The merriment in London’s Soho neighborhood is all about. The streets are flowing with shoppers, and plenty of dining options await. Pastaio Soho, a lively restaurant that serves up the freshest pasta, is the place to be to relax and refuel in between shopping, and photographing the Christmas lights.
With two other locations in Westfield and Market Hills, their Soho location is conveniently located just behind Hamley’s, and the Carnaby Christmas Lights. Picadilly Circus, Leicester Square, and Covent Garden are all within a short walking distance. With festivities all about in London, a hearty and housemade pasta dish is just the thing.
Tour around the Emerald Isle this Christmas season while tasting some of their most festive afternoon tea. From Galway and around to Dublin, below are four locations for holiday inspired afternoon tea in Ireland to treat your loved ones and yourself to this December.
London at Christmastime is a true treat for all visitors and locals alike. Tour the Christmas Markets, go on shopping adventures, see a holiday performance. There is much to do throughout the month of December into early January. A traditional afternoon tea with the festive trimmings and detailing is a work of art here at London Marriott Park Lane. An experience in London paired with Festive Afternoon Tea is a necessity. London Marriott Park Lane’s experience is as merry as they come.
The Merrion Hotel is the epicenter of festive and luxurious dining in Dublin. The Hotel, located in Merrion Square, is steps or minutes away from Grafton Street, Trinity College/The Book of Kells, and Chester Beatty. There are several dining options inside from an intimate cocktail bar to a two star Michelin restaurant. We dined at The Garden Room on this particular evening. The Garden Room, led by Executive Chef Ed Cooney, serves delightfully whimsical artisan dishes. The dishes quite literally pop off the plate. Not only is everything so delicious, the presentation and unique concepts are hard to come by elsewhere.
The Garden Room is family friendly, and lovingly pays great attention to the menu for their youngest guests. Their lunch and dinner menu includes diverse selections like a Grilled Dubliner Cheddar Cheese and Baby Tomato Toastie, and Steamed Filet of Cod.
Rich Farm Ice Cream dairy farm and ice cream shop is renowned across Connecticut. This ‘Dairy Farm of Distinction’ has been maintained by the same family since the 1950’s. Rich Dairy became a creamery in the mid-1990s and quickly amassed a cult following for their ice cream. Connecticut residents cannot drive within a ten-mile radius of Oxford, CT without making a pit stop at Rich Farm. Rich Farm is a working dairy farm, and children delight in visiting the cows while waiting in the consistently long line to get their ice cream.
History & Locations
What started as a small, little known location has grown to something of famed proportion. The creamery is so busy, lot attendants must be employed to help the masses park safely in the field. Rich Farm has also franchised. In addition to the original location in Oxford, CT, has locations in Brookfield, CT, Bristol, CT and Placentia, CA. Despite these changes and unprecedented growth, the ice cream is still made the same way it was nearly 30 years ago. It is made every day by hand on the premises in small batches.
Ice Cream Creations
From simple cups of vanilla soft serve to wacky limited availability flavors, Rich Dairy has something for everyone. Try the hot apple cider doughnut sundae a true farmhouse treat. They also offer Ice Cream Cannoli and Ice Cream Pies. Rich Farm also offers frozen Greek yogurt and no sugar added flavors. Other treats served include ice cream sandwiches, ice cream cakes, soda floats, and a superb soft serve and candy mashup known as a Razzle.
Whether you have fond memories of visiting Rich Dairy as a kid or are looking to create a new family tradition, this creamery is a stop you need to make this season.
Rich Farm is currently open seven days a week from 11:30am-9pm. Cash only.
Get to know the Brickell neighborhood of Miami, Florida from the inside out. One place to start is at Batch Gastropub’s Miami location, steps away from the complimentary Metromover, notable hotel EAST Miami and the shopping center Brickell City Centre, Batch Gastropub is the epicenter of plenty of friendly fun and entertainment in this beloved neighborhood. A family-friendly eatery known for the expansive drink list and a locally sourced menu, Batch Gastropub serves lunch and dinner as well as brunch on the weekends. An all-day breakfast menu is also available.
On this particular occasion we visited for brunch and were seated outside. Allot at least two hours to enjoy brunch. The portions are packed to the brim, the service is flawless, and the food will have you hooked on the first bite and will keep you satisfied for most of the entire day.
We started with Bottomless Mimosas ($20) and Bottomless Ginger Peach White Sangria: Pinot Grigio, Ginger Root, Lemon Peel ($20), followed by the Carolina Hash: Slow Roasted Pulled Pork, and Batch Root Beer BBQ Sauce ($16); and Smokehouse Omelet: 3 Eggs, 9-Hour Pulled Pork, Pecanwood-Smoked Bacon, House-Smoked Cheddar & Mozzarella, “B1” Aioli, Crispy Potatoes ($14).
