Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Liz's Travel News and Views: Santa Fe, Portland Ice Cream and Historic Arizona Inn

Interesting travel and foodie news from across the West.

Travel + Leisure Selects Santa Fe as #3: Travel + Leisure, one of the world’s most eminent travel publications, announced that Santa Fe placed #3 Favorite Town In America with a population under 100,000 in their 2016 America’s Favorite Places survey. This six-month survey asked respondents to submit their favorite place and rate it in over 65 categories including affordability, notable restaurants, and public parks.

The magazine’s editors noted that “not surprisingly” the city ranked near the top of this year’s survey for its art scene, history, restaurants and peaceful atmosphere. They even cited excellence in margaritas although the survey was conducted prior to the highly successful May 5 opening of the new Santa Fe Margarita Trail.

“Santa Fe has over 400 years of history and unique multicultural achievement in art, food, shopping and wellness—all set against one of the most dramatic landscapes in the world,” said Randy Randall, Executive Director of TOURISM Santa Fe. “We’re a small town of only 80,000 people but we have over 400 restaurants, 250 galleries, 14 museums, 1.6 million acres of National Forest and dozens of world class festivals all summer and throughout the year. We’re honored that Travel + Leisure readers recognize that we are called The City Different for many very good reasons.”

Summer is for Ice Cream in Portland: Salt & Straw, the iconic Portland-based, family-run ice cream company known for its artisanal, chef-driven approach to an American classic, will be featuring a series of limited edition seasonal menus at scoop shops in Portland this summer.

The seasonal menus rotate every four weeks and showcase the compelling stories of what is happening in the community. Starting in June, Salt & Straw brings fermentation to the forefront, creatively using sourdough, fish sauce and fermented honey for the flavor-packed fermentation series.

Throughout the month, explore the nuanced flavors that can be achieved through fermentation, beyond just salty and funky.

In July, the summer berry bounty will steal the show, from the marionberry to the blackberry.

Lastly in August, Salt & Straw will work with the community of local farmers and producers on a suite of flavors available in neighborhood scoop shops from green fennel and maple to caramel corn on the cob. Each flavor in the series features fresh, locally grown ingredients, as well as a few from farms working to make fresh produce equitably accessible to all.

Flavors rotate each month and are available locally at Salt & Straw scoop shops, and are also available for national shipping.

Historic Arizona Inn Celebrates 80 Years: The Hermosa Inn in Paradise Valley, near Phoenix, the onetime home of cowboy artist Lon Megargee, is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year with renovations and a resort package that tells the story of the property’s historic charm. This quaint hacienda-style property is sure to impress with cozy, remodeled casitas, a new roundabout and 24-hour valet, and a brand-spanking-new resort lobby that features a comfy fireplace.

Rejoice in all that’s old and new at The Hermosa Inn with the 80th Anniversary package, which celebrates Lon’s innovative spirit as a painter. Kick off the celebration at check-in with a glass of sparkling wine. Later, meander over to the resort’s signature restaurant LON’s with your $80 dining credit and head off-site for a dose of culture with complimentary admission for two to Phoenix Art Museum. Upon your return, settle into bed with an enhanced turndown service that features a nightcap of the “Alonzo 80” signature cocktail. Rates start at $289 per night and are available through Aug. 31

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Biking the rails: The Railrider experience comes to the Oregon Coast

Coming soon to the Oregon Coast, the Railrider will provide you with the unique experience of actually biking on train rails from Bay City to Tillamook. Needless to say these Tillamook Bay Railroad rails are inactive during the times the Railriders are running.
Pedal the rails on this specially designed Railrider vehicle
I found out first hand how biking the rails can feel and I’m a fan. I biked with Railriders in eastern Oregon recently and heard about their plans to start rides on the coast too.  Railriders will begin offering rides on their unique pedal-powered vehicles just off Hwy 101 in Bay City by the end of May 2016.

