Where To Find the Best Food in Charleston

Where To Find the Best Food in Charleston

The last stop on our culinary road trip across the U.S. south landed us in Charleston, South Carolina. One of the American cities that was always on the top of my list of places I wanted to visit. I never thought that we would be ending such an amazing road trip in Charleston. And, I never thought we would do it by eating some of the best food in Charleston. Best Food in Charleston – Halls Chophouse Gospel Brunch We woke up early in Athens, Georgia and raced to Charleston. We had a deadline: to partake in a Charleston, low country tradition, Sunday Gospel Brunch at historic Halls Chophouse. Halls is a family-run restaurant, with a focus on service and hospitality. We saw it first hand when a member of the Hall family held the door open for us as we entered. Halls was hopping. Every table filled to max capacity. The Gospel choir sat just inside the front door. Just after we stepped in, they broke out into When The Saints Go Marching In. It doesn’t get more Gospel than that. Because we raced to Charleston, and the atmosphere inside Halls was electric, I felt a little on edge. That feeling quickly abated after I started in on one of their famous Bloody Mary’s, complete with pickled okra and a crisp, cool shrimp. Brunch was on. Halls Chophouse is not only known for steaks, and their Bloody Mary’s, but for classic low country cuisine. Low country cuisine is the phrase used for the dishes traditionally served in South Carolina, and along the Georgia coast. It is heavily influenced by...
Where and What to Eat in Brno

Where and What to Eat in Brno

During our time in Prague, and for the most part in Mikulov as well, we focused on traditional Czech foods. We scratched our itch for hearty Czech meals of meat and potatoes, accompanied by a cold Czech beer. By the time we visited our last Czech city, though, it was all about luxury dining. If looking for a luxury meal in the Czech Republic, a stop to eat in Brno is a must. Where to Eat in Brno – Chef Jan’s Pavillon We met Chef Jan Kaplan a year before during our last visit to Prague. We shared a beer at a quiet beer garden in the old part of town. At the time, he was eager to have us visit his restaurant in Brno, Pavillon. We tried to squeeze it in, but we didn’t have enough time, or the energy, for a two and a half hour train ride to Brno, simply for a meal. Dining at Pavillon in Brno was one of the highlights of our Czech food tour. We don’t pay much attention to styles of architecture, at least not since my art history class during college. Pavillon is set inside a functionalist building, with wine open spaces, high ceilings, and contemporary furnishings. The original functionalist building was opened between the first and second world wars. It was white, with glass walls and red framed windows, which opened the restaurant up to a patio overlooking a park. It was “lost to the inhabitants of Brno” during the Communist reign, but now hosts one of the most elegant dining spots in Brno, complete with an entirely eccentric...
Whisky Pairing Dinner at Dynasty Hong Kong

Whisky Pairing Dinner at Dynasty Hong Kong

When we walked up to our table at Dynasty Hong Kong, all I saw was a line of Glenlivet bottles and the famous Dynasty china pattern. I would expect nothing less from an elegant whisky pairing dinner in Hong Kong. Difference Between Whiskey and Whisky We drink a lot of whiskey, particularly when visiting family in Ireland. It’s generally a combination of Jameson, Power’s, Paddy’s, and other similarly named whiskeys. But, when we reviewed our whisky pairing dinner menu at Dynasty Hong Kong, one thing stuck out. We were about to drink 5 kinds of whisky. Not whiskey. Before we even started on our first course, we started to talk about the difference between whiskey and whisky. And, as much as I’ve drank a lot of whiskey, I had no idea what the difference was. At its simplest form, the words whiskey and whisky come from their translation from the ancient Irish and Scottish Gaelic translations. Generally Irish whiskey is spelled with the “e,”, and the Scottish version is whisky without the “e.” Whisky is used to describe whiskies distilled not only in Scotland, but also in Canada, Australia, Japan, and elsewhere in Europe. Whiskey is used in Ireland and America. There are also differences between how the two types of whiskey are made, depending on the grains, the use of peat, the stills used, and more. The most important thing, we were sitting down for a Glenlivet whisky pairing dinner, not a drop of Irish whiskey in sight. Our Whisky Pairing Dinner – Cantonese and Whisky Dynasty Hong Kong has a reputation as one of the top restaurants for Cantonese...
Dynasty Hong Kong – Luxury Cantonese Lunch

