Archive for the ‘Travel’Category

Broadway Bites returns to NYC—just in time for summer

Red Hook Lobster Pound's lobster roll

Red Hook Lobster Pound’s lobster roll

This post is written by ShopEatSleep contributor Deanna Ting, a New York-based writer and editor who hails from Los Angeles. She is a seasoned travel, lifestyle and fashion writer, having written for publications such as TravelAge West, Luxury Travel Advisor, Los Angeles magazine and WSAToday (a magazine that was entirely devoted to shoes). These days, you can find her working as a managing editor/senior editor for Incentive and Successful Meetings magazines, as well as scouring New York–and the globe–for her next favorite meal. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @deanna421.

One of the best things about living in New York is there’s always plenty to choose from—especially when it comes to food. Sometimes, though, all that choice can be a little overwhelming—as are a lot of different facets of life here. (Let’s not even talk about winter; I’m still in recovery.)

That’s why it’s great when outdoor food pop-up events like Broadway Bites roll back into town when the sun comes back out. Let’s be clear—there are A LOT of great choices at Broadway Bites. But what makes Broadway Bites so great is they’ve done a lot of the legwork for you by curating a carefully selected collection of some of the city’s best food and drink vendors.

If you happen to be near Herald Square and hunger pangs strike, you should definitely head here. Taking over Greeley Square, which stretches from 32nd to 34th streets on Broadway, this summer’s rendition of Broadway Bites has 28 vendors serving up plenty of satisfying, delicious things.

From no-frills grilled cheese and savory empanadas to innovative tacos and classic lobster rolls, you can find them all—and much more. Here’s a closer look at a few of those choices for whatever you might be craving.

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22

06 2015

Hyatt Palm Springs offers convenience in large package

Hyatt Palm Springs

Hyatt Palm Springs

Looking for a reasonably priced getaway? Then consider Hyatt Palm Springs.

Palm Springs is just a couple hours away from Los Angeles, so it’s no wonder the desert town has become a go-to destination for young and old alike. And Hyatt Palm Springs, located in the downtown area, is convenient for exploring on foot (or bike, which can be borrowed from the hotel at no cost for guests) and is a short drive away from all the trendy hot spots in Palm Springs.

Previously branded as a Hyatt Regency Suites, the Hyatt Palm Springs recently has been remodeled and features all suite rooms, offering tons of space for your group of friends or your family.

King room with a mountain view

King room with a mountain view

Mountain view

Mountain view

When it comes to food and drink, the hotel has Share restaurant, where you can get a breakfast buffet or order off an a la carte menu, and the outdoor HooDoo Lounge for drinks in the evening.

A la carte breakfast at Share

A la carte breakfast at Share

Mother's Day breakfast buffet

Mother’s Day breakfast buffet

There’s also a pool with private cabanas and huge ottomans for laying out (my favorite part).

Hyatt Palm Springs pool

Hyatt Palm Springs pool

We recently stayed at the Hyatt Palm Springs in a King suite with a balcony. While we were sufficiently comfortable, I can’t say there’s anything special about the place other than the abundance of space. And the same goes for the food at Share; it’s satisfying but largely unremarkable. If you stay here, it’s more about the convenience of the hotel’s location and offerings (it’s also pet-friendly), which definitely has their own merits. I would definitely consider staying here again, especially if I were to visit Palm Springs with a group of friends.

Note: This stay was discounted, and meals were hosted.

Further reading:

Hyatt Palm Springs by hoopLA

07

06 2015

Cheapest Michelin-starred restaurant: Tim Ho Wan dim sum in Hong Kong

Tim Ho Wan

Tim Ho Wan

I’m not the biggest dim sum fan, but when I visited Hong Kong for the first time this past fall, I knew I had to try the food in its city of origin. So why not go for the best?

Tim Ho Wan offers the cheapest Michelin-starred food in the world. Dishes start at about US$1, so you can eat your heart out without breaking the bank (and with the US dollar rising in value, now is a good time to go). Even though my mother and I were on our own, we still ordered a respectable 10 dishes — not as many as the table next to us, which, judging by the number of piled-up bamboo steamers, I’m pretty sure ordered the entire menu.

I visited the Sham Shui Po location in Kowloon, the only restaurant of the four in Hong Kong that actually has a Michelin star. It wasn’t the easiest location for us to get to — my mom actually said to me, “This better be worth it” — but Tim Ho Wan’s dim sum was easily the best I’ve ever had. Every dish was just as you’d expect and more, with high quality ingredients crafted by a subtle hand.

