Eating Out: Austria – Passport Magazine

Author: , September 10th, 2018

Austria - Pixabay

I ask an American what is considered quintessential Austrian cuisine, and you’re likely to get a furrowed brow. At roughly 32,000 square miles (think South Carolina, but landlocked), the country shares borders and cultural influences with the Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Liechtenstein, and Slovakia. In its heyday, the Austrian Empire was one of the most powerful in Europe, ruled by the Habsburgs for nearly six centuries. The declared war against Serbia marked the beginning of World War I, and by 1918 the dynasty was history. Nazi invasion followed and an eventual restoration of autonomy with the help of the Allied Forces.

Sitting at the epicenter of Europe’s evershifting alliances has tested Austria’s resiliency, but it has also laid the groundwork for culinary inspiration drawn from historical trade routes and centuries-old farming and agriculture industries. I recently visited the land of Wiener schnitzel and pumpkinseed oil in search of Austria’s best bites, and to taste how the country is keeping pace with 21stcentury gastronomy trends, while still maintaining its authentic traditions.

Vienna is Europe’s unsung hero for stunning Gothic, baroque, and modern architecture. It also boasts the Ringstrasse, a three-mile circular road where you can find the Vienna State Opera, the Museum of Fine Arts, and other Insta-worthy landmarks. Commissioned by Emperor Franz Joseph in 1857, it is the symbol of the city’s penchant for the finer things in life and still serves as an anchor for Vienna’s bustling and sophisticated lifestyle.

I begin my edible excursion by checking into the Grand Ferdinand (Schubertring 10-12. Tel: +43-1-91880. www.grandferdinand.com), hotelier Florian Weitzer’s opulent reimagining of several adjacent 1950’s office buildings. Its showcase restaurant, Meissl & Schadn (www.meisslundschadn.at), pays homage to the legendary namesake hotel and restaurant that opened in Vienna in 1896 but didn’t survive the city’s World War II bombing. History is reborn with classic recipes served in a dramatic setting featuring wicker chairs, tiled pillars, low-hanging chandeliers, and crisp white linens.

But it’s the sound of veal cutlets pounded into plate-size portions in the salon kitchen that gives Meissl & Schaden its signature Viennese flair. Dipped in free-range eggs then coated in breadcrumbs, the Wiener schnitzel sizzles away (in your choice of clarified butter, lard, or neutral vegetable oil) until crispy. Finished with a hearty squeeze of lemon, it embodies the essence of classic Austrian cuisine.

By Matthew Wexler – Full Story at Passport Magazine

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Eating Out: Sweden

Author: , January 29th, 2018

Eating Out - Sweden

Some may think that Sweden goes into hibernation once the dark months hit, temperatures plummet below zero and crisp white snow blankets everything with absolute abandon.
They couldn’t be more wrong, Swedes like to eat and drink all year round, regardless of weather and as a result, there’s a long, awesome food culture that every LGBTI foodie must try. So we asked the globetrotting gourmets with a love of Sweden, the GastroGays about their favorite foodie experiences. This is what they had to say…

Dinner on Ice in Brändö, Swedish Lapland

‘Swedish Lapland is a true winter wonderland with incredible food experiences to be had in the colder months.

‘In Brändö, you can dine between the stars and sea, by eating on the ice itself. Dinner on Ice is just 30 minutes outside Luleå at Brändö Kvarnväg. Beneath a starry sky and above the water itself, leave the shore surrounded by darkness and walk towards the glow and warmth of fire and enticing smell of food.

‘The lávvu tent sent up on the ice offers a truly unique experience for all the senses that seems all kinds of wrong in theory but in practice works on every level.’

Full Story at Gay Star News

Sweden Gay Travel Resources

Eating Out: Oakland, California

Author: , October 29th, 2016

Oakland

While it would surely raise eyebrows to deem dinner at Oakland’s Commis a bargain, it’s more than fair to call Chef James Shyabout’s elegant tasting menus a Michelin Stargain. Twinkling with two of the French tiremaker’s honorifics as of 2016, Oakland’s serene, cerebral seven-year-old culinary jewel box offers prix fixe adventures of eight ingenious small courses (plus a few more bonus bites sprinkled throughout the meal) for $125.

