Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Las Vegas Restaurant Scene Highlights Las Vegas Landmarks And New Celebrity Chefs.



 
Out with the old and in with the new seems to be a Vegas theme for restaurants that transition to include an updated look and invigorated menu items. Lately there has been a bevy of transitions and new comers to the restaurant scene in Las Vegas including a Food network star throwing his chef’s hat into the Las Vegas ring of fire of restaurants.


Starting with a look at the new, we met with Chef Robert Irvine for a menu preview of Robert Irvine’s Public House at the Tropicana Hotel and Casino, along with a much awaited makeover of a Vegas Icon Hotel and brewery Ellis Island. New, improved and exciting is what keeps things heating up as the temperatures soar into the desert summer months and there is so much to keep hungry palates pulsating.


Starting with a several grand entrances and engagements to get the buzz bubbling in restaurant news, Chef Robert Irvine, swept into town with a dynamic performance of rappelling 22 stories off the Tropicana to make everyone aware this man means business when it come to bringing “it” to Las Vegas. The former host of Dinner Impossible and Restaurant Impossible is steering his time and attention in bringing his expertise and culinary star to the Las Vegas Strip.


Robert Irvine’s Public House will be showcasing his comfort classic menu highlighting items like buttermilk fried chicken, fork and knife burger and good old chicken wings with Robert Irvine’s bbq sauce and moonshine glaze. As Chef Irvine states, “This will be comfort food with a twist”.

The change up will be in the familiar mixed with the freshest and most sustainable ingredients to the plate while also paying tribute to the men and women in the military with specials and discounts for those who have served to keep our liberties and freedoms in place. Irvine’s genuine interest in helping people through his TV shows, charitable organizations that embrace healthy living and the nutritional needs of our military is clearly demonstrated in a persona that doesn’t let anything stand in his way of bringing the best to the culinary epicenter of the nation. The new Robert Irvine’s Public is now open at the Tropicana hotel and casino


Around the corner from the Tropicana is a Las Vegas institution for gaming and dining that doesn’t devour every dime to cover the cost of a cocktail or a bet at the tables. The family owned Ellis Island Casino Hotel and Brewery has been a Vegas institution for over four decades with the addition of the brewery in 1998 but is now facing a construction make over in bringing a little more swagger and shine to this Sin city icon. Beginning early July, the construction begins on the $10 million two-story dining, entertainment and gaming facility.


The much anticipated make over is now going to be deemed the Front Yard. “This is an exciting addition to the property that will offer something new and engaging to the guests while retaining the inviting, family-oriented feeling that Ellis Island is known for,” says Christina Ellis, Director of Marketing for Ellis Island. The Front Yard will have a unique garden atrium area for drinking and dining that provides a lighter and brighter atmosphere to the front of the house. Also featuring a two story restaurant where live entertainment will be available to guests as they sip their fresh seasonal beers from the adjacent micro- brewery and soon to be distillery for house made vodka. An elevated bar bite menu will be offered alongside the famous Ellis Island old school steak special.Upgraded rooms completely remodeled with modern and sophisticated silver accents, leather sofas and premium bedding are to be completed by the end of 2018. “This is a big project for us and we are very proud of this,” owner Gary Ellis said at a recent press conference. “This is taking it to a whole other level.” The casino will continue to offer hundreds of gaming opportunities in the midst of the construction.  For more information on go to www.ellisislandcasion.com

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Pasta Shop in Henderson Nevada combines pasta and paintings into food for the body and soul.

