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Restaurant Week is one of the best ways to dine in style, noshing at incredible, well-known restaurants that are otherwise out of the normal price range. Not only does it provide a great excuse for a date night, Restaurant Week is an exhibition of local culture and cuisine. Check out a few of the upcoming winter Restaurant Weeks below, and be sure to check back at OpenTable to make a reservation – and fast, some restaurants book up quicker than a Justin Beiber concert (cough, Le Cirque).
January 15 – 28, 2012; three-course, prix-fixe lunches and dinners ($15 and $30, respectively)
New York City
January 16 – February 10, 2012; three-course, prix-fixe lunches and dinners during the week ($24 and $35, respectively)
I’m just back from Languedoc-Roussillon in the South of France, where I tasted some of my new favorite wines. The region stretches up to the east of the Rhone and down along the Mediterranean coast – its bottom sits atop Spain and the Pyrenees Mountains. It’s much lesser-known than Champagne and Burgundy yet the vintages are quality and the scenery – from bucolic countryside dotted with old stone farmsteads to seaside villages backed by terraced, cliff-hugging vineyards – is just splendid.
We packed in a dozen wineries, 50+ vintages, and plenty of cheese and olive tapenade in our boozy five-day visit. My only regret is not packing an extra bag to bring home a whole lot of well-priced French wines! C’est la vie. The good news: Many of these winning bottles are exported to the U.S. (at a mark-up, unfortunately). Here’s a round-up of some of my favorites and where you can sample them in the U.S. Read more
Relax on the 500-acre hideaway between the tropical El Yunque National Rainforest and a mile-long stretch of the Atlantic shoreline at the Wyndham Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa in Puerto Rico. Travel now through December 23, 2011 with the “Caribbean Vacation Stimulus” package that has rooms starting at $255 per night and allows guests to receive two complimentary nights, when two consecutive nights are purchased –that comes out to $127.50 per night! Also, included in this deal is a $100 food and beverage credit at any of the Wyndham Rio Mar’s restaurants during the stay. The 4-Star resort is one of Puerto Rico’s premier beachfront vacation destinations with breathtaking ocean views that are matched by classic tropical décor.
THE VALUE: Stay two consecutive nights and receive two more nights free!
THE CATCH:Taxes or resort fees, is based on availability and blackout dates do apply.
THE DETAILS: To book this deal guests can call 800-474-6627 and mention the PKGCARIB1 or visit www.wyndhamriomar.com
WE’VE GOT MORE: Take a look at our Puerto Rico Travel Guide plan your time in port!
Also, check out our Travel Search for great flight options to Puerto Rico
Boston’s South End has a growing attraction for anyone who appreciates community-centered commerce and fun. The SoWa (South of Washington Street) Arts District specializes in attracting the über-cool, offering a vast selection of handcrafted accessories, indie designer clothing, and vintage wares at its SoWa Sundays (sowasundays.com). The weekly event includes an open-air bazaar, with an Open Market (www.sowaopenmarket.com) for arts and handmade crafts, a Vintage Market (www.sowavintagemarket.com) with clothing, antiques, and collectibles, and a Farmer’s Market for fresh local produce, flowers, and baked goods. This all-in-one package runs through October 30 this year, from 10am to 4pm As an added bonus, the market hosts food trucks along its Harrison Street location with menus that run the gamut from barbecue and coffee to gourmet grilled cheese and Elvis Presley’s favorite fried peanut butter and banana sandwich (served here without the bacon).
Paper-thin cherry blossoms, bleeding hearts, tulips, golden daffs – it seems everything is in bloom nowadays, including those vine-grown buds that will give rise to plump wine grapes come autumn. Following a summer’s dose of sun, some three million tons of grapes will be harvested in California alone this September. For true oenophiles, there’s only one way to really embrace the event: Sleeves rolled up, plucking the soon-to-be-fermented fruit alongside the veterans.
Now in its fifth year, the Sonoma County Grape Camp brings together the region’s top grape growers, vintners, and chefs (an Iron Chef contestant participated last year) for a one-of-a-kind immersion in the annual harvest. From gathering grapes in the dusty fields during the crisp, early-morning hours to concocting your own artisanal label, campers learn the ins and outs of what makes for a successful vintage – while also sipping their way from vineyard to vineyard.
