Sunday, October 23, 2011

I have lots to say and add but this has been a busy year, spent so much time with my butt on a plane I have not had much time for fun writing. I do make lots of reviews on Trip Advisor as Snow White from Milan so check them out. Lately the disgust for what is happening in our world has depressed me and it seems we are moving farther and farther away from what we need to be as human beings. Our politicians suck, their behavior, quest for power and money, the gross mishandling of our tax dollars in all cities and countries. The other day I read an article in an Italian newspaper, the parlament reps do not even show up for work on Thurs or Fri. In fact, on Wed they all show up at "the office" with their bags packed! These turkeys need to get paid for when they show up and that is it. How can a country be run when everyone is off enjoying their bennies?  Just sucks.

On that note, I am adding a photo of one of our great wonders, a place so full of emotion-evoking vistas, smells and sounds. Try the Silver Saddle at the Cowboy Club in upper Sedona, get a personal tour of Hopi land with Sandra Cosentino Crossing Worlds, the Northern Arizona Museum in Flagstaff, stay at the Old Adobe Hacienda in Oak Creek Village and have great beers at the brewery in Tlaquepaque.
The Hopi House for good Native Indian crafts both cheap and expensive and the Silver Bear for silver. Garlands is always a treat and you will not find better rugs. Do not miss the Windrush Art Gallery, The Lanning Art Gallery and across from that one, the Turquoise Turtle, these are the quality galleries of Sedona and you will not be disappointed.
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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Mojito Time!

Thanks to people who wander in once in a while, Stephen Andrew Jones introduced me to a creation of his and believe me people, if you like mojitos, are suffering a bit from summer heat you must try his pineapple mojito.  

Awesome Pineapple Mojito recipe!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Knock your Socks off - Caribbean Chocolate Rum Balls

Double the batch, these freeze well, lovely with Amaretto or coffee liqueur.

2 oz semi-sweet chocolate, melted
2 cups crushed chocolate cookies (oreos or other)
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1 cup sifted, powdered sugar
3 tbsp light corn syrup
1/2 cup dark rum (Cruzan or Pussers)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup sweetened, shredded coconut

Combine melted chocolate, cookie crumbs, nuts, sugar, corn syrup, rum and vanilla in a large bowl,
kneading until a thick dough forms. Roll into 1 inch thick balls. Roll in coconut. Makes about 24, it is that easy!  This recent trip to the Caribbean has got me on the rum thing...rum runners, pain killers, rum and garlic rice, steamed coconut rice...yum.

Friday, April 29, 2011

BVI! Virgin Gorda

Gathering my photos and getting my thoughts down in words regarding this pristine wonderland. So, stay tuned, you will be glad you did.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Castello Pavone, Ivrea - Piedmonte, Val d'Aosta Italy

Courtyard of the Castello

A very brief visit to Castello di Pavone in the town of Ivrea on the outskirts between the Val D'Aosta,  and Piedmonte, Italy was worth every Euro. Luky to have come in on the tail of two groups who vacated that very day and the weekend before Valentines, we had the place all to ourselves. The historic site has been lovingly restored and is dutifully maintained. You will find yourself immersed in an environment with most of the modern comforts you might desire and a nice dash of hardship to remind you how difficult it is to live in a castle, even today.

The courtyard
 The owner is the only one who has a vehicle in the upper portion of the grounds; all us lowlifers must park below the dwelling and climb a nice steep set of flagstone stairs to the outer wall where there is a door built into the rock (remember this when you pack your bags...).  :-)  You must ring the bell to enter and the door will then slowly open automatically. As it opens the view beyond comes alive and you descend into a short tunnel of brick terraces until you arrive to the front of the castle. They provide help when asked, to bring your bags up to the castle and then to your room and if you are not young and strong, take the offer because the stairs do not end here. :-) Getting to your room could add in quite a few more and every step is worth it in my opinion. The staff is wonderful, helpful and happy.
Stained glass window of the suite
We were welcomed to our Royal Suite Pavone with a glass of Prosecco and promptly reserved our table in the dinning room for dinner. Having dinned there months prior, we knew dinner was a must; the ambience is fabulous.

The suite had one window and three portholes, yes a dark room with the dark wood ceiling but so typical of these old structures it just makes the whole experience more of an adventure.  There are no elevators here and wondered how they received deliveries in the winter and during the rainy season because there is the old original river rock stone drive and I suppose their suppliers have a very difficult time during inclement weather (horribly slippery). Be sure to stop in the bar (the armory) and have a glass of wine and some outstanding appetizers.
Sunrise from the one window of the suite.

The dinning room is an experience and it is not just one room but made up of various adjoining rooms; one seems to be a little celestial room, up a few stairs off to the left of the fireplace in the main room and then to the right there is another room but I did not get a chance to see that one. The tables are large and round and stately; just perfect for a romantic and leisurely repast. The wine celler is well stocked so you can accompany their excellent food with an excellent wine. If you stay more than one day, I suggest requesting to have your bottle of outstanding red wine opened before dinner to let it air. Such a shame to not order one of these wines because you do not have time to let it breathe properly. We suggested they try out a Vinturi and see for themselves how this could give them a greater amount of flexibility with client satisfaction (and sell more of those fabulous reds).

We did not have the chance to taste breakfast but I am convinced it was nothing shy of their standard. After a late dinner, there just was not room for breakfast even though they called at 10 to ask if we would like them to bring breakfast to our room. Check out is at 11 so if you would like a slower morning, I would ask them if they do late checkouts; even at a price it is worth it. The spell you fall into while there, is  a shame to break so abruptly in the morning with the hassle of getting breakfast, packing and hauling your things back to the car. I was truly amazed watching these young waiters whisk platters of food up staircases to well hidden meeting rooms and small dinning areas for private parties and the like; I think I would have liked to have a job like that when I was young, what a great way to work and get exercise!