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Winter blues doesn’t even begin to describe how I have been feeling lately. Brutal stretches of cold, plus short days and a flu/cold that lasted most of December made me stir crazy, literally pacing my house all night long and wanting to get away.

Normally we try to save getaways for later in the winter, when we just can’t take it, but this year, the second weekend of January seemed the perfect time for a change of scenery and a visit to Wentworth by the Sea just outside of Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

We knew we wanted to spend all of our time cozying up at the hotel, but first I needed a buttered lobster roll, and Row 34 Portsmouth was the obvious choice. One perfect warm lobster roll later, we we made the short drive to Wentworth to check in to our room and to check out from everyday life.

Row 34 lobster roll

Wentworth by the Sea is absolutely grand, standing proudly atop a hill by the sea since 1874. It feels like an elegant step back in time, where life was a bit slower. We embraced that feeling on our visit!

Wentworth by the SeaWentworth by the Sea

We were so excited to check out our room, which was a perfectly cozy, super sunny corner room with water views.

Wentworth by the Sea

My insomnia has worsened lately, and two queen beds made the most sense so that at least one of us would get some sleep. These beds were so comfy that I actually ended up sleeping!

Wentworth by the Sea

Wentworth by the Sea

Our views and the cold outside made it so that we barely wanted to leave our room the entire time. A hot bath and watching the tide come in and out made for the perfect way to spend the late afternoon.

Wentworth by the Sea

I am obsessed with sunsets and evening light, and I basically stared out the window until the last drop of sun dipped into the sea.

Wentworth by the SeaWentworth by the Sea

Then it was dinnertime! The resort was full for the long weekend, so we had to make reservations, something we don’t always do. It felt fun to get dressed up and have a set time for dinner. We usually eat at the bar, but this time we had a big table and booth just for the two of us.

We started by splitting the salad special, a delectable mix of butternut squash, kale, beets, and goat cheese. I loved that everything on the menu was very seasonal; lots of root veggies and hearty flavors!

Salt Restaurant

Since we tend to split everything, we went with two very different entrees, the beef tenderloin special and the incredibly rich and decadent short rib ravioli.

Salt Restaurant

The tenderloin was perfectly cooked and delicious, but the incredible sides stole the show. I love parsnips and Brussels sprouts!

Salt Restaurant

The short rib ravioli came with a carrot Bolognese, which was yummy and a super creative use of seasonal vegetables. The short rib filling in the pasta was divine.

Salt Restaurant

We saved a bit of room for dessert and shared our server’s recommendation, the Hot Chocolate Mousse Cake, which had a layer of Mexican hot chocolate flourless cake, along with flan ice cream. Delish! The food at Wentworth, including the breakfast buffet in the package we opted for, completely blew us away with its quality and creativity. Service was hit-or-miss – our servers at dinner and breakfast were fabulous, but the restaurant host stand and lounge definitely left us scratching our heads. The lack of interest in those areas was not fitting of such a grand luxury property.

coastal New England

I indulged in a great massage on our last day, and my massage therapist was fantastic. However, the spa experience itself was a bit underwhelming. The relaxation/tea room was up against the main door of the spa, and it felt like Grand Central Station as I was sitting and trying to read a magazine. Other patrons were loud and had their phones out, texting away, beeps and music coming out of their devices, which I thought was SUPER rude. I am an iPhone addict, but even I was able to leave it in my locker for two hours. I think I’ve come to really appreciate some of the discount massage outlets like Elements and Hand and Stone, for a great massage at a fraction of the cost.

Portsmouth is a great town to explore year-round, so if you’re visiting Wentworth by the Sea, you’ll have plenty to do if you decide to peel yourself away from its coziness.

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Tags: New England, Travel, travel blog

Pink and green and Champagne all day. . . and a lush courtyard to top it all off. . .

On this arctic day in Boston, I am dreaming of New Orleans and our recent stay at Royal Sonesta New Orleans. Be sure to read about our food and incredible music experience if you’re planning your own NOLA trip!

We could have easily stayed at our hotel for all of our meals, but since New Orleans has so many amazing restaurants, we of course ventured out and explored. And while I was working the entire trip, I also really wanted to feel like we were away, so I did a ton of research on weekday brunch. Brennan’s kept popping up in my searches, and on our first day when we discovered it was just a few blocks from our hotel, we decided it would be a definite brunch spot for us.

