Where to Eat in NYC: The Mercer Kitchen

 

The Heirloom tomato salad at The Mercer Kitchen

I’ve never had a bad meal at The Mercer Kitchen, and after yesterday’s lunch, I realized I needed to write a post about the SoHo restaurant which is one of my NUC faves. Located underneath the Mercer Hotel, The Mercer Kitchen has chic minimalist interior design (designed by Christian Liaigre) and killer food that is good enough for foodies, but isn’t overly complicated.

Looking up at the Mercer Kitchen

Executive Chef slash owner Jean-Georges Vongerichten has an incredible menu filled with interesting riffs on seasonal cuisine. There were so many appetizers my husband and I wanted to try, we knew what we wanted to order that we never even glanced at the entrees section of the menu.

The shrimp cocktail from the Raw Bar

I started with the Sweet Pea Soup, which was incredibly fresh tasting and light and perfect for a summer lunch. For protein, I ordered the shrimp cocktail from the Raw Bar. My husband had a tomato-centric meal, starting with the Market Tomato Gazpacho and then following up with the Heirloom Tomato Salad with basil, Serrano chili and onions.

The Ginger Margarita hit the spot on a hot summer day

Keeping with the tomato theme, my husband had a Bloody Mary and I had a light and flavorful Ginger Margarita. The meal was satisfying yet light and HELLA DELICIOUS. It reminded me why I always enjoy coming back to the Mercer Kitchen.

Sweet Pea Soup with Vegetables and Croutons

Next time, I need to get back here for dinner… or at least get to entree section of the menu.

Reservations suggested. You can book through the Mercer Kitchen website or OpenTable.

The Mercer Kitchen

99 Prince St, New York

NY 10012, United States

(212) 966-5454

Check Out My HipStop: St. Lucia Piece in the New Summer 2014 #HOT Issue of SNAP Magazine

A honeymooner going coconuts in St. Lucia

The summer 2014 #HOT issue of Snap Magazine is live and available for free in iTunes here. It’s filled with stunning images, recipes (chorizo breakfast tacos, anyone?), a hot summer playlist and my HipStop: St. Lucia piece.

The cover of the Summer 2014 #HOT issue of Snap Magazine

Left: Sugar Beach does umbrellas right  Right: squirtguns on the table at Dasheene

I love shooting assignments for Snap. The hard part is picking which images to send in the final edit. In this post I’ve included a few of my favorite images that did not wind up in Snap.

I met this fruit and vegetable vendor at the market in Soufriere.

Left: Diamond Falls Right: The Rain Forest Walk at Sugar Beach, a Viceroy Resort

All the images in Snap are shot using the apps created by Hipstamatic. I shot all of my St. Lucia images for Snap using Hipstamatic’s Oggl app, which allows you to changes the film and lens after you’ve captured the image.

Palm Frond Sunset at Sugar Beach in St. Lucia

Rome is Under Rehab

Part of Rome’s Famed Colosseum is currently under scaffolding

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and apparently it won’t be renovated in one either. On my recent trip to Rome, I was surprised to find the cities most famous fountains closed for renovations and restoration during the height of summer tourist season.  Apparently even the Eternal City needs a nip & tuck once in a while. Italian Fashion House Fendi is financing the Trevi Fountain’s $2.9 million dollar renovation project (which is expected to last 20 months).

The Trevi Fountain gets a facelift

My heart breaks a little for first time visitors to Rome wanting to have their own Roman Holiday moment. The restoration project is expected to be finished in 2015. Tod’s, the footwear company, is footing the bill for the $34 renovation of Rome’s Colosseum. The Colosseum project seems to be being done in phases and those visiting this summer will still find the sight awe-inspiring, especially when it’s lit up at night.

Determined tourists want their Roman Holiday moment, scaffolding or not

Landmark viewing letdowns are a reality of travel– I don’t know anyone who has waiting to see the Mona Lisa that has come away saying, “wow, that was hugely impressive” and totally worth the mosh pit reality of the Louvre during the summer. And there is plenty in Rome to see to more than make up for the currently underwhelming Trevi Fountain (known as the Fontana di Trevi in Italian).

Fontana della Barcaccia

The fountain of the Ugly boat, or Fontana della Barcaccia, located at the base of the Spanish Steps is also getting some work done. It has been under scaffolding since 2013. Rome’s famous sites need to last for the ages. That’s just a bummer for those visiting this summer.

Because Futebol: 50,000 Club Carlson Points World Cup Giveaway!

Blame it on Rio… or FIFA

I should be staying at the Radisson Hotel São Paulo Faria Lima right now, after watching the Netherlands vs. Argentina World Cup Semi-Final. Unfortunately, thanks to FIFA’s self-serving World Cup e-visa rules, I couldn’t get my Brazilian visa processed in time and had to cancel the trip.

Brazil’s loss is your gain. In honor of the World Cup, I’m giving away 50,000 Club Carlson points, redeemable for a night (or nights) at almost any RadissonBlu, RadissonPark Plaza, Park Inn, or Country Inns & Suites property.

Here’s how to be eligible to win the 50,000 Club Carlson Points:

Simply write which team you think will win the World Cup Final on Sunday– Germany or Argentina, in the comments thread of this blog post.

Everyone who selects the winning team will be entered in a random drawing after the there is a winner in the World Cup Final match on Sunday. You can only pick one team, and you can only enter once. You must enter your pick before the final match starts at Estádio Maracanã (that’s 12 pm Pacific time on July 13th).

The winner will be chosen via random number generator and announced on Monday, July 14th.

Good luck!

Flag made of Havianas flip-flops in Sao Paulo

By entering the My Life’s A Trip Giveaway, you agree that you have read the rules and consent to the terms and conditions contained therein.

San Gimignano: Visiting Tuscany’s “Medieval Manhattan”

Blue skies and medieval architecture

If you’re looking for things to do in Florence, Italy, consider a day trip to the town of San Gimignano, which is known as Tuscany’s “Medieval Manhattan.” Perched on the top of hill in the province of Siena, San Gimignano’s historic center has an impressive skyline of ancient stone towers that has earned it UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

Doors and windows in San Gimignano

The city has a quaint feel, and quite a bit of charm. Get there on a summer day when the streets are packed with tourists, and there is a strange EPCOT-y feel that is hard to escape.

Blue skies over “the Town of Fine Towers”

San Gimignano also has a Museo della Tortura (a medieval torture museum) and several Gelaterias claiming to serve the “World’s Best Gelato.” I can definitely recommend a scoop or three from Gelateria Dondoli.

Gelato hits the spot on a hot summer day

Left: strolling through San Gimignano Right: Great clouds in Tuscany

The town has plenty of shops offering local specialties like the locally made wine, Vernaccia di San Gimignano, and olive oil.

Olive Oil in a Boot

Tuscany is known for all things  porcine– so you can also purchase pork products like prosciutto, salami, and head cheese.

There was quite  bit of boar taxidermy in San Gmignano

Located 59 kilometers from Florence, San Gimignano is an easy drive if you have access to a car. It is also easily reached by bus. You can find directions on the San Gimignano’s informational website. Many tour companies offer tours of this scenic and charming town.

The gates to San Gimignano’s historic center

A Picture Per Day

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