The late Chef David Alenik created some of the finest Italian gourmet food on the Las Vegas Strip for over 20 years beginning with first job at Las Vegas restaurant icon Piero’s and continuing on his culinary journey as personal chef for Steve Wynn where he served dozens of A-listers that came through Vegas craving a good dish of pasta and “gravy”. In 1989 he opened his own Pasta Shop Ristorante with his lovely wife Ann that stood as an Italian restaurant institution for several decades. His widow Ann and their children continue to honor his legacy at their Henderson Nevada location, the Pasta Shop. We were invited in to visit with this special family as they continue to carry on the wholesale pasta business, restaurant and art gallery all combined into inspirational and imaginative cuisine and art.
Son Trent now manages the business aspects of the Pasta Shop with loving dedication and concern for the family legacy. “This is truly a family style business,” said Trent. “I remember having to help my Dad cut the pasta when I wasn’t even tall enough to reach the counter, so he made me stand on a milk crate. Later he taught me how to run the machine feeds to make the angel hair pasta, fettuccine and pomodore.” The family still sells their house made pasta to area restaurant and businesses. “This is a true family business and when my Dad passed we wanted to come together to keep the legacy alive since he put his heart and soul into this. He built a community here. What other restaurants can you go to where they know you by name?  To create such a community within a larger town despite the transient nature is so special and that is what my Dad wanted to happen here,” added Trent.
Ann Alenik has taken her talents as a visual artist and continues to combine them with the culinary history of husband David bringing color and vibrancy to the wall space within the small dining venue. While she proceeds in engaging customers in the front of the house with her lovely art pieces, her warm smile and management skills make everyone feel like part of the family when they enter the doors of the Pasta Shop.
The dedication to family and stellar food is clearly seen in the dishes presented to our table beginning with the thinly sliced artichoke platter, drizzled in balsamic vinegar and EVOO and then moving onto the Linguini & Clams comprised of fresh littleneck clams sautéed with EVOO garlic and claim juice bathed in a lovely red sauce with the perfectly cooked pasta heartily nestled in between three juicy prawns. The passion and dedication to quality was tasted in each bite, and with our palates beaming with delight we knew that the next dish of chicken parmesan with a side of rigatoni pasta pomodoro would be as lovely as our previous menu item and we are more than correct with that assumption. The chicken parmesan was extremely well executed, juicy and sumptuous with a generous portion of the famous house made rigatoni pomodore adjoining in perfect union with our taste buds. Not only were we pleasantly and delightfully pleased to meet the family but the food brought our upmost appreciation and gratitude for the Alenik’s mission in creating a lasting culinary heritage. Finishing our meal with of course, a homemade Tiramisu and cappuccino we felt that we had crossed over from being restaurant goers to warmly welcomed family members. As George Bernard Shaw stated, “There is no love sincerer, that the love of food,” and this is made evident through the Alenik’s tribute to the husband and father who instilled and modeled that love of food to carry on for generations to come. For more information go to: www.pastashop.com

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Hawthone Grill opens at the JWMarriott Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.

Away from the famed Las Vegas strip there is another world of great restaurants and hotels. Recently we had the occasion to stop by one of our favorite upscale hotels in Summerlin Las Vegas, the J W Marriott resort and casino. Inside is their newest restaurant venue, Hawthorn Grill and it is sure to put some invigoration into the dining scene with its massive and expensive remodel of the former Ceres and the Carmel Room.



Known For its tranquil gardens and lush pool setting with large palm trees and cascading waterfalls, this lovely hotel respite is conveniently close to hiking trails at the famous tourist area of Red Rock and world class golfing greens at nearby TPC. With such attractive offerings, the JW Marriott is keeping pace with the demands of excellent and sophisticated dining highlighting their stellar reputation for ambience and elegance. Hawthorn Grill is conveniently located in the Spa Tower on the south side of the resort and boasts,“more than 18,000 square feet with seating for more than 370 guests in the main dining room, many overlooking bubbling fountains and lush landscaping with an, outdoor patio, and an chic ultra-lounge area.”




The entrance into the restaurant glimmers with an opulent wine cellar, showcasing more than 170 bottles and 30 wines by the glass. With a stunning lounge and bar area, diners have the ability to choose many cozy banquettes and booths facing tranquil pools and waterfalls that offer colored lighting for evening ambience.




Chef Joesph Swan whose culinary lineage includes working with some of the best in the industry including a stint with celebrity Chef Michael Symon and a long residency with Chef Alex Stratta.







Chef Swan is excited at the new prospect of bringing a freshness and vibrancy to a Summerlin mainstay.  “I want to keep the classic steakhouse idea, but add some interesting and new items, such as tender Kurobuta pork chops and the succulent Colorado lamb T-bone,” he said.





