Category Archives: Food
The 2017 IAGTO Sustainability Award
The Executive Vice President and Chief Administrations Officer, David L. Stivers talks with Elaine Masters about the award and the long-term sustainability efforts at the Pebble Beach Golf Resort.
At the upcoming AT&T Pro-AM Tournament, thousands of pounds of recyclable materials will stay out of landfills. Pebble Beach Golf Resort is working with partners to make recycling a comfortable part of the event. It’s no simple task with tens of thousands of visitors arriving for the event.
Dirty Harry played here
Can anyone visit Pebble Beach Golf Resort?
Fine seafood in Sydney
Guest contributor: Marie Nieves
Nothing says elegance and style like oysters and champagne. These are the essential ingredients of any glamorous and extravagant occasion and are bound to bring your experience to a more sophisticated level. Therefore, if you’re looking for fine seafood in Sydney and you want to explore it in style, visit some of the best restaurants to savor the rich flavor of oysters and champagne. After all, who can resist the lure of living in luxury for even a little while?
Not only will Bellevue lure you in with its delicious oysters, but it will also keep you inside as long as you can eat with its special offers. The former Bellevue Hotel was restored and transformed into an elegant restaurant where you can live the high life while spending no more than a dollar per oyster in November. On weekdays, you can save money on large dishes from noon until 6 pm. There’s more – keep in mind the happy hour from 5 pm to 7 pm on weekdays, and time your visit to Bellevue accordingly. Who says that seafood in Sydney has to cost you a fortune?
Sydney Cove Oyster Bar
Have you ever started a day with champagne? If not, Sydney Cove Oyster Bar is the perfect place to try it for the first time. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to have the champagne breakfast in a relaxed atmosphere while enjoying the most spectacular view of the Sydney Harbour. Of course, you should pair up your champagne with delicious, fresh oysters served with various dipping sauces and watermelon. Start by visiting the Sydney Cove Oyster Bar and be in high spirits for the rest of the day.
The Morrison Bar and Oyster Room
As a new star among Sydney restaurants, the Morrison Bar and Oyster Room has big shoes to fill, but that doesn’t appear to be a problem. With its stylish ambiance, an extensive oyster library and finest champagne, this bar is swiping its guests off their feet leaving them wanting for more. If you’re lucky enough, grab a seat at the center bar and begin your tastings. The Morrison Bar and Oyster Room offer nearly 30 different types of oysters, so make sure to get there early, because it might take you a while to try them all.
The David Jones Oyster Bar
The best way to round up your day of shopping is by relaxing in style at the David Jones Oyster Bar. While waiting for your meal over a glass of champagne in a simple, yet elegant atmosphere, you can watch the chef prepare your fresh oysters. Once you’ve tried Sydney rock oysters, you’ll quickly realize why they are among the world’s best. If you want to try something different, Tetsuya’s dressing makes it a perfect choice. Other options include Mornay and Kilpatrick oysters, which might be a better choice if you like a more regular version.
Kensington Street Social
After visiting many attractions in the Chippendale area, you should also take some time to have a taste of its superb food. Kensington Street Social is just one of the Chippendale restaurants that will charm you in no time. With its elegantly presented oysters and champagne, be prepared for a truly sophisticated experience. The menu features many delicious options, including native rock oysters served with cucumber, chamomile and gin pickle that you can either have as a snack or share with two or more people when dining with company. Of course, the experience wouldn’t be complete without a glass of a bubbly. Fortunately, Kensington Street Social offers a range of the best French champagnes.
While visiting Sydney, don’t miss the opportunity to explore its luxurious side. With their most delicious oysters and finest champagne, seafood in Sydney is definitely the crème de la crème.
About the author
Marie Nieves is a lifestyle blogger who loves unusual trips, gadgets and creative ideas. On her travels, she likes to read poetry, prose and surfing the Internet. Her favorite writer is Tracy Chevalier and she always carries one of her books in her bag. An avid lover of photography, Marie loves to talk about her experiences. You can find Marie on Facebook or follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.
Thank you, Marie, for introducing us to these luxurious options for seafood in Sydney.
Salud! Glasses and conversation clicked. Three of us were deep into happy hour at Baja Betty’s in San Diego but the talk was all about our travels on the other side of the border. I’m fortunate to live close to Mexico and wander there as often as I can. Not one to skip an opportunity to dine deliciously and commiserate with fellow foodies, the year ended with a spontaneous escape to join a party full of Baja wine and food.
Our van from San Diego rumbled down a dirt road and into the parking lot of Dona Esthela’s Cocina in the midst of the Valle Guadalupe. We tumbled out after the two-hour ride, stretching as we wandered to the backyard, past the small group of men tending to outdoor grills and paused at the field fence where a small cadre of pigs, cows, and geese wandered.
Dona Esthela’s is always morphing (Read about her accomplishments in this earlier post.) On this morning several workers were demolishing the old latrines. The new ones, shiny with their fresh tile, were open across the yard just steps from the dining patio. As she has many times over the past decade, it appears that Dona Esthela’s home restaurant is expanding again. It was Monday and the restaurant was closed to the public while a celebration of Baja wine and food was in progress.
Well into the afternoon we were feted with platters of Dona Esthela’s famous machaca, grilled pork, spiced chicken and endless bowls of gravy-like pinto beans to slather over toasty-warm tortillas. Most of us started drinking well before noon. It would’ve been impolite not to! Wine bottles were cradled like favorite sons as vineyard owners appeared in the doorway and were ushered in with hugs and back slaps. Throughout the day they came and departed, their bottles uncorked and prized vintages savored. Soon a chorus line of empties stood near the door.
Largesse brought me there. Fernando Gaxiola, the founder of Baja Wine and Food, is a master at curating experiences. This time he ushered a small group across the border but not before picking up four ‘special guests’ – pinatas – from a house outside of Tijuana’s Zona Rio.
After our meal, we stepped into the covered patio to swing and cheer as the pinatas were demolished. Surprisingly enough my American compatriots swung hardest. There was no rancor from our hosts about the pinata model. In fact, one of the vintners said,”Kicking Mexicans out of the Napa Valley? Fine, come to the Valle. We have jobs here.”
Sunset at Cuatro Cuatros
The day wore on in sweet companionship then we piled into the van to ride back to San Diego, but not without another treat engineered by Fernando and company. On a hillside above the wide Pacific, through a gated arch we rode into the Cuatro Cuatros property, less than ten miles north of Ensenada. Sunset was racing to its conclusion and soon gilded everyone at the platform bar.
A few ‘very special bottles’ emerged alongside shots of Mescal. The views from the bar swept south to Ensenada and far north. Not far from where I stood, rows of swanky tents waited for guests to tuck in for the night. I look forward to resting there one day and waking to the sunrise glimmering on the waves below. This time, however, it was reward enough to have my Sentri pass help me cross the border swiftly. I was home in time to share tales of my Baja wine and food adventure with my family before bedtime.
