How to Take a Self-Care Vacation on a Budget

Posted By : denise/ 148

Hello Foodie Friends,

Today’s post is from our guest contributor, Jesse Clark from Soulful-travel.com

Image credit: Pixabay

Are you part of a small or midsize group looking for a unique way to have fun and sample foods from different restaurants within a city of your choice? Then let Savor Our City cater to you with exciting 2-3 hour culinary adventures that include lots of local and historical information, team building activities, and networking paired with hand-picked regional delicacies and gourmet specialty foods along the way. Book your next adventure today! (954) 410-3177

One of the simplest ways to reduce stress and attend to your self-care needs is to take a vacation, notes Travtasy.com. You work hard and have earned these days off. Rather than let them accumulate, take a break and refresh your mind and body. The emotional reset that a vacation offers can improve your quality of life and make you more effective when you return.

Savor Our City understands the ways in which stress, anxiety and depression can influence how you experience life, and how simply getting away and having new experiences can help. Sometimes people turn to substances to reduce emotional discomfort when self-care and finding ways to disconnect is a better option. Vacation self-care may mean flying to a distant land or, if you are on a budget, staying put for a local adventure. Fort Lauderdale, for example, offers a range of attractions that you can access without spending excessive amounts of money or time.

The Staycation Option, Lauderdale-Style

Taking a vacation in your own city offers you an opportunity to check out areas that you may have never experienced. Opt for a rental in another part of the city and check out local attractions, such as the signature rows of palm tree- and mansion-lined Isles along 300 miles of inland waterways, as well as the many festivals and activities that make “Venice of America” so special. The possibilities are endless — sometimes self-care is closer and simpler than you would think.

For the ultimate staycation experience, consider a rental near Fort Lauderdale attractions you wish to visit. Clean, comfortable amenities let you enjoy the area while decreasing your stress levels. Choose a rental service that lets you filter search options and offers 24/7 support. Self-care is all about stress reduction, after all, and your vacation should reflect that from booking your rental to resting up after a day of sightseeing.

Budget-Friendly Vacation Self-Care

Even with limited funds, you can do self-care on vacation in many ways. Author and researcher Dr. Deborah Cracknell points out that a mindful walk on the beach or simply spending time letting your mind wander while you enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the area can go a long way toward promoting relaxation. If you want to heighten your senses, it may be fun to check out the Las Olas Wine & Food Festival for unique, local cuisine.

If you’re a foodie of any level, Savor Our City recommends going on a South Florida food tour, with available options like progressive or multi-course meals. For a change of pace, they also suggest booking “the History & Culture tour that combines stops at landmarks and museums with meals and snacks at local restaurants and gourmet food shops.”

Vacations With a Self-Care Focus

Making self-care the focus and the purpose of a getaway may require you to reconsider your needs, especially if your focus is usually on family or work. Are you the type that gets antsy when you finally have downtime and you’re not sure what to do? Sometimes getting away gives you the opportunity to re-learn things about yourself, such as discovering new interests and passions.

Perhaps you can reconnect with your love of nature while on vacation by checking out the Everglades, home not just to a wide range of wildlife and fauna, but to the Seminole Indians, who invite visitors to learn about their culture. For creative inspiration, check out the Downtown Hollywood Mural Project, with more than 20 curated outdoor contemporary art murals by internationally recognized artists.

Regardless of the activities you choose or where you decide to take your vacation, keep in mind that self-care is a priority. Unplugging from work and home stressors can improve your quality of life. You may be surprised at how much better you feel, even when you stay put for vacation.

How to Travel Safely on a Foodie Vacation in Florida

Posted By : denise/ 177

Hello Foodie Friends,

Today’s post is from a guest contributor, Jesse Clark from Soulful-travel.com

Photo: Pixabay

For over a year, foodies have been forced to either make their own culinary creations at home or grab meals as takeout from favorite restaurants. They have missed the joy of traveling to a destination to enjoy new dishes and flavors that tantalize their taste buds. Florida is always a popular vacation spot for those who love to eat a variety of delicious food such as seafood, ethnic dishes, or fresh vegetarian delights. Here is how you can safely make a culinary trip to The Sunshine State a reality!

