Ellen Swandiak, Author at HOBNOB Magazine

Author Archive

Spinach Crepes with Two Savory Fillings

Posted on: January 28th, 2020 by Ellen Swandiak

Crepes are one of the first things I learned to cook as a child because I loved them so much. These have the addition of spinach, giving them a lively green color and a slightly more earthy taste. Using spelt flour and oat milk also makes them more up-to-date than your typical white-flour-milk variety. Make sure to let the batter rest before cooking, otherwise they will tear when rolling. You can even make the batter the night before for fantastic results.

When cooking the crepes, the first one in the pan is the test. With this result, you can determine if you need to thin out or thicken the batter, and if you need to adjust the flame up or down.

Using fresh spinach gives the crepes a brighter green color, but you can also use defrosted frozen spinach in a pinch. The two fillings: Salmon and Arugula in Lemon-Dill Cream Sauce and Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, and Yellow Squash in Tahini Garlic Sauce add to the decadence of the crepes.



6 eggs
2 CUPS spelt flour
2.25 CUPS oat milk
1 bunch spinach, roughly chopped
1 tsp salt

Split the ingredients in half, and make the batter in two batches in a food processor. Blend on high speed until smooth. Move to a large bowl, combine both batches. Let rest at least 20 min to allow the mix to fully combine. 



In 9-inch non-stick skillet, add about a tsp of butter to the pan, and melt. Pour a ladle’s worth of batter into the pan, then add about another half, so when you twirl the pan around the batter goes all the way to the edge.

Fry for about 2 min, until bottom has golden touches. Run a spatula around the edges and carefully flip over. Fry for one more min or so. (Once you make the first crepe, and the pan is nice and hot, the rest should not stick.) Transfer to a plate and repeat with the rest of the batter.


cooked crepe
filling (recipes follow)

Fill the crepes as they come off the pan, allowing a minute or so for them to cool a bit. Spread 3 TB of desired filling, leaving the bottom inch clear, and top 1.5 inches clear (as seen in the photo below). Roll tightly, pushing down so there is no air. Place on serving plate with open end underneath. Crepes are good at room temperature, or even cold, so great for a buffet situation.

hobnobmag Recipe Spinach Crepes

Filling: Salmon and Arugula in Lemon-Dill Cream Sauce

A rich salmon and cream gets a kick of arugula, to add some bite. Cooking the salmon in the microwave speeds things along.


Lemon-Dill Cream Sauce


3 TB butter, cut into chunks
4 oz cream cheese, cut into chunks
1/4 CUP vegetable stock
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tsp lemon zest
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper

Cook gently over very low flame while whisking, about 3 min. Allow to cool.


lemon cream mixture
3/4 CUP sour cream
white part of 3 scallions, cut into thin rings
1 TB dill

In a small bowl mix all ingredients well.


1 1/4 LB salmon fillet
s + p

Cook salmon in microwave: Place on a microwave safe dish, cook on hight for 1 min. Check to see if cooked through, add time in 30 sec increments till fully cooked. Allow to cool. Shred with a fork. Move to large bowl.


4 CUPS arugula, chopped finely
1/4 CUP pumpkin seeds, chopped finely
Lemon-Dill Cream Sauce

Toss all ingredients together, adding the sauce a little at a time. Don’t oversauce the mix or it will ooze out of the crepes.

hobnobmag Recipe Spinach Crepes

Filling: Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, and Yellow Squash in Tahini Garlic Sauce

This vegetable medley adds a striking vegetarian addition to the spinach crepes. The tahini really adds a special flavor and richness.


Tahini Garlic Sauce


1/4 cup tahini
juice of 2 lemons
2 TB olive oil
2 cloves garlic, squeezed in a garlic press
1/4 tsp agave
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper


Whisk ingredients together in a small bowl. If too thick, add about a tsp of water to thin it out.

Cauliflower, Brussels Sprouts, Yellow Squash Medley


10-15  brussels sprouts, cut into thin strips (or processed in food processor)
1 head cauliflower, riced in food processor
2 yellow squash, shredded
6 TB butter

Saute each ingredient separately in a large pan with 2 TB butter. Allow to sit on the pan about 3 min, so the edges get nice and brown, stir, total cook time 5-6 min each batch. (Don’t crowd the pan, you may have to do each ingredient in two batches.) Toss together in a large bowl.


Tahini Garlic Sauce
cooked veggies

Add sauce to the veggie medley, and mix well. Do not overdress.

hobnobmag Recipe Spinach Crepes

Non-Alcoholic Cocktails for Enjoying Your Detox

Posted on: January 28th, 2020 by Ellen Swandiak

We all have those times in our social lives when a break from cocktails are in order. No reason to despair, these gorgeous concoctions provide the lip-smacking solutions for those going alcohol free. Your liver will savor the vacation.

On The Wagon Off the Road

(photo at the top of this post)

Strawberry Rhubarb syrup:

4 stalks of rhubarb
1 quart strawberries
1 quart sugar
1 quart water

Cook for 45 minutes and strain.

The Cocktail:

1.5 oz Kin High Rhode
.75 oz strawberry rhubarb syrup
.5 oz lime juice
Top with Fever-Tree Ginger Beer

Add all ingredients to a shaker except ginger beer. Add ice and shake. Strain into a mule mug with ice. Top with Fever-Tree Ginger Beer. Garnish with toasted rosemary sprig.
— non-alcoholic cocktail by Kendall Atkerson, The Hoxton, Williamsburg


Seldom in the DayLight

(photo, above left)
3 oz Fever-Tree Club Soda
1 oz lime juice
1.5 oz sugarcane juice
3 lime wedges
5-6 mint leaves

Lightly muddle lime wedges in the bottom of the glass, smack mint, add lime juice, sugarcane juice, and top with Fever-Tree Club Soda. Garnish with sugarcane stick and mint sprig.
—non-alcoholic cocktail by Shawn Chen, Beverage Director, RedFarm and Decoy

Carrot Aperol Spritz

(photo, above right)

3 oz fresh carrot juice
1 oz ginger syrup (ginger root that’s blended with simple syrup)
.75 oz fresh lemon juice
1 drop vanilla extract
1.5 oz Fever-Tree Ginger Beer

Add all ingredients except ginger beer into shaker and shake hard for 5 seconds with 5 ice cubes.
Pour ginger beer into shaker and strain Into chilled ice filled glass.
Garnish with carrot curls / sprig parsley.
— non-alcoholic cocktail by Gaby Mlynarczyk, Beverage Director, The Fat Radish


3 oz lemon verbena tea
1 oz lime juice
1.25 oz ginger syrup
Method: Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a Collins glass filled with ice. Garnish with a ginger candy.
— non-alcoholic cocktail by Amy Racine, The Loyal

Untraditional Kosher Recipes for Chanukah

Posted on: December 25th, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

Got plans for celebrating Chanukah? To follow are 8 clever recipes, one for each night of the holiday where fried foods are the focus. How did this tradition begin? When the Maccabees defeated their oppressors, who wanted them to worship only Greek gods, it was time to purify and rededicate their Temple. There they found only one jar of oil, enough to keep the eternal light aflame for a single day. But miraculously, that light continued to burn for eight days. Hence, oil symbolizes the victory of light over darkness.

Kosher.com comes to the rescue with creative takes on tradition. We feature two of their fun recipes here, both which will delight children and adults alike: Gluten-Free Sufganiyot (jelly donuts) and Chanukah Stained Glass Cookies.


Gluten-Free Sufganiyot (Jelly Donuts)



3/4 CUP water
1 TB Gefen Instant Yeast
2 TB granulated sugar

Pour the water into a microwave-safe cup/bowl. Microwave for 15-30 seconds or until warm. Then, sprinkle the sugar and yeast into the warm water. Mix with a fork and set aside for 5 min so that the yeast can activate.


3 large eggs
1/2 tsp molasses
1 TB  Gefen Pure Vanilla Extract
1 TB pure maple syrup or granulated sugar
1 TB Tonnelli Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 CUP grapeseed oil (or other flavorless oil)

activated yeast

Meanwhile, in a bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or in a bowl with a handheld mixer), beat together the eggs, molasses, vanilla extract, maple syrup or sugar, apple cider vinegar, and oil on medium-low speed until well combined. Next, add the yeast mixture to the egg mixture and beat for 1 minute on medium speed until all the ingredients are thoroughly combined.


2 CUPS tapioca starch
1 CUP white rice flour
1 1/2 tsp xanthan gum
pinch salt

Add the tapioca starch, white rice flour, xanthan gum and salt to the egg-yeast mixture. Beat on medium speed for 3 min, scraping down the sides of the bowl every 30 sec. The mixture will look like a thick batter and totally NOT kneadable.


prepared dough
piping bag

Line a large cookie sheet with 10 parchment paper squares. Set aside. Then, fit a piping bag with a large circle piping tip. (Alternatively, cut about 3/4 inch off the corner of a gallon ziploc bag.) Fill the bag halfway with the batter and pipe large donut-shaped mounds onto each parchment square on the prepared pan. (*My donuts were about 2 inches in diameter.)Optional: If you have the time, allow the piped donuts to rise on the counter for 20-30 minutes.

Place all the piped donuts on the baking sheet into the freezer for 30 min to 1 hour. Allow the donuts to defrost for 20-30 min on the counter.


48 oz vegetable oil
thawed donuts

confectioners sugar, for finishing

When you’re ready to start frying, heat two inches of oil in a large, deep pan until it reaches 350º F.

Drop the donuts into the hot oil. Only fry two to three donuts at a time or else they won’t cook evenly. Cook the donuts on each side for 2 – 3 min until golden brown.

Transfer the fried donuts to a plate lined with paper towel and place paper towels on top of the donuts to soak up any excess oil.

Serve immediately or within a few hours of making for best results. If eating the second or third day, microwave the donut for 30 seconds for best results.

Note: These donuts can be filled with jam, custard, or any other filling you like. I highly recommend filling them with a good quality raspberry jam. These are super delicious with a sprinkle of confectioners sugar.

­—Recipe By Dalya Rubin


Chanukah Stained Glass Cookies



1/2 CUP butter, softened
3/4 CUP sugar

1 large egg
1/2 tsp Gefen Vanilla Extract

1  1/2 CUPS all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp Haddar Baking Powder
1/2 tsp salt

Using a mixer, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla extract. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt.

Gradually add dry ingredients to the butter, and cream the mixture. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour.


prepared dough

1/2 CUP hard candy, crushed

Preheat oven to 350ºF. On a lightly-floured surface, roll out batter about 1/4 inch thick. Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Cut a small circle in the middle of each shape with a butter knife or smaller cookie cutter. Place shapes on a Gefen Easy Baking Parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for five minutes.

Remove the baking sheet, and carefully spoon 1/2 tsp of crushed hard candy into the center of each cookie. Bake for 4 – 5 more minutes, or until the candy has melted completely. Cool, first for 15 minutes on baking sheet, then move to cooling rack.

Six more recipes to consider:

Savory Potato Latke “Cookies”

Oven-Fried Zucchini Sticks aka Un-Fried Zucchini Candles

Crispy and Oozy Fried Mozzarella

Matzo Ball-Stuffed Onion Rings

Two-Ingredient Fried Brownies


These recipes are reprinted with permission from Kosher.com, a free, searchable online community for kosher food, lifestyle, and conversation.

