Paul Rubio

LGBT popular shows such as Real World DC (with the overexposed token queer, Mike Manning), Real Housewives of DC (party crashing anyone?) and Top Chef DC (highlighting the city’s growing foodie scene) have helped peak a global GLBT travel interest in our nation’s capital. Much like its new TV persona, DC is a happening place for the latest and greatest hotel, restaurant, nightlife, and overall social trends.

Sou’Wester. The gay-friendly Mandarin Oriental DC recently welcomed acclaimed Chef Eddie Moran to partake in the growing regional trend of mid-Atlantic comfort food with Sou’Wester, a decadent eating extravaganza celebrated by power brokers, policy makers, and DC socialites. This is one restaurant where the gay boys don’t count carbs and fat grams; in fact, they shovel in the cornbread, the oysters, the Grilled North Carolina Shrimp Cheddar Cheese Grits, and the Sautéed Chesapeake Bay Rockfish like a gluttonous Kirstie Allie captured binging on a tabloid cover (pre-Dancing with the Stars, of course).

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Union Oyster House, Boston

Union Oyster House, Boston

With such a mammoth concentration of global brainpower, Boston is the one place where it’s socially acceptable to work or study 17 hours a day. Oddly enough it’s also the one city where it’s not taboo to take a duck tour, date students 12 years your junior, and to elongate your “a’s” in a harsh, deafening tone while dropping your “r’s” (just like the saying “Pahk the cah in Hahvahd Yahd”). Fortunately, it’s also a city that savors its historic roots and constantly celebrates its iconoclastic spirit.

In keep with such tradition, Boston is home to the country’s oldest restaurant. To hell with the all the ‘New Kids on the Block’, the great, great, great grand daddy of American restaurants, Union Oyster House, is still king of America’s food empire. The country’s first restaurant circa 1826, Union Oyster House is novelty, nostalgia, and superb seafood all wrapped up into one. The ever-expanding National Historic Landmark became an integral part of the Freedom Trail nearly two centuries ago, and hasn’t looked back since.
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Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drinks, Boston

Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drinks, Boston

Boston is undoubtedly a city that honors its work hard/play hard philosophy, with a surplus of options for casual drinking, binge drinking, complete annihilation, and 2 a.m. “sidewalk sales” after stress-filled days of overachieving. Below are a few watering holes leading Boston’s Cocktail Revolution of 2011!

Back Bay Social Club867 Boylston Street, Boston, (617) 247-3200
Recreating the quintessential 1960s Manhattan social club ambiance, the late-night Back Bay Social Club revives a classy yet comfortable centralized meeting point for combining good times, good drinks, good people, and good conversation. The personality-driven resto-lounge feels like Cheers meets underground Prohibition rebellion, a place to come as you are and celebrate a love of great spirits. Kick-ass cocktails, like the “Gin Somethin” – millers gin, St. Germain, grapefruit bitters, fresh grapefruit juice, simple syrup, muddled limes, cucumbers, and soda water – are the perfect recovery for overachievers’ remorse. Back Bay Social Club is steps away from the Lenox Boston. Read More »

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Duck prepared by Chef Lydia Shire, who helms Towne Stove and spirits along with Chef Jasper White

Duck prepared by chef Lydia Shire, who helms Towne Stove and spirits along with chef Jasper White

In the past two years, exceptional venues have cropped up all over Boston’s neighborhoods and gayborhoods, making the city almost as famous for its eateries as its renowned landmarks. Bostonians have commenced a raging cocktail and foodie revolution, throwing a Red Sox’s curve ball into the city’s resto/lounge scene. Read about two of the most notable new additions below.

Towne Stove and Spirits900 Boylston Street, (617) 247-0400

The foodie marriage between two of Boston’s most famous chefs, Jasper White and Lydia Shire, has spawned yet another beautiful offspring – this time an elegant, high-energy mega restaurant dedicated to comfort seafood and over-the-top worldly eats in the heart of Back Bay. Combining Lydia’s love for butter, lobster, global ingredients, and originality with Jasper’s love for New England seafood and a renowned equilibrium between home style cooking and haute cuisine, Towne Stove and Spirits boasts a menu as fun and busy as the crowds waiting on long waitlists to sample the latest White-Shire conception. It’s hard to go wrong with any of the 50-plus, family-style, savory creations; however, the “wood grilled lobster & corn pizza with honeyed ricotta,” the seasonal “razor clams a la plancha in baqsque alioli,” the “twice fried green beans with white soy and ginger juice,” and the “peking chicken and pot pie” should not be missed under any circumstances! Spread between a bustling bar in the front serving the best in mixology, a contemporary frenetic dining room downstairs, and a quieter, sparkling upstairs, this gastronomic trendsetter is currently one of the hottest seats in town! Towne is steps away from the Mandarin Oriental, Boston. Read More »

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Spa at The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne

Spa at The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne

In the rush to finish holiday shopping, consider ditching retail therapy for a bit of escapism. Travel-based gifts tend to impart distinct lasting memories, and are gifts far more personalized and personal than mere objects. Below are three unforgettable, reasonably-priced, mini travel experiences within South Florida.