 

Book Your Reservations

The state of Florida is open and ready for visitors! Your favorite restaurants and new ones to explore are operating at full capacity. Museums, retail shops, and entertainment facilities are fully open for your enjoyment as well. It is wise to book your hotel and restaurant reservations as early as possible as spaces in the most popular Florida destinations fill up quickly.

 

Treat yourself to a unique experience by reserving a South or Central Florida food tour with Savor Our City. Various options are available, including progressive or multi course meals. For a change of pace, book the History & Culture tour that combines stops at landmarks and museums with meals and snacks at local restaurants and gourmet food shops.

 

Get the Vaccine

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises those who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can safely travel in the U.S. as long as they continue to take the following precautions:

 

  • Avoid crowded areas
  • Stay six feet away from strangers
  • Wear a mask while traveling
  • Wash hands regularly

 

Consider Flying or Driving to Florida

Travel and medical experts agree it is safe to fly domestically, especially if you book a nonstop flight and wear a mask the entire time. Reserve a seat on an airline that cleans the plane with electrostatic antimicrobial sprays and has HEPA filters running to remove 99 percent of airborne viruses.

 

If you don’t feel safe flying yet, driving in your own car is relatively safe as well. Health experts recommend avoiding weekend travel and traveling during the week when rest stops and gas stations are less crowded. Bring antibacterial wipes to clean the gas pump buttons and handle before you use them, and sanitize your hands when you are done. Pack your own snacks and drinks and use drive-through lanes to pick up meals whenever possible. Keep a mask with you in case you are in an area that requires them.

 

If you’re traveling by car, make sure you have an updated smartphone to help plot your trip and find delicious restaurants to eat at along the way. You’ll also want to invest in a wireless charger and screen protector to prevent damage to your phone.

 

Sanitize Your Hotel Room Surfaces

When you check in your hotel room, it is best to disinfect the room immediately. Use antiviral wipes or a UVC light sanitizing wand to kill almost all the lingering germs found on high-touch surfaces in the hotel room, such as:

 

  • Doorknobs
  • Remotes
  • Light switches
  • Sink and shower handles
  • Toilet flush handle and lid

 

Bring along a portable travel air purifier with a HEPA filter to keep your hotel room clear of airborne germs. These devices are small enough to be set on your hotel nightstand and have enough power to cover the square footage of the average hotel room.

 

By getting vaccinated and taking these safety precautions, you can safely enjoy a foodie adventure in Florida again. Your tastebuds will thank you for it!

The Ladies of Savor Our City Visit NOLA

Posted By : denise/ 721

Hello Foodie Friends,

I had an opportunity to meet up with my marketing director, Jennifer in New Orleans (NOLA) to experience just some of what this magical city has to offer during this year’s Mardi Gras celebration. I had always been curious about this city, so I was super excited when the opportunity presented itself to go check it out. We had been invited to the luxurious St. Charles Avenue home of Dr, Nia Terezakis who is renowned throughout New Orleans for her contributions to the culinary, art and medical worlds there. Every year Dr. Terezakis graciously opens her art-filled home to friends, colleagues and family members who are each one swept up into the extraordinary magical atmosphere Nia creates. Every day during Mardi Gras, her flawless Southern charm,  vibrantly Mardi Gras decorated home and a plethora of tastefully decadent dishes from her lifestyle book “Artful Feast,” are shared with her visiting guests. From her statue adorned balcony we were perfectly poised to catch and gather up many shiny Mardi Gras beads and trinkets as they are tossed from the endless parade and marching bands passing by. We realized just how special this experience was as Dr. Nia Terezakis is not only a treasure to the City of New Orleans, she is also the beloved Aunt of Jennifer and now, we are proud to say, she has agreed to be one of Savor Our City’s celebrity Chefs at our upcoming cooking classes to be held in New Orleans starting later this year.

