Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson

Whenever I hear that someone is visiting England for the first time, I always recommend afternoon tea. So when my friend and I took a much needed girls trip to London, I knew we had to schedule tea time. It was my friend Lindsay’s first trip to the UK and I wanted to show her a quintessentially British experience. I’ve had tea before at Fortnum & Mason and at the Marriott Park Lane (you can read about that visit here), and both were wonderful. But since this was a girls trip, we decided to go all out. Champagne afternoon tea for two, please!

I had heard about the Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea at the Sanderson Hotel. It sounded exactly like the fun experience we were looking for, so I made a reservation and was pumped to see what it was all about.

The Sanderson is located in the West End and was a short walk after our afternoon of browsing on Bond Street. The hotel itself is chic and modern and was designed by Philippe Starck. Afternoon tea takes place in the hotel’s courtyard, which made for beautiful surroundings. Once seated, we could really see the Alice in Wonderland theme come to life with whimsical dishes, teapots adorned with Kings and Queens and vintage books. sanderson tea

We of course started with cocktails, and then came the tea. The tea options were displayed in beautiful glass jars and the names were true to theme . I opted for the “Queen of Hearts,”, while my friend chose “White Rabbit.” The spread had the traditional fare like finger sandwiches and scones, but also included beautifully crafted Mad Hatter-themed sweets like marshmallow mushrooms and sponge cake in the shape of a clock.
COCKTAILSsugar tea timetea

We stayed for a little over an hour and left on a caffeine high from all the tea. The staff was wonderful and overall it was such a fun, unique experience! lindsay tea time

Prices start at £48 a person. Reservations are recommended and can be made on the Sanderson’s website

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Passport to Style

You’re going to fly, so why not be stylish when doing it, right? Passport holders are a great way to show your personality, plus they provide protection for all the wear and tear that comes with traveling. These covers are not only stylish, but also functional, and are sure to add a little touch of luxury to your next trip.

 

passports adrienneaway

Kate Spade New York Cedar Street Passport Case: Who doesn’t love black and white polka dots? Like everything that comes from Kate Spade, this passport holder is cute and chic at the same time.

Ted Baker London Leather Passport Holder: Nothing is better than a classic leather case in a bright hue.

Flight 001 Passport Case: Flight 001 makes great travel accessories and this understated case is perfect for anyone.

Liberty London Passport Cover: Bright patterns make traveling so much more fun.

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Eating My Way Through Brussels

Grand Place

I don’t know about everyone else, but one of the many reasons I travel is for food. I just love food. I know there are others like me who love to try new things that you can’t find at home. I like to call it “foodie travel.” Plus we all know that one of the best ways to really experience a culture is through its cuisine.

So when I visited Belgium for the first time, I had to get my hands on all the culinary treats that the country is known for. Did I mention that I was pregnant during this trip? That meant I was hungry A LOT, and Brussels did not disappoint. Thankfully my friend Lindsay was with me to share in the fun and help me satisfy my cravings.

We arrived in Brussels in the late morning from Paris.  After settling into our hotel, the Dominican, we were ready for lunch. First item on our wish list? Waffles! When in Belgium, right?Belgian Waffles

Did you know there are two types of Belgian waffles? Yep. Liege waffles and Brussels waffles. If you want to expand your knowledge of waffles, check out this post about the differences. We passed lots of stalls serving fresh waffles covered in everything from fruit to chocolate to whipped cream. I’d have to say the best waffle I ate in all of Belgium was a chocolate covered one I picked up at Maison Dandoy.

Chocolate shops are everywhere you turn in Brussels. You’ll even see employees in the windows mixing the chocolate by hand. Wanting to continue on our sugar high, we stopped in just about every chocolate shop we passed. Milk chocolate, dark chocolate, chocolate covered pralines, cherries, caramels…you can find it all. Pierre Marcolini and Mary were some of my favorites.

brussels chocolate

We continued on our tour of Brussels, taking the afternoon to explore and shop. When dinner time rolled around, we headed to the Grand Place. The central square is lined with restaurants, all overlooking the historic buildings. Just about all the restaurants I saw offered one of my favorite dishes – moules frites.

