Category Archives: Travel Adventures

Scenes From “Taste of Yosemite” November 2018

A giant sequoia in Yosemite National Park that will have you in awe.

A giant sequoia in Yosemite National Park that will have you in awe.

 

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, CA — If you didn’t make it to the grand “Taste of Yosemite” event last week — actually held twice this year — you definitely missed out, because the next one won’t take place until January 2020.

The popular winter-time extravaganza that draws a host of celebrated chefs to host cooking demos and cook multi-course gala dinners at The Majestic Yosemite Hotel, normally takes place every January for nearly the entire month. But it will be on hiatus January 2019, as the hotel’s kitchen gets renovated.

So mark your calendar for January 2020 for its return.

Meantime, to rev your appetite and interest, I happily serve up morsels from last week’s event, in which I served as moderator for two sessions.

Thrilled to moderate this session that featured Cowgirl Creamery, Peter Armellino of the Plumed Horse, and Adam Mali of The Battery.

Thrilled to moderate this session that featured Cowgirl Creamery, Peter Armellino of the Plumed Horse, and Adam Mali of The Battery.

It was actually the second “Taste of Yosemite” of 2018, with the first one occurring in January of this year. Organizers decided to do another shortened bonus “Taste of Yosemite” this month.

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Get To Know Spokane Part II: Best Brunch, A Philanthropic Fried Chicken Joint & More

A tasting size of the fried chicken and waffles at Bruncheonette.

A tasting size of the fried chicken and waffles at Bruncheonette.

SPOKANE, WA — On a recent trip in which I was invited by Visit Spokane to be a guest in its fair city, I had a chance to discover the many charms of this Northwest city.

Did you know it’s the home of Bing Crosby and even sports a Bing Crosby House Museum?

Or that there’s a giant-sized Radio Flyer downtown that you can climb on, then slide down?

Or that it boasts a 1909 historic hand-carved wooden carousel, where you can climb aboard a horse, giraffe, tiger or Chinese dragon chair for a spin?

Not your average red wagon.

Not your average red wagon.

Of course, it’s also home to some incredible restaurants not to be missed. Take a taste.

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Get To Know Spokane Part I: Sips, Doritos Ceviche, Original Crab Louis & More

The Skyride tram at Riverfront Park in downtown Seattle.

The Skyride tram at Riverfront Park in downtown Seattle.

SPOKANE, WA — Sure, Seattle may have the Mariners, Seahawks, Amazon headquarters, and James Beard Award-winning chefs and restaurants. But Spokane has a spectacular waterfall in the center of the city. Take that.

Seattle may get more attention, but Spokane definitely deserves its own fanfare for attractions and attributes all its own. That’s what I discovered when I was invited to visit the state’s second largest city recently by Visit Spokane.

It’s a most livable city — with home prices not surprisingly a fraction of those in Silicon Valley — a revitalized downtown that’s safe to walk around in at night, a renovated waterfront, a thriving convention scene, fabulous bakeries, and cool restaurants opening in repurposed old buildings.

What’s more, it gets less rain than Seattle.

And it’s the birth place of Father’s Day.

Get to know what else there is to love about Spokane.

It Takes Bread & Beer Seriously

Does it ever, especially at the newly opened The Grain Shed, a bakery and brewery all in one.

At The Grain Shed, they revere local, heirloom grains, but keep their sense of humor about it all.

At The Grain Shed, they revere local, heirloom grains, but keep their sense of humor about it all.

Yes, come for a pint and a loaf. And for Pizza Mondays.

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Snapshots, Snippets and Cheese Ice Cream

A scoop of cheese ice cream and blackberry ice cream at Kurt's Farm Shop.

A scoop of cheese ice cream and blackberry ice cream at Kurt’s Farm Shop.

 

SEATTLE, WA — Yes, I said, “cheese” ice cream. Not “cheesecake” ice cream. But ice cream made with actual cheese. Have I got your attention now? I should — because this ice cream is worth making a special trip for.

Hats off to my friend Tami, who lived in Seattle for a few years, and suggested I make time for the ice cream at Kurt Farm Shop on Capitol Hill. Tucked inside the Chophouse Row building food hall, this sliver of a shop sells cheese, grilled cheese sandwiches, and glorious ice cream.

The custard base is made at its Kurtwood Farm using Jersey cream and milk from its own cows.

Gotta love the cow art work.

Gotta love the cow art work.

They’re generous with samples. I knew I wanted the Flora’s Cheese flavor from the get-go. The ice cream is super rich and smooth, with a pronounced naturally sweet milky taste. There are actual bits of frozen feta-like cheese in this flavor. It’s cheesecake-like, but not quite as tangy. There’s more of a developed cheese flavor, though, no funkiness. It’s ever so savory and just a twinge salty. It’s one of those flavors that’s an instant classic.

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The Quest For Triple Coconut Cream Pie

Follow the sign.

Follow the sign.

 

SEATTLE, WA — When my husband and I were planning our recent trip here, there was one thing first and foremost on my mind.

Coconut cream pie.

The Triple Coconut Cream Pie by Tom Douglas, to be exact.

It’s been Douglas’ best-selling dessert ever since he put it on the menu when he opened his flagship Dahlia Lounge in 1989. It’s the primary reason he later opened his Dahlia Bakery next-door. He sells more than 1,000 coconut cream pies a month. He’s donated them to charity auctions, where they fetch upwards of $5,000 each!

Even one of my best foodie friends told me she’s not usually a coconut cream pie fan, but fell hard for this one. A Lyft driver on my trip told me she loved it so much the first time she had it, that she went back the very next day for another slice. Friends on Facebook described the pie as “life-changing.”

Our first stop the morning after flying in was indeed Dahlia Bakery, where you can buy a whole 9-inch coconut cream pie ($42), a 6-inch one ($22), a slice ($7.75) or even a “bite” ($3), which is a two-bite-sized pastry with the same filling and topping as the regular-sized version.

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