Confessions of a Picky Eater

Chuck Thompson, a producer for CNN, has written a terrific piece on the problems of being a traveler and a picky eater. Go here to read it.

We have different issues. He has a long list of foods he just doesn’t like. I am open to most foods but am thrown into digestive uproar by anything with a lot of fat or tricked up with fancy sauces and other gourmet refinements. Roast potatoes with a side of steamed broccoli? Sign me up! Creme de casserole de potatoes a la Michelin etoile avec le chef’s sauce de secret, no thank you.

One of these days you have to ask me about the time I was served a four-course meal made almost entirely of cheese. Continue reading “Confessions of a Picky Eater”

Harvest & Heritage

The clink of glasses and buzz of conversation blend into the pulsing rhythm of “La Bamba” as the wine tasting in the Robledo Family Winery’s big, wooden barn swings into its second hour. The band is good, the beat near-irresistible, and some of the tasters don’t resist, shimmying gently as they make the rounds of tables featuring wines from the Napa Valley and Sonoma County.

It’s a typical harvest festival, the kind of celebration you see all over wine country as the growing season winds up to its inevitable climax. Except this event isn’t just about the 2016 grape harvest. It’s also the annual get-together of the Napa Sonoma Mexican American Vintners.

Click here to read more of this story, posted on the Nomacorc blog.

Riding that (Caledonian) train …

 

I’ve wanted to book a private sleeper berth on a train ever since I saw North by Northwest , and read The Mystery of the Blue Train, Murder on the Orient Express, etc., etc. So, when I found myself needing to travel from Inverness to London my thoughts immediately turned to the Caledonian Sleeper. A private compartment came to somewhere around $350 which was comparable and probably even a bit cheaper than paying for airfare and a night in a hotel so I booked it. (If you are traveling as a couple the price will be much cheaper than airfare/hotel, so that’s something to think about, too.)

And … it was pretty fun although not quite as glamorous as the website would have you believe. The train runs from Inverness to Euston station in London, and leaves around 8-9 p.m. There’s a lounge across the street from the station where you can wait. It was OK, but not really luxe. I was way early so had a really long afternoon tea at the Royal Highland Hotel next to the station. Lobby was quite stately, and would have been statelier if they’d run a Hoover over the carpet sometime in the last decade; scones were leaden enough to qualify for the periodic table.  Continue reading “Riding that (Caledonian) train …”

Seven Great Venice Hacks

 

RIDE A GONDOLA FOR A SONG:

Sure, the real deal with the singing guys in the striped shirts and cute hats is crazy expensive. Like over $100. Don’t bother. When you get down to it, it’s just a boat ride. Plus you do a lot of sliding slo–o–o-wly  under bridges packed with tourists staring at you and snapping pictures like it’s feeding time at the zoo. Instead, look for one of the gondola ferries, called traghetti, that locals use to get across places where there’s no convenient bridge. It’s around $2-$3 and although the ride doesn’t last long there’s time for a quick selfie. And while the operators aren’t quite as snazzy as the private gondola fellows, they DO wear striped shirts. Continue reading “Seven Great Venice Hacks”

Slideshow: Prosecco Country (click photo to start)

Tasting rooms with a (military) base of success

SAN FRANCISCO — Looking for a taste of this city’s rich military history? You’ll find it, along with some rather good wine, at one of several wineries set up in former military installations.

The armed forces might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you picture San Francisco, but before it was a tech capital, before it was a hippie heaven, this was a military town surrounded by several bases set in the region.

Downsizing and consolidation led to a wave of base closures in the 1990s, which, after some tidying up, created a number of interesting spaces that have been turned into parks, soundstages, offices and other commercial applications, and, in what might be the tastiest development, settings for urban tasting rooms.

Click here to read more of this story, published by the Associated Press.

Seeing the Sound of Music

It was cold and gray and spiteful flurries of snow were whipping against the thin protection of my travel raincoat as I looked out over Salzburg, medieval and baroque buildings alike huddling in dark silhouette against the lowering sky. I was looking for the spot on the Winkler Terrace where Maria and the von Trapp children sang Do-Re-Mi and I was not finding it. Snowflakes were, however, landing on my nose and eyelashes so I was lyrically, if not geographically, in the zone.

Do-re-mi meets snow-re-me. (Thank you, I’ll be here all week.)

Continue reading “Seeing the Sound of Music”