Dining Out in Scotland: Europe’s Next Great Food Destination

Dining Out in Scotland: Europe’s Next Great Food Destination

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Photo Credit: Crossbasket Castle

Haggis, kippers, black pudding, clootie dumplings…Scottish food has typically been rather rustic and the butt of jokes for centuries. It is a joke no longer, though. The little nation’s culinary credentials are on the rise; it now boasts 13 Michelin stars awarded to 12 restaurants scattered across the country, not just in the cities.

Dynamic chefs are returning from stints abroad to rediscover the abundance of plants and herbs their forbears foraged from the land, and are keeping much of the coveted cornucopia of fish and seafood caught in the waters right of Scotland’s shores for their own kitchens.

Cameron House

Photo Credit: Eric Rosen

 

A new association of upscale hotels called Luxury Scotland aims to capitalize on this rapidly flourishing foodie phenomenon, drawing together some of Scotland’s most famous properties. Those include Gleneagles and Inverlochy Castle Hotel, as well as lesser-known gems like 21212 in Edinburgh and even Belmond’s decadent Royal Scotsman train. The result is a network of member hotels and restaurants that can be combined into unparalleled tasting trips.

Though you could spend weeks visiting Luxury Scotland’s various affiliates, consider a more restrained route along the west coast that will allow you to explore both city and countryside, with some beautiful stops (including a few whisky distilleries!) along the way.

Crossbasket Castle

Photo Credit: Crossbasket Castle

 

Crossbasket Castle

Start your journey about 30 minutes east from Glasgow’s international airport at Crossbasket Castle. Though the tower was originally constructed back in the 15th century, the current edifice mainly dates to the 18th century and was once owned by Charles Macintosh, inventor of the eponymous raincoat. The building has been beautifully restored, and now has nine palatial, individually decorated rooms spread out across four floors, each with unique touches like Victorian tiled stoves, canopy beds and claw-foot tubs. Other historical features such as original crown molding, enormous brass chandeliers and burnished wood paneling abound in both the guestrooms and the public spaces.

 

Crossbasket Castle

Photo Credit: Crossbasket Castle

 

Though guests can indulge in nature walks and exploring nearby castles such as Bothwell, the real attraction here are the fabulous tasting menus served at the castle’s Albert & Michel Roux Jr. restaurant. Dinners begin with a dram of whisky from the dedicated spirits trolly, or a specialty cocktail in the library served with amuses bouche such as salmon mousse with cucumber gêlée.

Each guest can select his or her menu for the evening, then proceed into the baronial dining room, its various tables arranged by the walls and windows for privacy, with tapers casting a romantic glow in the high ceiling’s far corners.

Crossbasket Castle

Photo Credit: Crossbasket Castle

 

The meal is sure to start with yet another assortment of amuses such as one with potato cooked in beeswax with foraged sorrel. Then the main event begins with small plates such as juicy Orkney scallops with celeriac purée, apple and Perigord truffle; or Skrei cod from Norway served with a croquette of baby broccoli and chicken and hearty winter mushrooms.

For a meaty main, the Highland venison loin, en-croûte shoulder, foe gras, sliced poached pear and bacon panna cotta is a succulent, satisfying dish. While dessert might include an exotic nibble such as chocolate tonka bean mousse with cinnamon-toast ice cream, guests will not leave empty handed since the friendly staff sends them packing with a trio of truffles including one made with balsamic and white chocolate, and another filled with blood-orange gel. That same staff is also happy to pair unique wines with each dish, including options like Argentine Chardonnay, New Zealand Pinot Noir, and, of course, some Tawny Port with dessert.

Crossbasket Castle

Photo Credit: Crossbasket Castle

 

Thank goodness the bedrooms are just upstairs, so guests do not have too far to walk before succumbing to the inevitable food coma. Hopefully their appetite will return full force in the morning, because it would be a shame to miss out on the positively indulgent spread of pastries with butter and jam, as well as made-to-order items such as Balvenie whisky-smoked salmon with free-range scrambled eggs from Kilduncan. It’s like tasting the Scottish countryside for breakfast, and the perfect start to a day out exploring the area.

Cameron House

Photo Credit: Cameron House

 

Cameron House

No trip to Scotland would be complete without a visit to the bonny, bonny banks of Loch Lomond. Britain’s largest lake (by surface area) is a veritable playground for watersport enthusiasts, but it is also home to phenomenal hikes and vistas. Cameron House along the southwest edge makes a perfect launching ground for an exploration of the area.

 

Cameron House

Photo Credit: Cameron House

 

The lodge has 110 rooms and 26 suites, all done up with whimsical tartan touches and offering gorgeous views of the lake and the surrounding countryside. The hotel is also unique for a rural Scottish setting in that it encompasses an enormous fitness center and spa complex, unique experiences like private luxury cruises on the lake, and six dining outlets including the one Michelin-starred Martin Wishart at Loch Lomond.

Cameron House

Photo Credit: Cameron House

 

Those who don’t fancy sitting through a multi-hour meal, can consider a more casual dining itinerary that takes them through an impromptu whisky tasting in the Great Scots Bar before a dinner of sophisticated Scottish specialties in the contemporary Cameron Grill.

Cameron House

Photo Credit: Eric Rosen

 

Start with the savory Scottish lobster bisque with shellfish tortelloni and spicy rouille. The restaurant is known for its dry-aged grass-fed Angus Limousin steaks, which are sourced from the Carnhill Farm Estate in Ayrshire, but if you fancy something lighter, the roasted halibut in citrus butter with braised fennel is a nice choice, as is the exceedingly tender Highland deer with Roscoff onions, roasted beets, hazelnuts and rich grand-veneur sauce. Dessert is only an extra £5, so splurge on the Scottish wild berry and vanilla cream sundae to finish, or take a gander at trolley with a selection of Scottish cheeses.

