Late stage relationship Ehekarussell (loosely, the Marriage-Merry-Go-Round)

Big chains like the Park Plaza chain are generally something we avoid at NPS. But we neglected to set this trip up far enough out and it turns out the Embedded World conference fills up Nuremberg almost completely. That meant that the boutiques we would normally target were full. Only some seriously good detective work came up with Park Plaza (thanks for your help Abbie).

View from 614 Park Plaza

The hotel itself is situated just across a major road from the train station. Turns out to be a great location given the venue for the event (Indabahn). And the Nuremberg Park Plaza itself is much better than expected. Friendly front staff, early check in on arrival over the pond (!!), a modern spacious hip lobby, and get this—no plastic showers.


The bathroom is spacious and well appointed. (Sure, the shower pan may be vinyl, but the glass cube is fantastic.

Glass shower cube with two shower heads


Walking around Nuremberg is a great way to see the sights. The city is very walkable. Use these guides.

Some restaurants of note
Atelier Bar for sausages
Sangam nuremberg (very good Indian)
Pillhofer (get the crispy pork shoulder)
Hausbrauerei Altstadthof (house brewed red beer and award winning schnapps)

We’re still working out the cocktail situation in Nuremberg. Atelier Bar in the Grand Hotel is great. They not only made a cocktail called the Nuremberg Mule
4 cl Haas gin (a local product)
2 cucumber slices
1/2 lime
freshly ground ginger
muddle ingredients. add ice. Top with Thomas Henry spicy ginger. Garnish with cucumber slice

Nuremberg Mule

…they also accommodated NPS for breakfast 15 minutes before they were even supposed to be open! Get this, the weenies in the restaurant at Park Plaza have no flexibility to serve past their 10:30 cut off (on zee dot, you are late, NEIN). The solution is to walk next door to the Grand Hotel and find some actual service. Let this be a lesson to you and your corporate droids Park Plaza! Minus twenty.

Atelier Bar Nuremberg

In other cocktail news, NPS has confirmed that Bar Nürnberg is in fact a very good bar indeed. From the special cocktail of the night (a dark and stormy derivative with rhum agricole from guadalupe) to corpse reviver #2s to sazaracs, each cocktail was meticulously made with care and expertise. Highly recommended.

We got into the Fernet Branca and stayed until 1 am.

On our last day in Nuremberg, we had a very nice chat with Park Plaza GM Carsten Baumann who shared the history of the hotel, talked some politics, and veered on into distilling (predictably given our proclivities). Carsten is an interesting fellow. His outreach was very professional.

The DelikatEssen is a great spirits shop in Nuremberg hidden across the river. Bought some Haas products, an interesting German Windspiel gin, and some high end hazelnut liqueur.

Vintage Bar (just across the street from DelikatEssen in fact) is the second best bar in Nuremberg with the most passion of all. Spent a nice evening chatting with the owner.

Four showerheads and some training for the breakfast staff at the Park Plaza. Much better than expected and yet also short of the mark.

The River Antoine rum distillery in Grenada is well worth a visit. Driving up from St George’s takes about 90 minutes, but the drive is a great way to see more of the island. As in all travel Grenada, get a driver!

Rivers farms about 400 acres of sugar cane which provides 85% of the mash they need. The rest comes from elsewhere in the Carribean.


The cane is mashed with a water wheel operational since the 1800s.

Gears for the cane conveyor also use water power.

Cane detritus

The mash evaporates from a 4% concentration of sugar in several stages into a 15% concentration. It is then put into a vat to ferment into beer (with natural yeast fron the air). The beer comes in around 15% before heading into the pot stills.

Beer vat

Pot still one

Fired by wood.

The still runs off a proof of about 150 (75% alcohol). The coil is water cooled from the river.

Loading the still cooker

Storage of unmixed product in 500 gallon tanks below.

This used to be a bonded tank measured with a stick.

The computer (batch notes)

By all means visit the distillery when you are on Grenada.

For more about Grenada, see this entry on Laluna.

Imagine an isolated beach situated between two cliffs that tower over the shore on either side—coarsely sandy with waves big enough to hear and small enough to swim in. Then imagine a cottage surrounded by flowers and succulent plants perched over the common restaurant, pool, bar, and beach. Perfectly isolated from the other cottages. Put all of these imaginary things on an uncharacteristically green Granada.

Laluna Beach Grenada

That’s laluna.

We arrived well after dark having just learned lesson one about Grenada. Don’t rent a car, just get drivers and/or taxis.

Cottage 10 abuts cottage 9 where Eli stayed, and is the best cottage in the collection.

The shower was remarkable even by NPS standards. Outside and open to the elements but under a roof. Two square windows look out over the ocean.

We would go just for the shower.

Porch on a blustery morning

Then there was lesson two, which is bring cash. The ATM situation is suboptimal with Scotiabank leading the lameness charge. Dollars come in handy. Bring some.

About the only thing to fix about Laluna would be the restaurant and bar. The restaurant is staffed with great, attentive people, and is a good place for a hearty breakfast before diving, but there are far better places for lunch and for dinner just a short distance away. Likewise, Urban behind the bar is a fine fellow and a decent steel drum player to boot, but he needs a better ingredient set to make drinks with. That said, Urban was willing to adjust and learn some classics with special touches.