While Jennifer visited with her Aunt Nia, I had the opportunity to explore on my own, some of the nearby places that some of my facebook friends suggested I go. I stopped into the Carousel Lounge for a Hurricane Drink, then on to Mr B’s Bar for some shrimp, followed by some grilled oysters and crawfish at Acme where I had a chance to meet the legendary “Stormin Norman”. I strolled around Bourbon Street where I did see some younger girls partaking in the age-old Mardi Gras tradition of “flashing for beads,” (incidentally, this type of activity was pretty much contained to this street). In the French Quarter, I stumbled upon some street performers calling themselves Dragon Master Showcase. It was a fantastic (and free) show consisting of break dancing, acrobatics, music and comedy. I liked it so much I decided to make a $20 donation to receive their DVD. I encountered all kinds of colorful characters up and down the pedestrian run streets. The city attracted young and old, conservative and liberal. I encountered a pair of young folks holding a sign offering “Free Destiny Reading”. I thought, why not?!? Let’s just say it was a pretty liberating moment. The parades ran continuously throughout the day and evening with some breaks in between. I was astounded at how quickly the streets were cleaned up over night. It was a short trip but by the end of my second day of roaming the streets, you can probably guess my feet were incredibly sore. So I leave you with this image….. me sitting in a comfy chair, getting a much needed foot massage while watching the 2020 Mardi Gras parades!

ABOUT ARTFUL FEAST 

The goal of Artful Feast Cookbook is to help you embrace this attitude of celebrating food as an art form to be shared with those we love.  To show you that elegant dining doesn’t have to mean elaborate recipes, and that spur-of-the-moment entertaining can be as gracious as more formal occasions.

 

ABOUT DR. NIA TEREZAKIS

“Life has surprised me, but never disappointed me!”

Nia grew up in Montgomery, Alabama, the daughter of Greek immigrant parents.  Family recipes and holiday entertaining were important aspects of her Greek heritage.  She graduated from her hometown Huntington College with a degree in art; her ever-vigilant father wouldn’t hear of her leaving home. Armed with a degree and high grades, she prepared herself for a career in interior design and teaching art.

Nia was married and soon widowed as a young woman. Her family doctor and his wife, Nia’s biology teacher, urged her to go to medical school and offered to help.  She was one of only two women accepted to the Tulane School of Medicine class of 1962.  After medical school, she was the only woman accepted in her chosen residency.  She credits the continuing growth of the specialty of dermatology for giving her a rich and rewarding life with friends, colleagues, and mentors.

Nia’s love of people and sense of hospitality have made her a much-loved hostess.  Whimsy, good humor, and appreciation of the unexpected, combined with the traditions of her Greek heritage, are the hallmarks of her style.  These qualities and her innate sense of aesthetics—all expressed with seemingly effortless élan—are showcased in this book.  She encourages you to adapt the recipes and tips to your own style, and to embrace the art of the feast (small or large) with poise and assurance.

To inquire about Artful Feast, click here.

 

Staycation Alert: South Beach for $20/night…are you kidding?!?!

Posted By : denise/ 669

Hello Foodie Friends,

Today’s post is a two-for, featuring both a wonderful new hostel/boutique hotel and restaurant we were introduced to right in the heart of South Beach. Founded in 2011, Generator, a London-based brand known for their trendy design-forward European Hostels that feel more like boutique hotels, has just opened its first US location in Miami Beach this past August on famed Collins Ave, just one block from the beach. Generator, remodelled from a 1940’s condo building, offers 300 beds in 105 rooms. One of the unique things about this hostel is that in addition to the traditional shared rooms (which start at $20 per bed per night), is the addition of private rooms that start at just $95/night. Generator is not the hostel you might have stayed at while travelling around Europe (probably in your early twenties). They have pulled out all the stops to create a sense of community, incorporating such amenities as an inviting pool, 2 on-site restaurants, beautifully designed shared and private rooms and several really unique common spaces for guests to interact with one another or just take in the serene environment that’s been created for the solo traveler to enjoy on their own – not to mention the awesome location, right in the heart of South Beach. Several activities are being offered at Generator including yoga, mixology demonstrations, movies, a pool table, DJs and more planned.