The Airds

Photo Credit: Eric Rosen

 

The Airds

Time to take a detour and experience the grandeur of the mountain passes through Glen Coe and the Bridge of Orchy on your way out to Scotland’s west coast. Spend a day tasting through the various whiskies at the Oban distillery and sampling the local fish and chips stands. Then head just a half-hour farther north to take in the towering hulk of medieval Castle Stalker guarding its lone island in Loch Linnhe. From there, it’s just as short drive to bunk down for the night in Appin at the Airds Hotel and Restaurant.

The Airds

Photo Credit: Eric Rosen

 

Because of its out-of-the-way location, The Airds feels like a hidden gem…even though it originally opened as an inn along a busy ferry route back in the 18th century. Its current incarnation is more refined country retreat than watery way station. Guests enter through a light-filled glassed-in conservatory and are led into one of two fire-warmed sitting rooms for a glass of something and a familiarization with the hotel and local activities, which are even tempting enough to tear you away from luxuriating in one of the eleven gracious suites or the two self-catering cottages.

As with the other hotels here, though, it is the culinary quality that truly sets this property apart. Taking full advantage of its location on Loch Linnhe, the inn’s restaurant serves some of Scotland’s best fish and seafood, including monkfish, prawns and mussels from right off the shore, and crab from Mallaig up the coast. The result is phenomenally fresh food presented in eye-catching but unfussy combinations on seasonal menus.

The Airds

Photo Credit: Eric Rosen

 

Depending on the time of year, the tasting menu might include Mull crab cannelloni with an ultra-light tomato gazpacho and oyster emulsion.

Though the loin of Newtonmore venison with Jerusalem, stick to the fish and order that monkfish. It is served with braised oxtail, tender chanterelles and crispy smoked gnocchi. For dessert, the carrot cake with a chiffon of pumpkin ganache, a walnut tuille and mascarpone sorbet is masterful.

One Devonshire Gardens

Photo Credit: One Devonshire Gardens

 

One Devonshire Gardens

Time for one final night in Glasgow and a visit to one of the city’s stateliest properties, One Devonshire Gardens. Located in Glasgow’s grand Victorian West End, the hotel actually comprises five once-separate townhouses originally built in 1886 that have been combined into a single hotel. The stained-glass windows over the central staircases of each alone are worth a visit.

All of the 49 rooms and suites are entirely unique, though you might find more than a few with deep soaking tubs, four-poster beds fitted in fine Egyptian linens and a fireplace here or there.

One Devonshire Gardens

Photo Credit: One Devonshire Gardens

 

Downstairs in the second of the houses, the Bistro has become a Glasgow landmark thanks to its extensive wine cellar and a whisky snug pouring over 300 kinds of scotch. Though there are various prix-fixe menus, but it is the perfect opportunity to go off-road with an à la carte tasting.

Signature dishes include terrine of poached rabbit loin confit with golden raisin puree and celeriac remoulade, or the whipped goat cheese with beets, carrots and pickled fennel. The Gressingham duck breast with potatoes gratin and creamed spinach is a jaunt out to Scotland’s ancient hunting grounds on a plate. The luscious salmon with pumpkin risotto and a salsify beignet is a final taste of the country’s lochs.

One Devonshire Gardens

Photo Credit: Eric Rosen

 

Though it is not Scottish, the Devonshire sticky toffee pudding is hard to resist for dessert, though it might just be possible if you opt for the ginger beer bread cake with frosted rosemary and blueberries, a purée of white chocolate and parsnip and maple-rosemary ice cream…and maybe one last dram of whisky to toast your trip.

#NotACrime: Street Artist ELLE Promotes Education Equality Through Public Murals

#NotACrime: Street Artist ELLE Promotes Education Equality Through Public Murals

ELLE #NotACrime

Photo Credit: Jill Weinlein

I was invited to meet ELLE, a female graffiti and street artist turned muralist, while she was painting her latest masterpiece in the parking garage of the iconic Rock ‘n’ Roll hotel Sunset Marquis. As the future buses of rock stars pull into the hotel, they will be greeted by a striking piece of a young woman with the top of her head exploding, and multiple hands reaching out to grab as much knowledge as she can get. One eye is enlarged and filled with color and imagination.

Originally from California and now based in New York and Los Angeles, ELLE is one of the elite, in a world dominated by men. She looks like an ELLE magazine fashion model, even with an aerosol paint can in her hand. Her talent and beautiful appearance quickly prompted Liquitex Paint to sponsor her.

 

IKEA asked her to produce a piece and then sold it in every store worldwide. Other collaborations include Guess Foundation, Lyft, Vice, Etnia Barcelona, Smart Car, Iceland Airwaves, TNT Entertainment, the award-winning television show Mr. Robot and clothing companies Mishka and Mighty Healthy. Her masterpieces have been featured in books that include Street Art Today – The 50 Most Influential Street Artists, and Women Street Artists, the Complete Guide by Ian Castello.

 

ELLE also made a film appearance in the documentary Changing the World, One Wall at a Time created by the organization Education is Not a Crime. The movie addresses the injustice of young people in Iran and around the world being barred from higher education because of their race or religious preference.

At the Sunset Marquis, her mural is the first in Los Angeles for the organization #NotACrime, promoting street art for education equality. They commission the world’s most prominent street artists and muralists to tell a story about the importance of education through their art.

 

The campaign started in New York City to make people aware of the Baha’i people in Iran. Since 1979, the beginning of the Islamic Revolution, the Iranian government has been persecuting people of the largest religious minority: the Baha’i faith. Their businesses have been torched, and thousands of people have been harassed, jailed or killed. Young Baha’i people in Iran are banned from studying in Iranian universities, and teachers of the same faith are forbidden to teach.

