LUXURY IS IN THE DETAILS.
A close listen in a conversation can reveal a great deal about a person – what they need, what they are lacking. Do you have an upcoming business trip that would be more exciting with company for a night or two? A weekend or extended holiday that let’s you truly unwind, be yourself, as we decadently treat our minds. bodies and souls. Let’s make it happen.
OLIVIA’S CITY GUIDE – GREAT DATE IDEAS
NYC – A big apple in many flavors.
Weekend brunch on a sailboat enjoying oysters on the half shell at Grand Banks, An evening tour of European wines by the glass at Aldo Sohm or bourbon or martini at Bemelman’s. Don’t forget, Sunday’s are for dim sum. Check out Golden Unicorn or Jing Fong
The spring and fall are glorious time for enjoying my fair city. a bit of natural beauty at the botanical gardens. I love sports…are you a Rangers or Yankees fan? Epicureans in the city are like kids in a candy store… Mexican? Italian? Spanish? BBQ? Perhaps a night cap at the Rose Bar or Salon De Ning?
HOTTEST HOTEL ROOMS BASED ON THE SHOWERS
The Park Hyatt is pretty damn awesome and so isn’t the Four Seasons. Head down to Wall Street, the Andaz is roomy enough to have a party. The Beekman is chic. You get the steamy picture… so to speak.
Charleston – Southern, earthy charm makes a Yankee feel at home.
One of my favorite southern cities, Charleston. Y’all have a part of my heart. The low country charm, sophisticated cuisine. How about dinner at Wild Olive or The Ordinary? They have the best fried oyster sandwich. Let’s enjoy reggae, beer and ramen at Chico Feo. We could meet for lunch at Leon’s – listen to blues, They have a shrimp roll to die for, with potato chips for that extra crunch and the freshest salads with their southern famous chicken. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Mt. Plastic, ehem…Pleasant. The Shellmore is small but welcoming to those looking for bespoke cuisine without the pretense.
There’s just so many places to love.
Let’s get down in the low country.
Carmel – California dreamin’ on any delicious day.
The only reason to love California…said a right coaster. The Carmel/Monterrey area, which technically is part of Big Sur, is a peaceful, goooorgeous slice of heaven. We can start with fresh palates, and wine taste at Boekenoogen, a family owned winery dating back to the 1840s, who started as cattle farmers. Lets enjoy an intimate lazy lunch at La Balena or Roux after a fun day at Laguna Seca or hiking at Point Lobos. I feel the need…the need for speed! Wind down the day with dinner at Bernardus in the Valley, or the cozy Cafe Rustica.
HOTELS WITH A KILLER VIEWS.
The Carmel Valley Ranch is nestled in the valley, with vineyard views, bathtubs on decks of certain suites with two-sided fireplaces and gorgeous bathrooms. Their bath products are heavenly, made with lavender grown on site. Though I haven’t stayed there, the Quail Lodge is also recommended, especially for golfers. The Highlands Inn, has breathtaking views but warning – the rooms are outdated.
Chicago – Blows me away in with culinary magic.
Admittedly, its been about 6 years since I’ve visited the Windy City. However, it is on my list of places to visit post-pandemic. Let’s go Americana at the the RL Grill. The Manager’s special – steak tartare with jalepenos is to DIE for. Chi is a slice of foodie heaven. The best burger (topped with foie) is at Au Cheval. RIP, Everest.
Let’s not forget that Chicago is a sports’ lovers town. My eastern European heritage appreciates sausage and onions from a ball park or hockey rink.
I love surprises. Let’s paint the town red, while you show me your city.
Jackson Hole – Magical epicurean playground.
My favorite little city in the US. Amazing restaurants like local favorite, Snake River Grill. Take a break from the slopes apres-midi and lunch at Piste. Persephone’s has the most delicious breakfast and casual lunch staples. Don’t forget to try their hot chocolate! The White Buffalo Club has amazing steak and great ambience.
As cliche as it is, do go to the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar for live music and to get your shoes shined. I hope the cobbler is still there. He’s 3rd generation and LOVES his job. Last but certainly not least, the Wort Hotel is a great way to round out the night.
Philadelphia – The city of brotherly love lives up to its name with some fabulous hotels and dining.
I lived here before moving to NYC 15 years ago. Many underestimate it but Stephen Starr, Jose Garcas, Greg Vernick and olds school South Philly, keep the love growing. When I am in town I head to Parc, A Kitchen and Bar, and if I can get in, Vernick. Haegele’s is a must stop, family -owned German bakery with amazingly fresh desserts. Ray’s Happy Birthday Bar and the Rooster are fun places to let your hair down. Craving a real taste of Europe? Monk’s Cafe is a Philly Institution.
Minneapolis – Old school food scene with many twists.
The twin cities are worth a mention. I visit several times a year. I love its old school flavor mixed with modern cuisine. The St. Paul Grill is my go-to. The bartender gave me her secret recipe for curing a cold….and they have a fantastic chicken pot pie. Sadly, my favorite restaurant, Bachelor Farmer closed its doors as a result of the pandemic. We can sink our teeth into a Juicy Lucy…let’s head over to Matt’s! I’m also down for a trip to Stillwater – the birth place of Minnesota! Show me your Minnesota.
Boston – East Coast Prep meets Nana.
Another city close to my heart. Though I don’t consider Boston a foodie city, there are wonderful gems in the city and unexpectedly, in the suburbs. I have explored this gem of a city a little more and thanks to some very savvy friends, have discovered some gems both in the city and in Metro West.
For the Parisian feel on Boyleston, check out Bistro Du Midi. Outfitted with a reasonable wine list, and chic European ambience, plus the Venison tartare is to die for! Have a hankering for oysters? Don’t miss out on Neptune Oyster bar while in the city but get there before they open. There is always a line. Last but certainly not least, take a short trip over to Cambridge and check out the huate cuisine but unpretentious atmosphere of Oleana. A well-curated wine list and fabulous small-dishes will leave you feeling impressed.
HEADING OUT TO THE BOSTON BURBS?
Vinotta and Stazione di Federal on Moody in Waltham are the perfect epicurean oases. Ask the bartender, Stazione to make your martini with Eleni gin, the smoothest gin from Piedmont Italy. It was made by a winemaker for his wife, Eleni, who hates wine.
Moving To Waltham’s neighbor, Newton/Chestnut Hill. Need a fresh look, a wardrobe update? Mr. Sid’s is MtM heaven for any man who appreciates style. Ask for Stuart Siegel.
THE RESTAURANT SCENE IS SERIOUS BUSINESS.
Do not miss out on Sycamore . Scott the bartender is happy to make a bespoke cocktail and the menu is light and fresh. Chestnut Hill has Capital Grille on Thursday’s (standing room only). Chef Dave’s, The Street, is small and exclusive, my friend’s husband is the chef, fresh off the boat from Italy, so you are guaranteed to have an amazing meal. The courses at all of these suburban restaurants are expedited from pan to plate, a welcome change from typical dining.
Staying in Burlington? Capital Grille is convenient and always a good time. Check out Roue 34 for oysters in the suburbs. Craving Indian? head to Bedord, the neighboring town, to Holi. Early Harvest Diner for fresh breakfast/lunch in Wakefield, is a must. La Fina in Andover is a must drive for a finer dining experience without the pretense.