Where to go on a Baja wine and food excursion:
- Cocina de Dona Esthela, award-winning chef in the Valle Guadalupe
- Join Baja Wine and Food Tours and events with Fernando Gaxiola and team.
- Cuatro Cuatros – A premier glamping experience above the sea near the Valle.
Wineries to visit: (There’s dozens more!)
- Pick up a Valle Wine Map at any establishment on the way to the Valle
- Monte Xanic – Bodega Vinicola
- Lomita – Hacienda & Viticulture
- Cava Maciel – Vineyards and Restaurants
- Villa Montefiori – Italian viticulture in the Valle
Thank you to Fernando Gaxiola and his team for making the trip possible. As always all opinions are my own.
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A sip of a ginger-infused cocktail, a mouthful of deeply spiced Machaca whose flavors swell with each bite, a glance spurred by the scent of clove cigarettes – all smells, sounds, and tastes. Often that’s all we need to flashback to a place and time. Tasty food adventures are like that.
My life is gratefully marked with delicious and audacious bites and sips, but this year has been especially full. Most often eating well is more memorable because of the ambiance and the company – it’s an alchemy of sorts. Taste also becomes the marker of a location on an emotional level. A flood of sensations and memories may flash to mind from months ago. The following foods do that for me. I hope you enjoy the feast too.
Tasty food adventures in Switzerland
I took off for Switzerland in early spring after scoring a ridiculously low airfare through a Cyber Monday airline sale. The flight went from LAX to London and then onto Geneva. Over ten days I wandered alone, mostly via Swiss Rail Pass, and always looking to eat the local specialties.
One of the first stops was in Interlaken. I arrived as a light snow was falling and sloshed to my hotel. As the day darkened, the weather lifted and I ventured into the village ending up in a bright Swatch store full of colorful displays and a friendly staff. The manager recommended the Cafe Des Alpes for dinner as it was on my walk back to the hotel and reasonably priced. What made the meal spectacular was a rich combination of luxuries. My ‘Alpen Hut’ plate was a small but overflowing skillet with ‘jugged’ deer, spaetzle, the most delicious spiced cabbage, mushrooms and hazelnuts all topped with a petite, stewed pear. As I finished and the empty plate was whisked away, the waiter set a bottle of Pear Schnapps on my table with a shot glass and left. It didn’t take me long to indulge in an aperitif or two. Luckily the hotel was a short walk away!
I wouldn’t have thought that a memorable food adventure could be had by train but that’s what I encountered on the famous Glacier Express. I sat at a table in the first class car when dinner was served. The meal was delicious but not outstanding. What was astounding though was the waitress stopping by with Schnapps (again!) and filling a tray of glasses in the middle of the train with a flourish, without spilling a drop! Looking up a few moments later into the face of a reindeer had me thinking I was drunk but it was just the gift cart dressed to impress.
The Philippines – Kalui Garden and Haim Chicken
After diving for several days in the Sula Sea, my guy, Dave, and I explored Puerto Princesa with two nights in a modest inn off the main road to the airport. One day we stepped off the dusty street into an artistically decorated restaurant, the Kalui Garden.
Once instructed to leave our sandals by the door, we were led to seats next to the garden. Our first meal there was family style and plates of chili crabs, prawns and fish soon filled the little bamboo table. The fruit salads served in half coconut shells became our favorite lunch over the next few days.
One day we rode out of town for a short canoe ride into the Mangroves. Our guide pointed out tropical birds and lizards, then held up a bumpy stick and explained that monkeys like to eat the mangrove roots, especially when they find wood worms inside. The worms are also a local specialty for humans. You guessed it, I had to find them before leaving town. We checked several places before finding Haim Chicken where they dispatched a waiter to stand by to help us eat the long mollusks. Here’s a short video about the meal:
They were served raw and tasted something like oysters but when chewed the dark wood taste flavor escaped. It was a tasty food adventure I’d regret missing but they must be an acquired taste!
Tasty food adventures in Mexico
Living in San Diego makes venturing into Baja a relatively easy day trip. I’ve been going back and forth for years and always enjoy discovering new places to eat. There are so many in Tijuana – Mission 19, the bullfighter’s hangout near the Grand Hotel, Talle with their menu of ‘pizzas.’ A bit further south and east is the Valle de Guadalupe, a rich vineyard region with high and low dining options. I confess to visiting more wineries than restaurants, so my favorites don’t come out of exhaustive research. However, I will never forget lunch at Drew Deckman’s outdoor cafe, El Mojor.
El Mojor, Chef Drew Deckman’s Valle de Guadalupe destination
Originally from Georgia, Drew spent years in Europe and was awarded a Michelin star in Germany for his culinary prowess. Lucky for us that he’s settled in the Valle. El Mojor is lovely and unassuming with tables set along shaded patios. Drew cooks at a traditional outdoor grill. A few lucky diners grab one of the few seats at the grill to watch the maestro more closely. I will return to savor more of Deckman’s magic.
La Cocina de Dona Esthela
Down a dirt road at the base of a hill in the Valle there’s a famous ranch house. A pair of stone columns mark the entrance to La Cocina de Dona Esthela. I had the honor to join a small group venturing from San Diego to present her award from Foodie Hub for the Best Breakfast in the World! Inside the house is a large patio and a living room set with small tables. A few years ago Telenovella stars, filming at the nearby Lomita winery, brought their friends and spread the word online about Dona Esthela’s cooking. The rest of us venture in for her delicious Sonoran Machaca, grilled meats, fresh cheese, and beans. Meats are cooked long in her famous spices and served in large portions. Scooping up the mixes in warm, fresh tortillas with a dollop of saucy beans and a spoonful of salsa remains high in my foodie memory.
San Diego: Duckfoot Brewery
San Diego has an ever-rotating palette of tasty food adventures for diners and drinkers. I could rhapsodize about the beers (Current favorite: Duckfoot Choco Nut Lust, their Chocolate Hazelnut Porter which, as with all their beers, happens to be gluten free.)
The Red Door
The Waste-Not Pop-Up dinner at The Red Door restaurant was one of my year’s most notable and tasty events. Read my full review of it here. Joining a group of passionate, sustainably-minded diners was special in itself. Having Chef Miguel Valdez present a menu full of stem-to-root, nose-to-tail ingredients was a treat. I’m a fan of whatever he cooks and that night, eating to support the Food System Alliance was doubly delicious.
Campfire in Carlsbad
I’m not one for making a big deal out of my birthday. This year I picked a well-known restaurant in San Diego for a dinner with family and a few friends. It will remain nameless for the over-priced, hasty presentations and tiny portions. However, the evening before I experienced the new venue, Campfire in Carlsbad with a girlfriend and that is an experience I won’t forget. Launched recently by John Resnick, who’s behind many of downtown San Diego’s trendiest eateries, the large space has indoor and patio dining alongside a small campfire, of course for smores, and a full-sized teepee for the little ones. The dishes, each presented with care, overflow with smoky goodness from the oak flame grill overseen by chef Andrew Bachelier, of Addison and Cucina Enoteca fame. The cocktails nod to tradition, while anything but ordinary. My favorite dish was the grilled Kabocha Squash with its spiced yogurt sauce and mustard seed relish. Splendid. This is one tasty food adventure I look forward to repeating.
