Where to Book Now for Valentine’s Day

Maui

Want to start off the New Year with a Valentine’s weekend you’ll never forget? Here four of my top picks on where to go this Valentine’s Day:

  1.  Maui

Maui has been recognized as one of the most desirable romantic destinations in the world, and the island’s most coveted neighborhood has welcomed its newest resort – the reimagined Wailea Beach Resort – Marriott, Maui. Following the December 2016 debut of their $100 million transformation, the resort’s sprawling 22-acre contemporary retreat offers couples a picture perfect Valentine’s Day getaway.

Wailea Beach Resort Maui

Here is our guide to a magical retreat, Wailea Beach Resort style:

  • Calm down: Enjoy a couples treatment while overlooking the serene Hawaiian waters, Molokini crater and the island of Kaho’olawe at the newly renovated full-service Mandara Spa.
  • Get lost: Unplug with your loved one while soaking up the sun at the new adults only adults-only infinity edge serenity pool, participating in a couples scuba diving class at the resort’s new dive pool or snorkeling together with an underwater photographer.
  • Shake it up: Try something new! Embrace the Hawaiian culture at Te AU Moana, Maui’s highly anticipated vibrant luau exclusively curated for the resort, taking place at the property’s new Luau Gardens
  • Treat yourself: Perched at the highest point of the property, the resort’s new signature restaurant is serving loved ones the ultimate dinner with a view. Humble Market Kitchen by Roy Yamaguchi is the go-to date night locale to feast your eyes on a new menu influenced by Japanese, Filipino, Chinese and Hawaiian cultures and sweeping views of the Pacific.

The Resort at Paws Up

2. Montana

Head to The Resort at Paws Up, an ultimate romantic retreat on 37,000-acres of winter wonderland in western Montana. This rustic, chic setting is the ultimate destination for romance, zen and adventure.

The Resort at Paws Up

  • Calm down: Treat yourself to a spa day at the Morris Ranch House. Then head back to your cozy home to build a fire in your wood-buring fireplace or relax in your outdoor hot tub.
  • Get lostWith spectacular views of the legendary Blackfoot River and endless forests, Paws Up’s winter horseback adventures offer a wide-eyed gulp of the winter wonderland. Enjoy 60 minutes of beautiful winter vistas and the unforgettable Old West history.
  • Shake it up: In the mood for adventure? Book a private snowmobile tour, attempt skijoring (but this time behind a horse), enjoy snowshoeing, ice skating, dogsledding or cross-county skiing.
  • Treat yourself: Relax with a cocktail in Tank with the best and friendliest mixologists. Savor every bite of Chef Ben Jones‘ Creations at Pomp. Be sure to ask for a table fireside and leave room for dessert.

shore lodge

3. Idaho

A majestic mountainscape, a crackling fire, snow falling softly on a frozen lake. This may sound like the setting of a romantic movie but, in fact, it is very much a reality. McCall, Idaho has everything lovebirds could want for a getaway: stunning scenery, exciting excursions, luxurious amenities and, perhaps most importantly, a feeling of complete escape. Nestled in the heart of the Salmon River Mountains, and on the shores of the stunning Payette Lake, Shore Lodge in McCall is an idyllic retreat that offers refuge from big city life amongst unparalleled natural beauty.

Here is our guide to a magical retreat, Shore Lodge style:

  • Calm down: Treat yourself to a spa day. The Cove offers side-by-side couples massages, calming body treatments and one of the most soothing experiences in town: soaking in the heated indoor/outdoor immersion pools. Enjoy a cool glass of champagne and a hot soak to get you loosened up for other activities.
  • Get lostSo often we get lost in the hustle and bustle of daily life and lose a little bit of touch with the one that matters most. Remedy the distance by getting lost together! Strap on some snowshoes or Nordic skis and spend some time reconnecting as your explore the beautiful snowy wilderness around you.
  • Shake it up: Lacking a little adventure in your life? Try something thrilling with your significant other to bring your closer together. Shore Lodge offers countless excursions for adventurous couples of all skill sets, from snowmobiling to heli-skiing.
  • Treat yourself: A little indulgence goes a long way. Dinner at The Narrows is a must for the ultimate fine-dining experience. Enjoy the artfully crafted menu of Pacific Northwest cuisine and an extensive, award-winning wine list alongside panoramic views of Payette Lake. End the evening with a nightcap martini in the Narrows Grill or enjoy the view on your private balcony of your Lake View Suite.

