Harbor View Hotel on Martha’s Vineyard, an official hotel sponsor of the 14th annual Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival that runs March 13-16, is offering filmgoers two all-access packages. Throughout the festival, guests can go to screenings of more than 20 films, post-screening talks, live music, food and children’s activities, at a starting rate of $439 for the Festival Pass package. Starting at $639, The Couch VIP Pass package provides preferred seating on a couch in each theater. Both packages include a two-night stay, including taxes and guaranteed access to all films.
Films include “Fading Gigolo,” with Sofia Vergara, Woody Allen, Sharon Stone and John Turturro; “Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory,” a documentary showing the positive effect of music on Alzheimer’s patients; and “Shored Up,” which focuses on issues surrounding East Coast communities dealing with coastal erosion and rising sea levels. For package info and reservations, visit www.harbor-view.com or call 800-225-6005, and for info on the festival, visit www.tmvff.org
If you find yourself in Maine through March 10 and get hungry, consider the sixth annual Maine Restaurant Week, with more than 100 restaurants offering pre-fixe menus at set prices, $25, $35, $45, and $55. To find the complete list and breakdown, visit www.mainerestaurantweek.com, or check out a free mobile app for iPhone users, the MRW App.
Fly between Boston and San Francisco (SFO) or Los Angeles (LAX) in Virgin America's first-class cabin starting March 4 and enjoy new linen table service, cocktail hors d'oeuvres and, best of all for passengers flying eastbound from SFO, ice cream created just for Virgin America.
The airline has worked with San Francisco's favorite ice cream maker, Humphry Slocombe (known for its unusual and inventive creations), to come up with three top flavors, one of which will become Virgin's signature treat. If you're traveling through SFO's Terminal 2 today, you can sample the following flavors up until 3 p.m. PT and cast your vote: #ButterByMoodlight, which is a creamy combination of brown butter and blueberry glaze; #RedHotBanana, which combines buttery banana cream with sweet cinnamon spice from mashed Red Hot candies; and #CoconutBlondAmbition, which salutes Virgin's founder, Sir Richard Branson, and includes Humphry Slocombe’s signature vanilla marshmallow fluff, a lemon citrus sorbet, and creamy coconut. You have until the end of the day on February 28 to vote by tweeting the flavor's hashtagged name.
Not traveling first class? You can still get a free scoop of ice cream at Humphry Slocombe's two San Francisco shops (located in the Ferry Building and on Harrison Street in the Mission), anytime from March 4 to June 30, by presenting your Virgin America boarding pass.
As part of the new first-class menu, you can enjoy the new roasted tomato, marinated artichoke heart, and olive and mozzarella skewer hors d'oeuvre while sipping your in-flight cocktail. Then choose from a healthy mixed-herb or green bean salad for your starter and entrees that include chicken breast with apple fig compote, or a protein plate with mixed nuts and edamame hummus.
The new menu, which varies by route, will also launch March 4 on flights between San Francisco or Los Angeles and Newark, New York, and Washington D.C.
Graphics: Virgin America
In Bermuda, February is the island’s annual “Love Month,” which includes a couples’ golf tournament at Port Royal Golf Course (duos get a 50-percent discount on greens fees); a “Champagne and Strawberries Afternoon Affair” at the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art; a “Love Train City Tour;” a “Lover’s Matinees” at Specialty Cinema; a love cruise around Hamilton Harbor; and a “Love Tales Walking Tour” in St. George. Check it all out www.gotobermuda.com
Rosewood Tucker’s Point is running an engagement celebration package that includes an 80-minute couple’s massage; daily breakfast on your balcony; and a private dinner customized by Chef Guido. The package, which offers much more, starts at $3,395 the first night, and $295 a night thereafter. Check it out at www.rosewoodhotels.com/en/tuckers-point-bermuda
More warm-weather offerings include Kamalame Cay in the Bahamas, with its “Lover’s Island Rendezvous,” at 20-percent off, which includes three-, four-, or five-night stay, free bubbly and chocolates, an afternoon on a small, private island, couples’ massage and private beach dinner. Three-night packages start at $2,669. Deal runs Feb. 1-28. Visit www.kamalame.com for details.
