Thanksgiving in New Orleans 2023

[2023 – Nov 22 through 25: Thanksgiving in New Orleans, LA, US]

I was all ready to go to London, UK for the week of Thanksgiving. However, the volcano in Iceland was about to blow it’s top so I canceled the trip (since I did not want to get stuck in England if it did spew ash into the air).

So I thought I’d just stay in my abode; however, last minute, I decided I wanted (British) afternoon tea and turkey for Thanksgiving. I searched on “british afternoon tea and restaurant open for thanksgiving” and New Orleans popped up. Did some quick sleuthing and I booked Hotel Monteleone to stay, starting on Wednesday. The hotel, although French sounding, was as British as you can get. Had the typical British umbrella in the closet. The room had both ‘still’ and ‘sparking’ water (as opposed to typical US hotels, nothing), and to top it off they had “Gilchrist and Soames” (not imported from the UK, it was made in the US – bummer) ameneties in the lou. Plus the hotel definitely had British vibes to it, like the hallway with stairs jutting out randomly in the hallway.

Once there, I visited their rotating Carousel Bar that night. The bar on the first floor of the hotel just to the right side of the front desk area is very popular. It rotates. It is cool. Never knew about it until I literally was sitting at the bar. =snort=

On Thursday, I went to hit Jack Rose for Thanksgiving Dinner. Three course dinner with wine pairing. It was awesome. For desert, I had their signature Mile High Pie 🙂

Then on Friday afternoon, walked over to Le Salon for Afternoon Tea. It was great. Bottomless tea of course! Although I do have two minor issues: (a) they did not have Pimms! Oh well, I had some minty concoction instead, which was good. And, (b) the serving tray was only a double-decker! Must be three! It doesn’t have to be, but it would have been nice. But no matter, it was great. I had, Earl Grey, hot – of course. (Although I didn’t say “hot”.)

So here are all of the pictures I took in chronological order, just click on the picture or link below:


Thanksgiving in New Orleans 2023

American Airlines Aviator MasterCard Priceless Experience OCT 2023 and more

Wow, this was a full fun packed week, here goes!

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Priceless Experience 11-Oct-2023, with Lauren
Official Pictures: National Cathedral Priceless Table 2023 ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 5 out of 5 stars!

Okay wow, this was an event that I call spectacular! I went with my friend Lauren to the American Airlines Aviator MasterCard Priceless Experience held in Washington DC at the National Cathedral. Wow, it was decked out to the max! We had a quartet playing throughout the evening, it was amazing! We had a cocktail hour included with the four course dinner by celebrity Chef Bryan Voltaggio (Instagram).

Please note, the link to the official photographs may be removed at a future date, so I took pictures and downloaded a few select pictures from the official photos in my set of pictures (they are marked with AA logos #PricelessExperience). But I digress, it was worth way beyond what I paid in AA airmiles to attend this event! Click on the picture or link below to check out my photos along with a few select official ones:

Oh, I forgot to add, when we were leaving, we got a really really nice gift, a wooden wine box with laser etched wine bottle and a charcuterie cutlery set! Amazing!

American Airlines Aviator MasterCard Priceless Experience OCT 2023

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Dinner with Drew and Lisa 12-Oct-2023
We went to: District Chophouse and Brewery ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 5 out of 5 stars
The following day, had dinner with my work buddy Drew and Lisa at the District Chophouse and Brewery. Fun conversation and all. It was late so it was not crowded. I had filet mignon with asparagus. It was amazingly tender and great! In all of the excitement, I forgot to take a picture of the food, sorry!

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Another Adventure with Ed and Kathy 13-Oct-2023
We went to: Virtue Feed and Grain ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ 5 out of 5 stars
The following day, had dinner with my college friends Kathy and Ed at the Virtue Feed and Grain in my favorite town in Alexandria, VA. Wow, it was crowded. We sat outside. It was a nice day. I got the salmon. It was nice and tasty and again, no picture of the food. So, so, sorry…

On the ominous side, Alexandria is right on the shoreline of the Potomac River. Here is a picture at night, right after dinner. That waterline should be at least 5 feet below where it is. It was so high, the water inundated parts of the sidewalk and flooded on parts the streets by where we were walking. The waters are rising! Beware…

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Motto by Hilton, 10-Oct-2023 through 14-Oct-2023
Bad concept, worse pricing: Motto by Hilton ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ 0 out of 5 stars

WARNING: It appears to me like Hilton stuffed TripAdvisor.com with fake reviews. Why? Look at the “5 star” reviews that flood the site – they are one-time reviewers who just happen to just to comment on just that one hotel. And all of the bad reviews get pushed lower and lower so you don’t see them. My advice? Avoid all “Motto by Hilton”, as follows:

The “‘Motto’ by Hilton” hotels are ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ 0 out of 5 stars, avoid, avoid, avoid, avoid, avoid! The room is reminiscent of old New York hotels where there is zero space, no desk (unless you use one of the night tables as a ‘desk’ but it’s so low – at nightstand height – if you work there for 8 hours, your neck and shoulders will hurt), and no where to open plop down your carry-on bag onto a luggage rack – no space! You have to plop it onto the beg get things in/out then zip it up and put it onto the floor. and your carry-on bag.