Monarch Beach Resort

4. California

It’s nothing but California Dreaming with this romantic beachside getaway, whether you are looking to surf, sunbathe or just take in the sunset.  From luxurious pampering and captivating views to unsurpassed dining options and with professional Resort Hosts and Experience planners ready to ensure your every need is met, couples can reconnect with a curated couple’s retreat at Monarch Beach Resort. 

monarch

Here is our guide to a magical retreat, Monarch Beach Resort style:

  • Calm down: Take relaxation to a higher level at Miraval Spa, where couples can participate in treatments and activities that will transform you from the inside out.  From private partner aerial yoga to couples relaxation spa treatments, loved ones will leave feel rejuvenated and reconnected.  For a more intimate experience, revel in the luxurious comfort of an elegant suite and enjoy a romantic evening in.
  • Get lost: Watch the glowing sun fall behind the horizon as we host the nightly Champagne Sabering, or share a bottle of bubbly from our wine cellar and warm up by the fire on a cool California evening.
  • Shake it up: For couples interested in active pursuits, the resort offers paddle boarding, tennis, yoga classes, championship golf, and so much more.
  • Treat yourself: Wine and dine your loved one at Michael Mina’s acclaimed restaurant concept Stonehill Tavern, offering tavern fare in an elegant and sophisticated setting.  Enjoy a one-of-a-kind dining experience, including modern American cuisine that features seasonal ingredients and contemporary twists on classic tavern dishes.

17 Luxury Travel Black Friday Specials Not to Miss

 The Resort at Paws Up

Luxury properties around the world are gearing up for the holidays with special offers anyone looking for an intimate getaway or family vacation. Here are my top picks:

The Resort at Paws Up

  1. The Resort at Paws Up, Greenough, Montana

A 35% Discount for Your Stay at Paws Up!

Enjoy a 35% discount for your next stay at The Resort at Paws Up. The discount will be applied to the lodging rates for the corresponding reservation time period. A $500 activity credit will also be included.

To take advantage of the Paws Up Black Friday Special, simply call our Reservations Department and reference the below promo code. This special is only applicable if you book your reservation from November 2530, 2016. This offer is not compatible with other discounted offers or pre-existing reservations.

Based on availability. Some blackout dates apply. Travel is valid January 2–May 25, 2017.

round hill

2. Round Hill Hotel and Villas of Montego Bay, Jamaica

Switch up family vacation this year, and bring everyone down to the island that offers it all in the timeless, exotic location of Round Hill Hotel and Villas of Montego Bay, Jamaica. With Round Hill’s Cyber Monday Sale, guests receive one free night when booking 4-nights between the dates of January 3-31, 2017. Guests who purchase or gift this package will enjoy afternoon daily tea, the Pineapple Kids Club, and non-motorized water sports such as kayaking, snorkeling and paddle boats. The resort offers an award-winning spa, several options of Caribbean cuisine and exotic island adventures fitting for all ages.

Thompson Play del Carmen

3. Thompson Playa del Carmen Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Luxury has landed in Playa del Carmen. From November 25-28, Thompson Playa del Carmen will be offering guests 35 percent off its best available rate. Travel dates are valid through March 31, 2017. Terms and conditions may apply.

Jamaica Inn Spa

4. Jamaica Inn of Ocho Rios

Guests are welcome to gift themselves or others with an intimate luxury stay Jamaica Inn of Ocho Rios, Jamaica. Holiday travelers prepare to be pampered on a relaxing lounge chair, enjoying the refreshing breeze, and swimming in the calm Caribbean Sea while sipping on a cool Planter’s Punch. Jamaica Inn’s Black Friday Sale asks guest to relax, unwind and embrace the simple joys of living with 30% off accommodations for a stay of 4-nights or more in one of the 48 suites or cottages, adorned in crisp white and Wedgewood blue, set against a backdrop of green grass, vibrant flowers and glistening blue seas. Through this Black-Friday deal, the available dates for travel include November 1-19, December 11-26, and January 2-31, 2017.

The Palms Turks and Caicos

5. The Palms Turks & Caicos Providenciales, Turks and Caicos
A 72 suite resort just steps away from the sparkling white sand and turquoise water of famed Grace Bay Beach, Regent Palms provides a refined and elegant Caribbean experience. 

The Deal:

  • 30% off all luxury room categories
  • $100 gift certificate for use at any of Regent Palms’ restaurants including fine dining at Parallel23
  • *Valid for travel from May 15-June 15, 2017.  Based on availability; blackout dates apply.  Not compatible with other discounted offers 

Rancho Bernardo Inn

6. Rancho Bernardo Inn  San Diego, California
A true year-round destination for the entire family, the 265-acre property features 287 luxury guestrooms, three swimming pools, lush gardens, a full-service spa and wellness center, two restaurants and in-room dining. With unpretentious style and genuine warmth unique among the world’s finest resorts, the property inspires conversation, reflection, and relaxation. 

The Deal:
  • 50% off the best available rates when booked Black Friday, Nov. 25 & Cyber Monday, Nov. 28, staying for as low as $89/night

Giving Tuesday: 

  • 20% of revenue from the Inn’s ‘All Play, No Pay’ packages sold will go to Becky’s House YWCA, a nonprofit organization offering domestic violence programs for women, men and children.
  • *Available for stays through January 5, 2017. Based on availability.  Some restrictions and blackout dates apply.

halcyon

7. HALCYON, a Hotel in Cherry Creek | Denver, Colorado 
A take on modern luxury with a twist of staying at your best friend’s welcoming home in Colorado. Amidst the splurge-worthy boutiques and low-key coffee bars, the bustle of business and the calm embrace of the mountains, you’ll find the 154-room hotel in set in the affluent neighborhood of Cherry Creek North.  

