Showing posts from March, 2010

Wine Travels to Explore

I’ve come across some interesting opportunities for wine tasting and exploration that I thought I would pass along: The Bellagio is always full of great activity and gourmet restaurants. On May 7th the Las Vegas hotel’s Tuscany Kitchen will be hosting UnCork'd wine seminars.. The schedule includes “Wine Immersion: A Master Sommelier’s View on Organic Wine, Culinary Revelations: A Piece of Chocolate and a Glass of Wine,” and “Wine Immersion Experience: Wine Scores and Ratings, What Do They Actually Mean.” There's also an opportunity for a five-course wine pairing dinner. Speaking of Tuscany, there’s nothing like the real thing for an Italian wine experience. I’m hoping to experience my own adventure this fall with DiVine Tours , a company I recently discovered that specializes in wine trips. DiVine offers a selection of wine exploration for everything from day tours in great Italian cities like Florence, Rome, Amalfi Coast, San Gimignano and Pisa to in-depth week long

My Flavored Vodka Party

I am working on a story on flavored vodkas and had the terrible task (!) this past weekend of tasting 13 flavors from 6 different companies.  It was such a difficult task that I decided I needed to call in some friends to help me out.  I wasn't surprised when there were quite a few volunteers! I plan on doing an in-depth story on the vodkas involved for print, but I just can't keep all the results to myself that long.  We divided the drinks into two groups -- Unusual Flavors and Berries, and took an intermission in between.  There were some surprises so let's start with what we thought about the flavor...  Smirnoff Pear -Everyone said this tasted like banana and I was in agreement.  Voli Orange Vanilla -"Orange Creamsicle" was the consensus on this one. Ciroc Coconut -I don't know if it was imagination or visions of Pina Coladas, but a few people said they tasted a bit of pineapple in this.  The coconut was clear, though. Voli Lemon -This was describ

Minimus is a perfect partner on the road

If there's one thing I hate to see,  it's people doing stories about their advertisers just because they took in an ad.  This is very different.  I sought out Minimus ads for this site because it is a company I have useed with for years and I think it's a great source for my traveling readers. Minimus is not just a place to get hard to find travel-sized products, they are a source of everything you need for your trip that doesn't come in the form of shoes, clothes or equipment.  For long trips, I have frequently ordered in advance and had a package of toiletries, food items and laundry supplies waiting for me.  Before leaving on short trips (or trips with multiple destinations), I often place a Minimus order. I will leave you with a couple of my favorite Minimus items... Cereal- With the exception of the over-sugared ones, cereal is a great meal, fortified with vitamins.  Add some milk and you've got a quick bowl of nutrition -- without a lot of calories and

The Edgewater Hotel hosts Celebration of American Distilling

The Edgewater Hotel , which overlooks Lake Mendota in Madison, Wisconsin, has been home to politicians and actors throughout its history, but it's also a great place to explore the spirits. For my trip, it was a beautiful lake full of snow that I witnessed outside my room, but there are also sunsets to be viewed from the Cove Lounge .  It is a cozy place to sip one of their specialty Martinis (Palladin Pear, anyone?) or Bellinis (Peach, Strawberry or Raspberry), Craft Beers, or something from the extended Wine, Sherry, Scotch, Cordial or Port list. Sandwiches, burgers and appetizers are also available in the lounge, which is full of pictures signed by celebrities of all kinds who have one thing in common -- they have stayed at The Edgewater . The Admiralty Dining Room also enjoys the lake view, serving full dinners and a large Sunday Brunch.  While I did not eat in the dining room,  I tasted some delicious samples in the evening of Chicken Cordon Bleu balls and Swedish Meatbal

South Beach Wine and Food Festival Finale

The finale of the South Beach Wine and Food Festival was as tasty as the previous days as I learned about Spanish wines and then sampled a bit of everything. I was back in the classroom Sunday morning.  This time it was to learn about wines from Spain and who better to teach that than Doug (no relation) Frost, author of 2008 Wines from Spain Far from Ordinary Wine Guide.   It's been years since I was in Spain and I was quickly taken out of any preconceived notions of the $5-10 wine the country had poured with no consideration to quality years ago.  We had 10 wines to taste and, though they were all still moderately priced ($17-45), it was clear how the third most producer of wine in the world has earned that position. It was Cava I had chosen this seminar for, on assignment for Crave Magazine , but as in the previous day's seminar , Doug Frost kept it fun and moving as he took us through some of the growing regions, like Rioja, Galicia and La Mancha. We tasted a wide vari