So I’m watching a few minutes of Risky Business, one of my fave high school flicks, the other day and saw a once-upon-a-cooler Cruise don his Ray-Bans and once again say “Sometimes you just gotta say what the……” well, you know . Some of my work colleagues and I were feelin’ a bit stressed and wretchedly busy and decided to say just that and eke out a night for a makeshift holiday outing and head to points south for some downtown flavor.
We met at the Hotel Philips, that historic hotspot where my old buddy John was now a manager. It was so good to see John once again….I still treasure those bygone days when we worked together and I assisted him with some very popular Sunday night wine tastings. He is definitely in the center of it all now and yet remains as endearingly laid-back as ever. We caught up over a Tank 7 at 21 Baltimore, the clubby bar area as the evening’s jazz musicians were setting up. I was thrilled to not only find out John was engaged but he proposed on the hotel roof where the view of the downtown skyline is breathtaking. My current hotel cohorts met up with me and we continued on with cocktails and appetizers. I tried out a refreshing lemongrass mojito and they paired quite nicely with the killer grub we ordered. The “12B” spinach-artichoke dip was certainly tasty, but the true kudos goes to both the Handmade Truffled Tater Tots and the Calamari. Both made me want to inelegantly lap from the plates….the Boulevard mustard sauce with the tots and the Beurre Blanc (butter sauce), tomato relish and capers with the calamari were equally divine accompaniments. . We had meant to tour the Philips before we left, but alas, ran out of time, but still got to take in that gorgeous 1931 Art Deco lobby. Thanks to our old buddy John for a terrific evening.
We strolled on through the chilly, sparkling downtown streets to the Power and Light district where we settled in at the Kill Devil Club, the latest venture by restaurateur and cocktail impresario Ryan Maybee. It’s a sexy little joint with cozy banquettes; all deep reds and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the district. The cocktail servers rock their flapper wear and the barkeeps sport a jaunty vintage look. Gotta love a menu that's toplined by a pic of Hunter S. Thompson in his young Rum Diary days. The libations were suitably impressive: our table sipped on the Man’s Ruin (an eye-opening blend of Old New Orleans Cajun Spiced Rum, Old Overholt rye whiskey, Punt E Mes…an Italian vermouth..and Burlesque bitters ), the Tailwind (10 Cane rum, green chartreuse, lychee and lime) and the Pendergast (Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Dolin Rouge, Benedictine and bitters). Exhausting to describe; sublime to sip. Our nibbles were quite jelly themselves…the Artisanal Cheese Board with some killer artichoke truffle puree and some ridiculously yummy Cuban sliders featuring braised pork belly, Serrano ham, grain mustard, Swiss cheese and the chef’s housemade, marvelous spicy pickles. We reveled in the entertainment, particularly piano wizard and his soulful take on the Thong Song.
My colleagues and I achieved some well-deserved relaxation and agreed we wanted to make this a more regular thing…in fact, the Hotel Philips and the Kill Devil Club were so enjoyable, we just might make them a regular part of that thing as well.