Tag Archives: drinks

Husk Charleston

Something special is happening. I’ve got butterflies in my stomach, and a new bounce in my step.  I haven’t felt this way in a while, but I think I’m falling in love…

With this town!

Isn’t it dreamy?

Spanish moss floating from the trees, music in the air, front doors so pretty they almost wink at you as you pass by, boughs heavy with fat spring blossoms…

Charleston has seduced me, swept me completely off my feet!

Charleston Library Spanish Moss Oak Acordian Player

Charleston Grey House

Charleston Boughs heavy with Blossoms

It was on a romantic stroll around town, I found myself in front of one of the city’s hottest restaurants, Husk – – – without a reservation. People wait months to get one. I didn’t have high hopes, but figured “it never hurts to ask.”

We checked in with the hostess and she recommended we add our names to the waitlist and have a drink in the Husk bar across the alley. So we did.

Charleston Husk Building Exterior Front

Charleston Husk Pink Building Across the Street

I was feeling adventurous so when a Southern libation called “Shrubs” made of fruity vinegars caught my eye, I had to order one! I went for the grapefruit version.

Charleston Husk Shrubs

Wow.

It tastes like fruity vinegar alright!

Charleston Husk Shrubs Sip Bar

^^ I think my eyes were cross-eyed underneath my eyelids in this photo!

Let’s just say, Shrubs is an acquired taste. One that I was actually beginning to acquire by the time the ice melted and took things down a notch.

But, hey, I can say I drank vinegar!

Charleston Husk Shrubs Sip Bar Deck

At least I provided plenty of amusement to my date as he kicked back on the porch with a more sensible drink. Sometimes it pays to stick to what you know.

Charleston Husk Beer Porch

Charleston Husk Shrubs Porch Sipping

When the hostess called us for our table, we were fully expecting to be squeezed into a corner between the kitchen and the loos. And we would have been grateful!

Instead, what we got was a beautiful table for two on the upstairs outdoor balcony, with a view out over Queen Street, porch fans whirring silently above us. Yeah, we were pretty pleased…

Charleston Husk Upstairs Balcony

Charleston Husk Upstairs Porch

Charleston Husk Menu Frangipani Shirt

First thing I did, was order an actual cocktail. This time it was the Charleston Dragoon Punch, one of Husk’s signatures. Our server explained it as a classic Southern “porch-sipper” designed to be leisurely imbibed under the breezy shade of… a porch. The recipe has been adapted from the Charleston Preservation Society – California brandy, Jamaican rum, peach brandy, black tea, lemon juice, and raw sugar. It’s now my official favourite drink of the colonial South!

Dragoon Punch

Dragoon Punch

Well, the critics don’t lie, and all the reviews are true. The food at Husk is phenomenal!

But I’ll let the photos do the talking.

Caper's Inlet Blade Oysters on the Half Shell, SC Strawberry Mignonette, Jalapeno, Citrus

Caper’s Inlet Blade Oysters on the Half Shell, SC Strawberry Mignonette, Jalapeno, Citrus

Charleston Husk Caper's Inlet Blade Oysters on the Half Shell, SC Strawberry Mignonette, Jalapeno Citrus

Charleston Husk Caper's Inlet Blade Oysters on the Half Shell

Charleston Husk Fire Roasted Clams, HUSK Sausage, Preserved Tomato, Fennel, Ambrose Farms Pea Shoots, Garlic Toast

Charleston Husk Fire Roasted Clams, HUSK Sausage, Preserved Tomato, Fennel, Ambrose Farms Pea Shoots, Garlic Toasts

Charleston Husk Fire Roasted Clams, HUSK Sausage, Preserved Tomato, Fennel, Ambrose Farms Pea Shoots, Garlic Toasts

Cornmeal Dusted Catfish, FL Sweet Corn Creamed with Green Garlic, Fried Cabbage, Roasted Fennel and Peppers

Cornmeal Dusted Catfish, FL Sweet Corn Creamed with Green Garlic, Fried Cabbage, Roasted Fennel and Peppers

Cider Glazed SC Tamworth Pork, Grilled Asparagus and KY Wonder Beans, Charred Ramps, Smoky Tomato, Pot Likker

Cider Glazed SC Tamworth Pork, Grilled Asparagus and KY Wonder Beans, Charred Ramps, Smoky Tomato, Pot Likker

After a truly special meal, we paid our check and made it out of the restaurant just as the sun was beginning to set. So we clambered for a spot at one of Charleston’s best al fresco bars, The Rooftop at The Vendue. It’s a silly name, but the views are to be taken seriously. With a panoramic view of the city, from the array of church steeples, to Charleston Harbor, it was hard to pick one direction to look in.

