ST. LOUIS HIDDEN TREASURES

Randy TankersleyRandy Tankersley is a self confessed history nut. He is also a complex, creative man with a gift for storytelling. His storytelling takes many forms. He used storytelling while working as a broadcast photojournalist for ABC News Midwest bureau—a job that brought him to St Louis in 1988. He excels at “visually branded storytelling through social media,” for Tankersley Productions, Inc., his own video production company specializes in corporate communications and commercial and industrial marketing. And he brings his love of history and storytelling together in STL Lost and Found, an entertaining audio walking tour guide of St. Louis that he created for locals and tourist alike.

Product-ShotHand held and easy to use, STL Lost & Found divulges the fascinating facts and backgrounds of St. Louis’s top attractions. One can buy STL Lost & Found at many retail outlets throughout the city and from iTunes. Check  HERE for more information.
Last but not least, Randy shared his storytelling magic with Sweet Leisure. In Randy’s own words:

St. Louis Lost and Found© – True Tales of St. Louis

St. Louis is a treasure trove of historical tidbits and interesting facts. The St. Louis Lost and Found walking tour explores many of these interesting tidbits as guests explore the Gateway Mall area in downtown St. Louis. I’ve included some of that information here below and other things I just didn’t have room enough to include on the actual tour. So I hope you enjoy your abbreviated tour of interesting facts about St Louis.

Wainwright Building

IMG_0164Edison’s lightbulb, Henry Ford’s model T and Louis Sullivan’s Wainwright Building all have something in common? They are all firsts! In each of these cases others had made significant progress in their discoveries, yet it was these men that achieved what actually and practically worked. Edison didn’t invent the first light bulb, he invented the first practical light bulb that worked. Henry Ford didn’t invent the automobile, nor was he the first to use an assembly line. He was the first to put these two things together and the result was a revolutionized American industry. Louis Sullivan didn’t design the first tall building. He designed the first modern skyscraper to which all other skyscrapers would be modeled.
You can find Edison’s light bulb and Ford’s first Model T at the Smithsonian in Washington D.C.. But the only place you can see Louis Sullivan’s Wainwright Building is in downtown St. Louis at Seventh and Chestnut Streets. Although it seems quite simple today to look at a building and know what a tall building should look like, just remember, that was not always the case. There always had to be a first and St. Louis has it.

Planter’s Punch

Planters Punch 2Here’s an arguably St. Louis first. A fruity mellow rum cocktail called planter’s punch. Although today you may not be aware of this drink, it was popularized in the United States over a century ago. Like many cocktails of late it seems to be making a resurgence. So why does St. Louis claim this particular cocktail, you may ask?
It so happens that on the corner of Fourth and Chestnut a grand hotel called the Planter’s House Hotel once stood. During the 1800s anyone who was anyone stayed there. Such notables included Abraham Lincoln, Charles Dickens and Buffalo Bill. Inside the hotel was a popular watering hole where everyone met for drinks. Behind the bar stood a heavy set gentleman with a jolly disposition and a handle bar mustache who greeted each fellow with, “Hey gent, what’ll ya have?” His name was Jerry Thomas, the bartender at the Planter’s House Hotel. He wrote the book on serving cocktails, really! He wrote the first book ever on mixing drinks, The Bon-Vivant’s Companion. This is the same guide many bartender’s use today.
After tending bar at the Planter’s House for a few years, Thomas left St. Louis and tended bar in many of the major cities of the U.S. before returning to his native New York. Because of his outgoing personality, Mr. Thomas became extremely famous and his drinks were unmatched. Captains of Industry and celebrities alike referred to Mr. Thomas as “The Professor.” Although there is no direct evidence other than the 1933 edition of Bon Vivant’s Companion stating that planter’s punch was created here in St. Louis, it only stands to reason because it bears the name of the hotel of which he was employed. Although others lay claim to the drink, a plaque commemorating Mr. Thomas and his drink has been placed on a granite slab outside the Bank of America building where the hotel once stood.
The Planter’s House Bar located at 1000 Mississippi Avenue bears the same name of this historic hotel and serves many of the cocktails in Mr. Thomas’ book, including of course, you guessed it, planter’s punch. A soon to be revived St. Louis favorite, or so they hope, me too.

Chief Pontiac

Pontiac-chief-artist-impression-414pxDowntown St. Louis is currently undergoing major change with the construction of the CityArchRiver project. Included in the project are plans to demolish the Arch parking garage and relocate parking to other garages in the downtown area. Among those garages is the Stadium East Garage. That in and of itself is not interesting. What is interesting however is that beneath the Stadium East Garage is the burial site of Chief Pontiac. While most American’s are not familiar with the Chief, they may remember that an automobile was named after him and they would be right.
Chief Pontiac was an eighteenth century Osama Bin Laden. Pontiac was responsible for organizing Indian tribes from the Great Lakes to the lower Mississippi Valley. With the help of the French, these tribes were organized to fight the British army and push back British incursion into Indian lands. United, he was convinced tribal nations could limit further British expansion. That same territory would one day become the western United States and unfortunately for him, he failed. Not only did he fail, but shortly after signing a peace agreement with the British, a member of the Peoria tribe murdered him in Cahokia, IL. Pontiac was then buried in disgrace where the East Stadium Garage now stands.
So… when visitor’s park their car in the East Stadium Garage, they are parking on top of Pontiac’s grave, a disgraced Indian Chief who dedicated his life to limiting western expansion into tribal lands. Individuals parking there are there to commemorate that westward expansion, adding insult to injury to Chief Pontiac who fought against that very thing… and so it goes.

