The Loews News Orleans: A Lushworthy Oasis In The Big Easy

Believe it or not, but my very first trip to New Orleans took place, this summer. New Orleans is an amazing city, but the sights, the sounds, and the tastes can all leave you in need of a vacation within your vacation. Thankfully, when the Hand Grenades proved to be too much, and when the surplus of beignets left me in a partial food coma, I was able to escape to the Loews New Orleans

Located in Downtown New Orleans, the Loews New Orleans is a short walk to Harrah’s Casino, the French Quarters, and a number of other popular destinations in the city. It’s also in an area that’s tucked away just enough for you to feel like you’re not smack dab in the middle of all the action.

Upon entering the Loews, you’re met with a spacious lobby, which leads directly into the Swizzle Stick Bar. Obviously, a boozy plus in my book. With its classic New Orleans feel, the Swizzle Stick Bar was a visual highlight of the hotel. The menu at the bar boasts both Classic Cocktails and Swizzle Stick Originals. I think it’s only right to sample at least one original cocktail when visiting a bar for the first time, so I opted for the Congo Square. What’s in this curious concoction, you ask? Papa’s Pilar Dark Rum, Coco Lopez, Patron XO, Vida Mezcal, Ancho Reyes, fresh pineapple, lime, and Angostura Bitters. Yeah, it boasts quite the ingredients list.

Although the Congo Square is about as complex as they come, the ingredients come together to create a worthwhile sip. Funny enough, hours before sipping on the Congo Square, I visited the actual Congo Square in Louis Armstrong Park. And believe it or not, the Congo Square cocktail was strangely reminiscent of the Square itself.

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New Orleans’ Meauxbar Takes Brunch To Decadent Levels Of Deliciousness

Brunch at Meauxbar in New Orleans was truly an experience. Upon stepping into this cozy restaurant, located on the corner of North Rampart and St. Philip, you don’t necessarily expect to leave having experienced one of the best brunches of your eggs and bacon-fueled existence. 

I consider myself a classic bruncher. I’m used to shrimp and grits, french toast, breakfast hash, etc. So, I knew I was in for a brunch a little outside of the norm when we were first treated to Meauxbar’s drool-inducing buttermilk donuts. Krispy Kreme-lovers beware: these buttermilk donuts aren’t your standard grab-and-go doughnut. They’re delivered to your table close to piping hot, and boast a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth flavor. 

A hands down favorite for me was the French Onion Grilled Cheese. Made using braised beef and onions, and accompanied by a petit salad, their French Onion Grilled Cheese is a must for sandwich aficionados. I usually like my sandwiches paired with fries or chips, but the petit salad was ideal in balancing out the meaty/cheesy savoriness of the grilled cheese.

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4 Reasons Why The Loews Vanderbilt Hotel Is Perfect For A Lushworthy Getaway

If you live in the Southeast, a trip to Nashville, Tennessee is perfect for a weekend getaway. Live music is seemingly infinite and the food is slap-ya-mama good. I recently had the opportunity to visit Nashville for a quick one-nighter to explore the city for the first time, and to also check out the Loews Vanderbilt Hotel. Although my time spent at the Loews didn’t surpass 24-hours, it was pretty clear how Lushworthy of a hotel it is. And here’s why…

Killer Craft Cocktails – Looking for carefully-crafted cocktails in a subtly chic setting? Mason Bar should be right up your alley. Located inside the Loews Vanderbilt, Mason Bar serves craft cocktails and sophisticated bar bites until about midnight. As a self-proclaimed Old Fashioned connoisseur, the “Mason Old Fashioned,” with its combination of bourbon, peach syrup, and bitter was perfection.

On the food end, I highly recommend the Fried Green Tomato Tacos. I usually despise tomatoes, but I do enjoy a good, fried green tomato. Yes, I understand how crazy that sounds. The tacos boasted an unexpected, but pleasant combination of ingredients, including fried green tomatos, shaved apples, goat cheese, candied pecans, and a secret sauce. Somewhat of a splurge at $9 for two tacos, but worth it.

