Tag Archives: Eat And Drink

Mango Cocktails St. Lucia

Mango Cocktails

 

They may be sugary sweet, sticky, and messy but mangoes make the best tropical cocktail. And, mangoes are plentiful in the Caribbean, there are over 100 varieties growing in the region. Cocktail lovers might want a drink with only a hint of mango blended with other tropical fruit while others gravitate to the full-on lush flavor of mango puree riddled with alcohol and a garnish. Here are three spots you’ll want to relax beachside with a tasty mango drink in hand.

Mango Madness Jade Mountain, St. Lucia

You could certainly have mango cocktails delivered to your open-walled sanctuary and sip them from your private pool with unobstructed views of the Pitons at this one-of-a-kind resort. To change things up head down to Anse Mamin Beach to take in the sea and sand with a mango drink in hand. The Jungle Grill and Bar serves a variety of tropical burgers and drinks at picnic benches where you can wiggle your toes in the sand. Have a cocktail or two under the shade of the treed canopy and walk the plantation where fruit trees and tropical flowers grow among the old sugar mill. To round out the day, make your way to the sea for a swim followed by a long afternoon nap along the shoreline.

St. Lucia Jade Mountain Mango Madness

This signature cocktail is the star of the Mango Madness festival each summer where guests participate in interactive mango cooking classes, mixology lessons and farm tours. Photo: Jade Mountain

Created for the annual Mango Madness Festival each June, this mango drink is made with 1.5 ounces of locally distilled Bounty Rum, 3 ounces of fresh mango puree, 1 teaspoon of fresh lime juice, 1 teaspoon of simple syrup and a dash of bitters. The rum, mango puree, lime juice, syrup and bitters are added to a shaker. After vigorous agitation, it’s served in a large tumbler over ice with a fresh slice of mango.

Spicy Island Punch Carlisle Bay, Antigua

It’s hard to pass up the opportunity to have this drink in a lounge chair on the crescent of café au lait colored sand of Carlisle Bay Beach. The beachside service is top-notch here and a big part of the ambiance as chaises are scattered in the sand beneath the palms just steps from the sea. You can stake out your spot and order breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea and have mango cocktails whenever the notion arises. In the evening head to Indigo on the Beach, the seaside restaurant and bar overlooking the water and try another version of a mango cocktail, they have several.

Antigua Spicy Island Punch

Carlisle Bay delivers impeccable luxury with an opportunity to immerse in a laid-back Caribbean moment. Mango cocktails are served throughout the resort, from the lobby to your suite. Photo: Carlisle Bay

This drink is made with 3 ounces of English Harbor Rum that is aged on Antigua, 2.5 ounces of mango puree, 2 ounces of pineapple juice, 1 ounce of ginger syrup and the juice of one lime. All of the ingredients are poured in a cocktail shaker with ice, shaken and served in a hurricane glass with a pineapple wedge garnish.

Nevisian Margarita Four Seasons, Nevis

The choices are endless of where you might settle in for a cocktail at the Four Seasons. When the day heats up you’ll want to order this cocktail just steps from the sea. After a long stroll along the four miles of golden sand of Pinneys Beach a lounge chair awaits. Or better yet reserve a private cabana, poolside or beachside and raise the flag for service. In the evening follow the path down the beach to Mango and 101 Rums Bar for sunset and a rum tasting session. 101 Rums Bar now has more than 120 fine-aged rums as well as a long list of cocktail options.

Four Seasons Nevis Spicy Margarita

With an herb garden on property the Four Season’s mixologist can handpick herbs and spices for her cocktails like cilantro for this Nevisian Margarita. Photo: Kendie Williams

Award-winning mixologist Kendie Williams created this tasty signature fusion. She uses locally sourced fruits and spices and whips up a blend of homemade mango puree for her concoctions. This specialty uses 2 ounces of Patron Añejo, 1 ounce of mango puree, 1 ounce of lime juice, 2 slices of jalapeño and 3 sprigs of cilantro. The cocktail begins with two slices of jalapeño along with cilantro added to a shaker and muddled to extract the flavors. The lime juice, Patron Añejo, mango puree are added along with ice. After shaking, the mixture is strained and poured over ice in a glass rimmed with lemon and salt. Another slice of jalapeño is used for garnish.

Kingston Jamaica Food And Drink Festival Vintage

Culinary Getaways in the Caribbean

 

Combine your love of good food and travel at a delicious gastronomic event in one of these three Caribbean islands. Join award-winning chefs in Aruba, top locals chefs in Jamaica and Michelin-starred French chefs in St. Barth for specially prepared menus, wine pairings and a twist of island flair.

Aruba

Boston’s award-winning chefs Christopher Coombs and Adrienne Wright will be at Divi Aruba to offer guests a first-class dining experience for two nights October 25 and 26, 2019. Rates start at $199 per person and include the cooking demonstration and room for one night. Chef Coombs has become one of Boston’s top chefs and restaurateurs overseeing culinary teams at his Boston Urban Hospitality restaurants: Deuxave, Boston Chops and dbar. Executive chef Adrienne Wright works closely with Coombs at each location. The chefs will create an Aruban inspired 4-course dinner with 2 amuses and wine pairing. Guests will dine on items such as yellowtail and hamachi crudo, spiced Long Island duck breast and black quinoa with native beans and green papaya.