Henry Shaw and City Garden

Being “green” is nothing new to St. Louis. It all began in the mid 1800’s with an implement merchant by the name of Henry Shaw. Shaw made his fortune in St Louis as a young entrepreneur selling hardware to early pioneers who set out from St Louis to conquer the West. Having made his fortune, it was his desire to give back to the people of St Louis by creating an unrivaled world class Botanical Garden. Located at 4344 Shaw Boulevard, “The Garden”, as it is affectionately referred to by most St. Louisans is officially known as The Missouri Botanical Garden and is ranked by the Travel Channel as the best Botanical Garden in America. It features 34 unique gardens, the least of which include the English Woodland, Japanese and Victorian Gardens.
The influence of the Garden can be seen throughout St. Louis in its home and institutional landscapes. No better example of this is the popular City Garden at Eighth and Market in downtown St. Louis. The Missouri Botanical Garden assisted in designing, creating and implementing this urban oasis. It is a joy to the senses alive with native flowers, refreshing fountains and creative outdoor works of art.
Mr. Shaw may not have understood today’s idea of what being “green” is, but he certainly was among the first in St. Louis to understand the importance of a “green” community. He felt urban dwellers needed a refuge from the City and an escape to Mother Nature. Locals and tourist alike can sample a little of that here at the City Garden just a few blocks west of the Gateway Arch. You won’t be disappointed.

City Park

 

Liberty Bell on Gateway Arch grounds

St. Loios ArchAsk most people and they will tell you that you will find the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia and that is true. But were you aware that you could also find it in St. Louis? You can! But not for much longer. Eero Sarrinen, the designer of the Gateway Arch, hid the Liberty Bell in his original design. Although most St. Louisans are unaware, you can still find it there today. The Arch ground renovations however are now underway and will permanently alter that design. So you will need to hurry if you would like to take one last look before it’s gone. What you’ll need to do is go down and take the tram to the top. Once there, find an open window facing the City. Look directly down and you will see sidewalks leading to the present day entrance’s on both the North and South legs. Did you notice the shape of the sidewalks outline the shape of a bell? Eero said that bell outline represented the Liberty Bell. Still, don’t see it? Look to the crest of the hill closest to the City. At that crest the sidewalk suddenly ends for no apparent reason. From the ground it looks like a mistake, but from the top of the Arch you can see that it is the yoke of the bell. Have fun. Take a look for yourself. But hurry, it won’t be there much longer. After it disappears you will have to rely on imagination.

 

 

 

BEST DESIGN-RICH PARIS HOTELS

They are like fraternal twins with features in common, but totally different looks.
As to similarities, both hotels sit in the spiffy Eighth Arrondissement of Paris, a short stroll to the Champs Elysées. Both are relatively new or newly recreated and boast five star designations. Both offer comfortable, luxurious stays at rates less than “palace” hotels and both wear divine, design-rich decor.
That said, each hotel sports a unique personality.
One is large and multi-purposed; the other small and intimate. One reflects the glamour and sophistication of 1930s Paris; the other couldn’t be more 21st century, au courant contemporary.

First let’s talk about

L’HÔTEL DU COLLECTIONNEUR  

L'Hôtel du Collectionneur

Located at 51-57 rue de Courcelles, the seven story L’Hôtel Du Collectionneur contains 478 rooms and suites; a full service spa; an elegant restaurant; a chic bar; a large central garden; a slew of meeting rooms and event venues; and an “executive lounge,” available to those staying in certain rooms and suites.

Lobby

Lobby

 

Stairway at Hôtel du Collectionneur by Susan Manlin Katzman

Stairway to Lobby

 

Garden

Garden

 

Restaurant Le Safran

Restaurant Le Safran

 

Purple Bar

Purple Bar

Built in 2004, the hotel operated under the Hilton banner as the Hilton Arc de Triomphe until the owner, Albert Cohen, reclaimed the property in 2012. One might think that the Hilton image and prior business focus would linger, but au contraire, Cohen swept away all remnants of the chain and polished the property to a brilliance. Today, the hotel is a member of the prestigious Preferred Hotels & Resorts brand, which represents distinctive properties around the world, and it’s glamour is reflected in two intertwining themes of the 1930s: transatlantic liners and Art Deco. 
One sees the ocean liner motif represented in architectural details throughout the hotel.
As to Art Deco, it shows up everywhere—even in the hotel’s new name.
(The original Hôtel d’un Collectionneur refers to a pavilion built for the Paris Exhibition of 1925 to showcase new art labeled “Art Deco.”)
The hotel’s decorators filled both guest rooms and public spaces with Art Deco objects and artifacts, some original, others reproduced. Of special interest are custom-made items that designers created for the hotel using contemporary materials and authentic designs.

Hall And Art Hanging in Hall

Hallway to Guest Rooms

Hall and art that hangs in hall.

Decor details

Decor Details

L’Hôtel Du Collectionneur appeals to a wide variety of travelers for a ton of different reasons.
Groups like the lovely lobby, accommodating staff, well-appointed rooms and bountiful buffet breakfast.