While that’s six times what you’ll spend for a satisfying steak dinner elsewhere in Oakland (more on that later), it’s a remarkable price compared to a constellation of other Michelin-winning prix fixes in the Bay Area: $398 at San Francisco’s Saison, $330 at Napa Valley’s Meadowood, $310 at the French Laundry in Yountville, and $235 at Manresa in Silicon Valley. (Prior to going out on his own, Shyabout cooked at the latter, as well as Spain’s legendary elBulli and England’s Fat Duck.)

Along with housing rates, the cost of opening and sustaining a business in the San Francisco environs have skyrocketed in recent years, to such an extent that, along with young, adventurous eaters, ambitious, eclectic chefs like Shyabout have rooted themselves in more affordable Oakland.

By Jim Gladstone – Full Story at Passport

San Francisco East Bay Gay Travel Resources

Eating Out: Long Island

Author: , August 3rd, 2016

Polo Steakhouse

With a farming heritage reaching back centuries and harvest ranging from apples to zucchini, Long Island is among New York’s most fertile regions. Add its bountiful waters, world-class wines, artisan producers, specialty purveyors, and, most critically, the right talent to bring these ingredients to life, and Long Island is confidently asserting its own culinary identity. At the vanguard of this success was Guy Reuge. Following early training in his native France, the much decorated chef, enchanted by America, moved to New York City in 1973. Following a decade at hotspots including Maxwell’s Plum, La Tulipe, and Tavern on the Green, Reuge and wife Maria (editor of Gourmet) in 1975 opened their acclaimed Mirabelle restaurant in St. James on the North Fork of the island.

“We were pioneers in leaving Manhattan for Long Island,” says Reuge, likening the region to a culinary “Siberia” in 1983. “There was no decent bread, and we were the first to introduce mesclun salad to the menu.” An immediate hit, Mirabelle remained hot until 2008, when Reuge closed up to focus on his family. The break was short-lived. When venerable Long Island food-service company Lessing’s approached him about reviving the name at the landmark Three Village Inn in nearby Stony Brook, Reuge said yes.

“We opened in 2009 as a dual concept, pairing fine dining Restaurant Mirabelle (150 Main Street, Stony Brook, Tel: 631-751-0555. www.lessings.com) with the more casual bistro-style Mirabelle Tavern,” says Reuge, who also serves as corporate chef de cuisine for Lessing’s portfolio, including luxe newcomer Sandbar (55 Main Street, Tel: 631-498-6188. www.lessings.com) in Cold Spring Harbor. “I’ve seen and contributed to tremendous change,” adds Reuge. “Long Island no longer has to feel jealous of New York City at the table.”

By Jeff Heilman – Full Story at Passport

Long Island Gay Travel Resources

Eating Out: Las Vegas

Author: , August 20th, 2015

Andrea BarIn case you haven’t noticed, Las Vegas has turned itself into a must-visit dining destination, attracting some of the world’s greatest chefs who are opening up spectacular new restaurants each year to the delight of the 40 million annual travelers to this desert oasis. From Gordon Ramsay, Hubert Keller, and Bobby Flay, to Wolfgang Puck and Giada De Laurentiss the choices are endless. Here are some of my top choices for discerning gourmands headed to Las Vegas. Bon appetit!

Della’s Kitchen

Delano Las Vegas combines the style, service, and allure of the original Delano South Beach with the energy and buzz of the Las Vegas Strip. Della’s Kitchen is designed to be a “historic farmhouse meets urban kitchen,” and does so by blending dessert tones and industrial materials.

Serving seasonal comfort dishes made with regionally and locally sourced ingredients, with local produce coming from Della’s private greenhouse, guests here enjoy a range of breakfast options from the simple local honey and lemon yogurt to elegant plates such as the Blue Crab Benedict with artisan Brie, spinach, roasted tomato, and Mornay sauce. Lunch options include five signature paninis ranging from Gruyere cheese and mushrooms to ham and brie with onion marmalade, sandwiches, burgers, and entrees featuring grass-fed beef and hormone-free chicken.

