Lake Yellowstone Hotel

Once upon a time she was described as a “plain Jane three-story shoebox, with windows,” but Lake Yellowstone Hotel has enjoyed Cinderella updates through the years and remains—at 123 years old—belle of the ball for national park visitors who want to combine history, comfort and a classy stay on the quiet shore of Yellowstone Lake.

Yellowstone National Park claims title of the world’s first national park, being established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1,1872.

Entrance to Yellowstone National Park by S.M. Katzman

The hotel, built on a site frequented by Native Americans, trappers and Mountain men, followed shortly thereafter, opening with 80 rooms in 1891. 

Originally built as a bare-basic, railroad rest-stop hotel financed by the Northern Pacific Railroad, the property transformed into a grand resort in the hands of Robert Reamer (the architect who designed the majestic Old Faithful Inn). In 1903 Reamer expanded the initial structure and added the iconic columns, fake window balconies and other decorative elements that we see today.

Facade of Lake Yellowstone Hotel by Susan Manlin Katzman

Lake Yellowstone Hotel

More expansions and updates followed through the years. And all was fully restored in a ten-year project completed in 1991, just in time for the hotel’s centennial celebration.

But the most exciting updates of them all took place in the winters of 2013 and 2014, when the hotel was closed toBathroom at Lake Yellowstone Hotel by Susan Manlin Katzman guests. It’s as if the fairy godmother of modern hospitality waved a magic wand and showered the property with contemporary comfort. Because the sunshine-yellow landmark wears a National Register of Historic Places designation, current renovations paid close attention to preserving the hotel’s historic past, while, at the same time, making structural changes, expanding some public areas and fully refurbishing guest rooms. Today’s guest rooms boast shiny new black and white tile bathrooms as well as a slew of stylish fixtures and furnishing.  And lo and behold, the oldest remaining hotel in Yellowstone National Park now sports Internet service (although, blissfully, there are still no televisions in guest rooms).

Bedroom at Lake Yellowstone

 

Despite being a cliche, it’s true: the more things change the more they stay the same. As in the beginning, Lake Yellowstone Hotel enjoys a glorious setting in the heart of Yellowstone National Park on the pristine shores of Yellowstone Lake, the highest elevation lake in North America.

Yellowstone Lake by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

Wildlife wanders freely and sometimes bison and bears stray onto the hotel grounds.

Bears at Yellowstone by Susan Manlin Katzman

Bison on the Grounds of Lake Yellowstone Hotel by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

And the glories of Yellowstone National Park are within easy reach for exploring.

College of Yellowstone National Park by Susan Manlin Katzman

College of Yellowstone National Park by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

Operated by Xanterra, the hotel offers 296 guest rooms and is open from mid-May to early October. As one can imagine, Lake Yellowstone Hotel is justly popular, so book reservations well in advance.

Lake Yellowstone Hotel Sign by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

Personal favorite touches of the hotel include:

The light, bright Sun Room lounge with picture windows overlooking the lake and music played nightly by a string quartet or a pianist.

Sun Room at Yellowstone National Park by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

The hotel shop selling spiffy clothing, books and national park souvenirs.

Lake Yellowstone shop by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

Polished wood floors, original fireplace and comfortable lobby seating.

Lounge at Lake Yellowstone Hotel by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

Bear-shaped soap as a bathroom amenity.

Soap at Yellowstone National Park by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

And the bison tenderloin, house-made huckleberry ice cream and hot bread with goat cheese spread served in the 250-seat Lake Hotel Dining Room.

Best Dishes at Lake Yellowstone Hotel. College by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

GOAT CHEESE SPREAD FOR BREAD

Bread with Goat Cheese Spread by Susan Manlin Katzman

Lake Yellowstone Hotel’s signature bread comes to the table with whipped butter and a goat cheese spread. To make the goat cheese spread, hotel chefs beat three different flavoured goat cheeses—-garlic and chive, red pepper and spicy pepper—-together with a little cream until the mixture is the consistency to go through a pasty bag. The hotel buys flavored goat cheese from Amaltheia Organic Dairy in Belgrade, Montana, https://www.amaltheiadairy.com and so could you as Amaltheia offers a mail order service and sells cheeses in select stores along both coasts of the United States. On the other hand, you could make a version of the spread by adding a touch of garlic, chives, roasted red pepper and some hot-pepper sauce to a high quality goat cheese, beating in enough cream to make the cheese a spreading consistency.

 

 

 

 

BEST FOOD ALONG THE MISSISSIPPI

Regina_CharboneauWow, talk about a diverse cooking career. Regina Charboneau has worked as a camp cook in the bush of Alaska; been chef de cuisine on a set of luxurious vintage railway cars; launched numerous top restaurants (including King’s Tavern in Natchez, Mississippi; Regina’s at the Regis  and Biscuits & Blues, both in San Francisco); written a column for TheAtlantic.com; and purchased and restored, Twin Oaks, an historic house that she runs as a guesthouse, offering cooking classes and some of the best hospitality in the South. 

But wait, we aren’t finished. Regina also serves as culinary director of the American Queen, a luxury paddlewheel boat that travels the Mississippi and, to the benefit of those good cooks everywhere, has authored cookbooks, the latest being the Mississippi Current book JacketMississippi Current Cookbook: A Culinary Journey down America’s Greatest River.” This marvellous 323- page book contains 200 recipes, 30 menus, 150 gorgeous photographs by Ben Fink, and a slew of  fun stories and informational tidbits. 

Regina is a Mississippi maven, who was born and raised in Natchez, Mississippi, and claims to have always had Mississippi River water running in her veins. Regina knows food and knows the river, so Sweet Leisure is doubly pleased to have her share her Mississippi magic by telling us her Favorite Food Spots along the Mississippi River. 

In Regina Charboneau’s own words:

These are some of my favorite stand-out food spots along the Mississippi. While the major cities such as Minneapolis, St. Louis, Memphis, and New Orleans offer up some of the best food in the country, once you get out of major cities on the River, often it’s the local malt shop or BBQ joint that seems to stand the test of time. From Minneapolis to New Orleans, I always manage to find great food, no matter where on the River I end up!

 

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Bar La Grassa Scrambled eggs from Bar La Grassa

800 N Washington Avenue

With chef Isaac Becker, every plate is a treat—the best soft scrambled eggs with lobster and some of the most creative pasta dishes I have ever come across.

 

St. Paul, Minnesota

HeartlandHeartland poto by Shaun Liboon

5th Street and Broadway (north end of St. Paul Farmers Market)

Under the direction of Chef Lenny Russo, Heartland’s philosophy is “use what’s nearby.” Russo, a three-time James Beard Award nominee, wanted more space to operate a market, in addition to serving diners in a 164-seat restaurant. Heartland market sells house-made charcuterie, sausages, and hand-cut steaks, along with locally raised chicken, regional cheeses, and freshly picked vegetables. 

 

La Crosse, Wisconsin

Bebo’s Dogs & BeefBebo's Dogs & Beef

146 Rose Street

The best dog on the River. Bronson Hurt graduated from the Le Cordon Bleu-Miami, and the kitchen is his second home. Working under some of the best chefs the nation, including James Beard Award winners Michelle Bernstein and Norman Van Aken, he’s always looking to improve his craft. His passion: creating New World cuisine at an affordable price. Bronson started Bebo’s with his friend Vince Nannini.

 

Galena, Illinois

Galena Brewing Co.  Galena brewery

227 North Main Street 

Brew master Jon Wagner keeps eleven fresh brews on tap, serving pub food with a healthy edge: chicken wings are baked (not fried), and gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian items are included on a menu that also includes a great burger! A popular stop for guests and crew of the American Queen.