My absolute favorite dish was the char siu bao (barbecue pork bun), which is baked instead of steamed here at Tim Ho Wan. The best part was the sweet flaky topping reminiscent of the kind found on Chinese pineapple buns (named for their appearance and not for their ingredients), which provided another layer of texture. I still drool thinking of these!

Char siu bao

Char siu bao

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13

04 2015

Travelogue: NYC’s Estela restaurant

Beef tartare at Estela

Beef tartare at Estela

Named No. 3 Best New Restaurant by Bon Appetit in 2014, Estela restaurant is a self-described “beverage-driven” eatery from the minds and palates of beverage director Thomas Carter (Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Essex House) and James Beard Award-nominated chef Ignacio Mattos (Isa, Il Buco) in New York City. With shareable plates, an interesting wine list and solid cocktails, Estela focuses on “American food with European influences.”

I visited Estela restaurant earlier this year in the fall, and enjoyed its famous beef tartare with fried sunchoke chips, which give the dish a welcome variety in texture and subtle sweetness.

My dining companion, my cousin Phillip who is studying to become a sommelier, chose a funky white wine for us to drink, as well as the burrata with salsa verde and charred bread, one of the dishes the Obamas ate during dinner here less than a month earlier.

Burrata

Burrata

We also had the razor clams, which come topped with tons of freshly grated horseradish. I’ve never had a dish like this before, and I liked its spiciness, especially because it didn’t overpower the delicacy of the clams.

Razor clams

Razor clams

Since Estela restaurant is beverage-focused, we of course got cocktails. The Il Vittelone, with whiskey, sherry, amaro and vermouth, and the Tuxedo #2, with gin, white vermouth, maraschino, absinthe and bitters, were both winners. Il Vittelone is the bolder of the two — a “real” drink — and the Tuxedo #2 is a smooth operator.

Il Vittelone, left, and Tuxedo #2

Il Vittelone, left, and Tuxedo #2

Estela restaurant is pretty small and gets crowded, but we were able to walk in on the early side of dinner on a Friday night without a problem. It’s kind of great, actually.

Further reading:

25 Things to Do When Traveling Solo to NYC by Diana Takes a Bite

29

12 2014

Travelogue: The Pepper Pot cafe in Dublin, Ireland

Soup, salad and bread at The Pepper Pot in Dublin

Soup, salad and bread at The Pepper Pot in Dublin

Conveniently located just off the main shopping drag of Grafton Street, The Pepper Pot in Dublin, Ireland, is the perfect place to rest those weary feet with some lunch, tea or sweets.

I ate here twice last fall during a week-long trip to Dublin. Must have been good, right? The main reason my husband and I decided to return was for the brown soda bread, an Irish staple. Pepper Pot’s version is the best I’ve had: thick yet fluffy, with a nutty flavor that comes from the baked-in whole nuts and seeds.

The restaurant, which is located inside the Powerscourt Townhouse Centre on the second floor underneath a large, airy skylit roof, serves seasonal salads, soups, sandwiches and tarts, as well as cakes, teas and all-day breakfast. I had a salad of field greens, figs, almonds and burrata that was light and fresh. Rory had an apple and parsnip curry soup that hit the spot on a chilly fall Dublin afternoon. The adorable mismatched plates and tea cups don’t hurt, either.

Enjoying a spot of tea

Enjoying a spot of tea

I also had a breakfast dish, housemade granola with yogurt and berry compote. While the flavors were great, this was a lot of granola for me at once. I would have preferred more yogurt, but my sister-in-law said she liked the dish as it was. To each her own! Also, Pepper Pot offers various toppings for its organic porridge — not just the usual single option.

Granola and yogurt

Granola and yogurt

It’s worth nothing that the restaurant makes gluten-free and dairy-free bread for those who request it. Angelenos should have no problem finding something they’ll like here.

The Pepper Pot

The Pepper Pot

24

11 2014

Travelogue: taking in the arts in Scottsdale, Arizona

Taliesin West

Taliesin West

When I think of Scottsdale, Arizona, spas, golf and swimming pools come to mind. But now, after having spent some time there, I know that art — in all forms — is just as integral to the city’s identity.

I had the opportunity to visit two of Scottsdale’s cultural centers: the Musical Instrument Museum and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West. I would go back to either in a heartbeat. Each was a unique experience that left me wanting more.

