Browsing: Food & Travel

Angelo’s 2017

April6

angelos2

One difference of the first half of this year’s sojourn to Isla Mujeres is that half of the family that being our son, his wife and their two little ones, had a different dining schedule than us. When we are typically planning a Happy Hour somewhere, they need to get their girls fed and hopefully maintain a similar bed time schedule to that of home. This meant that on some evenings, some or all of us, would join them for a beverage as they had their dinner and then when they headed “home” (the reason a hotel in Centro was key for this stay), we would depart for our own supper plans.

On this evening we joined them at Angelo’s.

angelos1

They graciously poured me a glass of wine, having selected my favourite varietal which I enjoyed

angelos4

as I watched them tuck into a Bolognaise with Meatballs

angelos5

and a delectable pizza. Between the poufy bread that is always delivered hot to the table

angelos3

and the extra effort that the bartender went to in satisfying a chocolate milk request, the little girls were equally pleased with their parents’ choice. We made our way to Fredy’s for our later dinner, but that is another blog post.

Later in our stay: week two, when most of the 83 people that had gathered onto the island for a family wedding, made their way home, D and I returned for our own dinner at Angelo’s. From virtually our first taste in 2005, Angelo’s has been a must visit. We are crazy about both their fruita de mare pizza and pasta. I have said it before and I will say it again here, I am not just saying that these items are great compared to other island offerings, I am saying that Angelo’s rivals dinners that we have eaten in Sicily, on the Amalfi Coast, in Cinque Terra and in Tuscany!

On this second visit, we may have indulged a little bit too much with the vino tinto before dining. While the kittens are away, the cats will play! I took one blurry picture of our pasta

angelos8

and another inadequate one of our pizza.

angelos7

Suffice it to say, the meals were as stellar as previous visits, but our merry-making made for an inadequate reporting of such. We will try to behave and do better next time.

Kath’s quote: “All is fair in love and beer.”~ Kurt Paradis

064

Love never fails.

 

 

Long weekend in Duluth, MN

November15

duluth1

D and I often chat about taking a road trip to the Black Hills, or another location within a day’s drive. I have often heard people talk about Duluth as being a quaint location because of its arts and crafts scene and comfy places to stay. D felt that we needed a little getaway. He remembered my mentioning Duluth and did the research about a long weekend away.

We stopped for a brief lunch and numerous pee breaks (we’re getting old) and were in Duluth 7 hours after leaving home. The route that D chose had us driving through areas of both Manitoba and Minnesota that we had never driven before. Except for a short piece at the beginning of the trip, we drove through “Canadian” Shield the entire time. The groves of poplar and pine were lovely and familiar. We knew that Duluth was on Lake Superior but we did predict the elevation of the city. We have yet to visit San Francisco but we predict that Duluth’s steep climbing streets would mimic it.

D chose a hotel across from the city’s mall but we headed right downtown for some browsing. While I was shopping D found Zeitgeist Arts Cafe-a bar and restaurant located in a historic building also housing a performing arts studio and movie theatre. As we perched at the bar, we looked around and saw solo men eating three course meals at the bar top. It was Eat Downtown, Duluth’s Restaurant Week and the special at Zietgiest was a surf and turf option. I spied cheese stuffed and bacon Medjool dates on the menu so we had an appetizer with our refreshing beer.

Zeitgeist Arts Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

It was a quick trip to another fun area where our dinner destination was located. Bellisio is fashioned after the small village of Bellisio, Italy, home to the owner’s ancestry. Located close to the east coast of Italy, we must have been near the region on last year’s trip to Tuscany. Bellisio’s has received Wine Spectator’s prestigious “Award of Excellence” every year since they opened in 1999.

The restaurant was located in Canal Park, as well as numerous other restaurants, shops and bars. We were also going to take advantage of downtown restaurant offer ourselves. We chose a delicious pulled chicken minestrone (tasty but not piping hot) and a Caesar salad chock full of anchovies and garlic.

duluth8

Our entrees were Walleye Milanese (topped with a lemon butter caper sauce) on a bed of parmesan mashed potatoes

duluth9

and Chicken Pancetta (linguine, chicken, pancetta, shallots and peas in a light broth-style sauce).

duluth7

As Bellisio is also a wine bar, we chose an Italy vs California Merlot flight. In the end we may have enjoyed the wine as much as our dinner. At $25 for each multi course dinner and $7 for the Merlot flight, we couldn’t believe the value! Too full for the tiramisu that came with our dinner, we packaged it up for D to enjoy later in the evening as we watched The Crown on Netflix and listened to the Jets game.

