Sunday, April 28, 2019

Deluxe Wine Experience

In just two weeks, I'll be headed to Oregon again with my good friends Julie and Dave along with several other friends.  We will be visiting the same area I visited a little over a year ago only this time I'll get to see it wearing the colors of spring.  That upcoming trip made me think of this fabulous wine tasting experience I had on that February trip a year ago.

We were treated to a special wine tasting in the cellars of Bergstrom Winery.

We sat at a table surrounded by barrels of wine.

The glasses were placed in front of us on a mat that we could use to take notes.

And once we started, the glasses took on the rosy hues of the different wines we tried.

It was a wonderful experience that I think we will be repeating on this upcoming trip.  This time there will be more than the three of us to enjoy the delicious juices this winery has to offer.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

The Beauty of Tuscany

There is something very special about the rolling hills of Tuscany.  It seems like every view is a work of art.  Green hills dotted with ancient villages and cypress trees and topped with church steeples that act as exclamation marks.

It's a feast for the eyes in every direction. These top three photos were taken from a high point in Siena.  

From Cortona, the views were equally wonderful.

It's an area where taking it slow and stopping to enjoy the scenery is a must.

From San Gimignano, my camera was pointing at new views in every direction.

I'd love to rent a small car and spend several weeks just exploring the hills, villages and back roads of this part of Italy.  Wouldn't that be perfect?

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Ghost Town

About 50 miles east of Phoenix is an old ghost town that has been turned into a tourist attraction.  It's called Goldfield which is the same name it had when it was a booming gold mining town back in 1890.

Back in those days, it was large enough to have 3 saloons, 1 boarding house, a general store, blacksmith, brewery, meat market and school house.

When the gold vein faulted, the town started to die.  There was a slight resurgence between 1910 and 1926 but soon after that, everyone had left.

Today, most of the buildings have been reconstructed and serve different purposes.  The Bordello to the right is a gift shop, the saloon in the top photo is a restaurant serving steaks and burgers and the jail is just for show.

I was there on a Sunday and I saw lots of people coming out of the church so I thought they might have services but, I couldn't find anything like that on the web site.  However, the church does have an organ and pulpit so it's set to go.

There is even a gallery with art from local artists available. If you see those rugged Superstition Mountains behind the gallery, you can see there is a lot of subject matter for artists to work with in this area.  Goldfield Ghost Town is a fun place to visit and if you live somewhere in the Phoenix area, it's a nice weekend day trip.  You can even tour the gold mine or pan for gold.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Memorable Meals in NYC

Dining at new places is part of the fun of any travel experience and while visiting New York City last fall, I took full advantage of the bountiful opportunities the city has to offer.  And, it all started on the day of our arrival.  My friends and I stayed at the Marriott Marquis on Times Square and the hotel just happens to have a fine restaurant on one of the top floors appropriately called The View.

I started my little vacation in style with steak and lobster and I ended the meal with a smashing dessert in which chocolate was the star.  Chocolate ice cream and chocolate mousse inside a shell of white chocolate.  It was delicious and gone before I left the table.

All the while we were dining, the revolving restaurant was giving us panoramic views over the city.

At the Morgan Library, my friend and I had a light lunch of cheese and crackers and delicious deviled eggs.  It was just the right amount before and evening of theatre and late dining.

I wish I had thought to take a picture of the food at Carmine's near Times Square.  I think I was too much in shock after the food arrived at our tiny table for two and there was enough food to feed six.  We could have given everyone at the bar a piece of garlic toast if they'd wanted it but, it seems they were all dealing with their own huge portion of food.  I will say the lasagna was fantastic and if I had been at home, the left-overs would have fed me for two more days.

My favorite place was JoJo on 64th Street.  It's a wonderful restaurant owned by renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.  We had some amazing appetizers like the Spicy Yellowfin Tuna Tartare Lettuce Cups and the Crab Dumplings in a Meyer Lemon-Celeriac infusion with Ginger.  The flavors were wonderful.

For my entree I had the Crispy Skin Organic Chicken with Lemon and Olive Oil Potatoes.  To me, it was perfection.  I failed to take a picture of the outside of the restaurant but if you click this link, it's the first thing you see on their website.

Another memorable meal was our lunch at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  It was in the beautiful main dining room and I have to say, the meal was very impressive.  My friend Glenda had the cheese souffle and I had the Ahi Tuna salad.

The dessert was a show stopper for me.  It was concord grape creme brûlée and it was delicious.  I never would have even thought about making a grape flavored creme brûlée but now that I've experienced it, I may give it a try.

The main dining room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is a beautiful space that has a certain old world charm and a fabulous view over Central Park.  We were lucky enough to have a table by the window.

This last meal was at a restaurant called Sistina and it was located near the Met on 81st Street.  This was definitely a place where movers and shakers dine.  Even though we didn't see anyone we recognized, there was a strong feeling of being in a room of well heeled individuals.  We topped our meal here with a chocolate souffle and several little cookies to go with it.

the dining room at Sistina was elegance through and through.  So there are my favorite meals while in New York City. The next time in the city, I'll go to JoJo again and I'll enjoy the dining room at the Met again.  In fact, my friend Julie went back there with her husband Dave just a few weeks ago when they were in NYC on business.