If lobster is one of the your favorite foods (and you enjoy sharing it with someone special) mark your summer travel calendars for these four very different opportunities – from romantic to rowdy – to indulge in all the tender, buttery crustaceans you can eat.
Lobster Lovers Itinerary from Absolute Belize: Belize, a friendly, sunny Central American country, marks the beginning of its annual lobster season each June (Belize lobsters are shown above at left) with the weeklong San Pedro Lobsterfest (www.sanpedrolobsterfest.com) on Ambergris Caye.
In honor of Earth Day this past April 22, Holland America Line unveiled their new environmentally sustainable seafood program, an extension of their 3-year-long environmental conservation project dubbed “Our Marvelous Oceans.” The sustainability program is the cruise line’s way of ensuring responsibility for the health of the seas they sail upon. Partnered with Marine Conservation Institute, a Washington-based aquatic environmental group, Holland America’s new strides help secure an onboard seafood selection that is more environmentally conscious. The company predicts that the new menu will satisfy their customers by offering the same quality gourmet fish, while allowing those fish species to be present and prolific in their biologically natural environment. Read more
Realistically, Earth Day can be celebrated any day when dining out. It’s easy to find eco-friendly eateries around the country that serve sustainable food and embrace environmental business practices – online directories like the Green Restaurant Association (www.dinegreen.com) even provide state-by-state listings.
But many of these restaurants and cafés step it up a notch on Earth Day itself by offering special menu items and discounts, and producing special events and entertainment. On April 22, dine out and do good at these eight locations nationwide.
Red Stag Supper Club: Start the day with breakfast at Minneapolis’ Red Stag Supperclub (www.redstagsupperclub.com), where all money raised from 8am to 12pm benefits the Land Stewardship Project (www.landstewardshipproject.org). Minnesota’s first LEED-certified restaurant will serve up locally-produced and organic ingredients, while the LSP will give brief presentations.
Eco-Cafe: Write your pledge to go green on the chalkboard in front of New Orleans’ Eco-Café (www.ecocafeno.com) and you’ll get a free cup of organic coffee. That Friday, featured menu items – like the soup and salad combo – will be made exclusively with ingredients from Holly Grove Farm, just three miles away.
The gourmet food truck fad has taken cities across the country (dumplings and waffles in New York; solar-powered organic fare in Los Angeles; fine BBQ in San Diego) and the latest in the meals-on-wheels trend, the first hotel food truck courtesy of The Setai South Beach. The aptly dubbed Beach Trailer debuted in late December and serves the bathing masses along the South Beach sands. The Setai’s own Chef Werly creates a menu full of light, high-quality lunch items like ceviche, wagyu hot dogs, salmon burgers, and fresh sushi, not to mention a selection of specialty drinks, champagnes, and wines. The truck is parked beachside daily, from 11.30am to 5pm. Menu items range from $14 to $30.
Have you been brainstorming ways to extend your summer? You can put your mind at ease because the Loews Miami Beach Hotel Summerfest package is available through September. With this package, when travelers book four nights in a luxury category room and above (rates start at $229/night), the fourth night is free! Additionally, guests will receive $100 in food and beverage credit, which can be used at one of seven restaurants and bars on the property. This deal also works in conjunction with Loews Miami Beach Hotel’s self-improvement month, in which guests can take advantage of complimentary beach yoga, “the art of sushi” classes, free sunscreen and smoothies at the pool, and 10 percent off all apparel at Splash retail store.
THE VALUE: Travelers can save up to $350 on a four-night stay.
THE CATCH: The free night is only valid on four-night stays.
THE DETAILS: To book your stay, visit www.loewshotels.com.
WE’VE GOT MORE: Find low fares on flights to Miami using our Travel Search price comparison tool.
Read our Miami Travel Guide and know where to go!
Find a great deal on a cruise out of Miami before or after your stay with the help of our Cruise Deals Page.
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