Now, if the hotel was priced at “hostel” prices, it would be okay if you are into crammed spaces, but the cost of these micro-no-space matchbox rooms is just as ridiculously expensive as their regular full service Hilton hotels! Oh, and, I was by myself. Pity the fools if you are a couple with a huge bag or two. Mega-nightmare. With a child? Absolutely ZERO space. Zero zero zero zero zero. Hilton should immediately dump this ill-formed crammed concept. See my carry-on in my squashed pitiful room below for sizing, yeah, absolutely zero room at all:

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Secret, Secret, I have a Secret!
Ventopo.com
Pssst! This was a packed week from start to finish. I started with the best first and ended with the least last. How do I find and go to cool events like the Priceless Table? There’s more to it that I can expound on in a paragraph, but here is a hint: I got tired of searching the ‘inter-webs’ so I created my own site where all of the fun sites are at my finger tips, at Ventopo.com.

It a list of lists of fun events all across the world. Check out the “Members page” (it’s free and no need to give me your email or any of that nonsense), and see how you can grab a cool thing or two to do! A whole new world of adventure begins right there…

Atlanta Food and Wine Fest – Sep 2023

[21-Sep through 24-Sep 2023 Atlanta, GA US]

I bought tickets for the Atlanta Food and Wine Fest for Friday and Saturday.

Well, it wasn’t Food and “Wine” at Atlanta. It was Food and “Booze” on Friday night. Over fifty vendors and there was actually one wine tasting table – everything else was just alcohol. One or two other had liquid in wine-ish bottles but it was not wine. If you are at a wine fest and tasting wine, you can get loopy after about two dozen sips or tastes, even if you dump excess pours.

Now think of a booze fest with even a quarter of an ounce of hard liquor, you’d feel it rapidly and become loopy rather quickly. I mean there was even a Coca Cola booth (after all, we are in Atlanta); and, they were serving Coke but people weren’t going for that, the booth had Coke and rum; and Coke and vodka. Yeah, smooth sailing really quickly.

Needless to say, even with hyper-limited “tastes” I was done in about an hour, but hung around for two, eating a bit more food. The food options were phenomenal by the way, you can be a carnivore or a herbivore and the choices were excellent. I omnivored it through a bunch of food… So, I skipped the second day (Saturday) and went to the Trader Vic’s Tiki Bar and Restaurant at the Downtown Atlanta Hilton where I was staying instead.

Here are a some pictures from the event – click on the picture or link below for more:


Atlanta Food and Wine Festival 2023

The Atlanta Food and Wine Fest is every year in September and you can get the information here. The program for each year is posted three to six months before the event each year at Atlanta Food and Wine Festival official site.

Denver Food and Wine Fest – Sep 2023

[09-Sep-2023 Denver, CO US]

I again went to Ventopo.com which lists sites that list lists – specifically the Beer/Wine/Food Fest page and searched high and low for some interesting places to go.

This time, it was the Denver Food and Wine Fest held on the 9th of September 2023.

The who thing was one day, three hours (four hours for VIP ticket holders). You’d think that is hardly enough time to go to all the booths and have a taste. Nope, plenty of time as all the tents were right next to each other.

Food and “Wine” Fests now have even more varieties including spirits and beer. This one had Suntory from Japan which is the first time I came across that.

…and Aperol. What the heck is that? Again, it’s one of those that you never heard of before (but you hire marketing and do a worldwide blitz) and all of a sudden, everyone wants one. (The “whatever + Mule” craze died down so gotta have the next thing, right? BBC even did an article on Why Aperol Spritz is the drink of the summer.

Here are a some pictures from the event – click on the picture or link below for more:


Denver Food and Wine Fest 2023

The Denver Food and Wine Fest is every year in September and you can get the information here. The program for each year is posted three to six months before the event each year at Denver Food and Wine Fest official site.

Virgin Voyages Richard Branson Birthday Bash Cruise 2022-July

[17-July-2022 to 22-July-2022, Virgin Voyages Caribbean Cruise]

After being delayed for two years, The Richard Branson Birthday Bash Virgin Voyages took to the sea from 17-July-2022 to 22-July-2022. I booked through Shelby at travelfun.biz (or on Facebook here). The cruise left the Port of Miami to Cozumel and then to the private beach for Virgin on Bimini. But enough talk, here are the pictures – just click on the pic below or the link under it to go to the picture page. The first set are pictures I took followed by selected the pictures that were shared by the TravelFun group:


Pool Deck Party on Virgin Cruises

All shared pictures from the TravelFun group are Copyright © 2022 respective to the person who took those pictures and appropriate permissions are needed if used for any purpose other than personal use. All StarkRavingNomad pictures are Copyright © 2022 talcMedia Productions. All Rights Reserved.