THE BROAD—L.A.’S NEW SUPERSTAR MUSEUM

 

Here’s what you need to know about The Broad, L.A.’s newly opened contemporary art museum:

The Broad

 

1. It’s fantastic.

MORE ART FOR L.A.

 

2. It’s free.

 

Jeff Koon's Party Hat

 

3. It’s popular. Long lines form to get in, but one can bypass the wait by securing advance reservations for timed entry tickets online. (The online reservation spaces disappear quickly so plan ahead.)

Entrance of The Broad

 

4. Philanthropists Eli and Edythe Broad built the museum to showcase their more than 2000-piece collection of postwar and contemporary works.

Some art shown at The Broad

 

5. The architectural firm Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R) designed the dramatic building, which is already a landmark in the downtown L.A. The sculptural honeycomb exterior of the building, dubbed the “veil,” is designed with skylights on the top floor that bring indirect diffuse natural light to the galleries.

Diffused Natural Light at The Broad

 

6. The first and third floor of the museum showcases art. The second floor holds administration offices.

Gallery at The Broad

 

7. The Broad’s inaugural installation (on view until late April or early May) features more than 250 works by over 60 artists, including: Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Barbara Kruger, Jeff Koons, Kara Walker, Takashi Murakami and John Currin.

Galleries at The Broad

 

8. Works in the Inaugural Installation are displayed chronologically starting on the third floor where galleries showcase works by artists that gained fame in the1950s through the1980s and continuing on the the first floor where the most contemporary works are displayed.

Shown at The Broad

9. The Broad is located at 221 S. Grand Avenue adjacent to Walt Disney Concert Hall. (The street just could be one of the most architecturally interesting in the city.)

The Broad and Walt Disney Concert Hall

The Broad and Walt Disney Concert Hall

 

10. Visitors can peek into the storage center of the museum, called “the vault,” from a glass elevator and from the central staircase that takes visitors from the first to third floor.

The Vault

 

11. One can eat at Otium, a restaurant on the plaza next to the Broad, but not eat or drink in the museum itself.

Otium Restaurant

 

12. Photography is fine. Selfies rock—but selfie sticks do not—leave them (and tripods and camera flashes) at home.

Reflected Selfie

 

13. A separate, free, timed ticket is required to line up to enter Yayoi Kusama’s dazzling, shimmering, shinning Infinity Mirrored Room. The piece accommodates one visitor at a time for only 45 seconds each. Visitors get tickets after arriving at the museum. These tickets go very quickly, with most spaces gone within the first two hours of the museum opening. (Which means you should plan your visit to the Broad as close to the opening hours as possible and get the room ticket immediately upon entry.)

Infinity Mirrored Room

 

14. The Broad is closed on Mondays.

Roy Lichtenstein's I...I'm Sorry!

 

15. The museum’s underground garage charges $12 for three hours with a validated ticket, which is available at the entrance.

At the Broad

 

16. The Broad has a shop and a Website: www.thebroad.org

Ads For The Broad

 

17. The Broad is an absolute must-visit for anyone interested in art and architecture!

The Broad

 

 

 

 

 

INVERAWE and SMOKED SALMON PATE

Inverawe LogoAnyone hooked on smoked salmon has probably heard of Inverawe and Robert & Rosie Campbell-Preston.
Robert & Rosie opened Inverawe Smokehouse in Argyll, on the West Coast of Scotland, in 1980. Robert was the fish smoker, an art he learned growing up on the banks of the Awe. Rosie tackled the marketing, a talent she developed after marrying Robert in the early 60s, moving to Scotland, raising a family and helping promote the fish farm that the couple created in 1974.
As expected with a fine artisan product, Inverawe’s smoked salmon caught on with the locals.

Rosie Campbell-Preston

Rosie Campbell-Preston

Knowing she could reel in more business, Rosie started a smoked salmon mail order business in 1982. The move spawned more attention. Soon the back-yard smokery developed a widespread reputation and its smoked salmon became a smokin’ hot product not only in the Scottish Highlands, but also throughout the UK and beyond.

Today the family-owned and operated enterprise, Inverawe Smokery and Fisheries, includes a range of endeavors.
Stretched over the property (which is situated 80 miles north of Glasgow, 15 miles inland from Oban, between Loch Awe village and Taynuilt) visitors will find:
Inverawe House, the family’s 300 year old home and the Smokery—where all sorts of fish are infused with the full-bodied, robust and oak-log flavor so favored by connoisseurs. The living quarters and Smokery are not open to the public.
Visitors are cheerfully welcomed at Inverawe’s Exhibition Center (a homemade, folksy and informative display of the fish smoking process), and at the Smokery Shop and Cafe.

Inverawe's Shop

The shop sells a variety of smoked fish and accompanying accoutrements, gift items, luxury food hampers and books, including, of course, Rosie’s INVERAWE SEASONS COOKBOOK (also available on Amazon).

Inverse Seasons Cookbook Jacket

Back Jacket of Inverawe Seasons Cookbook

Inverawe’s cafe serves a feast of smoked fish as well as a catch of non-fishy dishes and home-baked specialities.

Inverawe Cafe/TearoomInverawe Cafe Menu
Tourist facilities on the estate include: four self-catering cottages (where well-behaved dogs are welcome); fly fishing on three trout lakes and a salmon river, with fly fishing lessons available for beginners; a children’s play area; and nature trails and tracks.

Map of Inverawe
To learn more about Inverawe, see www.inverawe-fisheries.co.uk.
To sample a favorite dish served in Inverawe’s Cafe, check out the following:

Smoked Salmon Pate at Inverawe Cafe

INVERAWE SMOKED SALMON PATE

Smoked Salmon from Inverawe(Basic smoked salmon pate recipe by Rosie Campbell-Preston. Serving suggestions by Sweet Leisure.)

Yield: About 4 cups.
1 pound cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup low fat plain yogurt
About 14 ounces smoked salmon, minced
About 3.5 ounces roasted smoked salmon, minced
Juice from 1/2 lemon
Pepper to taste
TO SERVE (all optional)
Crackers
Crudités
Thinly sliced bread
Endive leaves
Baked miniature tart shells
Salmon “roses” (made by rolling small strips of salmon into rose shape) Parsley leaves
Chopped scallions and additional diced salmon.

