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Tropical Paradise

Escape to a Tropical Paradise where warm breezes blow and palm trees sway. With its lush tropical climate, Cairns, Australia has quickly become a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, tourists and nature lovers. Learn more about tropical fruits, tropical paintings, tropical plants, tropical fish and tropical flowers.

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The Big Apple

"The Big Apple" is a nickname for New York City, famous for its gourmet dining and night life. But many people don’t realize how much fun visitors of all ages can have here. Enjoy our guides to New York City with self-guided walks, cultural history, visual arts, architecture, museum listings, directions and parks.

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Category Archives: Luxury Food & Wine

London Nightlife: ‘Up on the Roof’ On Its Way


In 1962, the Drifters released ‘Up on the Roof’, a B-side single that eventually topped the charts before going on to be recorded by multiple artists through the 60s, 70s, and 80s. It is a song that might be playing in your head in the knowledge that London’s rooftop nightclubs are preparing for their annual openings.

There is no better way to enjoy those warm London nights than spending a few hours with your best friends overlooking the city at a posh rooftop bar. In fact, rooftop clubbing is extremely popular in the capital. So much so that clubs all over the city without rooftop venues are feverishly working to get something going.

shoreditchhouse

In anticipation of the annual rooftop season, here are a few suggestions for clubs courtesy of Velvet PR, the club guest list specialist.

The Sky Garden

The Sky Garden tops our list because it is open all year – not just the summer months. That notwithstanding, it is also London’s highest public garden offering spectacular views of the entire city. If you are interested in just enjoying drinks with friends, the Skypod Bar offers a relaxing lounge environment that includes small tables and chairs along with couches and bar seating. The floor to ceiling glass means your view is never obstructed.

If your idea of a good night out includes a fine dining experience, the Sky Garden does not disappoint. Make reservations at the Fenchurch Street Bar and Grill, located on the top floor of the building, or the more relaxed Darwin Brasserie. After dinner, take a long and relaxing stroll through the lush greenery of the garden. You may forget you are walking indoors!

Dalston Roof Park

Dalston Roof Park looks nothing more than a typical English garden set atop a four-story building. However, dig around a little and you’ll find there’s a lot going on. By day, the park is used by sun worshippers, families with their kids, and community groups looking to enjoy a park-like setting in the middle of London. At night, however, Dalston Roof Park comes alive with music, dancing and drinks.

Dalston Roof Park’s nightlife centres on the 40ft Brewery and their well-known Bootstrap brews. You can only get these incredible beers during the summer months, so make sure you get to Dalston Roof Park at least once this year. You can also purchase a £5 membership, good for the entire summer, giving you access to special events including free film screenings, concerts, and more.

Bloom Gin Bar

The Bloom Gin sits high atop the Trafalgar Hotel in Trafalgar Square. This excellent venue used to be known as ‘Vista’; it may be one you are already familiar with. This is a small and intimate venue with plenty of wicker, manicured herb gardens, and magnificent views of London icons such as Big Ben and the London Eye. Be aware though – the Bloom Gin is about laid-back sophistication. This is by no means an electro-music dance club where you and your friends will be clubbing the night away. Here it is all about purposeful relaxation.

 The Roof Gardens

The world renowned Roof Gardens of Kensington covers 6,000 square metres at the top of the former Derry and Toms building on Kensington High Street. You can enjoy the gardens on their own, and you can even enjoy a meal on the seventh floor Babylon Restaurant on any night of the week. However, if you want access to The Club, you have to be a member. The Club is an exclusive venue offering live music, dancing, and drinks on weekends only.

You’ll know the Virgin-owned Club is a swanky place when you see bouncers at the door checking attire. They do not allow anyone in who is not dressed for success. How do you know what proper attire is? The Club has a simple motto: no effort, no entrance.

 Frank’s Café

If you are the kind of person looking for a great outdoor venue that does not have a dress code or require a membership, the summertime bar at the top of Frank’s Café is just what you are looking for. This very popular nightspot sits atop the Peckham Car Park on Rye Lane. It was originally opened in 2007 as part of a summer art sculpture exhibition. Over the last eight years, it has become one of the most popular rooftop venues in London. Expect big crowds here.

England’s capital is always a great place for the best nightlife in Europe. During the summer, nightlife gets even better thanks to the many rooftop bars and nightclubs. If you have never done a rooftop before, it is something you need to do this summer. There is nothing quite like spending a few hours relaxing with your friends and taking in some great views!