Festive Christmas Cocktails for Entertaining

Posted on: December 25th, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

Treat yourself, family, and guests to a very Christmas cocktail. We’ve assembled seven drinks here that would make Santa proud. These sippers could work as a welcome accompaniment to gift-wrapping or an evening of Christmas carol singing. Get into the spirit of the season.

hobnobmag Christmas cocktails7

Hot Vodka Mocha

1.75 oz Chase Original Potato Vodka
.5 shot fresh espresso
3 tsp hot chocolate powder
1 tsp sugar or honey
7 oz milk

In a small pan, add ingredients and bring to a simmer on a medium heat. Stir gently to ensure everything is dissolved. Serve in a heatproof glass or cup.

hobnobmag Christmas cocktails7

The Rudolph

1.75 oz Diplomatico Mantuano Rum
.5 oz cranberry juice
.5 oz Torani Almond Orgeat Syrup

In a shaker, put all the ingredients without ice. Shake vigorously for 6 to 8 seconds. Add ice and shake again. Filter and pour into a whiskey glass. Add a fresh cranberry and two rosemary branches to the glass, as a nod to Rudolph, the red-nose reindeer.

hobnobmag Christmas cocktails7

Gin Mare Tramontana

4 raspberries
2 thyme leaves

1 oz Gin Mare
.5 oz hibiscus liqueur
.25 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1.75 oz pomegranate juice
.5 oz vanilla syrup

garnish: raspberry powder

Add raspberries and thyme to a cocktail shaker, muddle. Add the rest of the ingredients, shake well. Paint a stripe of vanilla syrup, and dip into raspberry powder to decorate flute glass. Strain cocktail and serve.

hobnobmag Christmas cocktails7

Pilar Nog

Serves 5+

4 eggs
1/2 cup sugar

1 CUP Papa’s Pilar Dark Rum
1 CUP Papa’s Pilar Blonde Rum
1 oz St. Elizabeth Allspice dram
1 CUP whipping cream
1 drop of vanilla extract

Separate eggs, set whites aside. With a mixer, cream egg yolks and sugar together. Slowly incorporate the rum and dram into the mixture, mixing well. Add the cream and mix well. Add the vanilla.

4 egg whites

Garnish: fresh nutmeg

In a separate bowl, whip the egg whites until fluffy and stiff. Fold the egg whites into the mixture. Place in the refrigerator and allow to sit for at least 24 hours.

To serve, give a gentle stir, pour into glasses and grate fresh nutmeg to taste over the top.

Note: If you cannot find Allspice Dram, you can make your own by adding the following to the rum:
1 tsp orange zest
1 cinnamon stick
4 allspice berries
2 cloves
3 Sichuan peppercorns
1 star anise

hobnobmag Christmas cocktails7

Chambord Martini

.5 oz Chambord Liqueur
1.5 oz vodka
2 oz pineapple juice

garnish: raspberry

Pour the Chambord, vodka and pineapple juice in shaker. Add ice and shake like a tambourine. Strain into martini glass. Top with a raspberry.

hobnobmag Christmas cocktails7

Chairman’s Spiced Cider

1 part Cranberry juice
2 parts apple cider
Cinnamon sticks

1 part Chairman’s Spiced

garnish: star anise

Warm juices and 1 cinnamon stick per 2 servings in saucepan until bubbling. Add rum and serve with one cinnamon stick and one star anise per cup.

hobnobmag Christmas cocktails7


1.5 oz Gin Mare
.75 oz Cocchi Rosa
.5 oz simple syrup

garnish: basil leaves, coffee beans, edible red rose petals

Add the ingredients into a cocktail shaker and shake all together. Then strain in a ceramic mug with ice. Garnish with 4 coffee beans, red rose petal, and 1 basil sprig.

hobnobmag Christmas cocktails7

The Modern’s Special Egg Nog Cocktail

If you just want to head out somewhere festive, look no further than The Modern, my favorite restaurant in midtown NYC. So if your holiday plans bring you near Rockefeller Center or to view the windows at Bergdorf, this will make for a special pitstop.,

The Modern just released an elevated barrel-aged Nog to rule the season. Created by Bar Director Patrick Smith, it’s rich and delicious without weighing the drinker down. (It’s a little-known fact that The Modern has been making Egg Nog for years, and the holiday tipple has a base of loyal fans that return for it every season.)

hobnobmag Christmas cocktails7

This year’s concoction is made with  a mix of Bertoux Brandy, Appleton Estate Rum, Dalmore 12 Year Old Scotch, Gonzalez Byass “Alfonso” Oloroso Sherry, Giffard Vanilla Liqueur, demerara sugar, housemade crème anglaise, and garnished with a housemade gingerbread cookie.

The process started back in May 2019, when The Modern sourced an ex-Bertoux Brandy barrel and began slowly filling it with the ingredients. The resulting nog is round and balanced, with plenty of floral and citrus notes to balance the richness.

The Modern, 9 W 53rd St (betw 5th/6th Ave), the bar/lounge area is first-come, first-served, so good for a spontaneous visit

Gifts for the Person Who Has it All

Posted on: December 6th, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

This list is for those in your life with impeccable taste and a taste for authenticity. These selections will really show you care, and want to lavish the most on the one you love.

hobnobmag Gifts for the Person Who Has it All decanter

Baccarat Decanter and Glassware

For the wine connoisseur: the ultimate in elegance and grace. Baccarat has teamed with a renowned vintner for the first time in their 255-year history. Jean-Charles Boisset (seen in the photo at the top of this post), was born into the world of wine in Burgundy, France, where his parents founded their family winery. From those beginnings, Boisset has expanded his empire  to include wineries from Burgundy, the South of France, Napa Valley, and Russian River Valley, and a luxury lifestyle brand.

“Wine is the ultimate expression of the senses and art of living. It requires the most refined vessels to present itself. Our dream collection with Baccarat provides sensory experiences that unite the palate, mind and heart!” said Boisset, who has collected Baccarat pieces from a young age and is known for the impressive Baccarat chandeliers that adorn his wineries and tasting rooms.

Baccarat’s collaboration with Boisset includes one wine glass designed for white, red or rosé, a Champagne glass, plus wine decanter and a stunning Champagne decanter.

The handmade glasses and decanters retail at $380 for a two-glass set of the wine glasses, $380 for a two-glass set of the Champagne glasses, $860 for the wine decanter and $960 for the Champagne decanter. Available online at jcbcollection.com or on the baccarat site: us.baccarat.com

hobnobmag Gifts for the Person Who Has it All dinnerware

Sieger By Fürstenberg The Seven Collection: DROPS

I adore this company’s designs. Not only are they a wonder to look at, they also are a joy to touch and use. The Seven dinner service’s concept is that its seven versatile pieces can be used and combined in any number of ways between breakfast and dinner. For instance, the cup for hot /cold beverages can also function as a bowl for ice cream. The plates, can be used as a saucer or platter, but also as a lid for the bowls to keep meals warm and to store them.

In the DROPS collection, cobalt-blue drops are applied by hand, to create unique patterns. Each item is one of a kind, no two are the same. The gorgeous cobalt blue and bright white create a striking pattern for joy every day.

This set really adds a new energy to the table, the interplay between the different patterns and textures constantly generates new, thrilling combinations on the finest white porcelain.

Designed by Michael Sieger, handcrafted in Germany at Porzellanmanufaktur Fürstenberg. Drops is also available in Satin White, Geometric Blue, Floral Blue, Light Gold and Hanami.Dishwasher-safe. Prices range. The Dinner plate, $187.20; Small cup, $92.81. Available online at artedona.com.

hobnobmag Gifts for the Person Who Has it All dinnerware

Sieger By Fürstenberg Luna Collection

To go along with the dishware are Luna vases in the Drops pattern. These are also one of a kind pieces of art bearing the  same hand-applied cobalt-blue dots in lively patterns. The vases come in three sizes, making a joyful setting for bouquets big and small, and hardly even need flowers as they are striking, sculptural ornaments on their own.

Comes in three sizes, Small, $423.17; Medium, $470.36; Large, $627.67. Available online at artedona.com.

hobnobmag Gifts for the Person Who Has it All beer mugs

Sieger By Fürstenberg Of Kings & Queens

Here’s a beer mug of a different caliber from this company. Of Kings & Queens collection is designed to breath fresh life into beer imbibing. Designed by Michael Sieger, the porcelain and gold beer mugs offer an elegant, slender reinterpretation of the classic beer tankard. The shape and material allow beer’s ingredients—water, hops, malt and yeast – to achieve their full potential.

Inspired by the Doric columns, the straight-lined design and concave facets are a key design element. The mug sits snugly in the hand thanks to the slender, finely formed handle. The matte satin finish on the outside gives it a nice, final touch. This makes a grand gift for the beer aficianado.

Porcelain, satin-matte on the outside, 24-carat gold on the inside. Available in two sizes, .33 and .5 liter. Handcrafted in Germany. Small, $344.51. Large, $407.44. Available online at artedona.com

hobnobmag Gifts for the Person Who Has it All book

Yellow: The History of a Color by Michel Pastoureau

This book really knows about yellow. Fun fact: did you know tennis balls were not always yellow, but white? They switched  to yellow with color TV, so viewers could more easily follow the game. Also, back in Rome, a wedding ceremony required that the couple be dressed in yellow and that they enter together a room painted yellow.

hobnobmag Gifts for the Person Who Has it All book

You’ll learn this and more in this wonderful tome to the history of yellow, with a wealth of captivating images. With its striking design and compelling text, yellow becomes a feast for the eye and mind. I just adore the cover, which has a unique attitude that begs to know the story behind it.

The author, Michel Pastoureau, is a renowned authority on the history of color. He traces the visual, social, and cultural history of yellow, focusing on European, East Asia, India, Africa, and South America societies. In the book you’ll see that yellow in European antiquity was almost sacred, a symbol of light, warmth, and prosperity. Warm yellow recalled honey and gold, serving as a sign of pleasure and abundance. In ancient China, yellow clothing was reserved for the emperor, while in India the color is associated with happiness.

Yellow: The History of a Color by Michel Pastoureau, (also in the series: Red, Blue, Black, and Green), Princeton University Press, $39.95

hobnobmag Gifts for the Person Who Has it All dolce and gabbana appliances

Sicily is my Love Smeg and Dolce & Gabanna

No one will complain about getting an appliance as a gift when it’s designed by Dolce & Gabanna. These specimens will lure even the most kitchen-shy into domestic bliss.

Kettle The kettle is decorated with Sicilian cart motifs and colorful patterns. The bottom half is characterized by oval shapes that showcase Mediterranean bounty—yellow lemons, oranges, and fiery red Etna cherries.

The body is powder-coated steel with a polished chrome base. Holds 1.7 Liters/ 7 cups Jug capacity with soft-opening lid.

It has a removable stainless steel limescale filter. It automatically shuts off when it reaches a temperatuve of 100°C/ 212°F or when water is not detected. The base swivels 360°  and has a built-in cord wrap.

2-Slice Toaster Traditional motifs cover the surface, inspired by local terracotta vases from Sicily. The iconography features various types of birds, majestic roosters, and sailboats heading off towards the Mediterranean horizon.

The body is powder-coated steel with a polished chrome base, with 2 extra wide slots. It features an automatic pop up and removable stainless steel crumb tray. Built-in cord wrap keeps things neat. Functions with 6 browning levels and 3 pre-set programs to reheat, defrost, toast a bagel.

The collection also offers a mixer, citrus juicer, espresso machine, blender, slow juicer, as well as major appliances: an oven, fridge, and hood.

Kettle, $650. Toaster, $650. Purchase in New York City at Bergdorf Goodman, and Columbus Circle Williams-Sonoma. Find the store locator on the website.

Smeg, Sicily is My Love, smegusa.com

hobnobmag Gifts for the Person Who Has it All book

Great Escapes Europe

Whether you know someone who’s a world traveler or just someone who would marvel at Europe’s most amazing destinations, Great Escapes Europe: The Hotel Book will fit the bill.

From a 150-year-old Portuguese estate to Norway’s Budsjord, last stop on one of the loneliest pilgrimage routes in the world, Angelika Taschen scours the European continent for the most beautiful places to rest your head. This updated guide profiles each hotel through postcard-ready photography and key information.

Great Escapes Europe: The Hotel Book Also on amazon.com

hobnobmag Gifts for the Person Who Has it All travel bali

The Gift of Travel

Speaking of travel, a gift of experiences rather than things is truly the ultimate gift for that person that has it all. You’ll be providing priceless memories to cherish in lands fare and wide. Choose from these trips that personalize the travel experience, and give intimate looks at the places on their lists.   