Diners can also indulge in a classic Maine lobster, diver scallops and prime short rib.  Side dishes are a la carte, but can easily be shared family style, including roasted broccolini, thick-cut onion rings, and classic creamed spinach.  A Sunday brunch buffet is also offered along with unlimited mimosas or bloody Mary’s and with Spring weeks away this gorgeous outdoor setting will be a draw for those who love to brunch their Sunday into Monday.Expertly prepared dishes, ambience, and stellar service are waiting for the Summerlin crowd and those who dare to venture into the burbs for a bite that is sure to please. For more information go to: hawthorngrilllv.com

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Santiago RuizAlbarino from RíasBaixas Spain Shows Off A Perfect Albarino From This Renown Region.


Leo Tolstoy coined, “true life is lived when tiny changes occur.” Those changes can be as subtle as changing up the everyday wine habit. Most people are quick to reach for that glass of go-to Chardonnay as the day turns into dusk, but how about trying something a little different in 2017? Get away from the wine-rut and venture out into the world of Spanish white wines and kick a little ole into the hum drum daily wine habit. You may be pleasantly surprised.



 Recently, we had the opportunity to try some very interesting wines from the Santiago Ruiz winery located in the Rias Baixas wine region. The mineral rich soils prepare indigenous grapes such as Albarino, Cano Blanco, Loureira and Treixadura to be melded together by regional wine makers in producing white wines that truly exude the terroir of this mountainous region.
Winemaker Luisa Freire selected grapes from the estate vineyards in San Miguel de Tabagon and Tomiño, located in O Rosal area.  This wine is perfectly blended with of course Albariño (69%) then Loureiro (13%), Godello (5%), Treixadura (9%) and Caiño Blanco (4%) to finish it off.
Santiago Ruiz O Rosal bottle presentation comes with a charming label of a hand drawn map of the winery and the surrounding region that was created by Ruiz’s daughter Isabel on the day of her wedding.

 What’s inside the bottle is indicative of the land and the people that work so diligently in crafting this golden liquid. Hints of citrus, melon and apricot on the front palate along with minerally underpinnings accent the wine’s bright acidity making this light to medium bodied wine a pleasant daily drinking companion. The companion bottle, Nai E. Senora, reflects feminine characteristics along with the charming senora décor on the bottle and the classic golden day bright color. On the nose, Nai E. Senora exudes fragrant apricot notes intermingled with white flowers and on the palate, lime citrus notes burst forth making this creamy wine a complementary pairing alongside lovely octopus or shrimp cerviche.

Albarino is typically not meant to be stored for any length, so imbibe frequently and enjoy this refreshing break from the afternoon Chardonnay chill down. Make 2017 a year international adventure, one bottle at a time beginning with Spain and see where you end up. Cuisineist Tasting Panel: December 2016:   93 points 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The Classic Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, Named One Of The 100 Best Steakhouses In The United Sates Keeps The Tradition Alive and Well.


Las Vegas has had a long love affair with steakhouses for decades attracting Hollywood royalty and entertainment to its neon lights a steak perfection. In modern times, not much has changed with “celebrity chefs” opening some of the world’s best steakhouses right on the famed Las Vegas strip.
Recently, one classic restaurant in Las Vegas added even more accolades to its plate.   Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House was recognized as one of the 100 Best Steakhouses in America for 2016 by OpenTable. 

Del Frisco’s has been a favorite of corporate leaders and conventioneers for many years. Its known for offering a classic steakhouse dining experience, complemented by a huge award-winning wine list. Many of the staff have taken care of returning guests with their warm and genuine hospitality.

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Heirloom Tomatoes & Burrata with Aged Balsamic Reduction & Pesto

 It has been long overdue since our last visit so we decided to enjoy this classic steakhouse once again. The first stop of course was the long beautiful bar that features on the best happy hours in town with a touch of class and sophistication.  Taking our seats amongst men and women in business suits we could not be more impressed with the staff, clientele, cocktails and live piano lounge music. The experience started with and Old Fashioned with Knob Creek Bourbon, Muddled Cherry, Orange, Sugar & Bitters. Staying in the classic cocktail mode, the Pecan Maple Manhattan featuring Pecan Infused Smoked Maple Knob Creek Bourbon, Whiskey Barrel Aged Bitters and Praline Bacon for a perfect touch.


 Del Frisco’s has many repeat guests and they have a secret. Knowledge of a secret menu that is!   Only those with prior knowledge know to order the off-menu delights, many inspired by Del Frisco’s regulars and local celebrities.