Put cream cheese and yogurt in a mixing bowl and beat until smooth and well blended. Add minced salmon and lemon juice. Beat until blended. Season to taste with pepper.
To serve as a spread, put salmon pate in a bowl and serve with crackers, crudités or bread.

Smoked Salmon from Inverawe
To serve as a canapé, pipe small dabs of salmon pate into the hollows of endive leaves and garnish with smoke salmon “roses” and parsley leaves;

Smoked Salmon Canape

To serve as a tea time treat (as they do at Cameron House on Loch Lomond) pipe pate into small baked tart shells and garnish with chopped scallions and diced salmon.

Smoked Salmon Tart

 

 

 

 

S.S. CATHERINE RIVER CRUISE SHIP & DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Making a list? Checking it twice? Want to give something much better than nice for Christmas or Valentine’s day or that special birthday or anniversary? Then consider that the most splendid, all-occasion, glory gift that one can give is a trip on the S.S. Catherine.

S. S. Catherine Cruise Ship
Not a nautical term, S.S. in front of Catherine stands for “Super Ship.” The letters could also mean “Sensational” and “Sumptuous,” as everything about the river cruise ship is spectacular, including the itinerary, the decor, the food, and the general sweet sybaritic style of just being aboard.
The 159-passenger Catherine joined Uniworld’s fleet in 2014 to cruise on the Rhône and Saône Rivers in France. Most river cruise ships traveling the Rhône and Saône follow similar itineraries, and most are similar-size vessels built with widths to move through locks and heights to fit under bridges. But the S. S. Catherine is the fairest of them all, distinguishing herself with both lavish decor and luscious cuisine.
If laid end to end the amount of Murano glass decorating the Catherine would stretch 6.21 miles.

Collage of Murano Glass on the S.S. Catherine by Susan Manlin Katzman
Framed art (mostly purchased at auction houses) fills hallways.

Hallway Art on S.S. Catherine

And stunning commissioned pieces, such as a white porcelain mural backing the reception desk, a wildly colorful glass and porcelain jungle scene framing the swimming pool, and a life-size glass horse sitting on the main landing, enrich public areas.

Reception Desk on S.S. Catherine by Susan Manlin Katxman

Swim Pool on S. S. Catherine by Susan Manlin Katzman

Horse on the S.S. Catherine

In addition to an assortment of lounges, bars, and dining areas, the Catherine sports a sun deck, laundry area, spa, fitness center, and boutique.

S.S. Catherine Facilities
The 74 guest rooms and six suites spread over each of the three main decks and offer assorted amenities according to category (determined by location, size and configuration), but even cabins in the least-expensive category are decked out with rich fabrics, Savoir of England beds, flat-screen TVs and marble bathrooms complete with L’Occitane en Provence products.

Suite on the S.S. Catherine

A sweet suite.

And if setting was not enough glory, the Catherine’s food equals her decor. Chefs prepare a dazzling array of familiar international foods intermixed with local specialties for both breakfast and lunch buffets and lean to classic French-accented dishes for the more formally served dinners.

Chefs and Dessert on the S.S. Catherine

Between meals, guests can raid the two large containers filled with the most delectable cookies that always grace the Leopard Bar’s counter top.

Cookies on the Catherine's Leopard Bar
Wine matches the food, and the ship could be viewed as a luscious laboratory for sampling delights of the region, often only available locally.

Wine on the S.S. Catherine

Wine on the S.S. Catherine
The Catherine’s eight day/seven night cruise titled “Burgundy & Provence” stops almost daily for sight-seeing excursions,

Collage of stops on the S.S. Catherin

but the spirit that elevates Catherine’s cruises to a luxurious art form is best captured by sitting onboard, watching the changing scenery as the ship glides through French landscapes celebrated by painters and poets, oenophiles and gourmets.

The view from a verhanda on the S.S. Catherine
Yes, indeed for a superb gift filled with joie de vivre, one couldn’t do better than giving a trip on the S. S. Catherine. On the other hand, if you are making a list and checking it twice, and want to give something simply homemade and nice, go for the Catherine’s double chocolate chip cookies:

DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES Á LA the S.S. CATHERINE

Yield: 5-1/2 dozen.Chocolate cookies served on the S.S. Catherine
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups butter, softened
2 cups confectioner’s sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
Heat oven to 350°F.
Sift together flour, cocoa and salt.
Cream butter with confectioner’s sugar and vanilla until light. Slowly beat in flour mixture and chocolate chips. Dough will be very stiff (use your hands to knead dough together, if necessary).
Roll dough into balls about 1 inch in diameter. Put balls on ungreased baking sheet. Press each ball with your finger tips to flatten to about 1/2 inch.
Place baking sheets in the center of the 350°F preheat oven and bake until cookies are slightly browned around the edges, 12 to 15 minutes.
Transfer hot cookies to a rack and let cool completely.

The S. S. Catherine at Night

 

 

 

PARADORES, SPAIN & TORTILLA ESPANOLA

ParadoresTravelers adore Spanish Paradores for a multitude of reasons.
First is location.
The Spanish-government owned and operated inns are sprinkled throughout Spain in spots most useful to tourists. Some are near major tourist attractions in large cities. Others grace small villages. And a few sit in far-flung, remote areas with little other choice of accommodations.
Next are the structures.
The most interesting Paradores occupy historic buildings. Some fill ancient castles, and centuries-old mansions and monasteries. Others are built into such unusual places as former forts and 15th century hospitals.
And last, but never least, is style and substance.
Each Parador is unique. Some are WOWs. A few, bare bones. Yet Paradores share similar traits. All offer restaurants serving authentic regional specialities; rates that are downright bargains when compared to similar hotels—as if there were similar hotels; and experiences rich with style and substance.
Parador de Cáceres is one of the greats and sports all of the attributes that make Paradores so popular.
First is location.
Parador de Cáceres sits within the walled historic Ciudad Monumental, a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site in the city of Cáceres, in the sparsely populated Extremadura region of western central Spain. The Parador is in the heart of Old Town, a super-short stroll away from all of the city’s attractions, which is good, as cars are strictly limited and walking is the primary way to maneuver. (Incidentally, the Parador provides parking for those who arrive by car.)