Aruba Divi

The all-inclusive Divi Aruba sits on beautiful Druif Beach, with a shopping arcade and the Alhambra Casino nearby. Photo: Divi Aruba

Jamaica

Now in its fifth year the Jamaica Food & Drink Festival takes place in Kingston from October 26 to November 3, 2019. During the 10-day event, Jamaica’s cultural capital invites over 50 of the island’s best chefs along with wine and spirit experts to tantalize guests with Jamaican culinary legacies. Seven events featuring a variety of outlets and restaurants will offer delectable local cuisines. For a stay at a peaceful mountain hideaway, those attending the event can book rooms at Strawberry Hill. This 26-acre hillside retreat overlooks Kingston and the Blue Mountains is offering 20% off the best rate during the festival. Visit: https://www.strawberryhillhotel.com/

Strawberry Hill Jamaica

From the veranda, the cool crisp air at 3,100 feet above sea level makes Strawberry Hill a refreshing getaway. Photo: Strawberry Hill

St. Barth

The Christopher, sits on Pointe Milou with a view of St. Jean, providing one of the best places to watch the sunset on St. Barth. The new Christo restaurant focuses on organic meat and farm- fresh vegetables where Chef Nicolas Tissier positions ingredients at the heart of his nouvelle cuisine. The hotel will host visiting chefs during the Sixth Annual St. Barth Gourmet Festival.  The festival’s patron chef, Arnaud Faye, Meilleur Ouvrier de France (MOF) and two-star chef at Château de la Chèvre d’Or in Eze will be on island for the event November 6 to 10, 2019. Seven top French chefs, each working at a restaurant and creating special multi-course meals during the festival will join him.

St Bart The Christopher

Mango Beach Club offers casual poolside fare overlooking the bay. Villas at the 5-star Christopher offer views of the Caribbean Sea and nearby islands. Photo: The Christopher

Miami Beach Time Out Market

The Best Food Halls

 

Can’t decide where to go for dinner with your group? Some want sushi, others just a burger while one is craving pizza. At these innovative food halls, top chefs come together under one roof where the social setting is centered on food. This curated concept with a communal atmosphere offers a selection of eateries ideal for the indecisive foodie and an opportunity to sample culinary delights from around the globe. Patrons can try new foods, taste, and share and wander around to put together the ideal meal.

Time Out Market, Miami

The 50-year-old media company created its first food hall location in Portugal in 2014 bringing together Lisbon’s finest eateries under one roof. Their latest venue to open is in the heart of South Beach. Opened May 2019, this curated food hall offers 17 kitchens, three bars and a demo cooking station where visiting chefs spend three months in residency crafting their latest dishes. Cuisines vary from tacos, vegan and sushi. Of course, there is Cuban fare, burgers and a smoked meat outlet and something for the sweet tooth. Diners eat at large wooden community tables where the energy is convivial. In keeping with the heritage of Time Out, visitors will find a media wall with the best things to do in the city including events, exhibitions and concerts.

Miami Beach Time Out Market

Top mixologists at Time Out Market in South Beach serve up 15 specially crafted concoctions, along with local beer on tap and a selection of 25 wines. Photo: DeepSleep Studio

El Mercado de Paseo Caribe, Puerto Rico

Ideally located between Condado and Old San Juan, El Mercado is part art gallery, gourmet food market and social hall. Murals depicting men and women working in agricultural settings as well as street venues hang high over the bar that sits in the heart of the hall. Rotating art features local artists, where works portray daily life on the island. Weekends bring in live entertainment, jazz concerts and the popular Friday night Sunset Rhythms. Patrons can experience cuisine from some of the best chefs on the island with a selection from seafood, Italian, and Asian. Begin the day with coffee from Alto Grande Caffé Bar and end with a nightcap at Cóctel Bar. The hall is open every day from 7:00 a.m. until 1:00 a.m. with seating indoor and alfresco.

Puerto Rico Paseo Caribe El Mercado

Owner of Napolitana in front of her bar and restaurant where she features authentic Neapolitan style pizza, calzone, lasagna and antipasto and selection of Italian wines. Photo: El Mercado

The Street, A Michael Mina Social House, Honolulu

They call The Street a social house for good reason. The gathering space is conducive to conversation and sharing of food from a low-key lunch to a late night snack. Like Mina’s childhood, the table becomes the heart of family, friends and conversation. Menus are driven by individual chefs who showcase their passion for food. Items are foods they love to eat and cook for others. Here you’ll find the 11 restaurant concepts offering international fare from smoked barbecue, kimchee, poke and ramen. Expect to find traditional Hawaiian plate, an island twist on burgers and the latest, a Mexican fusion restaurant that incorporates local seafood and Island produce; there’s even a Spam quesadilla. Stop by for a smoothie, Mai Tai, craft beer or shave ice. The venue is open from 7 a.m. until 11:00 p.m.

Honolulu Hawaii The Street

Set in the heart of Waikiki, patrons gather for casual meals and festive celebrations at Michael Mina’s The Street. Guests embark on a culinary journey of international flavors. Photo: The MINA Group

 

Mojito by the beach

3 Refreshing Mojito Recipes

 

The Mojito is the ideal summer cocktail, not too sweet, not too strong, chilled and served over ice in a highball glass with fresh garnishes. In honor of National Mojito Day, we found three options to ring in the summer. Try the recipes at home or head to one of the resorts and let the bartender do his job.