Ready to roll!
So what’s it like? Well, first of all it’s fairly easy. Railriders are recumbent bikes with wheels designed to fit on train rails. You will bike on a Railrider with another person, or like on the Oregon Coast, with up to three more people. Groups will be guided by Railrider staff. Pedaling is easy… after all you have help. And you can brake your own vehicle.

Can you do it? Of course. I’ve given up standard biking because of crowded bike paths and lack of confidence in my sense of balance. On the Railrider, I sat back, buckled in and pedaled with a friend. Our guide told us when to slow down to cross roads and made sure the track ahead was free of obstacles. Easy, peasy.

It was a quiet, relaxing ride. I enjoyed wildlife, farm animals and the passing scenery. And, if I wanted to take a picture, we just slowed down. When you get to your destination, guides turn the Railriders around and off you go. You’ll pedal harder if there is a grade but remember you’ll have a friend or two to help you. Little kids can ride along with adults and really don’t have to pedal.

video

Oh yes, she's just kidding about derailing in the video. It's completely safe!

In eastern Oregon, there are a couple of routes. We took the one from the arts town of Joseph to Enterprise. There is also a route running from the confluence of the Minam and Wallowa Rivers at Minam to the city of Wallowa and back… gorgeous scenery! 

In the Oregon Coast area watch for the buzz as Railriders kicks off their first summer season.  I suggest you call ahead if you want to ride the rails because this is going to be hugely popular. Get ready for an experience unlike any other.

More Information

Pedal from Bay City to Tillamook
2 hours, 11 miles round trip
$20 per person / 12 years and older
$10 / 11 years and younger when accompanied by an adult.
Departures: 9 a.m., noon, 3 p.m. Thursday through Monday
Purchase tickets at the location on Hayes Oyster Drive in Bay City
541-910-0089 or 541-910-0981
Soft Opening May 26; closing for the season October 2.
A Grand Opening will be held July 2, 2016 in Bay City.


Friday, May 20, 2016

Slow down and Drink in the Beauty of Eastern Oregon and the Wallowas



Taken near Joseph, Wallowa County, Oregon, USA
I've just returned from a foray into beautiful eastern Oregon. I’ll be writing much more about my visit to a land once crossed by the Oregon Trail pioneers and now dotted with pioneers of today… ranchers, artists, makers and craft beer brewers. But for now, I wanted to share this photo.

Eastern Oregon is full of expansive open spaces, mountain vistas and wildlife. Considered one of the 7 Wonders of Oregon, and “Little Switzerland,” the Wallowa Mountains are absolutely stunning.

This iconic red barn stands in contrast with the snow capped mountains in late May. While there are many images on the Internet of this beautiful barn, you have to stop and drink in the scenery for yourself. Take your own photo. A crisp wind may toss your hair as you lift your camera to take the photo. Smells of field crops fill your senses. Stop and enjoy all that eastern Oregon has to offer. You’ll be enticed to slow down a bit.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

What’s new on the Portland food truck scene? Pastrami Zombie!


Things are always changing with Portland’s food carts. New pod in suburban Sunnyside… pod to close due to downtown construction. I can’t keep up!

Follow da signs!
But one bit of news intrigued me. A “sammich” shop in Ashland was kicking off their new Portland food cart concept… Pastrami Zombie. And I was invited to the event in NE Portland. It was a very Portlandia type affair. Chalk signs led us to the back yard of a stately craftsman style home. The smell of barbque permeated the growing gardens. Families sat around tasting sandwiches and voting on the bread that Pastrami Zombie should adopt for their Portland venue. After all, one must source locally!

It was a Portlandia type party in a NE neighborhood
Not spotting Carrie or Fred in the crowd I turned to the star… a huge brined brisket being carved for sandwiches, hot off the grill. A rye bread was chosen from the six different loaves and the Russian dressing was drizzled on. Next came the Pastrami, lots of it. Topped with creamy slaw. This was a favorite down south in Ashland. It’s their Chicago style pastrami (house brined with  Washington Double R Ranch beef) on light rye, served hot with Swiss cheese and their house slaw.

