Noma’s founding chef is opening a restaurant in Greenpoint – Brooklyn Magazine https://flip.it/Vg.pR5
Who Actually Makes Kirkland Wine? https://flip.it/UR5.cW
Pull on your hiking boots, get out the trail maps, and pick out the perfect place for a beer. Afterall, our mantra is that the tastiest beer every is the one you quaff after a hike. And what better place to do so than in California’s gorgeous and historic Gold Country.
Known for its rolling hills dotted with forests and scenic vistas as well aits many artisan breweries, Placer County is an outdoor adventurer’s – and a beer lover’s – dream. With 30 miles of trails,
Hidden Falls Regional Park is a great stop for a leisurely hike before checking out the local breweries such as Hillenbrand, Goathouse and Dueling Dogs. Near the Auburn State Recreation Area, the 10.8-mile Quarry Trail will take you along the American River, surrounded by sheer limestone.
Then head to Moonraker Brewing for renowned lagers, IPAs, sours and hard seltzers. Also popular trail is the 4.5-mile Lake Clementine Trail, which passes under the highest bridge in California. Post hike, stop by Crooked Lane Brewing for their fruit infused beer such as their Fruited Sour with Raspberry, Tangerine, and Pineapple as well as Mandarin Pale Ale.
While you’re at the Auburn State Rec Area, take the easy Olmstead Loop Trail that parallels historic Highway 49 near the town of Cool on one side and the American River Canyon on the other. The trail passes through rolling oak woodlands and includes canyon descents, climbs and water crossings, with elevations ranging from 1,350’ to 1,500’.
Three minutes away, Cool Beerwerks offers cold beer in warm environs with occasional live music. The Monte Vista Trail, located in El Dorado Hills near Folsom Lake, is a scenic three-mile loop that boasts various views, including the South Fork of the American River as it curves toward Folsom Lake. You may see wildflowers, green meadows, and birds depending on the time of year. Off Salmon Falls Road, the trailhead also accesses the Brown’s Ravine trail and New York Creek for a longer hike. Either way, a cold beer awaits just seven minutes away at Mraz Brewery.
Closer to Sacramento, many trails including the American River Parkway, Lake Natoma Trail and Hidden Falls Regional Park offers trails for all levels of hiking experiences.After visiting these awesome trails, head on over to the Rancho Cordova Barrel District and experience six breweries (as well as local distilleries), including Burning Barrel Brewing Co., Claimstake Brewing Company, Fort Rock Brewing, LogOff Brewing, Movement Brewing Company and hard kombucha brewer Shorebirds Brewing Company.
In Calaveras County, after exploring the Arnold Rim Trail, go for a cold brew at the Watering Hole and or the Pour House in Murphys for an eclectic list of rotating local, regional and international craft brews
Finish your Gold Country Hike & Beer tour around Yosemite National Park. In the park, you can cap off a hike on virtually any trail with a cold one Mariposa’s own 1850 Restaurant and Brewery which has taps at The Mountain Room at the Yosemite Valley Lodge.
Outside of the park, 1850’s tap house in downtown Mariposa is a great spot to grab a burger and brew after a day at the park or a hike at Stockton Creek Preserve, which is just a three-minute drive away. The Lewis Creek National Scenic Trail is a popular trailhead in the Oakhurst area and South Gate Brewing is a perfect place to grab a cold one after this four mile trek.
The New Year brings a plethora of new opportunities to explore Chicago. Whether it’s the host of new, hot restaurants, haute shopping experiences, or high-energy, immersive shows and attractions,
it’s clear: the Best Big City in the U.S. (six years running!) isn’t resting on its laurels. In fact, it’s just getting started.
January signals the triumphant, sold-out comeback of First Bites Bash after a three-year hiatus. The all-inclusive January 19 event inside the iconic Field Museum kicks off the 16th annual Chicago Restaurant Week, celebrating the area’s acclaimed culinary scene across 17 days and more than 300 top restaurants. Restaurant Week includes special prix fixe menus ($25 for brunch or lunch and $42 and/or $59 for dinner).