 

Davenport, Iowa

The Hotel BlackhawkBix at the Blackhawk Hotel

200 E. 3rd Street

This historic hotel has had a makeover—and where else can you have jazz brunch or actually go bowling in your hotel with a martini in your hand? The hotel has a supper club named after Davenport native and illustrious Jazz soloist Leon Bismark “Bix” Beiderbecke and includes a coffee shop (with beignets) that serves breakfast all day. But again—love the bowling!

 

St. Louis, Missouri

SugarfireSugarfire sign by Susan Manlin Katzman

9200 Olive Blvd.

Like many chefs I know, Mike Johnson spent much of his career in fine dining. But when it came to doing his own thing, he brought all that finesse to a simple concept—and it is a winner. It may look like a BBQ joint at first glance, but when you see the quality of the blending of the meat for the burger alone—not to mention the pork belly hushpuppies with jalapeno jelly (OMG) and smoked fried artichokes—you know there’s someone with some major credentials at the helm!

 

BassoBasso by Susan Manlin Katzman

7036 Clayton Avenue

The Italian immigrants who first arrived in St. Louis would be proud of the reverence James Beard Award-winning chef Patrick Connolly shows for the ingredients they introduced here long ago. Connolly, who returned to his native St. Louis for this new venture, blends all that I love: local ingredients with the skill of a fine chef. 

 

Memphis, Tennessee

Hog and Hominy Hog &Hominy

707 W. Brookhaven Circle

Michael Hudman and Andrew Ticer—a dynamic duo—have created a menu from which you want to taste absolutely everything. Combining Italian and Southern—they’re too creative to stay in a single cuisine—the results are all over the place in the most exciting way. An added bonus: most ingredients come from farms within 200 miles of Memphis.

 

Acre  ACRE Memphis

690 S Perkins Road

Chefs Wally Joe and Andrew Adams cook in a style that reflects their shared Southern roots and Wally’s Asian heritage and love of world cuisine, seamlessly combined with of hints of Italy, Asia, and the American South, all deeply rooted in classical French techniques. I love this restaurant.

 

Greenville, Mississippi

Doe’s Eat PlaceDoe's Eat Place

502 Nelson Street

Established in 1941 by Dominick “Doe” Signa and his wife, Mamie, this is a true American story of the survival of the entrepreneurial spirit. From bootlegging to catering to the blacks of the Delta—with steaks being served to the whites in the back of the honky-tonk that served chili. Big Doe Signa retired in 1974 and turned the business over to his sons, Charles and Little Doe. It’s still famous for the best tamales and steaks in Mississippi and beyond. 

 

Natchez, Mississippi

Kings TavernKings Tavern

613 Jefferson at Rankin

Yes, my restaurant is my favorite in Natchez. I created Kings Tavern to fill the void of fresh, fresh, fresh in my hometown. We are the only Natchez restaurant without a deep fryer, the only with a wood-fired oven, and the first to do raised beds to grow our own lettuce and vegetables for soups. (Happily, others are starting gardens.) Celebrating the art of the cocktail, we carry only small-batch handcrafted liquors—and we have our own rum distillery. What can I say? I am proud of preserving this 1789 building and the quality of the food I am preparing. The showstopper: the braised brisket flatbread with caramelized onions and a drizzle of horseradish cream. And don’t miss our re-created classic desserts, using our house-made ice creams: crème brulee parfait with bananas foster and the black bottom pie with ginger snap crust, dark chocolate ice cream, and bourbon-cream cheese topping.

 

Biscuits and Blues  Biscuits and Blues Logo

315 Main Street

I started the original in San Francisco, and it’s still going strong after 19 years. My brother Peter Trosclair owns the one here, serving the best smoked ribs and chicken, crawfish nachos, and other Southern favorites—including a crawfish beignet and the Natchez beignet filled with vanilla ice cream and smothered in praline sauce. 

 

Darrow, Louisiana (the River Road)

Houmas House Carraige House Tea Table Houma House

40136 Hwy. 942 

Found in the heart of sugar cane country, this southern jewel offers afternoon tea from 2:00 to 4:30 p.m., elegantly served in the carriage house on the grounds. The amazing historic property and gardens is a must-stop on the River Road from New Orleans to Baton Rouge. 

 

 

 

 

New Orleans, LouisianaRevolution Chefs photo by Ron Manville

Since New Orleans is home to so many great restaurants, I suggest a progressive evening, with a drink and two small plates at each stop. Begin at the bar of one of my favorites, John Besh’s August (301 Tchoupitoulas), then on to John Folse and Rick Tramonto’s Restaurant R’evolution (777 Bienville), before finding your way to one of the first, if not the first, to delve into molecular cuisine in Nola, Phillip Lopez’s Root (200 Julia Street). Finish your night with dessert and a fine bottle of champagne at the classic Antoine’s  (713 St Louis St), where you can hang out in the piano bar—it is New Orleans, after all! 

 

Other favorites in New Orleans   

From Dickie Brennan's SteakhouseThe bar at Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse (716 Iberville) is the place for a perfect burger and perfect martini. 

And at  Sylvain (625 Chartres Street), chef Alex Harrell rocks shrimp and grits and anything else he decides to put on the menu! I still crave his shaved Brussels sprout salad with lemon vinaigrette.Sylvain NolaPhoto: ©Tyler Kaufman/2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LITTLE DIX BAY & ISLAND SALAD RECIPE

 “Let me tell you about the very rich,” writes F. Scott Fitzgerald, “They are different from you and me.” 

Well I can’t speak for you, but the rich are definitely different from me. The rich get to build wonderful resorts. And the rich get to stay in them. Case in point: Little Dix Bay  in Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands.

In the 1950s and 60s billionaire Laurance S. Rockefeller built two remarkable environmentally focused resorts in the Caribbean. He picked gorgeous, natural spots for the resorts and purchased land around the areas to insure the resorts’ pristine natural qualities would remain.

Sea, Sand and Sunshine at Little Dix Bay by Susan Manlin Katzman

Although rich with comforts and luxuries, the resorts were simple and beautifully designed to blend with the environment. Nothing was allowed to interfere with nature, not even televisions, radios and telephones which were banned from guest rooms. 

Both Little Dix Bay (and her sister property Caneel Bay) became world famous, not only as favorite getaways of the wealthy and celebrated, but also as forerunners of what would eventually become the ecotourism movement.  

Let’s fast forward and telescope in on Little Dix Bay.

View of Little Dix Bay Resort

Rosewood Hotels & Resorts took over Little Dix Bay resort in 1993 and pumped many millions of dollars into renovations, yet despite major updates and additions (and a name change), Rosewood Little Dix Bay resort remains true to Rockefeller’s original vision of a posh getaway, simple and sophisticated at the core with deep respect for the glories of nature.

Today’s resort still covers 500 acres, still stretches around a bay with a half-mile long postcard-perfect, white-sand beach hugging an every-shade-of-blue sea and still attracts the wealthy.

Beach Collage by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

Beach and Water Collage by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

Guestroom at Little Dix Bay Guest rooms and suites sit here, there and everywhere on the property, some tucked into one and two story buildings and some almost directly on the beach, hidden behind thick native sea grape and lush tropical foliage. Although the 105 rooms and suites vary in size and configuration, all share similar decor elements designed to offer soothing respite from sun and sea. All rooms sport  light and airy interiors, with light wood and teak furniture, stone walls, and natural colour schemes (enhanced with dabbles of island colors). And all rooms come with outdoor patio or terrace—-some with better views than others.

Dining Room at Little Dix Bay by Susan Manlin KatzmanWalking paths lined with flowers and shaded by island palms lead guests to the resort’s three dining venues, tennis complex and fitness center, reception area, activities room (sporting a large-screen TV), swimming pool and kids’ playhouse. In keeping with the resort’s original concept, there are no locks on the doors or televisions in most rooms and cell phone use is discouraged in public settings. 

 

Sense Spa at Little Dix Bay by Susan Manlin KatzmanNew to Rockefeller’s vision is the spa. And what a spa it is!  Although the treatments are divine, it’s location location location that make Little Dix’s Sense spa the loveliest in the Caribbean.

