Great Hotel Bars Where You Can Celebrate National Margarita Day

If you thought Cinco de Mayo was the only holiday where you could celebrate your love for margaritas, think again. Today (February 22) is National Margarita Day. Yes, it’s a real holiday. No, there are no rules on whether you need to enjoy your libation on the rocks, frozen or swirled. We’re partial to the latter. To help whet your appetite (or give you inspiration for your at-home creation), we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite hotels where you can sip the famed tequila-lime concoction.

His and Hers at The Modern Honolulu

Drawing inspiration from a well-known book, the library-themed lobby bar at The Modern Honolulu, The Study, serves masculine and feminine takes on the traditional margarita. The Men Are From Mars includes Jose Cuervo Traditional tequila with St. Germaine elderflower liqueur, a dash of olive gastrique and a float ($14). The Women Are From Venus is Jose Cuervo Traditional tequila kissed with St. Germaine elderflower liqueur and sweet and sour “a la minute,” served up with a bonnet of cabernet ($14).

A Margarita of a Different Color at Tanque Verde Ranch

Tanque Verde Ranch takes pride in helping guests relax with the Ranch’s specialty Prickly Pear Margarita. This margarita is made with reposado tequila, Cointreua, Drambuie, bitters, freshly picked prickly pear juice from an on-property harvest, agave nectar and lemon, garnished with a lime ring.

Some like it Hot at Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa
The hotel’s Spur Restaurant & Bar serves a margarita sure to warm visitors up during cold winter months. Executive Chef Kevin Humphrey’s Spicy Margarita combines infused jalapeño tequila, muddled citrus, a passion fruit or blood orange puree, and is finished with a classic salted rim.

Keep it Classic at The Lodge at Tiburon
Tiburon Tavern at The Lodge at Tiburon has an upscale play on a classic with Matadora Gold Tequila, sweet agave nectar and fresh fruit juice, served over ice with a Gran Marnier float.

Go Artisinal at The Iroquois
Lantern’s Keep, at The Iroquois in Manhattan’s Theater District is known for serving perfectly crafted artisan cocktails. Celebrate National Margarita Day with their “Tequila Maid” made with tequila and lime, shaken with mint and cucumber.

If tequila is not your amigo… try Rancho Bernardo Inn
The Bar at this hotel serves a highly untraditional margarita, substituting the routine tequila for gin. The Rancho Gin-A-Rita showcases Nolet Gin, diced cucumbers, a dash of cilantro, agave nectar and a splash of orange juice and triple sec.

[Image Credit: Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa]

Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Hotel will open despite oil spill

Jimmy Buffett isn’t going to let a little oil spoil his fun. The margarita-loving crooner is set to open his 162-room Margaritaville Hotel in Pensacola, Florida and said the threat of the BP oil wreaking havoc on his beaches isn’t of concern.

Buffet’s $50 million hotel sits on the Gulf near the main section of Pensacola Beach, on land where Hurricane Ivan destroyed a previous hotel in 2004. Clearly not phased by the potential threat of the oil spill, Buffett told news sites he has no plans to delay the opening of his hotel.

“This will pass,” he said as walked along the city’s beachfront and fishing pier with Fla. Gov. Charlie Crist.

“Here’s an opportunity to be a real Floridian, because if we have to shore up here, we can do it.” Buffet told South Florida’s CBS4 reporters this weekend. He has his own marketing campaign in mind to get people to come to the panhandle. “It might be more fun to come down and help clean up than just lay around on the beach.”

Well put, Mr. Buffett. Grab your margarita, find your cheeseburger and sit back in a new kind of paradise in Pensacola. Cheers!

[via CBS4 South Florida]

Save big at Atlantis resort

We’re still not all that far into spring … which means the stinging cold of winter isn’t yet a distant memory. If you need a brief break from the places you saw covered in snow not too long ago, check out the latest deal from the Atlantis, Paradise Island Resort. You can pick up a nightly rate of $399 until May 26, 2010, if you spend four nights there. After that, a $499 a night reservation is available until June 20, 2010.

The $650/night value includes plenty of extras, including two dolphin interactions at the resort’s 14-acre dolphin interaction and education center, a round of golf at the Ocean Club Golf Course and one-night access to Aura. Enjoy two signature margaritas at Bobby Flay‘s Mesa Grill and two sunset martinis at Jean Georges‘ Dune … and munch and sip on a sushi and sake mini-tasting for two at Nobu.

Yeah, there are worse ways to put the winter behind.

Labor Day picnics: Make yours memorable. Tips and where to go suggestions

Katie’s post on how to turn a Labor Day barbecue into a multi-cultural affair is a mouth-watering read that gave me the feeling that the sweet Italian sausages I bought for a cook-out could use some jazzing up. Put Katie’s read together with tips I picked up this summer during a chat with one of Hip Hostess’s event planners, Amber Cleary, and Labor Day could easily be turned into an event to remember fondly when you’re back at work on Tuesday. (Hopefully, that good mood will take you all the way to the next weekend.) If you look past your backyard for a picnic location, even better..

I tried a couple of Amber’s ideas out on my last picnic when I headed to the Columbus Symphony’s outdoor Picnic with the Pops concert with Christopher Cross.

Amber’s mantra about making an event special and personal, gave me more umph when I thought of putting together the fixin’s, something that Katie touched upon when she suggested dressing up Labor Day fare with a cultural twist.

Here are the ideas, plus suggestions for simple places to take your picnic for the last holiday of summer. (This photo was taken last Labor Day as Yourdon strolled around Central Park in Manhattan.)

