dining

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When planning our recent visit to Royal Sonesta New Orleans, we asked for and received TONS of recommendations on where to eat and things to do in the city. We were appreciative and a bit overwhelmed! One of the best pieces of advice we got was to just get a feel for the city and to go with it, and armed with plenty of recommendations and our own research, we set off to explore new Orleans.

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I tend to obsess over reading menus and looking places up on Google Maps prior to travel, and Café Amelie was actually one of my own finds and the place we chose for our first meal in New Orleans.

We had a rough night before we traveled, with our cat in the vet emergency room until 2:30 am and an Uber to the airport scheduled for 6:45 am. Café Amelie turned out to be the perfect spot to take a breath and exhale deeply while enjoying the quiet of their tucked-away courtyard and the glorious New Orleans heat.

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The vibe was so relaxed, and my shoulders started to drop a little, especially after my first “Sparring with Bubbles” cocktail, a new favorite cocktail, a blend of Ford’s Gin, Averna, grapefruit and pink bubbly. It was so delicious and absolutely perfect for the setting.

Ahhh. . .

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Café Amelie specializes in Louisiana fare, which is just what we were looking for, and we shared a few plates for lunch.

We of course had to try the local baked oysters, which were in a yummy spinach and artichoke sauce with a heaping side of crunchy crostini. We learned we are not huge fans of Southern oysters (Give me tiny, briny New England oysters everyday!) but we were huge fans of the addictive bread and sauce.

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Whenever we travel and know that decadent dining and drinking are on the cards, we sit down at a meal and both say “We need a vegetable”. At this lunch, it was a scrumptious, huge beet salad. I felt a bit healthier after eating it!

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Our third dish is one you must get if you visit Café Amelie. Chef Jerry’s Shrimp and Grits had the perfect bit of spice and the creamiest most devour-able grits. Good grits are pure heaven, and these were beyond.

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The pace of our meal was so lovely, as was the pace of everyone around us. We got chatting to another couple, locals, who call Café Amelie one of their favorite New Orleans restaurants, which we loved to hear.

I grabbed another cocktail to-go, because they were delicious and because I could. As frigid temps set in, I am craving New Orleans sunshine and humidity and some of the incredible food and warm hospitality we enjoyed on this trip.

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Tags: cocktail, cocktails, dining, Food, food blog, gin, New Orleans, NOLA, Travel, travel blog

Our recent weekend at Nobnocket Boutique Inn on Martha’s Vineyard was full of delightful experiences all over the island, including lots of good food, drinks, and beer. We learned that winter on Martha’s Vineyard means some places are closed, but there is still plenty to see and do, all without the crowds of summer!

On our first night on the Vineyard, we came in out of the cold into the warm and glowing dining room of State Road in West Tisbury.

State Road MV

A favorite of the Obamas and Vineyard locals alike, State Road was cozy and romantic with a great wine list and a fun cocktail list using soft spirits. Restaurants currently can’t sell hard liquor, which instead of feeling like a limitation, actually played into their favor. The mixed drinks were like none we had before, in the best way possible!

State Road Martha's Vineyard

I kicked dinner off with a Respect, which was very similar to a Dark & Stormy.

cocktails

We were debating ordering the whipped lardo, when it was presented to us, compliments of the kitchen. I swear, Martha’s Vineyard just reads my mind!

lardo There is something about radishes + fat + salt that is incredible, and this rich, smoky treat made it even better. A little crunch, a little salt, a whole lot of decadence.

I’m usually good about skipping the bread, but not when it’s buttery, lightly sweet, house-made brioche with Foie butter. We could have happily existed on the lardo and bread/butter for the evening!

brioche We read about State Road’s burger night, which happens on Thursdays, so we had to add a burger to our order. A good burger and excellent fries is one of the ways we judge a restaurant, and we can say we will definitely try to come back for burger night!

State Road burger

farm salad

We also shared and devoured a farmhouse salad with an incredible buttermilk dressing (ranch-like, but fresh and way better) and the roasted Katama Bay oysters with a flavorful Gremolata. When on Martha’s Vineyard, you have to have oysters!

roasted oysters

We rounded out this freezing night with a perfectly tender beef short rib with farro and pickled mustard.