Cacares 4 Collage by Susan Manlin Katzman
Next is the structure.
Parador de Cáceres spreads through two large and rambling 14th century palaces. The oldest part of the property is a tower, which stands tall despite Queen Isabel’s orders of 1477 that all towers of Cáceres be cut down.

Parador de Caceres by Susan Manlin Katzman
Within the Gothic buildings, guests find a wonderful array of architectural gems: stone arches and pillar, vaulted ceilings, iron railings curving up slender stone staircases, a magnificent mantelpiece and a courtyard with an original cistern used to collect rainwater.

Stone Elements in Parador de Caceres by Susan Manlin Katzman
Decorative leftovers from former occupants, such as a 2nd century Roman tombstone, a Baroque coat of arms and a knightly suit of armor, fill nooks and crannies.

Decor in Parador de Caceres/Collage by Susan Manlin Katzman
As to style and substance, this Parador’s cup overflows.
Created in 1989, and refurbished between 2009 and 2011, the Parador now sets the standard for energy efficiency without sacrificing any of its historical attributes. The 39 guest rooms, reached by two small elevators and a marvelous maze of walkways, differ in size and configuration, but wear similar, simple-but-comfortable decor. All rooms have T.Vs, Wi-Fi, mini bars and sleek bathrooms with bidets and huge bathtubs.

Parador de Caceres room.

 

Bathroom of room in Parador de Caceres by Susan Manlin Katzman
My room’s window opened to overlook a narrow cobblestone passage Bells in Caceres by Susan Manlin Katzmanand another ancient building. In addition to country-fresh air, the window ushered in a sound track of medieval times in the form of footsteps clopping on the cobblestone walk and bells from many churches ringing in the hour.

In addition to great location, stunning architectural features and comfortable rooms Parador de Cáceres offers guests pleasant places to gather, including a cosy second floor sitting room, a contemporary cafe/bar and a terrific restaurant.

Parador de Caceres meeting places Collage by Susan Manlin Katzman
Perhaps now is the time to mention that Cáceres was claimed Spain’s culinary capital for 2015 and the Parador’s restaurant does the title proud.
Lunch and dinner menus feature specialties of the Extremadura region, intermingled with a fusion of dishes influenced by Portuguese neighbors as well as Roman, Arab, and Jewish cultures that one time flourished in the city. All dishes are beautifully prepared and artistically presented.

Food From Parador de Caceres' Restaurant. Collage by Susan Manlin Katzman

But it’s the buffet breakfasts that best captures the spirit of the region by serving not only a stunning array of Extremadura’s best cheeses and meats, but also local favorites including pastries made by nuns in cloistered convents, and traditional Spanish dishes, such as the beloved Tortilla Española.

Although known in English as Spanish omelet, Tortilla Española is more of a flavorful potato cake held together with eggs than a traditional omelet. The Parador’s serves a classic version made with potatoes and onions as well as a variant made with added ingredients, such as zucchini. (The zucchini version, shown below, is called Tortilla de Calabacín.) Each version is surprisingly much better that one would imagine from the sum of its parts, which you can see for yourself by following this Parador provided recipe.

TORTILLA ESPAÑOLA

Tortilla Espanola

Yield: 4 servings.
About 1pound (3 medium) potatoes, peeled, halved lengthwise and very thinly sliced
1 medium onion, peeled, halved and thinly sliced
1 small zucchini, trimmed, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced, optional
Salt
Black pepper
About 1-1/4 cups olive oil
6 eggs
Put potatoes, onion and zucchini in a large bowl. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss gently to combine
Put oil in a 10-inch heavy or nonstick skillet. Set skillet over high heat. When oil is very hot, but not smoking, add potato mixture. Reduce heat to so that oil simmers and cook, occasionally lifting and turning ingredients, until the potatoes are tender, but not brown and not falling apart, about 15 minutes. With a slotted spoon, transfer sautéed potatoes, onions and zucchini to a colander and set aside.
Drain oil from skillet, reserving 4 tablespoons. Scrap any potato particles from pan with a spatula. Wipe pan with a paper towel to remove any residue.
In a large bowl, beat eggs until well blended. Add potato mixture to the eggs and gently mix to evenly distribute ingredients.
Put 2 tablespoons of the reserved oil in the pan and set pan over high heat. When the oil is very hot, but not smoking, gently add the egg/potato mixture, spreading ingredients evenly in the pan. Reduce heat to medium and cook until the bottom of the tortilla is lightly browned, 3 to 5 minutes.
Gently shake pan so tortilla doesn’t stick, then slide a spatula along edges and underneath tortilla. Place a large plate over pan and quickly turn plate and pan over so tortilla falls onto plate. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons reserved oil to pan and heat until oil is hot. Slide tortilla, uncooked side down, into the skillet, carefully tucking in sides with the spatula. Continue cooking over medium heat until eggs are completely set, about 3 minutes. Give the pan a shake to loosen the tortilla (or help it along with the spatula) and slide tortilla from pan onto a serving plate. Cool slightly or to room temperature before cutting into wedges to serve.

For more information about Cáceres (beautiful by day and night), click HERE.

Caceres Day and Night by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

 

 

 

ATRIO/MICHELIN STARS AND RELAIS & CHATEAUX

 

ATRIO Door Sign by Susan Manlin Katzman

Atrio is one of the main reasons to visit Cáceres. Actually, Atrio is one of the main reasons to visit Spain. The two-Michelin-starred restaurant and Relais & Châteaux hotel is worth not only a detour (in Michelin speak), but also a bucket-list trip—at least for lovers of food, wine and architecture.
Atrio sits in the sparsely populated Extremadura region of western central Spain, within the ancient walled-center of Cáceres, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Views of Caceres from Atrio

Views of Caceres from Atrio

The property manages to perfectly fit into its surroundings of medieval monasteries, churches, palaces and towers, while being thoroughly, beautifully, divinely contemporary in both architecture and food.

