Food, Wine, Travel Magazine—The Hidden Treasures Issue

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the hidden treasures issue

letter from the editor Travel, my friends, is a gift we bestow upon ourselves, and unfortunately, too often we give just the basics…the Romes, the Londons, the New Yorks, the popular kids. The accommodations, the sites, the food, and the hospitality are not better because those places are so well-known, it’s just that we know them better. Hidden in their shadows, however, are lesser-known gems that can give us a less tourist-centric experience and better insight into the culture, society, and lifestyle of the places we are visiting. Travel is the gateway to understanding how others live and think and to making us all more appreciative of our own lives. This issue of Food, Wine, Travel Magazine, presents a bounty of our writers’ favorite hidden treasures both around the world and in our own backyards. Try out the pitchfork steak fondue in Medora, North Dakota, and tobacco with Turkish figs soaked in Zacapa rum ice cream in Guatemala. We’ll paddle down the Yukon River, hike like a woman in Wyoming, and enjoy what Curaçao and Amsterdam have to offer. In this age of drive-throughs and fast food, we’ll slow down for a few meals in Los Cabos, Shanghai, and Rouen. And, if you’re more interested in cooking yourself, we show you where to find markets in Hong Kong and spices in the Yucatan. If wine and spirits are more your speed, check out our articles on wine in Prince Edward County and a distillery in Gig Harbor. We’ll even tell you about a wine app that is a great social hub for oenophiles. There is so much more to this issue, and I hope you will take time to read and savor everything we have to offer you. As a side note, I want to let you know that our writers live and work all over the world. You may notice, therefore, that some of the spellings or word uses are a little different as the writers use their authentic voices. It’s all part of the adventure, after all. Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season, and happy trails in 2020!

Ciao, Chris

Christine Cutler Executive Editor

On the cover:

Christine Cutler | Executive Editor Debbra Dunning Brouilette | Associate Editor Irene Levine | Assistant Editor Jan Smith | Assistant Editor Robyn Nowell | Marketing Manager

Editorial Board

Debbra Dunning Brouilette David Drotar MaryFarah Irene Levine

David Nershi Robyn Nowell Jan Smith Amy Piper

Contributing Writers/Photographers Danielle Bauter Chris Cutler Mary Ann DeSantis Diane Dobry Robin Dohrn-Simpson Jim Hill Veronica Matheson Deirdre Michalski David Nershi Amy Piper Jan Smith Mira Temkin Melanie Votaw

Judi Cohen Andrew Der Tony DeSantis Mary Farah Betsi Hill Noreen Kompanik Lori May Nancy Mueller Robyn Nowell Paula Shuck Lori Sweet Kathleen Walls

All articles & photographs are copyright of writer unless otherwise noted. No part of this publication may be reproduced without express written permission.

Magazine Layout & Design Christine Cutler


Editor: IFWTWA: Marketing: Visit our website:

Amsterdam, The Netherlands © Andrew Der Food, Wine, Travel Magazine is an official publication of the International Food, Wine, Travel Writers Association.


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In This Issue 1

From the Editor


the united states 7 11 14 17 19 21

A Taste of Medora, North Dakota Hike Like a Woman A The American Prohibition Museum: It's Intoxicating Sebasco Harbor Resort—A Maine Coastal Retreat A Washington State Gem— Heritage Distilling Company Cellar Tracker—The Ultimate Wine App

canada 25 28 31

Paddling Canada’s Yukon River The Talking Trees of Vancouver’s Stanley Park Enjoy the Bounty of The County: The Wineries of Prince Edward County

the caribbean & latin america 35 40 43 45 47


Huerta Los Tamarindos—Baja Mexico’s Culinary Treasure Man-O-War Cay, Bahamas: A Gem Destroyed by Nature Antigua’s Sweet Treasure: 127 Exotic Handmade Ice Creams Curacao: Eight Activities to Help You Enjoy Island Time Mexico’s Culinary Gems: The Spices of the Yucatán

14 17 25 31

51 35 europe 51 55 57 59 62 65

Amsterdam the Easy Way Cruising the Norwegian Fjords: Nature, Culture, & the Midnight Sun Magical and Medieval Èze—Côte d’Azur, France La Couronne, Rouen, France Szechenyi Thermal Baths—Budapest, Hungary Visiting the “Palaces of the People”in the St. Petersburg Metro

asia-pacific 71


Japan’s Feast of Color—Ashikaga Flower Park Hot Springs Bliss: Thawing Out in Mineral Springs Down Under Taking Fresh Produce to a Different Level— Lok Fu Fresh Markets Hong Kong Shanghai’s House of Roosevelt


Meet Our Writers

73 75

45 51 65 75 Summer 2019



the united states

Weekend Getaway A Taste of Medora, North Dakota By Amy Piper


edora, North Dakota, is an offthe-beaten-path, seasonal town. Often, North Dakota remains the last state visited by those earning the “Visited All 50 States” badge, as North Dakota is the least-visited state in the union. But a second look re veals, Medora, North Dakota, as a hidden treasure for history buffs, outdoor lovers, and photographers. History buffs learn the story behind the town’s namesake, Medora de Mores. Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States, has strong roots in Medora. Outdoor lovers appreciate golf at one of America’s Top 100 golf courses, Bully Pulpit Golf Course. They explore Theodore Roosevelt National Park through a scenic drive or hiking. For photographers, the panoramic landscapes are a dream. Wild horses, buffalo, elk, over 185 species of birds, and those cute prairie dogs in their own small town make it an exciting area for wildlife photographers. Here’s how I spent my recent Medora weekend getaway.

Unwind at Medora Uncork'd We kicked off our weekend at Medora Uncork’d by enjoying a glass of Aronia Berry wine from Wolf Creek Winery in Cole Harbor, North Dakota, pairing that with a BBQ Blueberry Meatball flatbread appetizer. It was just enough to get us through nine holes of golf.


Photo this page: Buffalo near Medora; Opposite page: Sites in and around Medora, North Dakota

Play a Round of Golf at Bully Pulpit Golf Course At Bully Pulpit Golf Course, ranked one of America’s Top 100 Golf Courses, we found ourselves immersed in the Badland’s landscape. The Little Missouri River meanders through the course with greens tucked between the colorful bluffs. Their signature holes, “The Badlands Holes,” (numbers 14, 15, and 16) allowed us to play through a rough fairway canyon. If you love golf, you’ll want to give this challenging course a try. After nine holes, we went back to our hotel and prepared for our gourmet

dinner at Theodore’s inside the Rough Rider’s Hotel.

Theodore’s—A Fine-Dining Option In Theodore’s, we sat in front of the beautiful brick fireplace and enjoyed a meal worthy of any gourmet. The bison Osso Bucco was fork-tender and ser ved with braised au jus and a creamy horseradish sauce. The chefoffered seasonal vegetables accompanied the dish with blue cheese mashed potatoes and caramelized onions. After dinner, we explored the historic hotel and browsed through its lobby library which contains one of the

Photos this page: Farmhouse Cafe (L) a d the Pitchfork Steak Fondue (R) Opposite page: Horse in Medora

largest collections of books by and about Teddy Roosevelt.

quick lunch and eat in the sun before heading off to explore Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Saturday Morning—Grab Breakfast at Farmhouse Café

Visit Theodore Roosevelt National Park

The Farmhouse Café was a bright, airy, open room with shiplap on the walls and polished concrete floors. We found both traditional breakfasts and some with a creative modern twist. The typical hearty farmhouse breakfast had two eggs any style, hash browns, a choice of breakfast meat, and a choice between toast, pancakes or French toast. The Badlands nachos were a creative twist on traditional breakfast ingredients. They started with a base of sweet potato waffle fries topped with scrambled eggs, onions, sausage, and cheese. A drizzle of maple syrup finished the dish. After breakfast, we headed back downtown to the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame.

Explore the North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame The horse theme tied together the various exhibits at The North Dakota Cowboy Hall of Fame. You’ll find exhibits on North Dakota’s deep-rooted rodeo history, North Dakota ranchers, and indigenous Native Americans. After a morning exploring the lives of cowboys, we walked across the street for lunch and prepared for our visit to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park’s southern section.

Grab Some Lunch at Maltese Burger


Maltese Burger was a walk-up burger stand with window service that offered a variety of juicy burgers, from beef to chicken. Get an order of fries, and forego the ketchup. Ask for a side of aioli for dipping instead. The aioli added a flavorful garlic flair to the fries. We ate at outdoor tables; the other option was to take it to-go. It was the perfect place to grab a

Bison, elk, prairie dogs, and wild horses call T h e o d o r e Ro o s e v e l t Na t i o n a l Pa r k h o m e . Photographers will have great fun watching and waiting for that perfect wildlife shot. Several hiking trails and scenic overlooks branch off the 36-mile Scenic Loop Drive. The park’s South Unit has the Maltese Cross Ranch Cabin, where President Roosevelt once lived and the multi-colored Painted Canyon both opportunities for hikers and photographers. Note the Painted Canyon Visitor’s Center is off Interstate 94 east of Medora.

Have Dinner at the Pitchfork Steak Fondue On a bluff, high above the town, Tjaden Terrace boasts a panoramic view of the Badlands, including historic Medora, the Little Missouri River, and Theodore Roosevelt National Park. At the Pitchfork Steak Fondue, chefs dressed in cowboy hats and red bandanas skewered steaks five-deep on a pitchfork and then fondued them in huge vats of boiling oil, while we watched. We selected our buffet-style dinner with coleslaw, fresh vegetables and fruit, baked beans, baked potatoes with all the trimmings, garlic toast, and for dessert cinnamon-sugar donuts, and brownies. We then chose our fondued steak before sitting down at long picnic tables on the open terrace. While we visited with new acquaintances, our table sang along to western songs played by the live band, the Coal Diggers. We even saw a Teddy Roosevelt look-alike wandering around. Although dinner served as many as 400 people, the line moved quickly, and dinner was over within about an hour and a half, just in time to find our seats at the Medora Musical.

Enjoy Some Live Music at the Medora Musical Ad j o i n i n g T j a d e n Te r r a c e , t h e B u r n i n g H i l l s Amphitheater is home to the two-hour Medora Musical based on President Teddy Roosevelt’s life. Although the show is different every year, it’s always part history lesson and part variety show. The musical features live on-stage, the Coal Diggers band and the Burning Hills Singers. During an informative 35minute backstage tour before the musical, our guide told stories of how they manage to deliver the show in an open-air amphitheater and some of the show’s 50-year history. The show begins with the National Anthem and a salute to veterans and continues with a series of musical numbers. Family-friendly comedy comes interspersed throughout the show. I particularly enjoyed it when the stage setting parted, opening the entire stage to the picturesque scenery. Actors charged San Juan Hill and rode onto the stage on live horses. Fireworks were an exciting ending to the evening.

Enjoy Sunday Brunch at the Medora Gospel Brunch We started Sunday morning off with the Medora Gospel Brunch in Medora’s Town Square Hall in downtown Medora. On the all-you-can-eat buffet brunch, we found egg bakes, a choice of breakfast meats, and other typical brunch fares. After the meal, Emily Walter and the Gospel Quartet performed uplifting gospel music accompanied by a full band. After brunch, we tried to pack in just a couple of more quick activities before we headed home.

Visit Chateau de Mores For a bit of history and architecture, we explored the Chateau de Mores State Historic Site. It takes about an hour to explore the 26-room, two-story summer residence of the Marquis’s family. The Chateau is currently a historic house museum originally built in 1883. Many personal effects of the de Mores family and the original furnishings were there. History buffs will enjoy a tour of this site.

Get in Some Last-Minute Shopping Purchase some western wear as a reminder of your visit to the Old West at Medora Boot and Western Wear. If you’d like to get that image of wild horses that escaped your lens, look in Chasing Horses. They also provide tours of Theodore National Park. Are you ready for a Medora weekend getaway?

if you go… Getting There Two airports serve Medora, and the closest is Dickinson. Bismarck is farther away; however, it’s a scenic drive with opportunities to view the Painted Canyon Visitor’s Center east of Medora. Lodging Both hotels listed below are central locations for the Medora weekend getaway itinerary. The Rough Riders Hotel is in downtown Medora, while the Elkhorn Quarters is on the outskirts of town. Rough Riders Hotel The Rough Riders Hotel boasts luxury in western elegance. History buffs should request one of the historic rooms where some say the President made a speech from the balcony. Elkhorn Quarters Elkhorn Quarters, named for Teddy Roosevelt’s ranch, has tiny house-style efficiency if you just need a place to lay your head at night between activities. The hotel is an economical and familyfriendly option. Theodore Roosevelt National Park Located on the banks of the Little Missouri River, camping in three different campgrounds is available in Theodore Roosevelt National Park. All of the National Park campgrounds are rustic, with no hook-ups or showers. Be sure to make a reservation as the park campgrounds are often full.

Hike Like a Woman By Paula Schuck



hile we slept, Wyoming’s first snow of the season landed lightly in the mountains of Medicine Bow National Forest. The jagged rocks of South Gap Lake Trail are slick and lodged at every possible angle where they flank Lewis Lake. On an average morning, this hike through the forest would be challenging. Today is not average. Up a rocky granite ledge, I follow, trailing behind several other women. Rebecca Walsh, owner of Hike Like a Woman, leads the way confidently engaging the group. Near the end of the line, there’s a trail guide who resembles Game of Thrones star Arya Stark. Morgan and Marley also work with Hike Like a Woman and are hiking with us today. One walks at the end of the group making sure we don’t lose anyone, and the other is near the middle of the pack. Just over an incline, we pause to watch two cyclists tackling the same path we’ve just traversed, cutting left and right, jackknifing up and then down. When one gets stuck, he climbs back up from the top and starts again. He does this maybe three times before finally mastering the hairpin turn, cycling down perfectly, bouncing from rock to rock to catch up with his buddy. We applaud their efforts before heading back down the trail. We are a group of travel writers touring Wyoming on a media trip. One of us is an earthy hiking enthusiast from Oregon, another a skilled photographer and writer from Denver. Others represent the Bronx, Texas, California, and, in addition to me, another Canadian, a videographer from Toronto. A few of us hike every week, but several are not accustomed to hiking and are still adjusting to the altitude. We range in ages from our late 20s to 60s and all the ages in between. The hike planned for today is roughly two miles out and two miles back. Halfway through the hike, two of our

members turn back. This is my longest hike to date. The air is thinner than I am used to, and my legs are turning to lead. I could have turned back at several points but didn’t. At the end of the hike when we all pause to eat, hydrate, and reflect, I realize the length of the hike and am filled with pride. It is a highlight of my trip to Wyoming. This group and this hike are just a sample of what Rebecca and Hike Like a Woman offer groups just like ours. She also builds overnight women-only hiking retreats. The Hike Like a Woman manifesto is an empowering statement about women following their dreams and also overcoming barriers: “What if we stopped listening to people telling us what we can't do and started listening to us telling ourselves what we can do? It’s impossible not to be impressed by Rebecca Walsh. A few weeks after I returned home to Ontario, Canada, I reconnected with Walsh to talk hiking, business in Laramie, and the specific appeal of women only adventures. The owner of Hike Like a Woman has mastered the art of reinvention while being authentic and true to her love of the outdoors. The blogger, podcaster, and entrepreneur was born in Laramie, Wyoming. Walsh grew up in nearby Bozeman, Montana, with parents who nurtured her love of the outdoors. Rebecca has always been happiest outdoors. As a youth, she was a high-level skier. She loved cross-country skiing, and after she graduated from high school, she shifted to biathlon, quickly winning a competition which put her on a training path that led to Argentina, Finland, and beyond. For several years, she was also head biathlon coach for eight athletes on the Wyoming National Guard biathlon team. Photo opposite page: Gap Lake. This page: Medicine Bow Trailhead (L); The author at end of the hike in Medicine Bow National Forest (R)

South Gap Lake Trail after the first snow of the season (L): Gap Lake. This page: Medicine Bow Trailhead (L); The highest point during the hike near Laramie is abourt 7200 feet above sea level (R).

