Emirates Suite at the US Open 2019

On Sunday, September 1st, we attended the Men’s & Women’s Round of 16 Day Session at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center at the US Open in Flushing Meadows. During the two daytime matches, I was hosted at the exclusive VIP Emirates Suite at the Arthur Ashe Stadium, which offers premier views of the courts as well the utmost level of privacy and exclusivity. The air-conditioned Suite boasts the same highly sought after hospitality and luxurious detail as one would receive on a Business or First Class flight on Emirates Airline.

The Suite was at capacity that weekend, as two coveted matches were being played that afternoon: Roger Federer v David Goffin, and Serena Williams v Petra Martic. Everyone was at the edge of their seats while the matches were played; you could feel the waves of enthusiasm throughout the suite, especially when it was a close tie between Williams and Martic.

The week prior, my family and I attended Arthur Ashe Kids Day, and were invited to spend the afternoon at the Emirates Suite, which hosted a variety of activities and delicious treats including a create-your-own sundae station.

Food

Guests of the invite-only suite are offered cold towels, sunscreen, and the signature red Emirates baseball caps to combat sun’s rays. During the afternoon, a full buffet spread was served at 12pm, when the Suite opened. The buffet included salad, fresh fruit, pasta salad, crab cakes, steak, chicken, and a full sushi and sashimi bar. The Emirates Suite is also the only space to have a private sushi chef throughout the entire US Open.

Drinks

Drinks include soft drinks, coffee, tea, beer, wine, champagne, and a selection of top shelf liquors. For dessert, macarons, a carrot cake, miniature pies, fruit tarts, brownies, and cookies were served. One of my favorite conveniences of the Emirates Suite is that you are able to discreetly step away from your stadium suite and retreat for a beverage refill or some snacks.

If you prefer to stay inside and watch the matches, there are high top tables and booths, as well as two flat screen televisions for your viewing convenience.

Watching the US Open from the Emirates Suite is a one-of-a-kind experience. Lucky fans from the stadium were gifted with an upgrade to the suite, which the Emirates Airline team has done for ticket holders in previous years. Emirates also hosts a variety of giveaways and fan experiences throughout the grand slam event, including airline tickets to Dubai.

Photos courtesy of Emirates

Emirates is the official airline of the US Open. Emirates Airline is among the top sponsors of the US Open, alongside J.P. Morgan Chase, and American Express.

http://www.emirates.com // https://www.usopen.org

The Local Gourmet Kitchen and Market

The Local Gourmet Kitchen and Market, located in Southbury, CT, is a great stop for meticulously crafted comfort food, specialty food, and deli favorites made with the freshest ingredients available. Browse the well-curated selection of snacks, juices, meals to go, and baked goods while you wait for your custom creations from the deli. The casual yet lively atmosphere of The Local Gourmet is hard to ignore, always abuzz with the traffic of busy professionals and parents seeking a meal that is comforting, nourishing, and well suited for an on-the-go lifestyle. Continue reading

Arthur Ashe Kids Day Celebration at the Emirates Suite- US Open 2019

On Saturday, August 24th, my family and I traveled to Flushing Meadows, Queens to celebrate Arthur Ashe Kids Day at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center just two days prior to the first day of the 2019 US Open. We spend the majority of the afternoon inside the Emirates Suite, which hosted a variety of games and interactive experiences for families. Lunch and snacks were served throughout the day, including a full bar of juice, soda, and water, as well as beer and wine for adults. Continue reading

Audubon Fall Festival and Hawk Watch

The Audubon Center of Greenwich, CT hosted a family-friendly Fall Festival and Hawk Watch Sunday, September 15th. The event celebrated both the Fall season and the annual migration of hawks and falcons that takes place every autumn in the northeast. The event schedule had something for everyone and plenty to keep the little ones entertained. Face painting, carnival games, pony rides, hayrides, and even a petting zoo with an adorable baby kangaroo among other cute critters.

The event was sponsored in part by Canon. Cannon offered the newest and greatest in camera technology to those who wished to practice their photography skills while at the event. Several hawks and owls were available as photographic subjects.

