Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The 2015 Food Weeks Begin: Portland, Spokane and Beyond

Northwest diners have much to choose from in February this year. 

Photo courtesy: OregonLive
Devour Dumplings During Portland Oregon’s Dumpling Week
The Oregonian/OregonLive will be hosting Portland's first Dumpling Week from Feb. 1-7, 2015. Throughout the week, they will publish features and recipes online and in print, and 19 Portland restaurants will be offering a special dumpling dish on their menus.

Such stellar restaurants such as Aviary and St. Jack will feature their creative take on the simple dumpling. And, we wonder, what will Salt and Straw dream up?

Chef's Week PDX Extravaganza
It's a slow week at the restaurants so Portland, Oregon chefs collaborate on an amazing array of events. Chefs' Week PDX is coming back to Portland for a second year, packing four nights in early February with nearly 30 chefs from across the West Coast and dinners across the city. Many of these dinners are extravagant, exciting opportunities to see well-known chefs create multiple courses. More Information

February is Inlander Restaurant Week in the Spokane Washington Area
Those in the Spokane, Washington area can look forward to Inlander Restaurant Week returning in February to the Inland Northwest.

Restaurants from Spokane to Coeur d'Alene...Spokane Valley to Airway Heights comprise the record number of 97 participants for 2015.

The menus will be available online for public viewing on Thursday, Jan. 29.

Inlander Restaurant Week, Feb. 20 - Mar. 1, features set-price, three-course menu offerings. Participating restaurants offer their special menus at either an $18 or $28 price level. Diners are welcome to choose the special Restaurant Week menu offerings or anything from a restaurant's regular menu.

In addition to the 97 participating restaurants, at least 12 Drink Local participants will be taking part in Restaurant Week. Drink Local focuses on featuring Spokane-region wines, craft beers, spirits and hard ciders with many of the restaurant menus.

For more information about the participating restaurants, their menus and general information about Inlander Restaurant Week, go to

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Liz's Travel News and Views: New Western Museum, PDX Clock and Chocolate Lover's Railroad Excursion

Scottsdale Arizona's New Western Museum
From Yosemite Sam to John Wayne, we’ve loved cowboy culture and the characters associated with it for time immemorial. Now, with the Jan. 15 opening of the long-awaited Western Spirit: Scottsdale’s Museum of the West, you’ll get the cowboy fix you’ve long desired. This non-profit, story-telling institution is situated in the heart of the “West’s Most Western Town” and showcases the history, present day and future of all 19 states in the American West. 

Explore the museum’s galleries featuring paintings, sculptures, cultural artifacts and interactive exhibits, which illustrate the ever-evolving American West, from cowboys on horseback to historic roads like Route 66. Highlights include pieces by Arizona cowboy artist John Coleman, who’s known for his bronzes; paintings by Montana artist Charles Fitz, whose work chronicles the most famous 19th century expedition of all, that of Meriwether Lewis of William Clark; and notable pieces from famed artists such as Carl Oscar Borg and Maynard Dixon. 

The two-story, 43,000-square-foot museum will also feature an interactive map of 19 western states near the entryway, the 135-seat Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust Theater/Auditorium, an array of Western items and ware, and an open-air courtyard dotted with sculptures. Admission to the museum will be $13 for adults, $11 for seniors and active military, $8 for students and children, and free for children under the age of 5.

Portland Oregon's Visiting Clock
There is more to talk about than the loss of the PDX carpeting. A huge cuckoo clock has found it's temporary home at the Portland Airport.

After traveling to Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., the Portland is Happening Now cuckoo clock has come home to roost at Portland International Airport (PDX). The 7,000-pound, 24-foot-tall clock towers in the south atrium and welcomes visitors to this creative, unconventional city — all while giving locals something new to embrace. 

Handcrafted by Nicolas (Nico) Gros, a French sculptor and mechanical designer, with Oregon maple chainsaw-carved by sculptor J. Chester Armstrong, the clock will be at PDX through March 2015. Depicting local spirit and icons such as Mount Hood and Portlandia, the timepiece serves as a reminder of what the city has to offer every hour of every day as part of Travel Portland’s Portland is Happening Now campaign.

Arizona's Verde Canyon Railroad Offers Chocolate Lovers Event
This delectable affair is one of the most popular Verde Canyon Railroad events. It blends the rich flavors of everything sweet with magnificent vistas of raw, unspoiled nature.

The confectionary celebration fills each car with intoxicating scents and tasty chocolate pastries, cakes and luscious hand-dipped delicacies. Fruit, pretzels and marshmallows are ready to be dunked into free-flowing chocolate fountains. Share these mouthwatering desserts while enjoying the delicious scenery of the Verde Canyon viewed from the comfort of a train.