Moules fritesAnother thing that’s a must for any Brussels visit? Belgian beer. Being pregnant and all, I stayed away from the alcoholic beverages and lived vicariously through Lindsay. Stores sell beer by the bottle that you can drink on the street, and there’s no shortage of breweries and bars to visit. We made a stop at the well known Delerium, which boasts over 2,000 types of beer.

beerWhile I had no shortage of fine foods during our short time in Brussels, I made sure to pick up some goodies to take home too. Check out my picks for the best brusselsfoodie items to take home from Belgium here.

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5 Foods to Try in the South of France

From Marseilles to Nice, it’s safe to say I’ve eaten my way across France. I learned that Southern France’s food culture is much different from that of Paris and the rest of the country. Beef bourguignon and macarons give way to seafood dishes and Provencal flavors. The area’s best recipes utilize fresh fruit and vegetables from local markets and Mediterranean ingredients. These are some of my favorites I’ve had along the way.

Nicoise Salad: Although you’ll find variations of this well known salad all over the world, the classic version can be found in Nice. This colorful recipe brings together tuna, eggs, olives, tomatoes, potatoes, French beans, lettuce and a vinaigrette dressing. The ingredients can also be found in sandwich form in its spinoff, pan bagnet.

Nicoise Salad
Socca: Every city has its street food, and socca is Nice’s. This pancake-like specialty is made from chickpea flour and served hot, and can be found throughout Nice. Socca
Provencal Honey: Provence produces some of the most high quality honey out there, flavored with unique items like chestnuts and lavender. It smells and tastes amazing, and also makes for adorable gifts.
Calissons: The town of Aix en Provence is known for its tiny candied fruits covered in icing. Made from almond paste, candied melon and orange peel, these candies can be found in every shop and market in Aix.
Bouillabaisse: No list would be complete without Southern France’s famous stew. It’s a flavorful fisherman’s stew flavored with herbs de Provence that has to be tried at least once.  Although attributed to Marseilles, but it can be found in towns all throughout Provence.
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A Short Stay in Antibes, France

AntibesDuring this month’s Eurotrip, we had the pleasure of visiting Antibes, France. My husband and I were on a week long tour of the south of France, and since we heard good things about Antibes, decided to make it a stop on our trip.

Getting to Antibes: Nestled between Cannes and Nice, Antibes is located on a prime stretch of the Côte d’Azur. Because we were traveling through the smaller towns of Provence in the previous days, we would be arriving by rental car. After a few hours of driving, we made it to the coast in the late afternoon. Traffic slowed the closer we got, with cars backing up as we neared the exits for Cannes. We found our exit and then headed through the town’s many narrow, one way streets en route to our hotel. Thankfully we had our GPS!

Where To Stay: After finding a great deal on the Marriott website, we chose to stay at the AC Hotel Ambassedeur Antibes – Juan les Pins. The first thing I noticed when walking in was the I was the sleek, modern look of the lobby. We were greeted by the friendly and helpful staff, checked in, then ventured up to our room. We were kindly upgraded to one of the hotel’s suites, which could not have been any better. The room included a living area and separate bedroom, along with a huge terrace. Lounging on the terrace’s cafe table was nice, and we could see the ocean at the end of the street. The spacious bathroom offered a separate bathtub and shower, along with double sinks (how often do you see that at a European hotel?). One of the most functional features the suite provided was a very large, open “closet” space that was able to comfortably hold all our luggage and keep it out of the way. It came in handy! We made sure we made use of the hotel’s amenities – mainly the indoor and outdoor pool, plus the sauna.  The location in Juan les Pins was also great. The beach was a ten minute walk from the hotel, with a park, shops and restaurants along the way. Lobby hotel suite living room terrace

