On the Road Eats: St. Louis

Hotel: Residence Inn St. Louis West County
Would I stay again? It was fine.  The people were nice and the service was good.  Was a newer hotel.  Not the most convenient to where I needed to be but close to the highway and a mall.

Restaurants:

Lunch: J.Gilbert’s Wood-Fired Steaks & Seafood 
Would I dine again? Nope.  I had the crab bisque and the crab melt.  The soup was better than the sandwich but not one of my better choices.  I assume dinner is better as long as you order a steak.

 

Dinner: Reeds American Table
Would I dine again? Yes.  Solo dinner, brought my laptop and got awesome service.  Plus I arrived during happy hour so I got a deal on food and wine.

 

Breakfast: Russell’s
Would I dine again? Yes.  Cute coffee shop/cafe with adult poptarts and their sandwich menu sounded great.

 

Lunch: Pastaria
Would I dine again? Yes, I have been here quite a few times and always come back. So good!!

 

On the Road Eats: Fort Wayne

I have something to share with you.

I have traveled to or through Fort Wayne a few times this year and found three spots for some quick meals.  Two are owned by the same restaurant group, the third was my favorite!

The Hoppy Gnome
Grab a quick dinner and head back to the hotel for fireworks and emails.  The Hoppy Gnome menu was interesting and I left content and ready to conquer my inbox!

Cindy’s Diner
I love spots where there are a few seats and everyone knows each other.  This was casual, quick, very inexpensive and probably my favorite meal during my trip.

 

Proximo
We tried to grab a quick meal before heading to the airport.  I had a quick salad and checked out the dinner menu.  Looks like a solid option if I am in town for dinner.

On the Road Eats: Kansas City

I have something to share with you.

The best part of work travel is eating local. And Kansas City is a great place to do so.

Rm 39
I started my Kansas City trip with a stop to Rm 39, a farm to table restaurant, for lunch. I had to meet some clients down in Overland Park, Kansas and there was a pocket of great restaurants on my way back towards Kansas City.  A quiet seat at the bar, I enjoyed a small hangar steak with the most wonderful crispy garlic fries. The team there was great and Jen made a recommendation for dinner. Of course, I followed her advice.

The Antler Room
I made a reservation at the bar. Solo diner. View of the kitchen if possible. The Antler Room was named by Bon Appétit as one of the best restaurants of 2017. I showed up during the last 30 minutes of happy hour with some wine specials. Jared, the bartender, made suggestions for my meal and they were all fabulous. Smoked hamachi tostada, Maltagliati with escargot and a final dish of Octopus with duck fat fried potatoes. Wow!

 

 

Parlor
For my final lunch I made a visit to the new food hall in the Crossroads district. Seven restaurants, 2 bars and a modern open seating concept. I chose Yaki-Ya and enjoyed an osaka-style Okonomiyaki, a savory pancake topped with all sorts of deliciousness including pork belly and fried egg.

 

 

Good thing I had to leave after lunch- I am going to be full for days!

 

 

The Perfect Staycation

I have something to share with you.

I have checked into hotels over 30 times this year. I do a lot of overnight trips and am constantly in different cities. I have my routine- I always deadbolt the door, check the bed, the bathroom and hang my suit for the next day. As long as I know what city I am in when I wake up, I’m doing good. But this check-in was different. VERY different.

It was  Friday, the last day of school before Thanksgiving break.  My 9-year-old was in the back seat. I had already spent the night in another city that week but I could not arrive fast enough to this hotel to check-in. She said why are we at a Renaissance hotel? Then the valet opened the door and asked for my last name and if we were checking in. I said yes and a loud cheer came from the back as she LOVES staying in hotels.  We grabbed our bags, walked into the lobby and our experience began.