In her 20s, Walsh served in the army for eight years. Near the end of that period of time, when getting ready to leave active duty, Rebecca and her husband contemplated which was the last place that they lived and really enjoyed. The answer was Laramie. They came home to Laramie and planned to start their family. “I really enjoy Laramie because it's a college town, and that brings some diversity to the community.” Wyoming is a great state to own a business in according to Rebecca. “It's very business friendly. There are low taxes. Within 10 minutes of my house, I can be hiking or crosscountry skiing on groomed trails any day of the year.” Hike Like a Woman offers both hikes and retreats. The business also has a thriving online community. Rebecca started her business with a parenting blog and now has a Podcast all about hiking. She is a mother of two, ages five and seven. “My seven-year-old is also athletic. My children are very involved in my business. My husband has a stable career with benefits which allows me to pursue creative pursuits.” Rebecca also owns Basecamp, a hiking gear store. The two businesses clearly feed each other and work together naturally. The ideal Basecamp customer is anyone who wants to get outside. “There are people that sit back and say, ‘Oh, I can't do that, period. I'm not smart enough. I'm not brave enough. I can't do that.’ And there are others who just do it. I’ve always been the type who just goes for it.”


Asked why there is a need for women-only hiking tours and retreats, she says she felt there was a gap in the outdoor adventures market.

“I was always the token female in my early twenties in the army. I did not have any close female friends in the army. After I had kids, that changed. I felt there was a lot lacking, and I needed to fill that gap. When I'm out on the trails with Hike Like a Woman on a retreat or what not, I think that's when we are our best selves. We aren’t worried about how we look. We don't care about our homes or a child's behaviour. Those are the times we have our most authentic conversations.” Laramie is a very good area for small business in general, according to Walsh. There are Hike Like a Woman retreats closer to home and then local hiking groups all over the world. Hike Like a Woman has an ambassador program featuring local representatives throughout Canada, New Zealand and all over the United States. “My most memorable hikes are often the retreats. We've had groups of women get lost. One time, I was with a group of eight friends. We climbed four 14,000-foot peaks in one day. We were all moms with small children, and we were all hiking together in Colorado. It was a challenging day for all of us, but what was more special about it was that we were all suffering together. Where there’s mutual suffering, there’s also growth.” On a day off, Rebecca Walsh. hiking guide, mom, wife, and entrepreneur, is outside hiking, cross-country skiing, or snow shoeing. Her business is both work and pleasure. When I a sk what motivates her personal l y and professionally, she answers easily. “What gets me out of bed are my children and my husband and trying to realize being an equal partner. My family supports me, and my spouse supports me. My friends also support the business. “Ultimately, I just want to help people get outside.”

The American Prohibition Museum: It's Intoxicating By Kathleen Walls Prohibition shut down bars around the country (Above) ; Docent Holly Sanders in era costume at museum door (Below)


hootouts in the streets! A country divided! Women standing up for their rights!

No, I'm not talking politics today. This is the era portrayed in the American Prohibition Museum in Savannah, Georgia. It's the only Prohibition museum in the country. Here I encounter gangsters, flappers, moonshine makers, anti-saloon leagues, rum runners, and a hatchet-wielding, Amazonsized woman named Carrie Nation who was the face of the temperance movement. The first person I meet at the Prohibition Museum is Holly Sanders dressed in the latest style of the 1920s. She welcomes me to the museum and warns me to watch out for Carrie Nation. "She's wandering around there with her hatchet."

Temperance Movement Sure enough, just inside the door there is a beleaguered Budweiser deliver driver in his Model T Ford Truck being prevented from delivering to McCurdy's Saloon by two ladies holding signs reading "Alcohol is poison" and "Bread not Beer." A young newspaper boy hawks his papers nearby telling visitors that Billy Sunday, a baseball star turned Temperance Movement revival preacher, is speaking tonight. I ascend the stair deeper into the heart of the museum and find pamphlets posted with headlines like "Wets vs Dries." Temperance Movement proponents brought home-values and even patriotism into the mix to get support for prohibition. After WWI began, German American saloon and brewery owners were portrayed as "fifth column of the Kaiser's army."

Carrie Nation demolished bars with her hatchet (L); Protestors picket delivery driver in front of bar in late 1800s (R); Prohibition shut down bars around the country (Below)

One group of entrepreneurs was happy about prohibition —moonshiners.

In a full sized "saloon," Carrie Nation proudly stands with her hatchet aloft in her right hand and her bible opened in her left, surveying the damage she has inflicted. A glass case beside her displays many artifacts—including several hatchets—from the era. In the adjourning room, two portraits on the wall of a lady and gentleman in gilt frames come to life and argue their respective sides about the Temperance Movement.

The 18th Amendment The next room shows the passage of the 18th Amendment that went into law on January 17, 1920. Newspaper headlines read, "Last Call for Alcohol: The 18th Amendment Bans the Bars." Such mixed reaction here; a group in a Model T cheer holding aloft a banner proclaiming prohibition. A local bar door is barred shut with a notice posted "Closed for violation of the National Prohibition Act." In another corner, a lifesized casket bears the inscription "R.I.P. John Barleycorn." Lining up for a mock funeral procession are cars of the era filled with grim-faced men in dark suits with banners proclaiming "Funeral for John Barleycorn tonight at 7:30." Another exhibit shows two now-unemployed workers emphasizing the fact that thousands of farmers, delivery drivers, coopers, warehouse workers, and clerks as well as distillers, brewers, and bar tenders are now out of work. On the wall, a statement by Henry Ford reads, "For myself, if booze ever comes back to the United States, I am through with manufacturing. I wouldn’t be interested in putting an automobile into the hands of a generation soggy with drink."

Results of Prohibition


Other exhibits show how the big manufacturers coped. Anheuser-Busch weathered prohibition with a nonalcoholic malt beverage called Bevo. Yuengling opened an ice cream and dairy plant, which operated until 1985. Some of the strangest displays are a can of Coors Malted Milk and a large, red can proclaiming Bud Frozen Egg Products.

One group of entrepreneurs was happy about prohibition—moonshiners. Folks like famed moonshiner, Popcorn Sutton, had been making illegal alcohol since colonial days, but Prohibition brought was less competition. A realistic-looking animated moonshiner proudly shows off his barrels of alcohol and tells us that since prohibition, his business is booming. A placard tells us how to make our own…if we are interested. Closely tied to the moonshine business, there is a NASCAR exhibit. It gives a close up look at the innovative ways cars were souped up to run whiskey by night and race in the day. Next I meet some characters I would not want to run into on a dark night—Al Capone, Bugs Moran, and Machine Gun Jack McGurn. Prohibition is making them rich. So what if it cost lives like the bloodstained young couple and driver in the adjourning 1929 Peerless Sedan marked with yellow crime tape. This was an era of great social change both good and bad. Perhaps it was a rebellion against the strictures of Prohibition, but young ladies in the 20s shortened their skirts, cut their hair, wore heavy makeup, engaged in wild dancing. A flapper freezes in midmotion as she performs the Charleston. The extensive flapper wardrobe display shows some beautiful dresses that are more revealing than their post-Victorian mothers would have dared wear.

"The father and mother of the Ku Klux Klan is the Anti-Saloon League.” By late 1920s, the Klan numbered about five million men, and there was a strong woman's auxiliary group. Prohibition gave them opportunity to terrorize immigrants, black, poor, and working-class people and anyone else who fit their anti-immigrant and antiCatholic bias. The trip through the Prohibition era ends in the speakeasy called Congress Street Up. During museum hours it is part of the exhibits, but Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, it is open in the evening via a separate entrance on Congress Street. One of my favorite things about this museum is that once you enter, you are engulfed in the era portrayed. Everything is realistic from the Model Ts, delivery trucks, and luxury cars, and the placards highlighting the local news to the characters you meet that were designed and created by Potter’s Wax Museum in St. Augustine. They are so real looking, you expect them to turn and walk away.

The speakeasies operate almost openly. In one video, a coy young lady beckons us over and mimics raising a glass; she then points to the nearby speakeasy. We go to the locked door and whisper a code word to enter. Inside, the Golden Era of the Cocktail unfolds. Bartenders get imaginative with mixing syrups and juices to mask the taste of inferior whiskey. We see that another effect of prohibition was the growth of the Ku Klux Klan. Clarence Darrow said,

1929 Peerless Sedan with dead couple in back seat and driver in front with yellow crime tape (L); - Temperance Movement proponents pushed for Prohibition (R); Prohibition sparked the start of people distilling alcohol themselves (Below)

Sebasco Harbor Resort– A Maine Coastal Retreat By Mira Temkin


s I wandered around this expansive 400-plus acre resort at night, I thought I had stepped back in time and onto the set of “Dirty Dancing.” Standing around the crackling fire were college kids talking, laughing, and drinking beer. Wait, w h e r e w a s I ? No , n o t t h e Catskills. I was in Maine. It was just a group of young people having a good time, and the year was 2019. Located on Maine’s Casco Bay in Phippsburg, Sebasco Harbor Resort is a family-friendly r e s o r t t h a t ’s b e e n o f f e r i n g delightful getaways since 1930. Less than an hour’s drive from Portland, the resort offers plenty of outdoor recreation as well as a chance to unplug.



Stay in everything from quaint cottages to the main lodge to luxury suites to sleeping in a

lighthouse. Yes, a lighthouse. Built by the resort’s original owner in 1945, the lighthouse offers exquisite views and comfortable surroundings. It’s ideal for a family as it has 10 guest rooms and an observatory on the third floor. I stayed in one of the luxur y Harbor Village Suites with stunning views of the water, a lovely balcony, and pillow top mattress with plush comforter. I enjoyed my morning coffee on my balcony, complete with unmatched panoramas.

A Full Range of Activities Looking for something to do? Head for the waterfront for harbor cruises aboard The Ruth or fishing and kayaking around Casco Bay. You can play tennis, golf, or lawn games, go mountain biking, or keep in shape at the fitness club. Swim in the outdoor saltwater pool. Get a relaxing massage or other beauty treatment at the oceanfront Fair

Winds Spa. How do a Hot Sea Stone Ma s s a g e and a Aromatherapy Massage sound? You can even stay in the suites at the Fair Winds Spa, which gives you exclusive access to the spa hot tub each evening after the spa has closed. Put down the i-Pad and check out the Quarterdeck Rec Center for old-fashioned family time for candlepin bowling (balls are smaller and have no holes), ping pong, or arcade games. It became my favorite place to relax and hang out at the resort.

Farm-to-Table Cuisine Right on the water with exquisite coastal views, The Pilot House was matched only by Maine’s freshest flavors, decadent desserts, and well-rounded wine list. I was amazed at the locally sourced menu offerings that came from either a nearby farm, a fishing boat or the farmer ’s

Photo opposite page: Sebasco Harbor Resort; Photos this page clockwise from bottom left: Lawn games; Fair Winds Spa; Weekly lobster bake; Staff picking vegetables in the resort’s garden

market. I was even more amazed when my sumptuous dinner arrived. I started with the ricotta and blackberr y fig jam as an appetizer. Since I’m a ricotta fan, I also went with the Mixed Green Salad that featured pears, walnuts, and house-made ricotta. The Maine Lobster with corn on the cob and roasted potatoes was fabulous, and the Salmon Steak w a s s u p e r b . My d i n i n g co m p a n i o n s s a i d t h e B a ke d Lobster Mac and Cheese was sheer perfection. The staff lives by a philosophy of “farm-to-table," and the cuisine changes seasonally. I saw them picking vegetables on their property, all of which are incorporated into their daily menu items. More casual dining is available at the Ledges Pub & Patio, which also offers traditional New England fare like steamed lobster, fried seafood, char-grilled burgers, and chowder.

It’s pure Maine, and it’s pure delicious! Every night, I roasted s’mores around the fireplace, listened to a sing-along, and watched as kids stood there in wonder. Ditto with t h e w e e k l y l o b s t e r b a ke , a heavenly experience held every Thursday night. This is Maine at its best.

Making it Memorable for the Kids Bring the whole family because Seabasco offers Camp Merritt, their own summer day camp with a ton of activities the kids will remember long after the vacation is over. Held on Tuesdays and Thursdays for kids 5-12, fun and educational programs range from hiking, animal demonstrations, and scavenger hunts to golf and tennis clinics with a pro.

Hit the Tees! Go for a round of golf on the course along majestic Casco Bay for challenging holes that change with the tides. Ideal for golfers of all abilities, let the Pro Shop help you choose the tee location that’s right for you.

Around the Area Located near the resort are galleries, museums, professional t h e a t e r, historic Ma i n e lighthouses, and shopping in charming nearby towns. Get directions to Popham Beach State Park and the Maine Maritime Mu s e u m f r o m t h e S e b a s c o Concierge, and spend some time exploring the beauty and history of Mid-Coast Maine. Sebasco Harbor Resort is open from mid-May to October and some weekends. Begin your own family traditions at Sebasco Harbor Resort.

A Washington State Gem—

Heritage Distilling Company

By Mary Farah


reaming of visiting the Pacific Northwest? If you are not, you should be. One of the most unique areas of the United States, the "PNW" offers visitors the chance of outdoor adventures as well as food and drink choices that are shaking up the culinary world. A perfect example is Gig Harbor's Heritage Distilling Company. While one may consider

Washington's Gig Harbor a bit of a sleeper town, power couple Justin and Jennifer Stiefel didn't let that stop them from launching Heritage Distillery Company in 2012. It had been just a few years since legislation had pa ssed to at la st al low distillery licenses in the state of


Washington, and after a fateful camping trip, the Stiefels knew they needed a good drink.

The Birth of Heritage Distilling Company The couple recalls a fun evening with friends around a campfire when they found themselves with a bad batch of scotch. They thought, "We could do better than this.” They soon did. With

three degrees between them (including law and chemical engineering), they set out to launch Heritage Distilling in Gig Harbor. n the process, they created a multi-location business that earns awards like "Best Whiskey of the Year" and most recently, national distribution.

It’s easy to see why. When you arrive to their Gig Harbor tasting room on Harbor view Drive, you’ll encounter a warm, spacious, and inviting atmosphere. As you check out their bottles ranging from vodkas to bourbons and gin, take note of which you're eager to try and pull up a chair to take a hard spirits flight. For a small fee, you can select four shots of Heritage's whiskey, gin, vodka, or their

naturally flavored vodkas. You can also mix it up by selecting one of their Instagram-worthy bevandas (cocktails) with a shot or two on the side. My choice? A flight with lavender, mango, ruby red grapefruit, and coffee.

While I was excited to tr y different liquors, I'll admit that I thought I knew how they would taste. While never having been a huge fan, I'd enjoyed my share of b i r t h d a y c a ke a n d v a n i l l a flavored vodkas back in the day. Little did I know what a game changer Heritage would be. The vodkas are naturally infused with what flavor they are. Mango tasted as if I'd taken a bite out of a fresh, sweet chunk, while coffee was an upgraded version of my usual AM beverage. There's nothing artificial to these vodkas, and you truly taste the difference. With all vodkas distilled from Washington red grapes in lieu of grains, they deliver an incredibly smooth drink with a sweet finish.

Bourbon and Barrels If you're a bourbon fan, you'll definitely want to listen up. Heritage's prized baby is their Brown Sugar Bourbon (BSB). A decadent blend of sweet and indulgent, BSB features strong notes of cinnamon and brown sugar that create that classic whiskey warmth. Recipient of over a dozen awards including World's Best Flavored Whisky from World Whiskies Awards 2019, Heritage is also a proud sponsor of the Seattle Mariners.

S i n c e Ju s t i n i s a n a v i d baseball fan, it's only fitting they have coined the phrase, "You can't spell baseball without BSB." While Justin and Jennifer have clearly created one of the most unique distilleries in the Pacific Northwest, they also give you an opportunity to join their famed Cask Club. Having been a member of a few wine clubs myself, the club was quite intriguing to me. For the price of the membership fee (under $300 US), you receive your own tenliter private oak cask displayed in one of the beautiful tasting r o o m s . Yo u r n a m e a n d hometown are engraved on a plaque for the world to see, and you can even sample the spirit as its being aged to determine when you're ready to enjoy.

Giving Back Something that strikes me each time I'm in Washington is the strong sense of community there. He r i t a g e i s a n o t h e r g r e a t example of the state's sense of giving back, and the distillery supports several causes. One that made this 90s music girl happy is their involvement with grunge legends and philanthropy activists, Pearl Jam.

In 2018, the rockers hosted two shows in Seattle in support of their Vitalogy Foundation and committed to a $1,000,000 drive to help combat the homeless e p i d e m i c i n K i n g C o u n t y, Washington. Heritage created a limited edition BSB bottle with a portion of the proceeds going to the foundation. Needless to say, the bottle has long sold out, and the distillery enjoyed meeting visitors from all around the globe who were in town to support the band and cause.

