My 2012 golf travel awards: Eats that are real treats
For the first half of the year, I was on a diet, a deterrent in my 2012 travel awards relating to food. At one point I lost more than 30 pounds, but unfortunately my voracious appetite for fine dining, a hazard of the job, won over and I gained a few back.
I don’t regret it, though. This was one tasty year.
• Best Meal: The heaping of appetizers and the braised short ribs at Jean Georges Steakhouse in Aria Resort & Casino Las Vegas.
• Best lunch: Da Conch Shack on Providenciales, Turks & Caicos, will always remain one of my all-time favorite places. Drinking beer, eating tasty conch fritters and conch stew while sitting on a picnic table on a beautiful sandy beach … it was life straight out of a Jimmy Buffett song. Read about it here.
• Best setting for dinner: Eating dinner with my toes in the sand right on the world famous Grace Bay Beach at the Cabana Bar & Grille behind Ocean Club West. Awesome.
• Best Italian: Perio’s Italian Cuisine just off the Las Vegas strip had good family-style servings, a great “Garbage Caesar Salad” and an even better vibe.
• Best resort restaurant: The five-diamond Pitahayas (photo above) at the Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Golf & Spa Resort Los Cabos overlooked the ocean and boasts an intimate wine cellar. A close second would be Salt at the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island, where the menu tastefully uses dozens of flavors of salt to spice up the night.
• Best Hangout Bar: (tie) The On the Rocks, a Civilized Bar, serves 25 flavors of martinis overlooking the Sea of Cortez at the Westin Resort & Spa Los Cabos. The Hyde Bellagio in Las Vegas had great live music, futuristic cocktails and a view of the launching fountains.
• Best Party Bar: The locals consider Cabo Wabo in Cabo San Lucas a cheesy spot, but the touristy gringos love to dance and drink the night away at Sammy Hagar’s joint.
• Best Hamburger: The Relish Burger Bistro inside the clubhouse of the Phoenician, a five-star resort in Scottsdale.
• Best Dinner Buffet: Caesar’s Palace launched the new Bacchanal Buffet this year to rave reviews, quite a feat in buffet-crazy Vegas.
• Best Lunch Buffet: The grilled lobster and hand-made Caesar salad, and much more, at the Grand Hotel at the Iberostar Playa Paraiso Resort on the Riviera Maya in Mexico.
• Best Sunday Brunch: The choices of select meats, seafoods and crème brulee French toast inside the Wisconsin Room at the American Club.
• Most Unique Dessert: The S’mores served with a blue flame bunsen burner and home-made graham crackers at Blackwolf Run at the American Club in Kohler, Wis.
• Best appetizer: (tie) The Cheese Curds at the Horse & Plow at The American Club and the Cheddar Ale Dip served with soft pretzel twists at the Gem and Keystone Brewpub outside of the Shawnee Inn & Golf Resort in Pennsylvania. Sense a theme here?
• Best Clubhouse food: The Wynn Country Club in Las Vegas. Shrimp and grits. Need I say more?
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