Perched at the top a bluff surrounded by bougainvillea and other tropical beauties, the spa’s outdoor waiting room rest around an infinity pool that overlooks the sea.

Little Dix Bay Spa by Susan Manlin Katzman

Everything about the spa reflects natural beauty—-even the Island Tofu Salad that room service brings for between-treatment indulging.

If you’re as rich as Rockefeller, you’re in a grand position to enjoy all Little Dix has to offer.

If you are more like me, you might be happy just to have their salad recipe.

 

LITTLE DIX ISLAND TOFU SALAD

Yield: 1 serving.Little Dix Island Tofu Salad by Susan Manlin Katzman

1 cup shredded romaine lettuce

4 large cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup cubed tofu

1/2 cup chick peas

1/2 small cucumber, cut into 1/4 inch thick rounds and each round quartered

1 tablespoon sliced black olives

1 tablespoon diced red bell pepper

1/3 cup shredded beets

Roasted-garlic vinaigrette

3 large whole green olives

3 large romaine lettuce leaves

Put shredded lettuce in an individual salad bowl. Arrange tomatoes around edge of lettuce. Evenly distribute tofu, chick peas, cucumber, black olives and bell pepper over top of lettuce. Put shredded beets in the center of the salad. Drizzle roasted-garlic vinaigrette over top of ingredients.  Garnish with green olives and romaine leaves. Serve immediately.

 

ROASTED-GARLIC VINAIGRETTE

Yield: About 2/3 cup.

1 large garlic bulb

1 teaspoon plus 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided

3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons honey

Salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Rub excess papery skin from garlic bulb. With a sharp knife, slice off about 1/4 inch from the top of the garlic bulb, exposing ends of cloves. Place bulb, on a square of foil. Drizzle cut surface of bulb with about 1 teaspoon olive oil. Wrap bulb loosely in foil and place in a preheated 400°F oven.  Roast until garlic flesh is soft, 40 to 60 minutes. Set garlic aside until cool enough to handle. 

Squeeze soft garlic pulp from each clove into the bowl of a blender. Add vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, honey and a little salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. While blender is running, very slowly add 1/2 cup olive oil. When thoroughly blended, taste and correct seasonings. Refrigerate in a covered container until ready to use. 

 

 

 

MOSS LANDING & RECIPES: CIOPPINO & BIRD’S NEST

Centered in the curve of Monterey Bay, midway between Santa Cruz and Monterey, on California’s famous Highway 1, Moss Landing is hard to miss, yet most drivers whiz by headed for more famous neighbors. This is a mistake. A big mistake, as the tiny fishing village is a hidden treasure yielding rich rewards for nature-loving foodies who dip in for an overnight stay.

 Moss Landing by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

WHAT TO DO

EXPLORE ELKHORN SLOUGH

Captain Yohn Gideon on a Elkhorn Slough Safari

Packed with more marine creatures, waterfowl and migratory birds than with tourists, Moss Landing offers great opportunities to get up close and personal with wildlife. The village sits at the mouth of Elkhorn Slough (pronounced slew), a seven-mile long tidal slough and estuary hosting more than 400 different species of invertebrates, 100 different species of fish and 300 different species of birds.

 Although there are several ways to see Elkhorn Slough wildlife—-hiking and  kayaking included—nothing beats taking an Elkhorn Slough Safari. www.elkhornslough.com 

What you see depends on the season, but no matter the time of year, or time of day, cruising on The Safari, a 27-foot pontoon boat, through the Elkhorn Slough Wildlife Reserve with Captain Yohn Gideon and a certified naturalist at the helm, you will be graced with more wildlife than you could ever imagine.

Elkhorn Slough Wildlife by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

GO WHALE WATCHING Electronic Wrist Band

Because the mouth of Moss Landing’s harbor opens to the head of the massive Monterey Submarine Canyon, and because the sloping canyon walls provide a  feeding ground for a myriad of marine mammals, whale watching cruises from Moss Landing are exceedingly productive. Most boats promise a 90 to 95 percent chance of spotting whales and have some sort of refund policy if whales aren’t seen.  Captain Mike Sack  and marine biologist Dorris Welch offer one of the region’s best four-to-five hour whale-watching cruise on their 39-passenger Sanctuary. The Sanctuary rises above other whale-watching vessels as it is the only sustainable charter boat on the Monterey Bay.  In addition, Sanctuary Cruises, unlike other cruises, provide passengers (for a rental fee) with electronic wrist bands that actually work to prevent seasickness.

Whale Watching in Monterey Bay

 

WHERE TO STAY

CAPTAIN’S INN

The Captain's Inn in Moss Landing California

The very best (and actually the only) choice is Captain’s Inn, a garden-graced, AAA Three-Diamond B & B with four guest rooms tucked into an historic house and ten rooms in a separate waterfront boathouse.

Although all rooms come with private bathroom, comfy beds and plenty of charm, the nautical decor, big beds crafted from boats and picture windows overlooking marshlands and abundant wildlife make the boathouse rooms extra special.

Captain's Inn College

 

WHERE TO EAT

Two musts! One for lunch and one for dinner.

THE HAUTE ENCHILADA

The Haute Enchilada in Moss Landing California

The Haute Enchilada is an eclectic mixture of cafe/art gallery with indoor and patio seating, local beers, premium wines, and a rustic Mediterranean/Latin-fusion menu featuring creative as well as favourite foods that are 100 percent organic and 100 percent delicious. 

Owner Kim Solano invented the cafe’s most popular brunch/lunch dish—-the Peruvian Bird’s Nest–a colourful layered concoction of potatoes, beets, olives, eggs, bacon and hollandaise–recipe below.

Haute Enchilada Indoor and Outdoor seating

 

PHIL’S FISH MARKET & EATERY 

 Phil's Fish Market and Eatery in Moss Landing by Susan Manlin Katzman

There is nothing fancy about Phil’s Fish Market & Eatery, except its reputation. Generally considered one of the best seafood restaurants on the California coast (BBC Travel calls it one of the world’s best), Phil’s lives up to the high praise.

The three page menu showcases local as well as flown-in seafood prepared every which way as well as some non-fish items (chicken and meat) and a few supporting dishes (slaw, fries and simply spectacular desserts). 

Order from a counter, claim a seat indoors or out, and the food will be brought to your table. What to order? Owner Phil DiGirolamo says,  “cioppino.”  Indeed the fish stew claims star status as it Phil’s cioppino won a “Throwdown” with Bobby Flay. 

Indoor an Outdoor Seating at Phil's Fish Market

 

PHIL’S FISH MARKET & EATERY’S CIOPPINO

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.Ciopppino at Phil's Fish Market in Moss Landing by Susan Manlin Katzman

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/4 cup white wine
1 pound Little Neck clams
1/2 pound mussels, scrubbed
2 quarts cioppino sauce, recipe follows  
2 dashes Worcestershire Sauce
Pinch saffron
2 to 2-1/2 pound Dungeness crab,
cooked, cleaned and cracked,
or 1 pound cooked crab meat
(preferably Dungeness)
1/2 pound medium shrimp, shell on
1/2 pound squid tubes, cut in rings
1/2 pound firm-fleshed white fish
fillets cut in 2-inch cubes
1/4 pound bay scallops

Put the olive oil, butter, and garlic in a wide, deep pot over medium heat and cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, but not brown. Add the wine and the clams, and cover. Turn the heat up to medium-high and steam until the clams start to open, about 5 minutes. Add the mussels, cover and steam until the just start to open, about 2 minutes.

Stir in the cioppino sauce, Worcestershire sauce and saffron and bring to a simmer. Add cracked crabs, if using, and the shrimp; simmer for about 5 minutes.

Then gently stir in the squid, fish and scallops; simmer until they are all just cooked through, about 5 minutes. (If using cooked crab meat, stir it in very gently the last minute or so of cooking time.)