The hash is crafted with mounds of crispy Yukon potatoes, Spanish onion, red bell pepper, and poached eggs. Batch serves a total three specialty hashes including a Baja Avocado, and Hangover Hash.
Don’t want the buzz in the AM? Try a selection of Batch Gastropub’s house-made sodas including Root Beer: Wintergreen, Honey, Tahitian Vanilla Bean; Grapefruit Fizz: Florida Grapefruit, Cracked Cardamom Syrup; Blackstrap Molasses Ginger Beer: Spicy Ginger Root, Blackstrap Molasses; or Sparkling Blueberry-Mint Lemonade: Muddled Blueberries, Fresh Mint to name a few.
We chose a Fruit Medley side ($4), and the Pecan-Whiskey Candied Bacon ($6) as our sides. Everything we ate was recommended by our waitress. She obviously wanted us to have the best brunch, because we certainly did. We never felt rushed, we were very relaxed, and were able to savor each plate. We still cannot believe we came close to finishing our plates. Two people could easily split a Hash.
Craving something on the lunch side? Try their Mac Attack with a variety of add ons, the Heath Nut Salad, or the Brisket & Short Rib Burger. Made from scratch desserts are the Cast Iron Cookie, Key Lime Pie Parfait, a House Brewed Root Beer Float, and more.
Batch Gastropub Miami is open seven days week, Monday-Saturday beginning at 11:30am, and Sunday beginning at 10am. They also have a location in Delray.
The 121 Restaurant group offers two unique locations to enjoy their inspired modern takes on Italian, Fusion, and comfort food cuisine. The spacious location in North Salem, NY, offers a Monday brunch menu complete with bellinis, bloody Marys, and breakfast tacos. This location also offers a happy hour menu.
The dining room is cozy with upscale modern furnishings. Enjoy classics like P.E.I Mussels or a Maine Lobster Roll, or try something more adventurous like the Crispy Avacado Fritters with chipotle, Baked Olives, Watermelon Salad, or the Tuna Tower, a salad-meets-sushi appetizer. The Slow Braised Short Ribs are served with truffle polenta, a variety of pizzas are available, and there is even a plant-based burger option. Continue reading →
Tell only your best friends. Nikki Beach in Miami Beach is a year round restaurant and beach club in Miami’s famous South Pointe off of Ocean Drive. Cuisine and cocktails can be enjoyed inside or outside on one of their daybeds, cabanas or tables with feet in the sand steps away from the beach. An experience at Nikki Beach is complemented by fun, lively music and plenty of entertainment including a live saxophonist.
2019 is a very special year for Nikki Beach as they are celebrating their 20 year milestone on Saturday, December 14th at the location where it all began: Nikki Beach Miami Beach. Expect a celebration with live music and entertainment, a dance tribe, delicious food and creative cocktails all encompassed in their legendary White Party theme.
Nikki Beach is the perfect destination to step away from the crowds of Miami Beach and into your own oasis with your whole family, your best friends, colleagues, or even that special someone for some serious fun. Experience plenty of upbeat vibes and so many surprises around every corner. There is also a gift shop that sells sunglasses, hats, shirts, swim cover ups, and more.
A selection of events take place at Nikki Beach weekly, including Rosé Saturdays every Saturday from 12-6pm. Experience “La Vie en Rosé” for the afternoon where the vibe is Côte d’Azur chic as guests sip rosé, dine on seafood and experience live music by Felipe Kaval & Keidy. Specials include $5 glasses of Rosé and $25 bottles of Rosé.
And then there is their famous Sunday Brunch from 11am-4pm where guests can experience an afternoon with international cuisine, cocktails, and Champagne, music by Stephan M & Felipe Kaval, entertainment by the Nikki Beach Tribe and plenty of barefoot chic vibes. Specials include $50 Brunch, $7 Mimosas, and $7 Bloody Marys.
Their menu features a variety of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, a raw bar, sushi platters, sushi rolls, desserts, and so much more. Notable menu items include the Tempura Shrimp Tacos with avocado and lime aioli; the Miami Beach Platter with Key West Conch Fritters, Angus Beef Sliders, Aristan Bruschetta, and Calamari Fritto; Nikki Beach’s Famous Chicken Satay with sesame marinated chicken strips, Asian vegetables, and spicy peanut sauce; Dubai Grilled Cauliflower with green harissa, golden raisins, garden herbs, and lemon and tahini dressing; and Nikki Beach’s Famous Sushi & Ceviche Boat with a variety of specialty rolls, sashimi, tropical ceviche, tuna tartare, steamed edamame, and more.
Some of my favorite cocktails, including one our waiter recommend, were the Classic Piña Colada served in a shaved coconut that tastes (noted by our waiter) just like cinnamon toast crunch, and the World Famous Nikki Beach Mojito made with lemon flavored rum.