The star of the show
I added a bit of salad as a side and dove in to the warm sandwich. It was amazingly tender and the slaw added a creamy goodness. Of course, since we were sampling I chose another. This one was on the marble rye. Amazing!

After just one sample, I was addicted!
I chatted with Melissa McMillin the owner and founder of Sammich in Ashland. She and her chefs create Chicago style sandwiches in Ashland receiving rave reviews.

Chicagoan Melissa McMillin is the mastermind
Her plan, and it's in the works, is to have a food truck to test the waters here in Portland and, after tasting the pastrami sandwich, I can’t wait. The truck should be ready this summer and the location(s) will be announced.

Hey Melissa… how about checking out the mobile restaurant scene in Vancouver. The ‘Couve needs a little pastrami love too!

More Information
Sammich Ashland
924 Bridge St.
Ashland, OR 541.708.6055
Facebook

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The lure of the sea: Where to find churning waves on the Oregon Coast

Churning seas at sunset
There is something exciting about crashing waves and churning seas. On the Oregon Coast you can get up close and personal with waves hitting the rocks and spraying water into the air. There are special places where you can see churning seas as the water meets the land.

Yachats Trail 804
Yachats, Oregon is located on the middle coast of Oregon. It is a popular destination for hiking, walking and whale watching. Just behind some beach cottages and sea view hotels, you'll find the often walked historic 804 Trail. There are several places along this trail where you can enjoy watching the seas and sea spray. One is behind The Fireside Motel.

Devil's Churn
This area is located at the Cape Perpetua Scenic area just south of Yachats. The pounding, exploding waters of Devils Churn are at their best during high tide and winter storms. At the Devils Churn you’ll find restrooms, an information station (summer only), coffee shop and wheelchair accessible viewpoint. You can view the churning waters from the highway or hike down and take a closer look.
As you watch the sun set, a golden glow tints the churning seas.

Safety Measures
Near the lookouts and rocks you'll often sea signs warning of "Sneaker Waves."  Sneaker waves can surprise you as you watch the ocean. They are unexpected wave surges that don't match the rhythm of the seas you are watching. They are known to sweep people into the water from rocks where they thought they were safe. Another time to stay way back from the sea is during storms. Waves can build and winds can cause the waters to churn and spray much farther inland than normal.


Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Schreiner's Iris Gardens: Open for the season on May 6th 2016 (List of Events)


Bloom season at Schreiner’s Iris Gardens is each year in May. This year, the gardens are open May 6th – May 31st.   

For only a few short weeks a year, Schreiner’s opens the doors to their spectacular Iris farm to the public for free self-guided tours. Stroll the 10-acre display gardens and take in the sight and fragrance of over 500 named Irises in full bloom. During bloom season, the gardens are open from dawn to dusk; gift shop and cut flowers open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Hundreds of cut Iris stems will be on display as part of the Schreiner's Cut Flower Show; open daily during bloom season. Schreiner's Gift Shop will be filled with treasures and gardening delights for Iris lovers.  Fresh-cut Iris stems available for purchase every day. During the four-week bloom season, Schreiner's will host special events, including wine and liqueur and live demonstrations, every weekend.

Here’s their list of special events:

Title:   Schreiner’s Iris Gardens Bloom Season 2016
When/Where:           May 6 – May 31, 2016. Gardens and Cut Flower Show open daily from dawn to dusk; gift shop open daily 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., cut flowers available daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
            Schreiner’s Iris Gardens, 3625 Quinaby Rd NE, Salem, Oregon, 97303
What: Tour Schreiner's Iris Gardens’ 10-acre display gardens filled with over 500 named Irises. Shop unique gifts in the Gift Shop on site, and place an order for Iris to ship this summer. View hundreds of Irises on display in the Schreiner's Cut Flower Show. Fresh-cut Irises are available for purchase every day.
            Daily 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., St. Edward’s Not the Same Old Grind beverage cart will serve warm and cold espresso drinks, smoothies, water, tea and lemonade, available for purchase. All proceeds benefit St. Vincent DePaul Society, St. Edward Youth Ministry, St. Edward Knights of Columbus and St. Edward. The Mt. Angel Sausage Co. cart will also join us with their amazing sausages, curly fries, delicious elephant ears and soft drinks for purchase.
Cost:    The gardens are free and open to the public.

