When I recently visited Nashville for a super quick trip, Rebecca, my Nashville-based photographer friend insisted we get a drink at the Oak Bar. Located in the downtown Nashville’s Hermitage Hotel, The Oak Bar’s allure was not immediately apparent to me.
Sure you can drink Old Blowhard elsewhere, but then you’d miss “America’s Best Restroom”
My first impression was “Meh. Lawyers who lunch.” I focused on enjoying my whisky-based cocktail. After our first round, Rebecca suggested we head to the bathroom. I followed her… into the men’s room. Then I got it.
You don’t come to the Oak Bar for the cocktails, you come to the Oak Bar for the Hall of Fame caliber restroom.
It’s hella gentile BALLER.
Esquire magazine named the men’s room at the Oak Bar, “America’s Best Restroom”
It’s not hard to see why the design and art deco styling have earned it numerous awards, including “Best Bathroom in the America.” Local legend has it that politicians would sneak into the Oak Bar and head to the men’s room to pay bribes and finalize power deals. It’s easy to imagine considering there is a two seat shoe shine station built into the gleaming green and black tiled restroom.
The men’s room feels as though it was built as a set for a pivotal scene in a John Grisham adaptation slash blockbuster.
The Moscow Mule at Oak Bar in Nashville
There is also an old fashioned non-smart phone that connects you to the front desk. I found that out when I picked up the handset while acting out the aforementioned pivotal scene in the future John Grisham blockbuster adaptation. No wonder this deco gem of a men’s room has become a popular backdrop for music videos and cool wedding photographs.
Don’t miss visiting the men’s room (photo credit: Rebecca Adler Photography)
Cleo, the most famous resident of Le Bristol, lounging in the lobby
On my recent trip to Paris, I had the opportunity to spend a few nights at Le Bristol on rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. What I knew about Le Bristol is mostly for it’s role in Midnight in Paris (it’s where Rachel McAdams’ and Owen Wilson’s characters stayed). I remembered it looked really expensive.
Curving stairs and a glamorous vintage caged elevator add to Le Bristol’s glamorous atmosphere
Left: fresh fruit and wine welcome amenity Right: the flowers on the vanity
Fortunately my husband is a Leaders Club Unlimited member of LHW hotels, and Le Bristol had award availability for a few nights. Score! So I spent a very lovely few days in room 714 of this old school luxury hotel… and it was FABULOUS.
The classic desk
Room 714 was huge by Parisian standards. The vibe at Le Bristol is old world luxury, but the property has all the requisite tech perks, including easy to use, speedy wifi (free for Leaders Club Unlimited members).
Traditional elegance in the vibe at Le Bristol
The bed was uber comfy, and the bathroom, while simple in style had the most impressive water pressure I’ve experienced in Paris. The tub was huge, well designed for soaking and filled quickly.
Left: the shower had serious power (and La Prarie amenities) Right: the separate water closet
Suddenly I had a dilemma– I did not want to leave the room to explore Paris.
Le Bristol’s bathtub worked for serious soaking
As lovely as the room is, the true star at Le Bristol is the service. It was flawless. Every request was handled exceptionally well.
The view from room 714 into the courtyard
Le Bristol Breakfast Menu
Another perk of the LHW Leaders Club Unlimited: not paying € 85 per person for breakfast (it’s an included benefit).
Poached eggs just taste better in Paris, especially when they are free
Behold: perfectly styled fruit at breakfast
Obligatory breakfast bread basket shot
The dining room at Le Bristol
While in my heart I’m a Saint-Germain girl, I’m also never going to turn down a chance to stay at Le Bristol. It’s legendary reputation is well deserved and the service is perfection.
Chef Yves Camdeborde’s casual and crowded standing room only tapas bar was one of my favorite discoveries on my recent trip to Paris. It’s cramped (try to get there as close to the noon opening time as possible) but a good time- and great meal– is had by all. This is great spot to try with friends, especially those who don’t mind giving up their personal space for a good meal.
Chin chin at L’Avant Comptoir
The Basque-inspired menu of small plates hangs from the ceiling. We headed to the back of the zinc bar to enjoy simple tapas and a few glasses of wine. You can practically make a meal out of the bread, butter, sea salt and jars of cornichons which rest on the bar. Seriously. Do not miss the Bordier butter.
Even the bread and Bordier butter is memorable
The menu also features lots of petit sandwiches and dips, croquettes, and various specials. There is large and reasonably priced wine list to pair with the simple but tasty small plates. Service is upbeat and friendly. The whole experience was devoid of snobbery and left me smiling.
Finger food goodness: artichokes and cured ham waffles
The decor is porcine inspired, with cartoon pigs adoring everything from the wine glasses to the bathroom decor.
Left: the pig motif runs throughout Right: don’t forget to sprinkle the fleur de sel on your bread and butter
L’Avant-Comptoir is about enjoying the simple things without the fuss, making it a perfect find for foodies who like finger foods.
The hanging menu at L’Avant-Comptoir
Most plates are priced under € 10 and portions are pretty generous. For it’s simplicity and deliciousness, I preferred L’Avant-Comptoir to the highly acclaimed Le Comptoir next door.
Looking for a great oyster bar in Paris? Head to rue Paul Bert in the 11th. There is Bistrot Paul Bert just down the street, and the unpretentious maritime-themed L’Ecailler du Bistrot, which has combines classic French ambience with excellent seafood.
Plateau de Fruits de Mer Time Lapse at L’Ecailler Du Bistrot Paris, France
It’s all about the seafood here. While my crab and scallop allergy kept me from the shellfish platter, my friends devoured it over the course of an hour.
One of L’Ecailler du Bistrot’s maritime-themed rooms
The fresh oysters from Normandy and Brittany, cockles and various other crustaceans all received rave reviews from my friends. The sole muniere was a standout, as was the half lobster served with frite, and the linguini with clams.
The half-lobster at L’Ecailler du Bistot
The entire meal was complemented by a few bottles of reasonably priced (for Paris) wine from the menu.
The oysters are ready for their close-up
Left: the empty shells Right: oysters on the half shell
Linguini with clams
This was a meal I had absolutely no expectations about, and wound up one of my favorites of the trip. The cozy atmosphere and good service did not hurt.
The Sole Muniere (before and after)
No doubt– L’Ecailler du Bistrot is a seafood standout.
French foodies (and visiting food snobs) know that you have the right to order your baguette as doughy or well done as you like you, or “bien cuit.” That’s why they head to one of artisianal baker Eric Kayser’s handful of Parisian shops for fresh bread baked baguettes.
Cases full of Eric Kayser’s artisanal baked goodness
Artisanal bakeries like Eric Kayser keep the flour on the premises and the bread is cooked there in five different ovens to varying degrees of doneness or “bien cuit.” If you prefer your baguette a little doughy, order “pas bien cuit.”
Sandwiches served on Eric Kayser’s baguettes
Whatever you do don’t help yourself to a bottle of water from the deli case– “self-serve” does not exist here. The apple tart in puff pastry is also outstanding.