No Place Like Home

For those who crave a truly local culinary experience, Traveling Spoon connects travelers to home cooked meals and cooking lessons in local homes around the world. Experiences are 100% vetted and  private. Example destinations: witness heritage pasta making in Florence, learn to grind curries in Thailand, make tortillas in a beautiful home in Mexico City. Photos show scenes from Bali (above and below)

hobnobmag Gifts for the Person Who Has it All travel bali

Experiences range from $80-250 per person. Choose from 160+ cities in over 50 countries. travelingspoon.com

hobnobmag Gifts for the Person Who Has it All travel france

Walk This Way

For the Francophile on your list, give the gift of fanciful exploration through Medieval villages, rolling fields and forests, gently flowing rivers, with On Foot Holidays’ self-guided walking tour. This exploration of the Dordogne region in central France includes stays at waterside inns and former chateaus. Highlight: a tour of the ancient pilgrimage site of Rocamadour, where buildings are perched on cliffs overhanging the valley.

hobnobmag Gifts for the Person Who Has it All travel france

The journey includes fine dining of local specialties and a Michelin-starred restaurant at the journey’s end. Rates start from about $900 per person. onfootholidays.co.uk

hobnobmag Gifts for the Person Who Has it All travel italy

When In Rome

For the person obsessed with the drama, history and beauty of Italian cinema, let them experience it first-hand at Hotel Mediterraneo in the heart of Rome. They offer an unparalleled experience with their program: Dormire Sul Set (“Sleeping on Set”) in partnership with Cinecittà, the famous movie studio. Cinecittà, built in 1937, was the location of nearly all of Fellini’s productions, plus still hosts sets of Ancient Rome, Jerusalem and Florence circa 1400.

The Bettoja Hotel group’s Hotel Mediterraneo and it’s sister property, Hotel Massimo D’Azeglio, have also been featured in shows and movies, as seen in HBO’s The Young Pope, Ocean’s Eleven, The Americans, and the FX series Trust.

hobnobmag Gifts for the Person Who Has it All travel italy

The Sleeping on Set experience starts at $350 for a Junior suite and includes an exclusive breakfast with views from the roof, plus a guided tour and lunch on the Cinecittà set for up to 15. bettojahotels.it

hobnobmag Gifts for the Person Who Has it All travel tuscany

Creative Workshops in Tuscany

For your creative pal, purchase a personal, creative journey to one of the most beautiful places on earth. Cookbook author and food-stylist, Annette Joseph and her husband Frank, bought a dreamy a medieval fortress in the countryside of northern Tuscany. La Fortezza was once a medieval defense tower in a region of over 120 castles and now functions as the couple’s Italian summer home and a creative space offering workshops and retreats.

La Fortezza offers breathtaking views of mountains and is surrounded by acres of olive groves, chestnut trees, fruit orchards, and an organic kitchen garden. An outdoor pizza oven adds to the ambiance offering a spot to make regional breads and pizza with local ingredients. Guest quarters include six stylish bedrooms with private baths.

Workshops offer excursions and incredible opportunities to meet the local artisans and merchants and producers of the region. Annette personally teaches classes in addition to internationally known painters, photographers, and writers.

Some of the La Fortezza Workshops for 2020:

The Slow Food Experience: Visit regional vineyards, cheese makers, an Amaro liqueur lab, a flour mill, and dairy. Includes a truffle hunt and three-course truffle-infused luncheon.

Her Dark Materials Old Master Photography: Learn Old Masters-style set-ups and lighting.

William Abranowicz Lifestyle Photography: Participants will be taught to simplify the technical aspects of photography, and understand light and composition to create well-executed, emotionally impactful images.

All About Olives: Will guide you how to harvest, cook, press, and learn all things related to olives.

Workshop Fees start at $3,875 per guest and include a five-night stay. In addition to scheduled workshops, private groups and retreats are also welcome.

Annette Joseph is an expert on entertaining, cooking, and styling. Her recipes and party ideas have been featured in Better Homes and Gardens, Epicurious, The Huffington Post, and Southern Living, among numerous others.

hobnobmag Gifts for the Person Who Has it All membership

Tablet Plus Membership

Tablet Hotels is a website which highlights and rates the world’s best boutique hotels. Whenever I am planning a trip, it is my go-to for booking the most interesting hotels, as they also include reviews from members and fantastic tips.

The Tablet Plus membership starts with a free 30-day trial, and offers perks like room upgrades, free breakfasts, late check-out, spa credits, and more. It also includes discounted rates on hotels and access to exclusive events (like Michelin dinners). A dedicated team of travel experts assist in planning a journey. In case of a mix-up in booking, they will act on your behalf to straighten things out. They also guarantee the lowest prices for their hotels.

Tablet Plus costs $99 annually.

Sunday Jazz NYC: The Campbell Apartment and Fine and Rare

Posted on: December 6th, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

If you are looking for something cozy and joyous to add to your wanderings in NYC, these two spots really add a charm and warmth to the night. Add jazz to that for the ultimate in relaxation.

The Campbell Apartment

This place has been a New York City institution since its days as Jazz Age financier John William Campbell’s private office and reception hall. It’s amazing that this private, and extraordinary spot has survived, and been meticulously restored, maintaining and freshening the integrity of the historic architecture. If you are traveling through Grand Central this holiday season, it’s always worth a stop, whether you grab a cocktail standing at the bar, or choose to reserve a table.

One more reason to pop in is their Sunday night Jazz program. On the night I went, we were treated to the cool sounds of Acute Inflections, a sultry and attractive duet. Vocalist Elasea Douglas had a lilting voice and warm personality, who came personally to each table to elicit requests, and is accompanied by the low-key and ultra-cool, bassist,  Sadiki Pierre. (seen in the photo at the top of this post)

hobnobmag Jazz NYC the Campbell Apartment

The Campbell Apartment offers two punches, served in a copper pineapple, meant to serve two (but that’s up to you!)  AUGUSTUS has light and dark rums, green chartreuse, velvet falernum + vevue clicquot champagne. The PAIN KILLER is made with dark rum, pineapple, orange, coconut + nutmeg. Right, I loved my seat on the velvet banquette.

hobnobmag Jazz NYC the Campbell Apartment

The Campbell’s thirteenth century Florentine-inspired design details: the 25-foot hand painted ceilings. Right, a snack of mixed olives accompanied wine.

hobnobmag Jazz NYC the Campbell Apartment

Acute Inflections play for a packed crowd, so be sure to make a reservation. Right, a trio of mini tuna tartare tacos with smoked chipotle mayonnaise. Light and refreshing.

hobnobmag Jazz NYC the Campbell Apartment

Behind the bar, a breathtaking a​ ​century-old​ ​leaded​ ​glass​ ​window. Right, the banquette which gives a wonderful view of the band.

Some other selections of the elevated bar fare on the menu: charcuterie and country pâté, ​meatball sliders, and grilled cheese bites.

The Campbell Apartment, 15 Vanderbilt Ave (betw 42nd/43rd St), tucked into the southwest corner of Grand Central Terminal. The Campbell encompasses three different experiences: The Campbell Bar (seen here); The Campbell Palm Court, an indoor lounge surrounded by towering palm trees with a view of the main terminal; and in season, The Campbell Terrace, an outdoor covered veranda.

hobnobmag Jazz NYC Fine and Rare stage

Fine and Rare

After our taste of jazz at the Campbell, I wanted a little bit more. That being established, we headed a few blocks south of Grand Central to Fine and Rare. (see our previous post on this glamorous spot) Here the mood continued, almost like we went back in time, and stayed there. On stage, the seductive voice of Susan Tobocman was accompanied by guitarist Ethan Mann.

hobnobmag Jazz NYC Fine and Rare cocktail

I’ve ordered this cocktail on a previous visit, The Ideal Husband #3: Strawberry-infused Cazadores Blanco, lemon, orange curacao, agave, rhubarb bitters, prosecco. I don’t know how this compares to a husband, but it is right up my alley when it comes to cocktails, fruity, light, and bubbly. Right, the wood floors are a century old, and come from an old mill in Connecticut, inscribed with family names and investors.

To see who’s performing, check out their calendar, which is jam-packed with shows, no cover. So you can just pop in and go whenever the mood strikes.

Fine and Rare, 9 E 37th St (betw 5th/Madison Ave)

Holiday Wines: Picks from Top NYC Sommeliers

Posted on: December 6th, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

Two of NYC’s top sommeliers offer their learned suggestions for wines to go with winter’s rich dishes, celebrating wines from all around the USA.

Holiday Wines Top Sommeliers Amy Racine

Amy Racine

Amy Racine is the Wine Director at The Times Square EDITION, located in NYC’s vibrant heart. Here she curates the wine programs at four distinct Chef John Fraser venues, creating a unique personality for each one. Her 600-bottle wine list at 701West is truly global with selections dating back to the 1930s. Paradise Club is an ode to Champagne, The Terrace features progressive New World producers and Lobby Bar is proudly all-American.

Amy also curates the easy-drinking, affordable wine list at The Loyal, a neighborhood American brasserie in Manhattan’s West Village. Her picks for the holidays focus on American brands.

Holiday Wines Top Sommeliers by Amy Racine

Amy’s Holiday Picks:


1 Gruet “Domaine St Vincent” Brut Rosé (New Mexico) Welcome guests with bubbles, it’s a great way to get the appetite going before the big meal.


2 Old Westminster Abbey (Maryland) Rosé is a great wine for the holiday because it goes with everything on the table.


3 “Don’t Forget to Soar” White Blend (Texas) This is a great full-bodied option to please the rich Chardonnay fans without the big oak, from Southhold Farm + Cellars in the Texas Hill High Plains. Perfect for roasted veggies and stuffing.

4 Cowhorn Viognier (Oregon) This wine is floral and round and I love it with any potato dish or any apple dessert.


5 “Horseshoes & Handgrenades” Sparkling Lagrein (Texas) This is a juicy sparkling red with just a slight amount of fizz. It’s tart and fun with game birds like turkey, especially with the cranberry sauce.

6 Cowhorn “Moonraker” Red Blend (Oregon) This is a great Grenache/Syrah blend that’s smooth and great for turkey, especially the dark meat.

7 Koenig Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine (Idaho) I love this in place of port or dessert wine for anything with fruit or chocolate. It’s also great with cheeses and creamy desserts like cheesecake.

Holiday Wines Top Sommeliers John Slover

John Slover

John Slover is the Sommelier of Major Food Group who’s created the 20,000 bottle inventory for trio of venues at the Seagram Building: The Grill, The Pool and The Lobster Club. With 18 years in the biz, John is one of the most acclaimed wine talents in the country whose experience includes wine programs at 4-star New York Times and 3-star Michelin restaurants, as well as curating collections for top wine aficionados. His wine picks focus on great American regions, some of which may be new to you.

John’s Holiday Picks:


1 Garagiste Ci Confonde Petillant Naturel (Vermont) One of several cult Pet-Nats that contributed to a rise in popularity for the category in the northeast: A rustic, humble wine with freshness, verve and briny cider-like fruit complexity that would pair well with anything from glazed sweet potatoes to turkey.


2 Macari Early Wine (Long Island) This family-run estate on the North Fork specializes in classic varietals grown on Long Island’s unique terroir. Early Wine is made of chardonnay, once a year where it is picked, fermented and bottled in a six week period. It is inspired by the Austrian tradition of Jungwien (or young wine) that has been promoted by Macari’s consultant winemaker Helmut Gangl. The wine gives a first impression of the vintage every year. Bright acidity, a touch of sweetness with lots of citrus and stone fruits. These are passionate and hospitable people, not only about Long Island wines, about everything! Their passion is shown in their wines. This would go great with snacks like cured fish and meats and hard cheeses.

3 Early Mountain Vineyard Petit Manseng (Virginia) Begun in 2005, Early Mountain Vineyard in the Rocky Knob AVA, Virginia’s foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, focuses on red Bordeaux varietals. They make Petit Manseng as well, a white grape from Jurancon, Southwest France, that grows well in Virginia with little intervention. Made of 100% Petit Manseng this is a wine of texture and intensity. Almost full bodied with a good amount of acidity. Tropical notes with a stony, salinic core. It would pair well with roast turkey and all the sides.

4 Habit Jurassic Park vineyard Chenin Blanc (Santa Ynez, CA) The Jurassic Park vineyard is home to the oldest dry-farmed Chenin Blanc vines in CA. This is a perfect aperitif while waiting for the feast to begin and would marry seamlessly with any vegetables that make it to the table.


5 Pax Trousseau Gris (Russian River Valley, CA) Pax Mahle started Pax Wines in 2000. Focusing on Syrah, the winery has moved on to more unique grape varietals planted around Sonoma Coast and the Russian River Valley. The Trousseau Gris comes from Fanucchi-Wood Road Vineyard in the Russian River Valley. It is made with a good amount of carbonic maceration that adds some more complex wild aromas and a deeper pink hue. The Trousseau Gris has no added sulphur. Trousseau Gris doesn’t seem serious but has more body than you’d expect and would pair well with rich vegetable sides.

