Kimpton Brice Hotel

Project Showcase – The Brice Hotel

Written by Ashley Almodovar
July 18th, 2014

Project: The Brice Hotel – Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group


Opened:   May 2014


About Company: Based in San Francisco, the Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group operates more than 60 luxury hotels and restaurants in about 27 cities nationwide. In 2012, Kimpton bought The Mulberry Inn in Georgia and closed it for renovations in August 2013.


In May, The Brice Hotel opened its doors with a new restaurant, 145 contemporary rooms and upgraded facade. With nearly 6,000 square feet of meeting and event space, the hotel is ideal for work conferences, holiday celebrations and weddings. Guests enjoy a warm rustic atmosphere while indulging in age-old Italian cooking techniques at the truly unique Pacci Italian Kitchen and Bar Restaurant. The Brice Hotel is Kimpton Hotel Group’s first Savannah property.


Length of project:  9 Months


RWS Contribution: Our Sales Consultant assisted Kimpton Corp. Management with their product development needs from the selection process to ordering to delivery. By staying in tune with current trends and new product launches, R.W. Smith found unique and cutting-edge products that ideally fit Kimpton’s concepts. From start to finish, our Sales Consultant provided a variety of products including tabletop for the entire property, kitchen smallwares, light equipment, banquet supplies, bar supplies and specialty custom pieces.


Partnership: One word that describes the relationship between Kimpton and R.W. Smith is strong. Our Sales Consultant built a long-lasting relationship not only with the corporate mix of individuals, but also the end-user at the hotel level that he worked with on a daily basis. Jason, R.W. Smith’s seasoned Sales Consultant, thoroughly enjoyed each and every Kimpton employee throughout the project and continues to build a very trusting and professional partnership.


Jason worked thoughtfully on his presentation, combing through dozens of documents that were sent his way for inspiration. He drew together many accurate documents (and countless revisions) to get the overall project budget where it needed to be. He was responsive and thorough at all hours of the day. When it came time to put rubber to the road, Jason was on the ground in hot, sticky weather with a pending monsoon overhead, receiving dozens of palettes of equipment, directing traffic and really expediting the process.


It’s great to work with someone that can go from a board room with third party ownership to a desktop detailing accurate spreadsheets and accountability to getting dirty in the field.”


Matthew Meidinger
Director of Restaurant Openings, Transitions & Concept Development
Kimpton Hotel & Restaurant Group


Rancho Capistrano Winery Opens in San Juan Capistrano

Written by Ashley Almodovar
June 30th, 2014

Calling all Southern California Wine Lovers!  Come and indulge in a glass of wine at the new Rancho Capistrano Winery in San Juan Capistrano. This family-owned winery offers “handcrafted wines from grapes gathered from around the world” and, of course, from here in California. Each wine is made locally, and the winery features 50 plus different wines to fit all types of wine lovers. Family and friends can enjoy delicious small plates with their wine while relaxing on the expansive garden patio or in the cozy lounge.


Looking to join a wine club? Rancho Capistrano Winery has a remarkable wine club that offers free tastings for members and the best part is they can choose when to stop by. There are several club membership levels with many benefits including two bottles of wine each month, extra discounts and invitations to special gatherings and events. If you’re looking for something different, why not create your own wine? Whether for an event or just to relax, Rancho Capistrano’s winemaker will assist you in creating your own extraordinary wine. It is fun, easy and a great way to bring out your inner winemaker.


Drop by Rancho Capistrano Winery today and experience incredible handcrafted wines from around the world.

Poppy Hills Golf Course in Pebble Beach, California

Poppy Hills Shows Off New Look in Pebble Beach

Written by Ashley Almodovar
June 20th, 2014

Deep within the Del Monte forest of Pebble Beach, CA lays a newly renovated and gorgeous golf course. Poppy Hills Golf Course, owned and operated by the Northern California Golf Association, underwent an extensive 13-month renovation to help improve water conservation and management throughout the course. Every hole has been renewed from sand capping to natural course elevation to wider fairways creating a fast, firm and fun atmosphere for members. Poppy Hills is already scheduled to co-host The First Tee Open in September and will continue to host the event until 2016 or beyond.


Along with improvements to the golf course, other areas of the facility have been renovated. One in particular is the dining room. With the addition of Chef Johnny De Vivo, Porter’s is now a farm-to-table restaurant using local and organic ingredients throughout the menu. For those who love the outdoors, members can enjoy their meals on a rebuilt deck with heated outdoor seating, protected high glass railing and stunning views of the course. The practice facility includes seven greens, four bunkers and an acre teeing ground for quality practice all year long.