ELLE first painted a beautiful piece in New York City for the campaign. While painting, she enjoyed talking to people who stopped to admire her art, asking “What are you doing? Why are you doing this?”  ELLE would share with them how people in the world are denied an education. Knowledge is power. Painting a mural engages people to talk about injustice and human rights. Sometimes it engages people more than a newspaper or magazine article.

Educating people about this cause through art moved to other boroughs in the city and New Jersey. Next it went global with other artists bringing their spray paint cans to walls in Cape Town, South Africa. This really hit home for the local people who have been denied an education, because of their race.

Soon #NotACrime was identifying discrimination around the world and hired artists in Rio de Janeiro, Sydney, London, Delhi, Atlanta and now Los Angeles to paint their messages. ELLE believes, “Positive art is crucial for community development. It offers a positive message and hopefully a change.”

Germany Luxury Brand Montblanc Launches the 1926 Heritage Collection

Germany luxury brand Montblanc has recently announced the launch of the 1926 Heritage Collection.

Understanding the needs of the sophisticated traveler, the leather collection is a testament of exquisite craftsmanship. The vegetable-tanned leather creates a unique, yet refined vintage look, perfect for world traveler looking for style, durability, versatility and individuality.

The unique process of vegetable tanning gives each piece its own distinct character. Enhancing the look, touch and smell of the leather, the vegetable tannins are extracted from barks and plant tissue to preserve the natural appearance of the leather. Known as one of the oldest tanning processes in the famous Tuscan leather tradition, some pieces feature vintage-inspired details such as an antique gold-colored finishing on metal fittings, as well as the understated Montblanc logo that appears on each bag.

With the passing of time, the leather color also changes, leaving an enhanced vintage look and feel. The interior features a contrasting bright red print, inspired by the regal Maasai tribe.

The 1926 Heritage collection name references the year Montblanc began its journey with leather. Consisting of 20 bags, wallets, and leather accessories, the Montblanc 1926 Heritage Collection will be available on montblanc.com and at Montblanc boutiques in September 2017.

Magnetic Estates: Calle Isabella, San Clemente, California

Magnetic Estates: Calle Isabella, San Clemente, California

Photos Credit: Calle Isabella

San Clemente is one of the more beautiful beach communities in Orange County, California.  It has a quiet history, as it remained virtually uninhabited until 1776, when Mission San Juan Capistrano was established by Father Junipero Serra.

Exterior, Calle Isabella

The mission is well known for the swallows that return the same day each year, March 19th. San Juan Capistrano is just a few miles north of San Clemente.

Exterior Entrance, Calle Isabella

Also, the San Clemente beaches, especially San Onofre, have some of the most substantial surfing areas in Southern California. But in addition to the great beauty of the beaches, surf, and weather (it is said, 342 days of sun a year), it also has some of the most significant estate homes, with ocean views.

Calle Isabella Ocean View

One of the most impressive oceanfront estates is on the market now at $44 Million USD, and is represented by Santiago Arana, of The Agency.

The estate is called Calle Isabella, and is on nearly three acres. It is a gated, seaside compound near a beach, but also close to the famous San Onofre surfing area just a few miles away.  Calle Isabella is located in the guard-gated Cotton Point Estates, known as one of the most exclusive areas in San Clemente.

Calle Isabella Exterior

Calle Isabella contains a multitude of spacious rooms within its nearly 13,000 square feet of living area. The parcel has 450 feet of ocean frontage, and affords a nuanced arrangement of living space that captures garden, ocean and sunset views from every major room.

Calle Isabella, Ocean and Pool Views

The two-story areas have beamed ceilings and intricate brick/stone walls, situated to take in ocean views through bronze-framed windows. Also complimenting the setting, are limestone flooring, walnut millwork, and Venetian plaster.

Calle Isabella Living Area

Interiors include a large master suite with sitting room and private terrace, a three-bedroom guest house, a sport court, a 55-foot oceanfront pool, an event lawn, and a nine-car garage. The residence is surrounded by terraces, broad lawns and mature landscaping and gardens, all set above the ocean.

Calle Isabella Living Area #2

Calle Isabella has seven bedrooms, and 11 bathrooms. The home itself is 12,854 square feet.  It is located in Cotton Point Estates, where President Nixon bought his San Clemente home in 1969 and called it his Western White House. Cotton Point Estates is now home to a few luxury estate hones, and is located on a southerly point in San Clemente.

15 Must-Haves for the Luxe-Minded Glamper

15 Must-Haves for the Luxe-Minded Glamper

Oru Kayak

Photo Credit: Oru Kayak

Summer is here and camping season is in full swing. Whether you like to “rough it” with a few extra conveniences or go all-out glamping, there are all sorts of fun gadgets out there that every nature-lover will appreciate having on a trip to the great outdoors. Check out our list of just a few “essentials” you should consider taking on your next adventure.

Oru Kayak makes origami-inspired, foldable kayaks that make getting out on the water more convenient, fun, and accessible for everyone. For most glampers, the weight and size of kayaks make them hard to bring on adventures and present a challenge to transport. With the light-weight and easy-to-store Oru Kayaks you can bring a boat with you without worrying about how you’ll get it to the water’s edge or sacrificing other gear. The kayak is sold at REI, online at www.orukayak.com, on kickstarter, and at select outdoor retailers across the country for $1,299.

 B.2 9x45mm 

Photo Credit: Craig Okraska

 

Maven Optics B.2 9x45mm binoculars can be engraved and all components are color customizable. The Maven B.2 is available in 7x, 9x, or 11x magnifications and has superior low-light performance, tack-sharp edge-to-edge clarity and uses a Magnesium constructed frame, is waterproof/fogproof and Nitrogen gas purged. With over 1 billion custom color combinations, Maven produces the most personalized custom optics available. Direct-to-consumer sold and hand assembled to order, these optics stack up with the most elite binoculars in the world. Starting price, $1,050.00.

