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Numi Tea at the Winter Fancy Food Show 2013

January 31, 2013 by  

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Tea has been around for thousands of years and, yet, the folks at Numi have managed to do a brilliant new thing with it. Meet their Savory Teas, in six flavors that star vegetables as the key ingredient, with support from herbs, spices and decaffeinated tea. They’re like the lovechild of tea and vegetable bullion, with a subtle, well-rounded flavor profile. These inventive new tea bags easily earned my “best new product” award at this year’s Fancy Food Show. Fennel Spice is the most expected, with licorice and orange notes – but it gets more interesting after that. Broccoli Cilantro has a bit of a kick, with cilantro and celery. Spinach Chive is perhaps the most complex, with lime, coriander, dill and green tea. Beet Cabbage not only has the crimson color you’d expect, but gets a lot of personality from mustard seed, coriander, clove and apple. My two favorites are Carrot Curry (who wouldn’t love carrot with ginger and turmeric?) and Tomato Mint, which has a Greek feel to it, with lemon peel and cinnamon. Fortunately, they’re available in a sampler pack, as well as boxes of  individual flavors,…

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“Flavors of Malaysia” for Recipes & the Region’s Historical Culinary Origins

January 31, 2013 by  

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I met a very warm and inspiring woman named Susheela Raghavan at the New York Times Travel Show, who was born in Klang, near the capital of Malaysia. Her background is in food science – it was her inviting smile that brought me over, that and the vivacious colors of her cookbook Flavors of Malaysia. Although I haven’t seen the book yet or tried any of the recipes (hope to soon), there are more than 150 authentic, easy-to-follow recipes with a 16-page color insert. Not only does it include a step-by-step guide to yummy Malaysian cuisine, but it covers Malaysian history and its culinary origins. Flavors of Malaysia celebrates the best of the Malaysian table so to speak, from sizzling satays, flavorful stir-fries, fragrant rice and noodle dishes, aromatic curries and spicy condiments, that for anyone who has been there will recall with eager tummies. Historically, Malaysia was a major center of the spice trade in Southeast Asia. Over time, Malay, Chinese, Indian, Thai, Indonesian and Arab, as well as Dutch, Portuguese and British influences blended to create the melange of cultures of Malaysian cuisine today. I told Susheela a funny story that on my first and…

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LVC on Vegas’ Paradise Road is Convenient for Conference Goers, but Lacks Luxury of the Strip

January 31, 2013 by  

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The LVC on South Paradise Road used to be known by every conference attendee as the “conference” hotel. It had always been a Hilton for years and while nothing special especially for Las Vegas, it was an easy and convenient place to stay since it was an easy walk to the convention center.                 Like most of the hotels, the LVH has a casino but sadly lacks in other amenities including a wide variety of restaurants. There is a sushi bar but if you want to combine a sushi order with a bowl of soup in the attached noodle bar, they don’t seem to work together all that well. The conveniences of the other hotels on the strip are just not there, especially an issue if you’re a serious foodie.                   I was surprised to learn after our stay that the rooms were roughly the same price as the Wynn down the road. That said, while the rooms are not updated and the restaurants are not up to snuff, it is still a conveniently located…

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Je t’aime French Canada, Yes All Of It!

January 31, 2013 by  

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  quebecflagFirst and foremost, the French spoken in Quebec is FRENCH!  I have such a pet peeve about people saying that it’s different.  French people from France and people in Quebec can totally understand each other… well usually.    To me it’s the same as saying that the English of North America is 18th century English (which may be true), but GEESH! we can still understand Downton Abbey, right? The French started exploring Canada or what they called ‘New France’ at the beginning of the 16th century and found basically the same things the English found when they started to explore the future US of A, native peoples, lots of wild animals and trees.  The name ‘Canada’ even came from the French who heard the Iroquois use the word ‘kanata’ to describe their villages.   Jacques Cartier is the first to pen the word in his journals. tourtiereAlong with the language, the French brought their recipes and adapted them.  A large part of the French explorers came from north and south-western France, ie, Normandy and Brittany, as well as Aquitaine and Auvergne and so the food…

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The Guinness Tasting Party World Tour