Also in the Bahamas, Deep Water Cay has an escape package starting at $5,308 for three nights that includes a stay in a one-bedroom cottage, private beach picnic for two and beachside cooking classes. Visit www.deepwatercay.com for details.
In the British Virgin Islands, you’ll find the “Sweet Surf” and “Sweet Sail” packages available from Jan. 31 through March 3. The surf package, which starts at $2,775 per couple, includes a trip to remote Josiah’s Bay for a private two-hour surf lesson. The sailing deal, starting at $3,425 per couple, includes a romantic, five-hour private boat charter on the Caribbean. Both packages include three-nights lodging in a one-bedroom, ocean-view suite; three-course dinner at Caravela at the resort; a 60-minute couples massage at Ixora Spa with 30-minute peppermint mocha or dark chocolate and coconut scrub; champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries on arrival; and breakfast for two each morning of chocolate pastries, hot items and beverages. Also included are unlimited use of sea kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, Wi-Fi, resort ferry and free airport transfers. Check it out at www.scrubisland.com
Bristol House Bed & Breakfast in Bristol, R.I., has a "Romance for Two" package which runs through February and offers two-nights lodging, daily breakfast, two one-hour massages, $50 dining certificate, flowers and chocolate. Rates start at $558. For info, visit www.bristolhousebnb.com
At Rhode Island's southern end, Ocean House in Watch Hill has its “Romance by the Sea” package, that includes a two-night stay in a deluxe room, welcome bottle of champagne, breakfast for two on Saturday, brunch on Sunday. Rates start at $745 per couple, and for info, visit www.oceanhouseri.com
Up in Kennebunkport, Maine, three hotels offer deals dubbed “Five Shades of Red,” where in addition to a two-night stay, you get a lazy man’s lobster dinner for two at One Dock, bottle of red wine and chocolate-covered strawberries, red velvet whoopee pie and red rose turndown and continental breakfast. Hotels are The Kennebunkport Inn, Grand Hotel and Boathouse Waterfront Hotel. Rates start at $339, $412 and $425, respectively. Package is good through March 31.
At Harbor View Hotel on Martha's Vineyard, they have a Valentine's Day prix fixe dinner deal for $48 per couple, which gets you things like sous-vide local lobster, pork tenderloin, chocolate macaroons and truffles. If you stay, rooms start at $179 a night, which includes dinner. Check it out at www.harbor-view.com.
Far away deals include one at the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong, with a “Celebration Retreat” valid for all nights from Jan. 20-Feb. 16 and after that, just on Friday through Sunday nights until the end of the year. Rates start at $651, and include in-room breakfast, welcome bottle of champagne and chocolates, restaurant and spa credits and more. For all details visit www.mandarinoriental.com/hongkong Paris is arguably the world’s romantic city and two hotels have deals for lovers. At Le Bristol Paris, where rates start at $1,200, you get one night, a welcome bottle of bubbly, chocolates and a special surprise, continental breakfast and a cocktail for two in Le Bar du Bristol. A “Romance in Paris” spa package is also offered, starting at $1,064 for two, which includes treatments, treats from the pastry chef, champagne and scented limited-edition Diptyque candle to take home. For all info, visit www.lebristolparis.com At the Mandarin Oriental, the “Love in Paris” package available for February includes a seasonal “Exotic Passion” cocktail, dinner, spa treatments and more. Rates are from $1,681, and for information visit www.mandarinoriental.com/paris
The Palais Namaskar in Marrakech, between the Atlas Mountains and Djebilet hills, has a romantic package available year round, that includes two-nights lodging; round-trip airport transfers; romantic in-room amenities; sliced fruits with cream; and a romantic bath with flower petals and candles. It also gets you breakfast in bed, a “Sunrise Retreat” with five hours in a VIP cabin with private hamman and two Namaskar Signature massages; and a “One Thousand and One Nights” dinner in the gardens or private terrace. Packages start at $1,344. For info, visit www.palaisnamaskar.com
Wine lovers may consider the Sonoma Coast Villa in Spa in California, with fully inclusive rates starting at $1,150 for the nights of Feb. 14 and 15, that gets you a room with fireplace, roses and chocolate truffles, private three-course dinner and one couples’ massage. Check it out at www.scvilla.com
If you seek more heart-pumping adventure of the adventurous sort, consider the Wild Dunes Resort on Isle of Palms, South Carolina, where you can get a three-hour Morgan Creek paddle package and get two nights lodging and a three-hour kayaking journey with rates from $219 a night, or the “It Takes Two: Heart-Pumping & Pamper Package,” which gets two nights, massage and pedicure for two and a choice of a full-body conditioning workout or Vinyasa Yoga session. Rates for that start at $339. Visit www.wilddunes.com for info.