 

I was invited by Desirey, the Event Sales Manager and my lovely host for the afternoon who arranged a tour of the hostel/hotel and a lovely lunch for us at Driftway, one of the two restaurants found on the property. As we made our way past the pool heading towards Driftway, I couldn’t help but notice this amazing mural painted on the side of the building. It had been painted by South African artist Chris Aurett. The food & beverage operations are being overseen by Gui Jaroschy, whose impressive resume includes opening the Broken Shaker in Miami Beach as well as several other locations in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York; managing the Anderson in Miami’s Upper Eastside; and consulting on cocktail menus for Ricochet Lounge, Drunken Dragon and British Airways.

Alex, our Driftway guy let me sample all four of their frozen drinks; the Suze and Coke, OMFG Margarita, Bird of Paradise and the Friesling. I enjoyed them all, but my favorite was the Bird of Paradise which was made with Beefeater Dry Gin, Chinola Passionfruit Liqueur, Martini Bitter and J Wray Rum, allspice and cubeb pepper.

I am a huge fan of Mexican style street corn and this one did not disappoint with the spicy mayo, Mexican cheese and cilantro
The West coast Kushi oysters were sweet!!!
Kale Salad: with lemon dressing, sherry trumpet mushrooms and spiced pecans. A beautiful medley of flavors and healthy to boot!
Organic Quinoa Bowl: Market veggies, salsa verde, micro herb salad. Another creative, tasty, healthy and satisfying dish that won’t wreck havoc on your waist.

 

The food and frozen drinks were amazing, as was the ambience and the company. I am looking forward to planning my next Staycation right there at my new favorite place on South Beach.

If you are planning a trip to Miami Beach and are looking for things to do in the area, you might want to consider booking a Savor Our City tour. Private tours are offered for a minimum of 2 guests and groups of up to 50 people. Choose from South Beach, Wynwood, Little Havana, Miami Springs, Doral and Brickell. For more info on tours, contact Savor Our City.

Generator Miami is located at 3120 Collins Ave. Miami Beach 786 496 5730

Until we eat (and drink) again…

I send you delicious wishes, xo

Denise

Saiko-i

Posted By : denise/ 730

Written by – Ashley Taylor

They say to find unknown treasures, you have to leave the beaten path. In Boca Raton, areas like Mizner Park and Royal Palm Place are downtrodden with first-time visitors to our sea-kissed town. Yet, it’s a little spot just south of city central where you can find a foodie experience truly delectable and adventurous in Saiko-i Sushi Lounge & Hibachi.

Saiko-i (pronounced sigh-koi-ee) Sushi Lounge & Hibachi is the creation of husband and wife team, Jason Zheng & Tina Wang. A 7,000 sq.ft. – formerly home to the local favorite nightclub, Gatsby’s – offers guests a selection of dining experiences. For casual affairs and networking events, sit in the outdoor courtyard or spacious bar. To be entertained, 11 hibachi tables wait to amuse, as well as an open exhibition sushi bar. But if an intimate dinner for two is on the menu, a romantic row of private booths amongst hand-selected artworks can accommodate.

I had the honor of experiencing Saiko-i with a number of other bloggers, writers, and foodies for the restaurant’s media night. While familiar with the Zheng & Wang’s first Boca restaurant, Yakitori Sake House, I wasn’t aware of Saiko-i. I pulled into an unassuming shopping center on Military and SW 18th St. – shared with an Outback Steakhouse nonetheless – questioning whether or not I was in the right place. Yet, as soon as I walked in the doors, I was swept into another locale altogether.

Upon entering, I paid quick homage to a 10-foot tall Buddha before being whisked to my table. A rich color template and delicate tapestries with fine detail adorn the interior of the entire restaurant. No detail was left to chance.

The night began with Saiko-i’s signature cocktail, the lychee martini. Made with fresh lychee juice, it was a martini perfect for those looking for a crisp drink with just a hint of sweetness. Also offered were Japanese beers and whiskeys alongside the usual American counterparts.

First order of the night delivered the salmon carpaccio. I smelled this dish before I even saw it, something I can’t ever recall saying about a raw carpaccio. The truffle oil and fried garlic scents made my stomach rumble with anticipation. Saiko-i attains fresh sushi-grade fish daily, hailing from both Florida local fisheries and Japan alike. I make no exaggeration when I say the carpaccio melted on my tongue.

