Thursday, April 29, 2010

Austria Wine Event, NYC -- May 5

Join the Austrian Wine Marketing Board on May 5 from 6-9pm at TriBeCa Rooftop, where wines from more than 100 Austrian wineries will be paired with food from some of Manhattan's best restaurants. The views of city are dramatic from downtown, and the event is for a good cause. Proceeds go to the GrowNYCs Learn It, Grow It, Eat It program which promotes health and nutrition education for teens. Participating restaurants include Telepan, Wallse, Gordon Ramsey at the London, Seasonal , Klee, Aldea, BLT Prime, 15 East, 10 Downing Food & Wine, Recette, and Salumeria Rosi.

Get more information or purchase tickets in advance for $55. Tickets can also be purchased at the door for $55. TriBeCa Rooftop, 2 Desbrosses Street, just south of Houston Street near the Holland Tunnel.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Music and Food Festivals in New Orleans -- April and May

New Orleans sure knows how to throw a great party. This weekend kicked off the 41st annual Jazz and Heritage Festival Presented by Shell, and the celebration continues through Sunday, May 2. There are too many wonderful artists to list, but when you think of Lionel Richie and Aretha Franklin for starters coupled with up-and-coming musicians, it’s a music festival that doesn’t quit. And you also get a wonderful culinary and shopping experience, Big Easy style. Although I can’t attend this year, I’ll be playing the music on my iPod while I imagine platters of crawfish, Cajun jambalaya, po-boys, and alligator pie to keep me happy.

Can’t make it to Jazz Fest this year like me? You can wait until later next month and head down to the 19th annual New Orleans Wine and Food Experience (NOWFE) instead, a festival of winemakers from around the U.S. and New Orleans’ best restaurants, from May 25 – 29. Look for celebrity chefs such as John Besh and Hosea Rosenberg, Season 5 winner of Top Chef as well. For a list of wine dinners, tastings, and seminars, click here.

Here are some great hotel deals for both of these events:

Wyndham Chateau Bourbon is still offering a Jazz Fest package. The “Jazzed Up” package provides one night’s accommodation, breakfast for two, and self-parking, priced starting at $199. Call 504-565-4550 NOW and mention promotional code “PKGBEP.”

Hotel Monteleone: This historic French Quarter hotel is offering a special rate starting at $149 during NOWFE. The hotel will also host a number of the event’s seminars and the “Royal Street Stroll,” where guests can promenade through lovely Royal Street and stop in a variety of galleries to experience a combination of live jazz, art and wine. Tickets are $75/person in advance and $90 on site. To book tickets for the stroll, click here. To reserve your stay at the hotel, click here.(Photo is of the lobby).

The Roosevelt Hotel : Opened in 1893 as The Grunewald, this Waldorf Astoria property is offering a “Sip and Savor” package. Rates start at $359 and include one night stay in luxurious king suite, welcome cocktails for two in the historic Sazerac Bar, and tickets for two to NOWFE’s Grand Tasting. Valid 5/27-6/1. Call 800-WALDORF.

Windsor Court Hotel : The Windsor Court is the only hotel in New Orleans (and in all of LA) to be awarded both the prestigious Mobil Four Star and AAA Four Diamond awards and offers the “Wine and Food Connoisseur” package—one night stay in deluxe guest room, dinner for two at The Grill Room, two glasses of sparkling wine at the Polo Lounge, and two tickets to NOWFE’s Grand Tasting. Rates start $399. Call 888-596-0955 and mention promotional code “NOWFE.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Lone Star State Culinary Tour -- May 12-16

Foodies, here’s a culinary tour that will get you packing your cowboy hats and boots: the Texas Toast Culinary Tours signature Road Trip – May 12 – 16.