Gamble on love and money with “Lights, Limos and Love” at Harrah’s Resort in AtlanticCity, with the package running through Feb. 16 starting at $899 a night, which includes a $100 dining credit and limo ride to a personal light show and bottle of Etoile Rose Brut Champagne. Check it out at www.harrahsresort.com
It's the Granite State, not the Grape State, but New Hampshire, from Jan. 27-Feb. 2, the 9th Annual New Hampshire Wine Week gets underway, sponsored by the state's liquor commission, with intimate wine dinners, exclusive panel discussions and tastings, and the largest wine even in northern New England, dubbed the “Winter Wine Spectacular.” The N.H. Liquor Commission created wine week in 2005 after two years of the “Spectacular,” the largest wine event north of Boston. The event gives customers the chance to sample some of the 7,000 wines available at the state's 77 liquor and wine outlets, and meet with nationally and internationally acclaimed winemakers at dozens of events throughout the state.
“With more than $272 million in wine sales last fiscal year, which marks a 7.3-percent increase from the last year, New Hampshire is a significant player in the wine world,” said Joseph W. Mollica, commission chairman, in a press release. “The wine world has taken notice: New Hampshire is wine country.”
The week's events include celebrity bottle signings at select outlet locations, celebrity wine dinners and three signature events. It ends with the 11th Easter Seals Winter Wine Spectacular at the Radisson Hotel Manchester Jan. 30, with nearly 1,800 wines, food, silent auction and raffle, and raises money for Easter Seals New Hampshire. Tickets for the grand tasting are $65 each, and tickets for access to that and Bellman's Cellar Select are $125.
For a full list of participants and more information, visit www.nhwineweek.com
For those who are still adhering to their New Year's resolutions to eat more healthily, a recent survey of airline snack food and meals might help minimize the dietary damage caused by boredom and limited options while in the air. DietDetective.com, in conjunction with Dr. Charles Platkin of Hunter College and City University of New York School of Public Health, studied the food offerings on 12 major airlines. Their “Health Score” ratings are based on a number of factors including the health value of the meals and snacks and their calorie levels. Virgin America (best bet: the Protein Meal with hummus, nuts, and tuna) and Air Canada (best bet: Chicken Ramen Noodle Soup) offer the healthiest choices. Check out DietDetective.com for the full survey, which also includes Alaska Airlines, Jet Blue Airways, United Airlines, American Airlines, US Airways, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, and Allegiant Air. If in doubt, by the way, stick with the nuts—but don't eat too many.
The 15th edition of Montreal En Lumiere (Montreal High Lights) runs Feb. 20-March 2, which showcases the city and visiting chefs from San Francisco who are attending to run a series of culinary collaborations, including Michael Tusk (Executive chef/owner of Quince and Cotogna restaurants) and David Barzelay of Lazy Bear. San Fran chefs will create multi-course meals throughout the festival with Montreal counterpart chefs Daniel Boulud, Riccardo Bertolino, Anthony Joyce and Sylvain Levaillant.
There are several lodging packages available which come with one or two-nights’ lodging, admission to various events, gift bags and other offerings, including the “Experience Montreal En Lumiere,” starting at $169; the “Haiti 3D” package starting at $368; “Presenting: Quebec Chefs and Cheeses,” starting at $204; and “Hats Off to Haiti Convivial Meal,” starting at $159.
The festival also has music, performing arts, and free outdoor family activities. For all information and links for lodging and ticket options, visit www.montrealenlumiere.com or call 855-864-3737.
