Category Archives: United States

Camp Nelson Lodge

We all need a little break sometimes. For a true relaxing holiday, however, sometimes your ordinary beach resort just won’t do. In the tiny town of Camp Nelson (population: 97), you really feel like you’re getting away from it all. Fresh mountain air, lush forests and breathtaking views probably make this the most peaceful and relaxing place on earth. Unlike many worn-out lodges that you usually find in the mountains, Camp Nelson Lodge is a very pleasant surprise. All rooms have a designated theme but share the same warm decor and homey feeling. You won’t find a phone, television set or even a hair dryer, but you do get a big luxurious bed with comfy down pillows and a beautiful soft quilt for cold nights.  After a day of hiking, fishing or some of the other activities available, you can sit on the balcony to watch the sunset and take in the quietness of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks are just around the corner and are definitely worth a visit too. So…leave your cell phone and laptop at home and immerse yourself in the beauty and peacefulness of Camp Nelson; we promise you will feel reborn.



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Sprinkles cupcake ATM

It’s pretty safe to say that cupcakes have become a big hit. These cute calorie bombs are thoughtful little presents, make a damn good dessert and brighten up your day! No wonder you would want access to them all the time, whether it’s with your morning macchiato or after a night of clubbing. Sprinkles, the self-proclaimed cupcake pioneer with locations all over the US, noticed a growing demand for late-night store hours but lacked the necessary staff. The solution is a 24-hour cupcake vending machine, featuring a touch screen to select your favorite cupcake and a robotic arm to pull it from a wall stocked with single serving boxes. The ATM-like machine had its debut in March and a couple more are planned to open this year (three in New York City!). Contrary to what you might think, the cupcakes from the vending machine taste as fresh as the ones from the shop, as the machine is continuously restocked and only offers same-day cakes. Although this cupcake development will not receive a warm welcome from dieters and health trend fans, we sure love it. After all, you can never have too much access to cupcakes!

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A sushi restaurant isn’t hard to find nowadays. Raw fish for diner has never before been so popular. A good sushi place however… that’s another story. When in Miami and craving tuna rolls or sesame crusted shrimp BONDST Lounge is your best bet. Situated in the basement of the trendy Townhouse Hotel, this restaurant / lounge is a sleek South Beach outpost of the well-known Manhattan sushi restaurant. The place is not too big and even a little dark. This mysterious vibe around the place makes it very sexy and interesting. Famous house specialties such as Chilean sea bass skewers and spicy tuna rolls with chili mayonnaise makes you want to go back for more. Because let’s be honest: finding good sushi on SoBe is tricky business. Only a few steps away from the ocean, this is the perfect spot to end a day at the beach.

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A night out in West Hollywood gets off to a good start at Katana. It’s a sushi and Japanese Robata restaurant. Uh… come again? Robata is also known as open flame charcoal grill cooking. Don’t worry about the technical details. Just order the shortribs in asian marinade or the filet mignon wrapped around foie gras and asparagus and be amazed. If you go here on a Friday night, please expect the place to be packed and that you might have to wait a while for your table. Sip from one of the delicious Katana specialty cocktails while waiting. Even though the place is huge (several sections, floors, a big terrace) the dark interior with the black floors and chairs, the wooden tables and the candlelight still makes it feel intimate and not too crowded. However, the combination of the crowd and the Hotel Costes style ‘background music’ (that isn’t really in the background) makes the place extremely loud. Be prepared to scream at your table buddies. No big deal, because did you know Brad Pitt once rented a section of the restaurant for Jennifer Aniston’s birthday party?

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Raines Law Room

What good can come from a law that prohibits the sale of alcohol, you might wonder? Step into New York’s finest speakeasy and find out for yourself. The Raines Law was passed in 1896 and restricted the sale of alcoholic beverages on a Sunday, except in hotels. Saloons quickly got around these regulations by adding small furnished bedrooms: Raines Law Hotels. Even though you are definitely not allowed to sleep at this modern-day Raines Law Room in Chelsea, the extremely dimly lit lights and velvety armchairs make it hard not to wander off to dreamland. A land with classy furniture,  fancy cocktails and overly-friendly mixologists. Ring a doorbell to gain entry, but be prepared to wait elsewhere until a spot frees up (reservations can only be made from Sunday to Tuesday by e-mail). Whether you have a private booth with friends or linger around the ‘bar kitchen’ (see picture) with your date, this quiet sexy little gem never gets old.

