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Hope you packed your fat pants. Sunday, June 22 is National Chocolate Éclair Day.
And because it would be a travesty to let such a day go uncelebrated, the Le Méridien hotel brand will roll out its new culinary treat: a global éclair program developed in partnership with Johnny Iuzzini, the James Beard award-winning pastry chef also known for his stint as head judge of Top Chef: Just Desserts, tattoos, and rockabilly sideburns. Meow.
This month guests at all the brand’s properties will find four éclair varieties available at each Le Méridien Hub, the space previously known as “lobby.” (They’re increasingly tricked-out social spots now.) There will be three staple flavors: Milk chocolate, coffee, and vanilla. And each property will also have a special treat inspired by its unique location. For instance, the Texas Honey Pecan Éclair at Le Méridien Dallas by the Galleria, a coconut-infused éclair at Le Méridien Panama, and at Le Méridien Munich a savory éclair with goat cheese, cranberry and pumpernickel crumbs — which sort of sounds like something that would be used to lure Hansel and Gretel to a deceptively innocent penthouse suite. But we digress.
In conjunction with the new program, chef Iuzzini will ride a motorcycle around several global cities to gain inspiration for eight additional varieties that Le Méridien properties can add at their discretion. (Also, because nothing melts hearts more than a man who rides a hog and can bake you a dainty French pastry.) Dubbed “The Éclair Diaries,” the tour kicks off in San Francisco on Thursday, July 10 and has already been approved by sexually frustrated housewives everywhere. Stops to develop additional recipes will continue throughout 2014 and 2015, and you can keep track of various éclair-related info on social media via hashtag #LMeclairs.
Think grabbing a quick bite in a hotel is limited to a club sandwich or a burger? Think again because Mövenpick Hotels have completely overhauled their menus to consider those health-conscious and calorie-counting guests. The healthy eating initiative, "Go Healthy", was such a success when trailed in the Middle East and Asia, it's being rolled out to the entire portfolio.
A nice sampling from the menus sees guests in Europe treated to seasonal asparagus, fresh perch and apricot cake with almonds where hotels in Jordan will have 90 percent the menu purchased from local markets including local honey. Any combination of appetizer, main and dessert from the special Go Healhty menu will not only be full in flavor but light on calories with a full meal totaling to under 1,000 calories.
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Yes, ladies and gentlemen — April is National Grilled Cheese Month (who’s coming up with this stuff?).
Some hotels have embraced the concept as a means to reinvent this American classic, some even going so far as to create over-the-top versions of what’s, already, a delectable comfort food.
The Seagate Hotel & Spa, for instance, is celebrating the month by offering a new specialty grilled cheese available at the hotel’s Beach Club. Are you ready for it? The Lobster & Pork Belly Pimento Grilled Cheese Sandwich, created by Chef Chris Schaefer, features pickled green tomato on Texas toast.
Executive Chef Gabriel Ask of Parq Bar at Montage Beverly Hills serves up a more traditional Brioche and Aged English Cheddar Grilled Cheese Sandwich, and kids staying at Gramercy Park Hotel can try their own version with brioche by having an American or Gruyere on Brioche Grilled Cheese Sandwich with French Fries from the Room Service menu.
And then there’s the Grilled Mac ‘n Cheese at Lake Arrowhead Resort & Spa, created by Sous Chef Chris Salazar, which combines homemade mac ‘n cheese, ham, grilled balsamic tomato and guacamole on grilled sourdough bread.
See what Loews Hotels are doing for National Grilled Cheese Month after the break!
We all know that ordering gourmet fare directly to your hotel room door comes with a cost. One that some of us will gladly pay for, especially if it truly is on par with fine dining and we get to enjoy a small feast in our pajamas. Plus, there is something fun and a little reckless about not caring one iota how much the apple pie à la mode will wind up costing when you go to check out. It’s either a vacation or going on the company card anyway, right?