The trip discovers the culinary side of Marfa, a city set between Big Bend National Park and the Davis Mountains, with fabulous modern art and the spooky home of the Marfa ghost lights. June Naylor, Texas Toast co-founder and an award-winning food/travel journalist, and co-founder Cynthia Wahl will lead you a movable feast that includes a gourmet picnic (provided by Lamberts Downtown Barbecue in Austin and Lamberts Steak, Seafood, Whiskey in Fort Worth) at Big Spring State Park; a food-and-wine-pairing event supper at Times Ten Cellars Cathedral Mountain vineyards; a cookout, campfire music session, and star party with local astronomers at El Cosmico; and a taste from each of the city’s top restaurants such as Maiyas and Blue Javelina.

You must register by May 1. The five-day trip, based on double occupancy, is priced at $595/person. What’s included: travel by luxury motorcoach, four nights’ accommodations, all meals with adult beverages, cooking class, admission to Big Bend National Park, and sightseeing. Find out more by emailing or calling 817-239-1634 or 817-228-5220.

Today's Earth Day But Is Administrative Professionals' Day a Real Holiday? No Matter -- Get a Free Lunch on April 23

David Burke Townhouse and Fishtail in New York, David Burke Primehouse in Chicago, David Burke Fromagerie in Rumson NJ, and David Burke Prime and Burke in the Box in Connecticut are offering a free 3-course prix fixe lunch tomorrow ($24.07 and $34) for your "administrative professional" when accompanied by you! I don't know if this is a real holiday or a made-up Hallmark type Administrative Professionals Week event, but, what the heck, it's a free lunch at a great restaurant. Phone numbers can be found on and

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

AKA Partners with TriBeCa Film Festival with Marquee List of Movies and Perks in NYC

We know spring is in full swing in NYC when the TriBeCa Film Festival is in town. The international film festival was founded in 2001 by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff as a response to the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in an attempt to revitalize lower Manhattan’s cultural scene. The festival has attracted an audience of over 2.3 million people thus far and generated an estimated $600 million in economic activity since its founding. Activities begin on Wednesday, April 21.

AKA, the newest flexible-stay hotel residences by Korman Communities, has partnered with the 2010 TriBeCa Film Festival to extend a luxury NYC hotel experience filled with perks. Each of its four apartment suite choices in NYC offers modern amenities and accommodations and specializes in stays of a week or more, offering beautiful furnishings and a “home away from home” experience.

Guests who stay at AKA Central Park, AKA Sutton Place, or AKA Times Square for seven nights or more will receive a complimentary room upgrade, a $200 value. Additional complimentary amenities offered throughout the duration of the TriBeCa Film Festival include a film festival concierge to assist with ticket purchases, snacks to bring to screenings, a class with celebrity trainer Amie Hoff at AKA Central Park’s 2,500 square foot fitness center, access to individual training sessions and fitness consultations with Amie Hoff, a DVD Lending Library of past TriBeCa Film Festival films, and a dedicated screening room to watch special festival footage including movie trailers. Foodies will also be sure to enjoy the “Tastes of TriBeCa” menu at AKA Central Park’s new A Café.

The 2010 TriBeCa Film Festival runs from April 21 through May 2. Tickets are on sale now. The film schedule/guide can be viewed here. Rates at AKA start at $295/night and can be made at by using promo code TFFUPGRADE.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Kids' Theater Workshops at New Victory Theater

If you and your children love the performing arts, the New Victory Theater’s studios (209 W. 42nd Street) offer a series of family workshops throughout the theater season (October-May) that are sure to please. Each workshop is inspired by one of the current New Vic shows and teaches families the skills they need to be a star or just have fun! Learn from one of the theater world’s masters such as Seán Curran—dancer, choreographer, and founder of Seán Curran Company.