How often do you get to combine two of life’s greatest pleasures – chocolate and riding a train?
Verde Canyon Railroad‘s Chocolate Lovers’ Festival continues to be one of Sedona’s sweetest seasonal celebrations.

Photos Courtesy: Featured Destinations

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Warm up in Phoenix with The Seasonal Dinner Series

The Seasonal Table is a new series at the Desert Botanical Garden featuring a four-course dinner of fresh, locally sourced seasonal cuisine with wine pairings.  Each dinner will be held in a special Garden location chosen for its beauty.  Upon arrival to the dinner venue, guests will enjoy a welcome drink and hors d’oeuvres. While seated at extended harvest tables, guests will experience a four-course dinner that will incorporate the freshest, seasonal, and locally sourced ingredients.

These dinners will be enjoyed in the elegant ambience of the various Garden venues. Learn the story behind your meal from Matthew Taylor, Executive Chef at the Garden’s own Gertrude’s, and how your wine compliments each course from knowledgeable winery representatives. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015: Wine & Dine
Enjoy a dining experience celebrating the wide and varied culinary uses of wine!  Upon arrival to the Boppart Courtyard, guests will be welcomed with a specialty cocktail and hors d’oeuvres. Each of the four courses will have wine as a special ingredient and will also be carefully paired with the featured wine of the evening. Enjoy the evening’s courses paired with the soulful styling of local jazz favorite, The Dmitri Matheny Group.

Saturday, March 14, 2015: Tequila Ole!
Learn to appreciate the nuances of flavor in the different varieties of tequila, all the while enjoying an elegant four-course meal under the stars!  Guests will begin their evening with a welcome margarita and hors d’oeuvres in our beautiful Steele Herb Garden.  Each dinner course will be paired with the evening’s featured tequila, and a representative will be present to discuss the finer points of tasting.  The elegance of the evening’s ambiance will be enhanced by Miguel de Maria’s Spanish guitar performance played throughout the night.

Saturday, April 11, 2015: Dig Into Spring
Celebrate the beauty of spring at the Desert Botanical Garden!  Upon arriving to the Ullman Terrace, guests will be greeted with the evening’s welcome cocktail and seasonal hors d’oeuvres.  Enjoy a four- course menu which will feature the fresh, seasonal cuisine that this season has to offer, pairing the evening’s featured wine with each.  The sophisticated DeGrazia String Trio will be performing a serenade of string music to complete the evening’s experience.

TIME:                  6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

WHERE:            Desert Botanical Garden
                             1201 North Galvin Parkway
                             Phoenix, AZ  85008
TICKETS:           Members: $145 / General Public: $150
                             Pricing is per person / per dinner
                             This event is 21 and over

INFO:    For additional information call 480-481-8188 or visit

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Arizona: Primo Sports Destination for 2015

It's warm in Arizona. Sports fans will have many reasons for heading to the desert. This year, enjoy the annual baseball Spring Training. But in February, Super Bowl craziness takes over!

Glendale AZ – Third Super Bowl in 19 Years
Arizona hosts its third Super Bowl in 19 years, welcoming the best of the NFL. 
Date:  February 1, 2015. Location: University of Phoenix Stadium, 1 Cardinals Dr., Glendale (West Phoenix)  More Information:

Phoenix, Arizona Hosts Football Theme Park
One of the Super Bowl’s most popular activities, this interactive football theme park features kids’ football clinics, interactive football games and free autograph sessions.
It his held January 24-February 1, 2015 (call for times). The cost is $35, adults; $20, children 12 and younger.

Location: Phoenix Convention Center, 111 N. Third St., Phoenix. More Information: or 866-TIX-4NFL.

Golf Arizona
And, of course, there is golf. lists courses, tee times and special deals.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A 1950's Christmas in San Francisco: Family Car Tour

Last year I took readers down memory lane by talking about my memories of a 1950’s downtown San Francisco Christmas experience
We bundled up in the back seat of
our Studebaker, not unlike this one.
But we had another tradition… cruising the Christmas lights and displays of San Francisco.
We were frugal. We didn't go out to eat before our special outing. We had a simple meal at home served from the stove-top in our small kitchen. We bundled up and got into the car giddy with anticipation.

