Fittingly, because it’s located in the heart of the 798 art district, the year-old Grace Beijing has more than a touch of creative flair. In addition to a mural-lined courtyard, its 30 beautiful rooms are each outfitted with a different, contemporary take on Ming dynasty-style décor, with lots of paintings and sculptures scattered about. A deluxe room regularly goes for about RMB 1,100 (HK$1,350) per night, but from May through September you can stay two nights in a deluxe room plus get three meals for two people: a decadent seafood feast on Friday night, complete with oysters, champagne and a live jazz performance; Saturday breakfast and an elaborate boozy brunch on Sunday (lauded by online reviewers)—all for RMB 3,000 (HK$3,690). Though it’s close to the airport, the only down side is that the hotel’s a bit of a hike from the center of the city—so take advantage of this package if you’re a culture buff who wants close proximity to prime (if touristy) gallery-hopping and prefers to be a safe distance away from the Forbidden City’s crowds.
To book, visit www.gracebeijing.com, call (+86) 10-64361818 or email email@example.com.
New York City for Gluttons
I took a ridiculously fast trip to New York last week. Because I only had four days in town, my family and I had to stuff our faces with a lot of things in very quick succession. The overarching theme? Foods not readily available in Hong Kong. (Yes, I refused to let them go near Chinatown.)
- Over-the-Top Breakfast: I went directly from the airport to breakfast at Norma's at Le Parker Meridien. It’s pricey, but with a menu full of items like chocolate waffles with peanut butter and toffee crunch, a lobster and asparagus omelet and foie gras brioche French toast, it’s so completely worth it. Trust me.
- Tacos: You can eat in at La Esquina, but many folks just grab their tacos to go. With varieties from rotisserie chicken and carnitas to steak and fish, this retro joint sates a craving that HK just doesn’t fill.
- BBQ: Long-time family favorite Hill Country has got the goods for carnivores, oh yes, with particular favorites being the short ribs and brisket. But it’s got a whole other realm of goodness in its sides, from bourbon sweet potato mash to mac ‘n’ cheese to braised collard greens with bacon. Don’t forget to try the cornbread, and to listen for the sweet, sweet country tunes from the rowdier basement area.
- No-Frills Greek Fare: Elias Corner—located in Astoria, a part of Queens that’s chock-full of Greek immigrants so you know it’s authentic—is as simple as they come. No need for a menu—they’ve just got a couple of fish du jour that they cook up fresh on the grill, potatoes cooked a couple of ways and crisp, tangy salads. No muss, no fuss, all delicious.
- Cupcakes: In my book, a neighborhood bakery and go-to for birthday cakes, Two Little Red Hens, puts Sift to shame.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on Twitter: @HanaRAlberts.