Dynasty Hong Kong – Luxury Cantonese Lunch

Sometimes I just love being a VIP eater. I am often left wondering whether we, in fact, receive special treatment because of our status as professional eaters. There are times when I guarantee we receive the same treatment as “normal” guests. I wondered whether our dim sum lunch at Dynasty Hong Kong at the Renaissance Harbour View Hotel Hong Kong was the result of our blogger status. But, I feel confident in stating that our treatment was just as special as everyone else in the room. Dynasty Hong Kong is an award winning Cantonese restaurant with fabulous views over Victoria Harbour. The interior, with high ceilings, exudes Chinese heritage, in shades of beige and gold. It seemed like a luxury version of traditional Chinese shop houses. The architetucre of the restaurant is pretty stunning, but their reputation is for offering high quality, authentic Cantonese cuisine prepared by Chef Benson Fok. When we arrived for our dim sum and Cantonese lunch, the dining room already had a buzz to it. Plenty of local businessmen crowded large tables, with lazy susans loaded with beautifully prepared dishes. The hostess sat us promptly at a large table near the window, where we could enjoy the view over Victoria Harbour. The service was prompt and professional, as they immediately tried to seat us and place our napkins in our laps. They obviously were not used to hosting food travel bloggers. A Luxury Dining Experience as Food Travel Bloggers I protested immediately as we had to take pictures of the table. And the table setting. And the view. The china pattern at Dynasty Hong Kong was...
KOH Thai Kitchen – Four Seasons Koh Samui

KOH Thai Kitchen – Four Seasons Koh Samui

One of the benefits of renting a luxury villa in Koh Samui is having someone respond to some of our special requests. It’s like having a private concierge and butler, all wrapped into one. When we wanted to escape the villa one night for dinner at the Four Seasons Koh Samui, our staff was more than willing to cooperate. So, our little group got fancied up, and headed out for a luxury dinning experience at KOH Thai Kitchen and Bar. Our villa manager arranged a driver to take our group down to the Four Seasons Koh Samui, one of the most luxurious resorts on the island of Koh Samui. We arrived at the grand entrance, just after dark. It was unfortunate that we couldn’t catch a view of the resort during the day, because it’s supposed to be incredible. Rooms and villas are set up into the hillside, all with stunning views over the Gulf of Thailand. From the main lobby, all five of us hopped in an oversized golf cart for the journey down the hill, and back up again, until we arrived at the entrance of KOH Thai Kitchen. In typical Four Seasons style, the architecture of the building was stunning, open air with opulent wood finishes and romantic lighting. Luxury Cocktails at KOH Bar As soon as we walked into KOH Bar, the first thing I noticed was the glowing display of bottles behind the bar. Our journey started at the bar, where the bartenders made us a series of signature cocktails. One of the best things about traveling in a group, is getting to try...
Nikki Beach Koh Samui – Dining With Chef Julian

Nikki Beach Koh Samui – Dining With Chef Julian

We arrived at Nikki Beach Koh Samui a little after lunch, and a little famished. We flew to Surat Thani with Thai Smile Airways. Because Surat Thani was on the mainland, we then had to take a bus and a catamaran to reach the island of Koh Smaui. Although we had a little snack on our Thai Smile flight, and I had some peanut M&Ms on the ferry, I was starving when we arrived. Our friend, Scott, greeted us minutes after we arrived at the resort. He had been posting fabulous food photos on his Twitter account from the prior few days, having arrived at Nikki Beach Koh Samui a few days earlier than us. I had been a little jealous of his good eats, and hoped the feast would continue. But, when I arrived I didn’t care what I ate, so long as it was in high volume. As I mentioned, I was a little famished. We sat down at a table overlooking the Nikki Beach Koh Smaui pool, with the Gulf of Thailand in the distance. Chef Julian emerged at the table.   A big guy, looking even bigger in his chef whites, with a scruffy beard and big smile. He asked what we wanted for lunch, we told him “Surprise us.” Lunch at Nikki Beach Koh Samui We started with something light. Grilled squid and zucchini with tomato, kalamata olives, and chorizo.The squid was perfectly cooked and the zucchini fresh. The best part was the chorizo. I was left at the end just picking off the pieces of perfectly grilled chorizo. In fact, I kind of...
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