Oof, it was a lot of very good food!

short rib

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Because I wanted to try the entire cocktail menu, I went with a nightcap before heading back to our cozy home-away-from-home, where we enjoyed one of State Road’s famous chocolate bars. As we enjoyed our dinner, we saw people leaving with stacks of these chocolates, named for Martha’s Vineyard towns. They are one of the hottest and most delicious items on the island, an a must-taste souvenir.

State Road was the perfect spot to spend a winter evening, and I can just imagine how fantastic it must be in warmer weather as well. They generously provided a gift card toward our dinner; all opinions are my own.

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Tags: cocktails, dining, Food, Martha's Vineyard, Travel, travel blog

Last Wednesday evening I attended a media dinner at Bond at The Langham Hotel in Boston. I’ve been to The Langham many times for their chocolate bar in addition to attending a Boston Brunchers brunch there and a media preview of brunch and the chocolate bar, but I had never even stepped inside Bond.

Wow.

My photos are all awful (I will learn to take a good photo someday!), but Bond is gorgeous.  High ceilings, chandeliers, leather chairs, a stunning bar, and jazz music on Wednesdays all add to the swanky feel of the lounge.

Bond at The Langham

A creative cocktail list features cocktails all named within a financial theme; it makes sense since the building was once the Federal Reserve Bank.

Derby Debt

Since it was almost Derby Day, I had the Derby Debt, Bond’s version of the mint julep. It was delicious. . . and strong! Then the food started coming. I loved almost everything, and though I left before dessert (To get a ride home, I will always skip dessert if it means avoiding the MBTA!), I left stuffed.

Vietnamese Fresh Rolls

{Vietnamese Fresh Rolls – Shrimp, Chicken, and Spicy Peanut Sauce}

Delicate and flavorful, these were a healthy, fresh way to start.

Stracchino Cheese and Heirloom Tomatoes

{Stracchino Cheese and Heirloom Tomatoes – Virgin Olive Oil and Balsamic}

Surprise! These tomatoes were stuffed with a creamy cheese. I am definitely stealing this idea for summer.

Crispy Point Judith Calamari

{Crispy Point Judith Calamari – Sweet Chili, Black Sesame, and Cilantro}

This was definitely a favorite. The fried, but not greasy, calamari was spicy and sweet. It was a great twist on a New England classic.

Grilled Baby Corn

{Grilled Baby Corn with Esplette – Cotija Cheese, Aioli, Lime}

This was my least favorite dish of the night. It probably would have been delicious with real-sized corn; I just didn’t love the flavor of the baby corn.

Sweet Soy and Ginger Chicken Wings

{Sweet Soy and Ginger Chicken Wings}

These were sticky, sweet, and amazing. They reminded me a little of my mom’s BBQ chicken, but the presentation definitely fit the upscale lounge feel. The bone “handle” on each was perfectly clean which meant no sticky fingers as we ate the tender chicken.

Lobster and Chorizo Quesadilla

{Lobster and Chorizo Quesadilla – Queso Blanco and Sweet Corn}

You really can’t go wrong with smoky chorizo and perfectly cooked sweet lobster. Again, an upscale twist on a favorite type of food. I liked that the rolled up quesadillas were easy to eat and less messy than the regular version.

Flat Bread Pizza

{Flat Bread Pizza – Great Hill Blue, Grilled Stone Fruit, Pancetta, and Arugula}

I was almost too full to try this pizza, but it was one of the things we were looking forward to. I love blue cheese, fruit, and arugula, and adding them to a pizza with pancetta, well it was incredible. Salty, sweet, and gooey; I love that Bond’s menu really seems to be about flavorful contrasts and twists on comfort fare that fit really well into the atmosphere.

Dom Perignon Lounge

Before I left, I took a quick trip up to the Dom Perignon lounge, which sits above the dining rooms, looking out over everyone. Dom Perignon in a private lounge? Now you’re talking!

Dom Perignon Lounge Bond, The Langham Boston

Bond’s service was top notch, and my dining companions, Megan, Daisy, Lindsey, and Will, were fabulous. It was a great way to unwind after a very long Wednesday. As  I mentioned, they do have live music every Wednesday, making it feel a little like a weekend mid-week. Who doesn’t love that?

 

 

I enjoyed a complimentary dinner as a media guest of Bond. However, I was not required to write a post, and all opinions are my own.

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Tags: blogger events, Bond, Boston, cocktails, dining, events, Food, hotels, Restaurants, The Langham

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