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A Food Gallery of the Dominican Republic’s Punta Cana

January 11, 2017 by  

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Punta Cana is known for its pristine beaches and resorts, main of them all-inclusive resorts on the coast. Beaches worth noting include Cabeza de Toro, and the Bávaro and El Cortecito beaches. From north to south, other beaches include Uvero Alto, Macao, Arena Gorda, Bávaro, and Las Corales, all north of the cape; and Cabo Engaño, Punta Cana and Juanillo,  which are south of the cape. Along these beaches are many renowned hotels with restaurants and eateries, some of them serving local cuisine but more of them serving international dishes than not. The Dominican Republic is predominantly a tri-creole culture: indigenous Taino, African from African slave ancestry, and Spanish. It also has a peppering of other cultural influences thrown in, which shows up in the Dominican cuisine. The best way to sample authentic Dominican food is to step out of the hotel buffet line and explore more of the authentic culture, however on my most recent trip, I spent more time at luxury hotels and chic restaurants, so please consider this guide more of a culinary gallery of the dishes I sampled from upscale kitchens rather than from local eateries. While I typically make sure to sample more of the local restaurants, this…

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2 Top French Restaurant Picks in San Francisco

December 27, 2016 by  

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A French food lover? What a better place to explore French restaurants than in one of the top foodie capitals in the U.S. For my birthday this year, we headed to Cafe Jacqueline, an exquisite bistro gem in the heart of the city whose owner is also the chef and has been specializing in soufflees for over 30 years. Sweet and savory souffles are the star of the menu at this longtime French eatery.  There’s not much else on this limited menu that Chef Jacqueline Margulis prepares nightly but soufflees are most definitely her passion. I wouldn’t have known just how small, authentic and old school this place was if I hadn’t made my way to the bathroom, with a whole lot of curiosity in the back of my mind. I walked slowly past the open kitchen and there was Jacqueline herself, giving me a friendly nod as I made my way past.  She whips up her soufflees with such precision and passion, you have to wonder how she continues to do so with such enthusiasm after making the same thing year after year for so long. I learn that she grew up in a convent in France because her mother died…

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3 Unforgettable Italian Restaurants in Europe

December 22, 2016 by  

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Finding an amazing Italian meal isn’t always easy. Even in Italy. Some of the finest hotels are often snubbed by locals because the cucina Italiana (Italian cuisine) isn’t up to par and thought to be ‘for tourists’. Hotel Savoy; photo credit: RobbReport.com. But not these three Italian restaurants! Each is a beloved favorite for locals and tourists alike where you si mangia bene (eat well). Which indeed is high praise from Italians who in my opinion are the world’s toughest food critics. Each of these top three restaurants has one very important element in common: Italian chef mastermind Fulvio Pierangeli. He is the golden thread that weaves them all together creating mouthwatering menus inspired by the purest Italian cuisine. Irene: Hotel Savoy, Florence  A fun throwback to a 50’s retro-chic bistro, Irene is colourful and contemporary in Florence’s historic Piazza della Repubblica. The designer, Olga Polizzi, recently transformed the ambiance from a heavy masculine vibe into a feminine feel with elegant flash. Then Fulvio Pierangelini revamped Irene’s menu to perfection. “The bistro is a celebration of woman and the thousands of inextricable facets of the female universe,” says Fulvio Pierangelini, “Irene is a bit insolent, free, contemporary, charming, bold,…

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2 Restaurant Gems on the Monterey Pacific Grove Penisula

December 3, 2016 by  

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If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area or go there on business or pleasure, you’re bound to drive down the coast, whether you’re heading to the infamous Big Sur, driving down to Los Angeles or just want a long weekend away on the peninsula along the coast south of Santa Cruz, which serves gems like Monterey, Pacific Grove and Carmel-by-the-Sea.  Located a stone’s throw from the more well-known Monterey is Pacific Grove, a ten or fifteen minute drive away. Photo credit: Beach House. Tucked in a grove, it’s a lovely place to reflect, meditate, take a walk and finally have dinner. If you’re off on a romantic getaway or just love serenity and stunning views, then the Beach House at Lover’s Point is your spot. Steak lovers can head into directly into Monterey and check out Whaling Station Steakhouse. We review both of them from our recent visit in November below. Be prepared to be hungry after seeing our oh so luscious food photos. Beach House at Lover’s Point When you drive up to the Beach House at Lover’s Point, you’re immediately struck by its view of the ocean in all directions. It’s…

