Tag Archives: S&C on the road

Off to Prague

pragueMs. S&C goes on the road — to Prague!

Attention loyal S&C readers, Ms. S&C will be taking a few days off (actually, more like a week and a half), as she and Mr. S&C are headed to Prague! We’ve got our trusty Rick Steve’s guide and the New York Times’ 36 Hours column, so we’re ready to explore one of Europe’s most beautiful cities (at least that’s what we’re told). What will we do while we’re there? Well, we’ll visit some castles, drink some a lot of Czech beer, look at Art Nouveau, and you know — just holiday.

While she’s gone, there may be an occasional Tweet or two (no promises, though). But, you’ll be in good hands with Miss Mojito. Miss M will be *live* blogging the season finale of Project Runway, on Thursday, Nov. 19th, so be sure to check it out! Live blogging is fun.

Na zdravi! (That’s “cheers” in Czech).

posted by Ms. S&C


The Washington Post Travel Section recently referred to Lynchburg, Va., as “fine and funky.” Bohemian even. This is not how Ms. S&C would have referred to her hometown — not the hometown where she grew up. Fourteen years later, she still wouldn’t exactly say it is “bohemian” or “funky” — it is Jerry-Falwell-conservative after all. No, it is not quite bohemian or funky, but it pretty close to “hip.” And it is definitely host to a growing number of hip places.


Ms. S&C was in her hometown last weekend for a cousin’s wedding. While there, she ventured down to Main Street (an area she hasn’t visited in years), and was totally stoked. Yes, stoked. There was a street festival (Friday Cheers), and lots of new shops and restaurants.

One would expect to find an old-factory-turned-cool-establishment in Manhattan or Chicago, but not Lynchburg. That’s what is so exciting about the Craddock Terry Hotel.

The hotel, housed in what was once the Craddock Terry Shoe factory and a tobacco storage warehouse, is one of the cornerstones of a Main Street revitalization project. And, the place is gorgeous. Exposed wood beam ceilings, nine-foot tall windows, exposed brick and stone walls, decor accented with historical artifacts (read: old shoes!) — this turn of the century shoe factory has been transformed into a lovely boutique hotel.

Ms. S&C is always one to stop and read the historical marker, so here are some points of history on the Craddock Terry Company (once a thriving and important part of Lynchburg’s economy):

  • The company was at first a wholesaler of footwear. It had $311,465 in sales in 1889, and $1 million in sales 10 years later.craddock-report
  • Craddock-Terry began making shoes at the turn of the century. It built a number of factories and warehouses in Southside Va., St. Louis, Mo., and Milwaukee, Wi.
  • The company hit hard times during the Great Depression and got rid of the plants outside of Va.
  • During the Depression, Craddock-Terry continued annual picnics for all employees and their families. The picnics included beauty pageants and sports contests.
  • Business picked up again during WWII, when Craddock-Terry made boots for soldiers.
  • Sales peaked in 1978. During the 1980s, foreign competition was credited for declining sales, so the company was sold and filed for bankruptcy in the late 1980s.

Ms. S&C stopped by the hotel for a quick tour and had a drink at their fine dining establishment, Shoemakers. She also got word of a number of other hip places down the street, including A+ martinis at Bull Branch. Ms. S&C spent the better part of her teenage years wanting to get out of Lynchburg, — now, she can’t wait to go back.

posted by Ms. S&C

Ms. S&C goes southernmost

It has been a month since Ms. S&C returned from her Key West vacay, and she has finally gotten her act together to write a recap of her trip. This was not Ms. S&C’s first visit to the keys. It was her third, actually. Trip number one was Spring Break, sophomore year in college. Trip two was Spring Break, senior year. Trip three was with Mr. S&C, who’s never been there. It is safe to say this visit was different than the first two — but not that different.

People of all kinds visit Key West. Bikers, gays, hippies, retirees, frat boys, the girls-who-love-frat-boys, couples. And many of them visit with one thing in common — drinking. There may be some people-watching and site-seeing, conch fritters and key lime pie, but there is an awful lot of drinking. This heavy-imbibing eclectic mix reminds me a lot of New Orleans. You can call Duval Street the southernmost Bourbon Street.