Food & Vendors

For the more adventurous guests, there were hiking trails, a bungee bounce, and a rock-climbing wall. Vendors and exhibitors showcased their wares including plants for sale, opportunities to donate to many animal-related charities, nature-related crafts including birds nest building, and a merry-go-round. A working honeybee hive was on display, showing the process of collecting and preserving honey from hive to jar. An assortment of local honey-based health and beauty products were available for purchase. A food tent offered comfort food favorites and a variety of desserts and ice cream.

Workshops & Events

The Audubon Fall Festival schedule was packed with fun and informative events. The Hawk I.D. Workshop taught how to identify local indigenous hawks. The workshop was followed by the Bird Show. The show featured James, a knowledgeable resident professor from Pace University and his group of feathered friends including a screech owl, a barred owl, a gyrfalcon, a harris hawk, and a peregrine falcon. A pond exploration was scheduled shortly thereafter, followed by the main event, the Hawk Release. During the Hawk Release, hawks that have been rehabilitated in captivity are set free to continue their life in the wild and join the wild hawks in their annual migration.

https://greenwich.audubon.org // 203-869-5272

4 Most Romantic Hotels in NYC Where You Can Get Cozy This Winter

Winter is fast approaching. And one of the best ways to stay warm is by snuggling up next to your loved one.

If you’re visiting New York City this magical time of year, don’t just pick any old hotel. Pick one that’s going to make the experience that much more memorable.

Not sure where to stay? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Continue reading and we’ll walk you through the most romantic hotels in NYC.

The Greenwich Hotel

Owned by New York’s most beloved actor, Robert De Niro, the Greenwich Hotel is both stylish and decadent. 

Get your romance on at the Japanese-style spa. It’s designed in timber and stone and is beautifully lit by glowing lanterns. 

And while you can find plenty of fancy restaurants in the surrounding Tribeca area, why not just stay. Here, you can enjoy some of the finest aphrodisiacs including wood-fired grilled chicken and squid ink linguini right by a burning fire.

The Lucerne

Looking for more budget-friendly hotels? Look no further than Upper West Side’s The Lucerne. The 202 rooms in this historic hotel are compact but also gorgeously designed.

For brunch, why not have a casual feast for two at Nice Matin, the hotel’s romantic French-Meditteranean restaurant. It’s a delicious cafe that feels more like Paris than New York.

The Beekman

If you want style, then The Beekman is the hotel for you. As you enter the lobby, the first thing you need to be sure to do is look up. 

There, you’ll see a 9-level atrium topped by a beautiful skylight, a remnant of its beginning days when the building first opened in 1883.

These lower Manhattan hotel rooms come with drink trolleys that include cocktail making ingredients. They also are decked out in the latest tech including flat-screen TVs and Bluetooth wireless radio.

The Mandarin Oriental

One of the most defining and romantic characteristics of the Big Apple is the skyline. And you find a better view than the one from this West Side spot.

Most of the rooms here sport floor to ceiling windows which either give you a perfect view of New York’s Central Park or of the Hudson River.

And if your room doesn’t come with a stellar view? Not to worry. You can head on up to the Aviary on the 35th floor. A trendy cocktail bar headed by award-winning Chicago chef Grant Achatz. 

Also, be sure to take in the panoramic view of the classic yellow taxis driving around Columbus Circle below.

The hotel also has a swimming pool, fitness center, and sauna. 

The Beauty of the Most Romantic Hotels in NYC

There’s a lot of reasons to visit New York. And checking out some of the most romantic hotels in NYC is definitely one of them. 

Do you plan on traveling anywhere else? Check out the website to learn more about the best places to eat and sleep!

Villarina’s Pasta and Fine Foods in Southbury and New Milford, CT

Everyone could use a little more fresh homemade pasta in their lives. One of the best places to find such a treat is Villarina’s Pasta and Fine Foods in Southbury and New Milford, CT. This little gem has been offering a range of fresh, Italian homemade foods since 1998 and has remained family-owned and operated. The journey started with their Southbury location (an easy ride from NY down I-84) with Suzanne and Stephen Eskierski, and Joanne Knees.