Comfortable Rooms

Comfortable Rooms

 

Lobby Flowers

Lobby Flowers

Business people like the free Wi-Fi, the business facilities, the knowledgeable and accommodating concierge. Families like the the connecting rooms as well as the kid-friendly promotions and programs. And sophisticated leisure travellers like the Deco decor; the great bouquets of flowers filling lobbies; the room amenities; the user-friendly bathrooms; the breakfast, snack and cocktail service in the executive lounge;….well…let’s cut to the chase…most guests like everything.

 Three words to describe the vibe of L’Hôtel Du Collectionneur: graceful, artistic, multidimensional.

HOTEL VERNET

 Hôtel Vernet

Hôtel Vernet

One certainly can’t tell from looking at Hôtel Vernet from the street that inside would yield such light,bright contemporary pizzaz. It’s only after walking through the glass doors at 25 rue Vernet, and standing for a moment in the lobby, for the juxtaposition of old and new to reveal its magic. 
Built in 1913, the structure functioned as a traditional hotel until Besse Signature Group (a family-owned French company specializing in design hotels) bought the property in 2013. The savvy new owners hired famed interior designer François Champsaur to reinvent the space and the result is striking.
Elements of the original structure remain intact. Marble floors and lobby colonnades, high ceilings, a majestic skylight designed by Gustave Eiffel and stained-glass windows in a curving stairwell provide an elegant frame for the new decor.

 

Gustave Eiffel's Glass Dome

Gustave Eiffel’s Glass Dome

With 50 rooms and suites and public space limited to a discreet reception area, several salons plus a bar and restaurant, the property retains an intimate air. Staying at the hotel feels like staying in the private home of a wealthy grande dame who let her hipster, art-loving grandchild move in and take over.

Reception

Reception

 

Salon

Salon

Contemporary art fills the hotel, showing up here, there, everywhere—in carpets and ceiling frescos—in framed prints hanging on mirrors and walls—in pleated copper screens and inventive lighting fixtures.

Hall

Hall

 

Ceiling Fresco

Ceiling Fresco

 

The undulating bar seems sculpted from a slab of marble.

Bar

Bar

Blue and green dining banquettes circle the hotel’s restaurant, drawing guests into sacred space of color underneath Eiffel’s stained-glass dome.

The V Restaurant

The V Restaurant

Oak dominates guest rooms. Massive oak doors provide entrance, divide room space and close closets. Oak panels cover walls and stand in as bed headboards. The oak, combined with shades of grey carpeting and white linens, table tops and wall inserts, provide a restful pallet accented with splashes of stimulating color in woolen throws and decorative pillows. 

Bedroom

Bedroom

Bedroom

Bedroom

Bathrooms of wood and Carrere marble maintain the clean-line luxury theme.

Bathroom

Bathroom

And in keeping with the five-star designation, Hotel Vernet’s guest rooms sport the latest technology, e.g., state-of-the-art flat screen T.V.s, coffee makers and dramatic futuristic brass bed lamps.

Decor Details

Decor Details

The haute modern Vernet attracts such guests as interior designers, fashionistas, hipsters and sophisticates.   Three words to describe the vibe: trendy, hot, urbane.

 

 

 

RED STAR LINE MUSEUM, ANTWERP, BELGIUM

Poster from the Red Star Line MuseumWhat do Albert Einstein, Vito Corleone, Irving Berlin, Golda Meir and U.S Navy Rear Admiral Hyman Rickover have in common?

All immigrated to America on the Red Star Line, an ocean-crossing passenger line transporting some 2.5 million European emigrants to New York and Philadelphia between 1873 and 1934. 

How do I know this?

I visited the Red Star Line Museum in Antwerp, Belgium, and so should anyone in the vicinity, as the museum is not only informative, but also interesting and important to understanding the world as it is today.

Exterior or the Red Star Line Museum

Officials call the facility a “European migration museum,” and displays do feature human migration in general, but the museum’s scope is larger, focusing on the history of the shipping company (an ancestor of today’s cruise ships), and emphasizing the emigrant experience.

Although first class first-class travel receives mention, steerage takes center stage, as the museum occupies the space of the shipping company’s original departure warehouses for third-class passengers and exhibits follow the footsteps of the huddled masses yearning to breath free from troubled Europe to the door of America.

Photo of Emigrants on Display at the Red Star Line Museum in Antwerp, Belgium

 

Through photos, memorabilia, testimonies, maps, and a variety of interactive displays, visitors learn that many of the passengers, seeking relief from poverty, prejudice and persecution, came from Russia, Eastern Europe and the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Antwerp Central train station built between 1895 and 1905.

Antwerp Central train station, built between 1895 and 1905, was first stop for many Red Star Line passengers.

 That they purchased tickets (which is said to have cost the amount a laborer earned working 75 days—or the equivalent of $1,300 in today’s money) at agencies located in various parts of Europe, buying a “packaged deal,” that included a train trip to Antwerp and a modest hotel.

 

 

Once at the dock, third-class passengers left all of their belongings to be fumigated and sterilized, while they endured a rigorous cleansing program and meticulous medical exams that determined it they were fit for the journey.

Photo of Passengers at the Red Star Line Museum in Antwerp, Belgiium
Ship models and model-cross sections shed light on of life aboard the vessels, which was luxurious in first class, but difficult for steerage, where passengers shared cramped, communal cabins for journeys that could last 10 or more days.

Ship model at the Red Star Line Museum in Antwerp, Belgium

 

 

Passenger photos at the Red Star Line Museum in Antwerp, Belgium
A walk through the museum helps us understand the melting pot of emotions that must have been shared by the travelers—fear, excitement, despair, hope, sadness and joy associated with spirits unshackled and sent soaring.

