Please let me know what you think of these How-To videos and don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube Channel here: Subscribe to H. Luiz Presents… on YouTube!
We had a cocktail party and though we usually have a signature cocktail, we always have non-spirited options like fresh lemonade and cucumber water for our guests. Here’s a New YouTube Video on how to make my fresh lemonade:
Ever have that moment when you smell fresh cinnamon rolls and you see a mound of heavenly goodness with that drippy white sugar glaze oozing off the top? Sometimes our will power is not enough to resist it and we know that we have no business eating a cinnamon roll the size of a child’s baseball glove. Now you can make your own “mini” cinnamon roll that packs a tasty punch of flavor that really satisfies. Here’s how I make them, the easy way in this New YouTube Video:
This New YouTube Video is just fun. We did a Meet n’ Greet in Atlantic City and to our surprise lots of sexy women showed up. I seized the opportunity and asked if they would do a 5 second promo vid and they said YES! Notice the other folks in the background – it was a lovely day! Thanks to MargaritaVille’s Land Shark Bar on the beach for hosting the location:
These YouTube videos demonstrates the different styles of camerawork I use for H. Luiz Presents… videos on YouTube. Please share and give me a thumbs up on YouTube and maybe a comment- but only if you really like it! You may SUBSCRIBE to my YouTube Channel with 1 click here: H. Luiz Presents on YouTube
…as if I really have the time! jajaja
Seriously though, our new home with its expansive walls had me looking at paintings and making statements like, “I can make that…I can create this…yes, I can do that too…how much does that cost??”
It’s the same “artistry” that allows me to cook/bake, its just an artistic muscle I haven’t used in a while. Well, decades to be exact but who keeps track?
What do you think?
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We haven’t been to the Boutique Hotel – the Water and Beach Club in 10 years! I am so glad that Carlos Coriano, founder of Connecticut-based NovaVision Marketing, LLC convinced me to give it another try. It has been receiving GREAT reviews from social and print media for the last few years. The Water and Beach Club is literally under 10 minutes from the International Luis Munoz Marin Airport. This jewel of a property has a very romantic and sensuous “feel” to it. The spacious and beautiful rooms have a modern elegance with ultra-chic furnishings. It is literally steps to the sun-drenched beach. They also provide clean beach towels, large beach umbrellas and comfy lounge chairs for your convenience. The SJWBC also boasts a beach cocktail/beverage service with a lunch menu too. 10 years ago, they did NOT have Beach Service and the Staff was NOT this accommodating and professional.
There is a clean pool in the beautiful rooftop open-air lounge in the heart of the restaurant/bar named Mist. It’s so beautiful that I’ve taken meetings and conferences up there. For me, all I needed was a comfortable area, complimentary WIFI, a perfect view, an ocean breeze, and a great cocktail (does not hurt) to “work” while on vacation. However, they do have a wonderful business center and conference rooms to fit your needs as well.
TEN years ago, we had a great time but the service was just acceptable, EXCEPT for Front Desk Manger Virna (she was great) and guess what? Virna is still there!! Now, 2-3 management changes later, the service has been exceptional. They’ve received Awards of Excellence among other awards over the last 2-3 years. YES- the quality of service from the front desk, housekeeping, maintenance, beach staff, servers, bartenders, and chefs is truly reason enough to stay at the Water Beach Club.
The BEST reason to visit the San Juan Water and Beach Club has to be for the food. We cannot give Chef Raul Correa enough accolades for his “genius” in elevating centuries old Puerto Rican ingredients to modern day Haute Cuisine. The food is just out of this world. There’s been a lot of press about the Chef and now you may enjoy his culinary creations on TWO exciting floors. Chef will tantalize all your senses with his creative cuisine:
As mentioned before, Mist is a rooftop lounge/restaurant serving the best (and most-delicious) cocktails, wines, beers, and other beverages. Their small plates are a play, again with local ingredients, of sensual and savory tastes. I would recommend EVERYTHING (including the Black Pearl cocktail) but you have to try the Pork Belly, Braised Short Ribs, and the Flat Bread Pizza of Prosciutto, Goat Cheese, and Fig. Towards the end of the week, they have music, DJs spinning, and hot parties with the freshest of ocean breezes cascading through the open-air rooftop. It is sensual, cool, and offers anything you could possibly want on chic, back-lit menus.