 Wine a is a very big part of the Del Frisco’s experience. This historical dining venue is home to many top female sommeliers who recently created Somm Wars, a friendly three-city wine competition, which will become an annual event. In looking over the extensive wine list, our eyes locked on some of the Non-Traditional rarest vintages and bottles we have seen in quite some time.

 Taking our seats, Executive Chef Fernando Guerrero and General Manager Torryn Orriss joined us beaming with pride over their most recent award. Looking over the menu, many items caught our attention. Our palates ready and a bottle of wine on the table we were ready to start our culinary journey of the evening.

 A perfect way to start is the Heirloom Tomatoes & Burrata with Aged Balsamic Reduction & Pesto. A classic dish with colors jumping off the plate and flavors that have your taste buds awaking with joy. Moving on, Jumbo Lump Crab Cake Cajun Lobster Sauce is rich and creamy with a perfect hint of spice to add to your gastronomic pleasure. If you desire even more lobster (as we did) add the Lobster Macaroni & Cheese to your menu selections as well.

Jumbo Lump Crab Cake Cajun Lobster Sauce
Jumbo Lump Crab Cake Cajun Lobster Sauce

Del Frisco’s of course is known for its award-winning steaks and we just had to indulge in one of their signature specialties, the 16 oz Prime Ribeye. This steak prepared medium rare is 16 oz of pure pleasure that takes you to another dimension with every succulent bite. There is more, much more. The Prime Braised Short Rib with buttered root vegetables, chateau mashed potatoes & braising sauce is just plain falling off the bone good.

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Del Frisco’s has had a fine reputation for decades. After our visit, we have to say they have not lost  anything over time. In fact, they can show some of the current steak houses how to keep that classic steakhouse feel.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Forever Resorts offers many choices for lodging, dining and adventure for the entire family.


 





