OURAY COLORADO, HOT SPRINGS & BRUSSELS SPROUTS

Whoever first said, “The best things come in small packages,” had to be thinking of Ouray. This teeny tiny Colorado town covers only about 0.84 square miles, yet it overflows with appeal. Located in southwest Colorado, near the Four Corners where Colorado meets up with Utah, Arizona and New Mexico, Ouray sits in a box canyon surrounded by the San Juan Mountains.
A natural wonder, the town and environs offer glorious forests, mountains, waterfalls and other scenery for a a wide range of outdoor activity.
In summer over 100 trails lure the hiker. In winter, cross country skiing and ice climbing take precedence. But best of all—winter, spring, summer and fall, are Ouray’s natural hot springs that are corralled in various pools throughout town. Nothing beats a long soak. The thermal water is Ouray’s most relaxing, rejuvenating, renewing, refreshing, revitalizing and rewarding activity.

 

WHERE TO SOAK
Head to the Ouray Hot Springs Pool & Fitness Center where a recent multi—million dollar renovation polished the thermal pools to perfection. In addition to the main pools, sporting varying degrees of non-sulfur water (105°F the warmest), the fun includes lap lanes, climbing wall and water slides (open in summer). The view make the pools unforgettable. Mountains by day. A sky packed with sparkling stars at night. Magic throughout.

 

WHERE TO STAY
The Wiesbaden waters have always been considered special. Early users, the Ute Indians, called them “Miracle Waters,” for their healing properties.
It may have been the water (as well as silver ore found nearby) that made prospectors stake a claim on Ouray, incorporating the town in 1876.
It was certainly the water responsible for the original building of what is today The Wiesbaden Hot Springs Spa & Lodgings to spring up over a natural vaporcave at the side of a mountain in 1879.

The original building that is now part of The Wiesbaden Hot Springs Spa &n Lodgings.

Water keeps flowing to The Wiesbaden and so do guests.
Today’s Wiesbaden offers a full service spa and a choice of  accommodations. By contemporary standards, the rooms are faded, albeit filled with historic charm. For example, the most requested room, the “Sunroom” sits in the original lodge over the vaporcave. It’s filled with antiques and has a stone wall, where the room butts up against the mountain.


What makes the Wiesbaden special is the constantly flowing, chemical free, thermal water that the property captures in three pools for guest use. The vaporcave and its 108°F soaking pool, the thermal swimming pool and the Lorelei, a private, soaking pool, bring bliss to the hot springs lover calling the Wiesbaden home for a night or two.

 

WHERE TO DINE
Sweet Leisure’s two favorites Ouray eateries are:

Mouse’s Chocolates & Coffee for breakfast, house-roasted coffee, pastries, lunch salads, anytime chocolates and famous “scrap” cookies made from scraps of chocolate candy.

and

Brickhouse 737 for a thoroughly special, sophisticated, farm-fresh dinner of “travel inspired” dishes, such as Fried Brussels Sprouts served as a hearty appetizer. (The brussels sprouts would also shine as a side dish at a special dinner—we’re thinking Thanksgiving here.)

 

BRICKHOUSE 737 BRUSSELS SPROUTS

(Adapted from recipes supplied by Brickhouse 737 restaurant in Ouray, Colorado. See NOTE.)

Yield: 4 servings.

About 1 pound brussels sprouts
About 1/3 pound Portuguese sausage
Canola oil
4 to 6 tablespoons Miso Vinaigrette (recipe follows)
About 1/4 cup Candied Macadamia Nuts (recipe follows)
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Trim and halve Brussel sprouts. Place sprouts in a glass baking dish. Cut sausage into small chunks and scatter over sprouts. Drizzle with oil, and toss gently with two spoons to coat ingredients with oil. Place dish in preheated oven and roast until sprouts and sausage are crispy, 30 to 45 minutes.
Toss cooked mixture with miso vinaigrette and top with candied nuts.
Serve immediately.

MISO VINAIGRETTE

Yield: About 1-1/4 cup.

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons yellow miso
2 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon Dijon-style mustard
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 shallot, peeled
1 cup oil
Salt
Black pepper
Place first six ingredients in the jar of a blender and blend until smooth. Slowly add oil, blending to emulsify oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
(May be prepared up to a week in advance and refrigerated in a covered container.)

CANDIED MACADAMIA NUTS

Yield: 1 cup.

1 cup Macadamia nuts
Pure maple syrup
Put nuts in a small saucepan. Add enough syrup to cover nuts. Set over medium heat and bring to a slow boil. Cook until syrup thickly coats nuts, 15 to 20 minutes. Strain nuts to remove any excess syrup and cool on a baking sheet.
May be prepared a week in advance and stored in an airtight container.

NOTE: Brickhouse deep fries their sprouts and sausage mixture in canola oil. Our recipe calls for roasting the sprouts and sausage mixture. In addition the restaurant also fries the candied macadamia nuts, but we do not.
The resulting dish is not an identical twin of Brickhouse’s, but a very pleasing rendition.

 

WEBSITES FOR MORE INFORMATION

Ouray: OurayColorado.com

The Wiesbaden Hot Springs Spa and Lodgings: www.wiesbadenhotspings.com

Mouse’s Chocolates & Coffee: mouseschocolates.com

Brickhouse 737:  www.brickhouse737.com

 

Colorado’s Million Dollar Highway leads to and from Ouery.

 

 

ABSOLUTELY AMAZING APPLE MUFFINS

AUTUMN. APPLES. ABUNDANCE. ACTION PLAN: Make ABSOLUTELY AMAZING  (gluten-free, low-calorie, nutrient rich, healthful and wholesome)  APPLE MUFFINS.

 

 

ABSOLUTELY AMAZING APPLE MUFFINS

Yield: 12 muffins.