CIOPPINO SAUCE
1/2 cup olive oil
2 medium onions, halved and thinly sliced
6 cloves garlic, chopped
3 bay leaves
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1/4 cup chopped sweet basil
1 (28 ounce) can peeled tomatoes, crushed by hand
1 (28 ounce) can tomato puree
28 ounces water
1 tablespoon clam base without MSG, optional
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon celery salt
Dash Worcestershire sauce
Black pepper, to taste
Crushed red pepper, to taste
Dash cinnamon
Kosher salt, to taste

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and sauté until translucent. Add garlic, bay leaves, parsley and basil and cook, stirring, just to warm the garlic—do not let it brown.

Stir in the crushed tomatoes, tomato puree, water, clam base, brown sugar, celery salt, Worcestershire sauce, black and red peppers, cinnamon and salt to taste. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low-medium and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for about 1 hour and 15 minutes until thickened.

  

THE HAUTE ENCHILADA’S BIRD’S NEST

Yield: 8 to 16 servings, depending on size of portion.Bird's Nest from The Haute Enchilada in Moss Landing, California

4 yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cubed, divided 

Pinch saffron

About 8 tablespoons butter, divided 

1 large red beet, peeled and diced

Sea salt to taste

1/3 cup finely diced kalamata olives

1/3 cup finely diced green olives

3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced

2 tablespoons minced capers

2 tablespoons minced parsley

1 red bell pepper, roasted, peeled, seeded and diced

1 tablespoon olive oil

Lemon zest to taste
Lemon juice to taste

Olive oil or butter to grease casserole

Hollandaise sauce or your favorite salsa

2 eggs per serving

About 1 strip  bacon per serving, cooked crisp and crumbled

Smoked paprika

Boil 1/2 of the potatoes with water and saffron until potatoes are tender. Drain potatoes and mash with 3 tablespoons butter. Season with sea salt. Set aside.

Boil the remaining 1/2 potatoes with the diced beet until tender. Drain mixture and mash with remaining 3 tablespoons butter. Season with sea salt. Set aside.

Put olives, garlic, capers, parsley, bell pepper, olive oil, lemon zest and lemon juice in a mixing bowl and stir until ingredients are well mixed.

Grease a 9 X 14-inch casserole dish and line with plastic wrap so that wrap extends out of the pan.

Spread the saffron potato mash in the bottom of the dish making a nice even layer. Add the olive mixture, forming another even layer. Top with a layer of the beet potato mash. Cover well with plastic wrap and refrigerate 3 hours. 

When well chilled, unfold the top covering of plastic and gently invert casserole onto a serving dish. Cut into serving size pieces. (The restaurant cuts the layered potatoes into squares and then cuts the squares into triangles, serving one triangle as one portion.)

To serve: spoon a pool of hollandaise sauce or salsa onto individual serving plates. Top with a portion of of the layered potatoes. (You can reheat the layered potatoes in a microwave just before serving or serve the triangles at room temperature.)

Fry eggs, sunny side, up in butter.  Place two fried on top of each potato serving. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon and smoked paprika. Serve immediately.

 

Moss Landing's Leaders Yohn Gideon, Kim Solano, Phil DiGirolamo

Moss Landing’s Leaders
Yohn Gideon, Kim Solano, Phil DiGirolamo

 

 

  

HOT SPRINGS AND COOL SLAW

Spring in Hot Springs IMG_7878Mother Nature set the scene. This was back in the beginning of time, when she blessed a particular batch of water, heated it to about 143°F in the depths of the earth and bubbled it up to springs flowing along the lower slopes of what would be called Hot Springs Mountain (part of the Ouachita Mountain range). No doubt Native Americans stumbled on the springs and understood their magic powers. The first explorers, too, found the water, but it wasn’t until after the 1803 Louisiana Purchase that settlers spread the word and America’s first health resort rooted and blossomed.  

By 1832 the thermal mineral waters were so prized, that the United States government officially set aside 47 springs and surrounding land as a “reservation,” the United States’ first ever federally protected natural resource. (Hot Springs Reservation became Hot Springs National Park in 1921 and remains as such today.) 

Hot Springs National Park by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

Stained glass window at a Hot Springs BathhouseThe first bathhouses in Hot Springs were simple wooden structures built over the streams and subject to rot and fire. But competition for the elite visitor’s business spurred construction of bigger, better bathhouses outfitted with such extravagances as stained glass windows, patterned tile flooring and dramatic sculptures. At the town’s peak of popularity, eight elegant bathhouses, surrounded by gardens and dotted with fountains, formed Bathhouse Row and both the rich and poor,  the famous and infamous (opera stars, presidents, gangsters ) showed up for the curative waters.

 

Then along came modern medicine, replacing Hot Springs as the hot panacea to cure health problems.

But all is not lost. Today Hot Springs still draws the tourists. The springs still flow. The National Park still protects the bounty. And eight elegant bathhouses, built between 1892 and 1923, still grace Bathhouse Row.

Quapaw Bathhouse is the latest to be renovated and opened to the public as a family friendly bathing facility.

Quapaw Bathhouse by Susan Manlin Katzman 

Lamar Bathhouse serves as offices for park employees and holds the National Park’s store. Fordyce Bathhouse functions as the Park’s visitor center and a museum.

Fordyce Bathhouse by Susan Manlin Katzman

The Buckstaff Bathhouse continues to operate as it has since first opening in 1912, steeping the bather in history as well as thermal mineral water. 

Buckstaff Bathhouse in Hot Springs, Arkansas

 

Thermal Bath House & MassageSeveral places around town offer traditional thermal mineral baths to the public, but because the government pools the water and sells it to the different bathhouses, the water is the same no matter where one goes and the bathing experience is similar with amenities varying only slightly.

Woman in Bathhouse by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

At the Buckstaff, plan on spending 1 to 1-1/2 hours and about $64 for “the works,” which usually includes a tub soak, loofa rub, steam bath, sitz bath, hot packs, needle shower and a 20-minute, full-body Swedish massage. But word of warning, you won’t find tinkling bells, scented candles and Buddha shrines. Buckstaff, gives an old-fashioned bathing experience in an aged environment that’s void of frou frou, but loaded with authenticity. 

 

 WHERE TO STAY

The Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa by Susan Manlin KatzmanShe may be a faded beauty, but the Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa still reigns as the grande dame hotel of Hot Springs. The first Arlington was built in 1875 and  razed in 1892 to make space for the second, bigger and better hotel, which burned to the ground in 1923.  The present Arlington dates to 1924 and is the grandest of all, built to please illustrious guests. With 11 floors, two towers, 478 rooms and suites (50 of them receiving the precious thermal water), a bathhouse, swimming pool and assorted public areas, the Arlington claims to be not only the largest hotel in Arkansas, but also one of the best and most historic.

Not much has changed through the years, which is both good and bad news. The bad is that age fades some of the glory. Despite Starbucks residing in the lobby, Internet in the rooms, and the hotel continuously renovating and updating, rooms and public areas show wear. 

On the other hand, original features remain, giving guests glimpses of the past grandeur and glory of Hot Springs when it was America’s hottest spa city.

Mountain View of Hot Springs

 

 WHERE TO EAT

Facade of McClard's Bar-B-Q Restaurant by Susan Manlin Katzman

Like most wonderful aspects of Hot Springs, McClard’s Bar-B-Q Restaurant has a rich history. The family-run operation opened in 1928 and still going strong, today managed by the fourth generation of McClards. 

McClard's Best Ribs, Beans and SlawNoted for serving tender hickory smoked beef, pork and ribs, and tasty side dishes, McClard’s attributes the secret of its success to a special house-made barbecue sauce and other made-from-scratch recipes.