RovR RollR 80

Photo Credit: RovR

 

Made in Colorado, the RovR RollR 80 cooler features an 80-quart carrying capacity for a ton of storage space and high-performance mountainboard wheels to effortlessly traverse the most rugged terrain. RovR keeps food and beverages cold for up to a week and includes innovative features such as a cutting board and cup holders that turn the cooler into a food and beverage-serving center. A unique and removable dry storage bin extends to the bottom of the cooler, keeping food coldest and separate from melting ice. A removable folding bin affixed to the lid allows the RollR 80 to double as a wagon, making it possible to carry gear such as chairs, tents, towels and dry goods to destinations. RovR is sold at www.rovrproducts.com for $449.

Flying Tent

Photo Credit: Flying Tent

 

The Flying Tent ($399) is poised to make an impression as the world’s first all-in-one floating tent, bivy tent, hammock and rain poncho. A three-season shelter, the Flying Tent can be set up between two trees as a floating tent and hammock, or as a bivy tent on the ground. It features a removable mosquito net, a cleverly engineered ventilation system and a rip-stop rain-fly and even doubles as an adjustable rain poncho. The lightweight and compact Flying Tent is conveniently stored in its own backpack and sets up in a few seconds. The product is currently only online.

Double Leather Wine Zip Case

Photo Credit: Will Leather Goods

 

The Double Leather Wine Zip Case ($250), is perfect for toting your ideal bottle (or bottles) of vino to camp. This steadfast leather case which comes in three colors, black, brown or tan, is every wine and travel lover’s companion. Each case is hand-burnished to add time-worn character to the Italian vegetable tanned leather. For glampers that enjoy a good glass of wine out in the wilderness while watching the sunset, the sturdy and fashionable case is a must get.

 Frontcountry Bed Queen

Photo Credit: Sierra Designs

 

Having the ultimate sleeping bag takes any trip from camping to glamping. The Frontcountry Bed Queen ($230) from Sierra Designs is just what you need. This attractive zipperless bag features an oversized, integrated comforter that lets you (and your bedmate) sleep comfortably in any position, and a sleeve on the bottom that accommodates a queen-sized air mattress. The oval opening on top intuitively adjusts as you move to prevent drafts, and the short staple synthetic insulation will keep you as cozy as can be. Available in multiple sizes, from Youth to Queen, to accommodate everyone in your crew. Available on Sierra Designs website, Amazon, online retailers or find dealer locators to find exact stores: https://sierradesigns.com/dealer-locator/.

Newen Two Person Tent

Photo Credit: Rokum

 

Rokum’s spacious Newen Two Person Tent accommodates a custom built, wall-to-wall, 18 cm thick air mattress for the best slumber ever in the outdoors. Rokum tents are made with breathable weather resistant fabrics, top quality and high strength poles for easy set up with seven exclusive print designs. This comfy camping retreat rolls up into its own carrying pack for easy transport. The two-person tent is exclusively online for $179 at rokumoutdoor.com and will be opening up to retailers this fall.

Salute 34

Photo Credit: mhmgear.com

 

The Salute 34 is MHM Gear’s most popular backpack because it does it all. It features the famous s-shaped “Snake-Loader” zipper that allows easy access to belongings at any location in the pack, so you don’t have to be frustrated when digging through your things like you do with a traditional top-loader. The Salute also comes with lots of internal organization and external storage pockets suitable for all the random items that over-packers tend to bring along. Coming in two colors, Hydro Blue &Midnight Black, this backpack offers features like its M-Flex™ Suspension, Varicant™ Dual-Pivoting Hipbelt, Deployable Straps, Deployable Rain Cover and Coated Mesh Organizer Pockets. The Salute 34 ($169) can be purchased online and at select retail stores.

Char-Broil’s Portable Grill2Go® X200

Photo Credit: Char-Broil

 

Perfect for “glamping,” Char-Broil’s Portable Grill2Go® X200 ($149.99) is great for on-the-go grilling. Its compact size and weight makes it ideal for traveling and carrying with you to any destination, and it comes already-assembled for a no-fuss experience. And for easy, convenient cooking, the Grill2Go® X200 has a Piezo Electric Igniter so users can create a spark at the burner and light the grill at the push of a button—no need to remember to pack matches or batteries. The grill is available online as well as at Lowe’s and on Amazon.

Terrebonne™ Outdry™ Extreme Shoe

Photo Credit: Columbia

 

Outfitted with Columbia’s industry-leading OutDry™ waterproof-breathable construction and a premium Vibram outsole for exceptional support, the Terrebonne™ Outdry™ Extreme Shoe is a light and fast multi-sport shoe. Unlock the outdoors in any season and keep comfortable and light on your feet even over the long miles thanks to a featherweight, responsive Techlite™ midsole. The Terrebone OutDry Extreme Shoe ($140) can be purchased on Columbia.com and other retail websites.

Sitka+ Li-Ion Lantern

Photo Credit: UCO Gear

 

Elevate your camp lighting game with the Sitka+ Li-Ion Lantern ($99.99). UCO’s biggest, most powerful lantern yet has a Super Bright LED light source that offers up to 500 lumens. Raise the extension arm from 12.5” to 26” to increase the lighting area by four times, reducing glare and shadows, or keep it collapsed for softer, diffused light. The Sitka+ also features “Northern Lights” mode, with red, blue and green LED options. In addition to high quality light, the Sitka+ helps you stay powered up in the great outdoors with 2 USB power outputs and a rechargeable Li-ion battery. Available on Uco’s website, Amazon, online retailers and REI stores nationwide.