1/2 cup and 1/3 cup gluten-free oats
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon allspice
Big pinch nutmeg
Big pinch cloves
2 eggs
2 tablespoons honey
2 ripe bananas
2 apples
1 cup chopped walnuts (or other nuts)
1 tablespoon flax seed

Heat over to 400°F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners or grease cups.
Put 1/2 cup oats in a medium size mixing bowl. Add baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt, allspice, nutmeg and cloves. Stir to mix.
Put 1/3 cup oats in the jar of a blender and blend until oats are a powder. Put powdered oats in bowl with dry ingredients.
Put eggs, honey, and bananas in blender and blend until smooth. Add to mixture in mixing bowl and stir until all ingredients are well blended. Core apples. Chop one apple. Add chopped apple, walnuts and flax seed to mixture in bowl and stir until blended.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Core remaining apple and slice into thin wedges. Place several apple wedges on top of batter in each cup.
Bake in preheated oven until a toothpick inserted in center of one muffin comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes.

 

And don’t forget ABSOLUTELY AMAZING APPLE PIE.
Click HERE for recipe .

 

 

PETERSEN AUTOMOTIVE MUSEUM

Anna Marco is not only a writer with over 800 articles to her credit, but also a magazine editor, film actress, model, professional makeup artist, advertising expert with over 28 years of experience in the entertainment industry, stylist, fashion designer, creator of a cartoon series and an automotive industry spokesperson. Whew! This high octane woman is also a drag-racing, hot-rod, automobile and actually-any-thing-with-wheels enthusiast and expert.
Born in Southern California, the birthplace of hot rodding, Anna became involved at a early age. She reports that as a teenager she would illegally win local street races and buy shoes with the winnings, jump-starting her trademarked motto, “I like my heels high and my cars low.”
Also know as “Anna Octane” and “Hot Rod Doll,” Anna is as generous as she is sassy.
Sweet Leisure bumped into her in Los Angeles at the Petersen Automotive Museum where she works as a tour guide.
“What should we see?” we asked her at the third floor start of the exhibits. “Everything,” she answered.
As everything is almost impossible to view in a one-shot visit, we asked for a summary of musts.
The hot rod babe sent the following:

 

THE PETERSEN AUTOMOTIVE MUSEUM

By Anna Marco


Los Angeles is one of the most car centric cities in the United States and this museum is a destination hub for travelers and their families. The museum boasts 300 of the world’s finest modes of transportation, interactive displays, rare motorcycles, a Discovery Center for kids and play area, The Art Center College of Design studio, the Forza driving/racing experience, Drago restaurant and ample parking, all housed in a sleek exterior that mimics ground effects aerodynamics.There is much more to see and do here including the Petersen store, rotating exhibits, special events, cruises, movie nights, and art shows, but you have to go see it for yourself.


Here are my thoughts on the top 10 reasons to visit:

The Petersen Crown Jewels of Autos collection: The Petersen acquired some of the most valuable vehicles on Earth especially the 1925/1934 Round Door Rolls Royce Phantom One by Jonckheere. This stunning 22- foot long vehicle is a tribute to the Art Deco movement and the only one of its kind in the world. It is the crown jewel of the Petersen collection which also includes the Steve McQueen Jaguar (and 3 other of his vehicles), Preston Tucker’s Tucker 48 (Car #30), The Rita Hayworth Cadillac, the world’s most original Mercer, a 1929 DuPont Speedster G by Waterhouse, a Cisitalia, the Prince of Persia’s 1939 Delahaye Type 165, and the all original 1952 Ferrari Barchetta that was a birthday present from Enzo Ferrari to Henry Ford II.

 

The 1959 Outlaw by Ed Roth: This iconic fiberglass vehicle started the Kustom Kulture movement in hot rodding and the use of fiberglass material in show cars of the 1960s. This original vehicle is part of the crown jewel collection at the Petersen and valued at over 7 figures. This original car inspired Hot Wheels and Revell to make miniature versions of it.

 

The Mullin Grand Salon: Peter Mullin, avid Bugatti historian, has a most impressive collection of Bugatti memorabilia and cars and showcases his personal collection in the main gallery on the first floor. The rotating exhibit sometimes includes the most valuable Bugatti on Earth, a 1936 57SC Atlantic of which only two are known to exist.

 

The Nearburg Family Gallery: An impressive collection of Dan Gurney race cars and other race vehicles valued at over $80 million. The 180-degree wall of sound and image surround is an immersive “day at the races” audio visual experience.

 

The Meyer Gallery: Bruce Meyer was a dear friend of the Petersen’s and helped support the establishment of the museum in 1994. An avid car collector himself, The Meyer Gallery features a rotating exhibit of the world most impressive vehicles based on their color. Currently: “Seeing Red: 70 years of Ferrari” is on exhibit.

 

The Hollywood Gallery: This exhibit pays tribute to cinematic cars of Hollywood such as the Batmobile, the “Back to The Future” DeLorean and others.

 

The Vault Tour: Beneath the museum is a working car garage with 120 cars on display. For an additional fee, you can join a guided 90-minute tour of this high security area highlighting the car collection stored here including Billy Gibbons 1948 Cadillac “Cadzilla.” No photos are allowed in the vault and the display changes daily depending on what cars are being worked on.

 

The Petersen Publishing Archives: Soon to be available for public research, the Petersen Publishing Archives houses extensive records of hot rodding from 1948 to 1994 and is a treasure trove of information for historians.

The Petersen Museum Staff: Honestly, excellent customer service is at the heart of any business model and the Petersen Automotive Museum is top notch when it comes to a friendly atmosphere and cleanliness. There are resources available for private events/parties, private tours and corporate events as well.


Easy access to museum row, the Fairfax District, Hollywood and Farmers Market:
What more can we say, you can make an entire day of sightseeing in the Hollywood adjacent area, starting at the Petersen. This museum anchors the crossroads of antique cars in the modern world. Where else can you see an 1886 Benz Patent Motor wagon and a 2017 Ford GT in one place?