For more details, please visit

Beautiful Plating and Presentation Tips

Elevate Your Plate Presentations

Written by Whitney Humphrey
June 20th, 2014

Entice your guests to delight in their meal through creative and visually appealing presentations. There are numerous creative elements to consider when conceptualizing how to present your dishes. Below are suggestions to effectively execute your plate designs.


Plan Ahead- Before you begin constructing a dish, visualize what you’re striving to achieve. Sketching your ideas is an efficient way to advance this process. Browse plate and platter styles online for inspiration as well.


Stay Focused- Key ingredients in a dish are the main emphasis, and therefore need the spotlight. Overcrowding a plate with garnishes and sauces creates confusion and distracts from your overall vision.


Balance the Dish- Consider the portion sizes of the dishes you are creating to bring balance. A plate that is petite will feel overcrowded, while an oversized plate can lend to the meal feeling sparse. Feature wide-rimmed plates to establish a balance of visual space.


Visual Interest- When used as accentuating elements, garnishes and sauces elevate a plate’s overall appearance. Always keep your garnishes edible and incorporate them as a cohesive part of the dish. 


Just a Pop of Color- Whether the dish is a soup or an expertly sliced portion of meat; consider adding a touch of a contrasting color on top for added appeal. For example, try blanching a colorful ingredient from the dish to build the visual focal point of your plate.


Consider reinventing the look of your most popular dishes to maintain a level of excitement and anticipation with your guests.

Doubletree Hilton Waterstone Resort & Marina Hotel Boca Raton Florida

New Waterstone Resort & Marina Opens in Boca

Written by Ashley Almodovar
June 16th, 2014

A block from the beautiful Boca Raton beach on East Camino Real in Florida lays the newly anticipated hotel, Waterstone Resort & Marina. Formerly known as the Boca Bridge Hotel, this stunning resort offers panoramic waterfront views, exquisite dining and 139 spacious rooms, along with an impressively large private balcony. When checking into the hotel, guests are memorized by the gorgeous water and stone themed atmosphere that’s both soothing and comforting.


What makes Waterstone Resort an ideal place to stay? It’s right on the water! Locals have access to the city’s only waterfront restaurant, Boca Landing, where they can indulge in upscale seafood, prepared by award-winning Chef Steven Zobel, in an intimate setting. For a more casual meal, Waterstone Bar & Grill is the place to go for great poolside dining with contemporary fresh cuisines and Latin flavors.


Join in some of Waterstone Resort’s activities including standup paddle boarding, reef snorkeling, ocean kayaks or surfing. The opportunities are endless so why not try it all.


Next time you’re in the Boca Raton area, stop by and soak in the sun at this beautiful resort.


Juniper & Ivy Brings “Left Coast Edge” to San Diego

Written by Ashley Almodovar
June 9th, 2014

As one of the most anticipated restaurant openings in 2014, this new west coast restaurant is heightening the energy in beautiful Little Italy of San Diego. Helmed by Executive Chef and Top Chef All-Star Winner Richard Blais, Juniper & Ivy, a partnership with Juniper Hospitality and Concentrics Restaurants, offers an attractive menu of ever-changing comfort plates with a twist of Chef Blais’ creativity. Indulge in an assortment of mouthwatering American dishes with a left coast edge from snacks such as BBQ Abalone, Chocolate Clams to entrees featuring local Halibut and Berkshire New York Pork. Each plate is served on rustic elements of stone, wood and steel to create a unique and modern presentation that guests are sure to enjoy.


Are you a sweets lover?  Then the Yodel dessert is for you. It’s a devil’s cake with white chocolate, hazelnut brittle and hot chocolate and is oh so delicious!


Make it a date night and relish in the culinary creations that Chef Richard Blais and Juniper & Ivy have to offer.

06-09-14 Blog - Benefits from Eco-Friendly Containers

Benefit from Eco-Friendly Take-Out Containers – Here’s How

Written by Lauren Zeleniak
June 9th, 2014

There are various options for a business to improve their carbon footprint and reduce waste by using disposable or recyclable take-out containers. Adding an eco-friendly touch to your take-out containers has never been easier and will help lower everyday costs.         


