2012: A Look Back at Travel, Food and Drinks

Grand Cayman breakfast at Coconut Joe's

First off, I’d like to wish all of my readers a wonderful, happy and healthy New Year! Thanks for your “likes” and comments, and please keep them coming!

As the year comes to its end, I’d like to share some of my favorite places where I dined and/or drank when traveling in 2012. Some of these places I’ve already blogged about, such as Breckenridge, Colo., Key West, Fla. Beaufort, N.C. and Portland, Ore. I also had some great meals in New Orleans, New York, Grand Cayman and Washington, D.C.

French Quarter Music festival 2012

Whether I’m traveling for business or pleasure, for a week or just a couple of days, I always like to eat at some place recommended by locals, either in person or through reviews on the Internet. I’m often asked how can I go to a nice restaurant by myself and my reply is usually, “Don’t you?” I either take a newspaper or my Kindle to read, or else sit at the bar where I usually meet other diners or at least the bartender. I can’t imagine going anywhere and not trying some of the local offerings.

Downstairs at Erics

Breckenridge, Colo.Downstairs at Eric’s  (111 S Main St., Breckenridge, Colo. 80424) is a must whenever we go to Breckenridge, either to dine in or carryout. The place is always crowded, and with good reason – the pizza is delicious!

Eric's pizza

It’s pretty much a dive, with a good beer selection and great bar food. There’s a small arcade where you can play pinball, etc. while waiting for your food. Read about some of my other Breckenridge favorites at: http://kelleychisholm.com/2012/03/05/beer-and-bites-in-breckenridge/

Islescapes sign

Key West, Fla. – My favorite meal on this visit to Key West was at Islescapes (Schooner Wharf, Pier 1, Slip 3, Key West, Fla. 33040). What a great experience – I whole-heartedly recommend this dinner cruise! Captain Alex is a wonderful host and excellent chef. And you won’t find a better place to view Key West’s famous sunsets.

Brad eating salad

For some other great places to wine and dine in one of the best places in the world, check out my post from earlier this year: http://kelleychisholm.com/2012/06/04/boats-bikes-and-bars-key-west-style/

New Orleans, La. – I went to a conference in New Orleans the week after we got back from Key West – talk about being spoiled! What a great food city, especially if you love gumbo and fresh seafood. I had so many great meals, but two stood out. One was the charbroiled oysters at Drago’s Seafood Restaurant, which is located in the Hilton (2 Poydras Street, New Orleans, La 7014.)

Drago's oysters

The restaurant calls them “The Single Best Bite of Food in New Orleans” and I have to agree – these things are heavenly.  The oysters are brushed with a garlic, butter and herb sauce, dusted with parmesan and Romano cheese, and cooked in their shells on a hot grill. OMG!

Domenica

My other favorite meal was at Domenica (123 Baronne St., New Orleans, La. 70112), a great Italian restaurant that was in walking distance of my hotel. The service was excellent, as was the rib special I ordered that came with creamy mashed potatoes and perfectly cooked collards. Hearty, delicious and a great change of pace from all of the gumbo, muffulettas and Cajun dishes I had been eating all week.

Brad and I are going to New Orleans this spring, and both of the places are on my list to go back and enjoy!

Campbell Apartment NY

New York, N.Y. – Brad and I were in town for a long weekend. We found a wonderful little lounge, The Campbell Apartment (15 Vanderbilt Ave., New York, N.Y. 10017) hidden in Grand Central Terminal, with the help of apps on my new iPhone. What a great, cozy, throwback to the 1920s, with its extensive and intricate woodwork, leaded glass exterior window, and grand stone fireplace.

Campbell Apartment interior

Brad tried the Prohibition Punch, which was pricey (around $20.00) but it was huge. I just had a glass of wine. Great atmosphere and a popular place, judging by all of the people waiting for tables!

Beaufort, N.C. – There are so many great restaurants in Beaufort that it’s hard for me to choose my favorite. Beaufort Grocery Co., Blue Moon Bistro, Front Street Grill – you can’t go wrong with any of these! Local, fresh seafood at its finest.

Beaufort Grocery exterior

Check out my full review at: http://kelleychisholm.com/2012/07/19/beautiful-beaufort-by-the-sea/

Grand Cayman – My favorite restaurant in Grand Cayman was Aqua Restaurant and Lounge (Galleria Plaza, Seven Mile Beach, Grand Cayman.) I had read great reviews of this place and it did not disappoint! We were there with our friends Jeff and Terri as well as their boys and Gabe and Lexi. Everyone agreed it was the best meal of our trip. I had the lobster and shiitake ravioli, which was the best I’ve ever had – perfectly cooked homemade pasta, fresh mushrooms and a scrumptious, creamy sauce with nice chunks of lobster.

Aqua Grand Cayman

I sent my compliments (and a beer) to chef, who came out and chatted with me for a little while. If you go to Seven Mile Island, make sure you dine here!

Portland, Ore. – As noted in a previous post, I attended the International Food Bloggers Conference in late August. Many of my meals were already included in the price of the conference. I asked several of the conference attendees who lived in Portland for restaurant recommendations and the food trucks kept coming up.

Portland food trucks

So I knew they were a must try – it was hard to choose among them! I finally decided to eat at Altengartz (SW 10th and Alder in downtown Portland) with its German Brand Bratwurst. Excellent!

Altengartz brat

Washington, D.C. – We went to see the Redskins play in October and were only in DC for two nights, including game day. After doing some research on Yelp and Urbanspoon, we decided to try Corduroy (1122 Ninth Street NW Washington, DC 20001.) Great choice! We had the Chef’s Surprise Five Course Tasting Menu ($65.00). The appetizer was a wonderful soft shell crab.

corduroy washington dc

I had some delicious short ribs and Brad had a yummy pork loin. Corduroy has a great upstairs lounge area and most of its produce comes from local farms. I would be a regular if I ever moved back to D.C.

Yes, 2012 was a fun year of travel and food. I can only hope that 2013 will be just as good!

Bon appétit!

Eat, drink and be merry!

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