last summer, SALT is a contemporary restaurant in a historic setting as part of the more than 100 year old Wentworth by the Sea Resort. SALT features great locally inspired, seafood cuisine and small plates. Grab a seat at the chef’s bar to watch the masters in action or entertain friends in the glassed-in wine room that seats 12.

 
 

 

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Things to do in Charlotte, NC: TSB City of the Month

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

Charlotte is a fast growing city with much to enjoy for people of all ages. While most visitors head to ‘The Queen City’ between the spring and fall, there’s still plenty to do during the winter months; and right now during the holidays is no exception.

Holiday Happenings in Charlotte

Just 15 miles west of Charlotte is the small town of McAdenville (population 700). For the past 50 years, McAdenville, otherwise known as “Christmastown USA” has kept the Charlotte area merry and bright with its amazing light display that drawls more than 600,000 visitors each year and has even garnered the attention of TIME Magazine. There’s only one way through town so you can’t miss anything. Locals say the lights are best experienced on foot.

An animatronic orchestra of computerized bears, the Leonard Bearstein Symphony Orchestra, is one of Charlotte’s favorite Christmas attractions. The “Bearstein Bears” complete with singers play favorite holiday classics at Founders Hall for free daily throughout December.

200177110-001Things to Do in Charlotte

One of the city’s oldest cultural institutions is the Mint Museum. The historic building used to house the United States Mint – hence the name – but today its two-campus set-up houses both an impressive art collection and a popular craft and design museum.

North Carolina is regarded as the “Birthplace of Aviation,” and the Charlotte region is steeped in flight history. Located on the grounds of Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, the Carolinas Aviation Museum has a collection of over 50 aircraft and a large collection of smaller historic items related to aviation in the North and South Carolina.

The museum even recently added the body of US Airways flight 1549, the famed “Miracle on the Hudson” plane.

For the theme park enthusiast, you’ll be thrilled to know that Charlotte is home to Carowinds. This theme park actually crosses the borer between NC and SC, so you can be in two states at once. And, if it’s a water park you are looking for, Charlotte is also home to a Great Wolf Lodge, doubling as a great hotel option for your visit, too.

The first actually documented gold found in the United States occurred in the nearby Reed Gold Mine in Midland, NC. There’s no charge to tour the mine or see the museum and it is $3 to pan for gold.

Food for the Soul in Charlotte

Charlotte’s unique blend of business and southern hospitality seem to be the right ingredient for culinary success in the city. You can find just about anything in Charlotte to please even the most discerning palettes. Here are a few dining recommendations for your visit to Charlotte.

Mert’s Heart & Soul serves southern cuisine that is as authentic as it comes. All I can say is “Yum”. Mert’s has the best fried chicken, shrimp & grits, fried catfish around. Be sure to stop by for all the fixins.

The North Carolina Barbecue Society created a BBQ Trail all the way to Tennessee featuring 24 historic barbecue pits. I’m not sure whether to file this under “things to do” or “where to eat” but either way it would be deliciously fun.

Soul Gastrolounge is a hip and delicious choice for dinner. It stands in the top ten of Zagat’s best restaurants in Charlotte list. And, you can even catch a glimpse of the restaurant as it’s a backdrop spot in the new TV series, The Novice.

Be sure to make dinner reservations early enough in the evening so you’ll be able to get downtown for the Bobcats game at the Charlotte Bobcats Arena. The new team brings a lot of new excitement to the area.

We’ll round out the week with a few hotel recommendations for when you visit Charlotte whether on business, pleasure, for romance or with family.

 
 

 

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America’s Melting Pot: Visiting US Ethnic Enclaves

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

In some of the US’s largest cities you’ll find small populations of immigrants from distant countries. They’re called “ethnic enclaves” and they are wonderful pockets of culture, cuisine, shopping and more. What began as a way for people with similar nationalities to live and commune together; has become a way to experience authentic cultural experiences without having to travel too far. From Little Havana in Miami to the Danish settlement of Solvang outside Santa Barbara to the more than 20 Little Italy’s and 30-plus China Town’s, America is truly a melting pot ready to be explored.

