One of the biggest reasons I love traveling for work, is to see new cities, and try new restaurants. However, that can make my work trips very expensive, even with my $50 per diem.
My first out of town trip was in Boston. Well, second to be exact – I had gone up to Boston in June for work as well. This is when I was first introduced to Neptune Oyster, Brassica Kitchen + Cafe, and Row 34. Neptune Oyster is the smallest little oyster bar located in North End. I waited about 15 minutes for a seat at the bar, ordered 9 oysters, a clam and a glass of Rose. Although extremely expensive, the oysters were so incredible that I ordered 6 more. I couldn’t believe how much money I was spending on this oyster experience, but I was blown away by the flavor and freshness of each oyster. It was worth every penny.I was able to meet up with one of my favorite people and favorite foodie friends, Jill, and she took me to Brassica Kitchen in Jamaica Plane. Brassica is a cafe by day, and a hip dinner joint by night serving up French/American inspired fare with local ingredients, and an awesome drink menu. We ordered a little of everything off the menu, and it was such a lovely and delicious night.And then there is one of my favorites …Row 34. My coworker and I stumbled upon this restaurant the first time we were in town, and I made a point to go back the second time I was up to visit. Row 34 is a brick and wood eatery serving up an extensive raw bar and craft beer menu. And THIS is where I had the best tuna crudo. So good, I had to go back. The food is great, atmosphere fun, and just an overall fun experience every time. The second time, which was also a second date (no, not with my coworker), at Row 34 we did oysters and the tuna crudo, again, but also ordered the salmon crudo, fried oyster lettuce wraps with pickled onion, the charred broccoli with peccorino, fries, and the brussles sprouts. Good thing we both like to eat! Everything was really tasty, and we ended the night at Drink down the street. An innovative menu-less craft cocktail bar with a lively hipster vibe.And I can’t forget about The Barking Crab from my very first visit to Boston.Delicious crab legs, a naked lobster roll (no mayo-just butter), and fish tacos. This place has live music, and sits right on the water. It’s not fancy, there are no frills about it, but that’s what makes it so great. A true crab shack.
I’ve never had a bad meal or a bad experience in Boston. It amazes me every time. Hope I’m not jinxing myself!
In September I headed to Orlando for a little less than a week. Despite all the chain restaurants in Orlando, my coworkers and I managed to find the one speakeasy in town called The Pharmacy. Tucked away in a shopping center/condo complex, this (literally) hidden gem was pretty darn delicious. We started with cocktails, obviously, ordered a bunch of food to share, including the frites, bruchetta with burrata and prosciutto, a life changing pork chop, and mushroom mac and cheese. I’m not a huge mac and cheese fan, but this dish was addictive. The earthiness of the mushrooms really added character to the dish.After Orlando, I immediately headed to Vegas for a whirlwind work packed trip. Even with the long work days, I managed to make time to check out a few restaurants, walk the strip early in the morning, and find the most delicious coffee in the city… In my opinion.Our work took place at the Sands Expo Center at the Venetian so everyday I passed Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery and stopped to get my coffee, a homemade oat granola bar, and some fruit. This became something I looked forward to every morning while I was there.
I was blown away by the shear amount of restaurants in each hotel, but even more blown away by the astronomical prices of food and drinks in Vegas. The first night I ordered a martini at the Parasol Bar at the Wynn to watch the fun light show, and realized when I received the bill it was a $22 martini! Good thing that martini came with a little bowl of snacks and a show!The first night we dined at a restaurant at the Encore with clients, but unfortunately it was not really that memorable, and I can’t even remember the name. After passing a beautiful advertisement for the restaurant Chica at the Venetian, I made sure to check out the grilled octopus with crunchy quinoa appetizer and spicy cocktail there. That’s called good advertising! Again, more expensive than I would have liked, but worth it for that little bit of relaxation and alone time on a work trip. But the most memorable meal of the trip was at Giada at the Cromwell.
Although I absolutely loved the chic, clean, feel of the restaurant, the amazing view, and our outstanding server, I was underwhelmed by the food. We ordered the Chicken Marsala Meatballs with roasted wild mushrooms , burrata salad with arugula, fresh ricotta with honey, lemon, and pink peppercorn , and the spaghetti, which came with two very plump prawns, mascarpone cheese, lemon, and basil. Unfortunately I just wasn’t wow’d. However, the view I had of the Bellagio Water Show from my seat, well made up for it.
Besides a holiday filled weekend trip to NYC, I haven’t traveled much and not at all for work. Probably for the best so I can recuperate from all this eating and drinking and spending. But always looking forward to my next work trip…