Emilio Tuñón Álvarez in his garden.

Toño Pérez in his garden.

Owners, chef Juan Antonio (Toño) Pérez and his partner, maître d’ and sommelier José Polo, teamed with architects Luis Moreno Mansilla and Emilio Tuñón Álvarez to create a unique space within ancient buildings once used as a palace’s servants’ quarters.
While respecting the integrity of the historic exterior, the architects filled the interior with minimalist modern excitement.

Atrio in Spanish means atrium and the interior utilizes a garden area to create a metaphorical atrium. A dramatic collection of white, dark and natural wood columns provides not only a unifying flow between different spaces, but also a filter for natural daylight which artistically and unevenly streams onto highly polished, shining surfaces of floors and walls, bathing the property in an ever-changing shimmering glow.

Atrio Design Inside and Out by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

As spiraled as a nautilus shell, Atiro’s wine cellar and tasting room occupies the lower level. Named one of the restaurant world’s best by Wine Spectator, the cellar holds a star-studded, decades-spanning collection of superstars, including vintages of Chateau d’Yquem dating from 1806. Atrio’s wine list comes in the form of a thick, 400-page, hardbound book.

Atrio's Wine Cellar by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

A terrace with two pools and 14 guest rooms, each different and each sleekly comfortable, fill the upper level of the property.

Guest room at Atrio by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

Atiro’s architecture, wine and guest rooms attract tourists, but it is the food that draws gourmets from around the world and the food that greatly contributed to Cáceres winning title of Spain’s Culinary Capital for 2015.
Food magic happens on the main floor which holds the reception entrance, a patio garden (perfect for a perfect breakfast on a lovely day), the large open kitchen and the dining tables, which can seat up to 50.

Dining Tables at Atrio by Susan Manllin Katzman
From Ferran AdriaFerran Adrià, a great Spanish chef who created the experimental restaurant El Bulli, once wrote about the evolution of creative cooking. He places reproducing recipes previously created at the bottom of the creative pyramid and technical-conceptual creativity at the top.

Chef Toño’s food sits at the pinnacle, uniquely intermingling (like the building itself) the classic with the contemporary, the worldly with the local, and the extravagant with the affordable (109€ to 115€ for a tasting menu).
Whereas other modern experimental efforts might try too hard and put construction over taste, Toño’s creations are innovative and beautiful as well as delicious. That doesn’t mean the dishes can be described in ordinary terms—not even by the restaurant. The English menu descriptions waiver between dramatically simplified, tongue-in-cheek and just plain plain. For example, following are dishes on a tasting menu with restaurant descriptions:

CUCUMBER Open ravioli, green apple, herring and celery

CUCUMBER
Open ravioli, green apple, herring and celery

 

FAKE PEAS Crispy pork and peas cream

FAKE PEAS
Crispy pork and peas cream

 

BLOODY MARY Frozen tomato and green onion ice cream

BLOODY MARY
Frozen tomato and green onion ice cream

 

MARINATED SHRIMPS Stem salad and sour cream

MARINATED SHRIMPS
Stem salad and sour cream

 

RISOTTO Mushrooms with pig’s trotters paper

RISOTTO
Mushrooms with pig’s trotters paper

 

CRAWFISH in green, seaweed bread and solidify olive oil

CRAWFISH
in green, seaweed bread and solidify olive oil

 

RED PRAWN Corn and Iberian pork

RED PRAWN
Corn and Iberian pork

 

ROASTED SUCKING GOAT Traditional style

ROASTED SUCKLING GOAT
Traditional style

 

TORTA DEL CASAR  In both textures with quince jam and spicy oil

TORTA DEL CASAR 
In both textures with quince jam and spicy oil

 

YOLK CREAM Yoghourt ice cream and cocoa ground

YOLK CREAM
Yoghourt ice cream and cocoa ground

 

THE CHERRY, which is not a cherry

THE CHERRY, which is not a cherry

Other food treats associated with the menu include: Beet macarons served before the meal began and and a variety of sweets including fabulous lemon macaroons and fight-over chocolate truffles served to finish the feast.

Beet Macaroons

Beet Macarons

 

Assorted Sweets

Assorted Sweets

Guests leaving Atrio, are encouraged to take a handful of house-made miniature caramels sitting on a tray at the door. (First time in my life I was sorry I didn’t have huge, super-size, gigantic man’s hands.)

Atrio's Caramels

Atrio’s Caramels

For more information about Cáceres, click HERE.

For more information about Atrio, click HERE.

 

 

 

 

CÁCERES, CULINARY CAPITAL OF SPAIN, 2015 & MIGAS

The food of Cáceres rocks! The restaurants are rad! The take-home edible souvenirs are wicked and wow! No wonder a jury composed of top representatives from Spain’s hotel, restaurant and publishing industries, declared the city “The Culinary Capital of Spain, 2015.”
Where-is-Caceres-on-map-of-SpainThe city, in the province of the same name, sits in the sparsely populated Extremadura region of western central Spain, about 186 miles from Madrid and 137 miles from Portugal. Despite having a UNESCO World Heritage Site walled city center that is so little changed from medieval times that the town serves as movie set, Cáceres was off the tourist radar.

Caceres 4

But now declared the the epicenter of Spanish food, the city lures foodies from around the world and no one leaves disappointed.
Cáceres won the title of Culinary Capital based on a rigid set of criteria including:
1. The luscious local products—eight wearing Denomination of Origin (D.O.) and Protected Designations of Origin (P.D.O.) certifications.

2. The fine chefs. (According to one tourism official, Cáceres, population 95,855, contains about 250 restaurants serving dishes ranging from Spanish classics to the uniquely avant-garde.)

