Philadelphia: For The Culinary And Art Enthusiasts

Philadelphia: For The Culinary And Art Enthusiasts



DE 303 | Philadelphia

Thinking of traveling to Philadelphia but don’t know where to start? Andy McNeill has brought in experts to help you straighten out your Philly travel plans! Chef Jose Garces is an Iron Chef, father, husband, James Beard Award-winner, entrepreneur, and food innovator. As a child of immigrants and a leader in the diverse and inclusive hospitality industry, the well-being of his community in Philadelphia has always been dear to Chef Garces’ heart. He shares his favorite spots in the area and where you can visit him for top-tier Spanish and Latin-American food. JoAnn Wrenn is the General Manager of The Logan Hotel and oversees all day-to-day operations of the 391-room address on Logan Square in downtown Philadelphia. Tune in as she shares her favorite vacation spots and fun activities you can try out even within their hotel premises. Find out why Philadelphia might be the ideal place for your next event destination.

Watch the episode here

 

Philadelphia: For The Culinary And Art Enthusiasts With Chef Jose Garces And The Logan Hotel’s JoAnn Wrenn

For the first part of this Philadelphia episode, Andy McNeill chats with Iron Chef, James Beard Award-winner, entrepreneur, and food innovator Chef Jose Garces about his work in the area, not only in the culinary space but for the community as well. Chef Jose discusses his culinary journey, having Ecuadorian ancestry, growing up in Chicago, working in New York, and ultimately becoming a chef in Philadelphia and earning the title of Iron Chef.

Chef Jose Garces Restaurants To Add To Your Bucket List

With famed success in his field, Chef Jose has numerous restaurants to choose from and enjoy a quality culinary experience. Here are some of them:

  • Amada – Spanish cuisine
  • Distrito – Mexican cantina and taqueria
  • The Olde Bar – seafood-centric restaurant
  • Volvér – Basque restaurant
  • Hook & Master – Pizza and seafood concept
  • Livy’s Plant-Based Food (virtual; ghost kitchen) – Plant-based burger joint
  • Rustika Pollo A la Brasa (virtual; ghost kitchen) – Peruvian rotisserie chicken concept

Up-and-Coming Areas And Favorite Spots

Philly has a lot to offer for culinary travelers. East Passyunk is a cool pocket of up-and-coming chefs and restaurateurs who’ve created a niche neighborhood with fun bars and restaurants. On the other hand, there’s a huge Ethiopian population welcomed in the West end as well.

Another famous spot is the Reading Terminal Market which offers around 30 vendors and farmers and their goods that range from jams, jellies, donuts, fishmongers, fresh produce markets, coffee shops, etc. One of Chef Jose’s favorites is a crepe sandwich shop called La Creperie.

On the Southside, Ardmore Farmers Market is another burgeoning food scene. Chef Jose also recommends checking out college town, Manayunk, and a great park with walking trails in Wissahickon Valley Park. The main streets of Manayunk also offer tons of restaurants like The Landing Kitchen and Winnie’s, and great coffee shops such as Volo Coffeehouse.

Chef Jose Garces also briefly shares his Iron Man journey, and his nonprofit work with Garces Foundation, which focuses on helping out the immigrant community in Philadelphia and the non-documented restaurant workers looking for healthcare benefits.

JoAnn Wrenn On The Logan Hotel

For the second part of this Philadelphia Special, Andy and Todd sit down with JoAnn Wrenn. JoAnn is the General Manager of The Logan Hotel, where she oversees all day-to-day operations of the 391-room address on Logan Square in downtown Philadelphia. She is also a recipient of the Sage Hospitality Eagles Award, the highest honor you can receive at Sage Hospitality.

Philadelphia’s Art Scene

The Logan Hotel is home to 1800 pieces of art located throughout the hotel’s lobby level, meeting spaces, and guest rooms. At every turn, you can enjoy amazing paintings, statues, art installations, and more. JoAnn’s personal favorite is the Elite Silhouettes chandelier you can see as you look up from the lobby.