Charleston Vendue Front

Charleston Vendue Rooftop Water View

Charleston Vendue Rooftop View

Charleston Vendue Rooftop Bar

Charleston Vendue Rooftop Bar Nightscape City view

Charleston Vendue Rooftop Bar Drink

We watched the sky change color and enjoyed the cool breeze wafting in with nightfall. Charleston is pulling out all the stops to win me over, and I’m falling hard for its charms.

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Sea Containers

Mondrian has arrived in London!  A familiar name we all know and love. For me, the brand conjures memories of an epic stay in Miami celebrating Art Basel many, many moons ago. This one is decidedly more Southbank than South Beach, but sits proudly on the water, the mighty River Thames. Housed in part of the old Sea Containers building, the new hotel has an understated nautical theme, and vibrant river views from its new ground floor restaurant.

We went to check it out on a blazingly bright afternoon for lunch.

Sea Containers From Blackfriars Bridge

Blackfriars Bridge Treacy Black Felt Hat

Sea Containers Dining Room

Sea Containers Dining Room Crest We Serve

Never take pils on an empty stomach.

Never take pils on an empty stomach.

There’s quite a bit of seafood on the menu, which is no problem for me! We ordered a selection of starters, then shared a chicken and a sea bass.

Raw scallops with cilantro, espelette pepper and drizzled with Arbequina olive oil

Raw scallops with cilantro, espelette pepper and drizzled with Arbequina olive oil

Crab salad on toast, with pickled peppers & citrus aioli

Crab salad on toast, with pickled peppers & citrus aioli

Oven-roasted Lamb Meatballs with soft sheep's milk cheese, cucumber and a Moroccan spiced vinaigrette

Oven-roasted Lamb Meatballs with soft sheep’s milk cheese, cucumber and a Moroccan spiced vinaigrette

Smoked and Roasted Corn-fed Chicken with  charred lemon vinaigrette

Smoked and Roasted Corn-fed Chicken with
charred lemon vinaigrette

Shredded Kale Salad with apple, pecans, avocado, yoghurt, chilies and a dill vinaigrette

Shredded Kale Salad with apple, pecans, avocado, yoghurt, chilies and a dill vinaigrette

Roasted Mediterranean Sea Bass  with citrus, salsa verde

Roasted Mediterranean Sea Bass with
citrus, salsa verde

Sea Containers Lunch Apple Pie

The desserts were great, and they even let us order a crème brulee off menu.

Sea Containers Lunch Creme Brulee

Sea Containers Faces

Sea Containers Faces Smiles

The sun was setting as we finished lunch (damn you, winter days!), so we headed upstairs to the rooftop bar, Rumpus Room, for the view – and ended up staying a little bit longer than planned.

Rumpus Room Signage

Rumpus Room Area

Rumpus Room Bar

With unobstructed views across the pulsing heart of London’s business and financial district, the rooftop terrace is no doubt going to be a popular al fresco destination this spring and summer. Have fun, people!

Rumpus Room Outside Rooftop Bar

Rumpus Room View

Rumpus Room View Rooftop Thames

Rumpus Room Drinks Table

The drinks were impressive (aka exceptionally strong) and before we knew it, we were all a bit sozzled.

Rumpus Room Drinks

Rumpus Room Rooftop Silly face

The only thing I would say if you visit Rumpus Room (and you aren’t expensing it to the bank you work for) – check your itemized bill before paying. The service is attentive and pleasant, but they definitely added extra items to our check that we didn’t order. Other than that, go forth and enjoy!

Hen Do Tea Party

I cannot believe my wedding is in 5 weeks!

All the RSVPs are in, the honeymoon is booked, and I’ve had my final dress fitting. Time to relax, spend the weekend pampering myself with spa treatments, and meditating about wedded bliss.

Oh, wait a minute – not if my girlfriends have anything to do with it!

The big day that I thought would never happen is finally here:

My bachelorette party!

Saturday began with my darling friend Lia (isn’t she darling?) grabbing me for a shopping date and bistro lunch.

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A happy little salad and two happy bloody marys, then darling Lia hailed a cab and whisked me off to a secret destination in Soho…

Which turned out to be Dean Street Townhouse – where all my chirpy chickies were waiting to surprise me for my hen do afternoon tea!