Then there’s Zest, an intimate restaurant that sets the stage for an amazing experience that plays on all the senses. You have to try my favorites- Popcorn Truffle Soup (trust me, you’ll cry), Pulpo and Morcilla (sausage), and the Pork Cheeks- you’ll return the next night for just that one.) We had the opportunity to try practically EVERY dish Chef Raul Correa creates, and we were truly over the Caribbean moon. His staff is also talented. If you’re lucky, Pastry Chef Luis will tantalize your palette with desserts you just won’t find anywhere else.
The Director of Sales and Marketing, Betsy, became a Sister in minutes! Be sure to contact the Beautiful Boutique Hotel and ask about group rates, special events, weddings, and other packages. The Guest Services Manager, Virna, WILL welcome you with open arms and a warm smile. The Food and Beverage Manager, Nelson, will make sure that all your Culinary needs are met and Chef Raul Correa will just create dishes that you just have to eat to believe!
Let them know that H. Luiz sent you!
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Easy Tips + Some Answers to YOUR Questions in ThanksGiving Prep 2014…
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This is the number ONE question you all have been asking since we heard about the first travel-associated case of Ebola to be diagnosed in America on Sept. 30th, 2014. Now, fear of the disease is running rampart through the Caribbean. Full disclosure- I had fears myself especially since we travel to the Caribbean about 10 times a year.
To be clear, there’s NO BAN in the Caribbean from U.S. travelers. The fear most Americans have is visiting an Island Country without a ban, then sharing a hotel, pool, or a buffet with someone possibly exposed to Ebola coming from West Africa. One reason for the level of fear in the Caribbean for placing these bans is the rapid spread of chikungunya – a painful viral disease also of African origin which first reached the Caribbean last December 2013. Some islands have recorded cases in the tens of thousands. Others have stopped counting all together. The difference is, chikungunya is mosquito borne. Once insects are infected, it is hard to stop it. However, Ebola will not spread that way in the Caribbean Islands.
Trinidad, Tobago, St Kitts-Nevis, St Vincent, St Lucia, Jamaica, Suriname, Guyana and Belize banned all travel from African countries with an Ebola outbreak.
The Dominican Republic is also currently restricting travelers from West African nations dealing with Ebola outbreaks. Dominican Health Minister Altagracia Guzman says the ban applies to travelers who have been in those countries in the past 30 days. She announced Tuesday that authorities will remain vigilant at airports, seaports and the border it shares with Haiti.
The Turks and Caicos government has not issued ANY official restrictions, but it announced that immigration and health officials will put in quarantine any person coming from West Africa.
Currently, Barbados has no travel ban. However, their government wants to open an isolation center. Catholic School Parents are concerned about the location of the center and they’re campaigning furiously against it, especially if it’s near their students’ schools.
Sierra Leone’s capital, Freetown, was founded by former slaves from British colonies in the Americas. Many of its people speak Krio, which is closely related to English-based Caribbean creoles. In the English-speaking Caribbean, many people like to talk warmly of their African roots. But in the current crisis, practical help has come instead from Spanish-speaking Cuba, which has sent 165 health workers to Sierra Leone, with more on the way to Guinea and Liberia. Cuba is a Leader in Medicine, Treatment, Prevention, and Disease Control – it’s about time for the WORLD to recognize that. Caribbean Cruise Travel has been affected too! A Dallas hospital lab supervisor was on a Caribbean cruise, and there was a fear that the lab supervisor might possibly have handled fluid samples from Thomas Duncan. Thomas Duncan (Liberian-American) died from Ebola on October 12th. The American health authorities wanted her home for closer monitoring. When the ship made its call in Belize, she and her travelling companion stayed on board, in voluntary quarantine. Needless to say, other tourists were very nervous. The cruise ship skipped its next call, which was Mexico (actually Mexico said, “Aqui no!”) and set course for Galveston, Texas. A helicopter picked up a blood sample, it tested negative (NO EBOLA) and everyone was able to breathe again – for now!