Unique Events At The Logan

The Logan offers an array of fun and creative activities for guests to enjoy, including Live Logan, an event programming initiative aimed at the local community with the goal of treating locals and guests to fun experiences. The Live Logan program covers a lot of things:

  • Mimosas and Massages for Mother’s Day
  • Underground Spa
  • Bring Your Own Makeup
  • Holiday Wreath Making
  • International Women’s Day Flower Making and Postcard Sending
  • Yoga With Puppies

The Logan Hotel also has an unbelievable outdoor courtyard for special events. During the pandemic, it became a “micro” wedding haven for couples who wish to get married but have had all their plans squashed by unexpected circumstances.

Art In Residence Program

The hotel also offers a special program for artists where they donate wall space to artists and organizations to showcase their work. This is an important program for them to build community connections and really highlight Philadelphia’s art scene.

About Chef Jose Garces

DE 303 | PhiladelphiaIron Chef, father, husband, James Beard Award-winner, entrepreneur, and food innovator, Chef Jose Garces is known as a leading culinary authority on Spanish and Latin-American food. From the Spanish tapas at Amada, his first restaurant, to the exciting flavors of Mexico City at Distrito, Chef Garces continually pushes the boundaries of culinary excellence While he maintains his successful career owning and operating full-service restaurants, Chef Garces is also looking toward the future, with an increased focus on bringing restaurant-quality experiences to the homes and businesses of culinary enthusiasts in new and interesting ways. From enhanced home delivery options and virtual online cooking demos, to live online cooking classes, Chef Garces is excited to connect with both fans of his work on television, as well as the home cook who’d like to experience “chef life” in their own kitchen.

As a child of immigrants and a leader in the diverse and inclusive hospitality industry, the well-being of his community in Philadelphia has always been dear to Chef Garces’ heart. To help provide ongoing and actionable assistance to the immigrant community, Chef Garces co-founded The Garces Foundation in 2011. The Garces Foundation provides services, including community health days, English language skills classes that target the restaurant industry, and most recently, an increased focus on procuring and providing food supplies to the food insecure.

About JoAnn Wrenn

DE 303 | PhiladelphiaJoAnn Wrenn is the General Manager of The Logan Hotel, where she oversees all day-to-day operations of the 391-room address on Logan Square in downtown Philadelphia, including departmental management, sales and marketing, recruitment, and ensuring an authentic hospitality experience for guests inspired by the heart and soul of the city.

Wrenn arrived at The Logan from JW Marriott Denver Cherry Creek, whereas General Manager for four years she cultivated a collaborative team and created a climate of creative thinking, innovation, and superior service. The hotel was the second in Denver to tap Wrenn’s talents: She also spent four years first as Area Director of Sales & Marketing, then as General Manager of The Curtis Denver – A Doubletree by Hilton Hotel.

Previously, Wrenn rose in management on the sales side at luxury and upscale hotel and resort properties, including as Director of Sales at The Paramount Hotel, an Ian Schrager property in New York City; Director of Sales & Marketing at Wyndham Bristol Hotel in Washington, DC; and Director of Sales at Wyndham Dublin Hotel in Ohio. Wrenn got her start in the industry as a Front Desk Associate at Wyndham San Antonio Hotel in San Antonio, Texas.

A native of Philadelphia, Wrenn has received several recognitions for her professional prowess over the years. During her turn as GM of JW Marriott Cherry Creek in 2016, Condé Nast Traveler ranked property #9 among Top Hotels in the American West. In 2020 Wrenn was awarded Sage Hospitality’s highest honor- the Eagle Award. Presented to the team member who exhibits outstanding overall leadership not just within their location, but across the entire portfolio. Her perseverance, resourcefulness, and grit are in no doubt contributing factors to The Logan’s continued inclusion on U.S. News & World Report’s Best Hotels in Philadelphia list as well as the property’s current nomination for Travel & Leisure’s 2021 World’s Best Awards.