pool pool

Where To Eat: We were celebrating our anniversary and wanted to visit a nice restaurant for the occasion. The hotel had great dining options, and their restaurant Fushi looked like one of the best. We arrived for dinner and chose a table outside. The meal started with a glass of local Provençal rosé, which was one of many enjoyed on the trip. We took the server up on his suggested meal, which started with a salad with tomatoes, cucumbers and goat cheese. Next up was the main course of duck. I’ll admit this was my first time trying duck, and I was a little nervous. It actually was very good, as was the accompanying vegetable tart. Dessert was a fresh fruit tart consisting of strawberries, apricots and cream. It was so good that my husband ate it all, which was quite the feat considering that he usually refuses to eat any fruit. The meal went down as one of the best we had our whole trip.

Fushi salad dinner dessertSadly, we were only able to spend less than 24 hours in Antibes, since we planned to get to Nice the next day. We just missed their annual Jazz festival by about a week! Although it was short, I’m glad I got to experience a small part of the town and its beautiful beaches.

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The Best Things I Ate in Barcelona

It’s been less than a week since I returned from a few days in Barcelona, and I’m already missing the food! Like any good foodie, I had to try all the specialties of Spanish cuisine that Barcelona had to offer.  Here are some of the photos I took as I ate my way through Barcelona.

Paella: I HAD to get paella when in Barcelona, and the serving we found at a beachfront restaurant in Barceloneta did not disappoint. Shrimp, mussels calamari and clams…so good. Paella

Sangria: One of my summer drinks of choice is white sangria. Sadly, I did not find white sangria on any menus in Barcelona, but good ‘ol red was always available. I also discovered my new favorite thing, cava sangria. Sparking wine is wonderful. So is sangria. Mix it together and it’s the like the best of both worlds.Sangria

Jamón: Ham and ham and more ham. Jamón serrano and jamón Iberico. (What’s the difference? Find out here.) It’s everywhere. There are whole stores dedicated to it. My husband is obsessed with this delicacy, so needless to say we ordered it a lot. barca7 barca2

Tomato Bread: This is no ordinary bread. Catalan tomato bread, or pa amb tomàquetconsists of crunchy bread rubbed with tomatoes and olive oil. This local specialty is served with most meals, which is good because it’s super addicting!Tomato Bread

Sweets: Flan. Chocolate croissants. Crema catalana. All amazing. And one of the most unique treats I found was a churro donut. Yes. I combined it with my morning espresso and I couldn’t have been happier. churro

 

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Wine Tasting in Chile’s Casablanca Valley

wineryWhen I learned I would be visiting Chile again for a wedding, I knew a winery visit was definitely a must. Chile’s one of the top wine producing countries, and as a wine aficionado, visiting local wineries has always been on my Chile to do list. I’d been many times before, yet had never made a stop at one of the country’s many vineyards. This time it was a priority, and I couldn’t have been more excited. A few wine regions surround Santiago, the city that would serve as a home base of the trip. After a little research, I learned that there were many potential regions to visit. From the popular Maipo Valley to the San Antonio and Cachapoal Valleys, the options were vast. Since we were planning on making a day trip to Vina del Mar, the Casablanca Valley, situated northwest of the capital, was the perfect location. After reading online reviews, we settled on Casas del Bosque. We enlisted a few local friends, made reservations and planned to head towards the coast for a Sunday afternoon of wine tasting. We all attended a wedding the night before that ended at 5 a.m. (which the American in me was not used to!), so it was a little hard to rise and shine. The slow start to the morning, coupled with the long drive to Casablanca, meant we would probably miss our reservation. We decided to give the winery a call to inquire about other times. Luckily they were very accommodating and were able to a schedule our visit for a later time. We pulled up to Casas del Bosque in the late afternoon. The sun was shining and the weather was perfect. A short drive up the winding entryway revealed pretty vast grounds. Guests were relaxing in lounge chairs throughout the property, drinking wine and taking in the sunshine. We walked up to the main building to check in. Since we arrived later than planned (which is not uncommon for me, if you ask my friends), we opted out of the scheduled tour and decided to just do a tasting. It took place inside the 242 Aromnas Bar, and included samples of 4 wines. The four of us were seated with another party, which included some researchers from Cornell University. The wines included red and whites from the vineyard’s Reserva, Gran Reserva and Private Reserva lines. We were told the interesting story of the carmenere grape, beginning with its “exile” from France. It was looked over in favor of more popular grape varieties, and was brought to Chile. After being mistaken for Merlot for many years, producers realized they actually had carmenere grapes in the 1990s, and the majority of carmenere has been made in Chile ever since. Very informative, right? The tasting was fun, and my non wine-drinking husband even had a good time. My favorites had to be the carmenere and the sauvignon blanc, and we even took home a bottle of the latter. photo 1 wine tasting