RinseKit

Photo Credit: RinseKit

 

The RinseKit ($89.99) is a great portable shower for campers to wash off their camp dishes or take a shower in the backcountry. The simple, space efficient ‘hose-to-go’ easily attaches to a standard spigot, stores pressurized water inside a small cooler-sized reservoir, and sprays high-pressure water whenever and wherever needed without the use of batteries or a motor. Perfect for a campsite, boat dock, beach or in the car for extended road trips, RinseKit helps you quickly clean yourself, your gear or even a dirty dog. RinseKit is sold at Bass Pro Shops, surf shops and various hardware and outdoor stores throughout the country.

Todd Long Sleeve shirt

Photo Credit: Craghoppers

 

With insect shield and solar shield protective qualities, the Craghoppers Todd Long Sleeve shirt is a must-have for glamping. Not only will this shirt deliver protection from the elements on the trail, but it can also be worn out in town or to dinner. It is lightweight, quick drying, features a hidden zippered pocket for keeping essentials safe. Retailing for $85 and available in either Night Blue or Carmine Red, the Todd Long Sleeve shirt is sold online and at retailers all across the U.S., including REI.

Thermacell Backpacker Mosquito Repeller 

Photo Credit: Thermacell

 

The Thermacell Backpacker Mosquito Repeller ($39.99) weighs in at just 4 ounces with a minimalist design, and is the perfect accessory to keep your camp site mosquito and bug free. It works by using fuel from any proprietary isobutane camp canister to heat a mat that is treated with Allethrin, the synthetic compound found in the Chrysanthemum flower. Allethrin is vaporized into the air giving users a 15-foot x 15-foot odor-free zone of protection from mosquitoes and other pesky biting bugs without the use of stinky DEET. All Thermacell products have been approved by the EPA for safety and effectiveness.

GoPure Pod

Photo Credit: GoPure

 

Convenient, reusable, and designed for dropping in any water bottle, pitcher or hydration pack, the GoPure Pod introduces the first-ever, truly portable tap water purification process in an easy-to-use product. The GoPure Pod constantly cleans and enhances potable water for up to six months, providing peace of mind and taste satisfaction everywhere you go! Additionally, one Pod replaces up to 2,000 single-use plastic water bottles and is fully reusable and recyclable. Just drop it in and get going! Available online at gopurepod.com, select Bed, Bath & Beyond locations, Camping World, Bentley’s, Wegmans and Akin-Chamberlin Natural Food stores for $24.95.

FOOD & WINE Classic In Aspen Kicks Off Summer In Style

FOOD & WINE Classic In Aspen Kicks Off Summer In Style

FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen

Photo Credit: Carin von Berg

The 35th annual FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen kicked off summer in style over Father’s Day weekend in scenic Aspen, Colorado. Celebrity chefs, celebrity guests, locals and international foodies gathered in beautiful downtown Aspen to experience culinary delights in the form of seminars, private parties, winemaker’s dinners, VIP luncheons and the always popular Grand Tasting Pavillion where vintners showcase their finest wines and spirits.

Attracting more than 5,000 attendees from around the world, the inaugural classic was established in 1982 as the Aspen/Snowmass International Wine Classic by founders Gary Plumley of the Grape & Grain in Aspen and Bob and Ruth Kevan of Chez Grandmere in Snowmass Village. In 1986, Food & Wine magazine became the official host of the event, while American Express later hosted the American Express Restaurant Trade Programproviding a unique educational and networking opportunity for professionals in the hospitality world.

 

Ticket holders could experience a range of seminars that took place over three days, such as celebrity chef Ming Tsai’s Shrimp Five Ways, Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson’sAffordable Agers, Bryan and Michael Voltaggio’s High Steaks and Andrew Zimmerman’sThe Art of Seafood. In between seminars, everyone moved over to the Grand Tasting tents to sample gourmet cuisine, wine, Champagne and spirits from over 300 wine and luxury lifestyle brands.

As day turned to night, the parties were in full swing with Bravo Top Chef and Copper Cane Wines & Provisions hosting a welcome reception at the St. Regis Resort on Thursday night and the Wines of Spain celebrating 25 years at the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen with an invite-only party hosted by 2015 Food & Wine Best New Chef Katie Button at Aspen Kitchen. On Friday, lucky guests were treated to acclaimed Chicago chef Stephanie Izard’s homage to Chinese cuisine with a taste-around dinner reception inspired by Duck Duck Goat that took place at the uber-chic American Express Platinum House. Emirates presented Dubai In The Sky at the top of Aspen Mountain to celebrate 35 years with the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen.

We're missing the #fwclassic already. Can we just go back to Aspen and do it again? 📷: @mdoughw_eats

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Saturday night saw the most action, with the addition of musical entertainment featuring music by The Spazmatics and a tasting by Jamie Bissonnette and Ken Oringer at Belly Up, while DJ and electronic violinist Kat V wowed guests at the St. Regis where the Nomad Magic Show with Dan White and exclusive after-party hosted by Starwood preferred Guest Card from American Express took place. We ended the night at the GOAT After-Party with Stephanie Izard back at the American Express Platinum House.

FOOD & WINE Classic In Aspen

Photo Credit: Aspen Chamber of Commerce

 

For those wanting to detox and commune with nature, San Pellegrino and Acqua Pannasponsored a charity 5K run on Friday with chefs bringing attendees through the city streets and parks of Aspen to raise money for Wholesome Wave Rio Grande Park. Over at the American Express Platinum House, guests were treated to SoulCycle classes, mediation, blowouts from DryBar and manicures from Olive & June.

