About Susan McKee

Susan McKee

Susan McKee is an independent scholar and freelance journalist specializing in history, culture and travel. She honed her craft as a general assignment reporter for more than a decade at a major metropolitan daily newspaper before fleeing corporate journalism for the peripatetic life of a freelancer.

Susan writes for a wide variety of publications, both print and online. Bylines have appeared in Global Traveler USA, JaxFax, HGTV's Front Door, Global Foodie and Road Trips for Foodies.

Latest Posts by Susan McKee

Shakespeare & Co For Breakfast or Brunch in Lexington Kentucky

October 20, 2015 by  



kentucky_lexington_shakespeareIf you’re headed to Keeneland for horse racing this month, here’s a good breakfast spot to try: Shakespeare & Co., 367 West Short Street, Lexington, Kentucky.

Despite what you may think about its origins based on its oh so British name, the company is headquartered in Dubai. In fact, this was the first outpost of the chain located beyond the Middle East — there are now 27 company-owned and operated outlets in the United Arab Emirates and franchises in Lebanon, Jordan, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt and the United States.

The décor is Victorian rather than Elizabethan, and the menu is eclectic with both American and Middle Eastern specialties. Of course there’s an in-house pâtisserie (what would breakfast be without pastries?) but they also hand-make and hand-wrap gourmet chocolates.window

The café does serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, but breakfast here is definitely my favorite. Pictured is my default: Smoked Salmon & Scrambled Eggs (pictured). Other choices include Eggs Benedict, Eggs Florentine and that American Southern Classic, Biscuits and Gravy. There’s also a full English breakfast (with mushrooms, bacon, sausage and grilled tomato) and other regional plates. You won’t leave here hungry.

Shakespeare & Co. is open from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and from 7:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

(Photos © by Susan McKee)

The Annual Russian Festival in Baltimore

October 19, 2015 by  



maryland_baltimore_russianRussian specialties will be on offer this weekend in Baltimore, Maryland.

The 42nd annual Russian Festival takes place today through Sunday (October 16, 17 and 18, 2015) at Holy Trinity Russian Orthodox Church, 1723 East Fairmount Avenue, Baltimore, Maryland.

Although there are all the usual activities for a cultural festival, you’ll obviously want to know what there is to eat. The sponsors did not disappoint. In addition to a Russian Tea Room with antique samovar, there will be:

Homemade Russian Breads:
Hoska (Braided Sweet Bread), Kulich (Easter Bread), Makovy Roulet (Poppy Seed Rolls), Babka (Sweet Cheese Bread), Vishnovaya Babka (Cherry Bread), Shokoladnaya Babka (Chocolate Bread), Rzhanoy (Rye Bread) abd Karavai (Large Loaf Bread).

Traditional Russian Foods:
Kolbasa (Sausage), Holupky (Stuffed Cabbage), Holushki (Fried Noodles with onion), Kasha (Buckwheat), Kuritsa Kotlety (Chicken Patties), Goviazhii Kotlety (Beef Patties), Vareniky (Pierogies), Shashlyk (Shish Kabob), Beef Stroganov, Govyadina na Grille (Grilled Beef), Sosiski (Hot Dogs), Kapusta (Sauerkraut), Salad iz Kapusty (Cabbage Salad), Zelenaya Fasol (Green Beans), Borsch (Beet Soup),
Blini (Crepes), Blinchky (Stuffed Crepes), Marinovanye Yaichky (Pickled Eggs), Pelmeni, Polushki and
Kartofelnye Oladi (Potato Pancakes).

Foods are available for carryout, too.

(Photo courtesy of Russian Festival)

November’s Annual Food and Wine Festival in Savannah

October 13, 2015 by  



georgia_savannah_food-wine2015Eat, drink, repeat. That’s the advice for foodie lovers who’ve put the Food & Wine Festival in Savannah, Georgia, on their travel schedules next month.

It’s set for November 9 through 15, 2015 — although the World’s Largest Lowcountry Boil (pictured) takes place the weekend before the fest begins. It’s from 4:30 to 7 p.m. November 7 on Riverfront Esplanade, Hutchinson Island. Tickets are $25.

During the festival, there’ll be a wide range of events including a Celebrity Chef Tour, a Master Class Series and (most intriguingly) a Secret Savannah Speakeasy. Dozens of chefs, sommeliers, cookbook authors, winemakers and other foodie “stars” will be featured.

(Photo courtesy of Savannah Food & Wine Festival)

This Year’s Helsinki’s Japan Week for Tea Sipping

October 10, 2015 by  



finland_helsinki_japan-weekReady to take in a tea ceremony during Helsinki’s Japan Week.