 

A Connoisseur’s Guide To London’s Best Restaurants


Ah, the big smoke. One of the most wonderful things about London is the huge variety of entertainment and dining options that it offers – so much so, that even Londoners who have lived in the city their whole lives will always be able to find somewhere new to try.


Image credit: fine dining

However, the very thing that makes London fantastic can also make it a nightmare. How on earth do you choose where to go? Fear not – whether you’re a born and bred cockney looking for somewhere to take guests who are coming to stay, or a visitor who can’t tell your Brick Lane from your Leicester Square, we’ve got a selection of cracking eateries here.

The celebrity haunt

Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or you just fancy a bit of celeb spotting, dining at The Ivy will be an unforgettable experience. With options including hors d’Oeuvres of seared foie gras, as well as its star-studded reputation, you’d be forgiven for assuming The Ivy is over-priced.
Image Credit: The Ivy London

However, the set menu (check availability) is more affordable than you might imagine, at £21.75 for two courses.

  • Cuisine: Modern British

  • Price: £30-£50

  • Dress code: Smart, casual (miniskirts / shorts frowned upon)

  • Location: Leicester Square / Shaftesbury Avenue.

Visit www.the-ivy.co.uk

The budget one

Killing two birds with one stone, Goddards at Greenwich is a fantastic cheap eatery serving traditional East End fare – and since they’ve been doing it since the 1800s, we reckon they must be doing something right. Choose from a range of sweet and savoury pies made from a family recipe, or go for the jellied eels! Believe it or not, this is also a celebrity magnet – David Beckham is a fan, and has returned time and time again.

  • Cuisine: Traditional London

  • Price: £3-£4

  • Dress code: None

  • Location: King William Walk, Greenwich

Visit www.goddardsatgreenwich.co.uk

The romantic one

The Knightbridge-based Petrus offers an intimate and charming setting for a romantic meal. With celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay’s name attached to the project you can be sure that standards are incredibly high, and the decadent décor and beautifully presented fare will impress your date. Share the chocolate sphere with milk ice cream and honeycomb and fall in love.

  • Cuisine: Modern French

  • Price: £30-£70

  • Dress code:  Smart

  • Location: Kinnerton Street, Knightsbridge

Visit www.gordonramsay.com/petrus

The dessert bar

Got a sweet tooth? We’ve got just the thing. Amorino was set up by two friends who have a true passion for ice cream, and it shows in the stunning dishes they offer, and the international reputation they have cultivated, with outlets across the globe. You might struggle to find a seat, but it’s worth the wait!

  • Cuisine: Italian ice cream

  • Price: £3-£9

  • Dress code:  None

  • Location: Old Compton Street

Visit www.amorino.com/en

The posh one

If you’ve got cash to splash, you’ll want to feel spoiled – and at The Foyer At Claridge’s, you’ll be treated like royalty. With impeccable service and grand, luxurious surrounds, the restaurant is ideal if you’re looking to treat yourself. Opt for afternoon tea to really feel pampered.

  • Cuisine: British

  • Price: £30-£120

  • Dress code:  Smart/Casual

  • Location: Brook Street

Visit www.claridges.co.uk/mayfair-restaurants/the-foyer-and-reading-room

The curry

We couldn’t finish this article without mentioning what is perhaps the heart of London’s culinary wonders – Brick Lane. It’s a joy just to walk up this bustling street, but you’ll find it tough to resist the aromas for long. Head to Aladin for top quality curry at great value – despite being named amongst the ‘world’s best curry houses’ by the BBC and receiving praise from HRH Prince Charles, you won’t spend a fortune on the food.

  • Cuisine: Indian

  • Price: £15-£20

  • Dress code:  Smart/Casual

  • Location: Brick Lane

Visit www.aladinbricklane.co.uk

Written by Joshuah from www.quintessentially.com, Joshuah is a researcher and concierge who specialises in finding the best food and attractions in various cities around the world.

 

Indulgent French Food You Have to Try When Driving Across France


Driving across France can be the ideal holiday for a couple or for a single tourist. It allows you to take in the sights, sounds and culture of France at your own pace and allows you to experience each region as quickly or as fully as you want to. Renting a car in France is quite easy if you have a valid UK driver’s licence and passport and there is a large variety of vehicles to choose from with international companies like Alamo.