The Deal:
  • Purchase one night and receive the second for 50% off
  • Promo Code: WELCOME HOME using this Booking Link

*Sale begins Black Friday November 25 at 12:01 a.m. and ends Cyber Monday November 28 at 11:59 p.m. Valid for travel from Nov 25, 2016 – March 31, 2017.  Based on availability; blackout dates apply. Not compatible with other discounted offers

inn at keystone

8. The Inn at Keystone | Keystone, Colorado
Just a few minutes walk from the ski lifts; The Inn at Keystone offers picturesque views and rooftop hot tubs. Bonus? It’s the only dog-friendly hotel in Keystone so grab a leash and bring the pooch for a winter escape!

The Deal:

  • 50% off all bookings, rates start at $109/night
  • Complimentary hot breakfast buffet

*Travel valid through April 9, 2017, taxes and other fees may be applicable. Based on availability; blackout dates apply.  Not compatible with other discounted offers or pre-existing reservations.

The pines

9. The Pines | Beaver Creek, Colorado
Located amidst the whispering aspen groves overlooking Beaver Creek Village, The Pines has come to define intimate, on-mountain lodging. Recently renovated, sixty cozy guest rooms feature rich pine touches, oversized beds and luxurious linens that set the bar for the ideal Rocky Mountain ski vacation.

The Deal:

  • 45% off all luxury room categories, starting at $199/night

*Travel valid through April 16, 2017, taxes and other fees may be applicable. Based on availability; blackout dates apply.  Not compatible with other discounted offers or pre-existing reservations.

AustriaHausGuestroom

10. Austria Haus | Vail, Colorado
Since the mid 1960’s, Austria Haus Hotel has welcomed skiers from around the world to experience Western luxury and sophistication wrapped in European charm. Inspired by authentic, family run ski chalets of the Austrian Alps; this exquisite, 25-room boutique hotel emanates warmth and hospitality from the moment guests arrive.

The Deal:

  • 45% off all luxury room categories, starting at $195/night

*Travel valid through April 23, 2017, taxes and other fees may be applicable. Based on availability; blackout dates apply.  Not compatible with other discounted offers or pre-existing reservations.

the village at breckenridge

11. The Village at Breckenridge | Breckenridge, Colorado
A favorite family resort with ski-in/ski-out access.  Located at the base of Peak 9, the resort is right in the heart of the action just a half block from Main Street Breckenridge with ski school right out the door.

The Deal:

  • 25% off all room nights, starting at $127/night (minimum of two nights)

*Travel valid through April 22, 2017, taxes and other fees may be applicable. Based on availability; blackout dates apply. Not compatible with other discounted offers or pre-existing reservations.

A Gondola car in the sunset at Keystone Mountain in the summer.

12. Keystone Lodge & Spa | Keystone, Colorado 
Surrounded by the majestic Rocky Mountains, Keystone Lodge & Spa is an ideal choice for winter sports enthusiasts. With an on-property state-of-the-art spa, kick back and relax after a day on the slopes before dining at the exceptional Bighorn restaurant or other local offerings.

The Deal:
  • 50% off all bookings, rates start at $129/night

*Travel valid through April 9, 2017, taxes and other fees may be applicable. Based on availability; blackout dates apply.  Not compatible with other discounted offers or pre-existing reservations.

vail resorts

13. Vail, Colorado
Welcome to Vail, an iconic mountain resort where vibrant alpine villages are surrounded by the snow-capped peaks of the Rockies. Combined with world-class terrain, award-winning dining, lodging options to suit every taste and budget, and a lively mix of locals and guests from around the world, Vail offers the quintessential mountain resort experience.

The Deal:

  • 45% off all luxury room categories at select hotels, including The Lodge at Vail and The Arrabelle

*Travel valid through April 23, 2017, taxes and other fees may be applicable. Based on availability; blackout dates apply.  Not compatible with other discounted offers or pre-existing reservations.

Waterfall Resort

14. Waterfall Resort is offering FREE FLIGHTS with their “Gift Wrap a Fishing Trip” deal (http://bit.ly/1lnDccx – link will be live on Black Friday) for a value up to $750 to guests who book starting Black Friday through December for travel during the 2016 summer season (June 11 – August 12). Complimentary airline tickets can be paired with any Land Package for two or more nights, with all-inclusive rates starting at $3,580 per person. 

Package includes:

  • Complimentary roundtrip airfare to Ketchikan, AK (limit up to $750)
  • Combine with Kids Rate for 15% Off AND free airfare!
  • Roundtrip sea plane between Ketchikan and Waterfall Resort
  • Oceanfront lodging in historic cabins or lodge rooms (double occupancy)
  • Hearty all-you-can-eat Alaskan fare
  • Full service guided sport fishing on 25’ heated cabin cruises (four guests per boat)
  • Use of high-end rods, reels, all-weather gear and all other fishing equipment
  • Professional fish cleaning, cutting, vacuum-packing and fishing to take your catch home
  • Onsite Alaskan Airlines agent to check-in bags and fish boxes
  • Ground crew in Ketchikan International Airport to assist with transfers
  • Daily housekeeping and resort services; Free Wi-Fi hot spots

The “Gift Wrap a Fishing Trip” promotion is subject to availability and may not be combined with other promotions. Airline baggage fees, Alaska State fishing license and gratuities not included. Bookable on www.WaterfallResort.com.