6 Monte Rio Dry White Zinfandel (Suisun, CA) Monte Rio Cellars is a very recent collaboration between Pax Mahle and Sommelier Patrick Cappiello. A highlight of the first release is the Dry White Zinfandel. The grapes are picked very early in order to preserve the freshness and the acidity, which allows the alcohol to come in at a very modest 11% ABV. The scents of faint strawberry and watermelon are tied together by organic earth notes. The grapes are farmed organically in Suisun, just south of Napa. These wines are an homage to the commercial, sweet, innocuous white zinfandel that maybe our parents loved but made in a VERY DRY style. It goes well with a spicy sausage stuffing.

7 Arnot Roberts Touriga National Rosé (Lake County, CA) Founded in 2001 by longtime friends Duncan Arnot Meyers and Nathan Lee Roberts the production is based on site-driven wines that highlight the nature of the unique terroirs. Their Rosé comes from 80% Touriga Nacional, 20% Tinta Cao two late ripening varitals known mostly for Port Wine production in Portugal. The wine comes from Luschinger Vineyard-Clear Lake AVA. Bright fruited wine that is thirst quenching for the summer heat. You would never guess that this light rose comes from a thick skinned grape generally used for fortified wine. This would be a perfect pairing with roast beef.


8 Caduceus Cellars ’Nagual de la Naga’ (Arizona) Owned by Maynard James Keenan, the former singer for the band Tool, this Sangiovese/Cabernet Sauvignon blend is inspired by Keenan’s love of Tuscan wines. It is a decadently fruity red reminiscent of rich, jammy shiraz, and would be a great pair for dark meat turkey with cranberry sauce.

9 Corliss Cabernet Sauvignon (Washington) Family-owned and ambitious, Corliss sources grapes from some of the best vineyards in WA state. This is 97% Cabernet Sauvignon with a seasoning of Petit Verdot and is a dark beauty with bombastic fruit. Drink with turkey, and if you happen to be serving roast beef or leg of lamb even better. And have another glass before a much needed afternoon nap.

10 Bedrock Wine Comapany Zinfandel Nouveau Esola (Amador County, CA) The father and son team at Bedrock have an unparalleled knack for re-discovering some of CA’s oldest and most interesting vineyards. This particular wine comes from a vineyard planted in 1968 and offers deep, smooth red and dark berry fruit that is a hallmark of old-vine zin. An undeniable pleasure that will pair well with almost everything, maybe even dessert. But then you could have another glass for dessert instead.

Wild Mushroom Crostini

Posted on: December 6th, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

I was invited to a Friendsgiving party on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, and thought I would focus on an appetizer as my contribution. Since the meal would be ample, I wanted to have something that was on the lighter side, and thought mushrooms would really fit the bill.

Some tips: When working with fresh mushrooms, it’s important not to wash with water, or they will absorb it and get mushy. Instead, wipe any dirt off with a paper towel. If you are starting with dried, you will need to soak the mushrooms in lukewarm water for about an hour.

hobnobmag recipe Wild Mushroom Crostini mushroom varieties

I looked for the most lively color mix when purchasing the ingredients (Eataly usually has a fantastic selection of fresh and dried wild mushrooms.) This mix includes: Yellow Oyster, Hedgehogs, Porcini (the most expensive, $25 for 3), Wood Ear, and White Beech Mushrooms. To complete the flavor profile, I added chopped hazelnuts, which really complemented the mushrooms flavors, in addition to adding a pleasurable crunch. The whole mix sits on a rich bed of creamy ricotta cheese atop a crispy baguette slice.



1 TB olive oil
3 shallots, thinly sliced
1/2 tsp salt

In a large frying pan, heat oil, add shallots and salt. Cook on medium heat until the shallots begin to wilt and become lightly golden, about 5 min. Move to a large bowl.

hobnobmag recipe Wild Mushroom Crostini mushrooms in pan


1 TB olive oil (for each batch)
1.5 LB mixed mushrooms, sliced thinly if large
s + p
fresh thyme leaves

In the same pan, add mushrooms. Cook in batches (do not crowd or mushrooms will not brown—allow space around them so that when the moisture flows out it will evaporate), stirring occasionally, until golden brown and tender, about 6 min. Add s + p, thyme to each batch. Transfer each batch to the bowl.


1/2 CUP hazelnuts, chopped
1/4 tsp salt

On a hot skillet, toast nuts, tossing or stirring frequently with salt. Add to mushroom mix.


long, skinny baguette, cut into 1/2-inch rounds
24 oz fresh ricotta cheese
mushroom mix
thyme sprigs

Spread a generous layer of ricotta cheese onto each baguette slice. With a small spoon, top with mushroom mix, and press into the ricotta so it holds together. Garnish with fresh thyme sprigs.

Holiday Cocktails Guide

Posted on: November 27th, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

It’s party season, and time to impress and wow guests with special holiday cocktails. We’ve gathered together 30 amazing concoctions made with the best spirits around. Guaranteed you will find something special to make the house warm and jolly.

We’ve created a handy pdf you can download, and keep. Just click on the button below.


hobnobmag holiday cocktails guide

Zesty Cider

3/4 CUP water
lemon spice tea bag

1 TB brown sugar
1 oz apple cider
2 oz Diplomatico Mantuano Rum
cinnamon stick

garnish: lemon slice & cinnamon stick

Bring water to boil in saucepan; toss in lemon spice tea bag; steep for 5 min; remove bag and stir in sugar, apple cider, rum, and cinnamon stick. Heat just to steaming. Garnish with cinnamon stick and lemon slice. Optional: for a little decadence, add 1/2 tsp of butter to mug.

hobnobmag holiday cocktails guide

Disaronno Fizz

2 parts Disaronno
4 parts soda/sparkling water
1 part fresh lemon juice

Garnish: lemon slice

Pour ingredients over ice and gently stir. Add lemon slice.

The Buck

2 oz Bertoux Brandy
.5 oz pineapple or simple syrup
.5 oz lemon juice

Fever Tree Ginger Beer

Garnish: lemon wheel & candied ginger

Combine all but ginger beer in a shaker with ice. Shake to chill and strain into a collins glass over ice. Top with ginger beer, garnish with a lemon wheel and candied ginger on a skewer, then serve.

hobnobmag holiday cocktails guide

Cactus Juice

1.5 oz Patron Silver
.75 oz honey syrup
.75 oz fresh lime juice

Shake ingredients in a cocktail shaker, pour into coup glass.

—cocktail recipe from Sorrel River Ranch

hobnobmag holiday cocktails guide


1.5 oz Virginia Black Whiskey
.25 oz Amaro di Angostura
1 oz  sweet corn tincture
.75 oz lemon juice
1 egg white

Shake, strain ice. Reverse shake. Fine strain. Serve in coupe glass without ice.  Garnish with Tajin spice mix

—cocktail created by Alice, West Hollywood

Prepare to be Empressed

Rosemary-Infused Simple Syrup:

1 CUP water
1 CUP sugar

4 rosemary sprigs

Add water and sugar to a small pot. Over medium high heat, bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves completely. Turn off heat, add rosemary. Allow to cool for 45 min, or so, until thick and syrupy. Remove rosemary. Transfer to glass jar, refrigerate till ready to use. (It will last about 2 weeks.)

Cocktail Recipe:

1.5 oz Empress 1908
.25 oz Italicus
.5 oz lime juice
.5 oz rosemary-infused simple syrup

Shake ingredients on ice, strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary.

hobnobmag holiday cocktails guide

Hot Toddy

Perfect pairing: Maple Pecan Financiers, ideal for those who are feeling extra fancy this fall season.

2 oz water
1.5 oz Empress 1908 Gin
.75 oz fresh lemon juice
1 tsp sugar

Garnish: cinnamon stick

Heat water. Build the ingredients in a wine goblet, brandy snifter, or glass mug. Stir well. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

hobnobmag holiday cocktails guide

Pumpkin Martini

This cocktail is so rich, you’re getting both booze and dessert – no pairing needed!

For the Rim:

1 graham cracker
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 TB granulated sugar

maple syrup

Crush graham cracker in a plastic bag or food processor until it resembles sand. Stir in the cinnamon and sugar. Line the rim of a martini glass with maple syrup. Dip/roll in the cracker mix. Set aside.

Cocktail Recipe:

2 oz Jaisalmer Indian Gin
1 oz Diplomatico Reserva Rum
.5 oz half and half
2 TB pumpkin puree (canned or homemade)
1 oz maple syrup
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 ice cubes

Garnish: nutmeg and cinnamon stick

In a cocktail shaker, combine the ice and cocktail ingredients. Shake vigorously until shaker chilled to the touch. Strain and pour cocktail into the prepared martini glass. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and nutmeg.

hobnobmag holiday cocktails guide

Empress 75

1.5 oz Empress 1908 Gin
.75 oz fresh lemon juice
.5 oz simple syrup

Zonin Prosecco DOC Brut

Garnish: lemon twist

Shake all ingredients (except for prosecco) with ice, double strain into a chilled flute, and top with prosecco. Garnish with a lemon twist.

Honey, I Figured

Catskill Provisions blazed its own trail to create NY Honey Rye Whiskey, the only flavored spirit in the market using real honey as a flavor balancing agent. NY Honey Rye Whiskey is smooth and rich in flavor with hints of toffee, burnt orange peel and golden raisin.

2 figs
.25 oz honey
2 oz Catskill Provisions NY Honey Rye Whiskey
1 egg white
juice of half a lemon
2 dashes Peychauds Bitters

Muddle the fig and honey in a cocktail tin. Add all other ingredients with ice and shake. Double strain into a pretty glass.

—cocktail created by @thesocialsipper

hobnobmag holiday cocktails guide

Monarch Orchard

A Sonoma-based craft whiskey producer, Redwood Empire recently partnered with the TREES for the Future Foundation and plants a tree for every bottle of Redwood Empire Whiskey sold. With these efforts, Redwood Empire Whiskey has planted over 50,500 trees since launching in June.

1.5 oz Redwood Empire Lost Monarch Whiskey
.25 oz Nocino
1 oz honey syrup
1 oz fresh lemon juice
2 oz apple cider

Add all ingredients to a shaker filled with ice. Shake well. Strain into coupe or cocktail glass. Garnish with thin slice of apple.

Ingredient Notes: Nocino is a traditional Italian liqueur made from unripe, green walnuts and often flavored with a variety of traditional warm baking spices making it a delicious complement to apple cider. If Nocino is unavailable, Amaretto may be used in its place. Honey syrup is honey that has been diluted 1:1 with hot water.


1.5 oz Virginia Black Whiskey
.5 oz Cynar
.5 oz Lemongrass Tincture
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
.5 oz Lemon Juice

Shake, strain. Serve in rocks glass with ice. Garnish with expressed lemon swath.

—cocktail created by 40 Love, West Hollywood

hobnobmag holiday cocktails guide

Heaven’s Pumpkin Patch

Pumpkin Syrup Recipe:

1/2 CUP canned pumpkin
1/2 CUP brown sugar
1 TB vanilla extract
2 CUPS hot water

Add all ingredients to a sauce pan and heat over medium heat, stirring until pumpkin puree and sugar is dissolved. Chill for 2-3 hours.

Punch Recipe:

1 bottle Angel’s Envy
1 CUP cinnamon tea (chilled)
1 CUP pumpkin syrup
1/2 CUP lemon juice
1 bottle Martini & Rossi Asti
.5 oz Fee Brothers Black Walnut Bitters

Combine all ingredients in a punch bowl with a large block of ice, and serve in small punch cups. (If no large format ice available, just chill punch and serve over ice)

—cocktail created by Pittsburgh Whiskey Guardian Nico Battle

hobnobmag holiday cocktails guide

Oaxacan Burro

1.5 oz Bozal Mezcal
4 oz ginger beer
1 oz lime juice
.5 oz agave syrup

Garnish: lime wheel

Shake in cocktail shaker with ice, transfer to copper mule mug with ice. Garnish with lime wheel.

—cocktail recipe from Sorrel River Ranch

Redwood Joe

Cinnamon-Orange Syrup:

1 CUP sugar
1 CUP water
peel and juice of 1 orange
1 cinnamon stick, crushed into shards

Combine ingredients is a small pot. Stir over low heat until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and allow the orange and cinnamon to steep for at least 2 hours, ideally 4+ hours (or overnight). Strain and refrigerate.

