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January 18, 2011

Five Culinary Highlights of Barbados

(Kendra Bailey Morris)

Winter is clearly in full swing (in most parts of the country). If it isn't snowing, it's sleeting, and all of this cold and ice has many of us (myself included) craving an empty beach chair perched on a warm, sandy beach where we can pass away a quiet afternoon with tropical drink in hand.

The good news is, this fantasy may not be as unreachable as you might think. The island of Barbados, with its pristine azure waters, 3,000 hours of annual sunshine, 1,500 rum shops, and amazing traditional Bajan cooking (think the freshest fish, macaroni pie, and Cou-Cou, a cornmeal and okra combo) is a brief three-hour flight from Miami.

So, why not treat yourself to a little taste of the islands, and while you're there, don't miss out on these five must-dos.

1. Eat a Flying-Fish Sandwich
Flying fish was recently declared the National Dish of Barbados along with Cou-Cou. This acrobatic fish earned its name because it can literally break out of the water and "fly" distances of up to 100 yards. Flying fish can be found on a variety of menus, from chalkboards outside the local roadside fish shack where traditional "cutters" (sandwiches made with salt bread) are sold for a few Bahamain dollars, to the fancy faux-leather fold-out menus found in many fine-dining establishments which dot the island.

Continue reading "Five Culinary Highlights of Barbados" »

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Related Topics: Beach Vacation · Caribbean Travel · Culinary Travel · Food and Drink · Holidays, Events, & Festivals

November 08, 2010

Sake: Oregon's Newest "Wine" Sensation

By Kate Chandler

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Try delicious craft sake brewed just outside of Portland, Oregon (amanaimagesRF/Getty)

Mention Oregon wine country to a budding oenophile, and they'll likely be able to rattle off the state's most popular grape-growing regions: the Willamette, Columbia, and Walla Walla valleys. Oregon's wines have certainly made their mark on fine menus all over the country. But there's another style of "wine" taking hold of Oregon: rice wine, more commonly known as sake.    

Now that sushi is available all over the States, from Nobu to your local Whole Foods, sake has become a more familiar item to the American palate. Unfortunately, the cheapo carafe served hot in most restaurants is very low-quality sake. Premium sake is brewed to be served slightly chilled, and oh is it a fine experience. 

I've enjoyed my fair share of premium sake throughout the years. And if you had asked me a week or so ago if fine, craft sake could come from anywhere other than Japan, I might have reacted as a wine snob would when presented with a bottle of muscadine wine from Tennessee. That was before I got my hands on a bottle from the SakeOne collection, Oregon's finest...probably America's finest. SakeOne crafts four brands, with something for every taste, from full-fruit flavors that would appeal to the American wine drinker to reliable Jumnai Ginjo variations that will please traditionalists.

If you're in the Forest Grove area, just outside of Portland, stop in for a visit to the Kura (brewery), meet the Toji (brewmaster), sample some of the delights, and leave with a heck of a lot of sake! If you can't make it to Oregon, you can order online (assuming you live in a state that permits alcohol shipping...and here's hoping that you do).

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Related Topics: Culinary Travel · Food and Drink · US Travel

August 30, 2010

Great American Beer Festival

By Lacy Morris

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Beer Fest(Daniel Spiess)
Great American Beer Festival, Denver, Colorado (Daniel Spiess)

Its website calls it a ten-day celebration of "all things beer." I call it the single most brilliant idea the Mile High City has ever had. Being an ex-Denverite myself, and a lover of "all things beer," the Denver Beer Fest is right up my alley, and apparently also up the alley's of the thousands who descended on last year's event. Tourists and locals (the earthy folk who roam the city love their brewskis) rub elbows and vie for bar space in the hundreds of microbreweries, brewpubs, and beer cafés that Denver plays mother hen to. Beer Fest is only in its second year of beer-ations, developed in 2009 to help "build camaraderie and unique experiences" in the city, as well as expand on the already intact and highly engaging Great American Beer Festival and Oktoberfest. That is why I love Denver.

