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Discovering Unique Obsessions

By GIAnna Wyatt

BiCE Restaurante: New Italian in San Diego’s Old Gaslamp Quarter

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Italian food is always a crowd pleaser. In San Diego, groups travel among many restaurants for dinearounds in the intoxicating Gaslamp Quarter. Among the 150 restaurants, BiCE Restorante is a refined Tuscan-style restaurant that looks and feels like a NYC hot spot. The globetrotting restaurant chain operating from Tokyo to Abu Dhabi boasts a true sense of Italian excellence due to Italian Chef Mario Cassineri and his bold flavor choices.

Our group dined in the private Miliano room, seating 50 pax adjacent to the lobby bar. The space is warm, splashed with eggshell walls, sheer curtains and sprouting foliage, all dimmed by candle light. The novel-size wine list is super Italian, just like the staff. I choose a glass of Tuscan Prosecco.

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Texas Tacos: La Condesa, Austin

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Tacos in Austin are like pizza slices in New York. They’re everywhere. I dined at La Condesa restaurant in buzzing downtown Austin to learn more about quintessential TexMex cuisine. Condesa is known for its hip Latin style and 2-story bar serving over 80 types of tequila.

I dined in a private dining room located in the basement of the historic Flour House, built originally as a brewery in the 1860s. The dining room feels like a warm wine cave setting with heavy wooden arch beams overhead and vintage black and white photos on the walls. The stone vault is popular for fun food classes and group dinners.

The building was later designed by local architect/designers Michael Hsu and Joel Mozersky. The chic space features an open-air blue staircase, oak wood furniture and bright modern art. The dim lights reflect on the stone brick walls and murals creating a cool clubby vibe. It’s easy to get comfortable here, especially with an award winning margarita in hand.

The bar features a wildly creative margarita menu combining sweet, salty and spicy flavors shaken and poured over ice, garnished with a variety of salts specially flavored in-house. I tried the Alma Blanca margarita infused with tequila, ginger, lemongrass/aloe syrup, pineapple juice and hibiscus-rose salt. I knew our meal would be special after my first sip.

Another highlight of the night was the guacamole platter offering a choice of eight different guacs. We swiftly passed the sampler board around our table, spooning the spicy blends of salsa, avocado and jalapenos onto our warm tortillas. The tray seemed endless and everyone kept sharing and comparing flavors. We ordered a variety of tacos, each on corn tortillas topped with fish, beef, chicken and cilantro leaves. The ingredients are sourced locally based on traditional recipes from across Mexico.

Desserts by Pastry Chef Laura Sawicki include a decadent chocolate tart with caramel and ganache. The sweet and savory treat is topped with salt and coconut ice cream.

I’ve become obsessed with Thai food. The combination of rice noodles, garlic and herbs is pure comfort after a long day at the office. I find myself “Thaiing” up all of my food these days. Who knew that coconut milk could be a nutritious sub for dairy milk? Here’s a dish I made with brown rice noodles, chicken, red pepper, coconut milk, cilantro, corn, diced tomatos and green peppers. 

I’ve become obsessed with Thai food. The combination of rice noodles, garlic and herbs is pure comfort after a long day at the office. I find myself “Thaiing” up all of my food these days. Who knew that coconut milk could be a nutritious sub for dairy milk? Here’s a dish I made with brown rice noodles, chicken, red pepper, coconut milk, cilantro, corn, diced tomatos and green peppers. 

Meat Market: Much More Than Meat

Miami is all about presentation. The heels are higher, the skirts are shorter, the portions are larger and drinks are works of art. 

Meat Market is a steak house of celebrity proportion. By the looks of things, the chic, romantic vibe could fool you into thinking it’s more of a nightclub than an eatery.

The Crudo Bar is where I like to sit, chatting up my favorite bartenders during the 5-8 p.m. happy hour. The “drink chefs” create a variety of hand crafted cocktails, including my favorite Lychee Martini. The variety of citrus flavors in the sweetened vodka combined with fresh lychee and juice is a mouthwatering (and sometimes dangerous) combination. 

Other popular drinks include the Tangerine Dream, a libation of gin, Prosecco, citrus juices and fresh kiwi. 

The “Some Like It Hot” lets you choose your fate: Reposado tequila, raspberry, fresh lime juice, jalapeno infused agave nectar and a choice of mild, medium or hot. After a couple sips, I agreed with the name. 

It’s not all about the drinks though. The food is absolutely sensational. The menu features a variety of prime cut meats, fresh seafood and innovative side dishes. The prices are heavy, but that’s to be expected in South Beach. 

Highlights include the super-sized wedge salad, the Drunken Oyster Shooters, the creamy lobster mashed potatos and the decdant Gouda tater tots. 

