Thursday, March 29, 2018

Many Surprises among the nearly 1000 Cars at the 2018 New York International Auto Show

There are some pretty sweet cars and experiences waiting for you at this year’s New York International Auto Show at the Jacob Javits Center, Manhattan. From all-electrics, concept cars, and sportier SUVs, to new reveals, and virtual reality and robot simulators, you can spend many hours immersed in the world of automobiles from March 30-April 9.  You can buy your tickets here. Then, hop in your car, and drive to the nearest drive-in, Sonic Hamburgers in North Bergen, New Jersey. I'm still searching for one in New York City.

That’s just what I did today on the intro media day filled with press conferences, demos and car intros.

Here are some of the interesting reveals that you can expect to see at the show. 

Camaro:  It's the 50th year of Hot Wheels and Camaro is celebrating it. 

Essentia:  Genesis unveiled its groundbreaking Essentia Concept. The all-electric, high-performance concept elevates and re-imagines Genesis’s "Athletic Elegance" design.

Toyota RAV4: The all-new 2019 Toyota RAV4 gets a sporty re-do that’s both attractive and practical for the this small sports utility vehicle, the creator of the small SUV segment.

Cadillac XT4: Cadillac unveiled its new XT4, an all-new compact luxury SUV, powered by an all-new 2.0L Turbo engine.

Nissan Altima: Nissan revealed a newly designed, very stylish version of its popular Altima, the first Nissan sedan to have available Intelligent All-Wheel Drive in the U.S.

Acura RDX: The 2019 Acura RDX debuted a sportier version of its SUV, the RDX A-Spec sport with larger wheels, gloss black accents and distinctive interiors including an available two-tone red and black interior.  

Hyundai Kona Electric: For the eco-minded driver, Hyundai unveiled its new U.S. version of the Kona Electric crossover.

Audi RS 5 Sportback: This new Audi arrives in the US with distinctive styling and a distinct sound from its V6 biturbo engine.

Mercedes-Benz-AMG: The ever-popular C-Class shines with the addition of C 63 now  available in sedan, coupe and cabriolet versions with extended individualization options.

Alfa Romeo: Expanding the Giulia and Stelvio lineup, Alfa Romeo's new Nero Edizione package seductive and striking dark exterior accents.

BMW introduces a sleeker version of its X1 small luxury SUV, the new X2 with more angled lines and slightly smaller interior space.  (No, that's not the X2 in the top photo, but I can still dream).

Friday, March 23, 2018

Enjoy Easter Brunch with 12 Sweet and Special Menus in New York City

Evelina, the charming Italian restaurant in the Fort Greene neighborhood in Brooklyn, offers a special lunch menu to celebrate Easter created by Executive Chef Lanfranco Paliotti (Daniel, Boulud Sud). Highlights include braised Salt Meadow lamb with parmesan grits, flash fried squash blossom with buffalo mozzarella, rabbit loin porchetta, and ricotta, lemon, and vanilla pancakes with orange flower.

Nearby Miss Ada gives you both charming outdoor space and a holiday brunch menu with sweet and savory dishes inspired by the streets of Israel. Featured are include Yemeni such as the jachnun, a flaky dough coated with a date honey that has been slow-cooked in an oven overnight and topped with brown egg, tomato and schug; malawach, a layered pan-fried bread paired with a hard-boiled egg, tomato and schug; and ziva a flaky pastry with layers of the malawach filled with sweet potato, fontina cheese, asiago and mushrooms.

Another Brooklyn favorite, Greenpoint’s Sauvage -- from the team being the wildly popular Maison Premiere in Williamsburg -- will be serving a special brunch menu for Easter with dishes like the decadent almond French toast with persimmon, coconut and mascarpone; or an egg white frittata with tomato confit, spinach and raclette .Melding the outdoors with the indoors in a manner true to its “wild savage” name, the restaurant is a lush profusion of planted herbs and botanicals with large windows facing nearby McCarren Park.

