If you live in the Southeast, Panama City Beach is an ideal choice for a vacation quickie. Last month, the fam and I took a girls-only trip to The Gulf for a few days. We stayed in a condo that was on the beach, and also steps away from Pineapple Willy’s, a popular restaurant/bar in PCB.
Pineapple Willy’s is well-known for their cocktails (both frozen and on the rocks), which are served in refillable souvenir cups. We visited Pineapple Willy’s three times during our visit, and I had the opportunity to try their “Pineapple Willy” signature drink (on the rocks) and a “Rum Runner” (frozen). Made using rum, pineapple juice, and cream of coconut, the “Pineapple Willy” is basically a pina colada on the rocks. A very tasty cocktail, but entirely too much ice. All that ice ultimately waters down the drink and takes down the potency. No bueno.
Since the “Rum Runner” was frozen, I didn’t have either of those issues. As the good folks here in Atlanta say, I was “lit” about halfway through my drink. Yes bueno. Also, another tasty concoction.
As a self-proclaimed oyster connoisseur, the fried oysters at Pineapple Willy’s were everything for me. The oysters themselves were huge. There was a nice amount of batter on them, but since the oysters were so big, I didn’t find them to be overly-breaded. I do wish they had their own house-made sauces. The cocktail and tartar sauce I received were both pre-packaged (Ken’s to be exact). I also tried the calamari and smoked tuna dip. Both were decent, not sure if I’d order them again though.
Just recently, I took the most amazing trip to Negril, Jamaica with friends. Although I spent most of my time on the beach (I mean, who wouldn’t?), we had the opportunity to sample quite a few authentic meals and Lushworthy cocktails while there. So, in case you plan on taking a trip to Negril, I’ve listed my favorite places for food and/or drinks, below.
The Bar At White Sands: Oddly enough, this was our homebase for drinks since it was located on our hotel grounds, but I honestly have no idea if it had a name and what that name may have been. But that’s beyond the point…Happy Hour specials every single day! And potent, tasty drinks, which are affordable even without the Happy Hour specials. Prior to heading to Negril, my friend and I noticed that the main bartender at our hotel’s bar, Paul had a handful of less than pleasant reviews on TripAdvisor. I have to say that Paul was on point on our end. We weren’t greeted with hugs and cookies every time we visited the bar, but he was attentive and helpful. Also, as far as drinks are concerned, I highly suggest the Dirty Banana, Pina Colada, Rum Punch or a good ol’ Red Stripe.
If you’ve ever been to South Beach then you know that dining on the sidewalk while 8,000 people walk past you and your teeny-tiny (and probably wobbly) table is kinda “the thing” down there. I’ve done it once and I can’t say that I’m a fan. Thankfully though, the food and cocktail scene in South Beach offers far more than cooped up sidewalk dining. While on a visit to Miami last month, a friend and I had the opportunity to attend a food and cocktail tasting at 660 At The Angler’s, which is located in The Angler’s, a boutique hotel situated on Washington Avenue.
Upon stepping into the bar and lounge area at 660 At The Angler’s it’s apparent that this ain’t your average South Beach joint. The decor is what I would describe as cozy Bohemian. There’s various shades of maroon, lots of gold details, and tons of decorative pillows (hence the cozy factor). The bar area is relatively small (it seats about four people) and lacks the Bohemian feel of the neighboring lounge. I was really a fan of the decor in the lounge, so I wish it would have transitioned into the bar area. But bars were meant for drinking and not getting your inner interior decorator on, so it obviously wasn’t a major flaw.
Speaking of bars, I had the opportunity to sample a handful of cocktails at 660 At The Angler’s including the El Diablo, Southside Fizz, and 660 Sangria. Here’s a little breakdown of each of those drinks.
El Diablo – Herradura Reposado, Creme de Cassis, fresh lime juice, and ginger beer.
Don’t let the devilish name fool you. The El Diablo is truly a sweetheart when it comes to the palate. The Creme de Cassis does a fine job of mellowing out the tequila and ginger beer always makes everything better. All in all, the El Diablo is both sweet and highly drinkable (i.e. you might just forget you’re drinking booze).