Clifton’s Cafeteria in Los Angeles
Clifton’s Cafeteria reopened last year in Los Angeles Downtown district and it’s one of the most delightful, tasty food adventures I’ve had. It will be hard to top, especially now that the new speakeasy-style, Tiki-inspired, Paradise Lounge has opened. Get there early as they lift the rope to the upstairs entry to score a seat at the bamboo tables and just soak up that ambiance! There are historical and creative touches throughout, including an Italian Vaporetta speedboat jutting out from the bar. The cafeteria menu features new and retro dishes. All are simply prepared and very tasty.
Lena Brava – Chicago
It was a lark to make our way to the opening of Rick Bayless’ newest restaurant, Lena Brava, in Chicago. The restaurant pays homage to the culinary arts and sustainable seafood of Mexico. Experiencing Rick’s family and team’s take on fresh ingredients, wood grilling, and mescal cocktails is an experience worth visiting Chicago for. Bayless is committed to quality on every level and is admirably training young chefs to manage and run his venues. That’s evidence of wise expertise and grand heart. Go.
Tasty food from a saddlebag
Texas. Never thought I’d visit but all my preconceptions evaporated over the week I spent driving through the small towns and the vast spaces of the western region. The people were so generous and kind, and the natural beauty knocked me out, mainly because we drove through after the late summer rains when wildflowers pop and fresh green blankets expanses. The trip was heavy on experience and my favorite was a saddle-ride through the mesas and canyons of the Lajitas Resort lands. My sister and I rode for hours with our guide, Kelly, mosying through the range north of the Rio Grande. Lunch was a surprise as we stopped in a box canyon to rest the horses. A welcome spread of roasted chicken and corn salad, rolls and cookies appeared from Kelly’s saddle bags.
An Abalone Feast and Walnut Roll Indulgence
I just can’t omit two other tasty food adventures, although these came out of my home kitchen. We dug two, fat, wild Abalone out of the freezer for Christmas dinner. Dave caught them free-diving in the frigid waters north of Mendocino. Preparing them is a big job – digging the flesh out of the shell, slicing off the foot muscle, cutting the meat into oval steaks and pounding them into tender slices. Cooking is the easy part and if done carefully, in two minutes you have lightly encrusted buttery Abalone steaks.
We finished with Potica for dessert, my mother’s traditional walnut roll, that I’ve finally mastered. After years of killing yeast in every loaf or pastry, I managed this year’s well enough. The dough rose, the filling of walnuts, dates, cinnamon, orange zest and honey was spread. My son helped me roll it up carefully and lift the bulky roll into the pan. The sweet treat has been enjoyed by many, sent across the country, and a few slices are preserved in the freezer for the next family gathering. It’s a much-loved and tasty food adventure from the Slovenian Women’s Union Cookbook that my mother brought west with her from Minnesota in the 1940’s. The pages are loose but I treasure it as a connection to that generation and the old country, my relative’s home in Croatia.
Quite a year!
All these tasty food adventures have definitely impacted my waistline but that’s a temporary setback I don’t regret. I hope you’ve enjoyed the tasty food adventures.
Where to find these tasty food adventures
- Drew Deckman’s, El Mojor in Valle Guadalupe, Mexico – “Honor the ingredient”
- La Cucina de Dona Esthela, Valle Guadalupe, Mexico – Sonoran recipes, fresh ingredients and the world’s best breakfast award from Foodie Hub.
- Cuatros Cuatro in Ensenada, on the coast of Baja – Bar and Cabanas
- Duckfoot Brewery, San Diego – The Choco Lust Porter and a gaggle of drafts for every palate.
- Campfire in Carlsbad – A delight for the whole family with sophisticated campfire kitsch. Check out Carruth Cellars next door and grab a bottle to go with dinner. There’s no corkage fee at Campfire.
- The Red Door in San Diego with Chef Miguel Valdez
- Rick Bayless’ Chicago, Lena Brava, homage to Mexico’s traditional flavors and sustainable seafood
- Saddle and Paddle with Lajitas Stables and then stay in the luxurious Lajitas Resort in West Texas.
- Free diving for Abalone – Enter the chilly waters north of Mendocino to pry wild Abalone from the reefs.
- The Kalui Garden Restaurant in Puerto Princesa, the Philippines.
- Haim Chicken serves fresh Wood Worms and many fish or vegetable dishes in Puerto Princesa, the Philippines.
- My post about tasty times in Puerto Princesa on the island of Palawan in the Philippines.
Happy to share with these linkups full of fine travel tales!
Those in the know go! It shouldn’t be a secret but in the rolling hills of Southern California, well east of the coast, Temecula wineries are making a scene. Private wine clubs, live music, restaurants, villas, spas and abundant tastings are uncorked throughout the growing region. I’ve visited several times over the past few years and always return home impressed and a bit buzzed by the beauty (and yes, the tippling.)
There are two Temecula wineries that stunned me recently – Mount Palomar and Europa Village. Over one slowly paced day, I joined a small group of foodies to sip and eat, walk and marvel at all that’s been created and is on the drawing boards.
Since 1969 the Mount Palomar winery has been garnering awards. The public vineyards are full of trails. We sauntered through the gates, past stone fountains and flower beds to a large building open to views of the countryside. Inside Anata Bistro and Bar, an open and appealing space, the chef offers a rotating, seasonal menu. In late fall, two cocktails with ingredients from the garden as well as the vine made it to our tables. The Pomegranate Martini was slightly sweet above a flourish of the signature red seeds. The Ginger Crush was muddled with a basil garnish and vanilla bean simple syrup.
Lunch was inspired by Meditteranean cuisine as we were feted with appetizer plates full of hummus, marinated olives, and crostini. Steak and fries, lamb and beef kebabs, salads and various flatbreads soon covered the table. No one was going hungry and I can’t wait to return with family.
Prepping our tummies with food was a good strategy as we next stepped into the barrel room to meet the vintner, James Rutherford. He tapped tall, stainless casks with flair and then swept us out to the Solara where Sherry casks were aging in the open sun! The cream sherry process at Mount Palomar is based on Moroccan, then Spanish traditions before it was brought to California in the days of the Conquistadors. Stepped rows of wooden casks cook for five years in the sun before being bottled! It was a surprising set up for this wine fan!
Special Offer: Enjoy a Temecula winetasting at Mount Palomar winery
Download a coupon for 2 for 1 wine tasting coupon!
Inside the gates of the Europa Village Winery is a gracious world. Taking cues from Old World wineries, there are inviting gardens with shaded sitting areas, a comfortable patio, tasting room and gift store adjacent to a long Pergola, sheltering tables reserved for wine club members and events. Beyond all that grapevines flick their broad leaves in the sun.
