The first Andaz hotel opened on London Liverpool Street in the 2000s, in a building built in 1884. The impetus: host guests with a kind of authenticity that can’t be fabricated. Now, the Andaz brand boasts 17 locations across the globe. Each property offers guests immersive experiences through exceptional dining, locally inspired interiors and art installations, and unparalleled hospitality. Andaz hotels and resorts envelope you in the senses of the eclectic culture from each neighborhood the moment you arrive. One of the best ways to arrive a tourist and depart a local? Eat the food. Chefs and mixologists eager to excite the palates and minds of guests in unexpected ways have put modern, inventive spins on classic dishes. From elevated grits in Savannah to a pepper reimagined in Mexico, here are four culinary specialties that reflect the flavor of each city. No doubt you’ll leave more inspired than when you arrived.
SAVOR A SOUTHERN STAPLE IN SAVANNAH
Chef Chris Cummer grew up in Louisiana and Texas, and was introduced to grits early in life. However, his discovery of the shrimp-and-grits combo, a quintessential southern staple, didn’t happen until he began his career at a restaurant in southern Louisiana. The key to making them great? Source locally. Now, at the helm of Andaz Savannah’s 22 Square restaurant, he uses Georgia-grown corn that is dried and stone milled, with fresh, sweet Georgia shrimp from local shrimp boat “Papa T.” But chef Cummer credits his current variation of the dish to the many stops along his culinary career. From Louisiana to Texas to New Jersey and NYC, and now in Georgia, each stop is represented in the dish, from the seasoning of the shrimp to the techniques and ingredients used. To elevate the flavor profile, and include an ingredient not commonly paired with the dish, he uses a homemade truffle butter. Because what’s more Southern than more butter?
TASTE THE TWIST ON A CLASSIC IN MAUI
If you’ve ever been anywhere in Hawaii, you’ll know of the Mai Tai. This fruity cocktail is claimed to have originated in 1944 at Trader Vic’s and is a Polynesian treat widely enjoyed on the islands. The bartender team at Andaz Maui at Wailea Resort takes this to heart. In true Andaz fashion, they’ve put a twist on the traditional libation with aged Martinique and Jamaican rums, fresh lime, toasted almond orgeat, and orange curacao. (The original Mai Tai showcases the rums and citrus with a subtle hint of toasted almond.) At this Andaz resort, the Modern Mai Tai features fresh local Maui pineapple and a dark Jamaican rum float. Depending on your style–– classic or newly curated––you may have a favorite. Or perhaps you’ll try both as you sit back, relax, and soak up the view of pools and palm trees at Bumbye Beach Bar.
TURN UP THE HEAT IN RIVIERA MAYA
At Andaz Mayakoba Resort Riviera Maya, the newest Andaz resort, chef Ernesto Torres created his signature dish, the Poblano Pepper, to honor his grandmother’s culinary traditions from the state of Veracruz. Growing up, he recalls his grandmother preparing the delicious dish for special events. Typically, the pepper is stuffed with meat. But chef Torres grew up along the Caribbean Sea and wanted to incorporate this element of his story into the dish. This noteworthy menu item at Casa Amate features shrimp and includes local flavors of the region such as peppers, chili, olives, goat cheese, and capers. In lieu of pomegranate, he garnishes it with choconostle, a native ingredient which comes from cactus (nopal) and is commonly used to prepare salsas and moles. If these flavors are new to you, then welcome––you’re experiencing the local culture at its finest.
GET CREATIVE IN AMSTERDAM
At Bluespoon Restaurant & Bar in Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht, the menu showcases the light, colorful––and in true Dutch form, humorous and highly creative––work of chef Sander Bierenbroodspot. Take Sander’s Pigeon, for example. This signature dish is made of beetroot, petit legumes, cabbage, crispy leg, and mushroom, and was inspired by chef Sander’s bike ride to work one day, in which he had an encounter with one of Amsterdam’s notorious pigeons. There’s a Video Art Dessert inspired by a video art installation: Cristina Lucas’ “Abstraction Licking”, a Dutch twist on Mondrian, which calls upon the party lifestyle of Amsterdam. To get the full taste and scent experience, it is meant to be eaten in a certain order, and guests are encouraged to eat with their hands. Finally, Martin’s Blossom in the Snow is a cocktail inspired by the passing of winter to spring, therefore it has the look and comfort of winter, but it’s actually a super-light cocktail buzzing with citrus and floral tones. Consider this a meal that exceeds all expectations.
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