Irving Berlin's Piano on display at the Red Star Line Museum in Antwerp, Belgium

Irving Berlin’s piano sits in the room at the end of the historic displays symbolizing success of the emigrants.

Marketers are quick to claim there would be no “White Christmas” or “Easter Parade” without the shipping line. But the world would lack so much more—perhaps even you, as millions of Red Star Line passengers landed in America and planted the roots of family trees that populate our great country from sea to shining sea.

As to Vito Corleone, of course we know that he is fictional, however in the movie “Godfather Part II,” he wore a Red Star Line company identification badge upon arriving in New York, attesting to the importance of the line to the times.

From the Movie "Godfather Part II"

 

 

 

ICED CUCUMBER DILL and YOGURT SOUP

HOT HOT HOT

 

Solace for a sweltering summer: 

ICED CUCUMBER DILL and YOGURT SOUP

Yield: 8 servings.

4 cucumbersCucumbers

Olive oil

About 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh dill

2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

2 teaspoons salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

4 cups unflavored yogurt

2 cups ice water

Fresh dill for garnishIced Cucumber Soup by Susan Manlin Katzman

Peel cucumbers and cut in half lengthwise. Remove seeds. Slice cucumbers, crosswise, into very thin pieces. Put cucumber pieces in a colander. Drizzle olive oil over cucumber pieces and toss gently. Add dill, garlic, salt and pepper. Toss well. Set colander over a large bowl; cover with plastic or foil, refrigerated and allow cucumbers to drain 1 to 3 hours. 

Put drained cucumbers in a bowl. Add yogurt and water. Cover and refrigerate several hours to overnight. 

Correct seasoning before serving. Serve chilled, garnished with fresh dill.

 

 

 

WHERE TO EAT IN CODY, WYOMING

Ruffin Prevost

Ruffin Prevost

Ruffin Prevost is a Cody, Wyoming-based reporter who covers the state for Reuters wire service and also operates the Yellowstone Gate, an independent, online new service  focusing on activities, dining, lodging and breaking news around Yellowstone National Park. A busy man, Ruffin is also the founder of Cody Local, a nonprofit aimed at educating visitors and locals about the benefits of supporting sustainable local food suppliers, crafts and small businesses.

Ruffin knows the ins and outs of Cody and surroundings. He also has the scoop on the best food of the area—an expertise no doubt enhanced by his wife Michele. new-juniper-logo-01 

The woman behind the man (as the saying goes) worked as a professional event and wedding planner before opening a fine wine and liquor shop. Business boomed necessitating a move which came with an expansion. Today, Michele’s Juniper: Bar + Market + Bistro, sits in the heart of Cody and sports a boutique wine and spirits shop, cocktail lounge, small plates eatery and cigar bar (see more below).

The Prevosts are Cody residents, and both are seriously involved with food, but Ruffin is the writer, so we turned to him to write a Sweet Leisure post on favorite places to eat in the city. Here, in his own words: 

 

WHERE TO EAT IN CODY, WYOMING

The town of Cody was founded just over a century ago by famed Wild West showman William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody and other enterprising pioneers and speculators. It started as (and somewhat remains) a frontier town at the eastern edge of Yellowstone National Park, so fresh and innovative food have never been a big part of the culinary heritage of this town of 10,000. 

 But all that is changing, as a local food culture is beginning to flow like a Yellowstone hot spring, bubbling up from below after a long period of percolation. As with touring Yellowstone’s natural wonders, it’s worth getting off the beaten path and going out of your way to find some of the lesser-known spots. In Cody, many of the best eateries are family-owned, and are also local favorites during the off-season.

Trail Shop Inn & Restaurant

Early visitors from Cody making the trip into Yellowstone National Park often stopped after their first day on horseback in the tiny mountain community of Wapiti, located midway between the park and Cody. Since 1922, The Trail Shop has a been a favorite summer spot to enjoy a bottle of fine wine and a classic Rocky Mountain meal of trout, steak or other hearty fare. Plan your meal or cocktails for sunset and enjoy a spectacular view from the Trail Shop porch, as the mountains glow reddish-brown in the late summer sun.

Trail Shop Restaurant

 

Whole Foods Trading Co.

In business long before the similarly named national grocery store chain, Cody’s Whole Foods is part restaurant, part coffee shop and part health food store. But it’s all good. With a focus on fresh, local ingredients, you’ll always find a creative take on old favorites. The cooking is simple and healthy presented with pride and respect for the ingredients and the eater. Try the fresh, daily soup specials or the great standby of a pork belly sandwich with sweet potato chips.

IMG_0072_2

 

8th Street at The Ivy

This hotel restaurant is one of the newest spots in town, but it was started by Buffalo Bill’s great-grandson. If you’re looking for a break from Cody’s cowboy culture, 8th Street is a good bet. It’s contemporary decor and nouvelle cuisine menu would seem at home in almost any city in America. The appetizers are usually better tasting (and a better value) than the entrees. But the real star is a dazzling selection of desserts created by a top-notch pastry chef, so save room for something sweet at the end of your meal.

Desserts at 8th Street at the Ivy

Desserts at 8th Street at the Ivy

 

Heritage Bakery and Bistro

You might not always score a table at this tiny, cozy bakery and lunch spot, but it’s worth driving by just to see. Heritage roasts their own coffee and there are always fresh-baked cookies, pastries and other goodies. All the soups, salads and sandwiches are homemade, so don’t expect anything quick or pre-fab. Good food takes a while.