How jolly British!

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I was so happy to see all of my hens – especially one who had just fluttered over from the US!

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What wedding diet?

Let the bride eat cake!

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And sip tea!

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A spiffing afternoon with the ladies!

After tea, the girls kindly accompanied me home to mine – where the scene was set with fairylights and candles, a cheese board, and lots and lots of bubbly!

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I donned my festival-themed accessories and shimmied into something a little more rock chic for the evening ahead.

Which was mainly drinking lots of champers and cuddling.

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Eventually, we prowled out into the London nightlife scene – kicking things off at our first stop, Maggie’s.

(Which was essentially like partying at home because this little 80’s club has been my bunker since I was just a Chelsea newbie).

I marched in and took the reigns – or drumsticks, in this case…

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I can’t show you more because us rockstar gals like to keep a low profile on our nights out.

But suffice it to say, with friends as gorgeous as this, it was quite a mischievous night carousing until dawn.

Oops, I guess that’s what happens when the hens fly the coop!

Weekend in Paris: Day 1

I’m not a Paris-y girl. I can admit Paris is beautiful, it’s clean, the French are actually so much more pleasant than they are depicted in cartoons. I can see why it is the most popular tourist destination in the world. Everyone loves Paris. I guess it’s that I never know what I’m looking for there – the food is superb, the shopping is world-class, the cityscape views are ridiculously romantic. It just seems almost too easy. There’s no need to explore off the grid, no reason to trek off the beaten path in search of some little-known hidden gem. It seems to me, the best of Paris has already been discovered.

Paris was the rendezvous point for me and my good friend – a journalist who’s been living in Cairo for several months; she was desperate for a European citybreak. I slinked onto the Eurostar with two changes of clothes in my weekend bag, and arrived two hours later at Gare du Nord.

Hôtel Caron de Beaumarchais is a gem, though anything but hidden. Fantastically located in the Marais district, it occupies the lovely little Rue Vielle du Temple just off Rue de Rivoli. As soon as you cross the threshold it’s like stepping back into Old World Paris. I love all the charming period details. And how quaint that the room key is actually a key (rather than a key card) which you leave and pick up from reception whenever you come and go!

hotelext

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hotellobby2

hotelliftCutest upholstered lift in Paris

hoteldoor

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hoteldin

hoteldin2

It was time for a girlie debrief and we both needed to wet our whistles with a little of the good stuff, so a table on the terrace of Tresor was a perfect nearby place to escape the light drizzle. A bottle of chardonnay and a plat du fromage was our first taste of Paris.

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food

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The shopping in Paris is insane. It overwhelms me – in a magical way. For high-end Parisian design and tailoring (not to mention accessories) there is only one destination – L’Eclaireur. The vibe here is artsy, futuristic, conceptual – but the clothes are classic, structured, and strikingly feminine. What hangs on the rails here is transformative – these pieces will literally transform you.

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For shades, I recommend Marcel Bihan Opticien. They stock so many fun and funky brands, you’re sure to find a pair that will really stand out from the Sunglass Hut mediocrity. I was partial to these round beauts by Linda Farrow for The Row, and these oversized tortoiseshell cat-eye Karen Walkers.

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For high street fashion, check out the quirky Eleven Paris. Their tag line is “Life is a joke,” though their designs are anything but. I snagged this sleeveless graphic tee with floral cross for 39€.

eleven

With our chip and pin cards all warmed up, we headed over to the glitzy Beaubourg district for dinner at Hôtel Costes. Sure, it’s sceney and the cocktails are over-priced and the food isn’t exactly haute cuisine – but it’s stylish and moody and, like all good things in Paris, it is tried-and-true.

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After our meal, we took one of Ladan’s friends up on an invite to the closing party of Pompon on Rue des Petites Écuries. It was bonkers. It seemed like everyone wanted to be there. Ian the bartender welcomed us with some fiery shots called Kalashnikovs.

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We lingered for a bit with some fellow DC ex-pats, then left to get some air and stopped by Le Baron for a cocktail. It wasn’t as crazy and raw as it was depicted in the opening scene of “Little White Lies”, but it was unarguably Parisian. Go here for the music, they know what sounds good. Great place to get silly and dance!

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Well, Paris, it isn’t love – and it surely won’t last – but if I’ve learned one thing from you, it’s that a time-tested classic never goes out of style.