Thursday, August 22, 2013

Boston, Massachusetts - Jasper White Clambake on Spectacle Island

Boat pulling out from the dock

Castle Island

Nothing screams New England summertime quite like a traditional clambake by the beach. This week I took the 15 minute boat ride to Spectacle Island, one of the Boston Harbor Islands, for chef Jasper White's Summer Shack clambake dinner.

The boat departs at 6pm from a dock by the Marriott Long Wharf Hotel, and the trip to the island provides beautiful views of the Boston city skyline and famous Castle Island.

Spectacle Island

Red and white checkered tablecloths cover picnic benches underneath a large tent
Live music

The Menu:

Clam chowder
Corn bread
BBQ chicken
Corn on the cob
Roasted potatoes

On a clear night, watching the sun go down over the Boston city skyline is pretty spectacular ... 

After dinner, enjoy more cocktails by the bonfires on the beach ... 

... and then board the boat at 9pm to head back to the city.

It is a fun evening out and tickets are $80 per person, including alcoholic beverages. Just be well prepared with bug spray as soon as the sun goes down for the mosquito onslaught ... that's one battle you'll never win. 

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Monday, August 12, 2013

St. Andrews, Scotland - Fisher & Donaldson Bakery

My friend Chris Dielmann was recently in St. Andrews, so I asked him to do a guest blog on one of my favorite bakeries in the world. Here it is:

The town of St. Andrews might conjure images of golf courses, royals, and royals on golf courses. But neatly tucked into a side street of the walkable downtown lies perhaps St. Andrews greatest attraction (especially if you have a sweet tooth like me), namely a fifth generation bakery by the name of Fisher & Donaldson that specialize in high end pastries and cream cakes.

Beyond producing breads, rolls, and a wondrous array of truffles, the true star of F & D (and dare I suggest, perhaps the true reason that William chose to attend St. Andrews) are the fudge donuts (below); a light and delicate pastry, filled with cream and topped in a sticky, gooey toffee flavored fudge for which Scotland has become known. 

The joys of this “donut” are the combination of textures that contrast yet compliment each other so effortlessly; from the puff pastry that acts like the body, nay I say cradle for the light cream, and finally the toffee that crackles and chips with each bite while still maintaining a devotion to adhesion. 

For my American readers, try imagining a lighter, more refined version of a Boston cream donut, which sadly is oft filled with a pudding like substance rather than cream.

Other highlights include coffee and chocolate stacks (below) - delicate puff pastries filled with either coffee or chocolate cream and finally topped with a dark chocolate medallion, as well as the seasonal Strawberry Danish – a miniature pie of fresh strawberries nestled upon a layered flaky puff pastry and held in place with a gelatin based strawberry sauce and a sugared icing.

The famous fudge donut
Coffee stack

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Introducing Alexandra D. Foster Luxury Cushions

I've been keeping this news a secret for six months now, but its finally time to let the cat out of the bag. I left my job this past Christmas to follow my dream of one day owning my own company, as well as my passion for home interiors, and have just launched Alexandra D. Foster: a range of luxury cushions all entirely handmade in the beautiful town of Como, Italy. 

For you Destinations Perfected readers, you will appreciate the fact that each and every one of my cushion designs are influenced by my world travels; the places you read about right here every week.

Take a look at my Amalfi cushions, inspired by a photograph I took of the dome of one of the most iconic churches on Italy's Amalfi Coast. 

Or my Roma cushions, adapted from a photograph I took of a door knocker in Rome, Italy:

Designs are printed on silk fabric and each cushion is painstakingly hand sewn by Italian master seamstresses in an atelier in Como, Italy. Even the braided trim is crafted completely by hand and sourced from passémenterie artisans in Bologna, Italy.

These cushions are true artisanal works of art and underscore my belief that luxury begins at homeEach cushion cover features a 100% silk front and back, coordinating hand-braided trim, cotton lining, and zipper closure.

I can also create custom colors, designs and sizes, so the sky is the limit, just ask me.

Feel free to browse my website, which launches today and ... happy shopping!!

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