Add a little taste of Paris by visiting Le District, the French market place located in Brookfield Place. At atmospheric Beaubourg, you’ll enjoy Sunday brunch outside on the terrace with beautiful views overlooking the Hudson River, while sipping on mimosas and enjoying entrées such as Fresh Ham Benedict, with smoked tomato, poached eggs, béarnaise, and baby field greens. In keeping with the French esprit, a pastry basket with assorted croissants, a cookie plate and a cocktail are included. 

For a Spanish-inflected Easter brunch, Basque-inspired Ortzi by Jose Garces in the new LUMA Hotel Times Square will offer a 3-course Easter Brunch with dishes including tortilla Española, a Spanish potato omelet with spinach, roasted peppers and tomato jam; and Spanish shrimp Eggs Benedict with asparagus, English muffin, and Nora Chile hollandaise. Dessert treats include Crema Catalana with cinnamon and citrus custard, topped with brûléed sugar.

Feeling like something sweet for the holiday? Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer’s Easter CrazyShake The Peeps Shake is a cherry shake with a vanilla frosted rim with Easter M&Ms, topped with yellow chick Peeps, whipped cream, Easter sprinkles and a cherry.

The Palm Court at The Plaza will be having an Easter Grand Buffet that mixes sweet with savory, seasonal favorites. Choose from holiday specials such as strawberry spring salad with dry aged goat cheese, pine nuts, and balsamic vinaigrette, a carving station with herb-roasted rack of lamb with mint chimichurri sauce and bourbon, and apricot-glazed ham with violet mustard. Don’t miss the special holiday dessert, a Gianduja chocolate egg with a banana cream center and hazelnut sable.

All-day brasserie Bowery Road from Chef Ron Roselli (Locanda Verde, The Standard Hotel Meatpacking) takes its inspiration from the nearby Union Square Greenmarket, serving up a seasonally appropriate Easter special of Green Eggs 'n Ham with salsa verde and spring pea deviled eggs alongside LaQuercia prosciutto.

For Easter at Marco Canora’s East Village restaurant Hearth, guests can celebrate brunch and dinner by arranging a medley of small dishes or choosing the “Family Easter Feast.” Starters spotlight spring flavors like the stracciatella with ramps and shoots, or sourdough bruschetta with peas, Feta and chile. Also featured are charred Norwich Meadows carrots with lemon confit and sunflower, and gnocchi sardi with pancetta and peas. The family dinner skews more traditional with roast lamb leg roulade, potatoes, spring vegetables and broccoli casserole. 

Riverpark offers brunch with views of the East River. Tom Colicchio brings out the best of spring with brunch specials such as grilled bread and ricotta with rhubarb and thyme; smoked brisket hash with fingerling potatoes, spring onions, asparagus and poached egg; and Nashville hot chicken with skillet corn bread, honey butter and house-made pickles. Desserts are ingredient-driven as well such as the restaurant’s signature “Cereal & Milk” with chocolate ganache cake, caramelized rice puffs and vanilla malt.

Temple Court in the Beekman Hotel features old and new classics, reinvented with Colicchio's signature, seasonal touch. This Easter, guests can enjoy a two-course brunch with family-style appetizers such as doughnut holes with banana caramel or citrus-cured salmon with bagel crostinis, followed by mains including pork belly hash with roasted Brussels sprouts, apples and eggs; or a breakfast sandwich with egg, bacon , gruyere, spicy aioli, arugula and a roasted tomato on a poppy seed roll.

The exclusive Polo Bar in midtown will serve a classic Sunday brunch to celebrate Easter with dishes such as popover Benedict with poached eggs, creamed spinach, ham and gruyère; Ralph’s corned beef hash with sunny-side up eggs, sautéed kale and cayenne hollandaise; and challah French toast with fresh berries and Vermont maple syrup. Reservations must be made by phone. 