The museum is open daily with reasonable admission prices and parking.

Visit www.Petersen.org for more info.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEST RESTAURANT IN NAPLES, FL, & FLATBREAD RECIPE

The Local Restaurant in Naples, FL/sweetleisure.comWish The Local restaurant was local—to me that is. The restaurant is local to lucky residents of Naples, FL, which I think is essentially unfair. It may be jealousy talking, but folks in Naples get all the breaks. They enjoy great weather, sand and sea and a cornucopia of other pleasures. I don’t see why they should have the added perk of this inexpensive, super cool restaurant open for lunch and dinner six days a week (closed on Monday).
Located in a strip mall on Airport Pulling Rd N, The Local takes casual dining to a tasty, healthful high.

Inside The Local Restaurant in Naples, FL./SweetLeisure.com
Most ingredients come from sustainable Southwest Florida farms (thank you Florida weather)

The Local serves locally sourced foods.

and menu items present a feast for vegans, vegetarians, carnivores, omnivores, pescatarians…well…let’s just cut to the chase. People with all sorts of food preferences will find something to strike their fancy from the ever-changing menu of delectable

soups

Tomato Soup from The Local Restaurant/sweetleisure.com
salads

The Local restaurant in Naples, FL, serves terrific Salads/sweetleisure.com
flatbreads, both constructed and deconstructed (see recipe below)

Flatbread from The Local Restaurant in Naples, FL/sweetleisure.com
sandwiches

Sandwich from the Local Restaurant in Naples, FL/SweetLeisure.com
specials

Specials at The Local Restaurant in Naples, FL/SweetLeisure.com
desserts

Dessert Table at The Local Restaurant in Naples, FL/SweetLeisure.com.

and beverages.

Bar at The Local Restaurant in Naples, FL/SweetLeisure.com
Although owner-chef Jeff Mitchell serves some of the freshest, most gorgeous vegetables in Florida,

Crudités Served at The Local Restaurant in Naples, Florida/sweetleisure.com

he also devotes detailed attention to pork. “We butcher a hog daily,” Mitchell says, “and use everything from the hooter to the tooter.”

Owner/Chef Jeff Mitchell of The Local Restaurant in Naples, FL./SweetLeisure.com

Jeff Mitchell

Much can be said about The Local’s food. Often used descriptors include:
“organic,” “grass-fed,” “free-range,” “farm-to-table,” “sea-to table,”“so delicious” “beautiful” “clean,” “healthful” and “Mmmmmmmmm!”
Meticulous sourcing, creative preparation, vibrant presentation—oh, how I wish The Local was local to me.

THE LOCAL’S MEDITERRANEAN FLATBREAD

Yield: 2 to 4 servings.
2 ripe tomatoes
1 cucumber
1/2 red bell pepperMediterranean Flatbread Recipe at www.sweetleisure.com
1 stalk celery
1 tablespoon diced red onion
1 teaspoon chopped fresh dill
Juice from 1/2 lemon
Extra virgin olive oil
Sumac
3 mint leaves
1/4 cup feta cheese
Seasoned toasted flatbread (recipe follows)
Trim tomatoes and cut into bite size pieces.
Peel and cut ends off cucumber. Cut cucumber in half lengthwise. Remove seeds. Slice cucumber crosswise into 1/4-inch thick half moons.
Trim, seed and cut red bell pepper into 1/4 inch thick strips.
Trim celery and cut into 1/4-inch thick pieces.
Put all cut vegetables into a medium mixing bowl. Add onion and dill. Sprinkle lemon juice over ingredients. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with sumac. Toss gently with two spoons to distribute ingredients and seasonings. Taste and correct seasonings. Put into a serving bowl. Tear mint leaves into thirds and sprinkle over top of salad. Top with feta.
Serve with seasoned toasted flat bread.

SEASONED TOASTED FLATBREAD
Flatbread
Olive Oil
Za’tar
Cut flatbread into wedges. Brush both sides of each wedge with extra virgin olive oil and set on a baking sheet. Sprinkle wedges with za’tar. Place baking sheet in a preheated 350°F oven and toast flatbread until golden brown and crispy, about 7 minutes.
For more information about The Local click HERE.

Menu Items from The Local Restaurant in Naples, FL./SweetLeisure.com

 

 

FABULOUS FRENCH HOTEL BARGE CRUISE AND RECIPES

Shhh!…keep this between us as it’s not too cool for a travel writer to claim a favorite cruise. But when it comes to barging, I’ve taken two trips that I adored above all the others and just can’t stop praising them.
Both were on the same Horizon II, one of the luxurious hotel barges in the French Country Waterways fleet. Both traveled divinely, dreamingly, deliciously through the ancient man-made canals of the Upper Loire in France. Same vessel. Same country. Same itinerary. Different years. Double-dipped delight.


So what is it about the Horizon II that inspires devotion?

SPACE and LAYOUT
A barge is a barge is a barge. Most reconstructed hotel barges floating in France have the same dimensions. The number of passengers tucked into allotted space offers best clue to comfort.
The supremely comfortable Horizon II carries only eight passengers, which maximizes bedroom size, public area space per person and personal attention.

The large bedrooms sit on a lower level, down a few stairs.

 

En suite bathrooms overflow with amenities including Bvlgari products, heated towel racks, fluffy bathrobes and great showers.

 

The dining room/lounge/library/help-yourself bar (which staff stocks with passengers’ favorite brands) occupies the mid-level deck and is the place where passengers gather for drinks, meals, relaxing and conversation.

 

The upper level sundeck stretches over the front of the barge, a few steps up from the lounge. Passengers use the sundeck for alfresco dining, sunshine lounging and to embark and disembark from the barge at docks.

