Reflecting on past New Year’s Eves

I’m not usually drunk at midnight on New Year’s Eve. But I’m usually blackout drunk by 1 AM on New Year’s Day. I think this is because I typically buy good Champagne (Dom Perignon or Veuve Clicquot) for the party, and when I notice the majority of the guests have taken only a sip of…

Memories of my very Alaskan Grandfather

At my Grandfather’s funeral, I couldn’t keep my fingers out of the 7 Layer Dip. It was November 1990, a funeral home in Palmer, Alaska (I don’t remember which) and it was cold. I don’t remember whether somebody had made the dip or whether it was store bought, although he was originally from Wisconsin and…

An afternoon of Italian cooking at St. Regis Aspen

During a recent visit to the lovely St. Regis Aspen in the Colorado Rockies, the hotel’s signature restaurant Trecento Quindici Decano wasn’t yet open for the season, although Chef David Viviano and his staff were already onsite to prepare. They were also kind enough to host a cooking class on a snowy afternoon in the restaurant’s kitchen. Chef…

Ritz-Carlton Washington DC sparkles for holiday travelers

Although most Ritz-Carlton locations are near heaven for would be escapists throughout the year, there’s an extra magic about them and other luxury hotels during the holiday season, as a recent visit to the Ritz-Carlton Washington D.C. confirmed. From the welcoming comfort of the heat lamp bedecked porte cochere to the Christmas trees, menorahs, and holiday foliage trimming the lobby, the…

St. Regis Aspen: an alpine gem in the Colorado Rockies

The snow is just beginning to flutter down from the sudden overcast outside the cloistered porte cochere at the St. Regis Aspen on a mid-November Saturday afternoon. The liveried doorman provides a warm welcome and quickly collects luggage on the ubiquitous brass trolley for delivery to the room. The intimate, compartmentalized lobby seems massive during the shoulder season, with…

St. Regis celebrates 80 years of the Bloody Mary: Let’s try a few

There’s something lovely about the lore and legends that exist in the hospitality business. Ritz-Carlton is famous for the motto “We are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen”. Conrad Hilton believed in the mission of “filling the world with the light and warmth of hospitality”. And at the St. Regis New York in 1934, Fernand Petiot, the bartender at the…