Basil Mojito Occidental at Xcaret Destination

Basil Mojito

Try the refreshing Basil Mojito at one of the 12 bars in the Occidental at Xcaret in Riviera Maya. The resort features a meandering river and beach cove. Photo: Occidental at Xcaret

Ingredients:

* 5 fresh basil leaves

* 4 peeled cucumber slices (remove all seeds)

* 2 oz white rum

* 1.5 oz natural syrup

* 1 can of mineral water

* 0.5 oz of lemon juice

 

Instructions:

In a shaker mash the basil leaves with the cucumber slices. Add the lemon juice into the cucumber basil mixture and shake well. Add a white rum of your choice and natural syrup to the mixture. Shake well! Complete the cocktail with mineral water. Pour the cocktail into a serving glass of your choice and decorate with a slice of cucumber, lemon and basil leaves.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Strawberry-Lime Mojito Occidental Cozumel

Strawberry Lime Mojito

Sip the Strawberry-Lime Mojito at the Occidental Cozumel. With four bars, from beach to lobby, there’s always a mojito around the corner. Photo: Occidental Cozumel

Ingredients:

* 2 strawberries

* 3 mint leaves

* 1 lime

* 1 oz white rum

* Crushed ice

* Club soda

* 1 tablespoon sugar

Instructions:

Place sugar, mint and strawberries into a sturdy glass. Use a muddler to crush the ingredients together. In a serving glass filled with ice add rum, club soda and strawberry/mint/sugar mixture. Stir and enjoy!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Watermelon Mojito Allegro Cozumel

Watermelon Mojito

Enjoy the Watermelon Mojito at the All-inclusive Allegro Cozumel. Head to the beach bar, which sits between the pool and sand, for a relaxing afternoon and great views. Photo: Allegro Cozumel

Ingredients:

* 5 large fresh mint leaves, coarsely torn by hand

* 1 thick slice of fresh watermelon

* 2 oz light rum, such as Bacardi

* Dash of simple syrup

* 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice (half a lime)

* Piece of watermelon, for serving

 

Instructions:

Use a muddler to mash the mint leaves in a sturdy cup. Remove all seeds from the watermelon puree. Mix the mashed mint leaves with the puréed watermelon, rum, simple syrup, and lime juice. Stir well and serve over ice. Garnish your glass with watermelon for an added twist.

Zemi Beach Anguilla

The Caribbean’s Best Rum Bars

 

Move over fruity rum drinks. The Caribbean’s favorite spirit has caught the attention of connoisseurs. These enlightened imbibers shun blenders and fruit garnishes in favor of snifters, and sample small-batch rums and artisanal blends that need no enhancements beyond a comfortable atmosphere. Hoteliers have taken note, and a new breed of rum bars is cropping up across the Caribbean. Here are five of the best places to savor the spirits with island style.

The Cane Bar at Sugar Beach, A Viceroy Resort, St. Lucia

Much more than a beach bar, The Cane Bar offers a relaxed yet sophisticated atmosphere where there are no distractions to take away from the pleasures of sampling premium rums. Located inside the resort’s Great House, the room features a subdued white and pale charcoal design palette. Oversized chairs sit around tables and living room style arrangements provide group settings and the sleek white bar offers alternative seating. Prized artworks hangs on the walls, and the shelves behind the bar are lined with an extensive selection of expertly chosen local and international rums. With many choices on hand there is a professional rummelier to help with your selection. When hunger strikes, a Japanese-inspired menu includes a selection of fresh- catch sashimi and a variety of rolls. Signature dishes include the Caribe Roll, which is wrapped in mango, and the Cane Bar Roll with spicy stone crab and avocado. The bar is open from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m., and you’ll want to leave your beach togs back in the room and dress “smart casual” for the evening.

St Lucia Rum Bar

Subdued colors lend a sophisticated ambiance to The Cane Bar at St. Lucia’s Sugar Beach resort, where vintage and small-batch rums are featured. Photo: Sugar Beach

Rhum Room at Zemi Beach House, Anguilla

One of the newest and now most popular boutique resorts in the Caribbean boasts Anguilla’s first rum bar. The design of the Rhum Room at Zemi blends modern accents with classic Caribbean architectural details to create a sophisticated yet beach-ready vibe. This setting is enhanced by the natural backdrop of Shoal Bay East, which has been called one of the world’s best beaches. The bar features over 100 small-batch, single-estate rums selected to showcase the breadth and diversity of the Caribbean’s distilling traditions. Guests can delve into the world of rum by sampling the curated Rhum Flight, which includes a selection of rums assembled by the house rummelier. The inventory includes bottles of Appleton Estate 50 Year Old, of which only 800 bottles are available to the public worldwide. Also in the collection is Clément Cuvée Homère, the highest rated vintage rum in the past 15 years, and the recently released premium Brugal Papá Andrés, which is a handcrafted blend created by master blender Maestros Roneros.