To share, try the big boy Kobe Beef steak, it weights a good 32oz. It’s bigger, it’s better. That’s just how it goes in Miami. 

Restore Your Youth With This Anti-Aging Hormone

Every day, we battle through stress. In today’s world, we face as much chemical tension as emotional tension. These stresses affect your stress gland (the adrenal gland) that sits on top of each kidney.

The adrenal glands produce vital hormones needed to live, including one called dehydropiandrosterone (DHEA). DHEA helps to strengthen the mind, body, internal health and provide youthful vigor.

Check out my latest post on Maximized Living. 

Last night, Portgal-based Pestana Hotels and Resorts opened its first North American hotel in the heart of South Beach’s Art Deco District.
The 97-room boutique is made up of four historic Art Deco buildings formerly known as the Hotel Miljean complex.
You’ll want to check out the trendy Mermaid Café and the Pool Bar set on a 1940’s inspired patio with an outdoor pool. Black and white photos of retro mermaids hang on the walls of the ivory colored flat splashed with bright shades of earthy green.
The lobby lounge is quaint space to sip champagne while reading through fashion magazines on the contemporary coffee tables and plush living room style sofas.
The historic complex was originally built between 1940 and 1952. The post-war modern style architecture is a common design found within South Beach’s city limits.
Pestana takes luxury to a new level in the newly appointed guestrooms, which we renovated during transformation. The hotel upgrade was delayed by two years in 2009 after a fire onsite. The ultra-modern rooms feature clean lines of beige and ivory with black and white prints on the perimeter.
You’re in a prime location too. Buzzing Lincoln Road and Collins Avenue are only steps away.

Last night, Portgal-based Pestana Hotels and Resorts opened its first North American hotel in the heart of South Beach’s Art Deco District.

The 97-room boutique is made up of four historic Art Deco buildings formerly known as the Hotel Miljean complex.

You’ll want to check out the trendy Mermaid Café and the Pool Bar set on a 1940’s inspired patio with an outdoor pool. Black and white photos of retro mermaids hang on the walls of the ivory colored flat splashed with bright shades of earthy green.

The lobby lounge is quaint space to sip champagne while reading through fashion magazines on the contemporary coffee tables and plush living room style sofas.

The historic complex was originally built between 1940 and 1952. The post-war modern style architecture is a common design found within South Beach’s city limits.

Pestana takes luxury to a new level in the newly appointed guestrooms, which we renovated during transformation. The hotel upgrade was delayed by two years in 2009 after a fire onsite. The ultra-modern rooms feature clean lines of beige and ivory with black and white prints on the perimeter.

You’re in a prime location too. Buzzing Lincoln Road and Collins Avenue are only steps away.

Homemade Thai food! #yum #foodporn #Thailand #travel #discoveringuniqueobsessions

Homemade Thai food! #yum #foodporn #Thailand #travel #discoveringuniqueobsessions

Beautiful morning in Miami. One of the many reasons I love my home! #miami #beach #miamibeach @jthomasfitness #ocean #travel #discoveringuniqueobsessions  (at The Perry South Beach Hotel)

Beautiful morning in Miami. One of the many reasons I love my home! #miami #beach #miamibeach @jthomasfitness #ocean #travel #discoveringuniqueobsessions (at The Perry South Beach Hotel)

Club Hopping: The Ritz-Carlton Mami Part #2

imageKey Biscayne is a historically rich, tropical barrier island paradise. The Ritz-Calton is a favorite weekend spot for laid-back Floridians. It’s only 15 minutes south of South Beach, but seems like a different world in attitude and ambience. Gigantic green iguanas roam the grounds of the hotel. Palm trees and sandy beaches surround the perimeter and the city’s historic lighthouse is walking distance away.

Our first night was devoted to a progressive dinner with a jetset pass. The club concierge set up an “Around the World Tour” through the resort’s four restaurants. And so we drifted luxuriously from Dune, a high-energy beach bar, to Cantina Beach, a Coastal Mexican-inspired restaurant with its own “Tequiler.” Then we traveled to Italy, or at least its approximation, in the form of Cioppino, which features a banquet-style wine room and tabletop telescopes for moon- and star-gazing on the patio. There’s even a constellation concierge to help you find your own lucky star.

Every club in the chain is different. At the Ritz-Carlton, Key Biscayne, a club outpost was situated in the middle of the beach, so that guest-members could enjoy a quick bite while sunbathing.

There was also a club lounge in the resort, where we booked a boat tour around the island and an appointment for a Coco- Luscious Body Wrap at the spa. That treatment involved raw sugar cane granules and rich coconut oils to exfoliate, followed by a warm rinse and an antioxidant moisturizing body butter with mango.

Tweets by @GiAnna_Wyatt