Ms. S&C had no choice but get used to drinking out of
plastic cups when in Key West

One thing that made this visit different from others: planning. When planning a trip, to Key West, or any other destination for that matter, Ms. S&C recommends you check out the usual suspects for travel ideas: the New York Times’ 36 Hours covers Key West; the Washington Post has several articles; and OpenTable helps with restaurant recommendations. Even with all these resources, nothing beats recommendations from friends (thanks, LC). And with that, Ms. S&C brings you her Guide to Key West.

(Note: Items with an * indicates that I recommend. Items with an * and in bold are the spots I highly recommend, and are the places I would 100% visit again. That means, you shouldn’t miss them if you find yourself there.)


Flew from D.C. to Miami (we got a really cheap flight–$325 for two, round-trip tickets).

Rented a car (splurged on a convertible b/c of cheap flight), and drove down Route 1.  The drive takes longer than you think because you can only go about 40 mph. But, I drove from Virginia my previous two visits, so this 3 and a 1/2 hour trip was a breeze.

Checked in at Island City House*. This is a lovely, affordable inn with gorgeous gardens and a friendly staff. It has a nice pool, serves breakfast, and is an easy walk to Duval Street (and everywhere else). But, it is also far enough way that you escape the constant party-goers.

Swam a few laps in the pool, drank a few Red Stripes (I can’t resit the Jamaican lager when I’m someplace beachy), then hit the town.

Dinner at Seven Fish* – a tiny intimate spot that is a favorite of locals. Probably because it feels far away from the rowdy crowds of Duval Street. There’s a lot of fresh fish on the menu, and the dishes are well prepared. The key lime cheesecake should not be passed up.

801 Bourbon Bar – literally ran in this bar because of an unexpected thunderstorm. I’m sure I’ll see a drag show sometime in my life, but I wasn’t feeling it my first night in Key West. The show is apparently quite good, and the bar itself is fun with great dance music, but I wanted to be out on the town.

Green Parrot* – when googling “jukebox bars + Key West,” the Green Parrot was the top result. Mr. and Ms. S&C love bars with jukeboxes. This jukebox was good, but far too specialized with too much blues and jazz. The place also appears to have a loyal following of locals, again, probably because it is a few blocks off Duval.


Lunch at B.O.’s Fish Wagon* – this can’t be described any other way than an open-air shack. I was a little bit intimidated by the lady-with-a-big-personality taking our order, but the food is definitely worth it. Try the grilled fish sandwich and share an order of fries.

Toured the Hemingway House* – you should take the guided tour (our tour guide was a hoot). You’ll learn about Hemingway, his family, his cats, his work, the house (great architecture and art), and some Key West history. The house itself, and the pool, are amazing by the way.

Captain Tony’s Saloon* – known as the original Sloppy Joe’s and favorite bar of Ernest Hemingway. Not sure he would enjoy it as much today, but it is a great place for people-watching (saw a guy dressed as a pirate, with a live parrot on his shoulder). There’s a mixture of tourists and townies, and maybe a few people who drink for a living. There’s also a really fun (and talented) acoustic guitarist who plays a few days a week. Then, there’s the Pirates Punch, of course.


Pirates Punch is a secret blend of Cockspur rum, gin and a tropical fruit mixture. Served in a souvenir cup that’s yours to keep.

Kelly’s Caribbean Bar and Grill* – Kelly, as in Kelly McGillis of Top Gun, has a casual, yet elegant eatery, with killer happy hour specials—three drinks for $8. Great margaritas.

Green Parrot, again.

Virgilio’s* – recommended by a local we met at Green Parrot. We skipped the martinis (a specialty) and dined on carpaccio, insalata mista and penne puttanesca. Waitress told us we could take our leftover wine “to go,” but we told her we couldn’t.

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Imbibing in New Orleans

Miss Mojito just returned from a trip to Mississippi, but had the chance to take a quick detour to New Orleans. Tuesday nolaafternoon found me on the patio at Pat O’Brien’s beneath blue skies and enjoying a balmy breeze. The perfect locale was only enhanced by the perfect New Orleans beverage: the Mint Julep.