These signature events are a great way to indulge in around-the-world delicacies without leaving the city. Immersion takes on a new form with Stage 773’s WHIM, a walk-thru experience inviting guests to partake in a whimsical night out inside a world where every art form comes together – paintings, music, sculpture, street art, and live performance – all by Chicago artists.
February is well-known for being a month dedicated to and all about love, and this year, there’s no shortage of events to fall in love with.
This month marks the beginning of a bevy of bold performances at stages across the city, from Broadway in Chicago, the Belmont Theatre District and the Joffrey Ballet. And with the return of Chicago Theatre Week (now in its 11th year), that means these can’t miss live performances are available from February 16-26 for $30 or less!
The Chicago Auto Show, the largest auto show in North America, returning to McCormick Place Feb. 11-20. And throughout the month, raise a glass to great American writers at the American Writers Museum’s new Get Lit happy hour series.
Complete with the 60-plus-year tradition of dyeing of the Chicago River green, March makes a colorful point to the world that no city celebrates St. Patrick’s Day quite like we do. From the signature parade downtown to neighborhood-specific festivities, Irish history and culture run deep in neighborhoods like Beverly, Albany Park, and Mt. Greenwood.
With so much in store this year, go ahead: Discover big-city culture, Midwestern hospitality, and urban adventure. Come explore the city that feels like home! Visit ChooseChicago.com for more information.
Please click here for the full list of What’s New in Chicago for Winter/Spring 2023: https://www.choosechicago.com/press-media/whats-new-in-chicago/whats-new-and-happening-in-chicago-winter-spring-2023/
Award-winning author and travel writer Kathy Witt is again a Special Guest Blogger. Enjoy her blog post about Universal Orlando Resort below.
“It does not do well to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”
Universal Orlando Resort (www.universalorlando.com) walks the Dumbledore talk.
Having already made magic with its Wizarding Worlds of Harry Potter, the park keeps cranking up the enchantments. The latest? Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure—what Universal calls a “story coaster”—set in the Forbidden Forest and replete with ruins, dragon eggs and Skrewts.
Standing in line for Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure following the passing of Robbie Coltrane might be a bittersweet experience for some Harry Potter fans. Wait times can clock in by as much as 185 or more minutes—plenty of time to remember the actor who brought such humanity to the role of the gentle giant. But this adventure is an unabashed tribute to Harry’s beloved friend—and it just might be the best ride you ever experience.
Located at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade at Universal Orlando’s Islands of Adventure, Hagrid’s is a hair-raising three-minute hurtle traveling up to 50 miles an hour and featuring the first free-fall vertical drop in the USA. (Yep, that was your stomach that just dropped.) The ride shoots forward like a bat out of Azkaban, dips, spirals, accelerates, reverses, drops and revs up again . . . and again. Surely Hagrid himself is at the wheel.
There are three rides in this world—the other two being Flight of the Hippogriff and Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey—but each is a major attraction combining thrills and theatricality. Also in Hogsmeade: the Triwizard Spirit Rally and Frog Choir, which bring to life the music of the Harry Potter movies, and foodie fave Three Broomsticks.
Board the Hogwarts Express to reach Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida. The train travels between Hogsmeade Station and King’s Cross Station (a Park-to-Park admission ticket is required) and guests are either treated to Harry meeting up with Ron and Hermione or tortured by Dementors, depending on the direction of the journey.
At Diagon Alley, swap Muggle currency for Gringotts with the goblins of Gringotts Money Exchange; step into movie history by boarding the Knight Bus—an actual prop vehicle used in the series’ third film, “Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban”; and keep a wary eye out for Voldemort, Bellatrix and a gang of trolls on the Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts rollercoaster ride. (The vault is inside the building with the giant fire-breathing dragon perched atop.)