Thursday, March 22, 2018

9 Places to Celebrate Easter Brunch around the World with Your Family

Easter coincides with many Spring Break holidays this year. If you’re planning a trip to see relatives in the US or traveling outside of the country, here are a few delicious ideas:

Whether passing through Abu Dhabi en route to another destination, or making Abu Dhabi your final stop, you can schedule a holiday brunch at the beautiful Shangri-La Hotel. Celebrate the joy of the holiday with live band entertainment, delicious food, children’s activities and a spectacular “egg parade” for an unforgettable Easter Extravaganza. From egg-hunting to traditional "pysanka" egg-coloring, the ultimate Easter brunch awaits at Sofra. For bookings call (02) 509 8555 or email

Located on the white-sand Nusa Dua beach, The Mulia, Mulia Resort & Villas, is home to three ultra-luxurious properties with breathtaking views of the Indian Ocean. This Easter, The Mulia’s signature seaside Mediterranean and Pan Asian restaurant, Soleil, hosts a festive Easter brunch buffet with a menu of braised lamb shank with white bean ragout, Italian burrata filled ravioli of pork, crab thermidor, and honey-glazed roasted pork legs. Dessert treats round out the afternoon fête.

The Resort at Pedregal, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Surpass your children’s wildest dream while overlooking the Pacific Ocean with a beachside Easter event with pony rides, photo opps and bunny baskets. There’s also an Easter buffet, Easter bunny visits, an egg hunt and a piñata celebration.

Soneva, Maldives

For Easter, the resort mixes treats for adults and families with a special tasting menu from guest Michelin-starred chefs from around the world, world-class wine tastings and family-friendly activities such as a papier-mâché egg-making workshop and Easter egg painting classes. Also on Easter Sunday, "The World's Greatest Easter Egg Hunt" uses eggs made from recycled plastic, with chocolate prizes at the end and guests are invited to participate in Soneva's acclaimed Easter Food Journey, a gastronomic voyage from one length of the resort to the other, sampling a variety of cuisines at special food stands stationed around the property.

The five-star historic hotel located atop the Spanish Steps has a special menu to celebrate Easter in Rome this year, as the hotel celebrates 125 years. On Easter Sunday, they'll have an all-day 5-course menu at their Salone Eva bistro, serving specialties like tartare of asparagus, egg and truffle, baked lamb shank, and lasagna with ricotta. At their Michelin-starred panoramic restaurant Imàgo, they're serving a gourmet lunch for Easter, with a fior di latte cheese risotto, lamb cooked with mustard seeds and white asparagus, and more.

Celebrate both the 300th Anniversary of the city of New Orleans and Easter in the stunning Davenport Lounge of the Ritz-Carlton with a surprise appearance by Peter Cottontail at a special afternoon tea with cookie decorating, an Easter egg hunt, and other delicious holiday treats.A four-course brunch with menus for both
children and adults will be served in the M Bistro.

For a beach escape, South Florida's Diplomat Beach Resort is the place to celebrate with your family and loved ones. You can find the Easter bunny at The Diplomat's Lobby every Saturday through Easter. After snapping a photo with the Easter bunny, dine at celeb Chef Geoffrey Zakarian’s Coastal American restaurant, Point Royal. The seaside venue will feature a lavish Easter brunch buffet with a juice-centered cocktail bar, expansive seasonal spread, and a variety of sweet stations with the likes of waffles, chocolate chip cookies, Grand Marnier crème brûlée and pot de fleur cake pops. Savory dishes include peppercorn prime ribeye, fried oyster po’ boys, and roasted lamb leg.  

If the West Coast is more your Easter destination, the W Los Angeles - West Beverly Hills near Santa Monica’s expansive beach will have colorful Easter eggs and prizes on their WET deck. The grand prize -- if you find the golden egg -- is a one-night stay.

Away from the beach in the downtown section of LA, grab a brunch with a view at two of the restaurants at InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown. For brunch, Dekkadance, located on the 69th floor, will feature a unique farm-to-fork international marketplace. La Boucherie, a high-end French-inspired steakhouse on the 71st floor, offers a high-end dinner experience with a three-course menu.