Sunday had a slower (but no less fun pace) with a handful of seminars, a final Grand Tasting at the tents and the Farewell Feast: A Bubbly Brunch sponsored by Mionetto prosecco at the historic Hotel Jerome. We were greeted with an icy cold mini-bottle of Mionetto upon arrival and treated to a classic line-up of featured dishes from Eggslutt and more.

Aspen Kitchen

Photo Credit: Carin von Berg

 

A note on where to stay and dine in Aspen, the next time you plan a visit to the charming mountain town:

EatAspen Kitchen

When in Aspen, brunch at Aspen Kitchen is an absolute must. The warm and inviting restaurant boasts a contemporary yet rustic décor, sprawling open kitchen, 180° views of the town and lush mountains. Three walls of windows lined the space, as well as a glass-enclosed dry-aging room, an expansive patio complete with a ‘garden’ and an elegant bar that showcases an extensive, wall-mounted collection of wines. Executive Chef Matt O’Neill developed a contemporary American menu that had our mouths watering.

As we were slightly hungover from a weekend of drinking at the FOOD & WINE Classic in Aspen, we were in desperate need of the ‘hair of the dog’ and started with a spicy Red Mountain Bloody Mary and a detoxing Garden of Aspen made from spinach, cucumber, green apple, carrot, ginger, and fresh lemon (that we amped-up with a shot of Breckenridge vodka). We then devoured the ridiculously delicious and satisfying Tots & Caviar and Escargot Fritters with garlic aioli. For the second course, we moved on to the light and fluffy Asparagus Frittata with potato, pea greens, spring onions and ricotta cheese, the comforting Spicy Prawns & Buckwheat Grits, and the hearty Saltbrick Burger. Some additional items worth mentioning are the Kitchen Eggs Benedict with biscuit, prosciutto, green garlic, chimichurri and hollandaise sauce and an inventive Fried Chicken & Waffle Sandwich with bleu cheese slaw and a spicy sriracha maple glaze.

Hotel Jerome

Photo Credit: Carin von Berg

 

StayHotel Jerome

For visitors to Aspen, there is no better place to call home than the historic Hotel Jerome. Perfectly situated in the heart of Downtown Aspen between the base of Ajax mountain and the Roaring Fork River, the idyllic Hotel Jerome remains an Aspen institution and has been an important part of Aspen’s social and cultural fabric since its opening as the town’s first hotel more than 120 years ago. Following an extensive remodel in 2012 (overseen by famed designer Todd Avery Lenahan), the stately property has managed to maintain its Western, small town charm while simultaneously offering visitors and guests unique amenities on par with the world’s leading luxury hotels and resorts.

Part of the Auberge Resorts Collection, the Hotel Jerome boasts the world class in-house Auberge spa as well as two full-service restaurants and bars that are extremely popular with visitors and locals alike. As if the amenities weren’t enough, the decor of the Hotel Jerome is the star attraction. The well-appointed lobby embodies Aspen’s eclectic Americana aesthetic with vintage Western art and mining-era artifacts juxtaposed with subtle European motifs and rich jewel-toned hues. “The new Hotel Jerome honors the past but is squarely living in the present,” says designer Todd Avery Lenahan. This sentiment is underscored by details such as the vibrant Navajo textiles, tile floors inspired by Ute Indian weave patterns, and the signature large antique American flag with 38 stars, which was created in honor of Colorado’s statehood in 1876. These are just some of the unique touches that make the Jerome one of the most Instagram-worthy design destinations in America.

The feast for the senses doesn’t end at the lobby. The 93 rooms and suites feature original tile work and Western photographs as a friendly nod to the hotel’s notable history. For the tech saavy, rooms are equipped with iPads that allow guests to make dinner reservations and book spa treatments with ease. The complimentary treats that come with the fully stocked mini-bar (disguised as leather chests) are just icing on the cake, as are the Hermes Eau D’Orange Verte personal care products. A stay at the Hotel Jerome will leave you feeling pampered, refreshed and inspired.

Tasting Australia Adelaide: An Epicurean Odyssey in South Australia

Tasting Australia Adelaide: An Epicurean Odyssey in South Australia

Tasting Australia Adelaide

Photos Credit: Tasting Australia Adelaide

Australia is far away from the rest of the world. Because of that, Australians are very independent and have learned to create what they need without relying on the rest of the world. One area that they have excelled in is creating an exceptional culinary scene and wine industry. Once a year they celebrate South Australia’s epicurean gifts at the Tasting Australia Adelaide. The event brings together the best to the region’s producers of food and wine and chefs for an eight-day gastronomic feast.

Taste of Australia Adelaide

Tasting Australia Adelaide is a series of 100 events throughout the culinary centers of South Australia including Adelaide, Adelaide Hills, The Barossa, McLaren Vale down to the  Fleurieu Peninsula and all the way to Kangaroo Island. The hub is the Town Square Adelaide which was transformed into a foodie’s theme park with music, food stalls, presentations and activities for children.

Taste of Australia Adelaide

Taste the Market Adelaide Farmer’s Market

 

Australians revere the farm-to-table concept, so shopping at a farmers market is preferred over a big supermarket. The Adelaide Central Market has been a South Australia institution for over 148 years. It is also the location for the Taste of the Market Adelaide Central Market where star chefs Frank Camorra (MoVida ) and Mitch Orr (ACME Sydney) demonstrated their culinary skills using market products. In the show kitchen, the duo created inventive Spanish Tapas and Italian Antipasti accompanied by a wine pairing by one of Australia’s most revered wine makers, Hentley Farm.

On the other side of town, the Taste the Market at the Adelaide Farmers’ Market was a wonderful long table dinner of four courses showcasing South Australian artisan food. The farmers and producers also gave interesting talks about their industry, and insights in to the meal beyond the palate.