Many popular to-go container options are made of styrofoam. Not only does styrofoam consist of many harmful chemicals, which are typically released when heated in a microwave, it also fails to bio-degrade. A better choice are containers composed of recyclable materials such as paper, wood and polypropylene; a plastic type material.


If you prefer a disposable option, PackNWood offers a wide variety of recyclable take-out containers in all shapes, sizes and varieties. Whether you need boxes that transport food, disposable dinnerware or even compostable straws, PackNWood has a product to fit your needs.


An alternative to disposable take-out containers can be found with G.E.T Enterprises and their Eco-Takeouts ™ product line. The molded polypropylene is known for its high durability, is commercial dishwasher safe, and reusable. You can choose from many sizes including a half size, two or three compartments for your eco-takeout container, and even  soup and stir-fry containers.


Eco- Friendly takeout containers are not only better for the environment, they are beneficial for business. By offering a product customers can return or reuse, your establishment will begin to see a reduction in overall take-out costs. With these types of products, a restaurant can also start an incentive program for customers who bring their own take-out containers with them for leftovers.


Be ahead of the game and take an innovative approach with your take-out containers while benefiting customers and our beautiful Earth!

Customer Profile – Summit House

Written by Ashley Almodovar
June 9th, 2014


On a hilltop filled with breathtaking views of Orange County sits the gorgeous Summit House. Located in Fullerton, CA, this pleasant restaurant welcomes guests with a warm and comforting home away from home atmosphere. Visitors experience and adore the charm of a classic English Inn while indulging in an array of delightful menu creations by Chef Timothy Plumb. Not only is Summit House known for its great service and sweet appeal, but also hosts numerous memorable events from weddings to family gatherings to business functions. With incredible views and intimate surroundings, Summit House is an ideal place for every special occasion.


To get a deeper look into Summit House, we had the privilege of speaking with Co-Owner and General Manager, Mark Elliott.


R.W. Smith: Please tell readers the inspiration for you and Gary Parkinson to open the Summit House Restaurant.


Mark Elliott: In 1989, we climbed to the top of the grass covered hill that previously had only been inhabited by coyotes and rabbits and was untouched by suburban developers.  The view was magnificent and we knew that we wanted to make this restaurant a special event gathering place for people from all over Southern California.  That vision became a reality in September 1991 when we opened the Summit House Restaurant, which was designed as a replica of a classic English Inn.


RWS: What has been your greatest professional success and biggest challenge?


ME: It gives me great pleasure to know that we have created a place where our guests have continued to come and share their special occasions. Families and friends have made Summit House their home away from home which gives me great satisfaction. It continues on today where families pass down the traditions of coming together to share those special moments at the Summit House.


The challenge is to always keep it fresh and new while not giving up our solid core foundations.  We have been very fortunate to have a great staff, which has become our own Summit House family making it easier to accomplish.


RWS: From Prime Ribs of Beef to Pork Chops, Summit House Restaurant has a variety of delicious and mouthwatering courses featured on the dinner menu. What specialty dishes would you recommend to guests who are dining at the restaurant for the first time?


ME: We serve Prime Rib to about 35% of our clientele. That has always been our specialty here at the Summit House, so I would definitely start you there.  Our Macadamia nut crusted Halibut is out of this world though, as are our Prime Steaks.


RWS: Newly engaged couples planning their wedding have several venues to choose from especially around Orange County and the Los Angeles area. What qualities does the Summit House have that make it a unique wedding location?


ME: Let’s start with the view which is spectacular; throw in excellent service from a stellar banquet staff, fantastic food and hundreds of great testimonials from past brides.


RWS: Congratulations on receiving the Wedding Wire 2013 Bride’s Choice Award and Open Table’s 2014 Diners’ Choice! Can you describe how you feel about the awards and the recognition?


ME: We have been very fortunate to be recognized by many as a place to go for special occasions.  The feeling we get about the awards could be best described as thankful not just for me, but for our entire staff.  We all take pride in what we do.


RWS: Throughout your career, what was the greatest advice that you’ve ever received?


ME: That is a hard question to answer as I have been in this business for 35 years, but I suppose one of the best pieces of advice I received was not to try and do it all by yourself.  Get others involved to take on tasks with you.