Salamander Resort and Spa

15. Salamander Resort & Spa  Middleburg, Virginia
From 6:00 a.m. on Monday, November 30 to 6:00 a.m. on Tuesday, December 1, Salamander Resort & Spa will be offering 50% savings on all hotel suites* as well as $199 room rates**.

Gurney's Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa

Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa  Hamptons, New York
Situated on Montauk’s most pristine stretch of oceanfront real estate, Gurney’s Montauk Resort & Seawater Spa is a Hampton’s institution, providing guests with direct access to a 2,000 ft. private sand beach.

The Deal:

  • 30% off ALL room inventory for one or more nights

Happy Hour:

  • 50% off private oceanfront cottages from 1:00pm-2:00pm
  • *Valid for travel from December 2, 2016 – April 30, 2017.  Based on availability; blackout dates apply. 

US GRANT

16. THE US GRANT San Diego, California
A San Diego icon, THE US GRANT is situated in downtown’s lively Gaslamp Quarter where guests of all ages can enjoy the city’s shopping, dining and entertainment. In addition to the impeccable location, guests can delight in remarkable fine dining and an esteemed beverage program at signature restaurant and bar, Grant Grill.

The Deal:

  • 30% off stays through Sept. 4, 2017 when booked from Saturday, Nov. 19 through Sunday, Dec. 4.
  • Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) members can save an additional 5 percent.
  • *Available for stays from November 21, 2016 to September 4, 2017. Based upon availability; Blackout dates may apply. 

The Marker-2

17. The Marker San Francisco, California
Housed in a turn-of-the-century building in the heart of downtown San Francisco, The Marker, a Joie de Vivre Hotel, is located steps away from the historic beauty of Union Square. Distinct among San Francisco’s lifestyle hotels, the signature warmth permeates the property from the service to the design of the interiors. Surrounded by top theaters, restaurants, museums and shops, the urban boutique hotel features 208 newly renovated, vibrant and stylish guest rooms. 

The Deal:
  • Four Day Sale – Black Friday (Nov. 25) – Cyber Monday (Nov. 28)
  • Up to 35% off Best Available Rate, plus complimentary Wi-Fi, evening social wine hour, unlimited PressReader access, in-room yoga & wellness kit and bike rentals to explore San Francisco .
  • *Pre-pay, non-refundable; Bookable dates: November 25, 2016 – November 28, 2016

An Amazing Bermuda Discount Package at One of My Favorite Resorts

Hamilton Infinity pool harbor Bermuda

Who says summer is over? It’s definitely not in Alabama (where it will be a record 88 degrees today), but I had to share this amazing discount package at the Bermuda’s Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, the host hotel for the 2017 America’s Cup. They are offering the new “Endless Summer” package, saving guests 33% on a three-night stay. Travelers will receive every third night complimentary when a vacation coincides with a Friday or Saturday night. The package is available year-round with rates starting at $239 per night in a Deluxe Garden View room, excluding tax and service. I was there a few years ago, and it is the ultimate Bermuda hotel!

Hamilton Princess Hotel bermuda

Less than a two-hour flight from New York and less than 3 hours from Atlanta, Bermuda’s winter temperature hovers around a comforting 65 degrees. This season, go beyond the pink-sand beaches and explore the island’s diverse cultural and outdoor offerings. Added bonus? Thanks to Bermuda’s North Atlantic location, the destination remains Zika-free.

Where to Relax…Enjoy spa therapies and boutique fitness classes at the leading lifestyle and wellbeing brand exhale, a new addition to Hamilton Princess as part of their recent $100 million renovation.

Marcus' Cocktail Bermuda Hamilton Princess

Where to Eat…Experience the Sunday Brunch with live music at Marcus’, the island’s first and only celebrity-helmed restaurant, led by Marcus Samuelsson. Don’t miss Art Mels, known for their traditional Bermudian fish sandwiches and The Meltdown, where Black Rum & Ginger and Rum Swizzle ice cream flavors (inspired by Bermuda) are served. 

Hamilton Princess & Beach Club

Where to Shop… Stroll through the neighboring boutiques of Hamilton including the TABS shop, offering authentic Bermuda shorts designed by a local Bermudian; and visit Isolated Surfboards, one of the few institutions that carves surfboards by hand.

What to See… Join the hotel’s art tour, which will bring guests up-close with more than 60 museum-quality pieces of art including works by Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, and Nelson Mandela. Visit St. Georges, a charming UNESCO World Heritage site dotted with colorful houses and early colonial architecture.

Looking for more… There’s golf, more than 22 miles of biking trails, kite-surfing and tennis.

Hamilton Beach club bermuda

More on Hamilton Princess & Beach Club

Known to Bermudians and world travelers as ”The Pink Palace,” Hamilton Princess & Beach Club opened its doors on January 1, 1885. Bermuda had gained international recognition two years earlier when Princess Louise, the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria, visited for a winter retreat and called it ”a place of eternal spring.” When the hotel opened, it was named ”The Princess” in honor of the royal visit. It is the oldest member of the Fairmont Hotels & Resorts family.