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Georgetown is a district you just cannot skip when you’re in DC. With its harbor, cute old houses and excellent shopping & dining options, you might even love it more than downtown Washington. Right in the heart of Georgetown, along M Street Northwest, you will find Bodega tapas & lounge. This restaurant attracts a lot of locals, especially during happy hour when the sangria flows like water. Over-order on delicious tapas such as their to-die-for Pan con Tomate y Jamón Serrano or Patatas Bravas and sit back to take in the atmosphere. The dramatic interior features black and red walls, copper bars, bullhorns and rugged leather seats. It feels like a mix between a traditional hacienda and a dark, trendy nightclub. Bodega offers happy hour every day (except Saturday) from 4:00pm – 7:00pm and opens up its fountain patio during the summer months.

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Since its opening last fall, Catch has been a magnet for the good looking Meatpacking crowd of models, rock stars and business moguls. This three-level seafood restaurant with lounge/club area is loud, vibrant and happening! Don’t mind the looooong waits and snooty front desk girls; once you’re seated, you’ll love it! Seafood lovers will be treated to a surprising selection of sushi & sashimi, “big fish” (that serves two people),  raw bar items like oysters and “simply cooked” choices including sole, swordfish and tuna. Top Chef winner Hung Huynh runs the kitchen and with mouthwatering dishes such as crab-stuffed calamari, he affirms this title. The waiting staff at Catch is friendly and accommodating and knows how to deal with large groups. So bring lots of friends but don’t expect to “catch” up with them since the loud music and buzzing scene don’t really allow it. Overall, Catch is a great fish addition to the Meatpacking area and we recommend going there before it turns into just another has-been restaurant.


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Brasserie Les Halles

New York with a hint of Paris: entrez-vous Brasserie Les Halles for a classic French meal in a fun setting. This Park Avenue location (there is another one downtown) opened in 1990 and operates continuously from 7:30am to midnight, seven days a week. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, but gets loud and boisterous at night – just like a true French brasserie! The setting is unpretentious and resembles a Parisian brasserie is every way: scarred wooden tables, tiled floors, stiff white table cloths and a waiting staff that’s friendly, but rushed. French classics such as onion soup, steak tartare, and foie gras are served with a simple salad or pommes frites. Thanks to celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, who ruled the Les Halles kitchen for over a decade (and is still referred to as the restaurant’s “Chef-at-large”), we can even try to prepare these dishes ourselves with the help of his cookbook.

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Inspired by the original Cecconi’s in London, Cecconi’s Miami Beach opened its doors in 2010 in the members only Soho Beach House. This classical Italian restaurant offers Venetian inspired food and is open to the public for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Besides delicious dishes such as beef tartare with pecorino, quail egg and black truffle, Cecconi’s offers an amazing setting in the hotel’s ground floor courtyard. The 150-seats dining area is outside, but the carefully chosen furniture and the pergolas with overhanging greenery make it feel protected and cosy.  The trees are wrapped in white lights that create a magical effect when the sun sets. This is without a doubt one of the most beautiful restaurants in Miami to dine al fresco, just steps away from the ocean. Even though the interior and food make you feel like you’re in Europe, a little people watching will take you right back to SoBe. A colorful crowd of attractive models, surgically enhanced has-beens and a celebrity or two seem to love Cecconi’s too.

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OK, we’ve heard of all the coolest venues in Miami. The places where the celebrities have lunch, restaurants where the food is fresh, vibrant and delicious and of course the clubs where the music is spot on all night long. We love it. But! The one and only spot on Miami Beach where to find actual good Indonesian food is Indomania. People from all over the world come to this restaurant to enjoy real Indonesian food. Go with a group and let them bring you several appetizers and rijsttafels to try a great mix of flavors. An unforgettable experience ensured! And it’s a nice getaway from all the typical Miami food (a cultural fusion of Latin-American, African and European traditions). For all you Dutchies: it’s nice to know that the owner of this restaurant is Dutch. (He’s that friendly old guy that walks around and chitchats with everybody.)

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