After the tasting session, we were able to explore the wine cellar and walk around the grounds at our own pace. We also learned that the vineyard offered a few unique options. Their picnic experience provides a basket filled with food and wine that you can enjoy on the grounds, and a bike experience allows guests to bike throughout the winery. Definitely something I’d love to do on my next visit. Everyone we encountered was great, and despite our time crunch, we had a wonderful afternoon at the winery. More information can be found on their website, or you can email tanino@casasdelbosque.cl to schedule a visit. 010 007 005 grapes 014 wine cellar

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My Paris Food Diary

Oh, Paris. One of my favorite cities. Beyond the culture, architecture and romance of the City of Light, there’s the food. Macarons, crepes, baguettes, escargots, foie gras. It’s all amazing. The French are known for their rich gastronomy, and it’s evident everywhere you look in Paris. You can’t walk far without passing an amazing patisserie, fromagerie or boulangerie. I’ve visited some memorable shops and restaurants on my last trip to Paris, and gathered some of my favorite foodie photos and cafe shots. Enjoy!

blog18 440 (2) 436 (2) paris from paris cheese KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA french 383 (2) 382 (2) 356 (2) 303 (2) 550 (2) 574 (2) 566 (2) 569 (2) 663 (2)

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One of the Best Restaurants in Cleveland

Greenhouse TavernI’d heard a lot about the Greenhouse Tavern in Cleveland. It was named one of the 10 Best New Restaurants by Bon Appetit, and the chef, Jonathan Sawyer, is a James Beard Award finalist. (Coincidentally, his mom also teaches in my hometown’s school district). Fellow chef Michael Symon even named it one of his top places to eat in Cleveland. My friends raved about this gastropub’s farm-to-table freshness and innovative menu for months, so I had to try it out during a recent trip to Cleveland.

We were able to score a reservation on a Saturday night, something I was told is not an easy feat. We arrived at the restaurant in the popular East 4th area and were promptly seated upstairs. I’d describe the decor as hispter chic – eclectic with bikes fastened to the walls. We were lucky enough to score a window seat overlooking the street scene below, which made for some good people watching.menu

The menu is split into first, second and third courses. The firsts feature small bites, the seconds are shareables, and full entrees make up the thirds. Some interesting items could be found on the menu like beef jerky spaghetti and carrot frites. I decided to skip the famous roasted pig head for the more subdued gnocchi with mushrooms. I’m always impressed with a carbonara-like raw egg, and this pasta didn’t disappoint. The devils on horseback, or bacon wrapped dates, were a favorite of my table mates. We were all told that we had to try the wings, so the decision to order the crispy chicken wings confit was a no brainer. I’m glad I did. I’m not usually a fan of wings, but the crispiness of the skin and the heat from the green onions and jalapeno made these memorable. I can see why they are so popular. A friend’s pommes frites with rosemary were also a hit at our table.  green3 green5
friteschocolate barAfter dinner we headed up to the rooftop bar. The warm weather made for perfect rooftop lounging. The atmosphere was fun and laid back, with string lights and good cocktails. I highly recommend an after-dinner drink on the roof.  A stop at nearby Chocolate Bar for martinis rounded out the night. I still have to try the Fred Flintstone short ribs with the buttered popcorn pot de creme for dessert, both of which I heard are amazing. I’ll definitely be back next time I’m in Cleveland.