Anguilla Rum

The Rhum Room at Anguilla’s Zemi Beach House puts a sophisticated spin on the classic Caribbean club motif. The bar is stocked with a collection of super-premium rums. Photo: Dylan Cross/Zemi Beach

Rum Bar at Cooper Island Beach Club, BVI

You wouldn’t expect to find a well stocked rum bar to be on a tiny island in the British Virgin Islands. With just nine rooms set around a remote bay, the Cooper Island Beach Club caters to those wanting to get away from it all. Day sailors will sometimes stop in for lunch or dinner at the club’s restaurant as part of an island- hopping itinerary. In 2015, mariners found another reason to stop when Cooper Island added the Rum Bar and then a microbrewery. Patrons can sit beachside on wooden benches made from recycled teak and the reclaimed wood of boats, or hang at the bar for some serious tastings. The bar boasts the largest collection of rums in the Virgin Islands, with more than 150 labels from distilleries around the world. A sampler board introduces patrons to the world of premium rums, and the bar staff is on hand to offer suggestions and share tidbits on the origins and history of the labels, and on the general craft of rum making. Signature rum cocktails are accented with fruits and herbs grown at the onsite organic garden, and the bar creates proprietary rum infusions with flavors such as such as honey and lemon, hazelnut praline and jalapeño.

Rum Bar BVI

Cooper Island Beach Club is a family-run boutique resort that features the Rum Bar offering over 100 different rums from all around the Caribbean. Photo: Cooper Island Beach Club

101 Rums Bar, Four Seasons Nevis

Take a seat at the pastel painted bar, where large open windows frame views of the colorful fishing boats lined up on Pinney’s Beach, with the green slopes of St. Kitts as the backdrop. The 101 Rums Bar is housed inside Mango, the Four Seasons open-air beach restaurant. Set on water’s edge, the restaurant and bar offer the best sunsets on the island. Guests can sample signature cocktails like Nevisian Spirit or the 100 Mile Cocktail, which is made exclusively from ingredients harvested within 100 miles of the resort. Serious rum drinkers can bypass the mixed fare and focus on tastings and sippings of some of the world’s premier rums such as Appleton Estate 50 Year Old, El Dorado 25 Year Old and Pyrat Cask. With over 101 aged rums and a selection of artisanal rhum agricoles to choose from, there’s a flavor to please every palate. Weekly rum tastings are on the itinerary, and guests should plan on arriving for sunset, as the bar is open only from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Four Seasons Nevis

Sand and sea breezes set the scene at the 101 Rums Bar. The bar is located on Pinney’s Beach at the Four Seasons Nevis resort. Photo: Four Seasons Nevis

The Reef’s Rum Bar at Frenchman’s Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort, St. Thomas

One of the first rum bars to grace the Caribbean combined premium labels with a memorable setting. Located just off the main lobby, the Reef’s Rum Bar offers a sophisticated indoor seating area that opens to an expansive outdoor terrace that delivers harbor views and a panoramic sweep of the mountains of St. Thomas. The indoor bar features small, intimate tables that become gathering points for smaller groups, as well as high-tops and flat screen TVs where guests can mingle and catch their favorite sports game as they sip and relax. There are a number of premium rums available for tasting, as well as a creative roster of handcrafted cocktails. Many of the drinks are made with Cruzan rum, locally distilled and bottled on sister island St. Croix. Try the signature cocktails like the Reef Rum Punch or Mango Tango.

St Thomas Frenchmans Reef

One of the Caribbean’s first rum bars opened at the Frenchman’s Reef resort in St. Thomas. The Reef’s Rum Bar provides an informal setting to enjoy premium spirits. Photo: Frenchman’s Reef

St Kitts Kitchen

The Caribbean’s Best Lunch Spots

 

There’s nothing like lingering over lunch when on vacation, letting the food come out slowly while the corks keep popping. And these relaxed meals are even better when enjoyed in a unique and memorable setting. We know of several such places in the Caribbean, and here are three of our favorites.

On the Beach

On the island of Antigua the place for beachfront dining is Catherine’s Café Plage, French Restaurant & Beach Bar. On Sunday’s you’ll be keeping company with members of the British expat community, who come for brunch and fill tables inside, out on the deck and onto the sand. After a nosh, many patrons linger and move to chaise lounges or spread a beach towel under the grape trees to make a day of it.

Antigua Catherines Cafe

Catherine’s Café Plage puts a Caribbean spin on the traditional Salad Nicoise. The menu at this favorite beachfront dining spot includes a number of innovative takes on French favorites. Photo: Debbie Snow

Located on Pigeon Beach, Catherine’s is an easy jaunt from Falmouth Harbour by land or sea. The husband and wife team of Claudine and Guillaume add a personal touch greet arriving guests. Their passion for good food shines as they read off the day’s menu from a movable blackboard. While some items are menu standards, there are constant changes that include fresh catches and new renditions of French cuisine. There’s typically a hot or cold soup to start, lobster or gazpacho. Salads are meals in themselves and while the menu changes you’ll always find a fish ceviche, and the lobster risotto and fish en papillote are always hot items. The café offers a lineup of fine wines, and are famous for sumptuous deserts. Catherine’s is open for lunch Wednesday through Monday, along with jazz on Wednesday nights, and special gourmet dinners each Friday.