Cocktail Recipe:

1.5 oz Humboldt Distillery Organic Vodka
2 oz cold brew or chilled espresso
.75 oz cinnamon-orange syrup

Garnish: grated fresh nutmeg or cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake until very cold, about 20 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with grated fresh nutmeg or cinnamon.

hobnobmag holiday cocktails guide

Persephone Punch

Gem & Bolt Mezcal is uniquely distilled with Damiana, a flowering bush native to Mexico. Long-revered by the Maya and Aztec for its myriad mood-elevating properties & for endowing mythic powers in the bedroom, this beloved and uplifting herb naturally complements Gem & Bolt Mezcal’s heart-opening properties.

750ml bottle of Gem & Bolt Mezcal
750ml bottle Dry Sparkling Wine (Cava)
1 liter pomegranate juice (no-sugar added)
2 tsp juniper berries
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp black peppercorns
2 star anise pods

Combine all in a large bowl. Refrigerate for approximately 8 hours/overnight. Strain and discard spices.

hobnobmag holiday cocktails guide

Brenne French 75

1 oz Brenne Estate Cask
.5 oz simple syrup
.5 oz fresh-squeezed lemon juice
.5 oz elderflower liqueur

2.5 oz prosecco or Champagne

Garnish: Brenne-soaked maraschino cherry

Combine Brenne, simple syrup, lemon juice, and elderflower liqueur and shake vigorously. Strain into a chilled Champagne flute and carefully add the sparkling wine. Slowly sink a Brenne-soaked maraschino cherry to the bottom.

Apple Cinnamon Daiquiri

2 oz Diplomatico Planas Rum
.5 oz Apple Schnapps
.25 oz Cinnamon Schnapps
.5 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
.75 oz pressed apple juice

Garnish: cinnamon stick

Shake all ingredients with ice and fine strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

hobnobmag holiday cocktails guide

Hawker & Pitchman

Mason’s take on a classic Pimm’s Cup. When Pimm’s was first created it was distributed on the streets of London via bike by Hawkers & Pitchman.

1.5 oz Jim Beam Bourbon
.5 oz Pimm’s No. 1
.5 oz Lemongrass Tincture
.5 oz Lemon Juice
1 Dash Fee Bros. Celery Bitters

Shake & strain. Serve in rocks glass with a large cube.  Garnish with a celery leaf.

—cocktail created by Mason, Santa Monica

hobnobmag holiday cocktails guide

Cranberry Crush

From award-winning mixologist, Darren Fallon, Bar Manager of The Restoration Hotel’s restaurant, The Watch: Rooftop Kitchen Spirits. Encompassing all the fall flavors such as cranberry and cinnamon this cocktail is sure to be a crowd-pleaser at any upcoming holiday event.

Cranberry Shrub:

1 pint fresh cranberries
1 pint sugar

1 pint Champagne vinegar
dash cinnamon
dash allspice

Combine cranberries and sugar. Crush the cranberries just a bit and toss together. Let sit about 3 days. Add vinegar and spices  to taste. Strain.

Cinnamon Syrup:

1 pint granulated sugar
1 pint hot water

3 cinnamon sticks

Combine sugar and hot water, stir till sugar is dissolved. Add cinnamon sticks and let sit for a minimum 24hrs.

Cocktail Recipe:

1.5 oz Cazadores Tequila
.5 oz Vermut Lustau
.5 oz lemon juice
.75 oz Cranberry Shrub
.5 oz Cinnamon Syrup
5 drops saline
2 dashes angostura bitters

Stir together all ingredients with ice.

—photography by Chris Carter

Apple Cider Mule

Ginger Syrup:

1 CUP sugar
1 CUP water
2-inch knob of ginger, peeled, roughly chopped

In a small pot, stir ingredients over low heat until sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat and allow the ginger to steep for at least one hour. Strain and refrigerate.

Cocktail Recipe:

1.5 oz Humboldt Distillery Organic Vodka
2 oz apple cider
1 oz fresh lime juice
.5 oz ginger syrup
Splash of seltzer

Build all ingredients over ice in a copper mug. Stir well, and garnish with lime or apple wedges.

hobnobmag holiday cocktails guide

Bad Apple Punch

1 bottle Angel’s Envy Bourbon
1 gallon apple cider
1 lemon, cut into wheels
1 orange, cut into wheels
6 cinnamon sticks
12 oz maple syrup

Add ingredients to punch bowl, stir.

—punch recipe by Chicago Whiskey Guardian Nikki Allen

hobnobmag holiday cocktails guide

Figgy Smalls

From award-winning mixologist, Darren Fallon, Bar Manager of The Restoration Hotel’s restaurant, The Watch: Rooftop Kitchen Spirits. Darren’s re-imagined Manhattan includes a more fall palette with ingredients such as fig cordial and walnut bitters.

Fig Cordial:

1 quart black mission figs
bottle Boyd and Blair Vodka

3.25 CUPS sugar
4.5 CUPS hot water

Combine figs with vodka in a ziploc or sous vide bag. Cook at 63ºC for 3 hours. Strain liquid. Stir in sugar and hot water to combine.

Cocktail Recipe:

1.5 oz Angel’s Envy
.5 oz Fig Cordial
.5 oz Punt e Mes
2 dashes black walnut bitters

Pour all ingredients into a stir glass. Stir cocktail 30-40 times and strain over a large cube. Garnish with Brandied Cherry.

—photography by Chris Carter

Chambord Royale

.33 oz Chambord Liqueur
Sparkling wine
1 raspberry

Pour Chambord into flute glass, top with sparkling wine, finish with a raspberry garnish.

hobnobmag holiday cocktails guide

Maple Whiskey Sour

Pair on the dessert bar with apple cider donuts.
2 oz Peerless Rye Whiskey
1 oz freshly-squeezed lemon juice (or other citrus juice)
.75 oz maple syrup

Add the ingredients with ice to a cocktail shaker. Shake. Strain and serve over ice.

hobnobmag holiday cocktails guide

Spiced Wonder Melon Punch

A surprising mixer that is surprisingly good for you. Wonder Melon products are cold-pressed, USDA Certified Organic watermelon with no preservatives, additives, sweeteners, artificial colors, or flavors. Plus a gorgeous red color to add punch to the bar.

1/3 CUP vodka
juice of 1 lime
2 CUPS Wonder Melon, Lemon-Cayenne flavor

1 CUP lemon sparkling water

Garnish: cinnamon sticks, lime and lemon slices

Combine the vodka, lime juice, and Wonder Melon in a pitcher. Divide between 4 glasses and top each glass with 2 ounces of sparkling water. Garnish with a cinnamon stick, lemon and lime slices.

What’s Up Doc

From award-winning mixologist, Darren Fallon, Bar Manager of The Restoration Hotel’s restaurant, The Watch: Rooftop Kitchen Spirits. A savory yet refreshing libation made with carrots, ginger, and pineapple that even looks like a carrot.

Carrot Pepper Syrup:

3 medium carrots
1 pint sugar
1 quart water

red bell pepper, juiced

In a blender, puree carrots, sugar and water, about 2 min. Add the fresh red pepper juice, pulse.

Cocktail Recipe:

2 oz Pisco
1.5 oz Carrot Pepper Syrup
.5 oz lemon juice
.25 oz ginger syrup
.25 oz pineapple juice

Optional: mint-bitter spray (this adds the green color to the crushed ice)

Build in a Collins glass with crushed ice. Top with mint bitter spray.

—photography by Chris Carter

hobnobmag holiday cocktails guide

The Jewel

(aka Sidecar/Between The Sheets)

1 oz Bertoux Brandy
1 oz aged rum  (Appleton or Rhum JM)
.5 oz simple syrup
.25 oz Cointreau
.75 oz lime

Garnish: lime wheel

Combine all in a shaker with ice, shake, and strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with lime wheel.

hobnobmag holiday cocktails guide

Sonoma Orchard

1.5 oz Benham’s Barrel Finished Gin
.25 oz Disaronno
1 oz fresh lemon juice
2 oz apple cider
1 oz honey syrup (honey diluted 1:1 with hot water)

Garnish: apple slice with presence

Add all ingredients to a shaker filled with ice. Shake well. Strain into coupe or cocktail glass. Garnish with thin slice of apple, cut in a decorative way.

Trader’s Village

From award-winning mixologist, Darren Fallon, Bar Manager of The Restoration Hotel’s restaurant, The Watch: Rooftop Kitchen Spirits. This libation is a play on street corn using elements from corn, avocados and egg yolks. It’s for the truly experimental, and involves a Sous Vide appliance.

Corn-Infused Tequila:

3 ears corn
1 Bottle Silver Tequila

Sous Vide for 3 hours at 63ºC. Puree mix, strain.

Avocado Orgeat:

4 avocado pits

2 CUPS water
4 CUPS sugar

Toast avocado pits for 10 min. In a food processor, puree them with water and sugar.

Sous Vide Egg Yolk:

10 egg yolks

Sous Vide egg yolks for an hour at 63ºC. Puree with a splash of water when finished.

Spiced Rim:

1 CUP salt
1 CUP sugar
1/2 CUP paprika
1/4 CUP cayenne
1/4 CUP cumin


Cocktail Recipe:

1.5 oz Corn-Infused Tequila
.5 oz Ancho Reyes
.5 oz SV egg yolk
.75 oz fresh lime juice
.75 oz Avocado Orgeat

Mix all ingredients in a shaker. Strain over ice in a spiced rimmed glass. Garnish with a dehydrated lime.

—photography by Chris Carter

Holiday Dinnerware: Villeroy & Boch MetroChic Collection

Posted on: November 26th, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

I’ve always been a fan of black and white, when it comes to home decor (see Hobnob’s other black and white selections). So when I eyed this collection from Villeroy & Boch, I had immediate tableware envy. MetroChic is an Art Deco-inspired graphic dinnerware collection made from the finest  porcelain, perfect for those special occasions.

(photo at the top of this post) The collection makes a powerful statement on the table, especially if you start with a black base. Choose which pieces you want from this timeless design to create your own personal statement.

hobnobmag Holiday Dinnerware Villeroy & Boch Metrochic Collection

A closer view of the MetroChic collection where patterns play with patterns.

hobnobmag Holiday Dinnerware Villeroy & Boch Metrochic Collection

A stacking serving dish can host dessert, or canapes. Right, the dinner plate and saucer on display.

hobnobmag Holiday Dinnerware Villeroy & Boch Metrochic Collection

A close-up of the stunning napkin ring.

hobnobmag Holiday Dinnerware Villeroy & Boch Metrochic Collection

More of the collection: a teapot and small cup.

hobnobmag Holiday Dinnerware Villeroy & Boch Metrochic Collection

The vase and covered dish would make a great gift. Right, the bread plate would be nice with mini desserts, in addition to its assigned usage.

Villeroy & Boch MetroChic Collection. Bone Porcelain. Dishwasher safe. Made in Germany. Prices range: Espresso Cup, $32, Dinner Plate, $60;  Round Vegetable Serving Bowl, $122.

Champagne Bar: The Riddler NYC

Posted on: November 23rd, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

On a chilly night in November, we thought a trek to the West Village would supply us with an intimate, special spot to enjoy exceptional bites. The Riddler delivered with a lush corner location, a crowd excited and abuzz, and excellent, informative service.

The full story: We attempted to get a bar seat around 7, but it was packed. We were told to come back in 45 min, so about an hour later we gave it a second try. (in the meantime we had a nice glass of wine and Italian bites at Sant Ambroeus, a few blocks down on w 4th St. to assuage our hunger—see photos at the end of this post.)

The Riddler NYC, oysters and Drew Farquhar at the bar.

Upon our return, Drew Farquhar, the wine expert behind the bar, remembered us and in no-time-flat we had two seats at the end of the bar near the window. (Thank you good-bar-Karma, you always get me in!) Here’s our first pour of champagne  along with some oysters: 3 Beau Soleil, NB, and 3 Hood Canal, WA. Both were excellent West Coast examples, the Beau Soleil extra creamy.

The Riddler NYC, with gold tin ceiling and squash dish.

A view of the cozy space from the back of the restaurant. Right, we also tried an order of the Roasted Honeynut Squash with Brussels sprouts & granny smith apple. Excellent, a wonderful winter medley.

The Riddler NYC with Drew Farquhar at the bar.

The bar dominates the room.