In most cases this might be true, but allow us to suggest paying a bit more attention the next time you peruse the all-day dining pages. Because while the average luxury traveler has no qualms about spending $30 on a cheeseburger (à la carte of course), we have found a few room service items that will have every one of you thinking twice before ordering. Although, if you are in the mood to splurge, some of these might just be worth every penny.
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Summer was a busy one for this HotelChatter editor as I traveled up the Baltic coast and finally found myself in the cobbled medieval marvel that is Tallinn. There I popped into the Savoy Boutique Hotel to have a look around. What I found was a 44-room property that can best be described as "romantic" (and I don’t use that word lightly).
The lobby is full of sumptuous textured fabrics and comfy seating areas, making you feel as if you're visiting a wealthy family friend’s 17th-century estate. Walls are sienna-colored painted plaster complementing the floral bouquets in the lobby. When you arrive to check-in, you’re handed a house cocktail made with cucumber juice, sparkling wine, lime, and a touch of sugar for sweetness.
Get a peek inside after the break!
The program originally started at the Affinia Dumont, but the in-room program proved so popular, the brand's other four Manhattan hotels will follow suit by the end of the month.
The reason the joint venture works especially well with the brand is because Affinia hotels have fully-equipped kitchens and many rooms with separate dining areas, furnished outdoor patios and terraces--which make cooking and en-suite dining more affordable than room service, daily eating out, and mini-bar pillaging. Plus, it's a boon for extended-stay guests, which make up a good deal of Affinia's clientele.
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Jacobsen's Room 606
Few can deny that Danish architect Arne Jacobsen, creator of the Egg, the Swan and the Series 7 chairs, was one of the most iconic architects and designers of the modernist era. Could the Radisson Blu Royal Copenhagen be his finest achievement? We went on an exploratory mission to check out what was said to be the “landmark of the jet age.”
The hotel opened in 1960 and was originally built by SAS to accommodate both its first airport terminal and its passengers who needed to stay overnight to catch a flight out of Copenhagen. After a night at the hotel, passengers would check in for their flight in the terminal building attached, and wait for the airline's shuttle bus to take them to the airport.
Today, the hotel still has the same clean lines and simple detail that it had back then. The famous Jacobsen Egg and Swan chairs, originally designed for the hotel, are still found throughout the very large black-and-white-marbled lobby and in the rooms. The elegantly curved white lobby staircase pushed the limits of technology in the late 50s and looks like it could be found in a loft from 2013. Other original details include the dark wenge wood found on the main floor of the hotel. Jacobsen designed everything from the cutlery and plates, bathroom fittings and door handles to the chairs and lighting fixtures.
(There are plenty of pics for you to see in the photo gallery!)
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What's the likelihood that you haven't heard the word "cronut" like every day it seems for the past two months? We have and finally had to figure out just what in fresh hell did it mean. Every reference seemed to accompany photos of people waiting in extraordinary lines forming at dawn (with some folks sleeping on the ground) waiting for…something. Well, that something is apparently the newest pastry sensation to hit this side of the Atlantic. The "cronut" is a cross between a donut and a croissant and was invented by New York pastry shop owner Dominique Ansel.
Sugar freaks went wild over the things and soon Ansel found himself with a cult following, so he quickly trademarked the name and began serving just 300 of the delicacies a day to the masses. Hence the crazy lines for a treat that changes flavor each month. Coming up in August? It's a toss up between coconut and passion fruit. Mr. Ansel hasn't made up his mind, yet.
Naturally copycats came out the woodwork, but found they couldn't exactly use the word "cronut". But that didn't stop them from capitalizing on the concept. Now there's "doughssants" at the West Town Bakery in Chicago's Acme Hotel. Chris Teixeira, owner of the bakery and former pastry chef de partie at Sixteen at Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago, began making his pastries just a few weeks ago with a few flavors, chocolate-raspberry, blueberry-lavender and coffee-cream cheese and he has plans to roll out more blends. They cost just $3.50 each, compared to the $5 New York cronut.
But like everything else, eventually a bit of a pastry war started, with other chefs challenging the cronut creator! So who's got the best baked good now?