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The Ultimate Culinary Experience in Sicily in 2017

Rocca_delle_Tre_Contrade (4) copy
My first trip to Sicily and my first villa experience were one in the same. After spending a few nights at Rocca delle Tre Contrade, I arrived at the conclusion that there is no better way to enjoy Sicily. Complete with 11 bedrooms and space for 22 guests, you’ll also find incredible views and a staff going the extra mile to provide the supreme comforts of home. This is just as an ideal spot to visit with family and friends as it is for an intimate destination wedding. The 360-degree panoramic views take your eyes from the sparkling Ionian Sea to the lava peak of Mount Etna.
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I just recently received exciting news from their exclusive luxury villa company The Thinking Traveller that Rocca delle Tre Contrade, has joined forces with acclaimed Chef Skye Gyngell for a two week-long culinary experiences exploring the gastronomic bounty and cuisine of the Mediterranean’s largest and most diverse island. This is truly a bucket list culinary experience!
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Skye Gyngell is one of the most respected chefs working in the UK. After working at a variety of high level restaurants, including La Varenne in Paris and The Dorchester in London, Skye became head chef at Petersham Nurseries, where the earned her Michelin star. In 2014, Skye opened Spring, in Somerset House, London. It quickly became regarded as one of the capital’s top restaurants.

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Below please find details for the course:

  • Six days immersed in a full food and wine program with Skye Gyngell, including cookery demo sessions and ‘hands on’ lessons with Skye Gyngell and her team
  • Seven hands-on sessions in the villa’s large demonstration kitchen (each work station shared by two participants)
  • Seven nights’ accommodation at the private luxury villa Rocca delle Tre Contrade in double rooms (single occupancy also available)
  • The presence of Jon Moslet, co-owner of Rocca delle Tre Contrade and expert in Sicilian wine and gastronomic traditions
  • A program of guided tours with English-speaking guide and related ground transportation
  • All meals including wine and beverages (7 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners)
  • Transfers between Catania Fontanarossa Airport and Rocca delle Tre Contrade on the first and last days of the week
  • Complimentary in-house laundry service (dry-cleaning not included)
The course is available for two weeks this spring, the week of March 25 and also the week of April 22.
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About the villa:
Rocca delle Tre Contrade occupies a stunningly panoramic position atop its own hill on Sicily’s east coast. The views of this former aristocratic estate are further enhanced by the intense greens and citrus flashes of the villa’s grounds, which feature lemon groves, fruit orchards and vegetable gardens. The magnificence of Mother Nature is rivalled only by the spectacular 25-metre, south-facing infinity pool and the delightful interiors, which have been renovated and refurbished to exactingly high standards.
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From Travel to Kids: What is New In My World

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So, it has been a month since I last posted on Ingredients, Inc. I apologize! Sometimes work, kids, family and life really get in the way of blogging.

For those of you who do not blog, do you have any idea how long it takes to put just one post together? You start with an idea or—in my case, a recipe—then you must test it, take photos, write, edit, and factor in many other tech requirements before a post can go live. If you’re lucky, this only takes about five hours!

jet-set-channel-your-inner-top-chef-promote

To be honest, I really needed a blogging break. I have been super busy with work and new clients (for which I’m so grateful!), and I decided to focus all of my time and energy on them. I began writing for Bravo TV, which is a really fun gig. In fact, if you want a few places to go to channel your inner chef, check out my piece on these resorts.

scrub island

There really isn’t very much new with me since I posted last. I did get away to the British Virgin Islands—Peter Island and Scrub Island—with my husband. It was absolutely relaxing, gorgeous and amazing in every way. If you ever have a chance to go to either resort, do it ASAP! See my post on what’s new at Peter Island on Spafinder by clicking this link.

The-Ritz-Carlton-Spa-Orlando_Liquid-Yoga-3-1

Other than that, I have posted a bit more frequently on Healthy Travel. September is National Yoga Month, so you know I had to cover that! Also be sure to check out some noteworthy hotel openings happening the remainder of the year.

The Resort at Paws Up

Next up on my travel agenda, it’s all about beautiful Montana scenery and two incredible food and wine events at The Resort at Paws Up. I’ll be attending Montana Master Chefs, the Oscars of the foodie world, and Upper Crust, a baking, pizza, cookie, and pie adventure—I cannot wait! From there, I am headed to Santa Barbara, which has been on my travel bucket list forever!

 paws up upper crust event

An update on my kids: my oldest, Alec Lewis, is soaring by leaps and bounds in his sports writing career. He is so wise and talented, and he amazes me every day. Today I woke up to his Podcast with Paul Finebaum he recorded this morning. Tune in—it’s a great interview.

alec lewis sports writer

My daughter, Leigh, is applying to colleges (she’s a senior this year). She has 15 schools on her list, and she can’t seem to narrow them down by even one. From UCLA to University of Vermont, she’s all over the United States map. My youngest son, Zachary, has been super busy with tennis. He’s played in several tournaments the past few weekends—lots of fun to watch, but I don’t need any more sun this summer! I am wishing him good luck with his school tryouts this week (fingers crossed).

