My Favorite Things – Top Hotels and Restaurants

Having spent the last 6 years of my life on the road, I’ve seen a lot of interesting and unique places. I’ve been to all 50 states and 4 Canadian Provinces. I’ve been to the UK, Paris, Switzerland, Germany, Thailand, and Singapore and this month I’m headed to Australia and Fiji.

Ironically, I’m writing this post from my home base, Charleston, South Carolina. This is the longest time in 6 years that I have been at home and on November 15th I start year 7 of travel. In 2012, I’ll focus solely on international travel and expect to add a lot of amazing destinations to this list.

I just got Oprah’s O Magazine December 2011 issue filled with her favorite things. The magazine inspired me to think back about my travels and my favorite things. So here they are:

NYC – Morimoto – The Carmel Apple Tourban -a free-form apple souffle sitting on apple confit topped with a housemade cotton candy, accompanied by vanilla bean ice cream and carmel glaze. Morimoto is one of my favorite restaurants, but this dessert is one of my all-time favorites….#2 behind the Pot de chocolate et Crème at Church and State in LA.

LA – Church & State – the Pot de chocolate et Crème – a chocolate coffee custard w/crème. The Pot de chocolate et Crème is to die for. It’s my #1 favorite of all time. I could order it for my appetizer, for my main course and for dessert and be totally happy!

Philadelphia – Abners – The best Philly Cheesesteak I’ve ever had. On the University of Pennsylvania campus in University City, this is a place you must visit.

Sylvia ,NC – Lulu’s on Main – they make their own salad dressings that are to die for. I went twice in the same week – that’s how good it was (it had nothing to do w/the fact that there’s not much else in town!).

Bar Harbor Maine – Guinness and Porcelli’s – a fabulous Italian restaurant in a very small town. We ate here at least once a week over year-long project in Bar Harbor. The Sausage and Fennel Cream Pasta was my favorite. If it’s still on the menu, I highly recommend it. They also have fabulous Crème Brule. Guinness and Porcelli’s is definitely worth a visit. Granted, eating here with one of my best friends in the world, Casey, made it all the better!

Anacortes, WA – Adrift – a very cool place. The food is all locally grown and the restaurant features local art and sustainable wood floors and furniture.

San Francisco, CA – First Crush Restaurant and Wine Bar- has the best desserts in San Fran in my opinion and great dessert wines! The
valhrona triple chocolate mousse was amazing.

Beverly Hill, CA – Bouchon Beverly Hills – my all time favorite restaurant. I love Chef Thomas Keller’s Beverly Hills restaurant. You can’t go wrong with anything you order.

The JW Marriott Phuket Resort and Spa, Thailand – the hotel was amazing and the food was exceptional. One of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

The Le Méridien Khao Lak Beach & Spa Resort , Thailand – a little slice of heaven. The Le Meridien offered one of the best meals in Thailand in their Italian Restaurant – the smoked salmon Bruschetta has become a staple at all of my parties (the head chef was kind enough to provide me the recipe.)

The Stanford Court Renaissance, in San Francisco CA – the hotel is a fabulous boutique hotel with exceptional service. Located on Nob Hill, the Stanford Court has a perfect location (on two trolley lines) and amazing views of the city.

I’ll keep adding to the list of my favorite things so keep checking back.

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