Visit Heritage Distilling Company Heritage has five locations in Washington and one in Oregon, so anytime is the perfect time to introduce yourself to Heritage Distilling Company. While each location offers a unique e x p e r i e n c e , G i g Ha r b o r i s certainly a hidden gem of the state. Just 50 miles outside of Seattle, the seaside community offers guests picturesque views in addition to delicious food and drink and the chance to unplug… ideally, with a glass of Brown Sugar Bourbon in hand.

All photos of Heritage Distilling Company in Gig Harbor


The Ultimate Wine App By Dave Nershi, CSW


inding the ultimate wine app is like searching for a unicorn. There are legends and mythical greatness, but unicorns sure are elusive.

There’s no shortage of wine apps that rely on social media or snapping a picture and sharing a few lines. One app that pops up occasionally as I research different wines is loaded with insightful comments like, “OMG!! I had this wine at a tasting. Yummy!!” My ultimate wine app needs to deliver something different. I’m looking for, shall I say, a more nuanced discussion of wine. I first encountered CellarTracker a number of years ago when I was trying to deal with a growing wine cellar. Wine tastings, winery visits, visits with our friends at the local wine shop soon had bottles proliferating everywhere. I’m certainly not a Silicon


Valley tycoon with a 10,000-bottle cellar, but I like to keep a cellar of around 100-to-120 bottles. The problem comes in with whites that need to be consumed young, tightly structured red wines that need to lay down for five or more years, and lighter reds that have a much shorter drinking window. How to keep track of it all? For that matter, how do you find the bottle you are looking for or even know what’s in the cellar? Before you say, “I don’t have a large wine collection; I just want to know about a particular wine,” let me say that CellarTracker does it all. CellarTracker has a massive database of millions of wine reviews, and anyone can view them. More than 620,000 wine lovers use Cellar Tracker, and it is an amazing social hub for oenophiles.

Perhaps the 2009 “The Prisoner” is a popular wine about which you might want more information. You can see that 93% of the tasters liked it, and there are 598 tasting notes. The overall rating is 89.5 and the average cost $35 dollars. You can also see that 60 percent of purchasers consumed their bottle while 40 percent are letting it age for a while. CellarTracker works well on a smart phone, tablet, or desktop computer. Entering wine is easy as you type the first few letters of the winery and select from a dropdown lists of wines. You can keep track of each bottle’s location and cost along with other notes. As you pop the cork and enjoy, you can add a tasting note— for just yourself or the whole community to enjoy. This is a robust app with many features. Three of my favorites include the following: • Generate a “wine list” of your bottles sorting them by grapes, wine types, and regions. • Consult a drinkability report that shows the best drinking window for your wine so that no bottles “jump the shark” and lose their great flavor. • Share what’s in your wine cellar with your friends by allowing them to view your wines entered in CellarTracker. Your friends and others can share their collections, too. Perhaps the greatest feature is Cellar Tracker’s price. It’s free. You have the opportunity annually to make a contribution to help keep the enterprise going. CellarTracker unlocks the world of wine, and that’s priceless indeed.

Photo opposite page: Ratatouille and Châteauneuf-du-Pape; Photos this page: Bowers Harbor Block II Riesling; Screenshot of Cellar Tracker

We’re Florida-bound!

Announcing‌ The International Food Wine Travel Writers 2020 Conference

Fort Lauderdale, Florida November 8-11, 2020




Paddling Canada’s Yukon River By Nancy Mueller


o one could say we hadn’t been warned. Before we arrived in the Yukon, our host had advised that we would be spending a full day (12 hours) on the Yukon River, with at least eight of them spent in the canoe. Our route would take us from Dawson City to the historical site of 40 Mile, a distance of approximately 70 kilometers (43+ miles). If only I had learned metric in school, I might have had an inkling of what lay ahead. As such, I approached our outing with eager innocence.

Safety First After a hearty breakfast, our intrepid group of six gathered together shoreside to meet up with our guides, Colm and Andi. “How many of you are experienced canoeists?” Colm asked as he scanned our motley crew with a critical eye. Wisely, methinks, I looked away. Three others raised their hands; one had once been a canoe guide in Ontario, Canada. Quickly, we’re paired off, an experienced canoeist with one less so. “You’re going to have your work cut out for you,” Colm advised. “We could have paddled the Klondike River, but boats have been flipping. This route will be longer, but it’s more stable today.”


Andi is a petite young woman from Quebec who smiled easily as she led us through a brief safety drill. “We’ll try to stay within sight of each other, but if anyone gets in trouble, just wave your paddle overhead like this.” Check. More paddle signals followed. “To hold your position, raise your paddle like this.” Andi stretched out her arms. I smiled taking delight in knowing that Andi and I would be canoe mates should any such safety needs arise. After donning our lifejackets, we settled into our canoes—me in front and Andi directing us from the rear. The water was calm enough, and in my mind, the sunny sky overhead portended a nice, leisurely paddle down a stretch of the legendary Yukon River. I took in the scene as we set off in our four canoes. “Here we are about to wander the same waterway traveled by nineteenth-century explorers lured by the Klondike (Yukon) Gold Rush.” I told myself. It’s a heady moment imagining the excitement and trepidation of those hardy, some would say foolhardy, adventurers.

First Impressions At first glance, the Yukon River is not what you would call pretty. Massive and mighty it is, yes, but pretty in the conventional sense, no. Opaque rather

than crystal clear, brownish-gray-green in color instead of blue, the river is a repository for suspended sediment, a slurry of silt and clay glacier runoff.

Fun Facts Both the Gwich’in and Yupik, First Nations’ peoples of Northwestern North America and Alaska, are credited with giving the river the name by which we know it today. Depending on the source, in their indigenous languages, the Yukon River means, “white water river,” or “great river” (Gwich’in) and “large stream” (Yupik). However named, with a 2000-mile span that starts in the coastal mountains of British Columbia, flows north through the Yukon and west across Alaska where it empties into the Bering Sea, the river is undeniably a spectacular force of nature.

And We’re Off Canoes launched, soon enough we made our way out of Dawson City. Andi pointsed out sights along the way, like the landmark Moosehide Slide and Moosehide itself, a small First Nations’ community atop a bluff on the right side of the river. Every two years, the settlement hosts an inclusive gathering to celebrate the Hän culture in an effort to rejuvenate its songs and customs. Andi continued our sightseeing tour from the water at the property of “Caveman Bill” as locals know him, who’s lived in his hillside home for over 20 years. We also passed Paddlewheel Graveyard, the site of several remnants of paddlewheels. Once the primary means of transportation on the Yukon River, they were abandoned as overland travel became more accessible. Our navigation continued past an island where a pack of barking dogs rush the shoreline at the sight of our passing canoes. Next up was Sisters Island, once owned by the Sisters of St. Ann, and on towards Dog Island. The farther we paddled, the shoreside sights receded and we slipped into a remote wonderland of wildlife and vegetation.

Photos from top:The author paddling her canoe; The route on the Yukon River; Andi, the guide, gives a safety drill

Picking Up the Paddling Pace Our paddling pace picked up thanks to strong north winds intent on blowing us sideways on the fast-flowing river. We fought to stay straight on the course ahead instead of careening onto neighboring rocks or stuck in an eddy, a small whirlpool hard to peel out of. Despite a few spins around, for the most part we were successful even if we found ourselves lagging a bit behind the others. “Never mind,” Andy coached from behind. “We’re on our own journey. We’re fine.” “If you say so, Andy,” I shouted through clenched teeth. It could be worse. At least it was not raining.

Lunch Break Several hours into our canoeing, through intermittent fierce paddling fighting the wind, we brought our boats onto shore for a much-needed stretch, lunch, and potty break. Of course, there were no outhouses there, so we followed the practice of pioneers before us and headed for the bushes. No one had to tell me not to tarry after having seen moose and bear tracks on the beach. Relaxed and rejuvenated, we took to our canoes for the remainder of our paddle excursion. Distant eagle and bear sightings reminded us of our place in nature’s ecosystem. As we came closer to the trail’s end, highpitched cries followed us down the river. I scanned the cliffs looking for whatever was making the sounds, but I saw nothing. Only later did I discover that the screeching I heard came from ravens scattered among tree branches atop the bank.

Journey’s End The end of our river odyssey was near. At least, I thought it was because Andi kept coaxing me: “Just one more bend” around the river. But as “one more bend” turned into two or more, I felt my energy flagging. Previous rhythmic paddling had given way to shorter strokes and frequent shifting from left-to-right on our final approach. At long last, well over our estimated arrival time, we reached our destination. We did it. By the end of our journey, we had paddled a total of 48 miles—in a DAY. Only later do we learn that our little river jaunt was normally an overnight camping trip, a feat which, in my mind, pretty much qualified us for Canadian citizenship. As we pulled onto shore, the thrill of having paddled a portion of the iconic Yukon River took hold. I smiled, in relief for sure, but mostly at our accomplishment. Slowly, I unfolded my body like an origami butterfly reclaiming its wings. So what if it took two people to get me out of our canoe? I paddled the mighty, the magnificent Yukon River.


Photos from top: Canoeing the Yukon; The paddlewheel graveyard; A well-deserved espresso martini

Ready to book your own Yukon Adventure? For more information visit Travel Yukon or Castle Rock Canoe.

The Talking Trees of Vancouver’s Stanley Park By Mary Ann DeSantis

My goal is to tell stories, to get you to walk through the forest and know what you are looking at…


tanley Park is Vancouver, British Columbia’s most verdant gem with lush forests and splendid gardens, all visible whether arriving by land, air or sea. I woke up before daylight as my cruise ship approached Vancouver through the Burrard Inlet. I wanted to get a sneak peek at the park as we passed under the Lions Gate Bridge, which runs from Prospect Point in Stanley Park to north Vancouver. While the iconic bridge graces many postcards and scenic photos, it was not the most memorable thing I saw as I peered over the ship’s balcony. I was struck by how green the trees were and how the leafy splendor covered the hillside for as far as I could see. Stanley Park had an aura that I couldn’t pinpoint until later that day when I joined a “Talking Trees” tour. Most visitors associate Stanley Park with the 5.5-mile portion of Vancouver’s stone seawall that circles the park and is a favorite hangout for walkers, joggers, and bicyclists. The seawall actually runs along the Pacific Coast for nearly 14 miles—from Vancouver’s Convention Center to the Park, then through Granville Island and onto Kitsilano Beach Park.

Deep Inside the Park
 Trekking around the seawall loop in Stanley Park is a must-do experience–especially for the waterfront views–but the real magic happens deep inside the park. The paths and trails go in different directions revealing sections of the park that most tourists do not see unless they book a tour. “My goal is to tell stories, to get you to walk through the forest and know what you are looking at,” says Tyrone Mayes, one of the guides for the Talking Trees tour organized by Talaysay Tours .

Photo previous page: Stanley Park seawall ©Tourism Vancouver ; Photos from top: Tyrone Mayes, guide ©Tony DeSantis; On the talking trees tour ©Tony DeSantis


Talaysay is the brainchild of Candace Campo, an anthropologist and a member of the Shíshálh (Sechelt) First Nation, the indigenous people who are members of the Coast Salish alliance, a collective of tribes within Southern British Columbia. In addition to the Talking Trees tour, other itineraries are available including a Spoken Treasures tour that explores Vancouver’s history. The tour guides, also called cultural ambassadors, are all members of First Nation tribes. They lead the Talaysay Tours and share authentic stories and facts about the native ways of life. My guide, Tyrone, was a young man striving to reclaim his Shíshálh heritage including its almost-extinct language.

About Stanley Park

“All the things I’m sharing on these tours are things I learned from my elders,” he said. “I’m trying to connect with the ancient ways.”

Founded in September 1888, Stanley Park is a free, city park that is open 24-hours a day. At 1,001-acres, the park is one-fifth larger than New York City’s Central Park and is one of the largest urban green spaces on the North American continent.

The Tree of Life
 At our first stop, Tyrone pointed out a Western Red Cedar, considered the “tree of life” and the most sacred of all the plants and trees. “From the time of birth until death, the red cedar played a part,” explained Tyrone. “Every part of the tree was used. Red cedars contributed to transportation, shelter, clothing, and baskets for collecting food.” Even after the trees themselves are dead, they still tell “stories” about the indigenous people who inhabited the area for 14,000 years, according to Tyrone. Pottery shards and even an intact stone bowl have been found in the root structures of toppled trees. It was a custom to bury a deceased tribal member in a sitting position near a tree, surrounded by possessions that may be needed in the afterlife. Hundreds of years later, archeologists have found remnants of those possessions, hence telling a story about the person who was buried there. “The root structures can often hold secrets of the past,” explained Tyrone who is a trained archaeologist.

The dramatic forest and ocean views are the biggest draws for visitors, especially from the seawall perimeter. Walk the entire circle in two-to-three hours or cycle around it in about an hour. But you may want to stop along the way and visit the Vancouver Aquarium which is located in the heart of the park and is home to more than 50,000 animals. Several restaurants are located in Stanley Park, including the Teahouse Restaurant overlooking English Bay where the sunset views are breathtaking.

A Sweet and Sacred Forest 
 As our tour meandered through Stanley Park, Tyrone pointed out the many plants used for food and medicinal purposes among the First Nations. We picked a Salal berry, which looks like a cross between a Concord grape and a blueberry. The indigenous children were taught to leave something to thank the plant for its sweetness. “It could be a piece of hair or a song,” advised Tyrone. Talaysay’s Talking Trees tour emphasizes that every plant and tree is deemed sacred and each has its own special story. “Listen closely,” said Tyrone. “Our elders knew that when you meditate in the forest, the plants will reveal themselves.”

Photos from top: Stanley Park totem; Cycling through Stanley Park; Lions Gate in Stanley Park Photos ©Tourism Vancouver

Enjoy the Bounty of The County:

The Wineries of Prince Edward County

By Lori Sweet


hen you think of wine, do Canada and the province of Ontario come to mind? They should. Amongst the several wine regions in Ontario, Prince Edward County, locally known as "The County," is considered one of the fastestgrowing wine destinations.

Location, Location! This hidden treasure of a wine region is located along the ea st end of Lake Ontario and is surrounded on the north and east by the Bay of Quinte. It is home to close to 40 wineries with more opening each year. It is also home to craft beer, ciders, and spirits. It is well known for the famous Sandbanks beach and is very popular with foodies.


The limestone-rich soil, well-drained clay loam, and moderating air temperature due to its proximity to the water create the perfect environment for the hand-crafted award-winning wines developed here. Experts liken the area to the terroir of Burgundy.

Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) oďŹƒcially identified Prince Edward County as a VQA appellation in 2007. VQA is a regulatory system that guarantees the high quality and authenticity of origin for Canadian wines in the provinces of British Columbia and Ontario. It is similar to those in Italy (DOC) and France (AOC), to name a few. Well-known for its Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, the region has recently been recognized for its the introduction of Malbec. Prince Edward County is a perfect destination for a day trip or a short getaway. The region is only a onehour drive from Kingston, a two-hour drive from Toronto, three-hour drive from Ottawa, and a fourhour drive from Montreal. Bed and Breakfasts, short-term rentals, motels, and hotels abound, as do an abundance of farm to table restaurants. Let’s Talk About Wine There are many wonderful wineries to choose from, but here is a list of some of our favourite wineries.

Wine is sunlight held together by water. ~ Galileo Galilei

Photo opposite page: Grapes from Karlo Winery; Photos this page from left: Stanners Vineyard Awards; Three Dog Winery Award; Terra Estate Winery sign; Three Dog Winery; Casa Dea Estates Winery

Karlo Estates This award-winning winery is the world's first certified vegan winery. Their tasting room is a renovated 1805 barn, and the property has North America's largest dry-stone bridge. Their fortified white—VanAlstine White—is a crowd-pleaser on its own or with dessert. Sandbanks Winery Sandbanks is one of the area’s oldest wineries. Free daily guided vineyard tours are available. A highlight is buying local cheeses, charcuteries, and treats from their fridge along with a glass of wine to enjoy in the vineyard picnic area. A glass or a bottle of Sleeping Giant with its flavours of coffee and raspberry is sure to please. Terra Estate Winery One of the newer wineries in The County, Terra names it main stable of after the grape rather than giving it a creative name. A favourite is Terra Viognier, a lovely white with floral notes and stone fruit on the palate. Harwood Estate Winery Three vineyards surround this unique winery’s tasting room. You could consider this a vineyard and winery tour all at once. It is also a completely solar-powered winery. A taste of their North Beach Mermaid Sparkling Rosé 2018 brings back thoughts of summer.