Bellisio's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

On Saturday morning, I had some fun shopping at Target for Christmas stocking stuffers. D had a beer tour planned at Bent Paddle but we had an opportunity to try the lunch version at Midi Restaurant which was the hotel dining room for Fitgers Brewery and Hotel.

duluth10

BTW-did you know that Bob Dylan hails from Duluth?

duluth12

duluth13

duluth14

duluth15

duluth16

Right on the Lake Superior, we enjoyed an early lunch in the warm sun by the windows. We started with duluth17

Chicken and wild rice soup and another Caesar salad.

duluth19

Lunch entrées were a ½ Ruben and amazing French fries

duluth20

and a small piece of pork schnitzel, spaetzle and sweet red cabbage. At first when we saw the small piece of schnitzel and half sandwich, we were concerned that we may not been satisfied but it turned out to be absolutely the perfect portion (Downtown restaurant Week price of $10 per). I focused on the fries while D loved the spaetzle. We took our strudel “to go”.

Midi Restaurant & Wine Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

While D was on his tour I checked out the mall across from our hotel. I made my way to Younkers, a department store I had never heard of. An hour or so later, I was shopped out, having purchased a special community coupon book and receiving very pleasing items of black jeans (that fit), black flat boots that I have needed for a year and a beautiful pair of Anne Klein sling backs that I also sorely needed. I walked back to the hotel just as D pulled into the parking lot.

I changed into my new boots and we headed out on another exploring adventure. We drove one of the long bridges between Duluth MN and Superior Wisconsin, shopped for some beer and cheese and headed back to Duluth. Fortunately (or unfortunately) they also had low fat cheese and sour cream Cape Cod potato chips (being our favourite brand since we discovered them on our honeymoon 32 years prior). These became our happy hour snack.

We found a spot in the sun in Canal Park but the wind off the water was pretty brisk so we hopped in the car and drove the narrow peninsula almost connecting Duluth and Superior. But before we did, we were in for a special occurrence. The park is so named because of the unique aerial lift bridge. We got to see the bridge in action as it made way for a sail boat returning to the harbour. We loved Minnesota Ave., the little ribbon of land which reminded us staying on the Airport Strip on Isla Mujeres, where we got to enjoy both sunrises and sunsets from our hotel. This strip of land was even narrower and was populated by inns and houses. We were not sure if they were summer or year round homes.

duluth21

We stopped and climbed a sand hill to the beach, just as the sun was starting to set. Once the sun disappeared, it proved to be rather chilly indeed and D had a perfect way to warm up.

duluth22

Enjoying another wine flight at Bellisio, Shiraz this time, we also loved the rolled eggplant and olive tray.

We were heading back to the hotel to regroup and then have our final dinner Downtown when D suggested that we order in and see what might entertain us on Netflix. “Chef” starring Jon Favreau, and co-starring Sofía Vergara, Scarlett Johansson, Oliver Platt, Dustin Hoffman, and Robert Downey, Jr. was a lovely light, feel good movie with some delicious food scenes.

Our Chinese food proved to be very plentiful and affordable and we have a bag of it for left over’s this week.

duluth23

We stopped in Thief River Falls on the way home, to watch some Vikings football and have one last feed of walleye. A perfect weekend.

Kath’s quote: “If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there would be a shortage of fishing poles.” -Doug Larson

dulth1

Love never fails.

Chicago Trip Report

September29

chicago8

I have been to greater Chicago many times as The Keg Restaurant in Evanston was my responsibility when I held the position of Midwest Marketing Director for the Keg Steakhouse and Bar. Funny thing though, on all those trips, I never left Evanston. So too, when I was at a conference in Wheaton, I never had the opportunity to venture uptown. My first brief visit was when D and I were en route to Sicily. We took a train directly from the airport to the city centre.

chicago18

chicago26

The architecture of Chicago is amazing. There is constructed beauty everywhere you turn. We got to enjoy the city scape from both a hop on hop off bus tour and a boat tour.

chicago2

chicago4

chicago24 chicago9

chicago7

chicago23

I loved the architecture itself but the reflections appealed to me even more so.

chicago13

chicago14

chicago25

chicago19

The beauty of Chicago is in the details. Check out how exquisite the Target Store is below.

chicago15

chicago20

We stopped in to admire Magnolia Bakery.

chicago27

We spent an amazing half day at the Art Institute of Chicago. Their Impressionist collection rivals New York and the Muse D’Orsay in Paris.

chicago28

chicago29

But the art is not limited to the museums. The attitude in Chicago is lighthearted and playful.

chicago30

chicago3

This Picasso is out in the open, right downtown for all the enjoy.

chicago31

We did our fair share of shopping. This is Macy’s in the former Marshall Field’s building. It was more like a palace than a department store.

chicago32

chicago33

Kath’s quote: “Chicago is an October sort of city even in spring.” ― Nelson Algren

large

Love never fails.