It may not be as indicative of New Orleans culture as the Hurricane or the Sazerac, but I think the Mint Julep is the perfect drink to enjoy while you’re visiting New Orleans: it packs a punch while remaining festive. I like to think of it as the mojito’s American cousin. They’re both classified in the same category of drink (perhaps Miss Mojito’s favorite category), the smash, in which ingredients are “smashed” and muddled together with alcohol and mixer.

mintThe Pat O’Brien version is assertive and fun. They pair plenty of bourbon with plenty of garnish for some fantastic results. So until you can make your way to Pat O’Brien’s and try their version for yourself, here’s a quick recipe to test out. And with the Kentucky Derby coming up on May 2, it’s the perfect time to hone your julep-making skills. Enjoy!

Mint Julep
Serves one

  • 2 ounces bourbon (Miss Mojito recommends Woodford Reserve)
  • 1 Tbl. simple syrup
  • Small handful mint leaves
  • Whole mint leaves, cherry and orange for garnish (optional)
  • Crushed ice

Muddle mint leaves in bottom of a glass. Fill with crushed ice. Add syrup and bourbon and stir. Garnish as desired.

Posted by Miss Mojito.

Happy valley

S&C went tailgating over the weekend.  Headed to State College, PA,  to see friends JD and Bob, and see Penn State take on clobber Michigan.  It was super-fun being in a college town, and one that is crazy about football.  Tailgating is, of course, awesome.  S&C really likes hanging out with friends during the day, eating, and drinking.  Not to mention, the fall foliage was gorgeous up there.

To celebrate the festivities, we prepared an autumnal punch, recipe courtesy of Ms. RB, our friend out of Texas.  This punch is very mellow, so it is definitely appropriate for an afternoon of drinking.  If you’re planning a Halloween party, or attending some other fall-related shindig, serve this punch.  It is a winner.

Autumn Spiced Punch

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 12 cinnamon sticks, broken
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves
  • 4 cups cold apple juice
  • 1 12 oz can apricot nectar
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 bottles white wine, preferably Sauvignon Blanc

In a saucepan combine water, sugar, cinnamon sticks and cloves.  Bring to boil, reduce heat.  Cover and simmer 10 minutes.  Cover and chill for 12-24 hours.  Strain spices from syrup.  Combine syrup with fruit juices.  Pour into punch bowl (or plastic pitcher, if you’re tailgating) and add wine.

And, in case you’re interested, our tailgating menu included: chicken wings, pork barbeque, coleslaw, and baked beans.  Perfect for the back of a pick-up truck.

After the game, we headed to The Tavern Restaurant, a town favorite, and famous for a drink called the “Original Sin.”  The Original Sin recipe is top-secret, but apparently is 50% alcohol (including brandy), mixed with club soda, a secret fruity mixture (definitely includes maraschino in some form), and topped off with champagne.  It reminds you of a spiked punch you may have had in high school.  If you’re there, you have to try it.

Thanks for the great weekend State College friends!  Reserve a tailgating spot for us next year – we’ll be there, ready to party Nittany Lions style.

Tour de force–part II

The New York City bar hop continues…

Temple Bar was our next stop.  This place was less intimate and a bit swankier than PDT, and probably geared to someone with deeper pockets than moi.  But, I definitely appreciated the friendly service and being able to get a table, as we had three others join us.  A good variety of cocktails on the menu.  Here’s what I sampled:

44 North
I positively adore anything with pomegranate juice.  I love the tartness.  Unfortunately this drink tasted a bit chalky?
Served over ice in a highball glass

The Arbitrator
I, now, officially prefer gin as my spirit of choice.
Strained in served in a martini glass

  • Plymouth Gin
  • Sage
  • Peach Puree

Next, we swung by 124 Old Rabbit Club in Greenwich Village.  This was my second favorite place of the night.  It is very unassuming, dark (think basement), hip and cool, and to me, it has New York City written all over it.  It is easy to miss, so look for the black door at the bottom of a few steps.  I think there were mailbox-style letters at the top, but who knows what I saw at this point of the night.  They only serve beer and wine, so I had an Orval.  Correction: they only serve good beer and wine.