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Food has been one of the main attractions over at Eventi Hotel since 2010, when they opened a fancy-pants food court called FoodParc next to the lobby. So it's kind of fitting that the hotel will be hosting a July 4th hot dog eating contest, next month featuring none other than Takeru Kobayashi, the world's greatest hot dog eater.
This is great news for Kobayashi fans who usually have to trek all the way out to Coney Island to watch their hero scarf down wieners (his personal record is 69 hot dogs in 10 minutes).
The event will be hosted at the outdoor plaza in the back of the hotel, where Kobayashi will compete with seven other "acclaimed competitive eaters." We still can't believe that some people make a living in this world as "competitive eaters," but hey, if it pays the bills…
Over the past few years, we've heard all about Traverse City and the rest of Northern Michigan as being a great lakeside summer destination, but few are aware of the peninsula that sits directly west across Lake Michigan in Wisconsin known as Door County. Right, we know what you're thinking. The first thing that comes to mind when someone says "Wisconsin" is winter, and you can get cheese in any supermarket, thank you very much.
This mentality is precisely what makes Door County so enjoyable to visit, the fact that it crushes all your preconceived notions of what Wisconsin is as a state and travel destination. What you'll find during the summer months is a bed-and-breakfast paced community on a peninsula that is comprised of a series of small towns tucked in between dairy farms, wineries, and cherry orchards.
While there are a few bigger properties, small inns and B&Bs are the way to go to soak up the area's personality. One that we can recommend firsthand is the White Gull Inn in Fish Creek, which hosts traditional fish boils four nights a week throughout the summer months. As you can see from the photos, the cooking process is quite a show.
You know that time of day when your blood-sugar level starts dipping and you could kill for sumthin’ sweet? Well from now until May 4th you can satisfy your sweet-tooth in a major way at The Standard, High Line. The hours of 12-3 is when the hotel will sell the popular Doughnut Plant’s limited edition Kenny Scharf flavors.
In collaboration with the Kenny Scharf Kolors exhibition at the Paul Kasmin Gallery, the Lower East Side company created edible versions of artist Scharf's glow-in-the-dark doughnut paintings. The delectable flavors ($5 each) are: Coconut Donut in Space, Cosmic Donut Vanilla, Chocolate Glazed with Sprinkles in Space, Pink Donut with Sprinkles in Space, Frosty Pink Donut in Outer Space, Pink Frosted Donut with Chocolate Sprinkles Over a Desert Landscape, Chocolate Chocolate!
Yet another reason to visit The Standard (or The Hotel Chelsea where a Doughnut Plant shop list located as well)!
[Photo: Kenny Scharf/The Doughnut Plant]
You may not want your children to read this, but it's for their own good, so keep it a secret, if you know what's best for you. In keeping with the well-intended goal of some hotels to provide healthier food choices for the smaller set, JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts partnered with nutritionist and author Keri Glassman to create a new JW Kids Menu, helping the 'tween set try to build better eating habits that can be continued at home.
The idea is to present an interactive menu, which will debut in JW hotels this spring with kids favorites, but with a healthy twist. In other words--nix the fake chicken nuggets in favor of grilled organic chicken tenders and say "peace" to processed meatballs and instead, offer the fresh, turkey-made variety.
We like anything that will keep our kids away from The Colonel, but will it go over well when the little ones want to let their hair down (just like parents do), while on vacation?
“With kids’ food choices becoming increasingly diverse, we are looking to create dining options that are fresh, healthy and imaginatively tasty,” said Mitzi Gaskins, vice president & global brand manager for JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts. “These items will not only delight kids from a culinary standpoint, but will also let parents know the JW Marriott brand cares about the well-being of their entire family.”
As parents, we love the idea of organic foods nd no doubt we'll try this out with our little ones, not yet jaded by BK and McDs ads. But we can't help feel hesitant that our older kids will go for the whole "locally-sourced" spiel. Has JW met a 12-year old growing boy? We've rarely seen a carrot or celery stick win in any food choice with this set--ranch dressing dip or not, without a buffalo wing on the side.