Bridge at Karlo Estates Winery (L); Wine and cheese at Sandbanks Winery (R)

By Chadsey's Cairns Winery Such a unique name must have a back story, and it does. One of the original county wineries, it was named after an early settler, Ira Chadsey. He built stone cairns at the back of the farm to help guide him home in the afterlife as a white horse. Their tasting room is housed in a historic apple house from the 1850s. Sit on the back porch here and enjoy a glass of their crisp white blend, White Horse 2016, named after Ira. Casa-Dea Estates Winery This winery currently has the largest planting of Vinifera grapes in the county with 65 acres under vine. The Italian name of the winery translates to “Home of the Goddess,” a tribute to the founder's wife. They produce several wines including different sparkling wines and a wine using the appassimento method named Adamo. Grange of Prince Edward County The mother/daughter team produces wines made from seven varieties of grapes, all grown on the estate. The tasting room is in a historic barn where you can also pick up your preordered picnic lunch to eat on the grounds. Their Gamay Noir has been known to grace a table or two for a holiday meal. Stanners Vineyard This unique winery specializes in Pinot Noir. This unpretentious winery houses their tasting bar in their barrel room which they built using eco-friendly straw-bales construction. They have a porthole built into the wall to show the str ucture of this temperature-equalizing method of construction. Try their Chardonnay for hints of ripe apple, honey, and lemon.


Three Dog Winery Located on the eastern edge of the county, this unique winery is home to a yoga studio, an Airbnb loft apartment, and a number of social activities. Its name comes from the founding couple’s three rescue golden retrievers. Wines named Dog House Red and Dog House White are favourites. Huff Estates Winery This winery stands out from the rest of the county wineries because of its modern, sleek state-of-theart facility, reminiscent of what you find in wineries of the more well-known Niagara region. There is an onsite art gallery, an inn, and a helipad. A glass of ruby red merlot at the onsite indoor/outdoor restaurant is a treat.

More Than Wine Even if you are not a wine drinker, you’ll find much to do in Prince Edward County. Three main towns— Picton (the largest), Bloomfield and Wellington— make up the area, and Main Street in all three places has an abundance of unique shops and locally-owned restaurants from which to choose. There are a few chain businesses in Picton, but you would be hardpressed to find any chain restaurants or stores in the other two towns. Knowing you can't take it all in, you can decide to spend the night or join in one of the many day tours and let someone else do the driving. Come and enjoy the “Bounty of the County”! For more information visit

the caribbean & latin america


Huerta Los Tamarindos: Baja Mexico’s Culinary Treasure By Noreen Kompanik

Bluebonnets at Sunset ŠFredericksburg CVB Grilled octopus at Los Tamarindos


os Cabos, Mexico, located on the tip of the California Baja Peninsula is known for its magnificent cuisine. Daily access to fresh seafood, locally grown produce, and some of Mexico’s finest chefs make this area a food lovers delight. But on a recent trip to Los Cabos, Mexico, we f o u n d a n a b s o l u te g e m a t Hu e r t a L o s Tamarindos, a 17-acre rural organic farm and restaurant located just one mile f rom the aquamarine waters of the Sea of Cortez and San Jose del Cabo's estuar y. Thanks to a local recommendation, visiting this magnificent Baja gem was icing on the cake of our Los Cabos visit.

Los Tamarindos Property Photos this page: Chef-Owner Enrique Silva with fresh catch; The organic gardens of Los Tamarindos (Top); The Mixology Garden (Bottom); Photos opposite page: Fresh vegetables and herbs (Top L); Preparing for cooking class (Bottom L); Open-air dining at Los Tamarindos (Top R); Catch of the Day—Sea Bass (Bottom R)


Getting to Los Tamarindos was indeed part of the fun. We relied on directions from the farm as GPS doesn’t work in this fairly remote off-the-beatenpath section of San Jose. Traveling on winding unpaved roads through a dry sandy river bed, guided solely by landmarks, we arrived at our destination. The show piece of the property is the massive hacienda-style stone and brick farmhouse dating

back to the 19th century. Once farmed for sugar cane, the stunning acreage sat dormant for years until 2003 when owner and executive chef Enrique Silva began cultivating the land. Originally from Sonora, Mexico, Silva trained as an agricultural engineer and is highly regarded as Los Cabos’ pioneer of organic produce. Previously, the co-owner and executive chef of Cabo san Lucas Tequila restaurant, Silva brought along his culinary talents and his love for the land to Los Tamarindos. Friendly, approachable and excited about the tremendous success of the farm and restaurant, Silva, dressed in his iconic red shirt and striped apron, smiled. With outstretched arms he proclaimed “We are proud of our commitment to sustainable farming here in Cabo.” “Huerta” he explained is the Spanish term for a fertile area, a farm. Tamarindos is named after the tamarind, a popular edible fruit originating from Africa. Not only does the farm grow its own fruit, vegetables, and herbs, it also raises free-range chickens and sources other fresh meat locally. Seafood treasures arrivie daily from Cabo’s fishing boats. Fertile soil, a

land flush with aquifers, plenty of sunshine, and warm breezes blowing in from the Sea of Cortez provide perfect growing conditions. Los Tamarindos is even provisioning some of Los Cabos’ top-rated five-star restaurants with its organic produce. Its homegrown products are also for sale to the public in its open market.

Organic Farm Tour During our farm tour, we strolled past row upon row of tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, pumpkin squash, poblano peppers, various greens, arugula, radicchio and other unique regional vegetables. Over 100 mango trees are also located here. Our guide explained the concept of the farm’s operations in detail. No insecticides are used. Only natural ingredients like garlic and pepper control pests. Field hands tirelessly worked with the plants, their large hats shielding them from the mid-day sun as they joyfully work the land. Cooking classes held throughout the year provide a c h e f - l e d i m m e r s i o n i n t o a Me x i c a n a n d Mediterranean culinary journey. Participants even

harvest their own vegetables and herbs and assist in hands-on preparation of four-course meals in a magnificent kitchen terrace. This authentic Mexican cocina sports wooden ceilings, stone walls and an impressive wood-fired oven. The fruit of the culinary student’s labor is then enjoyed with fellow participants at a festive communal table.

Amazing Dining Experience Dining at the restaurant is an unforgettable experience. The rustic open-air dining room’s thatched roof, wooden tables, and tastefully selected place settings all blend together in a beautiful celebration of the magnificent colors, textures, and culture of Mexico. Picture postcard views of the bucolic verdant grounds are remarkable. It’s no wonder the picturesque property is a popular venue for weddings and special events. A carefully selected and very impressive wine list features awardwinning wines of Mexico’s Valle de Guadalupe and California’s finest fruit of the vine creations. Mixed drinks are also available. Much to the delight of its loyal patrons, Los Tamarindos will son add a mixology program to a garden already planted for fresh cocktail ingredients. Though we admit high expectations of the food based on reviews and recommendations, we were delighted with the dishes we selected. The availability of seasonal produce and the local catch shape the menu. Our first course commenced with a beet and mixed greens salad tossed in an aged balsamic vinaigrette. Grilled octopus, tender and flavorfully marinated in a homemade herb oil and served on a bed of arugula, was divine. A bottle of perfectlychilled Valle de Guadalupe Chardonnay Vermentino was the ideal accompaniment. Being a fish lover and watching Chef Silva remove a massive sea bass from a fisherman’s cooler earlier in the day, I knew the entrée I was heading for—Los Tamarindos Catch of Day, a wood-oven baked sea bass with herbed olive oil and served over grilled farm vegetables. Fresh, savory, and meaty, the simple preparation let the gift from the sea speak for itself. My hubby raved over his wood oven-baked free range chicken atop a cauliflower puree and mix of farm vegetables. Since our bellies were honestly too full for dessert, our waiter suggested something light to share—the homemade Sorbete de mango de nuestro huerto—homemade mango sorbet from the farm’s own mango trees topped with fresh blueberries and a mint leaf. It was the ideal finish to an absolutely perfect meal. Valle de Guadalupe Chardonny Vermentino (Top); Beet salad (Bottom)


After our visit we had no doubt that Los Tamarindos was trueblue sea-to-plate and farm-to-table in every sense. Dining in this agrarian paradise not only provided one unforgettable authentic foodie experience, it cemented our plan to return next year for a hands-on cooking class.

Man-O-War Cay, Bahamas A Gem Destroyed by Nature By Betsi Hill


ollowing the American colonies’ defeat of the British in the Revolutionary War, some of the colonists who remained loyal to the British fled. They headed straight for the closest territory of Britain, the Bahamas. Man-O-War Cay is one of the early Loyalist settlements in the Abacos.

On Man-O-War, a common last name is Albury. Many of the Alburys who call Man-O-War home can trace their heritage back to Benjamin Albury. Albury, a shipwrecked sailor, met Eleanor Archer, the daughter of one of the early founding families of the island. The two fell in love, and in 1821, they married.

About Man-O-War Cay Man-O-War Cay is world-renowned for boat building, which dates back to the 1800s. William H. Albury, known as "Uncle Will" built the larger boats, and Maurice Albury built the smaller Abaco Dinghies. There were, at one point, many boatyards on Man-O-War building boats for the fisherman across the Bahamas. Today, Joe Albury

Dock and Dine at Man-o-War Marina (L); All that remains of the pavilion at Low Place after Hurricane Dorian (R)

carries on the tradition of building Abaco Dinghies. Albury Brothers Boats is shouldering the tradition of boat building by crafting quality boats that are world-famous.

A Special Jewel in the Bahamas Before Hurricane Dorian Man-O-War is a small island, only two-and-a-half miles in length. There are no Starbucks or fancy restaurants. The streets are narrow, and there are no cars, only golf carts and bicycles. The heart of Man-O-War is its people. With a little more than 300 full-time residents, the island is a place where everyone helps one another. We've been visiting Man-O-War Cay for about seven years, and there is something magical and unique about this island and her people.

rises from the island and splits the Sea of Abaco on the beachside from the Atlantic Ocean on the other side. The ocean waves break and send tendrils of sea spray high up in the air and over the rocky crest. The sight of the sea spray flying in the air is breathtaking. A small crescent-shaped beach with sugar-white sand fringes the cool turquoise water. We often take our dinghy or stand up paddleboard over to the Low Place and spend the day playing in the water. The water is warm all year round and is gin clear. You can often see sea turtles swimming gracefully by and spotted eagle rays gliding peacefully in the water. As you peer down, you'll often see red starfish scattered across the seafloor.

Things to Do on Man-O-War Cay Albur y's Sail Shop is known for its colorful, fashionable items made from sailcloth. Stop in say "hello" to the ladies at their sewing machines, and peruse the handmade tote bags, purses, and other items from the shop. Dock and Dine serves up tasty, fresh-caught seafood that is simple and tasty. Chefs Timmy and Devan offer a "You Catch It, We'll Cook It" meal option. So, fishermen and women, bring your catch in and let the chefs create an island special just for you. Rent a golf cart and explore the island. You'll see some interesting island homes and catch glimpses of the sea through the foliage. Book a dive tour and explore the wreck of the USS Adirondack. In 1862, the Adirondack wrecked on the reef just northeast of Man-O-War.


Spend a day at the Narrows, or, as the locals call it, the Low Place. The Low Place is one of the narrowest sections of the island. A small rocky crest

I have often said that ocean water is the best medicine for what ails you. Slipping into the water at the Low Place, I know that to be true.

Dorian Shreds Man-O-War Hurricanes are indiscriminate in nature. We think we know what they are going to do, but they often do something entirely different. Such was the case with Hurricane Dorian that struck the Bahamas as a powerful Category 5 hurricane on Sunday night, September 1, 2019. Je f f Ma s t e r s , m e t e o r o l o g i s t f o r We a t h e r Underground, stated that “portions of (Dorian’s) eye wall lashed Great Abaco and Grand Bahama islands with Category 5 winds for a total of 22 hours before the great hurricane finally weakened to Category 4 strength.” The reports coming out of the Abacos all speak to the terror each and every person who was on the islands felt during the hours that hurricane Dorian ravaged the islands. On Man-O-War, Dorian randomly ripped the roofs off some homes and

completely flattened others. Looking at the photos is like looking at an area torn apart by war. It is heart-wrenching. Hurricane Dorian so devastated Man-O-War that every vessel in Man-O-War harbor sank, including all the ferry boats. No one could get to the island for three days. Three days for hurricane survivors is an eternity. I can only imagine how fearful, terrorized, and shellshocked the residents felt and the hunger that gnawed at their stomachs. Dorian was the single most powerful and destructive hurricane to ever strike the Bahamas. It left death and destruction in its wake, and the islands will have a long and tedious rebuilding process. The power grid is gone. The water is gone. The entire inf ra str ucture of the Abacos ha s been destroyed leaving the survivors to live in near apocalyptic conditions.

How You Can Help Randy Crowe pastored New Life Bible Church on Man-O-War for 12 years, and now resides in New Smyrna, Florida. Randy and his wife Paula founded Island Outreach, Missions to the Bahamas 40 years ago. Crowe is delivering 300 pounds of rescue supplies directly to the hard-hit people of the Abacos on his Cherokee Piper 6 plane. Crowe will begin organizing teams to fly down and help rebuild. If you are interested in donating to Island Outreach or working with Island Outreach to help rebuild, contact them via the link above. Crowe is also working with Missionary Flights International. Missionary Flights flew approximately 7000 pounds of relief supplies into Marsh Harbor. When I spoke with oďŹƒcials at Missionary Flights, they told me they were able to deliver their first supplies to the Abacos and Man-O-War Cay during the weekend of September 8, 2019. Samaritan's Purse airlifted a field hospital to the Bahamas, and began delivering rescue supplies to Grand Bahamas and the Abacos, as well.

Photos clockwise from top left: Man-o-War Harbor with boats anchored; A beachfront home at Man-o-War Cay, Abaco, Bahamas; The harbor at Man-o-War Cay; Man-o-War Marina is a gathering place for locals, day trippers, and boaters All photos Š Jim Hill

Currently, the biggest need is monetary donations as they allow the charities to purchase the supplies they know thee residents who have been ravaged by Hurricane Dorian most need. Working together, we can help the Bahamas rebuild from the destruction that Hurricane Dorian brought to the islands.

Antigua’s Sweet Treasure: 127 Exotic Handmade Ice Creams By Bel Woodhouse


aving flavors so amazing that they are capable of transporting your taste buds to another country is a mean feat for ice cream makers, but that is what I was delighted to find in Antigua, Guatemala. How can these flavors not intrigue you: Tobacco with Turkish figs soaked in Zacapa Rum, Coffee Maple Bacon, or Parmesan Walnut Chocchip. These are just a few of the 127 innovative creations you can find at Sobremesa Helados Exóticos (Exotic Ice-Creams), located right next to Antigua’s town square. They are the perfect way to rock even the most hardcore foodies’ taste buds. They are not typical flavors that I had ever thought of when pondering ice cream choices. My favorite— Macadamia Caramelized White Chocolate Tequila— was divine on a hot day. The Creative Genius Alexander Ferrar, creator of Sobremesa Helados Exóticos, has made something magical by letting his imagination and creativity run wild. Artist, author, and restauranteur, Ferrar turned his restaurant.


Sobremesa, into an art gallery, book shop, and fine dining experience all rolled into one. Unable to help myself on one of the days I visited, I asked the lady next to me (who was ordering a rum fig tobacco) “What is that like?” Cigar with rum soaked figs in an ice-cream definitely fascinated me. Beaming, she replied, “It’s to die for. It reminds me of when I travel to Cuba. I usually enjoy a fine cigar with some rum after dinner each night.” Now, when she feels like a holiday, she goes for an ice cream instead. One taste transports her to her beloved Cuba. It made me wonder where I would go. The answer was an easy one. Italy.

Infused Into the Menu I never thought ice cream could transport my taste buds to Italy, but Alex nodded, smiled, and said, “Trust me.” He delivered. The Caprese salad he laid before me had a delightful surprise. Fresh tomato and rich five-hour slow-roasted tomatoes lay between huge mozzarella slices drizzled with a balsamic

Roasted Strawberry with Basil and Black Pepper (L); Dark Beer Espresso Brownie (R) All photos © Sobremesa Helados Exóticos

reduction surrounded a small pot of basil ice cream. Yes, basil ice-cream. In one of the happiest surprises of my life, this Caprese lover experienced a feat of culinary genius. Basil ice cream perfectly took this iconic Italian salad to a new level. In fact, it was better than some Caprese salads I’d had while traveling through Italy.

