Seafood

Old Vegas, New Vegas

Are you Old Vegas or New Vegas? New Vegas is the strip and its immediate vicinity–plush and opulent, shiny and modern, fairy tale and fantasy. But sometimes the glittering exterior doesn’t deliver on the expectation it creates.

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The New School Old Cool of Brennan’s

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The meal began with a Cajun-spiced Bloody Mary. And it just kept getting better. A rain-free interlude during our mostly water-logged family vacation to New Orleans this spring. Day after day of downpour, triggering memories of those 100% humidity bad hair days that were a fact of life for all us girls who grew up in south Louisiana during the years B.C. (“before Chi”).

But we didn’t let the rain stop us from getting to everything we wanted to do on this trip–browsing the shops on Magazine Street, exploring the 19th century Creole mansions that line the edge of the Quarter along Esplanade, even making a side trip to Chalmette during the height of the “monsoon” to take in the museum and soppy grounds at the site of the Battle of New Orleans. And then Friday morning, while the clouds held onto their contents for a few hours, we put away the umbrellas and made our way to Brennan’s, where the food and surroundings seem to make their own sunshine.

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Sunday Night at Galatoire’s

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Years ago, on a crowded night in the French Quarter, we had no reservations for dinner and seemingly no prospects of eating anything worthwhile, having been firmly rebuffed by every hostess desk within walking distance of our hotel. All, that is, except for Galatoire’s. With its “no reservations” policy for the downstairs dining room (and that is the place to be), you’ve got an equal opportunity shot of getting into Galatoire’s.

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Via Emilia in The Woodlands

Do we throw around an expression like “gracious service” these days? And is there a scarcity of places that provide it? In an age when some of the best upscale dining seems to require the symbols of self-consciously “unselfconscious” informality (sleeve tattoos, chef-owners in ball caps, exposed bricks and beams, communal tables, menus full of undecipherable sharing plates to be eaten in who knows what order), it’s nice to find a place that is going against the grain. Career waiters in ties? A straightforward menu? How daring! And the well-presented dishes taste like recipes from Mama. (Because they are.)

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Delicious Detours: You Want to Eat at Guy’s

You do want to eat lunch at Guy’s Oyster Bar in downtown Amite, Louisiana.

When you are heading north on I-55 from around Hammond, Louisiana, not long before you reach the Mississippi border, look for the Amite exit. Yes, Guy’s is a bar, and it’s a little dark in there, and there are die-hard patrons perched on the stools who may give you a little glance upon entering. Yes, there is lots of kitschy memorabilia and there are a few politically pointed signs and posters.

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Hello, Gorgeous: California’s Monterey Peninsula is a Head-Turner Without Even Trying

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If Monterey Peninsula were a woman, she’d be the one that all the others envy. The one who doesn’t give much thought to hair or clothes or makeup. For her, it all just comes together effortlessly, a unique kind of beautiful that you can’t get from poring over the fashion boards on Pinterest. Like the Kate Upton character in last year’s female revenge comedy, The Other Woman:

“You smell amazing! What is that?”

(Pause) “I think it’s just sweat.”

That’s Monterey Peninsula. The gorgeous seems to ooze from every rock and tree and wave. Continue reading

Dining Well at Disney

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Beauty and the Beast:

It was 8:30 p.m., and we had hopped two monorails to get to Epcot after arriving just a few hours earlier at The Contemporary Hotel in the Magic Kingdom. We were late for our reservation at the Biergarten in Epcot’s Germany Pavilion, and people were packing themselves in like beached sardines around the edge of the World Showcase Lagoon to get a good spot for IllumiNations, a jaw-dropping extravaganza of lights and fireworks that takes place on the lagoon most evenings at 9:00.

Our situation that evening epitomized the yin and yang of visiting WDW: the phenomenal beauty and spectacle of what Disney has to offer, contrasted with the beastliness of grappling with the incredible logistics coordination while all the while maintaining boatloads of patience and unlimited reserves of energy in order to make the trip work.

So, to ensure that our family did not spend four and a half days existing primarily on burgers, cold chicken wraps and mouse-shaped ice cream on a stick, several weeks before our trip, I reserved three “sit-down” meals through the Dining page of the official Walt Disney World website.

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