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Cocktails On The Cheap: Half-Off Sips At Nashville’s The Sutler Saloon

Well, I can officially knock cocktails in the “Music City” (Nashville, Tennessee) off the Lushworthy bucket list. Over the weekend, myself and a couple of blogger friends took part in our first ever #LushYumBeauty press trip. We sipped and noshed our way through both Chattanooga and Nashville, and had an amazing time while doing so.

I love a good Happy Hour turn-up, so I was excited to discover that The Sutler Saloon, one of the restaurants we visited while in Nashville, offered just that. All of the cocktails on their menu are half-off from 3 to 7 P.M., Monday through Friday. 

A cocktail fav for me from The Sutler was “The Slingshot,” which is made using Gordon’s Gin, orange bitters, lemon, and sweet vermouth. I know that a lot of people tend to treat gin cocktails like a wicked step-kid because of past experiences. Trust me, a well-made gin cocktail will change your entire outlook on life. And “The Slingshot” has the ability to do just that. Taste-wise, it was like biting into a gin-infused orange. The orange flavor is heavily present thanks to the bitters, but there isn’t that tart ickyness you sometimes get from OJ. It. Is. Good!

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Cocktails On The Cheap: Pour It Up In Phuket, Thailand

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While finding cheap drinks in Phuket, Thailand is no struggle, you can easily fall into the tourist trap of overpriced hotel drinks and their dreaded service charges, and weak, pricey drinks at nightclubs. If you’re planning a trip to Phuket anytime soon (which you should) here are a few, boozy tips I gathered from my time there. 

Street Vendors Are EVERYTHING – The cheapest drink I came across during my travels in Phuket was a 50 baht mojito from a street vendor near Karon Beach. 50 baht is roughly $1.50 in American dollars. $1.50 mojitos make me very, very happy, and I am forever indebted to the group of ladies making these tasty concoctions. And yes, the mojitos were very tasty.

If you pay $1.50 for a mojito, you probably expect a cheap rum paired with an even cheaper, pre-made mojito mixer. Well, that’s not how they roll in Phuket. Although there was likely cheap rum involved, they did use fresh mint and lime. There was also lots of muddling involved. 

Also, I read a lot of warnings in regards to Phuket street vendors and the quality of ice they use, and how it relates to err…gastrointestinal issues. So, I should share that I didn’t have any problems on that end.

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Indulge In Hotel Happy Hours – Out of the three hotels we stayed at in Phuket, two of them had daily Happy Hours. Both hotels had buy one, get one free specials for about two hours each day. One hotel in particular, Hotel Ikon, had an all-day special on Mai Tais, which was right up my alley. I may have had one every day, during our stay. I can’t remember the exact price in baht, but I do know that each Mai Tai was about four dollars and change. 

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Cocktails On The Cheap: Sippin’ On A Budget In Hong Kong

 

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Hong Kong has gained quite the reputation for being one of the costliest cities around. But if you’re looking to get your drink on, there are definitely ways to do that without breaking the bank. Following my recent trip to Hong Kong, I gathered a few tips on how you can enjoy your cocktails on the cheap while in the Pearl Of The Orient. 

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Complimentary Happy Hour At Ovolo Hotels – Well, it doesn’t get any cheaper than free. During our stay in Hong Kong, we stayed at the Ovolo Aberdeen Harbour, and were treated to a complimentary, two-hour Happy Hour every darn day. Seriously, it was great. The staff put out a selection of wines, spirits, mixers, and snacks during those two hours, and you’re allowed to serve yourself. They also fill your FREE mini-bar with local beer. Again, it was great.

The Ovolo Aberdeen Harbour is on a pretty chill side of Hong Kong Island. I personally enjoyed it since we were able to take advantage of cheap food and less hustle and bustle. But if Aberdeen isn’t quite your style, there are several Ovolo hotels in Hong Kong to choose from. 

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