There's nothing wrong with hanging around a great Caribbean resort like Harbour Village Beach Club in Bonaire. The food is terrific, the sunsets stunning, the beach a long, puffy sliver of silky white, hammocks slung lazily between palm trees, and enough diving and snorkeling and kayaking to keep you busy throughout.
But getting off property is a must, and Bonaire has ample places to check out. Take a drive over to Lac Bay on the southeast coast, the windsurfing capital of the island, and check out the aptly named Bonaire Windsurf Place, where local legend Elvis Martinus has been teaching the sport to island youth for decades. Martinus, all-Antillean champion and Olympic representative for the sport, is so well known in windsurfing circles he’s featured in an award-winning documentary, "Children of the Wind." And he's an immensely easy person to chat up if you run into him there, always eager to talk about the sport he’s done so much to promote.
Lac Bay, one of the clearest bodies of water I've ever seen, is a broad and shallow place of steady trade winds and a beautiful place to watch colorful windsurfers jet across the surface. Next to it is Beach Hut Bonaire, which had been a small snack and fast-food outlet until 2008 when it was replaced by a sprawling, boat-shaped bar, open sided and facing the bay, where you get things like the half-pound Beach Burger and local goat cheese salad. Stick around at night for the music and dancing in the sand.
In the north central part of the island is a very pleasant little village, Rincon, the island's oldest. Pick up a walking-tour booklet and meander about, seeing things like Cinelandia Theatre, long closed but with plans afoot to make it the Bonaire Heritage Center; a house built of "blokkies," one of the few on the island built of these gray blocks; and the Oficina di Number, a betting office.
Satisfy your hunger at Rose Inn, a local favorite in Rincon, open aired and shaded by intertwined brambles over rickety tables where you can drink Polar beer from Venezuela and slurp some iguana soup, a thick creation with bony pieces of lizard, some with skin attached, and if you're lucky, a leathery iguana egg or two. The goat stew is divine, too, abundant chunks of meat with veggies, plantains, corn meal and beans. It's got a kick all its own, but add some table-top hot sauce if you want to ramp up the heat.
For a truly unique taste, walk over to Cadushy Distillery, run by Eric and Jolande Gietman, Eric a big, blue-eyed Dutchman who happily boasts he runs the biggest distillery on the island – and the only one, which by default, makes it the biggest.
Check out the cactus liqueur, easy enough to find the main ingredient for considering cactus is to Bonaire what pine trees are to Maine. They hand peel them, and dry the flesh in hot car windshields, Gietman said. He also makes sorghum alcohol so strong you can't drink it but can run a car on it. I wasn't sure if he was kidding or not.
They don't export, so buy some to take home, good "suitcase liquor," as he called it. Also taste the cactus vodka, which he said is the only one in the world, the Rom Rincon, a rum spiced with yerba, and Captain Don's Whiskey, spiced with aged Cuba tobacco leaves, named after a local diving legend.Rincon is, Gietman said, "the Bonaire of 30 years ago," a collection of pastel buildings, a few businesses, dogs ambling on never-busy streets, children playing freely on them, and old timers drinking beer and laughing on brightly painted patios.
If you dive, Bonaire is the place in general, and Harbour Village in particular. It is home to the Great Adventures Water Shop in an area long designated as a top dive destination, with 86 well-defined dive sites and more than 30 years of environmental protection laws that make Bonaire a place with the most-preserved marine life in the world.(For information on Bonaire, visit www.tourismbonaire.com. For information and reservations at Harbour Village, visit www.harbourvillage.com)
Executive chefs Nathan Gould from Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown on Martha's Vineyard, and Daniel Kenney from Sea Crest Beach Hotel in Falmouth, don?t just share their culinary experience with paying customers. Both returned recently from a trip to the Philippines, not just culling talent for their hotels back home, but also helping out victims of Typhoon Haiyan that slammed the islands in November and killed more than 6,000.
The Philippines has a long tradition of providing top-notch culinary students with a chance of working in the United States, the chefs said, and while there they led culinary demonstrations, educational discussions and got to known hundreds of students who study at culinary and hotel-management universities there. In the process, they said, they came full circle, reuniting with former apprentices of both their hotels, and witnessing their success back home. New recruits from the Philippines will arrive on the Cape and Martha's Vineyard this spring.