Our favorite place to cruise was in the Marina District along Marina Boulevard. The large homes facing the yacht basin and Marina Green opened the curtains of their huge (at least as a child they appeared huge) picture windows. We oohed and ahhed over the life-size moving Santa all decked out in a gold Santa suit.
We marveled at the floor to ceiling lighted trees, some with color coordinated decorations. Some even had flocked trees. For a little girl who went home to a traditional live green tree with heirloom ornaments, these trees were always a source of amazement.
The homes in the Marina often had large
picture windows to take advantage of the Bay views.
In one window, there was a beautiful shiny black grand piano next to the Christmas tree. I though how marvelous it would be to practice piano with a view of the Bay.
There was much more than the windows to see. We wondered how the homeowners got the displays and lights on their roof-tops… stars, twinkling lights.
The boats in the harbor often had lights too… and Christmas trees affixed to their masts. 
To me, the homes along Marina Boulevard were always full of ostentatious Christmas spirit. It was fun to see them from the warmth of our Studebaker sedan.
Before we returned home in the Richmond District, we went through Golden Gate Park to see the living nativity scene in Lindley Meadow. The brightly lighted scene was a special one. The costumed people and the real animals were a big draw. I especially liked seeing the donkey and sheep. We admired this special San Francisco display, often rolling the windows down in the car and slowing to a crawl.
Christmas in San Francisco was magical. The traditions we developed as San Franciscans were simple ways to enjoy all the season had to offer in The City By the Bay.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Liz's Travel News and Views: Spokane Update, Old Fashioned Christmas and Holiday Cheer at Pagosa Hot Springs

Behind the Spokane Convention Center

Skybridge Now Connects New Hotel to Spokane Washington Convention Center
Things are growing for Spokane's Convention Center. The Davenport Grand Hotel was being built earlier this year when I visited this beautiful riverside area. 

This month, the skybridge connecting the Davenport Grand Hotel and the Spokane Convention Center was installed.  Joining the DoubleTree by Hilton Spokane City Center, the Davenport Grand Hotel will be the second connected hotel to the Spokane Convention Center. 

With an expansion project expected to be completed in January 2015, the Spokane Convention Center will total more than 500,000 square feet, including 120,000 square feet of exhibit space and 83,512 square feet of meeting space. The 17-story Davenport Grand Hotel is projected to be completed in summer 2015 and will have 62,500 square feet of meeting space. The 716-room hotel will be joining the Autograph Hotel Collection by Marriott. 

With the addition of the new hotel, a total of 1,100 rooms will be connected to the Convention Center. Additionally, the number of hotel rooms within eight blocks of the Convention Center rises to 3,300.

Christmas at Fort Vancouver in Vancouver, Washington
Friends and families can experience the sights and sounds of the 1840s fur trade Christmas season this Saturday, Dec. 13, at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. The celebration is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Regular admission rates apply: $3 for adults; free for youth 15 and under. For more information, call 360-816-6247 or click here. 

Activities include Christmas caroling by the Madrigal Singers, hands on activities for kids, games of the 1840s, and culinary demonstrations in the kitchen and in the Blacksmith Shop. Black powder weapon demonstrations are set for 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Click here for the full story from the Daily Insider.

Consider Pagosa Springs, Colorado for a winter getaway
Winter Fun at Pagosa Springs in Colorado
What a great idea for a family getaway. Plan your stay at The Springs Resort & Spa and take advantage of their package deals. The resort features steaming natural springs and a luxurious hotel. I had the pleasure of staying there one fall. 

You can soak in their world famous hot springs, explore the beauty of the Rockies and pamper yourself at their Spa.  

Polar Express Package: Take a magical journey to the North Pole... then return to soak in mystical steaming hot springs.  Enjoy hot chocolate and a treat served by your personal chefs, who will also read THE POLAR EXPRESS story on the way to the North Pole to pick up Santa! Sing Christmas carols, while Santa Clause gives each Child a gift! Rates start at $199 for a Family of 4! Train tickets purchased separately: $35/Adults, $12/Children.  Includes: 1- Night Stay at The Springs Resort & Spa. Polar Express Train Tickets - Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, Jolly Holiday Hot Drinks in the Phoenix Room Lounge: Hot Cocoa, Hot Toddies and more seasonal specials! And, last but not least, 24-Hour Access to 23 Natural Mineral Hot Springs.

Only Available December 12th - 14th, and December 16th - 20th. Use the Promo Code: POLAR
For More Package deals and to book, see the the Email announcement or visit their website. Or call 970-264-4168

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Top 5 Travel Experiences of 2014

As I look over the past year of travels, I have my clear favorites. These are my best travel experiences in the Pacific Northwest as that is where I have concentrated my exploration this past year. I have discovered a world class kite museum as well as culinary delights in Oregon and Washington.

Spokane Falls: Amazing in Spring
1. Spokane Washington. Spokane, the amazing River City in Central Washington, surprised me. As a child I remember arriving by train and seeing the lighted falls. I wasn't prepared for the changes Spokane Falls and the downtown area offered.

Spokane has a developed a vibrant, beautiful area along their urban river. You can enjoy viewing the rushing falls, shop the new River Park Square, and go wine tasting in the Cork District.