It’s no secret that the craft beer market has exploded over the past years. Even cruise lines, yes cruise lines, are getting in on this latest booze trend. Crystal Cruises, who previously featured a beer connoisseur menu on select cruises, has just announced their new craft beer theme for the Crystal Fall Culinary Cruise.
The brew-centric luxury cruise will consist of expert presentations, cooking and cocktail classes, tasting sessions, and dinners. In addition to on board experiences, guests will also have the opportunity to visit breweries on the mainland. Also pretty cool is the fact that this particular cruise will take you to a variety of ports including ones in Baltimore, Maryland, Charleston, South Carolina, Turks & Caicos, and Aruba.
Oh, and here’s one more “pretty cool” mention, the cruise will include appearances from brew connoisseurs Stephen Beaumont, Jon Ashton, and Anthony Caporale, who will help lead the various classes and demonstrations.
“We’ve recently seen the growing interest in microbrews, from crafting to drinking, reflected in our own guests’ palates, leading us to add international specialty beers to our Connoisseur beverage menu in 2013,” says Toni Neumeister, vice president, food and beverage operations and hotel procurement. “A microbrew theme in 2014 is a natural extension of that interest, utilizing the programming format of our successful ‘Wine & Food’-cruises to expand travelers’ palates and minds in new ways that can last well beyond their cruise.”
Cruise fares, which are all-inclusive, start at $3,700.
I haven’t been back in Atlanta more than 24 hours yet and already I’m eager to share the details of my recent trip to Miami. Miami (South Beach in particular) is a pretty popular tourist spot. So, I’m sure many of you are familiar with the hoity-toity mega-clubs and sidewalk cafes that charge you well over 30 bucks for a margarita with two gallons of ice plopped into it. Although I do have to admit that I did indulge in one over-priced, sidewalk margarita. What can I say? I just can’t avoid the allure of numerous, neon-hued straws.
Anywho, while taking the South Beach Food Tour (also “the move”) our tour guide pointed out a well-known, Miami Beach dive bar called Mac’s Club Deuce. She revealed that it was a favorite of Anthony Bourdain, and at that point I knew it was a place I had to check out before the end of my trip. Unfortunately, I waited until my last night on Miami Beach to check out this divey jewel, and here’s a few reasons why my visit to Mac’s Club Deuce was pretty damn amazing.
Cheap, Strong Drinks – You’re more likely to come across a three-legged unicorn than you are a cheap drink on South Beach. Thankfully though, the drinks at Mac’s Club Deuce are both affordable and potent. I switched between a Manhattan and Guinness the night I was there. The Manhattan was made using Maker’s Mark and was only $9 and the bottle of Guinness was $6.
Shenanigans – No good dive bar is complete without a surplus of shenanigans. So, here are just a few randomly hilarious and/or interesting moments I witnessed.
A man riding his bike around the pool table.
Two, Atlanta chicks hovering over the jukebox, singing loudly to Incubus and Outkast. And yes, I was one of them. Read more
Over the past few years, cultural fusions have become quite prominent when it concerns the food and drink world. Some fusions work amazingly well together. Take Atlanta restaurant Poor Calvin’s for example, which boasts a food and drink menu that combines Southern flair with far East sophistication. And when it comes to food and drink fusions, I’m sure the city of Miami reigns supreme. Among the Miami establishments serving up a unique mixture of two varying cultures, and in liquid form on top of that, is the Lord Balfour hotel.
Located on vibrant Miami Beach, Lord Balfour has just introduced a tea-infused signature cocktail list that pairs British staples with a little Latin flair. See, I told you they were serving up some very unique and of course Lushworthy combinations.
In the mood for a rum infused with green tea? Then their “Piccadilly Circus,” which combines green tea-infused rum with lime juice, mint, and ginger beer, should make for a welcoming addition to tea time. And if you prefer your cocktails sans the Brit’s beverage of choice then the Lord Balfour’s new menu offers a handful of cocktails that don’t include tea, but are still heavy on the Latin-British fusion.