On a Farm

With a farm right outside your door, you’ll expect to find plenty fresh produce on your plate. And that is just what you’ll find at The Kitchen, set inside the Great House overlooking the Belle Mont Farm resort at Kittitian Hill. Ask for a table by the glass doors and you’ll have an expansive view of the hillside down to the sea. If you are lucky enough to be staying here, then lunch is just a stroll from your villa. But most happen upon Kittitian Hill by recommendation, and it’s become the go-to lunch stop on an island tour.

St Kitts Kittian Hill

On the Island of St. Kitts, the culinary team at The Kitchen on Belle Mont Farm makes exclusive use of local ingredients, much of which is grown on the property’s organic farm. Photo: Debbie Snow

The Kitchen sources local ingredients from Belle Mont Farm to create a clean, authentic cuisine. This farm-to-table philosophy taps into the riches of the adjacent 400-acre organic farm, giving Executive Chef Christophe Letard and his team plenty of offerings to choose from when crafting the ever-changing menu. Meals can start with a cocktail made with fresh passion fruit juice, an arugula salad topped with a just-laid poached egg and sorrel salad dressing, then continue with freshly-caught snapper surrounded by savory organic vegetables. The view is majestic and the service is warm and friendly, so plan on a staying for desert of a freshly backed fruit tart.

On the Strand

Puerto Rico is a hotbed for culinary talent, and the city of San Juan is the arena that showcases their skills. Cocina Abierta is tucked off the main drag of Ashford Avenue in the trendy Condado disrict. Here, Chef Martín Louzao displays his creative genius in variations of contemporary cuisine with a touch of the Old World. His background and extensive travels have inspired unique variations and combinations of ingredients and seasonings that result in distinctive flavors and textures. Louzao is frequently visited by food lovers and chefs from other parts of the world. Hailing from Argentina, he spent time working with Albert Adrià and Argentinian Chef Gato Dumas, both innovators and pioneers of contemporary and modern cuisines. Louzao also worked with Spain’s Koldo Royo, who held a Michelin star rating from 1989 to 2007.

Puerto Rico Condado

At San Juan’s Cocina Abierta, Chef Martín Louzao creates offerings designed to please both the eye and the palate. He has been named as one of America’s best chefs. Photo: Debbie Snow

Today Louzao displays his talents at his three outlets in San Juan, Cocina Abierta, Nonna and Touro. For a long lunch, Cocina Abierta is the spot. Here the menu is set up like a play, in acts, and while you might want the entire performance at once, it’s more enjoyable to order acts One through Five at a more leisurely pace. Begin with one of the handmade cocktails; the signature list includes the Orange Blossom Ten, which is light and refreshing with orange blossom water, mandarin tonic and Tanqueray. Others include homemade reductions and fruit infused soda. You might start the First Act with a cold almond soup or the Purple Potato & Octopus Peruvian Causa, which features layers of potatoes and octopus, accented with black olive sauce and creamy garlic. The Second Act always includes seafood such as a Caribbean bouillabaisse or a squid ink pasta layered in prawns, with notes of Sambuca and cilantro. The Third and Fourth Acts include poultry and beef and there’s even a full act for the vegetarian. Plates come out looking like works of modern art, suitable for framing. But your taste buds will win out.

Juvia Miami

Miami’s Best Rooftop Bars

 

The streets of Miami’s South Beach district pulsate with chic sidewalk cafes and clubs, and downtown’s Brickell district is also trending. But there’s another side to the scene that is best enjoyed from above. A select number of rooftop bars add sweeping views of city and ocean to the menu. Here are three local favorites.

1 Hotel South Beach

This is our top choice for a cool, relaxed vibe. The 1 Hotel offers big views of Miami Beach and the Atlantic Ocean from a rooftop bar some 170 feet above the sand. This elevated space includes an adults-only pool, a lounge/cabana and the Watr At the 1, which serves up tempting Polynesian/Asian fusion tastes. The setting draws a chic crowd, and DJs keep the grove going. If you are not a guest at the hotel, you can still visit; enjoy cocktails and a nosh while soaking in the views anytime after 5 p.m. during the week, and all day on the weekends. www.1hotels.com/south- beach

1 Hotel South Beach

On the rooftop deck of 1 Hotel South Beach, a collection of comfortable couches and conversation pits create a relaxed setting for intimate al fresco gatherings with ocean views. Photo: 1 Hotel

Juvia

Juvia rises above the bustle of Lincoln Road to deliver all-around views of Miami Beach and the city. If you want be part of the see- and-be-seen crowd, this is the spot to go. Just be sure to ditch your cheesy souvenir Sobe t-shirts and come dressed to impress. It’s more of a nightspot, versus daytime hangout for the trendy. Come for cocktails only, or splurge on dinner from the exhibition kitchen, which serves up an eclectic mix of French, Japanese and Peruvian dishes. www.juviamiami.com

Juvia Miami Beach

The dining area at Juvia is flanked by a unique vertical garden created by French botanist Patrick Blanc, who drew design inspirations from the natural order of tropical rainforest canopies. Photo: Juvia

Sugar

Sugar at East Hotel is a rooftop oasis in the hip downtown Brickell district. Set high on the 40th floor, with lush plants and trees that create a unique Asian jungle vibe, it’s a nice retreat from the hustle and bustle of downtown Miami’s financial district below. Go for happy hour and enjoy stunning views of the bay all the way to the ocean. Go at night, and take in the bright city lights of Miami’s mini “New York.” If you do opt for going after 10 p.m., be prepared to wait in line and make sure you are dressed appropriately! http://www.sugar-miami.com/