A New Way to See the Northern Lights – A Mashup of Skiing and Staying in Bed

You don’t really need to be a skier to see the Northern Lights this year, because the hotel does all the work for you. Yes, it’s actually your hotel room that’s set on skis. Pretty cool, right? In Kilpisjärvi, Finland, there’s a new glamping experience called the Aurora Wilderness Camp

Three individual glass-windowed and glass-roofed cabins are towed on skis into a remote wilderness location, deep in the Arctic Circle. While you can choose to go outdoors to watch the Aurora, you have the option of being lazy (and warm) while watching from the comfort of your room. Lie on your bed, and look up! Each cabin measures 2.5m wide, 4.5m long and 2m tall, and includes a comfortable, wide bed; a table; dry toilet; a gas heater with thermostat; and gas stove.

But, the Aurora Wilderness Camp does want you to go outdoors, too, and they offer snowshoes and kicksleds so you can go out and explore. Dress warmly!

Here’s how it works. After your guide brings you to the campsite by snowmobile, you’ll learn how to make a campfire and grill some local sausages. Then it’s just you and Northern Lights, with snacks and hot drinks to keep you fueled and warm. Breakfast is included.

This experience can be part of a fuller Arctic experience, all arranged by Off the Map Travel. Maybe you’ll want to visit Santa Claus in Rovaniemi as well? Or climb into the Treehotel in Sweden? Here’s who to contact:; call +44 (0) 800 566 8901; email

Photos courtesy of Kilpissafa.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

James Beard Award Finalists Announced for 2018

The James Beard Foundation today announced the finalists for its Restaurant and Chef Awards of 2018. The ceremony will be held in Chicago in May.

Below is the list of finalists, followed by the longer list of semifinalists that were announced last month. Now’s the time to book your reservations, as these restaurants will become even “hotter” after the James Beard awards are conferred. The full detail can be found here

For your dining pleasure:

Best New Restaurant
A restaurant opened in the calendar year before the award will be given that already displays excellence in food, beverage, and service, and that is likely to make a significant impact in years to come.

The Charter Oak, St. Helena CA
Empellón Midtown, NYC
Felix Trattoria, Venice CA
JuneBaby, Seattle
Kismet, Los Angeles

Outstanding Baker
A chef or baker who prepares breads, pastries or desserts in a retail bakery, and who serves as a national standard-bearer of excellence. Must have been a baker or pastry chef for at least five years.
Dianna Daoheung, Black Seed Bagels, NYC
Zachary Golper, Bien Cuit, Brooklyn NY
Maura Kilpatrick, Sofra Bakery and Café, Cambridge MA
Belinda Leong and Michel Suas: B. Patisserie, San Francisco
Alison Pray: Standard Baking Co., Portland, ME
Greg Wade: Publican Quality Bread, Chicago

Outstanding Bar Program
A restaurant or bar that demonstrates excellence in cocktail, spirits, and/or beer service.

Anvil Bar & Refuge, Houston
Bar Agricole, San Francisco
Clyde Common, Portland OR
Cure, New Orleans
Kimball House, Decatur GA
Trick Dog, San Francisco

Outstanding Chef
A working chef in America whose career has set national industry standards and who has served as an inspiration to other food professionals. Must have been working as a chef for the past five years.

Ashley Christensen, Poole’s Diner, Raleigh NC
Gabrielle Hamilton, Prune, NYC
David Kinch, Manresa, Los Gatos CA
Christopher Kostow, The Restaurant at Meadowood | St. Helena CA
Donald Link, Herbsaint, New Orleans

Outstanding Pastry Chef
A chef or baker who prepares desserts, pastries, or breads in a restaurant and who serves as a national standard bearer of excellence. Must have been working as a pastry chef or baker for the past five years.

Kelly Fields, Willa Jean, New Orleans
Meg Galus, Boka, Chicago
Margarita Manzke, République, Los Angeles
Dolester Miles, Highlands Bar & Grill, Birmingham AL
Diane Yang, Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis

Outstanding Restaurant
A restaurant in the United States that serves as a national standard bearer of consistent quality and excellence in food, atmosphere, and service. Must have been in operation 10 or more consecutive years.

Balthazar, NYC
Canlis, Seattle
Frasca Food and Wine, Boulder CO
Highlands Bar & Grill, Birmingham AL
Quince, San Francisco

Outstanding Restaurateur
A working restaurateur who sets high national standards in restaurant operations and entrepreneurship. Must have been in the restaurant business for at least 10 years. Must not have been nominated for a James Beard Foundation chef award in the past five years.