 

Passengers can borrow a bike stored on the sundeck and hop off of the barge as it travels through a lock, and then bike or stroll to the next lock to re-board.

 

Sounds like heaven? There’s more:

DECOR
French cherry wood walls, red and blue solids, patterns and plaids for fabrics, and nautical finishing touches make the barge feel as cozy as a country house, and chic as an upscale boutique hotel.

STAFF
The Horizon II’s talented crew consists of a captain, a chef, two hostesses, a tour guide and a deckhand. (Six crew to eight passengers—a pampering ratio if there ever was one.) Although some of the crew on most of the cruises are French, all speak fluent English.

FOOD
Eating and drinking on the Horizon II could substitute as a crash course in French culinary delights. Breakfast comes with breads and pastries purchased in dawns early light from the best bakery wherever the barge docks.


Buffet lunches include an array of colorful salads with ingredients sourced from local markets and/or farms along the route. (See recipes below.)


Multi-course dinners match any served at three-star restaurants.

 

Three extraordinary French cheeses accompany each lunch and dinner as does a dramatic selection of Premier Cru, Grand Cru and special wines available only locally.

 

 

ACTIVITIES
Nothing much happens on the barge trip and that’s the beauty of it.
The barge docks at night, on the outskirts of tiny villages.

 

During the day, it glides with the grace and pace of a swan through ancient canals and locks, floating through backyards of villages and fertile countrysides.


Once a day, passengers take a tour or excursion, by foot or car to some point of nearby interest. Excursions could, and usually do, include: visits to legendary châteaux, wine tastings, and tours of tiny villages, some with terrific shopping opportunities, e.g. famous chocolate shops and the  renowned Gien French Faience dinnerware factory and outlet.

 

But excursions aside, the best part of a Horizon II trip is simply being on board, drinking fabulous wines, eating luscious meals, maneuvering through locks, and relaxing on deck while floating through scenery where every blink reveals a picture postcard image of rural perfection and every minute brings pure pampering pleasure.

 

Cyril Bedu

Everything that Horizon II’s chef Cyril Bedu makes pleases, but he is especially gifted with preparing a variety of salads with the freshest vegetables sourced from markets and farms along the barge’s route. Two favorites include:

 

RED CABBAGE PINE NUT SALAD

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.
1 small head red cabbage
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted (See NOTE)
1 tablespoon chopped chives
Hazelnut vinaigrette (recipe follows)
1 large tomato for garnish, optional
Halve cabbage. Cut away core. Sliver remaining cabbage and put slivers into a bowl.
Add raisins, pine nuts and chives. Toss. Sprinkle to taste with hazelnut vinaigrette and toss gently to distribute ingredients.
Cut tomato peel off of tomato and form into a “rose.” Place tomato rose in center of salad. Cut remaining tomato into wedges and place wedges around outer edge of salad.

HAZELNUT VINAIGRETTE
Yield: 1/2 cup.
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1/2 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons hazelnut oil
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste.
Put vinegar and mustard in a small bowl and whisk together until blended. Slowly whisk in the oils until dressing is emulsified. (Or place all ingredients in a screw-top jar and shake vigorously to blend thoroughly.) Season to taste with salt and pepper.

NOTE: TO TOAST PINE NUTS
Spread pine nuts on an ungreased baking sheet. Place in a preheated 350°F oven and roast, stirring often, until nuts are light golden brown, about 5 minutes. Watch carefully to prevent burning. Immediately remove from heat and transfer pine nuts to a plate to cool.

 

BISTRO POTATOES (POTATO SALAD)

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.
Water
Salt
About 2 pounds small red potatoes
2 tablespoons dry white wine
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon-style mustard
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons finely minced parsley
1-1/2 tablespoons finely sliced shallot
1 tablespoon finely chopped gherkins
Freshly ground pepper
Lettuce leaves for garnish, optional
Cocktail tomatoes for garnish, optional
Mushroom rose for garnish, optional
Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil and add 1 teaspoon salt. Cut unpeeled potatoes into bite size pieces and add to boiling water. Boil until potatoes are just tender when pierced with a small knife, about 10 minutes.
Drain well.
Sprinkle potatoes with wine and toss very gently. Set potatoes aside to absorb wine.
Make dressing: Whisk vinegar with mustard and 1/4-teaspoon salt until salt dissolves. Very slowly whisk in oil. Stir in parsley, gherkins and shallots. Pour dressing over warm potatoes and toss gently to blend. Serve warm or chilled, garnished as desired.

For another great Horizon II recipe click HERE.
For French Country Waterways Information, click HERE.

 

 

PETIT TROIS IN LOS ANGELES AND FABULOUS CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

Oh man, I’m hungry. All I can think about is the original Petit Trois in Los Angeles. This restaurant proves the proverb that good things come in small packages. Really good things. Really small packages.


Located in a strip mall on Highland just off Melrose, the narrow French-focused bistro seats only 21 lucky folks on stools at two counters. One counter faces the open kitchen—the other, a wall of arched mirrors.

There are no tables. No chairs. No reception area to hold the crowds that gather for first come first served seating. Customers line up outdoors with seating on a bench facing the parking lot (just FYI, the wait is shorter on rainy days).

The bathroom, in the back, shares space with Trois Mec, Petit Trois’s older, more formal sibling restaurant. A small, well-stocked bar at the entrance completes the set up.
It’s not the intimate space, but the food that gathers the crowds and garners the accolades. Under the direction of celebrity Executive Chef Ludovic Lefebvre and the charming Chef de Cuisine Will Marquardt, the “Bar á la Carte” serves simple, unpretentious, perfectly prepared dishes that some critics claim is the best French food in all of America.