Tono Perez in his garden at Atrio Restaurante and Ivan Hernandez at his cooking show room in Restaurante Cayena. Photo by Susan Manlin Katzman

Tono Perez in his garden at Atrio Restaurante and Ivan Hernandez in his cooking show room at Restaurante Cayena.

3. The plethora of traditional dishes—some classically Spanish and others representing a fusion influenced by Portuguese neighbors as well as historic Roman, Arab, and Jewish cultures that flourished in the city.)

Tapas with Iberia ham, pork carpaccio, lamb stew and luscious desserts represent typical dishes found in Caceres.

Tapas with jamon iberico, pork carpaccio, lamb stew and luscious regional desserts represent typical dishes found in Caceres.

4. The abundance of natural agricultural products, and

5. The general high-quality of…well…of everything.

The city supports its year of culinary splendor by offering food-focused festivals and events as well as maps outlining the many culinary trails that crisscross the city and region.

Map of Careers Culinary Trails by Susan Manlin Katzman

So what are the top flavors uniquely Cáceres?

Jamón Ibérico, an exquisite cured ham from black Iberian pigs. Although there are different types of Ibérico ham, also called pata negra, the finest, Jamón Ibérico Bellota D.O. Deshesa Extrmadura comes from pigs allowed to roam, free range, in oak groves and feed on acorns. Incidentally one can distinguish a black Iberian pig by the black color of the pigs’ nails.

Jamon Iberia by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

Cheese, especially the slightly salty and gently tangy Ibores P.D.O., made from unpasteurized goat’s milk, and the creamy, pungent, complex Torta del Casar P.D.O., made with unpasteurized sheep’s milk and a thistle (vegetable) rennet.

Famous Cheeses from Careers by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

Flavorful smoked paprika from La Vera. This oak-smoked Spanish seasoning, officially called D.O. Pimentón de la Vera, was first introduced by monks in the 16th century. The three varieties sold today—sweet, bittersweet (medium hot) and hot, lend an earthy woodsy taste to everything from soup to nuts and is considered essential to authentic Spanish cooking. (Makes a great take-home souvenir and culinary gift.)

Smoked Paprika from La Vera

 

Extra Virgin Olive Oils known for their fruity nuances, low bitterness and gorgeous complexity.

Olive Oil

 

Wine from the Ribera del Guadiana growing area.
Tempranillos are favored and Cavas delight.

Wine

 

Agricultural products including figs, acorns, chestnuts, cherries that make their way into vinegars, marmalades, liquors and beer.

Artisans Vinegar from Caceres by Susan Manlin Katzman

Spanish Marmalade by Susan Manlin Katzman

Cherry and Acorn Liquors by Susan Manlin Katzman

Caceres Famous Beers by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

Pastries and confections made from ancient recipes by cloistered nuns and charmingly sold from behind closed doors in convents.
(To order: Enter the convent’s open door leading to a small room—a menu and price list are posted on the wall. Use a microphone to order, then put your money on the tray of a revolving window. The window turns and your sweets and change come back to you at the next turn. You never see the nuns.)

Doorway of the Convento de San Pablo

Buying Sweets from Convento de San Pablo by Susan Manlin Katzman

Convent Purchase by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

Lamb and beef from Extremadura’s pastures,

Extremadura Sheep in Field by Susan Manlin Katzman

wild game, tench and other freshwater fish caught in the River Tagus, and migas.

Migas (translated “crumbs”) is enjoyed in several regions of Spain. Each region—well actually each cook in each region, produces a personal version. Think of migas as a rustic shepherd’s dish that is easy to make from leftover bread that is crumbled and fried in a single pan with ingredients on hand. Migas is ever present in Cáceres. It’s served as a main course, tapa or side dish in tapas bars, coffee houses, hotels and fine restaurants.

Midas Served Several Ways by Susan Manlin Katzman

Locals have a curious custom of taking a spoonful of migas and dipping it in their morning coffee or hot chocolate for a snack.

Migas Dipped in Morning Coffee by Susan Manlin Katzman

MIGAS (Crumbs)

Yield: 4 servings as main course (topped with a fried egg) or 6 servings as a side dish or tapa.

Migas by Susan Manlin Katzman4 cups coarse dried bread crumbs cut from leftover crusty French or Italian bread
Water
Extra virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, peeled and halved
About 1/3 cup diced Spanish chorizo
About 1/3 cup diced Serrano ham
Spanish smoked paprika
Salt
About 3 tablespoons cut strips of roasted, peeled red pepper, optional

Put bread crumbs in a bowl and sprinkle with just enough water to moisten the crumbs. Toss crumbs well and cover bowl with damp paper towels. Set bowl aside until bread is evenly moistened, a couple of hours to overnight.
Cover the bottom of a large skillet with a generous layer of olive oil. Set skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and stir until garlic browns lightly and oil becomes fragrant, about 2 minutes. Remove garlic from pan. Add chorizo and ham and cook, stirring often, until meat browns lightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Add bread crumbs to skillet. Sprinkle generously with paprika and lightly with salt (remember the meat could be salty). Stir to mix thoroughly. Sauté, stirring often, until crumbs are golden brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in roasted red pepper strips if desired.
Serve warm, or cool and serve at room temperature.

Stay tuned for more about Cáceres and the city’s extraordinary restaurants, great places to stay and incredible food—coming soon.

Walking in Careers, Spain by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

 

 

Cameron House on Loch Lomond

I can’t say I’ve seen all of the resorts in Scotland (damn), but after a short stop at Cameron House, I think it has to rank as the best. Why? Cameron House wins my heart for its:

WONDERFUL LOCATION about 20 minutes from Glasgow International Airport, on the bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomond—in the midst of the Trossachs National Park.

 

GORGEOUS SCENERY overlooking the shimmering Loch Lomond, the largest inland stretch of water (by surface area) in Great Britain, backed by the moody, misty Ben Lomond, a dramatically lovely mountain looming on the east shore of the lake.

Loch Lomond and Ben Lomond

 

WARM WELCOME filled with smiling staff, glowing fireplaces, fresh flowers and luscious room amenities (mine was candy—sigh!).