How Sobremesa Helados Exóticos Came to Be Originally Alex made handmade ice creams to flesh out his restaurant’s dessert menu. Chuckling, he says, “I had no idea what I was doing, so I started messing around”. Learning a basic hand-made ice cream recipe from a dessert cookbook, he started creating magic. “The ice-cream bug bit me,” he confessed. Its popularity exploded. Sobremesa Helados Exóticos was born. Lines of tourists, visitors, and locals alike lined up down the sidewalk, eagerly waiting their turn. Some of the country’s top chefs even call in to see what’s new and to try out new flavors. Others, like me, just relax and enjoy an ice cream capable of touching the pleasure center of their memories.

Why 127 flavors? Alex simply says, “I used to have 50. Then I came up with number 51.” His creative genius continued to flow, and he introduced flavors like Jasmine Blackberry, Pistachio Cardamom Triple Choc Brownie, and Pomegranate Tequila, just to name a few. He just keeps creating. His menu is ever changing as he adds new flavors and takes others off the menu.

Alex laughs and says this is due to his having no formal training like most chefs. “My mind is not constricted to the rigidity of ‘This goes with that,’ so it creates freely.” Made from high quality ingredients like Zacapa Rum —a Guatemalan platinum rum—these are more than just ice creams. Every flavor is crafted with care and not added to the menu without extensive testing.

What Is the Most Popular Flavor? The most popular flavor varies as to what is on the menu. When I was there, it was Avocado Bacon. Interestingly, previously another unusual, yet popular, flavor was Slow-roasted Black Garlic.

Who are the lucky taste testers? Well, that would be you, me, and everyone else who walks into his restaurant. Alex offers customers taste tests, and they delight in trying new flavors. Be sure to see what’s new when traveling through Antigua. Sobremesa Helados Exóticos is just around the corner from Sobremesa and across the road from the Antigua Cathedral. Since it’s in the heart of town, you can’t miss it.

Curaçao: Eight Activities to Help You Enjoy Island Time By Danielle Bauter


blend of European and African heritages, the island of Curaçao is part of the chain of ABC islands with Ar uba and Bonaire as its counterparts. Located in the South Caribbean, this is a region of the world that is still untouched, and the island boasts exclusive beaches, stellar dive sites, and u n i q u e a r c h i t e c t u r e , w h i c h m a ke f o r a n unforgettable experience. Willemstad, the capital of Curaçao, is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I had the opportunity to visit the island, my first time in the Caribbean, and the variety of activities that are available amazed me.

Swim With Sea Turtles at Playa Piskado At the picturesque beach of Playa Piskado, you can take a journey on an underwater scooter called Sea Bob. It has the power to cruise the depths of the ocean with just the press of a button. Navigate a Sea Bob through the water, and your adrenaline will surge as I sea turtles swim beside you and schools of colorful fish glide by. Have lunch nearby at Blue View Sunset Terrace, which rests on a cliff overlooking the ocean. Don’t forget to enjoy a rum punch as you watch gutsy cliff jumpers step off the ledge and fall effortlessly into the waters below.

Attend the North Sea Jazz Festival


This festival occurs every year in the summer, and contrary to its name, it features a variety of artists from different musical genres. This year’s lineup included such diverse headliners as Earth, Wind & Fire, Maroon 5, Black Eyed Peas, Gladys Knight, and Pitbull. The venue is in the heart of Willemstad and has three stages including one right by the beach. Around the venue’s perimeter are food stands where you can dine on tempura-fried shrimp, ramen noodles, or chicken satay. Be sure to accompany your meal with a glass of wine, beer, or a cocktail.

Stroll Around the Island’s Capital, Willemstad A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Willemstad is easily recognizable with its colorful buildings, and the Dutch influence is evident in the island’s architecture. It’s easy to convince yourself that you’re in Amsterdam or another Dutch city as you stroll by charming street cafes, galleries, and shops. Hop onto the floating bridge for a photo op at sunset, and if you get a chance to observe the bridge opening and closing as ships pass by, it’s a sight to see. There are also several museums in the area, including the Jewish Cultural-Historical Museum and the Museum Kura Hulanda which documents the brutal history of slavery in the New World.

Dine & Dance With the Locals at Mood Beach With a welcoming vibe and comfortable ambiance, this upscale beach club is the place to take a date or for singles to get their groove on. Step out to their tented outdoor area which sits right on the beach and settle into a seat that overlooks the dance floor. Their menu features plates that appeal to any palate. Highlights are their Truffle Linguini and Tom Kha Kai Soup. After 10 pm, the DJ starts spinning beats, and as the music gets louder, the crowd starts to swell, filling with locals. Order one of their cleverly captioned cocktails, such as a Lady Marmalade or a Honey I’m Home, and you’ll be dancing in no time.

Take an ATV Tour of the Island With Eric’s ATV Adventures, you have a variety of options for exploring the island. Their guides are patient and informative, and even a newbie will feel comfortable after a thorough lesson on how to operate the vehicle. During a journey to the east of the island, stop at an aloe plantation where you can purchase healing aloe products. Drive to the coast and stop to admire the waves near Kite Beach, and take a short hike up to Bat Cave. On our trip, our guide summoned us to the middle of the cave, and as he hummed slowly, he jumped and clapped his hands, invoking hundreds of bats to fly out of their perches above.

Dive deep on Substation Curacao Substation Curaçao's Curasub is a certified mini submarine that seats up to four participants and one driver. The mini submarine is able to explore depths unreachable for divers—often 500 to 1,000 feet below sea level. A couple of years ago, they launched a Shark Deep Dive excursion where guests could try to spot Cuban Dog Sharks, Seven Gill Sharks, Green Murray Sharks, and more. As you delve deep into the ocean, you’ll notice the differences between shallow and deep-water fish and different types of coral. There are also shipwrecks and reefs to explore, and it almost feels like launching into space.

Heal Yourself at Den Paradera Botanical Herb Garden Dinah Veeris knows a thing or two about healing, and she has made it her mission to preserve the local

Photo opposite page: Playa Porto Mari Sign © Eduardo Gato ; Photos this page: Waves hitting the Curaçao coast © Eduardo Gato (L); Mood Beach Club © Mood Beach Club (Top M); Bar at Mood Beach Club © Mood Beach Club (Bottom M); Governor’s mansion © Eduardo Gato (Top R); Playa Knip © Eduardo Gato (Bottom R)

history of her island by being the caretaker of traditional Caribbean medicine. Even the name “Den Paradera” means “where people feel at home.” She and her son grow a variety of native plants in her small garden, and they conduct tours twice a day. They also have a shop that sells a selection of herbal remedies including teas, tinctures, and oils. One of her most popular remedies is her love potion, which she will prepare for you if given at least a week’s notice.

Hike to the Top of Mount Christoffel The highest point on the island at 1,220 feet, it is best to begin this hike before 10 or 11 am in order to avoid the heat. This is a challenging one-and-a-half mile out and back trail, but worth the trek for the views once you reach the top. Curaçao has a desert climate, and you’ll notice a range of various plants, including wildflowers and cacti like the Prosopis juliflora and the Bromelia humilis. Towards the top of the mountain, you’ll reach the most challenging part —a scramble over boulders that lead to 360-degree panoramic views. Bring a bottle or two of water and a picnic lunch that you can enjoy at the top before making your way back down again. No matter your style of travel, Curaçao offers something for everyone. Curaçao may be one of the lesser known islands in the Caribbean, but that just means that there is more to discover. But don’t just take it from me—feel it for yourself.

Mexico’s Culinary Gems:

The Spices of the Yucatán By Robin Dohrn-Simpson


he Yucatán Peninsula looks like a mermaid’s tail on the southeastern tip of Mexico. It’s dense with jungles and dotted with pyramids built by ancient Mayans. The climate is hot and humid. There is an ancient history of Mayans living and thriving in the region and attempts both unsuccessful and successful by the Spaniards at overtaking them. The Yucatán is somewhat isolated from the rest of Mexico and therefore has developed its own unique culture. Today in the Yucatán, you will see influences from the Mayan, European, and Mexican cultures. Over the centuries, this mix of cultures has been absorbed into the culinary history of the peninsula. Commonly referred to as Yucatecan cuisine, it includes Dutch Edam cheese, Lebanese Kibbeh, French foods and some Mexican choices, such as tamales. The principal crops of the region are corn, avocados, beans, squash, pumpkins, quinoa, tomatoes, sour oranges, chilies (most notably habanero chilies), and tropical fruits that include dragon fruit, rambutan, and melons.

Chilies Chilies are a huge component of the Mayan diet. Mexico claims over 150 varieties that adds heat or flavor, be it sweet, hot, or fruity. Habañero is very common in this area. It is said that due to the terroir, Yucatán habañero chilies have a flavor unlike


their counterparts in other parts of the world. Local markets offer red or orange chilies. It’s interesting that this part of the country is very hot in climate and the inhabitants eat hot food. Can there be a correlation between living in heat and eating heat?

Recados The Yucatecos, as the local people are called, have two unique spice mixes that are very prevalent in all foods: Recado Negro (black) and Achiote (sometimes referred to as Recado Rojo, or red). Less common is Recado Blanco (white) para bifstek. Each recado is made for specific foods. Cooks also use the recados as a marinade on a meat (recado para escabeche), a thickener or a flavor base. Recados are a mixture that varies from chef to chef, but they generally consist of habanero chilies, annatto (an orange-red condiment and food coloring derived from the seeds of the Achiote tree), cumin, oregano, cinnamon, allspice, garlic, salt, and pepper. Recado Negro recipes call for chilies to be grilled until they are completely charred black. The bitterness of charring and the evaporation of the capsaicin during the grilling process minimize the heat of the chilies. Other spices are also toasted separately, along with flame-burnt corn tortillas. After soaking the chilies in water and removing the seeds and the sour burnt flavor, the additional spices are combined in a food

processor with the chilies and a bit of vegetable oil and formed into a paste. The paste can be rubbed on a piece of meat, marinated overnight, and cooked the following day. Recado Rojo also called Achiote (translates as red dye), is a spice mix or paste made with annatto seeds, cumin, coriander, oregano, cloves, garlic, and pepper. Grind the annatto, and other spices together in either a mortar and pestle or a coffee grinder. Add salt, garlic and bitter orange juice and process until it’s smooth. Add sour orange juice to make a paste that you also use as a marinade or rub. This is a bit easier to make than the recado negro. The paste can be stored in a refrigerator.

Sour Oranges Also called Seville oranges, this fruit is not as pretty as a Valencia orange or others that we see in the United States. The skin is thick and dull. They are very sour and are great for cooking ceviche, tamales, and chile tamulado (a blend of raw habañero and sour orange juice). Sour oranges also act like a vinegar as their high acidity will wake up a dish or serve as a preservative. On a recent trip to Merida, we tasted ceviche made with sour oranges instead of limes that are common in the US and northern Mexico. Because recado negro covered it, the ceviche was black. That also made it difficult to see the ingredients. The flavor, however, was exquisite due to its unique combination of fish, orange, and chile.

Pibil Think of pibil as barbecue Yucatán style. Cochinito Pibil is slow-roasted pork that is a staple in the Yucatecan diet. This uniquely sweet-tasting pork dish involves marinating the meat in sour orange juice, recado rojo, and charred garlic before being wrapped in a banana leaf and roasted. The result is a tasty, unique meat.

Photos from top: Habañero peppers; Pibil; Sour oranges

When you visit this area, leave behind all of your preconceived notions of Mexican food. This area is the epitome of regional and local cuisine. Whatever is in season is on the menu—papaya, dragon fruit or limes. These great flavors of the Yucatan are a legacy to bygone days that this generation’s chefs and abuelas cherish and lovingly carry forward.

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Amsterdam The Easy Way By Andrew Der


othing compares to its tulip festivals in spring, but Amsterdam blossoms all year as one of Europe’s most enriching historic and green cities—while using less of your green if you are in the know. Ignore the o verl y publicized alter native attractions to appreciate a water-centric cultural center. Most anyone can walk from one end to another in little over an hour, but who would

want to that quickly? Crawling around the streets and alleys of the famous tree-lined canal systems reveals an affordable plethora of arts and activities, with about 40 outstanding and easily accessed museums. Embracing a progressive inf ra str ucture, Amsterdam is easy to navigate by foot, bicycle,


Canal commuter boats (L); Downtown train station (Top); An autumn street pumpkin (Bottom)

t r o l l e y, b u s , a n d m e t r o — j u s t h o p o n . No t geographically vast, the city is productive, diverse, clean, and fun. North Americans will appreciate that everyone speaks English in addition to Dutch and, frequently, another language of their own origin. Any crime is usually limited to theft and the drunken brawls from a passionate voetbal (the real football— or soccer) match. Europeans love their football more than we love ours.

Getting Around A popular way to experience scenery is by a rental bicycle but bike like you mean it (see sidebar)—or walk which is not at all a bad thing. Amsterdam is flat, with its famous network of canals radiating throughout the city as wondrous giant blue tarantula legs on all their maps, keeping riders and pedestrians geographically referenced and entertained. Despite

the latitude, the area has milder winters than other countries up that way thanks to ocean currents similar to the United Kingdom. We c a n l e a r n f r o m t h e D u t c h r e g a r d i n g transportation and public services. A car is simply not necessary, and walking most anywhere is easy. A bargain is to purchase an Amsterdam City Card online or upon arrival at one of the tourist centers (look for the Dutch acronym VVV). It offers unlimited use of almost all museums, public transportation, a canal cruise, and discounts in many restaurants. My favorite theme is the prominent maritime and water heritage. The more industrial areas of the navigable city waterfront remind visitors that Amsterdam grew as a port of call for much of the world’s sea traffic. Explore the canals, historic

districts, and the various mixed bag of streets and alleys scattered among trendy neighborhoods—each with their own flair and culture.

Places to Go and Things to See A good starting point is the city center, well-marked by the famous and old Centraal Station. The popular and touristy canal cruises on the long and narrow boats are best utilized for exploring the downtown harbor waterfront, including the edgy, up-andcoming Noord (North) Amsterdam. Back in the city, don’t miss the canal houses. They were once waterside homes that are now museums and hotels. Two mandator y stops are the Rijksmuseum, Ne t h e r l a n d s ’ l a r g e s t a n d o n e o f t h e m o s t internationally famous, and Vondelpark, a kind of Amsterdam Central Park on steroids with a myriad of biking and walking. After the city's endless treelined canal vistas, Vondelpark is probably the best natural urban attraction. For something completely different yet mandatory, include the moving and thought-provoking Anne Frank House. It will exceed your expectations.

Things to Know Amsterdam is an easy city to experience. I knew I succeeded when near the end of my stay, foreign visitors stopped me on my way to the zoo to ask me directions as if I appeared to live there. Here is the best part—I knew the answer. Regardless of one's opinion about Amsterdam’s liberal approach to personal behavior, it is at peace with commingling culture with its red light district and coffee houses (euphemism for marijuana establishments). For better or worse, these are a huge tourism income source for the city, contributing to its efficient infrastructure and public services. Something that may not be clear to visitors is that Amsterdam does not support or condone but rather allows these, and by its government regulation and licensing, has almost removed all organized crime and trafficking influences. Don’t like it? Don’t go. The diversity of Amsterdam’s dining scene may surprise the first- time visitor as ethnic eateries can seem more popular than the local fish, meat, and potatoes. A product of the Netherlands' colonial history and alliances, Asian eateries are more prolific in Amsterdam than in most American cities. Common


snack and on-the-go foods include their local version of french fries where they substitute mayo for ketchup, and their pancakes, which are more like a thick crepe, popular anytime. I like the fruit preserve filling, but meat versions are also available and a good alternative to the mainstream smoked cold cuts and herring if that is not your thing. Amsterdam’s entertainment scene is just as diverse and includes lively nightspots (open late) featuring music everywhere for all audiences with Irish music bars being surprisingly popular. Street vendors are concentrated in a few but famous markets with bargains on antiques, souvenirs, clothes, and of course tulip bulbs.

Getting There Getting to Amsterdam is also easy. Non-stop flights are available from most major cities. Once you arrive, you can get to city destinations from the airport by the train and shuttle. The local train is a bargain, but if you are jet-lagged or have a lot to carry, go for the slightly more expensive shuttle that makes the rounds to all the major hotels. You don’t need to stay at one of those hotels to utilize the conveniently placed stops. Avoid taxis if possible to save money, but if you need to take one, access them only at taxi stands.

Staying There The best deals for private accommodations are usually the local independent hotels (including canal houses) and rooms for rent in homes—a great way to feel part of the community rather than a visitor. Popular chain hotels abound but tend to be more expensive.

