The SLS Hotel South Beach

THE SLS HOTEL SOUTH BEACH

Miami has been turning up the heat for decades, but on my recent visit to stay at the SLS Hotel South Beach, I can honestly say I was truly impressed by the perfect combination of sunshine chic meets urban beach.

If you happen to be a city dweller – or even if you don’t – The SLS South Beach provides just the right amount of ‘chill’ to unwind in one of the world’s most vibrant cities. The hotel features an artistic blend of Latin, Asian, contemporary and art deco influences; with its rooftop design depicting a lantern reaching toward the sky, the old queen (originally built in 1939) is the tallest art deco building in South Beach.

In the rooms, modern decor meets a twist on French flair, where designer Philippe Starck has channeled the ghost of Madame de Pompadour with naughty nods such as mirrors on the ceiling and a box marked “sinners” keep things historically accurate.

Exterior wise, pass two glittering pools on your way to the turquoise waters of South Beach, where flamingo pink beach chairs await you. However, you won’t do so without passing a magical garden that plays host to the famous Hyde Lounge; a playground of day and nightlife, boasting the artful mixology and José Andrés cuisine, all inspired by the flavors and culture of the local community.

THE BAZAAR BY JOSE ANDRES

Located in the SLS hotel, the world famous Bazaar by José Andrés, provides a vibrant mix of sophisticated cuisine and a playful indoor-outdoor environment, blending Andrés’ Spanish heritage, tradition and ingenuity with influences from South Beach’s local Latin flavors.

Set between the glowing patio of Bar Centro, and the indoor glamorous space of the hotel, this AAA Four Diamond Award Winner, does not fail to please on any level in ambience or cuisine.

Start off the evening tapas style with mouth watering highlights like the Traditional Sui Mai (mouthfuls of pork, shrimp, peanuts, water chestnuts) Japanese Tacos (composed of grilled eel, shiso, cucumber, wasabi, pork chicharrones) or truly unique Frozen Blue Cheese Sandwich (featuring lemon marmalade, walnut bread.)

After grazing through these exceptional dishes, you cannot go wrong with their Dragon Fruit Ceviche (that seamlessly blends tuna, pecans, lemon, hibiscus) or their Patatas Bravas (fried potatoes, spicy tomato sauce, alioli.) Then there’s the meats, such as the exceptional Jamón Ibérico de Bellota ‘Fermin’ (hand carved acorn-fed, free-range Ibérico ham) which I would recommend pairing with the Pà amb Tomàquet (Catalan-style toasted bread brushed with fresh tomato.) Still have room for more? Finish up with the Black Rossejat (a tantalizing paella-style pasta, featuring squid ink, shrimp and aliol.)

Paired with a smooth glass of Malbec, or really your drink of any choice, the above is a soaring explosion of flavor and artful cuisine. Oh, and be sure to top the night off outside at Bar Centro with a Salt Air Margarita; a drink that always seems to throw a little magic in the air…..

Saltie Girl, Boston

I recently had the delightful opportunity to visit one of the northeast’s most treasured cities, Boston. When you think of dining in Boston, you can’t not think of seafood, particularly lobster. Yet in the recent years I have made brief trips to the city, I have grown tired of the same style of old Bostonian lobster rolls and milky clam chowder.

Recently opened by Kathy Sidell (President and Culinarian of the MET Restaurant Group) with the help of Chef Kyle McClelland, Saltie Girl brings traditional seafood to 2016, while still preserving the freshness of it’s flavor.

The restaurant focuses on globally sustainable iterations of fresh fish & seafood, be it fried, sautéed, raw, house-potted, smoked or in tins. Dishes include fried lobster and waffles with sweet corn butter and spicy maple syrup and French burgundy snails with black garlic butter to name a few. Chowder, bisque, an amazing raw bar, fried whole belly Ipswich clams by the ounce are all on the menu.

The decor is intimate, calming with nautical touches; reminiscent of a mermaid’s chamber. Sit in a wooden, ship like booth and order up a glass of vino, or their infamous copper “Pineapple” of elyx, lemongrass and citrus soda, and you’re ready to set sail! Some of my favorite dishes included the Tuna Poke with soy, sesame, ginger, togarashi, and the Tinned Tuna with jalepeno. And, despite my earlier comment, their Gloucester Lobster Roll, served in a brioche bun, is a must.

On you’r next visit to the area, be sure to make a stop in, not only for a mouth watering seafood experience, but also for some of the friendliest, knowledgable and attentive service I have experienced in a while.

Oh and I hear they also do a fantastic brunch….

Chefs Club NYC

New York is a constantly changing city, and that goes for its cuisine too.

In the midst of this change, comes Chefs Club NYC; a downtown Manhattan melting pot of flavor.

Modest, sharp and inventive – the restaurant lets its food do the talking for it. Chefs Club is chic yet uncomplicated, designed by Rockwell Group with exclusive art installations from Murray Moss.

The aesthetics of the restaurant only compliment the exquisitely crafted dishes from Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs, served straight from an open kitchen. The unique “studio” located on site, also plays host to visiting master chefs, in front of an exclusive audience, for events and master classes.

Particular favorites on the Spring Menu are the King Diver Scallops, served on a bed of quinoa and drizzled with chili oil, and the Cedar Plailo share are equally as popular choice, as are the cocktails such as the Bon Voyage made with Spiced Tequlia, Mezcal, Banana, Lemon and Egg White.

Overall, if you want 5* cuisine in a 5* setting, without the pre tense, and will all the simplicity of great dining – Chefs Club is the spot.

The Haven Rooftop NYC

Located directly above the Sanctuary Hotel, one can find The Haven Rooftop. An elevator will escort you to the penthouse floor, where you doors will open to a hidden gem of the city.

A popular spot for the happy hour crowd, this relaxed yet chic retreat features a large array of cocktails such as the Sanctuary Sangria, as well as cuisine such as “Haven’s Signature Chicken” (cajun spices and roasted chicken breast, served with a beurre blanc sauce, or “Tuna Tartare” (sesame dressed tuna tartare with crispy wontons). Sip or dine, lounged in the beauty of this terrace, overlooking an exquisite view of the city.

Each season, the Haven Rooftop offers a unique theme for it’s guests, and is uncovered/covered and heated depending on weather. This past month, they have welcomed “A Taste of Morocco” complete with belly dancers, henna artists and Moroccan inspired appetizers to the rooftop. The result is an evening of cultural ambiance and colorful entertainment. This summer a “Yacht” theme is hinted to be appearing on the rooftop…we eagerly wait to see.

In any season, however, the Haven Rooftop provides a wonderful spot to visit with family, friends, and co-workers to escape the bustle of the city and travel abroad in only one elevator ride. Well worth a visit.