Denver's rich tradition of brewing has placed it as one of the world's greatest beer cities, earned it nicknames like the "Napa Valley of Beer," and placed numerous hometown brews on lists in Maxim, GQ, and Outdoor Life. Celebrate with the masses September 10-19 with a "Suds Safari" in the Denver Zoo, a barnstorming beer garden at Elitch Garden amusement park, or a day of fly-fishing the stream one-handed, beer in the other—just to name a few of the week's many events.  

Check here for hotels offering special Beer Fest Packages and here for city coupons. 

Continue reading "Great American Beer Festival" »

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Related Topics: Food and Drink · Holidays, Events, & Festivals

August 02, 2010

New Foodie Tours in France and Beyond

By Kate Chandler

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Food and wine tours in Provence, France (Halfdark/Getty)

Having the same ol' thing for dinner tonight and need some inspiration? Or maybe you're just an unabashed foodie craving the next great taste. Well, here it is. Michelin, the name behind perhaps the world's most trusted restaurant guides, is now working with niche tour operator Roadtrips Inc. to create Michelin Food & Travel tours. These expert-led, luxury culinary trips feature delectable, behind-the-scenes experiences with chefs and establishments that have received the coveted Michelin star-rating.

Travelers will participate in private kitchen demonstrations, sample the wares of local food artisans, and engage in wine tastings, truffle hunts, and dozens of other palate-pleasing activities designed to bring out the full flavor of the world's culinary hotspots. Each custom-made itinerary will cater to individual travelers' tastes in food, regions, and seasons.

The initial program launches with culinary experiences in France, specifically Provence, Cote d'Azur, and Paris, with plans to soon expand the trip roster to include Italy, England, and other destinations across Europe and Asia. Yum!

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Related Topics: European Travel · Food and Drink

July 08, 2010

Park City Food and Wine Classic

By Kate Chandler

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(Park City Food and Wine Classic)

Park City, Utah, is the place to be each winter when the Sundance Film Festival rolls around. But if you think this see-and-be-seen mountain town is only hot when the mercury drops, you're missing out on perhaps the best time of year here.

To get your first taste, book a last-minute flight to Salt Lake and check out the Park City Food and Wine Classic, starting today. This four-day event might not have the star power of the Aspen Food and Wine Classic (more on that in a minute), but the chefs, winemakers, and sommeliers in town this weekend know their stuff. Single events range in cost from $20 for the After Fest Fest at the High West Distillery to $300 for a four-hour fishing and food event at Victory Ranch called Tight Lines and Fine Wines. Packages are also available, and you can enter to win free tickets to the Saturday night Grand Tasting.

Hotel space is going to be tight, but the Sky Lodge, an impeccable boutique hotel, reports that it has a few rooms left. The hotel’s Easy Street restaurant is one of the "stroll stops" during Friday's Grand Tasting Stroll of Park City. The property is also hosting several tasting seminars including Welcome to My Bubble, A Tour of Spain via the Wine Route, and Master Ceviche Class. Yum! Book the all-inclusive Taste of the Town package, $350 for two people, which includes a Friday night stay in a one-bedroom suite with private hot tub and balcony, complimentary breakfast, and two tickets to the Friday night Grand Tasting Stroll.

Continue reading "Park City Food and Wine Classic" »

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Related Topics: Food and Drink · Holidays, Events, & Festivals

June 02, 2010

National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month

By Lacy Morris

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Market_veggies(Rudi Sebastian,Getty)
Market Selections (Rudi Sebastian/Getty)

June is here, and as National Fruit and Vegetable Month there's no better time to head out to your local farmers' markets or plan a vacation or road trip around one of the biggest and best in the country. Sunshine, bargains, and great people-watching all define one of summer's favorite pastimes. Here are five of the best:

St. Paul Farmers' Market
St. Paul, Minnesota
The calm Midwest city of St. Paul comes alive at the local market where the St. Paul Growers' Association allows only fresh, locally grown produce to be sold. The market also features bakery goods, cheese, poultry, buffalo, venison, beef, pork, lamb, maple syrup, eggs, bagel sandwiches, honey, organic plants and produce, flowers, plants, shrubs, and many other items. The market sets up in various places around town and is open every day except Monday. Late May/early June sees weather in the low 80s—perfect for outdoor shopping.