Take the kids to the new state-of-the-art studios for some of our favorite spring workshops:

Mask Masters is inspired by the play Elephant and invites families to learn and experiment with the use of masks in theater. April 24 at 11:30 AM and April 25 at 2:00 PM. (Best for ages 7 and up)

Parade Puppets is inspired by the play Elephant and invites families to construct and play with their own puppets. April 24 at 3:30 PM and April 25 at 10:00 AM. (Best for ages 7 and up)

Creative Movement is inspired by the interactive theater piece The Butterfly Garden and teaches families about using body movements to express themselves creatively. May 14 at 4:30 PM and May 15 at 12:00 PM or 2:00 PM. (Best for ages 3-8)

For more information and to book tickets, visit, email, or call 646-223-3096. Tickets are $12 for members and $17 for non-members. Limit of 4 tickets per family for each workshop.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Good News for Governors Island

If you haven't discovered Governors Island yet, you have still another reason to procrastinate for a couple of years. The newest plans for this Manhattan satellite island, now owned by the City of New York, include manmade hills, a ferry landing, a waterside promenade, and a bevy of hammocks slung from oaks and birch trees, all with great city views. The photo, courtesy of West 8; Rogers Marvel Architects; Diller Scofidio & Renfro; Mathews Nielsen and Urban Design, shows two private development zones that haven't yet been spoken for. Happily, there appears to be considered thought being given to how the development will evolve, with tidal basins, marshes, fragrant green plantings and other eco-considerate elements part of the larger plan. Thus far, Governors Island's been great for concerts, biking and escaping to an island off an island. I can't wait for the next incarnation of this former Coast Guard headquarters.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

A Deal A Week: Spa Therapy at Cranwell Resort, Spa and Golf Club

Spring is in the air and through the end of this month, Cranwell Resort in the Berkshires Mountains, a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World™, is offering a one-, two- or three-three-night spa packages, with savings of up to 30% versus published rates. The Gilded Age Mansion-turned-resort is set on 380 gorgeous acres and has 114 elegant guest rooms and suites. Favorite activities are golf on the resort’s 18-hole Championship Golf Course, or enjoying any of the 50 rejuvenating spa services. The resort offers spa cuisine as well as American Classic cuisine at the Wyndhurst, Sloane’s Tavern and in the Music Room.

I loved our room in The Mansion, fancying ourselves part of Edith Wharton’s world (you can visit her home The Mount just nearby). You can also book one of the historic Cottages at Cranwell.

Call 800-272-6935 for reservations, or click here to reserve online.

One Night Spa Stay Package

One-night Superior Resort accommodations
One Select 50-minute spa service
$65 dining credit at any Cranwell restaurant
Unlimited use of the spa and fitness classes
$286.50 per person, double, Sun. - Thurs. $319.00 per person, double, Fri. - Sat. and holidays

Two Night Spa Stay Package

Two nights Superior Resort accommodations
Two Select 50-minute spa services
$130 dining credit at any Cranwell restaurant
Unlimited use of the spa and fitness classes
$573.00 per person, double, Sun. - Thurs. $638.00 per person, double, Fri. - Sat. and holidays

Three Night Spa Stay Package

Three nights Superior Resort accommodations
Two Select 50-minute spa services
One Select 80-minute spa service
$195 dining credit at any Cranwell restaurant
Unlimited use of the spa and fitness classes
$907.50 per person, double, Sun. - Thurs. $987.00 per person, double, Fri. - Sat. and holidays

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Sitting on Stage at Carnegie Hall

If you ever get the chance, sit on-stage at this remarkable concert hall. Years ago, I performed in an Ogilvy & Mather Christmas Show at Carnegie Hall and sang and danced here, but you could actually only see the first two rows of the audience once the lights dimmed. For the recent celebration of 200 years of Chopin and Schumann featuring polonaises, concerti, and a tribute piece to Schumann -- each performed by pianist extraordinaire Emanuel Ax and super-star cellist Yo-Yo Ma -- I sat in a "parlor"-like setting just a yard behind the two musicians. Looking out over a full audience of mesmerized patrons was pure magic as well. This opportunity presents itself once in a while according to demand, the comfort of the musicians, and the prominence of the performers. So keep looking for this -- it's one of those "once-in-a-lifetime" experiences. The photo is awful -- but you're not allowed to take them inside the hall, so it was a bit "shaky cam" clandestine. You'll get the idea, though.