The breakfast view at laluna can’t be beat

A quick review of dinner targets reveals that BB’s Crabshack is by far the most authentic and delicious restaurant around. Goat stew and shrimp curry with rum punch? Yes.

Aquarium had the best high cuisine chef on the island with many dishes well past the workaday. Everyone complains about the service, but if you just light one of the cats on fire they will come right around.

The Beachhouse is by far the fanciest place and has the advantage of being a walk down the beach from Laluna, but it’s not as good food-wise as Aquarium even though the service is much better.

Coconut Beach restaurant is workaday. Its location right on the beach is nice, but not really worthy of a night out.

A margarita from

For lunch, umbrellas suited us just fine in our wet bathing suits and sandy feet fresh off the dive boat. Get the hot dog and remind them how easy it is to make a proper margarita with cointreau!

Native Spirit Dive Shop

We came to dive, and so we did. Two tank dives every day from Sunday to Wednesday. Native Spirit is fantastic with a friendly staff, attentive (and still fun) dive masters, very nice equipment, and great knowledge of the area. While in town, Eli was advanced open water diver certified and we carried out one deep 125 foot dive on the wreck of the Bianca C.

Coconut Beach from the dive shop

All in all the diving water was less clear than what we have experienced elsewhere with many more fish and fewer other creatures. We did see some gigantic lobsters lurking under the wreck of the Veronica (which also has a hidden air pocket 30 feet down). Drift diving and reef diving were enjoyable, but the wrecks were the most memorable. The underwater sculpture garden was worth a visit as well.

Rahel and Adrian are the dive shop proprietors and very nice people indeed.

Dive boat (super fast)

Coconut Beach from the dive shop

On our non-diving day (one day before flying) we went for a hike up Quaqua, the mountain in the middle of Grenada. The hike was great.

Hiking Quaqua

We also took a drive up to visit River Antoine’s Rivers Rum distillery (which actually makes Rhum Agricole just for the record). The drive was a great way to see more of the island, and the distillery itself is worth a look.

River’s Distillery is worth a visit

Five showerheads in an outdoor shower overlooking the ocean on a balmy morning for Laluna. Go!

Long ago in a galaxy far far away Joe Capalbo set the Kimpton hook by paying attention. Since that time, Joe has moved up the food chain, running the Onyx across town, and recently coming back as the General Manager of my Boston home away from home, the Hotel Marlowe.

Joe has been good to his word. He even listens to Where’s Aubrey. That’s above and beyond the call of duty.

Another personal note from Joe, this one featuring a song title.

Another personal note from Joe, this one featuring a song title.

The welcome setup in 621 reminds me of a miniature version of Christmas morning. Fun. Thanks Joe.

High information welcome package.

High information welcome package.

One of the four featured local craft cocktail bars mentioned above is Craigie on Main, which I can attest has a superior bar and some very skilled people working behind it. The coup de grace of a great bar is a real sazarac capability. The sazarac, though simple in concept, is always a very tricky drink to get just right. At Craigie they do it right (and they surprise you with it with a comped delivery after a delicious meal). Also of note is the fantastic wine list at Craigie. We enjoyed a stellar a 2010 Nit de Nin Priorat. The food was very good as well.

Craigie on Main makes a Mellow Yellow as follows:
1.5 Buffalo Trace bourbon
.5 Yellow chartreuse
.5 Becherovka (a new one on me, see below)
.25 Apricot liqueur
dash Regan’s orange bitters
Stir. Express orange peel and drop in.

Becherovka is a cinnamon bitters from the Czech Republic

Becherovka is a cinnamon bitters from the Czech Republic

Back at the Marlowe, some pictures from 621.

Glass shower de riguer

Glass shower de riguer



Bathroom mirror (mirror).

Bathroom mirror (mirror).

Telescope room.

Telescope room.

But wait, there’s more. Day2 the plan was to bar hop with Kimpton bar strategist and Tequila master Jacques Bezuidenhout and his trusty associate Ken. It was a dangerous plan and well executed.

We started at the Blue Room with a very good meal indeed. Their bar program is really looking up these days, and the space is nicely spruced up. Then it was off to drink for the best visit ever. Ezra Star was in the house and surprised that Jacques and I arrived together. (The planet is really small.) She joined us for some tequila after her shift. The highlight of the evening other than the company was a tour of the entire incredible kitchen drink/sportello/menton trifecta by Barbara Lynch’s very natty GM John. Amazing place and excellent tour. And somehow I now seem to owe Josey Packard a bottle of Amer Picon?!

Suffice it to say that 6:30am rolled around way too early.

Five showerheads and a very high bar indeed for the Hotel Marlowe and my favorite Kimpton GM Joe Capalbo.

In flying news, United saw fit to upgrade me on two of three legs for this trip. I’ll be checking a bag from Boston, because I was given a bottle of Rhum to bring home to the bar. (Directions are: 1/8 oz lime with pure cane sugar and 2 oz rhum – or so.)

Rhum Agricole from Guadeloupe.

Rhum Agricole from Guadeloupe.