Title:   Opening Weekend with Methven Family Vineyards, Elixir Liqueurs and Spiritopia
When/Where:           Saturday, May 7, 2016. 9 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
            Schreiner’s Iris Gardens, 3625 Quinaby Rd NE, Salem, Oregon, 97303
What: Opening weekend for Schreiner’s Iris Gardens is here! The sun is out and the Irises are exploding with color and vibrancy, inviting everyone to enjoy the ten acres of display gardens. Here to help celebrate opening weekend is Methven Family Vineyards, offering wine tastings for purchase from noon to 5 p.m. Elixir, with their Iris and orange liqueur, and Spiritopia, with their premium apple and ginger liqueurs, will offer tastings for purchase from noon to 5:00 p.m. Enjoy a glass of wine or a sipper of liqueur while strolling through the beautiful gardens. Join us 1:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. for How to Dig & Divide Iris Demonstration. This live demonstration and discussion will review the proper time and technique for digging and separating Iris. It’s easier than you think! Free demonstration, open to all. To find out more about Methven Family Vineyards, please visit their website at www.methvenfamilyvineyards.com. Information on Elixir can be found at www.elixir-us.com, and more about Spiritopia is at  www.spiritopia.com.
            Daily from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., St. Edward’s Not the Same Old Grind beverage cart will serve warm and cold espresso drinks, smoothies, water, tea and lemonade for purchase. All proceeds benefit St. Vincent DePaul Society, St. Edward Youth Ministry, St. Edward Knights of Columbus and St. Edward. The Mt. Angel Sausage Co. cart will also join us with their amazing sausages, curly fries, delicious elephant ears and soft drinks for purchase.
Cost:    The gardens are free and open to the public. Demonstration is free and open to all. Wine and liqueur tastings for nominal fee.


Title:   Celebrating All Mothers at Schreiner’s Iris Gardens

When/Where:           Sunday, May 8, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
            Schreiner’s Iris Gardens, 3625 Quinaby Rd NE, Salem, Oregon, 97303
What: We are inviting all mothers to celebrate with us at Schreiner’s Iris Gardens. Our special gift to these amazing mothers is a FREE cut stem of Iris, while supplies last. Also enjoy sipping delicious wines and liqueur from Methven Family Vineyards and Spiritopia as you stroll through the ten acres of beautiful Iris gardens. Tastings of Methven’s wines are available for purchase noon to 5 p.m. and premium artisan apple liqueur and ginger liqueur tastings, by Spiritopia, for purchase from noon to 5:00 p.m. To find out more about Methven Family Vineyards, please visit their website at methvenfamilyvineyards.com and to find out more about Spiritopia visit spiritopia.com.
            Daily from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., St. Edward’s Not the Same Old Grind beverage cart will serve warm and cold espresso drinks, smoothies, water, tea and lemonade for purchase. All proceeds benefit St. Vincent DePaul Society, St. Edward Youth Ministry, St. Edward Knights of Columbus and St. Edward. The Mt. Angel Sausage Co. cart will also join us with their amazing sausages, curly fries, delicious elephant ears and soft drinks for purchase.
Cost:    The gardens are free and open to the public. Wine and liqueur tastings for nominal fee.