In either land, visit Ollivanders to purchase a wand for the park’s interactives and to see a wand choose a wizard—who gets to keep it. (The lucky wizard chosen will save more than $50.)
Visiting the Wizarding Worlds of Harry Potter is like stepping into the book or movie—and a true bucket list adventure for fans, many of whom dress in their house robes and other such attire when visiting the parks.
Loews Sapphire Falls Resort (www.universalorlando.com, click “Places to Stay) is one of eight Universal hotels, each offering free and convenient transportation to the parks and early park admission, among other benefits). With a gorgeous lobby overlooking the lagoon, the largest hotel pool on the campus and Strong Water Tavern, which serves up more than 100 types of rum along with tasty tapas, this Caribbean-inspired oasis casts a magic spell all its own.
The hotel has 1,000 rooms and suites, including Kids Suites with separate nautical-themed bedroom for the little ones, and four dining options, including the poolside Drhum Club Kantine, plus room service. The lavish tropical-themed pool area has sandy beach, hot tub, waterslide, firepit, children’s play area, cabanas (for rent) and more.
Guests can park their car and forget about it, traveling to the park by complimentary water taxi by way of Universal CityWalk, a shopping/dining/entertainment complex tucked between Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Those counting their steps can trek the walking paths to the parks.
For breakfast, lunch or dinner, head to the Leaky Caldron in Diagon Alley. It’s the restaurant come to life, complete with a patina of dinginess that befits its centuries of use. (It was built in the 1500s, after all). Amidst the glowing chandeliers, cubbyholes and old pictures askew on the walls, tuck into British fare such as Toad in the Hole, Bangers & Mash and a Ploughman’s feast of English cheese, crusty bread, salads and Scotch eggs—those deep-fried sausage snack sensations swaddling soft-boiled egg so beloved by the Brits. The only thing missing is Tom the Innkeeper.
Guests staying at one of Universal’s hotels will pass through Universal CityWalk to and from the parks. Take time to explore, catch a show, play miniature golf or test your skills at Universal’s new Great Movie Escape (www.universalorlando.com, click “Things to Do”), the first-ever escape room experience that features two rooms with interactive state-of-the-art missions, elaborate storytelling and intricately detailed sets.
Go head to head with Biff, the bully from “Back to the Future,” in Outatime or run for your life from an apex predator on the loose in Jurassic World: Escape. Inspired by Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment’s blockbuster films, “Jurassic World” and “Back to the Future,” these missions are a fun group activity for all ages.
The Unofficial Universal Theme Parks Cookbook by Ashley Craft. The 240-page book includes 100 recipes from the world of Universal—from snacks to main dishes to desserts and drinks—including Fish and Chips from The Three Broomsticks and Pumpkin Juice from Hog’s Head.
Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes at Universal Studios Florida
In introducing the Love Potion recipe in her book, The Unofficial Universal Theme Parks Cookbook, Ashley Craft writes: “Love Potion, or ‘Amortentia,’ is a powerful agent of magic in the Harry Potter books and movies, as it causes the drinker to be intensely infatuated and obsessive. The scent of the potion morphs and changes to match whatever the subject loves best.” Hmm. Feeling emboldened? Craft cautions all to “enjoy in small quantities because the flavor is powerful.”
- 4 TBSP corn syrup
- 1 TBSP rose water
- 1 TBSP pure honey
Instructions Combine all ingredients in a small bowl. Decant into four small vials or bottles and serve.
About Guest Blogger Kathy Witt
Award winning writer and author Kathy Witt is a member of SATW Society of American Travel Writers and the Authors Guild
NEW: Cincinnati Scavenger: The Ultimate Search for Cincinnati’s Hidden Treasures is now available.
NEW: Perfect Day Kentucky: Daily Itineraries for the Discerning Traveler arriving Fall 2023
Little did we know that when we dined at the corner restaurant near our hotel in Paris that we were eating at a place where for years there’s been a fight over the secret sauce that’s served with their steaks.
Maybe it’s a French thing.