Europa Village is becoming even more idyllic as the John Goldsmith, the General Manager, described the vineyard’s future. A grand villa is already open for guests but, over the coming years, a true village has been laid out. Soon luxury accommodations and three wineries featuring grapes and wine-making styles from France, Spain and Italy will be complete. Europa Village is a destination already but the future developments will have wine tasting fans flocking to the Temecula wineries to stay for days.
It takes a community
Over the last century, the region has had its challenges. Wineries have changed hands with the fluxuating economy. They’ve closed and then opened in new configurations. Infestations once decimatdecades-old vines. Today growers work together to alert each other of any signs of blight. Developers have attempted re-zoning the relatively affordable acerage. A passionate association of residents, winery owners, vineyard owners and affiliated businesses has grown to form the Protect Temecula Wine Country Association. They are actively working to preserve the wine making and rural atmosphere of the area for the future.
My day visiting Temecula wineries ended too swiftly but knowing how close to Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego the region is. It won’t be long before I’ll return with friends. How lovely it is to taste and meander amongst the relaxing and beautiful Temecula wineries.
If you go wine tasting at the Temecula wineries:
- 2 for 1 Wine Tasting Coupon! Mount Palomar winery exclusive.
- Taste the Palomar Mountain wines, have lunch, enjoy live music or dinner theater in the Mount Palomar, Anata Bistro and Bar.
- Stroll through the gardens, attend performances, shop, and sip in Europa Village
- Arrange tours, transportation and explore all there is to do in the Temecula wine country with help from the Visitor’s Center.
My wine tour and lunch were arranged and hosted through my membership the IFWTWA.
El Paso, it was love at first bite. After arriving late and missing dinner, having breakfast was our first Texas task. We found deep mugs of coffee and a meal worthy of any hungry traveler at the Downtowner Restaurant. While I opted for a Rancheros Omelette, my sister ordered the Salmon toast. My tummy was jealous!
Food is a big part of any adventure. As I was soon to discover not all is Tex-Mex in El Paso. Here’s some of the best places to bite and sip when you’re in the area.
A relaxing and spacious dining room with just the right touch of elegance, the Downtowner became our go-to spot for meetings and snacks. The nooks and booths were tempting to linger in but we had much to explore in El Paso.
Camino Real Dome Bar
So lucky! We almost missed seeing the Dome Bar inside the historic Camino Real Hotel. Here’s a short video about the experience.
Yes, El Paso has it’s own craft brewery scene! I fell for the smooth, nutty Abuelita Stout that Dead Beach Brewery creates. Infused with Pecaho Coffee, it was spicy and sweet – just like hug from Grandma. The brewery is just a year old and unfortunately for me only open on weekends, but several bars carry their variations.
Ode Brewery is out in the University District. Bags of spent hops sat near the brewery door as we stepped towards the restaurant. The place is comfy, simple and authentic. There’s no doubt that the owners are fanatical about their passion. Loved the ‘Spoliated Barley Water’ Menu featuring seasonal beers and recent releases. La Gringa, their American Blonde Ale, is worth importing (Hear that, San Diego?) Look for the label across the country soon as the distribution ramps up.
No visit to El Paso is complete without seeing the Alligators in San Jacinto Plaza, the historic heart of downtown. The statue rises from a central pool and shifting lights flicker across the behemoths. In the 1950’s seven live Alligators lived in the pond. Shennaigans eventually led to them being moved to the zoo. Rumors continue about the Alligators showing up inside the Tap Room bar across from the plaza and other spots around town. Today the neighborhood hang out hosts live Jazz and a full bar. No Alligators in sight.
Craft and Social
A friendly spot around the corner from Hotel Indigo, Craft and Social hosts local and state wide brews, a tasting menu and live jazz. The happy hour specials are not to be beat.
El Paso has it’s own wine region and we sped out of town to check out Vin Valle Winery. The shop is hosted by the owners and the barrel room is worth seeing with the lengthy, hand painted table in the center. It matches the cheery and cheeky label designs too.
Finding local coffee hangouts is tantamount on my tourist list. Downtown, the Coffee Box rises from the edge of a parking lot. Made out of cantilevered box cars, a nod to the history of the railway in El Paso, the Box is open early to late. There’s WiFi and compact lounge areas indoors and out.
Monticello – Hillside Coffee
The University District has a new development brewing with housing, shops and restaurants. I found the Hillside coffee house a nice spot to cool off and check email for a few minutes. The shops carry local goods.
Best Breakfast in El Paso – Crave
With several locations in the city, we decided to visit the east El Paso location of Crave Kitchen and Bar. Chiliquilles to die for, a playful interior, patio and deeply upolstered bench seating and bottomless coffee – I only wish we were there long enough to dig into a meal at each location. The locations are open for breakfast through to dinner.
Dinner in El Paso
In the central downtown district, this elegant Bistro focuses on the finer things from table to decor. Cooling sprays keep the sidewalk diners comfortable. Wanting a light dinner I focused on the soups and breads. My sister had a salad and we were thorougly satiated. A mighty painting of the restaurant’s namesake, Anson Mills looms over the space. His local roots run deep as a United States Army officer, surveyor, inventor, and entrepreneur who even named and laid out the city of El Paso. There’s nothing stuffy about Anson 11 with it’s trippy artwork juxtaposed with a librarian’s sensibility!
Infused liquors, tapas and regional flavors kicked into high gear – that’s Tabla. Tucked into the warehouse district close to the stadium, generous servings and one of the best meals I had in the area.
Riviera Bar and Cantina
No visit to El Paso would be complete without enjoying Tex-Mex. We had platefuls at the east side restaurant, the Riviera. Satisfying, casual and full of locals.
Even though I’m not a big red meat eater, I couldn’t leave Texas without indulging in a bit of steak. I only wish we had more daylight hours at Cattleman’s Steakhouse. The ranch has had lots of media attention; you’ve seen it in TV shows and movies. There’s a petting zoo and odd animal collections to walk around. The sunset views are some of the best – especially enjoyed over dinner. I had an appetizer of tender ‘beef cubes’ and it was perfect. No salads though on the menu! How Paleo can you go?!
Where to dine and drink in El Paso
Downtowner: Comfort food in a chic decor inside Hotel Indigo
Crave: Three locations open for breakfast, lunch and dinner
Anson 11: Bistro and fine dining with regional, American cuisine
Tabla: Tapas, infused liquors from an award-winning team
Riviera Bar and Cantina: Tex Mex and local hangout
Cattleman’s Steakhouse: East of town but well worth the drive. Famous for steaks, movie sets and animals.
Coffee Box: Casual spot with WiFi, patios and lounge seating
Monticello: Shops, restaurants and the Hillside Coffee Cafe
El Paso Beer and Wine
Dome Bar inside the Camino Real Hotel: Historic decor and fine drinks.
Dead Beach Brewery: Promising new brewery in downtown El Paso.
Ode Brewery: Ambitious brewery with first location in the University District
Vin Valle: Family run tasting room in the panhandle vineyard region.
Tap Room: Neighborhood Bar with jazz nights across from San Jacinto Plaza Alligators.