Title:   Tastings and Iris Demos in the Gardens
When/Where:           Saturday, May 14, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and
            Schreiner’s Iris Gardens, 3625 Quinaby Rd NE, Salem, Oregon, 97303
What: Enjoy the wonderful smells and the beautiful colors of 10 acres of iris as you sip a sample of local micro-brew from Gilgamesh Brewing (www.gilgameshbrewing.com), or of a unique liqueur. Elixir, with their Iris and orange liqueurs, and Spiritopia, with their premium apple and ginger liqueurs, will offer tastings for purchase from noon to 5:00 p.m. Enjoy a sipper of liqueur while strolling through the beautiful gardens. Join us 1:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. for How to Dig & Divide Iris Demonstration. This live demonstration and discussion will review the proper time and technique for digging and separating Iris. It’s easier than you think! Free demonstration, open to all. To find out more about on Elixir visit www.elixir-us.com, and for more info about Spiritopia visit www.spiritopia.com.
            Daily from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., St. Edward’s Not the Same Old Grind beverage cart will serve warm and cold espresso drinks, smoothies, water, tea and lemonade for purchase. All proceeds benefit St. Vincent DePaul Society, St. Edward Youth Ministry, St. Edward Knights of Columbus and St. Edward. The Mt. Angel Sausage Co. cart will also join us with their amazing sausages, curly fries, delicious elephant ears and soft drinks for purchase.
Cost:    The gardens are free and open to the public. Iris Demo free of charge. Tastings for nominal fee.

Title:   Tastings in the Gardens
When/Where:           Sunday, May 15, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and
            Schreiner’s Iris Gardens, 3625 Quinaby Rd NE, Salem, Oregon, 97303
What: Take in all the wonderful smells and the beautiful unique colors of our 10 acres of iris as you sip a sample of local micro-brew from Gilgamesh Brewing (www.gilgameshbrewing.com), or a sample of the premium artisan apple liqueur and ginger liqueur, by Spiritopia for purchase from noon to 5:00 p.m. To find out more about Spiritopia visit www.spiritopia.com.
            Daily from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., St. Edward’s Not the Same Old Grind beverage cart will serve warm and cold espresso drinks, smoothies, water, tea and lemonade for purchase. All proceeds benefit St. Vincent DePaul Society, St. Edward Youth Ministry, St. Edward Knights of Columbus and St. Edward. The Mt. Angel Sausage Co. cart will also join us with their amazing sausages, curly fries, delicious elephant ears and soft drinks for purchase.
Cost:    The gardens are free and open to the public. Liqueur and micro-brew tasting for nominal fee.

Title:   Celebrate Keizer Iris Fest at Schreiner’s Iris Gardens!
When/Where:           Saturday, May 21, 2016 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
            Schreiner’s Iris Gardens, 3625 Quinaby Rd NE, Salem, Oregon, 97303
What: There is no better place to celebrate Keizer Iris Fest than with us, at Schreiner’s Iris Gardens. Enjoy the 10-acre display garden in full bloom as you enjoy a sample of local micro-brew from Gilgamesh Brewing (www.gilgameshbrewing.com), or of a unique liqueur. Elixir, with their Iris and orange liqueurs, and Spiritopia, with their premium apple and ginger liqueurs, will offer tastings for purchase from noon to 5:00 p.m. To find out more about Elixir visit www.elixir-us.com, and for more info about Spiritopia visit www.spiritopia.com.Also here to celebrate the day is Bellows & Squawk sharing their unique interpretations of neglected gems from the American Song Book from noon to 1 p.m. From 1:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. check out the How to Dig & Divide Iris Demonstration live demonstration and discussion. We will review the proper time and technique for digging and separating Iris. It’s easier than you think! Free demonstration, open to all. Join us 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. as special guest Sue Bielemeier of Green Thumb Florist provides free demonstration on flower arranging with a focus on the use of Iris in your arrangements. Also out to enjoy the fun and to ensure you don’t leave hungry is St. Edward’s Not the Same Old Grind beverage cart will serve warm and cold espresso drinks, smoothies, water, tea and lemonade for purchase. All proceeds benefit St. Vincent DePaul Society, St. Edward Youth Ministry, St. Edward Knights of Columbus and St. Edward. The Mt. Angel Sausage Co. cart will also join us with their amazing sausages, curly fries, delicious elephant ears and soft drinks for purchase.
Cost:    The gardens are free and open to the public. Liqueur and micro-brew tasting are available for nominal fee.