Top 5 Beach Destinations With Alex Malebranche (Spotlight Episode)

Top 5 Beach Destinations With Alex Malebranche (Spotlight Episode)



DE 304 Alex | Beach Destinations

Looking for corporate incentive travel tips? In this episode, Todd Bludworth sits down with Alex Malebranche to discuss their favorite travel and beach destinations! Alex is the founder of PlaneAhead and has traveled in about 30 countries—and counting! His love for travel was also what inspired his company, PlaneAhead, where he helps his customers get the best airline prices for their trips. Tune in as he discusses how you can save on your next flight!

Watch the episode here

Top 5 Beach Destinations With Alex Malebranche (Spotlight Episode)

In this episode, host Todd Bludworth sits down with PlaneAhead Founder Alex Malebranche to discuss their favorite travel and beach destinations. Alex has travelled in over 30 countries and has been a frequent flyer since he was young. According to him, “The world is such a cool place, I need to go see different parts of the world.”

Favorite Travel Spots:

In the 30 countries that Alex has been to, he lists some of his favorite locations. The Maldives is the most amazing from a water perspective. The Maldives is hundreds of islands and you need to travel via seaplane. From an architectural perspective, Dubai is probably the most incredible thing you’ll see where you’ll think of buildings that aren’t supposed to look like that.

The Idea Behind PlaneAhead

The serendipitous occasion that sparked the idea for PlaneAhead was simple. Alex’s sister was getting married but because of COVID, it got pushed back. He persistently checked in with his local airline and when he found a sale, Alex received $700 back in credit. And he used that credit to bring his family, and then a newborn baby, for a vacation at the Hilton. Fast forward to him messaging more of the entourage for his sister’s wedding and them saving a total of $2,500 of credit. There was no reason why this kind of system shouldn’t exist so Alex made it so through PlaneAhead.

Benefits of PlaneAhead

Aside from the huge cost savings from using the platform, there are many more features and benefits to using PlaneAhead. Here are some of them:

  • Serves both corporate and individual customers
  • Runs on a membership model
  • Triggers your personal email for changes
  • There’s no one else like them

Top 5 Beach Destinations

Saving on one trip means you have more to spare for the next one! Here are Alex’s top five beach destinations for your next event destination travel!

  • Maldives
  • Australia
  • Barcelona
  • Anguilla
  • San Diego

About Alex Malebranche

DE 304 Alex | Beach DestinationsAlex Malebranche is the founder of PlaneAhead. He is a passionate traveler and has traveled to about 30 countries! He is a husband and father of 2 beautiful girls!
Alex grew up in Chicago, IL, and was raised by his Haitian immigrant single mother. As a first-generation immigrant, he was inspired by his mother and determined to make a difference. Alex is a graduate of Miami University, where he studied Accounting all while serving in the US Army. After his time studying, Alex worked for innovative companies and worked in a fast-paced work environment such as Amazon. He was the first employee on the delivery team at a WiFi-driven tech unicorn, Plume.

His passion for travel started when I studied abroad in Australia. As he visited other countries, he started to learn about different cultures and developed a sense of awareness, empathy, respect, and curiosity for people around the world.
Alex founded PlaneAhead in March 2021 during the pandemic. Driven to make a change in the travel industry, Alex is devoted to innovating the way we travel and creating opportunities to make traveling the world more accessible.

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6 Unique Reception Venues In New York City

6 Unique Reception Venues In New York City

DE 49 | Reception Venues

 

We are always looking for new and creative places, as we love to explore the world and discover its beauty. Are you looking for the perfect venue in one of the most beautiful cities in the world? New York is the place to go as it also has wonderful reception venues to host events and organize gatherings. Join your hosts Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth as they describe their favorite reception venues in the city. They share their experience in some of these amazing places and why they’re worth the visit. Have a glimpse and feel of these beautiful places in this spotlight episode of Destination Everywhere.

Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth are travel and hospitality entrepreneurs and owners of the global meetings organization, American Meetings, Inc. From sourcing hotels to corporate event management around the world, their team selects corporate event venues and meeting planners for a wide array of enterprise business clients, providing ideas for convention themes and strategies for running global meetings and events. Learn more at www.americanmeetings.com.

Watch the episode here:

6 Unique Reception Venues In New York City

In this episode of Destination Everywhere, we will explore the six unique reception venues in New York City. Who wouldn’t want to discover where these are?

One World Observatory

Discover a destination unlike any other. The first place on the list is One World Observatory. It’s a great choice for your meetings or events. What makes this place amazing? It’s the observatory on top of one World Trade Center. It’s a great place for reception because of its floor-to-ceiling windows and plenty of space for hundreds of people. The whole experience starts with an exceptional elevator ride. When it takes you to the top, you will witness an ever-changing scene of Manhattan. That experience will always be the one for the books! But, there’s more! When you get out of the elevator, you’re exposed to the city’s most astounding and breathtaking views. It’s truly wonderful, gorgeous, and the technology in that space is unbelievably great.

Central Park Zoo

The next reception venue we have is a cool and unique spot at the Central Park Zoo. You can host a reception alongside while seeing the sea lion exhibit and views of the skyline. Some of the best skyline views are from Central Park which you can do from May to November. Rent out a space and transform it into anything you like. You can even add uplighting furniture. You will certainly love the atmosphere with all of the animals. You would also love the penguins, tropical habitat, grizzly bears, snow leopards, pandas and the famous snow monkey show!

Gotham Hall In Midtown

Located in the building that once housed Greenwich Savings Bank, the iconic Gotham Hall is a great venue for a smaller group of people because it has an Oak Room. It has a lounge area for registration which is awesome for reception and also has a mezzanine for reception dinners.

Rockefeller Center

A luxury rooftop venue for private events is certainly one you shouldn’t miss out on knowing. It’s the Rockefeller Center’s 620 Loft and Garden. It’s a rooftop venue that offers up-close views of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, which is a spectacular view any time of the day, especially when it’s lit up right on the 5th Avenue. It’s perfect for smaller gatherings that want a great view. The ease of access is also a very good thing about this place.

TAO Downtown

Next, we have a restaurant in Midtown, which is the TAO Downtown. The restaurant has this warm, Asian feel to it. It is one of the most beautifully constructed restaurant in New York City so you don’t even have to decorate at all. It’s perfect for receptions and dinners with its Asian fusion cuisine. It has four private dining rooms, so it’s a great choice for that type of situation in Midtown. In fact, you’ll see it in many production shows and movies that take place in Manhattan. If you want to have a reception and then go to dinner, this is the most exquisite place to consider.

New York Public Library

The last space we’re going to talk about is the New York Public Library. It’s probably not your first choice for receptions or any offsite venues for meetings and events, but the New York Public Library is a fantastic location because of its beautiful historic building. The Stephen A. Schwarzman Building has seven event spaces, and it’s located right in Midtown. Its location is closer to all the hotels which makes it a wonderful place to set your events!

These are the six unique and wonderful destinations for meetings and events in New York City. Be sure to check them out if you are planning for an event in this fantastic place!

See more of Andy and Todd’s many escapade reviews at www.destination-everywhere.com.

A Guide To The Best Hotels In San Francisco

A Guide To The Best Hotels In San Francisco

DE 48 | Best Hotels In San Francisco

 

We dream of visiting wonderful places throughout our existence, and San Francisco is one of those cities in California that interests us. Aside from merely visiting to witness its beauty, many people travel there for business, meetings, and events. Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth give a guide to the best hotels in San Francisco. Discover Fairmont Hotel, Ritz Carlton, St. Regis, and the Palace Hotel. Tune in to this episode to know what makes these hotels the best places for meeting destinations! 

Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth are travel and hospitality entrepreneurs and owners of the global meetings organization, American Meetings, Inc. From sourcing hotels to corporate event management around the world, their team selects corporate event venues and meeting planners for a wide array of enterprise business clients, providing ideas for convention themes and strategies for running global meetings and events. Learn more at www.americanmeetings.com.

Watch the episode here:

A Guide To The Best Hotels In San Francisco

If you have events or meetings in a new city, the first thing you will have to do is a plan for the hotel you’ll be staying in. This episode is the ultimate guide to the most wonderful hotels to stay in San Francisco. Tune in as Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth describe each top hotel choices in detail.

  1. Fairmont Hotel

The Fairmont Hotel which offers beautiful views of the city and the bay. It is known for its collection of luxurious, one-of-a-kind suites, and as the site of historic firsts and global events.

Hotel Highlights:

Located at the bottom of the Fairmont Hotel, the world-famous Tonga Room is one of the fancier tiki bars within San Francisco that also has a restaurant within it that lets people sit down and eat. Anthony Bourdain called the Tonga Room the greatest place in the history of the world, which is a very big accolade. 

  1. Ritz-Carlton Hotel

Located near Union Square, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in San Francisco offers many attractions just outside their doors. Their central location is the perfect home base for arts, culture, and sightseeing.

Hotel Highlights:

Indulge in a private wine tasting at The JCB Tasting Lounge located inside the Ritz-Carlton San Francisco that offers tastings of rare and exclusive vintages daily.

  1. St. Regis San Francisco

St. Regis San Francisco is perfect for art enthusiasts. It is housed in the Williams Building, which is home to Museum of the African Diaspora.

Hotel Highlights:

The hotel is greatly known for its outstanding butler service. You could simply request anything you want and their staff is more than happy to serve you.

  1. Four Seasons Hotel

Completed in January 2001, the tower was the first skyscraper of the 21st century to be completed in the city. They offer 44,000 square feet of meeting space and event space across 24 different rooms. If you want to give your guests a great experience, the corner room on the 14th floor gives you the best view of the city.                                          

Hotel Highlights:

Guests get complimentary access to the Equinox, a gender-diverse health center. It has a basketball court and an indoor pool as well, so you can get your game on.

  1. The Palace Hotel

The Palace Hotel stands on one of the state’s oldest buildings, which opened in 1875 as San Francisco’s first premier luxury hotel. It’s filled with history as it’s welcomed such notable guests like Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Bill Clinton. History tours are very great to organize here. Aside from that, they offer 44,000 square feet of meeting space and event space across 24 different rooms, which is a beautiful venue for events.

Hotel Highlights:

A nice blend of historic and modern charm, the Palace Hotel showcases two famous restaurants, with a distinctive setting for any occasion. You can also take a leisurely dip in the heated, indoor pool and enjoy the sky-lit ceiling.

See more of Andy and Todd’s many escapade reviews at www.destination-everywhere.com.

Best Airport Hotels That Are Taking-Off

Best Airport Hotels That Are Taking-Off

DE 47 | Best Airport Hotels   For convenience and ease of access, nothing beats a hotel at an airport. We take a look at some of the very best airport hotels. Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth shine a spotlight on several airport hotels that they feel are must-visits. Andy and Todd discuss Atlanta, Chicago, Orlando, Denver, and Boston, home to some of the best airport hotels in the US and talk about what makes these places great. Tune in and learn more about the best hotels to stay at when you’re on the go.   Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth are travel and hospitality entrepreneurs and owners of the global meetings organization, American Meetings, Inc. From sourcing hotels to corporate event management around the world, their team selects corporate event venues and meeting planners for a wide array of enterprise business clients, providing ideas for convention themes and strategies for running global meetings and events. Learn more at www.americanmeetings.com.