Chef Will Marquardt

Petit Trois sports a slew of contradictions.
Small space/colossal reputation.
Casual setting/serious food.
Old-school bistro/trendy L.A. vibe.
Credit cards only/no cash accepted (can you imagine!).
So what am I craving? Actually the full menu, particularly
the pate de campagne


the dreamy omelette


the cassoulet and other specials


the salted caramel rice pudding


and
the awesomely rich, velvety divine, melt-in-the-mouth chocolate mousse.

Chef Will and Hostess Natalie with Chocolate Mousse

 

PETIT TROIS CHOCOLATE MOUSSE

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

About 7 ounces 70% dark chocolate
6-1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 eggs, separated
About 10 tablespoon sugar, divided
1 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

Melt chocolate with butter over a baine marie and stir until well blended. Set mixture aside.
Put egg yolks and 1/4 cup sugar in a medium mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer set on medium-high speed until mixture is pale yellow and thick enough to form a ribbon when the beaters are lifted, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
Put egg whites in a clean medium mixing bowl. Using an electric mixer with clean beaters, beat whites slowly adding 3 tablespoons sugar. Continue beating until soft peaks form, about 3 minutes.
With a large spatula, gently fold yolk mixture with chocolate until no streaks remain. Gently fold whites into chocolate mixture, scooping around bottom and sides of bowl and rotating bowl as you fold.
Spoon mousse into ramekins. Cover each ramekin with foil or plastic and refrigerate for 4 hours before serving. The mousse can be made a day in advanced and refrigerated until ready to serve.
When ready to serve. Whip cream with remaining sugar until soft peaks form. Spoon dollops of whipped cream on top of mousse in each ramekin. Put each ramekin on a serving plate. Put cocoa in a fine mesh sieve and dust top of whipped cream and surrounding plate with cocoa.
Serve immediately.

Bon appétit!

For more information about Petit Trois click HERE.

To see a video of Will Marquardt click HERE.

 

 

GLENWOOD HOT SPRINGS

I’ve driven past it many times without going in. That’s never happening again.
Located on the route from Denver to Aspen, Colorado, where drivers switch from I-70 to Hwy CO-82, Glenwood Hot Springs lures like a siren song.

 

From above, the “largest mineral hot springs pool in the world” looks like a greatly elongated bright-blue football field, although it’s narrow at one end, broad at the other. Drive a bit closer and one sees swimmers frolicking under bright blue skies and hears splashing squeals drifting over the water waves like an invitation to join the fun.

Looks joyful. Sounds festive. But one can’t tell how relaxing and rejuvenating the spring water feels until actually plunging in, which folks have been doing since the facility was founded in 1888.

Driving by and want to partake? Go for it. There is no excuse to pass on the pleasure.
No suit. No worry. The facility rents swimsuits and towels for those without their own. And an on premise shop sells swimware along with upscale clothing, souvenirs and water-fun sundries.

Hungry? No problem. An indoor/outdoor grill offers breakfast, lunch and snacks along with beverages that include beer and wine. One can even bring a cooler (but no glass or alcohol).

Not sure what to do? No sweat.
Park the car (plenty of free spaces) and enter through doors located in front of the peach-colored sandstone bathhouse.

Pay at the entrance for access to the pools and to the men’s, women’s and family changing rooms and showers. A number of factors, including season, time of day and age determines charges. Be sure to reserve change for the coin-operated lockers.

What looks like one enormous pool is actually two. Separate water slides and a kiddy wading pool, located at the west end of the property, operate in summer.

Water for the main pools come from the Yampah spring (Yampah means “big medicine” in the Ute Indian language). The spring water, naturally heated to about 122°F., is cooled with fresh water before being pumped to the facility’s pools. Temperature of the 405-foot long main pool hovers around 90°F. With diving board and lap lanes at one end, this is the ideal pool for swimming play.

The 100-foot long therapy pool maintains a 104°F temperature ideal for soaking and socializing. Coin operated “bubble chairs” add effervescence to the therapy experience.

Backdropped by mountain scenery and surrounded by clear fresh mountain air, Glenwood Hot Springs provides an all-season Rocky Mountain high for those seeking water fun. So don’t skip the delight on the drive to someplace else. Stop. Submerge. Soak. Swim. Socialize. Sunbathe. Smile.

 

 

 

THE BEST OF MOAB, ARCHES AND CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARKS

Jamie Pearce knows almost everything there is to know about Moab and the town’s glorious surroundings. She has devoted most of her life to exploring and helping others explore the postcard-scenic, red rock wonderland that holds the city, the Colorado River and two dramatic national parks, Arches and Canyonlands.
A native of Salt Lake City, Jamie became a river guide in Moab after completing high school. She received her real estate license and sold real estate while earning a degree at the University of Utah where she studied, among other subjects, Parks Recreation and Tourism.
After college Jamie landed a job at the Moab Adventure Center where she has served as manager for the past 12 years. The Moab Adventure Center arranges guides for a single outing as well as design complete vacation packages for tourists with a range of different interests. Hummer safaris, paddleboarding, balloon rides, scenic flights…well…Moab Adventure Center offers just about every way to explore this gorgeous pocket of America and Jamie knows them all inside and out.
We know this sounds like an ad, but Moab Adventure Center ranks as the quintessential place for one-stop shopping/sightseeing in the whole magical Moab playground and Jamie is more than partly responsible. That’s why Sweet Leisure asked her to share her expertise and tell us the top ten things every tourists should do/see/experience when in the Moab region.
Here’s Jamie’s list—in her own words:

It’s a vast list of things to do and see in Moab, narrowing it down to just a handful felt a little bit like having to narrow down my relatives to just a few favorites. Now, I’m not going to lie, I could do that without much consternation, but just because I can doesn’t mean I should. In an attempt to avoid naming favorites, I’m going to offer you the 10 things I would do if one of my family members were visiting Moab for the first time (one who would have made the favorites list, of course).