They have a place, though, for familiarity and utilization of rewards points. The most affordable and fun options, if you prefer socialization and meeting others over privacy, are the internationally world-famous youth hostels with a dormitory type of approach. Summer is the peak season and most crowded, but other times can also be busy, so plan ahead.

Make it Happen Amsterdam visitor information is so well organized and informative that the tourist information office and are more than ample one-stop shops for all things with links to all attractions, activities, transpor tation, accommodations, the I amsterdam Card, and other information by topic.

Bike like you mean it Amsterdam and bicycling are practically synonymous, and its citizens are serious about cycling as a basic and affordable mode of transportation. Official estimates put the number of cycles in the city at more than 881,000 (There are 851,500 residents.). That number combined with the number of parking spots and paths dedicated to cycling attest to that fact. Amsterdam is not the place to ride in tandem, coast or to stop to check a map. The goal is to go with the cycling flow and focus on safely merging with pedestrians and autos. I, fortunately, knew this but a first-time recreational cycler from the States might be eaten alive. Cyclists go everywhere, even in rain and cold, without a lot of protective clothing. But they also nearly miss running over pedestrians, go against red lights or others' right of way, and even hold an umbrella or small child while smoking and steering with one hand. It is what it is. The mantra? Keep up or get out of the way. Don’t let this discourage you, though, because if you do it right, renting a bike is a fun way to explore Amsterdam. Many native cyclers are going to work or running errands and are skilled cyclers who can anticipate where cars, pedestrians, and other bikers will be in any given moment.

Photos clockwise from left: Harbor from restored tall ship; Vondelpark pond; Botanical garden butterfly nursery; Tulip bulb vendors ; Rembrandt self portraits; Cycles at canal crossing; Downtown canal; World famous Rijksmuseum; Botanical garden; Vondelpark; Downtown harbor

Cruising the Norwegian Fjords: Nature, Culture, & the Midnight Sun By Lori May

Haugesund, Norway © CTShier (L); Haugli Bakeri in Haugesund (R)


summer cruise to Norway guarantees full days for exploration as the sun never truly sets during the season of Midnight Sun. With up to twenty hours of light per day, visitors can maximize time in port towns, take well-lit strolls around the ship promenade, or take an evening dip in the ship pool still bathed in light. All the while, natural beauty abounds while cruising through stunning fjords—narrow deep sea passageways surrounded by towering lands and waterfalls.

Cruise to Geiranger, Norway One of the most photographed waterfalls along the Geirangerfjorden is Seven Sisters, located just outside the village of Geiranger. This 410-meter waterfall features seven separate water spouts trickling down a rocky hillside, and is part of the Geiranger World Heritage Site. Legend says these Seven Sisters dance and flirt with a neighboring waterfall, The Suitor, located directly across the fjord. Here, the cruise ship crawls at a slow speed, while passengers adorn the deck snapping photos of the impressive natural landscape, preparing for a day in the village port. Geiranger has made plenty of must-visit lists for its scenic allure, and currently houses the third largest


cruise port in Norway. Though the village itself is tiny, with only a few hundred in population, the destination seems full and active as ship passengers combine with land travelers staying in hotels or within local camping sites. Geiranger is an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts, with cycling and hiking paths for a variety of skills levels, and an annual half marathon taking runners from sea level to the summit of Mount Dalsnibba. For food and culture lovers, Geiranger is home to several espresso shops and bakeries serving fresh, local pastries. A chocolate making shop, Geiranger Sjokolade, offers candy samples and decadent flavors of hot chocolate to warm the hands if a cool day occurs while in port. Shoppers will delight at the many local artisan shops offering handmade souvenirs, home decor, crafts, and wool clothing.

Cruise to Haugesund, Norway History buffs should plan their day to include visiting landmarks. King Harald Fairhair is noted for uniting Norway in this very region, and just outside the bustling downtown a wonderful monument and statue pays tribute to this notable Viking leader. A burial mound may also be found in this area at Haraldshaugen.

Monument to King Harald Fairhair© CTShier (L); The 7 Sisters at Geiranger Fjord © CTShier (R)

Downtown, along the waterfront, another statue stands in honor of Marilyn Monroe. Local lore claims Monroe’s ancestral roots are here, as her Norwegian father immigrated from Haugesund to the United States. And, since the area commerce was built on herring fishing, visitors will also come upon a statue of two fishermen in the central square. Those seeking more immersion in Haugesund history will enjoy the Museum of Cultural History, known locally as Karmsund Folkemuseum. Exhibits detail the area’s thriving fishing past, farming, shipping trade, and development into Haugesund as it is today. Strolling downtown, visitors to the area will note the thriving shopping and cultural district. A pedestrian shopping district welcomes guests to a cornucopia of fashion retailers, home decor shops, bookstores, and cafes. One must-try treat in particular is a custard cinnamon roll from Haugli Bakeri. These local treats are found nearly everywhere in Norwegian ports, from Flam to Geiranger, yet the Haugli Bakeri in Haugesund offers the perfect size for sharing with a travel companion, with a lovely sidewalk patio suitable for people watching. Isn’t that the best way to end a full day of exploring in port?

Sailing with Norwegian Cruise Line A variety of Northern Europe and UK-bound itineraries include port stops throughout Norway, and guests may just find a cruise featuring three or more Norwegian ports with NCL: Norwegian Cruise Line. These are often mid-sized ships, with just a few thousand passengers to ensure immersive experiences and maneuverability in tighter fjords. For the 2020 summer cruise season, sailings inclusive of Norwegian fjords may be booked aboard Norwegian Star and Norwegian Jade, and often include visits throughout the British Isles. Two-week cruises offer the most port visits with full days in popular Geiranger, and options like Bergen or Alesund. In addition to variety in the buffet and main dining rooms, consider enhancing your culinary experiences aboard by reserving dinner at interactive Teppanyaki or at Moderno Churrascaria, a Brazilian steakhouse with endless tableside carvings. While some cruisers always opt for balcony suites, know that the decks come alive during fjord sailings so you likely won’t spend too much time in your room. Join the fun on deck with drink specials, historical and geographical tips from local guides, and the natural beauty of Norway accompanying your journey into the Midnight Sun.

Magical and Medieval Èze— Côte d’Azur, France By Jan Smith The archways of Eze, France


he old adage, "If you have seen one, you have seen them all," does not apply to Èze, a small village located halfway between Nice and Monaco on France’s Côte d’Azur. Famous for medieval villages, it is an easy day trip from either of those well-known principalities. Traveling by either train or car along the Moyenne Cornich, the scenic cliff-hugging road stretching between Nice and Monte Carlo, will take you to Èze. The road traverses small villages and parallels the shoreline of the stunning Mediterranean Sea. If you prefer to catch a train in Nice or from Monaco, it’s a straight shot along the coast, and the Èze sur Mer station is the destination stop. From the station, you can head towards the shore for Èze sur Mer or be adventurous and hike up the Nietzsche Path, a strenuous 450-meter incline to Èze Village that will take you about one hour. We chose to stop in Èze on our day-long adventure from the Villefranche-sur-Mer cruise port in Nice. Our destination with Smart Cruise Tours also included Monaco and Monte Carlo. If not for seeing pictures of the under-the-radar hidden gem on social media, we might have passed through Èze without stopping. Why? Èze Village is small, with fewer than four-square miles comprising the village. Regardless of its size, it is worth a stop if you are in the area.

The History of Eze Village From a bird’s eye view, Èze Village looks like a semicircular development from the bottom of the hill to the top. The buildings surround the ruins of a 12thcentur y castle, which once had a histor y of


occupation by the Romans, Italians, Turks, Moors, Phoenicians, and, more recently, Monaco. Original houses (that are still standing today) were built initially with “La Turbie,” a type of limestone mined nearby. Mules and men carried the stones to the cliffclinging village where they built houses on the remains of the ancient fortified walls. Èze is a maze of cobblestone streets (initially for mule carts), connecting walls, and steps. About the steps—the village requires constant climbing with ascending streets and stairs. The climb begins as you enter the impressive and commanding fortress iron gates. It’s wise to be prepared with sturdy shoes and plenty of water if you plan a visit. The village is a combination of cobblestones, bricks, and wrought iron which adds stunning contrast to the natural limestone exteriors. The lush flowering vines growing along the walls create Instagramable moments around every corner. It is easy to wander and get lost in Èze, but that’s part of its charm. Besides admiring the architecture, you’ll easily be enamored with the various boutiques, artisan shops, restaurants, and galleries that were once houses.

The Exotic Garden Le Jardin Exotique d’Èze Narrow paths and stairs weave throughout the village and eventually lead to the entrance of the Le Jardin exotique d’ Èze, (The Exotic Garden). A ticketed entry offers the only way to the scenic outlook at the very top of the garden. If you want to see the sweeping view of the Mediterranean Sea and the village of Èzesur-Mer below, you’ll donate six euros to enter.

Photos from left: Mediterranean Sea from the top of Eze; Views from the Exotic Garden of Eze; The Historic L 'Eglise Nortre Dame De L’Assomption; The Chateau de la Chevre d Or Hotel with easy access to Eze; One of the numerous alleyways in Eze

A diverse collection of flowering cacti, succulents, agave, aloes, and unique botanicals fill the garden. Unique species from various corners of the world bloom in the garden. More modern additions to the garden are 15 “earth goddess” stone statues created by sculptor Jean-Philippe Richard. A north-facing slope of the garden offers lush flora and a place to relax and enjoy the cold spray of waterfalls, a contrast from the garden’s arid south side.

L’Èglise Notre-Dame De L’Assomption Èze Village Dating back to the 12th century, L’Èglise Notre-Dame de L’Assomption is the oldest building in Èze. The current church dates to the 17th century when citizens rebuilt it to replace the original church.

The hotels of Eze Village A few hotels reside in the village—the beautiful Chateau Èze, a 5-star 38-room hotel with its Michelinrated restaurant, and Cliffside Chèvre d’Or, a 14-room hotel with its Michelin-rated restaurant. At some point in history, both were private residences for nobles. The hotels have direct access to the streets in Èze Village. As you descend from the top of Èze Village, save time for a visit to the Fragonard Perfumery, located at the base of the village. Free tours are available. After a day o f c l i m b i n g È z e Vi l l a g e , t h e p e r f u m e r y ’s a i r conditioning and perfume sampling make perfect sense before you get back on the Moyenne Cornich towards Nice or Monaco.\

La Couronne Rouen, France By Deirdre Michaelski

While so many restaurants come and go, La Couronne has been an institution in Rouen since 1345


he historic city of Rouen, France—bestknown for its 4th-century Gothic La Cathédrale de Rouen—is home to one of the oldest restaurants in all of Europe, La Couronne (the crown). The restaurant was established in 1345 as an auberge (inn or tavern) that provided food and drink to weary travelers and locals alike. It evolved to a classic fine-dining restaurant. My friend and local French chef Pascal Olhats, encouraged me to visit Rouen. Pascal, who has been here in Orange County, California, for many years and knows that we explore the oldest restaurants as we travel the globe. He grew up in Rouen and worked at La Courone as a chef, so he was enthusastic for our visit to his old stomping grounds.

The Adventure Begins
 Rouen is an easy day-trip from Paris by train. It took just over an hour, and after we arrived, we strolled past flower shops, boutiques, and Frenchinspired storefronts on our short walk to the restaurant. We walked under the archway of the famous Great Clock, the belfry of which houses the city bells and one of the oldest clock mechanisms in Europe. It was in operation nonstop from the 14th century until 1928.

La Couronne on Market Square (Top); The Great Clock Tower (Bottom)


This opened onto the Place du Vieux Marche (town square). On one side of the town square was a row of timbered three-story buildings and on the other s i d e i s t h e C h u r c h o f S a i n t Jo a n o f A r c , commemorating the place she met her fate. On the far side of the church was a daily farmers market filled with fresh fruits, vegetables, breads, cheeses, and fresh seafood and meats.

Photos clockwise from top left: Fresh seafood at the market; Vegetables at the market; Rouen street; The author entering La Couronne

We Enter The Past
 La Couronne sits on the market square and is a charming place to enjoy authentic French cuisine. We entered into a small alcove on the main floor. Escorted by the stunning and attentive owner, Madame Darwin Cauvin, we descended five short steps and were awestruck by the elegant beauty as we entered the dining room. Large windows, original timber beams above, drapery, pink tablecloths, and rugs all reflected the restaurant’s glory. It was reminiscent of being on a large, over-stuffed wooden ship. The wine cellar was in the basement and the kitchen was toward the back of the building. A steep set of stairs and wood railing led to the second floor, where we found private rooms. Offices and dry storage were on the third floor.

I’ll Have What She’s Having
 La Couronne also happened to be the first restaurant Julia Child visited when she and her husband moved to France in 1948 for an assignment with the United States Information Agency. The meal truly transformed her, and to this day, La

Couronne celebrates Julia’s first meal in France with a prix-fixe menu in her honor. All of the dishes on this special menu are precisely what Child ordered, including oysters on the half-shell, Sole Meunière (doused in a butter and parsley sauce prepared tableside) and a fresh green salad. She also sipped a Pouilly Fumé, a crisp white wine from the Loire Valley. She later recounted this epic experience in her book, My Life In France. Although dining on the patio can be tempting, Pascal encouraged us to dine in the main dining room. Table #4 is a favorite as diners can enjoy an expansive view of the entire room. The owner is always in a lovely suit or dress, with her broad smile and sweeping blonde hair framing her face. Her perch is an elegant wood-carved table tucked in the corner from which she conducts business and keeps a close eye on all the goings-on and the pitter-patter of the staff. Some guests sit on small couches sideby-side while others enter with their beloved dog in tow. The dogs are well-behaved, and the owners quietly slide their dog under the table.

The Great Wall of China, Courtesy Stencil

A Classic French Lunch
 As we settled in, we ordered an Apéritif d Marque Compari and a Cosmopolitan to toast our celebratory lunch. We ordered our premier cours (first course) to begin. The Escalope de Foie Gras was unlike anything we would find at home and was incredible. The Saumon fume aux bois de hetre (smoked salmon) was full of flavor. It was a lovely start, indeed. We could not decide on entrées, so we selected two for sharing. Served with grilled zucchini and a rich sauce, the Mixed Grill de Poissons Fins featured grilled shrimp and was so tender, flavorful, and colorful that it danced on the plate. The special of the day was a Pascal favorite, the Saumon and Coeur de Filet de boeuf (salmon and beef filet) with a cabernet reduction, and it was just perfectly prepared. We were so excited when they arrived on the elegant plates that we forgot to even take a picture! I gasped when I realized that, however I always say that this gives me another reason to return. A special treat for me was to see the Chariot de Fromage (cheese cart) roll up to our table. Overflowing with a plethora of delicious French cheeses, it was a highlight to any fine-dining experience I have while in France. And although the Grand Marnier Souffle de Normandy was tempting, we declined as we had to catch a train back to Paris. Se ruer…se ruer (rush, rush)! La Couronne is a very special place filled with a rich history that pays homage to the delightful cuisine of the ages. Many thanks to Pascal for introducing us to this proud legacy.