By Andrew Villagomez & Jeff Heilman – Full Story at Passport | Nevada Gay Travel Resources

Eating Out: New York City

Author: , July 28th, 2014

Ai Fiori NYCNo matter where you live, it’s worth visiting New York City at least once a year if only to be able to talk about the newest restaurants and hottest food trends from experience. It really makes no difference whether you long for New York street food or prefer to chase down Michelin stars. Though classic New York staples like bagels as big as your head and dollar-a-slice pizza are here to stay, much of the flavor of New York comes from the rotating cast of characters who are constantly reinventing the city’s cuisine. The choices here highlight some of the city’s most exciting and creative chefs, as well as the meticulously prepared dishes served by the world’s most venerable restaurateurs.

Beauty & Essex

The sign for Beauty & Essex hangs high above an entrance that blends better with the rough facades of mini-marts than those of the modern boutiques that surround it on the Lower East Side. Opening the door, I still wasn’t sure I was in the right place–instead of the restaurant I expected, I was standing in a vintage pawn shop. A few tentative steps forward, and the cashier waved me over to an unmarked door that opened into the lively bar and dining room of Beauty & Essex, an upscale lounge/restaurant/club with a growing reputation as a place to see and be seen.

Its rise in popularity might be partly due to this truth: Beauty & Essex is on a short list of places where you can confidently seek out both a superb dinner and a classy fling in the same, exquisite evening. The clientele is a celebratory bunch, a mix of trendy people in their late-20s to uptown sophisticates looking for the next big thing. Managers play matchmaker by encouraging patrons to mingle on the second-floor lounge for cocktails. Walking through the bar, the mood it set by dark decor and low lighting running down either side and into the dining room. High ceilings topped by a glass roof lend an air of infinity to a city so cramped. The aesthetic is smoothed by round wooden tables and curved leather booths.

By Amy Nordrum and Joseph Pedro – Full Story at Passport Magazine | New York Gay Travel Resources

Out in Las Vegas: Eating Out

Author: , May 4th, 2014

We had three nights in Vegas this trip, and we tried three very different restaurants. We liked each for different reasons, but there was a clear favorite.

Olives

View from Olives Terrace

Mastro VegasMASTRO

For dinner the first night, we ate at Mastro in the Crystal shopping center, part of the new city center development on the strip. Mastro first caught our eye on one of the previous visits. You can’t miss it when you enter the mall – it’s dominated by an amazing wooden structure the staff calls the Treehouse.

Mastro Vegas - MarkDesigned by architect David Rockwell, it reaches all the way from the ground floor up to the second floor where the restaurant sits, wraps around the seating area like a giant wooden nest, and then climbs up to the ceiling.

The food at Mastro was good, not stunning, but I did have something I never tried before, Alaskan King crab black truffle gnocchi.

Mastro Vegas

But be forewarned, the dishes are enormous. Each side dish is large enough to serve at least two people, and the waiter recommended that we get one side of French Fries to split. good advice, it turned out, because even with two half sides (fries and gnocchi) and one salad, there was more than enough food to go around, especially with the breadbasket delivered at the start the meal

The pretzel bread, by the way, is amazing. Still, this is a great place to do once for the unique atmosphere.

Olives VegasOLIVES

On Monday night, we had a fantastic dinner at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas. It was at a place called Olive, just off the main shopping drag that you enter from the casino or from the Las Vegas strip.

Olives VegasOlive has some great things going for it. First off, it’s right on the lake – yes that Lake – where the fantastic water show happens every 15 minutes to half an hour, depending on the time of day. It’s well worth it to get a seat out on the patio, especially if you can get one right along the rail – come little bit early and be prepared to wait for a space to open up.

Olives Vegas

We were at the center of the railing, right in the middle of the action – we watched three or four of the shows while we were having dinner.

Second – the food. It’s Mediterranean-style – we started with the Charcuterie – a cheese and meat platter. It was delicious, including candied walnuts and dried dates. There were also some delicious pickles.

Olives Vegas

For our main course, Mark ate the Caesar salad, and I had the raviolis – they were ricotta cheese raviolis with one of the most delicious meat sauces I’ve had in a long time. Amazing. I was tempted to lick my plate, but I restrained myself.