This trip was made possible by the El Paso Visitor’s Office. I thank them for pointing me in the right directions and helping me discover El Paso. All opinions are always my own.
In West Texas extremes play well together. International fashion brands mix with far flung art installations, ghost towns host chili cook offs. Dinner may be chicken-fried, wild boar or resort ranch-groomed beef served with beer, long neck or artisinal. There were more surprises than I have room to write about! Welcome to the second half of my West Texas, Road Trip Planner.
Travel Planner Tip
If you love chili, camping out and camaraderie put one or both of the notorious Ghost Town Chili Cook Offs on your itinerary when visiting Terlingua. Held each November, it’s really not about the chili, but dueling parties.
Trip Planner Tip
Don’t miss the Lajitas Trading Post and Golf Shop. Inside the historic building is an immense collection of steer horns and walls full of photos. The owner was offered a private collection of over 900 horns and they’re displayed from floorboard to ceiling throughout the space.
Trip Planner Tip
Stop by and say ‘Howdy’ to the ‘Mayor’ of Lajitas. The old goat and his Missus live in a gated community’ adjacent to the Deli, which is a great spot to pick up sandwiches and souvenirs before heading out of town.
Trip Planner Tip
Keep to 45 mph when crossing Big Bend National Park and watch highway speed limits carefully. There are speed traps and we would’ve been in trouble if locals hadn’t warned us. Driving slowly is perfect for spotting wildlife and admiring the landscape.
Trip Planner Tip
Don’t plan on taking pictures or recording anything inside Chinati or the Judd Foundation. At first this irked me and I rebelliously took notes and sketched. Resistance was futile. I missed out and that’s kind of the point. To stand in those still spaces and just be, is to get a glimpse of what drove Judd to settle in Marfa. There is space and relationship, light and shadow. I surrendered to his vision and was far happier for the experience.
Return to El Paso
Trip Planner Tip
There’s no one Texas. The second largest state in the Union, it’s vast regions are influenced by weather patterns, geography, history and proximity to Mexico. Don’t be fooled into thinking you’ll ‘get Texas’ with one visit. I imagine it could take a lifetime to discover everything.
Links and other Trip Planner tips:
- Chisos Mining Company Motel – Inexpensive, comfortable and a bit rough around the edges, but one of my best night’s sleep!
- Lajitas Golf Course and Resort offers hotel rooms, villas and vacation home rentals. There are also camp grounds and RV options.
- Saddle and Paddle day trip with Lajitas Stables and Big Bend River Tours
- Marfa, Hotel Paisano – An architetcural masterpiece by the renowned Henry Trost. Fully preserved and updated. Don’t miss the pictures from the making of Giant with Elizabeth Taylor, Rock Hudson and an effervescent, James Dean.
- Hotel St. George – Chic and austere but still comfortable with an inviting lobby restaurant and the best bookstore in town.
- El Cosmico – Tee Pee, tent and trailer campground on 18 acres.
- Thunderbird – Hotel and deep resource list for the area.
- Marfa Chinati Foundation – The open air exhibit and studios founded by Donald Judd . Open by reservation only.
- Marfa, Judd Block – The home compound of the artist Donald Judd. “Not a slipper moved” since his death, by mandate!
- El Paso Craft and Social – Jazz bar, beer on tap and Texas wines by the glass or bottle.
- Mando’s in Marfa – Tex Mex, local style. Inexpensive and casual. Great service.
- Marfa Coffee – Do Your Thing, a cozy art space.
- Pick up groceries or sandwiches at The Get Go
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Ban the thought of filling up on nachos, rice and beans when dining on a budget in Tijuana. You can save the bucks for fine dining, and there’s plenty of that here, and still explore the city through it’s more modest eating establishments. Here are five places with fine brews and some of the best food in Tijuana. You will eat very, very well!
After 9/11 it wasn’t easy to enjoy Tijuana’s culinary scene, but cross-border systems are being stream-lined and now heading over for a day or dinner is becoming simpler. Long before the 1970’s spring break bacchanals in Tijuana, the city was the west-coast Prohibition escape for celebrities and mobsters. During WW2, it was the drinking hole for the Pacific Fleet. Tourism dried up with terrorism fears as new passport restrictions were enforced. Recently innovations have made visiting Tijuana much easier (Border crossing tips here) and cartel business has moved south of Mexico City. The area’s opened up again to its glorious heart – full of feasting and celebrating life through serving the best food in Tijuana.
Here’s a few of the fantastico places to find great meals and drinks that will help you save money for shopping and more travel:
1.Mercado Hildalgo – The oldest open marketplace in the central city buzzes with activity every day of the year. It’s most fun to visit during the holidays, when sugar skulls and decorations abound for Dia de los Muertos and other Mexican Celebrations. Fresh fruit, cheeses, cafes and bakeries surround a central parking area where a permanent Chapel rises and seasonal altars rotate below. If you’re courageous, look for roasted crickets or Tequila imbued with rattlesnake!
2.El Taller, Baja Med Cocina – Not far from the Racetrack (now greyhounds rather than horses, and casino.) Their celebrated pizza innovations slice easily with the thin crust and fresh, original ingredients (escargot anyone?!) A bit trendy, the open kitchen and lengthy dining room is often packed.
3. Telefonica Gastro Park – Set up in a large lot at the base of the old Telephone building, this food truck/small business courtyard is packed with fresh, local and creative drinks and bites, many based on traditional recipes. Black Zapote tea anyone? Craft beers, long tables and hammocks make it a perfect hangout for a meal with friends. Save room for coffee and desserts!
4. Norte Brewing Company – Not everyone enters through the parking garage but it’s easier to manage than finding the Norte Brewing Companyentrance via a narrow passage set deep off Avenida Revolucion. The effort is worth it for the breezy space looks out over rooftops and the beer is stellar. Flavors rotate but inventive beers such as Foreign Club Robust Porter (Nitro y CO2,) Penthouse IPA and the thickly delicious, Sugar Daddy Chocolate Oatmeal Stout just might be on tap. If you’re a true craft beer afficianado, and very lucky, ask about Súpermash, which uses the nugget of the hop flower. The blooms come direct from Rancho Loza-La Casa Del Lupulo, precursors in the cultivation of organic hops in the valle de Guadalupe.
5. Hua Huis, Restaurante de Mariscos – Now that the Tijuana airport bridge is open you can walk in and out of the country, airplane reservation in hand, simply enough. It’s a great convenience but you miss visiting Tijuana. Should you be heading in or out of the U.S. at the Otay Mesa border crossing and find yourself hungry, stop at the blue storefront of Hua Huis. The seafood is traditionally prepared as ceviche, grilled, or marinated, and the meats are tender as well. A small bar keeps drinks flowing too.
Here’s a brief video on where to find some of the best food in Tijuana:
Where to find the best food in Tijuana for casual diners:
- Mercado Hildalgo – The central market isn’t far from the CECUT cultural center in the Zona Rio.