 

 

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What to Eat & Drink in Chile

Empanadas
These crispy, cheesy turnovers are one of the first things I need when I get to Chile. Cheese empanadas. Meat empanadas. Seafood empanadas. The possibilities are endless. Go the traditional route and try pino filling, a mix of beef, olives, eggs and raisins. empa empanadas2

Completos
I’m not one for hotdogs, but I can appreciate one every once and awhile. Hotdogs with ketchup and mustard at a backyard BBQ is quintessentially American, but Chileans sure know what they’re doing too. They take a standard dog, then add awesome toppings like avocado, tomatoes and mayo. It may sound crazy, but it works. 800px-El_tremendo_chilenísimo_COMPLET

Seafood
With over 2,500 miles of coastline, trying local seafood while in Chile is a must. Try some local specialties like razor clams, congrio (eel) and locos. And don’t ask for Chilean Sea Bass – it’s called corvina here.Machas a la parmesana

Alfajores
These heavenly creations are comprised of manjar, which is similar to dulce de leche, sandwiched between two cookies. Homemade ones are the best kind, but you can also find them in bakeries, street carts and grocery stores.alpha

Local Fruits
Chile has some pretty unique fruits that I love. Chirimoya and the caramel-flavored lucuma are two of my favorites. What? A fruit that tastes like caramel? Yes, and it makes for an amazing gelato and smoothie flavor. There’s also a plethora of tasty juices made from the more common peaches, apricots and papayas, just to name a few.pepino dulce

Pebre
This salsa-like creation is made from tomatoes, onions, garlic, coriander and olive oil. You’ll see this condiment everywhere, and Chileans eat it with everything!pebre

Pisco
Pisco is a brandy made from grapes that is super strong. One of my favorite drinks is the lime flavored pisco sour, but it’s almost more common to see piscolas – pisco mixed with soda. And if you want a really fun night, try a terremoto, or earthquake. This concoction is made with pisco, wine and pineapple sherbert, and you’ll think you’re experiencing an earthquake after a few.pisco sour

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One of the Best Meals of My Life

dinnrWhen it came time to pick a restaurant for dinner during our stay at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort in western Pennsylvania, my girlfriends and I had a few on-site options to choose from. We went with the stylish Aqueous, one of their fine dining options.

This restaurant is located in the fancy Falling Rock Hotel, which is the resort’s AAA five diamond property. We arrived at the time of our reservation and were seated promptly.  This place was beautiful. Floor to ceiling windows. Elegant, romantic lighting. I kept thinking that this place would be an ideal restaurant for a special occasion dinner. The fellow diners were sophisticated and dressed well.menu

Everything on the menu looked amazing, from the drinks to the dessert. We chose martinis from their extensive drink menu, and my dirty martini was one of the best I’ve ever tasted. My friend went with the steak tartare for an appetizer, which was presently nicely on a slate plate. The spinach salad that my other friend ordered contained bruleed brie, which was a nice touch. Yes, cheese that was sugared and torched. It was the little details like that (which I always notice), that really impressed us. When the time came to order, we all had one item on our minds – steak. We were waiting all day for this meal to order a nice cut of meat, and Aqueous’ beef did not disappoint. I opted for the strip steak, and my table mates chose the filets. Each entree included an “opportunity,” which is their fancy name for a side dish. A sauce was also included, with horseradish cream and chimichurri sauce being some of the standout options. Our meals arrived quickly, and we were starving! The steaks were cooked perfectly and were delicious. It was hard not to finish every last bite. Given that everything we had tasted thus far was amazing, we had to find room for dessert too. We shared sorbet and mini cheesecakes topped with poached pears, and they were the perfect ending to an incredible meal.