For some background. My husband and I were on our honeymoon and had booked a Viking River Cruise on the Seine and then added some before and after stays in Amsterdam where it is more easy to get run over by a bicyclist then a car and Paris where we stayed at a little hotel near the metro in the 17th arrondissement, known as Batignolles-Monceau, so we could visit other parts of the city without spending a fortune on cabs. Though we didn’t plan it this way, Hotel 10 Le Bis, our hotel was near numerous little cafes and a little grocery store where we could easily—and cheaply–buy food for quick meals and snacks.
One intriguing café was Le Relais de Venise (the name translates to Venetian Inn)where every night we would see long lines of people waiting to eat either in their dining room or on their outdoor patio. Though the interior of the restaurant looked so French bistro with its polished dark wood, tiny tables with crisp white table cloths, and servers dressed in black uniforms, the outdoor section was right on a busy corner filled with traffic and pedestrians, noise, and the rumbled of trucks and sounds of horns honking.
What could be so great about lining up to eat there, we wondered. But one evening, after climbing up from the metro station and seeing there was no line, we decided to give it a try. The only tables available were outdoors and so we sat at a very small table next to another small table where a single woman sat, smoking a cigarette. That turned out to be a very lucky thing.
When our server arrived I asked to see a menu and she (we would find out later her name was Gertrude) abruptly told us she was the menu. Well, what could we order? Steak frites, she replied—either “bloody or well done.”
We told her “bloody”, and she gave us an approving look. But we were a little baffled. Was there really only one dish on the menu? It turns out that at this restaurant which opened in 1959, there was only one entrée and steak with French fries was it. When our waitress returned with a salad topped with walnuts (no one inquired whether we had a nut allergy—which fortunately we don’t) and a crusty French baguette, I saw there wasn’t butter on our table and asked for some. Oops, one would think I had tried to order a Big Mac.
“No butter,” Gertrude told us.
“There’s no butter?” I asked.
“No butter,” she replied.
“How about olive oil?”
“No olive oil,” she told us.
Now, I knew that in a French restaurant there had to be both in the kitchen, but I guess neither butter nor olive oil was allowed to be carried into the dining area, so we ate the bread—which was very good—without either.
This is when the woman at the table next to us decided to intervene. She lived in Paris she told us but had spent years in the United States working as a publicist for musicians in New York. Le Relais de Venise was unique, she continued, because they only served one dish—steak with French fries served with Le Venise’s Sauce de Entrecote. I guess that makes decided what to order for dinner super easy. If you’re wondering what entrecote is, as I was, it’s a cut of meat like a New York strip or strip steak. Or at least in it is in Paris.
Since the creation of the sauce, its exact ingredients have been kept secret and that probably worked until the invention of the internet. After some type of family squabble and a going of separate ways, the sauce itself became a battleground so complex and full of intrigue that the Wall Street Journal did a lengthy article about it all six years ago. I guess when you serve only one dish and the sauce is a necessary part of it, feelings about who owns the recipe loom large.
Anyway, after we ate our salad (no choice of dressing as it already was dressed with a vinaigrette which was very good), our steak with fries arrived—with the sauce spooned over the meat. It was delicious.
What’s in it? I asked the woman next to us.
“It’s a secret,” she said. “But I’ve been eating here for decades so I know it. But it’s really better to come here.”
She promised to give me the recipe, but I think she changed her mind because she never sent it. She may have been afraid that Gertrude would get mad at her or maybe the restaurant owners wouldn’t allow her back in. Neither would surprise me.
I noticed, as we were eating, that the servers were moving through the crowded café with platters of meat and piles of crisp, hand-cut pomme frites or French fries. Almost as soon as I had cleared my plate, Gertrude showed up again, heaping—without asking but that was okay—more French fries and slices of steak and then poured the secret sauce on my plate. At no charge. but no ketchup or mayonnaise either, for dipping the fries Gertrude informed us.
“They’ll do that until you say you don’t want anymore,” the woman told us.