- El Taller Baja Med Cocina: Full bar, sauces and salsas, and famous for their Pizza Baja Med
- Telefonica Gastro Park: Full courtyard surrounded by food trucks and temporary vendors. Dog-friendly and open to all ages.
- Norte Brewing Company: In Zona Centro off steps from Avenida Revolucion.
- Hua Huis, Restaurante de Mariscos: Seafood specialties served minutes from the Tijuana Airport
Thank you to our Binational Liason, Juan Arturo Saldaña Angulo with Tijuana Tourism and Convention Bureau. The trip sponsors, Tijuana Tourism and Convention Bureau and Rosarito Beach Hotel. And the transportation provided by Ticketon and Turismo Express.
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Duc Loi Market
Craftsman and Wolves
Two doors down is a wonder that would inspire Willy Wonka – the bean-to-bar, small batch chocolate factory, Dandelion. Begun by a pair of intrepid chocoholics, Todd and Cam. They’ve grown their own cacao plants and roasted beans in home ovens, then toured major chocolate factories around the world before opening Dandelion in San Francisco.
Watch the video:
Today the company roasts and grinds a batch from one farm or cooperative at a time, creating distinctive chocolate bars with fine-tuned discipline. We watched the process, and tasted from their cafe before walking on.
Vistiing Bi-Rite deli and market brought us full circle. The Italian deli has been serving the neighborhood for decades and Lisa often brings home dishes from the dinner counter, which opens daily at 4:30 pm. With art deco signage, the market opened in the 1940’s and has been run by the Mongannam family for nearly sixty years. Brothers Raf and Sam took over from their father in the late 1990’s, instilling a chef’s aesthetic to the small market and stocking the highest quality ingredients. Now lines form at the counter for the Wagyu beef, imported sliced cheeses and much, much more. That’s where I left Lisa as she ordered entrees for her family.
Valencia Street buzzes around the clock. One night, searching for local food desserts, my son ordered goat milk and berry ice cream off a vintage, yellow fire truck. Parked in an empty, corner lot, the San Francisco Organic Creamery truck and it’s menu, was a world away from the industrial strength food trucks I’ve seen elsewhere.
We also ate Issan Lao food at Hawker Fare, sipping tart hard cider, a simpler choice for dinner than one of their Tiki-inspired cocktails. They looked fantastic, however. I’ll just have to return and explore the upstairs bar menu next trip.
Another evening I slid up to the bar at Dosa and slowly cut into a paneer and pea filled chick pea ‘crepe’ between sips of Transylvanian white wine. A young man sat across from me and ordered the $44 tasting menu. For himself. Before drinks. On a Monday night. The neighborhood has certainly turned. It’s gotten to the point where regulations are being placed on preserving Legacy Businesses and limitations are being proposed on the number of new restaurants or bars.
If you’re hungry for delicious, local food in the Valencia Street area:
- Try one of the several Edible or Drinkable Excursions around the SF Bay
- Tacolicious and Mosto on Valencia Street
- Taste small batch chocolate inside Dandelion Chocolate Roastery
- Eat a Banh Mi Vietnamese sandwich from the Duc Loi Counter
- Pick up fresh tortillas at La Palma Mexitessen
- Take your dinner with you from the Bi-Rite Market
- Savor a stunning dessert from Craftsman and Wolves
- Find out where the San Francisco Organic Ice Cream Truck will park next
- Sip a tiki cocktail with your Lao Issan dinner at Hawker Fare
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Step into the kitchen where the tastiest breakfast food in the world is made:
So much more on the menu!
“The secret in the flavor of our food is to cook it with love and care. And to be able to serve it on your table. It’s a joy. Be welcome. Our house is your house!!”~ Dona Esthela
If you go:
- Directions and location on the unofficial Dona Esthela Facebook page
- Dirt roads be darned! Follow signs, make sure someone in the car has international GPS, and check out routes before you cross the border.
- The restauant isn’t open on Mondays but don’t let crowds deter you. Pick up a few bottles of Lomita’s best and sip while you wait.
- Eat inside unless the patio’s been completely screened. Flies can be a problem.
- More about crossing the border through Tijuana on my earlier post here.
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Our road trip was packed full of adventure but unfortunately packed pounds on our waistlines too. We had three weeks to deliver the car to the East coast and started working our itinerary six months in advance. With all the planning however, we forgot about coordinating snack ideas.
Win a Hiking Backpack full of with snack ideas for your next trip (Details below)
My eating strategy whenever I fly has been whittled into a science, but a road trip with four adults in one car for days on end was in another league altogether. We took long hikes daily and expected that to burn calories but it wasn’t enough. Long, tedious hours of driving led to quick meals from limited roadside cafes and convenience stores. Too often that meant snack ideas of the high-carb, salt and sugar kind.
On the way to Mt. Rainier we stopped at the Viking Diner for burgers. Delicious and friendly, but low cal? Not.
When visiting cousins of course we couldn’t refuse to take their homemade sweets along.
My home breakfast schedule was demolished when the rest of the family needed a big meal before we hit the road. Too often hotel or road-side mornings started like this.
Fruit stands are a boon for summer travelers. Unfortunately, our rushed schedule kept us on freeways and off the smaller, country roads where fruit stands proliferate.
When you’ve endured long hours traveling in the back seat or driving, it’s too easy to ‘reward’ yourself with a big dinner or a few beers. When you do that over several weeks it’s no wonder vacation clothes get tighter and tighter!
The best road trip snack ideas include:
- High protein, low salt and sugar, fruit and nut bars. Pick up a box before leaving home to stretch the travel budget.
- Buy in bulk. Nuts and dates make satisfying snack ideas and travel well. Make your own mix and store in baggies or better yet, reusable containers.
- Drink water often and limit the number of sweet, high fructose sodas and caffeine drinks. Avoid plastic bottles and refill your own.
- Stop to eat well before you feel like you’re starving. Being overly hungry too often leads to impulsive and poor eating decisions.
- Find grocery stores with salad bars and pick up fresh fruit at roadside stands.
- Portion control. We were two boomers and two millennials driving together. Guess who ate most of the peanut butter pretzel crackers?! Take a few out of the bag and stick to that portion.
If only I had known about these Jerky packs for our trip. Most jerkies on the market are full of nitrates and preservatives. They’re overly sweetened with high fructose corn syrup as well. The Golden Island Jerky recipes are gluten-free and have no artificial ingredients. The unique flavors come from the founder’s Asian heritage and are available in resealable bags – perfect for travelers.
Win a Hiking Backpack full of with snack ideas for your next trip
The prize includes:
- Two packages of each variety of Golden Island Jerky ($65 value)
- Four popular brand name, highly insulated Rambler 18 oz. bottles ($160 value)
- $100 Visa gift card for gas
- Hiking Backpack ($40)
Pack your bag and go! Enter here. Good luck!
This giveaway was facilitated by Golden Island Jerky. I was not compensated for this post but did receive free product samples, all opinions are my own.
How do you eat well on long road trips?
