Raleigh Restaurant: Margaux’s

Though I’ve lived in Raleigh a fair amount of time, I haven’t explored nearly as many of the restaurants as I would have liked to. Thankfully, my girlfriend is more than happy to help me do that!

Margaux’s has an interesting offering with heavy French influences, and it goes well beyond its name. The menu is divided into appetizers, salads & soups, permanent entrees, rotational entrees, village dining, and a prix fixe menu. Because of the sheer number of options, it can be a little overwhelming to make a decision!

My girlfriend can’t resist an authentic French onion soup, and Margaux’s did not disappoint! The Gruyere was perfectly crusted onto the bowl, and the onion was delicious in the broth. I went with the Choucroute Garnie, which was both very well presented as well as delicious.

Housemade Tasso, Chorizo, Andouille Sausage

For entrees, my girlfriend opted for lamb, while I went with triggerfish. I had actually never heard of triggerfish before, so I wasn’t too sure what to expect going in, but found it to be quite light.

Rosemary grilled lamb loin with gratin potatoes, apple-mint jelly & red wine reduction
Grilled triggerfish on a bed of braised green lentils, artichokes & cipollini onions

The lamb was spectacular. If you have the opportunity – give it a shot before it is rotated out of season! I am definitely going to be coming back!

Raleigh Restaurant: Capital Grille – Easter Brunch


After my initial visit to the Capital Grille in Raleigh, I was sure to sign up for their mailing list for any fun events that they might be hosting. Though I had received invitations to a few that we weren’t able to attend, when we were presented with an invitation to a prix fixe Easter brunch that we would be able to make, we had to jump on the offer.

Prix Fixe Menu

The menu was very reasonably priced for the available choices, and for those that wanted to deviate from the prix fixe offerings, the full menu was also provided. Though we were given the option of ordering mimosas and other refreshing adult beverages, North Carolina law doesn’t allow the sale of alcohol on Sunday until after noon (in restaurants), so we had to wait a little on that. Thankfully, the rest of the meal arrived in a timely fashion!

Citrus Blossom Mimosa
I usually stay away from tequila… but I couldn’t say no to this!
Fire & Ice
Delicious carbs…

For our starters, I opted for the smoked salmon, while my girlfriend went with the kale salad. Nothing too exciting, but quite tasty all the same.

We didn’t have to wait long for our entrees once our appetizers had been cleared away, which was a pleasant surprise given how busy they were. I went with the dry aged steak with a fried egg, while my girlfriend broke her long-standing rule and opted for lobster. Though my steak was cooked perfectly, my egg was left runny (as opposed to fried), and my girlfriend’s lobster was overcooked to the point of being inedible. The manager made everything right, however, and completely comped her meal.

Dry-aged steak with an egg… delightful!
Lobster Fritatta

For dessert, I decided to treat myself to flourless chocolate cake, while my girlfriend went with the crème brûlée.

Crème brûlée!
Super-smooth flourless chocolate cake

The service, as always, was excellent, and we were never left with empty glasses. If you have a chance, definitely check out the Capital Grille for one of their many brunches! It’s a great opportunity to have excellent food at a reasonable price.

Four Points by Sheraton (San Diego, CA) – Whirlpool Suite

After last week’s travel meltdown, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect on the road. I knew there would be some cascading issues that lingered with all the disruptions to Delta (which translated to a little more than an hour delay on my flight to San Diego), so I went in expecting the worst.

I couldn’t be more wrong.

Not only did Avis give me one hell of a fun car for the week (Camaro SS!), the Four Points I was staying at upgraded me to one of their suites. Being my first visit to a Four Points, I didn’t really know what to expect, but it was safe to say I was blown away by everything it had.

Surprise Number One

One of the nice things about having Avis First is that you get upgrades from time to time upon arrival at your rental location (not to mention the ability to pick out a new car if you don’t like the one you were assigned).

As I landed, I checked my email to see what I would be driving this week, and I definitely did a double-take. Though I’ve been given cars like Charger R/Ts in the past, this was my first Camaro, and to have it be an SS was icing on the cake.

Ooooh baby… that engine!

The Hotel

The Four Points has two restaurants (Citrus, where breakfast is served, and the Montfield Bar), a swimming pool and fitness center, and on-site golfing. Though located a fair distance from downtown, it is still quite well positioned for a variety of activities. There is even a shuttle to the airport (which is quite nice, as parking is not complimentary).

The interior isn’t particularly remarkable in terms of decoration, but it is very well-maintained. There are trees placed throughout as well, which is quite nice. The trees make it feel a lot more open and adds a nice touch. I’m not sure if other hotels could pull it off, but the Four Points does it well!

Surprise Number Two

I wasn’t too surprised as I entered the room, as it had fairly standard furnishings in the “living room” area, but as I made my way into the bedroom, I was wow-ed.

Entering the room: swanky!
Traditional King bed and another TV

In a nook to the side of the bed, on the way to the bathroom, was a Whirlpool!

Surprise! Whirlpool!

Continuing into the bathroom, I noticed that the trend of spacious elegance continued with the shower and counter area with the sink. There was even a bidet in a separate room with the toilet!

Swanky shower!
Lots of space on the counters

All in all, I was very pleasantly surprised this week and can definitely see myself coming back to this hotel.

New @Delta Serviceware by Alessi // @Matteo_Alessi

This week I had the opportunity to give the new Alessi serviceware a whirl, and I am very much a fan. The napkin ring went from being a paper hoop to a nice hexagonal metal ring, and the mugs and glasses are markedly nicer than before.

Another nice touch was that the old salt and pepper shakers (with what appeared to be tape on top to keep the contents in) have been replaced by resealable ones with a modern look that aligns with the rest of the serviceware.

Overall, I quite liked my experience and I look forward to using it in the future!

Salmon and veggies

Quality silverware!
Resealable salt and pepper shakers

Sheraton Mission Valley (San Diego, CA) – Standard Suite Upgrade!

One of the awesome things about having Starwood Platinum status is the that when you check in you can be upgraded to a standard suite if there is availability. When checking in this week, I was pleasantly surprised with such an upgrade!

The entryway!
To the bedroom!
Not a Westin bed… but it’ll certainly do! ;D
A second TV
Another shot of the living area