Next was the roasted duck wrap, a mix of tender duck and savory spices wrapped in a lightly-fried, crisp Singapore flatbread – perfectly offset by a mango sauce and balsamic glaze.

By the end of the duck, I had sipped through my lychee martini and mixed it up with a selection of Japanese whiskeys, settling on the Suntory 10 year and Hibiki 12 year. Rounds of appetizers kept appearing. Dumpling-ilke Spicy Tuna Gyoza, a crunchy UFO Roll and the refreshing fresh fish medley that is the Sexy Lady Roll.

        

Being a fan of curries, I had to try Saiko-i’s red curry with scallops for my main dish. I asked for a bit more kick and the chefs behind the scenes got it just right. The portion was easily enough for two and I was glad to have lunch for the next day.

Despite being stuffed with the night’s appetizing creations, the team at Saiko-i wasn’t done with us yet. They had one more surprise. We had a birthday in the group and before we knew it a panda bear came to our table with a plate full of mochi – the perfect ending to an enchanting evening.

   

Saiko-i Sushi Lounge & Hibachi
5970 SW 18th Street, Suite E4
Boca Raton, FL 33433
www.saikoiboca.com
Reservations: 561-393-5888

Social Media:
Facebook.com/Saikoi
Instagram – @saikoiboca #saikoiboca

   

Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Bar, Pembroke Pines, FL

Posted By : denise/ 718

Written by Dawn Bryan

Recently, Savor Our City was invited to attend the opening of the new Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Bar in Pembroke Pines, FL, a fantastic place to visit for any occasion. What a unique concept. Not only are their signature wine pairings reason enough to visit, but their culinary selections, all made in their scratch kitchen, are delivered to perfection to compliment one’s wine pairing.  Each recommendation is made by their highly trained Chef and house staff along with a professionally trained management team.

Truly a unique culinary and wine tasting experience.

The Cooper’s Hawk concept includes four different components: an upscale casual dining restaurant, full-service bar, private barrel-aging room, and Napa-style tasting room with a great adjoining retail store. All under one roof.

Upon arrival, we were directed to the large Napa-tasting room which was quite impressive. For a set fee or with the wine membership they offer, you can sample their latest reserved and private label wine selections. The tasting room is a great way to learn about the wines and you actually feel like you are in a true winery tasting room.

Then came the real fun part…sampling all of Cooper Hawk’s favorites on the menu which included 9 courses, each selected with wine pairings all recommended by their head Sommelier, Emily Wines…She is amazing!

Whether you’re an avid wine enthusiast or a novice, Cooper Hawk’s has make it easy for their quests to select the perfect pairings; each food item is offered with a wine pairing suggestion labeled on the menu by bin number, as suggested by the winemaker.

My personal culinary favorites were the Candied Bacon & Artisan Cheeses, delicious award-winning Asian Pork Belly Tostadas, Fresh Pan Roasted Barramundi with Thai Lemongrass Sauce and my favorite of all….Short Rib Risotto with White Truffle Oil…OMG!!!  Just to die for… And then of course to top it all off, the Cooper Hawk’s Chocolate Cake.

Their menu is extensive, so more reasons to go back time after time to experience it all. They also offer a Life Balance menu as well as a Gluten Free menu.

At the end of this memorable dining experience, along with making new friends over sensational food and wine pairings, I had left feeling VERY content and probably a few pounds heavier as well… It was so worth it.

I highly recommend Cooper’s Hawk Restaurant & Bar Pembroke Pines any time and for any occasion.

 

Cooper’s Hawk Pembroke Pines

10310 Pines Boulevard

Pembroke Pines, Fl 33026

954-582-9463

CHWINERY.COM

Taste Atlantic Avenue

Posted By : denise/ 1380

Savor Our City covered some great Delray mainstays on its Taste of Atlantic Avenue tour on Nov. 26.