Las Vegas is the place to  indulge in world class entertainment, dining and gambling, but only a few hours north awaits a world of natural beauty that will captivate any traveler.
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Anniversaries create memory making celebrations and in Southern Utah and Arizona, there are plenty of reasons to celebrate as many areas boast decades of engaging star gazers and adventure seekers.  On our recent journey we stopped in at several historic venues that are operated under the Forever Resorts umbrella where we learned more about the history that put these places on the map. Forever Resorts offers everything you could imagine from boating, lodging, and adventure in many of the most picturesque areas of the United States and worldwide. Aside from being a leader of exhilarating outdoor adventures, Forever Resorts is also an authorized concessionaire of the National Park System.
Recently we had the opportunity to explore the natural wonders, cuisine and lodging in our neighboring states of Utah and Arizona.
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Our first stop was in Kanab Utah, also known as “Little Hollywood”, the second leg of our trip took up a bit further north to the northern Rim of the Grand Canyon and then on to breathtaking Bryce Canyon where the centennial celebration of America’s National Parks system is evident with the reported 30%  increase of local and  international visitors. Sweeping vistas, mind boggling geologic formations, and night skies filled with celestial wonders, have captured the heart and spirits of adventure seekers for millenniums.
Las Vegas is often thought of as the place to indulge all the senses but only hours from the Las Vegas strip lays areas of great natural beauty that will entice every area of exploration.  We opted to engage our inner pioneer and begin with a trip into Utah, a state that boasts some of the Nation’s most incredible terrain and 5 National Park. Driving along through the barren desert one could only contemplate what could possibly be worth seeing out here in this seemingly empty space, but remarkably there is a world of wonder. Just an hour out of town is the fabulous Valley of Fire, with its stunning red, cream and lavender undulating rock formations, and continuing to Utah, there are more natural wonders to experience.
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Just a few hours by car, we pull into Kanab promoted as a “scenic tourist town with a friendly western spirit where tens of thousands of tourists stop to enjoy the “Old West” quality of life each year”.  Kanab is also home to Best Friends Sanctuary, the largest no-kill animal sanctuary in the world and one can feel the positive energy of the area just by that fact alone. With the stunning red rocks soaring in every direction, we quickly understood why this place drew the Hollywood crowd in the golden age of the American Western. Parry Lodge aka ‘Utah’s little Hollywood, has been attracting visitors and A-Listers for 85 years.  In 1931 the Parry Brothers, Whit, Chaunce and Gron turned their home into a tourist lodge and restaurant to help house and feed the movie companies that were seeking out this unique area for the movies that were being made.  According to the Utah Film Commission over 900 movies were filmed in the area, spanning a half of a century, ranging from the 1939 western “Stagecoach” to the 2001 remake of “Planet of the Apes”.
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We had the good fortune to stay in the Joey Bishop room which seemed appropriate since we just came in from Las Vegas. All the rooms are endowed with the names of the Hollywood notables such as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Lana Turner. These quaint cottage rooms were the quarters that these stars called home. The Frank Sinatra room is the most sought after, so make your reservation early. In fact, Sinatra paid for the swimming pool at the Parry Lodge so he and his crew could cool down after a hot day of filming.
As we walked into the quaint white washed dining area, adorned with Hollywood head shots, we remarked to the front desk agent, “If these walls could talk”, and to our surprise he stated that the upstairs was where the Rat Pack had their own personal bar back in the day. Although the bar is no longer there, this indeed was the space Sinatra and his pals were known for entertaining until the wee hours of the morning. Although the Parry Lodge boasts an 85 year history, it has all the modern conveniences and lovely meals to keep guest coming back again and again. Hollywood may have left its mark here, but this lodge is a star in its own right as it continues to shine as a place of respite and relaxation.
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We meandered across the street to the Iron Horse restaurant and Saloon, which has garnered the reputation as one of the local’s favorite mainstays, with its kitschy old western town facade and even a faux out house.  Oversized statuesque horses embellish the entrance of this family dining establishment just as ceremonial lions would guard a palace. This is not a traditional sit down restaurant, but more of old fashioned dining hall, with communal seating, a salad bar and the meats grilled to order. Guests must order at the bar, which is the only full service bar in Kane County, and once ordered, a food runner brings your meal straight from the open grilling area to your table with the side of your choice.  We opted for the rib eye and bison, with a side of the house baked beans and coleslaw. We were greatly please with the perfect medium rare on the rib eye and being the first time we tried bison, we were pleasantly pleased with the texture and flavor of the meat.
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A convivial atmosphere pervaded as more people filled the dining area. Satiated and content, we headed back to our room at the Parry Lodge.  The bartender mentioned that tonight was the town’s fiddle circle at the Parry Lodge and being curious to the ways of Kanab, we wanted to find out what this locals music fest was all about.  The night sky glittered brilliantly as fiddle music fluttered from the large barn located in the parking lot behind the hotel. The barn once housed animals used during the movie shoots; even the Lone Ranger’s horse had a “movie” stall in this historic building.  Still bearing the nostalgia of days gone by, the building has been preserved for community plays, music and Parry lodge’s noted summer movie nights where the noted Hollywood Westerns are still on the big screen. Tonight was slated for the meeting of the town’s fiddle players. We peered in to observe the musicians, sitting in a circle peacefully playing their blue grassy music.  Noting the communal serenity of the music makers while they exuded the “Old West Spirit” through their lilting melodies, we ended our evening on a blissful note.
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After a soak in the old timey claw foot bathtub, and a good night’s rest, we got an early start for our adventure in the popular slot canyons. Only accessible by a powerful off road vehicle, we joined Brent Johnson of the Forever Adventure Hummer Tours, for a trek into the pink desert to the famous slot canyons of Kanab. Brent, a rugged and knowledgeable individual, has been a guide in the area for decades, and we knew immediately we were in for a true insiders look at the area. As we headed down the road in the well equipped but very comfortable Hummer, Brent filled us in on the Hollywood history of Kanab and other FYI facts that you don’t get from a tour book. As we headed towards a very hilly area, Brent added, “You see that blue port-a-potty located on the right side of the road, there is a path up the hill to a rock encrusted with dinosaur tracts.” Intrigued by the prospect at seeing dinosaur fossils, we opted to attempt that hike at a later date. For now we turned off the road and careened through low lying cacti, and desert brush. For over jealous adventure seekers, be forewarned this area is meant for regional experts who know how handle these potentially hazardous environs with the proper off road vehicles. Venturing out into these areas on your own, could be a very costly or potentially fatal.  Investing in a guide with Forever Resorts Adventure Tours will save you time, energy and a big out of pocket towing expense. Brent told us harrowing stories of hikers and off-roaders that has lost their way. As we neared our destination, there entrenched sat a brand new pick-up, wheels embedded into the deceptively soft sands. “It happens every day”, said Brent with a sigh.
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Not a mile down the road, we encountered a real life cattle round up with cowboys, lassos and cattle dogs nipping at the heels of the herd as they stampeded up the sandy slopes. Brent quipped, “Well, you don’t see that every day.” It was exhilarating to see the teamwork and drama as everyone worked in unison to keep the cows going up the steep sandy slope, as a few errant cattle frantically sought to escape the arduous ascent. A renegade steer jolted towards the Hummer, but the cattle dogs and a roping cowboy put an end to his escape attempt. With a near cow collision, we again saw the importance of safety first in any outdoor venture.
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We finally reached our destination, after a slight delay of cattle traffic; we eagerly began our next leg of our adventure through the slot canyon. Slot canyons are narrow canyons comprised of sandstone and limestone that can measure several feet in width to several hundred in width and depth. They are considered rare due to very specific climactic and geologic characteristics that must happen in the formation of these unique and stunning canyons. Utah is home to the largest percentage of slot canyons in the world.  As we wandered through these towering stone walls, weathered and wavy with brilliantly colored sandstone, light caressed the craggy ledges creating a cascade of illusion, a stream of light that often looked like water pouring from the cracks. Memorized by Mother Nature, we snapped as many pictures as possible to share with others of these magical moments in this unique space.
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Too soon, our journey with Natures light and color was over, and we headed back into the Hummer. As we proceed through the back country, Brent gave us an insider look at the Best Friends Sanctuary which is the largest employer in Kane County. Much of the property we were going through is owned and maintained by the Sanctuary and seeing the extensive and well maintained enclosures for all types of animals made us extremely  grateful that such a place exists in the world.
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The golden leaves of the aspen seemed to be waving good bye as we sped away from our jaunt through Kanab, embarking on yet another lovely leg of the journey. This year the National Park system celebrated their centennial and we wanted to be part of the hoopla. The first national park in the world was established in 1872 at Yellowstone and within ten years the National Park System was formed, bringing a unified National Park management system by presidential order on August 25, 1916. While embarking upon the north rim of the Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon National Park within a limited amount of time, we were in awe that such realms of astounding natural wonder exists within a few hours from each other.