Desserts include their homemade Key Lime Pie, New York Style Cheesecake, Pistachio Tiramisu, and Vanilla-Infused Crème Brûlée.
View our full video recap of our visit to Nikki Beach via our IGTV channel on Instagram.
Hours & Locations
Nikki Beach in Miami Beach is open year round seven days a week from 10am-midnight serving food and drinks.
Nikki Beach has restaurants and beach clubs as well as hotels and resorts all around the world. Restaurants & Beach Club locations include Saint Barth, Ibiza, Monte Carlo, Dubai, and Saint Tropez.
Hotel & Resort locations include Koh Samui (Thailand), Porto Heli (Greece), Dubai (UAE), Bodrum (Turkey), and Santorini (Greece). Currently there are pop ups in Cannes (France), and Porto Cervo (Italy).
Eat like a local! There are so many reasons why Hooked Montauk is one of my favorite eateries out east. From the freshest seafood to some of the friendliest service around, Hooked reels in healthy and satisfying salads, grilled, fish and poke bowls, to our East End classics such as their to-die-for lobster roll, local steamers, and ‘off the hook’ plates such as their BBQ Baby Back Ribs and Grilled Chicken Sandwich. It is everything you crave and more this summer season. A trip to the beach or park is just not the same without takeout from Hooked.
Hooked is offering a lobster roll special for those looking to bring lunch to the beach in a timely manner. Place your order for take-out before you arrive and enjoy a lobster roll and beverage for a special price. Hooked is located near many beaches making it easy and accessible for those traveling without a vehicle.
With a focus on lobster, discover one of my new must-try dishes for the season, the Tom Lob (pictured below): vine ripened tomato stuffed with lobster salad ($25). They also serve lobster mac and cheese which has been a crowd favorite, a lobster salad roll served with coleslaw, and whole local steamed lobster served with mussels and corn. Owners and long-time locals Brian and Gillian Mooney know how to curate a menu that is perfect for everyone from seafood lovers and those who are health conscious to those who favorite ‘land’ fare and love to dig in to exceptional food that is served up fast.
Additional must-try, signature dishes are their Lobster Bisque, Kick’n Crab and Corn Chowder, and Grilled Mahi Mahi served as a sandwich with fries or over greens.
Hooked in Montauk is currently open seven days a week from 11:30am. The restaurant is also available for preparing food for parties of up to 20 people.
Known for its well-crafted menu, unique nightly specials, and fresh organic ingredients is Highway Restaurant and Bar, located off of Montauk Highway in East Hampton. Chef Justin Finney creates sumptuous specials throughout the week like Chicken Pot Pie Mondays and Thai Thursdays, all in addition to their upscale New American menu with urban and global influences that features a variety of dishes that pay tribute to the bounties of the East End.
One of the most popular dining destinations in Montauk during the summer season is Navy Beach, and for so many reasons. It is not only a family-friendly oasis for a delicious and memorable meal, it is also a popular beachfront wedding and event space. Upcoming events include the Navy SEAL Foundation cocktail party on Saturday, June 22nd from 3-5pm. The cocktail party will be the kick-off to a seventh season of fundraising efforts at the restaurant.
Indian Wells Tavern, set in historic Amagansett and steps away from dozens of local retail shops, Amagansett Square, and the library, is a great dining destination for family nights out, watching the game, a meet-up spot for friends at the bar, reunion gatherings, and many more reasons to celebrate. Families and adults alike can have fun at Indian Wells Tavern any day of the week this summer season. Continue reading →
Mode Kitchen & Bar, located inside Four Seasons Hotel Sydney on the ground floor, within walking distance to City Quay, is a contemporary Australian restaurant and bar known for their signature steaks and famous Australian dishes such as Coorong Pippies that are similar to mussels and clams here in the United States, as well as Flinders lamb and Tasmanian Kangaroo. The décor is 1920’s inspired, with brown and orange tones, creating a handsome dining scene that is perfect for a night out with friends, co-workers, or a significant other. The restaurant is also family-friendly.
Their menu changes every quarter, with current South Australian promotions available until May. To start, we were recommended specific cocktails to start based upon the dishes we chose to order. Our first selection was the Ginger Royale. Champagne and Gin lovers will appreciate the Ginger Royale ($20), made with West Winds Sabre Gin from Western Australia. Our second was the Lady in White, one of their native inspired cocktails. Made with Archie Rose Dry Gin, Lemon Myrtle & Finger Lime ($25).
On Ocean Drive in Miami Beach is Sugar Factory, the internationally recognizable American brasserie and dessert café. This hotspot is known for its over the top, whimsical drinks, entrees, and sweets, including their celebrity-endorsed Couture Pops. With locations in some of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities, including Dubai, Bahrain, Las Vegas, New York City, and Orlando, Sugar Factory has grown to be a top destination to throw an over-the-top birthday bash and treat your friends to a one-of-a-kind, luxurious experience.