Heritage Bakery and Bistro by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

Cassie’s Supper ClubCassie's Supper Club

The stories about Cassie’s early days are legendary, and it’s fun to realize you’re dining in what was once a bordello started in the 1920s at what was then the far edge of town. Cody has since grown to engulf Cassie’s and beyond, but the restaurant, bar and dance floor maintain a feeling of spacious detachment from the hubbub of downtown. This is the place to go if you want a classic steak dinner with live Western music and a nightlife scene that attracts bankers and bull riders, realtors and roughnecks. Spend some time exploring the huge and sprawling space to take in all the memorabilia that tells the story of nearly 100 years of Western hospitality.

 

 Willow Fence Tea Room

You’re not likely to run into any of the gunslingers from Cody’s daily mock gunfight at the Willow Fence Tea Room. But if you’re looking for a favorite ladies’ spot for a light lunch or a delightful tea in a cozy setting, Willow Fence is a refreshing change from the dusty trail. Soups, sandwiches, salads and a wide selection of teas to sample make it a good mid-day or afternoon break from your Wild West action.

 WP_20140814_11_59_43_Pro (2)

 

Burger Beat 
Inside Silver Dollar Bar & Grill

Inside Silver Dollar Bar & Grill

A great burger and a cold beer are a favorite combination for any summer trip to Yellowstone country, and Cody’s Sheridan Avenue has a few spots that offer both. The Silver Dollar Bar & Grill  is a biker bar that serves a great grilled hamburger. Pair it with a Bent Nail IPA from nearby Red Lodge Brewery and your only regret will be that you can’t have one every day. Just a block to the west, the Proud Cut Saloon cooks a great bison burger, especially if you add cheese and bacon. But you’ll really love the home fries on the side. Ask for a glass of Wyoming Whiskey, distilled in nearby Kirby, Wyo. to wash it down. And at the east end of the street, Wyoming Rib & Chop House  offers what may be the only chance you’ll get to enjoy a delicious yak burger. Made from locally raised yak, you’ll love this lean, delicious meat that’s sweeter than beef. Enjoy it with a glass of cabernet from Cody’s own Buffalo Jump Winery.

Wyoming Rib & Chop House by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

Juniper: Bar + Market + Bistro

Granted, I’m a bit biased, since my wife owns the place, but what’s not to love about a wine shop that has a cool cocktail lounge offering more than 100 whiskies by the glass? Sure, you can grab a light bite like homemade hummus and pita chips, or a charcuterie board packed with a sampling of game meats like antelope and elk. But the real attraction is hand-crafted specialty cocktails and the town’s deepest library of premium wines, micro-brew beers and top-shelf spirits. Enjoy your drink in the lounge, on the back patio or in the ventilated cigar lounge. Maybe I’ll see you there, and we can trade stories about your latest Yellowstone adventure…or my next one.

Juniper Bartender

Bartender at Juniper

 Cody It's Fun by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

 

 

D’Chez Eux and Perfect Roast Chicken

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose,”  an epigram coined in 1849 by French journalist Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr, has traveled through time, been translated into different languages (English: the more things change, the more they stay the same) and morphed into a proverb. Used by a variety of people around the world, including statesmen, writers, moms and rockers (Bon Jovi), the statement fits many situations, but it especially rings true in it’s native tongue when applied to the Paris restaurant D’Chez Eux. 

D'Chez Eux by Susan Manlin Katzman

Restaurant D’Chez Eux started life in the 18th century as a coaching inn where travelers on the way to Paris would spend the night and enjoy a worthy meal.

Today the restaurant still serves worthy meals to travelers (among them Bill Clinton, Richard Nixon and Vladimir Putin), to statesmen (François Mitterrand, Jacques Chirac and Nicolas Sarkozy), and to a variety of food-loving locals, writers, moms and songbirds. 

The more D’Chez Eux changes (owners, staff and a plunge into social media via Website and Facebook), the more it stays the same. 

For much of its history, D’Chez Eux has enjoyed:

The same location at 2 Avenue Lowendal (Paris 7ème).

Restaurant D'Chez Eux in the Rain by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

The same cozy country ambiance. 

Inside and Out of D'Chez Eux

Inside and Out of D’Chez Eux

 

The same traditional menu with the same popular entrées (starters).

Foie gras de canard truffé de l’Auberge (Home-made truffled duck foie gras)

Foie gras de canard truffé de l’Auberge (Home-made truffled duck foie gras)

 

Cuisses de grenouilles fraîches, pointe d’ail (Pan-sautéed fresh frog legs in garlic butter)

Cuisses de grenouilles fraîches, pointe d’ail (Pan-sautéed fresh frog legs in garlic butter)

 

Escargots de Bourgogne en pots au beurre d’ail et d’echalote (Burgundy snails in shallots and garlic butter)

Escargots de Bourgogne en pots au beurre d’ail et d’echalote (Burgundy snails in shallots and garlic butter)

 

The same type excellent staff. 

First Maître (head honcho, general manager, keeper of the keys) Dominique Palvadeau

First Maître (head honcho, general manager, all around charmer) Dominique Palvadeau

The same good wine list; the same huge portions; and the same high prices (read on).