 After a great day of exploring the area, we moved into our quarters at the historic Forever Resorts Bryce Canyon Lodge.  Opened in 1925, The Lodge is one of our national parks’ architectural treasures. Designed by Gilbert Stanley Underwood, who defined the rustic style architectural sites such as Old Faithful Lodge at Yellowstone, and the Ahwanee at Yosemite, Bryce Canyon Lodge has maintained its original structure but with all the modern amenities that active vacationers and families enjoy. We loved the elegant dining hall with white linens, engaged servers, and world class cuisine. The rustic ambience of the Lodge leads to the endearing quality of timelessness that the National Park System has upheld for a century.


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Bryce Canyon National Park was first established as a national monument in 1923. We were fascinated and intrigued by its famous sculpted landscape known as the hoodoos. What’s a hoodoo? It is a very specific geologic formation that is found only in this area because a unique process of thawing ice crystals within the sedimentary rocks over hundreds of years. The authentic regional climate of the area provides just the correct formula within the rocks to create these towering statue-like monoliths rising from the floor of the canyon.  Hoodoos look like creatures rising from the canyon floor and just ask any of the park rangers about the Native American tale that coincides with this lore.





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Our visit to the much less visited North Rim of Grand Canyon was just a few weeks from the closure of the park for the winter season. Although many of the park facilities including the historic lodge were already closed we did manage a few hours to hike along the walkways that supported astounded onlookers. As we noted from the response of ourselves and others, Ahhhh is a universal word for “how can this even be possible.”
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Mother Nature has managed to continue to capture the attention of thousands of on-lookers in a trance of tremendous awe, but we also felt an enormous amount of gratitude for Forever Resorts in their consistent efforts in maintaining and modernizing some of the most historic lodges in America. Creating memories that will last a life time is the common goal of travelers and we found a few of our own just a short drive from the Neon Lights of Las Vegas. For more information on Forever Resorts and all there offering go to foreverresorts.com

Monday, August 29, 2016

Carmel Valley California is the place to explore, enjoy and elevate your senses.