Sugar East Hotel

The rooftop gardens at Miami’s East Hotel creates a unique setting for Sugar, where patrons gather at an intricately carved bar to enjoy signature cocktails and Asian tapas. Photo: Sugar

Mango St. Lucia

Mango Festivals in the Caribbean

 

The mango is one of the world’s most popular fruits, and more than 100 varieties grow in the Caribbean. Each island lays claim to producing the juiciest and most flavorful fruits. But some take it beyond bragging rights by staging festivals and parties dedicated to all things mango. Here are the best places to celebrate the summer harvest and take in all the rich flavors of this king of fruits.

Mango Madness, St. Lucia June to July 2, 2017

June is known as “Month of the Mango” on St. Lucia, and the resorts of Jade Mountain and Anse Chastanet go all out to honor the fruit. Throughout the month, resort guests can enjoy a variety of fruit-focused events. There are cooking demonstrations and chutney making classes, special five-course mango-themed dinners and plenty of mango-based treatments at Jade Mountain’s Kai en Ciel spa and Anse Chastenet’s Kai Belte spa. Guests can even learn how to craft mango cocktails and visit the organic farm where much of the produce used in the resorts is grown. The month ends with a six-day Mango Madness Festival that runs from June 27 to July 2 and includes numerous culinary events. http://www.jademountain.com/cuisine/culinary_events.html

Mango Madness Chef Allen Susser

Mango Madness at St. Lucia’s Anse Chastanet resort will be hosted by chef Allen Susser, who is the author of The Great Mango Book, an authoritative mango cookbook. Photo: Bernd Rac/Jade Mountain

Mango Melee, St. Croix July 9, 2017

At the peak of mango season, the George Village Botanical Gardens stages a day of educational workshops, children’s activities and a food competition. Known as “Mango Dis, Mango Dat,” this fruit-themed cook-off brings in chefs from around the Virgin Islands to showcase their inventive talents. There are four categories in which mangoes are used: Sips, Sweets, Salsas and Stuff. The day’s demonstrations and tastings include a tropical fruit identifying seminar and mango eating contests. Local food and drink vendors will be on site with an array of mango products for sale. This year’s 21st Annual Mango Melee and Tropical Fruit Festival takes place on Sunday July 9, 2017. www.sgvbg.org

Ripe Mango

Mangos have been cultivated for more than 5,000 years, and were first brought from the Far East to the Caribbean by Spanish and Portuguese explorers in the 15th century. Photo: Flickr

Nevis Mango & Food Festival:  July 6 to 9, 2017

The small island of Nevis goes all out for a four-day celebration of the mango that includes dining experiences, cooking demonstrations and cook-along classes. Celebrity chefs come to the island for demonstrations, and to prepare some of the culinary dinners. This year’s event welcomes Iron Chef Judy Joo and Celebrity Chef Seamus Mullen. Local chefs from the island’s top restaurants and hotels are also invited to showcase their creative culinary skills by incorporating mangos in recipes presented at the festival finale: the Nevisian Chefs Mango Feast. Attendees will gather to celebrate on Oualie Beach with mango tastings, sample dishes and rum tastings. A highlight of the weekend is the Friday night Mango Beach Lime Festival Party, staged at the various beach bars lining Pinney’s Beach. The festival runs Thursday through Sunday, July 6-9, 2017. www.nevisisland.com/nevismangofest

Nevis Mango Festival

A highlight of the 2017 Nevis Mango & Food Festival will be a special dinner staged at the Four Seasons Mango restaurant with Judy Joo of Iron Chef fame.

Antigua and Barbuda Mango Festival : July 30-31, 2017

This event engages both guests and professional chefs in a range of special activities and workshops. The festival takes place at the Christian Valley Agricultural Station, where some 25 elite mango varieties are grown. These include Trinidad’s “Julie”, Haiti’s “Madame Francisque”, Cuba’s “Piniero”, Asian “Num Mai Doc” and a number of varieties from Florida. During the two-day event, participants can learn budding and grafting techniques, tour groves, visit food booths and enjoy live entertainment. There will be plenty of mango products to taste and buy, a story telling session, and a screening of the film “Sweetest Mango.” The main event is the Magic Mango Menu Culinary competition for profession hotel chefs and bartenders. The festival takes place July 30 and 31, 2017. www.antiguanice.com

Mango On Tree

Color is not always a good indicator of a ripe mango. As they reach peak ripeness, mangos become slightly soft to the touch, and will give off a fruity aroma at their stem ends. Photo: Ard Hesselink/Flickr

 

Antigua Carnival

The Best Caribbean Summer Parties

 

Summer is a great time to be in the Caribbean. The winter season crowds are long gone, and the locals come out to play. Parties and festivals pop up on islands across the region, offering everything from intriguing cultural experiences to unabashed beach parties. Here are a dozen must-do island parties for the summer.