The Musical Instrument Museum, which is actually in neighboring Phoenix, houses more than 6,000 instruments from 200 countries and territories. This collection makes for hours of fun education for anyone interested in music and world culture. The upper level is categorized by region of the world, and the lower level features special collections, including an exhibit of self-playing instruments and an experiential gallery. There’s even a concert hall with live performances. Allow at least half a day here. Our two hours were not enough!

Guitar exhibit

Guitar exhibit

Chinese instruments

Chinese instruments

This fall, on Oct. 18 and 19, the museum will host an outdoor, two-day music festival celebrating musical traditions from all over the world, with musical performances, dancers, street performers and food trucks.

We also toured Taliesin West (pictured above), architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s West Coast home, studio and instructional campus. We took the 90-minute tour of the grounds and house that includes a lot of historical information from informed docents who clearly enjoy what they do.

I’ve also heard that the Museum of Contemporary Art is a must-see as well. This fall and winter, from Sept. 28 through Jan. 11, 2015, the museum will house the Donald Rumsfeld-inspired “Covert Operations: Investigating the Unknowns,” an exhibit from 13 international artists based on the idea of expansion of federal power and infringement of constitutional rights in the wake of 9/11. Given Arizona’s Republican leanings, this should be an interesting show.

So next time you’re thinking about taking a trip, especially one within driving distance of Los Angeles (6 hours by car), then consider Scottsdale. You can relax at the spa, play the links and take in some culture.

Note: These visits were hosted.

19

07 2014

Travelogue: Fairmont Scottsdale Princess resort in Scottsdale, Arizona

Fairmont Scottsdale room

Fairmont Scottsdale room

I recently visited Scottsdale, Arizona, and had the opportunity to stay at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess resort. Located in North Scottsdale, it’s a little out of the way, but that may just be the whole point.

The Fairmont Scottsdale is a sprawling resort complete with multiple pools and eateries, as well as a two-story wellness spa, for maximum desert-style relaxation.

First, the rooms. Our room had ample space, with a walk-in closet, desk, seating area and private balcony. The bed was comfy, and the bathroom had both a stand-up shower and a tub, as well as Le Labo bath products. No complaints.

View from our room

View from our room

Welcome amenities at Fairmont Scottsdale

Welcome amenities at Fairmont Scottsdale

Amply stocked minibar at Fairmont Scottsdale

Amply stocked minibar at Fairmont Scottsdale — with my fave Macallan 12

Fairmont Scottsdale bathroom

Fairmont Scottsdale bathroom

As Scottsdale is known for its luxurious spa experiences, I naturally partook in a treatment at the resort’s Well & Being at Willow Stream Spa, which offers everything from traditional spa treatments and a rooftop pool to aerial yoga classes and nutrition and fitness consultations. I opted for a full body scrub and light massage with natural Body Bliss and Naturopathica skin products, all of which are derived from natural and/or organic ingredients. My provider Mistie made me feel comfortable right away and explained everything to me. And with access to the open-air pool, grotto waterfall, steam room, Swedish dry sauna, eucalyptus inhalation room, Swiss shower, hot whirlpool and cold plunge pool, as well as a full spa cuisine menu, you can easily spend a full relaxing day here. Oh, and fitness classes are included in your booking. Score!

Aerial yoga

Aerial yoga

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30

06 2014

Terranea celebrates 5th anniversary

Terranea collage

Some of my favorite #TerraneaMemories

Terranea hotel and resort in Rancho Palos Verdes is celebrating its 5th anniversary this year, and to kick things off, it has announced a monthly photo and video contest that runs through May 31, 2015. The best part? Terranea is giving away some swank prizes to the winners!

The Terranea Memories 5th Anniversary Contest is asking visitors to highlight their favorite memories from the past five years at the resort. Each month will feature a theme tied to Terranea’s 5th anniversary pillars: community, wellness, discovery, epicurean and celebration. The monthly themes and prize packages will be announced in advance each month on the resort’s blog and event calendar.

June’s theme is community. To enter, submit a photograph or video and personal story of a sunrise or sunset you captured while at the resort or in the surrounding area. And remember to share using #TerraneaMemories.