Tomato Watermelon Salad
My husband, Doug, is still awesome in every way. I couldn’t be luckier to have him. He also has taken over a lot of cooking in the house, which is another reason I have not posted many new recipes. But I did create this recipe for Tomato Watermelon Salad for SC Johnson, which we all love!

candy bar Ice cream

Also this Candy Bar Ice Cream which a keeper for sure! That’s enough for now. What’s new in your world?

Texas Meets Montana at The Resort at Paws Up

montana grillers paws up

Memorial Day Weekend is this weekend, and if you haven’t made any plans, pack your cowboy boots, jeans and head to Montana to one of my favorite places on earth: The Resort at Paws Up®. The resort is kicking off summer this weekend welcoming guests for a weekend of incredible food, wine and wilderness adventures at Montana Master Grillers: Texas All-Stars. This all-inclusive Memorial Day weekend celebration will feature gourmet outdoor dining prepared by some of the most outstanding chefs, outdoor adventure and so much more.

montana paws up

This year, Montana Master Grillers will feature four renowned BBQ chefs from Texas. The event will feature grilling demonstrations prepared by these world-class chefs including Chef Tim Byres from Smoke in Dallas, TX; Chef Evan LeRoy from Freedmen’s in Austin, TX; Chef Wayne Mueller from Louie Mueller Barbecue in Taylor, TX; Chef Kent Rathbun from Hickory in Plano, TX and of course, Paws Up’s own Executive Chef Ben Jones. Read on.. there is more:

Montana Long Table

Perfect Pairings: A weekend of grilling and BBQ would not be complete without craft beer and small-batch spirits. Celebrate this weekend with Montana’s Philipsburg Brewing Company and RoughStock Distillery (Bozeman, MT), Austin, Texas distilleries Dulce Vida Organic Tequila and Tito’s Handmade Vodka and Dennis Cakebread from Cakebread Cellars in Napa Valley will also be offering featured wine tastings and pairing varietals with the featured chefs’ spectacular fare.

CookShack-2

Barrels (Both Gun and Wine): On Saturday afternoon, Dennis Cakebread will lead a thrilling sporting clays adventure. Guests who sign up in advance will have the opportunity to talk shop with this winemaking legend. Afterward, participants will kick enjoy an intimate wine tasting.

paws up montana grillers

Wrangle Up an Appetite: As part of Montana Master Grillers: Texas All-Stars, guests will partake in some of the resort’s outdoor wilderness adventures, such as horseback riding or whitewater rafting with one-on-one interaction with some of the finest chefs, distillers and brewers and winemakers in the United States.

paws up smores

Live Beats: On Sunday night, relax with an outdoor concert by local Missoula band, the Lil’ Smokies, the winner of the 2015 Telluride Bluegrass Festival band competition.

There are few spots left for this weekend, so hurry! The Montana Master Grillers: Texas All-Stars all-inclusive weekend from May 27–30, 2016, starts at $975 per person, per night for four days, three nights. This package rate includes a private home or tent accommodation, three meals daily for two adults (including breakfast, all featured lunches, multicourse dinners and alcohol pairings), all scheduled events, three wilderness adventures of choice per person, airport transportation to and from Missoula International Airport (MSO) and on-property transportation. Don’t miss the spa tents (see below):

paws up

Also…

As part of the first annual BBQ-U held June 17–19, 2016, Montana Master Grillers alums Sam Huff (Sam’s BBQ-1)in Georgia) and Danny Fischer (Baby Blues BBQ in California) will conduct outdoor grilling demonstrations that will transform attendees from backyard beginners to experts. Guests will learn the techniques to cook a variety of high-quality meats and veggies like an expert, get up close and personal for demonstrations, and enjoy the grill masters’ fine cooking at a Montana Long Table dinner. Participants will take all of this in amidst Montana’s majestic outdoors, luxury accommodations and outdoor adventure opportunities. For reservations, please call 877-588-6783 or go to paws.com.

Best Beerfest in April

kohler beer festival

The 8th annual Kohler Festival of Beer is April 29-May 1 – a celebration bringing together brewmasters from across the country at Destination Kohler. The weekend is crafted for the beer enthusiast with brew-themed happenings. Guests can enjoy flavorful food pairing experiences, tasting soirees, educational seminars, culinary demonstrations, lively music, and a 5K Beer Run/Walk. This year the line-up of new events includes an interactive grilling experience, sessions on homebrewing, beer-infused cooking, craft beer trends and more. Tap into all the details by clicking online.

kohler beer festival food

Satiate and Educate
Educational opportunities are plentiful for craft beer fans of all levels and interests. Brewmasters, cicerones, chefs and chocolatiers host inspiring educational sessions throughout the weekend:

  • Beer Infused Foods ($35), Friday at 5pm – Discover how to incorporate and infuse beer into favorite foods and recipes at this cooking demonstration with food and beer samples.
  • Art of Homebrewing ($40), Saturday at 10am – Learn the techniques, tips and secrets to create beer at home.
  • Beer 101 ($30), Saturday at 2pm – Gain insight into the basics and nuances of beer and brewing at this session focusing on history, proper pouring techniques and glassware.
  • Craft Beer Trends, ($30) Saturday at 4pm – Get a taste of the latest trends in the craft beer industry from a certified cicerone.
  • Those seeking a hands-on experience will enjoy The Art of Grilling ($120) on Saturday at 5pm featuring a 1.5 hour session on grilling basics, tips and tricks hosted by resort chefs. Twenty culinarians will line the grilling stations at this interactive session as they prepare and enjoy dinner.

kohler beer festival beers

A new event this year affords a sole brewery the opportunity to showcase its portfolio of craft beer to festgoers.