I have to give the biggest THANK YOU to Ainsley who welcomed us at the registration desk.  My daughter was so excited to check in for this surprise night and he made us feel like we were their most valued guests.  I admit, as an Elite member, I had called after making the reservation to let them know I was doing a special surprise mom-daughter staycation and to ask if they could leave something special for her in the room when we arrived (chocolate chip cookies?).  But what Ainsley did instead was to make sure that both of us would have the most wonderful experience at his property.  He told us about the pool on the third floor, and the concierge lounge we could access, and how she could get room service or walk across the street to Sprinkles for cupcakes!  After she told him how stressful fourth grade can be, he told her the room he was giving us was a NO STRESS room.  And he wanted her to just relax and enjoy her time with mom.

We headed up to the 15th floor, the top floor of the Renaissance Dallas at Plano Legacy West.  I had booked a king room and hoped they would upgrade us to the king room with the huge Asian baths I read about so she could have a fun spa night.  Nothing prepared me for what Ainsley had arranged for us.

You know the rooms with double entrance doors that you see as you walk down the hall to your room wondering how much they cost per night or how many nights as a frequent traveler you need to stay in order to get upgraded to that room when you do a family vacation?  That was our room.  And I was so surprised and appreciative that I videotaped my daughter entering the suite and exploring the entire “apartment”.

I continued to hear the words WOW and THIS IS AWESOME.  And that created a permanent smile on my face for the rest of the night.  Three sitting areas, a full dining room, a huge bathroom AND when she saw the pool table in our room – well, this hotel became her favorite place in the Dallas area.

 

We had the whole evening to enjoy.  And Legacy West had tons of shops and restaurants.  First we “unpacked” for the night and played a few games of pool in our suite.  We went to the rooftop pool and made boomerang videos.  We explored the lobby of the hotel.  Then we changed our clothes and headed out for our “date”.  We saw the fountains at Legacy West, decided on Italian for dinner at North Italia(her other favorite food besides sushi), explored the new books at Barnes & Noble, stopped by Sephora to try on fun lipstick colors and finally ended up at Sprinkles to end our night out.  We took fun pictures with the holiday lights in the background and headed back to the hotel bar to order a lemonade for her and an adult drink for me before heading up to our room.  But the evening wasn’t over.  Certain rooms have these huge tubs and Japanese bath salts for an in-room spa experience so of course we had to try it.  But the surprises from the hotel continued.  After the bath, we enjoyed cookies, milk and other treats that Rudy arranged to send up to us at bedtime.  Rudy – thank you.  Those oatmeal cookies were AWESOME and we sat on the couch (one of the three sitting areas), watched HGTV and talked about our day.  It was the perfect way to end the night before heading off to the bedroom for bed.

The next morning we made a quick run to the concierge lounge for coffee and chocolate milk and decided to order a big breakfast from room service.  I had the Asian breakfast and she had a classic American breakfast.  The service was friendly (and quick) and we got to eat at the huge dining room table in our pajamas!  A few more games of pool before we got dressed and headed out for a quick walk around the hotel and Legacy West to find a heart stone for our collection.

We finally headed back to the hotel with a stone in her hand to pack our bag and find Ainsley to say a big thank you.  A few high five’s later, we were in the car headed home, only a 15-minute drive.

A huge thank you to the Renaissance for the wonderful experience.  Time with my daughter is precious and this experience surpassed my expectations.


Now it is my turn…

Why a staycation? Because it is my time to have all of my mom’s attention. When we got to the hotel,  I was just like,  I love it, it is so modern.  Then we checked in with someone named Ainsley, and he told me it was going to be a stress-free night. We went to our room TRIPLE, NO QUADRUPLE WOW it was awesome. We unpacked and played pool. We went to the deck and went to the pool and did some boomerangs and then we went inside. After being in the room we went to go get dinner and candy. We went back and watched TV. Then we went and took a bath. Then we went to bed. The next morning we went to the lounge and got milk. Then we ordered food. We watched TV and then we had to check out, we said thanks to Ainsley and checked out. So that was the end of our staycation. That was the first but definitely not the last.