Dining Around Town – Keen’s Steakhouse, NYC

Recently had the pleasure of dining for lunch at Keen’s Steakhouse in Manhattan, courtesy of the Grapevine Texas Visitors & Convention Bureau.  The lemon drop martini was excellent.  Lunch was fabulous and the destination of Grapevine Texas has some really good eats and offerings.  I had the pleasure of visiting a few years ago and it was loads of fun.  

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Dining Around Town – Phillippe Chow, NYC

Phillippe Chow is the newest spot to take up residence at the Dream Downtown Hotel, replacing Megu.  This has quickly become one of my favorite places.  The chicken satay with peanut sauce is awesome!!! The Lychee Martini is worth the trip alone.  If you’re ever in NYC and looking for an evening spot to have a cocktail and dine, think about Phillippe Chow.  It isn’t inexpensive but worth it!!!

Around the World – Reggio Emilia & Milan, Italy

As we started our adventure in Reggio Emilia, we were fortunate enough to be invited to opening night at the local theater for “Dirty Dancing” and you know how much I love the red carpet.  It was wonderful being invited before anyone else to get a look behind the scenes and take photo’s of this lovely theater.  We were so blessed to be able to do this.

One of the great things about the region is the fresh made  Reggiano cheeses.  I never go to the region without visiting a cheese maker and getting a taste of the product.  I support the local grow slow movement by always purchasing cheese while there.  Hard cheese can be vacuum wrapped and easily transported back to USA with you.  I am always amazed at how they place their hands in boiling hot water to make this cheese.  Of course the end product is worth it.  One tip I got was never buy cheese that’s less than a year old and 2 years is usually preferred.  

After touring the cheese plant, we take a tour of the family farm which houses it’s own restaurant,  hotel, swimming pool and animal sanctuary.  

We also explored an artisan colony that houses operations for several all female businesses.  One of the businesses is an embroidery and restoration specialist who handles many pieces for the catholic church and their articles from the 1800’s.  She showed us the slow and meticulous painstaking method to repair, restore and clean valuable memorabilia.    There is also a winemaker housed in the colony and she specializes in Red Sparkling Wine, which of course we tasted and yes I was gifted with a bottle of each of her reds to take home.  It’s really good wine.  During my stay in the region, I was a guest at the Hotel Posta.  The hotel is centrally located right in the town square, walking distance to everything and a great place to stay.

Taste cheese, wine and good food are all things I look forward to when visiting Italy.  One of the most favorite things I always do while there is indulge in a hot chocolate.   When arriving in Milan and when departing Milan I had to sit and have it.  It is a luxury for sure that you just can’t indulge in everyday, but it’s not everyday, that I’m in Italy!!!! Ciao for now!!!

Around the World – Melbourne, Australia

I recently had the privilege of visiting Melbourne, Australia.  It is a lovely cosmopolitan city that has so much to offer.  During my time there, I stayed at the Crowne Promenade Hotel which is part of a larger shopping mall that includes a casino, restaurants, food court, river walk, lots of shopping.  The convention center was a short walk from the hotel.  There was also a nice park and plenty of restaurants along the river walk leading to the convention center and hotel.  

While there I was able to leave Melbourne and venture into it’s suburban surroundings.  During this outing, I went to Sovereign Hill which is a replica town of what life would have been like during the gold rush years.  Yes you can still actually dig for gold.  Every so often someone gets lucky and finds a real gold nugget, but I did not!!!

After wandering around and sifting for gold, we had a lovely lunch at one of the restaurants, before heading to Black Cat Truffles to go truffle hunting.  No I did not find any truffles.  Both gold digging and truffle hunting are wonderful way to spend your time outside of Melbourne. 

And of course, there was food, food and more food.  Welcome parties, mingle parties, networking parties and of course a goodbye party.   I look forward to my next trip to the region and this time I will stay a lot longer, because there is a lot more to see and experience.  I will of course expand my trip by including New Zealand and likely Sydney next time.  Its a long plane ride, so staying a while is a better choice.  Good Day Mate!!!!