Thursday, July 21, 2016

New Orleans, Louisiana



Back in early June I ventured to one of my favorite cities in the south for a dear friends bachelorette party  - which we named (#) the Summit of Free Spirits. I hadn't been to New Orleans since a girls trip in 2011 (!!), so it was really nice to return and soak it all in again. 

How badly do you want to dive headfirst into that plate of Beignets / that Sazerac / those broiled oysters topped with crab right now? The food in this city is something special. We had a lot of NOLA first timers and I was excited to re-visit some of the French Quarter musts with them like Hotel Monteleone's Carousel Bar, Pat O'Brien's courtyard, Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop Bar and Cafe Du Monde. We hit up terrific restaurants as to be expected and visited some new neighborhoods that I hadn't been to. Here's the rundown: 

Brunch at The Ruby Slipper | Creative southern breakfast fare served in a lively cafe. My dish pictured is The Costa Rican - gallo pinto (slow cooked black beans and rice) over a warm tomato salsa, two fried eggs, spicy chorizo sausage, avocado + crispy plantains.

Dinner at Borgne | Coastal Louisiana Seafood from renowned Chef John Besh. My entree pictured is the Angel Hair Pontchartrain - creamy shellfish broth, oysters, shrimp, garlic + bottarga. Other girls loved the Crispy Frog Legs over rice vermicelli and herb nuoc cham.

Drinks in The Warehouse District @ Lucy's Retired Surfer Bar and @ the brand new Ace Hotel's rooftop pool bar Alto (the drink that came in a pineapple, so fun). I really enjoyed wandering the Warehouse District. It's refreshing to get out of the touristy French Quarter for bit and explore a low key but hip residential neighborhood.

Dinner at Bourbon House | Andd back to the heart of the French Quarter for some proper Creole fine dining on Bourbon Street. My incredible meal pictured: Charbroiled Oysters in a creole bordelaise butter with jumbo lump crab meat and Gulf Redfish on the half shell with new potatoes, balsamic glazed red onion + lemon beurre blanc topped with crawfish. 

Ghost Walking Tour in the French Q | On what was my second night and some others third night, this was the perfect low key group activity. It was easy for us to join a tour on a whim. Our guide was animated and knowledgeable; you learn a lot about the cities history and the ghost stories are legit! Highly recommend.

Confederacy of Cruisers 9th Ward Bike Tour | I recommend this experience above the Ghost Tour if you had limited time. After cruising through the neighborhoods that were flooded under 10 feet of water during Hurricane Katrina, I am a changed person. Too see it all up close - the devastation and loss, the spirit and the rebuilding, and the adorable shotgun houses that still remain really made an impression. (These photos to come in another post.)

Be sure to check out my US Travel Page where you can find more NOLA Recommendations!



Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Commercial Street | Provincetown



 Commercial Street is everything. Art. Pride. Freedom. Beaches. Expression. Fashion. Parties. Hidden Gems. Rainbows. Fisherman. Paintings. Wharfs. Pirates. History. Parades.

There's renowned seafood restaurants and dive bars, waterfront cocktail hot spots and new brewhouses. A pizza by the slice counter with a hidden bocce court. Clothing that ranges from wild consignment stores to casual surf shops. Seaside inspired and otherwise pristinely curated home decor boutiques. Penny candy + taffy. Whale Watches. Art gallery after art gallery: stunning oils on canvas to unique and funky work on display...... I feel like I'm still not done but - you get the idea. Towards the outskirts of each end - quaint B+B's start to pop up, and at the very end a picturesque jetty that juts outwards into the bay towards Race Point.

These photos honestly represent about 15%. There's just SO MUCH. I've been coming here since I was a kid, through high school and now as an adult, and it's a place I crave to return to each summer. I'm so lucky to have grown up on Cape Cod. SO LUCKY!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Banyan Bar + Refuge

A brief stint barside at Banyan Bar + Refuge! Have you been?

The Slushy Kirin Ichiban is so much fun!! Banyan owns one of only three machines in the U.S . You've got to try it! I'd totally go back just for that.

Then there were a couple tasty small bites: Crispy Pig Tails ($8) / pineapple sweet + sour sauce, peanut, cilantro / Fried Chicken Bun ($8) / gouchang "buffalo" sauce, ranch dressing, scallion slaw / and a cocktail: Nippon Negroni / lemongrass + ginger infused gin, campari, cocci americano /

And when the third small bite never arrived, a draft Painkiller ($5) / five spice infused rum, pineapple, orange, coconut foam / for each of us on the house. The manager came over to explain the kitchen was having trouble getting the texture of the Takoyaki ($9) / braised calamari, nori, aoili, bonito / right. I guess there were issues with the fryer and it kept coming out soggy. I appreciated that they didn't serve us a poorly executed dish, and was happy that they sent the drink + an explanation over in its place. We couldn't wait around because we had a surprise party to make it to - otherwise I would have been content to linger at the zen Asian gastropub and sample more of the menu.
 
553 Tremont St
Boston, MA 02116