Tea with Versace for $551116 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach, (305) 576-8003

Following Versace’s death and Donatella’s unmanageable plastic surgery bills, South Florida mogul Barton G. purchased and transformed Ocean Drive’s most historic icon, the Versace Mansion, into a 10-room boutique hotel and intimate restaurant. Now known as the Villa by Barton G., Versace’s former sanctuary is more spectacular than ever, finally permitting the public to experience the mansion’s design splendor and sophistication. Thursday through Sunday the Villa serves full afternoon tea with exotic teas, sumptuous sandwiches and freshly baked sweets presented on Versace by Rosenthal Byzantine Dreams china, exclusive to The Villa. Advance reservations required. The Villa by Barton G. is located next to the Hotel Victor, Miami.

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The Blue Sea

Blue Sea at Delano Hotel is a leading sushi restaurant in Miami

Miami’s contemporary restaurant scene is a hit or miss of “sceney” hangouts, Northeast imports, jazzed-up seafood joints, and pimped-out steakhouses. A far cry from the predictable, recognizable chains and strip mall eateries, Florida’s glam revival has ushered in a new wave of more original eating establishments which merit bragging rights for both the food and the clientele. From boutique sushi counters to re-invented steakhouses to high-end Pan-Asian trendsetters that fulfill all your fat-kid fantasies, below are South Florida’s best bets for fabulous sushi, bloody steaks with decadent sides, and show-stopping super-sized portions.

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Area 31 restaurant at Epic Hotel, Miami

Area 31 restaurant at Epic Hotel, Miami

In line with the evolution of a more environmentally-conscious and health-conscious society, a select few restaurants have finally surfaced in Florida that care both about resource conservation and healthy body preservation. While scouting out organic food and green products is relatively easy at a place like Whole Foods Market, Florida in general has yet to embrace the locally-sourced , farm-fresh, sustainable revolution that has taken hold in other states like California, Oregon, and Maine. Luckily for the more enlightened consumer, five South Florida restaurants have taken the situation in their own hands, supporting small organic farms, and paying attention to seafood watch guides when sourcing their products.

Here are two of the five Miami restaurants that are doing their part, and should not be missed:

Executive Chef John Critchley prepares Florida’s most sustainable and savory seafood eats in his intimate open kitchen. Critchley takes great pride in his daily sojourns to the local Casablanca Fish Market, perusing the renewable catch from reliable community fishermen in Area 31 (hence the restaurant’s name), and then filleting his prized possessions in-house.  Upon preparation, Critchely keeps the fresh seafood as the center of attention with delicate and mild sauces, accents, and accompaniments to bring out the most succulent tastes. Much like a French master chef, he focuses on simple preparations for the discerning palate, where each carefully chosen ingredient is easily recognized.

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Alibi at the Liberty Hotel

Boston’s famous jail re-invention, the Liberty Hotel, takes no prisoners at its numerous food and drink outlets!

Just past the contemporary mosaics that rise in tandem with dueling escalators, the hotel’s signature restaurant, CLINK., gives new meaning to prison eats.  The vestiges of original cells set the backdrop for modern American cuisine, heavily focused on local and sustainable products. The half-dozen artisan cheeses are pure dairy utopia, merging the savory fruits of New England’s finest utters with sweet home-made preserves. The raw bar presents top regional catch on the half shell, including Thatch Island Oysters from Barnstable, MA and Littleneck Clams from Cape Cod. The hearty mains satisfy carnivorous cravings with such dishes as the Natural Venison Loin (with sweetbreads, pistachio puree, braised endives and raisin jus) and the Red Wine Braised Shortribs (with potato puree, maitake mushrooms and horseradish gremolata). Read More »

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The Wellness Spa at Canyon Ranch

Florida’s spa industry is over-saturated with its fill of cheese and low quality fillers. However, a handful of notable hotel spas provide consistent excellence and the full experience of desired bliss. Below are some of Miami’s most memorable spas.

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The Estate bar in Boston

Whether visiting for the first or the fifteenth time, Boston imbues visitors and residents alike with a patriotic spirit and a sense of American enchantment. It’s one of the few big cities where GLBTs are offered equal rights as first-class citizens and live relatively hassle-free from bigotry and BS.  While the nerds hit the books and the heretics hit the “packies” (liquor stores), Boston’s more seasoned, post-pubescent residents revel in the city’s endless choices for awesome dining, adult-style binge drinking, and those “wicked pisser” nights. Below are the best places to party like a rock star this summer (before the 2 a.m. curfew quells your fun)!

28 Degrees – Named after the ideal temperature for martinis, 28 degrees is a sexy South End bar, trendy enough for the muscle hotties but not so pretentious that is scares away the lesbians.  The true “gay night” of this bar-and-restaurant combo is Thursdays before going to Glamlife at the Estate, but all other nights of the week the crowd is mixed and pleasant, with a VJ spinning pop favorites via ubiquitous TV screens. In spring and summer, prepare to claw another queen’s eyes out to get a seat on the front patio, an ideal spot for enjoying the super-strong cocktails and talking shit about the people passing by. 1 Appleton St.; (617) 728-0728

Club Cafe – Probably the most popular gay bar in Boston, Club Café has been packing the house since the mid1990s and shows no signs of stopping. Recently renovated in February 2010, Club Café is looking to for a sixth win as “Best of Boston Gay Bar.” The restaurant at the front of the complex boasts a cozy bar, popular seven nights a week. On the weekends, the Club part of Club Café opens up, with two expansive back rooms blasting pop music and bringing together Boston’s cutest nerds, seaside rough trade, and middle-aged professionals. To avoid the new $5 cover and ridiculous lines on Fridays and Saturdays, simply get a membership card from their website. A must try on any visit to Boston. 209 Columbus Ave.; (617) 536-0966

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