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Don’t miss these Filipino Foods in Puerto Princesa
Badjao Seafood Restaurant
A floating restaurant and fireflies
The adventure didn’t stop there as Dave ordered Chicken Butts. I don’t care for chicken skin or fried foods that much but these were crunchy, moist inside and well seasoned. Everything else that we ate at Haim was flavorful, well cooked and served with care. The beer was cold, service attentive and prices moderate. I’d stop by again to try more of the menu.
iToys Specialty Coffee Haus
It’s a tourist stop full of photo opportunities and selfie spots but the bakery is what made the hill a destination. The most popular items in the small shop are boxes of purple, bean-stuffed pastries called Hopia Ube.They’re made with ‘pork oil’ (lard) or a newer version with vegetable oil. The hill is covered with statues dotting the lush gardens including giant snakes and tigers, Snow White and entourage, and other variations on Disney characters. A winding viewing platform near the back of the property is worth climbing for views of the city. We bought a box of the Ube because everyone else was and broke it open in the van. So glad we did and yes, it was the ‘pork oil’ version.
Enjoying this post? check out more about our adventures in Puerto Princesca.
Flipino foods forever!
We wandered the city for four days and loved exploring the Filipino foods of Palawan. I hope that you’ll stop in Puerto Princesa to explore as we did and not simply pass through on the way to other adventures on the island.
Disclosure: The Firefly tour dinner and the stop at Baker’s Hill were provided through the Philippines Tourism office in Los Angeles and coordinated with the Puerto Princesa Tourism team. Our final itinerary and van tours were provided by ITravel Tours, Events and Consultancy.
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If you go on a historic pub crawl
DeTours Historic Walking Tours. The historic pub crawl was our choice but there are many tours to select from. It was great mixing speakeasy ambiance, meeting locals and out-of-towners, plus the tickle of learning while tippling! Detours Historic Chicago Walking Bar Tour.
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It doesn’t matter if you’re a local or visiting, getting out on the water in San Diego is always a fresh delight. A Sunday brunch cruise is a luxury that shouldn’t be saved for out of town friends and family. The beautiful, calm bay, the stunning sweep of Coronado Bridge, and great company matched with an overflowing buffet and bottomless mimosas makes for an outing that only a fasting monk would find fault with.
I was lucky to step onto the Hornblower San Diego ship with a group of travel buddies for Sunday Brunch. A light breeze kept us cool as we waited to board and then walked up the ramp to greet our captain.
Stepping in from the sunshine, my eyes adjusted to the light as a tray of champagne or sparkling cider was offered. Large round tables were set with crystal, china and silverware. An ice bucket with Champagne waited for attention. A few steps away, table on table of food presentations; a line of hot entrees, a cutting station, and a dessert nook.
Briefly the Captain’s voice echoed through the space with announcements about the ship and our route as we slipped away from the dock. We were off! Food and conversation flowed and it was easy to forget that we were sailing. That would’ve been a mistake as the views just outside our ballroom dining hall rivaled anything else on board.
Carpeted stairs led up and into the daylight. The top deck held small rounds for glassware and more than one guest brought their Champagne bucket upstairs to continue the party. With gentle sun, and smooth breezes, I stood in wonder as the city, the port, and the star of the afternoon, the sweeping grace of the Coronado Bridge slipped by.
I’m a big fan of that bridge and the chance to see it from below is always thrilling. Before we knew it, two hours had passed. The ship glided into port and paused as the final ties were made. The captain materialized once again at the top of the gangplank to say goodbyes. I imagine it’s a satisfying part of his job on perfect afternoons like this. Shaking hands with so many satisfied, well-fed, happy guests after their Sunday Brunch wasn’t part of the job description but a perk.
More Sunday Brunch details & other Hornblower cruises:
Hornblower schedules several cruises year round from two docks on the San Diego waterfront.
During Whale Watching season you’re on the water with Naturalists from the San Diego Science Museum and guaranteed sightings or a return trip.
The Sunday brunch cruises are weekly with special dining cruises year round: Mothers’ Day, Pet Day on the Bay, Sunset Dinner, Fireworks and special occasion trips too.
My Sunday Brunch cruise was complementary with Hornblower San Diego. One day I hope to sail with them at their other ports in San Francisco, Niagra and New York.
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Pop up dining for good
The Gazpacho shooters had flowers in them. “We tried to use everything in the garden,” Chef Miguel Valdez of the Red Door said, “And what doesn’t get used goes into compost.”
I have to admit my tummy recoiled a bit when told that the pop up dinner would be made of ‘left overs.’ We arrived for the second seating and as earlier guests exited they were smiling. Thumbs up on the Gazpacho especially. My appetite revived.
The night was inspired from its inception. Re:Source, an intiative of the San Diego Food System Alliance, sponsored this first of a series of local, pop up dinners. Some of San Diego’s top chefs are using their creativity to transform ignored or un-coveted food that would otherwise end up in landfills. Other cities are hosting these and San Diego has several scheduled (see below.)
Elly Brown, of the San Diego Food System Alliance, is dedicated to building a food waste resource for people. She spoke briefly about Collard Greens and Kale which are from the same plant that grows Broccoli Weeds, another tasty green that never makes it into our stores. “People don’t realize that it’s delicious.” she said, holding a bunch as if it were a wedding bouquet. It was in our pesto.
This is the beginning of something big. Re:Source aims to:
- Raise awareness of the staggering volume of food that is being wasted
- Inspire new applications for overlooked by-products of our food system
- Re-define food waste as an important resource
Opah fish is another under-utilized food and abundant locally. It’s firm with a mild, delicious flavor. One course featured Opah ‘tri-tip’ ground into meatballs and served atop a beet pulp/carrot top pesto, with smoked carrots, sauteed greens and a sprinkling of feta cheese. You would never have guessed they were fish meat balls!
Libations flowed through the evening, again using un-coveted or ‘ugly’ fruits and herbs. We enjoyed a Honey champagne cocktail with our salad. White and then red sangria followed with different courses.
“Chefs are becoming mindful of all that they source,” said Chef Valdez. He knows it too well from having to watch the bottom line. Tom and Trish Watlington, owners of the Red Door, have been encouraging. Since the Red Door was founded, they have have been supplementing menus with plants from a plot in El Cajon and bringing the harvest into their restaurant. Big into composting, they are also working on closing the loop with other chefs to do more of the same.
Turning empty lots into profitable plots
Supervisor Ron Roberts is part of the coalition behind the San Diego urban agricultural initiative. Land owners can now create income from blighted spaces and local kids will see that not all food comes wrapped in plastic. The initiative also creates jobs, provides savings in property taxes and beautifies neighborhoods.
Find out more about the RE:Source pop up and other un-waste events:
- San Diego Food Alliance Events
- National Food Waste Summit – Sponsored by Campus Kitchens
- BIOCYCLE WEST COAST16 Connecting the dots between Progressive Organics Recycling and Climate Resilient Policies and Successful Program Execution
- The San Diego Food Alliance is supported by Leah’s Pantry, using nutrition to promote healthier lives and prevent disease for under-served populations.