Title:   Willamette Wanderers’ Iris Festival and Flower Walk
When/Where:           Sunday, May 22, 2016 from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
            Schreiner’s Iris Gardens, 3625 Quinaby Rd NE, Salem, Oregon, 97303
What: We at Schreiner’s Iris Gardens are excited to welcome back the Willamette Wanderers joining us for their Iris Festival and Flower Walk! There will be a self-guided 5K and 10K walk available. Registration will be held at the Display Gardens beginning at 9 a.m. For more information about this event please visit their website at www.willwander.weebly.com/walk-wus.html.  Enjoy the 10-acre display garden in full bloom as you enjoy a sample of local micro-brew from Gilgamesh Brewing (www.gilgameshbrewing.com), or of a unique liqueur. Spiritopia, with their premium apple and ginger liqueurs, will offer tastings for purchase from noon to 5:00 p.m. To find out more about Spiritopia visit www.spiritopia.com.
Cost:    The gardens are free and open to the public. Walk is free, unless you wish to have IVV/AVA credit.

Title:   4th Annual Art & Wine in the Gardens
When/Where:           Saturday to Monday, May 28 to 30, 2016 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
            Schreiner’s Iris Gardens, 3625 Quinaby Rd NE, Salem, Oregon, 97303
What: Celebrate this 3-day weekend with amazing art, excellent wine, a local micro-brew, artisan liqueurs, and so much more! Artists from around the valley will join us in the gardens to display and sell their works of art. Many of these artists have been painting in the Display Gardens for years; all will have Iris-themed work on display and for sale. Grab a glass of wine or a sip of liqueur, or a taste of micro-brew, and browse the amazing array of art among the Irises. Methven Family Vineyards is offering tastings of their favorite wines Gilgamesh Brewing, Elixir Liqueur with their Iris and orange liqueurs (Saturday only), and Spiritopia with their premium artisan apple liqueur and ginger liqueur will also pour tastings, for purchase noon to 5:00 p.m. Join us Saturday from 1:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. for How to Dig & Divide Iris Demonstration. This live demonstration and discussion will review the proper time and technique for digging and separating Iris. It’s easier than you think! Free demonstration, open to all. To find out more about Methven Family Vineyards, please visit their website at methvenfamilyvineyards.com. More about Gilgamesh at www.gilgameshbrewing.com; Elixir is at www.elixir-us.com, Spiritopia is at www.spiritopia.com.
            Daily from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., St. Edward’s Not the Same Old Grind beverage cart will serve warm and cold espresso drinks, smoothies, water, tea and lemonade for purchase. All proceeds benefit St. Vincent DePaul Society, St. Edward Youth Ministry, St. Edward Knights of Columbus and St. Edward. The Mt. Angel Sausage Co. cart will also join us with their amazing sausages, curly fries, delicious elephant ears and soft drinks for purchase.
Cost:    The gardens are free and open to the public. Wine, beer and liqueur tasting are available for a nominal fee.

Title:   Schreiner's Iris Gardens’ Annual Memorial Day Celebration
When/Where:           Monday, May 30, 2016 from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
            Schreiner’s Iris Gardens, 3625 Quinaby Rd NE, Salem Oregon, 97303
What: Join us for our Schreiner's Iris Gardens’ Memorial Day Chicken BBQ featuring the culinary delights of the Gervais Knights of Columbus, $11 per plate, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. We will also have artists from around the valley joining us in the gardens to display and sell their works of art. Many of these artists have been painting in the Display Gardens for years; all will have Iris-themed work on display and for sale. Methven Family Vineyards is offering tastings of their favorite wines for purchase from noon to 5 p.m. Gilgamesh Brewing, a local micro-brewery, and Spiritopia, with their premium artisan apple liqueur and ginger liqueur, will also offering tastings for purchase noon to 5:00 p.m. Enjoy live music from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. by Fadin’ by 9 – and of course, acres of Irises! Read more about the band at www.fadinby9.com. To find out more about Methven Family Vineyards, please visit their website at methvenfamilyvineyards.com. Gilgamesh Brewing is at www.gilgameshbrewing.com, and to find out more about Spiritopia visit www.spiritopia.com.