The Riddler NYC, Drew Farquhar pours some champagne.

Drew Farquhar matched our dishes with the right bubbly, and gave us the rundown with each glass. Right, another view of the space, which is tight, from the corner of the bar.

The Riddler NYC has historic touches, and a surprise in the bathroom.

A remnant of the past, a dumbwaiter near the bar. Right, inside the bathroom, a bit of humor.

The Riddler NYC, Ellen Swandiak enjoys some bubbly: three recommended pours.

Here I am in the corner bar seat, enjoying it all. Right, the three pours, as recommended by Drew Farquhar. He describes the flavor profiles on each:

Pierre Moncuit Blanc des Blancs From Le-Mesnil-sur-Oger, one of the more famous Grand Cru villages for Chardonnay production, Pierre Moncuit is a very lean, racy, dense, mineral-inflected wine that is an extraordinarily pure expression of chalk. The vineyards here are impressively chalky, which imparts a very distinctive character to the wine. (this was paired with the oysters)

Noel Bazin Rose This is what is called a “rose d’assemblage,” meaning a small amount of still red wine is blended with white. This is different than rosés from other parts of the world, where the tint comes from keeping the juice on the skins for a brief period. In this manner, Noel Bazin can make a little still red pinot noir (a rare but frequently sumptuous wine style), and then use that wine to deepen the color of the resultant wine, as well as deepen and enrich its flavors. This wine is broad, richly textured, and concentrated. This is the perfect champagne pairing with a burger! (we had this wine with the squash)

Pierre Baillette “Le Village” Perine Baillete, the winemaker, is the wife of Alexander Chartogne, winemaker at Chartogne-Taillet, a very famous and highly regarded champagne producer here in New York. This is from an area west of Reims called the “Petite Montaigne de Reims”, which is less well known that more famous Grand Cru villages to the southeast. Yet wines from this area frequently have a crackling tension and electricity that I find fantastic. 40% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay, and 20% Pinot Meunier, Champagne’s “other grape” that provides ripeness and acidity to a blend, and is found in abundance in this region. This wine has a nice brioche character, and great concentration of fruit and minerality. It ends with a very fine, very long finish. — Drew Farquhar

The Riddler, 51 Bank St (NW corner w 4th St)

HOBNOBMAG Sant Ambroeus NYC2

Sant Ambroeus

A few blocks down, Sant Ambroeus hosted us in a loving way, while we bided our time to get back into The Riddler. It was the perfect place to enjoy wonderful Italian bites at the bar, served with inimitable Italian warmth and style. Our spot at the bar gave us front row seats to witness the bartender in action, putting the finishing touch on a sparkling cocktail. Right, part of the snacks on the bar was a perfect cube of Mortadella. I loved this presentation, and the next time I had a guest in my home, I purchased a slab of this wonderful cold cut, and created my own little cubes to serve with toothpicks.

HOBNOBMAG Sant Ambroeus NYC2

The wine: an Italian Alto Adige Chardonnay. 2017 Kreuth Chardonnay Terlano tasting notes: offers a fine acidity, creamy structure and an elegant play of aromas. Thanks to its complexity and mineral note, this powerful Chardonnay from the Terlano DOC area is a very long-lived wine. We really enjoyed this wine.

HOBNOBMAG Sant Ambroeus NYC2

The bread offering, with bar snacks behind. Right, the absolutely delicious Asparagi Freddi: a traditional Sant Ambroeus dish featuring steamed asparagus, Kumato tomato, hard-boiled farm egg. A taste sensation, great combination of ingredients.

HOBNOBMAG Sant Ambroeus NYC2

The Melanzane alla Parmigiana: baked eggplant, in San Marzano tomato sauce, with buffalo mozzarella, Parmesan, and basil. A wonderful dish to share, as the portion is ample. Right, approval.

Sant Ambroeus, 259 West 4th St (SE corner Perry St)

Pumpkin Recipes: Dinner Party Ideas

Posted on: November 23rd, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

When the temperatures start to cool down, the taste of pumpkin just fits right in. Here are two recipes perfect for entertaining from celebrity caterer Andrea Correale of Elegant Affairs. The Pumpkin Fettuccine ups its cuteness factor by being served in a mini pumpkin, a great way to kick off a dinner party, or to serve as a side dish. For dessert, the mix of pumpkin puree into a traditional cheese cake gives it holiday flair.


Fettuccine in Mini Pumpkins


8 oz whole wheat fettuccine

Bring a big pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta until al dente. Drain and set aside.


1 generous TB unsalted butter
1 TB flour
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 CUPS low-fat milk
1/2 tsp rosemary, finely chopped
3 oz mascarpone cheese
1 CUP pumpkin puree
1/4 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add butter. Once sizzling, whisk in flour and stir to create a roux, until bubbly and golden, about 3 min. Add garlic and cook for 30 sec. Add in milk and rosemary. Stir constantly and increase the heat a little bit, if necessary, until the mixture begins to bubble and thicken, about 5-6 min. Add in mascarpone, pumpkin, s +p, whisking until smooth and thickened into a sauce. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Add cooked pasta to pan and toss to combine.


mini pumpkins
prepared fettuccine
rosemary, minced
grated parmesan cheese

Carve out mini pumpkins to be used as serving vessels. Using tongs, fill the pumpkins with the fettuccine. Garnish with extra sauce, rosemary, and Parmesan cheese.


Pumpkin Cheesecake Squares

Cheesecake in technicolor (see photo at the top of this post). What’s not to like about these beautiful squares with puffs of cream on top. This recipe serves a crowd. To stretch it even further, create 48 bars (1.25 x 2.5 inches), so everyone can get a taste as part of a dessert buffet.

MAKES 24 SQUARES (2.5 inch)


16 oz pound cake mix
1 egg
2 TB butter, melted
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

Coat a 15 x 10 inch jelly roll pan (similar to a baking sheet except sides are 1-inch high). with non-stick spray. In a large mixing bowl on low speed, combine ingredients until crumbly. Press onto bottom of prepared pan.


8 oz cream cheese, softened
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 eggs
15 oz can pumpkin puree
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon salt

1 CUP pecans, chopped

garnish: whipped cream (just before serving)

In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk, then the eggs, pumpkin puree and spice, and salt, mix well.

Pour over crust; sprinkle with pecans. Bake about 30 – 35 min, until set. Allow to cool, then chill in refrigerator. Cut into squares. Store covered in refrigerator until ready to serve. Garnish with a puff of whipped cream for the ultimate effect.

Photos courtesy Elegant Affairs. Andrea Correale has been producing custom-designed, award-winning New York catered events for more than 20 years. She’s served dozens of celebrities including Mariah Carey, Alec Baldwin, Jimmy Fallon, and Billie Eilish, to name a few.

Best Lisbon Hotels: The One Palacio da Anunciada & Myriad by Sana

Posted on: November 16th, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

In preparation for this trip, I researched hotels in Lisbon extensively, looking for that perfect combination of a boutique-hotel-attitude, a lively bar and restaurant scene, a location that’s walking distance to the city’s sights, and a beautiful interior design. I especially love something unique, something that when you recall your trip in the future, the hotel factors in as a plus, with its own personality. The One Palacio scores on all counts, the Myriad’s only demerit is its location, which is quite far north of the city (but very close to the airport).

Let’s dig into the details…

The One Palácio da Anunciada

I absolutely adored everything about this hotel. It is situated at the perfect crossroads, allowing you to walk or take a short cab ride to just about every neighborhood in central Lisbon. (see more of Scenic Lisbon and our adventures)

When we first arrived from the airport, the cab driver dropped us off at the bottom of Avenida da Liberdade, and stated in broken English that our hotel was a block away, but he could not get to it. So, bleary-eyed from the flight, we stood with our rolling suitcases and attempted to navigate to the hotel. The GPS led us east, down what looked like a back alleyway (eek), which led to a pedestrian mosaic-ed street. A few blocks up, we spotted the hotel’s discreet signage and knew we had found something special. (For clarity’s sake, you can reach the hotel by taxi, basically by heading one block north of hotel and coming in that way where the street reverts back to cars.)

After check-in we headed upstairs to eat breakfast to acclimate to the new time zone. What we encountered was the most beautiful breakfast buffet ever. (see the photos below) But definitely, the pièce de résistance of the hotel was the outdoor pool, and lucky for us, though it was October, it was still warm enough to take advantage of it. (see the pool  in the photo at the top of this post) There’s also a spa, and a small gym on the premises.

The hotel opened in February 2019, after the H10 Hotel group put a thoughtful re-design on this 16th-century palacio (1533 to be exact). They kept many of the original details in the public areas, but the rooms are thoroughly modern. Though it’s in the heart of the city, it is a true sanctuary. The service was friendly, and respectful—and very helpful. I give the experience 10 out of 10 stars.

Check out the photos from our stay.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Hotels The One Palacio

The ceiling in the dining room next to the outdoor breakfast patio. Right, to the right of the main entrance, the lobby has comfortable chairs to relax in and a super-mod bookcase.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Hotels The One Palacio

The breakfast patio was behind the palacio, where the hotel took advantage of carving out the space in between surrounding buildings. Right, one look at the breakfast buffet, which cost 29 euro (and worth it).

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Hotels The One Palacio

Café Americano out on the patio. Right, the fountain at the center of the patio, right behind where we sat. And the star of the patio, a 100-year-old dragon tree.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Hotels The One Palacio

The discreet signage of the hotel (thank you passers-by for adding coordinating color to my photo). Right, a bar (Boémio Cocktail Lounge) located on street level of the hotel, which was not open when we were there, had lots of funky art.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Hotels The One Palacio

The lobby, just in front of the entrance. Right, the chandelier over the O Jardim Wine Bar, which for breakfast hosts the buffet.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Hotels The One Palacio

Another view of the patio, with hotel rooms above. Right, close-up of the breakfast offerings.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Hotels The One Palacio

Part of the bread offering on the 29 euro breakfast. They also served a fruit salad, along with eggs and a selection of meat and cheeses. Right, a view of the patio from the spa/pool area.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Hotels The One Palacio

The route to the pool area had an eye-catching row of recessed lighting. Right, baked goods on the breakfast buffet, for those with a sweet tooth.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Hotels The One Palacio

Also part of the 29 euro breakfast: a selection of meats and cheeses. Right, the stairs up to the pool. Noted: In many places throughout Lisbon banisters on stairs are optional.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Hotels The One Palacio

My room. This was located on the first floor facing the pedestrian street, but was not noisy, as I feared it might be. The decor was duo-tone: taupe and Portuguese blue. Bonus: next to the bed on both sides were USB charging stations and an American plug and electricity. Right, a small table in the room.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Hotels The One Palacio

As in many European bathrooms, the toilet is separate from the shower area. Note the photo on the wall in between the rooms shows the state of the hotel before renovation. Right, my room had a tub, the shower was actually next to the tub, with hidden drain at the wall’s edge.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Hotels The One Palacio

A wall of taupe closets revealed a coffee-prep area, mini fridge and safe. Right, my room had a double sink. Note, in the reflection in the mirror the door to toilet is frosted glass.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Hotels The One Palacio

Careful. The steps leading down to the lounge area of the pool. Right, I missed breakfast one day, so opted for a Caesar Salad by the pool. As a matter of fact, we spent the afternoon here and it was absolute heaven.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Hotels The One Palacio

Near the spa was a whirlpool bath, whose water was cool, not hot. I wondered how those plants stayed alive, then one time I came upon a man with a spray bottle giving them some love. Right, the palacio’s pretty window.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Hotels The One Palacio

The 100-year-old dragon tree is even more dramatic at night. Right, when I asked the woman in the lobby what time the pool closed, she told me they stayed open all night. So, I took advantage of that for a late-night swim. The following day I heard that the pool closed at dusk, so I am not sure what the policy is.

The One Palácio da Anunciada, R. das Portas de Santo Antão 112-134, 1150-268 Lisboa

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Hotels Myriad by Sana

Myriad by Sana

OK, I will admit to a bit of incorrect planning on my part here. When I saw this hotel’s location next to a bridge, I assumed it was the one near the Belem area of Lisbon. But, this hotel is located about a half-hour taxi ride from the center. Ooops!! That being said, I thought the hotel itself had a breathtaking design, and turned out to be a great place to stay.