Between October 21 and 26, 2015, there will be a variety of cultural events and experiences from music and dance to tea ceremonies and a samurai performance by a star of the Quentin Tarantino movie “Kill Bill”.

Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, Japan Week is an international event that takes place each year in a different country, bringing around 500 performers at a time to the host city. Helsinki is the first city in the Nordic region to host the event.

Japan Week offers numerous different perspectives on Japanese culture. The events and program numbers by around 60 performing groups include dance, music, handicrafts, ikebana, origami, samurai performances, taiko drumming, kimonos and koto music.

The opening event will take place at the Kamppi centre October 21, 2015. Other venues include Annantalo, Wanha Satama and the Savoy Theatre. All of the events and programs during Japan Week are free of charge.

The event is organized by the International Friendship Foundation together with the City of Helsinki and Visit Helsinki.

North Carolina’s Annual Pleasure Island Seafood, Blues and Jazz Festival

September 22, 2015 by  



northcarolina_pleasure-island_seafoodThe 22nd annual Pleasure Island Seafood, Blues & Jazz Festival takes place October 10 and 11, 2015, at the Fort Fisher Air Force Recreation Area near Kure Beach, North Carolina.

Sure, there’ll be a musical lineup with Dr. John & The Nite Trippers, Shemekia Copeland and a dozen more regional and local jazz and blues artists.

The Arts & Wine Garden will host crafts and wine tastings. The free Kidz Zone features magic shows, face painting, educational exhibits, inflatables, laser tags and more.

Two-day tickets are $50 in advance. If event does not sell out, daily tickets may be purchased at the gate. Saturday only tickets are $60; Sunday only tickets are $25. Children 12 and under are admitted free of charge. Gates open at 11:00 a.m. and the music begins at 12:30 p.m.

The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

September 21, 2015 by  



florida_orlando_epcot_food-festIf you need yet another reason to visit DisneyWorld, how about the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival? It’s set for September 25, 2015, through November 16, 2015, in the Orlando, Florida, resort.

“Taste Your Way Around The World” on a culinary adventure celebrating 20 years of culture and cuisine at Epcot. There’ll be global marketplaces, a cheese studio, a wine studio and a brewer’s collection. Featured countries include Australia, Belgium, Canada, Poland and Scotland.

Culinary demos are scheduled, along with mixology seminars, cheese seminars and visiting chefs.

Needless to say, admission to Epcot is required for the festival. Food and beverage samples from individual marketplaces require a separate purchase. Alcohol will only be served to those 21 and older. Availability for some marketplace offerings may be limited.

(Photo courtesy DisneyWorld)

Taste of Atlanta in Late September

September 16, 2015 by  



georgia_atlanta_tasteTaste of Atlanta takes place September 25, 26 and 27, 2015, at Tech Square in Midtown Atlanta, Georgia and more than 90 Atlanta area restaurants are expected to participate.

Also on tap are a Grand Tasting, Big Green Egg grilling demos and a Family Food Zone.

One of the cool things: RFID technology for wristbands. Attendees will now be able to pay for their bites, brews and other merchandise by registering their wristbands and loading “Taste Points” online in advance or at select Taste Point Banks located at the festival. No cash, printed tickets or Taste Coupons will be needed this year.

The event site encompasses 5th Street from Techwood to West Peachtree Street and Spring Street from Biltmore Place to Armstead Avenue. A raft of local charities will benefit from the annual event.

Head to Kentucky for Bourbon in the Bluegrass

September 6, 2015 by  



kentucky_bourbon-barrelsThere’s nothing like a whiskey tour (especially when a Road Trips Foodie isn’t driving from distillery to distillery).

Bourbon in the Bluegrass Tours depart on Saturday mornings for excursions into the heart of Kentucky’s Bourbon Country. Tour and taste at Four Roses Distillery and Woodford Reserve, maker of the “Official Bourbon of the Kentucky Derby,” plus either Wild Turkey Distillery, overlooking the Kentucky River, or legendary Buffalo Trace in Frankfort.

This tour includes lunch in Midway, Kentucky. Pickup is at 8 a.m. at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill and 8:15 a.m. at Beaumont Inn.

Central Kentucky Tours also offers three more bourbon tour options: Barrel to Bottle Tour (starting in Lebanon, Kentucky), Heritage Bourbon Tour (starting at the Jim Beam Distillery) and Birdies to Bourbon (for golfers staying at Brightleaf Resort).

(Photo courtesy of Central Kentucky Tours)

Next Page »