Even with this vitalization of the downtown area, Spokane has been careful to retain some of the historic architecture such as the beautifully restored iconic Davenport Hotel.  I enjoyed a walking tour of the area which took me by historic buildings and along the Spokane River. There is much to do and explore in Spokane.

2. Washington's Long Beach Peninsula. In SW Washington, you'll find the Long Beach Peninsula, a Depot Restaurant with the locally sourced cuisine of Chef Michael Lalewicz. 
The kites on the Long Beach Peninsula will surprise you.
destination for great sea food, exciting activities and amazing festivals. You can go clamming on the sandy beach, shoot photos of the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse and end your day in the cozy

The Long Beach Peninsula has an extensive list of enticing events. In the lead is the annual International Kite Festival. Long Beach is a great place to fly kites. You'll see competitors from around the world during the festival. Year 'round you can enjoy the colorful kites and displays at the two story kite museum, a must-visit when you are in Long Beach. 

When you are ready to go home (IF you are ready to go home) stop at Jesse's Seafood market in Ilwaco for some fresh off-the-boat seafood to take home and cook.

SE Wine Collective
3. Portland's SE Division Street Restaurant and Wine Scene. SE Portland is an up and coming culinary center with a great neighborhood vibe. The SE Wine Collective makes wines in their urban winery and serves up great small plates at their tasting bar. In the summer, enjoy sitting outdoors on the sidewalk sipping your favorite selections. In fall, you might find an exciting event such as the recent Nouveau Division Crawl with wine, seasonal food and music.

SE Division has become a popular place to open a restaurant. The newly trendy street is home to such foodie destinations as St. Honoré Boulangerie, Lauretta Jean's, Block + Tackle, Son of a Biscuit and Cibo.

Wahclella Falls
4. Hiking the Columbia River Gorge. Every other June, the Columbia River Walking Club hosts a mega event, spanning four days. With maps in hand, walkers and hikers discover the beauty of the waterfall trails gracing Oregon's spectacular Columbia River Gorge.

It's a great way to enjoy such amazing sights as Multnomah Falls, Dry Creek Falls and Wahclella Falls. The trails are measured and rated so you won't over-do unnecessarily. My favorite, event or not, is the beautiful Multnomah Falls, just a short drive east of Portland.

5. Washington's Olympic Peninsula. Rain forests, Native American culture and a wild and exciting coastline are features of the Olympic Peninsula.

A great destination for hikers and walkers is the Hoh Rain Forest.

View at sunset from Kalaloch Lodge
The Olympic Peninsula is also known as home of the popular Twilight series. You can visit sites described in the books and stop by to chat with locals at the Forks Visitor Center.

When you aren't out hiking or kayaking, a great place to stay and dine is the scenic Kalaloch Lodge.

Photos copyright: Elizabeth R. Rose Photography

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Thanksgiving Weekend in Santa Fe: Winter Indian Market 2014

One of the highlights of the winter season in Santa Fe is the Annual Winter Indian Market. The Southwestern Association for Indian Arts (SWAIA) presents the 9th Annual Winter Indian Market®, Thanksgiving Weekend, November 29-30 at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center from 10 a.m. –5 p.m. The event will be located at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center. 201 W. Marcy. Admission: $10 daily / $15 weekend pass. Members and children (under 12) are free.

This smaller, more intimate version of the summer Santa Fe Indian Market® features  approximately 200 Native American artists including potters, carvers, basket makers, beadworkers, sculptors, painters, jewelers, weavers, photographers and mixed media artists. Many of the award-winning artists from the 2014 Santa Fe Indian Market® will be participating including Lola Cody (Navajo), who won Best of Show for textiles. At Winter Indian Market®, you buy directly from the artists. The participants in this invitational show are juried from summer market assuring a great selection of high quality Native fine art.

As part of the Winter Indian Market®, SWAIA is hosting the first annual Festival of Trees benefit. Local businesses, Native artists and individuals have donated fully decorated trees to be auctioned off over the weekend. Among them are Things Finer, Rob and Elizabeth Pettus, Rio Grande Jewelry Supply, Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino, Nocona Burgess and family, and the Santa Fe Indian Market® / SWAIA tree with artist donated ornaments. 

Immediately following the close of Winter Indian Market® on Saturday night, there is a benefit reception and concert featuring Iron Horse, a new collaboration by award-winning Native rock musicians Robby Romero and Robert Mirabal. Sat Nov 29, 5-7. Tickets are $15 at the door.
The Santa Fe Indian Center has partnered with SWAIA to host a children’s activity table and there will also be free gift wrapping available. Both will be available throughout the weekend along with special live cultural, traditional and contemporary performances.