City Oyster

You would think that a restaurant with “Oyster” in its name would only have a decent seafood selection, but the breakfast panini we sampled proved that brunch is also one of this eatery’s prime games. The pesto and mozzarella beautifully complemented the egg and pieces of bacon.

city-oyster-breakfast-panini-with-home-potatoes

The Bloody Mary was scary good – the kind of good that happens when you can barely taste the alcohol in the drink. City Oyster knows how to blend great drinks with delectable entrées.

city-oyster-bloody-mary

The Office

At The Office, we tried the Prime CEO Burger with parmesan truffle fries. The bacon and arugula on the burger brought out the tenderness of the patty, and the fries had all the greasy, truffle-y goodness you could want.

the-office

The best way to make vegetables delicious is, of course, by adding meat, and the Brussel’s sprouts with bacon turned out to be a great side.

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Delray Beach GreenMarket

Gratitude Garden Farm, located in Loxahatchee, showed our group the benefits of eating microgreens such as sunflower seed sprouts and pea sprouts. These delicious plants would go well in a salad or just as a snack.

gratitude-farm

The siblings behind Frik & Frak Artisanal Sauces offered delicious batches of their homemade tomato sauces, including Holla Vodka and Cognac. The GreenMarket truly showcases the best of what Palm Beach County local cuisine has to offer. Check it out every Saturday through May 20 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Old School Square Park.

frik-frak

The Old Arcade

Known as The Arcade Tap Room in 1908, The Old Arcade started out as a secret watering hole for patrons during the Prohibition era. Hidden in and only accessible through Caffe Martier, The Old Arcade offers an exceptional selection of craft cocktails as well as small eats, including goat cheese flatbread. This refurbished speakeasy is a great addition to Delray Beach.

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old-arcade

Original Popcorn House

At this sweet spot just off Atlantic Avenue, all popcorn is cooked in coconut oil and covered in such ingredients as real cheddar cheese and gourmet Belgian chocolate. The Chocolate Peanut Butter popcorn had the perfect blend of sweet and salty, while the Buffalo Blue Cheese tasted as if I had actually eaten a hot wing.

popcorn

Full of Crepe

We ended our tour at this crepe eatery based in Pittsburgh. Roast beef and caramelized onions made for a savory and delicious starter crepe, while the CBPB crepe did not disappoint with peanut butter, banana, and milk chocolate chips.

crepe

If you’re looking to eat some great food in a wonderful small city, the Taste of Atlantic Avenue tour is perfect for both couples and groups.

Story contributed by guest blogger: Olivia Feldman

olivia Olivia Feldman is a contributor for Savor Our City. Her favorite foods are anything that involves pasta and her mom’s cooking. When she’s not eating and drinking her way through South Florida, you can find her going to concerts, planning her next travel destination, and hosting her biweekly music show, “Back in Our Minds,” on Jolt Radio. You also can find her on Instagram and Twitter at @oliviafelds All images appearing in this post photographed by Olivia.

Brunch & Pool Party at the Renaissance Boca Raton Hotel

Posted By : denise/ 839

Dear Foodie Friends,

I was recently invited to attend the Aqua Pool Party, hosted by Utopian Events at the Renaissance Boca Raton Hotel.

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The Pool Party I attended was on Saturday, Aug. 27th and was open to the public from 12 – 5pm. (More dates will soon be announced).

The Aqua Pool Party at the hotel, hosted by Utopian Events, offers guests poolside brunch with selections like Filet Mignon Sliders, Crab stuffed Eggs Benedict and Cali-style Mahi Soft Tacos from 12:00-2:00 pm followed by Barbeque Madness from 2:00-5:00 pm with hamburgers and hot dogs. With Bottomless Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s for $25 and pitchers of Sangria for $18, there are frozen specialty drinks and top shelf beverage specials available all day.

Local DJs Alex Gregory and Ben Nigrelli entertained while my friend and I indulged in the wonderful brunch al fresco and later joined in on the poolside games; we even signed up to play in the beer pong tournament (which we unfortunately did not win, but had a lot of fun trying) We did purchase tickets for a chance to win fabulous prizes, including free drinks, food and hotel stays at destinations such as Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando and Chicago as well as a cash prize. A grand prize giveaway includes a two-night stay in Key West in a Presidential Suite with VIP Amenities. Guests gain a complimentary raffle ticket for every $10 spent at the Aqua Pool Party.