Photos clockwise from top: La Couronne dining room; Smoked salmon; Foie gras; Chef Pascal and Owner Madame Darwin Cauvin


Szechenyi Thermal Baths—Budapest, Hungary By Diane Dobry

Szechenyi Thermal Bath and Swimming Pool


hether I am sore from the gym or tired after a tough day, I crave a good soak in a hot bath, but in my American apartment, without a deep clawfoot tub or jacuzzi, it is likely to be less than ideal. Europe, however, has been successful at incorporating spa culture—with its thermal baths, massages, saunas, steam rooms, and facials —as a mainstay of a healthy lifestyle complementing a mindset that allows for leisure, relaxation, and a satisfactory balance between work and pleasure. The spa experience is, in fact, as much a social interaction as is gathering in the city center to share coffee, wine, beer, and conversation. In s p i t e o f b e i n g a s m a l l , landlocked country, Hungary is famous for hot springs and m i n e r a l w a te r. W h i l e m o s t Americans enjoy indoor and outdoor pools for swimming and exercise, the thermal bath

There are at least 1500 thermal spas 
 & bathhouses throughout Hungary… culture in Hungary, in addition t o b e i n g a s o c i a l a c t i v i t y, encoura ges just sitting and relaxing in pools of var ying temperatures, both indoors and outdoors, year-round. Because underground thermal water can reach up to 76Celsius (or almost 170Fahrenheit), local spas cool that water down to temperatures that range from a high of about

42Celsius down to 19Celsius, with most falling between 32and 38Celsius (90-100 Fahrenheit). There are at least 1500 thermal spas and bathhouses throughout Hungary including one on the shore of Héviz, the second largest thermal lake in the world. It is west of Lake Balaton (which is not a thermal lake but is the largest lake in Central Europe). Mo s t s h o r t- t e r m v i s i t o r s , however, spend a majority of their time in the capital city of Budapest, and although there are several thermal spas there— Gellert, Rudas, Lukács, and Palatinus (known to locals as “Pala”)—the 100-plus-year-old public Széchenyi Thermal Baths behind Heroes Square in City Park is large, beautiful, and popular. Appealing not just to the leisureminded but to those with an architectural bent, as well, the large, yellow Neo-Baroque and

Photos clockwise from left: Szechenyi outdoor thermal baths; Chess players at Szechenyi Thermal Baths; The Beer Spa; Couple at the Beer Spa

Ne o - Re n a i s s a n c e b u i l d i n g housing the Széchenyi Thermal Baths resembles a grand palace. Thanks to the efforts of engineer Vilmos Zsigmondy, who drilled down about a half-mile underground to find the supply of hot spring mineral water, the baths opened in the late 19 th century as a small walled-in area on an island in the middle of the lake in City Park. At the time, it was known as the Artesian Spa. The bath’s popularity grew, and plans were made for building the central core of the structure that now stands on the site. During t h e Hu n g a r i a n M i l l e n i u m celebration in 1896, designs were on display and the decision made to name the complex after Count Istvan Széchenyi, a popular statesman still known to many as “ t h e g r e a t e s t Hu n g a r i a n . ” Completed in 1913 and visited by 200,000 people, the baths were soon ser ving more than four times that number, and it was


again expanded after World War I. Inside this very large, very public, very famous thermal bathhouse are its hidden gems—the private bathing areas of Széchenyi Beer Spa and the Széchenyi Palm House Spa Oasis—that visitors can enjoy for an extra fee. The beer spa, which opened in 2017, offers one- or two-person wooden tubs filled with herbinfused warm water. These tubs sit in a private room that has a tap ser ving unlimited Czech beer; the option of ordering a small selection of traditional Hungarian snack foods and soft drinks is also available. The Palm House Spa, on the top floor right behind the dome, was the creation of designers working with the Botanical Garden in Budapest. With its glass walls, ceiling panels, and lush greenery, it resembles a luxurious greenhouse and has the additional relaxing effect brought

out by the natural elements. Te r r a c e s p r o v i d e s t u n n i n g panoramic views of the surrounding park. Clients rest in hammocks or on comfortable sofas and chairs in the relaxation lounge and have the option of enjoying aromatherapy, snacking on fresh fr uits, and sipping herbal teas. The price includes robes, towels, and slippers. The spa is also available for evening e v e n t s i n c l u d i n g co r p o r a te programming, weddings, r e u n i o n s , a n d b a c h e l o r e t te parties. Prices for the Széchenyi Thermal Bath entry fee depends on the amount of time spent and the kinds of services you desire (such a s c a b a n a s o r l o c ke r s , a n d massages, for example). Prices for the Beer Spa and the Palm House are in addition to the public bath entry fees, and you can find on their web pages.

Scenes from the 2019 IFWTWA Conference

Santa Fe School of Cooking Dinner November 13, 2019

Chefs Jen Doughty (L) and Noe Cano (Below) demonstrated cooking techniques.

New Mexican enchiladas (red), regular enchiladas (green), and posole were on the menu (R). Dessert was a pecan bread pudding. Photographs Š Chris Cutler and Linda Nielson Stewart

Visiting the “Palaces of the People” in the St. Petersburg Metro By Judi Cohen

…they’re a place to preserve Russian art and history where it can be displayed to the public. ~ Unknown

Avtovo Station


ith just two days in St. Petersburg on the Viking Homelands Cruise with Viking Cruises, I had some tough choices about what to see. I could have easily spent weeks exploring the city’s rich Soviet history, fine art and architecture, music, opera, and ballet. Ultimately, I chose to take one full day for a “behind closed doors” tour of the Hermitage Museums and a second full day to explore the St. Petersburg Metro. The Metro system in St. Petersburg turned out to be one of the highlights of my cruise, and it is a hidden treasure of the city that might not immediately come to mind for a traveler. But it really is a sight to behold. In fact, our guide described each station as a unique “theme park” about the culture and history of Russia. The Metro is one of the deepest systems in the world with some of the longest escalators extending to a whopping 130 meters deep into the earth.

With the purchase of a single 45-ruble token (around $0.69 USD and #0.90 CAD), I entered one subterranean world after another. The Metro was first contemplated in the 1940s when the city was still called Leningrad; however, it was not until the 1950s when the Leningradsky Metropolitan was


constructed and eventually opened on November 15, 1955. These “Palaces of the People,” as the Soviets called them, were designed to be unique subterranean palaces providing a permanent public display of Russian history and art. Kirovskiy-Vyborgskaya Red Line With 69 stations on five lines to traverse, I saw as much as I could in the time I had for that single metro ticket. Highlights included riding on the oldest line, the Kirovskiy-Vyborgskaya Red Line and ascending, by far, the longest escalator I’d ever been on.

There are seven stations on the M1 KirovskiyVyborgskaya Red Line, and each was more jawdropping than the next. Whereas our subways systems in North America are purely functional, with the odd splash of public art, in St. Petersburg, each was a masterpiece of art, architecture, and storytelling about Russia. The system was intuitive and relatively easy to navigate. Signage was in Russian and English, and a system map was available. I entered at Avtovo Station on the Red Line and stopped at the

The ornate pillars and chandeliers of Avtovo Station

Kirovskiy Zavod, Devyatkino, Narvaskaya, and the Technologicheskiy Institut Stations. The headways (time between trains) were very close on the Red Line, and the station dwell times (length of time the train stops in each station) were very short—only 30 seconds at each stop. If we missed a train, the next one was arriving within just a minute or two. The guide warned me that once the train doors began to close, they would not stop even if something got caught in them. Not surprisingly, nobody rushed to jump on a train while the doors were closing like I’ve so often seen in Toronto, New York, and so many other cities. We traveled downtown on the Red Line to where it connects to the newer, more basic, 1960s-era Blue Line, and we transferred for a short ride to exit the Metro at the Nevskiy Prospekt Station on Sadovaya Street. This station is along the Neva River and is one of the deepest stations in the system with a long escalator that extended from the platform to the street. The escalators moved very quickly, so we held the hand rails tightly and stood on the right side to let the fast-moving passengers run by us on the left. Our exit was the Griboyedova channel quay where we walked along the colorful and crowded streets for

 These are a few of the stations on the KirovskiyVyborgskaya Line that I found most interesting:

Avtovo (Abtovo) Station Avtovo was my favorite station by far. We entered the system through an above-ground neoclassical yellow-colored pavilion. Its bold majestic columns reminded me of the Pantheon in Greece. The station entrance stood in sharp contrast to the surrounding stark grey apartment blocks, construction, and traffic chaos.

Unlike most other stations, Avtovo is a shallow-level station (just 12 meters deep), and it was a short walk to the platform. The platform resembled an art gallery more than a subway station with its jawdropping highly polished and pristine white marble floors and walls. Columns lined the platform, and sparkling patterned glass covered 16 of them. Ornate chandeliers, a patterned ceiling, and distinctive wall plaques all along the brightly lit platform led us to a magnificent colorful mosaic on the end wall. It commemorates the Leningrad Blockade of 1941-1944 and features a woman holding a child.

Mosaic at Avtovo Station (L); Detail of pillars (R)

Kirovsky Zavod Station Quite different from Avtovo Station, Kirovsky Zavod Station looks and feels more sparse, but its history tells quite a different kind of story: Kirovsky Zavod was designed as a tribute to workers in the large local metal and machinery factory of the same name. The large rectangular columns displaying Soviet icons, along with the bold light fixtures contributed to this station’s having a distinctively Soviet appearance. There was even a well-lit bust of Vladimir Lenin displayed at the end of the platform.

Narvskaya Station I found the neo-classical Narvskaya Station very interesting with its arched ceiling and the flat-light fixtures that followed the arch. Our guide informed us that when the construction of the station started, it was named Ploshchad Stachek. However, before it opened in 1953,the name changed to Stalinskaya, in honor of Joseph Stalin. After Stalin died, the station was renamed to Narvskaya after the nearby Narva


Triumphal Gate built to celebrate the Russian victory over Napoleon. The walls were finished in elegant white marble with inlaid bronze inserts with a hammer and sickle design. There was also a rust-colored strip running the entire length of the platform with a soviet star and leaf motif. The floors were dark tiles in the center with a patterned design in the passages leading to the trains. I was fascinated by the column corner sculpture groupings that showed ordinary soviet citizens in various work and living situations. When I have the opportunity to return to St. Petersburg, I plan to explore more of the Metro system and stop in the dozens of neighborhoods I missed on this quick stop. Where else can you feel the pulse of the city and see so much art, architecture and Soviet history for only 45 rubles than in these “Palaces of the People”?

Clockwise from top left and right: Platforms of Narvskaya Station; Ticket office at Avtovo Station; Bronze capitals on pillars at Kirovsky Zavod Station; Sculpture in Narvskaya Station; Sculpture of Red soldiers in Narvskaya Station; Sculpture of school children in Narvskaya Station; Sculpture of seamen in Narvskaya Station; Bust of Lenin in Narvskaya Station

Postcards from the 2019 IFWTWA Conference November 11-13, 2019 Each headboard at La Fonda Hotel is hand-painted.

Paintings by Georgia O’Keefe

St. Francis Cathedral

Meow Wolf


IFWTWA Luncheon (Top), Culinary Panel (Middle), and David Nershi presentation (Bottom)

Atapiño Liqueur (Top) & Lavendar Honey Chocolates

Photographs © Chris Cutler and Linda Nielson Stewart


Japan’s Feast of Color —Ashikaga

Flower Park

By Melanie Votaw

A lingering cherry blossom tree in bloom


he Japanese certainly know how to design a garden, but at Ashikaga Flower Park, they’ve taken it to an especially impressive level. Yet, few people seem to know about this gem, which is an easy day trip from Tokyo. I make it a point to visit botanic gardens wherever I travel, but Ashikaga isn’t your average botanic garden. It’s populated almost entirely with flowering plants so that the place explodes with color at all times of the year. While most people try to visit Japan for cherry blossom season, I went for the Ashikaga’s Great Wisteria Festival held from midApril to mid-May. During the festival, glorious wisteria trellises and tunnels of purple, white, and pink fill the grounds. On social media sites, you may have seen some of the wisteria tunnel photographs taken at Ashikaga, but there’s nothing like seeing them in person. Best yet, you get to smell them. If you’ve never smelled wisteria, you’re in for a treat.


Since wisteria season comes right after the cherry blossoms, I saw a few remaining cherry trees in bloom at the park, along with brightly colored azaleas, fringed tulips, and enormous peonies. Of course, if you have your heart set on lots of cherry blossoms, Ashikaga won’t disappoint if you go during that season from March-to-April.

A Year-Round Attraction

July bring iris, bridegroom, and hydrangeas. From mid-July to mid-September, the park highlights 1500 tropical water lilies along with lantana and monkey slip flowers. From October through November, Ashikaga goes purple with 300,000 flowers like amethyst sage. From late October until late January, they hold a light show among the blossoms.

A Calming Atmosphere

Whether or not you travel during these special seasons, you can visit the park year-round, as it focuses on different types of flowers from month-to-month. In January and February, you’ll find pheasant’s eye, Christmas rose, winter clematis, and Kansai plums. March and April bring the cherry blossoms along with snow willow, the yukiyanagi flower, rape blossoms, and 20,000 blooming tulips.

If Tokyo’s hustle and bustle gets to you, Ashikaga is the perfect escape. I was concerned that the grounds would be excessively crowded during wisteria season, but not so. It was busy, but there weren’t so many people as to make it uncomfortable. Plus, the Japanese people tend to be so polite that even crowded areas are reasonably pleasant. If you arrive at the park right at opening time, however, you will beat some of the crowd.

After wisteria season, it’s prime time for rose fanatics. The park contains 2500 rose bushes, as well as 1000 rhododendrons and 500 strains of clematis. June and

Soothing music plays throughout the park, and there are concession stands set up with tables for relaxing and eating. They even served wisteria-

Fringed tulips at Ashikaga Flower Park (Top L); A huge wisteria trellis serves as a sun umbrella (Middle); Purple wisteria (Bottom L)

flavored ice cream during my visit. If you’re like me and tend to have allergies, there’s a good chance you won’t have to worry when visiting Ashikaga. The pollens in Japan are so different from those at home that my body had no reaction. Also, don’t miss the park’s gift shop before you leave. It’s unusually large and sells souvenirs that are far superior to the usual cheesy fare. I bought a tasty wisteria-flavored fizzy drink, wisteria-scented soaps, and a lavender lace scarf with a wisteria design.

How to Get There Getting to Ashikaga can be a little bit confusing, and the park’s website only confused me further. It says to take the Japan Rail (JR) Ryomo line to the Ashikaga Flower Park station, and the Park is a short walk from there. The problem is that you can’t get the Ryomo line from Tokyo. You must first take a local JR train from Tokyo to the town of Oyama. (Note that you can’t get a seat reservation on “local” JR trains (which differ from the Shinkansen bullet trains), but you can use your Japan Rail Pass for those routes.)

From Oyama, you can connect to the Ryomo line. Since Oyama is the originating station for the line, you needn’t worry about traveling in the wrong direction. The entire trip takes about two hours each way. (Note, however, that the next stop after the Ashikaga Flower Park station is simply called “Ashikaga,” but it’s farther from the park. Make sure you exit at the Park’s station.) I fell in love with Japan and enjoyed every moment I was there, but my visit to Ashikaga Flower Park was my favorite day in the country. When I return, it will be one of my first stops.

Hot Springs Bliss Thawing Out in Mineral Springs Down Under By Veronica Matheson


Photo opposite page: Sunset on hilltop pool; Photos this page: Friends chilling in ice cave (L); Barrels of fun (R)


have soaked in healing waters on the thermal terraces of Pamukkale in Turkey, in bubbling volcanic pools at Arenal in Costa Rica, and in C a l i f o r n i a ’s C a l i s t o g a Ho t Springs. Iceland’s misty Blue Lagoon is high on my future list, as are many other mineral springs around the world. But it is on a domestic flight in Australia that a British tourist told me about hot springs that are right on my doorstep. “ I ’ v e h a d a te r r i f i c t i m e i n Melbourne,” she told me, “but the highlight was Peninsula Hot S p r i n g s a t Fi n g a l o n t h e Mornington Peninsula. It’s the best day out!” As it happens, those springs have just been named the Best Mineral Springs Spa at the World Luxury Spa Awards in the gloriously gilt He r m i t a g e Mu s e u m i n S t Petersburg, Russia. So, in search of those healing waters and for somewhere to thaw out on a w i n t r y d a y, I h e a d e d d o w n Mornington way. Before I became too blissfully relaxed in one of the pools there, I chatted with Peninsula Spa’s chairman and co-founder Charles Davidson. He was just back from the ultra-glam spa awards in Russia and was already planning

further additions to his hot springs. Charles told me he was a d i p l o m a t i n Ja p a n w h e n h e became impressed by Onsen (hot mineral springs) there. “I was soaking in a pool at Takaragawa Onsen, a day trip from Tokyo, and thought, “Why can’t I open something like this in Australia?”

Why can’t I open something like this in Australia? ~Charles Davidson

There was no stopping Charles, and once home, he searched for land with hot springs hidden below the surface. By 2005, Peninsula Hot Springs Spa had opened in his home state of Victoria. The very latest update is the 12luxury glamping—a pseudonym for glamorous camping—tents on a secluded part of the Mo r n i n g t o n p r o p e r t y. A s k Charles and he’ll tell you that the tents are “…definitely at the ‘g’ end of glamping, right down to hydronic heated floors and all mod-cons.” Overnight guests also have 24-hour access to the hot springs there.