Amber’s Tip #1 (plus my interpretation): Depending upon the number of people in the group, pack salads and side dishes in Chinese food carry-out boxes–the small size. Each person gets his or her own box (or boxes) depending upon what you put in them. This makes food transportable, and once the food is eaten, you can throw the box away. An advantage is that there won’t be a bowl to take home, and you won’t need to bring plates or serving spoons.

For my Picnic with the Pops outing, I made Amber’s Shrimp and Orzo Salad and Fruit Salad with Lime Dressing. Here’s a fruit salad recipe from the Food Network that has a tropical twist and another version served up in a martini glass here. For a version of a shrimp and orzo salad from Cooking Light, click here.

More food container suggestions:

Tip # 2. Here’s a tip that I found on Amber’s blog. Desserts like pudding can be served in a jar. She’s done this with chocolate mousse. Each person get his or her own jar. Jars can be recycled or taken back home for the next picnic.

Tip # 3. Put dry type eats in origami containers. I was at a party once where a snack mix was served in a handmade paper bowl. Very cool, and a Japanese tradition that adds a cultural flair. Amber has served individual packages of cookies in handmade boxes. If the bowl interests you, here’s a link to a how to make one.

Tip #4. How about flat bottomed ice-cream cones? Then you can eat the container. Trail mix would be great, I think. Each could be wrapped in Saran wrap or paper to keep the goods from falling out.

Tip # 5. For beverages, consider individual water bottles. When I met Amber, she handed me a Camelback water bottle filled with a Sauza Peach Margarita, a lovely concoction of DeKuyper Luscious Peachtree Schnapps Liqueur, DeKuyper Signature Triple Sec, Sauza Tequila, sour mix and lime. It was absolutely yummy.

Think of any cold beverage and water bottle pairing. This would save on cups. Water bottles could be labeled with people’s names. Better yet, tell people to bring their water bottles to the picnic and you’ll fill it with something special. It doesn’t need to be an alcoholic version of something special, but. if you’re looking for spiked drink suggestions, check out the DeKuyper’s Web site Mix Master page.

With drinks and food in hand, don’t forget the details that can make your Labor Day picnic more personal and special.

  • A cloth table cloth, either to spread on the ground or put over a table. Mine is from India. It’s colorful, lightweight and easy to carry.
  • A real basket. It doesn’t have to be a picnic basket, but is large enough to hold the tablecloth, utensils and whatever else you want to bring along to set the scene. (At Picnic with the Pops, I’ve seen candles and flowers.)
  • A cooler to hold whatever food you’re bringing along. The older I get, the more a cooler with wheels sounds like a good idea.
  • Something to sit on that offers back support. The older I get, the more I want something to sit on.

For a hiking picnic, divide up food into individual cold pack type lunch bags for each person to carry his or her own, or divide up the food so each person is carrying part of the meal.

Instead of staying in your backyard for Labor Day, consider these options that are possibly close to home. The more portable your picnic, the more travel friendly:

  • A cemetery. No, don’t eat on a grave. Many older cemeteries are equipped with ponds and grassy areas for spreading out a blanket, eating a meal and enjoying solitude. Many, like Green Lawn Cemetery in Columbus, where writer James Thurber is buried, have become bird sanctuaries thanks to the urban sprawl that has taken up swatches of their habitat..
  • A city or a metro park. Many metropolitan areas have parks that serve as an oasis for bike riders, roller bladers and nature hounds. Often the shelter houses and picnic tables are first come, first serve, but even without a shelter find a shade tree, spread out your tablecloth and settle down for an afternoon of leisure.
  • A college campus. Many universities have public spaces edged with massive, leafy trees and grassy lawns.
  • The grounds of an historic site. Many tourist attractions have picnic areas attached. Bring your picnic along while you learn more about the background of the area. Before you go, make sure the site is open. Many sites have had to cut back hours due to budget woes.
  • A lake shore-From The Great Lakes to a small lake that not many people know about, a lake shore picnic offers views of the sky as well as the water.
  • A river bank. Scope out a spot where the foliage is less dense and get comfortable.
  • A beach–These are the days when the water may be too cold for a swim, but perfect for a long walk on the sand after a meal.
  • A field in the middle of nowhere— Drive out of town until you get to the middle of nowhere, most probably on a country road and look for a spot that calls to you.
  • Along a trail. Divide your meal into various spots along the trail to give you motivation to keep going to as far as you want to head and back.

And here’s a Web site dedicated to picnic spots across the United States.

Whatever you do this Labor Day, take a tip from Amber and make it personal and fun.

Nachos and Natty Boh on The Square in Baltimore’s Canton

I lived in Baltimore for many years, so while reading this New York Times piece about Canton, I thought of some additional insider info I could share. First of all, no one calls the heart of the neighborhood by its real name, O’Donnell Square. But it was nice of Mr. Villano to fill us in on who Captain O’Donnell was. Locals just call it “the Square”.

Secondly, (and I’m sure some native Baltimoreans will argue with me on this one), I think that the very best crab dip in the city is served at Looney’s Pub. My mouth is watering as I write this…it’s the cheesiest, served with veggies and warm bread for dipping, and they’ll bring you more of either if you ask. It’s the best sports bar in town, at least through when I left there in 2005.

Next up, the beer. Sure, Yuengling is a popular beer in Baltimore, but what about Natty Boh, and the mustached grin that smiles down on Canton from a tower atop the former site of the National Brewery building? It’s Baltimore’s beer! The Boh man’s presence is also strongly felt within the walls of Nacho Mamas, an institution on Canton’s Square. (Shame on Mr. Villano for leaving this one out!) This Mexican eatery is small, so you almost always have to wait — but a visit to Baltimore is just not complete until you’ve sipped a margarita from a hubcap and signed your name in chalk on the bathroom wall. Need I say more?