Riviera Maya Film Festival

In the first week of June, the international film community converges on the beach town of Playa del Carmen. Now in its seventh year, the Riviera Maya Film Festival has garnered the attention of film buffs, who come together for showings of award-winning Mexican and international films. The 2017 festival is expected to draw more than 80,000 spectators for both indoor and outdoor free showings, which take place in restored historic cinemas, and in open-air beachfront settings.

Riviera Maya Film Festival

In addition to showcasing new releases, the Riviera Maya Film Festival supports RivieraLAB, which nurtures projects by Mexican filmmakers in the development stage. Photo: Jerry Aguirre/RMFF

St. Kitts Music Fest

This small island is home to one of the Caribbean’s biggest musical happenings. Now in its 21st year, the three-day event draws some of the biggest names in soca, jazz, R&B, gospel and reggae. Performances are in the evening, but many festival goers gather at Warner Park Stadium early to spread a blanket on the lawn and make a picnic from the offerings of the numerous local food vendors. This year’s festival runs from June 26 to 28.

St Kitts Music Fest

Reggae artist Zemenfest Kidus performs for a home-town crowd at St. Kitts Music Fest. He returned to the island following a successful recording career in Jamaica. Photo: Modern Elegance/ St. Kitts Tourism Authority

Fiesta de Santiago Apostol, Puerto Rico

Each year, Puerto Rico celebrates its Spanish heritage in the town of Loiza, with a two-day festival that is equal parts religious observance and street party. Processions honoring St. James bring thousands into the streets to follow large, colorful statues carried on the shoulders of costumed and masked marchers. These observances are followed up with dance shows, music and gatherings of street vendors offering crafts and traditional food. Processions take place on July 22 and 23.

Puerto Rico Loiza Mask

Puerto Rico’s Fiesta de Santiago Apostol has its roots in Spanish traditions dating back 400 years. This annual procession through the streets features masked knights and demons. Photo: Carlos A. Aviles/Flickr

LIV Bermuda

On the first weekend in July, islanders and overseas guests from around the world come together for Bermuda’s most anticipated party. Billed as a chance to “experience Bermuda like a local,” the gatherings include beach parties, boat cruises and floating “raft ups.” Staged as a fundraiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters Bermuda, admission to these parties provides an all- inclusive experience with dancing, libations and live music.

LIV Bermuda

The 2017 edition of LIV Bermuda will take place from July 7 to 10. All- inclusive ticket packages for the four-day event give total access to a range of beach activities, concerts and parties. Photo: LIV Bermuda

Junkanoo Summer Festival

No need to wait for Christmas to experience the sights and sounds of the Bahamian Junkanoo. Each Saturday in the month of July, the waterfront at Nassau’s Arawak Cay comes alive with drumming, dancing and music as costumed troops strut their stuff and compete for top honors. The revelry starts at noon and lasts till midnight, and when it’s time for refreshments or a nosh, onlookers can duck into one of the many pubs or seafood restaurants that line the cay.

Junkanoo Nassau

During Nassau’s colorful mid-summer Junkanoo parades, rival dance and drum troops compete for top honors and prizes. The costumed processions have roots dating to African traditions. Photo: Brian & Leigh/Flickr

Christmas in July

Each summer, flotillas of pleasure boats depart Puerto Rico for the Virgin Islands for a week of gatherings and beach parties that have been given the name “Christmas in July.” But you don’t have to own a boat to enjoy the fun, as beach bars through the U.S. and British Virgins welcome one and all with day-long celebrations that start with volleyball tournaments and barbecues and end with evening fireworks and live bands that keep revelers dancing on the sand till the wee hours.

BVI Jost Van Dyke

Christmas in July is the whimsical name for the mid-summer invasion of the Virgin Islands by fleets of vacationing Puerto Rican boaters. Destinations such as White Sound are favorite stops. Photo: Michael Rubenstein/Flickr

Anguilla Summer Festival

One of the longest-running festivals in the Caribbean takes place on the otherwise quiet island of Anguilla. The 40th anniversary of this island-wide celebration will include beach parties, sailing races, pageants, parades, calypso concerts and more, each staged at different villages and resorts around the island. A highlight of the festival is J’ouvert morning, when a street jam begins at 4:30 a.m. when floats, drummers and festival-goers parade from the island’s capital to the beach at Sandy Ground for a day of music, food and water sports. The festival runs from July 2 to August 10.

Anguilla Summer Fest

Anguilla’s twelve-day-long Summer Festival delivers a non-stop schedule of events ranging from pageants and parades to soca raves, calypso competitions, and a massive all-day beach party. Photo: Anguilla Summer Festival

Reggae Sumfest

Jamaica’s largest music festival is also the island’s biggest party. The weeklong celebration is staged at Montego Bay, and features local reggae and dancehall artists. Before the music starts, the fun kicks off with a beach party, a musical day cruise and the famous “All White Party.” When the concerts get underway, audiences arrive with their own “reggae beds” — flattened cardboard boxes for sitting and chilling between dance sessions. The 2017 Sumfest runs from July 16 to 22.

Jamaica Montego Bay

Crowds gather at the main stage of Reggae Sumfest, which is Jamaica’s largest and most acclaimed music festival, with an international lineup that includes the biggest names in reggae and dancehall music. Photo: Jamaica Tourist Board

Crop Over

On Barbados, one party isn’t enough. The annual Crop Over is a three- month string of celebrations that dates back to the island’s colonial-era agricultural roots, when the end of the harvest season became a time for relaxation and revelry. The tradition continues with a three-month series of festivals, concerts, cultural events, and street parties. A highlight of the season is the “road march”, when troops of costumed revelers take over the streets of Bridgetown on Kadooment Day. This annual parade turned street party takes place on August 7.