Watch the episode here:

Best Airport Hotels That Are Taking-Off

Airport Hotels are just one of many kinds of accommodations a traveler can take advantage of after getting off their flight. In this episode, Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth shine a spotlight on several airport hotels that they feel are ready to hit the big time.  
  1. Atlanta Airport Marriott
Located on 14 scenic acres near Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Atlanta Airport Marriott is a large city oasis that can accommodate small and large groups. The hotel provides access to the airport with their 24-hour complimentary shuttle service. It’s not only great for a quick overnight if you get delayed or something, but it’s also convenient to the downtown area and only 10 minutes away from the Georgia World Congress Center.   Hotel Highlights: Add adventure to your stay by curating honey on-site. The hotel has their own hives where they harvest the honey throughout the year for use in their restaurants. You can also check out Tiny Doors ATL, an Atlanta-based art project, starting with the two private installations right on the property.  
  1. Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel
If you’re in Chicago for a layover or hosting a meeting, Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel is a great choice. With 53,000 square feet of chic meeting space, you can pretty much do anything you want there. They also have a great selection of restaurants, including McCormick & Schmick’s and Capital Grille, which makes a huge difference when you’re trying to grab a nice quick bite or have a business meeting.   Hotel Highlights: The hotel offers the best in modern dining experiences. They have McCormick & Schmick’s and Capital Grille, which makes a huge difference when you’re trying to grab a quick bite or have a business meeting.  
  1. Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport
Located inside the main terminal at MCO, this hotel boasts of soundproof newly renovated rooms that invite you to sleep soundly. It is also just an escalator ride from the airport security checkpoints, making it super convenient for regional or even national meetings.   Hotel Highlights: Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport’s central location inside MCO provides easy access to all the things you want to enjoy in the city, including theme parks, golf, shopping in Lake Nona, and other activities. It is also conveniently located near Nemours Children’s Hospital.  
  1. Westin Denver International Airport
Located 35 minutes from downtown Denver, the Westin provides a convenient destination for global travelers with world-class amenities, including a 37,500- square feet of meeting and conference space.   Hotel Highlights: Guests of the Westin are just a short elevator ride down to the convenient Transit Center Bag Drop. You can also enjoy their huge fitness facility and heated indoor pool.  
  1. Grand Hyatt San Francisco
If you’re looking for a place to get in and out quickly on the west coast, this hotel is a great choice. It recently opened in 2019, so it’s technically brand new. You can enjoy stunning views of the Bay and airport from the floor-to-ceiling windows of their luxurious rooms. Culinary options include fine dining at Quail & Crane, the Twin Crafts Bar, and the Twin Crafts Market which is open 24 hours and provides in-room dining.   Hotel Highlights: The hotel offers soundproof guest rooms, specially curated art collection, a 1,500-square-foot fitness center, yoga and massage treatment room, and lush native landscaping and green areas.  
  1. Westin Detroit Metropolitan Airport
Located within the McNamara terminal of DTW Airport, The Westin Detroit Metropolitan Airport provides a seamless travel experience. You can bypass the long wait using the direct access from their lobby to a private airport security line. The recently renovated hotel includes 28,000 square feet of event space and a glass-enclosed sky deck and lounge.   Hotel Highlights: Check out the WestinWORKOUT® fitness center and work up a sweat with free weights, an indoor pool, and Peloton bikes, or enjoy fresh American fare paired with a glass of wine or craft beer at Reflections.  
  1. Hilton Boston Logan Airport Hotel
Experience Boston at the Hilton Boston Logan Airport Hotel. Check out Gastropub where you can get all the traditional stuff like clam chowder and fish-and-chips, and stay active with their fitness studio and an indoor swimming pool. They also offer guests 19,000 square feet of meeting space.   Hotel Highlights: The hotel is set in a Boston shopping area 4 km from the city center, a short drive from the Boston Children’s Museum, and located right next to the 9/11 Memorial.   See more of Andy and Todd’s many escapade reviews at www.destination-everywhere.com.