 

#1 The Colorado River- It would be a tragedy, I’m not joking, a real tragedy if you came to Moab and didn’t experience the stunning beauty of the Colorado River Canyons. There are many ways to travel the river corridors, whether it be adrenaline pumping whitewater, or a leisurely jetboat tour across calm waters, or something in between (like a paddleboard), you simply must experience the Colorado River.

 

#2 Scenic Byway 128- The road connects US 191 with I-70. No matter if the road is not on your intended path, seeing the contrast of the Sandstone cliffs against the Colorado River is worth the drive.

 

#3 Arches National Park- Allow yourself at least a half day to drive the park. However, there are more than 2,000 arches in Arches National Park, so a half day barely gives you time to scratch the surface of all there is to be seen.

 

#4 Petroglyph Panel on Potash Road- The Potash Road is arguably one of Moab’s most magnificent drives. Just a few miles down the road roughly 25 to 30 feet up hides in plain sight a 125 foot panel of prehistoric rock art. How cool is that?

 

#5 Hummer Ride on Hell’s Revenge-  This off road tour will be one of the most unique, thrilling and fun experiences you’ll find in Moab, or maybe anywhere.

 

#6- La Sal Mountain Loop Road – This paved scenic drive offers spectacular overlooks of Moab’s red rock rims from Alpine perches high in the La Sal Mountains, Utah’s second highest mountain range.

 

#7 Dead Horse Point-  Take in the majesty of one of Moab’s iconic photo spots 2,000 feet above a goose neck bend in the Colorado River.

 

#8 Mesa Arch Hike- If you’re ambitious, catch this one at sunrise. Located in the Island in the Sky District of Canyonlands National park, a short easy walk leads you to an expansive view of the fierce canyon country desert through the frame of a rugged arch.

 

#9 Movie Museum at Red Cliffs Lodge- Ever heard of a fella named John Wayne? He helped put Moab on the map. A collection of  Moab movie memorabilia is housed at Red Cliffs Lodge. While you’re there, take the time to enjoy a meal and take a tour of their Castle Creek Winery.

 

#10 Moab by Air- Whether by airplane, biplane, balloon or helicopter, you’ll garner a whole new appreciation of Moab once you’ve viewed its expanse of red rock towers, canyons and spires from above.

If you stick to even a handful of these 10 things, your Moab visit will be a guaranteed success. I’ll look forward to seeing you in Red Rock Country!

More information see:

Moab Adventure Center 

Discover Moab 

Canyonlands National Park 

Arches National Park

 

 

SUNSET AT THE PALMS, NEGRIL, JAMAICA AND CHICKEN RUNDOWN

I know where Santa Claus vacations.
And I know why he chooses Sunset at the Palms in Negril, Jamaica. The resort is the polar opposite of the North Pole.
Here wooden treehouse-style guest rooms sit on stilts surrounded by tropical splendor.

 

A profusion of palms and ferns and bamboos fill the property, covering the grounds, rising to heights that shade the treehouse roofs. Orchids, jasmine, ginger, lilies and a cornucopia of other garden glories garnish walking paths.

Woodpeckers add drum beats to songbird serenades. Frogs join in with lyrical mating calls. Trees sway in the breeze like reggae dancers. The sun shines with intensity and rainy season showers add spurts of growth to the already lush vegetation. The whole resort is a Garden of Eden with guest rooms, pool, restaurants and bars attached.

Guests seeking the serene find Sunset at the Palms enchanting for not only what the resort has, but also what it lacks.

Being an adult-only property, the resort lacks noisy kids.
Having only 43 treehouses spread over 10 acres, the resort lacks crowds.
Personal and intimate, the resort lacks razzle dazzle activities found at mega resorts. A weekly mixology class, cooking demonstration and garden tour sum up the scheduled events.


The resort lacks sports bars with giant TVs blaring and lacks speakers booming pulsating soundtracks in public places. Instead, Sunset at the Palms employs a mellow mix of musicians for lively, but not intrusive, nightly entertainment.
And the beach lacks…well…just about everything that interferes with a great beach experience. The resort’s beach sits on a two-mile crescent of glistening white sand, said to be one of the loveliest beaches in Jamaica. Located on five acres across the street from the treehouse guestrooms, (a crossing guard stops traffic), the resort’s beach lacks struggles to claim lounges (as there are plenty for guests), lacks an overload of haggling merchants (controlled by local laws, location and resort staff) and lacks loud and disruptive motorized sports equipment (banned by Sunset at the Palms).

In addition to the treasured lacks that make this resort blissfully relaxing, Sunset at the Palms offers a Santa’s sleigh full of amenities to pamper guests.
A welcoming service run by Club Mobay meets resort guests as they exit their plane at the Donald Sanger International Airport in Montego Bay. The service (included in the resort fee) fast-tracks guests through immigration, customs and luggage claim, then takes them to a private Arrival Lounge to await their assigned driver for transport to the resort 75 miles away.
Staff greets arriving guests in an open-air pavilion, that, like other buildings on property, reflect Balinese style-architecture. Dark wood and gracefully high ceilings with exposed rafters offers shady respite from Jamaica sun.

Check in couldn’t be easier and made even more fluid with a welcoming rum punch (or two).
Garden paths lead to individual treehouses, some containing two-level suites and others divided into two individual guest rooms.


Rooms repeat the Balinese influence with dark wood furniture, white linens and modern bathrooms with large showers. Guests adjust room temperature by turning on the air conditioning, opening the louvered screened window or just letting the ceiling fans whirl overhead. French doors open to a private balcony with table, chairs and a daybed (divine for early morning lounging, heat-of-day napping and cocktail sipping).

Now comes the best part. Sunset at the Palms is an all-inclusive that
serves exceptionally good food and premium liquor in a choice of restaurants and bars.
Dining options include a range of international and Caribbean favorite foods served at breakfast, lunch and dinner in the open air Palm Grove Restaurant buffet. (Santa loves the buffet.)