As importantly, they said, both visited an orphanage that is home to children victimized by the typhoon, where they donated diapers, formula and food, and ate with the children as well, both calling it the highlight of their trip.
If you want to check out some of Gould's creations, the Harbor View Hotel is hosting a New Year's Eve party, with music by the Sultans of Swing and the Mike Benjamin Band, along with a midnight champagne toast on the hotel's wraparound porch, with fireworks set to explode over Edgartown Harbor. Tickets for the event are $95, and guests must be 21 and older, and semi-formal attire is required (a similar party at Sea Crest is sold out, according to that hotel's website). Harbor View is also offering an overnight package, with rates from $349, that includes the stay and two tickets to the party and if you get carried away, late checkout at 2 p.m. the next day. For information, visit www.harbor-view.com
Fairmont Battery Wharf on Boston’s waterfront celebrates its fifth anniversary with a package that includes an overnight stay and $55 food and beverage or spa credit. The package’s starting rate is $255, available through March 31. Guests can upgrade to a suite for per-night rates from $355 for a one-bedroom suite or from $555 for a harbor suite. Winter attractions at the hotel include toasting s’mores or having a drink at the fire pits outside, afternoon tea, live entertainment and treatments at its Exhale Spa. For information, visit www.fairmont.com/battery-wharf-boston
If you find yourself in Bangkok over New Year's (and really, it's a much warmer choice than icy Boston), the Tower Club at Lebua, one of the city's most luxurious hotels, is offering specialty menus at its restaurants, Mezzaluna, Sirocco, Breeze and Distil, all high up in the skyscraper hotel and carrying pretty sky-high prices.
Available for one night only, the menu features things like Japanese Kyushu beef, Petrossian Imperial caviar, red king crab from the Okhotsk Sea and New Caledonia Pacific Ocean blue shrimp. The experience starts with free champagne at Flute Bar on the 64th floor, with spectacular views of the Chao Phraya River and city skyline. Prices are $980 per person at Mezzaluna, $903 at Breeze, $829 at Sirocco and $678 at Distil
New Haven hosts its 11th installment of its popular bi-annual restaurant week Nov. 3-18, with 30 of the city's eateries taking part by offering three-course prix fixe meals for lunch and dinner, the former costing $18, the latter $32, not including tax, tip or beverages. All the restaurants are also offering their regular menu items, and urge that reservations be made due to the popularity of the program.
Participating restaurants include 116 Crown, Basta Trattoria, Caseus, Heirloom, Ibiza, John Davenport’s, Oaxaca Kitchen, Thali, and Zinc. For a full listing, check out www.infonewhaven.com/restaurantweek, and follow on Twitter with hashtag #NHRW13
The Wild Rover Pub in Manchester, N.H., said to be that city's original Irish pub, has a new menu and general manager. Tom Puskarich, a 20-year veteran of the trade, and most recently the chef/owner of Z Food & Drink in the city, has updated the pub's menu and expanded the bourbon, whiskey and beer offerings. The new menu and hours is the first phase of an overall redo of the space. The chef has added things like Asian nachos, macadamia-nut chicken fries and gouda-stuffed tater tots, while adhering to the Irish flavor of the pub with chicken and sausage pot pie with Irish black pudding.
The pub was voted "Best Irish Pub in New England" in 2010 by a New England Cable News viewers' poll and one of New England's "10 Best Irish Pubs" by the Boston Globe and boston.com in 2009. Check it out at www.wildroverpub.com
Wild game is the focus of a Thanksgiving dinner at Water Street, the signature restaurant at Harbor View Hotel on Martha's Vineyard this year. Created by Executive Chef Nathan Gould, the buffet, prices at $59 for adults and $25 for children 12 and under, includes local meats (venison and boar, for example, and of course, turkey), artisan breads and cheeses, salads, soups, seafood and seasonal desserts. The buffet runs from 11:30 a.m. To 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28. For information and to check out the menu, visit www.harbor-view.com
The Lake Placid Lodge in Lake Placid, N.Y., is holding its annual “Gastro Getaway Weekend” Nov. 7-10, in conjunction with Lexus. The weekend highlights the combined talents of Executive Chef Nathan Rich of the lodge, and Executive Chef James Hackney of Wequasset Resort & Golf Club on Cape Cod. There will also be eight Lexus vehicles on property, and three will be available to guests to test drive during their stay. The weekend also features products of Miner Vineyards and Taittinger Champagne House.