“How do you become infected with Ebola?” is another question you guys have been asking. Here it is, straight from the Centers of Diseases Control and Prevention: Ebola is not spread through the air, by water, or in general, by food. However, in Africa, Ebola may be spread as a result of handling bushmeat (wild animals hunted for food) and contact with infected bats. There is no evidence that mosquitos or other insects can transmit Ebola virus. Only a few species of mammals (e.g., humans, bats, monkeys, and apes) have shown the ability to become infected with and spread Ebola virus. Healthcare providers caring for Ebola patients and family and friends in close contact with Ebola patients are at the highest risk of getting sick because they may come in contact with infected blood or body fluids.
As long as you stay abreast the latest news (real news, not fear-based propaganda) and follow safety travel procedures we should be okay. For more info, please click here Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
but that was just the occasional (friendly) ghost seen here and there on the property!
In fact, the Bourbon Orleans Hotel was such a wonderful place to stay and we can’t wait to return in a few months. Let me break it down like I do:
Property – the property was once my great, great, aunt’s home as one of the original 12 nuns of the first Black Creole order of “Sister of the Holy Family” Convent in 1881 (today the Bourbon Orleans Ball Room), but that’s what makes it so special to me. For you, you’ll love the solar cell salt-water pool in the beautiful Court Yard. The property also boasts a restaurant and a bar for you to enjoy (more on that later.) There’s also a St. Ann Cottage that’s often used for celebrations and events. The Cottage is also home to the Administrative Offices (more on them later too.) The Rooms, Pool Rooms, and Loft Suites are sensational at great price points. We stayed in the Roux Loft Suite and it was so elegant with Creole French Style furnishings, but with a modern twist. We’ve enjoyed the wetbar and the 2 flat-screen TVs. Also on the first floor is the living room, complete with a large desk (WIFI is included at NO additional cost.) The patio balcony was great for late-night people watching and/or sipping great wines under the crisp moon. On the 2nd floor LOFT area is a Queen sized bed. You would think that you’d prefer a King, but the Queen is just right for those HOT French Quarter nights. The bathroom with the walk-in shower is ultra modern with a masculine edge that we so appreciated.
Location – the Bourbon Orleans Hotel is located smack dead in the middle of all that the French Quarter has to offer. To your right is Bourbon Street with all the fun craziness that you can possibly imagine, and to your left is Royal Street facing the historic King Louis Cathedral (the oldest cathedral still in use in the United States.) It is literally steps to famed Café du Monde (Beignets and Café Au Lait) AND steps to the all-important Mississippi River.
Staff Members – what an amazing set of dedicated staff-members (more like family members!) I have to give a GREAT shoutout to Kiana (Front Desk Manager), Miss Sweet Ivy (and ALL the housekeeping staff members), the Bartenders Steven, Justin, and Becka, and all the Food and Beverage staff (especially the wait staff) and of course, Laurie Guidry, Mark Wilson, & Marc Becker are all delightful.
The Roux Restaurant – the popular chef, Joey Wells, was not available (was looking forward to his Shrimp & Grits specialty) but the Chef who took care of us was OUTSTANDING!! We had the crab-stuff chicken breast and the filet mignon – heaven!! We were on a Gastro Tour all over the French Quarter, but the Roux Restaurant at the Bourbon Orleans Hotel will be on my TOP 8 FRENCH QUARTER RESTAURANTS to VISIT!!