The beach grill sports nachos and sandwiches, such as bacon cheeseburgers, red snapper in coco bread and jerk chicken.

Upscale specialities, such as lamb chops and chocolate mousse, grace the menu of the white-tablecloth Lotus Leaf restaurant.

And creative fusion dishes, such as risotto cakes with sautéed salmon, callaloo sauce and watermelon chutney, highlight the Chef’s Showcase, which is held several nights a week in a garden setting.

Credit executive chef, Dwight Morris, with not only buying ingredients from local organic farms but also adding a generous sampling of Jamaican specialties to menus. Here’s where to find authentic, well-prepared ackee and saltfish, curry goat, patties, jerk chicken and pork, bammy, rice and peas…well…the list goes deliciously on and on.

So there you have the lure: graceful accommodations, glorious gardens, gourmet food. But there’s even more to keep Santa returning year after year: Perks include a pool with swim-up bar,

a tennis court, fitness center, spa with one large open-air treatment room, Blue Mountain coffee and a charming, helpful, friendly staff.

The following recipe comes from a Sunset at the Palms’ cooking class taught by Junical Bruce, the resort’s butcher. Junical said that the hardest thing about making a “rundown” is prepping the ingredients. Those addicted to chicken rundown, feel the hardest thing is to stop eating when full. But nuh worries mon, Collinton Jennings, the resort’s food and beverage manager, shares the secret of making room for more:

CHICKEN RUNDOWN

Yield: 6 servings.
2 chicken breast, skinned, boned and julienned
Curry powder
Salt
Black pepper
About 1/2 cup vegetable oil
About 6 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 slices Scotch bonnet pepper
1 large sprig thyme
2 onions, peeled and sliced
2 small potatoes, peeled
and julienned
2 carrots, peeled and julienned
5 pieces okra, trimmed
3 green onions, chopped
About 1/2 cup julienned pumpkin or acorn squash
13 to 14 ounces coconut milk

Put chicken in a bowl and sprinkle heavily with curry powder and lightly with salt and pepper. Stir until chicken is well coated with curry. Cover, refrigerate and marinate about 2 hours.
Put oil in a large skillet and set over moderately high heat.
When oil is hot add garlic and about 2 tablespoons curry powder. Cook ingredients, stirring constantly, about 3 minutes. Add Scotch bonnet pepper and stir well. Add thyme sprig. Stir in chicken and continue cooking and stirring until chicken pieces are separate and partially cooked, about 5 minutes.
Add all remaining ingredients except coconut milk.
Stir well. Cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add coconut milk and stir well. Cover pan and simmer until chicken is completely cooked and coconut sauce thickens, about 10 minutes.
Serve with rice and peas.

For more information about Sunset at the Palms, click HERE.

To find fun excursions to supplement a Sunset at the Palms vacation, check out:
Jamwest Motorsports & Adventure Park for ATV, zipline and horseback riding tours.

 

Cosmo’s Seafood Restaurant and Bar for local Jamaican foods served beach front.

 

Scuba Caribe for cruising, snorkeling, fishing, scuba diving and more.


and
Rick’s Cafe to drink rum punch, take part in Jamaican-style party pizzaz, watch cliff divers and the sunset.

 

 

 

CANYON OF THE ANCIENTS GUEST RANCH & NAVARIN PRINTANIER

Canyon of the Ancients Guest Ranch Sign by Susan Manlin Katzman
Wish you were here to experience the glories that can’t be put into words: the quiet so peaceful as to hear the cattle chewing in the pasture, the wings of a bird flap overhead and the swishing sway of the wild apricot trees that line the creek; the air so fresh as to send scents of damp earth, growing grass, wood fencing and green herbs that grace the cultivated gardens; the welcome so warm as to remind one of returning to a family home for Christmas after a long stay away.
All this magic surrounds Canyon of the Ancients Guest Ranch & Vacation Rentals, located in the scenic McElmo Canyon near Cortez, Colorado.

Peace by Susan Manlin Katzman

Ming and Garry Adams

Ming and Garry Adams

The ranch was originally owned by the legendary Eldon Zwicker (subject of the video “Zwicker—An American Cowboy,”). When Eldon died in 2000, the ranch land, parceled into thirds, passed onto his three sons.
Garry Adams and wife Ming bought nearly 2,000 acres from the youngest son in 2005 and set about fulfilling their own ranching, farming and hospitality dreams.
Today the property multi tasks to perfection.
The ranch raises grass-grazing beef and lamb sold to restaurants, at farmers markets and on property. The farm produces organic vegetables and herbs, apricots, plums, peaches, apples and eggs from chickens free to wander their home on the range.
And the rental units, six independent guest houses, offer unique stays for those in search of privacy, natural beauty and life on a working ranch/farm that is set in the mists of a dramatic canyon packed with archeological sites.
Oh my. The glory.
Let me tell you about the guest houses.

Collage Four Guest Houses at Canyon of the Ancients Guest Ranch by Susan Manlin Katzman
Each is unique, but all have a kitchen, TV, WiFi, updated bathroom and patio with barbecue equipment. Most have washers and dryers.
Although building materials, exteriors and configuration of interiors differ house to house, each is packed with dashing decor that manages to mingle Old West with Native American, Indian (as from India) and highly personal items from Gary’s childhood (such as his father’s hand-made train sets and photographs of relatives who led fascinating lives).
Ming, a native of Taiwan, decorated each house with results that are not only comfortable and cozy, but also stylish enough to be centerfolds in glossy interior design magazines. When asked to describe her style of decorating, she responded with a laugh, “I just use what my eyes like and buy mostly from consignment shops.”

Bedroom Style Collage by Susan Manlin Katzman

Stylish Seating Arrangements at Canyon of the Ancients Guest Ranch collage by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

My family rented the Elden Stone House.