Think Hotel Group Brings New to Miami

Written by Ashley Almodovar
May 22nd, 2014

Charles Street Becomes Orange Blossom


Charles Street may be gone, but in comes a new “market-to-table” eatery that’s sure to have visitor’s taste buds dancing. Orange Blossom, conceptualized by nightlife guru Tatanka Guerrero, “marries traditional Old Florida influences with the melting pot of Miami’s current day International nuances.” Ingredients are fresh and locally sourced from South Florida farmers and fish vendors, creating delightful signature dishes. Chef Nelson Maldonado’s menu brings a mix of meats and seafood plates that are carefully crafted and detailed to perfection.


Orange Blossom’s warm and inviting atmosphere makes this place a neighborhood gathering spot for visitors and locals to enjoy.  It’s time to grab your friends, go to Orange Blossom and enjoy some superb New American cuisines with highlighted specialty crafted cocktails.


Orange Blossom Restaurant South Beach Miami


The New South Beach Hotel Opens in Miami


Around the corner from Orange Blossom comes a newly renovated hotel to Miami. South Beach, known as one of the most glamorous and exciting resort towns, debuts a luxurious boutique hotel in the vibrant Collins Park neighborhood. Just steps away from the beach, Think Hotel Group’s South Beach Hotel brings its original Art Deco grandeur back with a more sophisticated and chic style. Guests can relax in one of South Beach Hotel’s spacious guest rooms, take a dip in the pool, walk to the beach or enjoy a day with family and friends. If you’re more of the adventurous type, explore the streets of Ocean Drive and Washington Avenue to get a taste of the electric nightlife and incredible authentic restaurants that surround the hotel.  It’s no wonder South Beach is one the most ideal places to visit!


Next time you are planning a trip to Miami, come and experience this exceptional hotel in a neighborhood that has everything you need within walking distance.

 South Beach Hotel Miami


05-15-14 Customer Profile - Lippi Restaurant

Customer Profile – Lippi Restaurant

Written by Ashley Almodovar
May 15th, 2014

In September, the long-anticipated restaurant, Lippi, opened its doors to the public in beautiful Miami. Inspired by the New American dining experience, Lippi’s menu offers an array of carefully crafted dishes using organic and high quality ingredients. From grilled lobster tail to lentil salad, each plate is unique in presentation and delicious with every bite. Besides the gorgeous dining setting, Lippi has a stunning stylish bar where guests can grab a specialty cocktail or enjoy old and new world wines. The restaurant has a wine program that includes a comprehensive list of 420 wines from all over the world. They even have one of the most complete Single Malt listings in South Florida, ranging from rare to vintage collections.


We had the privilege of interviewing Chef Philippe Ruiz to learn more about his achievements and inspirations, Lippi and what advice he would give to aspiring chefs.


R.W. Smith: Please tell us about your journey to becoming an executive chef.


Philippe Ruiz: I started as a line cook and grew from there. After years of experience, hard work and dedication, I became an executive chef. I’ve figured out that these are the ingredients to achieving your goals and realizing your dreams.



RWS: Lippi Restaurant offers an array of elegant Mediterranean and New American appetizers and entrees. Among them, what are the most popular dishes?


PR: In the last few months, the Marinated Roe Fish (crudos) has become very popular among customers. However, the Cured Hamachi, the Octopus Carpaccio, and the Grilled Duck Breast on natural charcoal have always been our guest favorites.



RWS: Lippi’s wine program includes a list of 420 wines from old and new world regions. Please share with readers insights to selecting the best wine for each of your culinary creations.


PR: There are so many choices that I can’t provide all the wine pairings, but for our popular Grilled Duck Breast, I would recommend Pinot Noir Evesham Wood “Cuvee J” 2010. As for our Roe Fish, try the Saumur-Champigny Clos Rougeard “Les Poyeux” 2009.



RWS: In 2006, you received the title of Chevalier of the Order of Agricultural Merit by the government of France. What has this award meant to you?


PR: This award made me feel amazing! It’s me being recognized for spreading the French culinary culture to the rest of the world. It isn’t an award given out to just anyone so I felt honored to have received it.



RWS: Over the course of your career, what foods or dishes have inspired you the most?


PR: Being a fisherman I have always enjoyed working and cooking with seafood.



RWS: What advice would you give to aspiring chefs looking to creatively set themselves apart from the competition?


PR: Practice your skills to make sure you know the basics, read books, look at food reviews and try to gather as many ideas as you like to build your own persona in the kitchen. Remember to think about taste and combinations of different products to make sure they taste well together. Try not to overdo it though!



R.W. Smith & Co would also like to say congratulations to Lippi for making the cover and a spread in the spring edition of Miami’s Dining Out Magazine!