Kevin Boehm and Rob Katz, Boka Restaurant Group (Boka; GT Fish & Oyster; Girl & the Goat and others), Chicago
JoAnn Clevenger, Upperline), New Orleans
Ken Oringer (Uni; Little Donkey; Toro; and others), Boston
Caroline Styne, The Lucques Group (Lucques; a.o.c.; Tavern and others), Los Angeles
Ellen Yin, High Street Hospitality Group (Fork; High Street on Market; High Street on Hudson and others), Philadelphia

Outstanding Service
A restaurant in operation five or more years that demonstrates high standards of hospitality and service.

Boka, Chicago
Saison, San Francisco
Zahav, Philadelphia
Zingerman’s Delicatessen, Ann Arbor MI
Zuni Café, San Francisco

Outstanding Wine Program
A restaurant in operation five or more years that serves as a national standard bearer for excellence in wine service through a well-presented wine list, knowledgeable staff, and efforts to educate customers about wine.

a.o.c., Los Angeles
Bacchanal, New Orleans
Benu, San Francisco
FIG, Charleston SC
The Little Nell, Aspen CO

Outstanding Wine, Beer, or Spirits Professional
A beer, wine, or spirits professional who has had a significant national impact on the restaurant industry.

Cathy Corison (Corison Winery, St. Helena CA)
Diane Flynt (Foggy Ridge Cider, Dugspur VA)
Miljenko Grgich (Grgich Hills Estate, Rutherford CA)
Steve Matthiasson (Matthiasson Wines, Napa CA)
Lance Winters (St. George Spirits, Alameda CA)

Rising Star Chef of the Year
A chef age 30 or younger who displays an impressive talent and who is likely to make a significant impact on the industry in years to come.

Camille Cogswell (Zahav, Philadelphia)
Clare de Boer (King, NYC)
Sarah Rinkavage (Marisol, Chicago)
Miles Thompson (Michael’s, Santa Monica CA)
Kevin Tien, Himitsu (Washington D.C.)

Best Chef: Great Lakes (IL, IN, MI, OH)
Andrew Brochu (Roister, Chicago)
Abraham Conlon (Fat Rice, Chicago)
Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark (Parachute, Chicago)
David Posey and Anna Posey (Elske, Chicago)
Lee Wolen (Boka, Chicago)

Best Chef: Mid-Atlantic (DC, DE, MD, NJ, PA, VA)
Amy Brandwein (Centrolina, Washington D.C.)
Tom Cunanan (Bad Saint, Washington D.C.)
Rich Landau (Vedge, Philadelphia)
Jeremiah Langhorne (The Dabney, Washington D.C.)
Cindy Wolf (Charleston, Baltimore)

Best Chef: Midwest (IA, KS, MN, MO, NE, ND, SD, WI)
Karen Bell (Bavette La Boucherie, Milwaukee)
Steven Brown (Tilia, Minneapolis)
Justin Carlisle (Ardent, Milwaukee)
Gavin Kaysen (Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis)
Ann Kim (Young Joni, Minneapolis)

Best Chef: New York City
Amanda Cohen (Dirt Candy)
Ignacio Mattos (Estela)
Missy Robbins (Lilia)
Alex Stupak (Empellón Midtown)
Jody Williams (Buvette Gastrothèque)

Best Chef: Northeast (CT, MA, ME, NH, NY State, RI, VT)
Karen Akunowicz (Myers + Chang, Boston)
Tiffani Faison (Tiger Mama, Boston)
Tony Messina (Uni, Boston)
Cassie Piuma (Sarma, Somerville MA)
Benjamin Sukle (Oberlin, Providence)

Best Chef: Northwest (AK, ID, MT, OR, WA, WY)
Edouardo Jordan (Salare, Seattle)
Katy Millard (Coquine, Portland OR)
Bonnie Morales (Kachka, Portland OR)
Justin Woodward (Castagna, Portland OR)
Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi (Joule, Seattle)
Best Chef: South (AL, AR, FL, LA, MS, Puerto Rico)
Vishwesh Bhatt (Snackbar, Oxford MS)
Nina Compton (Compère Lapin, New Orleans)
Jose Enrique (Jose Enrique, San Juan PR)
Kristen Essig and Michael Stoltzfus (Coquette, New Orleans)
Brad Kilgore (Alter, Miami)
Slade Rushing (Brennan’s, New Orleans)