Steam was rising from dozens of outdoor pools on that cold winter day in Melbourne, so I chose to soak blissfully in one with great views of the rolling countryside around. It surprised me earlier when Charles told me he often holds business meetings in a hot pool as all I wanted to do in this healing water was doze off. My favorite area was the sub-zero ice cave, sauna, and plunge pool, which definitely warrants its name of Fire and Ice. It has a Nordic flavor, as has an item on the spa menu which involves a spa master “beating” clients with a branch of Australian gum leaves to invigorate their circulation. The spa treatments here are often inspired by the area’s natural landscape and indigenous heritage. The latest treatment, a Dreamtime Stone Massage, was developed in consultation with Mo o k s , a l o c a l i n d i g e n o u s Medicine Man. If you are interested in different activities, there are floating meditation and aerial yoga classes. I intend to check them out later.

Taking Fresh Produce to a Different Level—

Lok Fu Wet Markets Hong Kong By Robyn Nowell


ravelers today want more from their vacations than museums and beaches. For many, food and markets are a high priority. Whether dining at the table of a worldrenowned chef, diving into the prolific choice of local cuisine that appears to be offered on every street corner, or entering the timeless world of local food shopping at the wet markets, travelers immerse themselves in food. Wet Markets are synonymous with Hong Kong and Singapore. Typically, traders sell fresh produce including meat, poultry, and fish, whereas a dry market will have products we might find in a supermarket—pre-packaged food, cleaning products, electronics, and fabric. Historically, wet markets are staged on the streets where stall holders set up early in the morning before the heat of the day. Traders and customers are open to the elements of Hong Kong’s tropical weather—hot, steamy, and wet in the summer and chilly in winter months. Stepping out and braving the elements no matter the weather has been a necessity for residents to buy the freshest, often still-live ingredients for their families’ meals. Typically, at the end of market time, soapy water floods the area to wash it down. It’s another reason for the term ‘wet market.’ I was thrilled to be invited to visit the refurbished Lok Fu wet markets recently. This site is just one of numerous properties around Hong Kong being transformed. Link Reit is sensitively moving the outdoors indoors and “Bringing Hong Kong’s Fresh Markets to Life.”

Lok Fu Surrounds The area surrounding Lok Fu estate was settled in the 13th century and originally named Lo Fu Ngam (Tigers Den) because tigers reportedly roamed free in the area. In 1915, the last tiger was killed shortly after mauling two police officers to death. As the years passed, the area was developed as a prime residential location. Locals petitioned for a new name to leave the grisly past behind and to look forward to happiness and wealth, the meaning of Lok Fu. By all accounts, this new name is proving to be fitting, Lok Fu is welcoming and safe to visit. It’s a hive of activity surrounded by high-rise residential apartment buildings atop stores and businesses. Whilst you can experience modern comforts that include enjoying artisan coffees, you can also partake in many traditions such as tea ritual at Gong Fu Tea House.


Lok Fu Wet Market Catering to the thousands of people living locally on the estate, Lok Fu wet markets provide clean, organized, and comfortably air-conditioned shopping experience. Tradition and certain chaos still prevail just as you would expect and want to experience in such a market. Livestock is available. You can choose a live chicken and have it ‘taken care of ’ while you wait. Whilst to those of us not accustomed to this tradition, it is an integral part of the process of paddock-plate. Being able to choose the bird and ensure it is free from any illness or defect is very important to traditional Chinese, young and old. Frogs and, of course, seafood are also available whilst still alive to be taken home for the freshest of meals. As you wander the aisles of the market, you might see sights and sounds new to you at almost every turn. From watching pork being butchered without a cling-film sterilized bench in sight, to the making by hand of dozens of fresh tofu styles, there will be something to bring a whole new dimension to shopping for fresh produce. The local cuisine is highly dependent on the freshest and a great variety of produce, and goods of every conceivable product are on display in fragrant wonder. There is no shortage of fresh vegetables and fruits, some as familiar as apples, mangoes, and oranges, but many are unfamiliar. I was excited to try including dragon fruit, kiwano, rambuton, and star fruit. Lok Fu wet markets present an experience somewhat intense to all our senses—sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. Many traders prepare and cook dishes to eat on site or for take away. Take your time to stroll among the stalls. Many stall holders are keen to share their stories and have their photographs taken. They do not all speak English, but the generous and happy spirit of everyone at the markets definitely make up for the lack of conversation. It is an experience you should not miss. If you are seeking a shopping experience away from the tourist haunts, make sure you add Lok Fu Wet markets to your itinerary. Disclosure: The author visited on the invitation of Link Reit, but all opinions are her own. There is no cost associated in visiting the wet markets. Photos opposite page: Gong Fu Tea House Tea Ritual (Top); Butcher at work (Middle); Lok Fu Bakery; Photos this page from top: Dried goods at Lok Fu; Dragon fruit; Live seafood; Fresh tofu

Getting there Lok Fu MTR station is on the Kwun Tong Line (Green Line), north of Tsim Sha Tsui.

Shanghai’s House of Roosevelt By Priscilla Willis


magine the exhilaration of dining amongst the likes of Anthony Bourdain (May he rest in peace), former superstar NBA player Yao Ming, Chinese celebrities, and international power brokers. Before your eyes, a phantasmagoric view of t h e g l i t te r i n g o p u l e n ce o f P u d o n g a n d t h e magnificent Oriental Pearl rising regally above the Huangpu River, laser lights pulsating like the heartbeat of a benevolent alien being.

a private tour of the members-only wine cellar where Bourdain had a wine locker in the company of Shanghai's elite.

Photos ops in front of Anthony Bourdain's wine locker and, in the next room, Anthony Bourdain at the Yao Ming's locker (above 666's House of Roosevelt Anthony Bourdain enjoyed a n d a d j a c e n t t o Ru p e r t As the favorite dining Hoogewer's) were a given. I establishment of one of my F r e n c h o y s t e r s w i t h know you're thinking, "Who is husband's esteemed Chinese champagne, New Zealand Rupert Hoogewer?" He is also colleagues, I was privileged to known by his Chinese name Hu accompany them for dinner at shrimp, and Australian Ru n a n d i s t h e r e n o w n e d The House of Roosevelt on Wagyu beef at House of publisher of the Hurun Report, a several occasions. It took seeing monthly magazine best known CNN's "Parts Unknown "where Roosevelt. for its "China Rich List," a Anthony Bourdain dines at the ranking of the wealthiest Ho u s e o f Ro o s e v e l t w i t h individuals in China. investor Tim Tse (Season 4, Episode Shanghai), for me to realize just how prestigious The Roosevelt is. T h e Ho u s e o f Ro o s e v e l t ’s Aw a rd If you're a Bourdain fan and adventurous “foodie," Winning Wine List you've probably seen the episode. Wine talk ensued, and Zhang shared stats on guest wine consumption, the number of bottles cellared, On one occasion, we were a group of 20 celebrating etc. The House of Roosevelt's wine cellar is the our business partnership in the elegant private dining largest in Shanghai and winner of numerous awards room flanked by portraits of Presidents Theodore including a "2019 Wine Spectator Best of Award of Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt. On another Excellence", the Hurun Report's "Best of the Best visit, we were seated in the Sky Restaurant and Private Club in China 2018", and eight awards in personally greeted by Allen Zhang, assistant manager "China's Wine List of the Year Awards 2018". at the Sky Restaurant & Bar. Zhang honored us with


The House of Roosevelt exterior (Top); The House of Roosevelt dining room (Bottom)

Whether you're in Shanghai on business or visiting as a tourist, The House of Roosevelt's stunning view of The Bund will wrap you in a cloak of prestige and power and satisfy your taste for gourmet cuisine. From premium imported foie gras to sublime poufs of house-made lobster ravioli, you will experience one of Shanghai's most memorable dining experiences.

About the House of Roosevelt The House of Roosevelt is a Neo-Classical building originally built in 1920 and owned by Roosevelt China Investments Corp. (RCI). RCI is an investment firm based in Boston, Hong Kong, and Shanghai. RCI's Chairman Mr. Tweed Roosevelt is the greatgrandson of the 26th President of United States President Theodore Roosevelt and a nephew of the 32nd President of United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The Roosevelt Family redeveloped the building in 2008 and committed to preserve the history and restore the past glory of the architecture.

The Roosevelt Legacy in China During President Theodore Roosevelt's presidency (1901-1909), China was suffering from a devastating war fought on its soil between the Russians and the Japanese. President Roosevelt feared that China might be forced to surrender its Northeastern territories to the winner and be divided further by greedy foreign powers. President Roosevelt was determined to end the war and, after delicate international diplomatic negotiations, he managed to bring the Japanese and the Russians to the United States to attend peace talks. President Roosevelt was able to prevail on both parties to come to an agreement and end the war. For his critical role in restoring peace in the region, he became the first American to receive the Nobel Peace Prize. {Source: Legacy | Roosevelt China Investments Corp.}

If you go… The House of Roosevelt No. 27 Zhongshan Dong Yi Road (27 Bund) 中国上海市中⼭东⼀路27号(外滩 27号) Shanghai, China 200002

Danielle Bauter is a freelance journalist based in Southern California whose work has appeared in Atlas Obscura, Wine Enthusiast, Saveur, Budget Travel, and other publications. You can read more of her work at Chris Cutler is a nonfiction writer, editor, photographer, and instructor who divides her life between Las Vegas, Florida, and Italy. Travel journalism is the perfect job for her since it allows her to work from wherever she is. A dual American/Italian citizen, Chris is on the IFWTWA Board of Directors and serves as executive editor of Food, Wine, Travel Magazine,, and As principal of Andrew T. Der & Associates, LLC, Andrew writes environmental guidance for development companies and government agencies. He expanded to include environmental and travel journalism as an opportunity to establish a successful published story-base. His primary destination interests include nature and conservation tourism, creative and cultural family experiences, eco-travel, and the occasional offbeat experience. Diane Dobry worked for years in PR and now teaches online students. A Fulbright award to Germany and a teaching gig in Hungary led her to importing international wines to the US and teaching an online international wine course. She manages “Getting Hungary” social media sites and a new website— Betsi Hill is a freelance writer based in Florida. She is often found traveling onboard Saltwater Gypsea, a 35’ catamaran, through the islands of the Caribbean. Betsi maintains an active presence on social media (@betsihill). She also shares her travel adventures on Betsi’s World.


meet our writers Judi Cohen is a Toronto-based travel writer and photographer. She is a connoisseur of small-ship cruises and off-the-beaten-path cultural and dining experiences. She’s a contributor to Quirky Cruise, AllThingsCruise, TravelAwaits and more. To see where she‘s currently exploring follow her on Instagram http:// and check out her website Mary Ann DeSantis is the managing editor for DeSoto Magazine—Exploring the South, a monthly lifestyle and travel magazine. In addition, she is a freelance writer for several Florida publications and the wine columnist for Lake & Sumter Style, a lifestyle magazine in Central Florida. She lives in Lady Lake, Florida.

Robin Dohrn-Simpson is a San Diego-based wine, beer, food and travel writer. She suffers from an extreme case of wanderlust and is always out exploring. Robin holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Business and a Professional Certificate in the Business of Wine at San Diego State University. To see where she is currently exploring check out her website at Mary Farah is a freelance travel, food, and wine writer based in Los Angeles. In addition to FWT, she contributes to Locale Magazine and Big Blend Radio and Magazine and has managed her blog, Along Comes Mary, since 2012. Mary also serves as an Executive Board Member to IFWTWA and a member of the editorial board of Food, Wine, Travel Magazine.

Noreen Kompanik is a San Diego-based travel journalist. 450 of her articles have appeared in 38 digital and print publications. She’s a regular contributor for Travel Pulse, Europe Up Close, International Living, and more. She’s been a guest presenter at Great Escape Publishing’s workshops and pioneered a writer’s program, Travel Writer’s Café.

Lori A. May is a Seattle-based freelancer with food and travel writing in Jrrny Travel, Seattle Post Intelligencer, Time Out New York, Eater, Vine Pair, and more. She’s a Contributing Writer for Panorama: The Journal of Intelligent Travel and the author of six books. Nancy Mueller is a Seattlebased speaker, travel writer/ photographer and author with an established media outlet at— fun travel adventures for the young at heart. Her bags are always packed for day trips, weekend getaways and global adventures. Client stories explore destinations through cruising, food and dining, arts and culture, health and wellness, outdoor adventures and bucket-list experiences.

Amy Piper is a travel writer and photographer who had six-month expat assignments in South Korea and Argentina. Bomb-sniffing dogs chased her in the middle of the night in Bogotá, gate agents refused her boarding to Paraguay (wrong visa), and Federal Marshalls announced her seat on a plane looking for a murder suspect (traded places.) It is always an adventure! Amy is on the editorial board of Food, Wine, Travel Magazine. Follow her adventures at

Veronica Matheson grew up in England, and now lives in Australia. She has lost count of the countries she has visited, first hitching the world in a gap year, later as Travel Editor on a newspaper, and now as a reporter/ co-host on Travel Writers Radio. Her websites are and

Deirdre Michalski is a travelista who writes about food, bucket list trips, meeting chefs, exploring new places around the globe and discovering the oldest restaurants and taverns as she travels. She spent 30 years in the hospitality industry in marketing and public relations. Find her at

Robyn Nowell is a freelance writer and photographer based in Melbourne, Australia. Robyn has travelled extensively throughout Europe, Africa, USA, India, Asia, and the Pacific nations. Her work appears in travel brochures, on-line, and in-flight magazines. She is a member of IFWTWA and is social media manager for and on the editorial board of Food, Wine, Travel Magazine and holds a Master, Gastronomic Tourism & Diplome Univeritiare du gout, de la Gastronomie et des Arts de la table’.

Dave Nershi is publisher of and a Certified Specialist of Wine. A former newspaper and magazine editor, Dave is an award-winning writer with a focus on wines, wineries and related travel. Currently based in North Carolina, he travels extensively for stories (South Africa, British Columbia, Spain and even locations closer to home). Dave is on the editorial board of Food, Wine, Travel Magazine.

Jan Smith is a food, wine and travel writer ( enjoying a lengthy career in the hospitality and tourism industry in the Southern California Wine Country. Jan is both an assistant editor and on the editorial board of Food, Wine, Travel Magazine. Follow her at @neverenoughtravel

With many years of travel writing under her bling-y belt, Mira Temkin has a passion for adventure and discovering new experiences; from destinations to cruises to tours, her articles cover the world. She has written for several publications, and you can find her at https:// Priscilla Willis is a freelance writer and author of the website She’s Cookin’ | food and travel. Priscilla specializes in culinary travel and light adventure to burn those calories. She recently traded 30 years of urban living in SoCal beach paradise for a quieter life surrounded by the wonders of nature in the Ozark Mountains of NW Arkansas. You can find her at

Melanie Votaw has visited nearly 50 countries on 6 continents. She has written 34 books, and her travel articles have appeared in South China Morning Post, Just Luxe, Business Insider, & more. Her favorite adventures include a microlight flight over Victoria Falls and waltzing at a ball in Vienna.Find her at


When Paula Schuck was 19 she went to university to become an accountant and rapidly realized she hated figures and couldn't stand marketing class, so she switched to English Literature. Now, the content coordinator, health and travel writer and Canadian Mom of two teenagers likes to joke that she's the keeper of the sanity and that's the hardest job around.

Lori Sweet is a freelance writer based in Ontario, Canada. She has had a life-long passion for travel and for learning about other cultures, while traveling on and off the beaten path. Lori enjoys writing and photography, so it was a natural fit to combine this with her love of travel. You can find her at

Kathleen Walls is publisher/ writer for American Roads and Global Highways ( She authored travel books, Georgia's Ghostly Getaways, Finding Florida's Phantoms, Hosts With Ghosts, and Wild About Florida series. Her articles appear in Family RVing Magazine, Weekender Extended, Florida Traveler, World Footprints, Salon, 100 Days in Appalachia, and others.

Head honcho at The Travel Bag since 2015 and author of the 21 Reasons to Visit... travel book series, Bel Woodhouse is passionate about traveling every opportunity she gets and highlighting destinations with stunning photos and videography. A fun-loving Aussie currently living in the Caribbean on Cozumel Island off Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula, she’s generally found frolicking in the ocean, trekking through the jungle, or crawling over something as nothing is safe from her curiosity.

Food, wine, & travel stories for the discriminating traveler The writers of the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association take you around the globe as they explore the most exciting stories in food, wine and travel. Visit with the world's top chefs, uncover exotic destinations, and enjoy wines from around the world.

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Food, Wine, Travel Magazine publishes both website and digital issues. New articles to the website publish on average of twice per week, and there are regular weekly columns that cover cruising, wine, and libations. The digital issue, which is back after a two-year hiatus, publishes quarterly.

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The only hotel on historic Santa Fe Plaza


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