Although the sauce recipe is tucked into a safety-deposit box and kept a staunch secret, McClard’s shared its recipe for cole slaw. The restaurant serves so much of the slaw (about 250 gallons per week) that they make it in 7- to 14-gallon batches, but they broke down the recipe for Sweet Leisure into what they call a “family size” portion. Bit of warning: the slaw is super popular. Most folks are prone to take second and third helpings. 

MCCLARD’S COLE SLAW  

McClard's Makes Cole Slaw in Big BatchesYield: about 8 cups.

1 head green cabbage, finely chopped

1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped

1/2 medium-size green bell pepper, trimmed and finely chopped

2 ribs celery, finely chopped

1/2 medium carrot, finely chopped

Dressing (recipe follows)

Combine all ingredients and toss with dressing. Refrigerate several hours to let flavors blend.

McClard's Cole Slaw by Susan Manlin KatzmanDRESSING

Yield: 2/3 cup. 

1/2 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing

Sugar to taste (Start with 3 tablespoons and add more as desired.)

1 tablespoon distilled white vinegar

Salt to taste

Black pepper to taste

Combine mayonnaise, sugar and vinegar. Stir until sugar dissolves. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and stir to combine all ingredients. 

 

 

 

FAMILY FOOD AND FUN IN LOS ANGELES

Catherine McCord

Catherine McCord

Catherine McCord perfectly fits the description of a contemporary food-focused superwoman/super mom. 

A native of Louisville, Kentucky, Catherine credits her parents and grandparents for instilling in her a love of food, particularly healthy, wholesome food. Her knowledge expanded and interest in food and cooking intensified when she traveled the world as a supermodel and explored different cuisines between gracing covers of magazines (such as Glamour and Elle) and walking the runway for designers (such as Donna Karan and Calvin Klein). 

Proving that professional models and actresses can have a healthy relationship with food, Catherine furthered her food knowledge by enrolling in the Institute of Culinary Education while living in New York and working as a film actress and T.V. hostess. 

Her career forked to a new direction after marrying producer Jonathan Gordon, settling in Los Angeles and giving birth to a son, Kenya (now seven) and daughter Chloe (now five).

Wanting to share the healthy foods and recipes she made for her children, Catherine created Weelicious.com, a food blog/website that grew as her family did into a “brand” that today includes two terrific books:  Weelicious One Family. One Meal and Weelicious Lunches: Think Outside the Lunchbox.

Weelicious Book Jackets

Catherine remains super busy. She still makes TV appearances, most recently as a judge on the Food Network’s Guy’s Grocery Games, still prodigiously feeds her prize winning blog, and still creates videos, recipes and books. Despite her overflow of activities, she considers herself first and foremost a mom, giving her children not only the best home-cooked meals, but also the best experiences L.A. has to offer. 

Always willing to share, Catherine answered Sweet Leisure’s call for where to find family-pleasing food and fun in L.A. with the following suggestions. 

In her own words, Catherine McCord tells us about:

FOOD AND FUN: L.A. WITH KIDS

If it’s your first time to Los Angeles, the vast city can become overwhelming, especially if you’re with kids. From the beach to downtown, Hollywood and beyond it can feel like a never-ending list of choices from what to see, where to play and of course, how to fill those growing bellies. Over the past seven years my family has gotten to know and love not only the gorgeous weather that Los Angeles offers, but also all that the fun that the city has to offer. Here are a few of my family’s favorites:

 

Waiter at 26 Beach Restaurant by Susan Manlin Katzman26 BEACH RESTAURANT  

3100 Washington Blvd. 

Venice

This cafe is fabulous for brunch and affordable with some of the freshest salads, omelets and sandwiches around.

 

 

SANTA MONICA PIER

Santa Monica

Rent a bike or roller blades and take off down the path, stopping to see Muscle Beach and, of course, the Ferris wheel.

Santa Monica Pier by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

KIDSPACE CHILDREN’S MUSEUM

480 North Arroyo Blvd

Pasadena

This interactive museum offers special opportunity for kids to learn and play (best for kids 6- months to10-years old).

Imagination Workshop at Kidspace Children's Museum

 

LITTLE FLOWER CANDY COMPANY

1422 W. Colorado Blvd

Pasadena  

Kids love this cozy cottage in Pasadena serving terrific baked good and brunch items. 

 

The J. Paul Getty Museum

 

 

THE J. PAUL GETTY MUSEUM

1200 Getty Center Drive

Los Angeles

In one of the most beautiful buildings in the city, the Getty offers demonstrations for kids and an impressive collection of art.

 

 

 

UNIVERSAL STUDIOS HOLLYWOOD

100 Universal City Plaza

Universal City

For an all day treat, dive into rides and see the making of so many Hollywood movies at Universal Studios.

Studio Tour-Main Image-Fireball

 

Hugo's by Susan Manlin Katzman

HUGO’S

8401 Santa Monica Blvd.

West Hollywood

and

12851 Riverside Drive

Studio City 

Hugo’s is the place for breakfast, lunch and dinner for anyone vegan, gluten free, picky and more. They will make you just about anything you crave. 

Breakfast at Larchmont Bungalow by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

 

LARCHMONT BUNGALOW

107 North Larchmont

Los Angeles

Shop along Larchmont Blvd in the charming Larchmont Village and stop by this artisan cafe serving terrific coffee and a plethora of kid friendly choices. 

 

LOS ANGELES COUNTY MUSEUM OF ART (LACMA)

5905 Wilshire Blvd.

Los Angeles

You could spend days at this spectacular museum. Let kids become the artist painting their own portraits in the free drawing space and don’t forget to grab a bite at one of the many food trucks right out front of the museum.

LACMA by Susan Manlin Katzman

Kids in  LACMA by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

TRAVEL TOWN MUSEUM 

5200 Zoo Drive

Griffith Park

Los Angeles

This train museum is such fun for kids. Jump on the train that rides around or jump on the great big historical trains stationed on the great big tracks. Bonus: if you visit on Sundays, check out the Live Steamers Railroad Museum next door (5202 Zoo Drive/ http://www.lals.org/). They offer the public rides between 10:45 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Sundays and a ride is not to be missed!

Dish from GobiGOBI

2827 W. Sunset Blvd.

Silver Lake 

This Mongolian BBQ joint is a fun way to get kids to eat their veggies by letting them create their own dish.

Cones of Pleasure

 

 

PAZZO GELATO  for gelato

and 

SCOOPS for Ice cream.  

Creative and delicious gelato and ice cream. Simply wonderful. At multiple locations throughout the Los Angeles area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tongabezi, Victoria Falls, Sweet Potato Jam, Zambian Beans

 

Let’s cut to the chase. Victoria Falls is certainly worth a visit. Called the world’s largest sheet of falling water and deemed one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a bucket-list must-see.

Victoria Falls from Plane Window

View of Victoria Falls from a plane window
.

 

Victoria Falls Collage by Susan Manlin Katzman

Victoria Falls viewed from Zambia

But to those who love distinctive hotels, resorts, and other accommodations, Victoria Falls is just a sideline to a stay at Tongabezi, a well-loved small and intimate luxury lodge located on the Zambezi River, about 15 miles upstream from the Falls in Zambia.

At first glance, Tongabezi so blends with nature that one doesn’t catch the pizzazz of the place. But down the welcome drink and follow a staff member along the stone path graced with shady trees, song birds and playful monkeys to your cottage or house, open the door and magic starts to slip into your soul to reside forever more.

Old Tongabezi Boat

Arrival at Tongabezi

Guest accommodations thrill for what they don’t have as much as what they do have.

They don’t have cookie cutter configurations or intrusive neighbors or ho-hum décor. Some don’t even have four walls.

What they do have is peaceful privacy, amazing views, and lovely design and decoration elements.

Guest houses and cottages string along the riverbank and up a hill. Each is a contained unit spaced apart from its neighbor. Although architecture is somewhat different, all accommodations sport thatched roofs and open-air designs, with most offering splendid river views. The amazing three-sided houses face the river, with nothing but vegetation to screen river sights and sounds.