Continue reading "National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month" »

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Related Topics: Eco-Tourism · Food and Drink

May 25, 2010

Something to Wine About

The next time you doff a tasty glass of Malbec from Argentina, think about what it took to get the bottle to your table. In developing countries like Argentina, Chile, and South Africa, the laborers who work the vineyards typically hold no rights and suffer to meet life's basic needs. But now a unique organization with the tagline "Tackling Poverty and Empowering Producers through Trade" is trying to make a difference.
FAIRTRADE is an alternative to conventional wine trade based on a partnership between producers and consumers. By setting standards for quality and sustainable production with a minimum price for distribution, it allows producers and laborers at least simple living conditions. In addition, a portion of the revenue goes toward improving the workers' and farmers' social, economic, and environmental conditions (ie: schools, doctors offices, etc.). By buying wine with the FAIRTRADE label, you are supporting the very people who make the wine so delicious to begin with. So the next time you choose your wine, look for the label, and feel even better knowing you're drinking responsibly.

Lisa Costantini is a writer/editor currently traveling the world with her husband working on a project about sport and culture. More information can be found on their website at Lisa will be blogging from the road for us as she and her husband travel through Africa, Asia, South America, and Europe over the next several months.

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February 22, 2010

It's 5 o'clock somewhere...

By Lacy Morris

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Somebody, somewhere decided that today, February 22, is National Margarita Day. And I'm not complaining. So tip your sombreros, break the pinata, and dance to the Mariachi is tequila's day. Though the famed drink receives plenty of adoration year-round (it regularly tops the list of the most popular U.S. alcoholic drinks,) today is the 'ritas shining moment as fans congregate in bars, restaurants, clubs, and living rooms to give much deserved accolades to the tasty blend. I'm assuming tomorrow will unofficially be National Tylenol Day as we all recoup from our festive night. To get you going, here are a few establishments that have chosen to give praise where praise is due... 

-Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville Bar is celebrating National Margarita Day with all-day margarita specials. Those lucky enough to be rockin' the name Marguerite, Margarita, or Rita, get to go home with a free bottle of Margaritaville Margarita Mix. Is today your birthday? Those introduced to the world on this blessed day are entitled to a Margaritaville gift certificate.  Bring ID for proof.  

Continue reading "It's 5 o'clock somewhere..." »

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January 15, 2010

Top Ten Sea Views To Dine For

By awayblog

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Muisbosskerm-south-africa View from terrace at Muisbosskerm on South Africa's Western Cape (Charlotte Turner)

Blissful vistas, the crash of waves on the shore, and fresh, salty air to whet the appetite make these oceanside eateries a treat for all the senses.

10) Muisbosskerm, Western Cape, South Africa
9) Café del Mar, San Antonio, Ibiza, Spain
8) Reial Club Marótim, Barcelona, Spain
7) Club 55, St.-Tropez, France
6) Unawatuna, near Galle, Sri Lanka
5) Apsley Gorge Vineyard Café, Bicheno, Tasmania, Australia
4) The Baths, Sorrento, Victoria, Australia
3) Nepenthe, Big Sur, California
2) Boathouse, Breach Inlet, Isle of Palms, South Carolina
1) Wickaninnish Inn, Tofino, B.C., Canada

For more mouthwatering culinary travel ideas like the one above, check out our series of exclusive excerpts from National Geographic's new book, Food Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 Extraordinary Places to Eat Around the Globe.

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Related Topics: Food and Drink · Top 10 Lists

January 12, 2010

Restaurant Week: D.C.'s Dining Deals

By Lacy Morris

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Toasting red wine (photographer's choice) (Photographer's Choice)

If you are due a romantic dinner with your significant other (and live in the Washington, D.C., area), the time for excuses is over. It's Restaurant Week in the nation's capital, with more than 180 of the District's finest restaurants offering three-course meals at a fixed-price of $20.10 for lunch and $35.10 for dinner (prices per person). The variety of food choices varies, with some places offering entire menus while others have created new, smaller menus specifically for the week. This culinary extravaganza ends Sunday (and those of us who are former members of a waitstaff would like to remind that beverages, tax, and gratuity are not included).

Looking for more inspiration for where to woo a loved one? Check out's all-new Romance Travel Guide, with ideas and recommendations for romantic escapes near and far.

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Related Topics: Food and Drink · Holidays, Events, & Festivals

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