“Is there a charge?”
“No, it’s all part of the meal.”
Which was a deal as the tab wasn’t very high even with the addition of a glass of the house wine which is made at the family owned vineyard Chateau de Saurs in Lisle-sur-Tarn, 30 miles northeast of Toulouse. Indeed, the restaurant was opened by Paul Gineste de Saurs as a way to help market the wines but now there are at least three more—in New York City, Mexico City, and London. As for the sauce there are several stories. A rival restaurant said to serve a similar sauce says that it is not new but instead wis one of the classic sauces that are the backbone of French cuisine.
Another has it that the restaurant where we ate was modeled after Cafe de Paris bistro in Geneva which has served this dish since the 1940s. The sauce, according “The History and the Development of the L’Entrecote Secret Sauce,” a Facebook page devoted to the subject, was developed by the owner’s father-in-law.
I told you it was complicated.
Of course, as soon as we got back to our room, I Googled the restaurant and the sauce. It took some digging, but I found recipes for both the secret sauce and the salad. Or so I think. I’m planning on trying them soon along with a French baguette or two from Bit of Swiss Bakery which I will be serving with butter.
Le Relais de Venise-Style Salad Dijon Vinaigrette
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
Kosher salt to taste (nutritional info based on 1/4 tsp)
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (or walnut oil)
Whisk or shake in a mason jar until mixture is homogenous.
Serve on a bed of mixed salad leaves topped with some chopped walnuts and shaved Parmesan.
Serving Size: 4
Le Relais de Venise’s Steak Sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large shallots
- 3 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2 tablespoons mustard
- 1 bunch tarragon
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Peel and slice the shallots.
Peel and roughly chop the garlic.
Add the olive oil to a small pot over medium heat.
Add the garlic and shallots and cook until soft and slightly colored.
Add the chicken stock. Simmer for three minutes.
Pull the tarragon leaves off of the stems and put them in a blender.
Add the remaining ingredients to the blender.
Carefully pour the chicken stock mixture into the blender.
Puree until completely smooth.
Pour back into the pan and bring to a boil. Cook for one minute. If the sauce is too thin simmer for a few more minutes.
Pour over slices of rare or as Gertrude calls it “bloody” or however you like your steak. Serve with potatoes or French fries.
If you’re living in Chicago, chances are you’ve seen popular tourist attractions like Cloud Gate, also known as the Bean, or have walked around the Navy Pier. Although these attractions make Chicago unique, have you ever wondered what else is out there? If that’s the case, we’ve got you covered. We’ve gathered Chicagoans to share their favorite unique things to do in Chicago to give you some fresh ideas. So whether you’re ready to shake up your routine or new to the city looking for apartments for rent in Chicago, check out locally approved attractions you want to take advantage of.
Are you looking to step back in time? The Art Institute of Chicago will help transport you as you like. The museum houses one of the country’s largest permanent collections and other centuries-old artwork.
1. You can’t go wrong with the Art Institute of Chicago
Martin, a local Chicagoan from SmartMoneyMatch, a network that connects the global investment community, recommends the Art Institute of Chicago when the weather is terrible. “It’s always worth a visit. It’s filled with masterpieces from every era, from Georges Seurat’s iconic painting A Sunday on La Grande Jatte to Andy Warhol’s print of actress Elizabeth Taylor.”
2. Visit the Chicago River in the summer
In the summertime, Chicago becomes an outdoor oasis for all residents and visitors. From the various parks and the waterways, you’ll find a place you’ll love to explore.
“My favorite unique thing to do in Chicago is to go kayaking on the Chicago River in the summer,” says May, a Chicago local from Nutrition Happens, a space dedicated to health, wellness, and nutrition. “Whether you’re a resident or just visiting, there’s nothing better than soaking in the famous skyline views with a peaceful paddle down the river.”