The Bird House at Tongabezi

The Bird House

 

Ben Parker

Ben Parker

All facilities feature decorative pieces hand-picked by owners Ben and Vanessa Parker to suit their personal tastes. Ben likes to decorate with vintage maps, postcards and photos slipped into picture frames recycled from old wooden boats. He sources (and so can you) the lodge’s lovely beaded linens and textiles from Katundu, a workshop in Malawi that employs single mothers from a local orphan program.

 Decor Details at Tongabezi Collage by Susan Manlin Katzman

Valet with wake up call.

Valet with wake up call.

 

Perhaps the best feature of houses and cottages is that each comes with a personal valet—a wonderful, attentive, spoiling valet who will pamper as desired, doing such delightful tasks as bringing morning coffee or tea (and buttery shortbread cookies) as a wake-up call, filling the outdoor bathtub with bubbles for sunsets soaking, picking up laundry and offering insider information as to tours and local customs—in short, seeing to every need.

 Outdoor Bubble Bath

 

 

 

 

 

 

In addition to accommodations and service, Tongabezi gets high-five raves for:

1. UNIQUE AMBIANCE:  The lodge manages to combine the rustic with the luxurious, the natural with high style and the private and unregimented with pampering care.

2. ACTIVITIES: No need to contact an outside source for tours, Tongabezi provides a slew of activities, both inclusive and exclusive of room costs. Sunset and sunrise river cruises, tours to the Falls and trips to Livingstone’s markets are complimentary.

Tourist Souvenir Market

Livingstone’s Souvenir Market

 

Livingstone's Food Market

Livingstone’s Food Market

Helicopter flights over the Falls, white water rafting and elephant-back safaris come with extra cost, as does a fabulous trip to Livingstone Island, the small island at edge of the rushing water where the Scottish explorer David Livingstone first sited the Falls and wrote, “No one can imagine the beauty of the view from anything witnessed in England. It had never been seen before by European eyes; but scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight.”

From Livingstone Island

Livingstone Island

 

3. GOOD DEEDS:  In 1996, Vanessa Parker established a school to teach the children of Tongabezi’s staff. Today, Tujatane (the Tongabezi Trust School) serves over 240 students, providing an education to not only families of staff, but also children in the surrounding community where educational opportunities and resources are scarce. The school operates completely on donations. To help, click HERE

Tujatane Tongabezi Trust School

 

4. INTANGIBLES THAT SATISFY THE SENSES:

The sight of sunset sending sparkling ripples of golden rays across the river.

Zambezi Sunset

 

The sound of hippos making love (or war) in the dark night and bush birds singing to dawn’s early light.

Hippos on the Zambezi

 

The touch of a deeply comfortable bed and sunshine spreading warmth as you nap on a lounge chair and the chill refreshment of cool water as you dive into the swimming pool.

Tongabezi's Swimming Pool

Tongabezi’s Swimming Pool

 

The seductive scent that whiffs from the kitchen, awakening taste buds in anticipation.

The talented kitchen staff.

The talented kitchen staff.

 

The taste of that first cocktail, sipped around an open fire with other guests, waiting for the dinner call—discussing the awesome day.

Where Guest Gather for Cocktails

Where Guest Gather for Cocktails

 

5. DINING/FOOD AND VENUES:  Guests have a choice of  dining locations. In addition to both private and communal tables in the main building’s dining areas, and in The Lookout—a riverside structure that the lodge calls “the ultimate chill out zone,” guests can enjoy breakfast in bed, a picnic served on a private island and a romantic dinner on a Sampan floating on the Zambezi with each course delivered by canoe. 

Dinner served on a Sanpan.

Dinner served on a Sanpan.

As to food, it’s billed as gourmet and organic, with menus showcasing local fish, farmed beef and produce grown in the lodge’s own garden. Although international in scope, menus offer local specialties such as Sweet Potato Jam and Zambian Beans, favorite native dishes made from local commodities. Both dishes travel well to home tables, especially made with these recipes supplied from Tongabezi chefs.

Zambian Sweet Potato and Beans

Zambian Sweet Potato and Beans

SWEET POTATO JAM

Yield: About 7 cups.  (Recipe may be halved.)

Sweet Potato Jam for Morning Toast.

Sweet Potato Jam for Morning Toast.

3-1/2 cups granulated sugar

Juice from 4 large oranges

1 cup lemon juice (about 5 large lemons)

1 scant tablespoon grated fresh ginger

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 vanilla bean, split

4 large sweet potatoes (2 to 2-1/2 pounds), peeled and grated

Put sugar, orange juice, lemon juice, ginger and nutmeg in a 3-1/2 quart saucepan. Split vanilla bean in half, lengthwise, and scrape seeds into mixture in saucepan. Add the vanilla bean shell. Set pan over medium heat and bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly until sugar completely dissolves. Boil 1 minute.

Add grated sweet potatoes and cook over medium heat until potatoes are soft and infused with syrup, about 10 minutes. Remove vanilla bean.

Set aside to cool at room temperature. When cool, put in covered containers and refrigerate until ready to use. Use promptly.

Serve with all types of breakfast breads.

 

ZAMBIAN BEANS

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

2 cups dried beans (See NOTE)

Tasty Zambian Beans

Tasty Zambian Beans

Water

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

4 to 5 large ripe tomatoes, peeled and diced (about 1-1/2 cups diced tomatoes)

1 onion, peeled and diced

Salt to taste

Rinse beans well, discarding any foreign matter or defective beans. Put beans in 4-quart saucepan. Add water to cover by 1 inch.  Set beans aside to soak overnight.

Drain and rinse beans. Put beans back in the 4-quart saucepan. Add water to cover by 1 inch. Set beans over medium heat and bring liquid to a simmer. Simmer beans for 45 minutes.

Drain and rinse beans and return to saucepan. Add water to cover, oil, tomatoes, onion and salt.

Gently boil beans until they are tender, but not disintegrating and tomato and onion have formed a thick sauce, 1 to 2 hours.

Serve as a main dish or side dish to all kinds of meats and poultry.

 NOTE: Zambians use Kabulangeti beans, but red kidney beans, white beans and other dried beans will also work.

Zambia Sign

 

 

BLVD 16 COCKTAIL RECIPES

 

Eat, drink—mainly drink—and be merry while you reduce your carbon footprint. Guzzle up and your efforts to save the planet get even better. Too good to be true? Au contraire.

BLVD 16 LoungeEspecially if you are in Los Angeles. Especially if it is Tuesday. Especially if you are drinking at BLVD 16 Restaurant and Lounge at the Hotel Palomar Los Angeles/Westwood.

Hotel Palomar is part of the Kimpton chain, and we all know Kimpton hotels go green at every opportunity, so it is not surprising that the Hotel Palomar follows suit. But good as green gets in other areas of the hotel, it reaches new highs with the intoxicatingly creative Trees Tuesday promotion designed by BLVD 16’s chef Richard Hodge and general manager Josh Porter.

Chef Richard Hodge and Josh Porter

Chef Richard Hodge and Josh Porter

Working in partnership with Greenbar Craft Distillery, http://www.greenbar.biz/ a Los Angeles company that produces and distributes the world’s biggest portfolio of organic spirits and runs all of their business dealings with sustainability and flavor at the core, Hodge and Porter designed a program where Greenbar will plant a tree for every Sittin’ Pretty, Barbados Winter and/or Herbal Remedy cocktail sold at BLVD 16 on a Tuesday from rush hour through the dinner service. That’s right: one cocktail, one tree.

Trees Tuesday Poet Joyce Kilmer wrote, “I think that I shall never see, A poem as lovely as a tree.” Well, Sweet Leisure thinks that it shall never see a promotion as lovely as Trees Tuesday. The cocktails rock! The planet is better off. And guests can drink to distraction without driving.

