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Amarillo’s Modern Asian Gem, Kushi Yama for Great Ambiance & Food

April 21, 2015 by  

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Meet Kushi Yama Asian Tapas & Grill, which focuses on Asian Tapas, a new concept for fine dining in Amarillo Texas. They boast over 40 different types of tapas and had us at hello with some of the freshest and most interesting sushi I’ve had in awhile (outside Japan that is), which is astonishing given how far they are from the coast. Kushi Yama has monthly Wine Dinners, which means that their wine menu is top notch! They even had two Kistler Chardonnay’s to choose from, which was a great choice for us given the diverse blend of dishes we were planning to sample over the course of an evening. Chef Richard specializes in “Asian Tapas” but their menu had so many options to choose from, you could never get bored with its tantalizing dish variations. Let’s just say that the selection blends the best of Asian food with a modern style, look and feel and are all beautifully presented, even their sushi rolls. While tapas are their specialty, let’s start by talking about their fabulous sushi rolls. First, let’s remember that we were in the middle of Texas, not on some bustling coastal American town. Second,…

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Travel Israel: Getting Deep Into the Culture of Tel Aviv

April 21, 2015 by  

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tel aviv Looking to explore Tel Aviv, Israel, like a local? Epicure & Culture caught up with Laila Arad-Allan, born and raised in Tel Aviv and the founder of the free walking tour nonprofit, Tel Aviv Greeter. Here are her suggestions on how to get to know the city beyond the typical tourist sites. Above Jaffa’s Flea Market. Photo courtesy of ChameleonsEye via Shutterstock and below Photo courtesy of Anna_Pustynnikova via Shutterstock. tel aviv 1. A special cultural experience in Tel Aviv occurs every Friday at noon. This is when the city prepares for the coming Sabath. The city streets are bustling with people doing their shopping for Sabath, the markets are swarming with locals purchasing goods, and the atmosphere is unique – nowhere in the world does it exist. You really have to see and experience it to understand this special day. tel aviv Photo courtesy of Itamar Grinberg via flickr. 2. For some Israeli tradition, try folk dancing. Every Saturday morning on Gordon Beach there is a gathering of many people who enjoy folk dancing together. They arrive from all over town…

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Dreamcatcher, a Taos New Mexico STAY With A Whole Lotta Charm

April 21, 2015 by  

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Ever had that thought that one day you’d retire, get out of the rat race and open up a quaint B&B somewhere? John and Prudy left ‘corporate life’ to do precisely that in the center of quaint Taos New Mexico. Meet Dreamcatcher B&B, which they now run while on the side do community work and dabble in cooking, including scrumptious breakfast dishes for their guests.  I got the feeling that John was mighty proud of his Hot Oats Brulee and Savory Pancakes. Dreamcatcher was the only B&B we stayed in on our long haul across America this past January, largely because we were more focused on resorts and hotels, as we were considering both cross country trip stays and family travel for our coverage. What a welcome retreat to arrive in charming Taos, the only stop on our long journey that greeted us with snow. Considering that skiing was on the agenda, we were happy to see the powderdy white stuff hit the ground, but also grateful that we didn’t get creamed before we reached Taos given how much gear we had piled into our Yakima cargo rack.

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Arkansas, a Natural Oasis: From Breaktaking Skies to Hot Springs & Thermal Waters

April 20, 2015 by  

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Arkansas was on my original “hit” list for stops on our cross country trip but largely because I was intrigued by the state’s culture and history, and curious about the state that Bill Clinton once called home. What I didn’t realize was just how raw and beautiful its mountain ranges were nor did I know anything about its vast Ouachita National Park. It didn’t take much digging to realize that the state is a natural wonderland — in fact, it’s tagline is The Natural State. Go figure! How did Arkansas pass an adventure lover’s radar? The truth is that you don’t hear much about Arkansas as a destination spot when you live on an Eastern or Western coastline, especially if happens to be in the north, which has been the case for me for most of my life. New Englanders head to the Carolinas or Florida, Canadians simply head anywhere warm and Californians tend to head to Arizona, Mexico and Hawaii if they’re not avid skiiers in which case, Tahoe is on their radar. It also isn’t on a major airline route for the most part and a quick search from the west coast turned up a bunch…

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The Serious Foodie Guide to Nashville Tennessee