- Not in San Diego? Get involved in other Food System Alliance programs.
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First task – Purchase an Oyster card
The night before I had passed a shop advertising Oyster Cards. The woman behind the counter wore a hijab and in an assured British accent told me the ins and outs of the card. Being there one day only with the Oyster card gave me freedom to take the Underground and buses without digging in my purse for change (not accepted on buses) or tallying up more credit card fees. The card is simple to use – you swipe it when you get on a bus, once you’re at the turnstile into the Underground and then at the end of the journey to get out. It kept me moving in sync with the crowds around me. (*See below for tips about what to do with the card when you’re ready to leave London.)
About using London buses
- Drivers are helpful.
- Count stops between you and the destination.
- Don’t be afraid to explore.
- Sit upstairs on the double deckers’ to get the best vantage point.
- If you’re pressed for time, avoid taking buses in the central city during lunchtime on weekdays – the streets are clogged and the Underground works much more efficiently. You miss street views however.
Great Fire of London Monument
Into the Underground I went with the goal of visiting the Millennium Bridge and St. Peters Cathedral. The bridge was simple enough to find after I exited the station. Go towards the water, I told myself, and sure enough soon signs pointed the way. It is a very popular destination and my first real crowd experience of the day.
Sweeping, metal wings lift it over the Thames in a long gliding line. I would’ve liked to see a curve in the passage to complete the snake like reflection but perhaps the architects rejected that as too expensive.
St. Peters Cathedral – Sort of
Neal’s Yard is one of the fun places to visit in London
If you go:
- Oyster Card – Pick up at stations and various shops. *Refund on unused portion and deposit in the airport terminals. More here
- Leadenhall Market – A historic marketplace featured in many movies. More here
- Monument to the Great Fire of London – The tragedy that ravaged acres of the city is memorialized with a tower offering great views of the city. More here.
- British Museum – Free entrance and open daily More about the British Museum
- Millennium Bridge – Spans the Thames, walking bridge More about the bridge
- Shoreditch – A distinctive neighborhood full of art, trendy and new diversions More here.
- Neal’s Yard – Close to several Underground stops. More here
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Long ago the native Natua would cook agave bulbs in stone ovens and ferment the liquid. The liquor was called Mexicalli. When the Spanish arrived they added a distillation process and eventually the drink was called Tequila, the name of the area where the best of the best agave was grown.
Exploring the Tequila Trail:
- Mundo Cuervo: The visitors and event center of the Jose Cuervo Distillery and Museum
- La Rojena: Tours of the flagship distillery, which continues to produce artisainal tequilas after 250 years.
- La Casa Sauza: Casa Sauza distillery tour centers onthe three Sauza family patriarchs who fought to make tequila what it is today.
- Central Plaza and the Church of Santiago Pastol: Claim a seat on a bench in the town’s main plaza. It lights up at night and locals lounge with friends.
- The National Museum of Tequila: Savor the history and the culture of the region
- Tequila Express Train: Departs from Guadalajara for a guided tour of the Herradura distillery, lunch at a Mexican hacienda, live mariachis and folk dancing, and of course, tequila.
- Jose Cuervo Express: Since 2012, the Jose Cuervo Express travels across the agave landscape with the magic of yesteryear. Departures are Saturdays and from the station in Guadalajara to the Tequila Pueblo Mágico.
- The Te Quiero Tequila Museum in Guadalajara at:Av. La Paz 2402 esq. Fco. Javier Gamboa Col. Lafayette
Thank you, NATJA, Secretaria de Turismo Estado de Jalisco, the team at Guadalajara Destino , Jose Cuervo, GDL Tours and especially, Sofia Velasquez of the Procesa Group for making this a chance of a lifetime experience.
Thank you also, Visit Mexico for pictures, where noted, and references.
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I especially enjoyed Chandler’s restaurant and bar. The decor is warm but not in the over-crowded style of many bar/restaurants. At dinner, we sat side-by-side in a cozy corner booth where we could people watch. There were locals and business clients in conversational clutches at tables and counters. The staff was cordial and genuinely seemed to like their jobs. I was able watch them interacting. How well everyone gets along speaks volumes about the management.
Get away links:
- Cape Rey, Hilton Resort: Reservations, Menus and events
- Meet Chef Teri http://caperey.com/restaurant/meet-chef-teri/
- Twenty nine days of romance: http://caperey.com/activities/29-days-of-romance/
- Gemological Institute of America’s Museum
- Legoland Theme Park and Aquarium
- Museum of Making Music Website
- Del Mar Racetrack, concerts, events and county fair
- Palomar Airport – Bi-plane rides
- Hot air balloon rides – One of several companies
- Carlsbad Village – Restaurants and galleries
- Oceanside Pier, paddle boards and events – Chamber website
- North County Bike paths interactive map
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It’s a meal transported to another realm. In fact you sit inside a fish processing plant on folding chairs and eat from paper plates – but you’ll be giddy about it. Perhaps it’s the hilarious barbs traded between the fishmongers, Tommy Gomes and Dan Nattrass. More likely it’s the chance to be part of a cooking show, to see how some of the region’s best chefs work their magic, while eating insanely well. Some nights local vintners bring samples and if you’re lucky Andrea’s Truffles or Robin of Cupcakes Squared will be offering their best as well. No one goes home hungry.
Held about ten times annually, there’s always a cause behind each chew. Collaboration Kitchen began seven years ago as an idea that Tommy Gomes, a fishmonger working at Catalina Offshore Products, took to his boss, Dave Rudie. It was a way to give back and offer great food while raising money for deserving causes. Monarch School, Just Volunteers and most recently Tim Johnson, local sushi chef suddenly in need of a kidney transplant, have been recipients. Tim discovered he needs a new kidney just days before Christmas. Here’s the link to his Go Fund Me campaign set up to help with medical expenses.
With Tommy as emcee, laughter’s on the menu. You’ll meet fellow fans of great local food and be introduced to new menu ideas. Most importantly though is the chance to be part of something truly good. There are many foodie events throughout San Diego but Collaboration Kitchen is one unique sensation. Get on the Facebook notice list and reply quickly if you want to attend.
If you miss the tickets or don’t have the dough, but do have hard-working kitchen skills, there’s occasionally room on the volunteer team. Working all day behind the scenes, volunteers step into the limelight to be applauded along with the chefs at the end of each event.
About Collaboration Kitchen
- Support the campaign to help Chef Tim Johnson get a new kidney
- Follow the Collaboration Kitchen Facebook Page
- Specialty Produce, co-host, is the source for chefs but the warehouse is open to the public
- The Catalina Offshore Products Fish Market is open daily inside the warehouse (check website for hours) with fresh off-the-boat seafood. If your timing’s right, Tommy or a friend will be grilling samples. Located at 5202 Lovelock Street, San Diego, CA 92110
Disclosure: I’ve been comped to Collaboration Kitchen for years as the Catalina OP owner is my guy, but all opinions, as always are my own.
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