Last but not least, the restaurant boasts the same, famed, acclaimed speciality of the house: Poulet rôti “La coucou de Rennes” race ancienne, aux girolles (Roast free-range chicken with fresh chanterelle mushrooms.) Cost for two listed at 98.00€ or about $131.

Poulet rôti “La coucou de Rennes” race ancienne, aux girolles (Roast free-range chicken with fresh chanterelle mushrooms.

Poulet rôti “La coucou de Rennes” race ancienne, aux girolles (Roast free-range chicken with fresh chanterelle mushrooms.)

 

Chef Bertrand Gautreau

Bertrand Gautreau

 Chef Bertrand Gautreau freely shares the restaurant’s original recipe, even inviting those interested to the kitchen to watch him cook. That said, the Coucou de Rennes, is an ancient breed of chicken raised today by about a dozen farmers producing about 30,000 chickens a year. The quality and taste of the meat of this chicken is considered unparalleled, which means that even with detailed instructions, D’Chez Eux’s roast chicken will be impossible to duplicate unless you start with the same breed bird.

On the other hand, find the best quality, free-range, farm-raised chicken, follow this recipe and you can produce a tasty facsimile.

 

ROAST CHICKEN a la RESTAURANT D’CHEZ EUX

Yield: 2 to 4 servings.

Coucou de Rennes ready for the oven at D'Chez Eux

Coucou de Rennes ready for the oven at D’Chez Eux

One 2- to 3-pound top quality, farm-raised chicken

Kosher salt

Freshly ground pepper

About 2 tablespoons butter

About 3 cups chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned, trimmed and if necessary, sliced.

About 3/4 cup rich, flavorful broth

About 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Rinse chicken, then dry very well with paper towels, inside and out. 

Salt and pepper the chicken’s cavity. Twist wing tips behind back and tie legs together. Place chicken, breasts side up, in a roasting pan. Sprinkle salt and pepper over chicken. 

Chanterelles ready to cook at D'Chez Eux

Chanterelles ready to cook at D’Chez Eux

Place chicken in preheated oven, and roast until evenly browned and cooked through, 40 to 50 minutes. (While roasting, turn the chicken, back side up, so that it browns evenly, then turn, again, breast side up to finish roasting.  Baste with pan juices, if the chicken seems dry.) 

Shortly before chicken is cooked, melt about 1 tablespoon butter in a sauté pan, add chanterelles and sauté

Chanterelles cooking at D'Chez Eux

Chanterelles cooking at D’Chez Eux

over high heat a few minutes to release any water. Cover mushrooms with a little broth, bring to a boil, and reduce broth by half.

Remove chicken from pan (put on a cutting board). 

Deglaze roasting pan with broth and add to mushrooms. Boil mushrooms at high heat to reduce liquid to about  1/3 cup. Swirl in a little butter and sprinkle with chopped parsley. 

Place chicken on top of mushrooms and serve immediately.

Poulet rôti La coucou de Rennes ready to serve at D'Chez Eux

Poulet rôti La coucou de Rennes ready to serve at D’Chez Eux

 

 

Paris Wine Bars

Noel Balen: ©Jean-Baptiste Balen

Noel Balen: ©Jean-Baptiste Balen

Noël Balen grew up sure of two things: what he wanted to do with his life—music and writing books—and what he didn’t want to do—all the rest. 

He has certainly achieved his goals. 

Noël is not only a musician, music critic, director and producer, but also a well-known author. His writing career began with a whodunit, and, to date, he has written over forty novels, along with short stories, essays and biographies. 

Perhaps his greatest international writing fame comes with The Winemaker Detective Book Cover series of books that he co-author with Jean-Pierre Alaux. Noël and Jean-Pierre release two titles a year through publisher and translator Le French Book, and today have 22 titles in print. The newest, “Nightmare in Burgundy,” was released July, 2014, in both E-book and print versions. Click HERE for an excerpt. 

The mystery series is so well accepted that it is being made into a TV series, already popular in France, Belgium and Switzerland. 

Noël lives in Paris and took a moment from his busy schedule writing books, making records and lecturing on music to unveil, for Sweet Leisure, the mysteries of finding great wine bars in his hometown. 

In his own word, here is a list of Noël Balen’s favorite PARIS WINE BARS

 

L’ébéniste du vin

Outside L'ébéniste du vin by Susan Manlin Katzman

Located in the heart of the Batignolles neighborhood, this is a wine bar for connoisseurs, offering over 500 different wines and spirits. The stone walls and comfortable armchairs add to friendly service and expert advice. The owners favor little-known estates and modest appellations, and have a number of pleasant surprises, including a Saint-Joseph from Courbis, a Cornas by Alain Voge, and a Domaine de Cébène from Faugères, to name just a few. These are perfect discoveries to accompany generous portions of pata negra. You can end the evening tasting aged rum from Peru, Mauritius Island and Martinique. That’s no surprise, with a name (ebéniste du vin) that literally means “wine woodworker,” here they love anything that is aged in wood barrels.

72, rue Boursault 75017

 

BrutDrinking at Brut by Susan Manlin Katzman

The young chef Akrame Benallal has two Michelin stars and is one of the most over-talented cooks of his generation. He’s inventive, daring, sensitive and a high-flying technician who has already left his mark on France’s gastronomic landscape. He now has three addresses to his name on the Rue Lauriston, just around the corner from the Champs-Élysées: his restaurant (Akrame), along with a venue specialized in meat right across the street (La Vivanda), and finally, down the way, a wine bar called Brut. That’s quite a program for this refined man, and like everything he undertakes, Akrame hits the target with natural class. His wine bar equals his reputation.