Tasting events with ample samples

Kohler Festival of Beer signature events celebrate the discovery of beers from more than 30 breweries. The events include both abundant beer tastings and food pairings. Performances by regional bands include Copperbox, Marc Croft Band, DJ Sye Young and Sammy Llanas, the former lead singer of the BoDeans.

  • Hops the Shops ($40) taps the weekend with a pairing event at The Shops at Woodlake on Friday from 8-11pm.
  • Regional chefs collaborate with brewers to share fantastic grilled fair with beer pairings at Shorts and Chefs ($40) on Saturday from 11am-1pm.
  • A day choc-full of beer-themed events culminates at Cheers to Beers ($90) tasting gala on Saturday from 6-9pm featuring high-end and hard-to-find beers at the inspiring Kohler Design Center, a showroom of Kohler Co. products and services.

 

kohler beer festBeer here, there and everywhere

Visitors to Destination Kohler can enjoy beer-themed menu additions at its restaurants, an al fresco beer garden and special offers at Woodlake Market. Resort restaurants get in the spirit offering unique food and beverage specials at various locales including the resort’s historic taproom Horse & Plow Restaurant & PubCraverie Chocolatier Café will pinpoint select beers that pair perfectly with Kohler Original Recipe Chocolates. Cucina will host lively music and small bites at the Goose Island Beer Gardenlocated in the breezeway at The Shops at Woodlake on Friday from Noon-6pm and Saturday from 10am-6pm. The Wisconsin Room will host a Friday evening Sierra Nevada Lobster & Seafood Buffett and the Beer Lovers Brunch ($40) on Sunday morning. Woodlake Market will showcase featured festival beers making it easy to take home new favorites.

Craft a brew-cation

Check out Kohler Festival of Beer overnight package offering event tickets, exclusive opportunities, special offers, and accommodations at the Forbes Five-Star The American Club resort hotel and the Three-Star Inn on Woodlake. Who wants to go?

Banana Bread and Spirits? Where to Go

 Mayflower Hotel
While some hotel restaurants have signature cocktails, The Mayflower Hotel, in D.C., has been baking amazing banana bread for years using a tried and true recipe since 1963. More than 20,000 bananas are used to bake over 10,000 banana bread loaves each year.
With National Banana Bread Day approaching on February 23, and cooking classes continuing to be a 2016 trend, the hotel is unveiling its first-ever culinary class for both hotel guests and local D.C. residents, starting with a banana bread making/spirits pairing class. How fun does this sound?
banana bread mayflower
Offered quarterly, participants will learn the treasured recipe and enjoy pairings from a local spirits partner that will change seasonally. Whether it be a girls day out, a couple’s date or even a birthday activity with friends, this class is perfect for sharpening your baking skills in this super fun experience.
Mayflower hotel DC
Details about the first quarterly class:

Date: Saturday, March 19 2-4:00pm
Location: Edgar (The Mayflower Hotel; 1127 Connecticut Ave NW (between L and Desales St.)
Cost per participant: $35
Tasting vendor: Dolce Wine

Reserve your space by emailing edgar@themayflowerhotel.com or calling 202-347-2233 (please include the number of total guests in your party. Payment will be collected day of class). 

Participants will also take home a Mayflower-branded apron (so cute!)

mayflower banana bread recipe

Where to Celebrate National Margarita Day

Fairmont Mayakboa

Looking for the best places to celebrate National Margarita Day on February 22? Here are my top picks:
Tequila fairmont
Fairmont Mayakoba | Playa del Carmen, Mexico 

Fairmont Mayakoba is a truly amazing tropical resort located in Mexico’s Riviera Maya. I just returned from there, and it’s perfect for travelers seeking adventure, relaxation, fabulous cuisine, luxurious accommodations, warm temperatures and pure white sand. Celebrate Mexico’s national drink with their speciality margarita, Cucumber Habanero Margarita. The Habanero pepper is one of the most popular hot chili peppers in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and gives any cocktail that Mexican kick and flavor!

Blackberry MargaritasCheeca Lodge & Spa | Islamorada, FL
The oceanfront property with panoramic views features its Black Rita with an Islamorada twist is this beautiful oceanfront resorts delicious margarita. It’s is served with Patron Reposado Tequila, Triple Sec, Agave Necter, lime juice and lightly muddled blackberries garnished with mint for added flavor.