After years of success, the family knew it was time to grow and recruited another member of the family, Adam Fragola to oversee an additional location in New Milford, Connecticut (right next to the NY border accessibly via route 7). Both Villarina’s locations offer prepared foods, fine handmade chocolates from the Bridgewater Chocolate company, Prepared homestyle meals, signature sauces, New York bread, freshly filled cannolis, fresh and dried imported pasta, and so much more. Continue reading

121 Restaurant in Oxford, CT and North Salem, NY

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

Greenwich Polo Club

One of only three high-goal polo venues in the United States, the Greenwich Polo Club established in 1981 is a mere hour outside of NYC. Greenwich Polo Club provides all the makings for a perfect Summer Sunday. Enjoy the thrill of the match, watch top players from across the globe, visit the on-site Brandt Foundation Art Study Center, shop Greenwich’s favorite local wares at pop up boutiques, and savor the local fare at infamous CT Gold Coast food trucks such as Dough Girls, Lobster Craft, Cafe Bon, and more.

Cabanas, lawn seating and the VIP Players Lounge each offer various ways to view the match in comfort and style. The new Fernet-Branca “Branca Bar” offers twists on the iconic Amaro such as the Branca Buck with ginger beer. The Cup Bearer offers a range of cocktails and wines. Continue reading

Ferris Acres Creamery

The excitement and anticipation surrounding a double scoop ice cream in a waffle cone or a sundae with all the toppings is one of few things that transcends the process of “growing up”. I was every bit as excited as the children in line beside me to taste my first bite of farm-fresh Ferris Acres ice cream. Ferris Acres has earned status as a Dairy Farm of Distinction in Connecticut, and for good reason. This dairy farm makes every batch of ice cream in-house using only the freshest seasonal ingredients. The best part? You get to enjoy your treat mere feet from where it was produced on a bucolic farm in the Fairfield County town of Newtown, CT.

 

 

Ferris Acres Creamery farm is known for its inventive and unexpected flavor combinations when creating their superb ice cream. Yes, you can still get a cone of mint-chip or vanilla, but if you care to expand your horizons try such novel favorites as Elvis Dream, vanilla ice cream with peanut butter, banana slices, and chocolate chunks or a dessert translated into frozen dairy form: Blueberry Cheesecake ice cream with fresh blueberry swirls and real cheesecake pieces. Cones not your thing? Try an ice cream cookie sandwich with your choice of flavor between two enormous fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies, a milkshake, or one of their signature sundaes.

 

 

Ferris Acres also offers made-to-order ice cream cakes, ice cream pies, and is unique to Fairfield County in being the only establishment to offer ice cream cupcakes. While 72 hours notice is required for custom cakes, Ferris Acres also keeps a grab-and-go stash of ice cream cakes, pies, and cupcakes readily available in the freezer for happy guests to bring home with them. The landscape is beautiful, and there are ample places to sit and watch the cows graze in the fields across the street, blissfully unaware of how happy the fruits of their labor have made us.

Fall hours are currently in effect at Ferris Acres Creamery: Monday-Saturday from11:30am-9pm, and Sunday from 11:30am-6pm.

http://www.ferrisacrescreamery.com // 203-426-8803

Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa

Located exactly one hour north of Palm Beach is Hutchinson Shores Resort & Spa, a stunning, tranquil beach-side resort on Hutchinson Island in the town Jensen Beach. As guest step inside, they are greeted by a warm and friendly color spectrum of blues, greens and pearl that reflect the beauty of the ocean’s coastline. The resort, which is perfect for both couples and families of all ages, boasts a signature spa, two pools and cabanas, three resort dining options including Drift Kitchen + Bar, endless beach-side activities, a gym, and so much more that is waiting to be discovered. Continue reading

Whistler Foodies Guide

Whistler’s reputation as a leading winter ski resort and summer playground often leads the fall season to get overlooked. The months of September through November provide a respite from extreme temperatures, a more laid-back pace and plenty of opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors ahead of the busy winter season. There are plenty of travel deals to be had too.

Whistler has become a culinary cornerstone and foodie paradise in recent years, helped by an endless supply of organic produce grown locally in Pemberton Valley. Armed with a bounty of delicious ingredients, Whistler’s finest chefs are able to serve up an array of dishes from the numerous restaurants and eateries. With the autumn harvest in full swing, the months of fall are best if you’re looking to truly enjoy a taste of British Columbia.

Here’s our foodies guide to fall in Whistler.

