Boudin Bakery ~ “San Francisco’s Original Flour Children”

More than 160 years ago, Isidore and Louise Boudin created sourdough in their bakery.  Using recipes from the Gold Rush days, Boudin Bakery continues to be the longest continuously operated business in San Francisco. Maybe you were hoping to take a foodie walking tour but that long walk along the Embarcadero has your feet talking back.  Sit in Boudin’s Cafe …

No more guzzling wine

“Show it respect.  It is a living thing”  says our tour guide, George, of Tower Tours  in San Francisco. He was a wealth of details as we journeyed on our 9 hour Wine Country Adventure. He warned that we would never drink the fruit of the gods the same way again after today. It was a scenic drive north lasting …

12 Symbols and Traditions of Day of the Dead You Should Know

This week Puerto Vallarta, and all of Mexico, begins celebrations for the Day of the Dead celebrations, an honoring of those who have passed. 1) Altar: Many people make altars or “ofrendas” (offerings) in their homes to honor their loved ones who have died. 2) Ofrenda (Offering): It is used to refer to the things that are placed on the …

Day of the Dead Bread

Day of the Dead Bread

Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is an ancient Aztec ritual celebrated in Mexico and certain parts of Central America and the U.S. On November 1 and 2, skull masks are donned and people dance in honor of their deceased relatives. While holiday traditions vary from place to place, food always plays an important role. The sweet, …

Don’t feed the iguanas

They are getting too big and this one came as a freaky surprise when I rounded the corner out of the Municipal Marketplace. Children were stopping to pet this.  They give me the creeps especially when you are strolling along Rio Cuale and notice them dangling from the swaying branches overhead.  How firm is their grip up there? Three tourist …

Taco Fiesta in Puerto Vallarta

real tacos

This was the first festival to celebrate Mexico’s famous taste treat, the taco, held in Old Town Puerto Vallarta. Erase the image you have of the hard shell filled with hamburger meat topped with sour cream, lettuce and shredded cheddar.  That is no where near a REAL taco as it is meant to be. Such a fun time was had …

Amazing what they can do with a pile of dirt, isn’t it

  Remember going to the beach as a child with your shovel and pail to spend the day splashing in the waves and building “castles” in the sand?  Only yours merely looked like an upside down bucket with maybe a salt water filled moat around it.  There might have been multiple buckets if Dad decided to help. Now there is …

I went looking for “Love”

I found it at Corona 179 in Restaurante Amore. This small, cozy Italian bistro stole my heart on my first visit.  Using a discount coupon from Cupocity for the Pasta Festival, I went in search of a new taste treat for lunch. It wasn’t until about a year ago that I would consider ordering spaghetti.  After all, who doesn’t have …

European Train Travel Tip

train

  People love Eurail  passes for their convenience.  But they are often not the best deal. You can book tickets directly from European railway websites and print tickets before leaving home. Austria (ÖBB): www.oebb.at Czech Republic (CD): www.cd.cz Dutch Railways: www.ns.nl Finland (VR): www.vr.fi France (SNCF) www.voyages-sncf.com Germany (Die Bahn): www.bahn.de Great Britain (all rail operators): www.nationalrail.co.uk Hungary (MAV): www.mav.hu …

Hacienda de Oro

After a morning hike through the jungle trails, followed by a winding exploration of the gardens, a relaxing atmosphere in this Mexican restaurant was most welcome. Lunch was Nachos Botanicos, a Cadillac Margarita, Kahlua sundae and iced jamaica (hibiscus tea). Peace and quiet were most welcome here at the botanical gardens in Puerto Vallarta. Chaise lounges and wicker chairs set …

Street food in Mexico

What’s on your head? I don’t know about you but I tend to wear doughnuts on my hips. Among the usual travel warnings you will find advice to not eat street food while on vacation.  But it is everywhere.  It’s cheap and often delicious.  There is no warning that it might be fattening. Is it really healthier if they are …

Taste of Beirut

Is there a more healthy way to eat than with the Mediterranean diet?  Lebanese cooking is not complex.  Very few ingredients go into their dishes. Pita bread is served with every meal.  Lemons, olives and yogurt are a component of every day life. I was a guest of the Lebanese Tourist Board several years ago and was entertained with regional …

The New Sugar and Spice: A Recipe for Bolder Baking

You want dessert but all the health warnings about too much sugar are frightening.  How can you treat yourself, your family and friends?  The New Sugar and Spice:  A Recipe for Bolder Baking by author Samantha Seneviratne has an answer. Spices.  Some are more common and familiar like vanilla, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg.  But how about cardamon, chili peppers, anise, …

Junior’s Home Cooking

The name, Junior’s, didn’t ring a bell with me as a chain of family-run diners.  However, I do recall all the scrumptious meals devoured while visiting New York City and always leaving room for the cheesecake.  With Junior’s Home Cooking, I can now cook at home and reminisce past trips and saveur the flavours at the same time. Starting with …

Besh Big Easy

NOLA celebrity chef, John Besh, must know something about cooking.  He has two television shows, four cookbooks and nine restaurants.  Besh Big Easy: 101 Home Cooked New Orleans Recipes is something I want to try. “Do you know what it means to miss New Orleans” as Harry Connick, Jr. asks, then you will want this cookbook to bring back memories …

From Tree to Table – Maple Syrup Cookbook

Who would think sap from a tree could make everything taste so good?  Ken Haedrich knows all about it and writes in his Maple Syrup Cookbook. I once lived close to an area in Ontario known for producing maple syrup yet never visited.  Radio stations and newspapers would announce that visitors were welcome. That late winter/early spring was still too …

Super Health with Food

Quit falling for every new diet that comes along.  Just eat well. This is a handy reference guide to vitamins, minerals, amino acids, probiotics, antioxidants, omega fatty acids, hormones, medication side effects and more.  Gain a better understanding of medical lab results. It gives an list of sources for each nutrient and its uses.  Everything is listed in alphabetical order …

A Beginner’s Guide to Paradise

Alex Sheshunoff was having a quarter-century crisis.  Seems computers and the internet aren’t necessarily making life easier as technology had promised and burnout is taking half the time it used to.  Five years after founding his company, E-The People, Alex decided to go in search of an island paradise.  It was time to make that screensaver a reality. He was …

Are “Mug Meals” the answer for a happy summer?

Summer!  It is finally  here.  It’s hot and humid and we all want to be outside.  Though not every meal can be prepared on the barbeque. Seeing a new cookbook titled “Mug Meals – Delicious Microwave  Recipes” had me wondering if this might be the answer to keeping life in the kitchen quick and cool this year. Dina Cheney  offers …

Fluent Forever

* Do you feel like you may be too old to try to learn another language? * Want to get past ‘tourist speak’ for your next vacation? * Are you planning an overseas retirement somewhere with a language foreign to you? Nothing makes you feel more welcome than being able to converse with the locals.  It opens up the path …

How restaurants manipulate our eating and spending habits

By Neil Eisenberg, Graduated Psychology Degree UCLA The next time you dine out, take along a copy of this list and count how many of the following psychological ploys your favorite restaurant uses. 1. Restaurants utilize particularly imaginative language to make menu items more attractive and appealing. Descriptive labels will generally increase sales by as much as 27%, according to …