22, rue Lauriston 75016

 

Le vin de JulienWine, Glorious Wine by Susan Manlin Katzman

This is not yet a wine bar, but will be one very soon. Feisty Julien Arnaud’s wine shop has made the front cover of France’s prestigious Gault & Millau magazine, but this limelight has not gone to the man’s head. He is passionate about his work, which he does with enthusiasm and open-mindedness. In one sentence he may praise the merits of a Basque wine, and in the next rave about a grand cru from Bordeaux. I’m sure that when he starts serving food to accompany his wine selections, he will impose the same high standards and eclecticism. This is a man to watch.

42, rue Condorcet 75009

 

Le 11ème domaineLe 11eme Domaine by Susan Manlin Katzman

In the trendy Oberkampf neighborhood, you can still find a place with an authentic atmosphere, far from snobby posturing. At Le 11ème Domaine, the cochonnailles plate is impeccable, but go mostly for the selection of cheeses—particularly the goat- and sheep-milk cheeses. The owner will know how to find the Chablis or the Montlouis that will blow you away, or a Beaujolais that will surprise you. He’s a traveller with eclectic tastes who tears down the borders between Bordeaux and Burgundy. Prices are reasonable, which also contributes to the charm, making you want to come back quickly. 

14, rue des Trois Bornes 75011 

 

Ô ChâteauA Nice Pour by Susan Manlin Katzman

Located in the former home of the Marquise de Pompadour, right near the Châtelet, you’ll find a vast selections of wines, many served by the glass. Whether you take a prestigious Médoc or a fine Saumur Champigny, the staff will always give good advice. The menu has a number of different food plates, and don’t deprive yourself of the absolutely divine truffled brie. In the end, if you are a curious gourmet and really let go, then the bill could be a little steep, but who’s counting?

68, rue Jean-Jacques Rousseau 75001

 

 

 L’EtabliL'Etabli by Susan Manlin Katzman

Here’s another address to visit in the Batignolles neighborhood. Some people go to this wine bar for its selection of organically grown wines and no-sulfite bottles, but that is not the only reason to make the stop. The down-to-earth décor, the truffled ham, the dried sausage, the smoked cheeses and the always very fresh bread (an important detail) are other motivations to go here with friends. Whether you live in the neighborhood or are simply passing through, this place feels familiar.

4, rue Bridaine 75017

 

Le Siffleur de BallonsGlasses of Wine by Susan Manlin Katzman

Le Siffleur de Ballons has good music, light-filled decoration, and an easy-going atmosphere—patience is a virtue here. Most of the wines are served by the glass (something not that frequent in Paris), and you should follow the staff’s suggestions. The food plates are always well done and made with quality products. Here, you get good quality for a decent price.

34, rue de Citeaux 75012

 

Le BaravLe Barav by Susan Manlin Katzman

Just north of the Marais, Le Barav is on everyone’s don’t-miss list today. In fact, its success can lead to some frustration. Do stay, even if it’s noisy, crowded, inaccessible and almost unbearable if you are dreaming of a romantic tête-à-tête. You go for this slightly disorderly atmosphere, the people, the pushing and the space-sharing that the staff manage to channel and appease. Special mention goes to the rillettes, perfect with just about all the wines they offer. You go get your bottle at the wine shop next door.

6, rue Charles-François Dupuis 75003

 

 

La Compagnie des Vins SurnaturelsStreet Sign by Susan Manlin Katzman

You cannot do a tour of Parisian wine bars without spending some time in Saint-Germain-des-Près. There, La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels is chic, without being pretentious, intimate without being isolating. Here, you will be spoiled with one of the best wine lists around—it’s copious and very diverse. With such choice, don’t hesitate to talk to the waitstaff, who will be able to guide you based on your tastes, what you choose to eat and whether or not you want to leave the beaten path. Everything—pata negra, truffles, scallops, and more—is served with class. Reservations are necessary, as in so many of the capital’s top spots.

7, rue Lobineau 75006

 

FrenchieInside Frenchie by Susan Manllin Katzman

Frenchie is cozy, with a low ceiling, high chairs, wood beams and lots of charming decorative details. There is no need to reserve, but it is best to arrive around seven in the evening if you want to find a seat. The food is perfect, varied and changes with the market (blood sausage with apples, encornet and carrots, headcheese and girolles, and more), but that’s to be expected when you know that chef Grégory Marchand, whose restaurant is across the street, founded the wine bar. The wines equal the dishes, and everything here is served up without pretention, and with real hospitality.

6, rue du Nil 75002

 

 

  

Lake Yellowstone Hotel

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

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

Entrance to Yellowstone National Park by S.M. Katzman

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

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

Facade of Lake Yellowstone Hotel by Susan Manlin Katzman

Lake Yellowstone Hotel

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

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

Bedroom at Lake Yellowstone

 

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

Yellowstone Lake by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

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

Bears at Yellowstone by Susan Manlin Katzman

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

 

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

College of Yellowstone National Park by Susan Manlin Katzman

College of Yellowstone National Park by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

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

Lake Yellowstone Hotel Sign by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

Personal favorite touches of the hotel include:

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

Sun Room at Yellowstone National Park by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

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

Lake Yellowstone shop by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

Polished wood floors, original fireplace and comfortable lobby seating.

Lounge at Lake Yellowstone Hotel by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

Bear-shaped soap as a bathroom amenity.