Best Chef: Southeast (GA, KY, NC, SC, TN, WV)
Mashama Bailey (The Grey, Savannah GA)
Katie Button (Nightbell, Asheville NC)
Cassidee Dabney (The Barn at Blackberry Farm, Walland TN)
Rodney Scott (Rodney Scott’s BBQ, Charleston SC)
Andrew Ticer and Michael Hudman (Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, Memphis)

Best Chef: Southwest (AZ, CO, NM, OK, TX, UT)
Michael Fojtasek (Olamaie, Austin)
Bryce Gilmore (Barley Swine, Austin)
Steve McHugh (Cured, San Antonio)
Martín Rios (Restaurant Martín, Santa Fe NM)
Alex Seidel (Mercantile Dining & Provision, Denver)

Best Chef: West (CA, HI, NV)
Michael Cimarusti (Providence, Los Angeles)
Dominique Crenn (Atelier Crenn, San Francisco)
Jeremy Fox (Rustic Canyon, Santa Monica CA)
Jessica Koslow (Sqirl, Los Angeles)
Travis Lett (Gjelina, Venice CA)

2018 James Beard Foundation Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America Inductees
These recipients and the following honorees will accept their awards at the James Beard Awards Gala on May 7 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Jody Adams
Chef/Owner, TRADE, Porto, and Saloniki
Lally Brennan and Ti Adelaide Martin
Co-proprietors, Commander’s Palace
New Orleans
Allison Hooper
Co-Founder/Owner, Vermont Creamery
Websterville, VT
Daniel Johnnes
Wine Director, The Dinex Group
New York City, NY

2018 James Beard Foundation America’s Classics
Sun Wah
Chicago, IL
Owners: Kelly Cheng, Laura Cheng and Michael Cheng
Galleria Umberto
Boston, MA
Owners: Paul Deuterio and Ralph Deuterio
Los Hernandez
Union Gap, WA
Owner: Felipe Hernandez
El Guero Canelo
Tucson, AZ
Owner: Daniel Contreras
Dong Phuong Bakery
New Orleans, LA
Owner: Linh Tran Garza

2018 James Beard Foundation Humanitarian of the Year
José Andrés

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

How to Do London like a Royal

Just in time for the Royals’ nuptials on May 19, three London hotels are enticing you to create your own royal holiday.

If you plan ahead, you can score tickets to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (virtually impossible to get in New York) or even Hamilton, which has taken the UK by storm and received more Olivier Award nominations than any other play in Olivier history (this year's awards are April 8).  Besides these blockbusters, you might want to consider Young Frankenstein, The Ferryman (a new play), and the remake of Dreamgirls.

To stay, you’ll want to choose one of these three ultra-luxe hotels, all part of the Starhotels Collezione. With their royal packages and royal settings, you’ll spend your time in London feeling as romantically linked as Meghan Markle and Prince Harry. Touring in the Queen Mother’s favorite Jaguar Daimler limousine,  a romantic dinner by Michelin starred Chef Daniel Galmiche at The Gore London (with a bottle of Taittinger Brut Reserve Champagne), or dining in The Franklin London designed by Bond Girl Anouska Hempel are all possible with the Royal Experience package.  Accommodations are royal, of course, with a junior suite or Tudor Suite. Each of the collection’s three hotels, The Franklin, The Pelham and The Gore, can arrange the special program.

The 52-room Pelham London is an elegant boutique hotel in the heart of South Kensington, noted for its eclectic design and impeccable service. Within a grand English country home setting, replete with library and drawing room, you’ll find design elements that are refreshingly modern and urban with the use of metal, glass and colored furniture alongside old Indian and Tibetan fabrics, wood paneling, and antique furnishings. Luxurious Frette Italian linens, Penhaligon's toiletries and Samsung Smart TVs further the blend of old and new. The hotel is near Kensington Gardens, an easy connection to Heathrow via the underground. Complimentary Internet and international calls are a given.