Chicago local Jane Simon Ammeson agrees. “Rivers were the highways of the past, but the Chicago River offers uniquely modern adventures for me. I can paddle its waters and shiver at scary stories during a Ghost and Gangster kayak tour, and sip a Spanish Rioja while gazing at the city lights. I love to stroll along the Riverwalk, choose a favorite place to dine, and plan my next adventure while watching the boats go by.”
3. Take a visit to the Shedd Aquarium
Bungee QC Fitness shares that their favorite unique thing to do in Chicago is visiting the Shedd Aquarium. “With over 1,500 species of fish, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates from around the world, the Shedd Aquarium showcases an impressive array of aquatic life.
The Shedd Aquarium is one of the country’s oldest and most respected aquariums. If you’re in the area, you don’t want to miss it.
4. Explore nearby neighborhoods
Chicago is full of charming neighborhoods like River North and Edgewater. You’ll indeed find beautiful places in Chicago that will blow you away within a matter of minutes from each other. So grab your shoes, head out the door, and get ready to explore.
“Chicago is a great city for food and family fun,” says Jenny and Sheena, local Chicagoans from “And Then We Had Kids” Podcast. “Park & Field, located in the Logan Square neighborhood, is an excellent restaurant for all ages, and they even host fun family events and a bottomless boozy brunch on the weekends. If you’re looking for a place to host your event, Park & Field features fee-free party rentals. And the best part is they’re dog-friendly.
5. Dine in local favorite restaurants
If you’re a foodie, you’ll want to check out the Irish Nobleman Pub on the West Side. Enjoy a cocktail or glass of wine while enjoying the lush foliage, flowers & hummingbirds in the summer. The patio is lined with AstroTurf, so it’s like a green oasis near downtown Chicago – and that also makes it super comfortable for bringing my dog along. It’s not just a Chicago favorite spot to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day; the summertime patio is an attraction on its own.
Are you looking for a fancy night on the town? Vess, a local from Bus Connection, a sophisticated transportation service, recommends stopping by Bavette’s Bar and Bouf. “One of Chicago’s finest steakhouse restaurants, Bavette’s Bar and Bouf is truly a hidden gem. Feel the swanky ambiance of a prohibition-era speakeasy, softly lit with red velvet wraparound booths and sultry jazz music soundtracks. It’s the most unique and intimate place to wine and dine.”
6. Go to any event hosted by Sofar Sounds
Sofar Sounds connects the community with secret concerts in unique spaces. You’ll receive the address of the event within 36 hours before the event. You’ll experience different shows, from musical genres and comedy to dance.
“My recommendation for a unique thing to do in Chicago is to go to events hosted by Sofar Sounds,” says Emily from Mezz Entertainment. “Through this experience, you can attend intimate gigs throughout the city, like the loop and Lincoln Park. I love discovering new artists to listen to from these shows.”
About Ana Guzman
Ana is part of the Redfin content marketing team and enjoys writing about home improvement and life & style. Her dream house would be a contemporary style with lots of natural light.
Skip the Cabernet and grab something a little bubblier this month – a variety of full-flavored sparkling waters. In keeping with Dry January and National Cheese Lovers Day approaching this January 20th, check out Waterloo Sparkling Water delicious pairings.
Waterloo Grape Sparkling Water
Pairs with: Blue Cheese and Spiced Pecans
Waterloo’s juicy and full-bodied Grape flavor pairs perfectly with the rich and bold flavor of Blue cheese. Couple with spiced pecans for a nutty and buttery finish.
Waterloo Black Cherry Sparkling Water
Pairs with: Sharp Cheddar and Caramelized Onions
Waterloo Black Cherry is crisp and refreshing, with notes of muddled fruit. Pair with sharp cheddar and caramelized onion for a sweet counterpart to the strong and savory cheddar flavor.
Waterloo Peach Sparkling Water
Pairs with: Goat Cheese and Thyme Infused Honey
Waterloo’s Peach sparkling water is ripe and boasting with true-to-fruit flavor. Pair with a young, soft goat cheese and thyme infused honey for a savory and sweet combination.