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The Pelican, the Princess and the Pizza

November 24, 2016 by  

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In November, the Princess learned that unless she wanted to be losing them, she’d best use her “floating holidays” by the second week of December or she would be kissing those days “good-bye”. So, like the respectful royalty that she is, she put in for the time off and we got our buddy, Jimmy John (alias JJ), involved with our plans for silliness and merrymaking, and decided that a trip down to Monterey to do some bike riding along the coast would be a nice way to spend her time off. Being the pizza and pastry lover that I am, though, I can’t drive down to Monterey, without a stopover in Capitola for a thin-crusted slice of pizza from a joint named, “Pizza My Heart” or a pastry from “Gayle’s Bakery & Rosticceria”. So, the three of us agreed, before hitting Monterey’s coastline for bike riding, that a detour to this quaint beach town – known more for its steep cliffs and colorful houses and hotels, than its pizza joints and bakeries – was definitely on the agenda for the day. The Princess and I had never been down to Capitola during the Christmas season and were pleasantly surprised to…

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The Atlanta Foodie Guide to Delicious & Decadent Bites

November 8, 2016 by  

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If you’re a foodie lover, you’re probably noticing that we’re doing more and more Foodie Guides in addition to our coverage of food/wine events and of course restaurant reviews. We try to curate an eclectic list of eateries, markets, cafes and upscale restaurants where you can find a blend of authentic and local, sustainable, organic and farm-to-table, and dive joints that serve dishes you’ll remember for weeks after your experience. We did an Atlanta Foodie Guide last year which largely focused on the lesser known Atlanta neighborhoods, at least if you’re a tourist who is new to exploring this southern American city. We covered Castleberry Hill, Five Points, Fairlie Poplar and Sweet Auburn, including Sweet Auburn Curb Market. Our focus last year was on Tasting the South, from Appalachia, Barbecue, Creole and Cajun to Gullah and Low Country Cuisine and one of our picks from last year is on this list. I spent more time in Buckhead (also stayed there), this past Fall, so more of my discoveries are in this trendy chic more popular area of Altanta although I cover some other foodie gems as well, including the Buford  Highway Farmer’s market…

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Behind the Scenes With Georgian Wines

October 30, 2016 by  

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Fall is such a great time to visit Georgia but wine lovers will be pleased to know anytime of year works. To be honest, Georgia was one of those places that really intrigued me as a traveler and yet, up until earlier this fall, I had no set plans to visit. Now that I’ve been, however, I can’t imagine NOT visiting. Every day was an opportunity to meet new people, gaze upon century old buildings and churches and best of all, literally drink my way through Georgia….the country, not the state. Despite being a small nation—there are about 4.5 million inhabitants—Georgia has no shortage of lush landscapes, jaw-dropping views and delicious cuisine. What impressed me most, however, was the wine. Not only does it taste like no wine you’ve ever tried before, but there’s such love that goes into every bottle. So, for my fellow foodies, here are 5 fast-facts you never knew about Georgian wine.

Georgia is called the “Cradle of Wine”

Let’s start with the basics. Kakheti, Georgia’s main wine-producing region, is called the “Cradle of Wine,” because the locals have been producing wine for 8,000 years. Yep, right; For more than 8,000 years, the Georgian people have been growing vines on the…

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Valenti & Co, for Mouthwatering Northern Italian Dishes with a Twist

October 23, 2016 by  

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For those of you who have been to the San Francisco Bay Area or live here, chances are you have your favorite foodie spots and even return to them often if you had a great experience. Because I travel so much, I’d have to say that perhaps that’s more the case with me because when I return from a trip, I tend to want to hibernate and not be in “exploration mode,” the way we are when we travel. That means that I don’t review as many San Francisco or Silicon Valley restaurants as I’d like although we do weekend getaways to places like Sonoma, Carmel, Los Gatos, Napa, Mendocino and even further like El Dorado Hills and Lake Tahoe. Recently, we headed up to Spirit Rock, a fabulous meditation center about an hour or so from the city. Be sure to read my write-up on our experience — it’s such a beautiful place surrounded by nature and serenity on all sides. Nearby are the darling little towns of Fairfax and San Anselmo California, both of which have some fun restaurants to explore and on a future…

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