The Bourbon O Bar – the best thing at the bar is not even a drink or beverage…
it’s Mixologist of the Year – Steven Lemley!! He is sensational. I was quoted as saying “Some bartenders make drinks, this Mixologist Steven Lemley creates an Experience!!” Not only will Steven create the most-beautiful drinks you’ve ever tasted (with FRESH fruit juices), he will give you a brief history about specific drinks as well. You’ll oooh and ahhh over his “flourishes” while he makes the cocktails, and if you don’t know what you want, he’ll gently recommend a cocktail based upon the flavors you do like. When visiting Steven Lemley, please tell him that “H. Luiz Martinez” sent you!
Now – when staying at the Bourbon Orleans Hotel, remember to bring earplugs to ensure that you get some rest. The Hotel itself is pretty quiet as far as hotels go, but don’t forget that you’re in the French Quarter and on/near Bourbon Street – legendary for late night excitement, partying, and club-going. But there’s the other side to explore too – food, tours, steam-boat trips, food music, casinos, food, historical content, and did I mention food? jajajaja!
Enjoy New Orleans, enjoy the French Quarter, enjoy the Bourbon Orleans Hotel, and enjoy yourself!
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Pampering yourself at home with spa treatments is easy, rejuvenating and quite cost-effective. You have the luxury to control the ingredients that go onto your skin and into your body, too. You have control over the music you listen to as well as the environment’s “feel” as a whole. Why not incorporate those same basic principles and take those ideas with you when you travel? No, I’m not talking about lugging spa equipment, carrying mani-pedi tools, or packing a boat-load of tubes, jars, and containers on vacation. I’m saying that you can take those simple “at home spa treatments” and tailor them for your hotel room while on your vacation.
These treatments I’m about to illustrate came about when I needed to get creative and use what was available to me in a hotel. Jet lag, bad weather, irritability, and not feeling your best can all conspire to make a vacation turn sour, really quickly. In most cases, I had to improvise, but “discovery” was part of the fun. Of course, some of these ideas are just modifications of what I do at home, but a couple of ideas came from professional spa technicians in some of the very hotels I stayed in. After an enjoyable spa treatment or two, I always ask them, “How can I do this for myself at home?” You’d be surprised just how easy it is! Here are eight personal spa treatments you can create when you need to refresh, distress, or unwind while away on vacation.
1. Create a Refreshing Station
I do not drink as much water as I should when I’m at home, but when I travel I drink lots of it. I know it’s important to stay hydrated, especially in the tropics where I tend to vacation. The first thing I do is pick up the phone and order room service. I ask for sliced cucumber, sliced limes, and mint leaves (they may not always have mint). Then I ask for a large glass pitcher or carafe of filtered water. And while I have them on the phone, I usually ask them to send up a fresh fruit basket too. As soon as the fruit and water arrive, I put the sliced cucumber, limes, and mint leaves in the carafe with the water to create a cool, nutrient-rich, vitamin water. I’ve done this so many times that when we now return to some resorts, we’ll find a complimentary “refreshing station” and fresh fruit basket already set up in our room. That’s always a nice touch!
2. Steep That Tea
I remember once, when we finally arrived at our hotel room after a long flight, looking in the bathroom mirror and seeing this tired-looking man staring at me from the other side. Cabin pressure, lack of sleep, and caffeine really do a number on the skin, especially the face. I used to bring along spray mists but my large ones are now against air-travel regulations. So, I decided to give myself a mini-steam facial to invigorate my skin, open up my pores, and improve my circulation. You can do it, too. Fill your clean hotel sink with hot water. Throw in a couple of those complimentary herbal tea bags (maybe they’ll even have chamomile) and grab a nice fluffy towel. Drape it over your head and shoulders to create a tent over the sink. Steam your face for about three minutes. Want more time? Just add more hot water. Don’t forget to breathe in deeply and relax. Afterward, gently pat your face dry with the towel. This will put the glow back in your face for sure!