The Fishing Lab by San Francisco-Montecatini, Tuscany

September2

fishinglab1-1

fishinglab3

Just down the street from the Hotel Puccini was another place recommended by the hotel owner Patrizia. She was very excited about the re-opening of the restaurant that very day. We took her recommendation and checked out The Fishing Lab by San Francisco. While there we saw her and her husband arrive for dinner as well. The facelift of the décor was fabulous!

fishinglab6

We had a tricky time figuring out the menu but eventually decided upon Tuna sliders on pretzel buns to share. They were excellent but I was saving room for the delectable treats ahead.

fishinglab5

I chose the Frutti di Mare salad. There was a little bit of everything on my plate. The seafood had been tenderly poached and then tossed with just a hint of dressing. Simple tastes: pure & clean.

fishinglab4

D’s sea bass in salt was hand carved at the table by our handsome server. D’s dish too was simple and wonderful.

Our server told us the story that the fish served at the Fishing Lab was from the same boat for the past 23 years (as long as they had been opened). I suppose the saying: “Why fix what isn’t broken?” would apply here.

Although D and I had imagined fish with tomatoes, olives, cheese and pasta while in Tuscany, we were really impressed by the expert fish offerings.

Why the Fishing Lab by San Francisco, you may ask? I read this story on their website:

San Francisco is Montecatini Terme’s history: the place to go from the second half of the 1950s onwards when the rich and famous from the entertainment world and the international jet set flocked to it.
And, in accordance with Fishing Lab’s ‘style manual’, the name was kept on when the restaurant was restyled for our new concept.
The restaurant is ‘easy chic’ making even the most exacting client feel at home: the lower ground floor room creates a more intimate atmosphere without losing any of Fishing Lab’s trademark convivial feel.

The restaurant concept is absolutely unique. Here is an explanation of the owner’s intentions:

Fishing Lab isn’t a restaurant in the usual meaning of the word. Fishing Lab is an innovative restaurant concept based on an original unconventional raw and cooked fish formula. We have selected the most distinctive features of traditional cuisines and reworked them into a new, one-of-a-kind configuration. Inside the building, relaxation and a home-from-home feel is the order of the day. The nautical atmosphere is tangible, the hospitality genuine. From a taste of fish to a glass of wine, always ready to hand, clients feel at home. Just like in a boat with the rise and fall of the sea. The chefs at the helm guide the visible kitchens. Our waiters and waitresses captain the dining room. Fish, as if it has just been pulled out of the sea, is the real star of the show. Fishing Lab leaves clients free to make up their menus, choosing inventive combinations, sitting at a table or standing up.

Kath’s quote: “Today she met me at the door, said I would have to choose, if I picked up that fishing rod today, she’d be packing all her things and she’d be gone by noon….well I’m gonna miss her when I get home tonight.”-Brad Paisly

1a4d21bcdc69ecc0a6fe0ee06962aacc

Love never fails.

 

Tuscany Trip Report – Daily Breakfast at the Hotel Puccini

July27

tuscany1-22

We wandered down to Hotel Puccini’s dining room with a number of other travelers that we suspected were on the same Gate One package as us. Not a particularly chummy group, we all nodded hellos but pretty much stuck to ourselves. We picked a particular table and then had breakfast at the same one all week long.

tuscany1-24

Having travelled to Italy previously, we knew that “breakfast” was more like a Canadian “brunch” with a wide selection of pastries, cheeses, meats, egg dishes and dessert! Omelets were sliced into pinwheels as illustrated above. There were always hard boiled eggs to enjoy as well.

tuscany1-23

We were partial to the Italian cheeses and fresh tomatoes.

tuscany1-25

Although untested, the coffee cakes and fruit galettes looked tasty and plentiful.

tuscany2-1

On most days I repeated my favourites-a café au lait, cheeses, meats and the crustiest brown bread ever. Fresh fruit was not plentiful but juices and preserved fruit was. On our final day, the delightful server who took care of us all week, made a “real” café au lait from the machine in the bar rather than the automatic dispenser in the dining room. It was a little gesture but an indication of how willing the Italians were to share their hospitality and make us feel very special.

tuscany1-27

This was how the hotel management persuaded you from lugging your key with you when you were sight-seeing. We left ours at the front desk and provided a daily opportunity to chat with the warm front desk staff.

Kath’s quote: “Amor non conosce travaglio - Love never tires”. -Unknown

0a2b4ace907c786c6afe81bec91c7b76

Love never fails.

 

« Older Entries