All the special touches we encountered throughout the meal really showed that this restaurant knows their food. We were a table full of foodies, and none of us had one bad thing to say. Prices were also pretty reasonable for a restaurant of this nature. This upscale steakhouse was turned out to be the perfect choice for dinner, and I highly recommend it if you ever find yourself at Nemacolin Woodlands Resort.    dinner3 dinner4 dinner5

 

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Finding Authentic Fish & Chips in London

Rock & Sole PlaiceOne of the things I always make sure to do when abroad is to try local foods. So during my first trip to London, I knew I had to try and find authentic fish & chips. After a little online research and a good review from a guest at my hotel, the place was chosen. We stopped by Rock and Sole Plaice in Covent Garden on a chilly afternoon for lunch. According to its website, it was the founded in 1871 and is London’s oldest fish and chips restaurant. How cool is that? The place was crowded and the seating was minimal, but luckily we were able to snag a small table. We placed our order (cod for me and haddock for my husband), and waited with a couple beers. This place was no-frills, but with a lively atmosphere. We chatted a little with a fellow British diner who exclaimed that these are “proper fish and chips” and the place was by far his “favorite chippie.” I was anxious to find out if they were as great as he claimed.

The meal arrived after a short wait, and the first thing I noticed was how huge the portions were! Definitely enough for two people to share. The fish was good – crispy and not too greasy on the outside,  tender on the inside.  The fries were decent, but could have been better. I noticed that everyone around us had a few side items with their fish – mushed peas and curry sauce. They both seemed like popular choices, but I opted against trying them. The menu also offered local treats like jam sponge and spotted dick. Based on the unappealing names and the fact that I had no clue what these were, we chose not to order any dessert.

After a long day of being tourists, our meal hit the spot. On our way out I noticed a quote on the outside of the building – “There is nothing more British than Fish & Chips.” Glad I got to finally try some for myself, and I’d call my first fish and chips experience a success.

fish5

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Puerto Rico’s Must-Try Foods

Beyond the sun and sand, Puerto Rico really is a foodie’s paradise. Cocina Criolla blends Spanish cooking with Caribbean ingredients, and it makes for some unique and tasty dishes. Here’s my list of the top meals you must have when visiting the island.

1) Mofongo
This starchy mix of mashed plantations and meat is the first meal I order when I get to Puerto Rico. It’s hearty, garlicky goodness, and you can’t go wrong when shrimp, pork or chicken are added. You’ll find it on every restaurant’s menu, and I’ve had some great mofongo at Plato’s and Cafe Puerto Rico in San Juan. Side note – if you don’t like garlic, this dish may not be for you.pr food 14
2) Pork
From lechon to pernil, Puerto Ricans know how to cook their pork. Lechon, a suckling roasted pig, is the go-to for celebrations and large gatherings. Pernil is roasted pork shoulder that’s a centerpiece at holiday dinners. Both are juicy, tender and full flavor from sofrito, garlic and adobo. If you’re look for an authentic experience, head to a lechonera. The best ones can be found in Guavate. And where there’s pork, there’ probably chicharrones nearby. These are tiny pieces of pork belly that have been fried to crispy goodness.pork2

3) Frituras
These are fried fritters filled with meat, cheese or vegetables. Some of my favorites include tostones (fried plantains), alcapurrias and balalaitos (cod fritters). These finger foods are widely available from street vendors, along with at pretty much every restaurant. While they may be tasty, they’re probably not for the health conscious.tostones