This month’s prize package sounds awesome! It’s an overnight stay in the Shearwater Suite with the Terranea Lexus Drive Series Adventure Escape, which includes:

* Overnight stay in Terranea’s 1,800 sq. ft. Shearwater Suites
* Unlimited complimentary use of a Lexus vehicle during your stay
* A GPS-guided tour highlighting scenic points of interest, including the Point Vicente Interpretive Center to watch the whale migration and Portuguese Bend for hiking and wildlife spotting
* Choose either an aqua or terra activity from Pointe Discovery, such as a coastal hike, falconry, tide pooling, paddleboarding or kayorkling
* A picnic basket lunch from Sea Beans, complete with energy bars and water bottle
* A pair of binoculars for watching marine life off the coast — dolphins, sea lions and whales can be spotted along the shore on a regular basis

This month’s deadline is June 25. If you’ve been to Terranea or anywhere in the peninsula area, or have a chance to do so before the end of the month, then I’d suggest you get on this. I had the fortunate chance to stay here once, and it was amazing. It’s one of the best staycation spots for Angelenos.

09

06 2014

Celebrate 100 years of Beverly Hills with Suite 100

Beverly Hills Hotel Golden Age suite. Photo by Peter Vitale and Beverly Hills Hotel.

Beverly Hills Hotel Golden Age suite. Photo by Peter Vitale and Beverly Hills Hotel.

Beverly Hills turns 100 years old this year, and to celebrate, the city has teamed up with some of its most luxurious hotels to offer special experiences.

Through the Suite 100 program, five hotels — the Beverly Hills Hotel, Beverly Hilton, Peninsula Beverly Hills, L’Ermitage Beverly Hills and Montage Beverly Hills — have each redesigned a suite to reflect a moment in time from the past 100 years. The 1940s through the 1990s are represented (the 1980s conveniently have been left out, which is probably for the best), with homages to 1940s film noir and 1970s Studio 54 included. My favorites include the Beverly Hills Hotel’s 1950s Golden Age suite (pictured above) and the Peninsula’s 1990s Birth of Modern Glamour suite.

Even if you can’t afford to stay in one of these suites, you can experience a little of this nostalgia with special throwback menus at the hotel restaurants. From June 1 to Sept. 30, try the lobster thermidor at the Montage’s Parq Bar, the truffle mac and cheese at the Peninsula’s Club Bar, or the Tahitian vanilla and sour cream cheesecake at the Beverly Hilton’s Lobby Lounge and Circa 55.

Beverly Hilton cheesecake

Beverly Hilton cheesecake

There are other ways to celebrate Beverly Hills’ centennial that include shopping, too. Check out Love Beverly Hills for more information.

Note: The menu tasting was hosted.

31

05 2014

Loews Hollywood classes it up with renovated hotel

After nearly two years of renovations, the Loews Hollywood Hotel is now sleek and modern. And with the unveiling of its new H2 lobby bar, the hotel is now a legitimate place to relax with a drink away from the hustle and bustle of Hollywood Boulevard, and even the Hollywood & Highland complex located right next door.

Loews purchased the former Renaissance property back in 2012, and it’s a good thing it did. I remember the old hotel, with lots of primary colors (green and orange stands out in my mind) splashed across its walls and carpets. It was not what one might consider posh.

The new version is much improved. I had the opportunity to stay overnight in one of its renovated rooms, which offer lots of space with an average of 400 square feet each. You get free wifi in your room and throughout the hotel (score!), and Loews properties are pet-friendly (double score!).

King room at Loews

King room at Loews

Sofa area

Sofa area

Bathroom

Bathroom

View from my room overlooking Hollywood & Highland

View from my room overlooking Hollywood & Highland and the pool

The H2 lobby bar just opened last week, so its food and beverage menus are still being worked out, but until then, if you tell the bartender what kind of spirit you like, he’ll make you something that will surely please. I got a nicely crafted New York sour, complete with a pretty red wine float.

New York sour

New York sour

I also sampled some dishes that are currently being considered for the bar menu. The pastrami sandwich on doughnut buns was a big hit, and I was pleased to find that the doughnuts were not frosted (because that would be, like, ew).

Pastrami doughnut sandwiches

Pastrami doughnut sandwiches

The lobster pups (mini lobster corn dogs) were some of my favorites, too. It’s fried. It’s lobster. How can you not like this?

Lobster pups

Lobster pups

As part of our tour, I was able to visit the hotel’s helipad and take in the view with a glass of champagne. Ah, the Hollywood life. Word has it that the Loews Hollywood is planning on offering special experiences on that helipad in the future. So if you’re looking for a way to pop the question or celebrate some other notable milestone, the hotel’s helipad might be just what you’re looking for.

Overlooking Highland Avenue from the helipad

Overlooking Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue from the helipad

Note: The visit to the lobby bar and the overnight stay were complimentary.

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10

03 2014