Araxi Restaurant

Five-Star Food

Aura restaurant is located in one of Whistler’s most beautiful spots. Nestled next to Nita Lake and part of the stunning Nita Lake Lodge hotel, the restaurant also has an open concept kitchen so you’ll be able to watch on as busy chefs prepare a variety of dishes. Led by Executive Chef James Olberg, the restaurant combines traditional French cooking techniques with a love of west coast ingredients. Free parking is available at Aura for those who wish to drive, or a free shuttle bus operates from Whistler Village to Nita Lake Lodge.

No list of Whistler restaurants would be complete without mentioning Araxi. As one of the earliest pioneers of authentic farm-to-table dining, it’s hardly surprising that harvest time is one of the best times to visit. The restaurant also champions west coast fishermen and is a great choice for seafood lovers. Freshly shucked oysters are available each day between 3 and 5pm in Araxi’s oyster bar. Executive Chef James Walt has even written a book, Araxi: Roots to Shoots, Farm Fresh Recipes, showcasing how Araxi’s famous Longtable Dinner events and dining room classics can be adapted for home cooked favourites.

Bearfoot Bistro is another leading Whistler restaurant worth adding to your list. Try your hand at sabering a bottle of Champagne or visit the Ketel One Ice room, the coldest vodka tasting room in the world. From a dedicated oyster-shucker to sommeliers, a friendly and experienced bar team to an extensive live music program, Bearfoot Bistro is perfect for apres-ski, dinner, drinks or late-night dancing. The iles de la Madeleine lobster is a hot addition to the menu comprising a seared scallop, Thai green curry, charred gai Ian, crispy ginger and chilli. 

Purebread

Ideal for breakfast

With so much to do in Whistler during the fall months, you’ll need a good breakfast to set you up for the day ahead. 

Purebread has three locations, Whistler Village, Function Junction, and Gastown in Vancouver, and all are notable thanks to their delectable selection of baked goods. Not only are Purebread’s sweet and savoury creations delicious, but they’re also affordable. Over 20 different loaves are baked here too, from the classic baguette to lavender rosemary bread, and you can grab a coffee too.

Street food selection

For a taste of Mexico in the heart of Canada, head to La Cantina. Mexican street cuisine includes delicious tacos starting at just $2.50, and their burritos are among the best in Canada. Beers are served here too, perfect for washing down tacos or burritos and a great latino vibe exudes from this Whistler hotspot.

Best for dessert

For that afternoon pick-me-up head to COWS. Located in the village, this much loved establishment serves homemade ice cream made to an old family recipe from Prince Edward Island. 32 varieties are out at all times and their waffle cones are made in-house. An ice cream is the perfect way to pass a warm and sunny fall afternoon.

Italian indulgence

Head to Il Caminetto to enjoy the best of Italian cuisine. The expert team of chefs blend local flavours with traditional Italian style and a host of hearty pasta dishes adorn their fall menu. Check out the extensive wine list too, designed to complement the seasonal menu.

Perfect pizza

On the journey from Squamish to Whistler, you’ll be treated to some of the best views Canada has to offer. You’ll also find Functional Pie in the heart of trendy Function Junction. Functional Pie serves up delicious New York inspired pan pizzas and the “Train Wreck” pizza comes highly recommended. The pizza is named after a local hike and popular tourist  site – the Whistler Train Wreck. The site is home to an abandoned rail cars now colourfully painted by local artists. The pizza version is equally as colourful, loaded with capocollo, pepperoni, mushroom, and pecorino.

Forged Axe Throwing

Work it off…

After all that great food, check out the many fall activities on offer in Whistler. While in Function Junction, pay a visit to Forged Axe Throwing and try your hand at this exciting party pastime. Yes, axe throwing is Canada’s exciting alternative to darts. The team at Forged have all you need to get started and will provide a full safety and training briefing to get you started. Expect things to get competitive as you test your aim hurling axes at a wooden target in true lumberjack fashion.

No visit to Whistler would be complete without a little sightseeing. Ziplining in Whistler is one of the best ways to view the changing autumnal landscape and the reds and oranges of the old growth forests. You’ll be strapped to a zipline and sent soaring above the trees and valleys. The unique harness setup means you can also ride side-by-side, perfect for sharing the opportunity with a friend or loved one.