Warm Welcome collage by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

WELL-APPOINTED ROOMS AND SUITES, especially the spacious whisky suites that blend traditional Scottish decor with every contemporary comfort.

Whisky Suite at Cameron House collage by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

FOUR RESTAURANTS:

The Michelin starred Martin Wishart on Loch Lomond serving French-accented, modern-Scottish cuisine.

Martin Wishart on Loch Lomond

The Cameron Grill, featuring a salmon bar loaded with smoked and cured delicacies, a butchery with beef only from Scottish herds and a see-into kitchen preparing seafood just plucked from local waters.

The Cameron Grill collage by Susan Manlin Katzman

The Boat House, situated on an active marina, specializing in seafood and international favorites.

Marina at The Boat House

The Claret Jug, a clubhouse at the golf course offering light bites as well as hearty casual fare.

The Claret Jug

 

DESTINATION SPA with gracious waiting rooms, 17 treatment rooms, rooftop infinity pool and dining room serving items geared “to cleanse the body and appease the tastebuds.”

The Carrick Spa collage by Susan Manlin Katzman

The Carrick Spa collage by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

GREAT GOLF on The Carrick, an 18-hole, 71 par course that straddles the boundary between the Lowlands of Central Scotland and the Highlands.

Golf at Cameron House

 

ACTIVITY CENTER sporting a gym, squash courts and terrific indoor pool.

Indoor Pool at Cameron House by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

GREAT SCOTS BAR, my favorite bar in Scotland, featuring comfy chairs and couches, fireplace and over 260 different whiskies, including 17 limited editions and one made by Auchentoshan purely for Cameron House.

Great Scots Bar collage by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

SHOPPING in the main resort building, spa, and golf facility.

Shopping at Cameron House collage by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

SEAPLANE AND 64-FOOT CRUISER which are both available to guests for exploring Loch Lomond.

Seaplane at Cameron House by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

Paper-mache trophies at Cameron House by Susan Manlin KatzmanSENSE OF HUMOR expressed by papier-mâché animal trophies hanging on tall walls and the names of specialty drinks in the bar, e.g. the Kilt Lifter.

THE KILT LIFTER

Yield: one cocktail

1 shot (25 m) blended whiskyThe Kilt Lifter cocktail by Susan Manlin Katzman
1 shot Drambuie (a sweet Scotch whisky liqueur)
1/2 lime
Ginger beer
Lemon twist for garnish (see NOTE)
Fill a 12-ounce glass 3/4 full with cracked ice. Add whisky, Drambuie and juice of lime. Stir gently. Top off glass with Ginger beer. Garnish with lemon twist.

NOTE: To cut a lemon twist, first cut the nubs from both ends of a lemon. Hold a sharp paring knife at an angle at the top of the lemon and start cutting a  strip of the yellow peel and some white pith working your way around and down the lemon in an unbroken spiral. Apply even pressure and rotate the lemon, not the knife.

Click HERE for a whisky tasting experience near Cameron House. 

Click HERE to read about another fabulous Scottish Highland hotel. 

 

 

 

BEST BARBECUE RESTAURANTS IN AMERICA AND JOHNNY FUGITT

The 100 Best Barbecue Restaurants in America, front coverWhen you first meet Johnny Fugitt he radiates a gentlemanly persona. Winning smile. Charming manners. Not a spot on his shirt nor bulk to his body (which is contrary to what a steady diet of barbecue might suggest). Not that a second meeting doesn’t yield the same reaction. It’s just that Johnny seems more of a modern day Thoreau looking for cabin in the country than what he actually is: an officer in the United States Navy Reserve, a graduate of the London School of Economics, a world traveler and an accomplished writer who authored the very appealing “The 100 Best Barbecue Restaurants in America.”
When it comes to the book, necessity inspired invention. Johnny couldn’t find a quintessential study of America’s barbecue restaurants—so he decided to write one. Dropping everything (job I presume), he hit the road for a year to taste test barbecue in 48 states. The results is a travel journal, restaurant guide and fun peek at such varied topics as why non red-meat eaters attract more women than meat eaters, how a barbecue gorger can lose weight, and what everyone should know about…well…about everything concerning barbecue including, competitions, chains, gadgets and gimmicks.
Johnny considers barbecue American art and tells us why. You’ll have to read the book to get the full monty, but you can catch a glimpse below where Johnny lists some of his favorite stops for Sweet Leisure.  In his own words, heeeeere’s Johnny!!!

Johnny Fugitt

Johnny Fugitt

In one year, I visited 365 barbecue restaurants across 48 states. From barbecue fish ‘n chips to smoked alligator, I tried just about everything the barbecue world has to offer. I made the great sacrifices of eating plate after plate of barbecue and traveling the country to save you from one of life’s great tragedies: a poor plate of barbecue.
I was unsatisfied with the “Top 10 BBQ” lists that recycle the same historic or well-marketed restaurants over and over again. I had visited many of these restaurants and thought that some were good, but that others survived solely on reputation and were not really producing top notch ‘cue.
My book, The 100 Best Barbecue Restaurants in America, chronicles my journey, shares secrets from barbecue kitchens and points readers in the direction of America’s best ‘cue.
At the end of the book, I list my “Dream Meals” from various barbecue cities and have an awards section where I name the “Ten Best Ribs in America”, “Ten Best Briskets Outside Texas”, etc. I want to share a few of these highlights with you today.

North Carolina takes great pride in their chopped or pulled pork, but I listed Payne’s Bar-B-Q in Memphis as the best pork in America. North Carolina is fairly represented with four restaurants in the Top 10 of this category, while Georgia and Texas round out the rest.

Payne's Bar-B-Q Chopped Pork

Payne’s Bar-B-Q Chopped Pork

 

If you haven’t tried Texas brisket, you haven’t had brisket. All corners of America cook the brisket cut of beef, but Texans transform it into something else entirely. Aaron Franklin gets all the press for his fantastic briskets in Austin, but I think Kerlin BBQ, also in Austin, does it just a touch better.