3. Make a Natural Facial Mask
After you’ve spent time giving yourself a steam facial, you can apply a natural facial mask. It’s very easy: mix some milk and honey together and that’s all you really need. The mixture should be creamy yet sticky. These two ingredients work well for all skin types. However, I encourage you to experiment with other natural ingredients such as hand-mashed avocados and moistened oatmeal. Simply apply the mixture as you would with any store-bought facial mask. Lie down on your bed, throw some of those cucumber slices over your eyes, and just relax for about 15 minutes. When you’re finished, rinse with slightly cool water. Dab your face dry and apply your moisturizer. A natural mask has many beneficial properties. It hydrates your face and draws out impurities from congested skin. It also helps to calm and smooth tired skin and reduce puffiness. When someone comments on your beautiful skin, just say, “It’s natural, baby!”
Read the rest of Priority List: 8 At-Home Spa Treaments You Can Do On Vacation here
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“I wrote this from my in-flight airplane seat, because I wanted to give you ALL the details that I could remember about our 7-Day stay in the beautiful Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort in St. Maarten.” – H. Luiz Martinez
The property, though charming with a Dutch Island feel, was in need of a few modern upgrades, but guess what? They were set to close the property after Labor Day, Sep 1st for a month-long renovation project – after our stay. However, the infinity pool, and the 2 other pools were beautiful and we enjoyed swimming in them every day. You couldn’t beat the beach and the view from the resort and it was literally breath-taking! We had an “apartment” in the resort, which is like a Jr. Suite, that had the cleanest full kitchen I have ever seen! You were able to reach your personal patio (complete with an outdoor dining table and chairs, plus lounge chairs) through the bedroom and/or living room glass patio doors – there’s an indoor dining table and chairs as well. The flat screen TVs have great reception and the WiFi is strong! Again, the views are post-card perfect! The pool, the bars, the daily entertainment, and live music were reasons enough to stay.
The staff members at the Sonesta Great Bay Beach are more like long-lost relatives, always attentive yet non intrusive to your privacy. Phrases like, “Enjoying your Happiness today?” “Have you found your Calm yet?” and “Be sure to soak up the Tranquility” were said to us every day with genuine smiles. They have a great General Manager named Karl Bourne, who seems to anticipate guests needs before they even arise. Mr. Radcliffe, Operations, was helpful with any questions, scheduling, and service needs as well. A big Thank You to Cleopatra, Food and Beverage, for welcoming us with a bottle of wine, fruit and cheese platter, and a warm “welcome” note!
The Executive Chef, Marc Innocenti, is truly a superstar! We’ve been treated royally before in other Caribbean Islands, but Chef Marc was also someone we could just hang out with and talk about food, great restaurants, and tennis (the US Open was running during our stay.) He prepared us private dinners that were simply extra-ordinary, becoming of an experience executive chef and beyond! We’re still talking about our surf and turf of Lobster Tail & Filet Mignon – which was just 1 of a 5 course gastro-tour. That dish alone is enough to make us return next year!! The stuffed mussels and seafood filled balls (rellenos) were delectable and the blue-cheese frisee salad was delicious. As an extra treat (and perhaps our favorite) was the Shrimp Mac n’ Cheese! That was enough to put tears in our eyes and smiles on our faces.
Chef Marc Innocenti was also our point person on this vacation in regards to our dining experiences. He coordinated our day-trip to sister resort Maho Beach and setup all our transportation services and back. Chef Marc scheduled another gastro-tour there, but we had a BBQ Buffet instead. The BBQ was great, but we were disappointed that the chef there did not “deliver.” The sister-property at Maho Beach is geared more towards families with children, but we had a great time at the pools, casino, and watching planes fly startlingly close over the beach.
Back at Great Bay Beach, Chef Marc introduced us to Executive Sous Chef, Fabio. He created Sicilian inspired dishes but with a Caribbean tasty twist! Chef Fabio is one of those chefs that if you give him 30 days, he can prepare 30 distinct dishes without much effort. That’s what you call passion! Again, with the coordination of our Superstar Executive Chef Marc Innocenti, we’ve enjoyed a Romantic Dinner on the very sands of the St. Maarten Beach of the resort. There, Chef Fabio and Chef Win spoiled us again! The spiny-shell lobster was prepared to perfection and we would guess to be about 4 to 5 lbs…each! We thought we died and went to seafood heaven. Also, the seafood bisque with fresh Johnny cakes and sweet-potato crab cakes were enough to have us smiling all night, not to mention the other course in between. Be sure to check out Pescatore whenever you’re in St. Maarten (or anywhere you’ll find these CHEFS!)