Third, the staff – the hostess got us a table on the outdoor patio, and the waiter was very friendly and helpful. The whole evening was a romantic delight.

The patio at Olive is a fantastic environment, where you can see some of the most beautiful cityscapes on the strip – Paris across the street, the new City Center across the lake, and of course the lake and the show itself.

Flour and Barley VegasFLOUR AND BARLEY

Our third night, we had our least expensive meal – but it was also very good. We dined at Flour and Barley in the new LinQ center. This pizza place serves an incredible thin-crust pizza, but if you want thick crust, you’ll need to go elsewhere.

We had a margarita pizza and a romaine salad – both were excellent. You have the option of sitting inside or out – the outdoor patio is great for people watching, and has views of the High Roller.

Honorable mentions – Jean Philippe Chocolates and Pastries at both the Aria and the Bellagio – an amazing selection of desserts, and gelato. With about 30 flavors, there will likely be one that you will absolutely love. We tried the stracciatella – chocolate chip with huge chocolate chunks – and the sugar-free strawberry, which was actually pretty good. The store is filled with all kinds of other amazing delights, including the hugest croissant we’ve ever seen. there’s another one of these at the Bellagio, with amazing chocolate fountain that run out of the ceiling all the way down to the floor. A must see for chocolate lovers.

Then there’s Palio – good breakfasts and lunches, with pool-view tables. And finally, Cafe Bellagio – for some really good breakfasts.

Visit the Purple Roofs Las Vegas, Nevada Page – Lodging, Travel Agents, Tour Operators, Events, News, and More

TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD: Dining Out When Traveling

Author: , May 11th, 2013
Email Donald & Ray | Visit the Gay Travel Guys Website

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IMG_5204Remember where you have dined when traveling and what you have eaten and then go somewhere completely new and try eating something else ! Those are great words to remember when traveling. Like most other travelers we have many times gotten into the rut of dining in the same restaurants in the same cities that we travel and usually order the same thing time after time after time.

Once in a while, like in New England, the Lobster Rolls are so delicious that we just have to order them every time we go back there. Several of the restaurants around the country where we return a lot, we seem to order the same thing, be we are going to stop that. There are many things on the menu and why not try different ones? It just makes sense to try new and different things to eat.

food las vegasWhen we were in South Florida last time, they had alligator on the menu. It did not sound that inviting but we did order it and it was delicious. A few years ago we were in a small cafe near Santa Fe, New Mexico and they had a hand made sign on their winder, We are serving fresh Barbacoa tacos today.

Naturally we had no idea what that was but decided to try. We did make the mistake of asking what Barbacoa was and was informed that they were made from the cheeks of calves. That certainly did not sound appetizing but as the saying goes, “when in Rome…..” so we tried it and we actually enjoyed the taste of it. A lot of times, a restaurant will be known for basically one thing even thou they have a complete menu so if you have never tried it, why not go for it.

food las vegas 2If you travel a lot, then by all means you should obtain the Entertainment book and get the complete one for all of the major cities in the country, not the one just for the city where you live. That way you will be able to take advantage of two for one lunches and dinners throughout the entire country.

Never forget to pick up the local newspapers, both the main newspaper as well as the freebies in the newsstands or in hotel and motel lobbies. Many times there will be coupons and specials to be had.

Another great and we mean really great idea is to go to a cooking school to dine. The different Culinary Schools across the nation is a fabulous place to dine. We have dined at the San Francisco Culinary School many times as well as Culinary Schools in much smaller cities in the country. It is truly amazing what some of these young chefs can come up with. Wine and cheese parties are also a lot of fun to attend.

Just don’t get in a rut and order the same thing time after time again. Life is too short not to expand your horizons and enjoy everything on the menu. Try French, Mexican, Italian, Oriental, and every other type of cuisine that is available. If you are near a beach or in the mountains, then stop by the local deli and take the food with you to go.

Always remember to have fun when traveling, meet new people and talk to everyone!

Donald and RayTRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for gay publications from coast to coast (And now legally married). Proud members of the IGLTA. You can email them at gaytravelers@aol.com and visit their website at http://gaytravelersataol.blogspot.com/