During the weekend, guests can participate in various culinary and spirits-oriented events, including wine and champagne tastings, culinary demos and pairings, cocktail muddling and mixing classes, one-on-ones with chefs, a brewery tour, craft beer tastings and more. The weekend will also showcase local talent and Olympic-themed activities, including curling.
The lodge is also offering an extra night free when booking three nights for the weekend. Rates start at $799 a night, and include all “Gastro Weekend” events and activities.
For info and booking, visit www.lakeplacidlodge.com
By Michell Eloy, Chicago Tribune
Originally published: 06/13/2013
The National Hockey League Stanley Cup Finals kicked off last night in Chicago, pitting the Blackhawks against the Boston Bruins in a best-of-seven battle on the ice. And this series looks to be a nail-biter, given the three-overtime opening game Wednesday night. Naturally, Bruins and Blackhawk fans alike will need to stay nourished as the series moves forward, so for visiting Bostonians, we in Chicago have compiled a list of places to eat while visiting our fair city:
Pequod's -- Most first-time visitors (or second-time, or third-time) to Chicago have one thing on their culinary to-do lists upon arriving -- deep dish pizza. While places like Uno's and Giordano's have popularized the pies outside of Chicago, Pequod’s in Lincoln Park, with its "caramelized crust" and charred-cheese pies, is a more local option that captures the quintessential Chicago deep dish pizza. (2207 N. Clybourn Ave., 773-327-1512)
Frontera Grill -- James Beard Award-winning chef Rick Bayless' casual Mexican restaurant hasn't lost any of its popularity in its more than 25 years of existence. As one of the restaurants that helped make Chicago a culinary destination, Frontera Grill should be a must on any visitor's list of places to eat. But if you're pressed for time and can't do the hour-plus wait, some of the local taquerias, like Arturos (2001 N. Western Ave.) in Bucktown and El Taco Veloz (1745 W. Chicago Ave.) in Ukranian Village, will satisfy any taco cravings. (445 N. Clark St., 312-661-1434)
Goose Island Brewpub -- Chicago has become a destination for craft beer lovers. And as the local brewery that arguably started it all, Goose Island Brewpub in Lincoln Park is an ideal spot to sample local drafts while taking in the game or calming those overtime nerves. (1800 N. Clybourn Ave., 312-915-0071)
Superdawg Drive-in -- What list of Chicago places would be complete without suggestions for where to get a Chicago-style hotdog? Superdawg's pure beef dog is served on a traditional poppy seed bun with all the typical fixings: yellow mustard, relish, onions, a dill pickle and a hot pepper. A word to the wise: Don’t ask for ketchup. Especially if you're wearing a Bruins jersey. (6363 N. Milwaukee Ave., 773-763-0660)
Davanti Enoteca -- The small-plate trend has exploded in Chicago over the last few years. For those looking to sample some of the area's best offerings, Davanti Enoteca, run by Chicago restaurateur and chef Scott Harris, has an excellent wine selection and an array of inventive Italian plates -- think pastas, cheeses, oven pizzas and cured meats -- that have elevated it among other restaurants in the same vein. (1359 W. Taylor St., 312-226-5550)
Doughnut Vault -- No longer the dining choice of police departments, doughnuts are making a bid to take over cupcakes as the trendy "gourmet" food item in Chicago. Doughnut Vault (pictured) serves some unique spins on the fried confectionary, like pistachio and strawberry shortcake, along with the more traditional cake and vanilla doughnuts. We recommend getting there early, as the shop closes as soon as the doughnuts sell out. And they sell out quick. (400 N. Franklin St.)
Text and photo courtesy of our friends at the Chicago Tribune. Doughnut Vault photo by José M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune.