Kerlin's BBQ Brisket

Kerlin’s BBQ Brisket

 

The gospel of Texas-style brisket is spreading and there are a few individuals scattered across the country who can do it well. Billy Durney is one of the few. He studied under storied Texas pitmasters before opening Hometown Bar-B-Que in Brooklyn, New York. It’s the best brisket outside the Lone Star State. Hometown’s ribs are some of my favorites too.

Hometown's Bar-B-Que Ribs

Hometown’s Bar-B-Que Ribs

 

A great burnt end is one of the best bites in barbecue…scratch that…one of the best bites in food. No one does burnt ends better than The Shaved Duck in St. Louis, Missouri. Smoky, charred, lightly sauced – these are the bites of barbecue that turn casual fans into diehards.

The Shaved Duck's Burnt Ends

The Shaved Duck’s Burnt Ends

 

The book lists the “10 Best Non-Traditional Meats or Main Dishes” that I found across the country at barbecue restaurants. My favorite was the beef clod at The Granary Cue and Brew in San Antonio, Texas. Clod is a tough, underutilized cut that many restaurants will not touch. The Granary goes a bit more upscale with theirs by placing it over a coffee quinoa crunch, pickled celery and an angel food cake-like cornbread. It’s topped with a tomato-caramel sauce and is absolutely delicious.

The Granary's Beef Clod

The Granary’s Beef Clod

 

Slaw divides people into camps – the largest of which are the mayonnaise camp and the vinegar camp. My favorite, however, is the spicy mustard slaw from Rendezvous in Memphis.

Spicy Mustard Slaw at Rendezvous

Spicy Mustard Slaw at Rendezvous

 

Some consider eating barbecue a religious experience. Barbecue joints don’t need to be fancy, but they need to have character. I think the best barbecue atmosphere in America is found at Smitty’s Market in Lockhart, Texas. With smoky pits, live fires, antique décor and small-town hospitality, it’s a must-have stamp in any barbecue lover’s passport.

images

 Contact Johnny at: barbecuerankings@gmail.com

Click HERE to buy The 100 Best Barbecue Restaurants in America. 

Click HERE to read about Kansas City barbecue. 

 

 

 

 

DESTINATION KOHLER AND THREE CHEESE SOUP

If you’re a golfer, a gardener and/or gourmet, Kohler is the place to be.
If you’re an interior decorator, designer and/or plumber, Kohler is the place to be.
If you love luxurious stays, fine restaurants, spa treatments, divine chocolates, Kohler is the place to be. Oh, let’s cut to the chase. If it’s spring, summer or fall, and you’re seeking a fabulous getaway, Kohler is the place to be.

What does Kohler, Wisconsin, have that other Midwest destinations don’t have?

First is THE AMERICAN CLUB, a Forbes Five-Star, AAA 5-diamond resort packed with luxurious pleasures.

American Club Entrance

Once upon a time the property served as a boarding house for immigrants working in the Kohler factory (you know, of plumbing product fame). Kohler was a factory town and still is, but the boarding house morphed into a spiffy hotel which opened to the public in 1981. Today’s resort pays tribute to the past in spirit while providing guests with every contemporary amenity, including:

Beautifully outfitted ROOMS AND SUITES, all showcasing Kohler fixtures in bathrooms.

Bedroom at The American Club

Bathroom at The American Club

 

TWELVE RESTAURANTS ranging in style from top-of-the-line Immigrant Restaurant to the farm-focused Wisconsin Room and the casual Horse & Plow tavern. (See wonderful recipe for Wisconsin Three Cheese Soup from Horse & Plow below.)

Starters at The American Club Restaurants

Starters at various American Club restaurants

 

THE GREENHOUSE, an antique solarium imported piece by piece from England and reassembled in the center of the resort. Perfect for consuming morning coffee, afternoon tea, pastries, ice cream and other refreshments as well as newspapers and email.

Greenhouse at The American Club

 

QUINTESSENTIAL GOLF
Here’s where it is folks. Kohler’s renowned golf features WHISTLING STRAITS, two 18-hole championship Pete Dye-designed courses: The Straits and The Irish. (The Straits follows two miles of uninterrupted shoreline on Lake Michigan, with eight holes along the shoreline and views of water from all 18 holes.) And BLACKWOLF RUN, two 18-hole, Pete Dye designed courses named for their environmental features, The River and The Meadow Valley.

Golf Blackwolf Run

Golf at Destination Kohler

 

KOHLER WATER SPA, a two-level facility complete with 21-treatment rooms, a 30-foot relaxation pool backed by a waterfall, a plunge pool and a boutique.

Kohler Water Spa

 

KOHLER DESIGN CENTER, a 35,935-square-foot showcase of Kohler Company products (from the good old days to cutting-edge new).

Kohler Design Center Collage

 

GARDENS covering about 1000 acres with varied landscapes that include natural areas as well as formal flower gardens and outdoor art.

Gardens  at The American Club

American Club Garden Collage

Gardens at Destination Kohler

 

CHOCOLATE as Kohler’s grand obsession started in 2007 when Herbert Kohler created the Terrapin, a classic chocolate, pecan and caramel turtle—only better. In fact, Mr. Kohler’s Terrapins are the very best turtles ever made (and if you are a chocolatier who wants to dispute the claim, send me samples of yours and I will happily compare).
Today the Kohler Original Recipe Chocolates collection includes several kinds of Terrapins as well other fine chocolate products available on line and at Kohler shops.

Tarrapins at Kohler

 

THREE CHEESE SOUP

Yield: 6 servings.