January 31, 2013 by  

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Arthur Guinness was born on 1725 in County Kildare (it’s true, wiki it!).  At 27, he started a brewery in the outskirts of Dublin. After working it for a few years, he went into Dublin itself and took out an amazing 9,000 year lease, effective 31st, December 1759 (with rent control, I hope!) on a four acre brewery at the famous St. James’s Gate. He is, of course, famous for creating the popular Irish dry stout beer. This evening, I had the pleasure of experiencing some of the Guinness brewery’s new products. Over at Terra Gallery in San Francisco’s South of the Market district, the Guinness company held a tasting that is worthy of the Guinness name. These events are usually quite fun: lots of drinks – all for free – get to mingle and chat with interesting people, and get to listen to some interesting tidbits about the company and their upcoming new product launch. Now, an important note. I am a fervent drinker of the “food in a glass” that is Guinness. I drink other beers, certainly, but my go-to at any respectable dining or drinking establishment is a wonderful glass of Guinness. I…

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Vancouver International Wine Festival in Canada

January 31, 2013 by  

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Check out the annual Vancouver International Wine Festival in late February and early March in Canada. Winery dinners, lunches, grazing, mingling and seminars are currently up for grabs at VanWineFest.ca available 24/7 online this year. Winery dinners for your consideration include: From Burrard to Road 13 Fleuri Restaurant, Long Shadows: A Glowbal Voyage Coast Restaurant, Natural Balance: Bonterra and Oru Oru Restaurant at the Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel, A Tour of California MARKET by Jean Georges, Bella Napa Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill, and Cal-Italian Escape Don Francesco Ristorante. Additionally, celebrate a California Icon The Boathouse at Kits Beach,Chateau Olivier at Le Gavroche Le Gavroche, Fontodi and Hawksworth Hawksworth Restaurant, The Secret of Stags’ and Etude The Secret Location, Wagner Family of Wine At CinCin CinCin Ristorante + Bar, Canadian Wine Awards Dinner Edible Canada at the Market, Gaga for Bottega at Siena Siena Trattoria, and Pure Delight! Mission Hill & Brix Brix Restaurant & Wine Bar.    


South American City Gems Not to Miss: From Bogota & Cuzco to Valparaiso

January 31, 2013 by  

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Growing up on the east coast, I don’t think I was fully prepared for the awe-inspiring landscapes that would greet me upon my arrival. Compiling this list of my favorite SA cities was harder than I anticipated, but I take that as a good sign. 1) Jujuy, Argentina Before arriving in Jujuy, I had no idea of the small city’s existence, but it soon cast a captivating spell upon me. Jujuy is a real mix of latin culture. Bordering both Bolivia and Chile makes for a unique culture rooted in aboriginal traditions. jujuy We decided to take a tour of the small surrounding villages and it was as if we had stepped back in time. The striking Cerro de los Siete Colores is hard to miss – it is exactly as its name describes and boasts seven colors. It’s not a hard trek either (I was wearing a long maxi skirt and ballet flats that day). Nature aside, the local people are extremely proud of their culture and history and their enthusiasm increased my appreciation for Jujuy. 2) Valparaiso, Chile The fondness I have for this coastal Chilean city is unparalleled. Deciding to head here after…

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Romantic Thriller Safe Haven to Hit on Valentines Day

January 31, 2013 by  

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Earlier this month, I had the fun and fabulous opportunity to accompany Author and Producer Nicholas Sparks and Co-Star Josh Duhamel of the movie “Safe Haven” as they toured some local SF Bay Area tech companies. I’m a fan of Josh Duhamel movies, where he delivers great performances as a romantic lead actor, and I also look forward to movies made from Nicholas Spark’s romantic books. While comedies and action thrillers have their place, I can’t resist a good romantic movie in a beautiful setting where the main characters sizzle, experiencing romance and transformation through a suspenseful story line. A private screening of “Safe Haven” that day helped me realize that the movie delivers on all of that (and more!!). Here is information about the movie Safe Haven from Nicholas Sparks website: “When a mysterious young woman arrives in a small North Carolina town, her reluctance to join the tight knit community raises questions about her past. Slowly, she begins putting down roots, and gains the courage to start a relationship with Alex, a widowed store owner with two young children. But dark secrets intrude on her new life with such terror that she is forced

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