Barbados Cropover

The culmination of Bardados‘ three-month Crop Over celebration is the Grand Kadooment, a carnival-like parade that features large bands with members dressed in elaborate costumes. Photo: Barbados Tourism

Antigua Carnival

On the last week in July, the island of Antigua explodes in a riot of feather– clad costumes, bright body paint and floats booming heavy calypso beats. The party kicks off in the capital St. John’s with J’ouvert, where steel drum musicians, calypso and soca singers entertain crowds of revelers. Over the next ten days, towns across the island will stage music competitions, local food fairs, cultural shows and cultural workshops that create chances for visitors to immerse in the local culture and join the fun. Carnival time starts July 26 and runs till August 5.

Antigua Carnival

In addition to street parades and open-air concerts, Antigua’s annual Carnival includes a series of island-wide talent shows, singing competitions and stage performances. Photo: Wayne Mariette/ Antigua Carnival Celebration

Tobago Heritage Festival

The sister island of Trinidad may be home to the Caribbean’s best-known carnival, but Tobago also knows how to throw a party, and it spreads the fun out over two weeks from July 17 to August 1. Heritage Festival is an island- wide happening, with each village and community staging events such as concerts, street parades, storytelling sessions, folk dances and African drumming sessions. The island’s heritage is celebrated with unique events such as goat races and historical re-enactments.

Tobago Heritage Festival

Modern dance melds with traditional cultural roots during a live performance staged for Tobago’s annual Heritage Festival. Staged by local communities, the performances are open to all. Photo: Terrell George/Flickr

North Sea Jazz Fest

In keeping with its reputation as a regional center of art, culture and sophistication, the island of Curacao welcomes some of the biggest names in soul, jazz, hip-hop and R&B to its iconic jazz festival. Headliners for 2017 induce Bruno Mars, Chaka Khan, Dianne Reeves, Nile Rodgers and Chic, and Juan Luis Guerra, with performances taking place on three stages. In addition to the all-star acts, the festival is known for it’s lively after parties, which often keep going all night. The two-day happening takes place on August 29 and 30.

Curucao North Sea Jazz

Curacao’s North Sea Jazz Festival is the Caribbean’s version of the original performance event of the same name that is held each summer in the Netherlands. Photo: Wassef Sokkari/ Curacao Tourist Board

Fort Lauderdale Beach

Florida’s Best Memorial Day Parties

 

Memorial Day is certainly a time when we should pause to remember and honor those who gave service to our country. But it’s also a three-day weekend, and the start of the summer season. Cities across the State of Florida will celebrate the holiday with concerts and beach parties. Here are six of the best.

Great American Beach Party, Fort Lauderdale Beach

The Venice of America kicks off the summer season in style with an all-day beach party. Seven bands perform everything from surf rock and oldies to funk and country. There are plenty of vendors, food and drink, and activities that include a sand castle building contest, classic car show, family fun zone and a military tribute to our service men and women. It all starts at 10 a.m., Saturday May 27.

Sunset Music Festival, Tampa

On Saturday, May 27th and Sunday, May 28th, fans will gather to dance the weekend away to the hottest acts in electronic music. More than 50,000 are expected to fill Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium to take in performances by more than 40 artists on three stages. Headliners include Major Lazer, RL Grime, Above & Beyond and Zeds Dead.

Jacksonville Jazz Festival, Jacksonville

Now in its 36th year, this event has grown to become one of the country’s largest jazz festivals. From May 25 to 28, a 15-block area of Jacksonville’s downtown will be transformed into a lively street festival, with local food, art, vendors and live jazz on three stages. The all-star lineup of performers includes jazz icons and Grammy winners such as Chic Corea, the Rippingtons, Commodores and the Pacific Mambo Orchestra.

Taste of Brickell Food & Wine Festival, Miami

Exceptional tastes from more than 40 of Miami’s premier restaurants will be complemented by fine wines and spirits when the 6th annual Taste of Brickell returns to downtown Miami on Saturday, May 27. Festivalgoers will enjoy gourmet samplings, cooking demonstrations, and interactions with featured vendors. The event also includes live concerts throughout the day and evening, an exotic car exhibit, and arts and crafts booths.

Johnny Chisholm’ s Memorial Weekend Party

In a tradition dating back to the 1960s, LGBTQ groups from across America will gather at Pensacola Beach over the Memorial Day weekend. Since 1991, a weekend-long series of celebration has been organized by nightclub owner Johnny Chisholm. Nightly happenings include stage shows, costume contests, dances and concerts. The party runs from Thursday, May 25th through Monday, May 29th.

Bands on the Sand, Treasure Island

This small oceanfront community just west of St. Petersburg will once again host Bands in the Sand. This two-day beach party and music festival kicks off on May 25th with a lineup that includes some of the top names in the Tampa Bay music scene. Now in its ninth year, this family friendly event includes food, art exhibits and crafts tables. The grand finale of the event is a fireworks show over the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.