Aqua Pool Party at Renaissance Boca Raton Hotel

2000 NW 19th St. Boca Raton, FL 33431

All ages are welcome to join; must be 21 to consume alcohol

For more information on the Aqua Pool Party at Renaissance Boca Raton Hotel, please visit the websitetwitter and Facebook.

courtesy of Renaissance Boca Raton Hotel
The lovely pool at the Renaissance Boca Raton Hotel
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Executive Chef Bob
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With Jeri-Ann Hart, Area Director of Sales

 

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Low Country Shrimp & Grits
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Filet Mignon slider
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Pulled BBQ Pork slider
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Jumbo Lump Crab Benedict
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Fried Mahi Mahi taco
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Orange & Cinnamon infused French Toast

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Photo courtesy of Jonathan Nahous, TPG Hotels & Resorts

 

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Photo courtesy of Jonathan Nahous, TPG Hotels & Resorts
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Photo courtesy of Jonathan Nahous, TPG Hotels & Resorts
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Photo courtesy of Jonathan Nahous, TPG Hotels & Resorts

 

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Until we eat (and drink) again…

I send you delicious wishes, xo

Denise

 

 

Boston – The Park May Be Common, But The City’s Unique! (Part 1)

Posted By : denise/ 660

Hello Foodie Friends,

Some of you who are following me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram know that I have just returned from a trip to Boston; an exploratory trip, that is. I went there to accomplish two things: 1. Get to know Boston, a city that we will soon be operating a series of private group culinary tours and then 2. To share my wonderful FoodFinds with you.

My trip began with a great deal flying Spirit Air thanks to a friend of mine who works for the line who was able to extend a friends/family rate to me. I am thankful that the stand-by status paid off as I don’t know what I would have done if it hadn’t since I had my hotel room booked and meetings & interviews and even a food tour lined up. But thankfully, it was seamless. So I arrived at Boston Logan Airport and exited through the bag claim area and proceeded outside to the center area marked ‘Shared Van Service’.  I was staying at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel, thanks to the Greater Boston Convention & Visitor’s Bureau who helped to make the connection. The hotel did not have a pick up service at the airport, so after reviewing my options of getting from the airport to the hotel (I was only staying in town a couple nights and everything I needed to do was close enough to walk or Uber, so I did not rent a car), I opted to reserve a seat on Go Boston, a shuttle I ended up sharing with just one other gal.  When I got to the hotel, I realized I didn’t have any singles on me. When the driver said he didn’t have any change, I asked him to wait for a moment so I could run in and get some. Little did I know that we arrived in the back entrance and after running inside what might have been about 3o feet, I frantically turned my head to the left and to the right and assessed there was no lobby or front desk in sight.  Before I had a moment to despair though, I ran into three knights in dapper business suits (Tony, Jonathan & Rob were their names; turns out they were 3 top Execs of the Hotel, lucky me). They asked me what seemed to be the problem and I explained and without an ounce of hesitation, two of them were reaching in their pockets to offer me the tip money.  Of course I was super appreciative of these gentlemen being there to not only help out by fronting me the money to tip my driver and watching my bags which I just dropped at their feet, but when I asked the gentleman who laid the money out how I could find him again to repay him, he absolutely refused. Nice, right?!? I really appreciated the gesture and hospitality, which didn’t end there. I made my way to the front desk to check in, and as I was waiting for my room assignment, Rob, one of my new friends (who turned out to be the Hotel Manager), suddenly appeared at the desk and made a point to ensure I was given a nice room, which I had.

The hotel recently underwent a major transformation, with some final renovations taking place on some floors; I was on the top floor and my room’s renovations were already complete. Click here to watch the transformation video in time lapse. For fun trivia facts about the hotel and some of its notorious guests throughout the years, click here.

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Off the Common Restaurant in the main lobby. Guests can keep their phones, iPads and laptops charged with several convenient charging stations tastefully placed down the center of the dining room and throughout the hotel.