The Resort at Pedregal | Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

The Resort at Pedregal is showcasing the drink that they know best with loads of refreshing Tequila-based treats including the Cabo Cadillac Margarita made with Tequila Clase Azul Reposado, Damiana Liquor, Fresh Lime Juice, Fresh Orange Juice and Simple Syrup; the Carrot Margarita with Tequila Clase Azul Platino, Cointreau, Fresh Lime Juice, Fresh Carrot Juice and Rich Lavender Syrup; and the Cucumber Jalapeño Margarita consisting of Tequila Clase Azul Platino, Triple Sec, Fresh Cucumber Juice, Fresh Jalapeño Pepper Juice and Simple Syrup. Need I say more?

The Ritz-Carlton, Naples | Naples, FL

In one of my favorite Ritz Carlton properties in the world, enjoy tasty margaritas looking onto ocean views with frozen margaritas at Gumbo Limbo at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples beach resort. Indulge with flavors like strawberry, mango, raspberry and banana to satisfy all margarita tastes and cravings, or kick it up a notch with the Gold Brick Margarita, of course using Patron!

The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami | Key Biscayne, FL

The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami takes Margarita Day to the next level with on-site Tequilier Heriberto Ovideo’s specially selected Cantina Beach Margarita at Cantina Beach. The Cantina’s own Double Barrel Herradura Reposada is served sugar rimmed with the perfect mix of Cointreau, sour mix and a float of Chambord on the rocks. For a little extra kick, indulge in a tequila tasting with the with the Tequilier, exclusively at The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne, Miami.

Spur Teton Mountain Lodge

Spur at Teton Mountain Lodge & Spa | Jackson Hole, WY 

Spur’s Spicy Margarita is made with infused jalapeno tequila, muddled citrus, passion fruit or blood orange puree. Located slope side, Spur offers the most elevated aprés ski experience after a day of adventure on the mountain. Enjoy locally sourced, elevated mountain cuisine at Spur Restaurant & Bar.

Art Hotel

FIRE Restaurant, the ART Hotel | Denver, CO

Raise a glass to National Margarita Day at FIRE Restaurant, Terrace & Lounge by enjoying the FIRE & Blood Orange Margarita while overlooking downtown Denver’s thriving cultural district. This specialty cocktail puts a spicy spin on the classic margarita – composed of Peligrosso Blanco Tequila, ancho reyes chili liqueur, blood orange, and lime, topped with with San Pelligino, sea salt and chili rum.

Tavern on The Square at The Arrabelle at Vail Square | Vail, Colorado

After a long day shredding the slopes, nothing sounds better than celebrating with delicious après ski offerings at the Arrabelle at Vail Square. For those looking to celebrate National Margarita Day, try the Mountain Margarita Made with Grand Marnier, Don Julio Resposado, homemade sours, and a lime garnish, it’s hard to stop at one! Just steps from the Eagle Bahn Gondola, there’s no better way to say olé. Drink by the lobby fireplace or in your room by your own in-room fireplace.

The Pony Room at Rancho Valencia Resort and Spa | Rancho Santa Fe, California

One of my favorite resort bars at the my top pick for best stays outside of San Diego, Rancho Valencia head straight to the The Pony Room, is the perfect place to grab a margarita for National Margarita Day. With five amazing margaritas on their menu featuring The Pony Express, The Silver Pony, The Palomino, Skinny as it Goes, and the daddy of all margaritas, The El Jefe. The El Jefe is made with Don Julio 1942 Añejo Tequila, Grand Marnier 100, Cointreau and fresh lime juice. For the less ambitious, The Pony Express is made with Fortaleza Reposado, Cointreau, and fresh lime juice.

A Champagne Shimmer Spa Treatment for Travel Tuesday

RCLA Spa Sanctuary

How does a Champagne & Shimmer Body Treatment sound? You can try one of these and more in downtown Los Angeles’ only full-service luxury spa, The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Los Angeles, launches a redesigned menu this month featuring leading spa company ESPA’s line of synthetic-free products. I absolutely love all of Espa’s products! The Spa’s new services feature ESPA’s results-driven formulations and include a few of these below:

  • Ultimate Detox Treatment, beginning with a detoxifying salt scrub exfoliation applied with a combination of iced and warm mitts and paired with a deep massage to stimulate circulation
  • Expanded massage options, including the Naturally Nurtured Massage, ideal for expectant mothers after the first trimester; Stress Relief Massage for reviving fatigued muscles; and the Men’s Massage, a facial massage followed by a full body massage with heated stones and finished with a soothing scalp massage
  • Red Carpet Radiance Facial, comprised of a deep brush cleanse, skin radiance mask, age-defying crystal massage, professional lifting mask, and non-surgical sculpt and contour for immediate results

Champagne & Shimmer Scrub_ The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Los Angeles

The Spa will continue to offer its classic signature treatments, comprised of the Garden to Glamorous Seasonal Scrub utilizing fresh, seasonal ingredients, Champagne & Shimmer Body Treatment, and the updated Romance of Hollywood, an awesome couples’ experience with a synchronized massage followed by a fragrant bubbling spa bath complete with Champagne. Sounds amazing, right?

Ritz Carlton Couple treatment Room.