For the past 125 years, The Gore London at Queens Gate in Kensington has been an icon of British hospitality. Even earlier, the building was a residence for visitors to London’s 1851 Great Exhibition under the patronage of Prince Albert, offering a place to stay in “the most fashionable area of the city” at that time. The Gore is located near to many of London’s famous cultural and leisure attractions including Hyde Park’s flower beds, the Natural History Museum’s collections, and the Royal Albert Hall. The exterior and interiors blend Tudor and Victorian English mood with red brick and terracotta on the outside facades, and red carpets, chandeliers, and tapestries together with 18th and 19th-century classical paintings inside. Each of the five floors is filled with period details and hand-picked furniture and art pieces, as are the 50 lavish rooms and suites. Luxurious touches include Frette linens and Penhaligon’s toiletries. The Tudor Suite is a masterpiece among accommodations with a mahogany four-poster bed, a 15th-century minstrels’ gallery, stained glass windows, stone fireplace and high oak-beamed ceilings.

The Franklin is set on a quiet residential street, surrounded by Egerton Gardens in one of London’s most prestigious neighborhoods. The hotel is spread across four early Victorian buildings and is a short walk to Harrods and the Victoria & Albert Museum. Surrounding the hotel are private lawns, trees and gardens. The original house dates back to the 1840s, designed as part of the Egerton Crescent, designed by Georgian architect George Basevi. The hotel was completely renovated in 2016 by renowned designer Anouska Hempel, New Zealand-born British starchitect known as “Lady Weinberg” in the design and architecture world. The hotel’s renovation was intended to create a townhouse feeling with a distinctively dramatic and whimsical style that melds Italian with English sensibilities, effecting a Victorian townhouse that feels like an Italian palazzo.

For theater bookings, the hotels’ Clef d’ors concierges can work some royal magic of their own to secure tickets.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

It's an Indoor Block Party and Open Market in the Meatpacking District - March 8 in NYC

Love Downtown? Here’s a delicious event to put on your calendar. The Meatpacking District Business Improvement District will be holding their annual ‘indoor block party’ and fundraiser Open Market at Highline Stages, 441 West 14th Street, New York City on March 8, 2018 from 6:30pm – 10:30pm to celebrate the local business community.

The event is all about shopping, dining , drinking and community… all under one booth. Open Market raises funds that go towards the sanitation and beautification of the Meatpacking District.

You can expect 25+ area restaurants and bars, sample sale shopping from high-end retailers, entry into the silent auction, and music by Coco and Breezy.  Fashionistas can purchase VIP tickets offer early access to shop the sample sales, an exclusive hospitality experience by SoHo House, a buy-it-now option for the silent auction, a gift bag filled will brand products, and guaranteed access to the VIP after party at TAO Downtown.

Four area VIPs serve as co-chairs for Open Market: Diane von Furstenberg, Founder and Co-Chairman of DVF; Andrew Rosen, Founder and CEO of Theory; Gary Kline, Co-Owner and CEO of Highline Stages; and Mazdack Rassi, Co-Founder and Creative Director of Milk. In addition, they will be joined by a host committee that includes a who’s who of the Meatpacking District and its supporters. 

Participants include:

Food & Drink:  L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Santina, Corkbuzz, Megu, Sixpoint, The Standard Biergarten, Bagatelle, Bodega Negra, Fig & Olive, Catch, La Sirena, TAO Downtown, Sherry B Dessert Studio, SoHo House, Bubby’s, STK Downtown and more

Fashion & Retail: Theory, Rag & Bone, DVF, Alice & Olivia, Helmut Lang, Lilla P, The Kooples, Trina Turk/Mr Turk and more!

Technology & Lifestyle: Samsung, Lexus, Caudalie, Kikkerland, Chelsea Market Baskets, and more

General Admission tickets are $150 and include a $25 shopping credit value during Open Market. VIP tickets are available for $350 and include a $50 shopping credit. For tickets,