April 19, 2015 by  

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As we made our way into Nashville Tennessee, it was dark and while we were staying only a 20 minute walk from the city center for our first two nights, we were too tired to meander there, even in a 5 minute cab. A stone’s throw from the hotel was Division Street however, home to night clubs and bars, most of which are regularly frequented by college students given the nearby vicinity of Vanderbilt University. And so, with very little vigor, we became 20 again on that very late evening. The first place that tried to made us youthful again was the fried chicken eatery called Hattie B’s. Known for their extra spicy fried chicken, you can decide from varying degrees of “spicy hot” — Southern (no heat), Mild (touch of heat), Medium (warming up), Hot (feel the heat), Damn Hot (fire starter) and lastly, Shut the Cluck  Up (burn notice). Casual in every way, you’ll sit at either outdoor or indoor picnic tables. Once you land a table, you’ll be asked to fill out your “chicken” card, choosing your preferred degree of hot and spicy as well…

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New York City’s Conservatory Garden in the Springtime

April 19, 2015 by  

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unnamed-29 I really dig the idea of anything in NYC being labeled “Quiet Zone.”  I mean, you can probably count the zones on one hand–libraries, churches, a late-night subway ride above 125th street–so I was quite pleased to see that Central Park has its own little 6 acre quiet zone too, The Conservatory Garden! On Easter weekend the hubs and I took a rainy day stroll up the east side of Central Park until we reached the entrance to the garden at 105th street and 5th avenue.  It was exceptionally quiet that day, because along with the quiet zone rule, we were also the only people in the garden!  A whole Italian, French, and English garden combo, set right here in NYC, all to ourselves! As you can see, we probably didn’t pick the best time to make the trek–after the long winter virtually nothing was in bloom, and April showers were in full force.  I’d imagine a bit later in the season it will be stunning though, and the perfect place to escape with a spring read.  Oh, and unexpected bonus: the public restrooms are shockingly clean!;-) unnamed-30unnamed-32 unnamed-33unnamed-34unnamed-35unnamed-38unnamed-36unnamed-31unnamed-37unnamed-39unnamed-40unnamed-41 Where do you go when you need a little quiet time?  Share below!


2 Fun Foodie Picks in Clarksdale Mississippi

April 18, 2015 by  

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Travel the back roads between American Highways 49 and 61 in search of Lost Superstitions and the spirits of Sam Cooke, Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters and wind up in Clarksdale Mississippi, the home of the Delta Blues. I covered unique “stays” in this charming southern city (and the photos are fabulous), one of which includes the Shack Up Inn, which has a restaurant called Rust Restaurant – yes, really. That will give you an idea of the ambiance of this oh so not luxurious but oh so authentic place. In a city that has a restaurant called Rust, you might be wondering what kind of food is served there or anywhere in Clarksdale for that matter, a place music lovers flock to for things like the Juke Joint Festival and authentic blues at RED’s, not for its food. Clarksdale is surrounded by original cotton plantations, so you’d assume there’d be plenty of home grown cooking and southern fare and well, you are right for the most part…..with a twist. We quickly learned that Clarksdale seems to have a lot of surprises and twists!! Two restaurants foodies should know about are Yazoo Pass on Yazoo Street and Oxbow on 3rd…

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Deep into the Azores on the Roads Thru São Miguel

April 18, 2015 by  

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sao miguel So much green beauty. São Miguel Green mountains blend with natural steam in Furnas on São Miguel The first thing you’ll notice is the bright emerald green, lush flora coating mountains and plains, flowers adding a colorful contrast. What makes the scene extra striking is the steam that rises seemingly without reason from the ground, as if you’ve entered a hell’s paradise. It’s important to remember that São Miguel, also referred to as “The Green Island,” is volcanic. While it’s not uncommon to see smoke rising from subway manholes or from buildings via smoke stacks back in my home of NYC, on this island it’s completely natural, an effect due to the mix of geothermic activity.

Azores History

The Azores is an autonomous region of Portugal, and São Miguel is the largest of the nine islands that compose it. Here you’ll literally find everything you could ever want sitting in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean: farm-to-table dining, nightlife, shopping, beaches, spectacular dolphin and whale watching (they have 20 whale species), sailing, artisan culture, bird watching, hiking, cycling and myriad opportunities to explore nature, a facet of the…

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