            Daily from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., St. Edward’s Not the Same Old Grind beverage cart will serve warm and cold espresso drinks, smoothies, water, tea and lemonade for purchase. All proceeds benefit St. Vincent DePaul Society, St. Edward Youth Ministry, St. Edward Knights of Columbus and St. Edward. The Mt. Angel Sausage Co. cart will also join us with their amazing sausages, curly fries, delicious elephant ears and soft drinks for purchase.
Cost:    The gardens and music performance are free and open to the public. The chicken BBQ is $11. Wine, beer and liqueurs available for a nominal fee.


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Head to Santa Fe for Cocktail Week, the new Margarita Trail and more

Rave reviews and sold-out seminars were hallmarks of the inaugural year for New Mexico Cocktails & Culture (NMCC). 2016 will be no different—especially with a slew of new events. Festivities kick off with Santa Fe Cocktail Week on Memorial Day weekend that runs the entire week leading up to NMCC, a four-day long festival from June 3 - 6, 2016. Events are for hospitality professionals as well as sipping / dining enthusiasts.

Santa Fe Cocktail Week includes nearly three-dozen restaurants, bars and hotels featuring a signature cocktail. Official participants enter themselves into one of four categories: Cocktail Bar, Restaurant Bar, Wine Bar / Brew Pub, or Nightlife Venue. Their guests can try them and then vote online for their favorites. Winners will be announced at The Liquid Muse Awards ceremony during the NMCC Closing Party on Monday, June 6 at La Fonda Hotel in downtown Santa Fe.

Another new NMCC event is the Chef & Shaker Challenge, 6:30 – 9:00 p.m. at Scottish Rite Temple on Saturday, June 4. Some of Santa Fe’s most beloved chefs are coupled with specific liquor brands to create ideal food-and-cocktail pairings. Attendees vote for their favorite, and the winning chef receives $500 to donate to his or her favorite local charity. A portion of the $55 tickets will support Cooking with Kids.

The City Of Santa Fe will launch a new Santa Fe Margarita Trail on May 5th and NMCC will offer a seminar “The Historic Journey From Daisy To Margarita—The World’s Most Popular Cocktail” on Saturday June 4 at 1:30 p.m.

New Mexico Cocktails & Culture and Santa Fe Cocktail Week are founded by Natalie Bovis, a Santa Fe native, three-time cocktail book author, beverage consultant, co-creator of OM Organic Mixology Liqueurs, and mixology educator. Natalie is also the Vice President of the New Mexico chapter of the United States Bartenders Guild union. Her business, The Liquid Muse, LLC, turns a decade old this month.

She explains her aspirations for the festival, “I hope to foster local cocktail culture and develop new business opportunities in my home state. Community building begins with education and creating relationships. New Mexico Cocktails & Culture provides that platform.”

The full schedule of seminars, cocktail parties, events, and tickets are available on the event website: www.NMCocktailCulture.com.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Vancouver, Washington - Sometimes it's best to vacation in your own back yard

I love covering the West as a travel writer. I've always been intrigued by the beauty and culture of our Southwest and return home to the Pacific Northwest to see snow capped mountains, rushing rivers and, of course, the sea.

This new video of Vancouver, Washington may intrigue you enough to include it in your next vacation. We're only 5 minutes from Portland, Oregon, so there's plenty to see and do on both sides of the river.