Full story: we had been at a friend’s wedding down in the Algarve for 4 days, re-uniting with dear friends. Needless to say, we indulged and celebrated day after day. We drove back up to Lisbon on a Monday (roughly a 3-hour drive) and had the foresight to book a massage upon our arrival. AAAHHH. The spa was located on the top floor of the hotel and had a stunning, shimmery, white-on-white design meant to add to the relaxation. The staff could not be nicer, or more pampering. The spa features a small indoor swimming pool, and a sauna with a full-glass wall that looks down on the city. This is the way to embark upon our last 2 days in the city!

The hotel design has a tri-color strategy: White, black, with punches of red. Glass windows allow for extensive views throughout the hotel, even the elevators were glass on 4 sides providing a thrilling ride up and down. I would have liked to have dinner in the round restaurant located above the metal sail on the hotel, titled 50 seconds—for that’s how long it takes for the elevator to reach the space. They were closed on Monday night, unfortunately, so that’s mistake number two in my planning efforts! No great loss, though, check out the photos from our stay…

(photo above) In the lobby, over a backlit floor sat a red piano, which Bob could not resist. Right, part of the enormous lobby. Here’s a really nit-picky comment: if you notice, the furniture in each area is a multiple of one design. It’s almost as if they ran out of ideas at that point in the design and just ordered a bunch of the same piece.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Hotels Myriad by Sana

The view of the hotel from Parque das Nações which was created for Expo ‘98. Right, the south-facing deck off the lobby of the hotel.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Hotels Myriad by Sana

A view from the 17th floor, looking down into the lobby. I adored the lighting fixtures, which resembled giant jellyfish. If you look closely, just above the stairs is the breakfast buffet. Right, the breakfast buffet had it all. This was included in the room price.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Hotels Myriad by Sana

A couple more views of the inner atrium of the hotel. The rooms for the hotel were on the north and south sides of this.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Hotels Myriad by Sana

The River Lounge dining room at breakfast (see our dinner here at this link). Right: Want some fresh-squeezed juice with your breakfast?

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Hotels Myriad by Sana

The elevator banks revealed the workings. Right, the metalwork sail on the back of the building, with 50 Seconds restaurant at the top.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Hotels Myriad by Sana

The room continued the color scheme. It also featured a glassed-in shower in the center of the room, for the exhibitionists out there! The room controls were super high-tech, and there was definitely a learning curve trying to figure out what switch turned on what. Also, if the room card was not in the port near the front door, some of the switches would not be operational to control say, the TV or the blinds. That room needed an instruction booklet! For such a new hotel, I thought the charging stations were lacking.

Myriad by Sana Hotel, Lote 2.21.01, Parque das Nações, R. Cais das Naus, 1990-173 Lisboa

Best Lisbon Dining: 7 Upscale Places to Flex Your Foodie Muscles

Posted on: November 15th, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

Dining around a new city has its challenges and rewards. It’s a way to get to know the locals, and hopefully, get to meet other fun and food-focused folks. We had a blast trying the local goodies and experimental dishes and seeing what Lisbon is all about. (see also Hobnob’s post on Lisbon Drink) and Street Scenes and Scenic Spots.

Some general observations on the Lisbon restaurant scene:

• Most of the contemporary restaurants had a very sparse or industrial feel, being absolutely clean and minimalist. Or, alternately, were super modern and lux.

• As we walked around, I noticed lots of restaurants were situated in the ultimate locations—with views, near historical sites, or gardens. I can’t tell you how many times we came upon a wondrous area—and boom—there was a place to dine. Good to keep in mind if you are the spontaneous type.

• Nearly every restaurant presented the check in a unique and clever way. Some enclosed in a book, or a mug, or a can… it seemed to be a thing.

See Hobnob’s individual reviews and photos of the following spots we encountered personally:

Attla: personal time with a creative chef

Epur: ultra elegant and refined

Sud Lisboa: modern digs with a pool

Gin Lovers: incredible atrium in historic building

Jncquoi: cutting edge yet casual

River Lounge: a bit of glitz and sunshine

Prado: warm, unusual, and surprising

Best Lisbon Dining: Attla

Posted on: November 15th, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

Our finale dinner was at Attla, and we were delighted to find such an intimate, personable place to say farewell to the city. Owner and Chef André Fernandes has worked at an array of Michelin restaurants, then took off to explore corners far and wide. This is all reflected in his dishes, which feature local Portuguese ingredients (mostly fish and vegetables) but with a wild streak. To me, this type of restaurant is the jewel in the crown: it’s a combination of a talented chef with a personal vision offered in a simple, small, unencumbered space to enjoy the food—so you feel like you are part of the scene and end up engaging with fellow foodies. There is a great warmth and genuine hospitality that leaves you feeling full and full of joy.

The menu was on the unusual end of the spectrum, so we did need a little assistance in ordering, and awaited our selections with anticipation. A few arrived as completely new and bizarre, but all were terrific. The space, like lots of other high-end spots in Lisbon was clean and sparse, light wood and white walls, almost Scandinavian in mood and approach.

The night we went there were a lot of Americans in the house, and it was fun to trade tips of each others’ hot spots. Though, when I asked the staff if it was mostly tourists who came to the restaurant, I was told that it was just a fluke that night.

Here’s what we had that night.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Dining ATTLA

The meal started with a Puffed Olive Oil Dough glazed with ponzu, spider crab, and fresh herbs. Quite extraordinary. Right, we sat in the corner near the glass divider, which was cozy.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Dining ATTLA

I always love a cleverly designed wine label. This bottle of Somnium White 2017, from Douro, Portugal was a treat, and nicely complex.  Right, the Sourdough Bread came with two spreads: confit garlic and goat butter and chili. What’s not to like?

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Dining ATTLA

We were not sure what to make of this when it arrived, so just dug in. Fried Polenta, bonito tartar, chinotto, under an avocado pilpil—styled like the ultimate energy bar. Right, a closer look shows the polenta on the bottom, bonito on top, smothered in that wonderful avocado sauce. Not sure how the chinotto (a type of orange) figured in, but the dish was fantastic. (Chinotto oranges are best suited for flavoring and are not typically consumed raw due to their sour, bitter nature. The fruit is used in marmalade, jams, and syrups because of their high pectin content and the essential oils are used to flavor cocktails.)

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Dining ATTLA

I’m a bit worn out from all the running around on our last day. We spent the day walking around Belem to the museums and the monastery, and made our way to the Alcântara neighborhood. We certainly earned this meal after all those hours on our feet. Right, the Grilled Boletos Mushroom, with ajo bianco, cockles, and lardo. I could eat this right off the screen.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Dining ATTLA

I like that the Portuguese refer to a crab claw as a “tweezer,” it’s quite accurate. This Spider Crab Tweezer was served in a super interesting miso beurre blanc sauce, a total hit. Unfortunately, the crab itself was not that meaty. Right, a view from the entrance to the open kitchen and tiny bar.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Dining ATTLA

Our server Leo with another offering for us: a natural wine Menina d’uva. Right, John Dory cured in seaweed, in another great sauce, ponzu, cucumber, smoked tomato oil.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Dining ATTLA

For the purists: a perfectly done stalk of Cauliflower glazed with elderflower vinegar, spinach satay, and sorrel sauce. Right, we lingered a bit and were the last people to leave on this Tuesday night, which is why the tables are empty next to where we sat.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Dining ATTLA

A minimalist wall statement. Right, a fantastic dessert of Smoked Ice Cream with almond tree wood, almond milk, fig from Algarve, carob crumble, fig leaf oil, is what was stated on the menu. Though, that fruit looks a lot like a pear.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Dining ATTLA

I just had to meet the chef and give him my compliments. André Fernandes really puts a lot of love and creativity into the food. Right, our lovely server, who also took the photo of the chef and I. Thanks, we had a great time!

Attla, R. Gilberto Rola 65, 1350-111 Lisboa, open Tuesday to Saturday, from 7:30pm – midnight.

Want to see more Lisbon dining picks, click here.

Best Lisbon Dining: Epur

Posted on: November 15th, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

This was the most elegant experience we had in Lisbon, and if you are looking for a spot to really treat yourself, this is it. First off, let me describe the interior. The dual dining rooms have almost a monastery-like zen vibe, with loads of space between tables, so that it feels like you own a section of the restaurant—it’s partitioned off just for you. We sat at a table that could easily accommodate four, so were able to spread out and really relax. In these environs, course after course was served to perfection.

The decor was a mix of modern, subdued elements joined with a touch of traditional Portuguese tile. The restaurant itself was perched on a hill, providing views behind the space. But the best views were right in front of your eyes, on the table.

The menu offers 5 ways to go: lunch, a la carte, and 4-6-8 tasting menus with optional wine pairings. We decided to go for the “Let Yourself Be Guided in 4 Moments” plan.  This 4-course dinner offered wine pairings for an additional 40 €, so we decided to commit to the full monty. Actually, I like the way Epur counted the courses here, as it turned out to be much more than four: Three amuses, fantastic bread/olive oil, and a double dessert. Luckily we had a nice walk after dinner to work off some of those calories, to view a late-night Fado show in the Barrio Alto neighborhood. (see one of Lisbon’s oldest and most traditional Fado spot here)

Vincent Farges, the chef here, gained local fame working at Michelin-starred Fortaleza do Guincho, near Lisbon. At Epur, he expresses his creativity on traditional Portuguese cuisine with touches of French and Asian influences. His philosophy is to create minimalist plates based on two or three flavors. It’s food that is restrained and not-too-weird. And they certainly loved the table side pour, which I always appreciate.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Dining Epur

A good meal always starts with a glass of bubbly, in my humble opinion. This one, Jose Carvalheira Hibernus Premier Brut 2017, a sparkling wine from Bairrada, was in keeping with the restaurants showcasing of Portugal’s best.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Dining Epur

The first amuse: Cucumber, Keffir, Cilantro. A refreshing little bite. Right, the table was graced with a sweet floral display.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Dining Epur

Amuse 2: Oilfish, Miso, Cedrat. Amuse 3: Shrimp and Pumpkin Soup. Wonderful flavors and textures.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Dining Epur

Course 1: Tomato, Raspberry, Almonds, and Jalapeño paired with a Redona Rosé 2017, a wine from Douro. A refreshing way to start the meal, the tomatoes were extremely flavorful.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Dining Epur

Course 2: Snapper, Fennel, Olives, Baby Squid paired with Torre de Palma Arinto e Alavarinho 2018. Perfectly done.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Dining Epur

Course 3: Pork, Eggplant, Guanciale flawlessly paired with  Reynolds Grande Reserva 2011.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Dining Epur

Course 4: Dessert in Two Parts, part one: Red Berries, Almonds, Kaffir Lime Leaves Créme Glacè. The dessert wine: Villa Oeiras Superior.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Dining Epur

More dessert: Chocolate, Chicory, Lemon Verbena.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Dining Epur

Fantastic service here! Thank you so much for an unforgettable night. Right, the discreet signage on the front of the restaurant.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Dining Epur

Just to the left of the restaurant shows the hilly-ness of Lisbon, and the view to the water.

Epur, Largo da Academia Nacional das Belas Artes  14 R/C 1200-005 Lisboa  Portugal,  open Tuesday – Saturday 12:303:00 lunch;  7:30 – 11:00 pm

Want to see more Lisbon dining picks, click here.

Best Lisbon Dining: Sud Lisboa

Posted on: November 15th, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

When we spoke with the concierge at Myriad by Sana hotel before leaving on our excursion to Belem, she mentioned Sud, as a must visit. And we are certainly glad she did. It’s located a short walk from the MAAT (The Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology), whose building is a joy to behold (see more photos of scenic Lisbon at this link) but be forewarned, they are closed on Tuesday, which is the day we went. Oh well, there were many other museums and cultural treasures in the area, and at the end of quite a bit of walking we stopped in this oasis.

It’s situated right on the Tagus River and we sat upstairs and outside in a small patio area. Here you can watch as sailboats, tourist boats, jet skiers, birds and runners all glide by while you partake on some excellent bites.

We were surprised to see a full-size swimming pool on the roof area, which only added to the novelty of it. When we stopped in it was around 4pm, so it was not crowded, but I am sure later in the evening and all summer this place is packed with revelers.

[photo at the top of this post] The street level of the Sud Lisboa featured a wall of glass doors, and an outside dining area next to the promenade.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Dining Sud

The pool, as viewed from our private little patio. Right, Bob displays the menu, which was an iPad and had their slogan: “It’s Happening.”