A few miles off scenic highway 1, lies the winding road to Carmel Valley; a place that offers a treasure trove of dining, leisure activities, and of course, wine tasting. Carmel Valley now boasts one of the fastest growing wine regions in the nation and with a plethora of quaint wine tasting rooms to choose from, count on spending a few days getting acquainted with the area’s terroir and tasting options. 







Garland Regional Ranch, a 4000 acre park that includes hiking, biking and horse riding trails along the pastoral setting of the meandering Carmel River is a favorite for the outdoor enthusiast. Whatever your wanderlust may be, Carmel Valley is the place for exploring, enjoying and elevating your senses. A few standouts that we came upon on our short visit to the area were Bernardus Lodge, Earthbound Farms and the newly opened Folktale Winery that provided a great example of Carmel Valley’s ability to transport the traveler into a world that is synergistically connected to Mother Earth’s bounty.



From the farm stand that started it all years ago, to being a premier brand of organic foods, Earthbound Farms is a household name that is trusted nation-wide. This stop is inspirational, delicious and educational and will please and captivate even the youngest of travelers. A world of health and wellness waits at this quaint “farm stand” with the lovely rows of organic fruits and veggies, and a small made to order all- organic kitchen where you can customize a smoothie or pick a healthy menu item to be eaten outside in the lovely picnic area surrounded by nature’s abundance. After your meal take a tour of the organic gardens or a guided flower walk. Patrons can pick fresh herbs at their leisure.



 The retail store offers gourmet groceries and an array of lovely gift items. Seasonal events are presented including the very popular lavender festival. Corporate programs can also be held on the premise as well.  Families with young children will love the bug walks or taking a cautionary look at the bee enclave,(don’t worry these insects are far more interested in doing their job then bothering children). Although children are more than welcome at Earthbound Farms, please leave fido at home due to the organic farming restrictions. Every family member will be well nourished, educated and entertained at Earthbound Farms, where nature and nurture are intertwined to provide the best in organic produce and wellness education.


Put this on your bucket list; a stay at highly acclaimed Bernadus Lodge and Spa located minutes from Earthbound Farms where using local produce in preparing the freshest and most delectable meals have such notables as Bradley Cooper and Leonardo DiCaprio spending time dining within the kitchen enclaves of Lucia restaurant. 





This acclaimed resort, surrounded by glorious flora and fauna lends the perfect setting to veteran chef of 2 decades, Cal Stamenov, in creating award winning cuisine that is inspired by nature. Mother Earth’s glorious bounty has been transformed by Chef Stamenov in pleasing the appetites of well healed travelers and devoted locals alike with the awards that showcase his culinary artistry and excellence including the World’s Best Awards for Travel and Leisure –July 2016, and “Top 10 Resort Hotels in California”, Best Overall Restaurants, California Central Coast “Top 10 Diner’s Choice” Winner for Open Table 2016.  Restaurant Lucia is a dining sanctuary that will captivate your culinary desires and elevate them into a new awareness and appreciation for Chef’s artisanal ability. 



Several dishes were highlighted on our recent visit that showcased the local fare.  The Monterey Bay abalone with smashed garden potatoes accented with Australian truffle and scallion, Pacific gold oysters from Morro Bay with a ginger-shallot mignonette, and the local grilled king salmon with Hass avocado and summer squash. Chef Cal sources and forages for the freshest sustainable and decidedly delectable ingredients in creating the most memorable meal of a lifetime whether you are a carnivore, a vegetarian or a vegan. And don’t forget to pair your menu selection with a Bernardus wine that will lend to the complete culinary salute to the Monterey Peninsula.


Food, fun and don’t forget the wine. Carmel Valley has a myriad of wine tasting rooms and a mini-chateau winery and tasting area known as Folktale. 



The Folktale winery just celebrated their first anniversary with a new sequel filled with passion and purpose. With a penchant for perfection, President and CEO Gregory Ahn is building upon the former Chateau Julien brand by adding family friendly areas, notable music and speaker series events, coupled with property tasting tours and venues for wine

Elaine and Scott

Elaine and Scott
Elaine and Scott