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Pictured above: Fritz the Bartender

The plan was for me to contact Vanessa, Boston Park Plaza’s Marketing Manager upon my arrival to have her give me a tour of the hotel. Vanessa and I had been corresponding closely prior to my arrival and I already felt like I was meeting a new friend. While I was waiting for Vanessa to take me on my tour, I had a seat at the bar and started chatting with Fritz the bartender. Fritz has been working at the Park Plaza Hotel for 17 years, ever since he was in college. I think that says a lot about the hotel, which incidentally just celebrated its 89th birthday. They must be treating their guests (and employees) right!

boston-hotel-library
Library photo courtesy of The Boston Park Plaza Hotel

 

We began our tour of the hotel at the library. It was a nice cozy library with plenty of good light for reading. One cool feature they have thought to add here is a “call pod”, a call for service button available from 5pm – midnight, where guests can have food and/or beverages delivered right to them from the comfort of their chair. How convenient is that?!

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Pictured above: The Cozy Corner

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The Grand Ballroom, photo courtesy of the Boston Park Plaza

This gorgeous ballroom is 13,000 square feet and can hold up to 2,200 guests. There are several other options available for various other meeting spaces as well.

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Pictured above: The David Barton gym, an ultra sheek, ultra modern 19k sq ft space found one level below the lobby.  Here one can get a great work out in the gym, take one of their group classes and even spin. The gym is open to the public and memberships are also available.

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Pictured below: My bedroom on the 15th Floor. Nicely appointed with mini fridge, flat screen tv, sitting area, King bed (with the most dreamy pillows I can remember laying my head on in a very long time) and (not pictured: bathroom). The dual head shower was a nice touch as was the hand soaps. The brand they use is Pure and I loved the fragrance of lemongrass.

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Pictured below:  A special surprise was awaiting me when I returned to my room later that evening. The chocolate ganache cake was to-die-for!

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They have a great breakfast buffet at the Boston Park Plaza Hotel. Here’s a little sample of what I got.

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After completing my wonderful tour with Vanessa, I headed out to explore this unique city. Check back soon for Boston – The Park May Be Common, But The City’s Unique! (Part 2) where I cover my walk from the Boston Park Plaza Hotel to the North End via Faneuil Hall/Quincy Market, my food tour and other fabulous food finds..

The Boston Park Plaza Hotel is located at 50 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116  T: 617.457.2282  www.BostonParkPlaza.com

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Until we eat again…

I send you delicious wishes, xo

Denise

Savor Our City Teams Up With Vino Van Gogh

Posted By : denise/ 940

It’s time to get messy! Shaina from Take A Bite Out of Boca enjoyed a night full of food, wine and art with Savor Our City on the first ever tour with Vino Van Gogh.

I think I’ve been on every single tour that Savor Our City offers — more than once. Though sometimes this means visiting the same restaurants twice, most of the time I’m being introduced to new spots. Last week, Savor Our City did a mini version of it’s Delray Beach Pineapple Grove Tour, ending the night at a place I have been wanting to go for a while — Vino Van Gogh. It’s a “Paint, Wine and Art Bar” where you and a group of friends (or go alone if you’re so inclined) can participate in a group painting class and unleash your inner artist. Everyone paints the same image, and there is an instructor up at the front of the room helping you along the way. Wine and beer is also available for purchase. It’s a super fun way to spend an evening, and everyone on this special Pineapple Grove tour got to experience it!

Instead of the usual 5 or 6 restaurant stops, this tour was limited to 3 since we would be participating in a class at Vino Van Gogh. We started at SoLita, a regular on the Savor Our City tours, who served us their signature Eggplant Stack paired with a smooth and food-friendly Chianti. Mozzarella and slices of beefsteak tomato are sandwiched between two pieces of crispy eggplant, topped with peppery arugula and drizzled with an aged balsamic and shaved parmigiana. This is one of my favorite appetizers in all of Pineapple Grove. Seriously. The eggplant is so unbelievably perfect — Bubby’s eggplant might give it a run for its money, but I’ve never had it this good from any other restaurant. SoLita proudly boasts this as one of it’s most popular items on the menu. No surprise there — everyone’s plates were empty within mere seconds of those stacks being set down.

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Read the rest of the review and see more photos here!