Moulard Duck Foie Gras with Pickled Pear

The French are renowned for their food, and with good reason. Each region in France takes inspiration from neighbouring countries, meaning that the food in different regions is varied and rich. There are some staples that you can get anywhere, such as the toasted sandwich (Croque Monsieur/Madame), croissants and French onion soup, but each region has many delicious dishes associated with it.

In the south west of France most of the foods found are rich and heavy. Duck and goose liver (foie gras) are popular, as are oysters, truffles and mushrooms. Most of the food comes paired with heavy Bordeaux wines, which is not overpowered by the rich foods. Regional specialities include confit de canard (leg of duck that has been preserved with salt and spices) , foie gras (specially fattened goose liver) and pruneaux d’agen (pitted prunes that have been stuffed with prune puree).

Camembert

Normandy, in the north-western part of France is mainly known for its apples and seafood. The apples are used for cider as well as in cooking and in calvados. The seafood in the region is particularly good, with the focus being on oysters and mussels. The region is also known for the Camembert and Brie cheeses. The crepe is the most well-known food found in Brittany, and can be found in every town and city in the region. It is usually served sweet, either with sugar, sugar and lemon or with butter and sugar.

Eastern France shares a border with Germany, and food in this region is influenced by German sensibilities. Most food involves cabbage and pork in some form or another. Savoury pastries made from pork are popular, and these are served with foie gras or jams and preservatives.

Burgundy is known for having the best beef in France, and this is heavily used in cuisine in the region. Two well known dishes from this region are coq au vin, chicken braised in Burgundy wine with garlic and mushrooms and Boeuf bourguignon, braised beef stewed in red Burgundy wine with garlic, beef broth, onions and mushrooms.

The south of France is bordered by Spain, and the foods in the region are heavily influenced by Spanish cooking. Tomatoes, peppers and spicy sausages are prevalent and are used in a variety of dishes. Cassoulet, a slow cooked casserole with pork sausage or mutton, pork skin and white beans is the iconic dish of the region.

Bullabessa

The south-eastern position of France borders Italy, and the cuisine is based around olives, herbs and olive oil. Fish stew, known as bouillabaisse is the staple dish of the region, and is often the main course in restaurants as well as in the home.

 

Food in the Canary Islands


When you’re on vacation you want the best for you and your family. A nice hotel with a great view, beaches where you can relax and let the sun kiss your skin and great food. Actually, the best food! Have you noticed that each time you go on holiday you gain a few extra pounds? When you’re feeling relaxed and enjoying yourself, your body also relaxes and you burn less calories and gain a few pounds. But that is a good thing, especially with the awesome food you can eat in the Canary Islands. Let’s take a look and find out what delicious foods these islands have to offer.

Papas arrugadas con mojo
papas arrugadasGonzalo Déniz / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

The Islands’ cuisine has been affected by tourism but it still keeps that wonderful blend between Spanish, African and Latin flavors. When the ships would come back from America, they would stop here first and thus the islands have been exposed to potatoes, beans, tomatoes, maize, papaya, peach, mango, avocado and cocoa early in the culinary history of Europe. The three most beloved ingredients are fish, corn and bananas. The people of the Canary Islands prefer to prepare their fish in three ways: fried, baked or sun-dried with spices and almost always served alongside their famous potatoes.

Let’s look at some recipes and see if we can get a response from our taste buds. By far the most popular dish on the islands is Papas Arrugadas or wrinkly potatoes, they are served as a side dish (or even a main dish, why not?). You start by choosing the smallest baby potatoes you can find, clean them, but not peel them and then boil them in water with a very high content of salt. After they’ve boiled for more than 40 minutes, you throw then in the oven and bake them until their skin becomes wrinkly. They can be served with the sauce of your choice (the green mojo or the red mojo), alongside fish, meat and even vegetables.

The most popular dessert on the islands is Bienmesabe a type of almond cream. The peeled almonds are blanched, roasted in the oven, finely grounded and then added to a sauce of sugar, cinnamon and lemon peel. Be sure to eat this on your last night there, the taste will forever be on your lips whenever you think of the Canary Islands.

Author Bio: Anna Robeson is a food writer who enjoys travelling and sharing all of her culinary experiences with her readers. She recommends www.whitebeachholidays.com for great accommodation in the Canary Islands.

 
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