Taste of Australia Adelaide

A cadre of international celebrity chefs joins in, such as Ana Ros, who was voted top female chef in the world, World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards and Gordon Ramsay’s mentor and the youngest chef to receive three Michelin stars: Marco Pierre White. One of the personalities behind the event was heralded local chef and creative director Simon Bryant. Bryant shares: “If you love eating and drinking, sharing food and beverages and meeting the people behind what’s on your plate and in your glass, then Tasting Australia is for you.”

Taste of Australia Adelaide

Glass House Closing Event

 

Within the space was a beautiful Town Square restaurant, the Glasshouse Kitchen. This temporary structure hosted some of the more exclusive events. The closing event was the formal Chefs Supper Club where 20 of Australia’s top chefs and personalities created a decadent epicurean adventure of food, cocktails, and fine regional wines.

Taste of Australia Adelaide

Simon Byrant, Creative Director

 

South Australia put Australia’s wine making on the international wine map and has become one of the revered wine capitals of world. The Barossa and McClaren Vale are known around the world for producing the finest Shirazes, Grenaches and Cabernet as well as Riesling and Chardonnays. This is wine country and in the blood of those who live here.

Taste of Australia Adelaide

Maxwell Wines

 

The McLaren Vale area is known as the epicurean trail, but it’s really all about wine. TheMaxwell Wines Family has been producing exceptional Cabernets and Pinot Noirs for three generations. For the Tasting Australia events, the Maxwell family provided an uber exclusive opportunity to experience a day at the vineyard with the winemakers, a fantastic meal at their cellar door and a tour of the region by helicopter.

Taste of Australia Adelaide

Helicopter Views of McLaren Vale

 

After a greeting by Jeremy Maxwell, it’s off by helicopter for incredible views of the vineyards, town and beautiful coastline of McLaren Vale. The first stop was at Scoop which produces organic micro herb and produce for the area’s top restaurants. From there we were off to Diana Olive Oil which produces fine olive oil for export around the world.

Taste of Australia Adelaide

A Day with Maxwell Wines

 

Upon our return, it was time to get serious about wine and the owner and winemaker Mark Maxwell took us on a tour of the winery and barrel tasting in the cellar. He shared his passion for the craft speaking about his approach to wine making and the nuances in the flavors that we were experiencing.

Now the feast that we had been waiting for was before us at the cellar door’s Ellen Street Restaurant. The exquisite six-course meal was prepared by the talented German chef, Fabian Lehmann. It was delicious, especially with the pairing of Maxwell Wines.

Taste of Australia Adelaide

Camino

 

The famed Barossa Valley is the Tuscany, Bordeaux, or Napa Valley of Australia. Once a year the Annual Barossa Camino immerses an exclusive group of oenophiles into the lives of Australia’s wine dynasties who have been crafting fine wines for almost 200 years. TheBarossa Camino is a full day trek with the Henschke Wine and Angas’, the royal families of the Australian wine industry, through three great vineyards, the Hill of Grace, Hutton Vale Farm and Mount Edelstone.

Taste of Australia Adelaide

Barossa Camino

 

It was heaven for wine lovers, as the Camino trekked through the beautiful vineyards and guests enjoyed the day learning about the wines from the families, while drinking with other wine lovers. The day ended at the Hutton Vale Wines farm with a delicious outdoor, country-style dinner.

Taste of Australia Adelaide

Tara Ochota

 

One of the more fun events was the Fresh Wine Disco which took place in the rural village of Adelaide Hills. Guests interacted with 30 of the region’s low intervention wine makers, sampling vintages which were blended only weeks prior. The fun lasted into the wee hours of the night as the tasting morphed into a disco ball with the sounds of thumping ’70s and ’80s disco music. The event was led by the fun loving Tara Ochota of Ochota Barrels who also happens to be the Tasting Australia 2017 Wine Ambassador and all around fun guy.

Taste of Australia Adelaide

Glass House Closing Event

 

For those who appreciate good food and wine, the Tasting Australia Adelaide is one destination in May not to miss. For a celebration of those who produce and prepare what we love to eat, this event does not disappoint.

Taste of Australia Adelaide

Wine Masters

Taste of Australia AdelaideTaste of Australia Adelaide

Fresh Wine Disco

Taste of Australia Adelaide

Glass House Event

Taste of Australia Adelaide

Tasting Australia Adelaide Town Square

Taste of Australia Adelaide

glass house kitchen

Taste of Australia Adelaide

simon bryant

LIFESTYLE/LUXURY YACHTS Is Land Rover’s Boat for America’s Cup Bringing Us One Step Closer to Flying Cars?

LIFESTYLE/LUXURY YACHTS Is Land Rover’s Boat for America’s Cup Bringing Us One Step Closer to Flying Cars?

Land Rover BAR

Photos Credit: Land Rover BAR

It’s counterintuitive, but the extraordinary sailboats used to race in this year’s 35th America’s Cup competition in Bermuda, don’t actually float in the water for most of the thrilling race course. They fly.

Land Rover BAR

It’s a new phenomenon in the competition for the oldest sporting trophy in the world. And the British racing team in particular is determined to take sailing technology above and beyond the norm with the help of the Land Rover engineering team. Two years ago, Sir Ben Ainsley—considered the world’s best sailing skipper—formed Ben Ainsley Racing to propel the British sailing team to international victories by forming an alliance with Land Rover engineers. Their goal was to develop the fastest, most advanced sailboat ever built. In 2015, Land Rover BAR was created and headquartered at Portsmouth, England, and the quest to become the best began.

Land Rover BAR

“We are determined to achieve our goal to bring the America’s Cup home to Britain,” said 2013 America’s Cup champion Ainslie, who won with Oracle Team USA and notes that in the 166-year history of the sport, his British homeland has never succeeded. His current team is talent rich with five Olympic gold medalists. “This team has really taken on the challenge. We are working with the best technology leaders Land Rover can offer. They are a great British brand and a fantastic engineering and technology company who work hand-in-hand with our design and engineering team.”