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Dining Sud

Our server was gracious and sweet and had two glasses of Divali sparkling wine to us in a flash. Right, a ceviche seemed like the right dish to order, this one was the Ceviche Robalo e Vieira.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Dining Sud

The glassed-in room next to the patio has a retractable roof for warmer days (we were visiting mid-October and the weather was still warm daytime, but a little chilly at night.)

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Dining Sud

Our second dish was the Bolinha Bacalhau, a Portuguese staple and was served perfectly hot and steamy. Right, here I am on our little patio area with the river beyond.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Dining Sud

A couple enjoys the sunshine by the pool. Right, at the entry were towels. When we first arrived I thought that there might be a spa, till I saw the pool.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Dining Sud

The bar on the street level had a color-changing led light fixture, which looked almost like lace. Quite pretty.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Dining Sud

The staircase which leads to the roofdeck. Right, an interesting concept for hanging coats way up high, next to the staircase.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Dining Sud

The front of Sud Lisboa, whose lower level, we surmised, also has a retractable roof for when weather permits.

Sud Lisboa, Avenida Brasília – Pavilhão Poente (next to MAAT) 1300-598 Lisboa

Want to see more Lisbon dining picks, click here.

Where to Drink Lisbon

Posted on: November 15th, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

Lisbon is a wine-lovers city, also great if you are on a budget. Creative cocktails are more rare, but not if you know where to look. See all the spots we dropped into here for a drink, and theres more photos and info on dining of Hobnob’s 5-day tour of Lisbon in our posts Best Lisbon Dining and Street Scenes and Scenic Spots. ADD LINKS

Sky Bar

We thought a drink before dinner would be perfect here and our timing was just right. It went from daylight to dark, just as we set off for our dinner reservation. This spot is located on the Avenida da Liberdade on the top of the Tivoli hotel.

Off the elevator leads to a narrow walkway with a staircase at then end… before the big reveal. (seen in the photo at the top of this post)

The space had 3 levels, on level 2 was a DJ playing some fun dance tunes, but not too loudly. Right, the lighting is starting to get more dramatic around the central bar area.

The view stretched all the way to the river. Since Lisbon is such a hilly city, there are many opportunities to cast your eyes over the landscape.

Sky Bar, Av. da Liberdade 185, 1269-050 Lisboa, open daily 5 to 1 am

hobnobmag Where To Drink Lisbon

ULYSSES Speakeasy

Our very last stop on the trip was to a unique and knowledgeable cocktail bar, located on a side street in the Alfama area of Lisbon. Here we were treated by the owner and person behind the cool concept, Manuel Barreira, personally in this 12-seat space. The idea: Manuel asks you a series of questions: What’s your favorite fruit, what spirit do you gravitate to, among others, and will create a custom mix just for you. There’s also a list on the blackboard for those who crave something from there.

For such a tiny place, he has an admirable collection of spirits, fruits, and ice selection. This was a special experience, and totally fun, as you are almost required to make friends as you nuzzle together awaiting your special cocktail.

hobnobmag Where To Drink Lisbon

Manuel does the final pour on my rum drink. Right, the location is easy to miss, but is worth the effort. Here’s a peek from the street.

hobnobmag Where To Drink Lisbon

Our new French friend poses with her martini. Right, Manuel, whose attention to detail is a plus, adds an oversized square cube to his latest concoction.

hobnobmag Where To Drink Lisbon

Bob sips his gin-based cocktail. Right, I love rum, and these bottles were part of the cocktail Manuel created for me.

hobnobmag Where To Drink Lisbon

Manuel’s book, in which he asks certain guests to sign. He plans to put the pages behind a large painting of a woman which graces one wall. I was honored to add my two cents. Right, a non-alcoholic vodka was used to make a drink for a pregnant woman in the crowd.

hobnobmag Where To Drink Lisbon

A great group of people showed up to join us. They all knew each other for 30 years, and now live in far-flung places, but get together every year for a trip. We had so much fun hanging out with them. It’s the perfect place to make new friends.

Ulysses Speakeasy, R. da Regueira 16A, 1100-437 Lisboa, facebook: Ulysses, Hours: Thursday – Saturday 8pm to 2am; Sunday – Wednesday, 8pm to 1:00am; Reservations are recommended,  via email: [email protected] or WhatsApp / phone +351 927 696684 or Instagram @UlyssesLisbon

hobnobmag Where To Drink Lisbon


We had dinner upstairs at Jncquoi, but the bar downstairs was worth checking out for a nightcap. The design was quite lush and swanky, and if it were not a Monday night, I think it would have been packed with people ready to party.

hobnobmag Where To Drink Lisbon

This is where we were introduced to Alvarinho, the white wine from the northwest of Portugal called Vinho Verde region. Alvarinho has a signature floral/fruity profile with notes of lime, honeysuckle, peach, and grapefruit. We were hooked. (and incidentally, wine in Portugal is very reasonably priced. Bonus!)

hobnobmag Where To Drink Lisbon

A unique feature: the bathroom area in the shape of a circle, had a dj booth at its center. Right, each bathroom was fronted by a set of swinging doors, without a lock. Inside, a black toilet, and black toilet paper were found, with secretive ways of flushing and turning on the water to the sink. See how long it takes you to figure it out.

Jncquoi, Av. da Liberdade 182 184, 1250-146 Lisboa, open daily noon to 2am (Thurs, Fri, Sat) or midnight (Sunday through Wednesday)

hobnobmag Where To Drink Lisbon

Wine Not?

We came across this wine bar en route to Epur in the Chiado area of Lisbon, where we were having dinner. Intrigued by the name, we thought we’d give it a shot. We were pleasantly surprised by the extensive menu and knowledgeable staff for a spot that seemed quite casual. Not only was the wine fantastic, but it was quite reasonably priced (we kept getting sticker shock upon viewing the bill, in the sense we were pleasantly surprised!) Also impressive were the statement chandeliers.

hobnobmag Where To Drink Lisbon

The scene out in front. Right, Bob fans out the extensive wine list, with helpful photos.

hobnobmag Where To Drink Lisbon

The sommelier here was from Brazil, and not only recommended a fantastic taste, he also helped us decide where to see a Fado show later, and assisted in making the reservation. We continued our Alvarinho theme, this time with 2018 Casa Ermelinda Freitas.

hobnobmag Where To Drink Lisbon

The lounge area behind our wooden table. I’m not sure how the vineyard, Casa Ermelinda Freitas ties into this wine bar and tapas place, but it was a wonderful stop.

Wine Not?, R. Ivens 45, 1200-226 Lisboa, no website

hobnobmag Where To Drink Lisbon

Café Luso

Seeing a Fado performance was on our list of things to do, and Café Luso was one of the city’s oldest and most traditional spot to do a viewing.  Since we are totally snobby about dining out, we chose to see the show after dinner, instead of eating dinner there. Since this place is open till 2am, it fit in nicely with our plans.

hobnobmag Where To Drink Lisbon

Located in the Barrio Alto section of the city, the area was loaded with venues for fun. Here we see the space before it got late and they closed a curtain around us to make the space more intimate. Right, more wine.

Café Luso – Fado & Food Group, Tv. da Queimada 10, 1200-365 Lisboa

hobnobmag Where To Drink Lisbon

River Lounge

Located in the lobby of the Myriad Hotel, this was the setup seen next to the breakfast buffet, the local bubbly brand, Divali. We also had some nice cocktails here (see the dining post and passion fruit sparkling cocktails we had before dinner.)

River Lounge, R. do Cais das Naus, Lote 2.21.01, 1990 Lisbon

hobnobmag Where To Drink Lisbon

31 d’Armada

Restaurants open later in Lisbon, so we needed a stop before our dinner at Attla to rest our weary bones and sip on some wine. Just a few blocks up the hill we came across a small square and a lovely little spot with bougainvillea out front. Always a good sign.

hobnobmag Where To Drink Lisbon

Since it was still early (7pm) we were the only people there. It looked like a sweet, local place to gather.

31 d’Armada, Praça da Armada 31, 1350-027 Lisboa

Best Lisbon Dining: Gin Lovers

Posted on: November 15th, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

Located in one of the best neighborhoods in Lisbon, Gin Lovers  sits inside an extraordinary shopping space (the Embaixada, a concept boutique mall), with spots indoors and out. We made a pitstop here for lunch to bask in the architecture and relax under the soaring atrium and skylight. It really epitomizes the edgy and creative aspects of the Principe Real neighborhood.

The building, the Ribeiro da Cunha Palace, takes its style cues from the Moors and its shops come with dramatically high ceilings and a crumbly luster that only comes with time. This building was just one of the many in the area’s concept stores, whose themes change on a regular basis.

The chef, Miguel Castro e Silva, has a modern take on Portuguese and southern European cuisine, as witnessed in the photos below. Though we didn’t hit the bar area that day, there are 60+ gins on the menu with creative cocktails to match, as you would imagine a place named Gin Lovers would have.

The Gin Lovers concept is the brainchild of Carlos Alves a dedicated Gin aficianado and collector of knowledge on the spirit. He started the Facebook page in 2013, and was instrumental in getting Portugal’s bars and restaurants to honor National Gin and Tonic day in June. This is their first bar.

[photo at the top of this post] The bread offering was practically a meal in itself.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Dining GIN LOVERS Principe Real

I ordered the beef cheeks. It was an interesting dish, but a little heavy for a middle-of-the-day meal. Right, the atrium above the dining area.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Dining GIN LOVERS Principe Real

The backyard offers a seating area on a deck. I bet this spot is packed in warmer weather. Right, the mural in the bar.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Dining GIN LOVERS Principe Real

I had food envy when Bob’s dish arrived: Bacalhau croquettes on an especially flavorful potato salad. (reminded me of my Brazilian friend Shirlei’s potato salad recipe) Right, our server with British flag tie.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Dining GIN LOVERS Principe Real

After lunch, we continued our walk around Principe Real which is on top of a hill, so affords views in many directions. Next time I’m in Lisbon, I would focus exclusively on this area, it really offers so much. Right, a peek inside A Ceviceria, a few blocks away.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Dining GIN LOVERS Principe Real

A little further down, Coyo Taco, and Tapisco compete for foodie attention.

Gin Lovers, Praça do Príncipe Real 26 – 1250-184 Lisboa

Want to see more Lisbon dining picks, click here.

Best Lisbon Dining: Jncquoi

Posted on: November 15th, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

On the day we arrived in Lisbon, we sought out Jncquoi, intrigued by the fact that it encompasses a restaurant, a bar with wine cellar, a gourmet deli, and a luxury men’s fashion store—all in one. Plus, it was just blocks from our hotel (see more on The One Palacio, a fantastic place to stay). ADD LINK

Jncquoi, which is pronounced as you might have guessed (je ne sais quoi), houses a full-size dinosaur skeleton at its center, and a sexy, upscale vibe with high ceilings and tables close together. If it wasn’t a Monday night, I’m sure the place would be gaga. The menu features traditional Portuguese dishes at both the high and low end of the spectrum. Service was excellent, and on the friendly side. After dinner we checked out the downstairs bar/wine cellar for a nightcap. See the space and the remarkable bathroom area. (ADD LINK) Here’s how our meal went:

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Dining Jncquoi

Touches of gold on the table added to the glitz. Right, the Grilled Vegetables with parmesan and pine nuts was a hearty, healthy way to start the meal.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Dining Jncquoi

Gazpacho, our other appetizer. Unfortunately, the lighting above the table was screwing with my camera, so I apologize for the blurry and uneven effect! Right, our first bottle of Portuguese wine. Anselmo Mendes Winemaker, known for his wines in the Vinho Verde area.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Dining Jncquoi

Stated as a Lobster “Hot Dog” on the menu, I was curious. What actually arrived: a very delicious Lobster Roll with extra blobs of mayo to indulge in. Right, view of the room.

hobnobmag Best Lisbon Dining Jncquoi

In front, you can see our side order of Truffled Potato Purée which was presented in a little copper pot. Bob ordered the Sea Bass Fillet. Right, a view from the entry shows the dinosaur skeleton in its full regalia.

JNcQUOI, Avenida da Liberdade, 182-184, 1250-146 Lisbon, open Monday – Sunday 12:00 – 24:00

Want to see more Lisbon dining picks, click here.