The fall months are your final opportunity to access the miles of winding trails before the first snow of winter arrives. Guided hikes in Whistler are one of the best ways to enjoy the wilderness safely as well as enjoying some of the most breathtaking vantage points with the help of a local. While mountain biking in Whistler is largely seen as a summer activity,  the fall months still provide plenty of opportunity to enjoy fun on two wheels whether taking to the trails or enjoying the bike park.

Getting to Whistler: Fly to Vancouver International Airport from where Whistler is a two hour drive. Frequent daily shuttles depart daily from the terminal building.

Nikki Beach- Miami Beach

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.

Specials

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.

Images courtesy of Nikki Beach

Menu

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).

http://miami-beach.nikkibeach.com // 305-538-1111

An Interview with Tara Lazar, Founder of F10 Creative

The F10 Creative is a small empire of iconic restaurants in the ever-growing travel destination of Palm Springs, California, less than two hours away from Los Angeles. The restaurant family includes the famous brunch hotspot Cheeky’s, the gorgeous modern steakhouse Mr. Lyons and their classic cocktail hideaway Seymour’s, a lively and al fresco Italian eatery Birba, the sleek and seree hotel Alcazar, and F10 Catering, the go-to service for all top-tier brand and celebrity events in the desert area.

Tara Lazar, a Palm Springs native, who after spending time traveling and sampling flavors around the world, she returned home to build Cheeky’s as the first establishment in the F10 line. Tara has been hands on in every step of the way for each property, from creating the menu and cooking on the line, to designing the atmosphere and touching tables nightly. She now employs almost 200 residents of Palm Springs, and has been an influential voice across staffing, sourcing and serving in the hospitality industry.

Below, Tara discusses the background of Mr. Lyons while highlighting local farms the restaurant group works closely with in addition to which will be the new arrivals to the menu come late summer and early fall.

Tell us your background and how you have brought your expertise to Mr. Lyons.

My background is ten + years in the restaurant business with a lifetime in Palm Springs. I felt there was a need for a glamorous farm forward elegant restaurant in Palm Springs. Certainly a place to see and be seen but with really solid food.

Which dishes on the menu have stood out for you this summer? For guests?

I’m loving the raw zucchini salad with squash blossoms and the Carolina Gold fried rice. It’s nice to have the mix of really good veggie options at the steakhouse.

I noticed you work closely with a number of local farms and markets. Which ingredients are your favorites to utilize and describe your partnership with these farms and businesses.

Everything is local right now since we’re at the peak of summer. I’m always a sucker for our local corn that comes so fresh and sweet you can eat it raw – as the starch hasn’t even started to form. Milliken farms for corn. Munak farms for the heirloom tomatoes. Weiser farms for squash flowers, etc.

Which are your favorite cocktail and dish pairings?

Rittenhouse rye whiskey sour and our roasted bone marrow with oxtail tellicherry pepper gastric.  A great Amarone and our Beef Wellington checks a lot of boxes too.

Which are your favorite dishes? 

We have incredible steak but our sides are [also] the stand outs. Onion rings are exceptional. Crispy brussel sprout leaves with balsamic, and our wedge is dipped in a red wine vinegar so it has this acidic element that helps it stand up to all the rich blue cheese and bacon components that gives it the perfect balance.

What are your plans for transitioning into the fall as far as the menu?

We’re excited to start revamping more classic dishes that seem to have fallen to a bygone time. Everything from onion dips, to green goddess dressings, to an epic chopped salad, or even a perfect lobster bisque. That’s what is piquing my palate right now.

How was the restaurant [Mr. Lyons] concept created and what will be new this coming late summer/early fall?

I am very nostalgic in general – and food and restaurants are my link to my best nostalgic moments. I’ve lived and dined at Mr. Lyons for over 40 years, so I wanted to restore the magic of Palm Springs through this concept. Less and less restauranteurs want huge restaurants with fine dining because it’s a big feat to pull off, but we were ready. We wanted something glamorous and classic and “that” place where if you went to Palm Springs and didn’t visit Mr. Lyons, you didn’t do Palm Springs properly.

New things: Our steak is so good it should be left alone but I want to really play with more interesting bar snacks. Bring back old classics but with great ingredients and fun presentations. That’s what we’re focusing our efforts on in the kitchen lab right now.

http://www.f10creative.com/new/f10-home.html