It took two years, $10 million, 35,000 man-hours, and 60,000 megabytes of data to design and build four test boats leading up to the final R1 race model for the 2017 America’s Cup competition. Astonishingly, the R1’s top speed is three-and-one-half-times the speed of wind. This is achieved by aerodynamics that raise the 2.5-ton boat above the waterline on wing-like hydrofoils the size of ironing boards. Ainslie controls the turns with a custom steering wheel based on the one for Land Rover’s new Discovery, complete with gear-shift paddles that control the boat’s height above the water. A 78.6-foot-tall Boeing 707 carbon-fiber sail acts as a wing providing the R1’s “engine” thrust.

Land Rover BAR

“These boats literally do fly,” says Martin Whitmarsh, CEO of Land Rover BAR, and the former head of McLaren Racing and the Formula One Teams Association. “It’s something that started happening quite recently in the 2016 America’s Cup. Incredibly, these boats will maneuver around the course and cross the finish line without touching down in the water. It’s a whole new field of sailing, breaking speed records day-by-day.”

To achieve this feat, Land Rover BAR’s engineering team focused their efforts in three areas: aerodynamics of the “powerhouse” wing sail, machine learning and artificial intelligence data analysis, and human machine interface, which is essentially the way Sir Ben and the sailors interact and control the boat. And it’s lessons learned in these three areas that are leading to real-life innovations in Land Rover automobiles, such as the all-new Land Rover Discovery, introduced at a 2016 global reveal by the Land Rover BAR team.

Land Rover BAR

For example, one tangible application is being made to car touchscreens. Thanks to experience and data collected on the water, the Land Rover BAR team has learned how to improve software and coding to prevent screen reflection at faster speeds. Aerodynamic lessons taught at sea are also finding practical use in virtual design innovations thanks to Fluid Structure Interaction which allows engineers to view the effects of motion and wind on the surfaces of a car much more realistically. This advanced aerodynamic simulation will allow designers to improve auto performance by taking weight out of the car, and stiffness out of body panels, fenders, and sunroofs where it’s not needed. Jump years ahead, and the same concepts – and perhaps a carbon-fiber Boeing wing — could lead to practical designs for real-life flying cars.

The future is now with Jaguar Land Rover’s Self Learning Car, a pioneer effort in the use of big data in the automotive industry. The company is throwing its considerable weight behind the ultimate intelligent driving experience by using the artificial-intelligence framework to allow cars to understand the driver’s personal preferences. It’s a safe bet that the Land Rover BAR team will be accelerating its use of artificial-intelligence for their next generation of racing rigs. “The technology is still in its infancy,” says Whitmarsh, who’s already planning bold improvements for next year’s Land Rover BAR competition vessel. “We’re talking high performance car acceleration on a boat. The sky’s the limit to where this could take autos.”

Finally a Subscription Box for Outdoor Enthusiasts

Finally a Subscription Box for Outdoor Enthusiasts

Photo Credit: @thenomadik on Instagram

If you’re a world traveler, frequent hiker, camper, or outdoor adventurer, you know the importance of good gear that is light, portable and useful in more ways than one. Nomadik is delivering top-quality camping and hiking gear in a monthly subscription box meant to encourage receivers to get outside.

The subscription box is valued up to $50 and includes one main product, 1-3 smaller products, and 1-2 educational or inspirational items, many from new brands you may have never seen before. They also include a product description sheet that explains each item, and what they’re used for. All items are the same products you would buy at a store; no samples or smaller, less functional versions. You don’t know what is coming every month, but Nomadik strives to make each box inspire the receiver, and make camping and adventuring an easy, safe, and fun experience for everyone.

 

 The Nomadik

Photo Credit: The Nomadik

 

The subscription process is easy. Choose between a one month, six month, or twelve month subscription. That’s it. Boxes ship out by the end of month, and Nomadik makes it fun by offering a clue about the item theme for the month. They often have Instagram contests to further encourage users to get outdoors and use their products. Nomadik Subscriptions cost between $27 and $35 per box, and can be cancelled any time. Get outside and try something new!

Barneys New York Toasts the Lexus LC 500 with an Exclusive Sommelier Set

Barneys New York Toasts the Lexus LC 500 with an Exclusive Sommelier Set

Photo Credit: Lexus and Barneys New York

In celebration of Lexus’ all-new LC 500 luxury coupe, Barneys New York is offering a finely crafted, limited-edition collection of barware inspired by the car’s elegant design. Lexus’ LC 500 is the Japanese company’s first entry into the highest premium end of the luxury coupe market segment, and Barneys New York’s’ made-in-Italy Lexus XO sommelier set represents the most elegant, handcrafted bar goods available.

Lexus

Photo Credit: Lexus

 

Inspired by the LC 500, the four handcrafted pieces include a lead-free crystalline wine decanter with a unique, leaning silhouette designed to maximize wine aeration; a stingray-leather covered bar tray to match the Lexus LC 500’s interior paneling; and a foil cutter and double-levered corkscrew fashioned in mirror-polished stainless steel and white mother-of-pearl “to reflect the bespoke white leather upholstery of the car,” notes Tom Kalenderian, Executive Vice President of Barneys. The set comes with an orange travel pouch to match the car’s award-winning interior trim. “The colors for the LC 500 were chosen for their bold, statement-making effect,” says Brian Bolain, Lexus’ USA General Manager for Product and Consumer Marketing. “And the sommelier set, like the car, was designed for those who are not afraid to be noticed.”

The Lexus XO Barneys New York’s sommelier set is available in a limited quantity and can be purchased online, or at the Madison, Beverly Hills, and Chicago stores.