Photo by Carmen E. Lopez and AJ Wilheim, New York Magazine

Photo of Old Rabbit Club by Carmen E. Lopez and AJ Wilheim, New York Magazine

I probably should have called it a night after the Old Rabbit Club.  But, we hopped in a cab and soldiered on to The Back Room.  I vaguely recall the bouncer out front and the longer-than-you-think-walk to the entrance.  I do remember the place being gorgeous, with an old-school glamorous décor.  Drinks are served in teacups, as a throw-back to the speakeasy-style environment.  Word on the street is to try the place during the week, because it was c-r-o-w-d-e-d on Saturday night.  I ordered a lame vodka tonic, which I hardly touched.  It was time to head home.

Tour de force–part I

It’s been a long time since I went to four bars in one night.  But, when I was in New York City, over the Columbus Day weekend, I felt compelled to try some of New York Magazine’s top-rated bars.  I also asked my good friend, Sesolf, for recommendations, and we embarked on the classic bar hop.

(Here’s part one of a two-part post on the night.)

First up, was PDT, or Please Don’t Tell, a speakeasy-style lounge in the East Village.  PDT has everything you’d expect – intimate ambience, superb cocktails, and the obligatory secret entrance (you enter through a vintage phone booth located within Crif Dog, a hot dog joint).  It was my favorite place of the night.  Not only is the place quite civilized (see etiquette rules),  the cocktails were inventive and down-right good.

Pearl Button
Referred to on the menu as a “Caipirinha Collins,” and it was.  Light and refreshing, it was the perfect cocktail to start the night.
Served over ice in a collins glass

Witch’s Kiss
This drink has a thicker consistency and interesting herbal flavors.
Strained and served in a martini glass

  • Jose Cuervo Tequila
  • Lemon Juice
  • Strega (bittersweet herbal liqueur)
  • Red Jacket Orchard Apple Jack Butter

The glass is filled with perfect crushed ice and garnished with mint.  One trick we learned – flick the mint leaves to release the sweet aroma right before serving.

  • Tanqueray Gin
  • Krogstad Aquavit
  • Pineapple Juice
  • Lemon Juice
  • Muddled Blackberries

(Next up: a basement bar akin to a rabbit hole, a faux speakeasy.)

Sunday brunch

Life doesn’t get much better when you can sleep in on a Sunday, then rouse to join friends for a leisurely and delicious brunch.  But life does get better when you get to have said Sunday brunch on a gorgeous October day in New York City’s West Village.

I was this lucky duck this past Sunday.  Having spent Saturday night tasting cocktails in the city (more to come about those), I was thrilled to meet friends the next day at Dell’Anima, a fantastic Italian restaurant.  The name translates to “of the soul,” which is a perfect description for their hearty, elegant dishes.  Dell’Anima serves brunch family-style, and now I think there is no other way.  Together you can ooh and ahh over the Farro, retell funny stories from the night before while passing the French toast, and soak up the remaining precious moments of the weekend over that last cup of coffee.  Its bliss, I tell you.  Bliss.

Dell’Anima’s Sunday Brunch Menu:

Our Sunday Brunch Drinks:

  • Bellini (with blood oranges rather than peaches)
  • Bloody Mary (spicy and served with a pearl onion)

Fragments of a rainy vacay

Rain, high winds, threats of coastal flooding – not exactly how Ms. S&C pictured her long weekend in Rehoboth Beach, DE.  But, we made the most of it.  While there was little sunshine to enjoy, there were plenty of other fun beach-y activities: walking along the boardwalk, frisbee in the surf, putt-putt golf, live music and plenty of dining out.

Places of culinary interest included:

Drink of the trip: Beer

Maybe it was a slight case of seasonal affective disorder, but I was in no mood for the typical fruity cocktails.  No rum punch, no daiquiris, nothing resembling a tropical drink was consumed.  Wine usually accompanied dinner, but otherwise it was all about beer: Pumpkin ale and IPAs from DFH, Paulaner Hefeweizen, beers from Anchor Brewing Company, and my light beer of choice–Amstel Light.