Chinatown in SingaporeSo next time you are visiting a big city, take a side trip to a nearby, far-away place. Here are a few standouts:

“Little Australia” or “Australita”, New York City – Aussie restaurants, shops, and art galleries are mainly popping up along Mullbury Street in the Nolita section of NYC, just North of another popular “little” (Little Italy).

“Little Saigon” or “Little Vietnam”, Chicago – Located on West Argyle Street Historic District in Uptown Chicago, this Little Vietnam neighborhood should not be confused with Old Chinatown, which is in the Armour Square community area on the South Side of the city.

“Little Havana”, Miami Cuban immigration personifies Miami and there’s really nothing “little” about Little Havana. It is a center of social, cultural, and political activity in Miami. Its festivals, including the Calle Ocho Festival, Viernes Culturales/Cultural Fridays, the Three Kings Parade and others, are watched on TV by millions of people every year. Elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, and cigar rollers deeply at work are synchronized with Little Havana’s pulsating music, vibrant storefronts and art galleries, and flavor-rich restaurants.

“lndia Square” or “Little India” or “Little Bombay”, Iselin, NJ – There are 17 Little India neighborhoods in the US. The standout is a neighborhood in Iselin, New Jersey where just fewer than 13,000 Indians live in a two-block stretch. They even have their own Holi celebration every year. Stock up on your favorite Bollywood flicks, enjoy the beautiful saris and salwar kameez, and dine on the most authentic Indian cuisine outside of New Delhi.

“Japantown”, San Jose and San Francisco — Japanese culture is thriving in these two Northern California communities. Japantown San Jose has a number of special events throughout the year such as Obon Festival, Nihonmachi Run, and Sake San Jose.

You can track down events in J-town San Francisco, too, including an Francisco’s Japantown celebrates two major festivals every year: The Northern California Cherry Blossom Festival (held for two weekends every April), and the Nihonmachi Street Fair, in August. With its prime Japantown location and unique blend of Eastern and Western influences, Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco has 218 spacious rooms and suites with some offering Japanese soaking tubs and views of the Japanese Gardens.

“Germantown” Meunster, TX and Hermann, MO – Need some lederhosen? There are some delightful German towns peppering the US with a sausage and heferwiesen just waiting for you. The town of Meunster, located North of Dallas, was founded in 1889 by German Catholic settlers. Today the town offers its own Germanfest and the Kraut Bowl, a heated high school football game that originated from the two largest German populations.

Hermann (yes, it has two “n”s) is tucked into the heart of Missouri wine country and is a great town for walking and wine tasting at its seven local wineries.

“Greek”, Tarpon Springs, FL – Head North from Clearwater Beach and you’ll find the highest percentage of Greek Americans of any city in the US. The first Greek immigrants arrived in this city during the 1880s to work as divers in the growing sponge harvesting industry. Today, the shops along Dodecanese Avenue in the Sponge Docks District of Tarpon Springs are still thriving as both a historic and a current tourist destination. There are many restaurants serving traditional Greek cuisine and fresh seafood.

Koreantown”, New York City – Koreantown, a Midtown neighborhood in the Manhattan borough of New York City, USA, is an ethnic Korean enclave. The restaurants here take Korean food to a whole new level with a slew of Korean barbecue joints that boast delicious eats, tabletop grills and 24-hour service.

“Little Italy”, Boston, Philadelphia, and Cleveland  There are 23 Little Italy’s in the US with many shrinking in their cultural authenticity, but not these three!

  • Boston’s Little Italy, which encompasses about two square miles, is located in the North End. Today, though there are over 80 restaurants, cafes, and bakeries, the area still retains its old-world charm. This is evident in the narrow, cobblestone streets, hearing Italian spoken, and the delicious smells wafting through the air.
  • South Philly boasts a large Italian-American population and a booming Little Italy neighborhood. Restaurants like Dante & Luigi’s, Villa di Roma, and Ralph’s have been serving up classic Italian cuisine for over a century.
  • Cleveland’s Little Italy is located on Mayfield Road, in the Murray Hill section of the city. In mid- August, Little Italy hosts over 100,000 visitors for the Feast of the Assumption – a four-day celebration complete with a parade, Italian food vendors, live music, carnival rides, fireworks, and other festivities.
 
 

 

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