June 2011

Oysters Five Ways

Oysters Five Ways

In a decade, the always chic Fifth Floor restaurant in the Hotel Palomar in downtown San Francisco has had an impressive roster of top-tier chefs rotate through. George Morrone, Laurent Gras, Laurent Manrique, Melissa Perello, Jennie Lorenzo, and now, David Bazirgan. Each has put their own stamp on this sumptuous dining room with its soft, white leather chairs; floor-to-ceiling, glass-fronted wine cellar; and terrace herb garden that can be viewed from tables by the windows.

Now comes Massachusetts-native, Bazirgan, who took over this year, following his stint as Executive Chef at Chez Papa Resto in San Francisco, and five years as Chef de Cuisine at No. 9 Park in Boston.

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The Boulders, Phoenix

The Boulders, Phoenix

Arguably the most scenic resort in the Southwest, the Boulders is built to impress — exceptional gym and spa; renowned golf courses; organic cuisine grown on the grounds; and casitas with wood-beamed ceilings. It’s one of the best resorts in Phoenix. The isolated feeling on the quiet, visually stunning surroundings leads you to one of Phoenix’s best spas where you can relax and be pampered. The two top-notch golf courses, excellent cuisine and on-site organic garden are just a few of the endless ways to enjoy yourself at the Boulders.

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BeerParc at the Eventi Hotel

BeerParc at the Eventi Hotel

When we attended the opening of Eventi Hotel’s FoodParc in September 2010, we heard a lot about a not-yet-opened outdoor area that would feature gourmet food carts and a summer movie series. There’s little in life we enjoy more than eating and drinking outside in the warm weather, so last week we moseyed out way over to BeerParc — opened at long last in late May — to check out the scene.

 

Here’s a quick rundown:

The Food: Food stands with upscale beer garden fare from well-known chefs, including Ed Brown of Ed’s Chower House and Zak Pelaccio of Fatty Crab

The Beer: Five brews from 10 taps (Magic Hat #9, Radeberger Pilsner, Tucher Helles Hefeweizen, Brooklyn Lager, and Southampton Publick House Double White Ale), plus a canned beer selection that includes Heineken, Guiness, and Modelo Especial

The Tickets: Line up to buy them before you get your beers and food. Each ticket is $3, and you’ll need two tickets for every beer and one to four for the food and non-alcoholic drinks.

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Father’s Day is just around the corner, which means barbecue menus are rapidly in the making. What are you salivating for this Sunday?

Grill at the Castle Kiahuna Plantation Beach Bungalows

Grill at the Castle Kiahuna Plantation Beach Bungalows, Hawaii

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California halibut

California halibut

You know you’re dining at a hot new place in San Francisco when on a chilly Sunday evening, it’s jam-packed with a well-known socialite at one table and a Euro-fashionista in neon pink fur vest and billboard-screaming sequined jeans at another.

Prospect is not just a place to be seen, though. It’s also a place to dine very, very well.

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Though we’ll miss Tiger in the U.S. Open this year, the golf craze carries on. These hotel golf courses will impress any golfer, from pros to amateurs. Play your best game seaside, waterfall-side or mountain-side.

Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas, Kauai, Hawaii

Next to two golf courses, including the Prince, Golf Digest’s No. 1 Hawaii course, Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas is the place to stay for golf lovers. Two well-regarded courses are adjacent to the Westin Princeville. One, the Prince, has breathtaking views along Princeville’s cliffs. The second, Makai, a 27-hole monster, was renovated in 2009. The Prince Golf Course was designed by Robert Trent Jones Jr. 18 holes, 7,309 yards, par 72, on 390 acres. The golf carts equipped with GPS systems.

Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas, Hawaii

 

Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas, Hawaii

 

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It’s never easy replacing a chef who has been with a restaurant since inception, especially one as talented as Nick Balla.

Balla opened the Japanese izakaya-style restaurant, Nombe in San Francisco, but departed at the end of last year — but not before creating quite the impression. Balla, who visits Japan regularly, is such an astute study of traditional Japanese cuisine that his techniques even impressed a group of visiting Japanese chefs at a conference in St. Helena last year.

Balla, who also lived in Budapest for three years, is now at Bar Tartine in San Francisco, where he’s putting his own spin on Eastern European food.

Replacing him at Nombe is Vince Scofield, who most recently cooked for Ebb & Flow in San Francisco. He also was the opening executive chef at Kabuki Kitchen in San Francisco. In addition to Nombe, he’s involved with Darwin Cafe and Taco Libre, both in San Francisco.

Whew! Talk about a lot on his plate. But Scofield is giving it a valiant try at Nombe in the Mission District, a short drive from the Holiday Inn Civic Center San Francisco.

San Francisco

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Wondering where to go for the best pool? What about the best luau? Or the best cocktail? Oyster to the rescue (as usual).

Best Pool
Delano Hotel, Miami

The huge infinity pool — also known as its “water salon” — at the Delano is a South Beach attraction unto itself. Live DJs, tasty food and drink, posh cabanas, and bungalows make for a sceney but still relaxing retreat — at least during the day, before the hordes of nonguests come to party. Music plays underwater, and an ornate silver table and chairs sit right in the pool. In front of the Philippe Starck-designed pool is a beautiful orchard of crisply manicured trees. A giant chessboard and huge mirror within the orchard, like the giant chair in the lobby, helps to create a surreal, Alice in Wonderland atmosphere.

The Delano, Miami

 

The Delano, Miami

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We know not every traveler is the same. Sure, most of us would love to go to the beach this summer, but not all of us have the same type of beach vacation in mind. So we’ve broken down the categories for you to make your research a little easier. Below, see our top five picks for hot summer beach getaways, for five different styles of travel.

Summer Lovin’

Jamaica Inn, Jamaica

Jamaica Inn, Jamaica

Jamaica Inn, Jamaica

A small, romantic resort that once drew Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller, the Jamaica Inn is about quiet luxury — a single thatch-roofed bar, a small pool, and beautiful rooms with oversize terraces and soft, colonial décor. This is not the place to party (the whole resort typically shuts down by midnight).

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Epic Hotel, Miami

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