4) Breakfast Sweets
I love pastries, and the island has some great ones. Mallorcas are one thing that’s not to be missed. Fluffy, buttery bread is rolled into something similar in shape to a cinnamon roll, then topped with powdered sugar. It’s also common to see them filled with cheese and ham. Be sure to also try quesitos, little cream cheese filled twists. If you can’t make it to Puerto Rico anytime soon, I found a pretty good recipe here. prfood11
5) Piraguas
Nothing’s better on a hot day than shaved ice covered in fruity syrup. Get one of these refreshing Puerto Rican snow cones from a piraguero, or street vendor. Watermelon and passion fruit are my go-to flavors.prfood4
6) Tropical Drinks
Rum is king here, and that means that there are plenty of tropical drink options to choose from. The pina colada was even invented in Puerto Rico! You’ll find drinks in exotic flavors like tamarind and coconut. Some of the best mojitos I had were at Raices in Old San Juan. You can read more about my visit to Raices here.

Tamarind mojito
Tamarind mojito
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Dinner at New York’s Cafe Gitane

gitane1While in New York for the weekend, one of the things I was most looking forward to was a night out with my friends. When Saturday night rolled around, we had to pick a place for dinner. I left the decision making up to my fabulous NYC girls who are familiar with the hottest places. My friend Tiffany, writer of the amazing fashion and music blog Haute Turntable, decided on Cafe Gitane. After a long walk from the subway, we arrived for dinner around 8 p.m. at the small West Village restaurant. The nondescript exterior of the Jane hotel opened up to a charming part Moroccan, part Parisian cafe full of paper lamps, tapestries and colorful tiles. We sat down in the cushy sofas and took in the scenery. The place had a good vibe, and while full of models and hipsters, it was surprisingly casual and not pretentious.

martini
watermelon mimosa

We started with some drinks; a melon mimosa for me and their Lillith cocktail for my friend. The fresh watermelon juice in the mimosa was super refreshing and so good. The mix of gin, lemon juice and champagne in the Lillith was smooth and tasty, and I’ve decided that I’ll be adding lemon juice to all my champagne going forward. After the avocado toast appetizer (a must-try!), I took my friend’s advice and ordered the signature dish, the Moroccan couscous. It was huge! Definitely big enough to feed two people. I was pleasantly surprised with the mix of pine nuts, potatoes and raisins. The rest of the table opted for the spicy meatballs in tomato sauce (complete with a boiled egg), the heart of palm salad and the steak frites – all of which looked delicious! The service may have been a little slow, but the affordability of the meal made up for it.

I’m not sure how anyone could walk away and not want to return to Cafe Gitane. I’ve heard their brunch is amazing too, so I’ll be returning to check that out during my next visit.

brie

couscous
couscous
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Tea Time!

Tea Time!One quintessential English experience that we simply had to have in London was afternoon tea. I may not be the biggest tea fan, but when in Rome, right? (Or in this case, London).

After researching the best spots for afternoon tea, I complied a list of my top choices – the Thames Foyer at the Savoy, Palm Court at the Langham and the Goring. (Let’s be honest, the last one was picked mostly because it’s where Kate Middleton stayed the night before the royal wedding). They were all so fabulous. Cue the images of us enjoying our tea in facsinators and morning coats. Then I saw the price. 50 pounds per person was a little more than we wanted to spend on our first tea experience.

Luckily our hotel, the London Marriott Park Lane, had a wonderful tea service of its own. When we stumbled across a 2 for 1 promotion on a discount tea website, we booked it without hesitation. We arrived at 140 Park Lane Restaurant and were seated next to a window with a view overlooking a rain-soaked Hyde Park. Our server took our tea order; peppermint for me and earl gray for my husband. And then they brought out the goodies. Oh my. There were tea sandwiches, scones, pastries and more. It was heaven. I also discovered one of my new favorite things – clotted cream. It may sound unappealing, but a scone with clotted cream and jam may be one of the best things on earth. I was so obsessed. So much so that I ordered some off of Amazon when I got home. Seriously.

An hour later, content from our tea, finger sandwiches and desserts, we headed back outside into the rainy London afternoon.

pastries

tea

Tea Time!

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