We can’t wait to return next year!!
The 2014 Fall Fashion Issue of Passport Magazine is OUT and available on newsstands, available for digital downloads, and ready to be delivered to your door now!
Subscriptions, Digital, and iTunes for iPad. The current Fall Fashion Issue of Passport Magazine is packed with GREAT articles, pictures, and up-to-date information for all your Lifestyle and Travel needs.
This issue’s Priority List brings you 8 Style and Prep Tips to Keep YOU Looking Fashion Forward While Traveling. These tried, tested, and true tips will give you not only great perks and possible upgrades, but they can help make you look and feel comfortable while flying too! I’m sure you’re going to enjoy it, especially when you see that the Fall Fashion Issue is so FULL of great stuff from cover to cover!
Priority List: 8 Style and Prep Tips for Travel
You have to checkout Associate Managing Editor, Joseph Pedro’s WILDE DUBLIN.
Also, “Passport Concierge” by Lawrence Ferber and the “VIP Lounge” where Lawrence chats it up with my long-time Friend and Tony-Award Winning Actor – Billy Porter!
Rich Rubin gives us a wonderful look at “Quirky, Loveable Asbury Park” in my home state of New Jersey.
Jeff Heilman gives us WORLD EATS from Melbourne, Australia and for you pet-lovers, Jimmy Im informs us of Pet-Friendly Accommodations. Jimmy also informs us “Where Love and Creativity Equals Success” in BUSINESS PROFILE highlighting the story of Malin + Goetz.
Morgan Ribera tells us about Food, Wine, Art, and Hollywood Glamour in Central Virginia in GLOBE TROTTING.
Andrew Villagomez gives us “What’s New in…” Curacao and Jim Gladstone shows us “Hot Type for Savvy Travelers” in TRAVEL BOUND.
And probably my favorite section in this issue, the beautiful photography of Ezequiel De La Rosa in Broadway’s Leading Men! I’m talking Legends like Alan Cumming, Andy Karl, Kyle Dean Massey. They have Broadway Hunks like Christopher Sieber, Rob McClure, and Josh Tower. They even have the Hot and Talented Ramin Karimloo and Matt Bogart too!
Ezequiel De La Rosa
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Don’t you love ALL those witty and wise-cracking quotes, Sophia Petrillo (Estelle Getty) of the Golden Girls used to say? I do too, so I decided to setup a new FaceBook Page titled Sophia Petrillo Quotes.
Are you READY for the Pedestrian Plaza on Newark Ave in Jersey City, NJ? I sure am and so were the residents yesterday, who attended the “Opening” to a grand success!
Local Jersey City Downtown Businesses, Pedestrians, and Cyclists give their thumbs up to the NEW Pedestrian Plaza on Newark Avenue from Grove St to Barrow and Erie Street and from Newark Avenue to Bay Street in Jersey City, NJ.
The “Pedestrian Plaza” hours are Monday – Friday 3pm to 12 midnight and Saturday – Sunday ALL day! That means no cars on the road and businesses extending their hours (if they’re smart) to accommodate their customers.
“The opening was a huge success, with people enjoying the additional space,” “Like any new project, we will continue to tweak and modify the plan until it is perfect.” – Jennifer Morrill, City Spokeswoman.
They tried to do this last year, but it was met with strong resistance from motorists. Now, with everyone on board, I hope it’s a great success! They’re trying it out for 3 months (I wish they started in July so that we all could enjoy being outside with more daylight) from August 19th through to November. These months are great (cooler weather) for us to be outdoors, shop, and eat. Also, a safe-zone from motorists, especially for kids visiting after school.
How do you feel about it? Let us know in the “comment section” below.