By Patricia Borns, Glove Correspondent
As April 20-28 marks National Parks Week, there's still a short window to visit Everglades National Park before it's swallowed in mosquitos and uber high humidity. As you roll along SW 192nd Ave. toward the park's most visited Arnold Coe entrance, keep an eye peeled for Gator Grill, where a Brooklyn, NY transplant is cooking up the best gator bites around.
Then, in 2010, a local farmer Sal Mucumeci offered him a spot near the Everglades agricultural buffer to start a business. The location offered a steady stream of Glades traffic and a standout neighbor: the wildly popular exotic fruit smoothie stand Robert Is Here, a short hike down the road.DeVito jumped at the chance, and voila, or should we say, ecco: a menu of farm-raised gator and locally sourced frog legs done every which way except fried was born, with South Florida's best Italian meatball sub thrown in for good measure.
Recently I tried the popular gator tacos served with crispy shredded slaw and DeVito's delicious cream sauce ($9.95), outstanding. You might equally like the grilled gator kabob ($9.95) or the area's only local frog legs served in wine and garlic butter sauce instead of a fried basket ($9.95). For the less adventurous, DeVito has gourmet burgers in the $6.00 range including a vegan version, a local fish sandwich and sweet potato fries.
As I chowed down at one of the outdoor picnic tables, a glimpse of Glades wildlife in the form of an invasive cannibalistic tegu lizard slithered from behind an out building and tried to cross the road!
Spanish Aracena doesn't have the "eat" reputation of Italy, but its Tuscan gold sunlight and Mediterranean larder are no less. A British couple Sam and Jeannie Chesterton discovered this in a tiny village on the edge of Sierra de Aracena National Park. They turned their arful hands to creating an organic homestead and guest house, Finca Buen Vino, where they've farmed, fed guests and taught them to cook for 20 years. Whether raising their own branded Iberian pigs, gathering chestnuts and mushrooms in the hills or spreading a picnic in an open field, everything they do is touched with rustic beauty.
Now their friend Tom Clinch, a Conde Nast travel and food photographer, is teaching 3- and 5-day photography workshops there in the fall and spring (schedule and prices). Put it all together, and you'll forget about Mr. (or Ms.) Wrong.
Meeting the single Brazilian business exec? Remains to be seen.
If the journey along the Wine & Cheese trail in central Massachusetts described in the October 21 Travel section has inspired you to check out the state's wineries and cheesemakers, you might want to purchase a $2 Massachusetts Wine Passport at one of the participating wineries. The 19 wineries in the Passport cover the state from the tip of Cape Cod to the southern Berkshires and produce a range of grape and fruit wines. Once you have had your passport ''stamped'' at 15 wineries you will be eligible to enter a January drawing for the grand prize of 15 cases of wine.
Jenn Samek-Lutkus of Hardwick Vineyard and Winery holds a Massachusetts Wine Passport. (Photo by David Lyon for the Boston Globe)
The Blackstone Valley Tourism Council is hosting its annual Fall Foliage and Shopping Train Excursion Oct. 20 aboard the Providence and Worcester Railroad, which leaves the Woonsocket train depot in Rhode Island at 9 a.m. and returns at 4:30 p.m. The foliage train travels through historic Blackstone River Valley to the many antique shops, restaurants and gift shops in Putnam, Conn., where there will be an arts and crafts fair, music, sidewalk sales, a pumpkin festival, bazaar and luncheon, at the Putnam Congregational Church. The train leaves Putnam at 2:15 and chugs back to Woonsocket by 4:30 p.m.
Ticket prices run from $28 to $58. There is a snack bar on the train, and passengers can also bring their own, though no alcoholic beverages are allowed. For information and reservations, visit www.tourblackstone.com or call 401-724-2200.
The weekend lineup includes the carving demo which will show head-to-tail carving and showing diners how to harvest and use each part of the animal; a beer and charcuterie master class; an "All-Things Pork" dinner, featuring a range of pork specials at American Seasons.
For complete pig-out information and reservations, visit www.americanseasons.com/hogtoberfest.html or call 508-228-7111.