Brennan’s is beyond elegant and charming, and the service was top notch. I think we had seven different people assisting us throughout our visit. While the inside was lovely, a courtyard brunch in December won us over.

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The courtyard at Brennan’s is decked out in pink and green, a favorite color combination of mine, and I loved every detail, down to the jingle bells on pink ribbons for guests to take home.

What I really wanted to take him is this table. How beautiful is it?!

New Orleans brunchNew Orleans brunch

A French press full of chicory coffee was freshly pressed at our table, and we soaked up some of the sun and green while we decided on our brunch.

This little oasis was vacation perfection, and the coffee hit the spot for my insomniac self.

IMG_7288New Orleans brunch

Brennan’s offered a Champagne menu, and being a huge lover of bubbles, I had to go with a Champagne cocktail. It may have been early, but what’s brunch without bubbles?

This drink was delicious, and I loved the coupe glass it was served in, adding to the elegant and historic feel of the restaurant.

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The brunch menu had some truly decadent offerings, and we decided to split two of the most luxurious looking items on the menu.

New Orleans brunch

I was all about the seafood and went straight in for the Eggs Cardinal: Crispy Shrimp Boudin, Spinach, Lobster Cardinal, Black Truffle Hollandaise. I mean, lobster and truffle on the same plate, paired with a Champagne cocktail? Truly this was my definition of dining heaven.

He went with the hearty Eggs Hussarde: A Brennan’s Original – Housemade English Muffins, Coffee Cured Canadian Bacon, Hollandaise, Marchand De Vin Sauce. If you haven’t had coffee cured bacon, I recommend seeking some out ASAP.

We were both completely enamored with our meals and ate every bite as we listened to the fountains and watched the silly turtles slowly get around.

New Orleans brunch

The turtles were a conversation piece for all of the diners, it seemed! Turtle soup was on the menu, and we definitely opted NOT to get it after seeing these guys!

New Orleans brunch

Brunch at Brennan’s was a real treat and a time to relax and slow down before we headed out for a busy day of exploring New Orleans. It’s a spot I would visit again at any time of day but especially during their Bubbles at Brennan’s Happy Hour!

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Tags: brunch, cocktails, New Orleans, NOLA, Travel, travel blog

Did you discover any favorite new restaurants in 2017? With an ever-changing and growing restaurant scene in Boston, it’s hard to keep up, and while we definitely tried some amazing new spots (Yellow Door Taqueria, The Industry, and Reel House were all big hits!) we were also repeat visitors at established favorites.

I also rediscovered spots I hadn’t been to in a while like Doretta Taverna in Boston’s Park Square area.

I recently got together with a group of friends at Doretta to sample some of their most popular menu items, and I was reminded that I could eat there everyday and be perfectly happy.

Doretta has GREAT cocktails, and I regret that a work call came in as I was enjoying a beautiful and spicy Medusa’s Locks gin cocktail. I never got a chance to take a photo!

Doretta Boston

Everything I have eaten at Doretta is incredible, but as a big chip and dip fan, I could eat their zucchini chips and tzatziki all day long.

Doretta Boston

Of course, I would save room for their perfectly cooked, tender and lemony grilled octopus and a tasting of yummy spreads like my favorite Beet Pantzarosalata, a heavenly beet and yogurt blend. . . a healthy dip!

Doretta Boston

I normally pass on lamb, but even I had to have a bite of these lamb meatballs which are a big hit with Doretta guests. The cumin tomato sauce is definitely something you want to save and savor with your extra pita!

Doretta Boston

Lobster is obviously a New England favorite, and the Lobster Loukomades take it to a whole new level, with herb donuts, brown butter, and pops of flavor in the form of caviar. Yum.

Doretta Boston

I was *almost* too full to try this beautiful shrimp dish, which had hints of sweetness from honey and shredded pastry kattaifi. I loved the crunch that it added too!

From the presentation down to the last bite, each plate we were served was perfect.

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Doretta also has a really impressive and different wine list, especially for wines by the glass. I love that the list includes wines from Greece, in addition to places like Austria and Mendocino County California. It’s definitely not your standard wine list, and for someone who loves to try new wines, this is a huge selling point.

Since Doretta is consistently excellent and a sort of central location for friends coming from all areas around Boston, it’s the perfect place to meet.

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Tags: Boston, cocktails, Dining out, Food, food blog, Greek, Restaurants, wine

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