August 7, 2015
Craigie on Main has a fantastic bar program.
One of the many fantastic cocktails on the menu is the Pepper in the Rye:
1.5 oz peppercorn infused overholt rye
.75 oz cardamaro
.5 oz house amer picon
.25 oz aperol
dash grapefruit bitters
stir. strain into cocktail glass. flamed lemon (discard)
The House made Amer Picon is fairly close (a bit on the orange side kind of like Torani Amer made with Reagans number 6). Can’t wait to compare iterations of this cocktail with real Amer Picon.
Bartenders Rob Ficks and Eric Books were on duty.
Rob is working on an experimental beverage as yet untitled:
1.5 oz mizu shochu
.75 oz cocchi americano
.75 oz pickled nectarine
.25 oz verjus
1 dash grapefruit bitters
stir. strain up in champagne glass. garnish with a violet.
August 6, 2015
Last year, the fine folks at Hotel Marlowe served up the best amenity ever by making a collective donation to my Leukemia Cup boat. Talk about Kimpton Karma! Wow.
How could they ever top that? Well pull up a chair…
The first thing they did this year was double their donation! I mean holy cow, that is the coolest thing ever. Supporting a good cause and fighting blood cancer. You guys rock.
(You’re welcome to join the fun by making a donation of your own, dear reader.)
The valet Jonathan said hello when I arrived. He knew my name!
Then my friend Joe Capalbo plussed up the room to the gorgeous Presidential Suite (820). Awesome.
But wait, there’s more. The very nice amenity involves bacon(!!!) and a craft cocktail from downstairs. And a personal note from Joe.
This is definitely the way to ease in after no fly July. Thanks you guys!
Of course the shower in here is way not plastic.
Anyway, ten showerheads (double the max) for Hotel Marlowe and Joe. Home away from home in Boston.
July 7, 2015
No fly July means no airplanes, no hotels, and a bunch of actual thinking. Maybe a dip or two in the river for good measure.
Let the non-travel begin.
June 19, 2015
Usually NPS has to slum it when we come through Wilmington, NC on the way to the beach. We have had a number of seriously awful experiences at the Hilton. Read for yourself here and here and here (there’s more if you like snark).
So the bar is set exceptionally low, and we’re happy to say the the brand new Courtyard by Marriott is much better even though it is still a hamster cage experience.
We had a SNAFU getting into our room that involved waiting for the front desk and engineering to figure out why a deadbolt was thrown in the room we are supposed to have. Anyway, we ended up in 424.
The shower is a glass pod! Yays.
But of course all is not sweetness and light here at NPS. We do have to say that the view sucks.
Anyway, good on the Marriott for bringing the town up to a low three showerheads! Way more than zero (the Hilton’s last rating). Looks like we’re going back to circa 1922 for dinner.
The best part about Circa 1922 other than the food is the barman Josh Giles, a reformed architect who has become a master barman. John specializes in growing ingredients in his garden and incorporating them into his drinks. The C4 is a great example:
1 oz cucumber shrub (cucumber, lovage, chervil, salad burnett, white wine vinagar, rice vinagar)
1.25 oz hendricks gin
.5 green chartreuse
splash of st. germaine
.75 oz soda
Both the shrub and the drink are out of this world. Josh rotates the menu regularly and features a cocktail with local produce (like the C4). World class.
And tomorrow, the Stick!!
June 15, 2015
Here at NPS we have done what we can to avoid flying United airlines since they have such terrible operations. After loyally flying 1.6 million miles and over a decade as a 100K, we’re done.
Today, both flights we were forced to take to get some business done had bugs.
On the flight out, the highly advertised wifi did not work. Ever.
It’s 2015. Wifi works everywhere else.
On the flight back, we started with the classic drip delay, supposedly caused by weather. A drip delay is what happens when United (and only United as far as we can tell) delays the flight by just a few minutes…multiple times. The first three drips were: 14, 11, and 9 minutes each. We would really just rather learn this all at once.
But the best was yet to come. The inbound aircraft landed, so they called us to the gate to line up. But there was no pilot. The last drip was a hefty one hour! (That is, assuming this was actually the last delay…we’re not on the plane yet.)
United airlines sucks. Fly any other airline.
It is unbelievable that Jeff Smisek is still the CEO.
June 13, 2015
Lansdowne Resort is so close that we’ve only been here once, and that was so long ago we don’t want to admit it. But we’re back and running a show for 300+. Sadly, Lansdowne is not up to the load on all kinds of fronts.
As with many resorts (many of the Sheraton variety), much more attention is paid to the common areas than to the rooms. Even a “deluxe” suite can’t make the cut here for many reasons. Heck, lets just list them shall we?
- plastic showers
- hamster cage design
- views of a roof?!
- thin walls that carry sound
- an HVAC system that sounds like a broken jet
- pluming that screams when you flush
- seriously uncomfortable bedding
- style? not really
- net that is not up to high geek standards
No dice on the room. They did try with a personal note and some cheese and wine. (Though based on the bill slid under my door in the morning, the cheese and wine came from Jennifer and cost $42. Nothing like being charged for your own amentity!)
Good thing we had the doctor’s bag along with some makings for Liberals. But frankly the furniture in the suite was mega uncomfortable, leaving good Liberals to be enjoyed on bad seating. Oh well.
Oh, and did we mention the plastic showers?
The worst kind of plastic shower has an obesity-friendly bent bar, a plastic curtain, and a slippery hollow plastic tub. 100% bad! Yays.
Ultimately, the real problem here at Lansdowne is the disorganization and incompetence of the A/V and conference staff. In fact, the service in the hotel is all pretty awful if you’re a spoiled traveller like we are. Our room looked great and most of the parts required for a good show are available in the conference room, but they are being run by people who are quite simply the worst A/V people we’ve come across professionally in many years. Just not good.
Food too. Just not good.
Bar? hah hah hah. We’re not touching that one.
The location is gorgeous and green. But it is suited for golfer types. Nuff said. Pretty far down the list and nowhere near as good the also local Westfields as for a conference. I guess we need to move the show into DC.
A rare two showerheads and a vague feeling of disappointment for the Lansdowne Resort. Looks like LoCo has a ways to go to attain world class.