Elden Stone House by Susan Manlin Katzman

As the name describes, the house is built of stone and has three bedrooms, two of which have a queen bed and one, a twin. The house sports a large living room, fitted with a TV and tons of books; one bathroom, fitted with a combo shower and tub; and a large kitchen, fitted with cooking equipment and dining table.

Elden Stone House Decor Collage by Susan Manlin Katzman
Guests do their own cooking and bring their own groceries, but Ming puts just-laid eggs in the kitchen and allows guests to pick from the garden and orchard what ever they want to make for meals. She also will sell them beef or lamb to supplement the farm goodies.
But it’s not just indoors that is so appealing. Outdoors holds a wonderland of enchantments.
Can you imagine the pleasure of:
Drinking the first cup of morning coffee on a patio overlooking the pasture where the sun is spreading light over grazing cattle.

Drinking Coffee at Sunrise by Susan Manlin Karzman

 

Watching the children go into the chicken coop and collect eggs for breakfast?

Eggs collage by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

Counting the new babies in the pasture?

Counting Babies

 

Hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding and otherwise exploring the property and surroundings.

Trailhead Sign

 

Thumbing through Garry and Ming’s new book, Spirits of the Stone, seeing the rock art and petroglyph photographs taken by Garry and Ming in Utah and Colorado and wondering what your own explorations will yield.

Spirits Of The Stone Photo by Gordon Skalleberg

 

Taking excursions to nearby Mesa Verde National Park, Canyon of the Ancients National Monument and/or Hovenweep National Monument.

Mesa Verde by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

Sitting under a tree reading as the birds and bees buzz by.

Hammock for Ultimate Relaxing by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

Visiting neighbor Sutcliffe Vineyards, catching the stunning views, tasting wine and picking up a luscious bottle or two to go with dinner.

Sutcliffe Vineyards

 

Watching what has to be the most glorious sunset in all the land burst into flame on the mountains.

Edge end of Sunset by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

Cooking a grand meal with ingredients grown within steps of the kitchen to eat alfresco by star and candlelight.
The following recipe yields a lamb stew that is both rustic and elegant—just like the ranch. Buy the lamb from Ming. Pick the vegetables from the garden. Serve with wine from Sutcliffe Vineyards. Breath in the fresh air. Stargaze. Savor. You will think you have found one of the most heavenly spots on earth. And you would be right!

NAVARIN PRINTANIER

Navarin Printanier by Susan Manlin Katzman
Yield: 6 servings.
3 pounds lamb
7 carrots, divided
3 shallots
Oil
Butter
1/3 cup red wine
Sugar
3 tablespoons flour
Salt
Pepper
About 3 cups lamb or beef broth, divided
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme or rosemary
1 bay leaf
8 parsley stems (no leaves)
6 to 12 small new potatoes
12 to 18 small onions (about 1 inch in diameter), peeled
1 cup shelled green peas
12 slender asparagus spears, peeled and cut into 1-1/2 inch lengths

Heat oven to 450°F.
Trim excess fat and fell from lamb and cut into 2-inch pieces (keep a few bones as they add flavor to the stew). Peel and chop 1 carrot and shallots.
Put a thin layer of oil in a Dutch oven (or similar heavy casserole with lid) and set over high heat. When oil is hot, brown lamb. (You may have to brown lamb in batches to keep pieces from touching.) Transfer browned lamb to plate. Drain fat from casserole.
Add 1 tablespoon butter to casserole and set over moderate heat. When butter is melted add diced carrot and shallots and sauté, stirring often, for 3 minutes.
Deglaze casserole with wine. Boil to reduce all but about 1 tablespoon wine. Remove casserole from heat.
Return lamb to casserole and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar. Toss lamb and vegetables to distribute sugar and set in a preheated 450°F oven for 5 minutes.
Sprinkle lamb with flour, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss to distribute flour and cook, uncovered for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, put 2 cups beef broth, tomato paste, garlic, thyme or rosemary and bay leaf in a small saucepan bring to a simmer, stirring often. Stir in parsley stems. Pour mixture over lamb in oven, adding more broth if necessary to almost cover meat with liquid. Set lid on casserole. Reduce oven heat to 350°F and cook at a gentle simmers for 75 minutes.
Meanwhile prepare vegetables. Peel and trim remaining carrots and cut into 1-1/2 inch lengths. Peel potatoes. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add carrots and potatoes and boil 6 minutes. Drain well. Set aside.
Cut a cross in the root ends of the onions. Melt a little butter in a medium skillet set over moderate heat. Add onions to skillet. Sprinkle with a little sugar and toss gently. Sauté until onions begin to brown. Add enough beef broth to skillet to barely cover onions and simmer until onions are tender. Set aside.
Drop peas and asparagus into salted boiling water and cook until green colors intensifies, about 4 minutes. Drain in a sieve and and run green vegetables under cold water to stop the cooking and set the color. Set aside.
Remove lamb from oven and pour contents of casserole into a sieve set over a large bowl. Rinse out the casserole or wipe it clean with paper towels. Remove bones and stems and bay leaf and return lamb to casserole. Add potatoes, carrots and onions (with skillet broth).
Skim fat from sauce in the bowl, correct seasoning and pour over ingredients in casserole. Mix gently so that all ingredients are covered in sauce. Cover casserole and return to 350°F oven. Cook (at a slow simmer) until vegetables and meat are tender, 15 to 30 minutes.
When lamb and vegetables are tender. Scoop as much fat as possible from top of sauce. Add green vegetables and heat just until the vegetables are hot. Serve immediately.

 

For more information contact: Ming & Garry
Canyon of the Ancients Guest Ranch
www.canyonoftheanciens.com
970-565-4288

Canyon of the Ancients Guest Ranch Collage by Susan Manlin Katzman