1 cup butter
About ½ cup flourHorse and Plow Beer Cheese Soup aab07066
1 quart milk
½ to 1 tablespoon Tabasco
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
12 ounces Wisconsin beer
½ cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
Salt and white pepper to taste
½ pound shredded Wisconsin Cheddar cheese
½ pound shredded Wisconsin Swiss cheese
½ pound shredded Wisconsin jalapeño jack cheese
Croutons for garnish

Make roux: melt butter in a 12-inch sauté pan or skillet and remove from heat. Add flour and whisk until incorporated. Consistency should be like wet sand. If not thick enough, add additional flour. Return to stovetop and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally for 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large soup pot heat milk to almost a boil, but do not let mixture boil. Reduce heat and add Tabasco, Worcestershire sauce and beer. Incorporate well using a whisk.
Add cream and seasonings. Gently heat to almost a boil again, then slowly whisk in small amounts of reserved roux to thicken to desired consistency. (There will be some left over.) Cook over medium heat 10 to 15 minutes.
Gradually add cheese in small handfuls making sure to thoroughly melt and incorporate each handful before adding more. Cook over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes. (Do not let the soup reach a temperature over 150-degrees or it will separate.)
Serve immediately with croutons.

Click HERE for more wonderful recipes from The American Club.
Cheese Condiments

 

 

 

CODY AND THE BEST LITTLE MOJITO MARGARITA IN THE WEST

Overview of CodyAnyone trying to lasso the spirit of the old Wild West should head to Cody, Wyoming. Founded in the 1890s by pony express rider, army scout and flamboyant Wild West showman William Frederick Cody (a.k.a Buffalo Bill—a name he earned shooting a staggering number of bison), Cody remains western to the core.
The town sits in the scenic wonder of northwest Wyoming and packs in all of a cowboy’s natural paraphernalia: wide-open spaces, canyons, rivers and mountains.
With a frontier reputation and population of 10,000, Cody might seem to be just the hop-along point to Yellowstone National Park (which it is). But don’t be bamboozled. Cody is anything but a one horse town. Visitors who linger a while find much action and a cowboy brand of fun that’s hard to buck.
So what should visitors do in Cody and nearby Buffalo Bill country?

BUNK AT BUFFALO BILL’S IRMA HOTEL and rustle up dinner in the dining room.
Built by Buffalo Bill in 1902 and named for his daughter, Irma, the hotel sits in the center of town and serves as the focal point of Cody activity.

The Irma Hotel in Cody
The property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and retains all the charm of a bygone era. Although old-fashioned in ambiance and decor, both standard and famed historic rooms sport such updates as modern bathrooms, air-conditioning, T.V.s, and Wi-Fi.

Irma Hotel Rooms
Be sure to watch the free staged gunfight often featuring Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, and Calamity Jane that takes place in the street outside of the hotel each evening of summer and then belly up to the dining room buffet for some of the best prime rib in cowboy country.

Prime Rib at the Irma

 

RIDE THE CODY TROLLEY for a 60-minute tour that covers the whole kit and caboodle of Cody’s old and new attractions. 

Cody Trolley

 

MOSEY THROUGH OLD TRAIL TOWN AND MUSEUM OF THE OLD WEST to see a collection of historic buildings, furnishing and artifacts from the early fur-trading time to the end of the 19th century. The collection includes a cabin used by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, a saloon frequented by Cassidy’s Hole-in-the-Wall Gang and the grave of mountain man John “Jeremiah Liver-Eating” Johnston.

Old Trail Town

Old Trail Town Saloon and Grave

 

WRANGLE A SEAT AT DAN MILLER’S COWBOY MUSIC REVUE and watch Dan Miller and other top-notch performers delight the audience with an array of songs, jokes, poetry and stories.

Cody Theatre

 

ROPE TICKETS TO THE CODY NITE RODEO to understand why bull and bronc riding, barrel racing, bull fighting and clowning around keeps Cody’s rodeo the longest running nightly rodeo in the country. 

Cody Rodeo

 

STEER YOUR WAY TO THE BUFFALO BILL CENTER OF THE WEST,  a beautifully contemporary facility incorporating five museums (Buffalo Bill Museum, Cody Firearms Museum, Draper Natural History Museum, Whitney Western Art Museum and the Plains Indian Museum) as well as a restaurant, coffee bar and research library. Plan on spending hours—if not days. 

Buffleo Bill Center of the West

Inside the Buffalo Bill Center of the West

Delights at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West

 

SHOOT OVER TO THE CODY DUG UP GUN MUSEUM where displays feature “dug up” and “found” guns, weapons and artifacts from many time periods including America’s War of Independence, the Civil War, and World War I and II.

Dug Up Gun Museum

 

HEAD OUT YONDER to tour the BUFFALO BILL DAM AND VISITOR CENTER, considered the tallest concrete dam in the world back in 1910 when it was constructed.

Buffalo Bill Dam and Visitor Center

 

and the HEART MOUNTAIN WWII INTERPRETIVE CENTER, a relocation camp where 14,000 Japanese Americans were interned during World War II. 

Heart Mountain WWII Interpretive Center

 

WHEN YOU GET A HANKERING FOR GRUB, click HERE for local foodie Ruffin Prevost’s list of the best Cody Restaurants. 

Cody Food, Yum!

 

And WET YOUR WHISTLE at bars throughout the city. Our favorite Cody cocktail comes from  8th Street at the Ivy. It’s perfect for dudes who can’t decide between a mojito or margarita. Mixing the two creates a drink better than the sum of it’s parts. Yippie-yi-yo-ka-yay fabulous!

TEQUILA MOJITO MARGARITA

Yield: 1 fabulous drink.Tequila Mojito Margarita
5 mint leaves
Ice
2 ounces Suerte Reposado tequila
Sweet and sour mix to taste (recipe follows)
Splash orange juice
3 thin slices jalapeño
Thin wedge of lime, for garnish

Put mint leaves the bottom of a old Fashioned glass and muddle lightly with a wooden spoon. Fill glass with ice. Add tequila, sweet and sour mix, orange juice and jalapeño. Stir gently. Put lime wedge on rim of glass.

SWEET AND SOUR MIX
Yield: About 2-3/4 cup.
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
2/3 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
2/3 cup fresh squeezed lime juice
Put sugar and water in a small saucepan and set over medium heat. Cook until all sugar dissolves, stirring constantly. Raise heat and, without stirring, bring mixture to a boil. Remove syrup from heat and set aside to cool.
When cool mix syrup with juices. Put mix in a covered container and refridgerate.

 

 

Cody and Wide Open Spaces