Soap at Yellowstone National Park by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

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

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

 

GOAT CHEESE SPREAD FOR BREAD

Bread with Goat Cheese Spread by Susan Manlin Katzman

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

 

 

 

 

BEST FOOD ALONG THE MISSISSIPPI

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

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

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

In Regina Charboneau’s own words:

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

 

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Bar La Grassa Scrambled eggs from Bar La Grassa

800 N Washington Avenue

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

 

St. Paul, Minnesota

HeartlandHeartland poto by Shaun Liboon

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

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

 

La Crosse, Wisconsin

Bebo’s Dogs & BeefBebo's Dogs & Beef

146 Rose Street

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

 

Galena, Illinois

Galena Brewing Co.  Galena brewery

227 North Main Street 

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

 

Davenport, Iowa

The Hotel BlackhawkBix at the Blackhawk Hotel

200 E. 3rd Street

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

 

St. Louis, Missouri

SugarfireSugarfire sign by Susan Manlin Katzman

9200 Olive Blvd.

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

 

BassoBasso by Susan Manlin Katzman

7036 Clayton Avenue

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

 

Memphis, Tennessee

Hog and Hominy Hog &Hominy

707 W. Brookhaven Circle

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

 

Acre  ACRE Memphis

690 S Perkins Road

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

 

Greenville, Mississippi

Doe’s Eat PlaceDoe's Eat Place

502 Nelson Street

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

 

Natchez, Mississippi

Kings TavernKings Tavern

613 Jefferson at Rankin

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

 

Biscuits and Blues  Biscuits and Blues Logo

315 Main Street

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

 

Darrow, Louisiana (the River Road)

Houmas House Carraige House Tea Table Houma House

40136 Hwy. 942 

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

 

 

 

 

New Orleans, LouisianaRevolution Chefs photo by Ron Manville

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

 

Other favorites in New Orleans   

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LITTLE DIX BAY & ISLAND SALAD RECIPE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

View of Little Dix Bay Resort

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

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

Beach Collage by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

Beach and Water Collage by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

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

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

 

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

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

Little Dix Bay Spa by Susan Manlin Katzman

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

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

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

 

LITTLE DIX ISLAND TOFU SALAD

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

1 cup shredded romaine lettuce

4 large cherry tomatoes, halved

1 cup cubed tofu

1/2 cup chick peas

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

1 tablespoon sliced black olives

1 tablespoon diced red bell pepper

1/3 cup shredded beets

Roasted-garlic vinaigrette

3 large whole green olives

3 large romaine lettuce leaves

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

 

ROASTED-GARLIC VINAIGRETTE

Yield: About 2/3 cup.

1 large garlic bulb

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

3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons honey

Salt to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

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

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

 

 

 

TOP FAVORITE

PLACES TO EAT IN:

Albuquerque, New Mexico

 

Ann Arbor, Michigan

 

Bangkok, Thailand

 

Cody, Wyoming

Cody It's Fun by Susan Manlin Katzman 

 

Denver, Colorado

 

Dijon, France

 

Little Rock, Arkansas

IMG_0004_4

 

Los Angeles, California

 

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

 

Nashville, Tennessee

 

New Orleans, Louisiana

New-Orleans by CHRIS GRANGER.

 

Rome, Italy

 

Seattle, Washington


Stuttgart, Germany

 

Tel Aviv, Israel

 

Tucson, Arizona

 

PLACES TO DRINK IN: 

Brussels

 

Paris

Paris at Sunset by Susan Manlin Katzman 

 

DESTINATIONS:

 Albuquerque, New Mexico

 

Apalachicola, Florida

 

Canal de Bourgogne, France

 

Door County, Wisconsin

 

Fiji

 

Hot Springs, Arkansas

Hot Springs National Park by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

Moss Landing, California

Moss Landing Harbor by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

Seattle, Washington

 

Taos, New Mexico

 

Tel Aviv, Israel

 

Turks and Caicos

 

PLACES TO STAY:

Adler Thermae Spa Resort, Tuscany, Italy

Adler Thermae Spa Resort

 

Arlington Resort Hotel,  Hot Springs, Arkansas

The Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

Ashford Castle, Cong, County Mayo, Ireland

Ashford Castle

 

Capital Hotel, Little Rock, Arkansas

Exterior of The Capital Hotel by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

Captain’s Inn, Moss Landing, California

The Captain's Inn in Moss Landing California

 

Château De Cîteaux La Cueillette, Meursault, France

Château De Cîteaux La Cueillette

 

Coombs House Inn, Apalachicola, Florida

Coombs House Inn

 

Grand Velas Riviera Maya, Mexico

Grand Velas

 

Lake Yellowstone Hotel, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Facade of Lake Yellowstone Hotel by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

Mandarin Oriential Paris, France

IMG_0084

 

Rosewood Little Dix Bay, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

Serving Beach Drinks at Little Dix Bay

 

Saxon Hotel, Johannesburg, South Africa

Saxon Hotel

 

Tongabezi, Zambia, Africa

Tongabezi 

 

Wald & Schlosshotel Friedrichruhe, Germany

Wald & Schlosshotel Friedrichsruhe

 

TRAVEL COMPANIES and

GREAT PRODUCTS:

Rail Europe

RailEurope Train by Susan Manlin Katzman

 

La Fresh Travel Products

IMG_0002

 

St. Louis Walking Tour

STL Lost & Found

 

 

 

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