Named for the 16 miles of Wilshire Boulevard (a.k.a. “Main Street” L.A.), BLVD 16 is located at 10740 Wilshire Boulevard in upscale Westwood. Regulars come from condos in the neighborhood and can walk home. Hotel guests are already ensconced and indulgers reliant on driving can leave their car with valet parking and rent a room for the night.

BLVD 16 CollageEven homebodies can participate in bettering the world through booze—if they make cocktails from BLVD 16’s recipes (see below). Each recipe calls for two ounces of Tru vodka, Tru gin or Crusoe rum—all Greenbar Distillery’s brands and the company will plant a tree in the rainforests of Central America for every bottle of spirits sold.

So bottoms up! Here’s to a beautiful world through blissful beverages and beneficial drinking.

 

Sittin' PrettySITTIN’ PRETTY

Yield: 1 serving.

2 ounces Tru vodka

3/4 ounce Fair Goji Liqueur

1/2 ounce Marie Brizard Triple Sec

1/2 ounce fresh lime juice

1/4 ounce simple syrup

Ice

Lemon peel for garnish

Combine all ingredients except the garnish in a cocktail shaker and shake.

Double strain into a cocktail coupe. Garnish with lemon peel expressed over the top.

 

 

BARBADOS WINTER

Barbados WinterYield: 1 serving.

2 ounces Crusoe Spiced Rum

3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice

1/2 ounce Velvet Falernum

1/2 ounce clove-flavored simple syrup

1/2 ounce pineapple juice

Ice

Aperol

Pineapple leaf for garnish

Put rum, lemon juice, Velvet Falernum and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker and shake.

Strain into an iced-filled large rocks glass. Drizzle a little (about 1 teaspoon) Aperol on top. Garnish with a pineapple leaf.

 

Herbal RemedyHERBAL REMEDY

Yield: 1 serving.

2 ounces Tru gin

1-1/2 ounces fresh lemon juice

3/4 ounce green Chartreuse

1/2 ounce simple syrup

5 dashes Bar Keep Lavender Bitters

Large pinch of dried lavender flowers

Ice

Sprig of sage for garnish

Put gin, lemon juice, Chartreuse, simple syrup, lavender bitters and lavender flowers into a shaker and shake to combine. Strain into an ice-filled large rocks glass. Garnish with a sprig of sage.

 

 

WALD & SCHLOSSHOTEL FRIEDRICHSRUHE

 

Sign Wald & SchlosshotelThe Wald & Schlosshotel (Forest & Castle Hotel) Friedrichsruhe covers all bases. This award-winning, “five-star, superior” resort hotel is at once historic and contemporary, luxurious and casual, healthful and indulging. Its top-notch facilities provide ideal venues for both business and leisure travelers, gourmets and dieters, and active guests as well as those who just want to relax. Enjoy it all or focus on one delight—it doesn’t matter as Wald & Schlosshotel Friedrichsruhe delivers a multidimensional, mega-pleasurable getaway that can be structured, as the individual desires.

Located in southern Germany’s Hohenlohe region, about 70 kilometers from Stuttgart, Wald & Schlosshotel Friedrichsruhe maintains a-retreat-in-the-secluded-heart-of-nature ambience—as was its original function.

Hunting Lodge FacadeThe resort dates to 1712 when Count Johann Friedrich II (later to become Prince of Hohenlohe) built a Renaissance-style hunting lodge and cleared the forest surrounding the lodge to create a majestic royal park. (The name of “Friedrichsruhe” basically means Friedrich’s place of relaxation – the prince’s retreat.)  The Hunting Lodge (with its stag antler façade) and park (with its ancient trees and songbirds) is much a part of today’s resort, which was first opened as a small hotel in 1953 and has been added to and renovated happily ever after. The Würth Group took over in 2005, adding a majestic spa, expanding the golf course and enhancing guest rooms, conference facilities and culinary offerings.

Today’s resort offers 66 rooms divided among four different buildings, the original Hunting Lodge among them.

Walds & Schlosshotel Buildings

Each building showcases specific style elements with rooms wearing décor that ranges from country-house charm to high-tech, minimalist sophistication and reservation staff tries to place guests in a room type they would most enjoy.

Rooms at Wald & Schlosshotel

 

San Vino ProductsAlthough each room in each building is individually decorated, all rooms include a flat-screen television, mobile telephone, safe and fragrant toiletries from the resort’s own specially designed SanVino line of products.

 

 

Guests also have a choice of where to eat on property.

Dining Rooms at Wald & Schlosshotel

Michelin starred Chef de Cuisine Boris Benecke brings refined seasonal dishes to the upscale Gourmet-Salad from the Spa Restaurant Wald & SchlosshotelRestaurant. Regional delights show up on the menu of the charming and informal Jägerstube restaurant. Traditional and rustic Swabian meals can be had at the Forest Tavern. And the Spa Bistro serves light fare to spa guests.

But restaurants don’t account for all of the dining delights. Breakfast, alone, is worth a stay. Served on white table clothes, with fine china, heavy cutlery, in the Conservatory, a graceful room lined with windows overlooking the park, the buffet breakfast features specialties from around the world and makes greeting the day a glorious pleasure.

The Conservatory at Wald & Schlosshotel

The Terrace in summer, the Fireplace Lounge in winter, and the Bar in all seasons provide lovely settings in which to enjoy afternoon tea or coffee and cake

Tea Cakes Served at Wald & Schlosshotel photo by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

as well as cocktails and drinks. (As to drinks, don’t miss the Pharmacy, an after-dinner, gin-based concoction said to cure all ills.)

Bartender at Wald & Schlosshotel

Bartender Guido Luppi makes the gin-based Pharmacy

Although the setting, the rooms and the restaurants shine, many consider the spa the most sparkling jewel in Wald & Schlosshotel Friedrichsruhe’s crown.

Walkway to the Spa

Indoor Spa Pool at Wald & Schlosshotel

Indoor Spa Pool at Wald & Schlosshotel

Covering over 47,000 square feet the spa holds large indoor and outdoor pools and a KLAFS-sauna area and 13 treatment rooms where top-notch technicians pamper guests with an array of health and beauty treatments.

A fully equipped fitness center with personal trainers, a beauty salon, a 27-hole golf course with a golf academy, tennis court and an array of art and antiques from the owner’s own collection round out the resort facilities.

Art at Wald & Schlosshotel

 

Add an attentive staff offering extraordinary service (hand-cleaning golf clubs, limousine shuttles, picnics in the park)

Front Desk Staff at Wald & Schlosshotel

and it’s easy to understand why guests consider Wald & Schlosshotel Friedrichsruhe one of the best retreats of pure peace and pleasure in all of Germany.

Lawn at Wald & Schlosshotel

 

 

CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL, CLINTON PRESIDENTIAL CENTER, THE CAPITAL HOTEL, PIMENTO CHEESE AND SPICED PECANS

 

 

Central, Clinton, Capital and cheese, the centerpieces of contemporary Little Rock tourism, represent not only the top charms of the city but also cornerstones of American history, charismatic hospitality and culinary delight. All are musts when visiting Little Rock.

 WELCOME TO LITTLE ROCK

 

CENTRAL HIGH SCHOOL

Central High School, Little Rock  by S.M. Katzman

In 1957, nine courageous African-American students braved contentious crowds to test the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that declared segregation in public schools unconstitutional.

The students and their school, Central High School, skyrocketed to fame, winning a battle for equality and earning a revered place in American history. 

LittleRock9/ Photo by Susan Manlin Katzman

Today the still functioning high school sits within the boundaries of the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site. Central High School’s Visitor’s Center (located across from the school and interesting itself) arranges emotionally packed tours for groups of 10 or more when the school is open.

At The Visitor's Center/Photo by S.M. Katzman

A visit belongs on the curriculum of every man, woman and child interested in courage, equality, education, race relations and American history. Central High School provides living proof of Margaret Mead’s declaration that a small group of committed citizens can change the world.

Margaret Mead Quote photo by S.M. Katzman

 Norman Rockwell Painting

 

CLINTON PRESIDENTIAL CENTER & PARK

Clinton Presidential Library and Museum photo by S.M. Katzman

One can’t visit Little Rock without stopping for a tour at the Clinton Presidential Library and Museum located on the banks of the Arkansas River near the downtown River Market district. The Library’s modernist, industrial-style main building, designed to represents a bridge symbolizing Clinton’s campaign promise of “building a bridge to the 21st century” is praised for it’s energy efficiency and environmental soundness.

Inside Clinton's Presidential Library/Photo by Susan Manlin Katzman Its exhibition spaces showcases a treasure trove of personal, official and public documents, photos, films, memorabilia and all else representing the 42nd president’s eight years in office—even full-scale replicas of the Clinton-era Cabinet Room and Oval Office.

In Clinton Presidential Library photo by S.M. Katzman

At the Clinton Presidential Library photo by S.M. KatzmanIn addition, the main structure contains a restaurant on the lower level (open to the public on Monday through Friday for lunch only) and Hillary and Bill’s private residence on the upper level (not open to the public).

Archives held in the Library are open by appointment only. Visitors can supplement a museum and library tour with a stroll in Riverfront Park (the park on which the Library sits) and can catch a shuttle to the Clinton Museum Store to load up on “I miss Bill” t-shirts and other Clinton-related souvenirs.

Riverfront Park photo by S.M. Katzman 

 

THE CAPITAL HOTEL 

Exterior of The Capital Hotel by Susan Manlin KatzmanNamed because it was a capital enterprise, located in a capital building in the capital of the state, The Capital Hotel is a capital success. Opening in 1876 with such extravagances as indoor plumbing, heating and a “magnetic annunciatior” for calling room service, the hotel quickly earned the reputation as a luxury property, a status that remained through the years despite (or maybe because of) multiple closings, renovations and reopenings.

The latest (2007) reincarnation beautifully weaves the old historic with the best contemporary.

The hotel was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974, so all renovations since have meticulously respected the historic aspects of the property. Today’s guests can still ride the huge elevator, said to be built to accommodate President Ulysses S. Grant’s horse (or more likely, the hoop skirts of Southern belles). Guest can also enjoy the graceful lobby with original colorful tile floor and white marble walls that beautifully framed the elite of times long gone.

Capital Hotel Lobby by Susan Manlin KatzmanAlthough Victorian charm abounds, contemporary Southern comfort fills the lovely 94 guestrooms. Amenities include high definition LCD TV’s, free WiFi, Frette bed and bath linens, Molton Brown bath products and a welcome snack of positively addictive-spiced pecans (recipe below).

Guest Room at the Capital Hotel by Susan Manlin Katzman

The Capital Hotel complements its public spaces and guestrooms with two restaurants under the direction of executive chef Joël Antunes.  The upscale Ashley’s serves French accented dishes along with favorite traditional Southern specialties. Capital Bar and Grill’s menu focuses on “provincial comfort food with a particular emphasis on the bounty of Arkansas.”

Capital Hotel Restaurant by S.M. Katzman

Which brings us to cheese. The Capital Hotel is reputed to serve the best pimento cheese in the whole of the South. It’s absolutely delicious on burgers, crackers or a naked finger, but you don’t have to take our word for it. Here’s the recipe:

 

CAPITAL HOTEL’S PIMENTO CHEESE

Yield: 1-1/2 cups.Pimento Cheese by Susan Manlin Katzman

1/2 pound sharp cheddar cheese, grated

About 6 tablespoons mayonnaise (see Note)

About 6 tablespoons finely chopped roasted red bell pepper

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Splash of cider vinegar

Pinch of cayenne

Dash of Sriracha hot sauce

 

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Adjust seasonings to personal taste.

NOTE: Add mayonnaise according to your own taste—start with 4 tablespoons and see if you would like more.

 

 

CAPITAL HOTEL’S SPICED PECANS

Yield: 1 pound.

1 quart simple syrup (recipe follows)CAPITAL HOTEL SPICED PECANS photo by Susan Manlin Katzman

1 pound pecan halves

Oil for deep frying

2 teaspoons finely ground kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Put syrup in a heavy saucepan. Set saucepan over medium heat and bring the syrup to a simmer. Add pecans. Raise heat so that syrup gently boils. Boil the pecans about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile fill a deep fryer with oil and heat oil to 375°. Drain pecans thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels. 

Combine salt and pepper in a large bowl.

Put pecans in the 375°F oil and fry approximately 30 to 40 seconds. Remove pecans from the fryer, drain well and toss in the bowl with salt and pepper. Spread pecans on a baking tray and them to cool completely.

SIMPLE SYRUP

Yield: 1 quart.

3-1/4 cup water

3 cups granulated sugar

Put water and sugar in a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer. Simmer, stirring constantly, until sugar completely dissolves.

Remove from heat and let syrup cool completely. Refrigerate in a covered container until ready to use.

Can be used in a variety of recipes.

 

TOP FAVORITE

PLACES TO EAT IN:

Albuquerque, New Mexico

 

Ann Arbor, Michigan

 

Bangkok, Thailand

 

Denver, Colorado

 

Dijon, France

 

Little Rock, Arkansas

IMG_0004_4

 

Los Angeles, California

 

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

 

Nashville, Tennessee

 

New Orleans, Louisiana

New-Orleans by CHRIS GRANGER.

 

Rome, Italy

 

Seattle, Washington


Stuttgart, Germany

 

Tel Aviv, Israel

 

Tucson, Arizona

 

PLACES TO DRINK IN: 

Brussels

 

DESTINATIONS:

 Albuquerque, New Mexico

 

Apalachicola, Florida

 

Canal de Bourgogne, France

 

Door County, Wisconsin

 

Fiji

 

Hot Springs, Arkansas

Hot Springs National Park by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

Moss Landing, California

Moss Landing Harbor by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

Seattle, Washington

 

Taos, New Mexico

 

Tel Aviv, Israel

 

Turks and Caicos

 

PLACES TO STAY:

Adler Thermae Spa Resort, Tuscany, Italy

Adler Thermae Spa Resort

 

Arlington Resort Hotel,  Hot Springs, Arkansas

The Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

Ashford Castle, Cong, County Mayo, Ireland

Ashford Castle

 

Capital Hotel, Little Rock, Arkansas

Exterior of The Capital Hotel by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

Captain’s Inn, Moss Landing, California

The Captain's Inn in Moss Landing California

 

Château De Cîteaux La Cueillette, Meursault, France

Château De Cîteaux La Cueillette

 

Coombs House Inn, Apalachicola, Florida

Coombs House Inn

 

Grand Velas Riviera Maya, Mexico

Grand Velas

 

Lake Yellowstone Hotel, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Facade of Lake Yellowstone Hotel by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

Mandarin Oriential Paris, France

IMG_0084

 

Rosewood Little Dix Bay, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

Serving Beach Drinks at Little Dix Bay

 

Saxon Hotel, Johannesburg, South Africa

Saxon Hotel

 

Tongabezi, Zambia, Africa

Tongabezi 

 

Wald & Schlosshotel Friedrichruhe, Germany

Wald & Schlosshotel Friedrichsruhe

 

TRAVEL COMPANIES and

GREAT PRODUCTS:

Rail Europe

RailEurope Train by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

La Fresh Travel Products

IMG_0002

 

St. Louis Walking Tour

STL Lost & Found

 

 

 

Copyright 2009-2013 by Susan Manlin Katzman. Author retains all electronic and publishing rights, except where express given permission has been granted. For information about utilizing any material from SweetLeisure.com please contact Susan Manlin Katzman through the contact page listed above.